Our GPs invited me to the vaccine hub at Hornchurch Library to see how the rollout is going on the ground, talk through constituents’ queries and give me feedback to pass to the national team, led by Nadhim Zahawi MP. It is an amazing effort by our GPs, nurses, council and volunteers, supported by soldiers from Tidworth Barracks, Salisbury. My constituency team have been troubleshooting residents' vaccine queries and we have regular calls with our local NHS teams to get updates on hospital pressures, community healthcare and the vaccine programme. I have helped tackle issues with oxygen supply at Queen's through my ministerial role, and taken up residents' concerns about testing, vaccination of housebound residents and communication with family members in hospital. I am pleased that residents now have a range of vaccination options when they are called up, from roving teams going to care homes and the housebound, local hubs at Hornchurch Library and Victoria Hospital and two mass vaccination sites at Excel and Westfield Stratford. We have also secured a new testing centre in Dorrington Gardens in addition to the Dagnam Park Drive facility on Harold Hill.
A few weeks ago, I met the owner of The Vanilla Room in Hornchurch High Street, Kerry Larcher, to discuss the impact of the pandemic on her business and what further support would make the biggest difference to the local small businesses like hers. Kerry has worked incredibly hard to adapt her business and take on apprentices, and it was very helpful to understand the challenges faced by the wider beauty industry. I have made representations on her behalf to the Chancellor in advance of the Budget.
I recently caught up with the Borough Police Commander, Stephen Clayman, where we discussed the enforcement of covid restrictions to reduce high community transmission rates, efforts to tackle domestic violence, the testing and vaccination of officers, vaccine fraud, burglary and cross-border operations. The figures are positive on drug enforcement as the push continues to charge more people with drug supplying. I was very pleased to learn that Stephen has now launched new pathways into the Met with the first group of apprentices arriving last month. In April, the police constable version of degree-entry will be launched and we anticipate a growth in neighbourhood policing teams later this year.
Finally, I held my third virtual Jobs, Apprenticeships and Skills Fair for local jobseekers and those seeking to retrain. We had sessions with New City College, Wates, Aspire to Learn, MTR Elizabeth Line, and the Met Police, led by Stephen as Borough Commander. The event focussed on a wide range of topics including skill development, retraining, apprenticeships and employment opportunities. I am grateful for the support that the local Job Centre provide these events, and we hope to keep putting them on to help those constituents who have found themselves out of work or are looking to take a different path in life.