Dear Kingston Borough Residents
We’ve had some fabulous sunshine for this time of the year which has allowed us all to be outside and for me getting in my training ahead of the Kingston Half Marathon last weekend was a bonus – and then expecting to run in Storm Babette pouring rain but unexpectedly getting glorious sunbathe-tte sunshine instead! Now, with Halloween, clocks back and shorter days already upon us, our sense of community is strong, and the diary is getting full of end-of-the-year events. So, here’s a round-up of all the great stuff we’re all doing…
Kingston Half Marathon Sunday 22nd
It was great to get out in Richmond Park with Kingston Chamber of Commerce Netwalking group departing Kingston Gate meeting brilliant Kingston business owners walk and talk and pack in an extra 12k training session around the park with my dogs for my #kingstonhalfmarathon .. beautiful warm weather and great company made it a perfect morning!
Then on Sunday 22nd the day of the Mayor’s Kingston Half Marathon arrived! In beautiful sunshine we left the start line striking out from the heritage Kingston Marketplace, did a beautiful riverside loop before heading over Kingston Bridge and down Barge Walk to Hampton Court on to Thames Ditton and back along Surbiton's Queens Promenade ... with lovely Julia of Brite Box, Voices of Hope who kept me running with the 2 30 pacer ... And we hit the finish line with official 2 hrs 27 min 16 secs ... with our RBK Mayor to congratulate us! And both my lovely girls too!
It was a privilege to support Kingston Charitable Foundation and Mayor of Kingston upon Thames charities. Thank you to everyone who supported me raising over £1000 for Kingston Charitable Foundation and Voices of Hope the @Mayorscharitabletrust and kept me going to the finish line with the 2 30 pacer when truly I would have walked the last few miles! You kept me going thank you!
Memory Lane and my Chessington Heritage
At Kingston Hospital where I love my A&E volunteering role we have such lovely patients and there’s nothing like a cup of tea and a chat to feel looked after… no one ever expects to have an accident or an emergency or even need a doctor - and it can be a frightening time. When was the last time you needed the NHS? Please share your experience and take our health survey here
Then waiting for me outside was my mum who used to be a theatre nurse at Kingston Hospital, and she drove me to my first home in Chessington off Moor Lane, where we met the current owner and I heard how my dad camped all night outside to be first in the queue to get their starter home allowance and they bought our maisonette for £3250! I love that!
KCoC Chessington Expo
Go Growth Kingston Chamber of Commerce #ChessingtonEXPO is one of the most important dates in the local business calendar where at the fabulous Chessington School Atrium I met many tech start-ups and established businesses and saw in action the new Government Go Growth Programme delivered through KCoC and RBK Council at TownSq Kingston and funding through the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Find out how these programmes can offer you training, mentoring and support to grow your own business. here
The government have put huge investment into the new Apprenticeship programme to end soft degrees that leave students with debt and no vocation and to blend the needs of a new technology-driven economy and train our young people with the skills they will need to thrive.
Earn and learn with Kingston College Apprenticeship Programme where you work in a real job for a real firm with real pay too gaining valuable skills and experience and a qualification making you more employable with a great future. Good to meet South Thames College and learn about all the great work you do. Jobcentre Plus Kingston Council - Kingston Stronger Together At this week’s Kingston Job Centre’s Job Fair in the Guildhall, there has never been a more exciting time to get back to work and find your purpose. Feel part of something, feel proud of what you can achieve. Kingston Adult Education Achieving for Children for bespoke apprenticeships. here
Many older people feel overlooked by recruitment. At a time of full employment older people are much needed and their maturity, experience and management skills are valuable. Watch out for the new “Returnership” programme to encourage older people, especially women after childcare, back into the workforce through a second paid internship. I have a special attachment to this programme, which is included in the PM’s first year in office top achievements in legislation, because it started out as a policy proposal submitted by me to the department of work and pensions. Find out more here
Education, Education, Education
The Beyond Barriers Team at Kingston Uni also provide mentoring and support for students and I’m proud to have completed my training this week to become one of their new mentors building on my work as a Princes Trust mentor for over 20 years.
