LEAH ‘Question Time’ with Sir Vince Cable
Voicing their concerns about the issues that matter to them, LEAH clients each spoke to Sir Vince Cable, local MP and Leader of the Liberal Democrats at our Whitton Literacy Class recently. Our clients had been learning about the work of an MP and how Sir Vince was elected to represent their views in Parliament. They all felt confident enough to ask individual questions around the table, which were heard and responded to with great insight by Sir Vince. Subjects ranged from who will be able to continue living here after Brexit and the need to reduce both hospital waiting times and school class sizes to issues with residence permit delays and the need for child benefit to be extended beyond the second child.
Sir Vince explained that our clients’ housing issues echo those many local people bring to him, particularly the lack of low-cost housing and associated high-occupancy problems.
One of our tutors, who comes from Syria and was originally a LEAH client, asked about creating jobs for the younger generation and outlined the problems of gaining any work experience to start off a CV. This barrier to employment applies to many of our lower-level English speaking clients, who also struggle to find ESOL provision with childcare facilities. Sir Vince showed real understanding of the problems our clients face and underlined his support for LEAH's work, taking time to answer questions individually in clear simple English.
Having explained that he is available by appointment at his weekly surgery to talk further, it transpired that one of our students wanted to thank Sir Vince personally for helping with a housing problem when they met six or seven years ago!
The LEAH team would like to thank Sir Vince for taking the time to listen and respond to our class. We were very proud of our clients who really found their voices and our six regular volunteer tutors who devote enormous time and energy to making this class so beneficial.