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Gordon has been giving his support to independent Blackpool artists and the town's growing creative arts scene this Christmas, by visiting a new pop up gallery on Talbot Road.Its_A_Gallery_1.jpg

He was invited to “It’s A Gallery” by Robin Ross, who runs the “The Old Rock Factory” in the town centre. He was taken around the gallery by photographers Kate Yates and Dawn Mander and saw a range of prints, paintings, collage and other artworks being produced by locally- based artists from and around Blackpool.

The pop up gallery is open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, up till and including 23rd December. Gordon described the gallery as a “celebration” of Blackpool’s growing and “diverse” independent art scene.

He said: “It was a great treat to see so much diverse, striking and innovative work on show, and reflecting the creative talent in and around the Blackpool area. There were some particularly powerful and unusual depictions of the townscape, coast and the people who make Blackpool such an exciting place for artists and creative people to work on. Whether self-taught or coming up through printmaking, photography and increasingly digital image making backgrounds, it represents a burgeoning of talent that is starting to echo some of the vibrant creative scene in Manchester and Liverpool. It also can contribute to the more diverse locally based economy and small business start-ups encouraged by the Council's 'Get Started' initiatives that I’ve strongly supported.

“Set alongside the new works currently on show at Shaw's Cafe Bar on Clifton Street by Robin Ross, who as both artist and creative promoter has done much across Blackpool, not least through the Sand, Sea and Spray festivals across the town in recent years, it represents a great display of creative talent and original work - much of it very competitively priced , not least as potential unique gifts over the Christmas period..
'Robin himself I have known for a number of years -there is no one more passionate about Blackpool and discovering emerging local artistic talent.'

Robin, who’s been recently promoting his work in Moscow, said: “I want to thank Gordon for showing his support. This is about local businesses and independent artists working together to create a better Blackpool for both residents and the many visitors we have each year. The independent art scene is alive and well across the town.”

To find out more about “It’s A Gallery”, you can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/itsagallery/ or follow Robin Ross on Twitter at @Robinprint .

Picture taken by Dawn Mander. 

Gordon backs Blackpool's independent artists

Gordon has been giving his support to independent Blackpool artists and the town's growing creative arts scene this Christmas, by visiting a new pop up gallery on Talbot Road. He...

Gordon and Clifton ward Councillor Luke Taylor have teamed up to buy and donate to this year’s Blackpool Tesco food collection scheme.Tesco_Food_Bank_with_Lynn_and_Luke.jpg

They were taken on a shopping expedition around the store by the Tesco Community Champion Lynn Sumners, who has worked with both on various good causes on the Mereside estate and across the town more widely.

Gordon filled his trolley with a mix of everyday foodstuffs plus a few festive specials and after purchasing them, he handed them over to the food bank volunteers at the store who are co-ordinating distribution and delivery to local food banks

Luke said: “This is a really important scheme that once again Lynn and the team are running at Blackpool Tesco. By everyone donating a little bit of food to the collection, it can make an enormous difference to people who maybe struggling to afford a lot of food this Christmas.”

Gordon added: “There are still too many people, who for whatever reasons are finding themselves in times of hardship. Luke, myself and other local councillors are finding there is still a big need for food collections like this with the number of people coming to us for help. That’s why I am pleased to see local businesses such as Tesco, who have always had a strong community ethos, as well as voluntary groups and faith groups all stepping up to the plate in supporting and protecting some of our most vulnerable groups in the town.”

Last year’s Tesco collection contributed 3.4 million meals to people in need countrywide.

Gordon and Luke donate to Tesco Food Collection scheme

Gordon and Clifton ward Councillor Luke Taylor have teamed up to buy and donate to this year’s Blackpool Tesco food collection scheme. They were taken on a shopping expedition around...

Gordon is to hold one of his regular advice surgery on Friday 15th December.

This will take place from 2.30pm to around 4.00pm at his Constituency Office, 304 Highfield Road, Blackpool, FY4 3JX.

Appointments are required and can be made by either calling 01253 344143 or emailing gordonmarsdenmp@parliament.uk

Gordon's next Advice Surgery - Friday 15th December

Gordon is to hold one of his regular advice surgery on Friday 15th December. This will take place from 2.30pm to around 4.00pm at his Constituency Office, 304 Highfield Road,...

