It was great to chat to shoppers in Urmston market last Saturday, when I joined disability campaigners to promote wheelchair accessible businesses in Urmston.
Thanks to everyone who gave their support, especially Urmston Partnership, organisers Barry and Steve, and everyone who helped on the stall. We're keen to encourage more shops to ensure they're accessible to all customers, so if you run a local business and would like to know more about how you can sign up to the Urmston scheme, please let me know.
Disabled people want to participate in every aspect of community life, and many would love to work, but they're much less likely to have a job than non disabled people. I was glad that my first contribution in the chamber when I got back to Westminster on Monday was to ask the government minister why she has reduced her target for the number of disabled people who are in employment. You can watch my question and her response on my Facebook page here.
And that was the beginning of three busy days in debates and question sessions in both the main chamber and Westminster Hall, on everything from race equality, to funding the cost of supported housing for elderly, disabled and vulnerable people, to provision of sites for Gypsies and Travellers, to the role of the arts in promoting good health (and I was pleased to be able to mention the excellent music therapy programme run by charity Nordoff Robbins in Stretford), to the closure of Royal Mail sorting offices (including the proposal to close the office in Stretford), to the inevitable questions about Brexit. You can read details of all my contributions in parliament (written and spoken) here.
My final event in parliament this week was to welcome students from Gorse Hill Primary School who'd come to visit. They had been to see Buckingham Palace before coming to Westminster - I didn't dare ask which impressed them more! They asked some brilliant questions, and were very well informed about what MPs actually do. I always love having schools come to visit, so if you're a teacher, parent or governor in Stretford and Urmston, and would like to arrange a trip, please get in touch and my office can give you all the information about how to book. There's help with funding for travel costs too. I look forward to welcoming many more young people to parliament in the coming months!
P.S.: I’ve had many residents who commute into Manchester get in touch with me about the serious overcrowding and delays on our local train services this week, due to Northern Rail only running services with two carriages on rush hour trains. It’s not acceptable for the service to be so woefully insufficient and I’ve written to Northern Rail to ask what urgent steps they can take to improve matters. I’ll provide an update when I receive a response.