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Alex Norris MP's Weekly Newsletter

Member of Parliament for Nottingham North
Friday 6th March 2020
Issue #131
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Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.
 
The coronavirus COVID-19 is of course dominating the news, as UK cases have began to increase at a faster rate. My thoughts are with the family and friends of the first victim in the UK, who sadly lost his life yesterday. 
 
It hasn’t affected Parliament just yet. We’re being careful and washing our hands regularly, but at some point it is likely that thousands of people both gathering together and travelling around the country on a weekly basis may not be sustainable. I’ll keep you informed.
 
This main thing for now is to follow the advice of the Government and the NHS rather than anything else you read! You can find this here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public and https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
 
I’ve touched on one of the effects that precautions will have in the Chamber this week, and also have some news to share.
 
Read on to find out more...

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 alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk and I will include it in future issues. Please also forward it onto anyone you think may be interested.

In the Chamber

After shying away last week, this week the Government announced its Coronavirus Action Plan, a detailed account of what we can expect across the UK given the increasing spread of Coronavirus. This plan lays out what the Government currently knows about the disease, what has done to prepare for such an outbreak, and what it plans to do in the future depending on the course of the disease. The plan also tells the public what role it can take in fighting the spread of the virus, such as increasing handwashing, reducing the spread of misinformation, and using NHS 111 in order to reduce the strain on GPs, pharmacies, and hospitals. We urge everyone to follow the advice of the Government in order to help mitigate the spread of the disease.

The Labour Party endorses the Government’s strategy to contain then delay, research then mitigate, but other aspects of plan may leave some people vulnerable during this time. The policy on sick pay during self-isolation is of particular concern. The Government has confirmed that workers who self-isolate are considered on sick leave. However, it was not able to address the fact that some who self-isolate may be required to obtain a sick note, which goes against the Government’s advice to not visit a GP. In addition, 2 million workers on low pay or insecure contracts in the gig economy do not qualify for statutory sick pay.
 
During the debate on this announcement, I asked the Minister if he would state that not a single person in this country who is following the Government’s advice and self-isolating will suffer a detriment to their terms and conditions. The one simple truth within the statutory sick pay system is that the poorer someone is, the poorer their protections. These workers need clarity from the Government that if they do the right thing and follow the Government’s guidance, they will not be punished by their employers. Yet the Government was not able to give a clear answer in response to mine or any other queries on this matter. Instead, they simply stated that the matter was under review. I hope they will promptly act to fix this dangerous injustice.
 
You can watch this here.
 
I also raised a question with the Minister for Asia regarding the current unrest in India due to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 (CAA). Recently in Delhi, more than 40 people were killed by mobs that attacked Muslim homes. Dozens of Muslims have been dragged out of their homes, burned, or beaten to death in the street. Thousands of people have lost their livelihoods, yet the authorities take no notice. The Government has stated that they also have concerns about the impact of the CAA, and has been able to discuss difficult issues with the Government of India, including the concerns on the rights of minorities.
 
I asked the Minister that given our special relationship with India, how the Government has been able to use their contact with the Indian government to impact the situation and current human rights violations happening in India, and how they know this approach is working. The Government responded that they are constantly making representations where they believe human rights abuses have occurred and the Indian Government takes notice of what the UK Government says. However, no direct impact was addressed, only that that the dialogue between our government and the Government of India will continue.
 
You can watch that here.

Procedure Committee

Also this week, I was officially nominated to sit on the House of Commons Procedure Committee, which meets regularly to consider the practice and procedure of the House in the conduct of its public business. I haven’t yet found out what we will be considering in upcoming weeks, but here are some of the Committee’s areas of responsibility:
  • The Committee can make recommendations to the House about the operation of the House’s Standing Orders for public business, and any other aspect of House procedure and practice
  • The Committee can Investigate unsatisfactory and late answers to written parliamentary questions. I’ve had a fair few of these myself! 
    • Members may refer to the Committee individual answers which they regard as inadequate to the question asked. 
    • The Committee will decide whether further action is necessary and will pass on the observations to the relevant Member. 
    • Where the Committee identifies trends in bad practice, the department concerned will be asked for comment. 
    • The Committee will produce reports on a regular basis, highlighting particular issues.
  • During the 2017-19 Parliament, the Committee decided to inquire into the power of the House of Commons to require the Government to provide documents to the House, in light of the House’s decision to require the Government to provide the House with the Attorney General’s legal advice on the effect of the Northern Ireland backstop agreement
  • The Committee also recently examined the long-standing use of the powers by Government to obtain the protection of the House’s privileges for the production of certain classes of paper, such as reports of high-profile public inquiries
I’m looking forward to my time on this Committee, and learning more about the procedural ins and outs that many members are often able to overlook, thanks to the hard work of the Parliamentary staff to make it as easy as possible for us. My first meeting took place on Wednesday, and I’ll let you know what we tackle when I can.

