17 JUL 2014

KARREN BRADY HELPS CAROLINE INSPIRE BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage was today joined by businesswoman, Karren Brady for a business and entrepreneurship workshop at Bay House School.

Students from a number of year groups were tasked with an 'Apprentice' style challenge - formulating an innovative business plan for empty units on Gosport High Street. After a morning of planning, they pitched their entrepreneurial ideas to Caroline, Karren and a panel of local business people. The successful group from Year 8 came up with the idea of opening a joke shop targeted at the younger market and even outlined how they could franchise their business model.

Karren gave an inspirational speech, detailing her rise in the business world and encouraging pupils to take the bull by the horns and realise their dreams. Students also heard from local business woman and record breaking endurance swimmer, Anna Wardley, who urged them to set their goals high.

Speaking after the visit, Caroline said:

"Karren is a fantastic role model for budding entrepreneurs and I am hugely grateful to her for joining us at today's business workshop.

I was extremely impressed by the students who presented their business ideas – pitching in front of such an esteemed panel is always daunting but they did a fantastic job and should be incredibly proud of themselves.

Having spoken to a number of pupils after the event, I know that they were enthused by Karren's passion for business and I hope that hearing from her will propel their aspirations for their own careers."

Karren built up a strong reputation as the managing director of Birmingham City FC and is currently the vice-chairman of West Ham United. She also works as an advisor to Lord Sugar on The Apprentice. She was visiting Gosport as part of her role as the Conservative Party's Small Business Ambassador. As Small Business Ambassador for the South, Caroline has been working with Karren and a group of MPs to promote the interests of small enterprises across the country which has culminated in the second reading of the Small Business Bill in Parliament this week.

The local business panel was made up of Anna Wardley, Gary Jeffries, Louise Whitmore and Joanna Murchie.


14 JUL 2014

KARREN BRADY SET TO VISIT GOSPORT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will welcome business woman, Karren Brady to her constituency on Thursday when she joins local business owners for an entrepreneurship event at Bay House School.

In collaboration with Bay House, Caroline has organised an entrepreneurship workshop for students with a keen interest in business. In small groups, they will be asked to come up with a business idea before pitching their proposals to a panel made up of Caroline, Karren and local entrepreneurs.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Caroline said:

"It is really exciting to have such a well-known and successful business woman come to Gosport and I am delighted that Karren will be meeting budding entrepreneurs from Bay House School.

Engaging young people with business from an early age is essential to fostering enthusiasm for entrepreneurialism and I am confident that having heard from Karren, Bay House students will be inspired to follow in her footsteps and forge a career in business."

Having built up a strong reputation as the managing director of Birmingham City FC, Karren is currently the vice-chairman of West Ham United and also works as an advisor to Lord Sugar on The Apprentice.

She is visiting Gosport as part of her role as the Conservative Party's Small Business Ambassador. As Small Business Ambassador for the South, Caroline has been working with Karren and a group of MPs to promote the interests of small enterprises across the country.


10 JUL 2014

INQUIRY LAUNCHED INTO DEATHS AT GOSPORT HOSPITAL

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed a statement from the Minister of State for Care and Support, announcing a Hillsborough-style inquiry into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

Following the publication of Professor Richard Baker's report last August, which looked into the unexpected deaths of a number of elderly patients in the 1990s, the Department of Health has held consultation sessions with the families involved, facilitating discussions on how the case should be taken forward.

Today, the Minister responsible, Norman Lamb MP, revealed that he will set up an Independent Panel to review documentary evidence held by a range of organisations. The Panel will be chaired by Bishop James Jones who led the Hillsborough inquiry.

Speaking after the announcement, Caroline said:

"For the families involved, this has been a long and hard journey. I am pleased that the Government has expressed its commitment to addressing their ongoing concerns and finding out what really happened at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

I have always called for openness and transparency – the families deserve nothing less. The inquiry, selected by the families as their preferred course of action, is an important first step in finally bringing closure to this difficult case."

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb MP, said:

"The events at Gosport War Memorial hospital have caused immense distress to the families of the patients who died.

"I was deeply concerned by the findings of the Baker report, and I am confident that the appointment of Bishop James Jones to chair this independent process will help answer the many questions of the families affected by these shocking events."

Further details about the members of the Panel and agreed Terms of Reference will be announced in the autumn.


09 JUL 2014

CAROLINE SPEAKS UP ON PASSPORT DELAYS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has called on the Government to ensure that greater efficiency is brought to the process of issuing passports during Questions to the Home Office on Monday.

Over recent months, HM Passport Office (HMPO) has seen the highest rate of applications for passports in over 12 years. Despite robust efforts to manage the increased demand, many citizens have faced delays in receiving their passports. Caroline commended the hard work being done by HMPO to ensure that holidaymakers receive their passports in time for the summer season.

She asked:

"It's important that long-term lessons are drawn from the review of operating procedure, will the Minister assure the House that there will be a focus on improving efficiency and ensuring customer service is at the heart of all HMPO activities in the future?"

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Minister for Security and Immigration, James Brokenshire MP, said:

"I think my Honourable Friend makes an important point around the focus on customers, the focus on improving the processes further. I think that there is a real focus that will be given to this once we have managed this period of excessive demand, indeed looking at the forecasting, we are bringing in the Home Office's scientific lead to examine those projections as well as ensuring that where there are changes that can be made to improve performance they will be done."

Speaking outside the Chamber, Caroline said:

"With the summer holidays fast approaching, I am sure that many local people have been concerned by the delays in the issuing of passports and I am pleased that the Government is taking decisive action to help prevent these issues from arising again in the future."


08 JUL 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES MINISTER TO DAEDALUS

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed the Minister for Housing, Kris Hopkins MP, to her constituency for a visit to the Daedalus Enterprise Zone.

Caroline and the Minister were joined by representatives from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and other key stakeholders for a tour of the site which took in the brand new CEMAST Skills Centre. The group then convened for a meeting to discuss the future of the Enterprise Zone, with particular reference to plans for the Waterfront area.

Whilst at the Enterprise Zone, the Minister announced confirmation of a £7 million investment which will be used to create a new spine road on the site, linking the CEMAST Skills Centre to the Waterfront area, facilitating the development of a vibrant new complex of commercial and leisure businesses. The funding package was initially announced by the Government in January, subject to an approved business case, following a successful bid by the Solent LEP.

Speaking after the Minister's visit, Caroline said:

"It was great to welcome Kris Hopkins to the Daedalus Enterprise Zone, particularly as he brought with him yet more good news for our area. The confirmation of further funding proves that Ministers are strongly backing the Solent region for success.

What with the new CEMAST Skills Centre nearing completion, the Innovation Centre going ahead and numerous other projects currently underway at Daedalus, the extended funding will really serve to propel the site's development, ensuring that it meets the potential it has to boost our local economy, create jobs and generate new skills."

Today's visit follows on from yesterday's announcement that the Solent LEP has been successful in its bid for government funding through the Local Growth Deal and will receive a total of £124 million to deliver the Solent Strategic Economic Plan.


07 JUL 2014

STUBBINGTON BYPASS GETS THE GREEN LIGHT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has this morning welcomed news from the Government that the long-awaited Stubbington bypass has finally received the go-ahead.

In response to the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership's bid for a funding package to ease congestion in Gosport and Fareham, the Government has agreed to an initial investment of £19.7 million which will be used for preliminary work on the Stubbington bypass. The funding will also go towards improving existing transport connectivity between Gosport and Fareham.

In addition, the Government has agreed to work with the Solent LEP to negotiate a phase of co-investment to support road improvements on the Gosport peninsula, namely the construction of the Stubbington bypass.

Speaking about the announcement, Caroline said:

"For decades, the Gosport peninsula has been in desperate need of an additional access road so today's announcement of the first tranche of money to build a new access road is landmark news. Not only would this new road cut travelling times for long suffering commuters, it would also make our area more attractive to investors and help to create jobs locally.

Having worked hard to secure this new road for the past four years, I am delighted that the ministerial visits and numerous meetings have paid off and that the Government has recognised our very real need for a decent access road to Gosport."

Since becoming elected, Caroline has been firmly committed to tackling her constituency's road congestion problems. Last year, she welcomed the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, and former Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP, to the area and was pivotal in securing the Daedalus Enterprise Zone which has helped to secure an £8.5 million package for the work on Newgate Lane which began in January.


03 JUL 2014

CAROLINE CELEBRATES 'NAUTICAL NEWS' IN PARLIAMENT!

