On Friday I was out in Kirkham and Wesham, visiting residents and regarding the June flooding issues. This included a warm welcome from Georgina and Gillian at Dreamcatcher Bridal, a fantastic wedding dress and menswear business located on Station Road in Kirkham, who showed me some of the stunning dresses from their range.
Having met with businesses and residents just days before, I was deeply concerned by the further incidents of flooding in Fylde over the weekend. I was back out on Sunday and Monday to investigate the causes with local Councillor Tommy Threlfall, including the growth of weeds and roots in some drains, a particular issue in Freckleton, as I saw first-hand and discussed with residents.
Calls to have these unblocked have only partially been acted upon and, having held an initial multi-agency meeting earlier this month, I am concerned that Lancashire County Council, the Environment Agency, and United Utilities have not moved fast enough to implement the 2020 recommendations.
This Thursday I am reconvening these organisations for an update on the work they are undertaking to resolve these issues and expect to see a clear set of commitments and a timeline for action.
For many people at HMP Kirkham, their time there is central to their reintegration back into civilian life. While many are not local, it was fantastic to meet with Rob, originally from Manchester, who has turned his life around having enrolled on an electrician’s apprenticeship with Ameon, a Fylde based construction services provider.
Such opportunities are limited and not every enrolment is a success. It is a huge testament to Ameon’s community work and Rob’s determination that he has worked his way up through the business. It is vital that we give people a second chance at life, and I will be speaking with Ministers about how we can expand such opportunities, reducing reoffending and enabling former prisoners to become valued members of society.
Farming is an industry undergoing massive changes, and it was fascinating to visit Fylde Fresh & Fabulous to see their Anaerobic Digestion machine. The business specialises in providing ready-peeled potatoes to supermarkets and the catering industry and are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact. With peelings already sold on as fertiliser to neighbouring farms, they are now using the anaerobic digestion to recycle and purify methane by-product, separating out the Carbon Dioxide which can then be used as green gas.
They are a real Fylde success story, acquiring other businesses across the country and expanding their offering into other vegetables as well as this venture into clean, green, gas.
Lastly, while the weather meant the cricket was a washout, there were no such issues in Staining, where the local community came out in force for the annual Staining Gala. It is a testament to the organiser’s efforts that the event was held in such high spirits and so well attended despite the heavy rain.