Alok Sharma's Westminster Diary: July 24 2012
Published 27 Jul 2012 09:00 1 Comment
Parliament is now in recess for the summer, giving me more opportunity to meet local organisations and unsung heroes who do so much voluntary work within their communities. I am going to devote this week's column to celebrate some of the local heroes I have met just in the past week.
I was honoured to be invited to Newbery Lodge pre-school in Tilehurst to make a presentation to manager Marilyn Johnson on her retirement after 27 years serving her community. Marilyn is undoubtedly a local hero, having dedicated her life to the care of children. Nothing could illustrate the value of her contribution more than the praise of parents with children at Newbery Lodge, who themselves were taught by Marilyn decades earlier! Here's wishing Marilyn a happy and less hectic retirement.
The Reading Ex-British Gurkha Association recently held an extremely well attended fundraising event to celebrate its new charity status, which I spoke at. Over recent years I have maintained close contact with the Gurkhas on a range of issues and it is really pleasing to see how well integrated the Gurkha community is becoming in Reading, with some even starting up local businesses.
I am quite sure the Reading association will go from strength to strength in the years ahead.
Last week I addressed the local Utulivu Women's Group's 4th annual conference. 'Utulivu' is a Swahili word meaning "patience" and the language is spoken across several countries in Africa.
The conference was about celebrating and empowering women to succeed in education and the work place and the conference heard some really inspiring stories about individuals succeeding against the odds.
The group's chairwoman, Bilha Kihura, spoke passionately about the need to encourage each other to have the courage to succeed. Utulivu is undoubtedly doing very good work in Reading and I hope to work more closely with the group in areas such as mentoring and connecting with local businesses.
Utulivu is also supporting the fundraising effort for local boy, Yanne Nkurunziza, who suffers from cerebral palsy, and group member Thelma Rusike is undertaking a week-long fast to raise funds.
The money raised is going towards covering the costs of innovative surgery in the US to improve Yanne's mobility. To learn more about and donate to this worthy cause visit www.yannesjourney.org
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Jul 28, 14:58
I'm also in "recess" Alok, aka the twilight period of my life. Your party have done very little if nothing at all that Labour did to make the jobless figures decrease. Now, I like so many others, have nothing better to do than sign on and dream we'll get a job one day. But like all dreams they fall upon deaf ears. So you'll have to excuse me if one finds reading the above clear flatulence hard going...
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