I made my annual visit to the Grill @twenty5’s Homeless Breakfast this morning where food is provided free to those who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation. Since starting in December 2019, co-owner Tina Leamon and her team have hosted impressive events to support those struggling and have wide support from the local community through donations of clothes. During Covid they supplied deliveries and have continued to act as a clothes donation centre also.
This event is always held on the last working day before Christmas each year from 7am-11am but they also provide food throughout the year too. They are given donations from local businesses and had been able to support 20-25 people today alone when I arrived.
Unfortunately, due to the cost of living situation, some people are struggling with their financial situation so it was important to be able to discuss this with representatives from Ipswich Housing Action Group, Ipswich Borough Council and Anglia Care Trust. What is stark is how many of these individuals who are struggling have disabilities and/or learning difficulties. Support for those less able in our communities is vital so I was thankful that I have been able to raise this.
Further to this I was also able to speak about the work local groups are doing to support rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness in Ipswich. These are tough times for people and the work on the Grill @twenty5 is a great example of another community initiative.
So the good news this week was that the High Court said the Rwanda policy was lawful. The frustrating news is the first flights still haven’t taken off!
I personally find it unbelievable that one judge connected to the European Convention of Human Rights can, at the eleventh hour, delay the whole thing by about 6 months. This is about how long it’s taken the High Court to stick by its original decision.
Sadly, there are further opportunities for those who are deeply opposed to us controlling our own borders to try and throw further spanners in the wheels.
You will see the question I asked the Home Secretary earlier this week. My frustration is clear and I share it with so many of my constituents.
I really hope the legal changes the PM is planning early next year will address all these issues. Ultimately, it should be for our own sovereign Parliament to pass laws on this, and frankly everything should be on the table in my view.
Part of our approach to tackling illegal immigration must involve the deportation of those who have decided to come here illegally to safe third countries such as Rwanda, if it isn’t safe for them to return to their home country.
The Prime Minister made clear last week that in the new year he will pass laws to make it impossible for those who come here illegally to be able to stay here. This is absolutely critical, and I will continue to push as hard as I can.
Great meeting today with the Social Mobility Minister, Mims Davies, to discuss supporting veterans transition into employment after leaving service.
There’s great work being done in Ipswich by Nigel Seaman and his charity Combat2Coffee, who help veterans who are struggling to transition to civilian life get the skills and opportunities they need. This meeting followed me raising his work in Parliament. He’s been a real champion on this issue, and has been crucial in identifying some of the issues facing veterans transitioning to employment. I’m excited that the Minister said she wants to visit Ipswich and see the amazing work they’re doing.
There are job transition services available to veterans, but uptake of these services is lower than ideal. Many veterans don’t know what support is available, and there can also be some amount of stigma attached. Overall, the transition process isn’t explained well and isn’t properly advertised.
We should be making sure that veteran work coaches are more closely involved in the resettlement process. Their services should be advertised more widely to veterans, and they should be made more accessible with walk-in in-office surgeries for veterans and their families. This could help reduce some of the stigma and anxiety around seeking help, as currently, they can only be seen by appointment. Many veterans also need more time to figure out what job they want to do in civilian life. The Career Transition Partnership for veterans should give them more time.
Was really pleased to have the Children’s Minister Claire Coutinho at the Sir Bobby Robson school this afternoon. She covers special educational needs as part of her role.
I’ve taken a keen interest in the school since it first opened only a few years so. Adam the head teacher and his team are doing a terrific job. Both myself and the Minister really enjoyed meeting so many of the pupils at the school and understanding more about their experiences.
In total there are now 66 at Sir Bobby. Many previous to being at Sir Bobby didn’t get the support they needed. Now they’re getting it and the progress many of them are making is uplifting.
Over the past few years the Government have increased the money put into special educational needs but the way Suffolk SEND is funded isn’t right. The amount of funding per pupil is lower than many comparable counties and this needs to change. I made this point to the Minister today and will be bringing it up in Parliament again next week.
We have another special school on the way on Woodbridge Road but even with that there is still not enough places at schools such as Sir Bobby. For every place at the school there is significant interest.