More than 600 people stepped out in the fight against dementia last weekend when they took part in the Bedford Memory Walk. The event, at Priory Park, was started by Bedford MP Richard Fuller and Jamie Anderson, son of late Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson.
After getting warmed up with a Zumba workout, MP Richard welcomed the crowd. He said:
“I am heartened to see so many people here to fundraise and help spread the word about the condition. I am very pleased to be doing my bit to help. New figures released by Alzheimer’s Society this week reveal there are now 6,880 people with dementia in Bedfordshire, it’s a very important health issue for us all to be focusing on.”
On Friday, Bedford MP, Richard Fuller joined the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on a visit to Bedford cemetery to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
Richard visited the Commonwealth War Graves at Bedford’s Foster Hill Road cemetery and at St Mary’s Church in Goldington and was told some of the stories of those who died by CWGC Regional Supervisor, Alan Dracup.
The visit was part of a series of events organised by the CWGC to encourage people to visit their local Commonwealth War Graves and to learn more about the impact of the Great War.
Deirdre Mills, CWGC’s Director for the UK Area explained that:
“The Centenary is an opportune time for us to re-engage and connect with local communities and young people, and explain how the people who are buried in our graves got to be there, who they were, and where they were from. More than 300,000 Commonwealth servicemen and women are commemorated in the UK. Many died in military hospitals whilst being treated for their wounds or fell victim to the flu pandemic as the conflict drew to a close. Their graves reflect both the local impact of the war but also its wider historical significance.”
CWGC has launched an online Virtual Cemetery education portal that provides schools and teachers with a comprehensive range of resources and support materials linked to the graves and memorials in their home town. The virtual cemetery website www.cwgc-virtual-cemetery.org is an interactive tool which enables pupils and teachers to view images and videos, learn more about CWGC’s work across the globe, and – most importantly – the people that are commemorated in its cemeteries and memorials.
Last week, Richard took part in Tesco’s Eat Happy Project in partnership with the Children’s Food Trust, which offered free cooking classes in 50 stores across the country over the summer holidays.
Richard joined a group of 8-10 year olds in a cooking class at the Tesco Extra Store on Cardington Road, which was designed to help the children learn essential skills for eating healthily and preparing food from scratch.
Richard said, “I was delighted to join local children in the cooking class. It‘s a great initiative to help tackle our increasing long term diet-related health problems and to help children have positive associations with healthy food.”
Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford got behind the food counter in Kempston Sainsbury’s store to learn more about preparing food and serving local customers.
Richard was welcomed by Michelle Booth at the Fish counter. During their time on the job they covered the importance of safety and hygiene while preparing food as well as getting a few tips from trained colleagues on how to fillet a fish. The day was designed to highlight the various career opportunities retail offers, and the training available to colleagues.
Richard said “I’ve had a great day accompanying Michelle. It’s interesting to see how passionate the staff are, and to meet local customers.”
Michelle adds: “It’s not every day you have your local MP in to work with you – I really enjoyed sharing some of the skills I’ve learnt and having an extra pair of hands.”
This year Sainsbury’s was awarded its second consecutive Gold Investors in People accreditation for supporting, developing and motivating its staff. Over 22,000 staff who work on the fresh food counters, bakeries and cafés have received job-specific City & Guilds-accredited training in the seven Food Colleges across the UK.
Bedford Doctors On Call (BEDOC) were presented with the prestigious Social Enterprise Mark when Richard Fuller MP recently visited their centre based at Bedford Hospital.
BEDOC is a social enterprise providing out of hours GP services to people in the Bedford area. The Social Enterprise Mark independently certifies that a business or organisation puts profits towards social or environmental good.
Debbie Martin, CEO at BEDOC commented; “We are thrilled to have been presented with this award, it reflects an organisation who have always strived to meet the needs of their patients. Our passion at BEDOC is being in business to use profits to enhance or improve our services. That’s why receiving the Social Enterprise Mark is a great honour for BEDOC. It is an independent guarantee of why we’re in business, how we use our profits and a testament for our future direction.”
Richard Fuller MP was delighted to present the BEDOC team with the Mark at a recent visit he made to the BEDOC Centre. He was a keen supporter of the Social Value Act 2012, which promoted social enterprises, and indeed stated: “Starting up a social enterprise is one of the noblest endeavours that one can undertake… People do it because there is something inside them. It may be creativity, drive and the sense of trying to create something for themselves, their family and their community. It is a noble endeavour, and it is an important endeavour to promote.”
