This week, I was pleased to hear that Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group administered the first dose of the vaccine to all those in older persons care homes who were able to receive it, and vaccinations are now well underway for people aged 75 to 79.
Many have emailed in asking about testing here in Broxtowe. As many of you know, I am continuing to push for a testing site for people in Broxtowe for those not showing symptoms. I have made a clear case to the relevant stakeholders that when the next local testing site is set up, Broxtowe is the only option. This morning I spoke more with local Councillors on this so I hope we can work together to achieve this aim – it is critical that we call come together now to get the best for Broxtowe.
A number of constituents have also written to me this week concerned that those with mild or moderate learning disabilities are not prioritised for the vaccine. Those with a learning disability in England are, unfortunately, more than 6 times as likely to die from coronavirus than the general population. To keep you in the loop, I have written to Matt Hancock asking that all those with learning disabilities should be prioritised in the vaccination programme to protect some of the most vulnerable in Broxtowe. I will push this case personally with colleagues in Government and work towards a solution so those who are most vulnerable are safe from this virus.
Following reports that the level of Boundary Brook had risen overnight, on Thursday I went to the brook and met Nottinghamshire County Council flooding officers and Councillor Don Pringle to assess the situation. I also spoke to the Minister responsible for flooding, Rebecca Pow MP, and the Environment Agency to ensure necessary preparations were put in place. Going forward, it is important agencies work together for a long-term solution.
In other local news, a month-long consultation programme saw Stapleford residents play a key role in shaping plans to secure a £25 million investment under the Government’s Town Fund. Now, a detailed Town Investment Plan bid has been submitted to the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government by our Towns Board. I am pleased to be on the Executive Board of the Stapleford Towns Deal which brought together local businesses, local enterprise partnership, local people and Broxtowe Borough Council.
Investing in towns is a key part of the Government’s levelling-up agenda and I have been working with local residents and colleagues in Government to ensure our bid is as strong as possible. The response from our community has been exceptional – I could not be more proud.
Securing this Towns Deal will help to revitalize Stapleford, making a real difference to jobs and opportunities for local people. After all, Stapleford is a town with a great community which is why I wanted my base to be there. I want to see an investment that is going to make people feel proud, attract business and provide better facilities for families now and for the future.
Stapleford Towns Deal Bid is not the only local infrastructure project I am involved with – I am continuing to push for funding for the Toton Link Road project and this week I have been exploring available funds, including the levelling up fund from the Government. It is great to hear that the Government is committed to levelling up left-behind communities like the East Midlands and I am working to make sure money comes toward Broxtowe.
This week, it was announced that 6,620 new UK police officers have now been recruited, with 132 recruited in Nottinghamshire. It is great news that we have exceeded our first-year target for the number of new recruitments – not only this, we delivered it ahead of schedule. I want to take this opportunity to thank our local police officers in Broxtowe for their work during this difficult time, but also for their exceptional bravery in recent events.
On Monday, I attended an event hosted by nursing, midwifery, and allied health care students. Here, I heard directly from four student representatives who shared their experience of student life in England before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. We must safeguard and support our future NHS and healthcare workforce. Doing so will be crucial to enable the Government to meet its manifesto commitments to increase the number of nurses working in the NHS as well as its commitment to improving safety in maternity care.
On a personal note, I owe a great deal to the exceptional midwives at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust for the amazing care given 20 years ago when my tiny twin babies were born 6 weeks early. I am in contact with hospitals in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and I am committed to helping wherever I can.
On Tuesday, I attended the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness, which focused on how Housing First should be scaled up as a sustainable solution to ending homelessness. The Housing First model prioritises getting people quickly into stable homes. From this point, any other support needs they might have – such as alcohol and drug dependency, physical and mental health problems – are addressed through coordinated and intensive support.
I had also planned to speak about homelessness and to ask the Government to extend support to those who are homeless to help them claim their benefits, find new work, secure stable accommodation and direct them to additional support. The Speaker ran out of Parliamentary time for this topic before reaching me on the call list so I was unable to ask this in the Chamber, but I will receive a written response from the Government on this important issue which I will share in due course. It is key that we do not forget those who are homeless right now and I am pleased to see the Government is working with local Job Centres to help give them critical support.
In addition to this, I attended the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Universities meeting on student mental health and I was pleased to learn that steps are being taken to ensure students do not fall through the gaps. I am committed to supporting students and next week I have organised a meeting with the Universities Minister and University Vice Chancellors to see what more can be done. It is important for everyone, not just students, to look after our mental health and I encourage my constituents to visit Every Mind Matters for practical tips and expert advice on how to do that.
Finally, I have been holding a number of virtual surgeries this week and had a number of engaging conversations with residents in Broxtowe on a number of issues. Although I will not be able to conduct my usual face-to-face advice surgeries until further notice, I will be operating virtual advice surgeries. You can arrange a call with me by sending an email to email@example.com.
As ever, if you have any immediate concerns on this or any other issue please do not hesitate to contact me.
For now – stay safe everyone,
168 Derby Road,