Barnoldswick & Earby Times, Colne Times and Nelson Leader Column: Friday 14th July 2017

Last week I was delighted to welcome some residents from Pendle’s Safe Space to Parliament. Safe Space is a local charity that offers accommodations to young people facing the risk of homelessness. The dedicated staff at Safe Space provides strong support to their residents, offering them a secure environment where they may build their confidence alongside developing independent skills, ensuring they move on to live successful lives.

The group held a meeting with the Minister responsible for homelessness, Marcus Jones MP, who listened to their concerns and set out what the Government is trying to achieve.

The group was also able to meet with Bob Blackman, a backbench Conservative MP who successfully guided his Homelessness Reduction Act through Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill earlier this year. Bob’s Act is considered the most important piece of legislation on tackling homelessness for 40 years and will require local housing authorities to help all eligible applicants, not just those with a priority need.

I gave the group a tour round Parliament, managed to get us a look in on Downing Street and took them for lunch on the Terrace overlooking the Thames.

Homelessness can happen to anyone at any time in their life for any reason imaginable. It is vitally important that we continue to address the issue throughout Pendle, particularly amongst our young people. Safe Space is just one of the excellent local charities heavily involved in this issue and I am pleased to support them in the work that they do as they approach their 20 year anniversary and wish them the utmost success in their essential mission.

The young men and women that I met last week were all people with amazing potential who, with the praiseworthy support of the Safe Space staff, can develop the skills and resilience to live fruitful, fulfilling lives. It was great to meet them and I enjoyed the time spent together in Westminster. I look forward to continuing to work with Safe Space and others on building a brighter future for all young people in Pendle.