My Newsletter 23/03/18

Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.

Lots going on as always. Happily, I managed to get back home on Wednesday night so I’ve had two full days at events locally. So, I’ve plenty to tell you about my week both here and down in Westminster, beginning with a local tipple.

Before you read on to find out what I’ve been up to, I’d also like to praise the successful campaign victory which has led to the Government removing the pay cap for NHS staff. While this has come far too late, and the planned rises over the next 3 years are still likely to lead to a small cut in real terms over that time, thousands of incredible workers who have been the backbone of the NHS without just reward will soon be getting the pay raise that their service and dedication warrants, and that’s something worth celebrating. I hope that the effects this will have on morale and loyalty will make the Government realise just how big a mistake it was for this to take so long.

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


Members of Parliament can arrange with the Parliamentary authorities that they stock a guest beer from their constituency for a week, so this week I arranged for Shipstone’s Beer to be served in Parliament.

As a relatively new Member of Parliament I am trying to make a practical difference to my community. Part of this is supporting local businesses whenever possible, as the products they produce and the people they employ form the lifeblood of our communities, and how better to do that than in Parliament itself. I wanted to highlight the good work that Shipstone’s does because they are a brewery with a mission: make a good beer with a history behind every pour.

I know that many of you are fond of signing that ‘you’ll never beat Des Walker’ and now we’re showing my colleagues that you can’t beat a pint of Nottingham beer either. I think the work that Richard Neale does is terrific. He saw this piece of our community’s history disappearing, so he took it upon himself to bring it back.

Shipstone’s Brewery was founded in 1852 by James Shipstone and continued by his sons. After rising high and dominating the region in the early 20th century, Shipstone’s found itself on the downturn until it sold the name to Greenall’s in 1978. All production ended in 1991.

After looking to revive the tradition of family owned regional English beers, Richard decided that it was his goal to bring Shipstone’s back to its former glory.  Now as a microbrewery of only three people all working to conserve a piece of Nottingham’s history, Shipstone’s is once again thriving, with its reimagined line offering a core range of heritage brews including; Original Bitter, Gold Star pale ale, chocolate malt Nut Brown and a traditional India Pale Ale.

For more information about Shipstone’s Beer products and its history please visit their website here.

In Nottingham

This afternoon I was proud to launch the Bulwell Health & Wellbeing Programme 2018, at Bulwell Riverside.

The Health and Wellbeing Programme, is a guide put together by the charity I chair, Rebalancing, to the many social groups and regular activities in Bulwell that are available to local people. Having a wide range of such activities is incredibly important to making sure people stay healthy, and the effects of that spread into other aspects of life. Steve Lack, our local NHS co-ordinator introduced the event, and I was very pleased to follow him by opening it and talking about the context of the programme, before we also heard from local activist Bill Blackamore, who spoke about the programme in more depth. Once we’d finished talking, everyone who attended had a chance to check out everything that was on offer and do some networking.

I hope that lots of you can take advantage of all the opportunities available, and I was very proud to launch this great initiative.

On a rare occasion outside of recesses, I was lucky to be able to spend two full days in the constituency this week, and took advantage of the extra time to catch up with lots of other great local people and groups too:

  • I visited Henry Whipple Primary School to talk with their year 6 class about my job as an MP and politics in general. It’s never too early to get people interested!
  • I also joined Rufford Primary School, this time to observe one of Nottingham Trent University’s outreach programs in action. Both of Nottingham’s Universities do some excellent work with schools and the rest of the communities, that I’m eager to support as much as possible, and encourage them to put as much of it into our constituency as we can, where University application rates are far lower than they could be.
  • I attended and spoke at last night’s Bilborough Gems Awards. This is a wonderful local initiative, funded by Bilborough Councillors, to annually recognise the achievements of local young people. Congratulations to all those who were recognised; I was very proud to be involved!
  • I met with Wayne Morley and Alun Bullivant from UNISON Nottingham to discuss markets in Nottingham, the value they bring to their local communities, and how we can support the wonderful Bulwell Market in particular, after having also attended an APPG for Markets recently.
  • I had breakfast at Bluecoat Aspley with Sian Hampton, the CEO of Archway Learning Trust, which runs both that school and Bluecoat Beechdale in the constituency. We had a great discussion about the Trust and its plans for the future including growth of Post 16 education in the City.
  • I met with Pete Rogers, Community Organiser with Nottingham Citizens, to discuss how I can continue to support the incredible work they do locally.
  • Prior to the health launch I had also attended a board meeting of Rebalancing.
  • And very importantly I had a security update meeting with Nottinghamshire Police!

