Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017. 

Bedford and Kempston

Richard Fuller with Karen Perry, CEO, Age UK Bedfordshire

Richard Fuller with Karen Perry, CEO, Age UK Bedfordshire

MP for Bedford and Kempston, Richard Fuller, visited the local office of Age UK earlier this month. Age UK provides help and independent advice on a range of issues affecting local residents over the age of 50.

Richard said, “I was delighted to meet the staff and volunteers at Age UK Bedfordshire to see first hand the important work they do in the community. From services like Home Help, gardening and DIY to giving advice on a range of issues such as benefit entitlements and housing, it is clear that Age UK has a crucial role to play in supporting the over 50s in Bedford and Kempston.”

If you are over 50 and need any help or advice, or you are interested in volunteering, please contact Age UK Bedfordshire on 01234 360510 or by visiting their offices at 78-82 Bromham Road Bedford or their website.

Employment Opportunity Day - July 2013

Employment Opportunity Day – July 2013

Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller, is working hard to create employment opportunities for young people in the local community.

On 11th July, Richard teamed up with local Work Programme providers to put on an ‘Employment Opportunity Day’ for young jobseekers at the Bedford Corn Exchange.

The event was the very first of a new type of jobs event where young jobseekers are ‘speed-interviewed’ by local employers. Over two hundred and fifty young people aged under 24 had the opportunity to impress over sixty local employers into offering them a position.

Commenting at the event Richard said, “Many young people looking for work send out hundreds of applications and never get the chance for an interview, so we are turning that around and giving them a series of ‘speed interviews’ to help them really connect with potential employers and prove their value.”

“The feedback we’ve had about the event from both jobseekers and employers has been very positive, with over 70 offers of employment opportunities made.”
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The Department of Health has announced that Bedford Borough will receive a 20% increase in its public health budget over two years.

From April 2013, public health budgets will be ring-fenced for the first time, with local authorities taking the lead for improving the health of their local communities. This will help drive local efforts to improve health and wellbeing by tackling the wider determinants of poor health.

The funds, provided by the Government specifically to improve public health, total £5.45 billion for the two year period. Bedford Borough will receive a 10% increase in 2013/14 and a further 10% increase in 2014/15.

Local MP, Richard Fuller, was delighted at the news, commenting “The Government clearly recognises the need to target health inequalities and to help people live longer, healthier lives.

“For the first time, this funding is being specifically targeted at those areas that need it most – based on advice from an independent expert group: the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA).

“It is a major investment in health and the prevention of illness in Bedford and Kempston.”

On the 5th July, I spoke at Bedford Academy’s ‘Sod Turning Ceremony’. Here is the full text of the speech I gave:

“We meet today, not only to celebrate a building, but to celebrate education.

Not only to mark the achievement of a goal, but to ready ourselves for the challenge ahead.

Nothing defines better the success of a community than the teaching of its children.

Nothing fuels the innovation, the creativity, the passions, the heart, the strivings, the successes of the generation of Bedfordians that will follow us – nothing fuels this future, more than the passion, dedication and skills of our teachers.

Today, at Bedford Academy, we recommit ourselves as a community to the critical importance of raising educational standards and strengthening the ethos of high expectations, respect, openness and honesty with a focus on every student; the ethos that lies at the heart of this Academy. Principal, teachers, assistants and staff – we commend and encourage your every effort.

Today, we commit ourselves, not only to the education of every student, but to each year of schooling. We recognise that each child only gets one chance at each year of their education.

We commit ourselves that the quest for higher standards is not only a long term discussion, but an urgent priority for today, where failure to perform demands leadership and action so that not one single year of any child’s education is wasted.

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Richard was guest of honour at the “Sod Turning Ceremony” for the new Bedford Academy building on Tuesday (5th July). The funds for the new academy building were secured by Richard last year.

In his speech to the students, teachers and sponsors, he said:-

“Today, we commit ourselves, not only to the education of every student, but to each year of schooling. We recognise that each child only gets one chance at each year of their education.

We commit ourselves that the quest for higher standards is not only a long term discussion, but an urgent priority for today, where failure to perform demands leadership and action so that not one single year of any child’s education is wasted.”

The school thanked Richard by baking a delicious cake (pictured above)!

Richard Fuller MP has welcomed the news that money from the Government’s Big Society Transition Fund will support the voluntary sector in Bedford & Kempston.

The funding, part of the third wave of payouts from the £107 million Transition Fund, is being paid out to several local charities: Advocacy Alliance, Bedford and District Citizens Advice Bureau, Bedford Race and Equalities Council, Energize Transformation Partnerships, Relate Bedfordshire and Luton, and Youth Matters.

The Transition Fund provides grants to these organisations to allow them to prepare for the future opportunities opened up by the Big Society. The money will fund the crucial changes that charities need to make to take advantage of the new opportunities available to them from opening up public sector contracts. So far more than 900 charities nationally have received support from the Transition Fund.

Richard commented:

“I’m pleased that the Government is committed to supporting charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises across the Eastern region.

“It’s great to hear that Advocacy Alliance, which provides support to people with learning disabilities, mental health issues, the elderly and vulnerable adults will receive nearly £250,000 of funding.

“Youth Matters was also awarded £37,500 to support its provision of informal education for excluded young people through work-based learning programmes – this is excellent news for everyone in Bedford and Kempston.”

Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford and Kempston, is asking constituents to nominate local residents to become Olympic Torchbearers. The 2012 torch relay is looking for 8,000 “inspirational” people to carry the torch on its journey around the country.

Richard said:-

“We already have a number of great reasons as to why the torch should come here, including our history of nurturing home-grown Olympians.

“But it will be even harder for the London 2012 committee to turn down our request to have the torch pass through Bedford and Kempston if we a large number of local people nominated to carry the torch.

“We have an abundance of inspiring life stories in our remarkable town, so I hope people will visit the London 2012 website and nominate!”

For details on how to nominate someone to become a Torchbearer, please visit:
http://www.london2012.com/olympic-torch-relay

Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, visited Bedford on Tuesday to answer questions from local residents and to get a better impression of the local issues that are important to the people of Bedford and Kempston. 

First stop for Mr Cameron was the Civic Theatre for a spirited meeting with local Party members and supporters.  Well over 100 activists heard Mr Cameron stress how important it was for the Conservatives to win Bedford if Mr Brown is to be removed from Downing Street and the hard work of restoring Britain’s finances is to begin. 

After answering questions, Mr Cameron was off on the short walk to the Harpur Suite for his second meeting.  This time it was a public meeting in the form of an open Question and Answer session.  Over 140 people filled the Harpur Suite and Mr Cameron answered questions for over an hour.  As many told me afterwards, it was hard but to be impressed with his openness and his willingness to offer direct answers to people’s questions.Richard and David Cameron