Julian Knight's Westminster Diary, 18/06/20

Solihull Observer

The pandemic has posed some serious challenges to British society over the last few months, with all of us asked to make major changes to our way of living to protect our friends and neighbours.

Beyond our personal lives it has also created a great deal of uncertainty for business – and few are worse affected than the cultural sector.

Venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, and galleries play a hugely enriching role in our national life, and over the past few decades I have been very glad to see them breaking out of our big cities and helping to enrich communities all over the country.

Local theatres, such as our very own Core here in Solihull, attract top-class entertainment to the town and provide facilities for community use, such as the recording studio used by our award-winning Solihull Borough Talking Newspapers Association.

It is vital that we make sure this sector weathers the lockdown and is ready to greet us on the other side, and as Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee in Parliament I am working hard to help that happen.

That’s why a few weeks ago I spoke directly with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and last week my colleagues and I on the Committee welcomed several high-level representatives from groups such as the Creative Industries Federation, the Musicians Union, and the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage.

I’m proud to live in a country where the arts are for everyone. Let’s make sure they stay that way.

As usual, I’d like to finish by telling you a bit about this week’s Corona Heroes: Victoria Hanson and everyone at Hampers for Heroes.

Since setting up to help nurses and other key workers on the front line against Covid-19, she and her team of more than 40 volunteers have delivered over 400 hampers and reached more than 12,000 staff across the West Midlands!

It’s such a worthwhile programme, and I’m so proud that our community has given it such strong support.

They need your help to reach even more people – if you have anything to spare, please check out their GoFundMe. I’ve posted a link on my Facebook page.