This week I was delighted to be asked to present the awards to a group of young people who had taken part in Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s Kirkham Prince’s Trust scheme.

The Prince’s Trust offers young people, many of who have had a challenging start in life, the opportunity to gain confidence and skills through working as a team to complete community projects.

During the 12 week course they also take part in work experience with various employers and are given training in interview techniques and writing CVs.

The group are assisted by people from different walks of life and hopefully by the end of the course they are better equipped to enter the workplace.

I was asked to make a short speech and to hand out certificates to those who had taken part and I was hugely impressed by what they had achieved in a short period.

This week is obviously one where Christmas is at the forefront of our minds, but it can be easy to forget that first and foremost it is a Christian celebration.

Since becoming Member of Parliament for Fylde I have visited many churches in our community and have been welcomed into all of them, no matter what the denomination.  On Sunday, I was invited by Minister Richard Jevons to the nativity service at the St Annes Baptist Church and it was great to see all those who took part do so very much with the spirit of Christmas in mind.

I always find that churches and places of worship offer people somewhere they can go so they are not alone and can feel part of a community.

At this time of the year that is so important as, while Christmas may be an occasion many of us associate with seeing family, friends and loved-ones, for those who are alone it can be a time of desperate loneliness and despair.

This week I popped in to the Adult Support and Outreach Service, formerly Church Road Day Centre, in St Annes for a Christmas party with all the trimmings. It is a prime example of somewhere older people can go to for support and to meet new friends and I am always pleased to be able to visit.

I would encourage anyone who might know someone who is alone this Christmas to reach out to them and offer them a helping hand over the festive period.

Let me take this opportunity to wish readers a very merry Christmas.

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