November 24th is Carers Rights Day and I was pleased to be invited to meet Sheffield’s young carers at an event attended by MPs from across the city. We spoke with plenty of young carers who do brilliant work in often tough circumstances, and heard about their concerns and suggestions for how we can make a real difference for young carers. I employ a member of staff who has been a young carer for most of her life, so I know some of the challenges that can bring.
Sheffield Young Carers have organised events throughout the week, including workshops for university student carers, young carer awareness training for school governors, and two performances of Who Cares, a play about the lives of young carers from Salford, currently touring the UK.
Thanks to all those who organised and attended the event, and I look forward to working with carers in future. If you couldn’t make it along but are a constituent of Sheffield Heeley and have issues or suggestions you’d like to raise, please feel free to get in touch.
Now Parliament is in recess for Easter, a huge thank you to the Norton Over-55s group who invited me to come and speak to them at the Chantrey Centre this week. They wanted to hear about my life as an MP, and some of the work I do to represent people in the area.
We discussed some hugely important topics for Sheffield, including the lack of well-paid jobs (Sheffield is the lowest paid city in the UK), the cuts to school funding, and the increasing reliance on food banks. It’s important to tackle the problems behind some of the issues in our city too, like benefit sanctions, policing cuts and the loss of graduates to other cities.
It’s always a pleasure to be able to make the most of Parliamentary recesses to visit as many people in the community as I can – if you run or attend a similar group in Sheffield Heeley and want to invite me along to speak, please get in touch.
Along with Sheffield Carers' Centre, I'm helping with a month of campaign events designed to help those providing unpaid care in Gleadless Valley to access support services.
I was delighted to be able to take part in a Local Democracy Day for Sheffield women, consisting of a behind the scenes tour of the Town Hall with the Lord Mayor, Anne Murphy, a discussion of the importance of female leaders, and a dedication for Eleanor Barton, one of the first women elected to Sheffield City Council and president of the Women's Co-Operative Guild. I was glad to see the enthusiasm from local women for getting involved as leaders and learning how they can help to change society for the better.
This week’s visit to Carfield Primary came just after they visited the Houses of Parliament last week. Sadly I was in Sheffield so wasn’t able to join them, but I got to hear all about what they’d learned, including about Black Rod and all the different statues in Parliament. They asked me a few questions about being an MP, including how long my day is, the campaigns I’m currently working on and why I decided to become an MP. It’s always good to see when pupils on Parliamentary tours really take in what they learn, and Carfield’s pupils were really engaged.
The School Council are currently looking at a big campaign to protect the environment by encouraging recycling and providing more habitats for wildlife. I’ve also agreed to write to Michael Gove asking about the plastic rings that go around cans, and banning them in order to protect wildlife.