My Newsletter 01/12/17

Welcome to my latest newsletter as Member of Parliament of Nottingham North.

We’re now into December and Christmas is just around the corner, but there’s still time for a few busy weeks of work before we all try to enjoy the festive period with our families and friends. Unfortunately for many people I know that won’t be the case as the Government’s rollout of Universal Credits leaves people without benefits they deserve, their inadequate minimum wage increases leave working families in poverty, their refusal to lift the public sector pay cap leaves hard-working public servants worse off yet again, and much more. I hope despite this as many people as possible can have a relaxing holiday, but I will continue to fight against it, as I did this week during the Finance Bill debate.

I’ll go into that, and everything else I’ve been up to this week, below, but first I’d also like to congratulate Bluecoat Beechdale Academy on being named School of the Year at the Nottingham Post Education Awards 2017 on Wednesday. This is an amazing achievement for a school that wasn’t doing so well just years ago. Well done to everyone involved in this success!

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 and I will include it in future issues. Please also forward it onto anyone you think may be interested.

Voter Registration in Nottingham North

As I mentioned last week, and in my email on Wednesday, on Tuesday I secured a debate on Voter Registration in Nottingham North in Parliament, which I used to bemoan the lack of precise figures we have on electoral registration locally, highlight some of the issues both this and having people missing from the register causes, and call for the Government to bring in automatic voter registration to fix these issues and save money.

I won’t repeat everything I said in Wednesday’s email, but if you missed it, you can read that again here. You can also watch the debate here or read it here.

The Finance Bill

Last week I talked about the Chancellor’s budget, which he outlined on Wednesday. After this there are a few days spent debating the tax measures that the Chancellor had set out. I joined this debate and took the opportunity to tell the House the aspects of the budget that I found most disappointing for the people of Nottingham North.

Unfortunately, my time was restricted to a couple of minutes due to the large volume of MPs that also wanted to talk, but I brought up some key points:

  • The lack of almost anything for the constituency, Nottingham or the East Midlands. In fact, the East Midlands wasn’t even mentioned! Treasury stats show that the East Midlands will always come last, and once again the Budget and the industrial strategy do nothing to fix that.
  • How transport has been neglected in our area. After the cancellation of the midland main line electrification, we are in desperate need of more money for our transport links, but that has not come. It is not just for getting to and from the capital that we need midland main line electrification; this is also about east-west connectivity.
  • How poor social mobility in our region was not addressed. The recent Social Mobility Commission report has the East Midlands as the region with the worst outcomes for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, but we know that that is not inevitable. The poverty profile of my constituency is similar to a number in London, but while 17 out of 20 mobility hotspots are in London, none are in the East Midlands.

You can watch my contribution here or read it here.

Glenfield Hospital

The nature of Westminster politics is quite adversarial, and frankly we just don’t agree on an awful lot – quite understandably. So, it was great that this week I came together with East Midlands MPs from both sides of the political divide to send a message to NHS England ahead of an important decision.

Our joint call was the latest step in a long campaign – against NHS England’s plan to remove children’s heart surgery from Glenfield Hospital in Leicester. This campaign included debates and questions in Parliament, a letter signed by a cross-party group of 23 MPs, including myself, to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Chief Executive of NHS England Simon Stevens, and a petition with over 130,000 signatures that was handed in to Number 10 Downing Street. I’d been involved in this before the election as Nottingham’s Health and Wellbeing Board Chair and subsequently as MP as it would affect people in Nottingham.

And the campaign worked! Yesterday I was overjoyed to hear that NHS England have made a U-Turn and decided to keep this vital service in place. Children in the region are better off thanks to everyone’s efforts.

Events and Meetings in Parliament

Throughout the week, as usual, there’s a wide variety of events going on in Parliament – drop in events, receptions, briefings, and much more. While these are often very useful ways to meet people to discuss important issues, the range is so wide and varied that I’m unable to get to as many as I’d like. Some of this week’s engagements in Parliament though, include:

  • A briefing on the Co-Op’s pioneering approach to employing victims of modern slavery, at the Modern Slavery APPG
  • A drop-in event run by Nextbike, who are looking to bring a Bikeshare scheme to Nottingham North
  • A meeting with ADHD Action, where we discussed the cross-party work they are doing to increase the prominence of ADHD related campaigning in Parliament, and what I can do to assist this.

Back Home

This has been a five-day Parliamentary week which has squeezed down constituency time. Nevertheless, I’ve covered as much ground as possible. You may have heard me on BBC Radio Nottingham on Tuesday morning, talking about the European Capital of Culture (listen here, about 2:40 in). I also covered this on ITV.

  • On Monday morning, I attended the East Midlands Infrastructure Summit in Leicester, which focused on how we can drive growth in local businesses by investing in our infrastructure, with emphasis on the future of the region’s transport projects and how local business growth can be maximised through their delivery. You’ll likely know by now this is something I’m very passionate about (and was a key point of my contribution to the budget debate). Bringing together leading businesses and politicians, the event brought together both business leaders and politicians and will hopefully be a significant step in in securing required investment and was also a great opportunity to learn more about the potential impact of new projects in the region, including HS2.
  • And I’ll shortly be arriving at Nottingham Woman’s Centre, where alongside Nottingham South MP Lilian Greenwood, I’ll be discussing the work done by 4 incredible campaigning groups: Nottingham Women’s, Women’s Aid Integrated Services, Notts Sexual Violence Support Services, and Equation, with the CEOs of those groups. After this we’ll also talk about the related issues us politicians hear from our constituents, and then how we can look forward to combat all these issues together.

That’s about all for this week, but tomorrow I’m heading to Meadow Lane to watch Notts County’s crucial FA Cup tie against Oxford City. A win for the Magpies and there could be a big away trip in store (but hopefully not to City!). On Sunday keep an eye out for me on the campaign trail…

What’s On

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.

