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Step Up Cymru Mentee Journal - Annette Monks

Mentor - Cllr Mair Stephens

27 November 2009 - St Mellons Forum Lorraine Barrett / Alan Michael

Lorraine invited me to the above meeting where I was introduced to Alun Michael who took my details so they could send me further information regarding future events being held by the Labour Party. I really enjoyed attending this event as it was good to find out what organisations within the area had to into the community.

It was also a good opportunity for me to personally thank the councillor for the funding they had given me and a friend when we had set-up the first mother and toddler playgroup in St Mellons. I ran a playgroup as a volunteer for over 18 months and it was thanks to the funding we had received of the council that we were able to purchase the necessary equipment and toys.

25 November 2009 - South Glamorgan's Women’s workshop committee meeting

I had been invited to attend the above meeting by Ann Cox an ex-councillor. I found the meeting very interesting and informative there was too earlier this that particularly caught my attention, they are trying to form a women's group where the women will meet and discuss relevant issues of interest and will pay a Sub of a pound a month to help raise funds to the project they also discussed the women having a sharing meal.

I suggested that when the women meet they could all bring different food with them i.e.: one could cook rice another cook the curry and so on and sell it for about three pound a plate on the day, this is something that has been arranged on a number of occasions at BAWSO to raise funds for women with no recourse to public funds (benefits)

25 November 2009 - Llandaff Cathedral a Services for the International Elimination of Violence against Women

I attended the above service in my capacity of a support worker with BAWSO Women’s Aid, as the organisation was first formed to help women from the BME communities fleeing domestic abuse cultural violence

14 November 2009 - Labour Party Women's Forum organised by Julie Morgan held in Newport

Speakers included:

Rosemary Butler AM talking about 10 years of devolution

Baroness Delyth Morgan discussing on woman's position in the political process

I then attended two workshops: Women in Politics / Gender Race and Class

Jane Hutt discussion on Women at the assembly

Baroness Anita Gale discussed women MPs, AMs and PPCs

Baroness Denise Kingsmill was the guest speaker and discussed payroll in politics.

I learnt a great deal at this event and found out just how hard the women who are already in politics had had to fight to get their foot in the door.

9 November 2009 - Meeting with Lorraine and Becky Spiller the National Assembly outreach worker

It had been arranged for Becky to sit in on our meeting as she needed names and information of under represented groups and I have done a lot of networking with such groups in my capacity as a support worker with the Black Association of Women Step Out (BAWSO) women's aid. I was able to give Becky about 20 contact details of organisations in the Newport area and about 40 contact details that I had collected when I was a member of Race Equality First

2 November 2009 - Training: Finding Your Voice at the Assembly building with Adam Rees

The training was very good we met staff from some of the different departments within the assembly and they explained what their roles and responsibilities are, I was particularly interested in the outreach work as they go out and inform people in the community what happens at the assembly. We were given information and advice about not only finding your voice but how to use your voice to make a difference to your community, the process of petitioning and lobbying was discussed and a little bit was talked about regarding the difference between the national assembly and the assembly government. I enjoyed the training very much felt that I had got some of my questions answered the experience was very worthwhile

12 November 2009 - First meeting

I was more nervous about this meeting than any of the other events I had attended so far, would her staff see me as an unnecessary nuisance that they just had to put up more trouble than I was worth. But, my fears were unfounded as all her staff give me a warm welcome and reassured me that they all thought the scheme would be of benefit to everybody concerned, but there track details so that I would always be able to contact somebody advice and information:

Barbara Windsor - Office Manager/Senior Caseworker

Richard Burgess - Research and Press Officer

Victoria Martin - Office Assistant/Diary and Events Organiser

After an informal discussion about our interests and likes we found out that we are both: grandmothers, vegetarian and that we both like crystals. We then got on to the more formal discussions of what I expected from the scheme and what they expected from me, ground rules were laid down about confidentiality and respect, this was due to the fact that I would be spending time in Lorraine’s office hearing matters of confidentiality regarding the issues she would be dealing with when we were together. Lorraine then went through the paper work that had been sent by Adam and I signed a confidentiality papers.

My main areas of interest are, how do all the different departments at the National Assembly work together, what responsibilities each departments has and who does what within each department

I also wanted to know the difference between the National Assembly and the Welsh assembly government.

Lorraine asked her staff to make me up a pack of pens, note pad and information literature on some of the areas we have discussed mostly the explanation of the difference between the National Assembly and the Welsh assembly government for me to read at my leisure as there was quite a lot.

The meeting was followed by a quick lunch as we both had other appointments to attend that day.

We did have a further meetings arranged and I was going to attend the St Mellons youth Forum but unfortunately they had to be cancelled due to a car accident.

9 October 2009 - First contact after launch

I received a phone call from Lorraine to make arrangements for our first meeting, it was agreed that we would meet at her office at the assembly building, she would introduce me to staff we would have an discussion about the scheme way forward and then would have lunch.

7 October 2009 - The Launch

I was really looking forward to the launch of step up Cymru. I had gone on the assembly’s web site prior to the launch to find out some information about Lorraine and what her areas of interest were.  I had previously met Lorraine when I had attended a tour of the Senedd with a project called Women Making a Difference, and although I had already met Lorraine I was still feeling both excited and nervous at the same time with some apprehension as to what would be expected from me.

On the evening of the launch Lorraine was there to meet me, she is a very down-to-earth lady and she put me at ease right away, after the formalities of the night were dealt with and the speeches given we were able to have a chat over the buffet and Lorraine said she would phone in the week to set the date of our first meeting.

September 2009 - A Great Opportunity

I was so pleased when I received the news from Adam Rees that I had successfully secured a place on the Step up Cymru Mentoring Scheme at the Welsh Assembly. As I knew it would be a very good scheme to be involved with and a great opportunity to gain a working knowledge of what actually

Happens at the assembly and to find out what Assembly Member actually do.

My mentor was going to be Lorraine Barnett who represents the area where I live (St Mellons) and her full constituency is Cardiff South and Penarth

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