Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves writes her monthly column, with vaccinations at a New Wortley GP surgery in the spotlight.
The easing of some restrictions has meant that at long last I can get back out on the doorsteps talking to people face to face.
My team and I have had to rely on phoning people over the last few months to speak about the local and national issues that matter to them.
Getting out and about across the constituency is one of my favourite parts of my job – and the sunny weather has helped!
The May local elections and Yorkshire Mayoral elections are nearly here. If you haven’t voted by post, please remember that extra restrictions will be in place in polling stations this year.
Take your own pen or pencil if you can, wear a mask and remember to social distance.
In previous years all political parties have offered people lifts to the polling stations. Unfortunately due to Covid, this can’t happen this year. However, if you have any issues or questions about this year’s elections and how they have been affected by Covid, please get in touch with my office and we will try to help.
Priory View and the vaccine rollout
The vaccine rollout in Leeds has been going extremely well, with a high percentage of those offered the vaccine taking it up.
I recently visited Priory View Medical Centre to talk through their processes for ensuring a smooth rollout of the vaccine and to thank them for all their hard work.
Staff at Priory View have worked long and anti-social hours to ensure the programme has been a success.
We owe them and everyone else involved in the vaccination programme a huge debt of thanks. When you are notified, please take up the opportunity to get your vaccine so that we can keep each other safe and continue to see restrictions lifted.
I was able to go to Lower Wortley Primary School recently to meet the Year 5 children, the Leeds School Sports Association (LSSA) and Jodi and Peter from Skipping School – a company that promotes skipping as a fun way to get fit.
I was proud to launch the inter-school skipping competition. Covid has posed many challenges, and heads I have spoken to say that children have really missed PE and sport activities, including the competitive element.
The skipping competition takes place in individual schools and results are compared – so the children get to compete but all Covid guidelines are still followed. The Year 5 pupils beat me comfortably, but it was great to join in. It even inspired me to get the skipping ropes out with my children when I got home!
Visiting Armley Helping Hands
Our local community hubs have done such valuable work over the last year to support our communities in these challenging times.
I was pleased to visit Armley Helping Hands (AHH). They have been doing some excellent work during the pandemic, delivering Easter Eggs, daffodils and Clarkies’ Fish and Chips to all their members over the Bank Holiday.
Relaxation of some of the rules means they have also been able to act as walking buddies for people, some of whom haven’t been out of the house for months. A really valuable service provided to ensure that the elderly and vulnerable in our communities are supported and cared for. A big thank you to everyone involved.
Working on the Covid-19 Frontline
I wrote to local funeral directors earlier this year to thank them for their contribution during the pandemic – a forgotten group of workers who have been personally and professionally greatly impacted by Covid.
As a result of the letter, I was invited to visit Full Circle funeral directors to find out about the work they do.
The business is located in the building that was once The Globe Pub and it is absolutely beautiful inside.
As well as finding out about what work had been like during the pandemic, manager Sarah also told me about their ideas to support the community.
These included promoting the Bramley Baths employability scheme though their existing networks, and also offering BARCA space to run bereavement groups for men struggling with loss.
Thanks to Full Circle and to everyone involved in funeral services. It has been a hard year for those who work so hard to help us put our loved ones to rest.
Finally, please remember that if you have any issues you think I might be able to help with, you can contact my office – on 0113 2552311 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.