Julian Knight's Westminster Diary, 14/03/19

Solihull Mail

This weekend, I’m delighted to be offering my support to ‘High Street Saturday’, a new campaign aimed at encouraging shoppers to celebrate the individual local character of our town centres.

As part of the campaign, residents are encouraged to shop locally and share pictures using the #HighStreetSaturday hashtag.

It is also aimed at encouraging local authorities to make good use of the Future High Street Fund, a pot of money provided by the Government to help make town centres ready to thrive in the decades ahead.

Since I was first elected to represent Solihull I have been proud to back our local and independent retailers, whether through my Best Local Shop competition or nationwide initiatives such as Independents Day.

I’m pleased that the Government is investing hundreds of millions of pounds in our town centres, and I hope that many of you will join me in making High Street Saturday a success.

Meanwhile earlier this week I joined Stephen Mangan, the actor, in Parliament to mark the launch of this year’s Great Daffodil Appeal, the annual fundraising drive on behalf of Marie Curie.

It was especially interesting to meet Patricia McDonnell, one of their Rapid Response Healthcare Assistants, and hear more about how Marie Curie support people suffering from terminal illness.

In 2013 I marked the opening of Solihull’s own Marie Curie hospice by doing a sponsored cycle ride from there to the original site in London. It was an exhausting day, but I raised over £1,000 and I’m proud to continue to support them.

Finally, it’s great once again to be supporting World Book Day’s annual campaign. This year’s message is ‘Share a Story’, and encourages parents, grandparents, and carers to read to their children for at least ten minutes every day.

The aim is not only to revive reading as an individual pastime but also as an activity which families can share and do together.

Every school pupil in Solihull will also receive a £1 book voucher, which they can either spend on a special range of £1 books or put towards any other full-priced book, and I am donating a small collection of books to Reynalds Cross School.

Originally published in the Solihull Mail, 14/03/19.