Category: News

MP thanks big businesses for school furniture donations

Arundel & South Downs MP Andrew Griffith has thanked the businesses who have donated their unwanted office furniture to Steyning Grammar School and Petworth Primary School through the Business2Schools charity.   Andrew hosted a video call with the project managers and CEO’s from firms including Jones Lang LaSalle, The British Academy and McCann Worldgroup.   They were joined by Lindsay Parslow, the CEO of Business2Schools, and Sue Gearing, the Chair of Governors at Steyning Grammar School.   Steyning Grammar is preparing to refurbish the new sixth-form site at The Towers in Upper Beeding for when it opens to students in September 2021.  The Towers ceases to be an independent school at the end of this term with the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament donating the building to Steyning Grammar School.   Sue Gearing identified Business2Schools as a resource for equipping the school with top quality furniture and technical equipment and has been overwhelmed with the donations received.  Some of the furniture has been given to Petworth Primary and it is hoped that other local schools will benefit from future deliveries.   Sue said: “Business2Schools is providing us with furniture and equipment through their links with businesses to equip this amazing new provision.  Much needed replacement furniture and tech for our other sites are also being donated.  A massive thank you to the businesses donating to us through B2S.  This model means scarce school budgets will stretch further and businesses and schools can be part of a sustainable program that supports the need to protect our environment for future generations.”   Lindsey Parslow, Chief Executive of Business2Schools, said: “We are delighted with the progress we are making in West Sussex, re-homing furniture and re-deploying computers and laptops to schools.  The current crisis will see offices leaning towards more agile working in the future; so it is essential that any furniture and tech they don’t need can be used to refurbish and upgrade our schools.  Business infrastructure donated to schools builds links with businesses, saves on precious school funds and it shows children the tangible benefits and understanding of sustainability.  Every business in the UK can help to build a better Britain and we must look to encourage businesses and schools to play a bigger part in the circular economy.”   Andrew Griffith said: “I commend the work of Lindsey and her Business2Schools charity, not least because it is saving great quality furniture from ending up in landfill, but also for the links established between business and schools.  Steyning Grammar and Petworth Primary are the first beneficiaries of these donations in my constituency and I hope many more schools will benefit as more businesses engage with the programme.”

MP welcomes £1.5billion for arts and museums with visit to Amberley Museum   

Arundel and South Downs MP Andrew Griffith paid a visit to Amberley Museum on Monday morning (6th July) to see how they are preparing to re-open after being closed for three months. 

 

The MP welcomes the Government’s announcement of a massive £1.57 billion rescue package for culture, arts and heritage.  The world-leading package of support for the cultural and creative sectors is the culmination of weeks of work between Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Her Majesty’s Treasury. 

 

Many of Britain’s cultural and heritage institutions have already received unprecedented financial assistance to see them through the pandemic including loans, business rate holidays and participation in the coronavirus job retention scheme.  Funding to restart paused projects will also help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors. 

 

Andrew met Valerie Mills, Director of Amberley Museum, an important museum in the heart of the South Downs National Park, dedicated to preserving the industrial heritage of the South East.  With 40 exhibits set over 36 acres displays visitors can learn more about 150 years of the South’s working past in what was once a busy chalk quarry and lime works.   

 

Valerie said: “We were delighted to welcome Andrew to our museum and to show him just why it is so important to preserve the South Downs heritage and history.  We are grateful for the help already received but we, and many museums like us, need a real safety-net to ensure we can keep going throughout this crisis so that we can still be here for schools and visitors when this is all over.”   

 

Andrew Griffith said: “I am grateful to Valerie, Richard and Graham for showing me around their wonderful museum site which is full of fascinating artefacts from the South Downs rich history.  I welcome the unprecedented additional support announced by the Government for the arts, theatres and museums this week as we all benefit from the tourism and hospitality that they support.” 

 

MP welcomes investment for local secondary school

Arundel & South Downs MP Andrew Griffith has welcomed news that St Philip Howard Catholic Secondary School will benefit from a share of funding to improve its school facilities. 

 

The secondary school in Barnham has been granted an allocation of money for their building’s ageing plumbing system, to replace the primary heating and hot water plant.  

 

This allocation forms part of an overall £434 million is being invested into the UK’s schools to ensure that they have well-maintained facilities.   

 

Andrew Griffith said:  

 

“I welcome the commitment to invest in our schools.  As we emerge from lockdown we must focus on getting children back to school and ensuring they  have the facilities needed to support high-quality education.” 

