I recently had a great opportunity to go the Hallam Hubs to talk to young people from across Sheffield who are taking part in the National Citizen Service scheme, helping them get involved in social action to change the world.
We discussed my work in Parliament, how I got involved in politics, and why the voice of young people being heard in politics is so important. Our Q&A session was really encouraging as we had the chance to chat about the power of the youth vote in the recent election and the kind of policies – including the abolition of tuition fees – that young people wanted to see.
We talk about young people being disengaged, and there’s still lots of work to do. But when it comes down to discussing the issues that affect our country they share the same concerns and aspirations as other people, and are really keen to get involved.
If you or someone you know aged between 15 and 17 wants to get involved in the NCS, you can find more information on their website.
As a member of The Foyer’s board, I was delighted to be invited to its 20th anniversary party today. The Foyer provides an incredible service for young people at risk of homelessness or in housing need. They offer support through training, education and social life skills training and through some incredibly testing times with resources at historic lows, it is an incredible achievement that they’re still going strong after 20 years.
The Foyer provides a home for dozens of young people from all sorts of backgrounds between 16 and 25, with a goal of getting them tenancy ready and employable. They have a high success rate and have done brilliant work in improving the lives of many vulnerable young people.
They put on a fantastic event with a garden party and summer fayre, a visit from Lord Mayor Anne Murphy and visits from some former residents to their old home.
This week I got to attend the Garden Party at Chantreyland Children’s Nursery for the third year running, and had a fantastic time judging the decorated paper plate competition. This year the theme was “Under the Sea” and there was some great work on display.
It was also the nursery’s graduation day so I was really pleased to present the children with their certificates and wish them the best of luck as they head off to start school for the first time. It’s been lovely to visit the nursery again and I’m looking forward to coming again next year.
I spent the day with South Yorkshire Police’s off-road bikes team, who’ve been working to tackle the scourge of anti-social behaviour that has hit so much of our city. We were out in Woodthorpe, Stradbroke and Richmond, hoping to recover some of the bikes used to cause chaos in our parks and on our streets.
I’ve had correspondence from many constituents about this issue and I’m hopeful that the police’s dedicated team can make a real difference in stopping the bikes, but they can use all the help they can get. If you’ve been affected by nuisance bikes, or you have information about someone you think is responsible, please call South Yorkshire Police on 101.
As Shadow Policing Minister I see so much great work from our police, but it’s increasingly difficult for them to get on with the job of protecting our communities when 20,000 officers have been cut in the last seven years, and budgets remain squeezed.
I was contacted by the teachers at Intake School, who asked me to come and speak to their pupils about the Send My Friend to School campaign they've been involved with. This is a national campaign involving thousands of schools, calling on governments to provide increased funding for global education.
There are still 263 million children not in school, and the benefits of properly funded education are so obvious - better life chances for them, a better educated population, stronger economies, a healthier planet and lower risk of conflict and war.
The children at Intake gave me their puzzle pieces with messages outlining their support for the campaign, which I'll be taking down to Parliament with MPs from across the country and we had a really good discussion about school and about helping those who need it most. Thanks to the kids at Intake for being so supportive of this great national campaign and for giving me a warm welcome to the school.