Looking ahead with hope for the new year
I CAN’T quite believe it’s almost Christmas.
When a year feels like it has gone quickly, that’s a sign it’s been busy.
Looking back, I’m delighted that we have made progress on campaigns which will make a real difference to the people of Salford.
Earlier this year, I joined the Alzheimer’s Society’s Salford Dementia Action Alliance, which now has more than 40 members.
We have all made changes to improve access for people with dementia and I, along with many others, have trained as a Dementia Friend, where you learn to understand dementia so we can help people in the community.
I was really pleased to open the first of 1,600 new homes as part of the £650m Pendleton regeneration scheme.
We had to push the government hard to get the plans approved but it is now giving people real pride in where they live.
The knock-on benefits are huge, with a target of creating 500 jobs, 200 apprenticeships and 2,000 work placements.
I was delighted to see Clare’s Law extended across England and Wales after a successful pilot in Greater Manchester.
It enables people to ask police whether their partner or the partner of a loved one has a history of domestic abuse, and it could save lives. I campaigned for the pilot and national roll-out with Michael Brown, father of my constituent Clare Wood, who was murdered by her former partner.
These are just a few of the highlights of my year, but perhaps the most important part of the job is the support my staff and I have been able to give to more than 1,200 people in Salford and Eccles, who have asked for our help.
The fragile economic recovery remains uneven across the country, making little difference to wages and living costs, while government cuts continue to take their toll.
So these remain tough times and organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau, Loaves and Fishes and Garden Needs (a garden centre for people with mental health issues) are providing some really valuable support.
I’m sure these organisations would agree with me that when our help makes a difference, it makes everything we do seem worthwhile. And our famous community spirit, where even those with the least help those in need, means we can enter 2015 with hope.
Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year.