My small part in Vatican history

Eric Ollerenshaw - My week in Westminster
Eric Ollerenshaw - My week in Westminster

IT’S not every week you get to say that you met the Pope. However last week, in my capacity as PPS to Sayeeda Warsi, I accompanied her on a Ministerial delegation to the Vatican. We were incredibly honoured to be granted an audience with his Holiness, Benedict XVI.

As a former history teacher I used to teach my pupils about the historic relationship between England and the Vatican and I found it humbling to be asked to play a small role in the that same relationship today. On my return, it was straight back to the constituency for my regular surgeries and a number of meetings.

One local issue that I would like to highlight is the launch of a new £37 million fund by the Arts Council, targeted at areas where the level of involvement in the Arts is below the national average. Over three years the fund is aiming to invest in around 15 programmes of activity that use radical new approaches to develop “excellent, inspiring and sustainable” arts experiences for communities. The funds are aimed for groups and communities that are not currently engaging with the arts. Typically, grants of between £500,000 and £3 million will be invested in a number with the aim of increasing participation.

If there are any groups in the Fleetwood area who are interested in applying, I would be delighted to provide some more information on how to apply.

As always, please contact me if I can be of any help. My contact details are email: Phone: 0207 219 7096 or 01995 672975. Write: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA or 59 High Street, Great Eccleston, Lancs, PR3 0YB. Web: