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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Viewpoint Column - Sheffield Star

Thursday, September 4, 2003

Parliamentary Recess

When parliament is not in session people think that Members of Parliament have nothing to do, but in reality the focus of work changes from Westminster to the constituency. Yes, I did have a week’s holiday in Northumberland, where I enjoyed walking, reading and visiting roman ruins. I got through several novels and caught up with magazines from my “to read” pile. But the summer was really a time to visit people and places that are difficult to get to otherwise.


Last summer areas with holiday activities for children had a significant drop in reported crime and I wanted to look at what was happening locally. Norfolk Park was busy with organised games and athletics, Park Rangers leading environmental activities and grass-sledging. Graves Leisure Centre on the other hand had lots of tennis and a sports camp. All the children were having a great time with some of them finding out the exciting fact that they had talent in a particular sport not tried before.


It was great to see so much going on. The challenge for politicians is to make sure we have a youth service that can support children all year round, keeping their interest and involvement in constructive activities. In many areas the budget for the rest of the year is much less than that for the summer, making this difficult.

There was just time before the end of school term to visit Herdings Primary School where they celebrated their last day before the move into a newly built school. Similarly the children at Norfolk School can’t wait to move into their new school in January.

I was able to hold one of my regular meetings with local faith leaders as well as meet the Vice Chancellor of Sheffield University to discuss issues in higher education. As a newly appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Department for Education and Skills I’ll be working to continue the improvements that will give all children and young people the best chances in life.

I also visited a number of local community groups, such as social and luncheon clubs which provide a vital link for elderly people who would otherwise be isolated. It’s a good opportunity to meet elderly people and hear about their concerns. The changes in the constituency being brought about by regeneration are more easily seen when I can spend time walking round neighbourhoods meeting residents with local councillors. There’s no doubt that many areas are reaping the benefits of money spent on housing, green spaces and community facilities. I also visited the NSPCC and the Geographical Association giving me information and food for thought.

The services that constituents receive are the important issues that we should focus on in parliament. These services impact on our daily lives - whether it is tackling anti-social behaviour or providing health and education services. Personally I will continue to campaign for legislation to regulate body piercing. Last year my constituent, Daniel Hindle, tragically died after having his lip pierced and I want to make sure that the chances of a similar tragedy are reduced. 

Meg Munn


Photo - Meg Munn with Linda McAvan MEP and Councillor John Robson and Norfolk Park Community Forum

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