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Darren updates residents on Stoke Lodge

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has recently met local residents, and separately with staff from Cotham School, to discuss the school’s use of Stoke Lodge green space which would include the erection of a fence, alongside submission of a planning application to erect a new changing room building and works to the existing changing rooms.

Darren said on the ‘We Love Stoke Lodge’ Facebook group on 6th June:

“I wanted to share an e-mail with you as residents, which is exactly the same as the e-mail I’ve just sent to Cotham School.

Dear Residents,

I wanted to drop you a quick note of update on Stoke Lodge playing fields. Since we met, I have met with Cotham School and sought the advice of various stakeholders to assess best practice and guidance.

That has included liaising with planning lawyers and Ofsted (who I have now spoken with), and Bristol City Council and the HSE (who I am still due to speak with). I have also tabled a written parliamentary question to the Department of Education, who I understand from Ofsted is the direct “regulator” of Cotham School.

In doing so, I’m seeking to bring together the views I’ve heard from both Cotham School and my constituents with impartial advice from relevant organisations. Once I have finished that process I will write to you with the advice I have received, my initial conclusions and any suggested recommendations I might be able to make on how to get the best outcome for both the school and for local residents. I hope to be able to do that within the next week or two (depending on when I get the answer to my written parliamentary question).

If you have any further questions in the meantime, please do come back to me.

Best wishes

Darren

Darren Jones MP
Member of Parliament, Bristol North West
www.darren-jones.co.uk | fb.com/darrenjonesmp | @darrenpjones
Your Voice in Parliament. Your Champion in Bristol”.

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Darren writes to government about PIP for young cancer patients

For the first three months of their diagnosis, young cancer patients aren’t allowed PIP benefits. This is despite the fact that PIP is meant to help people with the costs of serious illness or disability. Darren wrote to the Government minister responsible to ask her to review this.

You can read the full letter here:

 

Dear Minister,

 

RE: Please review PIP for young cancer patients so they get financial support backdated from the day of diagnosis

I am writing to you on behalf of my constituents, to ask you to take action to review Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for young cancer patients so that they get the financial support they are entitled to backdated from the day of their diagnosis.

Every year in the UK over 4,000 children and young people under 25 are diagnosed with cancer. Cancer costs from day one. The first three months of treatment for young cancer patients are a difficult and expensive time,  as treatment starts immediately and is often a long way from home. CLIC Sargent’s #Cancercosts research found that young people are spending an average of £360 a month during active cancer treatment.

However, young cancer patients currently have to wait three months before they can apply to the Government for PIP, the benefit designed to help with the cost of an illness or disability. It’s not right that young cancer parents can’t access the financial support they are entitled to, at the time when they most desperately need it.

I would be grateful if your Department could review PIP for young cancer patients so that they get financial support backdated from the day of diagnosis.

I look forward to hearing your response.

 

Yours sincerely,

Darren Jones MP

And below is the reply Darren received from the Government:

Darren signs letter on Child Sexual Exploitation

Darren has signed a joint, cross-party letter from MPs concerned about the scale of child sexual exploitation. It is addressed to the government, and calls on them to take some specified actions which will help tackle child abuse.

Writing on Facebook, Darren said:

At the moment, 15% of girls and 5% of boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before 16. That’s why I’ve added my name to a cross-party letter calling for the Government to do more to tackle this.

We need more support focused on proactive prevention alongside police forces across the country working together.

You can read the full letter below:

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Darren says ‘dont risk it’ – report scams!

June is Citizens Advice’s annual Scams Awareness Month. This year’s theme is ‘don’t risk it’ – if you’re unsure about the deal you are being sold then it may be too good to be true. Citizens Advice research has found that a staggering 72% of people have been targeted by scammers in the last 2 years and even more worryingly, nearly 40% of people had been targeted 5 or more times. These are often the most vulnerable in our communities.

Almost half of people surveyed had taken no action to protect themselves against scams.

You can find out more information on common scams and how to report them here.

Darren said:

” I want to help make sure my constituents don’t fall victim to scammers – victims of scams often don’t come forward, making it difficult to know the true impact that scams have in our local communities. It also makes it hard to bring scammers to justice. That’s why I am supporting Scams Awareness Month and encouraging residents of Bristol North West to report dodgy traders to Citizens Advice and Trading Standards”.

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Darren asks scientists about UK Quantum Technology

Darren attended an evidence session for the Science and Technology Committee’s Quantum Technologies inquiry, which will look at how Quantum Technology development in the UK can be aided.

