My Newsletter 29/03/2018

Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.

A day early this week as we get ready for a long Easter weekend! I’ll be using some of mine to run, as on April 22nd, I’ll be taking part in the London Marathon.

Tackling Domestic Abuse in Nottingham is one of my major priorities for my time as Nottingham North’s Member of Parliament. Largely I prioritise this through asking Parliamentary Questions or taking part in debates however this time I’m doing something a little more direct, as I run in support of Women’s Aid Integrated Services (WAIS) Nottingham.

WAIS do incredible work for women, teenagers and children affected by domestic abuse, and I’ve worked closely with WAIS Nottingham for many years – this is a small way of thanking them for all they do.

As for the run… it’ll be 26.2 pretty painful miles. I’ve done quite a bit of training so I should get around, but it’s not likely to be much fun. I’ll feel much better about grinding though those last few miles knowing that the money raised will be going to such an important cause. If anyone could donate to this great cause, my fundraising page can be found here. I’m hoping to raise £1000 for them!

Read on to find out how what my week’s involved…

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.

Secure Tenancies Bill Committee

Being away from any Public Bill Committees didn’t last long, as on Tuesday I sat on the Committee for the Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill. This Bill will ensure that when provisions in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 are brought into force requiring local authorities in England to offer only fixed-term tenancies, this will not apply to certain victims of domestic abuse. This addresses an important concern raised during the 2016 Act’s progress through Parliament that victims of domestic abuse would be less likely to leave their homes if doing so would result in an offer of a tenancy with reduced security of tenure. This is incredibly important, and as this Bill was first put forward in the House of Lords, I’m pleased that it is now close to becoming law.

However, my Labour colleagues and I attempted to make it even better in the Committee Stage, by ensuring that certain aspects were explicitly defined to avoid any potential future barriers. Unfortunately, the Government didn’t find this necessary, but we can soon be glad of this law regardless. I know that Women’s Aid have campaigned extensively to get it in place and can be proud of their efforts.


If you’ve been following the news lately you’ll know that the Government has recently decided to contract Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto to produce the post-Brexit UK passports. They beat out Hampshire based firm De La Rue, with the Government citing cost as the decisive factor.

Looking at the decision from a purely cost-based perspective is short-sighted however. That fails to acknowledge the value of employing British workers to do the job, tax which can be generated from their income and other indirect benefits.

Defending UK jobs is important. The decision puts 200 jobs at risk immediately, and more could follow unless work is found for the plants which have produced the UK passport without a hitch for the past decade.

This week I’ve therefore been showing my support for Unite’s campaign against the decision, to try save these jobs.

Aspley Sewing Workshop

On Thursday mornings in Parliament, the Leader of the House of Commons, which is currently Andrea Leadsom, discusses the Business of the House with Parliament. This gives MPs an opportunity to ask for a debate on a local topic that’s important to them (while not expecting to be given a debate!). This week I used that opportunity to highlight the Aspley Sewing Workshop, a wonderful local group which has emerged recently and is still growing. You can watch the mention here.

The Aspley Sewing Workshop has been a fantastic example of how the arts can bring different communities together, reduce social isolation and help create a sense of belonging and shared purpose.

Over the last 8 weeks, in a project funded by Near Neighbours, 39 women from different faiths and cultures have made use of an underused centre in the heart of their estate – coming together each week to learn to use sewing machines. They have designed and made their own clothes, for themselves and their children, they have used donated fabrics to make bags, cushions and soft toys.

Kimberley Errington from a local social enterprise called ‘Make to Make’ has been facilitating the sessions and is now handing the reigns over to the group who are determined to keep the regular weekly sessions going.

Rebalancing, the charity that I’m proud to Chair in my constituency, works in partnership with residents to activate more creativity in the outer estates of Nottingham North. As Michelle, one of the participants says, ‘we’d all just be sitting in our houses if it wasn’t for this group. Lots of us suffer from anxiety and we’ve found it so welcoming and supportive – we’ve got to keep it going.’

We are encouraging people to take part in developing ‘local creative hubs’ where they live. We believe in the power of art to transform lives and increase people’s health and wellbeing.

In Parliament

On Sunday night I visited Aspley Pentecostal Church to hear Barry Woodward’s story of beating addiction, which was informative and inspiring, then headed to Parliament for the week:

  • On Tuesday I asked Ministers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office what efforts the Government would be making to support Qatar’s progress on workers’ rights and welfare, as highlighted in Impactt’s audit of the Qatari Supreme Committee. You can watch here.
  • Yesterday, before Prime Minister’s Questions, I asked Cabinet Office ministers to commit to tackling the 6 million people left off the electoral register, rather than putting all their efforts into the instances of electoral fraud that can be counted on one hand. You can watch this here.
  • Today I followed up a constituent’s visit to my last surgery, as I brought up the issue of Syria in Parliament, asking the Secretary of State for International Development if she agreed that the Government’s timid reaction to Turkish aggression has compounded the issue. You can watch here.
  • On Monday I met with colleagues to discuss the effectiveness of the Modern Slavery Act since its inception into British Law.
  • I went to a drop in on the proposed Phase Two route of HS2. HS2 Ltd Chief Executive Mark Thurston was present, as well as area managers and leads from their Engagement, Environment, and Land & Property teams.
  • I met with Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer – who have recently merged, to discuss their priorities and what I can do to help their cause.
  • I discussed the ongoing sleep-in back pay crisis currently threatening the social care sector and its potential impact on Nottingham with Learning Disability Voices.
  • I caught up with James Bowling from Severn Trent Water to discuss the work they’re doing locally.
  • And today I met with Duncan McCormick, who is an advisor to the Qatari Supreme Committee, which is responsible for the 2022 World Cup.


As this week’s been a little short I’ve not had much time in the constituency to share with you, but with recess starting today I’ll be around for the next 2 weeks, so here’s a very short preview of some of what I have planned. Of course, I’ll fill you in with more detail next Friday:

  • I’ll be spending a day at with the Department for Work and Pensions at Bulwell Job Centre.
  • I’ll be meeting with Mike Sassi, Editor of the Nottingham Post.
  • I’ll be doing some work towards funding ideas for Rebalancing.
  • I’ll be meeting to discuss Nottingham City Allotments.
  • I’ll be catching up with the wonderful Nottingham Fire and Rescue Service.
  • And I’ll be joining other MPs for a meeting at NUH NHS Trust

Look forward to more detail on the above and more soon!

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.

Easter Services at Emmanuel Church, Bestwood
Maundy Thursday 6pm, St. Mark’s Bestwood Village for shared food and a service.
Good Friday at Emmanuel Church 10am-12pm family time, 2pm Hour at The Cross.
Easter Sunday: 6:30am Sunrise Service in Bestwood Country Park followed by pastries and coffee at St. Mark’s
Holy Communion 10am at Emmanuel Church, 10:45am at St. Mark’s

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.

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 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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