Before lockdown I hosted many of you in Parliament, including a large number who visited on one of my coach trips. One of the things that often surprised visitors was the very many debates that take place across Parliament outside the main Chamber. Debates in committees scrutinising new laws and the work of Government, debates hosted by All Party Parliamentary Groups including contributions for people who are not parliamentarians. And debates in our second debating chamber, known as Westminster Hall.
Westminster Hall debates are led by backbench MPs. Pretty much any topic can be debated and I, like other MPs, use them to highlight issues that matter to constituents. One such debate took place last week titled “Effect of the Covid-19 outbreak on the retirement community housing sector”.
We have a number of such retirement communities in the Moorlands that offer another way for older people to be able to continue to live independently. People that live in such communities have their own front door and privacy behind it, but can also enjoy the benefits of communal living with the opportunity to use shared facilities with other residents.
One of the local retirement villages that I know well is Bagnall Heights, where I have always enjoyed an incredibly warm welcome. However, like all of us, Covid has had a very significant impact of the management, staff and residents.
Being able to share the story of how Bagnall Heights has dealt with Covid in the debate was a great opportunity not just to thank the whole team but also point out where we can learn lessons for the future. Retirement villages across the Moorlands, and the whole country, have coped incredibly well in the circumstances and I was pleased to be able to say thank you in this way.