Attending Vaisakhi celebrations

It was a pleasure to join the Indian Welfare Association of Barnsley on Sunday night for their Vaisakhi celebrations.And big congratulations to Mayon - who is the youngest black belt in the UK.

Visiting Hoyland Springwood Primary School

Popped in to Hoyland Springwood School, and took part in lessons run by Yorkshire Building Society where students were asked to plan a party, to teach them how to budget and manage finances.As a former teacher, it was great to be back in the classroom with students at Hoyland Springwood.

Visiting Highgrove Care Home as part of Care Home Open Day 2018

I dropped in to Highgrove Care Home in Stairfoot as part of Care Home Open Day 2018.Really enjoyed meeting the residents and staff.

Signing the 'Dying to Work' Charter

I’m proud to sign the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ charter, which sets out how terminally ill employees should be supported and protected in the workplace. Many people suffering from terminal illness will be unable to continue working, whilst others may choose not to. But those still capable and willing should be able to continue at work without the fear of being dismissed by unscrupulous employers, and the additional protections in the ‘Dying to Work’ charter will provide this.  

Raising Fly-Tipping in Parliament

I raised the issue of fly-tipping in Barnsley in Parliament this week – a damaging criminal activity which has a huge environmental and financial cost on our community. It’s unacceptable that slashes to budgets by this Tory Government have hit local authorities hard, and overall actions taken against fly-tipping across the country have fallen. I took the opportunity to call for our local authorities to be provided with the resources to tackle fly-tipping, and the powers to take a zero-tolerance approach which will truly deter anybody from undertaking this harmful activity.  

Placing a charity bet to raise money for BIADS

I placed a charity bet in today’s Grand National at Wombwell Ladbrooks.If See You At Midnight does well the winnings will go to Barnsley Independent Alzheimer's and Dementia Support, who I met earlier this week and their new carers support network fundraising appeal.

My Column on Supporting Young Nurses

The following appeared in my column for the Barnsley Chronicle on 13th April: Last week I visited Barnsley College, listening to local students about their experiences and hopes, and staff about how further education is working. One thing was obvious – we have great talent here in Barnsley. But it was just as obvious that Government policy is making that harder rather than easier to use. Just this week it was revealed that education for 16-19 year olds has been cut by over a billion pounds under the Tories. And when those students leave school or college, they would face debts higher than ever to continue in education thanks to them tripling tuition fees and scrapping grants. Yet instead of re-thinking, the Government is now doing the same to anyone who wants to qualify as a nurse. The NHS bursary is being scrapped and trainee nurses will now have to borrow the money instead, meaning they’ll start not only with a salary that’s been frozen for years but with a mountain of debt too.   Unsurprisingly, applications have fallen and those from the worst-off backgrounds have been most discouraged. It’s not just bad for them though – there is a shortage of nurses, so hospitals are forced to fork out agency fees or risk safety by under-staffing. It seems ridiculous that just as we are short of local people to fill these vital jobs, the support allowing them to qualify is taken away. Even worse, the Tories tried to extend this without allowing MPs to vote on it. That’s why I challenged the government on this in the Commons, and after a ruling from the Speaker, Ministers have now been forced to withdraw the new rules and re-table them to allow us a binding vote. I don’t know how I could have explained to the students at Barnsley College, or anyone who wants to serve the public as a nurse, that their MP could be stopped from even voting on this. So I’m glad we’ve won that at least. But this fight isn’t over. We need to stop this ridiculous policy in its tracks. If MPs want to say they care about the NHS, they better vote for it. I will – can Tories say the same?  

Speaking at the Barnsley Save our NHS public meeting

I spoke at the Barnsley Save Our NHS public meeting.   The NHS is one of our country’s greatest achievements, and today it faces a crisis due to the mismanagement and underfunding of this Tory Government.   We all have a role to play in fighting to defend our NHS and the ideals on which it was founded. It's important we all fight for an NHS which is properly funded and free at the point of use.

Visiting the Wombwell Operatic Society

I'm proud to be Patron of the Wombwell Operatic Society and popped into their rehearsal tonight.If you are about this Saturday they are doing a 12 hour sponsored sing along 🎭 http://www.wombwelloperatics.com

Speaking at the launch of the BIADS carer support service appeal

It's a huge honour to become a patron of Barnsley Independent Alzheimer's and Dementia Support (BIADS). I spoke at the launch of their carer support service appeal today alongside staff and carers who use the service.The passion, dedication and commitment shone through and it was humbling to hear what an important part BIADS plays supporting those living with dementia and their carers.