29th August 2023
In the time since I was last in contact with you my main focus has continued to be around my efforts to Build Bournemouth Back (you can still have your say via the button below).
I have had a number of meetings with the police, Council and local businesses. As well as that, I have been hearing directly from local people through my series of house meetings. I will send you updates on these soon. In the meantime I wanted to share with you some of the things I have been doing here in our community over recent weeks.
Click here to have you say on how we Build Bournemouth Back. Please also forward this email to your friends and family who live locally so that they can have their say as well.
WHAT I'VE BEEN UP TO AS YOUR MP:
- Met Manager of Lidl in Winton
- Attended and spoke to MyTime Young Carers Awards
- Visited Arena Boxing Club
- Visited the Crumbs Project
- Dropped into Winton Salvation Army Garden Overhaul
- Visited Anglo-Continental School of English and spoke to Swiss students
- Spoke to the North Bournemouth Rotary Club at the West Hants
- Dropped into the Lifeguard Corps Summer BBQ on the beach
- Attended the Bournemouth Bengali Badminton Club
- Hosted a US Congressional Delegation
Met Manager of Lidl in Winton
Having been contacted by the Manager of the Winton branch of Lidl, I visited to hear the problems they are having with shoplifting and anti-social behaviour. Graham, the Manager, told me about the deluge of anti-social behaviour incidences they face as a business. In the face of knife threats and regular shoplifting he wanted to highlight the challenges the business faces and the problems with the lack of adequate police response. I undertook to raise this issue with the police directly and with the elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset. I am undertaking a number of other visits where the same problems have been reported.
Attended and spoke to MyTime Young Carers Awards
Bournemouth and Poole are full of community heroes, and I have been fortunate enough to meet many of them. There are few that do more on a day-to-day basis than our young carers. Having balanced growing up with care duties for their loved ones and others, they are an inspiration.
I recently attended the awards ceremony for MyTime's Employability Programme, which provides support for 16-25 year old carers looking to go into further education, training or employment. The programme gives them respite as well as careers advice, skills training and confidence as they move into adulthood. Those present gave impassioned speeches about the support the charity has given them, and I was grateful to be able to show – again - my thanks for these young people's selfless work.
Visited Arena Boxing Club
I traded in my usual verbal spars in Parliament for a physical spar at the local Arena Boxing Club earlier this month. Pleasingly, the club was extremely busy, and I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to have a session with the pads.
I'm firmly of the view that boxing clubs are part of the answer to anti-social behaviour and crime, not the problem. This club in Stokewood Road is run by volunteers and it was great to be able to thank them for what they do. They also work with the probation service to provide an alternative to young people at-risk of reoffending. I undertook to support them as they look to expand and improve their club.
Visited The Crumbs Project
Having been a Patron of The Crumbs Project in Wallisdown for some time, last week was a great opportunity for me to meet some of the people who benefit from the training Crumbs provide. The project offers vocational training in catering, housekeeping and administration for adults with a range of disabilities, giving them the life skills that encourage them into employment and independent living.
It has helped so many people over the years, including one student I spoke to who had gone on to win various awards for their cooking skills. Another had secured work in various businesses in the hospitality industry, including Rick Stein in Sandbanks. Hopefully we will see many more star chefs emerge from Crumbs.
Dropped into Winton Salvation Army Garden Overhaul
Last Tuesday, I popped into the Winton Salvation Army Community Centre to oversee an overhaul of the garden being undertaken by some kind volunteers. People from Cherry Tree Nursery and insolvency practitioners Antony Batty and Company have donated a huge amount of time and money into redecorating the community garden on Latimer Road.
The centre is a place of hope, company and sanctuary for so many people locally and it is great that the garden can now be an additional place for people to enjoy. As always, it was a treat to be able to meet and chat with the local residents who come for some food and social company each week.
Visited Anglo-Continental School of English and spoke to Swiss students
The Anglo-Continental School of English on Wimborne Road welcomed a large group of Swiss exchange students in the first half of August and, as the Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West, I visited them to answer all the questions they had on the UK and our politics.
Anglo-Continental is a member of our bustling English Language Sector, which is a major employer locally and brings millions of pounds into the local economy. I am always on hand to champion this exciting local industry. We had excellent questions from the young people about our democracy. However, I was disturbed to hear that those adults coming with them had noticed a change for the worse in our local area. This is an additional encouragement to build our area back as we can ill afford to lose our local language sector from the economy.
Spoke to the North Bournemouth Rotary Club at the West Hants
It was a privilege to be invited to speak at the North Bournemouth Rotary Club Dinner recently. I wanted to thank the members there for their work, from putting on community events to organising litter picks. I also answered questions on a variety of issues, including my campaign to Build Bournemouth Back, crime and policing, and my time as a Minister of State in Northern Ireland and in the Department for International Trade.
Dropped into the Lifeguard Corps Summer BBQ on the beach
A couple of Fridays ago, Bournemouth Lifeguard Corps held their Summer BBQ at Durley Chine to thank volunteers for their efforts and celebrate their work. It gave me the chance to meet the wonderful people there, like Dorothy Fox, and look at the equipment they use in their operations.
I also heard about the organisation's ambitious plans for redevelopment of the building with the levelling up funding I secured from central government to build a new state of the art training and education centre on the site of the existing building. I look forward to returning to see the finished product.
Attended the Bournemouth Bengali Badminton Club
Last week, I visited Bournemouth Bengali Badminton Club as over 150 players from across the country faced off in a tournament. There was representation from Portsmouth to Birmingham there, so it was a source of pride that the event was taking place here in Bournemouth. I was able to watch some matches and tucked into some fantastic biryani that the organisers put on. Congratulations to everyone involved in putting it together.
Hosted a US Congressional Delegation
As the Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to the United States for Regional Trade and Investment, it was my pleasure to host a delegation of thirty House Representatives to the Houses of Parliament earlier this month. Leading the delegation were the House Majority leader Steve Scalise (to my right) and Alabama Representative Terri Sewell (to my left).
I took the delegation on a tour of Parliament before chairing a discussion on current issues affecting both countries. Towards the end, I had the privilege of presenting Majority Leader Scalise and Representative Sewell with a commemorative plate celebrating The King's Coronation year.