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

Launched in April last year, the new Right to Buy offers council tenants discounts of up to £75,000 to help them buy their home. Stevenage Borough Council has a legal duty to inform tenants about the increased discounts, but there is concern locally that the council does not want to make tenants aware of the new opportunities.

Stephen McPartland MP has now challenged Stevenage Borough council to do more and proactively help hardworking people realise their dream of home ownership.

Stephen said,"Housing is a big issue in Stevenage, especially as Stevenage Borough Council is raising rents faster than anyone else in Hertfordshire and providing a poor service. Many tenants are just fed up with a Council that does not care about them and want a way out. Well now they have a chance to own their home and help local people at the same time, because the money will be used to build more social and affordable housing, so it is a great deal for everyone.

"The demand from Council tenants is huge but many of them do not know about the discounts or where to turn to for advice, but the scheme is open to thousands of people in Stevenage. In April we even reduced the amount of time you need to have rented a council house from 5 years to 3 years so as many people as possible get a chance to own their home.

"Stevenage benefitted massively from Right To Buy in the past when thousands of local people achieved their dream of home ownership and it is only right that we extend that opportunity to thousands more people living in Stevenage today. I have even launched a free online service to help council and social housing tenants find out how to buy their own homes www.righttobuystevenage.com.

"However Stevenage Borough Council needs to get out there and start proactively telling tenants about these dramatic new discounts, if thousands of local people are going to be given the chance of owning their home."

Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, congratulated Tessella, the international provider of science powered technology and consulting services on its award of a contract for the development and design of the Attitude and Orbit Control Subsystem (AOCS) for ESA’s Solar Orbiter mission.

Stephen said, "Stevenage has a proud history as the capital of the UK Space Industry and I am delighted one of our local companies has won such a major contract. Tessella are a unique company with incredible expertise which is in high demand all over the world and I am proud they continue to base themselves here in Stevenage."

Alan Gaby, Managing Director of Tessella commented, “This is a tremendous win for Tessella and for the UK Space Industry. The project will be Tessella’s largest ever contract, underlines Tessella’s leading edge scientific skills and will fuel Tessella’s expansion through increased recruitment.”

Solar Orbiter has the objective of sending a spacecraft to monitor and observe the sun using a suite of advanced scientific instruments at a proximity never before achieved. A team consisting of OHB Sweden, a Swedish provider of space systems, and Tessella will be key suppliers to Astrium UK, the prime contractor for the Solar Orbiter mission.

Stevenage DogWatch kicked off their Doggie Day in Town Centre Gardens with a children's agility course helped by Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, who was in charge of DogWatch mascot Lawful Larry. Coordinator Sarah Sheldrick then had Stephen, a DogWatch team member, a PCSO and a Police Officer try out the course, to the roar of the crowd watching.

Stephen said, "I had a great day with Stevenage DogWatch today, and it was good to see so many local people enjoying themselves. I would like to congratulate DogWatch for organising such a great community event and pay tribute to the amazing work of Sarah Sheldrick and the team."

Stevenage DogWatch was developed with Neighbourhood Watch and encourages dog walkers to keep their eyes and ears open and report suspicious incidents to the police. New members are joining all the time and if you would like to know more please contact Sarah Sheldrick on 07792 101893 or visit the website at http://www.stevenagedogwatch.org.

Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, joined Probashe Proyash at their Boishakhi Mela to celebrate the Bengali New Year in Marriotts Lonsdale School.  There was a large number of local people enjoying the cultural singing, dancing performances, as well as the tasty pantha elish and many other dishes provided by stall holders.

Stephen said, "The Boishakhi Mela was great fun and very impressive. Everyone who participated should be congratulated for all the hard work that went into such good performances and wonderful dishes. Helping one another and offering hospitality is a deep bond amongst Bangladeshis and Britons, and I am proud of the successful event held by the Probashe Proyash community group, which only launched last year here in Stevenage."

The Boishakhi Mela 2013 was held to celebrate the Bengali New Year Day.

Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, met recently with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, to raise his concerns about the unacceptable level of service available to local people at the ClinicentaCarillion owned Surgicentre.

Stephen said “I have been working with local people to try and improve the level of service available at the ClinicentaCarillion owned Surgicentre for over a year now and we have just not seen enough improvement. The NHS staff who work in the facility on a daily basis are doing the very best they can under intolerable pressure, as the facility is just not being managed properly by the owners. Like many local people, I was shocked that the previous government entered into this contract with a building company and placed a whole range of very sensitive surgical procedures into the hands of builders that had no experience of managing such complex treatments.

“When I met the Secretary of State for Health, I told him face to face and in no uncertain terms that this has to stop. ClinicentaCarillion should have their licence suspended and the facility must be handed over to the Lister Hospital to manage. The CareQualityCommission have published their latest reports and are currently engaged in enforcement action against the facility, which they are unable to discuss publicly for legal reasons. However, I made it clear to the Secretary of State for Health that ClinicentaCarillion’s time is up, they have failed local people and they have lost the confidence of local medical professionals.

“It is now only a matter of time and I have every confidence that our local hospital trust, which manages the Lister Hospital, will do a fantastic job of managing this facility.  I am proud of our local NHS and I want our local hospital to manage the Surgicentre.”

Local MP Stephen McPartland visited the emerging new £19.3 million emergency department at the Lister hospital in Stevenage to see the progress on construction.

Commenting on his visit, Stephen said,"I was delighted to see the building work on our new emergency department at the Lister progressing so quickly. The facilities are going to be state-of-the-art and provide much more room for staff to work in, as well as greater privacy for patients and their families. It was fantastic to chat to some of the team who will be working in the larger facility as their knowledge and excitement was very impressive. This is another great investment in the Trust’s staff, patients and their families to ensure we have access to the best possible healthcare. I am proud of the NHS and the staff who work in it to save lives on a day-to-day basis in our area."

The first phase of the new emergency department will be completed later this year when services will begin to be moved across from the old buildings, following which the original areas will be refurbished in stages.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland visited the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), the oldest women's engineering group in the world, to find out more about what they do and to show his support.

Stephen commented, "It was a pleasure to meet the team from the Women's Engineering Society based here in Stevenage. I was inspired by the work the Society is doing to try and reduce the current skills gap by encouraging lots of girls to apply for engineering apprenticeships.I very much look forward to working with them to encourage more girls to choose engineering as a great career, which is both rewarding and inspirational."

Dawn Bonfield, WES’s Vice President, said, “We are a national organisation whose aim it to support individual engineers as well as companies who wish to improve their diversity agenda, but also we are keen to work with schools to promote engineering as an exciting career to girls who may not have considered it as an option.”WES are a membership organisation whose aim is to inspire, support and encourage girls and women to pursue a career in engineering. They are a charity based at the offices of the Institution of Engineering and Technology in Stevenage.

WES is keen to engage with engineering companies in and around North Herts who can help support the work that they do, and is also appealing to any individuals interested in volunteering to help progress the aims of the charity to get in touch. WES has lots of project work going on at the society, and always needs ambassadors to go into local schools to encourage the youngsters, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, planted a tree at the Lister hospital on NHS Sustainability Day as part of the NHS Forest project.

Stephen said, "The NHS Forest project will provide direct benefit to staff, patients and the community by helping create a local green space that patients, their families and staff can all enjoy for rest, relaxation and even exercise. Over 17,000 trees have been planted by 100 active sites, and contains small woods and copses, across the country with the aim of planting 1 tree per NHS employee. Research has shown that improved access to green space can aid patient recovery time; reduce stress at work; provide areas for relaxation; provide an opportunity to exercise and help bring communities together. I am proud that the Lister Hospital is taking part in the project and was pleased to help plant a couple of the trees myself."

The NHS Forest, run by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, is a pioneering project to engage people on the common ground between their personal wellbeing and wider environmental concerns. The long-term goal of the project is to bring health, educational, social, and environmental gains to members of each local community, including NHS patients and staff. NHS Forest is supporting NHS Sustainability Day, an international event aimed at healthcare organisations taking action on climate change. Sites across the UK are planting trees, improving biodiversity to even the inner most city sites and increasing resilience to climate change for future generations.

Member of Parliament for Stevenage, Stephen McPartland, attended Letchmore Nursery and Infant School to witness a showcase of Energy Club's fun, free, physical activities for primary school children provided by volunteers.

Stephen said, "It was great to see the Energy Club in action and I really enjoyed getting involved. The pupils were fantastic and obviously love every minute of the activities, which are so important in their physical development. Energy Club is providing this service for free and I would encourage all our schools to take them up on this offer and get involved.

“I would also like to say a big thank you to the staff at Letchmore Nursery and Infants School, who have made this possible alongside the Energy Club volunteers. Not only is this an opportunity for the younger generation but also for people who wish to continue the great volunteering work that we saw through the summer at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Energy Clubs are run by volunteers and I am proud of the wonderful community spirit we have in our area.”

Energy Club is being rolled out across England and provides a legacy from the Olympics and Paralympics, supported by the Cabinet office and delivered by the charity and social enterprise Sports Leaders UK, the country’s leading deliverer of training, awards and qualifications in sport. It aims to make an impact in primary schools across England. Volunteers include members of school networks, including young adults and volunteers from local companies and all will receive training, on-going support, guidance and equipment.

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