Karen Lumley is the first Member of Parliament for the new constituency of Redditch County, which now takes in the rural areas of the Lenches and Hanbury, whose church, legend has it, features in the radio show, 'The Archers', with Inkberrow believed to be the inspiration for fictional Ambridge. They are very beautiful parts of the county of Worcestershire which were, until the boundary changes of 2010, represented by Peter Luff in Mid-Worcestershire.
Other former Members of Parliament to represent Redditch include Karen's predecessor Jacqui Smith, the late Eric Forth and Hal Miller all of whom had highly distinguished careers.
Redditch is a New Town and was designated so in 1964, the year Karen was born. Back then it had a population of some 29,000 and has grown significantly since. The new constituency has a population of around 90,000 and includes the picturesque villages of Cookhill, Feckenham, Stock and Bradley Green and Abbots Morton. However other parts of Redditch such as Church Green and the Evesham Road which runs through Headless Cross, Crabbs Cross, Astwood Bank and Cookhill Village remain largely unchanged with landmarks at these locations remaining throughout Redditch's time as a town.
Redditch County is a mixture of rural and urban communities and in that there are many challenges to face. The town of Redditch has suffered the loss of many manufacturing jobs over the years, especially with the demise of the car industry. However, in their place, have grown up many small and medium-sized businesses, flourishing alongside the larger employers in the area.
Redditch landmarks include the site of Bordesley Abbey where monks set up home in the 12th century as well as the Forge Mill Museum which tracks the development of industry in Redditch through needle-making and the manufacture of fishing hooks. Previously 90 per cent of the world's needles were manufactured in Redditch and its neighbourhood and needles are still made in the town to this day. Alongside needles and fishing hooks, spring making was the third major industry in the 19th century. As with needles, springs also continue to be manufactured in the town.
In recent years Redditch residents have welcomed an updated fitness centre complete with a brand new swimming pool that is heated by the local crematorium – a groundbreaking system that saw Redditch awarded a Green Apple Environment Award. This complements refurbishments of the Palace Theatre, originally built by Edwardian theatre designer Bertie Crewe in 1913, major upgrades at the Kingfisher Shopping Centre and modernisation of the town centre including the introduction of a new cinema.