• Conor shows support for Wargrave Big Local

    Wargrave big local

    Keen to find out the latest news about Wargrave Big Local, Conor McGinn met Damien O’Connor to talk about jobs.

    Two years ago, Wargrave secured £1 million over ten years from the Big Lottery Fund to create a plan for what the area needed.

    Local residents volunteered to run community events and put the first plan together through a partnership board, backed by Helena Partnerships and St Helens Council.

    The project has five themes: financial inclusion, environment, health, community safety and employment.

    Conor met local resident Damien who volunteered to chair the employment sub-group, working alongside Helena, Jobcentre Plus, St Helens Chamber of Commerce and training providers to raise aspiration and help those looking for work.

    A recent success has been the work with JD Wetherspoon and its new pub, the Nine Arches, where a collaboration between the pub chain, Helena Housing and Wargrave Big Local has led to several local residents getting jobs at the new bar on Legh Street.

    As well as talking about the project’s successes, Damien raised concerns over the Government’s proposed welfare reforms that could see more benefit cuts and hit the work of the Big Local Wargrave in helping people back into work.

    Conor said: “It was good to meet up again with Damien to talk about the Big Local project and how it is making a real difference to people lives in Wargrave.

    “The collaboration with Weatherspoon’s has proved a real success and shows what can be done when the community, private sector and other agencies work together.

    “But we don’t want to see this good work undermined by central government and that’s why I will be closely scrutinising the upcoming green paper on welfare changes and talking to people like Damien and all the volunteers at Big Local Wargrave who are working hard to improve job opportunities for local residents.”

     

  • Conor visits St Helens Women’s Refuge

    Woman's refuge

    Conor visited St Helens domestic violence refuge to meet staff working with victims and to talk about the help and support they provide and the challenges they face meeting victims’ needs.

    Helena Extra manage the refuge and this emergency accommodation is just one part of the support available in St Helens which also includes a 24-hour helpline where victims can speak to someone immediately if they need help.

    Each year, more than two million people across the country suffer domestic violence, with the victims far more likely to be women.

    Conor talked with Jacquie Byrne from Helena Partnerships and other members of the dedicated team of workers at the St Helens refuge about the women and children they help.

    He was joined on the visit by local Windle councillor Gill Neil, and Cabinet member for community safety Lisa Preston.  They have been working closely with the refuge recently to help families moving from the refuge back into the community.

    Conor heard at first had some of the difficulties they faced, including the problems experienced since the closure of St Helens magistrates’ court and the impact benefit changes have had on domestic violence victims.

    Speaking after the visit, Conor said: “You cannot fail to be impressed by the hard work and dedication of the staff at the refuge and all those working with victims of domestic violence.

    “They provide safe accommodation for those who need it and invaluable support in helping them deal with the consequences of their partners actions.

    “It was, however, concerning to hear about the impact benefit changes have had – something we in the Labour Party warned about when the welfare bill was introduced.

    “The introduction of Universal Credit and changes in guidance for tax credits are both having a negative impact on victims and in some cases forcing victims back to their abusers. This cannot be right and is something I shall be taking up directly with ministers.”

  • Conor welcomes town’s bid to host Great Exhibition of the North

    Conor has welcomed the “fantastic news” that St Helens has joined the battle to stage the Great Exhibition of the North.

    The St Helens North MP has thrown his full support behind the bid submitted by St Helens Council last week.

    Towns and cities across the North West, North East and Yorkshire have been invited to bid to put on the two-month exhibition in 2018.

    Conor said: “It’s fantastic news that our bid has gone in for St Helens to stage the Great Exhibition of the North.

    “I’m right behind these exciting plans that could see us hosting a huge event to showcase the region’s creative and cultural talent.

    “The Great Exhibition would give St Helens a chance to mark the borough’s 150th anniversary in 2018 by celebrating the best of design, innovation and art in the region.

    “It would provide a springboard to boost regeneration and help drive forward our local economy.

    “The bid aims to build on our history that saw St Helens lead the way in the industrial revolution.”

    “Now, we can be at the centre of the latest innovation and design projects that will draw the local community in to all the different events during the exhibition.”