In Parliament

As well as my time in the Chamber and on the Committee, here’s what else I got up to:
 
  • I talked with Chantelle de Villiers from the British Retail Consortium about my upcoming Ten-minute Rule Bill on violence against shopworkers.
  • I met with Andre Rodarte from the University of Cambridge for an interview about the General Election campaign for his research.
  • On Tuesday I met with Elizabeth Coe and Richard Daniels from the National Association of Child Contact Centres to discuss their campaign work and the work of the APPG on Child Contact Services, for which they act as Secretariat.
  • I also met with Penny Hanton from Plan International, with representatives including the Director of Programmes from Plan International Rwanda, to discuss their humanitarian work, particularly around climate justice.
  • I joined other Nottinghamshire MPs to meet with Paddy Tipping, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, and Craig Guildford, Notts Police’s Chief Constable, in Parliament, to be updated on all things policing across Notts following the General Election.
  • On Wednesday morning, I chaired the latest meeting of the APPG on Deliberative Democracy, to which we welcomed Government Minister Baroness Barren to discuss the Innovations in Democracy program and how deliberative democracy can be effectively implemented at a local level.
  • You may remember last year I ran the London Marathon for Bestwood and Bulwell Foodbank. I’m running again this year, and was interviewed by the Press Association’s Parliamentary Reporter Sophie Morris (who’s running herself, for PHA UK) about the experience.
  • And alongside Baroness Lola Young, the new Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, I also co-chaired the inaugural meeting of the APPG for Sport, Modern Slavery & Human Rights in this Parliamentary session.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

My diary next week is completely full already, with the most notable part being back-to-back debates in Westminster Hall on Tuesday, as I will respond on behalf of the Opposition to a debate on education in Palestine, before leading my own debate on Education Inequality. Read next week to find out more.

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.

If you would like your events advertised here, or further information on those advertised, please email me at alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk.

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,

Alex
LIFE (Main Street, Bulwell) are offering individuals the opportunity to gain work experience, help to update a C.V. and gain a qualification in a relaxed, no pressure environment.
 
This is open to all citizens aged 16-29 with a learning difficulty/disability and to citizens with a long term health condition who are not currently employed/in education or training.
 
Courses will run every Wednesday from 1-3pm.
For more information please contact Suzie or Janet on 0115 975 7712
So, what exactly is The Friendly Bench™? 

The Friendly Bench™ is a movement to tackle loneliness, social isolation and community disconnectedness using our innovative outdoor social spaces that reconnect people back to their own community.

Specially designed, constructed and adhering to Disability Discrimination Act guidelines on seating and physical impairment, The Friendly Bench™ are safe, easily accessible mini-community gardens with integrated seating and sensory planting which are situated within communities for people to meet, chat, connect with nature, build friendships and develop a sense of belonging.

The Friendly Bench™ are also active, social hubs where free activities and events are regularly held to encourage everyone to participate, have fun, feel accepted, valued and develop a support network.

Every The Friendly Bench™ is independently managed, funded and run by it’s own voluntary group for their own community. As a member of The Friendly Bench™ network, each group receives free ongoing advice, support, sharing of best practice, marketing resources, publicity and promotion from The Friendly Bench™ CIC team. 

Every The Friendly Bench™, wherever it is based in the country, aims to reduce loneliness, social isolation and help build a more inclusive, connected community.
 
