Hot on the heels of Barclays and HBSC closing their Abergavenny branches, the town has been dealt yet another blow with the news that Halifax is also shutting. While the decision is ultimately a commercial one, with falling branch transactions and the growth of digital banking being blamed, it is nevertheless bitterly disappointing. Not everyone is comfortable or familiar with using online or mobile banking and there are many customers, especially elderly and vulnerable people, who rely on traditional over-the-counter-services. It is bound to cause inconvenience to begin with and we need to make sure Halifax is properly supporting and advising customers on alternative banking options. I am pleased to hear a Community Banker will be available after the branch closes on 5 August 2024 to help local people and I look forward to receiving further information once this new service has been set up. In the meantime, I will be speaking to Halifax about how it plans to assist staff members, either through redeployment to a role at another branch or a different part of the business.


Mental fitness – the act of keeping your brain and emotional health in tip-top shape – is just as important as physical fitness and shouldn’t be neglected. Tŷ Gwyn Hall on the outskirts of Abergavenny is a hospital providing rehabilitation and treatment for people with a range of mental health conditions. On Friday, I joined professional boxer and Mission Fit co-ordinator Kieran Gething for a session with some of the patients at the hospital to see first-hand just how positive physical activity is for mental health recovery. Kieran offers an excellent programme alongside Elysium Healthcare, which runs Tŷ Gwyn Hall, to support people looking to transition back into the community. Really good work is being done here and it was fantastic to talk to patients about the positive effects of including fitness exercises into their daily routine, which is helping them to reap the benefits of a healthier body and mind for years to come.


David puts his boxing gloves back on (David Davies)

There is a great deal of concern about a small number of young people who, quite frankly, seem to be out of control on the streets of Monmouth. I have been sent videos of daytime fighting, violence and disorderly behaviour currently blighting the town. The identity of the individuals allegedly involved are known and I have asked the Chief Constable of Gwent Police to investigate and let me know what action is being taken to address this.