I had a fantastic weekend back in the constituency, and had the opportunity to visit a range of projects and events. It was an action-packed weekend full of community projects, educational trips, school visits and local labour campaigning
On Friday morning I popped into The Phoenix Farm open door project at The Ark, a venture that does fantastic work in advancing education, providing advice and helping those in need. Big thanks to Keith Barnes for organising the visit, and for the hard work in helping the local community.
In the afternoon I got the opportunity to meet James Smith and Louise Stafford, chief educators at the Holocaust Centre and Museum. Here I was able to experience their educational centre and walk through this important journey of the past. It is important to recognise the continuing relevance of their work today, that the horror of genocide is still apparent in places throughout the world and an issue we must collectively tackle.
Following on from this educational morning I took a trip to Killisick Junior School to talk to the children about the importance of reading and my love for Greek Mythology, talking about how Hector (Prince of Troy, and a symbol of peace-making within war) is my hero. After the assembly, the whole school was joined by parents and I had the honour of officially opening the schools Book-Share Scheme, a fantastic initiative that operates as a 'take a book and leave a book' programme. This in turn ensures that all children no matter their financial background can better engage in literacy. Projects such as this are so vital for the best education of our children to ensure that their minds continue to grow outside of school. A study by the National Literacy Trust confirmed that just over a quarter of the children asked did any reading activity outside of school time.
On Friday afternoon the campaigning began. I joined Ruth Smeeth for a fundraiser in the Arnold Branch for the Gedling Labour Party. Ruth is known for her excellent work against hate crime, and the event was a reminder to me that it is more important than ever for us to focus on winning local county elections, to ensure that people such as Ruth can continue to campaign for the pursuit of tolerance.
Saturday morning saw a busy start at a campaigning coffee morning held at St Mary's church family centre in Arnold. Alongside Councillors Michael Payne and Pauline Allen, I was able to meet and talk to lots of wonderful locals. Buzzing from caffeine and great conversation, we headed over to the street stall in Mapperley, where we had a huge turnout of visitors. I spent the day promoting education, not segregation; a campaign to tackle to government's proposed funding that will leads to the worsening of social mobility, and school cuts all over Nottinghamshire. To check out the Nottinghamshire and Gedling statistics, click here
I spent the remainder of Saturday and Sunday out leafleting, and getting as involved as possible with the upcoming local county council election, since it is imperative that we push to ensure that labour are representing the people of Gedling, and our values in every way possible.