Parliament has now adjourned for the Summer recess, and I am looking forward to continuing to visit local organisations and attending public and community events within the constituency.

Just before the breakup of Parliament, I was delighted to speak in the debate in favour of the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill in the House of Commons.

When a baby is born prematurely or with significant health issues, they often require an extended stay in a neonatal baby unit in hospital. Under current legislation, parents do not receive paid leave in these circumstances, despite the emotional distress this causes.

That’s why I was pleased to lend my support for this Bill, which would allow parents to receive paid leave in such circumstances. The Bill passed successfully to the next stage of the parliamentary process and will hopefully become law.

Summer is always a particularly busy period for me, so I was pleased to get out in both Ayr and Cumnock over July.

In Cumnock I was pleased to meet with Depute Service Lead, Julie Neil and team, from Cumnock Job Centre Plus for an insightful discussion about the work their team do on a daily basis. Their Job Centre Plus team work incredibly hard to support those most in need, and often do not get the credit they rightly deserve. My sincere thanks to them for the work they do to help constituents.

They also work with the local council to offer lots of assistance and support to help get people into work, through their ‘KickStart’ scheme and Youth Hubs. You can find more about this on their Twitter page: @JCPinSWScot.

More recently in Ayr, at the invitation of the Ayr Burns Club, I attended a church service at the Auld Kirk to remember Rabbie Burn’s life and work and mark the anniversary of his death over two hundred years ago. It was a privilege to be asked to make a speech at the service, where I highlighted the great work of Burns Clubs across the globe in keeping his memory alive for future generations to learn and enjoy.

Many people will have been touched and saddened by the recent death of Dame Deborah James (bowelbabe) after being diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer. Between the time Deborah was diagnosed and her death, she devoted much of her life to raising awareness and removing the stigma of bowel cancer, and in the process raised several millions of pounds for Bowel Cancer UK.

On a similar note, I am pleased to promote the Ayr Boswell FC Charity Day, which is a festival of football being held on Sunday, July 31 between 9am – 5pm at the New Pebble Park, Annbank. The festival includes the annual John Rowan Cup Final. John was a youth coach at Ayr Boswell who also sadly died of bowel cancer at the age of just 50. This promises to be a wonderful feast of football and any monies raised will be donated to local charities including Ayrshire Cancer Support.

Everyone over 50 in Scotland has the opportunity to be screened for bowel cancer every two years. I would strongly encourage everyone to take the test, as early detection of bowel cancer massively increases the chance of successful treatment.