It was a rather wintery start to March which lead to treacherous driving conditions and plummeting temperatures. As a result of such cold weather it meant that Cold Weather Payments were triggered for all qualifying residents across Aldridge-Brownhills. The poor weather also meant that the Great British Spring Clean had to be postponed.

However, it was a pleasure to join volunteers in Winterley Lane, Rushall to support their clean up as part of the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign and this weekend I am looking forward to joining the Royal Air Force Air Cadets 1444 (Brownhills) Squadron to lend a hand and help with their Spring Clean.

The recent announcement, by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, of the intention to sell off Aldridge Police Station came as a surprise to all of us at the end of February. The decision has been undertaken without proper consultation and comes on the back of receiving increased funding from the Government in the recent funding settlement. Public safety and reassurance are of paramount importance to me and to local residents right across the constituency and that is why I will continue to argue strongly and make the case for us to retain our Police Station in Aldridge.

I was delighted to hold my Annual Aldridge-Brownhills Constituency Business Breakfast courtesy of Laserform on Northgate. An important part of my role as your Member of Parliament is to get out and about right across the constituency and listen to our business community to ensure that they have the right tools from Government to help them progress and flourish, and create local employment opportunities. Collage

This year, my Business Breakfast happened to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week. Now in its eleventh year the event celebrates the success of apprenticeships and seeks to encourage even more people to choose an apprenticeship as a pathway to a great career. I have always been a big supporter of Apprenticeships and the role they play in bridging the skills gap and there nothing beats hearing from young people about their experiences and their achievements. It was therefore a great pleasure to be able to welcome a group of apprentices from Aldridge based In-Comm Training and Business Services to the House of Commons. This built on the success of a similar visit they made last year and once again they showcased how apprenticeships work for individuals, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

On a more social level I was delighted to join members of the Shelfield Male Voice Choir at their recent 50th Anniversary Celebrations. The Male Voice Choir has provided endless entertainment over the years and their charitable donations have helped many charities throughout the local area. They are to be congratulated on this magnificent achievement.

A final shout for this column today however must go out for the wonderful visit to Aldridge School last week, where I was able to hear more about the work which is being undertaken by the pupils who are on The Scholars Programme and how they are growing in confidence and motivation to progress to University. It is always a pleasure to be out and about across Aldridge-Brownhills and meeting with so many of you locally at your events. I look forward to continuing with this, and with Easter approaching let’s hope we start to see the signs of spring and some warmer weather.