View this email in your browser

Alex Norris MP's Weekly Newsletter

Member of Parliament for Nottingham North
Friday 13th March 2020
Issue #132

Welcome to the latest issue of my weekly newsletter.
It’s been a busy week. As you’ll know, the spread of the novel coronavirus has increased, and yesterday we moved into the ‘delay’ phase of the Government’s response. This means that people should stay at home if they have a raised temperature combined with symptoms of a cold and consider social distancing a priority. You can read full guidelines here, which you should follow carefully.
We also had the Budget on Wednesday, which focused on coronavirus too. Regrettably there are major holes in the package delivered, suggesting the Tories have not risen to the challenge of the moment. There is nothing in the coronavirus announcements that extends statutory sick pay for those on zero-hours contracts, those in part-time work or not without a contract of employment, and those low paid workers earning less than £118 per week. The Government has also given no consideration to raising the rate of statutory sick pay of £94.25 per week, making it more likely people will stay at work rather than self-isolating. Tweaks to the benefit system are no substitute for improving statutory sick pay – and the Government has done nothing to reduce the five-week delay for Universal Credit.
The impact of coronavirus has also been exacerbated because of a fundamentally weak economy and the crisis in public services. While we have been able to force a shift in the terms of the debate, but there are still major problems untouched, with nothing announced on social care. There was also a distinct lack of investment and action on the climate emergency.
Away from all this, I’ve been very busy in Westminster Hall.
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 and I will include it in future issues. Please also forward it onto anyone you think may be interested.

Textbooks in Palestine

This Tuesday, I spoke in two back-to-back debates in Westminster, firstly responding from the front bench for labour on the radicalisation in the Palestinian school curriculum, before leading my own short on the impact of early years education on equality of educational attainment.

During the first debate, I highlighted my belief that there can be no place for promoting hate or intolerance in school curriculum anywhere in the world, and we have a special responsibility to ensure that this does not take place where we are supplying UK aid. Last March, DFID announced that they had jointly commissioned an independent review into the Palestinian Authority’s school textbooks along with international partners, including the EU. I welcomed this development, as the Opposition agrees that it is both strategic and sensible to work with international partners. In addition, we recognise the significant implications of this report for Palestinian children, what they learn, and whether or not they receive an education at all.
However, the report was due September 2019, six months ago. I used this debate as an opportunity to press the Minister on this delay, questioning him on when the report will be published and what steps the Government is taking now in order to be ready to assess its recommendations. UK aid represents the best of British values, and the Minister must be prepared to spend it in the most effective way and ensure that it will not be used towards hateful content in the Occupied Territories or anywhere else.

I also highlighted the importance The UN Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the critical humanitarian work they do. I called on the Minister to remember that the UNRWA delivers crucial health and humanitarian support, directly saving lives in some of the toughest environments in the world. The UK deliberately dedicates a significant portion of its support for UNRWA to education and should continue to do so, as this debate highlighted the real issues that the UNRWA is facing in securing enough funding.

Finally, I want to highlight the broader context in which this debate took place. As we condone the hateful rhetoric being taught to children, we must also acknowledge the other daily experiences these children are facing. For example, the military courts where children bounce are given arbitrary sentences, the restricted access to medical assistance causing children to choose one family member alone to accompany them to chemotherapy, or the physical walls and checkpoints they have no hope passing through all have the potential to radicalise young Palestinians. We must avoid giving a partial response to these issues, and instead take a look at the entire issue.

You can watch a clip from my contribution here.

