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Hertford and Stortford MP Julie Marson on the Women's Health Strategy, successful businesswomen, Kickstart Scheme and tackling climate emergency

Julie Marson, MP for Hertford and Stortford, writes for the Indie...

First launched in March of this year, more than 75,000 women, organisations, clinicians and carers have so far responded to the call for evidence for the Women's Health Strategy. Also promoted by the Bishop's Stortford Independent in these pages, the Women's Health Strategy is the first of its kind and aims to address women's health in England throughout the course of our lifetimes.

The historical imbalance of our leadership positions in this country means that planning for women's health has been designed by men for generations. This lack of representation of women in decision-making circles over the years can create obvious hurdles and it is about time something was done to put women at the centre of women's health in the UK.

Julie Marson is urging people to give evidence to shape the Women's Health Strategy. Picture: iStock
Julie Marson is urging people to give evidence to shape the Women's Health Strategy. Picture: iStock

That is why I am asking all women in Hertford and Stortford to participate in the ongoing public consultation. Young or old, sick or well, your voice is needed to shape the future of healthcare for women. However, time is running out and you only have until 11.45pm on Sunday (June 13) to respond to the call for evidence.

This is a truly bottom-up approach to an issue that could not be more important for women in this country. We want all women to have the best health they can and to make sure they are listened to. You can find out how to respond by going to https://tinyurl.com/WHealthS.

Residents may be aware that I am a keen environmentalist. One key tenet of this is that I really want to see the number of trees planted in our area shoot up (pun very much intended). While tree planting cannot solve climate change on its own, it can play a significant role when married to a larger strategy of cutting emissions. Indeed, policies like stopping the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 is one of these that feeds into a larger process of tackling the climate emergency.

Each tree has the potential to draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The Woodland Trust estimates that around 400 tonnes of carbon can be locked up in trees, roots and soil per hectare. I want Bishop's Stortford and our surrounding areas to lead the way on this.

Our local councillors have been busy doing their bit with this too. Cllrs David Snowdon and Eric Buckmaster, who represent Bishop's Stortford Meads and Sawbridgeworth respectively, were recently out in Castle Park planting trees. A big thanks to them and everyone involved on the day.

I am busy working to secure more trees for our community. Ultimately, it is only with vast quantities and diversity that we can maximise the potential of carbon locking through trees. To begin this process, I have written to every care home in Hertford and Stortford to offer them each a cherry blossom tree via a wonderful scheme called the Sakura Cherry Tree Project. They will be available to plant later in the year and I will keep you updated.

I would like to share news of an event that I think will be a great opportunity for business-minded women in our community. Make It Your Business is a national initiative aimed at encouraging and supporting women to start and grow their own businesses. The group runs events all over the country, enabling women to meet established local female entrepreneurs and learn from their experiences and personal networks.

The group is making a real difference to the prospects of aspiring female entrepreneurs. I am delighted to say that on Thursday June 24, at 11am, the group is hosting an online event for budding female entrepreneurs to speak with many of the successful businesswomen we have in the constituency.

I really encourage all those interested to sign up and take this opportunity to ask questions and get honest feedback on your ideas and plans. It's a free event for all and more information can be found at https://tinyurl.com/MIYBH-S.

I would like to finish by reminding local employers about the new Kickstart Scheme. The scheme is designed to help businesses benefit from employing young people by providing funding for them to create job placements for 16- to 24-year olds. The scheme allows businesses to get free talent for six-month placements and access a £1,500 grant for training and setup costs.

As we emerge from the pandemic, lots of businesses I have spoken to are keen to hire extra hands but have been nervous about the associated costs in uncertain times. This scheme will help allay those concerns by absorbing the cost for you and transferring the risk away from your business.

Please do look into it and take up the opportunity to help grow your business as well as support young people in our local area. More information can be found at https://tinyurl.com/Kickstart-H-S.

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