Quantum technology was picked out as an industrial challenges to be addressed by the Industrial Strategy. The Quantum Tech sector, as a result, will be allocated £20m ‘pioneer funding’. This is on top of existing government support, including the establishment of a National Quantum Technologies Programme in 2013. This programmes translates academic work on quantum into new products and services.

In the first part of the evidence session, two witnesses who have been closely involved in the programme gave evidence. In the second, there was a broader discussion about Quantum Technology development with academics and learned societies with an interest in quantum technologies.

Darren asked the first set of witnesses about international collaboration after Brexit:

 

He asked the second set about the skills, standards and regulations for Quantum Technology:


 

 

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Darren visits Henleaze Singing for the Brain Group

On Thursday 31st May, Darren – a registered Dementia Friend –  visited the Henleaze group of Singing for the Brain.

Singing for the Brain is a group activity which has been carefully designed by the Alzheimer’s Society for people with memory loss and their carers, in order to receive the many health benefits that are woven into the fun of singing. It is an enjoyable, friendly and uplifting activity giving many people a much-needed boost in confidence, all led by a trained facilitator.

The group meet for light refreshments and a chat beforehand to help people relax and get to know each other. Once the session starts, the group sit in a circle and do some exercises to warm up the voice. Then the fun really begins by singing a range of songs, either unaccompanied or sometimes using musical instruments.

If you wish to join the group, please note they meet on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursday of each month

You can find out more about the Singing for the Brain’s fantastic work here and more general information from The Alzheimer’s Society here.

Darren said after the visit:

“I signed up to become an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friend shortly after becoming an MP – I did this as I feel it is crucial there is wider understanding of dementia and how to support those with it.  I was therefore delighted to meet the local Singing for the Brain group and find out about the great work this group are doing with those suffering from dementia as well as their families. This community and person-to-person support is paramount and I know many of my constituents rely on it. I wish this group continued success and hope their numbers continue to grow as more people with dementia choose to access this invaluable support”.

If you think you or a family member may have Dementia talk to your GP who will refer you to the Dementia Wellbeing Service. They will allocated a navigator to take you through the system and provide support for you. You can also call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22.

 

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Darren speaks to Bristol Cable about the impact of AI and automation

Darren spoke to the Bristol Cable – Bristol’s independent, cooperatively owned newspaper – about the impact of artificial intelligence and robots on society.

Writing on Facebook about the interview, Darren said that

The impact of AI and automation will be felt – these are issues that will affect all of us. It’s time the government properly engaged and understood the opportunities and risks of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Burying their heads in the sand won’t protect our data or hundreds of thousands of jobs.

You can read the full interview here: https://thebristolcable.org/2018/06/artificial-intelligence-robots-and-the-future-of-society-interview-with-darren-jones/

 

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Darren welcomes Google and Youtube to Southmead to provide online safety training

Darren welcomed Google and YouTube to Southmead. The companies were there to train teachers and youth workers about online safety and digital citizenship for the young people they work with.

Gaps in young people’s online safety is a significant issue. According to the NSPCC, last year  there were 12,000 calls made to Childline concerning online issues, and one out every four children have experienced something upsetting online. Darren was therefore more than happy to speak at the event, and contribute his thoughts as a technology lawyer and member of the Science and Technology Select Committee.

 

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Darren visits University’s Integrative Epidemiology Unit

On Friday 25th May, Darren visited the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU) at the University of Bristol.

The MRC invests around £800 million per year in world-class research across the biomedical spectrum, from fundamental lab-based science to clinical trials, and in all major disease areas.

The MRC is a non-departmental public body funded through the UK Government’s science and research budget, and its research has resulted in life-changing discoveries for over a hundred years.

MRC IEU scientists conduct some of the most advanced population health science research. This helps improve our understanding of the biological mechanisms and environmental factors that can underlie and trigger common diseases. Including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, mental ill-health and conditions linked to obesity, addiction and ageing. Findings will be used to develop and test new interventions to prevent future disease.

The MRC’s will invest around £10.7m over the course of five years from 2018.

You can find out more about their work here: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/integrative-epidemiology/

Darren said after the visit:

“I would like to thank the team at the MRC IEU for hosting my visit – as a member of the Science and Tech Committee this was a fascinating and informative tour. It was great to see the investment in, and their research, being led here in Bristol. I look forward to hearing more about their research findings in the months and years to come”.