    Towns and cities across the North East, North West and Yorkshire have been invited to bid to put on the exhibition.

    The Government is contributing £5 million towards the exhibition itself and another £15 million for a legacy fund to attract further investment to the North.

    Those backing the bid include National Museums Liverpool, Dadafest, Live Art Development Agency, University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and the Institute of Cultural Capital.

    St Helens will find out if the bid has been successful when the winner is announced in the autumn.

    Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, has been appointed by the Chancellor George Osborne to chair the Great Exhibition Board that will report to Ministers on the applications.

  • Conor takes questions from Hope Academy students

    Hope  Academy 2 Hope Academy 3 Hope Academy 1

     

     

     

     

     

    Last week, students and staff from Hope Academy organized a whole-school EU Referendum; this was one of the biggest democratic exercises undertaken within the Academy since its inception. Each student was given the opportunity to have their say on whether they thought Great Britain should leave or remain within the EU.

    Students from the Hope Current Affairs Society led assemblies throughout the week where they presented the ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ arguments. In the lead up to the referendum on Thursday, during form time each morning students reflected on the main points from each campaign and discussed the consequences of both. Each student was given a ballot paper on Thursday morning and given the opportunity to vote. The mock referendum created much interest around the Academy whilst ensuring that students had an active role in the national democratic debate.

    To culminate their referendum week, the Hope Academy Current Affairs Society and the Student Council held their own Question Time with Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, and Councillors Jeanie Bell, Gill Neal and Andy Bowden. Conor took questions from a range of students on whether we should remain or leave, the impact this would have in Britain and the impact the EU has had since its inception. The event was a fantastic experience for students and staff alike.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “It was great to visit Hope Academy and take part in their Question Time. The questions from students were insightful and challenging. The school is doing some great work in encouraging young people to engage with politics. I hope the students found the day informative and interesting, and I hope good work being done by the Current Affairs Society continues.”

     

  • Conor marks Armed Forces Day and gives backing to Royal British Legion campaign

    AFD 1 AFD 2

    It was great that St Helens played its part in joining thousands of people up and down the country to mark Armed Forces Day.

    I joined the public at local events in St Helens and Newton-le-Willows and was delighted to be with regular and reserve forces, sea cadets from TS Scimitar and TS Warspite and veterans and their families.

    But servicemen and women need support every day, not just on Armed Forces Day. They need to be sure that help there is on hand when they need medical treatment or special care.

    We have the Military Covenant – introduced under a Labour government in 2000 and enshrined in law five years ago – that means we have an obligation to the armed forces and their families to make sure they are properly looked after.

    It exists to deal with the disadvantages that they can often face which do not affect ordinary members of the public  – like having to move home frequently because of military postings.

    The Covenant also allows for special consideration to be given in some cases, especially to the injured and bereaved.

    But, for it to work properly we need to know more about more about how many veterans, reservists and dependants there are and where they live.

    At the moment, we don’t have that information and it makes it hard to target help for them properly.

    Under the current set of questions asked in the national census, we know more about who claims to be a Jedi as their religion than how many former soldiers there are.

    That’s why I’m supporting an important campaign by the Royal British Legion called Count Them In.

    The campaign aims to help charities and local authorities get that basic information by adding some extra questions to the next census.

    Building up a clear picture about the number and whereabouts of current and former military personnel will help better direct care and improve support for them.

    Although the next census won’t be carried out until 2021, possible changes are being discussed now.

    So, I’m supporting the call for the Government to include extra questions in the next census that will help veterans and current service personnel who make up an estimated tenth of the population.

    As the Royal British Legion says, making these changes would also show the armed forces and their families that we count on them – and we want to count them in.

    You can find out more about the campaign here: http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/campaign/count-them-in/

  • Conor’s statement on the EU referendum result

    “I respect the result of the referendum, both nationally and in St Helens. Naturally, I am disappointed with the outcome and worried about what it means for our country’s future.

    “Our people and the country are divided. Therefore, all of us in positions of responsibility and leadership now have a duty to pull together and do what is right for the country and the people we represent.

    “The UK now faces a period of uncertainty and unprecedented challenge. It will affect every person, every family and every community, including here in St Helens.

