From JOHNSON, Gareth <[email protected]>
Subject Darent Valley Hospital, Election and Weightlifting
Date October 30, 2019 11:54 AM
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Gareth Johnson
MP for Dartford

Reporting back from Dartford and Westminster - now reaching over 5,000 people in the local area

October 2019

Welcome to my latest newsletter.

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Meeting staff at Darent Valley Hospital

Visit to Darent Valley Hospital

I regularly visit Darent Valley Hospital to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing them and to chat with staff about issues like Winter preparation.

This month, I met with their CEO and we discussed various issues including the potential hyper-acute stroke unit and the Urgent Treatment Centre consultation.

I also met with two of the Sisters who oversee the Nightingale Project which is a programme designed to improve standards and patient experience across hospital wards.

I was also pleased to meet with the Hospital at Home Team, who gave me an insight into their work which aims to provide short term acute medical care (about 1-5 days) within the homes of patients. This can include residential and nursing homes.

The sort of treatment that can be offered at home includes oxygen therapy and intravenous antibiotics. The Hospital at Home Team (HAHT) is able to monitor the vital signs of patients remotely and receives an auto-alert if there is an issue. It looks after between 60-100 patients a month at home. The team also works with GPs and refers patients to district nurses, community matrons, physiotherapists and occupational therapists when required for further care after patients are discharged from the HAHT.

Lastly, I met with Professor Sriprasad from the Surgical Team and had a tour of the Surgical Admission Lounge, together with Rowan and Cherry wards.

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Bluewater Jobs Fair

Bluewater's Jobs Fair returned for its eighth consecutive year and welcomed over 2,000 job seekers for positions across retail, leisure and hospitality, in partnership with The Learning Shop.

The event built on the success of previous years with many attendees invited back for second interviews, work trials or being given job offers on the day.

Since the launch of the Jobs Fair, Bluewater has facilitated the employment of over 10,000 roles.

With a great variety of jobs on offer at all levels, the Jobs Fair matched job seekers to vacancies at over 60 retailers including Apple, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, JD, Primark, Five Guys and TGI Fridays.

The Learning Shop is a unique partnership between Bluewater, North Kent College and the Department for Work and Pensions. An on-site employment and training hub, it has become the model for similar schemes throughout the UK.

Europa Weightlifting Club

It was a pleasure to be invited to visit the Europa Weightlifting Club which is located on Temple Hill.

The club was founded in 2002 and its athletes have represented Great Britain at the London Olympic Games, together with many World and European Championships. There are high hopes that the club will be represented at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

Europa Weightlifting Club was previously based in Crayford but moved to larger premises on Temple Hill in February 2019. The Club has ambitious plans to fully refurbish the gym, along with the Temple Hill Youth Centre with which it shares the space. It then plans to offer space for classes such as yoga, pilates, Zumba, as well as space for potential church groups and mother and baby groups.

On visiting Europa Weightlifting Club, I found it to be a very well-run, well-organised asset to the local community. I hope the club is able to fully realise its plans for refurbishment and I have given it my full support.

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Cards for Good Causes

Cards for Good Causes will again be on sale this year at Dartford Library from 2nd November until 14th December.

They are celebrating 60 years of helping to raise much needed money for charities. In Dartford Library, they sell cards for over 30 charities and they receive at least 70p in the £1 from the Christmas card sales.

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Kent Community Foundation

Kent Community Foundation supports good causes throughout Kent and Medway. Since 2001, it has distributed over £35 million in grants and provides financial support to hundreds of smaller charities and deserving causes throughout Kent and Medway.

Last year, it awarded £2.5 million to over 600 good causes across the area.

Chief Executive, Josephine McCartney states that "Grassroots groups are doing amazing work to support communities across Kent and Medway. They often run on a shoestring budget and struggle to compete for the larger funding pots. At Kent Community Foundation we use our local knowledge to ensure our funding supports the groups on the ground making such a big difference to the lives of people in Kent and Medway."

If you know of a local good cause that needs financial help, the team at Kent Community Foundation would like to hear from you.

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News from Westminster

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Mental Health support and awareness tool

Earlier in October, Public Health England and the NHS joined forces to launch a new mental health support and awareness tool.

The 'Every Mind Matters' website offers simple steps to help people look after their mental health, improve their mental well-being and support people around them.

The easy-to-use website has guidance about some mental health issues including stress, anxiety, low mood and sleeping problems, with simple tips on how to help people.

Public Health England say that around 80% of people have experienced the early signs of poor mental health with many waiting months before seeking help.

We know that around a quarter of adults and one in ten children will experience a mental health illness at some point. This is an issue that we haven't, as a country, every properly tackled, so I welcome this new initiative.


As you can imagine, the situation surrounding this issue changes on a frequent basis so anything I write can be out-of-date very quickly. One thing has not changed and that is my belief the UK should leave the EU and take back the sovereignty we have lost over the past forty years. I will continue to vote in every way I can to deliver Brexit and act on the instruction we were given by the British people in 2016.

I have found people in Dartford just want us to get on with the job of delivering Brexit. Whether they voted leave or remain, they are tired of the issue and want us to implement Brexit and concentrate on other important matters.

The law now forces the UK to agree a delay to Brexit and ask the EU for an extension of our membership.

Almost two-thirds of Dartfordians voted to leave the EU and many people who voted remain believe we should respect the outcome of the referendum. I wholeheartedly agree.

Policing of Extinction Rebellion protests

During a Business of the House debate, I asked the Leader of the House, Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg, for a debate to be scheduled as soon as possible to discuss the policing of the Extinction Rebellion Protests.

I asked for an opportunity to be given to praise the Metropolitan Police and other forces such as Kent Police, who have lent their help too.

