Preston Constituency Newsletter - November 2016

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Mark Hendrick MP

Member of Parliament for Preston

Dear Subscriber

Welcome to my November 2016 e-newsletter.   

The recent election of Republican Donald Trump as America's 45th President is an unexpected set back for internationalism. This presidential campaign was very bitter and just like the Brexit campaign, used race and religion to create division and mistrust amongst voters.  

Following an historic presidency, America's first African American President, Barack Obama will leave office with a long list of achievements including; a better economy, a landmark health bill, leadership on climate change and terrorism and the legalisation of same sex marriage, amongst others.  Just like Britons waiting to see what happens post- Brexit, the rest of the world community and the American people are taking stock of what this will mean for them.

#Anti-Bullying Week takes place this week from 14th-18th November and there will events taking place in schools across Preston as well as in Parliament to raise awareness about this very important issue.  Organised by the Anti-Bullying Campaign, the theme this year is #Power for Good which is designed to encourage individual and collective action to create safe environments for children and prevent bullying.

Some good news recently has been that Preston has been recognised as one of the best places to live and work in the North West and I am proud that our City ranked 19th in the Good Growth for Cities Guide, well above Manchester (ranked 30th) and Liverpool (ranked 37th).  This welcome news is a boost for Preston and comes at an important time as we approach the festive season.

Best wishes

Fulwood Barracks Closure

Pictured above with me are: BBC reporter Graham Liver (left) and Cllr Peter Rankin, Leader, Preston City Council (right).

You may have already heard about the plans to close Fulwood Barracks by the Ministry of Defence. I am disappointed that this decision was made by the MoD without consulting local MPs or local authorities and as such I will be speaking to the relevant Minister to find out how this decision was made, how it will be handled from here and if there is anything that can be done to save our historic garrison.

The decision has been made following the recent announcement that the MoD are looking to close 56 sites across the country in the next five years. 

This has come as a big blow to Preston as Fulwood Barracks is an important part of the City, both as a home to The Queens Lancashire Regiment, 42nd Infantry Brigade HQ and to the Lancashire Infantry Museum. 

Recycling Lives

I visited the Recycling Lives facility on Essex Street in Preston where I was invited to meet with the charity’s directors and residents and to tour the facilities, including the living accommodation on offer.  The Recycling Lives charity and business was set up eight years ago and provides accommodation, training and employment for vulnerable people looking to find their way back to independent living.  Ex-offenders and people facing homelessness are supported back to independent living through a six stage programme of accredited education or training and paid work whilst living in the purpose built accommodation.
I met with Alex Mercer, Bids and Tenders Manager, Alasdair Jackson, Operations Director and Charity Director, Neil Flanagan.  I was also shown ‘#Release Potential Short Film’, an interesting film which documents residents’ journeys through Recycling Lives onto successful independent living.
It’s fantastic to see that a commercial business can successfully provide not only a service to industry but have at its heart, a social welfare enterprise that gives vulnerable individuals a chance to rebuild their lives.  Some of the solutions I have seen are truly innovative, such as the social enterprise café and business incubator hubs.  The ‘Pathways to Independence’ are clearly working as the outcomes for residents and former residents are very positive.  Residents have gained long-term employment, transferred to secure independent living whilst forming meaningful relationships and in some cases returning to the charity to provide assistance to others who are in need of help.
Operations Director, Alasdair Jackson said: “We are extremely grateful for Mark Hendrick MP taking time out of his busy schedule to visit Recycling Lives.  It was our pleasure to show him around our facilities and share with him the work we do with ex-offenders and people facing homelessness.
“The social issues we tackle are vital to the improvement and development of Preston and to society as whole. We welcome the support of Mark Hendrick MP as we plan the expansion of the Recycling Lives HMP Academy programme, and increase our social impact.”

I also had an opportunity to discuss the experiences of current residents, Ian Green and Keith Meadows, who live and work at the Preston site. Current resident Ian Green said: “I am enjoying the work and my residency here.  I’m also excited about my future and my ambition is to go on and become a crane operator”.
Fellow resident Keith Meadows said: ‘I am looking forward to the future and hoping to get my licence for a driving job here with Recycling Lives.  I want to settle in Preston and I don’t want to go back to my old ways.’

New Rathbone Training  Centre in Preston

I recently visited the newly opened Rathbone Training Centre and met with staff and learners. I was shown around by Candice Davies, Head of Operations for Rathbone Training Skills and Employability who led a presentation detailing the training programmes offered at the City Centre training base. This was a great opportunity for me to meet some young people and discuss their portfolios and career aspirations.  I had a chance to speak to learners Molly Hughes and Ria Mitchell and gauge some of the issues that affect young people including anti-social behaviour, legal highs and cyber-bullying.

From left: Andrew Pyke, Administrator, Christine Aguilar, from Lancashire Young People’s Service, Mark Hendrick MP, Candice Davies, Head of Operations for Rathbone Training Skills and Employability, Molly Hughes, learner, Katrina Benyon , ESF Tutor, Alicia Yates, Programme Co-ordinator and Ria Mitchell, learner.

The Rathbone Training Centre offers training and apprenticeships to young people aged 16-24.  Working in partnership with Preston’s College and local employers, the programme allows trainees to develop their skills in their chosen field and enhance their employability whilst being supported by tutors on site.
The Rathbone charity was borne out of the work done by Elfrida Rathbone, a pioneering youth campaigner who began teaching in a special school in King’s Cross, London one hundred years ago.  Elfrida dedicated herself to teach children who were deemed incapable of learning and her early work resulted in the formation of The Elfrida Society, and later The Rathbone Charity.
Rathbone Training is a UK wide charity that offers training opportunities for young people in England, Scotland and Wales.  Apprenticeships programmes are delivered across the region and the Preston Centre will be offering a ten week training programme which will result in accreditation and a related work placement.

I am passionate about apprenticeships and a high quality training provider like Rathbone is just what I think Preston needs to upskill our young people, make them ready for work with good quality training and placements so that they can kickstart of their careers with the right support.
Alicia Yates, Programme Co-ordinator in Preston said: “Our new Rathbone Training centre in Preston offers a 10 week ESF funded Moving On programme, based around work experience and employability skills. Our programme engages learners through a City and Guild's employability qualification and a work placement in their chosen industry, to encourage them to progress successfully with their future career aspirations.”
Megan Mottershead is a seventeen year old learner from Bamber Bridge. She has previously attended another college which did not engage her in learning.  Megan said: “I chose Rathbone Training because I believe I can come out achieving. Rathbone Training has a more relaxed atmosphere and I am happier here than I was at my old college.” 


A & E Closures

I have received a number of emails from concerned constituents about the risk of A&E Department closures as reported by The Telegraph.  There are warnings that one in three A&E Departments are set to close which will have a huge impact on health services in Preston, especially as we already have a temporary closure of the A&E Department at Chorley Hospital.  I raised the issue with a Written Parliamentary Question and the response is set out below:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, which Ministers of his Department have met with NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission in which weeks since 11 July 2016; and at which of those meetings specific accident and emergency department closures were discussed.

Ministers have regular meetings with NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission to discuss a variety of issues. The redesign and delivery of front-line health services is a matter for the local National Health Service – clinically led by front-line NHS organisations and clinicians who are closest to the needs of communities and therefore best-placed to make decisions in the interests of their patients.

I will of course be keeping a close eye on this issue and I have met with Jan Ledward, Chief Officer at the Greater Preston Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that plans for the local Sustainably and Transformation Plans (STP) involve local people and meet the needs of patients. My team has been involved in feeding into the NHS's local plan 'Our Health, Our Care' programme whilst it is at the solution design stage.

Written Questions

Some of the latest Written Parliamentary Questions I have asked are listed below.  Click on the links to read the full text of the questions and answers (if they have been answered by the relevant Minister.)

I invite feedback on the questions raised and answers given by Ministers.  Please email me at, with your views.

#WRD16 Show Racism the Red Card

Pictured above with me are North West MPs; Alison McGovern MP (Wirral South), Kate Green MP (Stretford and Urmston), Derek Twigg MP (Halton), and Justin Madders MP (Ellesmere Port and Neston). 

I am pleased to support the 'Wear Red Day 2016' campaign to Show Racism the Red Card. The #WRD16 campaign raises awareness of some of the work done by SRtRC whilst raising funds at the same time to carry on doing the good work that they do.  People from all different types of backgrounds; footballers, schools, unions and role models were asked to take part by wearing something red on the day and donating a pound each.
Copyright © 2016 Mark Hendrick MP, All rights reserved.

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