Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Speaking at Bulphan Women's Institute on climate change

It was great to be invited to visit Bulphan Women's Institute for its recent Green Hearts event, raising awareness about climate change.

Speaking at Bulphan Women's Institute's Green Hearts event

Needless to say it is an extremely important issue and we can always do more to help tackle threats to the environment. It is topical too: the Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced in September that the government has begun the domestic process for ratifying the landmark Paris Climate Agreement before the next United Nations climate talks.

I enjoyed seeing so many people, both old and young, engaging with environmental concerns and coming together as a local community.

NHS England moves to protect services at East Tilbury and Corringham Medical Centres

I welcome the news that NHS England has paused its process to close the medical centres at East Tilbury and Corringham and will instead review the decision.

NHS England had previously informed patients as to its decision to close the practices in East Tilbury and Corringham from 30 November, however it has now decided to pause and review the process and has apologised to patients for any distressed caused.

NHS England has secured an agreement with GP provider College Health Ltd so there will be no disruption to patients and their access to these primary care services.

I intervened last week and requested that further time be given to review the decision after listening to the concerns of many patients who rely upon these importance services.

I am glad that NHS England has listened and has also committed to further discussions with patients. I now look forward to a better solution being proposed for all involved parties.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Celebrating 12 years of Parkrun

I was recently pleased to visit Basildon Parkrun as part of the global Parkrun movement's 12th anniversary.

Speaking to Parkrunners in Basildon
During the last 12 years the Parkrun movement has grown from strength to strength and Basildon Parkrun is one of more than 900 Parkruns that take place every weekend around the world.

Every Parkrun is coordinated entirely by volunteers from the local community and open to anyone who wants to take part. They are free, weekly, timed events, consisting of a 5km course for adults and 2km for juniors, and they are accessible to runners and walkers of all ages and abilities.

Parkrun's mission is to encourage more people to take part in regular physical activity and volunteering, and to make the world a happier and healthier place.

Basildon Parkrun started nearly three years ago and is now attracting over 100 runners per week.

Its attraction is clear for all to see, which is why Basildon has registered runners starting from age four going up to 80 years young - encouraging all abilities, from walking to running.

It is a great way to get healthy and make new friends and it is also fantastic to see our public spaces used in such a positive way.

Everyone involved in making Basildon Parkrun happen deserves a big thank you, from the volunteers to the participants and of course the team at the Parkrun movement HQ who help to support our local groups.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Visit to record-breaking Woodlands School

With Woodlands School pupils
It was great to visit Woodlands School in Basildon and see first-hand how the school is developing.

I was pleased to find that Woodlands is going from strength-to-strength under the leadership of its Headteacher, Mr Simon Cox, and that it has seen a fantastic turn-around.

The school achieved record exam results in 2016, with 5 A*- C GCSE including English and Maths at 58%, representing a 10% increase on results from the year before.

The teachers and students that I met on my visit were all very impressive and I look forward to hearing more about the school's progress in the future.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

A great community day for Basildon

It was great to go to the Love Your Borough event that took place in Basildon at the weekend. The event, organised by Basildon Council, celebrated the local community and brought together people from across our area, with activities that ranged from Brazilian capoeira to a spin bike challenge.

There was such a positive atmosphere throughout the day and it showed how much we have to be proud of in our local area.

In Basildon with Cllr Kevin Blake, Deputy Leader of Basildon Council
local resident Jeff Henry and Chairman of Basildon Rotary Club Danny Lovey

Catching up with Basildon Street Pastors at the Love Your Borough event

Later in the day I attended a civic reception for double Olympic champion Max Whitlock and the South Essex Gymnastics Club where he trains. It was fantastic to welcome Max back to Basildon after his amazing Olympic Games in Rio this summer.

We knew that we had an extraordinary gymnast in Max and it was brilliant to see him show that to a global audience through his historic double gymnastics gold for Team GB.

The whole team at South Essex Gymnastics Club deserve the highest praise, including Max's coach Scott Hann and the gym's leader Roy Short.

Max Whitlock speaking at the civic reception in Basildon

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Visiting Basildon Hospital Radio's BHR1287 studio

I enjoyed my latest visit to Basildon Hospital Radio's BHR1287 studio for its Sunday request programme.
With volunteers and other guests at BHR1287
The radio station has a fantastic team of volunteers, who provide entertainment, news, and information to patients 24/7. This great community service is driven by the energy and commitment of those who help to run it, and I am always impressed by the level of enthusiasm I see on my visits to the station.

A big thank you to all the volunteers at BHR1287 for producing quality content for patients at the hospital.

In the BHR1287 studio for the request programme

Monday, 25 July 2016

Opening the new pitch at Bowers & Pitsea FC

It was a pleasure to be invited to officially open the new pitch at Bowers & Pitsea Football Club following its recent development.

Thank you to everyone at the club for the warm welcome and best of luck for next season!

Officially opening Bower & Pitsea FC's new pitch.
Photo by NashPhotography