The Government’s Levelling Up Fund is an important tool we should be accessing for St Annes town centre, and I held a meeting with the leadership team at Fylde Council to look at the practicalities of getting a bid ready as soon as possible. I have spoken with two significant businesses in the area which are preparing for expansion and a bid for Government funds now could work well alongside their investment.
The fund’s aims include bringing empty buildings back into use and creating more community-focussed town centres with new facilities and cultural destinations – ideal for St Annes.
Lytham will benefit from works this year, Kirkham has up to £10 million of funding following two successful bids; St Annes must be our priority.
I spoke with the new chairman of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust; this was a forward-looking conversation about the future of our hospitals. A recent CQC report highlighted areas needing improvement but these are largely legacy issues and I am confident the new leadership team at the hospital will have plans in place to address all of these concerns. Let’s not lose sight of the fact the hospital is set to receive a massive investment in urgent care and the report also highlighted many positives, especially the senior leadership of doctors and nurses, and the efforts of an advanced paramedic working with the mental health liaison team to significantly reduce the number of admissions.
I know full well the difficulties posed during this pandemic and I am grateful to each and every doctor, nurse and support worker for their tremendous efforts to help us through Covid-19.
I have also met in the past few days with both the British Heart Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support. It was very important to hear from these organisations to better understand the way the pandemic has affected not only treatment for patients, but wider care for them as well. I’ll be writing to ministers on their behalf.