Local MP Paula Sherriff discusses benefits of community inclusion

Photo: Margaret from Guide Dogs Association, with her dog Martson and with MP Paula Sherriff.

I’m always glad to hear about local people who are working hard to improve our communities, doing their bit to engage and support others and taking pride in our towns and villages.

From the flourishing Men’s Shed in Denby Dale, showcased at their recent open day, to the Open Farm Sunday, where I was glad to join families enjoying the sunshine at the Joseph Norton School farm in Scissett – it’s truly rewarding to see local communities thriving.

Men’s Sheds are a great way of helping to reduce loneliness and isolation, but above all they’re about having fun. The Denby Dale Men’s Shed is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 4pm and is a relaxed space where men can get together and share skills whilst working on ‘garden shed’ projects. I’ve been very impressed by what they’ve achieved at Nortonthorpe Mills and I’ll be singing their praises in Parliament.

Recently in Parliament, I’ve raised a number of pressing issues, including young people in need of mental health beds being sent out of area and miles from their homes and families; the impact of the closure of the Huddersfield benefits assessment centre on sick and disabled residents and I’ve been outspoken on the need to urgently address the chaos affecting train travel across our region.

I also met with Margaret from the Guide Dogs Association, and her gorgeous dog Marston, to discuss their Streets Ahead campaign. Margaret told me about the continuing challenges that blind and partially sighted people face when walking the streets, including pavement parking, street clutter and shared spaces.

We've been waiting two and a half years for the government to review legislation on pavement parking, a problem which renders our streets inaccessible for so many. It’s wrong that guide dog owners often have to risk their lives going into the busy main roads to avoid unnecessary obstacles in the street and I fully support their campaign.

Another campaign I’m keen for people to get behind, is my work with Keep Britain Tidy. I’ve launched a competition ‘Little Litter Heroes’ with local schools to help inspire children about environmental issues – and to hopefully foster a lifelong sense of pride in our towns and villages.  I'll also be organising a weekend litter pick/clean up throughout the constituency for everyone to get involved in - date to be announced. We'll ensure appropriate equipment is provided. Let’s all do our bit and take pride in our area.

As always, if there’s anything I can do to help readers or their families in any way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with my office on 01924 565450, email paula@paulasherriff.org.uk or write to me; Paula Sherriff MP, The Old Dewsbury Reporter Building, 17 Wellington Road, Dewsbury, WF13 1HQ.’