In his column in the Bedford Times and Citizen, MP for Bedford and Kempston, Richard Fuller has set a challenge for the leadership at Bedford Hospital to consider all options for the future.
He wrote, “Will the healthcare review by the local GP led commissioning groups of Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, costing £3 million, come up with ideas that we can use?
“Early indications are that useful changes have been identified in how local GP practices can be made more effective. On their own, these proposals should improve access to GPs and to speed up simple procedures such as blood tests. These are good ideas from the review and, I believe, will be supported strongly during the upcoming consultation.
“The headlines, of course, have not focused on GP services, but on the proposals about accident and emergency services at the two hospitals – Bedford and Milton Keynes. Laying out all potential options part way through a review, although exemplary disclosure, naturally raises concerns about some of the more extreme ideas. The GP-led group erred on the side of full openness and, on balance, I think they were right.
“However, unlike with GP services, there has been so much change over the last year at our local hospital that I no longer believe that an answer can be found in a tie-up for Bedford Hospital with Milton Keynes Hospital. There is a new confidence at Bedford Hospital and it is time for them to show leadership in answering the challenge of commissioners about how best to provide services locally in Bedford.
“There is no need for the knee-jerk response that everything should stay exactly as it is now and scaring people with talk of the closure of our hospital – which is not in any plan – does not help anyone.
“If more lives can be saved by looking at safe, modern, sustainable alternatives, then we should look at these. Equally, we should recognise that the review is not ‘the only show in town’.
“Personally, I think the development of a broad, clinical partnership with Addenbrooke’s Hospital could be the right answer for Bedford Hospital. Addenbrooke’s is a trusted, high quality teaching hospital than can help recruitment of doctors to Bedford and provide quality care for those, thankfully few, cases each year of life or death injury.
“Politicians can have opinions and can give voice to local opinion, but leadership should best come from the clinical specialists themselves. So, Bedford Hospital, what is your answer?”
On Friday 18th July, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, visited Bedford to congratulate Intraining and Bedford MP, Richard Fuller on their efforts to help young people into work, and to discuss what more can be done to continue to reduce unemployment.
On the day before (Thursday 17th July), over 50 local employers and 200 young people came together for the second annual ‘speed-interviewing’ jobs event hosted by Richard Fuller MP and Intraining.
The Secretary of State was particularly impressed with the innovative format of the event. He also took the time to talk with Intraining staff about the challenges they faced in getting people into employment and asked what more the Government could do to support them.
In his contribution to the debate on the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, Bedford MP Richard Fuller spoke of his admiration for small business owners, calling them ‘heroes’. He said that entrepreneurs look to the Government for inspiration and assistance, but that sometimes the Government can be too keen for intervention and regulation.
Richard highlighted a number of local business owners, he commended Maria at Pensieri for battling unfair business rates; Amy at Bedazzled for building a successful business straight from school; Beth and Mahmood at Chiff Chaff Café for succeeding with their café where previous efforts had failed; and Zak at Jagged Edge for inspiring others to start their own businesses while successfully building his own.
A full transcript of Richard’s speech is available here or click the image above to watch a video.
During the debate on the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford, called on the Business Secretary to change proposed regulations that will harm family brewers.
He said, “It was never the intention that family-owned breweries would be impacted by the regulations, yet the Bill has measures that will do so. That should not happen in a Bill that is supposed to support small businesses. It also provides for an adjudicator whose role is flawed, and for a publican code that, as many hon. Members have already said, lacks some of the necessary details to be able to support small businesses.
“The Government’s own impact assessment states that there are additional costs on a brewing and pub industry that is already reeling from the cost competition provided by supermarkets and other places where people can buy alcoholic beverages. Those things should be looked at by the Minister and given a Conservative slant, to make sure that we support not only our publicans who want a fair deal, but our family brewers who also deserve a fair deal.”
In an article in the Times and Citizen, Richard Fuller MP has encouraged local health chiefs to consider a tie-up between Bedford Hospital and Addenbrooke’s. The link up could allow Bedford to draw on the expertise and skills of Addenbrooke’s to deliver services at Bedford.
Richard said, “Addenbrooke’s is a trusted, high quality teaching hospital that would attract the recruitment of doctors to Bedford and help Bedford to provide quality care for local residents for many years to come.
“I have suggested to the leadership at Bedford Hospital that this could be another option to consider alongside those suggested by the current healthcare review.”
To read the full article, visit: Bedford Times & Citizen: MP’s call to consider alternatives.