Local Government

As a former city councillor, and executive councillor for Health and Adults, I have first-hand experience of the good that local authorities can do. By providing infrastructure and services that make a massive difference to people’s day-to-day lives, councils can often have a much more direct impact than central Government, even if their scope is much narrower. I also however understand how difficult it can be for local authorities to do everything they need to when the funding isn’t sufficient.

Now I’m no longer a councillor, I’ve instead been using my position as Member of Parliament to stick up for and promote the work of local government, so they can continue the good work they do.

On Tuesday morning, I did this through an intervention in a Westminster Hall Debate on ‘Investment in local infrastructure to secure new homes in the East Midlands’. I believe that far too often communities are pitched against developers when houses are to be built. This doesn’t need to be the case, and when the Council is the builder I think we can avoid some of this. As I mentioned last week, Nottingham City Council’s ability to do this has been hamstrung by the cap on central funding for housing projects, despite the Government’s rhetoric, and this is something I will continue to press until the cap is lifted. You can watch my intervention here.

In Parliament

It feels like the first time in a while that I haven’t been on a Bill Committee while in Westminster, and that’s meant I’ve had a bit more time to catch up with my busy meeting schedule:

  • Met with Jon Dale from Unite, with whom I discussed the role of Psychology in helping those struggling with their mental health. He particularly highlighted the value of Specialist Psychological Services in prevention and intervention of severe mental health problems, as well as outlining some of the problems that face the Psychology profession and how we can begin to solve them.
  • Had a quick coffee with former Secretary of State, and now Director of the English Labour Network, John Denham for a chat on the Network’s latest work.
  • I met with Bruce Warwick from Diabetes UK to discuss the importance of food labelling tackling Diabetes.
  • Caught up with Hugh Casswell, formerly of Notts TV, who is now Political Reporter for BBC Radio Nottingham. Local press can be a very useful tool for both campaigning and keeping people informed, so it’s great to have close relationships like this.
  • I met with Ed Funnell from Abellio, one of the bidders for the East Midlands Rail Franchise, the future of which will be decided next year.
  • We had the latest meeting of the East Midlands APPG, which I co-chair, where we discussed the impact of HS2 on the region.
  • I attended a Fabians meeting with other new MPs centred around ideas for Parliamentary Reform – it’s always important to consider how we can improve ourselves.
  • And last but not least, I was lucky enough to be invited along to meet Manchester City representatives about the work they do in communities in Manchester. Given their club’s wonderful success this year, hopefully I can bring some of the ideas to Nottingham!

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.

Hear from Barry Woodward
Evangelist Barry Woodward, author of “Once an Addict” talking about how God transformed his life
Aspley Pentecostal Church, 369 Aspley Lane, NG8 5RR
This Sunday, 25th March, 3pm

Easter Sunday at St. Mary’s
Free breakfast for 5-11 year olds and their families at 9.30am.  Followed by Easter Service at 10am, with an egg-citing Easter Egg hunt to follow for the children.
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
Easter Sunday, April 1st, from 9.30am

Lost in Memories
A performance about dementia and caring, in partnership with Bulwell Arts Festival
Bulwell Academy, Squires Avenue, Bulwell, NG6 8HG
Saturday 7th April, 3pm for 3:30pm start
Free event, donations welcome to cover costs
For more info please contact Cllr Cheryl Barnard, 07946 467190

Erasmus+ funding
Work for a school in Nottingham North? Apply for some of the €170m Erasmus+ funding available this year for schools to exchange staff and pupils. The next deadline for school exchange partnerships is 21st March. Apply now here.

Funding is also available for youth organisations in Nottingham North. Next deadline for youth funding is 26th April. More information here.

