Cardiff has a fast-growing and ageing population. These trends are driving a rising demand for our public services at a time when we have much less money available from central government to fund them.
In order to meet this challenge the way we deliver public services will need to change.
In leading this change, we need to understand what services matter most to you and your family. That’s why we’ve launched the Cardiff Debate.
I attended Cardiff Debate sessions last week at the Llanrumney Festival and at the Sbectrwm community enterprise in Fairwater. It was great to have an opportunity to visit the Sbectrwm centre, which is a fantastic example of co-operative working in action.
The inspirational centre is part of Vision 21, a charity which offers realistic work based opportunities for people with learning needs.
I’m pictured in the working garden at Sbectrwm with students and staff from Fairwater Pottery who are based there and produce some amazing pottery which is on sale there as well as their shop on Albany Road.
Vision 21 will be holding their annual festival day at Sbectrwm on July 9thfrom 10-3 which is free to enter and looks like it will be a lot of fun. So go along and see what is on offer. Further details can be found at www.v21.org.uk
I believe Cardiff as the capital city must act as the connecting point between Wales and the world, bringing the best of the world culture, sport, investment, businesses and talent to Wales and providing the platform to showcase the best of Wales to the world in return.
For this to happen, international connectivity will be really important. Meeting with Cardiff Airport Chief Executive Jon Horne this week I was reassured that things are moving in the right direction. In 2007 Cardiff Airport served over 2 million passengers, but last year, before the Welsh Government’s investment, this had fallen to just over 1 million. Something clearly needed to be done.
Recent months have seen investments in a new café, retail and drop off areas. In fact, the whole arrival and departure experience has been significantly improved. The range of routes has expanded: British Airways’ low cost carrier, Vueling, flies to destinations in Europe; carriers such as KLM, Cityjet and Aer Lingus continue to fly to Dublin, Paris and Amsterdam for a broader range of onward international connections; and Citywing also operates regular 1 hour domestic flights to Ynys Mon/Anglesey in North Wales. It was also good to hear about more recent new destinations including Dusseldorf in Germany, operated by Germanwings. With more new routes expected over the year ahead – the return of Ryanair the most obvious – I’m confident that Cardiff, as the capital city of Wales, will soon have the airport it deserves.