Chloe Smith: ‘Recess means I can get out and about in Norwich’

Chloe Smith outside HMP NorwichPhoto: Contributed

Chloe Smith outside HMP NorwichPhoto: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Parliament is in recess. But, as Norwich North MP Chloe Smith explains in her monthly column, that does not mean politicians put their feet up

Chloe Smith MP with activists Photo: Contributed

Chloe Smith MP with activists Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Parliament doesn't sit during August but that doesn't mean an MP's work comes to a halt.

During recess, I've been making the most of being home in Norwich by running a summer doorstep programme. It has always been important to me to take the time to speak to my constituents face to face, and so you will see me out and about all over Norwich North, with a group of volunteers, knocking on doors and speaking to residents about the local and national issues that matter most to them.

As an example, I'll be working with local councillors to help look at how new homes can sensitively be built near Old Catton and to see what can be done about speeding in some streets in Sprowston.

As your local MP, I am always here to listen to your concerns and I encourage constituents to get in touch with me by email at or via my website, where there is a list of my upcoming surgeries, if you'd like to meet me.

Chloe Smith celebrates Norfolk DayPhoto: Contributed

Chloe Smith celebrates Norfolk DayPhoto: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Meeting constituents at their place of work can also be extremely helpful to me as their MP. Recently, I visited HMP Norwich, at the invitation of one of my constituents, who is also a serving prison officer there. During my visit, I was able to meet with a number of prison officers to better understand the daily challenges they face.

After my visit, I wrote straightaway to the prisons minister to make the points that were made to me, including around prisoner violence and attacks on officers. Prison officers do incredibly difficult work and they deserve all support.

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On a related note, I'm proud to have been able to support in parliament a pay-rise for a million public sector workers, which includes prison officers, teachers, police, GPs and armed forces. Pay needs to be affordable for the taxpayer, but rewarding for public sector workers who serve all of us.

I am pleased that government funding is going into a scheme here in Norwich that will directly help those who need this support the most. I've backed the launch of Pathways, a new service to support rough sleepers in Norwich.

Norwich got £260,000 extra from government to target support where it's most needed for those sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough. This comes on top of £146,000 which the council received to use strategically to prevent and tackle homelessness in our area.

The government is committed to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027. They are investing £1.2 billion of funding to 2020, which includes this money for Norwich and indeed more for Broadland District Council too which covers the other half of my constituency.

I loved the first ever Norfolk Day in July. I celebrated it with constituents including at a fete in Old Catton, a tea party with the Townswomen's Guild, signing the Norfolk Women's Charter, a meeting for small businesses, and a community stall in the Heartsease.

If you live in the Heartsease, the Frere Road Community Association wants to hear from you. They are surveying local people's views to make a stronger, happier, healthier Heartsease. They want to hear your opinions and ideas and to connect people to their local community so that we can better plan new activities together, and make a positive difference to the area together. Find them on Facebook or have a look at the Community Centre or St Francis Church.

Finally, take a look at this too – doctors in Norwich are working together to make care better for patients. I met them recently to work with them to support our NHS, and also visited every practice in Norwich North. They want to hear from you and are holding events around the community in August, September and October: