There’s always so much going on right across our community. I’m so lucky because so many of you invite me along to join in on all these amazing events and activities and I feel so lucky because it shows me just what an open and welcoming community we are.
Take just today as an example.
I started off by visiting Apex basketball youth club ( www.facebook.com/Apex-Basketball-Academy-270634413838789/ ) which was set up recently by Paul McCullum. I’ve been doing my bit to help him raise funds to get it going and loads of parents have been chipping in to so I was keen to see it for myself. On Sunday mornings they practice at Cardinal Newman school and I can see why kids and parents love it – Paul and his fellow coaches are brilliant, the kids are enthusiastic and skilled, and you can see a great team in the making. Paul wouldn’t let me leave until I’d scored…after about 15 goes I could finally leave!! Luckily the youngsters have more talent then I do!!
Then down to Hove lawns for Disability Pride. I’ve loved supporting this and seeing it grow over several years. It really shows what a few caring but passionate people can achieve. It’s a chance for the disability community to come together, to celebrate and socialise, and for people like me to meet and listen to as many people as possible. I hear you loud and clear when so many people today told me about the horrors of the current welfare system that too often limits opportunities rather than creates them. I hear you and I will redouble my efforts I promise. Thank you for making me so welcome today.
And then off to Hangleton for the community celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the opening up of Blatchington Windmill to tourists. It was built in the 1820’s and was made famous as the subject of a painting by Constable. It really is amazing, and is only in the pristine state it’s in today because of masses of work by the local community and several key people who have made it their life’s passion. It’s open every Sunday afternoon and it’s amazing! I promise you won’t regret a visit, especially if you have kids as there’s loads of machinery and buttons to press!
Afterwards I went to Westbourne to visit a group of residents who’d gathered in a neighbour’s garden for a get together and they very kindly asked me along to chat about our community and country and the issues we face. Being welcomed into someone’s home to meet residents is such a special thing, thank you!
Then I popped to the Connaught for a bite to eat with some friends, and now I’m on the train to London as I’m a guest on Radio 4’s Westminster Hour tonight.
I wanted to do this update as I’m on the train with a little time to spare but also to remind us all just what an active and vibrant community we have. I feel very privileged to be part of it and to have the chance to see just how many special things are going on all around us.