Stephen McPartland MP
Working hard for you
in Stevenage, Knebworth, Codicote, Datchworth and Aston

It has been a fantastic year for Stevenage and my favourite moment was welcoming the Queen to the Lister hospital to open the new Maternity Unit, closely followed by the arrival of the Olympic Torch. Stevenage continues to go from strength to strength and is helping to lead the country out of these difficult economic times. Unemployment continues to fall, more young people are in apprenticeships than ever before, the Da Vinci studio school has opened its doors and is specialising in Science and Engineering for 14-19 year old students. The newly built Nobel, Marriots and Lonsdale schools will be officially opened in 2013 with other schools seeing extensions and refurbishments.

In the last few weeks we have just secured more funding which is transforming the Lister hospital into one of the most advanced and modern facilities in the UK. The next year will see lots of new buildings being constructed as part of the massive £280 million government investment in infrastructure I have secured for our local schools, hospital, housing and jobs. There are plenty of challenges ahead but 2013 looks set to be another year of hope, ambition and achievement as we build on our success.

 

With best wishes,
Stephen

www.stephenmcpartland.co.uk

Local MP Stephen McPartland visited the exhibition of work by members of the Stevenage Arts Society held this month at the Denington Galleries at Springfield House.  Earlier in the year he had tried his hand at pottery, using the specialist facilities at Springfield House, ably instructed and assisted by experienced potter Vivienne Western.  Stephen was pleased by the result and that it was included in the exhibition.

Stephen said "The standard of work in the exhibition was amazing and it was a surprise and real honour to have my bowl displayed. I had great fun making the piece and would like to thank Vivienne for her patient support."

Stephen is pictured with Mary Green who is Chair of the Stevenage Arts Society.

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, took a group of local charities into Parliament to meet the Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP Minister for Civil Society.  The meeting was arranged after Stephen held a debate in Parliament to celebrate the work of charities in Stevenage and the Minister extended an invitation to them to meet.

Stephen said, "I am proud of the contribution charities and community groups make to our area and was delighted to take a broad range of groups in to meet the Minister. It was a great opportunity to discuss the challenges facing charities and extend personal invitations for the Minister to visit and see our work in action."

Charities that were represented at the meeting were: POhWER, Hertfordshire PASS, Turn the Tide, The Living Room, Weldability-Sif Foundation.

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, visited Royal Mail’s Stevenage delivery office to pass on best Christmas wishes and encouragement to the postmen and women at their busiest time of year.

Stephen said, “It was great to meet the hard-working Royal Mail postmen and women at Stevenage delivery office and to see at first hand just how much effort they put into delivering for people at this time of year. Postmen and women do such an important job at this time of year. I would like to thank them for their efforts and wish them all the best over the busy festive period.”

Stephen was shown round the office by local Delivery Office Manager Paul Johnson, who introduced him to all the postmen and women who are working hard doing their bit to sort and deliver all the cards and parcels in the Stevenage area in the run-up to Christmas.

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, was the guest of honour at charity Abbeyfield’s regional launch of their annual Christmas campaign, Companionship At Christmas last Friday at a supported house in Stevenage for older people.   The visit was to find out more about Abbeyfield and its attempt to help combat the increasing trend in festive isolation. Abbeyfield is inviting members of local communities with elderly neighbours living alone, family members in need of respite support and those who plan to spend the Christmas period alone to contact them.

Stephen said, "Christmas is a wonderful time of year with many families getting together to share the celebrations, but we must take a moment to remember those who will be alone this Christmas. I launched the local Companionship at Christmas campaign at Abbeyfields in Stevenage and had thge opportunity to meet many of the residents and volunteers who share their time. Let us all have a great Christmas and take a moment or two for a neighbour that may be having Christmas alone."

Companionship At Christmas was created to provide an alternative to spending the celebratory period alone. They will be offering free overnight stays and delicious Christmas lunches over the festive season (24th December – 4th January) in over 100 Abbeyfield sheltered houses and care homes across the country.

The Charity will take enquiries via their website www.abbeyfield.com or via their dedicated telephone number 0845 052 3553 up until the 18th December.

Around 1 in a 100 people suffers from autism and Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, is supporting a nationwide charity challenge to help raise awareness of issues affecting pupils with autism.

Stephen said, “I am delighted to be supporting the Anderson Schools Challenge and help raise awareness of autism. School can be a real struggle for many children with the condition, but better understanding can make a real difference. This is a fun and easy way to improve awareness of autism and I am happy to attend any of the events in schools."

The Anderson Schools Challenge is a joint campaign between The National Autistic Society (NAS) and the Anderson Foundation, which asks schools to complete 50 fun and easy tasks. The tasks, which range from fitting 50 items into a Smarties tube to holding an autism-awareness assembly. To sign up to the Anderson Schools Challenge visit www.autism.org.uk/schoolschallenge

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, is pictured here with the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, on the announcment of the latest phase of development for the Lister hospital.

Stephen said, "I am delighted to have worked with Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, to secure the £72 million funding for phase four of the Lister hospital. We are now approaching a massive investment of £150 million from the government which is transforming the Lister into one of the most modern and advanced hospital's in the UK. This latest tranche of money will pay for another eleven projects including a new ward block, extended emergency facilities and purpose built theatres.

Stephen added, "I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the staff who are saving lives on a day to day basis and putting patients at the heart of our hospital. I am proud the Lister is becoming a centre of clinical excellence and I am proud of our local NHS - this is a fantastic day for Stevenage."

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, is supporting the Dogs Trust campaign to encourage people to think carefully before taking on a dog, especially during the festive season.

Stephen said “A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas" and we need people to think twice to stop the problem of dogs being given as gifts at Christmas only to be later abandoned in January. The online sale of pets means that impulse buying of animals has become an appealing option and the lure of a quick sale attracts many unscrupulous breeders particularly during the Christmas period"."

Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity,caring for over 16,000 abandoned and unwanted dogs a year.

Residents of Lonsdale Court in the Pin Green area of Stevenage are suffering the effects of poor quality maintenance work which is carried out inefficiently.  Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, was called in to hear how Stevenage Borough Council forces leaseholders to pay for work that is sub-standard or has not been carried out. Stephen was shocked to discover that a recent example included Stevenage Borough Council losing the padlock to a purpose-built access door, so a whole series of scaffolding was erected instead.

Stephen commented, "Access to the roof is easy through the door, but for whatever reason, no-one could be bothered to unlock the padlock to use the door and were happy to put up two levels of scaffolding and charge the leaseholders.  I have been shown many other examples of poor quality maintenance which is reducing the quality of living for all residents. Stevenage Borough Council should be ensuring work is carried out to a proper standard and in a way that is efficient and does not burn through leaseholders' money. I will be seeking answers to the situation with maintenance work at Lonsdale Court, and would urge leaseholders with similar concerns to come forward with examples I can take up on their behalf. Leaseholders paying massive charges is ridiculous and cannot be allowed to continue."

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