This newsletter is one of the regular updates I send out to residents in Scunthorpe. You can sign up for email updates on my website.
I hope you are well. May was a big moment for many of us. It was the first time we were able to see our loved ones indoors, and even give them a hug! It has been a pleasure to work with many of you over the past few weeks as we saw the reopening of indoor hospitality, cinemas, theatres and the end of the cap on people attending funerals.
I know the community was devastated by the death of Adam Simms a couple of weeks ago and I am working with North Lincolnshire Council (NLC) to see what we can do to prevent this from happening again.
Last week was Dementia Action Week, and I was able to talk about how our area has dealt with this important issue. I paid tribute to our local social services for the care they provided to my grandma, along with the amazing facilities we have for the future- like our schools and colleges' social care courses- to look after dementia patients.
I also had the chance to pay tribute to our fantastic vaccination centre volunteers in the Commons, who continue to inoculate residents at an impressive rate- their work saves lives everyday and will pave the way to us regaining our freedoms.
As ever, please find below my progress reports on key local issues:
- Working with local residents
- Protecting and promoting our world-class British Steel
- Upgrading Scunthorpe Hospital
- Rejuvenating Our Local Roads
- Supporting our local businesses, community groups, and building up our high street
- Working with our local schools
- Useful information and links for residents
Working with local residents
I've noticed an increased interest in litter-picking volunteering in Scunthorpe over the past weeks and months, and I am delighted to see so many people wanting to help clean up our community!
North Lincolnshire Council is providing free litter picking tools and litter bags for those who wish to do some litter picking around their area. If you want to get involved, get in touch with me or NLC and you can have a litter picking pack dropped. I was delighted to drop-off equipment to our youngest volunteers a few weeks ago! NLC also have some helpful guidance for those who would like to organise litter picking groups.
When knocking on doors this month, I came across a number of residents having problems with the roads. This included glass on snickets, broken fences along the side and potholes. These have all been raised, and I would encourage anyone having problems to get in touch- you will be playing your part in making your community better for everyone. Please share what you know with me.
Hedgehog Awareness Week was between 2nd-8th May. As well as visiting a nearby Hedgehog Hospital lately, I have been asked by residents to remind those with strimmers to thoroughly check undergrowth before cutting to ensure there are no hedgehogs underneath. The animals will likely just curl up into a ball so checking is essential.
Protecting and Promoting our British steel
What is being done?
I am working with colleagues, the local steelworks and Ministers to preserve steel safeguards on a number of products produced locally. Consultations are ongoing and I am determined to ensure that the industry is not at a disadvantage to the rest of the world.
Indeed, I tabled a Written Question to the Business Secretary to enquire about whether current trade remedies adequately protect steel.
I also met with the International Trade Minister last week to make this clear, and raised my concerns to Cabinet Office Secretary Michael Gove in Parliament.
Of course, I continue to champion British steel wherever I can, so I made sure to highlight the quality of our steel for Ministry of Defence projects in Parliament.
I will continue to work closely with our steelworks and raise the key matters that affect them with government.
Upgrading Scunthorpe Hospital
What is being done?
I know residents have been worried about the availability of in-person GP appointments as we move out of lockdown, and I share these concerns. I raised this with the CCG last month and met with our local health team last week to discuss this, and I am working with people affected to ensure everyone is offered a physical consultation if necessary.
In addition, it has come to my attention that disabled access to cervical screenings and other examinations could be limited by the lack of hoists in our local Trust. I am currently consulting with local residents, the CCG and Healthcare North Lincolnshire on better access, and have tabled a Written Question to raise this nationally.
On this, you may be interested to know that a call for evidence on the government's 'Women's Health Strategy' for the coming years has been extended until 13th June. You can fill in the public survey or make a written submission.
Following emerging evidence that second vaccination doses strongly increase protection against the Indian Covid variant, the gap between first and second doses was brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks. To seek clarity, I asked the Health Secretary to outline what this meant for residents who had already booked appointments in the Commons.
I will continue to push for upgraded facilities for Scunthorpe General Hospital. And I have made it clear to the Health Secretary that I want the government to go ahead with the reopening on the 21st June, following the incredible efforts of residents and healthcare workers in Scunthorpe over the past few months.
Rejuvenating our local roads
What is being done?
Many Kirton residents will be pleased to hear that a Temporary Stop Notice is now in place on the Station Rd development as of 28th May, following a number of concerns residents raised with me. I have written to homes in the nearby area to update them on these developments,
I want to reassure residents that I remain resolute in getting a decent solution on the issues in Kirton before any further development takes place to mitigate against any flood risk to residents' homes. Please be assured that this is a priority.
On top of the report on Mortal Ash Hill safety measures, my office and I will continue to raise local road issues on behalf of residents. I know that the local Council is sourcing exciting new equipment to deal with potholes- watch this space.
Supporting our local businesses, community groups, and building our high street
What is being done?
It was a pleasure to visit Hall Farm last week to learn more about the local work that their team do. Along with their work for veterans, they host educational trips for local schools and youth groups. I was lucky enough to meet Mint, a therapy sheep, and a pair of incredibly large Lincoln Red heifers! Businesses like Hall Farm provide several real benefits to the community and they should be proud of the local work they're doing.
Having worked with North Lincolnshire Council on the Discretionary Grant for businesses, I am pleased to confirm that the Council's Discretionary Impact Grant is now accepting applications. You can read more about it on my latest Business Update now, or sign up to my Business Updates here. You can also email me or NLC for more information.
I continue to work on issues close to residents' hearts. After receiving correspondence from members of the community about improving recognition of British Sign Language, I tabled a Written Question to encourage Local Authorities and other organisations to do more for the deaf community.
North Lincs Council is aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts relating to COVID-19 Government business grants, with fraudsters trying to mimic government personnel. I am pleased that the new Police and Crime Commissioner Jonathan Evison has launched his "Say No To Fraud" campaign, and I have tabled Written Questions on phone scams to the Home Secretary and Culture, Media and Sports Secretary to strengthen enforcement.
I will continue to provide Business Updates and work with local businesses to access grant support schemes.
Working with our local schools
What is being done?
Two fantastic teachers in our area have been nominated for the annual TES Awards! Huge congratulations to North Lincolnshire Engineering UTC's Joanne Wilby (nominated for School Business Leader of the Year) and Zoe Hennchen (New Teacher of the Year nominee)- I have written to them both to thank them for their nation-leading work during a year of unprecedented challenges.
I was also able to visit Youth Engineering Scunthorpe last month, which provides training and support for local young people. This is a brilliant initiative that offers young people a pathway in engineering and manufacturing, and it was great to see the factory in action.
Youth Engineering Scunthorpe is keen to work with more local employers so please get in touch with them if you are interested.
Working closely with our schools and government, I will do my bit to ensure that our pupils have the resources necessary not just to catch-up, but to succeed over the coming months and years I look forward to my upcoming meetings and engagements with school leaders in our area.