I have enjoyed visiting some of Chelmsford’s schools over the last few weeks, including a visit to Moulsham Junior School to hear the views of staff and students. I also was honoured to meet the Head Girl, Maisie, who is determined to make a positive difference. Maisie told me of her plans to leave a legacy of positive role models for the younger year groups. Great work Maisie! Before the recent Autumn Statement, I was one of 21 Conservative MPs who wrote to the Chancellor urging him to increase school funding. I am very pleased that schools as well as the NHS will receive additional funding.
It was great to join elderly residents for lunch at the excellent Age Concern centre Cottage Place in Moulsham and I had a warm welcome at the open days for both the Chelmsford Mosque and the Royal Air Force Association, just off Moulsham Street. In New London Road, the coaches from Reed in Partnership told me about the work they are doing support many individuals to find employment opportunities.
On Remembrance Sunday, I joined the people from across Chelmsford to take part in a moving service with the laying of wreaths at our war memorial. It was particularly moving to see so many young people taking part in the service and parade.
Chelmsford boasts an incredibly vibrant nightlife. Recently, I visited “Popworld” to learn about how they are working to keep their customers safe. Every Friday and Saturday night, a welfare officer is present for people who need help as well as ten door staff, of whom at least one is always a woman. They showed me their glass and bottle covers that are freely available to prevent drink spiking, and informed me how they will recharge phones, walk women to the taxi rank and give free water to anyone who asks. I was pleased to hear that regular training is provided to all staff and a safe room is available for anyone who needs it. Over forty CCTV cameras now monitor the club so that any incidents can be investigated.
Prolonged heavy rainfall on the upper reaches of the Rivers Chelmer, Wid and Can at the same time could lead to significant flooding. I have been pressing for an improvement in Chelmsford flood defences for as long as I have been the MP. I recently met with officials from the Environment Agency and Chelmsford City Council to discuss plans to improve our flood resilience. At the meeting, we were showed how advanced computer modelling means it is now possible to take a holistic view of how several different interventions would work together to reduce the risk of flooding. I am urging both the City Council and the Environment Agency to work faster.
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