My Newsletter 08/12/17

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

Another week in Parliament has been centred around Brexit, with long sessions discussing the Withdrawal Bill on both Monday and Wednesday, but that left time to get back to Nottingham from yesterday to move on with local matters. Read on to find out what I’ve been up to this week.

PS. If you read on to the bottom – there’s a good surprise waiting!

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 alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk and I will include it in future issues. Please also forward it onto anyone you think may be interested.

Parliamentary Questions

You’ll recall two weeks ago I criticised the lack of investment into Transport in the region in the Chancellor’s budget, and since I was elected I’ve been campaigning for the Electrification of the Midlands Mainline, which has currently been shelved by the Government, but that doesn’t mean we’re giving up on something we know would be great for the region, the taxpayer and the environment. I have been questioning Ministers from the Department of Transport on this decision, which they’ve made based on the intention to use bi-mode trains. One of the answers I received stood out:

  • I asked:
    What assessment has been made of the (a) cost and (b) effect on the environment of the development of bi-modal trains?
  • And was told:
    Rolling Stock is procured through a competitive process to achieve best value for money. The Government has been clear that bi-modes are likely to be more expensive than electric only trains, but do provide valuable flexibility. New diesels deliver an overall better environmental performance than existing diesel trains because they are subject to the latest emission standards but also offer the flexibility to operate in electric mode where there are electric wires.

My response to this is, if we accept that bi-mode trains are more expensive, less reliable and worse for the environment, why are we choosing them over electric trains? I will be continuing to press the Government on this and hopefully change their minds.

As well as these written questions, I also got the chance to question Justice Ministers in the House of Commons Chamber this week. Over a month ago I asked what the Justice Department was doing about the rate of deaths in HMP Nottingham this year, and was told I’d receive a letter. As this letter never came, I asked again what they were doing, and when I’d get the explanation I asked for. You can watch my question and the rather disappointing answer here.

Rebalancing the Outer Estates

Today I’ve been at a long meeting of Rebalancing the Outer Estates Charity whose board I am Chair of. Being an Opposition Backbench MP it can be difficult to bring about change. But this charity is making a direct difference in our area and I am proud to lead it. This gave us an opportunity to recap everything that the charity has done during the last year, but more importantly to plan its activities for the next year. I expect I’ll have some of these to tell you about soon, but for now here are just some of the great things the Charity has achieved this year:

  • Together with Teeth Team they are now working with 10 primary schools in the constituency ensuring that all their pupils have a dental check.
  • They organised lung health checks in the constituency. The Roy Castle Foundation believe these have saved 5 lives already this year in Bilborough and Bulwell – with Aspley to come.
  • They organised Nottingham North Jobs and Apprentice Fair which helped many people to get into work. The next jobs fair will be on 9th March 2018 in Bulwell Riverside.
  • Together with ThinkForward they worked to put skills coaches in four Nottingham North secondary schools: Bulwell Academy, Ellis Guilford, Bluecoat Beechdale and Nottingham University Samworth Academy, to help pupils from these constituency schools succeed in education and progress into employment.
  • They helped to install Bulwell Welcome Archway.

As I said there has been many more things we have achieved, and you can find more by visiting the website: http://www.rebalancenn.com/.

Events and Meetings in Parliament

As I mentioned before, Brexit was a big time-consumer this week with us working into the early hours of Tuesday morning, but that didn’t stop me from meeting with several different people and organisations in Westminster to discuss some very important issues and great work being done that we can build upon:

  • I met with Vernon Coaker, Lilian Greenwood and Chris Leslie, 3 other MPs for Nottinghamshire to discuss the Council’s latest assessment of increasing the Metropolitan collaboration between Derby and Nottingham centres. We’re still in the very early days of a very interesting idea with plentiful opportunities but of course there are challenges too. We’ll of course be working closely together and with the Councils to make the best of it as the idea develops and I’ll keep you informed.
  • I met with Paula Chadwick from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, a charity that has worked with Rebalancing the Outer Estates in Nottingham to provide the lung screenings I mentioned earlier. It was great to meet with Paula and I look forward to us continuing to collaborate to aid those who might need it.
  • I attended a Reception hosted by the Dog’s Trust to highlight Puppy Smuggling, where I was very happy to hear that Neil Parish, the MP who chairs the EFRA (Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs) Committee has committed to an inquiry into the issue.
  • I also met with representatives from CAABU (Council for Arab-British Understanding) to discuss ongoing issues with human rights and modern slavery in Qatar which I’m looking into.

Back Home

The Rebalancing Away Day wasn’t all I managed in Nottingham this week. Here’s a selection of my other engagements today and yesterday:

  • By far the highlight of my week was yesterday afternoon when I visited Whitemoor Academy to announce the winner of my 2017 Christmas Card Competition. 6-year old Chiamaka Okpara put together the winning design of a Christmas Cat, and I was able to surprise her in her afternoon assembly with her prize for winning: a House of Commons Teddy Bear named Pugin.
  • This afternoon, I met with Steve from the Bulwell Community Toy Library, our great local organisation offering chances 0-13 year olds to play, learn and develop in a great environment. They do some amazing things that I’m only too happy to support.
  • During a tour of Nottingham College’s Basford Campus, I had a great discussion with the college’s Vice Principal of Curriculum and Head of Construction about the campus itself and more importantly, how we can work together to promote the constituency and the College’s presence here.
  • And I’m currently on my way to meet with Anne Darby and Jon Giles, the CEO, from Nottingham Deaf Society at the Deaf Centre. They do some tremendous work for the deaf community in our city and I’m looking forward to working with them after what I’m sure will be a very positive discussion.

And now as the weekend approaches I’m looking forward to getting to Festive Firbeck on Sunday for some Christmas fun – find the details below if you want to join me!

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.

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: www.creativenottinghamnorth.com, @CreativeNNorth, cathy.mahmood@rebalancingouterestates.com

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: www.stmartinsbilborough.org.ukinfo@stmartinsbilborough.uk

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: www.apriltowriess.co.ukhello@apriltowriess.co.uk

 

Last week I told you about the great work being done by Opportunity Nottingham, with Big Lottery Fund support, to improve the lives of people who are experiencing multiple and complex needs. Since then I’ve been informed by the Big Lottery Fund that in the last 3 months alone they’ve also funded a further 4 projects in Nottingham North, to the tune of £371,558. Most of this has gone to Next Steps, who are working with 9-13-year-olds in Bulwell to provide safe spaces in the community where they can come together and get involved in stimulating activities, discuss their anxieties, their ambitions and develop skills for living. The other three projects that have been funded are by The Learning Zone, ‘Woodpeckers’ and Broxtowe Mothers Action Group. These groups all have amazing projects planned for different groups in our community.

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 soundasapound@ncha.org.uk or visit their website at www.soundasapound.org.

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 alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk.

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,

Alex

P.S. I’ve been drawn for a Prime Minister’s Question on Wednesday, so keep an eye out for that at noon. I’ll fill you in next week.

 

 

 

How to contact me

If you would like to contact me, please email alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk 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

LABOUR PARTY

  • If you’d like to learn more about the Labour party their website is here.
  • To join the Labour Party click here.

LOCAL NEWS

LOCAL INFORMATION

  • 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.

NATIONAL LINKS

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s