It was really good to catch up with members of the Ukrainian community from Worthing last week at their colourful stall in the town centre to mark Ukrainian Independence Day. I was joined by Adur Chairman Cllr Andy McGregor and Sompting Councillor Tony Bellasis. It is clear that people across Worthing and Adur have given families fleeing the conflict in Ukraine a warm welcome and continue to do so. Previously I also visited St George’s Church in East Worthing which has been very supportive hosting language classes and providing lots of other help too.
Having helped many families with visa and schooling problems earlier in the year I am now working with the Refugees Minister on issues such as driving licences, benefits and the like. As many approach the initial 6-month commitment by their generous hosts it is encouraging to see that so many families will be able to stay put, but for those who will have to move on then more people are needed to come forward with offers of a home.
It was good to welcome members of our impressive West Sussex Youth Cabinet and Children in Care Council for a tour of Parliament and lively discussion last week. Parliamentary tours are back to normal after the restrictions imposed during the pandemic and it is likely that the Elizabeth Tower will be fully reopened before the end of the year after several years of being shrouded in scaffolding.
My office is always happy to arrange visits for organisations, groups or just families from my constituency, so do get in touch.
Less welcome was the news that Barclays Bank is to close its last remaining branch in Southwick which means that the Shoreham Nat West will be the only bank branch left in the constituency. This is particularly galling after Barclays were at pains to promote their ‘Last Bank Standing’ policy to me to keep the Southwick Square branch open and we discussed various ideas for using their building for more community use to increase business. Needless to say I have asked them for a proper explanation and to reconsider.