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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 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 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”.

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Darren calls for residents to sign petition to keep Post Office open

The Post Office at 155 Crow Lane, Henbury, is due to close today. Local residents have mounted a campaign to ensure it reopens ass soon as possible. You can support them by signing this petition.

Darren had this to say about the Post Office closure:

I know this branch is a much-valued community facility and that the closure will have a negative impact on local residents, particularly those who don’t have the money, mobility or transport to visit other branches/banks.

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Darren congratulates Marvin and his team for Bristol making Channel 4 shortlist

Channel 4 have started looking for cities to host their new national headquarters. Thanks to the work of Bristol City Council, led by Labour’s Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, Bristol are on the shortlist. On Facebook, Darren congratulated Marvin:

Great news! Well done to Marvin Rees and the team for getting us this far. Now to secure Channel 4 in Bristol!

You can read more about the shortlist here: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/may/30/channel-4-cities-national-hq-birmingham-manchester-glasgow-liverpool-leeds.

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Darren backs local schools

On Friday 25th May, Darren visited two local schools – Henleaze Junior School and Kingsweston Special School.

Darren said after the visit:

“It was a delight to meet pupils, staff and governors and hear more about the challenges facing our education providers. More government funding is sorely needed to support our children’s education and to ensure these hard-working public sector workers are paid what they deserve. We are losing more and more teaching staff because they are over-burdened and under-paid.

I will continue to do what I can to champion lifting of the public-sector pay cap (which must funded by government not existing school’s budgets) and push the government to provide adequate funding for our schools and colleges”.

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

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Darren speaks at VegfestUK

Vegfest UK is a large annual vegan festival, which takes place in Bristol.  Darren was invited to speak at the event, in conversation with Ecotricity’s Dale Vince and VegfestUK organiser Tim Barford. Ecotricity is an energy company which specialises in selling green energy to consumers.

Before the event, which happened today, Darren wrote this on Facebook:

You can catch me in conversation with Ecotricity’s Dale Vince and VegfestUK organiser Tim Barford on Sunday 27th May.

I’ve got a lot to say about my concerns about animal welfare, use of fur, plastic pollution and our over reliance on fossil fuels – see you there.

You can read more about the festival here: https://bristol.vegfest.co.uk/about-the-show/#

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Darren calls for new Anti Modern Slavery measures in Bristol

On Facebook, Darren wrote:

Bristol has had real issues with modern slavery: car washes and nail bars can be hotspots. I’ve written to the Gangmaster’s and Labour Abuse Authority to ask them to licence these businesses in Bristol, to make sure they treat workers properly. I’ll also be hosting a Modern Slavery-focused event in June to continue to raise awareness of these issues to the local business community.

You can read the full letter here:
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Darren signs letter to Prime Minister about Sainsbury’s pay cuts

Sainsbury’s are planning to reduce the income of 13,000 of their staff. Darren signed a letter to the Prime Minister, asking her to stand up and ask Sainsbury’s to halt this change. Here’s what Darren wrote about this letter on Facebook:

Ordinary people work hard to keep Sainsbury’s running. It’s unfair that 13,000 them could see their income slashed by up to £3,000 a year. That’s why I signed a letter to the Prime Minister asking that she calls on Sainsbury’s to halt this change.

 And here’s the letter itself:

Dear Prime Minister,

Taking home a fair wage should be the very least that a hardworking employee deserves.

That’s why we are appalled that unscrupulous contract changes at high street retailer Sainsburys will see 10% of their staff lose up to a staggering £3,000 per year.

Sainsbury’s is one of the high street’s most longstanding and well-respected brands. The pay rise that some of their employees will receive under these proposed changes should be welcomed. But under no condition should this be to the detriment of the estimated 13,000 employees who are set to see their wages slashed. We are completely dismayed that a company of Sainsbury’s reputation would use an increase in basic pay as a smokescreen for a whole array of deplorable decisions that will hit hardest their most dedicated, loyal and long-term staff.

