Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Share a Story

Tomorrow (Thursday 1st March) is World Book Day and this year I am supporting the Share a Story campaign to encourage child literacy. Share a Story aims to encourage parents and carers to introduce a ten-minute storytelling slot to make reading with children the nation’s new habit. Spending just ten minutes a day reading and sharing stories with children can make a crucial difference to their outcome, as well as being great fun for all involved! The campaign is supported by the Duchess of Cornwall and the Department for Education. You can read with your children anytime and anywhere, so this World Book Day why not start making sharing stories a new habit!

For more information about the Share a Story campaign, visit here-

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

A brilliant discussion at The Manors

I really enjoyed visiting The Manors care home in West Wylam last week where I met with residents and staff, as well as Head Teacher Emma Potts and pupils from Adderlane First School.  I spoke with the residents and pupils about litter issues in the area and what we can do to ensure that our streets are kept as clean and tidy as possible. It is always great to speak with young people about the issues they are passionate about, and we had a very constructive discussion with residents, pupils, staff and Councillor Gordon Stewart. We all have a part to play in ensuring that our local communities are kept clean, and I am delighted to see young pupils getting involved and doing their bit.

Monday, 26 February 2018

I back opt-out organ donation

Last week MPs backed the Organ Donation Bill, which could save hundreds of lives every year by introducing an opt-out organ donation process. The current rules mean that donors must choose to opt-in to declare that they are happy for their organs to be given to someone else after their death. The new proposed law would change the rules so that instead people would have to declare if they do not want to be a donor. England has some of the lowest rates of organ donation in Western Europe, with around 500 people dying every year because of a lack of suitable donors according to the NHS. I am therefore delighted that the vote passed with no opposition, clearing the first step towards saving the lives of hundreds of people waiting for transplants. The Bill was introduced by Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson and will now be scrutinised during the committee stage, before passing through the House of Lords. I have spoken in the past with Community Champion of the Year Alicia Armstrong, who herself received a transplant, about the importance of organ donation, and so I know just how important this Bill could be. I hope that this is the first step towards an opt-out system in England.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Visiting Wentworth Grange

Earlier this week I paid a visit to Wentworth Grange care home in Riding Mill, which has recently been rated good in a Care Quality Commission inspection, an improvement on past inspections in 2015 and 2017. It was great to meet staff and residents who are all benefitting from Wentworth Grange's care. Staff at Wentworth Grange aim to create a normalised environment for residents and now aim to achieve the higher rating award which nowhere in Northumberland has yet achieved. Wentworth Grange supports around 50 elderly service users across two separate units. I really enjoyed my visit and I am in no doubt that Wentworth Grange will keep getting better.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

I pledge my support to ban #ShockinglyLegal electric dog collars

This week I attended a Dogs Trust event at the House of Commons to pledge my support for a ban on the use and sale of electric shock collars. Electric shock collars are training devices that deliver an electric shock to the dog via metal protrusions from the collar making contact with the neck, with the aim of reducing unwanted behaviours such as livestock chasing or crossing property boundaries. The collars can be activated by remote control or automatically. Despite being cruel and causing distress and anxiety to dogs, the collars are #ShockinglyLegal and England is lagging behind both Scotland and Wales, which have both banned their use. There is simply no need for this type of dog collar when there are so many positive training methods available, and so I am delighted to pledge my support to Dogs Trust in calling for a ban on the use and sale of these out-dated and cruel electronic dog collars. This is a hugely important issue for dog welfare and I hope my support will help make a difference.

Friday, 23 February 2018

My formal response to Northumberland County Council's consultation on education in West Northumberland

IMPORTANT: Education in West Northumberland Consultation- I cannot support any of the proposals outlined in the County Council's consultation. This is important for my community, please read my formal response here:

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Hidden Treasure in Horsley

I recently visited Graham Smith Antiques in Horsley, a family-owned antiques business specialising in furniture which was a one of the winners of my Small Business Awards in December to celebrate Small Business Saturday. I really enjoyed meeting owner Graham Smith, who personally sources and chooses all of the antiques on sale. With furniture, clocks, ceramics and more, there is an incredible selection of antiques for sale, both in the shop and online. I was especially interested to hear about the wide range of places Graham has sold antiques to online- from Tasmania to Alaska. 

The Horsley shop is a treasure trove of antiques- there is something for every taste. It is so important to me to support local businesses and I would definitely recommend taking a look at the antiques currently for sale here-