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Abena’s ‘Meet your MP’ Coffee Morning in Thamesmead

This month I organised my first ‘Meet your MP’ Coffee Morning at the Moorings Sociable Club in Thamesmead.

I’m always looking for new ways to engage with constituents and so I’ve decided to start a series of these coffee mornings events to meet and talk about all the issues that impact our community.

From issues such as local transport links and housing, to wider issues like the cost-of-living crisis, the war in Ukraine and recovering from the pandemic, I want to hear more about how together we can improve our local area.

It was great to spend the time to engage further about the many pressing matters and also the great opportunities available in Erith and Thamesmead.

I was very impressed with how passionate everyone was, and I hope all constituents can feel like they can reach out to me as I hold further events in the future.

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

Here is the link: https://www.abenaoppongasare.com/upcoming-events/coffeemorning/

 

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Crossrail opening date set for 24 May

Crossrail to open on 24 May, with local bus route changes from 14 May – Abena responds

 

At long last Crossrail, or the Elizabeth Line as it will now be known, is opening. I know that for people living in Abbey Wood and nearby places this has been a long time coming. The initial planned opening date was nearly four years ago!

Since being elected in 2019, I have pushed TfL and Crossrail Ltd to open this vital new railway as soon as possible. I’m glad this is now happening, and I know it will benefit people and businesses in our area.

I’ve also been clear that TfL must ensure that local people across Erith and Thamesmead can benefit from Crossrail by ensuring that there are good bus links to Abbey Wood from across the constituency. I have written to TfL and recently met with the Deputy Mayor for Transport to discuss this.

TfL have now published changes to local bus routes. You can find the full details of changes here and the main changes affecting the constituency are in the table below.

If anyone has any concerns about these changes, or further suggestions for bus route changes, please do not hesitate to contact me at abena.oppongasare.mp@parliament.uk

Finally, I am continuing to campaign for better transport across our area including the extension of the DLR to Thamesmead and beyond. I will keep you updated with this campaign as it progresses.

Abena

 

Route and destinations before change take place  Change  Date 
180 (Lewisham Shopping Centre to Belvedere Industrial Estate) Route 180 will be rerouted from Woolwich Road, Charlton via the current route 472 to North Greenwich Bus Station. Route 180 will also be extended from Belvedere Industrial Estate to Erith Quarry via Church Manorway and Erith Town Centre. Buses will no longer run along Mulberry Way and onto Fisher’s Way where the current route terminates. However, new bus stops nearby will come into operation when the changes to the route come into effect on Church Manorway through the newly created link through the Erith Quarry development which will help serve businesses and large distribution centres in the area. There will be no change to the current frequency of the route.

 

Customers can change at Stone Lake Retail Park for route 177 to Westcombe Park and Greenwich Town Centre or at Ikea on Greenwich Peninsula for route 129 to Greenwich and all stops to Lewisham.

14/05/2022
469 (Queen Elizabeth Hospital to Erith Town Centre) A new link to the Elizabeth line station at Abbey Wood will be created with route 469 rerouted between Abbey Wood station (for the Elizabeth line and National Rail) and Belvedere Station via New Road, Woolwich Road and Picardy Road instead of Abbey Road and Gilbert Road. There will be no change to the frequency of the route.

Customers can continue to use route 229 instead, which will continue to serve Abbey Road and Gilbert Road.

14/05/2022
472 (North Greenwich Station to Thamesmead Town Centre) 24 hour bus route 472 will be rerouted from Central Way to Abbey Wood station (for Elizabeth line and National Rail services) via Crossway, Carlyle Road, Harrow Manorway and Knee Hill. It will not serve Thamesmere Drive or Bentham Road. Customers can use route 301 instead, which will continue to provide a link to Abbey Wood along these roads as well as the previous route 472 link between Plumstead Bus Garage and Thamesmead Central Way via Nathan Way.

Buses will run every eight minutes instead of every six minutes on Monday to Friday daytimes, every 10 minutes instead of every seven to eight minutes on Saturday daytimes and every 12 minutes instead of every 10 minutes on Sundays. The night service routing will change as per the day service with buses continuing to run every 30 minutes on all nights of the week.

