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

Stephen McPartland MP was invited to officially open the Knebworth Fun Day and award the prize in the Knebworth Primary School fancy dress competition on Saturday.

Stephen said, "It was a real honour to be given the opportunity to officially open the Knebworth Fun Day with large crowds present. The weather was fantastic which helped draw the community together and I would like to thank all those volunteers, the parish Council and Primary School for making the day such a success.

"The fancy dress competition was amazing as all of the children from each class in the school dressed up and after a very tough decision the judges awarded the prize to the Romans and Celts."

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Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, said, “It was an honour to be asked to speak again at the third Armed Forces Day held in the indoor market in Stevenage.

"The event is normally the biggest in Hertfordshire with thousands of people attending throughout the day to show their support for the wonderful work our Armed Forces do.

"I am proud of the community spirit in our area and our market traders do an amazing job by making this event such a huge success. They have my complete support and the event clearly showed how much we all value our Armed Forces and the biggest cheer was reserved for the Chelsea Pensioners who kindly came to take part.”

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Stephen McPartland MP opened a Lottery Funding event at Knebworth Village Hall to help small community groups and charities learn more about accessing funds for their projects.

Stephen said, "I have been working with the Big Lottery Fund for six months to pull this event together, as I was really keen to get the whole Lottery family into one room. I was delighted we were able to persuade representatives from the Big Lottery Fund, Arts Council, Heritage Lottery Fund and Sport England to come together at Knebworth Village Hall.

"My idea was to put together the smaller local charity and community groups, who traditionally find it difficult to access lottery funding, with the people who make the decisions. There were over 80 groups present at the event and the message from the whole lottery family was a very loud and clear, we are here to help.

"Pretty much every group is going away to work on an application and I look forward to seeing lots of successful projects over the coming months. We have been very lucky in obtaining lottery funding as an area but it normally goes into a small number of very large projects that often have no real positive impact on the wider community. I would like to see lots of smaller charity and community groups successfully bid for small amounts of funding that we know from experience will make a massive impact on the wider community."

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Stevenage's MP, Stephen McPartland, visited a care of the elderly ward, Barley, at the Lister to see one of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust's latest initiatives to help improve the experience of patients in its care. Working with the charity Kissing it Better, the aim is to provide patients with little changes that have big impact.

Stephen said, "I was amazed at how much the patients look forward to a visit from the beauty therapy students who give their time up voluntarily and of course everyone loved Yogi and Adem who make an incredible team. The Kissing it Better team are a real inspiration and seeing the difference such little changes make to patients really does show the important work this charity does.

"I would also like to thank the Lister Hospital who are focused on making the patient experience as positive as possible and I am proud that they have taken the opportunity to work with Kissing it Better.There are very few hospitals that would allow a friendly dog on a ward to make a patient's day, but the Lister are leading the way once again as they continue to be a centre of clinical excellence."

Liz Pryor from Kissing it Better said, "Kissing it Better uses simple ideas to create big change. We are proud to be working with the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust and enormously grateful to Mr McPartland for spending time with us today."

Kissing it Better, supported by the Trust, arranged for Adem Fehmi and his Pets As Therapy dog to visit patients on a regular basis, as well as a range of other events.

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Stephen McPartland, the Member of Parliament for Stevenage, welcomed the Care Quality Commission's decision to suspend the ClinicentaCarillion’s licence at the Surgicentre. The Care Quality Commission, which is the independent regulator of all health and social care facilities in England has begun the process to suspend the ClinicentaCarillion’s licence to operate at the Surgicentre.

Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage said, “I have been campaigning hard on behalf of local people to improve the level of service available at the ClinicentaCarillion owned Surgicentre ever since they opened their doors almost eighteen months ago. The service has never reached a satisfactory standard despite the best efforts of the NHS staff who work in the facility on a day to day basis under intolerable pressure. Quite simply, the Surgicentre is not managed properly by the owners ClinicentaCarillion and we are clearing up the mess of the previous government, which placed a building company in charge of highly sensitive and complex surgical procedures. This must never happen again.

"I have made it clear that ClinicentaCarillion’s licence to operate at the Surgicentre should be suspended and the facility should be handed to the local hospital to manage. I welcome the fact that the Care Quality Commission have begun the formal process and issued a notice to suspend ClinicentaCarillion’s licence to operate at the Surgicentre. The deadline for ClinicentaCarillion to appeal against the suspension was Thursday 13th June, if they appealed as I imagine they would, then the Care Quality Commission have to decide if they will issue a Notice of Decision. This then gives ClinicentaCarillion another 28 days to appeal to a First Tier Tribunal.

"It does seem a long and torturous process and the Care Quality Commission are prevented from discussing the situation publicly, but I believe transparency is important. It is clear that ClinicentaCarillion have failed local people and lost the confidence of local medical professionals, but I wanted to reassure our local community that enforcement action is taking place and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have also made it clear to the Secretary of State for Health that the facility should be transferred to the management of our local Lister Hospital and we can begin the process of rebuilding confidence once again.