Early Years' Education

In the debate on educational attainment, I built upon what was discussed in a similar debate on outcomes for white-working class boys led by the Conservative MP for Mansfield, Ben Bradley, and highlighted the need for better education in the early years, 0 to 5, in order to address the inequalities between children as they grow older. In addition, I called for more critical analysis of the Government’s early year policies which are supposed to address these inequalities. This is a crucial time to be critical of these policies, as the consequences for young people who do not reach a certain level of achievement in school are increasingly dramatic.
In my constituency, the hardest hit group for educational attainment inequality is white working-class boys, as only 59% of boys are meeting the expected Key Stage 2 65% target for Reading Writing and Maths compared to 70% of girls. There are many factors for this attainment gap, such as stereotyping and bias from teachers and peers, stress at home, negative views towards education, and low mental health and emotional wellbeing, all of which can result in a lack of engagement with education.
In Bulwell, organisations have already established programmes to help develop new practices to help these children. Small Steps Big Changes’ ‘Think Dads’ Training, for example, empowers professionals to recognise the importance of dads in parenting and develop ‘father inclusive’ practices in order to give children a better start in life.
The Labour Party has been committed to giving each child the best possible start in life, as evident through the implementation of the Sure Start programme implemented in 1998. These locally driven programmes were sensitive the needs of the parents and children to whom they were providing support and was conscious of the fact that a child’s ability to succeed in school is affected by their home environment.
However, since 2010, Tory governments have failed to invest in early years education, and cuts have caused hundreds of Sure Start centres to close. This has prevented children from receiving the obvious benefits Sure Start provides. These children need to be our priority and we need to properly invest in early years education in order to give all children the equal opportunity to succeed in our school system.
You can watch a clip from my contribution here.

In Nottingham

Back in Nottingham today, here is how I spent my day:
  • I began the day at the Nottingham University Hospital’s NHS Trust HQ at City Hospital, to meet with Tracy Taylor, the Chief Executive Officer, and Eric Morton, the Chair, for a general catch-up and discussion on how they’re adapting to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Later I spoke on the phone with a constituent to discuss next steps for a piece of ongoing casework I’ve been helping with.
  • Following that, I met with Hyacinth Francis-Watson, founder and project manager of the Chayah project from St Ann’s. They’ve done positive outreach work in Bulwell and the surrounding areas helping single mothers and feeding the homeless, and we talked about their future plans for the area. 
  • Since then I’ve visited the Riverside Pharmacy in Bulwell with the Nottinghamshire LPC who represent pharmacies locally, and I’m now off to my latest constituency surgery.

In Parliament

Everything I’ve already covered didn’t leave me too much additional time in Parliament, but here’s how I spent it:
  • On Monday I chaired the latest meeting of the Britain-Palestine APPG, where I talked about my recent visit to Palestine before introducing Matthias Burchard from UNRWA to talk to the group.
  • Following that meeting, I joined the Delegated Legislation Committee for The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 – a set of secondary legislation making provision for enabling a number of public health measures to be taken for the purpose of reducing the public health risks arising from coronavirus.
  • On Wednesday, I met with Scott Eastwood from the National Lottery Community Fund to discuss the work they’re funding in our area. Lottery-funded schemes can make a tremendous difference to the community, one of which being Small Steps Big Changes, that I mentioned during Tuesday’s debate on education, funded through their A Better Start program.
  • I then sat on the Procedure Committee before PMQs and the Budget took place on Wednesday, after which I joined fellow Labour and Co-Op MPs for the latest group meeting.
  • Yesterday morning I met with Maria Neophytou and Helena Vine from Impetus, an organisation focused on helping all young people from disadvantaged backgrounds do as well in school as they can, to discuss both the factors behind inequality of outcomes and possible solutions.
  • And to finish off my week, I met with Conservative MP and Chair of the Foreign Affairs select Committee, Tom Tugendhat, to discuss the anglophile crisis in Cameroon.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

At the moment we’re playing everything by ear to some degree, as you’d expect, but I currently have a usual diary ahead for next week, with Thursday morning’s Jobs & Healthy Living Fair in Bulwell Riverside the main highlight. Read next week to find out how it went.

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

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,

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.
Phone: 0203 872 5894

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!

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
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
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:

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

[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 ( 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 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  

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.
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:

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:,

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.

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:,

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.
Copyright © 2020 Alex Norris MP, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp