MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

THIS weekend I was delighted to be invited to the Ormerod Group’s annual football tournament for people with disabilities, held at Seafield Road YMCA in Lytham.

Teams had travelled to Fylde from around the country to take part in the Ormerod Cup and it was an excellent tournament, eventually won by Everton FC – Imagine Your Goals.

It was a pleasure to be asked to hand out the trophies alongside Blackpool FC legend Jimmy Armfield to all those teams which had taken part.

Earlier in the week I had met with the Ormerod’s Chief Executive Daniel Jones to discuss some issues with funding for its Lancashire Break Time programme

Lancashire County Council recently scrapped funding for non-assessed short break programmes for disabled children and I have serious concerns that in doing so it is failing to meet its statutory obligation to local families.

I have agreed to take this up with the Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson MP, to get the Government’s view on the actions of County Hall and see whether it is still providing the required support for those who desperately need it.

I had earlier been invited to Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary to discuss its possible closure, after the owner of the land on which it is based decided not to renew its lease.

While at the Queensway Park Farm site I was given a tour and shown around the animal enclosures. It is difficult to imagine what would have happened to some of the animals at Easterleigh if the charity did not exist and it is now facing the very real threat that it may have to close its doors unless it can find a new home.

I agreed to see what I could do to publicise its plight with the hope that someone may be able to provide a suitable location for the sanctuary to move to.

On Sunday, I attended Joe Longthorne’s 60th birthday celebrations at the London Palladium and had a terrific night with a number of friends who had travelled down from the Fylde for the show.

I first came to know Joe as he is a big supporter of the Queendeans Association, the Blackpool-based charity of which I am Patron. Joe does a lot of work for local charities, both independently and through his own foundation, and I was pleased I was able to attend and show my support and appreciation for all he does.

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