I would like to start by wishing everyone a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.
The festive period is a time for reflection – looking back on the year that has passed and on our hopes for the year ahead.
2017 has been very special for me. I started the year as the Mayor of Warrington and during this time I met so many of our town’s inspirational people. It was great to hear about the work they do across Warrington. Our wonderful charities, community groups and all our volunteers truly are the beating heart of the town.
I am proud that during my mayoral term my charity appeal raised just under £70,000 for so many worthy causes – including homelessness and Warrington Foodbank. The Foodbank does such a fantastic job in providing crucial help to those in crisis, particularly over the festive season. It is shameful that in 2017 so many people are having to rely on emergency food parcels. In 2018 I will keep up the pressure on the Conservative Government to act to address the root causes behind the increasing number of people turning to foodbanks for help.
Looking back on 2017, this year will also be remembered for the snap General Election. This time last year I could never have imagined that I would be elected to serve as the new Labour Member of Parliament for Warrington South. It has been such an honour to represent the constituency.
The last six months have been a whirlwind. I have set up my constituency and Westminster offices and have had to get to grips with the workings of Parliament very quickly. I have held many surgeries to help constituents with concerns and myself and my team have handled thousands of emails, letters and phone calls relating to casework.
I have spoken out on the issues that matter to people in Warrington South both locally and nationally. In 2018 I will continue to ensure that every community across Warrington South has a voice and alongside my Labour colleagues in Parliament, I will carry on holding the Conservative Government to account.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our emergency services. Thanks to the Police, NHS staff, ambulance staff and firefighters who work tirelessly all year around, especially over the festive season. Thank you for all that you do.
Whilst there are many challenges ahead I hope that 2018 will be a peaceful and kinder new year for all.