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Winner of My Christmas Card Competition 2023

I am once again very pleased to announce that I’ve been holding a constituency competition to design my annual Christmas Card for 2023. I invited students from schools across Erith and Thamesmead to take part.

The theme for this year was: ‘What Makes Me Happy in Erith and Thamesmead’. I would like to thank all the pupils who drew and painted a design that showed what they love about places in our constituency. This included the parks or open spaces, local communities, shops, landmarks, animals or even family and friends.

The artwork was assessed by a panel of judges, and the winning design has been used as my Christmas Card and sent to more than 1,000 local people, businesses, and community groups. 

We had a brilliant turnout for this competition with so many excellent designs being sent in. I’d also like to say a massive thank you to all the schools, teachers and parents who helped organise the competition.

Attached is a photo of me meeting with the Speaker of the House to showcase the winning design, he was very impressed by the competition and has put the winning design on display!

Congratulations to this year’s winner, Mija Liumpa, aged 10, from Parkway Primary School. You can see Mija and myself below with her winning design.

To complement the design, Mija wrote a few words:

“I chose to draw this as it reminds me of nature and the mulberry tree of Abbey Wood ruins. It is an amazing place which calms me, and I can meet many dogs there which is also why I chose to draw them. It is one of my favourite places of calmness and my favourite place in Erith.”

It was great to visit the students of Parkway Primary School in person this week, and hand Mija her well-deserved prize as overall winner of the competition.

Thanks also to the local co-sponsors who kindly supported part of this year’s competition – Co-op Belvedere and Manak Solicitors.

Congratulations again to Mija and I wish a Merry Christmas to all.

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New Kitchen at the Javan Coker Foundation

I was also very pleased to join the Javan Coker Foundation (JCF) this month as they celebrated the installation of their newly refurbished kitchen at the JCF centre.

Alongside the Council Leader, Cllr Anthony Okereke, it was lovely to join the team for the opening and hear about all the great work they have been doing to support children and families in need.

If you would like to find out more about the charity and what they are doing in our community, then you can find their website here: https://www.thejavancokerfoundation.org/.

November 2023 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

Many thanks for taking the time to look at my latest newsletter for November 2023.

I hope you enjoy this update on some of the work I have been doing in Erith and Thamesmead and in Parliament over the last month.

As ever, if you want to get in touch, don’t hesitate to contact me using the email address: abena.oppongasare.mp@parliament.uk


Remembrance Sunday

This November, I was honoured to lay wreaths at Thamesmead War memorial followed by the War memorial at Plumstead Cemetery in remembrance of all those from Erith & Thamesmead who gave their lives to protect our freedom. On Remembrance Sunday, I also went to the Wreath laying at Callender’s Cables Memorial.

Thank you to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood Royal British Legions for arranging the services and for all the work they do throughout the year.

Earlier in the month, I was also honoured to place a poppy in Parliament’s Garden of Remembrance on behalf of the residents of Erith and Thamesmead.

We shall never forget those who bravely served and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Cost of Living Crisis and the state of public services

I know how worried so many have been in our community as a result of the ongoing cost of living crisis. I don’t need to tell you how extraordinary and challenging the last few years have been and how challenging the situation remains for families across the constituency and the country. 

Here in Erith and Thamesmead, my team and I have been doing all we can to support constituents as they face serious challenges. This year, I also updated my cost of living to share information and support options, which you can find online on my website, or reach out to my office to receive a physical copy.

Beyond the cost of living crisis, I am also absolutely devastated by the crumbling state of our public services. The state of our NHS and all our public services is critical to building a strong Britain. However, we now have NHS waiting lists reaching 7.8 million, with 2.5 million people out of work due to long term sickness. I hear this all the time on the doorstep – families who aren’t able to see the GP or are stuck on waiting lists for urgent treatment or appointments. These delays and waiting lists are completely unacceptable and put lives at risk, day in and day out.

I am pleased to say that the Opposition is committed to getting waiting lists down and getting people treated on time, as well as tackling the current cost of living crisis. I’m so passionate about breaking down the barriers to opportunity for all in our community and across the country and I will continue to advocate for these proposals and for change that could make such a big difference.

My Work in Parliament

This month, I’ve been working hard to share Labour’s message on the NHS and our Health Care system in Parliament. I’ve also been raising several issues that I know are important to those in our community.

Firstly, I wanted to share my disappointment and the disappointment of the Opposition regarding the lack of a bill to reform the Mental Health Act in the King’s Speech. This was an opportunity to commit to ending the significant inequalities that leave Black people and ethnic minority groups more at risk of detention. Since this omission, the Opposition announced their commitment to bring forward this important, cross party and widely supported legislation to make sure the Mental Health Act treats everyone fairly and responsibly.

I was also pleased to respond to the Autumn Statement this November, when I challenged the Chancellor over their failure to provide stability for working families and our economy. After 25 tax rises in the last four years, this new economic statement doesn’t change the fact that households will still pay £4,300 more in tax under this Government. You can watch my intervention here.