"I do believe it really is only a matter of time and that we are only weeks, if not days, away from a solution to this terrible situation. I am proud of our NHS and I want to see our local hospital manage the Surgicentre.”

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Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, was delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP to open officially the new Marriotts school together with the new Lonsdale school for children with special needs.

Stephen said, "I invited Michael here because I think it is an amazing development. When the Building Schools for the Future programme was scrapped, I asked Michael to reconsider and he thought these two schools together was a great concept so allocated £80m to have it built. It is very kind of Michael to come and open the schools. We have been working closely together to make it happen and it is fantastic we have been able to give the pupils these facilities.

"I am passionate about education and want to ensure every child has the opportunity to change their life chances by getting a good education. The work we are doing locally will have a massive impact on our children, but it will give children from poorer backgrounds a great start in life."

Mr Gove said, "I wanted to come here because Stephen has been a brilliant advocate for Stevenage and was so proud of the changes that have been made here. I can see why; I have met some delightful students using state-of-the-art equipment, which is very encouraging.

"One of the most distinctive things is that you have genuine co-location so the children who are attending Lonsdale and the children who are attending Marriotts regard themselves as being part of the same community. The real story has been an MP like Stephen committed to the very best in education, a county council that wants to help, and individual headteachers, newly appointed in post, who are raring to go and who want to achieve significantly better than in the past."

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Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, was asked to sit in the hotseat and answer questions at an event held by local business group biz4biz which aims to give small businesses in Hertfordshire a coherent voice.

Stephen said, "It was a very interesting event and the range of questions was incredibly varied. I always enjoy the opportunity to listen to the concerns and ideas of local businesses which employ so many local people. The questioning is always challenging and I always give robust answers as a strong debate often leads to new ideas which I can then take up in Parliament with the relevant Ministers.

"There is also a great community spirit and at the end of the session £135 was raised for Giles Nursery and Infants School to buy the resources they need to create an outdoor biodiversity area for their pupils."

Adrian Hawkins, Co-Founder and Chairman of biz4Biz, said, "Our connections with many local MPs ensure that our members do not feel alone as they strive to build their business and employ more local people.

"Stephen has demonstrated great interest in the plight of local businesses over the years and his open and forthright responses to questions, truly help us all understand the prevailing international economic situation, affecting the UK today."

biz4biz is group of local business people aim to influence and shape policymaking and encourage investment in Hertfordshire by engaging with local and central government, relevant public sector bodies and local organisations to promote the county as a great place to live and do business.

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Local MP Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, visited the East of England Ambulance Call centre to meet the staff and listen to them take a series of 999 calls.

Stephen said, "It was a pleasure to meet some of the emergency call centre staff and learn more about their jobs.

I was particularly impressed that Paramedics are on hand in the call centre to take over calls if they feel the caller needs medical support whilst waiting for Paramedics to arrive on scene. Listening to some of the calls was a real eye-opener and it is vitally important that we use 999 responsibly."

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River conservation and wildlife groups from across the region are signed up to the Charter and many were present at the launch including; River Beane Restoration Association, Friends of the Mimram, Herts & Middx Wildlife Trust, Test and Itchen Association, The Chilterns Conservation Board, Action for the River Kennet, River Chess Association, River Misbourne Action, The Wandle Trust, and the Wessex Rivers Trust.

Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, said, "The River Beane is one of only 200 chalk rivers left in the world and for many years it has been running dry near Aston. The River Beane Restoration Association has long been raising awareness of the issue of over-abstraction, which occurs when the water companies take too much water from the river.

"I have campaigned alongside them for some years now and walked along the dry riverbed last year with over 50 local campaigners to highlight how much water is being taken. We are making progress here in Hertfordshire, as local Members of Parliament and campaign groups have worked together to persuade the Environment Agency to launch a recovery plan for our chalk rivers, but I want to see a start date agreed and the River Beane flowing again.

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape at The Wildlife Trusts, said, "In the UK we have 85% of all the chalk streams on Earth. Despite this global responsibility these fragile and hugely wildlife-rich streams have been abused and overlooked. This must change and their recovery must begin. The Chalk Streams Charter is an important step in bringing chalk streams out of the shadows and giving them the care and attention they need.

"It’s fitting that the Charter has been launched in Hertfordshire, as a recovery plan for two of this county’s beleaguered chalk rivers, the Mimram and the Beane, was launched this year. Hosted by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, the plan is bringing statutory agencies, environmental charities, local landowners, community organisations and river groups together to restore and protect these special waterways."

The Charter states: The UK’s stewardship of 85% of the worlds chalk streams has been lamentable with many iconic rivers suffering from over abstraction, habitat destruction, pollution and invasive species. Both our development control and water resource planning processes are woefully inadequate. Chalk aquifers have been over exploited as an easy and cheap source of ready filtered water at the expense of the environment in general and chalk streams in particular. There is an urgent need for abstraction reform and far greater use of reservoir storage of winter run off rather than depleting groundwater sources. Scarce water is wasted as there is little effective demand management. We cannot go on like this.

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