Bilborough Arts Festival (BArts)
Apply now! BArts is gearing up for a second year in venues across Bilborough – involving community groups, schools and individual artists organising creative opportunities and showcasing their work. BArts will take place from Saturday 30 June – Fri 6th July 2018 and the organisers are looking for local artists and volunteers to apply to take part in exhibitions, performances or to run workshops.  The deadline for online applications is 26th March 2018 – find out more here.

Bulwell Arts Festival Applications Open! Deadline 31st March 2018
Applications are open to artists, workshop leaders, performers and volunteers! Taking place from Sat 7th – Sat 14th July 2018, this eight-day festival celebrates the creativity of the people, history and landscape of Bulwell.  You can apply to take part via their online application form here. 

Joining Lines – Community Crochet Project for Bulwell Riverside 
Local Designer and Maker April Towriess has launched an appeal to crocheters from far and wide to send her white crocheted doilies! These will form part of an installation and exhibition at Bulwell Riverside in the this summer. You can follow April’s Unity Doily pattern, which can be found here or use one of your own. Use any white yarn or thread weight you like. When submitting your doily or doilies, let April know your name, age, gender and briefly describe who taught you to crochet and why you do it now.  Each doily and set of comments will be photographed and added to a blurb book which will be available to purchase. All proceeds will be donated to charity.  The closing date for submissions is Saturday 26th April 2018. 

Send your doilies to:
Chris Tilley Community Champion, C/O April Towriess Crochet
Joining Lines Project, Bulwell Tesco Extra Community Room, Jennison Street, Nottingham, NG6 8EQ

Three Doors Down
Over the next 6 months, Andy Barrett from Excavate Theatre Company is working with local people who live in and around Minver Crescent in Aspley, to uncover the stories of life in the area over the last 80 years. A series of events are being planned from theatre in living rooms and front gardens, to storytelling, filmmaking and photography to engage as many residents as possible. Contact Cathy Mahmood on 07808 165209 or Andy Barrett for further information. Dates for your diary include:

•           Sat 10th March, 11am-3pm, Project Launch Day, ACTC

•           Sat 21st April, 11am-3pm, Film making Day

•           Sat 26th May, 6-8pm, The Minver Crescent Nosh Up.

Poems in the Pub
Open Mic Night, Free Admission, Local Talent, Full Bar
The William Peverel, Bulwell
Once a month, 7pm for 7:30pm start, next on 5th April

Drop in Café
All welcome for a free cuppa and biscuit, and a place to sit and have a chat
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Parish Community Centre, Brooklyn Rd, Bulwell NG6 9ES
Thursdays, 9:30am–12:30pm

Messy Church
All welcome – food, fun, arts & crafts, & God slot
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
2nd Sunday every month, 3-5pm
The next Messy Church will be Sunday 8th April, tied in with a special 40th Anniversary Service & Rededication of the church’s West Room and Upper Hall.  Children and their Mums/Dads/Carers are invited to join at 9.30am for a free breakfast.  The special service starts at 10am, with fun games and arts & crafts to follow; all finished off with a lovely lunch.        

St Philip’s/St Matthew’s Knit & Natter groups
St Philip’s Church, Knights Close, Top Valley
1st and 3rd Wednesdays every month, 10am-12pm
Bestwood Community Centre, Gainsford Crescent, Bestwood Estate
2nd Monday every month, 10am-12pm

Messy Church Bestwood/Bulwell Forest
Bestwood Community Centre, Gainsford Crescent, Bestwood Estate
Various Tuesdays, 4:30-6pm
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Rd, Bestwood Park
Various Thursdays, 4:30-6pm
Church on Rise Park, Revelstoke Way, Rise Park
Various Thursdays, 5-6:30pm

Messy Church
Drinks, crafts, activities, bible stories and a meal for all ages and interests
Bulwell United Reformed Church, Broomhill Road/Brooklyn Road, Bulwell
Usually first Saturday of every month, 10:30am-12:30pm

Bestwood Park Church’s Bestop Kitchen
Social Eating Event, Donations Welcome
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Road, NG5 5NG
Every Tuesday, 12-2pm

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:

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 visit their website at


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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