Gordon has attended an event in Parliament to highlight the plight of smuggled puppies imported to fuel the Christmas puppy trade.Dog_Trust.jpg

This week (5th December) Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity – invited a host of MPs and Peers, including Gordon to its annual parliamentary reception, where the charity – who coined the famous slogan – ‘A dog is for Life, not just for Christmas’ asked MPs for their support in the fight against Puppy Smuggling.

Gordon said: “I’m very pleased to support Dogs Trust in raising awareness of the plight of illegally imported puppies, who suffer the most harrowing of journeys at the hands of these unscrupulous dealers. It’s imperative that the Government takes immediate action by enforcing proper checks at the ports and on-the-spot fines to deter these breeders and dealers, as well as introducing revised legislation as a priority when the UK leaves the EU. We really hope this will help to effectively regulate pet travel.”

Dogs Trust has been investigating the problem since 2014, and through three undercover investigations has found that unscrupulous breeders take advantage of, and profit from issues with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). As a result, underage puppies are being illegally imported into Great Britain from Central and Eastern Europe, and sold to unsuspecting members of the public.

Over the last few months, nearly 100 dogs were seized by APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) at the borders, as dealers take advantage of the increased demand for puppies in the run up to Christmas. Dogs Trust has found that of the puppies who do survive the appalling conditions they are forced to travel in, many require emergency treatment – with dehydration and malnutrition among the horrific conditions they suffer from as a result of travelling for thousands of miles in cramped conditions, with no food or water.

Thanks to quick intervention and expert care from the Puppy Pilot scheme, Dogs Trust has been able to save 94% of the puppies coming into care. 6% sadly passed away. Dogs Trust has also seen examples of heavily pregnant dogs coming into Great Britain, showing that breeders are stooping even lower to flout the system, with no regard for the welfare of the mum or her puppies.

Dogs Trust has warned that although there is a rise in puppies illegally imported during the festive season, illegally imported puppies is a huge issue all year round. The organisation has issued advice to help anyone thinking of buying a puppy, to know what to look for, in a bid to stop buyers unwittingly fuelling the trade.

The charity has also issued a plea to anyone thinking of getting a dog, to do their research or consider rehoming instead.

Gordon helps Dogs Trust campaign in fight against puppy smuggling this Christmas

Gordon has attended an event in Parliament to highlight the plight of smuggled puppies imported to fuel the Christmas puppy trade. This week (5th December) Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest...

Gordon has visited Blackpool and Fylde College’s new state of the art Lancashire Energy HQ.Lancashire_E_7.jpg

The Energy HQ off Squires Gate Lane is the newest addition to the College's buildings and facilities and opened in September at a cost of £10.7 million - with funding of £4.33m from the College and Lancashire Enterprise Partnership paying £6.37m. The College Principal Bev Robinson and the HQ’s Operation Manager Don Harvie showed Gordon round the facilities and answered the MP's questions about the current enrolment and strategy for the Energy HQ.

The Energy College is in its first year of operation with 30 full time students doing Level 2 and Level 3 courses with many others coming to train and reskill on shorter courses and qualifications.

After going round the new Energy Hub Gordon commented: "The College's new Energy HQ is a significant addition to the new Enterprise Zone on Squires Gate Lane , and both as the local MP but also as Shadow Skills Minister It was important for me to be able to be briefed by Bev and Don about the focus the College is putting on the opportunities for the expansion of oil and gas offshore in Liverpool Bay and elsewhere , bringing skills and jobs to the area and the courses they are developing to cater for both new students and those returning to retrain and reskill.

"It was good to hear that as well as this focus, the Energy HQ is taking forward a strong emphasis on renewables in its courses and strategy. I have consistently argued that we have an opportunity, given our geographical position for both Blackpool and the Fylde Coast to become a strong hub for solar, wind and other green technologies.

"This is very much in line with my continuing campaign for a Cleaner, Greener Blackpool. I hope when the Energy HQ - which well-designed and spacious - has had its running in period it will be able to become a centre of excellence in this area delivering both specific skills for renewables as well as broader ones that will equip learners here and from further appeal with the transferable and sustainable skills we will need to prosper in the 2020s. I will be watching and monitoring this with keen interest in 2018."

On the visit Gordon saw a simulator emulating for learners the processes of a pressurised water reactor power station - this allows learners to gain knowledge and experience in a controlled set up, without any danger to themselves or equipment. He also looked over the joint Integrity training and assessment rig which enables the College to train and assess off-shore technicians - including people training to work on wind turbine installations.

Operations Manager Don Harvie said: "It was my pleasure to accompany our Principal, Bev Robinson, and to provide a guided tour for Gordon.

"Having worked in similar facilities around the globe, I can truly say that Lancashire Energy HQ is really world class. Everyone who visits the remarks on how outstanding the facility is - we have had visitors from as far away as Houston, Texas, who have left highly impressed.

"I am very proud to be able to play a part in the success and development of this initiative. With world-class facilities in an excellent location Lancashire Energy HQ is ideally positioned to serve the needs of students and industry."

Gordon visits Blackpool and Fylde College’s new Lancashire Energy HQ

Gordon has visited Blackpool and Fylde College’s new state of the art Lancashire Energy HQ. The Energy HQ off Squires Gate Lane is the newest addition to the College's buildings...

Gordon has joined the UK based Leonard Cheshire Disability charity in parliament to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.Gordon_Marsden_and_Ola_Abu_Alghaib.JPG

He said: "I was delighted to support Leonard Cheshire Disability in marking this event because as both a Blackpool MP and former Shadow Transport Minister I have worked with them on campaigns to improve access to public transport for people with disabilities. There work now in championing education for girls and women with disabilities abroad is another vital project and campaign I am proud to support."

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledges to “leave no one behind” yet a recent report by Leonard Cheshire and the United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI) revealed that only 10% of children with disabilities in developing countries go to school. The global literacy rate for adults with disabilities is as low as 3 per cent, and 1 per cent for women with disabilities, according to a 1998 UNDP study. Less than 42% of women with disabilities have completed primary school education.

Around the world, people with disabilities are often significantly poorer, significantly less likely to reach school or to receive a comparable quality of education, and significantly less likely to secure employment or livelihoods. It is vital that the UK continues to ensure that disabled people, especially girls with disabilities, around the world are not left behind.

For more information about Leonard Cheshire Disability’s international work go to https://www.leonardcheshire.org/international

Leave no one behind says Gordon on international Day of Persons with Disabilities

Gordon has joined the UK based Leonard Cheshire Disability charity in parliament to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. He said: "I was delighted to support Leonard Cheshire...

Gordon and local Labour councillors have been striking a chord with a series of visits to local businesses across the town for Small Business Saturday.Small_Biz_1.JPG

Now in its fifth year, Small Business Saturday is a key date in the diary for Gordon - this year he visited an independent trampoline park, a guitar shop and two local coffee shops – one in South Shore and the other in the town centre. As a Shadow Minister the Blackpool South MP was part of Chuka Umunna’s frontbench Business team which was instrumental in kick starting the initiative to boost trade for small businesses when it was launched in the UK in 2013.

Gordon started the day at the Ascent Trampoline Park on Cornford Road with Clifton Councillor Luke Taylor, who backed the business when it opened in Blackpool 16 months ago. Gordon and Luke met with manager Dale Pace (pictured), who showed them around the facilities which, apart from the trampoline, have a number of other stations testing agility and strength, being used by young people and families on a busy Saturday morning under the watchful eye of Ascent staff.

Gordon said: “It’s great to have this set of facilities here now in Blackpool where Ascent also can cater for sessions for community groups, and also schools - trampolining is one of the physical activities included we were told in the National Curriculum . The range of activities offered seem to be attracting a good cross section 

of people of all ages and abilities - well worth people trying out the Park over the Christmas and New Year periods.”


Gordon then joined Squires Gate Councillor Alistair Humphreys on a visit to Darren Matthews (pictured), who has set up Just Guitars – a specialist guitar shop on Highfield Road. As well as selling and repairing them, he is now teaching people wanting to learn how to play and has started making his own collection of handmade Wood based guitars.

Small_Biz_9.jpg


Gordon commented: “Darren's love of guitars has taken him all over the world and he is now sharing his experience here in Blackpool. I was really impressed with the design and craftsmanship he has put into them and the bespoke Wood ones individually crafted are real works of art. It's great to see Darren's shop joining the wide variety of popular businesses on Highfield Road guitars and his passion really shone through when we spoke to him.”

