LAST Friday I spent time with the Southam Safer Neighbourhood Team, by invitation of the Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police, as part of an initiative supported by the National Police Chief’s Council. The scheme offers Members of Parliament the opportunity to join a shift with their local police force with the aim of providing first-hand experience of the demands and operational challenges facing police officers across the country. I was very grateful to the team for hosting me and taking the time to speak to me about the essential work they are doing to keep people safe.
It is important for Members of Parliament to have an excellent working relationship with the Police and in recent weeks I have met them to discuss local issues with the Kenilworth Safer Neighbourhood Team (which I spent time with as part of the same scheme last year) as well as to hear more about the Warwickshire Rural Crime Team which was launched this month. This week I am due to meet the Chief Constable, Martin Jelley.
I also took the opportunity on Friday to visit the Southam Heritage Collection – a charity dedicated to preserving and promoting the local history of Southam and the surrounding villages. It is the custodian of over 10,000 items including 6,000 objects, 3,500 photographic negatives and 450 glass plate negatives. The current Exhibition ‘Playtimes Past’ displays children’s toys and games, both commercial and handmade, dating back from the 1960s to Victorian days. It is running in Tithe Place on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings from 10am to midday until late October. Admission is free.
I was shown around by a group of the committed volunteers who make running the project possible. Amongst them was founder member Rowan Parker, who was recently awarded the Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action (WCAVA) Award. Rowan, who is 90, has actively participated in many groups in the town over many years and has been Mayor of Southam twice and I commend him for all that he has given back to the local community.
On Friday afternoon I was pleased to be invited to open the Kenilworth Chamber of Trade Business Expo. As well as meeting people on the various stands, there was an opportunity for me to engage with delegates as part of a ‘Business Conversations’ session.
Kenilworth has a strong business community and the event was a great opportunity to showcase it. I know that the Chamber of Trade has received positive feedback following the event from both Exhibitors and visitors and I congratulate the Chamber and all those responsible for contributing to the event.