14/05/2022
B11 (Bexleyheath Bus Garage to Thamesmead Town Centre) Route B11 will no longer run between South Thamesmead, Yarnton Way / Harrow Manorway and Thamesmead Town Centre. Customers can use routes 177, 229, 244, 301, 401 and 472, which will continue to provide a link between Harrow Manorway / Yarnton Way and Thamesmead Town Centre. Buses on route B11 will run every 20 minutes instead of every 15 minutes during the day Monday to Saturday. There will be no change frequencies at any other time. 14/05/2022

 

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Visit to St. Fidelis Primary School

Abena Oppong-Asare MP visits local school with Shadow Schools Minister

Erith and Thamesmead MP Abena Oppong-Asare today brought Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister, Stephen Morgan MP, to Erith to visit St. Fidelis Primary School in her constituency.

Abena and Stephen met staff and pupils at the school to hear about the challenges they faced during the coronavirus pandemic.

They discussed issues such as ventilation, staffing issues, and action to help pupils catch up from lost learning.

Abena also presented the winner of her annual Christmas card competition with a prize, as well as presenting certificates to the pupils who took part.

 

 

 

Abena Oppong-Asare MP said:

“The teachers and support staff at St. Fidelis Primary School are doing an excellent job to ensure that pupils receive a well-rounded education.

“They have faced challenges over the last two years, but like schools across our area they have responded amazingly.

“They deserve more support from the Government to ensure that children and staff are safe in school and receive all the help they need.”

Stephen Morgan MP, Shadow Schools Minister, said:

“Labour wants children to be in school, learning together and playing together.

“I pay tribute to all the staff working right across our country’s schools, whose commitment, dedication, and hard work makes that possible.

“Every day missed from school is a day they do not get back.

“Last term alone, children in England missed over ten million school days for Covid-related reasons. Over a million children have left secondary school since the pandemic began. Almost two million of our youngest children have never known a normal school year.

“That is why Labour has set out a clear, costed, and ambitious Children’s Recovery Plan that would support our children where they have missed out with after school activities, breakfast clubs, and small group tutoring.

“It was a pleasure to visit a school in Erith and Thamesmead today with local MP Abena Oppong-Asare MP who is a tireless champion for schools in her community and is speaking up for children that are too often an afterthought by this Government”.

  

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Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day is a day for us all to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.I attended Greenwich’s commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day at Woolwich Town Hall, which included students from Discovery School. I also signed the Holocaust Educational Trust memorial book with a message that we must never forget the past horrors. Racism shouldn’t be tolerated & we all have a responsibility to make sure rising hate is eradicated. I will continue to play my part in tacking racism and anti-Semitism wherever I see it.

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Next Stop Thamsmead – My campaign to bring the DLR to Thamesmead

For too long people in Thamesmead have suffered from poor transport links – making it harder to access jobs and opportunities across London. It is time for the government to negotiate a fair funding settlement and bring the DLR to Thamesmead.

Last week I went on BBC Politics London to discuss my campaign to bring the DLR to Thamesmead and the Government’s refusal to negotiate a fair funding settlement for TfL.

For too long people in Thamesmead have suffered from poor transport links – making it harder to access jobs and opportunities across London. There is now substantial development happening in Thamesmead – with tens of thousands of homes planned over coming years. It is essential that this development is accompanied by proper infrastructure – to benefit people already living in Thamesmead and surrounding areas, and those who will be moving here in the future.

In the coming months I will be leading a series of meetings and events in my constituency to understand the needs of the local community. I will also be working with the local councils, Peabody and the developers to ensure this project continues to progress.

For projects like this to be successful, we need the Government to stop playing politics with TfL finances. Today is the last day for an agreement to be reached and so I urge you to make it clear to the Government that they must give TfL a fair deal.Watch me on BBC Politics London here.

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Visit to Abbey Wood Crossrail station

This week I visited the Abbey Wood Crossrail station to see first-hand the progress that has been made on completing the station and beginning services on the Elizabeth line.

 

This week I visited the Abbey Wood Crossrail station to see first-hand the progress that has been made on completing the station and beginning services on the Elizabeth line.

