A family-friendly interactive app has been launched as part of a project to help transform Chelmsford residents' relationship with The Chelmer Valley Local Nature Reserve - known locally as the Bunny Walks.
The app (from the Lib Dem-led Chelmsford City Council) is part of a Safer Streets programme for the area, made possible through funding the Council obtained from the Government. It will engage with families using quizzes, interesting facts about the history, flora and fauna of the reserve and help residents feel more confident when they're walking or cycling through the area.
With our Brighton conference approaching (agenda and registration here), I've recently written the latest report back to conference on the Board's work. Here is a slightly expanded and updated version of that report.
The next general election
With a new Conservative Party leader nearly upon us, the range of plausible dates for the general election is wide open. As it now may well be much sooner than seemed likely at the time of our last conference, the Federal Board has been reviewing our general election plans.
We need bold and urgent action to help families pay their bills and heat their homes this winter. There is no other choice.
Families and pensioners across the country are in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis. We have already seen energy bills rise by £700 this year. They simply cannot afford another, even bigger rise of £1,400 in October.
Sorry, I don't know. But I do know that the range of plausible dates is wide open - from only a couple of months away through to January 2025. And that whenever the date is, we also have a massive round of local elections in May.
Which is why we need to step up our campaigning, capacity building and planning through the second half of this year. Even if this Parliament goes its full term, the benefits of extra canvassing, member recruitment and training this summer will still be considerable.
The Federal Conference Committee (FCC) met on Saturday, 9th July to start its work on the final agenda for Autumn 2022 Conference, which will be taking place in Brighton, with an option for online attendance.
If you haven't yet registered for Conference, I would recommend doing so here.
At the meeting we discussed several items in relation to future venues and the meeting and motions schedule for 2023 into 2024. As previously reported, we will be returning to York for Spring Conference 17 to 19 March 2023.
Chelmsford City Council will give a higher priority to action on climate change, affordable housing and community facilities in an upcoming review of its Local Plan. This change of priorities is driven by the Liberal Democrats, who want to address the failings of the current Local Plan, written by the previous Conservative leadership of the City Council.
The planned Garden Community north-east of Chelmsford will create new, high-quality neighbourhoods where people really want to live and work. This initiative by the City Council, working with developers, has been recognised by the Government, with an award of more than £450,000.
The grant will be used by Chelmsford City Council to continue the work of bringing new development forward. A proportion of the money will also be used on improvements to existing cycle and walking projects in the area.
Each year, thousands of grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and family friends step up to support a child who is unable to live with their birth parents. They deserve more support.
Yesterday, I introduced the Kinship Care Bill in the House of Commons. This bill calls on the Government to provide all friends and relatives who look after a child who cannot live with their birth parents with an allowance of at least £137 a week: the same level as for foster carers.