Under the proposed changes, all employees will lose their paid breaks, there will be widespread cuts to premium pay including a shortening of nightshift premium hours and a scrapping of Sunday premium pay, and shop floor staff will no longer receive bonuses. However, the scrapping of the bonus scheme will not affect the CEO, Mike Coupe, or his fellow management team. Staff describe morale at the store as at an ‘all time low’, with many concerned that they cannot afford to stay in the job that they love, despite having worked at the organisation for decades.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, you assured the House that you would look at this issue, recognising the hard work that these staff put in day in and day out. We ask that you speak directly with the Chief Executive and call on him to ensure that no staff will face a pay cut under his contract changes, showing a fraction of the loyalty to his staff that they have shown to him.

At the time of writing, over 104,000 colleagues and customers have signed a petition at https://www.change.org/p/support-sainsbury-s-shop-floor-staff-s-working-rights-we-re-not-in-the-money calling on Sainsbury’s to reconsider their position. We acknowledge that this is a commercial decision, but, as a Prime Minister who actively calls for workers’ rights to be upheld, we ask that you join these signatories and stand up for the hardworking, longstanding and loyal Sainsbury’s staff who are being asked to work well for less.

We look forward to hearing what action you have taken on this issue.

Yours Sincerely,

Siobhain McDonagh MP

Co-Signatories:

Robert Halfon MP

Sir David Amess MP

Jeremy Lefroy MP

Tom Brake MP

Christine Jardine MP

Caroline Lucas MP

Dr Lisa Cameron MP

Stewart McDonald MP

Patricia Gibson MP

Carol Monaghan MP

Martyn Day MP

Neil Gray MP

Ben Lake MP

Rebecca Long Bailey MP

Tom Watson MP

Laura Pidcock MP

Ed Miliband MP

David Lammy MP

Frank Field MP

Joanne Platt MP

Joan Ryan MP

Luciana Berger MP

Wes Streeting MP

Liz Kendall MP

Stella Creasy MP

Karen Buck MP

Owen Smith MP

John Grogan MP

Jon Cruddas MP

Diana Johnson MP

Ian Murray MP

Virendra Sharma MP

Jo Stevens MP

Kerry McCarthy MP

Teresa Pearce MP

Stephen Morgan MP

Jeff Smith MP

Paul Flynn MP

Clive Betts MP

Madeleine Moon MP

Ronnie Campbell MP

Darren Jones MP

Helen Hayes MP

Susan Elan Jones MP

Thelma Walker MP

Jim Cunningham MP

Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP

Ian Mearns MP

Kate Green MP

Mohammad Yasin MP

Roberta Blackman-Woods MP

Alex Sobel MP

Paul Blomfield MP

Justin Madders MP

Paul Farrelly MP

Rosie Cooper MP

Kate Hoey MP

Rosie Duffield MP

Helen Jones MP

Alex Cunningham MP

Ian Austin MP

Gill Furniss MP

Stephen Pound MP

Kate Hollern MP

Marsha De Cordova MP

Gareth Thomas MP

George Howarth MP

Ellie Reeves MP

Mary Creagh MP

Paul Sweeney MP

Mike Kane MP

Grahame Morris MP

Vernon Coaker MP

Meg Hillier MP

Matt Western MP

Rachael Maskell MP

Stephen Twigg MP

Valerie Vaz MP

David Hanson MP

Tulip Siddiq MP

Gloria De Piero MP

Chris Elsmore MP

Steve Reed MP

Liz Twist MP

Emma Reynolds MP

Gareth Snell MP

Mark Hendrick MP

Anna McMorrin MP

Yasmin Qureshi MP

Julie Cooper MP

Jack Dromey MP

Jared O’Mara MP

Barry Sheerman MP

Naz Shah MP

Matthew Pennycook MP

Hugh Gaffney MP

Daniel Zeichner MP

Fabian Hamilton MP

Anna Turley MP

Ruth Cadbury MP

Yvonne Fovargue MP

Graham Stringer MP

Roger Godsiff MP

Gerald Jones MP

Mike Amesbury MP

Karen Lee MP

Maria Eagle MP

Helen Goodman MP

Debbie Abrahams MP

Sandy Martin MP

Danielle Rowley MP