Cat Smith Column: I'm inspired by our young people taking control of their lives

The Prince of Wales started the Princes Trust in 1976 and the charity has since helped thousands of young people
The Prince of Wales started the Princes Trust in 1976 and the charity has since helped thousands of young people

Cat Smith MP praises the efforts of Fleetwood's young people, who are improving their prospects with a course from the Prince's Trust

I hope you all had a nice Easter and that many of you were able to enjoy time off over the bank holiday weekend.

I enjoyed having a break from Westminster to spend time in Fleetwood attending advice surgeries and meeting local business folk, constituents and indulging in some fish and chip lunches!

One of the events I attended was a ceremony at the North Euston to celebrate the success of some young people who’d just completed a Prince’s Trust 12-week personal development programme. The course, delivered in partnership with the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, is aimed at improving confidence, motivation and skills and is available for both unemployed and employed young people.

It includes work experience, careers advice, qualifications, challenging projects, community action and an action-packed team building week-long residential. The programme is free and those that are unemployed should continue to receive benefits.

This course transforms lives and opens up new opportunities for 16-25-year olds. If you’d like to improve your numeracy and literacy, uncover hidden talents, improve motivation and self-confidence, develop responsibility, leadership, team working and communication skills and raise awareness of your local community then please get in touch with the Prince’s Trust by texting Call Me to 07983 385418 or ringing 0800 842 842 for more information.

I was pleased to meet up with Fleetwood-based Chief Inspector Chris Hardy over Easter. I, along with my colleagues have become increasing concerned about the Conservatives’ massive cuts to policing. Since 2010, the Tories have cut 21,000 police officers, and crime is up. The police have recorded the highest number of offences in a decade and violent crime has doubled under the Tories to reach record levels. In Government, Labour is committed to investing in community safety and giving police the resources they need. We’ll hire 10,000 extra officers to prioritise neighbourhood policing and bear down on crime and its causes.

This Easter I’ve also been speaking to the amazing people who run our food banks that so many local people now rely on. The need for foodbanks is a direct result of average wages still being less than they were ten years ago.

One of the organisations that run food banks across the country is The Trussell Trust. The trust says more than 14m people are living in poverty in the UK – including 4.5m children.

Their latest campaign – #5WeeksTooLong – aims to persuade this Tory Government that Universal Credit is contributing to poverty and from the very start, everyone who applies must wait at least five weeks for a first payment – some people are left waiting longer.

If you are struggling, please get in touch with me by calling the office on 01253 490440 or emailing cat.smith.mp@parliament.uk.

Finally, I’d really appreciate you taking the time to oppose Conservative cuts to Lancashire County Council’s Welfare Rights Service. This service supports people with long-term health problems, terminal illnesses and people in work but on low incomes by providing advice and assistance on welfare benefits.

It’s an essential service for some of the most vulnerable in society.

Please stop the service from being slashed by the Tories and have your say in this consultation https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=155491440712. The consultation will remain open for the next six weeks. Thank you.