• I recently paid a visit to #StHelensTogether’s new Community Hub, where St Helens Council and partners are playing a key role in coordinating the supply of food and essentials for vulnerable people in our borough.
    It was good to talk with the dedicated staff members and volunteers about this vital work sorting and preparing packages, which will go out to those in our community who need them most.
    From my recent contact with the hub and local voluntary groups, it’s inspiring to see first-hand the generosity, solidarity and kindness of people in our borough, and I want to thank all those who are helping their neighbours and our community.

    If you need help, please ring 01744 676767

    If you’d like to donate https://www.spacehive.com/st-helens-together

    If you’d like to volunteer www.sthelenstogether.co.uk

  • an easter message

    I want to wish everyone in St Helens North a peaceful and safe Easter, in these difficult and uncertain times. I urge everyone to please follow the instructions to stay at home except for daily exercise and essential tasks, and strictly observe social distancing when you are out.
    As the coronavirus crisis continues to touch all our lives, across all our communities, I’m working alongside Liverpool City Region, St Helens Council, Merseyside Police and NHS leaders to ensure all St Helens North residents, our wonderful emergency services, local businesses and our community groups are kept safe, well looked after, and fully supported throughout these worrying times.
    My small team of staff are working around the clock in response to unprecedented demand, to help out hundreds of constituents, their families and loved ones; whether it be NHS and social care staff getting resources, self-employed workers worried about making ends meet, local businesses facing financial troubles, or those concerned about accessing essentials for vulnerable family members. Now, as ever, we will keep doing whatever it takes to help local people.
    As your MP, I’ve supported the national effort to fight COVID-19 and I’ve also pushed Government officials where local people need help, for example urging Ministers to do much more to get the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to our key workers. It’s why I wrote to the Foreign and Defence Secretaries, imploring them to repatriate thousands of British citizens stranded abroad. It’s why I asked the Prime Minister to introduce British Sign Language (BSL) at TV coronavirus updates for 87,000 Deaf BSL users. It’s also why I asked the Chancellor to financially protect our voluntary sector, which faces insecurity. I won’t stop until this support is given.
    In our borough, alongside the launch of the new #StHelensTogether campaign – with over 400 volunteers signed up in its first weeks – I’ve continued to liaise and work closely with our phenomenal charity, voluntary and social enterprise groups, our hard-working hospices, and local sports and physical activity groups. I recently wrote to each of them, offering my full support during these perilous times. With sport and cultural life also on hold, I’ve also made representations on behalf of British Horseracing and Rugby League, to ensure they have all they need to weather this period.
    As we each navigate the difficult weeks ahead, I want to say to all local residents that me and my office – along with local councillors – are here to do our best to help and assist you and your families. Together, as a united community, we can beat this virus, and ensure that people get the support, care and assurances they need and deserve during this difficult moment.

  • appointed shadow security minister

    It is an honour to have been appointed by Keir Starmer as Labour’s Shadow Security Minister.
    I am really looking forward to joining our Home Office team under the new Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, and working with a great team of colleagues.
    The safety and security of the country and our citizens will always come first, and the incredible people working 24/7 to protect us will always have my and Labour’s support.

  • supporting the work of our fantastic charity and voluntary sector

    I wrote an open letter to all the fantastic charity, voluntary and social enterprise organisations operating here in St Helens North, to both offer them my full support during this difficult moment, and to thank them for their invaluable efforts on the front line so far.
    It came as myself and a collective of over 300 parliamentarians from seven political parties signed a letter to the Chancellor, urging him to take decisive action to financially protect the whole sector, which faces the prospect of serious hardship due to the growing impact of COVID-19.
    Sally Yeoman, Chief Executive of Halton & St Helens VCA, told me:
    “The charity sector nationally has spent 3 weeks asking for a financial package worth 1% of the cash the Government have given to businesses. We’re yet to get a response.
    “They can’t furlough their workers or go home until it’s over and in many cases they are on the front-line supporting the most vulnerable.
    “Local people need the services and support charities offer: charities urgently need govt support. #EveryDayCount.”
    As your local MP, I want groups in our community to know that I will keep doing everything I can, day-in, day-out, to stand up and speak out for your sector at this difficult time.

  • the need for government to use BSL

    After being contacted by the Deafness Resource Centre in St Helens, I’ve asked the Prime Minister to introduce British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters – as well as more precise, timely subtitles – for all the Government’s televised coronavirus updates, to ensure the UK’s 87,000 Deaf BSL users get proper information during the current crisis.
    From my ongoing work with the Deafness Resource Centre, based on Dentons Green Lane in Windle, I know decisive action on this issue is long overdue, and making such a simple adjustment to include BSL interpreters would significantly improve knowledge and understanding for so many Deaf people, while also promoting an important sense of inclusivity and self-worth.
    Clear, accurate and up to date information should and must be available to every person throughout our communities, none more so than at this unprecedented and precarious time.

  • getting our residents home

    I have written to the Foreign and Defence Secretaries today to ask that they do whatever is required – including chartering flights or using the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy’s logistics capability – to ensure British citizens who are stranded abroad can urgently get home.

    There are over twenty people from St Helens North in this situation in countries like Australia, Nepal and Mexico; my office will continue to press the Government to ensure their safe return.

  • continuing to support our community

    My office is dealing with unprecedented demand and we have been contacted by hundreds of constituents over the last number of days.
    My small team of dedicated staff are working flat out to provide assistance to huge numbers of local residents who are in urgent need of immediate housing, financial & ongoing health support, and help over 20 people get home to St Helens from overseas.
    Please check www.sthelens.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.gov.uk/coronavirus where you might be able to find the information or assistance you need.
    If you need help, please email me and ensure you include your full address. *Please treat the auto-reply as an acknowledgement that your correspondence has been received*.
    I would also politely ask that you are patient, and please be assured we will do our best for you as quickly as we can.

  • visuits stopped to protect the vulnerable

    Really difficult decisions are having to be made to protect vulnerable people & save lives.
    I know a ban on visiting will be incredibly hard for those who have a loved one in hospital.
    But please co-operate & support our NHS staff who are working around the clock for all of us

  • Government needs to help the self employed

    I’ve been contacted by many of the thousands of self-employed workers in St Helens North who urgently need Government help.
    A large section of the country’s 4.9m self-employed workers have seen work or contracts completely collapse.
    Our local tradesmen, construction workers, taxi drivers, hairdressers, cleaners, beauticians, musicians, freelancers, childminders and many others are facing serious, sudden financial hardship.
    I’ve made direct representations to Treasury and Business Ministers to ask them to provide substantial emergency support to the self-employed, as they have already done for employed workers. People who have worked hard all their lives are facing a complete financial nightmare because of the coronavirus crisis and they need support.
    I hope the Government will act now; they need to move fast as many people can’t wait.

  • a national day of prayer

    This Sunday, our parish community at St Patrick’s in Earlestown  aren’t together in church  but, like so many other congregations of all denominations across the country, are together in spirit.
    I want to thank  the many churches & faith  groups across St Helens borough who are co-ordinating help and care for the vulnerable & isolated.
    This week marks the 40th anniversary of then Archbishop (now Saint) Óscar Romero’s murder in El Salvador. As he said: “Love must win out; it is the only thing that can.”

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