|Highlights of past three weeks|
|Tuesday, 06 May 2008 10:01|
I am afraid that pressure of various campaigns and parliamentary business has meant that I have not been able to do my weekly blog for the last 3 weeks. This entry will simply highlight some of the things I have been up to over the last 3 weeks;
I have been holding my usual drop in surgeries in Earlsfield Library and Balham Community Centre as well as my appointment surgery at Tooting Library.
I held my inaugural Environmental Policy Forum in the House of Commons. The forum was attended by more than 100 local environmental activists, who had the opportunity to put questions to the Minister for Climate Change, Joan Ruddock MP, before discussions were held about what local action could be taken on the issues of sustainable transport, sustainable energy and recycling. There were several points of action from the meeting which I am following up with the Council, the Government and Transport for London.
I met representatives of Oxfam who were running a “Sisters of the Planet” exhibition in the House of Commons. The exhibition was designed to highlight the disproportionate impact climate change is having on women living in poverty. It was an audio-visual exhibition which, through the stories of women, highlights how climate change is already putting greater pressure on their lives. It also shows what can be achieved when women have a voice in decision making and support to adapt their local environments. You can see a photo of me visiting the exhibition by clicking HERE.
I met with representatives of Wandsworth and Merton Law Centre to discuss concerns they have about the potential ramifications of changes in Legal Aid is having on their ability to do their job. I also met with Legal Aid Minister, Lord Hunt, to discuss these issues. I am confident that a solution can be found to the excellent local Law Centres concerns, whilst at the same time addressing the ever increasing Legal Aid Budget.
I attended and spoke at an event organised jointly by the Age Activity Centre and Cancer Resource Centre, in Tooting, looking at the link between cancer and diet.
Safety of local children on the road is an important issue to me. I met with parents, students and teachers from Sellincourt Primary School to discuss concerns they had about local road safety. Part of the road outside the school is level with the pavement (without a raised kerb) and ineffective wooden bollards have been knocked down by cars and not replaced by the Council. Cars regularly mount the pavement outside the school, to park and turn round, blocking the view of pedestrians crossing the road. Parents and teachers are concerned that it is just a matter of time before a child is seriously hurt in a road traffic accident. I visited the school to see the problem for myself and made immediate representations to the Council and local Safer Neighbourhood Team, to request that they take urgent action to stop this problem.
I have also had a number of responses to the consultation I have begun about the major developments on Springfield University Hospital. South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust have laid out proposals to develop the 80 acre site at Springfield University Hospital, which up to 14000 new houses, new shops, communal spaces and hospital facilities. This will clearly have an impact on traffic, the environment and local amenities and the building works are likely to take a number of years. It is important that local resident have their say on this issue. You can find out more and download my survey by clicking HERE.
I also attended and thoroughly enjoyed Battersea Labour Party’s Centenary Event in the House of Commons. A commemorative DVD has been made of their history and it was good to see other Parliamentarians present to celebrate the evening.
Theatre staff at St Georges have expressed some concerns about restructuring taking place and I was keen to meet staff to listen to and discuss the issue with them. Over one hundred and fifty theatre nurses and technicians at St. George’s Hospital attended the meeting. UNISON Theatre staff, while agreeing that there needs to be increased utilisation of Theatres at the hospital, contend that staff need to be involved in any developments and it is vital that Theatre staff pay and conditions are not eroded. I have contacted the Hospital Trust about this matter and will be working with the Trust, UNISON officials and St George’s Staff. You can see a photo of me with St George’s Theatre Staff by clicking HERE
I hosted a reception for Young Enterprise London to celebrate the volunteers who make their work possible. Young Enterprise provides young people in the city with direct experience of learning to work efficiently as individuals and as team members by supporting them in starting up their own businesses. You can find out more about their work by visiting their website by clicking HERE.
I was also interviewed by students from Burntwood School as part of their contribution to BBC News Schools Day. I was very impressed with the journalistic and technical talents of students at Burntwood School. It is really good to see the confidence of those involved in this project. The excellent coverage they received on the BBC showed the rest of the world that the next Kate Adie or Kirsty Walk could come from Tooting. To see Burntwood’s School Report for the BBC click HERE. To see a photo of me with the aspiring Journalists, click HERE.
One of the highlights of the last fortnight has been the opportunity to give out so many Awards to Girl Guides from South London at a special ceremony organised thanks to the Jack Petchey Foundation. 36 Achievement Award winners and 9 Adult Leader Award winners were presented.
I also attended the launch of the campaign by Ken Livingstone to be re-elected as Mayor of London. To find out more about Ken’s policies and vision for London click HERE.
I attended a special conference for young people in the Methodist Church Hall and was interviewed by young people from “Voice it”. You can find out more details about the exciting work that is going out in partnership between the Ministry of Justice and Radiowaves by visiting www.radiowaves.co.uk/voiceit.
My campaign to save 4 local Post Offices from closure in Tooting has been gaining momentum. I am pleased that the Council is now onboard but very disappointed about the party political games they continue to play on an issue that should unite locally elected representatives. I attended a Public Meeting organised by the Council in Tooting Ward (where there are no plans to close any Post Offices). I have made further representations to the Deputy Leader of Wandsworth Council, Maurice Heaster, to lobby him to provide subsidy for the four Post Offices proposed for closure in Tooting. I have also met with the Minister of State for Post Offices, Pat McFadden MP, and was told by him that the Government are encouraging Post Office Ltd to engage seriously with local authorities who wish to step in and fund particular branches. The Minister was confident that a deal would be struck with Essex Council to save their Post Offices and saw no reason why Wandsworth Council couldn’t do the same.
There are fifty local authorities in discussions with Post Office Ltd about taking control of local services, however, Wandsworth is not yet one of them. I have expressed to Councillor Heaster that I will work with him and the Council Officers to save local Post Office in Tooting.
To find out more about what I have been doing in relation to local Post Office click HERE.
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