05-10-17 - News in the making...

Last week I used this column to champion the importance of inspiring new generations to take an active interest in politics. This week an opportunity has arisen for young people in our community to do just that and I felt compelled to write about it.

The Political Studies Association are launching their annual competition for students in post 16 education. The competition is designed to provide an exciting chance for young people to engage with a political concept by researching, designing and creating a video.

This year, students are asked to explore the question: 'Fake News: Is this the end of facts?' Submissions should focus on examining what fake news is, what effect it may be having on the political landscape and what it means for expert opinion and 'factual' knowledge.

'Fake News' clearly represents one of the defining issues of our generation. It cuts to the heart of many major recent political events; including the EU referendum and, of course, the election of Trump in the USA. It represents a significant challenge for politicians and the media alike. This competition provides an excellent platform for our young people to research and present on such an important and controversial topic.

The winners of the contest will receive a week's work experience with the YouGov political team during their school holidays and shortlisted finalists will be invited to the Palace of Westminster to discuss their ideas with an expert panel. This is a fantastic prize and would be a great experience for any young person with a political interest.

It would be superb to see a high number of entries from students across Maidstone and the Weald and even better to see a first time winner from within our community. You can find out more about the competition by clicking here

If there is anything my team and I can do to help with your creations then please do let me know. Good luck!

**********************************************************

Helen's column is published weekly in the Kent Messenger. Please note the print version may differ from the content here.


Local MP Helen Grant meets Rocky Hill residents

Following an electrical fire that occurred at Rocky Hill Terrace in London Road, Maidstone, on May 24th Fire Officers have recommended safety improvements to the building. This will require all 38 residents in 36 flats to be relocated. The residents are a group of older people some of whom have additional mobility and health issues.

Helen Grant MP was contacted by Simon Clark, Group Director – Housing, Sanctuary Group, which owns the property, to make her aware of the situation.

Helen said 'The safety of these residents is paramount and it does seem that the improvements needed to the structural compartmentation of the building will require the property to be vacated. I am very mindful of the distress experienced by so many being relocated following the fall-out of the Grenfell Tower disaster; my immediate concerns were therefore about how the need for relocation would be explained and then carried out. Clearly this will be a very sensitive time for the people affected and many have lived there for a long period of time'.

'I visited residents on Friday with Mr Clarke to speak with them myself, to ensure they received substantive answers to their questions and to act on their behalf in holding the landlords to account.

Initially I did share residents' suspicions that the works may be a convenient excuse to gain vacant possession of the building prior to redevelopment into more valuable units.

Having had the meeting I feel more reassured that there isn't an underlying ulterior motive like that and that the reasons for relocation are genuine.

I am also satisfied that Sanctuary are managing this process in a caring and sensitive manner. Sensibly they have not put an immediate timescale on the process as they do not want to add that kind of pressure to the residents. Their focus is upon moving each and every individual to a home that suits them and one that they are happy with'.

Simon Clark said 'We have been talking to residents and their families in one to one meetings throughout this week. We have a dedicated a team of senior and experienced housing staff taking them through the process sensitively and carefully.

'In addition to providing the residents with an on-site Liaison Officer, we are speaking to relevant statutory agencies and appropriate local charities about whether there is further support that can be given'.

'All residents will have a choice about their accommodation. The alternative properties identified so far are of good quality, desirable and nearby their existing homes. However, if any of the residents would like to view other homes we will, of course, oblige.'

Mrs Grant will continuing monitoring the issue until all residents are re-housed appropriately.


10 OCT 2017

Speaking on the Race Disparity Audit

An Opinion Editorial by Helen Grant MP It can neither be right nor fair that in this day and age, in Britain, your chances in life can be determined by the colour of your skin. It seems almost medieval that your chances of securing employment may be a lottery...


21 SEP 2017

Helen in exciting new role!

Maidstone & The Weald MP to Chair Apprenticeship Network Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has been appointed as the new Chair of the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network. The Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network is a cornerstone of the Government's strategy to achieve its...


18 SEP 2017

MP signs resident's petition

Standing up for Staplehurst Helen on a recent visit to Staplehurst with residents and local councillors Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has signed a petition created by Staplehurst residents, opposing the inclusion of Henhurst Farm in Maidstone Borough Council's emerging local plan. This...



Welcome and thank you for taking the time to visit my website. I hope you will find it informative and helpful.

If there is anything you feel I can do for you as your MP then please send me a message.  If you would like to receive regular updates on my activities and forthcoming events please sign up for my e-communique newsletter.

With very best wishes

HELEN GRANT MP

Helen's column

05 OCT 2017

News in the making...

Kent Messenger Column – 05-10-17 Last week I used this column to champion the importance of inspiring new generations to take an active interest in politics. This week an opportunity has arisen for...


28 SEP 2017

Party Conference

Kent Messenger Column - 28-09-17 The excessive cost of attending party conferences has been a bugbear of mine for years now. I last wrote about this a couple of years ago, with particular reference...


21 SEP 2017

New Housing Consultation

Kent Messenger Column - 21-09-17  Readers will surely be aware of the ongoing spat over Maidstone's emerging local plan, driving both local MPs to seek intervention by the Secretary of State. It...