Welcome to my latest newsletter as Member of Parliament of Nottingham North.
With the Labour Party conference over I spent the final week of recess in Nottingham, meeting groups all over the constituency and spending a lot of time on doorsteps meeting people in the build-up to the upcoming by-elections. Before I let you know what I’ve been up to I have a few other things to mention.
First of all, I’ve been preparing for an important debate I have secured in Parliament. I will be discussing Access to Advice Services in Nottingham in Westminster Hall next Wednesday (the 11th). I know how important these services are to so many of you, so I’m trying to do my bit to help ensure support will always be available to those who need it in our city, especially with the rollout of Universal Credit coming to the city. We have a wonderful range of advice services in the city, but please do let me know if there are organisations you use for advice that you think I should talking about. You’ll be able to watch the debate live or afterwards at www.parliamentlive.tv. I’ll put a link in next week’s newsletter of course.
Secondly, you may remember that I joined in with the Great Tesco Walk two weeks ago. During the walk, I discussed their Bags of Help scheme. Bags of Help uses money raised from the 5p carrier bag charge (now the sale of 10p Bags for Life) to fund thousands of local projects in communities across the country. The programme provides funding for a variety of purposes, ranging from improving community buildings and outdoors spaces to buying new equipment and hosting community events.
In Nottingham North, this has included support ranging from £1,000 to £12,000 for several projects, including £12,000 for Old Basford School for their pond area, and £10,000 for Nottingham City Council for ‘Fun Fitness at Stockhill Park’. There’s more funding currently available, ranging from £1,000 – £4,000, and I’d encourage anyone with a local project idea to consider it. You can find out more about Bags of Help here.
I’d also like to bring your attention to October being baby loss awareness month in Nottingham. During the Summer, I wrote about how I’d met with local charity Forever Stars and the great work they’ve done for bereaved parents of stillborn babies and early baby loss previously, including the introduction a maternity suite into QMC. Well this month, they’ve launched their #Talkaboutthem initiative to support baby loss awareness, and I urge anyone affected by baby loss to do just that. Forever Stars will be more than happy to help you through this, and you can find more information about them on their website here. In the next few weeks there will also be the release of their new charity single, A Moment of Hope. Keep an eye out!
Last but not least, voting for Westminster Dog of the Year continues. My two wonderful border collies, Boomer and Corona, have entered this year’s competition (read their canine CV here). Part of it is a public vote, so if as many as possible of you could support them by voting here I’d really appreciate it. There will be a related event on 26th October which I’ll keep you up to date with when it happens. Thanks a lot!
As I’ve said before, I will strive to send you a newsletter like this each Friday to keep you updated on the work I’m doing in Parliament as well as in our community, and to inform you of any interesting events taking place in our area. To help me with the latter, if you are running or know of anything that you think may be of interest to others, feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com and I will include it in future issues. Please also forward it onto anyone you think may be interested.
In the Constituency
My week in Nottingham began by meeting Kate Hudson, the Midlands Regional Secretary of CWU, the Communication Workers’ Union. Kate and the rest of the Union represent local workers diligently, including in the ongoing dispute within Royal Mail that you may have seen in the news recently, so it was great to catch up with what they’re currently doing and how I can help to protect workers’ rights. The following day they announced that their members had voted to take Industrial Action. I know that this was a difficult decision for them to take, I fully support them in their cause. It was particularly notable as it was one of the first ballots under the new Trade Union Act. This Act brought in unfair and unwise thresholds for action. The CWU far surpassed these thresholds.
On Monday afternoon, I attended Notts County’s Football in the Community +Sport Move and Learn session at Hempshill Hall Primary School in Bulwell. This is an educational programme for primary school children. It aims to encourage physical activity, promote nutritional education and build awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
Projects like this play an incredibly important role for younger members of our community. Having such opportunities available to them not only helps to keep them fit and healthy, but also offers the chance for kids to develop friendships, interests and hobbies they may have ignored without being pointed in the right direction. It helps us combat obesity, as not only are we teaching people of all ages the values of eating well and staying active, and the dangers of being overweight and obese, it also makes them fun and accessible for all.
I had a great time at the event, but more importantly it was good to see first-hand the great work that’s being done for young people in our community, as well as showing how much fun can be had doing it! I hope everyone else enjoyed it just as I did and takes the lessons learnt on board.
The next day I met with Emma Ing and David Carter from East Midlands Ofsted. Emma’s the Regional Director and David is a senior schools’ inspector in the region. They inspect all range of educational facilities in Nottingham North, from Early Years settings, primary and secondary schools, to Further Education colleges and apprenticeships so truly get the best view of why educational outcomes for children and young people aren’t improving as much as they should in the region. I believe that receiving a good education can make such a difference to so many aspects of one’s later life, so of course welcomed this opportunity to attempt to jointly identify potential areas for driving improvement and addressing educational disadvantage in the constituency. I’m Chair of Governors at a school awaiting OFSTED – they didn’t give me any clues when to expect them though…
Later on, I visited NBV Enterprise Solutions and met with Joanna Clark, their Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Strategic Development for the East Midlands. They are a consultancy company, functioning on funding and support from the EU and D2N2, who focus on providing support for start-ups or pre-existing companies in the area. They provide free workshops for start-ups, provide office space, help businesses obtain funding, and provide training and events. Such assistance can make a tremendous difference to up-and-coming businesses and I enjoyed discussing how we can get more budding Nottingham North businesses to take up their services.
