Evennett supports 2019 Parliamentary launch of the Great Daffodil Appeal

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Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, attended the Parliamentary launch of Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal.

The appeal was launched in 1986 and is held annually in March. It is crucial in raising much-needed funds to enable the charity to continue to provide nursing and hospice care, fund research and campaign on behalf of everyone affected by terminal illness.

Sir David was joined by actor Stephen Mangan and Rapid Response Healthcare Assistant Patricia McDonnell at the parliamentary event to celebrate the launch.

Sir David commented: “I am pleased to be able to show my support for the Great Daffodil Appeal and hope people across the country will get involved to help fund vital care and support for the charity. The money raised from the Appeal will help Marie Curie be there for even more people living with any terminal illness such as terminal cancer, dementia, heart failure, and motor neurone disease.”

Mr Mangan said: “I experienced first-hand the difference they make when they cared for both my mum and later, my dad at home. Chances are, we all know someone who’s been affected by a terminal illness. That’s why I’m delighted to be here with Sir David to help launch Marie Curie’s annual Great Daffodil Appeal.

“Whether its worn in celebration, in solidarity or in memory of a loved one, by donating and wearing a daffodil pin during March, you and thousands of others in Bexley will help make sure thousands more dying people get the care and support they deserve.”

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Westminster Hall Debate on Rail Services in South East London

Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, secured a Westminster Hall Debate on Rail Services in South East London yesterday (7 March). He was supported in the debate by Parliamentary colleagues Gareth Johnson MP, Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP, Teresa Pearce MP, Clive Efford MP, and Matthew Pennycook MP.

A transcript of the debate can be read at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2019-03-06/debates/FCBC4F34-9A83-4C48-ACEF-9A6409B2CD5F/RailServicesSouth-EastLondon

Sir David commented on the debate in Politics Home, and a copy of his article is below:

On the one hand, I am delighted to have secured a debate in Westminster Hall on Rail Services in South East London, but on the other it is a great shame there is a such a desperate need to raise the same issues again in Parliament.

My constituency of Bexleyheath and Crayford, and Bexley Borough as a whole, are entirely dependent on Southeastern Rail in order to travel into Central London. We suffer a terrible rail service, with cancellations and delays the norm, and we have no viable alternative due to having no underground services whatsoever.

We have been blighted with signalling issues at Lewisham causing more misery for commuters, with delays and cancellations lasting from the mornings well into the evenings. I recently met with representatives from Network Rail, who confirmed the signalling problems at Lewisham and advised of the works that would be done to go towards rectifying this; however, these are not scheduled until this Easter with further works scheduled to take place over Easter 2020 as well. Rail users deserve better and need action now.

Our trains are constantly delayed, even if it is by a couple of minutes, and to highlight this just 72% of people were satisfied with the punctuality of services in the 2018 Rail Passenger Survey. It is true that many of the delays are the fault of Network Rail, but Southeastern often use this as an excuse for the poor service overall and their inability to act, have any contingency plans in place, or provide simple information to customers on why the train is delayed, is quite frankly appalling.

Many of my constituents have also been incredibly disappointed at the continuing delays in awarding the new franchise for our area.

The proposals in the new franchise agreement give some real positives to look forward to, including making sure the new operator and Network Rail work closer together, improved delay repay, tougher demands on reliability, more frequent services to Charing Cross, and direct services to Abbey Wood from Bexleyheath and Sidcup – which will eventually link to Crossrail. However, no decision has yet been made, and just like the train service we have seen delay after delay. The new franchise needs to be decided urgently by the Department for Transport.

Of course, the delay to Crossrail was a major blow for the capital, but particularly for South East London. The fault of this lies at the feet of the Mayor of London and TfL, who have serious questions to answer as we still don’t have a definitive opening date. Crossrail will undoubtedly transform the services in our area and shall finally provide a viable alternative for rail users. Furthermore, I have always hoped that when the line opens plans could be looked at to extend the service through Bexley to Ebbsfleet. The Crossrail to Ebbsfleet Partnership (C2E) have highlighted the many benefits of an extension, including unlocking 55,000 new homes and 50,000 new jobs across the sub-region. The delays to Crossrail are holding our area back from regeneration and economic growth.

I have had countless meetings, discussions and written communications with the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, to highlight the issues with the rail service across South East London, but we have not yet seen any progress despite continued increases in costs of fares and an increase in frustration of railway users. We need, and deserve, the better rail services in South East London and North-West Kent that our constituents demand.

Evennett gets behind World Book Day 2019

David Evennett WBD-006 © World Book Day.jpgRt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, attended a Parliamentary event on Tuesday (5 March), to show his support for World Book Day 2019.

This will be the 22nd year there has been a World Book Day and this year it takes place on 7 March. It is the world’s biggest campaign to provide every child and young person in the country with a book of their own, and the main aim to encourage children to read and enjoy books. World Book Day is a registered charity that will be sending schools packs of book tokens and resource packs that are filled with ideas, activities and display information about how to get involved.

Sir David is pictured holding his favourite book, Kim by Rudyard Kipling, along with two of the books being promoted this year by World Book Day. Sir David commented: “I am delighted to be able to show my support for World Book Day in Parliament this week. Improving literacy is vitally important for boosting life chances and even spending just 10 minutes a day reading with a child can make a significant difference. Reading is also a great way to escape and I would encourage all of my constituents to take part.”

Evennett pays a visit to King Henry School

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Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, paid a visit to King Henry School in Erith last Friday (1 March).

King Henry School, formerly Erith School, merged with Townley Grammar on 1 September 2018 to form a new Multi Academy Trust – the Odyssey Trust for Education.

