Category Archives: Victoria in North Oxfordshire

North Oxfordshire MP, Victoria Prentis, commits her support to Clean Air Day

Earlier this week, Victoria Prentis MP attended a photo-call in Westminster ahead of Clean Air Day, to express her support for action to help support plans to reduce pollution in North Oxfordshire.

The event was organised by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), with MPs calling for national action to make the UK’s air safe to breathe. This is particularly important for constituents with heart and circulatory conditions, who are at increased risk from air pollution.

Air pollution is now the greatest environmental risk factor linked to death in the UK, with 58 % of air pollution related deaths worldwide caused by heart disease or stroke. The BHF’s research has shed light on how harmful pollutants, such as particulate matter (small particles found in emissions from diesel engines and wood burning stoves), can have a direct impact on cardiovascular health and increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Clean air is an issue that has been discussed locally with Victoria, local Councillors and Leader of Cherwell District Council, Cllr Barry Wood, about the quality of air in Bicester, particularly given local growth.

Following the event, Victoria commented: ‘It is important that work to improve air quality so that my constituents living with heart and circulatory conditions do not need to worry about dirty air damaging their health when they leave the house. This is a particular concern for a number of individuals in my constituency, especially within areas of growth.”


Victoria welcomes a local campaign encouraging all primary school children to take part in this year’s ‘Summer Reading Challenge’, which launches on 14 July.

The Summer Reading Challenge – a partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK – encourages children to read at least six books over summer. This year’s theme is ‘Mischief Makers’, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Beano comic.

Victoria Prentis MP commented: “I hope parents, grandparents and carers in North Oxfordshire will take their children to the library over the summer to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge.  It is free, inclusive and, most importantly, makes reading fun.  Last year 8279 children in Oxfordshire took part. I hope we can increase that number this year and show local libraries what a valuable asset they are to us and our community.

Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency said: “At The Reading Agency, we believe that everything changes when we read and we know from our research how much fun families and children have when taking part in the Challenge. Mischief Makers offers intergenerational appeal and we hope this family friendly, accessible theme will inspire more children than ever to read over the holidays and make use of their local library throughout the summer and beyond.”

Mark Freeman, President of Libraries Connected, added: “The Summer Reading Challenge is one of the highlights of the year in libraries. Encouraging children to read over the summer holidays helps them to see reading as a fun way to spend their time and now they can get tips on creating a bit of mischief too! We are so pleased at Libraries Connected to continue our partnership with The Reading Agency and look forward to welcoming even more children into our libraries this summer.”

For more information on getting involved, visit



Hands off Horton Cropped

North Oxfordshire MP, Victoria Prentis, has welcomed the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid’s, decision to relax Tier 2 visa restrictions for skilled workers coming into the UK. The easing of restrictions means that British businesses and employers will be able to hire up to an extra 8000 skilled migrants from across the world from a wide range of professions including medicine, teaching and engineering. The Home Office has confirmed that NHS doctors and nurses will be excluded from restrictions to the number of visas granted to skilled non-EU migrant workers.

Recruitment in health services has been an ongoing issue locally given the temporary downgrade of maternity services in Banbury. Following a visit to the Churchill hospital with Oxfordshire colleagues, Victoria has been a vocal supporter of relaxing Tier 2 visa requirements and has worked with local campaign groups, Parliamentary colleagues and the Government to achieve this.

Speaking this morning, Victoria said: “The Government’s decision to relax Tier 2 visa restrictions is a positive step towards helping recruitment, particularly in the NHS. I have had a number of meetings with businesses and health bosses locally to talk about recruitment and ways we can support it. Recruitment affects many industries in my constituency and I hope that this is just one of many solutions to support essential services in North Oxfordshire.”


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On Friday 4 May, Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, visited Godswell Park Care Home in her constituency to congratulate them on their ‘outstanding’ rating awarded to them by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) last year. The Bloxham-based home is the first standalone general nursing home solely for older people in England out of the 18,000 registered with the CQC to achieve a score of outstanding in all five inspection areas.