This was followed by a very enjoyable visit to an Over 65s Lunch at the Mo Fayose Foundation’s Self Love Hub. Despite being the youngest attendee by quite some way I had a great time, and can’t wait to go back! Simply having things like this available helps keep our older generations social and active and I could tell from all the happy faces how important it was to everyone there.
In fact, I was rather disappointed to have to head off promptly, but I had to get to Top Valley Way to visit the Mistry pharmacy. I was shown around by Dayaram Mistry, the pharmacist at the store and Nick Hunter, Chief Officer for Nottinghamshire Local Pharmaceutical Committee. Pharmacies are so much more than drug dispensaries, and a vital cog in the healthcare network, often offering the first-line of medical treatment to those with minor ailments, so it was very beneficial to hear first-hand how they work to improve this service, and the challenges they face in doing this.
I also had further meetings with the Big Lottery Fund, who you may remember I’ve met with previously as they’re such a great source of funding for projects in the area, and Helen Taylor from Hosta Consulting. Hosta’s services revolve around regenerating spaces and making them green. My predecessor Graham Allen oversaw the regeneration of Hoewood Meadow, and I’m keen to build on that in my time as Nottingham North’s MP with similar projects.
As you may know, while I was on the City Council I held the Portfolio for Adults and Healthcare, and I’m now a member of Labour’s Health Team, so meeting David Pearson this week to discuss the work of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire STP (Sustainability Transformation Partnership) was a key part of my week. STPs are regional plans imposed obliging local communities to develop five-year plans to improve the quality of care, the health and wellbeing of local people, and the finances of local services. These are controversial, especially politically, but whilst they are still here I feel it is important that I advocate for our community during their developments.
Also controversial, though slightly less so for our part of Nottingham, is the construction of High Speed 2, the railway upgrade scheme. The route affects the western tip of the constituency, in Bilborough. Those affected have been contacted. I was keen to ensure that they’re getting a fair shake. If you’re affected and would like some guidance, please get in touch.
Throughout the week I was of course also kept busy with casework and your emails as well as preparing for next week’s debate, as well as using my evenings to campaign as I mentioned.
Next week I’ll be back in Parliament so will let you know how it goes.
I want these emails to be as interesting as possible. That means there’ll be some politics – it’s important that I am held accountable. But I also want to offer information about what’s on locally. So, if you have an event you’d like me to advertise, let me know.
Bestwood Park Church’s Bestop Kitchen
Social Eating Event, Donations Welcome
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Road, NG5 5NG
Every Tuesday, 12-3pm
Poems in the Pub
Poetry Open Mic Night
The William Peverel, Bulwell
Thursday 2nd November, 7pm
Notts Gets 2 Work Summer/Autumn Programme
Programme of free Dr Bike events (bike servicing) and bike maintenance sessions
Various Nottingham Locations
For further info visit http://www.nottmgets2work.org.uk/programme2017
Free Community Cinema
Free screenings of films, everyone welcome!
St John’s Church, Key’s Close, Bulwell
2nd Friday every month, 7pm
Aviva Community Fund
I’ve also been contacted by Aviva recently, who have asked me to spread the word on grants they are offering for community projects. The Aviva Community Fund awards funding of up to £25,000 for local community projects across a range of categories such as skills for life, health & wellbeing and community support. Last year there were over 450 winners and this year there are even more up for grabs.
Take a look here for more information, and see if maybe this is something that could help get your project off the ground. Applications can be made until 12 noon on 10th October.
If you would like your events advertised here, or further information on those advertised, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s all for now! Details of how to get in touch or to have a look at the things I’m doing are below…
All the best,
How to contact me
If you would like to contact me, please email email@example.com or give my Nottingham North constituency office a ring on 0115 975 2377.
If you are a constituent from Nottingham North e-mailing me regarding a casework issue you are my priority, so please ensure your message includes:
- your full name
- your full postal address, including postcode
- a contact telephone number and
- any helpful details relevant to your case such as date of birth, reference numbers etc.
Strict parliamentary protocol means I can only deal with issues on behalf of my own constituents. If you aren’t sure whether you live in Nottingham North, you can check who your local MP is by entering your postcode online here: findyourmp.parliament.uk.
You may also wish to write to me with your concerns. If so please send your correspondence to Alex Norris MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A OAA. All constituents who take the time and trouble to write a personal letter will receive a reply as a matter of priority.
Other useful links
- If you’d like to learn more about the Labour party their website is here.
- To join the Labour Party click here.
- Benefits Information: Here’s an excellent site that allows you to find out exactly what benefits you are eligible to claim: EntitledTo
- Housing: please contact your City Council
- Problems with benefits or the Child Support Agency? The Citizens Advice Bureau and the Nottingham Welfare Rights Service can give advice. Remember to have your National Insurance number handy if you make an inquiry.
- Local schools / education matters: please contact your City Council.
- Employment rights: see Citizens Advice Bureau or the Trades Union Congress for info.
- Social services, environmental health, noise nuisance, parking, and Council Tax should all be addressed to the City Council.
- Another useful website on public services is Direct.gov.
- For the main Parliamentary website click here and to explore the Parliamentary education site click here.