On Sunday I attended the Pride event in Leeds. Pride is an incredible event that celebrates the LGBT+ community but also seeks to raise awareness of the issues people still face. This year marks the 50th anniversary since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, and so much progress has been made in this time. But LGBT+ people are still subject to prejudice and discrimination in so many forms. Pride is an occasion to bring everyone together and fight for true equality for LGBT+ people, and I’m proud to stand in solidarity them.
I visited a food bank in Wombwell today to find out about the work they do in providing emergency food for those who are struggling. The food bank does an incredible job and is kept running by dedicated and hard-working volunteers who give up their time to help out others. But in this day and age it is completely unacceptable that people have to rely on food banks for access to food. In fact, the number of people dependent on the emergency food packages is rising, with an increase of 7 per cent across the country since last year. This included 436,000 emergency food supplies that were given to children between April 2016 and March 2017. In Barnsley alone, there are 6000 children who receive free school meals. But once schools break up for the holidays, the children no longer have access to these meals and experience ‘holiday hunger’, meaning many of them will be forced to visit a food bank. For too long the Government has attempted to balance the books on the backs of the poorest and forced too many to be reliant on food banks. Despite the outstanding work done by Wombwell food bank and others like it across the country, I’ll be fighting hard for those forced into food poverty by this Tory Government.
A few weekends ago I had my first experience of the annual Live in Barnsley music festival. It's a fantastic event that draws a huge number of fans and visitors to the area, and this year a record number of over 7000 people turned out in the sun to watch the huge number of musicians on offer. Continue reading
I wasn't born in Barnsley but I chose to make it home. And In the early hours of June 9th, the election results came in and I was asked to make make my first speech as Barnsley East's MP to a cheering crowd at the Metrodome. It was one of the proudest days of my life. Continue reading