Monthly Archives: April 2017


Rory Stewart MP has nominated Penrith firm, Atkinson Building Contractors as his Responsible Business Champion for 2017, praising the company’s community values and its sustainable vision for the future.

Each year MPs are invited by the All Party Parliamentary Corporate Responsibility Group (APCRG) to identify an outstanding local business which, because of its positive impact in their constituency, deserves to be their Constituency Responsible Business Champion. A Parliamentary judging panel will now consider Atkinson’s nomination against national criteria announced each year by the APCRG and select one company as the winner of the APCRG National Responsible Business Champion award.

This year’s nomination criteria focused upon; supporting the local community, offering apprenticeships to all, and promoting diversity in the workplace. In selecting a national winner, the judging panel will consider a nominated company’s overall impact in its constituency; the extent of employees’ engagement in the work for which it has been nominated; support for the company’s work from local partners; and the extent to which it goes beyond what the company is legally or contractually obliged to do.

Rory was impressed by Atkinson Building Contractors’ long-standing commitment to apprenticeships – which have been the backbone of the company’s success and for its visionary approach to employing young people from the area, supporting a record number – 15 across all construction trades.  He also praised the their community efforts; raising funds and supporting a number of local charities including Hospice at Home, Penrith Colour Run, Penrith Football Club, Penrith Cricket Club, and many more.

Speaking about why he nominated Atkinson’s Rory said:

​”​Atkinson’s are a very worthy nominee for this year’s Responsible Business Champion Award. The way the company has grown over the past 30 years, and the way in which their growth has benefited the local community is incredible. I am very proud of their achievement and I wish them the best of luck.”
Rory visiting Atkinsons Building Contractors


Please note that Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border will be holding a drop-in surgery at the George Hotel in Penrith on Friday 28th April from 5:30pm-7:00pm.
No appointment is necessary, and all constituents are welcome. More
information can be found at more information please call 01768 484 114.


Rory Stewart MP on Friday presented a cheque for £750 to the 2nd Penrith Scouts Group on Folly Lane in Penrith, on a glorious Spring evening that saw around thirty Beavers, Cubs and Scouts gather in the sunshine to toast marshmallows, meet Rory, and chat about the important work the local scouting group does.

Group Leader Mike Freeman hosted the visit, with support from his team, and parents who gathered for the occasion. The donation was a result of a talk Rory had given in Westminster; in lieu of a speaking fee, a donation to the MP’s local scouting group was arranged.

Rory said: “The 2nd Penrith Scouts Group has an excellent team running it, and so many children who are benefiting from its focus on community spirit, teamwork, and enjoying the outdoors and making the most of our wonderful local landscape. It was an honour to be able to make this donation to them, to support the work they do in Penrith. I encourage any young people to give the Scouts a go – it is a brilliant way to create confidence, instil a sense of community, and teach life skills. It’s great that parents can get involved too. Thank you for a brilliant evening.”

Liam Byrne of the 2nd Penrith Scouts Group said: “We would like to say a massive thank you to Rory for the donation which has been very timely indeed for the group. We have just finished some essential maintenance to the Hut, and also with the decision to open a new scout troop to accommodate so many new members. So these funds will go a long way to towards much-needed new resources, such as tents ad camping kit to enhance the overall experience of young people involved with our group.”

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Picture attached: Rory Stewart with the team at the 2nd Penrith Scouts Group Hut on Folly Lane in Penrith.
(Images courtesy Karen Barbier –  )



Rory Stewart MP – with the help of Jacqui Taylor of Eden Mencap, Sarah Arragon of Arragon’s Cycle Centre in Penrith, and members of the local Department of ​Work and ​Pensions​ (DWP) – has embarked upon a challenge to make employers in Penrith and The Border more inclusive, encouraging them to sign up to the Disability Confident scheme this April which helps employers open up their workforce to disabled people.

The challenge to sign up thirty businesses in April is part of a national campaign run by the DWP to ​support employers to increase the diversity of their workforce and offer opportunities to disabled jobseekers, including work experience, apprenticeships, work trials and employment. Rory has written to dozens of businesses in the constituency as part of the challenge. It follows his efforts to set up a Disability Confident event in Penrith, which he has been planning for some months. ​

Eden Mencap have been preparing several ‘students’ for the workplace and are keen to engage with the Disability Confident campaign. ​

It is hoped that many of the businesses signed up in April will join the event, co-hosted with Eden Mencap and to be held ​in June 2017​.

Rory Stewart said: “Disability Confident is a brilliant initiative that I fully support. Disabled people make up one fifth of the working age population and our local employers could be missing out on a large sector of talent in our community. I know, as the brother of a sister with Downs Syndrome, just how fulfilling for both employee and employer it can be, to have a disabled member on your team.”

“I am grateful for the support of Shane Byrne and Aidan Quigley of the local DWP, and of Jacqui Taylor of Eden Mencap, whose tireless advocacy has been a source of inspiration to me. It is great that local employers such as Sarah Arragon are already behind the initiative. Above all, I hope this will be the start of lots more local employers becoming Disability Confident and improving opportunities for local disabled people to realise their potential in the workplace.”

Jacqui Taylor of Eden Mencap, said: ​”​Eden Mencap are looking forward to working alongside local employers and businesses in Eden to establish opportunities for people with skills and abilities to shine in the workplace. Having a disability should not inhibit the ability to work and take a valuable place in the local community. Working with the employer and each person individually will highlight the abilities needed to effectively meet the needs of the role. People with disabilities are keen to work and to contribute to society; through discussion and mutual understanding, time to settle in and supportive training, a person’s​ disabilities ‘disappear’ as their ability to do the tasks effectively shines​ through.​”​

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Penny Mordaunt said: “I want to congratulate Rory Stewart MP for taking steps to create more Disability Confident employers, and helping close the disability employment gap . Unless we enable all of our citizens to reach their full potential our nation never will.”

“The scheme not only supports  employers who want know how they can make their organisation more inclusive, but the Disability confident kite mark sends a powerful signal to disabled candidates that if they apply to that firm they can have confidence their needs and concerns will be understood and supported.”

The new Disability Confident sign-up scheme was launched at the end of 2016 and builds on the success of the previous ‘Two Ticks’ scheme. More than 3,700 businesses have signed up to become Disability Confident so far. Local companies, in a list compiled by the DWP, will be contacted by their MP this week regarding the challenge.



Rory Stewart MP on Friday visited William Howard School in Brampton, to take part in a debate on the Human Rights Act hosted by the school’s Amnesty International group, and chaired by student Rufus Hodge. Rory – a former fellow of the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University – led the debate, which covered in-depth such issues as the future of the European Court of Human Rights, the role of the British judiciary, and the nature of human rights and the application of human rights law. Much time was spent discussing the pros and cons of a British Bill of Rights.

William Howard School has a long history of engaging students in the activities of Amnesty International, whose youth groups promote the work of Amnesty International by organising campaigns to raise money and awareness.

Rory Stewart MP said: “I thoroughly enjoyed our thought-provoking, wide-ranging debate about both the abstract and the tangible aspects of human rights law, and it was impressive to see such enthusiasm in the room. William Howard’s Amnesty group are clearly a bright, engaged and politicised group, which is wonderful to see. I was impressed by the quality of their questions and it made me feel positive about the future of politics.”




Please note that Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border, and local councillors will be holding drop-in surgeries:

Friday 7th April, 12.15 – 13.15, Community Centre, Longtown
Friday 7th April, 14.00 – 15.00, Howard Arms Hotel, Brampton

No appointment is necessary, and all constituents are welcome. More information can be found at

For more information please call 01768 484 114.