Hidden Treasures Homemade Christmas Fair
Cakes, Raffle, Crafts, Refreshments, Cards, Tombola
St. Martin’s Church, St. Martin’s Road, Bilborough, NG8 3BH
Tomorrow 2nd December, 11am-4pm
For more info please email

Bilborough Christmas Festival
Carol singing, fairground rides, live music, Santa’s grotto and other entertainment
Bracebridge Drive, Bilborough Library and Community Centre, and St. John’s Hall
7th December, 4-7pm

Festive Firbeck
Christmas carols, activities for young children, Firbeck school choir, traditional stalls including crafts, tombola, mulled apple and mince pies, and much more!
Firbeck Road park area, NG8 2FB
10th December, 2-3:30pm

Songs for a Winter Evening
Christmas carols and popular songs performed by Bulwell Riverside Community Choir with special guests.
Ravensworth Road Methodist Church, Bulwell, NG6 8FN
14th December, 7pm
Tickets £3 (including refreshments) available from choir members or on the door

Christmas Concert
A concert in Celebration of Christmas by The Nottinghamshire Band of the Royal Engineers directed by BM WO1 Simon Kerwin
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
15th December, 7:30pm
Tickets £6.00 or pay on the door. For more information tel 01159161787

Messy Church
Drinks, crafts, activities, bible stories and a meal for all ages and interests
Bulwell United Reform Church, Broomhill Road/Brooklyn Road, Bulwell
Saturdays – Next is 2nd December, 10:30am

Bestwood Park Church’s Bestop Kitchen
Social Eating Event, Donations Welcome
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Road, NG5 5NG
Every Tuesday, 12-3pm

Free Community Cinema
Free screenings of films, everyone welcome!
St John’s Church, Key’s Close, Bulwell
2nd Friday every month, 7pm

Bulwell Connectors
Free monthly group developing opportunities for more art in public places in Bulwell. With trips to galleries and hands-on creative workshops, this group is for local people who want to be arts champions for Bulwell. Facilitated by Nottingham Contemporary associate artist Gillian Brent
Bulwell Riverside, Community Room 2
2nd Tuesday every month, 6-8pm
For further info:, @CreativeNNorth,

Crafty Ladies
Bring along a project, or learn to do something new.
St Martins Church, St Martin’s Rd, Off Strelley Rd, Bilborough, NG8 3BH
Every Wednesday, 11am – 2pm
50p, for further info:

Crochet Clinic
Community Room at Tesco Bulwell, Jennison St, NG6 8EQ (upstairs near the cafe)
First Wednesday of every month, 6:30pm–8:30pm
£5 (covers refreshments and materials)
For further info:


I’d also like to tell you about Opportunity Nottingham. Opportunity Nottingham is a Nottingham City based project delivered through a partnership of local agencies including; housing, health, advocacy and criminal justice organisations. The project aims to improve the lives of people who are experiencing multiple and complex needs. It is part of the National Fulfilling Lives Programme and is made possible by National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

I supported the project when I worked as Portfolio Holder for Adults and Health at Nottingham City Council, including opening their Annual Event in 2016. I am also very supportive of the work of Framework Housing Association – who work to reduce homelessness in Nottingham, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire – and are the lead partner for Opportunity Nottingham.

Opportunity Nottingham has two main aims: to provide and coordinate services for people who have multiple needs to enable them to live fulfilled lives; and to bring about system change by transforming the way services work at a national and local level so that they are easy to access, connected and delivered with the Beneficiary (service-user) in mind.

Each Beneficiary on the project will face at least three of the following four complex needs; homelessness, offending, substance misuse and mental ill health. If you are a frontline worker in Nottingham City, and supporting anyone experiencing at least three of the above complex needs, you can find out more about Opportunity Nottingham on their website at The project also tweets regular updates – look for @OppNottingham.


Sound as a Pound have asked me to advertise their 2-day finance ‘Money Talks’ courses in Nottingham. Transport and lunch are both provided, attendees will receive a £10 gift voucher for each day and there are plenty of other freebies on offer, as well as some sound money-saving advice! For further information you can call 0115 844 3745, email or visit their website at


I’d also like to congratulate Bulwell Forest Garden on their recent award win.  They were awarded a Michael Varnam Award in the group category for the difference they’ve made in our area, particularly recognising the hard work and commitment from residents doing an amazing job to improve and strengthen our community.

I’ve heard that many families enjoyed their annual Spooky Monday event on Monday, with 260 residents enjoying being able to carve pumpkins, take part in craft activities, bake some delicious pumpkin gingerbread in the clay oven and enjoy homemade pumpkin soup.

The garden, located at will be open to the public 1pm-4pm, Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat until mid-December. In January, they will start planning the events and activities taking place throughout 2018. If you would like to be involved, please contact Barbara on 07890557854, and keep an eye out as I’ll be advertising the events in my newsletter once they’ve been organised.


You may also recall I advertised Aviva’s Community Fund recently. I’m pleased to hear that Bilborough Arts have applied to support their 2018 Festival. However, this funding depends on public votes, so please can you show your support by voting for their project here. I’m sure it will be an incredible festival, and be even better if they can receive this extra funding.

I’m delighted to hear that Bilborough Arts aren’t the only group who have applied for this funding. Nottingham Peace Project, who I talked about in the summer have been busy providing music and poetry lessons to groups of disadvantaged young people across the constituency, and have also applied to the Aviva Community Fund. They’re an amazing group and you can show your support for their project here.


If you would like your events advertised here, or further information on those advertised, please email me at

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 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:

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


  • For the main Parliamentary website click here and to explore the Parliamentary education site click here.

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