Benefits of The Friendly Bench™ include:
·       Increased social interaction.
·       Improved wellbeing and self-esteem
·       Improved physical and mental health
·       Reduced loneliness and social isolation
·       Increased community resilience.
·       Increased connection with nature (and the wildlife benefits that brings).
·       Increased connection with local services

Would you like to be able to read music?



20-minute on-to-one sessions are available on Friday mornings for people starting out with keyboards who would like to progress with acquiring skills and fluency.

If interested, please contact Rodney Yates on 0115 975 3605.
Action Tutoring is a national charity that has just arrived in Nottingham and is looking for volunteers to tutor at local schools.

We help pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds gain the crucial grades they need at GCSE in English and maths. We bring dedicated volunteers into schools, giving an hour a week to tutor pupils for at least a term (8–10 weeks) in a local school.

Why should you get involved?
  • Give back to your community; share your knowledge and skills with pupils that will value them.
  • Gain fantastic experience for your CV and a reference upon completion of a programme.
  • Develop new friendships and meet like-minded people in your community.
  • All volunteers receive initial training covering everything they need to know, from the current school curriculum to vital safeguarding information.
  • Every single volunteer receives a ton of ongoing support; we invest in our volunteers as well as the pupils we work with. You will get access to our specialised resources and learning materials.
  • We carry out a FREE DBS check for all our tutors.
  • The commitment is just one hour a week for the duration of a term (8–10 weeks), although most of our volunteers will choose to continue for longer.
  • You are able to expense up to £5 of travel every week if this would be a barrier to you taking part.
If you know anyone that would like to get involved, please spread the word so we can make a difference to more young people in Nottingham.
 
If this sounds like something you’d like to get involved in, please complete our simple online application or call us for more information.
 
https://actiontutoring.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer-as-a-tutor/
Phone: 0203 872 5894
Email: sara@actiontutoring.org.uk  



Are you, or is someone you know?

️ In Year 12

️ Attending a state school

️ Thinking about applying to university

Check out the SuttonTrust SummerSchools programme! https://summerschools.suttontrust.com/

Nottingham Martial Arts Academy and Life Skills School

I was recently contacted by John Robertson, Owner and Head Coach at Nottingham Martial Arts Academy. He shared the following about the services his school provides:

Mentoring is a powerful personal development and empowerment tool. It is an effective way of helping people to progress in their lives and is becoming increasingly popular as its potential is realised. It is a partnership between two people and is a helpful relationship based upon mutual trust and respect. A mentor is a guide who can help the student to find the right direction and who can help them to develop solutions to issues that the student needs to resolve to achieve great things. 

Mentors rely upon having had similar experiences to gain empathy with the student and an understanding of their issues. A mentor should help the student to believe in themselves and boost their confidence. A mentor should ask questions and challenge while providing guidance and encouragement. 

Mentoring allows the student to explore new ideas in confidence. Mentoring is about becoming more self-aware, taking responsibility for your life and directing your life in the direction you decide, rather than leaving it to chance.

The Life Skills Mentoring Courses

The Life Skills team have developed three very effective mentoring courses for young people, who are attached to the main Life Skills course. Each mentor course is designed to be delivered to young people with specific characteristics or personality issues which have led to either bad behaviour, a serious lack of confidence or for young people that excel in a particular activity and require some assistance to further improve their performance both mentally and physically.

We also look at emotions and how emotions affect ourselves and our surroundings. For example how can anger not only hurt but can also be helpful if channelled in the right way.
 
Bad Behaviour and Anti-Social Behaviour

A unique experience in which the participants of the course are taken through a series of exercises to enable them to understand their current behaviour, what they need to learn to change this behaviour and the positive results of making these changes. This course is designed to provide an immediate change in behaviour.

We also look at Anti-Social Behaviour and also Gang and Knife Crime in society for the older children and adults and the ramifications of such actions and how to avoid the situations and people that are involved in these kinds of crimes and actions.
 
Low Self Esteem & Confidence

A very effect set of exercises designed to explore the reasons for the students low self-esteem and confidence, the positive ways to overcome this personality trait and how to achieve great things in the future by applying a simple set of rules.

