I’m Anwen Rodaway and I represent Learning Disability Wales in the Welsh Youth Parliament. I’m also a member of the Littering and Plastic Waste Committee.
I’ve had such a fantastic time as a Welsh Youth Parliament member, it’s really sad to think our term is coming to an end already. I can honestly say it’s been even more fun and lots more hard work than I could ever have imaginged.
Our report on Littering and Plastic Waste has now been released for you all to see. It feels like forever ago that we started working on this topic but we’ve achieved so much along the way – even with Covid-19 causing so many difficulties, and needing to find new ways to work.
I’ve been so fortunate to speak in the Senedd in the first joint meeting of the Youth and actual parliaments. I didn’t realise I was nervous until I looked down and saw my hands were shaking like they had a life of their own. I needn’t have worried though because the Members of Senedd were really lovely and so interested in hearing what we had to say. I really feel like we were heard.
Lockdown in March hit our work hard and all of our meetings for the rest of this year have been virtual. I’ve really missed my fellow Youth Parliament members, I’ve made some really great friends, virtual meetings are OK but no substitute for our residentials where we work hard through the days and get to relax together in the evenings.
It was really difficult to promote our consultation on Littering and Plastic Waste while schools were closed so I decided to try and help. I contacted Hannah Blythyn to ask her if she would mind answering some questions for me about the topic and I was really thrilled when she not only agreed but suggested we had an online meeting we could share with the rest of Wales.
I thought I was going to be nervous but she was really lovely and we had a great chat about her vision for the future of littering and plastic waste in Wales, what we had both been doing during lockdown to find ways to reuse and recycle plastic and other waste materials. I shared how I’d upcycled wooden vegetable boxes, lined with carrier bags to make mini raised beds in the garden and grown courgettes, beetroot and Chard in them and built a scarecrow for our community scarecrow parade. Most importantly, we discussed the work we’d been doing on the committee and the upcoming report.
I took part in a panel discussion during Welsh Youth Parliament week with Steffan Griffiths the weather presenter and some of my WYP colleagues and again during Urdd week! We talked about how my community now had a water refill station to reduce the number of plastic bottles being sold – really important as I live in a coastal community!
I also had a catch up with Lyndsey at Learning Disability Wales which we shared online, we talked about all things lockdown and how I was trying to keep myself busy. You can find links to most of these online on my Twitter and Facebook pages if you’re interested.
Most recently we have met with Hannah Blythyn, as a committee, to discuss the preliminary results of our report and I’m really looking forward to being able to share the final version with all of you! Being a member of the Welsh Youth Parliament has completely changed my life, I hope this report will help bring about the change we need to see in this area in Wales and will help lead the way for change for communities and young people across the UK and further afield. I really feel this process has shown not only do we have a voice but it has been heard!