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    This site is maintained by Mark’s constituency staff, and includes news and information about Cardiff West and from the Assembly. For news about Health and Social Services go the Welsh Government newsroom or the official Health Minister Twitter page.

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Blue Badge Scams

The Welsh Government is warning of scam websites that are charging people to apply for a Blue Badge, which is otherwise available for free.

The Blue Badge is available to disabled people to allow them free parking and access to services and facilities. It can be applied for through a local authority or the GOV.UK website and the process is completely free in Wales.

But some unscrupulous websites have been set-up and charging fees of around £50 for processing people’s applications. All they do is carry out the same simple application process that applicants can do themselves online or via their local authority.

Minister for Transport Edwina Hart said:

“The Blue Badge Scheme is there to help disabled people overcome some of the barriers they face when accessing jobs, shops and other important services. The scheme is completely free and I am outraged that some people are trying to exploit, often vulnerable, people by making out that they need to pay a fee to access this scheme.”

10,000 free books for children in Wales’ most disadvantaged communities

The Welsh Government has announced new funding to provide 10,000 free books to children living in the most disadvantaged parts of Wales. Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty Vaughan Gething has revealed that children living in Flying Start areas will benefit from free books to help continued learning at home. Each book bag will contain a bilingual and an English language book, a set of crayons and a scribble pad. Flying Start aims to make a decisive difference to the lives of children under the age of four and their families in the most deprived communities. It offers parents free quality childcare for 2-3 year olds, parenting support, an enhanced health visitor service and help for early language development. A key part of Flying Start is developing a child’s language. The extra books will allow health visitors to highlight to parents the importance of reading with their children to improve their language development. The books, costing £100,000, will be available from this month and will be in addition to those provided by the Welsh Government backed Bookstart programme, which gives free bilingual book packs to every child in Wales at nine-months and two-years old. 23,579 children are currently benefitting from Read more [...]

Radyr and Llandaff train stations are due to be improved

The Transport Minister, Edwina Hart, has announced £12m funding for access improvements at five train stations across Wales including Radyr and Llandaff. The stations will receive the money as part of the Access for All programme to create step and obstacle-free routes to platforms and station entrances, through new foot bridges, lifts and ramps.

A £2.5m project at Llandaff station will involve the installation of a new stepped-footbridge with two lifts. This will provide a fully accessible route to platform two (for Cardiff-bound trains) for the first time. The project will also provide an accessible drop off point, disabled car park spaces, improved station signage and some new tactile paving. Work starts in May and is due to be completed by the end of 2014.

A £3m stepped-footbridge with three lifts will be installed at Radyr, in order to serve all three platforms. The project will provide a fully accessible route to the station and platforms for the first time. Work starts in June and should be completed by February 2015.