I was also very pleased to hold a number of important roundtables this month in Parliament. These include a roundtable on Maternal Mental Health and how mothers face so many challenges during and after birth, and also a roundtable with businesses on improving mental health in the workplace. As ever, if you are interested in a Tour of Parliament then I would be happy to arrange this for you. Please contact me at: abena.oppongasare.mp@parliament.uk.

Meeting with the University of Greenwich and Woodland Academy Trust

I also recently met with teams from the University of Greenwich and Woodland Academy Trust to discuss the Government’s new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) accreditation scheme.

The University of Greenwich provides 300+ locally trained teachers each year who go on to work in our fantastic schools. I have been concerned that world-leading institutions like Greenwich, who are rated as outstanding or good by Ofsted, were withdrawn from the scheme, and how this affects schools and trusts like Woodland Academy Trust.

I have written to and will continue to speak to the Education Department to raise my concerns. On that same day, it was also nice to join for the opening day event at the new Lime Wood Primary School in Erith.

Small Business Saturday

It was fantastic as always to get out and about on Small Business Saturday and support our local businesses!

All our local small businesses are such an integral part of our community and I want to thank everyone supporting them by shopping local or by recommending and giving them a shout out when possible.

Please pop to the local shops to get those Christmas presents and stocking fillers.

Suicide Prevention Event in Parliament

Really pleased to join an important Parliamentary panel and reception event on Suicide Prevention led by the Samaritans.

We can and must do so much more for all those struggling or in crisis. In my role as Shadow Minister for Women’s Health and Mental Health, I am committed to tackling rising Suicide rates that continues to have a devastating impact on so many lives.

Thanks to the Samaritans and their Chief Executive Officer, Julie Bentley for running the event. And also thanks to Sajid Javid MP and the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle for hosting the event.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ Annual Dinner

Great to join the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ Annual Dinner last month.

I was pleased to speak to their team and hear more about their mission to improve the health of women and girls here in the UK and across the world. Thanks to Dr Ranee Thakar, President of the RCOG, for the invitation.

Crossness Nature Reserve Visit

In November, I also visited Crossness Nature Reserve to discuss the work they do to ensure that wildlife continues to thrive.

We also discussed the Cory decarbonisation project, which proposes putting a new facility on part of the reserve & the potential impact on rare wildlife in the area.

Google Digital Event in Thamesmead

I was also very pleased to host a great Digital Garage event in Thamesmead to help you develop new digital skills. With the help of Google UK, we were able to offer a fantastic range of courses and workshops that helped a number of local businesses.

Thanks to all who were able to come and I’m looking forward to hearing how these courses translate into your future work.

My Update on Casework for November

Thank you to everyone who contacted me in the last month to raise the issues you are facing.

Here in Erith and Thamesmead, my team and I have been doing all we can to support constituents as they face serious challenges. Far too many face housing insecurity, financial difficulties, immigration issues and much more.

As we come to the end of the year, I thought I’d share that up until now I have assisted with almost 12,000 issues and while I know too many still struggle, I’m pleased to have had many successful outcomes and to have made a lot of positive change for many in our community. I will continue to challenge the Government on all these issues as well as working with constituents on many of the personal issues they are facing.

I was also pleased to do another advice surgery this month and speak to several constituents facing particularly challenging situations. Thanks for all who were able to attend. As always, if you have any concerns or issues that you like to raise with me, please contact my office using the following channels:


  • Parkway Primary School – It was also great to visit Parkway Primary School to announce the winner of my Christmas Card Competition. You can find out more about the winner on my website.
  • St Fidelis Catholic Primary School – Very good to hear that nearly 40 pupils from St Fidelis Catholic Primary School were able to visit Parliament in November.
  • Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas – Wishing Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across Erith and Thamesmead and beyond a joyful and peaceful Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas.
  • Change and Check Event with ITV’s Lorraine Kelly – Pleased to join ITV’s Lorraine Kelly, Dr Hilary Jones and Helen Addis at the Change + Check campaign event in Parliament to discuss the importance of Breast Cancer awareness.
  • Lush Cosmetics Parliamentary Reception – Was great to meet with the Lush team, leading scientists and animal welfare organisations in Parliament to discuss the importance of responsible and ethical product testing. 

Sign up to my Coffee Morning

If you are interested in coming along to a future Coffee Morning, I’ve just launched my webpage where you, your family and friends can sign up to register your interest in attending a meeting.

Sign up:  https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/upcoming-events/coffeemorning/

Stay updated on social media

For regular updates on my activities, follow me on Twitter (@abenaopp), Facebook (Abena Oppong-Asare MP, Erith and Thamesmead), and Instagram (abena.oppongasare.mp).

You can also sign up to my digital newsletter at www.abenaoppongasare.com/get_in_touch