Raising the BARR – Week ending 11 November 2020

Some Things are Getting Back to Normal

Last week I attended my first “public” event since way back in March of this year. Like you, I have been avoiding large crowds and events. And besides, in most cases, these larger events weren’t allowed to happen.

So my first event was the Cessnock Girl Guides End of Year Presentation. I was drawn to this event because one of the young guides was to receive a Silver Duke of Edinburgh (D of E) Award. Congratulations Isabella.

Since becoming an MP I have heard from various employers, companies big and small, that when they see a job applicant with a D of E Award in their list of achievements, those applicants go straight to the top of the pile. The employer knows that these applicants have shown drive and determination, a willingness to take on new tasks and challenges, and a general spirit of community.

It used to be that D of E Awards would be promoted in schools and community groups, like Girl Guides and Scouts. But with the world becoming such a busy place for many of us, along with so many competing priorities, a lot of the energy required for D of E Awards has sadly waned. I am not sure who out there might still be promoting this wonderful, life-changing program, other than our local Girl Guides. For those that are, I say congratulations and thank you.

Some Things Just Still Aren’t Normal Enough

This year will be my first year not attending school end-of-year presentation days since becoming an MP. It is a real shame because I truly, sincerely, love seeing our young people receiving their awards and beaming with pride. It is such a positive way to finish the year.

While recent announcements have made school presentation a last-minute possibility that are being taken up by some, there are still significant limitations on what can/cannot happen. I have decided that I won’t be taking up a seat in the school hall when some families of students might be prevented from attending because of strict numbers and COVID rules.

People will have different views about my decision. No matter what you think, please be assured that I intend only to show absolute respect to every single student and school by prioritising family attendance above my attendance. This year’s presentation days are not normal, but I will be busting to get back into schools in 2021.

A sincere congratulations to all award winners.