 

MP presents first Community Champions award

Arundel & South Downs MP Andrew Griffith hand delivered his first Community Champions Award certificate to the team at Amberley Village Stores on Friday (26th June).   Andrew met store owner Colin Woods, Lee Stace, store manager, and Tina Bishop, Postmistress, to thank them for their tremendous effort in keeping Amberley residents stocked with food supplies through their delivery service.   Amberley Village Stores were quick to respond to the lockdown measures in March and adapted their business within 48-hours to provide an online service for those living in Amberley, Houghton, Greatham and Wigginholt.  A team of dedicated volunteers have helped to make the deliveries.  Orders made by midday have been delivered the next day rivalling many major supermarket services.   Colin Woods, store owner for 19 years, told Andrew: “Many residents in the Amberley Wildbrooks area are over 70 years old and therefore isolating themselves.  It was essential to be able to provide doorstep deliveries to them.   “We also kept the Post Office open with an appointment only system.  We are now in the process of adapting the shop layout so that we can welcome customers back into the stores safely.”   Andrew has seen a great response to his request for Community Champions nominations.  Amberley Village Stores received the most letters of support.  The residents’ comments confirmed why Amberley Village Stores was so deserving;   “Absolutely remarkable dedication, generosity, organisation and sheer hard work.”   “They have worked tirelessly to keep us all going with home deliveries on demand. A fantastic service in difficult conditions.”   “This has been a vital lifeline for all of us, but particularly for those who were isolating or shielding.”   Andrew Griffith said: “I was delighted to hand the certificate to Colin and personally thank him and his team for going above and beyond for their community during the Coronavirus crisis.   “They responded swiftly to the lockdown measures to ensure that no-one in the community went without essential supplies.   Amberley is a fine example of what can be achieved when everyone pulls together and why village stores are vital for rural communities.  They are most deserving winners and I know that I speak for all the residents in the Amberley area when I say thank you.”   More Community Champions will be recognised in the coming weeks and posted on Andrew’s website www.andrewgriffithmp.com.   To nominate YOUR Community Champion in the Arundel & South Downs area, please write to Andrew Griffith at The House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA or email andrew.griffith.mp@parliament.uk.  

Local Councillors abseil Arundel Castle for children’s charity

Two local Councillors in Arundel abseiled down Arundel Castle on Sunday (15 March) to raise money for the NSPCC. Gary Markwell, who represents Arundel & Courtwick Division on West Sussex County Council and Grant Roberts, who is an Arun District Councillor for Arundel & Walberton ward, raised £965 between them for the charity as part of the NSPCCs celebrations marking 60 years of fundraising in Sussex. Money raised for the challenge will help fund the ‘Speak out, stay safe’ programme to reach primary school children in Sussex, giving them knowledge to protect themselves from abuse. The councillors, who braved very windy conditions to abseil 180ft down the Bakehouse Tower of Arundel Castle, were rewarded with a commemorative medal presented by the Deputy Mayor of Arundel, Angela Standing. After his decent down the castle wall, Gary Markwell said “Having a fear of heights, this was probably the most terrifying thing I have ever done, but I am delighted to have raised such a large sum for the NSPCC” Grant Roberts, who was joined on the abseil challenge by his mother added “As well as raising funds for such a great cause, I was also especially proud to watch my 80 year old mother, Patricia, complete the abseil with me. She is such an inspiration”.

MP asks County Council to remove school from closure list

MP for Arundel & South Downs Andrew Griffith has responded to the West Sussex County Council’s consultation which proposes to close the Clapham & Patching C of E Primary School. 

 

Mr Griffith is opposed to the closure and has asked the Council to remove the school from the consultation process.  He has added his support to the school’s plans to become an academy with the South Downs Education Trust which has the full support of the headteacher, the governors, the parents, the Diocese and the local community. 

 

In his letter, the MP highlights the concerns felt amongst parents, staff and residents who have set out their own strong reasons to keep the small school open.   He points out that a small mainstream setting offers an important choice for parents across West Sussex who do so for their children’s education and wellbeing.  

 

Mr Griffith points out that he met parents, pupils and staff at the school in January.  “The parents whom I spoke to impressed on me the reasons for choosing a small school to support their children’s unique needs.  None of the parents felt their children would cope in a larger school or receive the special attention they currently do to help progress their learning and confidence.  The leadership of the school ensures that special needs are met in the same setting as the mainstream pupils and without detriment to other pupils. It is a happy and caring school with engaged pupils and dedicated teachers and staff.” 

 

He emphasises that funding is not an issue for the school which is declared to be in good financial health, and notes that the Government is increasing funding for primary schools with a planned increase in 2020-21 from the current minimum per pupil amount of £3,500 to £3,750, and a further increase to £4,000 in 2021-22. 

