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** Vicky Ford InTouch December 2021
Dear Chelmsford Resident,
Much of 2021 has been dominated by the pandemic, it is still an unsettling and challenging time. But with holiday season approaching I wanted to share with you twelve happy memories from the year for the twelve days of Christmas.
1. The Army and Navy Junction
This summer, over 5,000 local residents visited the virtual exhibition to look at the options for a new Army and Navy junction. Thanks to their feedback and a great deal of work by engineers we now have a preferred design for the new Junction. The “Hamburger” style design is the most likely option to reduce congestion in Chelmsford. Engineers will now start even more detailed work on the business case and prepare the funding bid.
2. Investing in our NHS
Many NHS workers have given their all for us during the pandemic. There is a mega weekend of vaccinations planned at Chelmsford Racecourse and a new vaccination centre next week at County Hall.
In September, the government announced an additional £5.4 billion cash injection to NHS to support COVID-19 response and reduce backlogs. This brings the government’s total investment to health services for COVID-19 so far this year to over £34 billion. Mid Essex has historically received lower funding for the NHS than many other parts of the country, but thanks to levelling up we are now receiving more. Work has also accelerated on delivering the new medical centre at Beaulieu Park which will take pressure off GPs surgeries across the city.
3. More Police in Essex
There are now 674 more police officers in Essex than there were when I became MP for Chelmsford in 2017 and the numbers continue to grow. Our Police have been outstanding, especially at tackling violent crime and county lines drugs.
4. Opportunities for Young People
This September, there was a fabulous atmosphere at the Apprenticeship and Jobs fair in Chelmsford. There was a great line up of different employers exhibiting, from engineering and financial services to construction, health and beauty, communications, professional services, care, hospitality, local government, even space science and the military. The second time I have hosted such an event, I am determined it will become an annual fixture.
5. Tackling Climate Change
I know many Chelmsford residents care about the environment. The UK has been leading the world in the fight against climate change. I had the huge honour of representing the UK at COP26 in Glasgow. During my time at the world leaders’ summit I was able encourage many different leaders to commit to the Forest and Land Use pledge which aims to tackle deforestation, as well as progress many other issues to help move the climate change dial.
Please see here for my video update and more details: Protecting the Environment & COP26 Update | Vicky Ford ([link removed])
6. Supporting our Schools
Disruption to education has been a huge struggle for many children and young people but our headteachers, teachers and school staff have done an amazing job supporting them. In the last general election I promised to fight for fairer funding for our schools. Last year, Chelmsford schools funding increased by a record 6 percent, well ahead of the average across the country.
7. Safety in Chelmsford
A £550,000 investment in Chelmsford will help to keep people safer, especially in the Bunny Walks area. The funding comes from a new government scheme to deliver Safer Streets. The focus of the scheme is particularly to improve safety for women and girls. Thank you to our Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst for making sure that Chelmsford was successful with our funding bid.
8. Holiday Fun
Children from all across Chelmsford had a huge amount of fun taking part in holiday activities and food schemes. These projects, which I launched as Children’s Minister, made sure vulnerable children and those on free school meals could take part in fun, enriching and healthy activities especially during the long summer break. It also helped families with childcare.
9. Job Opportunities
There are currently a huge number of jobs available in Chelmsford. Work coaches at the new Job Centre Plus in the Meadows Shopping Centre are giving bespoke one on one advice to help people improve their skills and find new opportunities. The Government's new Lifetime Skills Guarantee will offer 11million adults a free qualification. In November, the claimant percentage of the 16-64 population in Chelmsford was 3.5% compared to 4.6% nationally.
10. Making the World Safer
I was delighted to be able to meet up with members of the Royal Navy and the crew of HMS Trent in West Africa this year when I launched a major international conference on maritime security. Over 90% of the worlds piracy attacks currently take place in the Gulf of Guinea. More than £6 billion of UK trade passes through these seas each year so improving safety on the sea is vital for trade and jobs in Britain too.
11. Science and Technology
This summer was a huge moment for Chelmsford when the British Science Festival came to Essex for the first time in its history. There were over 100 events in multiple locations across the city. The family science day at Anglia Ruskin University was packed, inspiring a budding generation of young scientists to get ready to tackle the issues of the future.
12. Thinking of others
Christmas is a time when we think of others across the world. In Senegal last month, I visited a women's health clinic that the UK helped to set up. I heard from many of the women present how it is helping to give them choice over planning their families, which is also helping them to have control over their lives.
With Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year
Vicky Ford MP
As ever, please do stay in touch. My email is [email protected]
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