Sadly, we are now approaching the end of the summer. This signals the return of children to schools, along with the end of my summer work experience programme, which runs throughout the summer holidays.

The programme sees groups of young people, mainly aged between 16-18, join my office for a week. The goal of this programme is for the participants to experience life in an MP’s office and better understand the work of an MP. It is a very popular programme, and this year we have had six people a week taking part.

During the week the students tackle a variety of tasks covering all aspects of my work as an MP. They learn about the types of casework my office receives and have a go at responding to and actioning some casework examples. They also make suggestions about potential fundraising events, prepare briefs on the latest news developments, write example press releases and website articles, join me as I meet residents, local businesses and organisations and take part in debates and discussions on a wide variety of issues – from proportional representation to legalising cannabis.

As well as the more serious tasks set out in the special work experience pack, we also add a few fun ones to, such as a mock UN debate. One task which we find particularly popular is the ‘balloon debate’ – which sees the students each pick a political figure to be stranded with on a sinking hot air balloon. The students must then argue why their chosen person should not be thrown out of the balloon. Each round, the person with the fewest votes is thrown overboard, until only one is left as the winner. Some very interesting debates, though I too was selected for the jump!

I always enjoy the summer work experience programme; it certainly makes the office lively! I think it is important to hear the views and opinions of young people and having the opportunity to sit down with them to debate and discuss the issues they care about is incredibly useful.

The students, especially those starting to choose their respective career paths benefit by gaining a useful insight into what life is like in an MPs office – and my caseworkers are happy to discuss how they started working in politics and provide the students with some useful advice and suggestions too.

Although the main programme runs over the summer, I am happy to welcome students throughout the year – so if you are interested, please do get in touch.

With the Paralympic Games kicking off in Tokyo this week, I am delighted to have a final major sporting event to enjoy before the end of the summer.

The event has gone from strength to strength since the first official Paralympic Games in 1960, and its popularity is at all-time high.

It’s fantastic to see Team GB starting so strongly this year, with 16 medals in the first few days – including an incredible 15th Paralympic gold medal for Dame Sarah Storey.

What we are seeing in Tokyo is the culmination of years of hard work and immeasurable determination – it truly is inspiring. Best of luck to all of Team GB’s athletes – I am sure you will make us proud!