In response, the Leader of the House said: "I must confess, I agree with my honourable friend. I spoke to some of the Police Officers who were around during the Extinction Rebellion and they were sometimes getting up at 2 o'clock in the morning and then on duty for 12 or 14 hour shifts to ensure that we were kept safe. We should be enormously grateful to the police service of this country."

I raised this debate in the House of Commons as I have witnessed first-hand the disruption that Extinction Rebellion has caused over the last few weeks. The Metropolitan Police, assisted by forces from across the country, have dealt with the protesters in a professional and measured way. I believe it is only right that MPs are given the opportunity to praise the actions of the Police particularly given the recent criticism of their approach by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

The recent scenes from Canning Town station show the increasing level of frustration that hard-working people have over the actions of these protesters. I support the right of people to protest and agree that we should be doing more to protect the environment but that does not give them the right to stop others from getting to work.

A link to my question can be found below by clicking on the photo.

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Business of the House Debate

Queen's Speech

The Government's plans for the next Parliament were outlined by the Queen in her speech in the House of Lords on 14th October.

This speech set out very clearly the Government's intention to leave the European Union, as well as the domestic agenda we want to concentrate on thereafter.

Whilst we are yet to see what key parts of these bills come into law, it is very clear the Government wants to concentrate on law and order, schools, hospitals and the environment.

Following Her Majesty's speech, the Prime Minister said "We aim to create a new age of opportunity for the whole country." I welcome this sentiment and I believe that bringing in measures to support the NHS is a top priority. I also welcome reforms to further improvements to adult social care and mental health care.

Plans for new sentencing laws for the most serious offenders, have also been outlined. This will instil more honesty in sentencing and stop the most violent offenders being released too early.

I welcome the Government's pledge to ensure our young people have access to the highest quality education and looking to the future generations, it is good to see that tackling key environmental issues, including air pollution, will be a priority.

Among the many other issues outlined, there will be a bill to end free movement as well as new legislation for farming, fisheries and trade.

Gareth Johnson MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Tel: 0207 219 7047
email: [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>

Copyright © 2019, Gareth Johnson MP, All rights reserved.

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General Election

At long last, the House of Commons has voted for a General Election to take place on Thursday 12th December. This will be the first December election since 1923.

The Government has been prevented from delivering Brexit by Parliament and this election will provide an opportunity to break the deadlock.

Dartford is Britain's longest-lasting 'bellwether seat', having returned an MP from the governing party at each election since 1964, so there will be a keen interest in the outcome in Dartford.

If you would like to register for a postal or proxy vote, you can do so by contacting Dartford Borough Council Electoral Services, or if you live in Hartley, Sevenoaks District Council.

I keep this bulletin as non-party-political but no doubt you will be contacted by each of the political parties over the next few weeks who will be trying to convince you to support them.

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Stone Seniors' Question Time

It was a pleasure to be invited to be on the panel for a light-hearted 'Question Time' event organised for Stone Parish Seniors.

Leader of Dartford Borough Council, Jeremy Kite and KCC Chairman, Ann Allen, were on hand to respond to questions regarding council housing, immigration and highways concerns. Parish Chairman, John Burrell and Vice-Chair, Stephanie Thredgle, picked up on comments regarding dog bins and other parish matters whilst I was able to give some insight into the current Brexit situation.

Everyone on the panel embraced the light-hearted banter regarding their motives for entering public life and their potential favourite dead-or-alive dinner guest.

Newly appointed Kent Community Warden, Pirthipal Kang, also came along to introduce himself to parish residents.

These events are held on the last Friday of each month from 10.00 am to 12.00 pm and are open to those over age 55, living in Stone.

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Hawley Garden Centre

Each month I like to feature a local business, large or small and this month's is Hawley Garden Centre, on the Hawley Road.

Hawley Garden Centre was originally a nursery growing its own plants which mostly went to market. When the current family owners took it over in 1981, they wanted to develop it into a garden centre offering a much wider range of plants, compost, pots and fertilisers. Today, many of the plants sold are still grown on site.

In response to demand, garden furniture, BBQs, fencing, paving, sheds and summerhouses were introduced, together with a range of giftware. A coffee shop was opened on site which makes use of local produce in a wide range of dishes and seats up to 50 people at a time.

Also found on site are Maidenhead Aquatics, Fineline Conservatories, Wood Burning Solutions and Johnson's Garden Buildings. H&M Quality Foods provides meats, cheeses, fresh locally-sourced fruit and vegetables, cakes and the 'Cook' range of frozen meals.

Hawley Garden Centre host cabaret nights in the on-site restaurant which has a licensed bar available on the night. Other events through the year include talks on gardening, a fun dog show, Second Chance Animal Rescue and a classic car display.

The Christmas season kicks-off with the grand arrival of Santa on 22nd November. The garden centre's two resident reindeer, Dancer and Dazzler, are also on hand at the festive season and throughout the year.

Hawley Garden Centre has long been a 'dog-friendly garden centre' and this year it is inviting all doggy loving people, to book in to bring their dog to see Santa. Details can be found on either Facebook or the website and both links can be found below. For phone bookings, please use 01322 224108.

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Business Questions

During Business Questions on 22nd October, I asked the Business Minister to support businesses in the Swanscombe Peninsula who have been operating with uncertainty since the land they work from was earmarked as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project for a proposed theme park in 2014.

Please click on the photo below to listen to the exchange with the Business Minister.

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Business Questions

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Working Well campaign

In one of my recent bulletins, I reported how I visited John Lewis at Bluewater and found out more about their Working Well campaign.

Following on from this, John Lewis held a health and welfare event in Parliament as part of the campaign.

I was delighted to add my support to the Working Well campaign to help improve early access to physical and mental health support at work.
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