• Conor meets with Patterdale Lodge Patient group

    I met with Patterdale Lodge Patient Group in Newton-le-Willows to talk about health provision locally and across the country.

    The meeting provided an opportunity to hear from NHS patients about the impact government policy is having on meeting the health needs of our local community.

    Those who attended were keen to praise the hard work of their GPs and staff across the NHS but were concerned about issues ranging from waiting times to the ability to consistently see the same GP when having to see a doctor.

    I know that many constituents are concerned about our NHS, with waiting times soaring, Hospitals in financial crisis and locally a £20 million funding gap in the health economy.

    I have campaigned on the impact of health cuts, and for those working hard in the NHS to receive pay rises.

    I will continue to support the hard work of GPs and those working in the NHS and challenge the Tories to give our hospitals and health care system the resources they need to deliver a health service that our communities deserves.

  • St Helens YMCA

    I recently visited St Helens YMCA to meet Chief Executive Justin Hill and Chair of Trustees Richard Tully to discuss their work supporting homeless people in our borough.

    St Helens YMCA provides a range of services, childcare, sport and training as well as housing provision. This includes supported accommodation with a 56 bed hostel and the Foyer Project – which is a stepping stone to independence and employment.

    Across the country, rough sleeping has increased for the seventh consecutive year and here in St Helens homelessness is a growing problem.

    This increase in homelessness is a national scandal and the Tory Government’s cuts to local government and our vital services is a shameful record that hits the most vulnerable in our society.

    Despite funding difficulties, St Helens Council continues to support organisations like the YMCA who help the homeless in partnership with groups like the Salvation Army, the Hope Centre and Teardrops. See More

  • 200 new jobs for St Helens

    It is hugely welcome news and a real boost to our borough that Movianto will be bringing 200 jobs to St Helens.

    The new jobs mean more opportunities and demonstrate that St Helens is very much a place that companies want to locate and do business in.

    It also goes to show just what can be achieved when our council, our local educational institutions and the business community work together with a ‘Team St Helens’ approach.

    St Helens is open for business, and these new jobs are a shot in the arm for the local economy – particularly following the closure of Palmer and Harvey before Christmas.

  • Tory Government plans to slash budgets for fire services

    Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service does a vital job protecting our communities in St Helens and across the region.

    But new figures uncovered by the Fire Brigades Union show that this Tory Government is planning to slash budgets for fire services – with a 12 per cent cut expected for Merseyside in the four years up to 2020.

    These dangerous cuts, which will leave our firefighters with fewer resources, come on top of more than 11,000 firefighter job cuts since 2010.

    The terrible tragedy of Grenfell Tower last year underlined the importance of a fully funded fire and rescue service, but the new cuts will run down capabilities and damage morale.

    I’m backing the Fire Brigades Union in calling on the Government to urgently reverse these cuts and protect Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

  • Royal British Legion’s Count Them In campaign

    Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families are a hugely important part of the community in St Helens. But currently, we don’t know enough about them or their needs.

    That’s why I’m supporting the Royal British Legion’s Count Them In campaign, calling for extra information to be gathered on the Armed Forces in the next census in 2021.

    It is estimated that there are currently over 6.5 million members of the Armed Forces community living in the UK, representing about a tenth of the population.

    However, little is currently known about the exact numbers, location and needs of this significant group.

    Liverpool City Region has pledged its support to the campaign and other authorities should follow suit.

    Including new questions on the next census would provide public bodies, local authorities, and charities with valuable information to ensure they are able to deliver the best services they can for the Armed Forces community.

     

  • Prayer150

    As St Helens continues celebrations to mark its 150th anniversary, Conor met with Phil Fell, Pastor of St Helens Christian Life Centre, to hear about Prayer150 – an initiative by St Helens churches to join the celebrations and look to the future of our borough.

    Prayer150 is a year-long prayer campaign for St Helens, organised through St Helens Church Leaders Hub, which will provide prayer materials and ideas for praying creatively for every aspect of St Helens life through video, social media, our website and prayer cards both for individuals and churches.

    Each month the project will focus on a different aspect of life in St Helens, with February focusing on health and social care.

    Churches in the constituency and across the borough play a vital role in St Helens, and Conor is supporting Prayer150 as an opportunity to celebrate our strong faith communities.

     

  • Station clean up

    Well done to the members of the Network Rail North West communications team who travelled to Earlestown from Manchester and Birmingham to help clean up the station.

    Network Rail allow staff a number of days to do something positive in the community, and the team chose to volunteer at Earlestown station.

    They spent the day clearing litter from the platforms and cutting back some of the overgrown pathways, helping commuters on their journeys and making the station and its surroundings look much better.

  • Congratulations to Haydock Band

    It is fantastic news that Haydock Band have won the Butlins National Championship Trophy – their first accolade of 2018 after a very successful year in 2017 – and a great start to the St Helens 150th anniversary year.

    Brass bands like Haydock and Valley Brass in our borough are immensely talented and the dedication of band members is a testament to the excellent grassroots music scene in St Helens.

    But bands in St Helens are facing financial difficulties that mean the groups often have difficulty finding permanent homes and storing instruments – and local bands have lost out on Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery grants.

    Conor written to the head of Arts Council England calling for alternative funding streams to be put in place for our local brass bands, making sure that our communities can benefit from them in years to come

  • School funding crisis

    Conor met with secondary and special school headteachers from across the borough to hear about the impacts of the schools funding crisis in St Helens.

    The meeting, which was hosted at St Cuthbert’s School, was also a chance to catch-up about local developments in education, and to hear about some of the great achievements of our schools and young people.

    But the Government’s refusal to properly fund our schools is having a direct impact on teaching and learning, with a number of teachers facing redundancy and class sizes being increased.

    As a result of the Government’s failure to raise the pupil premium, there are now fewer subjects on offer at some schools.

    The frustration of our local headteachers and teachers – who work hard and want pupils to have the best education – is clear to see. The Government needs to act now and ensure schools in St Helens are properly funded.

  • State of Mind working to improve mental health

    I met with Simon Barbour and Phil Cooper from charity State of Mind to discuss their excellent work improving the mental health and wellbeing of rugby league players, supporters and their communities.

    Simon, who is the Chief Executive of the North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Trust, and Phil, a co-founder of the charity, do excellent work across St Helens in raising the profile of mental health Issues.

    NHS figures show that one in four people will experience a mental health condition at some point in our lives, so education and awareness is key.

    State of Mind is a fantastic programme and a testament to the positive effect Rugby League has on our communities across St Helens – you can find out more about their work here http://rugbyleague.stateofmindsport.org/areas/st-helens/

     

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