This week’s column comes during the Whitsun recess and although Parliament isn’t sitting there is still plenty of work to be done in the constituency with visits and meetings continuing.
In the next few weeks, we see the deadline for bids for the Levelling Up Fund to be submitted to the Government. Having worked with the Radcliffe Regeneration Delivery Board and the Council, a strong bid for £20m for the regeneration of Radcliffe town centre is quickly taking shape.
This would see the creation of new leisure and civic facilities in the heart of the town replacing those functions that the town has been missing for several years. With cross-party support and a focus on delivering for the town, it feels like Radcliffe is no longer the forgotten town in the borough with lots of focus on what can be done to revitalise the hub of the community, which the excellent work of the market started.
With the decision of the long hoped for High School in the town made by the Education Secretary in February, I really do believe that the future really is bright for the town and that we are entering some very interesting and exciting times.
Levelling up however is much more than shiny new buildings, to truly level up we also need to consider social mobility and education. This is some of the work that I’m undertaking with the National Literacy Trust and as the Chairman of the APPG on Literacy to focus on literacy rates not just of our children but the roughly 9 million people across the UK who struggle with reading also.
This prevents them accessing employment but impact their health and mobility. We've all seen the stigma of mental health and it has taken generations to overcome, however we still have the stigma of illiteracy. People aren't as ready to speak about illiteracy due to the feeling of shame that still exists, and it is time we change this.
As we are also bouncing back from the pandemic I was particularly pleased to see the Government investing more money into our children being able to catch up on any missed education with a further £100m being targeted and those children needing help to ensure that no child has been left behind.