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Alex Norris MP's Weekly Newsletter

Member of Parliament for Nottingham North
15th June 2018
Issue #49
Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.

Yesterday was not only the first day of the World Cup but also marked the one-year anniversary of the dreadful Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed 72 lives, injured many more and left hundreds without a home. Our thoughts are with the families and community of all those who were affected and we will continue to fight to ensure that it never happens again.

I’d like to congratulate Mr Neil James Thurlow from Westbury Special School, who I’ll be welcoming to Westminster in July as he trains as a UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador. Engaging with the work of the UK Parliament is crucial to developing students’ understanding of democracy and I’m sure Mr Thurlow will return to Westbury with a lot to share.

Next week I’ll be rounding up my work so far, in a special 50th edition of my newsletter, as it’s now been over a year since I was first elected as Member of Parliament next week, as well as since I got married, so I’ll be celebrating my first wedding anniversary this weekend!

Read on to find out what I’ve been up to this week...

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.

Modern Slavery in Malawi

As you may recall last week I went on a short trip to Malawi. I met with their Members of Parliament to share experiences and discuss with them how they might strengthen their laws. It was something a bit different. So, I thought I’d show it to you a bit differently. Here’s the video.
 

Brexit

Tuesday and Wednesday evenings saw a return to the House of Commons for the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill after the Lords had made their amendments.

As you know, I respect the referendum result and therefore accept that we are leaving the EU, but unfortunately, I do not believe the Withdrawal Bill that we have is fit for purpose. It would result in a power grab for Government Ministers, put environmental, workers' and human rights at risk, and increase the risk of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal. This week, I therefore sought to retain important amendments to the Bill that the Government was defeated on in the House of Lords which remedy some of these issues.

Two years on from the referendum, it is clear the Government has no plan for how it will protect jobs and the economy and guarantee no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. I therefore also supported amendments that would have put the negotiation of a customs union with the EU back on the negotiating table as a key objective and require the Government to secure full access to the single market, as well as an amendment to enshrine in law the commitment to preventing a hard border in Northern Ireland.

Finally, I have long believed that Parliament must be given a meaningful vote on the final terms of our exit from the EU. This is why I voted for a successful amendment to the Bill in the Commons last December to require that the Government's proposed withdrawal deal be approved by Parliament, and this week, I also voted to retain an amendment made in the House of Lords that would have strengthened the terms of this meaningful vote. This would have made clear that, should the Government's proposed withdrawal deal be defeated, it is for Parliament to say what happens next not the Prime Minister.

This Bill is a vital piece of legislation and while the amendments I have supported this week have been defeated – the Labour Party has forced the Government into significant concessions, which will help Parliament ensure a Brexit that is positive for the British people.

This won’t be the last of this Bill, and as I mentioned last week, I’m always keen to receive your views on this to better inform my decision making, so please do get in touch.

The Windrush Generation

In the last few months we’ve heard many awful stories of how members of the Windrush Generation have been let down by the Government.

Under the Immigration Act 1971, all Commonwealth citizens living in the UK were granted indefinite leave to remain. However, the Home Office did not keep records or issue paperwork and a growing number of people have recently faced uncertainty over their status. There are British citizens who have been made homeless, been denied healthcare and lost their jobs. It has also been revealed that at least 63 people could have been wrongly deported.

Last month, I contacted the Commonwealth Taskforce, on behalf of those constituents who had contacted me because of this scandal, to ask that their cases be investigated. This week I’m pleased to say that the responses are starting to come back with some positive outcomes on constituents’ status in the UK; requests for compensation and British passports.

The Taskforce website has now been updated with information about how impacted individuals can apply for British citizenship without needing to go through me. This should be easier and quicker.

If you have been affected, you may have already been provided with this at their Premium Service Centre (PSC) appointments, but they are now advising individuals to complete an application form if you believe you qualify under the Windrush criteria.  This now must be made using the relevant form which can be found at: www.gov.uk/windrush.  Applicants who are currently living in the UK should complete the “Windrush Scheme application (UK)” form. There is no fee for these applications.

If constituents would like to stay up to date on Home Office announcements relating to Commonwealth citizens, including the compensation scheme, they can also sign up for emails at: www.gov.uk/windrush. Similarly, regarding entitlement to a British passport, further information about this can be found here too.

The Home Secretary also recently announced that there will be a compensation scheme for individuals who have faced difficulties in establishing their status under the immigration system. Evidence is currently being collated, after which a public consultation will be launched; both of which will help shape the scheme in response to what has been heard.  They want to put in place a compensation scheme as quickly and as carefully as possible, to help redress what has gone wrong.

I will keep you updated on this as I find out more.

Change Makers

A couple of weeks ago I told you how I’d met with representatives from Change Makers, a local community group of volunteers from diverse communities who raise awareness of signs and symptoms of cancer to promote early presentation, diagnosis and treatment. Alison has been kind enough to prepare this message, which explains in much more detail what Change Makers offers and how you can get involved or simply get in touch:

All of us will be affected by cancer at some point in our lives. Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer and it could be you, a member of your family, friend or work colleague. It doesn’t matter what your age, background, class, race or religion, cancer does not discriminate. But the good news is that we can all be aware of the signs and symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment save lives. This is where Change Makers comes in. For over ten years, Change Makers has been raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of lung, bowel, prostate and breast cancer in the community. They also encourage people to seek early health advice and treatment and take up bowel and breast cancer screening. Local volunteers from all backgrounds meet up once a month to create new ways to deliver these important health messages. They can be seen at many local community events; can be heard on the radio and they also deliver talks and activities to groups and organisations across Nottingham. They use interactive and fun ways to take a very serious message to the public. They have designed a leaflet, games and quizzes to inform about cancer signs and symptoms and created a drama with different scenes to generate discussion and encourage people to use the bowel cancer testing kits or go for breast cancer screening.

Volunteering for Change Makers has been a rewarding experience for many of our volunteers who have been with us since day one. Other volunteers have come and gone, often gaining confidence, learning new skills and work experience helping them into employment. For others it’s been an opportunity to meet new people, make friends and enjoy meaningful activities with others. There are many benefits to volunteering with Change Makers and we welcome anyone who can spare a couple of hours a month of their time and is interested in making a difference to the health and lives of others.

If you are interested in meeting and talking with people, being creative or even taking part in our play, we look forward to you joining our friendly team. We meet up once a month over a cuppa to discuss future activities and steer the project forward. Our next team meetings are Tuesday 10th July and Tuesday 14th August at 10.30am – 12.30pm at the Renewal Trust. 27-31 Carlton Road. NG3 2DG. If you would like to discuss volunteering with us in more detail, please contact Helen on 07912873613 or ring the office on 0115 911 2226 (please note office hours are limited but please leave a message and we will always return your call).

This is a wonderful cause so please do consider getting involved if you can.

In Parliament

While the Brexit votes and debates took up a lot of my time this week, here’s what else I got up to while in Westminster this week:
  • On Monday, I asked Defence Ministers about the size of our armed forces and why Capita haven't yet been shown a red card for their poor performance in handling the recruitment contract. You can watch this and the Minister’s response here.
  • I had my weekly engagement at the Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill Committee once again, where I once more highlighted that, even if they oppose it, the Government should at last table the money resolution so we can progress.
  • I attended a meeting of the Co-Operative Party Parliamentary Group on Wednesday, where I pledged my support for the Fairtax campaign during the first ever Fairtax week, and the party re-received its Fairtax Mark, demonstrating our commitment to paying the right amount of tax, at the right time and in the right place.

In Nottingham

  • I spoke with Katie Cohen from Roots of Empathy, so she could bring me up to date with all the work that the organisation – which offers empathy based programs for our schoolchildren – is doing in Nottingham. Currently they are working with 3 local schools and we are working on an event to spread this further. 
  • I met with Arriva one of the bidders for the Midland Mainline franchise. I discussed the things that are good and bad about the current arrangements according to my constituents. The bidding will take place over next few months. I have spoken to Stagecoach another bidder recently and will speak to the third in due course. 
 That’s all for this week – see you next week for the special 50th edition!

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
 

Summer Fayre
To be held in the Church Grounds (Indoors if wet). The church will be open for visitors
Stalls will include cake stall, bric-a-brac, plants, toys, books, new & nearly new,
Pick a bag, hook a duck, ice cream, tombola, raffle. Also an opportunity to ‘Splash the vicar’.
St Mary the Virgin & All Souls Parish Church, Bulwell
Tomorrow, 16th June 2018, 11am–2pm

An Evening with Henry Normal
Nottingham-born stand up poet Henry's performance will be supported by Nottingham’s First Young Poet Laureate Georgina Wilding as well as local poets Kath Clarke, Charles Towlson and Jamahl Peterkin
The Bulwell Academy, Nottingham, NG6 8HG
Friday 13th July, 7:30pm
All proceeds from this performance are in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK
Tickets £5.00 available from The Academy.
Joy Rice – joy@bulwellartsfestival.com
Or online https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/
This performance has been kindly sponsored by Lidl Bulwell

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

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

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



 

Bestwood Cultural Festival
A celebration of the diversity and cultures of Bestwood through performances, arts & crafts, play and food.
Bestwood Park Church, Beckhampton Rd, Nottingham NG5 5NG
Saturday 7th July, 12-3pm

Free Cavity Wall and Loft Insulation from E.ON
Available to households that are currently without these, regardless of whether the household uses E.ON as their energy supplier. The insulation, which would usually cost around £775, is being offered for free for a limited time to all homeowners, landlords and private tenants who have their landlord’s permission. Households who take up the offer could save up to £285 a year on their energy bills.
This offer is however, due to end on June 30th, so apply as soon as possible.
If you’d like further information visit https://www.eonenergy.com/insulate or call E.ON on 0330 400 1083.

Your chance to get published
Penguin, the UK’s number one book publisher, is on the lookout for new writers and illustrators from under-represented communities. This includes Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) writers, LGBTQ writers, writers with disabilities and writers from socio-economically marginalised backgrounds.
WriteNow aims offers writers and illustrators a free workshop on how to get published in Nottingham this September, and the chance to be mentored by a Penguin editor or designer for a year.
To find out more and apply, visit write-now.live. The deadline for applications is Monday 9 July.

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, next on June 10th

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

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: www.creativenottinghamnorth.com, @CreativeNNorth, cathy.mahmood@rebalancingouterestates.com


 
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 © 2018 Alex Norris MP, All rights reserved.


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