I enjoyed a busy day in the constituency again last Friday (8 December).
Some 20 people attended a meeting at HoW College to discuss the furtherance of my Business Mentors’ scheme. Simon Hyde, CEO at Faun Zoeller (UK) Limited, based in Redditch, is helping me to formulate a relevant scheme which incorporates all the elements I want – including training and administration for the scheme – and I am very grateful for his enthusiasm and drive. He is a great example of someone who has in the past been mentored, subsequently seen success and who now wants to give back by being a mentor.
The next step in the operation is to engage with the high schools in Redditch to see what they can do to help those people who have so generously agreed to give their time, join up with those teenagers who will most benefit from mentoring. There are so many young people who come so close to achieving their goals, but not close enough. These are among those who, with a little help from mentors, can go on to achieve their dreams. This is what the scheme is all about.
I also had a second opportunity to talk to Pastor Robin Baker from the Oasis Christian Centre. He is an inspirational character within the Redditch community, whose energy for charity seems boundless, and he always provides me with an honest view of what priorities lie within the communities of Redditch so that I can take a view as to what Government priorities should be.
On Tuesday evening, I took part in a Singing for Syrians event at St Margaret’s in Westminster. I had the honour of taking part in the performance by singing Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar and Gaudete Christus Est Natus. Singing for Syrians encourages individuals, bands, choirs, schools and churches across the UK to raise the roof and as much money as possible by holding a singing event as part of a wider initiative. Singing, music, food and drink are encouraged at a time when Syrians need our help more than ever.
On Monday evening, I took an active part in the crucial Finance Bill debate which ran on late into the night. While Labour is constantly failing to praise the record high levels of employment, I’m more than happy to remind them that the current employment rate is at a 43-year high. And the clear majority of new jobs are full-time, with full-time employment up 337,000 on the year and 2.32 million since 2010. I welcome this because it means there are more people in Redditch in jobs who now have the security of a pay packet each week.