 

The MP draws attention to the far-reaching impacts a closure would have on the families, and into the local community where the school has been located for over 200 years with strong links to the local church.  He wrote: “A village school is attractive for new families and Clapham needs to continue to attract young people to live in the village to benefit the local community. There are a number of substantial housing development plans being proposed for this constituency and across West Sussex and in the context of this future expectation of substantial population growth we may shortly be facing a shortage of schools and school places.” 

 

The MP states “it would be remiss to force the closure of any school that is performing well, valued by parents, rated ‘Good’ by OFSTED and in good financial health.” 

 

His letter concludes with a request for the Council “to now take steps to remove the school from the consultation just as has been recently done for Stedham Primary School.” 

 

The consultation closes on Monday 16th March. 

Local Councillor abseiling Arundel Castle for children’s charity

A West Sussex County Councillor is set to abseil down Arundel Castle to raise money for the NSPCC. Gary Markwell, who represents Arundel & Courtwick Division on West Sussex County Council aims to raise £500 for the charity as part of their celebrations marking 60 years of NSPCC fundraising in Sussex. Money raised for the challenge will help fund the ‘Speak out, stay safe’ programme to reach primary school children in Sussex, giving them knowledge to protect themselves from abuse. The event will take place on Sunday 15 March and will see volunteers abseil 180ft down the Bakehouse Tower of Arundel Castle to help the charity raise vital funds. Gary said “The NSPCC is a charity close to my heart and therefore I was delighted to agree to take part in this challenge to help them raise funds to deliver their speak out, stay safe programme to school children throughout Sussex. He added “I’ve never abseiled before so it’s a new type of challenge for me, and being scared of heights it’s not something I would normal spend my time doing, but I’m looking forward to supporting this excellent project”. To donate to Gary’s abseil challenge, visit his JustGiving page, or to see the results of his challenge, visit his Facebook page.

MP supports Co-op campaign to tackle retail crime

Arundel & South Downs MP Andrew Griffith visited the Co-op store in Steyning High Street last Friday (14 February) to hear how retail crime is affecting shop floor staff and looking at ways to fix the problem. The MP met Jenny Alleyne from the Co-op’s Head Office along with the area management team and local store colleagues, to discuss a programme of work which the retailer is undertaking to make shop floor work safer. The ‘Safer colleagues, safer communities’ report looks at the importance of looking after their staff, noting “stock and property can be replaced, people can’t.”   The report also outlines their response to the growing issue.   This includes upgraded CCTV, staff headsets providing connectivity to colleagues, and a significant partnership with SECOM which provides remote security monitoring. The MP heard the shocking national statistics that every day 250 shop workers are the victim of a violent incident, with many thefts involving confrontation and weapons.  The most common assaults happen when shop-workers are simply trying to enforce the law by challenging and verifying the age of those wishing to buy age-restricted products.  If shop-workers don’t enforce the law then they are personally liable for breaking it. Mr Griffith met one of the young employees from Co-op’s Steyning store and listened to his personal account of being assaulted when simply doing his job.  The impact was felt, not only by the employee, but also his family and colleagues. The MP tweeted after his visit: “This really is important to me.  Staff in our retail stores need to be – and to feel – safe.  As @KatyBourne knows, offenders must be tackled and prosecuted.  No one is above the law and no crime is too small to be followed up.” Mr Griffith added: “I am grateful to the team at Steyning’s Co-op, and the store’s head office, for raising this issue with me.  It was important for me to hear about this first-hand and to meet the staff affected but these specific crimes.  I have offered my support in looking at how we can tackle this locally and nationally and will be discussing this when I next meet with the Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.”

Andrew Griffith holds first advice surgery

The new Arundel & South Downs MP Andrew Griffith kicked off his first full constituency day with a surgery in Hurstpierpoint, providing assistance to constituents across a number of issues on Friday (10 January).   The surgery was held in the Hurstpierpoint Village Centre.  Andrew was keen to make his first task in the constituency listening to his constituents’ issues and providing support in his capacity as an MP.   The MP will be hosting a regular surgery across the constituency in the coming weeks.  Once they have been scheduled, they will be advertised in the local press and on his website.  Meetings are offered on an appointment basis to be booked through his office.   An MP advice surgery is an opportunity for constituents to raise concerns or seek help on matters affecting them.  The MP can take those matters up as casework, or make representations to councils and Ministers on behalf of the constituent.  Sometimes people just wish to share details about a local cause or organisation.   Andrew Griffith said: “I really enjoyed my first surgery today and meeting everyone.  I found the meetings interesting and insightful and we covered a broad range of local issues.  I regard advice surgeries as one of the most important aspects to working as an MP.   “I will be taking action on all of the matters raised to me today and hope that I am able to help.  I look forward to meeting more constituents at forthcoming surgeries.”