People ask their MP for help for all sorts of reasons.
Take road safety. My office has been asked to help residents with traffic calming in Brownmoor Lane in Crosby, a new pedestrian crossing at the end of Sefton Lane in Maghull and a better crossing in Liverpool Road in Formby. Some of these requests for help have led to improvements, where Sefton Council has agreed with the residents, such as in Brownmoor Lane and in Sefton Lane. Others may take a little longer given the current financial crisis.
I have also been asked for help with a crossing in Green Lane in Maghull and not just because my children cross it every day to go to school. This one may take longer due to a shortage of cash and maybe this is where Maghull Town Council can use some of its resources to help where Sefton cannot.
Many people have also asked me for help in protecting greenspaces both in our towns and villages and in the greenbelt. This is a hot topic around Sefton and one which needs a lot of work. People really value the greenspace so in my view residents should be asked their views so that the needs of the existing community are considered first before the developers are allowed to build.
Issues like roads, bus services, school places and doctors surgeries are all important factors when considering any new housing and we are very lucky to have such fantastic open space in Sefton Central. I look forward over the coming years to working with residents and with politicians from all parties in addressing the twin needs of a shortage of affordable housing and how we protect our vital greenspaces.
Every now and then my office is able to help with an individual case and to see a happy outcome. This was the case when the Formby Shyira Trust asked for help in obtaining a visa for Robina to visit Formby and to speak at a conference at Edge Hill University.
Students from Formby visit Rwanda and trust volunteers work with people in Rwanda. The Shyira Trust is run by St Luke’s church volunteers and promotes contact.
Robina is a midwife in Rwanda and has transformed the life chances of mothers at the hospital where she works. She is to speak to midwifes here about her work as a great inspiring example of what can be achieved even with little or no money and of the difference that a midwife can make in the poorest country. The UK Border Agency put a spanner in the works when they refused a visa and my caseworker, Veronica had to intervene to make sure that the visa was secured.
Fortunately, the Agency relented and thanks to hard work from The Shyira Trust volunteers and Veronica, Robina will now be able to visit and to stay in Formby for two weeks to share her experiences and to learn more about her profession to take back to Rwanda. The trust do a great job linking St Luke’s with Rwanda and I am looking forward to meeting Robina when she visits next month.
I met Professor Allan Hobson, the trust chairman and Jane Morgan, who is head of midwifery at Edge Hill University. Both of them live in Formby and are using their expertise to support people in a part of the world that has experienced terrible times in the recent past. In the limited contact that I have had with Allan and Jane, I have been very impressed by their commitment to help people in a country that is in desperate need of help and have been impressed at their approach which teaches people how to build their own services and support rather than relying on others to do everything for them.
Parliament is in recess until after Easter and people often ask me if I am on holiday. In fact, MPs work in their constituencies as well as at Westminster, so during the recess I have many meetings, surgeries and spend most of my time visiting residents to hear about their concerns, so I can represent them down in London. Of course, living in Maghull, I also try to spend as much time as I can with my family and it was great to be able to celebrate my son’s seventh birthday with a party outside over the weekend, attended by many of his school friends.