    “My priority is continuing to work hard doing the job I love and am so proud to have, representing all of the people of St Helens North as their Member of Parliament.”

  • Conor officially opens St Helens College’s STEM Centre

    STEM Launch  (002)

    St Helens College recently proudly unveiled the newly refurbished STEM Centre at the Technology Campus.

    The STEM Centre will help contribute towards the achievement of St Helens College’s STEM strategy, to foster a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and enterprise and develop areas including: advanced engineering, robotics and smart utilities.

    The event was well attended by local councillors, employers and businesses from across the region as well as College employees who have contributed to the development.

    Conor who officially opened The STEM Centre said “I’m really impressed with these state of the art facilities. It’s clear to see how St Helens College are aligning to meet the needs of the economy. Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) subjects are key disciplines for bolstering industrial competitiveness. Preparing the next generation of STEM-educated workers should be a priority for the Government and must feature heavily in any future regional growth strategy.”

    Jette Burford, College Principal added “STEM is such an important priority for us and as a College we continue to invest STEM facilities. We are currently working towards obtaining STEM assured status which will help us to ensure that we are responsive to an ever evolving marketplace by diversifying the curriculum that we offer in order to meet the demand from industry.”

    The STEM Centre received a substantial £5million investment and was part-funded by the Skills Funding Agency. It now boasts a brand new dining area, internal courtyards, entrance piazza, remodelled workshops and classrooms plus a new library space complete with study suites and PC zones.

    The new STEM Centre will enable St Helens College to lead the way in STEM areas such as low carbon technologies and sustainable

  • Conor congratulates motor vehicle department on prestigious award

    Motor Vehicle

    St Helens College’s motor vehicle department was recently presented with an award from The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Recognised Employer Award, demonstrating their impressive professional standards within the automotive industry.

    The award, which is held by less than 60 employers in the UK, forms part of the IMI Employer Recognition Scheme, developed in response to the growing demand for ethical conduct and quality within automotive businesses.

    The presentation coincided with the unveiling of the College’s £5million STEM Centre at the Technology Campus and was well attended by local councillors, employers and businesses from across the region.

    Business Development Manager at the Institute of the Motor Industry, Michelle Barrett, said, “It was a great honour to present the motor vehicle department at St Helens College with such a prestigious award. They have shown themselves to be among the elite of motor industry professionals and this will have a positive impact on the local businesses they serve.”

    Conor, who was also in attendance during the event, said, “It’s such a great accolade for St Helens College to receive this award which reassures the public that the services on offer are of the highest professional standards.”

    St Helens College’s automotive hub offers a unique experience to its motor vehicle students, enabling them to learn and practice their skills, under close supervision of industry specialist tutors.

    The College also offers a full garage service to the general public, including MOTs, car service and body repairs, paintless dent removal and smart repairs.

  • Conor talks business with Chair of International Business Festival

    IFB

    With the international Festival for Business in Liverpool fast approaching, Conor met with Liverpool Vision Chief Executive and Chair of the IFB, Max Steinberg, to talk about the festival, its success in previous years and what the festival is looking to achieve this year.

    Thousands of delegates are expected to attend the International Festival for Business between 13 June and 1 July, coming from all over the world to do business and develop links to boost the local economy.

    Conor said:

    “It was good to meet Max today and it was a great opportunity to talk about the festival and the aspiration for what it can and will achieve.”

    “It was also a chance to talk about St Helens place in the economy of Merseyside and how St Helens can benefit from the festival and the opportunities to encourage investment and growth in our area.”

  • Taking to the streets for young people in Newton

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    Conor McGinn MP for St Helens North, joined over 100 Newton and Earlestown residents and supporters of the local charity, Business for Youth, as they took part in their 4th Big Walk around Newton-le-Willows.  The challenge being to walk down every street in the town.  After hours of walking the route was completed with plenty of sore feet and money raised for local good causes.

    Conor met up with the group to give a few words of encouragement and to wish them well before walking with them for part of the route.

    “It was great to see so many people give up their Saturday to raise money for young people in their local community”

    “Terry and the team have done a great job yet again in organising the walk.  He and all those that took part should be congratulated for a fantastic effort and for once again showing what a community can achieve when it pulls together.”

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