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage celebrated a week of excellent nautical news for her local area this morning, when she welcomed the arrival of the Sailing Sclerosis Foundation's Oceans of Hope yacht in Portsmouth during questions to the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport.

The Oceans of Hope circumnavigation is a project which gives people living with MS an opportunity to play an active part in a 61,000 kilometre sailing voyage. Having set off from Copenhagen last month, the team will arrive in Portsmouth today.

The arrival of Oceans of Hope follows Monday's announcement that Portsmouth Harbour will be the new home to Sir Ben Ainslie's America's Cup sailing team.

Speaking in the Chamber, Caroline said:

"Will the Minister join me in welcoming two pieces of excellent nautical news for Portsmouth Harbour area; not only will it be playing host to Sir Ben Ainslie's new America's Cup sailing team hub, but today it welcomes the Oceans of Hope, the first yacht to complete a global circumnavigation with a working crew with multiple sclerosis, including my Gosport constituent Phil Gowers."

The Minister responding, Helen Grant MP, replied:

"Of course I will congratulate them and I think the Oceans of Hope project is a really fantastic one. The crew are a real inspiration and they deserve our warmest congratulations."

Since becoming Gosport's MP, Caroline has worked hard to promote the area as a world-class marine and sailing destination so the arrival of these two significant ventures come as very welcome news.

As a keen supporter of the MS Society, earlier this year Caroline abseiled down the Spinnaker Tower to raise vital funds for the charity.


02 JUL 2014

CAROLINE HOSTS LOCAL VOLUNTEERS IN PARLIAMENT

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage hosted 80 local volunteers at her annual Volunteers' Reception in Westminster on Monday evening.

Each year Caroline invites representatives of voluntary groups and charities from across the Gosport peninsula to an event in Parliament, which she funds, to thank them for the work they do for the local community.

After the reception, which included a speech from Caroline, thanking them for their contribution to organisations within her constituency, guests were treated to a tour of the Parliamentary Estate which included Westminster Hall, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Entertainment was provided by talented young musicians from Bay House School.

Speaking after the event, Caroline praised the work of volunteers in her constituency:

"The Volunteers' Reception is one of the highlights of my year; it is a great opportunity for me to personally thank volunteers for the invaluable work they do across Gosport, Lee-on-the Solent, Stubbington and Hill Head.

The fact that this event gets bigger each year just shows how many people in our area are giving something back to their community. Their dedication is truly inspirational."

Organisations that were represented at the event included Gosport Basics Bank, Lee-on-the-Solent Sailing Club, GAFIRS and Solent Mind.


01 JUL 2014

CAROLINE WELCOMES £8M GOVERNMENT BOOST FOR BEN AINSLIE'S HQ

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today welcomed the news that Ben Ainslie's America's Cup HQ will be based in Portsmouth, receiving an £8m cash boost from the Government. Construction on the site will get underway immediately, and the investment is expected to create 90 direct jobs, with hundreds more created indirectly across the region.

Commenting, Caroline said, "It is fantastic news for our area that the South Coast will play host to this exciting project. This will not only create good jobs and boost skills for local people but will reaffirm the status of Portsmouth Harbour as a world class hub for maritime & marine activities, benefiting local businesses & enthusing young people about the great sport that is sailing.

This investment is another part of this Government's long term economic plan to get Britain building, investing & training. As someone who has long pushed for more skills training I'm delighted that this scheme will see apprenticeships and good jobs created in our area."


25 JUN 2014

CAROLINE SUPPORTS IONA CLUB

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the recent lifeline given to one of Gosport's most popular social clubs.

Earlier this year, members of Bridgemary's Iona Club received the upsetting news that their club was to close owing to its poor state of repair. Since then, Caroline has been in regular contact with the club's committee and the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth which owns the building, helping the two parties to reach a mutual agreement. This week, it was announced that the Diocese will work with the Iona Club on proposals to allow it to reopen.

Following the announcement, Caroline said:

"I am delighted to hear that the Iona Club's committee and the Catholic Church have agreed to work together to ensure that this community hub can continue to thrive. With over 1100 names on the petition to keep the club open, it is clear that this social club is extremely important to Bridgemary's residents.

The club's committee has done a fantastic job of mustering local support and I am pleased to have played a small role in securing this vital lifeline for their future"

Whilst no final decision has been made, it is hoped that the Church may offer the club a long-term lease of the land and building or give them the opportunity to buy the site.


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