Improved Performance

We get to meet young people that have a specific talent at their chosen subject or sport. As a way of nurturing this talent, we have designed a child friendly mentoring course to provide these young people with the required skills to develop this talent to its fullest potential and to make them realise that the skills to become the best they can be at one subject can be applied to all activities.

We also explore emotions and how emotion can have an affect not only on ourselves but those around us and how do we handle that emotion so that it doesn't become destructive.

We also include at the end of the session a sit-down mat time where we read a a story about a different life skill or virtue, for example, a story about perseverance.

We are also, an inclusive Academy whereby we look holistically towards the students and we are a big advocate of stimming and other control methods and we also bring a sensory box to every club session for our tiger tots and tiger cubs classes.

We also work not only with the students but also we aim to work with the child's parents and the school also where there are certain criteria to be met if they want to train at the academy and if they are not meeting these criteria how can all 3 parties work towards the child attaining them and to keep them at that level.

The Curriculum Includes:
  • Understanding the effects of anti-social behaviour
  • The destructive qualities of our personalities
  • Identifying the reasons for my actions - All talk and NO action
  • Physical Team building - Ability to work within a team environment
  • Positive qualities of your personality
  • Life Skills training – Take away the excuses of feeling unsafe
  • No excuse is big enough
  • Goal Setting for the future
  • Developing a positive Life plan
  • Communication Skills
  • Problem solving Skills
"To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life."

If you're interested in learning more, you can email John at nottinghammartialartsacademy1@gmail.com.
Stockhill and Ladbroke Tenants and Resident (SALTAR) Autumn Acitivites
 
Saturdays on Stockhill Park
  • Football Training 10.45am to 12noon, boys and girls, 5 to 15 years.              
  • Goalkeeping Training 12.15pm to 1.15pm, boys and girls, 6 to 16 years
Mondays at Scout HQ. Lincoln St. Basford, 
  • 44th Nottingham Beavers and Cubs 6.30pm to 8pm. Beavers 6 to 8 years, Cubs 8 to 10.5 years (Actively recruiting volunteers over 18 for these sessions.)
Wednesdays in Stockhill Pavilion
  • Termtime Afterschool Sessions 3.30pm to 5.30 pm, 5 to 13 years
For more information, please contact Sur Sylvester, SALTAR Secretary, at saltar99@gmail.com.
BMX champion brothers from Bilborough looking for sponsorship

I've recently been contacted by Ella Jamera, a constituent from Bilborough. Her two sons Elisha and Itai are champion BMX racers - both coming first for their age category at the recent British Championships. Next year, Elisha will be old enough to compete at the World Championships, but there is a lack of funding available to allow competitors to travel to compete at the event.

You can read more about the brothers here: https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/meet-champion-brothers-bilborough-making-3295971

If you know of any local funding or sponsorship opportunities that might help Elisha to travel to compete, please get in touch with Ella on ellajamera@yahoo.com


[Image: Joseph Raynor/Nottingham Post]
Fundraising for PASIC

I've recently been contacted by an NCS group, based in Hucknall, who are currently raising money and awareness for a charity called PASIC. This is a charity which deal with young children who have been diagnosed with cancer. They are partaking in a bag pack and a sponsored cycle to raise awareness and money. It would be very much appreciated if you could either donate or help raise awareness for this useful charity.

You can find the fundraising page here. Please do support them if you can.
Nottingham Mencap

I recently received the following email from John Ballard of Nottingham Mencap with some good news and a request. Please read and support them if you can, their volunteers do tremendous work supporting those with learning disabilities and autism to live as independently as possible:

Dear Alex Norris MP,

I am thrilled to inform you that Nottingham Mencap has finally found a new home! 

Working closely with Nottingham City Council, we are in the process of agreeing to a long lease on the Edwards Lane Community Centre.  We desperately need to move from Harpenden House on Edwards Lane where we have been for nearly 70 Years.  Based on City Hospital land, our current building is beyond repair and the Hospital is seeking a massive hike in ground rent.

We have been raising funds to purchase, renovate and extend the Community Centre.  Working with Richardson Hall Construction Ltd we plan to design and deliver ample, high-quality space, for our Charity and local residents.   By undertaking this venture we aim to secure the long term future of the new Centre as a vibrant hub for the local community and a place our members can proudly call their new base.

