Jonny’s blog on Cross-Sector Challenges after Brexit

Throwing a Pebble in a Pond: 

If you throw a pebble in a pond consequently it will cause ripples on the surface – even to the very end. You may not be able to see them because they’re so minuscule, but they’re there. This ripple effect could be said for cross-sector partnerships that aren’t often seen by most but do exist. The cuts from local government and uncertainty from Brexit has caused all of the ripples in the political pond to be seen by everyone. My fear is – will those ripples cause a splash? And if they do – who’s willing to get wet?

The EU Referendum: 

It’s been a month since the referendum came to an end with David Dimbleby announcing “we’re out,” and as we look back on the 23rd June I don’t think we wholeheartedly anticipated that a simple Thursday in June would turn out to be an historic day, which would result in one of the most important democratic, economic decisions in 40 years. Worst of all, our governments weren’t expecting such a divide between nations and communities, not only with those still apart of the EU but here in the “United” Kingdom.

New Conservative Leadership – and Wales: 

And with a new Prime Minister, a reshuffled Conservative cabinet and a dedicated Brexit department (with David Jones, MP for West Clwyd at its helm) all at Downing Street – Wales will need to get in on the action as soon as possible before the fountain of EU funds run dry.

The Welsh Assembly & Brexit: 

There’s no doubt that it’s been difficult for our assembly members down in the Senedd, where only a month before Brexit, a brand new cabinet came into being. Now, with 52% of the population voting to leave the EU, our Assembly members whose leading Party had campaigned for Remain, are required to respect the democratic system and prepare for Wales to call and cancel its membership. Though it’s more problematic than cancelling a gym membership it begs the question whether Wales will be economically fit enough in the near future?

 “Cross-sector” challenges (Housing Camp Cymru): 

Briefly and not wanting to sound too sentimental but going to Housing Camp Cymru gave me an opportunity to chat to some of the best people in the sector.

During the event I was able to speak to Owain Jones, Managing Director of Build Beacon, who would go on to pitch a session regarding “Brexit, Development and Sustainable Communities” and although sadly I wasn’t able to attend his session (as I went to Alice’s “Supported Housing Session”), I was still able to quickly discuss with him the indirect impact on the housing sector in Wales from cross-sector challenges exacerbated by Brexit.

Also, during the Supported Housing Session, we did discuss that there needs to be better co-operation between healthcare services and service providers (housing). For example, a resident who may have a mental health illness and lives in supported housing will need the necessary support to help enable him or her to live independently or with more ease.

A lack of communication between both sectors (in this case healthcare and housing) could have a negative or even damaging impact on the resident’s wellbeing.

Cross-Sector Challenges (Education & Housing): 

There’s been a drop in University applications from EU students, which has been linked to uncertainty, a feeling of being unwanted and regrettably a rise in xenophobia and racism.

Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education in Wales has recently spoken out by saying that “we will not tolerate any form of racial abuse whether on our campuses or within the wider communities in which we are rooted,” demonstrating that our Assembly Members are ready to address these challenges for the next two years…well until Article 50 is set in motion.

The education sector is key to unlocking the minds of prominent international figures leading in their field and as a nation it’s crucial that we’re able to exchange ideas and adopt other methodologies, such as flood defences and energy sufficient features that are instrumental in sustaining ecological resources when building homes for future generations.

Cross-Sector Challenges (Healthcare & Housing): 

As the NHS celebrated its sixty-eighth birthday earlier this month, everybody couldn’t blow out enough candles in wishing that it stays with us for as long as it’s able to!

It’s understandable that people are protective of the NHS. I’m proud that the notion had sprouted up from one of the greatest political minds of the 20th Century and a working-class Welshman, Aneurin Bevan. So proud am I that I believe every NHS advertisement should have the slogan – made in Wales.

Remember that EU nationals help to support Bevan’s legacy, from Doctors in A&E to Specialist Support Workers in Nursing Homes. The reports of xenophobia and racism against EU nationals working in the NHS has made them wanting to quit the sector and some even doubting their residency in the UK, as hostility grows from the belly of Brexit.

Doesn’t Brexit mean that we’ve successfully closed off invitations to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals from the European continent making it harder, just like past non-EU members, to set up camp and potentially save lives?

In regards to housing and healthcare in Wales, we need to look how best to protect our most vulnerable and do the best we can to cope with the cuts from local government.

It’s important that we assist in any way possible those who either work as a carer or who are family members. Above all else – protect the rights and uphold the dignity of the people receiving care.

We need to support those wanting to live independently, deter social exclusion and promote awareness.

The Welsh Housing Sector is tackling Xenophobia & Racism after Brexit: 

Since the vote to leave the EU there has been an increase in reports of xenophobia and racism.

I commend the people working in the housing sector in Wales for their prompt actions in tackling these issues including Cynon Taf Community Housing Group who are working with the police on supporting those affected by hate crime and identifying the individual or groups associated with these actions – demonstrating the necessary cooperation between the Public and Housing Sectors that exists to safeguard service users and welcome diverse communities.

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