Independent School Fees
This month we have seen Labour’s divisive class war pledge to bring private schools to an end with a dramatic hike in school fees with a 20% VAT rise and business rates. I will be standing up for families’ choices in education to protect the status quo of independent schools’ charitable status. I question Labour’s business case viability that it will raise more money than it costs. See what I have to say here.
Parents have the right to see RHSE content from this week so please use that permission to request and reassure yourselves about what your children are learning on the sensitive topic of sex education.
The government is announcing this week a huge investment is childcare hours availability and wrap around support which could be life changing for you in being able to continue your career while bringing up your family. I know only too well how difficult this dilemma is. Check your entitlements linked to children's age and your salary here.
Age and new skills, Volunteering and Know your Neighbourhood
Loneliness is a horrible feeling, but there are actions we can take to improve it, including making the most of volunteering opportunities. “That is why I welcome the Conservative Government’s investment to support volunteering opportunities across Kingston as part of the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund. This investment will be key to helping people connect with their community support those experiencing, or at risk of, loneliness and improve their mental wellbeing.” Commenting, Civil Society Minister Stuart Andrew said: “Loneliness is something anyone can experience, at any time. We know that volunteering can help people connect, as well as improving mental wellbeing and helping people develop new skills. This funding will mean those in some of the most disadvantaged areas across the country are able to volunteer in an area that interests them. From arts groups to skills development workshops, there are thousands of ways for people to get involved, meet new people, and try new things.”
Meet the Funder
Got a community project that needs funding? As a trustee of Kingston Charitable Foundation, we meet the brilliant work done by so many fantastic NGO community organisations and help them to build their business case for financial support such as @manandboy @koreanarts
What is a Woman? Kingston Woman
Leader of the Liberal Democrats and MP for Kingston and Surbiton, Ed Davey recently told LBC that women “quite clearly” can have a penis.
Standing up for women, supporting women’s rights and single sex places and the safety of women and girls, will be at the heart of my campaign. Read what I have to say about our Women’s vote here in Kingston Borough.
As part of a Historic England, funded by Department Culture Media and Sport, nationwide initiative to unlock the potential of High Streets heritage and revitalise our communities after the pandemic we will be looking at Kingston Old Town and Surbiton and other conservation areas around the borough. This month The Groves New Malden Conservation Walkabout with Rebecca Heritage Lead @kingstonboroughcouncil taught us to look dispassionately at architecture character and appearance and impact of neglect and development and ask, ‘in keeping or not’? We saw beautiful Victorian architecture marred by cheap add-ons … do we want regulation or deregulation to preserve or enhance our heritage homesteads? Follow The Kingston Society area appraisals and management plans to share your views on this important topic.
Meet the Kingston Conservatives Team
We meet to discuss policy and politics. New members always welcome please do get in touch. This week we’ve been discussing the Future of Transport and noted that everyone relies on their car and is experiencing the frustration of the new cycle lanes, low traffic neighbourhood deviations, 20mph cameras and the London Mayor’s new ULEZ tariff and restrictions. We support Ron Mushiso our City Hall Assembly Member candidate and Susan Hall, currently only 1% behind in the polls, to be our next Mayor of London to Get London moving again!
And we are always out on the doorstep talking to residents about the changes they want to see. After I had my car stolen three weeks ago, I’m talking to residents about the shocking rise in car and motorcycle theft crime in London and hearing an all too familiar story. Has it happened to you too? Stay safe with a steering lock, hidden tracker tag and a Faraday key box. I’m also campaigning for Safety for Women and Girls after we did our recent walkabout with the Met Police. Please write to me with any hotspots and risks where girls feel intimidated.
If you haven’t taken our survey on ULEZ, crime and local issues please add your voice here.
I’m looking forward to meeting you soon but please do write to me with your problems and questions, and I will do what I can to help you.
Conservative Parliamentary Spokesperson for Kingston and Surbiton