Victoria was keen to visit Godswell and see the excellent work they are doing supporting the elderly. During the visit Victoria spoke to residents about a number of local and national issues as well as congratulating staff.

Victoria commented: “I was grateful for the opportunity to look around Godswell, meeting staff and residents. It takes a huge amount of hard work and dedication from all of the staff to offer such a high level of care, ensuring that residents remain safe and I’m thrilled I could congratulate them in person.”



North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis has welcomed a comprehensive document published today by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group in advance of its Board meeting next Thursday.


The Oxfordshire Transformation Update (Paper No. 18/18) sets out a new approach to move forward its controversial consultation exercise with a focus on place-based discussion and early engagement where the needs of local populations can be considered alongside factors including rurality and local community assets. If the Board agrees to the changes at its Board meeting, the long-awaited Phase Two consultation will be abandoned.


Alongside the change in approach, the Board is recommended to agree that A&E and associated services at the Horton General Hospital remain, as well as the paediatric service.


The Board Paper also makes clear that the CCG is committed to produce a plan and undertake further work on the possible options for maternity services at the Horton. Acting on the advice of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, the CCG recognises that any further work must consider the views of mothers, families and staff, dependencies between services and the needs of all those in the Horton’s catchment area. Recruitment efforts must continue.


Victoria Prentis MP commented:


“The Oxfordshire Transformation Update is the clearest indication yet that the Clinical Commissioning Group is finally listening to all of us in North Oxfordshire. For too long now, the future of acute services at the Horton has been unclear. Today we have the answers we have been looking for. The uncertainty can be put to rest. A&E and paediatrics will remain at the Horton, and it is back to the drawing board with maternity.


“The decision to abandon Phase Two is long overdue. I am cautiously optimistic by the CCG’s suggestion to move forward with place-based discussions. Ensuring local residents feel that they have a genuine voice when it comes to the future of their health services, including community hospitals, is at the heart of any good consultation exercise.


“I urge the Board to agree to this new approach next week and will look forward to working closely with the Clinical Commissioning Group, particularly the Chief Executive Lou Patten. She may have only been in post since January but she is already making a positive impact on our local health service with her visionary approach.”
The Board documents can be found here

National Apprenticeship Week: Karcher

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Victoria is sharing the stories and experiences of local apprentices and their employers. 

Below are accounts from apprentices working with Karcher. 


Business Administration Apprentice

KArcher Zoe

“I joined Kärcher UK Ltd in 2016 as Business Administration Apprentice.  I was 16 when I started and was placed within Business Support.

Whilst working on Reception/Business support I developed a wide range of skills that have helped me in so many more aspects of my life. The main skill that has helped me is communication which has also developed my confidence. When I first started within Karcher I was not a confident, out-going individual, however as my time went on within Business Support this changed and I now feel confident to talk to people I am unfamiliar with. Working on business support allowed me to build relationships with new people and gain an understanding of how the business works. It was a huge step going from school into the workplace, and building relationships with other colleagues made this transformation a lot less intimidating. I also developed my basic IT skills using emails, calendars etc daily. Being on Business Support meant that the team was the main contact for most people within the business, this meant that it was our responsibility to keep all personnel databases up to date. This allowed me to develop my organisational skills and improve on how to deal with pressure. This also allowed me to develop new skills such as prioritising and using my initiative to make sure that all work is complete and up to date.

At the end of my Apprenticeship I gained an NVQ in Customer Service and was offered a full time role within the Customer Service Team.

I now work within the Retail and National Sales Support Team. Within this team, I have my own Retail and National Accounts (e.g. Halfords, Travis Perkins) which I support through a range of tasks. It is our responsibility to process all orders, deal with all questions and queries in a timely manner, book orders in and ensure that all orders are delivered on time and in full. We provide an all-round service to our accounts and see all orders through from the point of receiving the initial call for a quote, processing the order, booking this in and ensuring delivery is on time, and we are all multi-skilled to help each other out if needs be. Our team also acts as the support for the other sales teams as we work very closely with our third party logistics company, so we are often their point of contact. We work closely and build relationships with the National and Retail Account managers to ensure all queries are dealt with appropriately. Our team also specialises in bulk deliveries, and all customer specialised requirements. It is our responsibility to maintain a product Matrix that is used throughout the business, so we must ensure that the information is accurate and up to date.”



HR Administrator

Karcer Natasha

“After starting my Apprenticeship in 2010, I now work within the HR department as HR Administrator.  My main responsibilities are within Recruitment and Onboarding however I support the HR Director, HR Business Partner and HR Advisor.   I started my Apprenticeship within Business Support and developed my organisational skills, gained a good understanding of the various departments and knew this was the company I wanted to progress in.     

I really enjoy the diversity within the HR department and feel like I learn different skills every day.  The company have supported me with a Study Program to enable me achieve CIPD level 3.  Once qualified I would really like to progress to Advisory level”.



Marketing Apprentice

Karcher Olivia


“Whilst finishing my GCSE’s I started looking around at what apprenticeships were available to me, in August 2017 I applied here at Karcher UK for a customer service apprenticeship, but my interviewer listened to my interests and ambitions and so suggested I might rather suit a marketing role, so they made me my marketing apprenticeship, I took on that amazing offer and did not look back.

I have learnt all aspects of marketing from digital, communications and product marketing as well as trade. I currently have the responsibly of dealing with the POS (point of sale) requests from our retail support team while working with our external store POS agencies. I also have the job of collecting all literature required for dealers, Area Sales Managers, our 3 centres and 15 DODO’s, depending on their target market or objective.  When I took over the responsibility of all of the literature, I came up with the idea of an interactive PDF to ease and simplify the processes of ordering from both parties, this is now used throughout the whole of the company daily. I help co-ordinate events all across the country such as LAMMA in Peterborough, the Speed Machine festival in Silverstone and the Cleaning Show in Manchester. Despite these long hours it is so rewarding seeing the end result and having so much fun with the team.

I have developed so many skills while only being here 6 months, skills that none of my friends at sixth form or college have achieved there, from working in a professional workplace, dealing with time management and responsibility of me as well as my work. I use these every day of my working life as well as my marketing skills, such as more creative thinking, communication to businesses as well as consumers, analytical thinking and negotiation. As well as gaining the most important skills, working with industry professionals, gaining experience two years earlier than most as well as qualifications, I am earning my own wage.  I am hopefully going to go onto level 3, then advancing to degree level in the future.”



Apprentice Engineer

karcher Zack

“I am due to complete my apprenticeship in May 2018.  I started my Engineering course nearly 3 years ago and have been really lucky to have worked both here in the Workshop and out in the field.  I have worked with some of our larger products such as City Sweepers and have diagnosed electrical, mechanical and software issues.

I particularly enjoyed working in the Karcher Academy and was actively involved in project work.

I have already been offered a full time role as Field Engineer once I have qualified in May which I am really looking forward to”.



Business Support Apprentice

Karcher megan

My Apprenticeship Program with Kärcher UK Ltd started in 2017 when I was 16 years old.  I was placed within Business Support and starting by working on Reception greeting customers, receiving calls and responding to emails. 

I have developed various skills including how to deal with enquires from all types of customers face to face, over the phone and via email. I have also learnt how to sort incoming and outgoing post, keeping phone lists up to date, booking meeting rooms, ordering essentials for the work area and lunches.  I have gained a good understanding of what each department does and have got to know staff quickly from seeing them come in each day.

Starting on Reception has given me a great foundation and I am now progressed to Credit Control to support my learning towards by NVQ in Customer Services.”


A2Dominion, Barry Wood, Victoria, apprentices Connor and Ricardo, Paddy P and Lindsey Cropped

This National Apprenticeship Week, Victoria Prentis is celebrating the vital contribution of apprentices in North Oxfordshire. 

Since 2010 there have been 6220 apprentices in Victoria’s constituency and over 1.2 million new apprenticeships nationally since 2015.

Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Government’s strategy to expand opportunity and develop the skilled workforce the country needs. This includes working with industry to deliver an ambitious target of 3 million new apprenticeship starts by 2020.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Victoria has been sharing stories of local apprentices and their employers on social media. She started the week visiting construction apprentices, Connor and Ricardo, working with A2Dominion, and today met Callum and Callum working with ‘Sensor Technology’.

Commenting, Victoria said:

“Apprenticeships allow people to earn while they learn, and open doors to highly skilled, rewarding careers. The Government’s reforms are not only increasing apprenticeship numbers, but also driving up the quality of apprenticeships, meaning they have real value in the jobs market.

It has been a pleasure meeting apprentices in my constituency and showcasing their hard work alongside the support of their employers.”


National Apprenticeship Week: Ben

I started my apprenticeship, with Town & Country Plumbing & Heating, in September 2016. From then onwards, my knowledge and skills in the plumbing trade have developed drastically and are continuing to improve.

I chose to do an apprenticeship as I had finished school not really knowing what I wanted to do with myself with the grades I had acquired. When I started, I was a little nervous as I didn’t know what to expect from being an apprentice, but as soon as I started at Town and Country I was made to feel welcome and straight away part of the team or family. It was, and still is great. I had also read in places that there is good money in plumbing and that there is a high demand for plumbers.

Personally, I would recommend to anyone not to go to college or even university as it could be a waste of time and money when you could get involved in a trade and be set up for your future life. Straight away you start earning money, which is good because you’re learning and getting paid for it whilst gaining the knowledge of a trade.

The average time it takes to complete your apprenticeship is 4 years. Within the 4 years, you attend college once a week to learn the more complex things about the trade. First you start at level 2, which takes around a year. Then, if you pass, you get an NVQ2. After level 2 the college will offer you a level 3 course which takes the knowledge of plumbing into further detail. After you complete that you will have the opportunity to take your gas course which basically allows you to work with gas which is my personal aim.




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North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis has praised the work of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel and welcomed their recommendation for further work to be undertaken before a final decision is made about the future of maternity services at the Horton. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has accepted the Panel’s advice and suggested that a joint overview and scrutiny committee which spans the Horton’s catchment area – and covers all the local authorities – is set up to monitor progress going forward.


Victoria Prentis MP said:


“I am extremely grateful to Oxfordshire’s Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for their referral and to the IRP for their thorough assessment. It has been a profoundly difficult situation for all of us who use the Horton, particularly for those who have been affected by the closure of the obstetric unit. The IRP’s conclusion that further work needs to be undertaken comes as a huge relief and is recognition of what many of us have been saying repeatedly since the flawed consultation process began. Not only do they recognise the obvious interdependencies of services at the Horton, but they make it very clear that consideration must be given to the provision of antenatal care, travel and parking arrangements and local growth before any final decision is made.  


“The IRP’s report follows a very critical review of health services in Oxfordshire undertaken by the Care Quality Commission, and last week’s decision by the Clinical Commissioning Group to pause Phase Two of the Transformation Programme. Judicial review proceedings continue. It is time for us to draw a line under the past two years. We need to start again with a blank sheet, and work together to focus on a real vision for the future of healthcare in Oxfordshire. I am looking forward to uniting with others across county boundaries who use the Horton to ensure our voices are heard.”


Cllr Arash Fatemian, Chairman of Oxfordshire’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee added:


“The IRP’s report vindicates the anger and frustration which has been felt across our community for almost two years. It has been a difficult and uncertain time and while the IRP has not put forward an immediate solution, a restart of the consultation process will afford us the opportunity to have our voices genuinely heard.


“I call on the CCG to recognise the importance of the messages laid down by IRP. This is a chance for the CCG’s new leadership to embrace the issue and move forward constructively. I will seek to action the creation of an extended Scrutiny Committee to ensure the views of our neighbours in Warwickshire and Northamptonshire are also represented.


“We should not be daunted by going back to the drawing board nor should this be considered by the community as a step backward. It is an opportunity for us to revive our united front and fight our corner. We will leave no stone unturned to get the best outcome for residents of Banbury and surrounding areas.”

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