Sir David, who has been a longstanding supporter of both schools, was greeted by senior members of staff then given a tour of the school, which included a visit to a Year 7 drama class and a look at the new building works. He then met with pupils on the Student Council to speak about his role as a Member of Parliament, and to answer a range of questions from why he became involved in politics to Brexit. Following the Q&A, Sir David chatted with Executive Headteacher, Desmond Deehan, about the Trust’s plans for the school.

Community Leaders Join Friends at Fundraising Quiz Night

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Pictured at the quiz from left to right: Dorothy Pennington Jones, Cllr Christine Bishop, Cllr Brian Bishop, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett  MP, John Holbrook, Cllr Melvin Seymour, Cllr Geraldene Lucia-Hennis

The Friends of St Paulinus Church in Crayford held their annual fundraising Quiz Night at the church hall on Saturday evening (2 March).

 

The Quiz Master was the Friends’ Treasurer, John Holbrook, and the questions covered a wide variety of subjects, including music, food and drink, current affairs, famous people and films.

Friends’ Chair, Dorothy Pennington-Jones, was the Master of Ceremonies and organised the fundraising raffle during the interval.

Community Leaders Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP, Bexley Mayor Cllr Brian Bishop and his wife Mayoress Cllr Christine Bishop, and local Councillors Geraldene Lucia-Hennis and Melvin Seymour, as well as Crayford Rector Rev Paul Prentice, joined teams for the entertaining evening.

The well attended event raised a grand total of £685 for the church.

Bishop, MP and Councillor attend Crayford Mass of Induction

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Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP and Cllr Geraldine Lucia-Hennis joined the Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark, Rt Rev Patrick Lynch, for the Induction of Father David Gummett as the new Parish Priest for St Mary of the Crays Church in Crayford on Saturday afternoon (23 February). Sir David and Cllr Lucia-Hennis gave the formal welcome on behalf of the local community.

The service at the Roman Catholic Church in Old Road, Crayford was attended by church members, representatives of other Crayford churches, friends and family of Father David and other invited guests. After the Mass there was a Reception and a Buffet Luncheon in the church hall.

Evennett gets behind National Apprenticeship Week 2019

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Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford attended an event in Parliament last week to show his support for National Apprenticeship Week 2019, which aims to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships to employers, individuals, local communities and the wider economy in a week-long celebration of apprenticeships.

The ‘Blaze a Trail’ themed week, running from 4 to 8 March 2019, is the 12th annual National Apprenticeship Week and will see a range of activities and events being hosted across the country, aimed at challenging the outdated views many people still have about apprenticeships.

At the Parliamentary event, Sir David met with apprentices to speak with them about their experiences and the impact they have had in their fields.

Last Friday (15 February), Sir David also visited Crayford business The Bookends Bindery Ltd, which is a small workshop, consisting solely of trained craftspeople whose principal speciality is book restoration and conservation. He was met by the owner, Sean Codling, and shown round the workshop while speaking with staff members Joe Dixon, Colin Barson and apprentice Sarah Bernard. The workshop is keen to take on apprentices to continue the book binding trade for years to come, and have held taster days to give an insight to the work they do.

Sir David commented: “I am delighted to be able to show my support for National Apprenticeship Week and to speak to some inspirational apprentices both in Parliament and in my constituency. Apprenticeships are a brilliant way for people to begin their career and have a clear pathway to a fantastic job”.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said: “Throughout National Apprenticeship Week people from industry, employers and across the public sector will be celebrating their apprentices and the amazingly positive impact they bring to the organisations that employ them. We want to raise awareness of apprenticeships, and we want to encourage more employers to start their own apprenticeship programme and really start to fire up their own business or organisation”.

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Evennett concerned and disappointed at rail landslip at Barnehurst

23121.jpgRt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has expressed his concern and disappointment at the landslip on the Bexleyheath rail line.

The line has been blighted with landslips in the past, with incidents in 2010, 2014 and 2016. Sir David has been in communication with Network Rail over the last two days for updates on the works to remedy the current situation and to the latest landslip is not connected to the previous ones. Network Rail have advised him that this is a wholly separate incident and they are currently in the process of making the cutting safe by using H-piling, where holes are drilled into the earthworks and H-shaped steel beams are inserted into the ground to essentially build a wall that will prevent slippage.

Sir David remains in communications with Network Rail and has requested a meeting with the Managing Director, John Halsall.

Sir David commented: “I am extremely concerned that this has occurred so often in recent years and have asked Network Rail to confirm what actions they will be taking to prevent further landslips along the route. Bexley residents already suffer an appalling rail service and this really has exasperated the issues this week. Not only has the landslip caused significant delays, but the alternative routes have also experienced signal problems which is another issue I am pursuing.”

Evennett supports Mental Health Campaign

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Last Wednesday (30 January), Rt Hon Sir David Evennett MP joined representatives from the Action for Children charity to support the Parliamentary launch of ‘Build Sound Minds’, which is a campaign to help children and teenagers build good mental and emotional wellbeing.

At the event, Sir David heard from your people who have experienced mental health and wellbeing problems and learnt that a third of 15 to 18-year-olds assessed by Action for Children were found to be suffering from mental health issues. Pupils in need of support have been taking part in the Blues Programme, the first ever UK-wide early help intervention for teenage depression.

Sir David commented: “for too long people suffering with poor mental health failed to receive the same access to services as those with physical problems. The Government has been working hard to address this injustice, including by increasing funding for mental health services.

“Acting early is vital to help stop problems developing further and I am therefore delighted to be able to support this campaign to help highlight to young people the importance of looking out for their own wellbeing and to seek support if they’re struggling.”

Julie Bentley, chief executive of Action for Children, said: “just like our physical health, our emotional wellbeing needs care and attention. And the first step in doing this is to create a positive conversation about mental health.”