My Newsletter 06/04/18

Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.

I hope everyone had a good Easter break and is back into the swing of things now. It’s Parliamentary recess now so I’ve been in Nottingham all week, and had a very interesting week to tell you about – even stepping out of my comfort zone a little!

There’s also been plenty of running, because, as I mentioned last week, 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.


One of the best things about recess is that it gives me the opportunity to do things I don’t have time for when Parliament’s in session, especially in the constituency, and on Tuesday I managed to spend most the day in one place, which is almost unheard of. This was Bulwell Job Centre, where I had an incredibly interesting day courtesy of the Nottingham Department for Work of Pensions.

A lot of the casework that I deal with relates to unemployment, DWP Benefits and the rollout of Universal Credit, so this day was an interesting insight into both the day-to-day work that’s done at the Job Centre and the experience of those who go to there for assistance. I was talked through a wide variety of what’s done at the Centre, and given a chance to sit in on interviews with claimants to see first-hand how things go.

There were a number of different sessions throughout the day, focussing on the following aspects of the Job Centre’s work amongst others:

  • Small Employer Advice
  • Legacy Work Coaching – this is work for the semi-retired and older generations
  • A Digital Session focussed on Web Access Devices and Internet Access Devices
  • Disability Employment Advice
  • Employer Relations
  • Complex Needs Planning
  • Service Delivery
  • Universal Credit Work

As you can see this is an incredibly wide variety of important work, and far from all that’s done there. In fact, I’ll be heading back again before too long to learn even more – keep an eye out for when I return. Big thanks to Cllr Jackie Morris for suggesting I did this!


Being a Nottingham MP, a member of Labour’s Health team and an Alumnus of the University of Nottingham meant that on Wednesday I was very proud to be invited back to the University to do the official ‘ground-breaking’ of construction on one of the University’s new buildings – an extension to the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences.

This building will house the new Centre for Cancer Sciences, and will be used by academics, researchers and doctorate students in a wide variety of serious diseases including cancer, cardiovascular, liver, bone and respiratory conditions. While there I was told about how improved collaboration between pharmaceutical companies and academics has allowed faster progress in combating these diseases, and this building aims to continue in that vein of collaboration, by providing a single base at the University for researchers who can then benefit through sharing their expertise and ideas. Currently the 350 people who will use the building are based at six different sites, even though their ground-breaking work would benefit from their co-locating.

I very much appreciate being given such an honour, and very much enjoyed seeing up close some of the work that’s being done in the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences as it is now, including seeing beating heart cells which were originally produced from a tiny biopsy of skin cells. One of the PhD students I met had even been working on starting and stopping the beating using light – as an alternative to a typical pacemaker.

I look forward to visiting the building again once construction has finished late next year, and I’m sure GF Tomlinson – the local construction company building the centre who joined me on the day – will do a wonderful job.

Photo by Andrew Hallsworth, Copyright University of Nottingham


City Hospital is somewhere I visit quite regularly, thankfully given my health background and that it falls partially within Nottingham North rather than any health issues of my own, and today was another such visit, for the first MPs meeting of 2018. As the Trust runs the QMC and Ropewalk House as well as City Hospital, I was joined by both Lilian Greenwood MP and Chris Leslie MP, to discuss several important areas and issues that span citywide with the Trust leadership. These included:

  • Winter pressures
  • Hospital performance
  • Finance
  • Nottingham Treatment Centre
  • The Anti-abortion protest by the 40 Days for Life group
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership

Despite the Government’s financial neglect of the NHS financially, I think the Trust are doing a tremendous job, and coped admirably over the tough winter period, which is hopefully now behind us!

In Nottingham

As well as that listed above, here’s some of what else I’ve been up to in the constituency this week:

  • I met with Steve and Paul from Bulwell Toy Library, and Matt from Futures to discuss fundraising opportunities for my Rebalancing charity.
  • I had a long discussion with Mike Sassi, Editor of the Nottingham Post, about Data Protection, the Leveson enquiry, the role of local media in society, and the coverage that the Post does in Nottingham. Amongst the large national media, local papers and their TV and internet equivalents, can often be overlooked, but often the news they report is more important to the day-to-day lives of their readers, so I’m keen to support them and investigate the issues they face.
  • I discussed allotments in the city. I know we have a lot of keen owners in the constituency and more opportunities for others to get involved would only benefit our community.
  • I grabbed a coffee with Raza Ali from Riverside Pharmacy to discuss the issues his business is facing
  • I visited the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service HQ to meet with John Buckley, the Chief Fire Officer, to talk about the Service’s role in the area
  • I also caught up with Bestwood Councillor Brian Grocock to discuss some issues in his ward.
  • And I met with a couple of constituents to discuss some of the issues that matter to them, in the absence of a surgery this week. The next one will be on 20th April, so get in touch with my Nottingham office if you’d like an appointment.

That’s all for this week, be back again next week with a preview of what’s to come when Parliament returns.

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.

Lost in Memories
A performance about dementia and caring, in partnership with Bulwell Arts Festival
Bulwell Academy, Squires Avenue, Bulwell, NG6 8HG
Tomorrow, 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 3rd May

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; Tuesday 26th June is the Kitchen’s 1st birthday

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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