A few doors up from Just Guitars, he and Alistair afterwards joined friends Ann Mortimer and Judith Costello at Buttermilk for a cup of coffee and homemade cake. They met owner Helen Ward who has been running the business for two years with the help of her mother Kathleen.

Gordon said: “As soon as you walk through the front door there was a wonderful homely atmosphere at Buttermilk. It was really nice to chat with Helen about her new venture over coffee. Great homemade cakes add to a great place to socialise and relax.”

He ended the day in the town centre at Shaw's Cafe Bar on Clifton Street with work by local artist Robin Ross and photographers Kate Yates and Dawn Mander. He saw Robin's latest exhibition “21 Days”, a range of colourful screen prints based on being an artist in residence in Lisbon recently. Gordon also visited the pop up shop “It’s A Gallery” on 34 Talbot Road, where they and other local artists are exhibiting screen prints and other works between now and every Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Christmas.

Gordon added: "The range of originality and creativity shown both by the businesses I’ve visited for Small Business Saturday along with the work Geoff Reeves and his colleagues at the Council are doing with Get Started to encourage literally hundreds of start-ups in the town, testifies to how important and positive this is in nurturing local talent contributing to the town's economy

“I will continue to champion small businesses - across Blackpool having run one myself before I became an MP and it’s great to see local independent artists such as Robin, Dawn and Kate along with small businesses like Shaw’s Café Bar working in collaboration to celebrate our growing art and cultural contribution in this area.”

Gordon and Labour councillors hits right chords across the town for Small Business Saturday

Gordon and local Labour councillors have been striking a chord with a series of visits to local businesses across the town for Small Business Saturday. Now in its fifth year,...

South Shore restauranteur and businesswoman Danielle Yates found herself heading off to Parliament for a reception celebrating Responsible Business Champions across the UK courtesy of a nomination by Gordon. DPTQ-_XX0AAqJod.jpg

Danielle, who along with her husband Joe, runs Montagues on Highfield Road in South Shore, was nominated by Gordon as Blackpool South's Champion for the initiative, which was organised by Parliament's All- Party Parliamentary Corporate Responsibility Group, and she was presented by him with their certificate at the Group's November reception at Westminster .

Gordon said: “I was delighted that Montagues were able to receive this recognition as a Responsible Business Champion. In the two years that they have been open to the public, Danielle and Joe have worked incredibly hard and gone out of their way not just to deliver excellent, interesting food and drink served in a welcoming and lively atmosphere, with special themed events and entertainment, but also shown their passion for the area and for bringing a strong community ethos to what they do. They have added to the existing strong presence of interesting businesses along Highfield Road, but they’ve equally demonstrated a commitment to improving the area and particularly by operating as a sustainable business.

“I‘ve also been impressed by the opportunities they’ve given to young people to skill and train up in the restaurant trade. Both as their local MP but also as Shadow Skills Minister I know how important it is for Blackpool and its future prosperity for growing businesses to give young people that experience and a first foot on the ladder.”

Danielle said: “It really means a lot to have been put forward by Gordon as the “Responsible Business” champion for Blackpool South. We take a lot of pride at Montagues in the work we do – not just in the restaurant but also the wider community. It is lovely for Gordon and his office to have recognised this.”

Danielle's day took in, as well as the Parliamentary reception, a guided tour of the historic buildings which included the Speaker's Procession before Prime Minister's Questions and the Chancellor's 2017 Budget.

You can find out more about Montagues and their latest events by going to www.montagu.es .

Gordon names Montagues his “Responsible Business” Champions for Blackpool South at Parliamentary Reception

South Shore restauranteur and businesswoman Danielle Yates found herself heading off to Parliament for a reception celebrating Responsible Business Champions across the UK courtesy of a nomination by Gordon.  Danielle,...

Gordon has described the the Chancellor’s Budget as “lots of wishful thinking” saying it wouldn’t “go down well” with his Blackpool South constituents.GM_PIC.jpg

Speaking to the Blackpool Gazette, Gordon said Philip Hammond’s announcements would do little to improve the plight of residents in the town suffering from the struggling economy.

