My Diary Week Ending 25th February 2018
I did a lot of big stuff last week! First up great local campaigner Lorna Fillingham who came to Westminster with Paralympian Anne Wafula (pictured below) to present their 50,000 name petition asking for Changing Places toilets to be put into new public buildings, particularly health buildings. This would only take a small change in the guidelines for new buildings but would be a big step on the way to transforming people's lives. Lorna pointed out that there are as many toilets in Wembley Stadium as there are Changing Places toilets across the whole country. More Changing Places toilets would transform the lives of people who need them and their carers. We went to Downing Street to present the petition. It's not a big ask. We should just get on with it.
As the 5 year National Cancer Strategy reaches its mid-way point it was appropriate - as Chair of the all-party pancreatic cancer group - that I contributed to a very good parliamentary debate on how we can up our game on workforce development, early diagnosis and taking advantage of the genomic revolution. As Cancer Research UK emphasise today it is also important that we tackle the causes of cancer - particularly linked to tobacco, obesity and alcohol.
Attending the EEF Manufacturers' Association conference was an opportunity to check base with the key partners around the UK Steel table. The better we work together the better outcomes we can achieve for this core foundation industry. It was also good to join the North Lincolnshire Health and Safety Awards to celebrate the great work done by many local employers in this crucial area.
A number of people got in touch with me concerned about NatWest's decision to close their Brigg branch so it was useful to meet with NatWest senior managers to represent concerns and hear how the change is being managed. They assured me that all customers are having individual consultations on how to be supported. I hope this is right. They pointed out that their customers can use Post Offices like the ones in Scawby and Kirton in Lindsey for paying in and taking out cash. They are also committed to providing a community banker in Brigg, North Lincolnshire and their mobile bank will visit. They have promised to meet with those Town and Parish councils that want to.
It was great to drop in to St Lawrence Academy to celebrate their achieving a National Online Safety Award working with a local company. As always there was a real energy about the school and the students and staff I met. Similar energy is on display at John Leggott College's Basketball Academy so I was pleased to name check them in a debate on the future funding of basketball. And I chaired a conference debating the really important current challenge around teacher recruitment and retention.
One of the key issues I have prioritised since the General Election is taking steps to tackle the problem of people presenting themselves as homeless on our streets. To this end I convened a very useful meeting of the key agencies working on the prevention end of this. What was clear is that there is a lot of good work going on by many people including The Forge Project, the Local Authority, Humberside Police, Ongo UK and other agencies but there are some people who find it difficult to respond to the current engagement. So we need to focus on this group and work together to find a way of getting them to respond. This will not be easy but it is something everyone was up for.
Finally it was fantastic to join other runners for the 5th anniversary Scunthorpe parkrun in Central Park. This could not happen but for the dedication of the organisers and volunteers as well as the enthusiasm and energy of participants. Well done everyone!