It was great to see the progress that has been made in finishing the station before Elizabeth line trains are due to start running in the first half of 2022. When this happens, Abbey Wood will be less that half-an-hour away from Paddington.

I am also calling for TfL, local councils and the Government to work together to ensure that residents in Erith and Thamesmead feel the full benefits of Crossrail by improving local bus links from Abbey Wood station.

I met with staff who have been working hard to ensure it is ready for passengers. I also heard about the challenges they have faced over the last year and the work they are doing to ensure it is operational as soon as possible. As always on these visits, I raised local concerns and received reassurances they are being addressed.

I am determined that as many local people as possible benefit from this new line, and therefore I am calling for better bus links from Abbey Wood to other places in the constituency. I will be working with local partners to ensure that this happens.

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Windrush Day

I was very pleased to take part in the recent debate on Windrush Day 2021. 

I used the debate to celebrate the Windrush generation and their descendants, but also to raise serious concerns about the operation of the Windrush compensation scheme.

The scheme has been far too slow to pay out and has left many families with even less confidence in the Home Office.

In the debate, I called on the Government to make the scheme fully independent in order to restore trust and confidence.

You can read my full speech here.

 

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Government must do more to support people to self-isolate

As part of my role in the Shadow Treasury Team, I have been pushing the Government to provide more support to people who need to self-isolate.

Labour has always said that health and economic measures must go hand-in-hand, but the Government’s failure has meant too many people have to choose between self-isolating and paying the bills.

At this weeks’ Treasury questions, I asked the Chancellor about reports that the Treasury had suppressed information about how the furlough scheme could be used to support self-isolating employees. This shocking revelation show’s how poor the Government’s approach to economic support during the pandemic has been.

I called on the Chancellor to appear before the joint parliamentary inquiry into the handling of the Covid crisis to explain why the Government has not listened to the experts and introduced a robust self-isolation support scheme.

 

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Raising Cancer Concerns in Parliament

After a local GP raised concerns with me about delays in receiving vital test results, I asked the Health Secretary to look into the problem and resolve it as soon as possible.

I will continue to push the Government to improve on cancer care and diagnosis in our area.

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Roundtable with Minister and local disabled advocacy groups

This week I brought together a group of local disability advocacy and support groups to raise concerns about the operation of the benefits system on people with disabilities with Justin Tomlinson, the Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health.

Earlier this year I met with the Minister to raise concerns about how the pandemic had affected people with disabilities and the failure of the DWP to meet the needs of disabled people.

The Minister agreed to take part in a roundtable with local organisations working on the frontline with disabled people.

I have raised a number of these issues in Parliament during a recent debate on the impact of the pandemic on people with disabilities. In that debate I called for the Government to bring forward a national strategy for disabled people as soon as possible.

Key issues raised at the roundtable included a failure to provide accessible information to disabled people, the problems people with learning difficulties face accessing PIP, the impact of benefit assessments on claimants mental health, and the lack of appropriate training for assessors.

Participants also raised problems with disabled people accessing Universal Credit and the problems some people face due to the increasingly online-only system.

The roundtable discussion will feed into the Green Paper on health and disability which is due to be published shortly.

I urge local organisations and individuals to contribute to the consultation process once it is open.

I am determined that nobody is left behind in Erith and Thamesmead, and this means that disabled people need better treatment from the Government.

I hope the Government will listen to the concerns and bring forward concrete proposals to improve the benefits system for disabled people.

Kara Lee from Bexley Mencap said: “It was fantastic to be involved in such an important conversation to share the experiences and views of people with learning disabilities about the benefit system and how it could be improved.  Thank you for organising the meeting to give small organisations, and more importantly the people they represent, a voice about such an important topic.”

Alan Kerr from Metro GAD said: “I really valued the opportunity to speak directly with the Minister of Disabled People to express our very real concerns about the benefits system and the impact it has on their lives.”

Press coverage of the event: https://london-post.co.uk/abena-oppong-asare-mp-holds-roundtable-with-government-minister-and-local-advocacy-groups-to-discuss-concerns-about-the-treatment-of-disabled-people/