He commented: "The stamp duty headline is just a distraction and won’t help most people living here in the North. There are not that many people in the North looking at living in £300,000 houses who could take full advantage of his stamp duty announcement.

"There is not much cheer in the budget for people here , the overall figures from the Office of Budget Responsibility are dire. It is the first time since the war that the OBR is predicting growth will be less than two per cent for three years.

"The Chancellor talked about giving money to the big cities but not much about supporting the towns such as Blackpool which are going to be very vulnerable in the aftermath of Brexit.

"The £20m for colleges to bring in the new technical level qualifications is nothing but a fleabite compared to the cuts the further education colleges have suffered under this Government and he offered nothing extra to help college students. Instead we had his poor jokes about driverless cars. It seems to me the Chancellor is not in the driving seat."

"Lots of wishful thinking" in Chancellor's Budget says Gordon

Gordon has described the the Chancellor’s Budget as “lots of wishful thinking” saying it wouldn’t “go down well” with his Blackpool South constituents. Speaking to the Blackpool Gazette, Gordon said...

Ahead of line closures this weekend to prepare for upgrading for electrification of the railway between Blackpool North station and Preston, Gordon has met with management from both Northern and Network Rail.Gordon.jpg

He sat down with them to tie down the details of how replacement buses will operate between now till the week before Easter 2018, and to quiz them on other aspects of future operations.

After a detailed meeting with Northern and Network Rail at their Manchester Piccadilly headquarters, Gordon said: “I have been over in considerable detail with them as to how the replacement buses will operate, and particularly arrangements for access for people with disabilities and mobility problems.

"I am pleased that following the concerns I expressed about previous failings by Northern to guarantee accessible bus replacements earlier in the year when the lines were closed late nights and other times for bridge renewals, that Blackpool Transport have been given the contract to supply bus replacement services while the line is being upgraded. These will be from their most up to date bus fleet, with proper disabled access and other amenities.

“I have pressed Northern Rail in particular to make sure signage at Preston is much clearer than it has been with previous closures and to make sure staff are on hand at all times to help people arriving from Virgin and other trains there to come to Blackpool. They need to be there and properly identified - which they haven't always been in the past.

“It's good that though both the Blackpool North and South lines will be closed for work between now and January 28th, the route from Blackpool South into Preston and along that line will then reopen. But at the moment there will be no Sunday services on it. I have told Northern that I think since it will be the only way people can get by train from Blackpool during this period, they should look at putting a Sunday service on. This is a long but necessary closure for the electrification closure so it's essential Blackpool is seen to remain open for business - for residents as well as holiday and business visitors, especially over New Year and February half term holiday with events in the town.

“The general level of posters and communication I’ve seen prepared seems good, but I’ve asked Network Rail to make sure replacement timetables are available in decent sized print so everyone can read them easily as well as online. I’ve also queried why some of the late night bus services are scheduled to take up to 1 hour and 20 minutes from Preston to Blackpool - more than twice as slow as the existing rail journeys'.

"I’ve also stressed again, as I have on previous occasions, my concern that at peak times - weekends, holiday times and during busy Illuminations and other periods, too many passengers , often with poor mobility, heavy luggage, buggies and children, are forced to remain on the concourse at Blackpool North. I've seen for myself the huge rush that can result when they are only allowed on 2 or 3 minutes before departure. At best it delays trains, at worst it is I believe a Health and Safety hazard.

"When the lines and stations open fully again at Easter, there needs to be a proper re-examination of the situation and also a great improvement in timetable cooperation and train management at Preston between Northern and Virgin trains. At present there seems little coordination - and this results often in the ridiculous situation where fast Virgin trains come into Preston from major centres only for ongoing passengers to Blackpool to have to wait for up to half an hour for a connection because a Northern train has left just before the Virgin one. This isn't satisfactory and I will continue to press the point. As someone who uses these lines week by week to get to and from Blackpool to Parliament, I will be monitoring how things go over a period which we hope will result in Blackpool getting the long awaited electrification and better connections which we need."

Gordon meets with rail bosses to discuss bus replacement plans during rail line closure

Ahead of line closures this weekend to prepare for upgrading for electrification of the railway between Blackpool North station and Preston, Gordon has met with management from both Northern and...

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