This week because we are in the middle of Conference season I was fortunate to be able to spend more time in the Constituency. Early in the week I was very pleased to accept an invitation to visit Holly Grove Special School on the Barden Lane Education Campus. Holly Grove School provides a specialist learning environment for children with a wide range of learning difficulties including complex needs and autism. I hadn’t been in the school long before I began to appreciate the very special nature of Holly Grove. A talented and dedicated team of staff work tirelessly to develop the potential of all children in a very happy and productive environment. I was saddened to learn that the building extension that has been approved and is so urgently needed has again been delayed. I am determined to do everything in my power to help bring this project to fruition.
At a meeting with the Police Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, I was interested to discuss policing priorities in the face of mounting budget cuts. To date Lancashire has lost 750 uniformed police officers. This makes tackling crime and keeping the community safe ever more difficult and is cause for serious concern.
Burnley and the world, was this week shocked by the tragedy in Mecca that led to the deaths of 717 people who were taking part in a Hajj pilgrimage. To my knowledge there are to date no confirmed casualties amongst those who travelled to Saudi Arabia from Burnley. Any worried relatives can contact the British Embassy on 966 11 4819 100.
On Friday my Constituency surgery was busy as ever and I was pleased to be able to offer help and support on a number of issues. One issue that comes up time and time again is the very poor standard of mental health care. Many people have little or no support with their mental health issues. Cutting spending in this area as well as being uncaring, is counter-productive and nearly always leads to a greater demand being placed on other service providers not to mention misery for sufferers and their families. Following that it was off to Brighton to take part in what promises to be a very interesting Labour Party Conference. Political conferences are far more than a series of political speeches. They offer invaluable opportunities for networking and information gathering. I will be particularly pleased this year to meet with Carers Organisations who have expressed a desire to help promote my private members Bill. I have also arranged to meet with senior staff from BT head office to discuss access to Superfast Broadband. In the modern world many of us in our homes have come to rely on an effective Broadband Service but for the business community good access is absolutely vital. Sadly for many residents in rural areas of Burnley coverage is totally inadequate and quite frankly,when many so called less developed countries are ahead of us, it is time for action. If Britain is going to hold its own in the face of international competition the Government must ensure high standards of superfast broadband and ensure that we all can access the service from any and every corner of our country.