My first 100 days as Mayor

Next week, 16 August, will mark 100 days since I was elected by the people of South Yorkshire to serve as their Mayor.

In my first hundred days I have started building the co-operative community that I promised in my mayoral manifesto.

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Update on tackling anti-social behaviour

Tackling anti-social behaviour in Barnsley remains a priority for me. The unpleasant and sometimes frightening experiences that local residents have shared with me, plus the scenes I have witnessed for myself, are simply unacceptable.

Recently, a significant number of constituents have been in touch and shared disturbing images of individuals in an unconscious or semi-conscious state in and around Peel Square in particular.

I have again raised my concerns with both South Yorkshire Police and Barnsley Council. Both have provided me with a comprehensive update on the work they are doing to target the influx of Spice onto our streets. They have advised that there is evidence of an organised crime group targeting vulnerable users with a particularly potent variety of Spice. A number of arrests have already been made and the police and the council will continue to work together to shut down the supply of 'Spice' into Barnsley as soon as possible.

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Northern Rail - why Barnsley deserves better

Like many people in Barnsley, I rely on public transport to get to and from work each day.

And, also like many people in Barnsley, I have been increasingly concerned and frustrated in recent weeks by the mounting chaos that is our rail service.

Our communities want better, deserve better, and need better. The situation we see at railway platforms across our region and the wider North every day is simply not good enough.

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Anyone for tennis?

As a keen runner, occasional mountaineer and committed Barnsley Football Club fan, I’ve always been passionate about sport and the important role it plays in our community.

Again and again I have seen sport be such a positive force for good in people’s lives, particularly for young people.

As a parent, I’ve seen the benefits of sport with my own children, through the sense of enjoyment and achievement they get from taking part in the Barnsley Park Run in Locke Park on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

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More must be done to stop anti-social behavior in Barnsley town centre

It’s just two weeks since Barnsley hosted the Tour de Yorkshire.

The town centre was buzzing on the day, with the bunting and street stalls creating a fantastic atmosphere. It was really exciting to watch world-class cyclists setting out on the Second Stage of this internationally acclaimed cycling event, and I am glad that so many lined the route to cheer them on.

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Statement on the recent killings in Gaza

Over the past couple of days I have been asked about recent events in Gaza.

I believe the role of Hamas in orchestrating both this event and similar ones to be utterly deplorable, but that killings such as those conducted by the IDF are equally deplorable and should not form a part of any country’s security policy.

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Job advert for Parliamentary Assistant

I am recruiting a Parliamentary Assistant to work in my office in Barnsley. Please find further details below, and if interested in applying, please pay careful attention to the application process.

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Endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration

The last few weeks have been characterised by yet more tragic news from conflict zones all over the world. Amidst all the bad news, however, recently we saw one significant step into the right direction – as the UK Government announced it will endorse the Safe Schools Declaration.

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Tackling anti-social behaviour in Barnsley town centre

This week the town centre is buzzing as the final preparations for the Tour de Yorkshire are made. Friday promises to be a fantastic day and a very proud moment for Barnsley as we welcome one of the most prestigious international cycling events to our town.

However, I share the concerns expressed by many of my constituents regarding the recent increase in anti-social behaviour in the town centre. Many people have been in touch with me to share their experiences. It is deeply worrying that at a time when Barnsley should be celebrating, instead there are distressing images on social media of individuals collapsed in the streets due to drug and alcohol misuse.

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We must do more to prevent male suicide

Last week, I was contacted by Michelle, who lives in Barnsley. Two years ago, her estranged husband – who was just 45 – committed suicide. His death left Michelle and their two sons heartbroken. Sadly, stories like this are all too common.

As a society, we have made a great deal of progress in understanding mental health. Schools, colleges, and workplaces now put more emphasis on mental health and achieving parity of esteem with physical health in the NHS is seen as a national priority.

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