Our members are so pleased to have the chance to move such a short distance.  Furthermore, we recognise that by sharing our building with local residents we can help catalyse tangible and enduring community integration.  

You will appreciate that as a charity we understand the importance of making every penny count. Which means that we frugally balance our income from grants and allowances with our expenses, without detriment to the services we provide or cutbacks to staff.  Our fundraising methods, as outlined on our website (www.nottinghammencap.org.uk see ‘Support Our Work’) your generosity will enable us to undertake the requisite works renovating our new premises and address the more pressing issues impacting our service users.

I do hope you will support us in our ongoing adventure!

Please do not hesitate to contact us (at info@n-mencap.org or by phoning 0115 920 9524) if you require any clarification on the points raised here or have any further queries.

Kind Regards,

John Ballard
Nottingham Mencap Fundraiser
www.nottinghammencap.org.uk  

Basford United U16 Amber Sponsorship Opportunities Available

Playing kit sponsor – squad of 15 logo on shirt  ~£450
Drill Top sponsor – squad of 15 logo on shirt ~£450
An alternative is a food sponsor – we provide chip cobs to all travelling players after each home game – last season we entertained teams from Wellingborough, Coventry, Birmingham etc so any contribution towards this would be gratefully received

Basford are hoping that anyone who does sponsor the team will get a banner on the side of the pitch, as well as on their logo on the kit and hopefully on the Basford website this year.

For further information, please contact Lisa Fox on 07921361555.
Joining Blind Veterans
 
Have you served in the Armed Forces? In the UK Regular Armed Forces, including National Service.
 
Or UK Reserved Armed Forces. Reservists must have completed one year’s satisfactory service following training (or qualified for Bounty) or a lesser period if blinded on duty.
 
Or Polish/Indian Forces under British Command or Merchant Navy deployed within a combat zone in direct support of UK military forces.
 
And
 
You have significant sight loss- visual acuities worse than 6/60  in both eyes or struggle to see top letter of the eye chart. Optician or eye clinic to confirm.
 
If you meet our criteria for sight loss you can get free support. Help in the form, of Rehabilitation, training, peer support, grants, Sports and recreation.
 
We also run local social groups in Nottingham.
 
Please contact 0800 389 7979 for an application form. We can complete the form by telephone too, you will need your service record details. If you want to discuss further ring Mary James, Community Team Leader on 0114 2127612
New Wellbeing/Self-Help Group
An opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and help you build up confidence and self-esteem.
Identify areas of your own wellbeing - physically & mentally.
Referral support to other services & support.
Friendly & comfortable environment, with no pressure to talk.
Hosted in the West Room, St Mary’s the Virgin & All Souls Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell, NG6 9AD.
For further info: fay.goodhand@icloud.com

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
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

Whiz Kids Junior Church
Free breakfast, arts & crafts for children aged 5ish – 11ish
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
Every Sunday, 9:30am

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: www.stmartinsbilborough.org.uk, info@stmartinsbilborough.uk

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

Athlete Accelerator
Khian Mility is helping young athletes reach their potential, with the goal of obtaining US College Sports Scholarships. For further information please visit his website.
https://www.theathleteaccelerator.com

Whiz Kids
Special breakfast, followed by stories, games, crafts & fun!
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Highbury Road, Bulwell
Sundays, 9.30-11.15am
For more info contact Kerry Palmer - 0115 953 1780 or by email.

Messy Church Bestwood/Bulwell Forest
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

Free Community Cinema
Free screenings of films, everyone welcome!
St John’s Church, Key’s Close, Bulwell
2nd Friday every month, 7pm

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: www.apriltowriess.co.uk, hello@apriltowriess.co.uk

 
How to contact me

If you would like to contact me, please email alex.norris.mp@parliament.uk 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: findyourmp.parliament.uk.

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
LABOUR PARTY
  • If you’d like to learn more about the Labour party their website is here.
  • To join the Labour Party click here.
LOCAL NEWS
LOCAL INFORMATION
  • 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 Direct.gov.
NATIONAL LINKS
  • For the main Parliamentary website click here and to explore the Parliamentary education site click here.
Copyright © 2020 Alex Norris MP, All rights reserved.


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