Burnley MP Julie Cooper column: The advantages of being in the Premier League extend far beyond sporting pride
It goes without saying that it is a great source of pride for all us Burnley supporters to see our team playing at the highest level, in what is widely acknowledged as the best football league in the world.
However, the advantages of being in the Premier League extend far beyond sporting pride.
The Premier League adds £7.6 billion to the economy and here in Burnley and Padiham the benefits go way beyond improved playing fields, sporting facilities and fitness programmes: our local schools get free access to a range of teaching resources designed to use football to inspire and motivate children; a dedicated team at Burnley Football Club in the Community bring matched funding for a whole host of health and well being initiatives including Extra Time, Claret and Brew and the Community Kitchen.
So when the Clarets keep knocking those goals in it really is a win win situation. Long may it continue!
On Friday I was delighted to visit Padiham’s very impressive leisure centre. The newly refurbished centre with its well equipped gym and excellent swimming pool provides a great facility for fun and fitness, right at the heart of the community.
Trained staff deliver a range of classes catering for all ages and membership is competitively priced. No wonder it is so popular.
And of course you don’t need to be a Health Minister to know that staying fit and active is the best way to prevent both physical and mental ill health problems and prevention is always better than cure.
Still on the subject of prevention, on Wednesday I meet with the Jo Cervical Cancer Trust to support their smear to smear campaign. It is a sad fact that two women die in England every year from cervical cancer. 75% of cases diagnosed via a smear test are successfully treated, leaving no lasting damage.
The saddest fact of all is that so many women do not take up the offer of a smear test to check for the early signs of cervical cancer. So if you are female and aged between 25 and 60 years and you’ve not had a smear test for a while book your test today – it’s only a small inconvenience and it might just save your life.
When we are ill, it is reassuring to know that dedicated medical professionals are on hand to look after us.
On Thursday I was pleased to meet with the North West branch of the Royal College of Nurses at Burnley General Hospital. It was really useful for me to hear from experts about the impact that NHS staff shortages and NHS budgets are having on nursing and patient care.
In England there are 40,000 nursing vacancies and the situation has worsened recently because of the removal of the training bursary. This is a short sighted measure that has forced many trainee nurses into financial difficulties and many have been left with no option but to drop out.
The staff shortage has been exacerbated as nurses from the EU have returned to their country of origin. The Government needs to take urgent action to recruit and retain more nurses if safe staffing levels are to be maintained and the best patient care assured. It is clear that a full and fair review of nurses pay and conditions is needed to retain nurses and to make nursing an attractive career option for men and women.
I have to say that I was struck by the commitment and extraordinary dedication of these nurses and I was left to reflect that the best asset of any organisation is its staff and the Conservative Government would do well to recognise this.
Sunday was Holocaust Memorial Day and people of all faiths and no faith gathered in Burnley’s Peace garden for a service to commemorate all those killed in and affected by the Holocaust.
The service was an emotional one as we came together to not just to reflect on the horror Holocaust inflicted on the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis but all the acts of genocide in modern history including that most recently of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (Burma).
There was a consensus at the gathering that the best possible way to honour the memory of the Holocaust victims is for us all to work together for peace and mutual respect and tolerance.
It was really pleasing to hear the Mayor, Coun. Charlie Briggs, reaffirm Burnley Council’s commitment, “We want Burnley to be free of discrimination, harassment and violence. We are committed to combating racial discrimination, and exposing harassment, violence, xenophobia and anti-semitism.”
If you need my assistance with any matter please email [email protected] or call the constituency office on 01282 425744.
To speak to me in person, come along to my next MP’s surgery on February 9th from 10am - noon in my constituency office at 8 Keirby Walk, Burnley . The office is also open to the public next week from 10am - 4pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 10am - 12-30pm on Tuesday. My staff will do their very best to help you and pass on to me the issues which you raise.