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Darren supports Time to Talk campaign

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, showed his support for the national Time to Talk mental health campaign on Time to Talk Day on 7th February.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Today is Time to Talk Day, a chance for us all to think about how we can start honest conversations about mental health.

Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 of us, so I’ll be reflecting on how I can be more open about mental health, talk to others and break down stigma. Time to Change is a growing social movement run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. They’re working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems. Since they’ve been running they’ve reached millions of people and changed attitudes and behaviour. But there’s still more to be done – that’s why I will continue to call for more accessible, high-quality and responsive mental health care and support wherever I can”.

You can find out more about local events and the Time to Talk campaign here.

 

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Darren backs Safer Internet Day

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, showed his support for the global Safer Internet Day campaign on 5th February.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Today is Safer Internet Day. The aim of Safer Internet Day is to inspire a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively – a subject that many of you will know is very close to my heart. With debate about the role of digital technology and social media never far from the headlines, Safer Internet Day is a great chance to bring together communities, educators, companies and governments to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people across the UK.

Debate on social media and online can often get strained and less than pleasant, especially given the divisions across society at present. I urge people to consider that technology can be beneficial if we keep our dialogue kind – there is another person the other side of that screen. Anyone who feels threatened or harassed online should report their concerns to the social media platform or website immediately”.

There are plenty of resources available for schools and parents.

    

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Darren takes on Fizz Free February

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has pledged to give up fizzy drinks for 28 days to raise awareness of Fizz Free February.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I’m joining Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson, and Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, in giving up fizzy drinks for February. Will you join me? You can pledge to go Fizz Free here.

I’m giving up all things fizzy to help highlight the negative effects of consuming sugary drinks. The thinking is that if we can give up fizzy drinks for 28 days, it’ll help us cut down throughout the year.

#FizzFreeFebruary is part Tom Watson’s, Southwark Council’s and Sugar Smart‘s campaign to help tackle the UK’s obesity crisis – cutting out fizzy drinks is an easy way to reduce sugar intake, save money and keep your teeth!

It’s frightening to hear that, fizzy drinks are the largest single source of sugar for children aged 11-18, and they provide an average of 29% of daily sugar intake.

Following a 2018 inquiry by the Science and Tech Committee, that I’m a member of, I’ve also been calling on the government to ban the sale of sugary, caffeine-filled energy drinks to under 16’s.

In Bristol, 56% of adults and 34% of children in year six are overweight or obese and 23% of children aged five have at least one decayed, missing or filled tooth. As ever Bristol is leading the way in tackling this matter head-on, Bristol was one of the first places to become a Sugar Smart City in 2017 and our Mayor is backing Fizz Free Feb. It has been particularly great to hear that a number of businesses in Southmead have been leading the way by promoting free water refills and reducing the number of fizzy drinks sold.

However, there’s much more to do and a ban on the sale of energy drinks to under 16’s will only help raise awareness of the dangers of consuming these drinks on a regular basis” .

Why go Fizz Free?

•you can save £438 a year if you stopped drinking one bottle of soft drink, per day, for a year
•drinking just one 330ml can of fizzy drink a day could add up to over a stone weight gain per year
•tooth decay is the leading cause for hospitalisation among five to nine year olds in the UK

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MP visits Acorns and Oaks in Westbury-on-Trym

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones recently visited an Acorns and Oaks session at a nursing home in Westbury-on-Trym.

In many care homes, elderly residents receive very few visitors from week to week; many suffer from loneliness and depression. And many young children are growing up without grandparents nearby: Links between the generations are being lost, and these playgroups are helping to reconnect them.

Thanks to Acorns ‘n’ Oaks, over 200 volunteer parents and children from Bristol and beyond have chosen a playgroup with a difference. Hosted by care homes for the elderly, the children brighten people’s days, just by being themselves.

In one year the project has grown from a single group, to 25 registered groups with an ever-increasing waiting list. You can find out more and support the group at www.acornsnoaks.org.uk

Darren said following his visit:

“I had a great time with Acorns and Oaks which brings kids into older peoples homes for inter-generational play. It was also lovely to attend a constituency event that I was able to take my daughter to. Thanks to the team at Acorns and Oaks for working so hard – they are a very inspirational team, and I wish them every success”.‬

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Darren hosts surgery for local carers

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, hosted a Carers-themed surgery with Carers Support Centre Bristol and South Gloucestershire in Southmead on Friday 18th January.

” In the course of my work as Bristol North West’s MP, I have met many carers, including those at Henleaze-based Singing for the Brain and at other surgeries. I’m well aware of the challenges carers face and the dire need for more support for them, that’s why I backed the Carers Support Centre ‘carers need care too’ campaign and hosted this themed surgery.

I look forward to meeting more local carers and doing what I can to help and support them. I’ve agreed to host at least one carers-themed surgery a year but in the meantime, if you need support, please email my office at darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk (be sure to include your full address and postcode) and we’ll see how we can help you”.

 

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Darren demands action on state nursery schools funding

Darren sent a previous letter to the Government on this issue. This received a reply to which Bristol’s Head of Children’s Services
said ‘many nursery schools will not be able to wait’ as suggested by the Government. This prompted Darren wrote to the Government to demand action.
No photo description available.

 

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Darren supports cardiac screening for young people

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West has spoken about his support for charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young.

Darren said:

“12 young people between the age of 14 and 35 tragically die every week in the UK from undiagnosed cardiac conditions – 80% of these deaths occur with no symptoms. Furthermore, screening has been shown to lead to an 89% reduction in sudden cardiac deaths.The charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) offers free screening across the country but also works to improve the UK healthcare policy guidelines and recommendations surrounding young sudden cardiac deaths.

I pledge to support CRY to help improve the healthcare policies in place for diagnosing and treating young people”.
Find out more about how you can get involved and for support here: https://www.c-r-y.org.uk/

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Darren calls for constituents to support library consultation

Get involved! Dates for your diary:

Labour-run Bristol City Council saved all of the city’s libraries from closure last year but, given the continued decline in government funding, they need our help to look at innovative ways of running the service in the future.

The council are hosting 4 events in Bristol North West to cover the libraries in our patch:

* Greenway Centre, Doncaster Road to talk about Southmead, Westbury, Henleaze, Horfield and Lockleaze libraries on: Wednesday 6 March 10 am to 12 pm or
Saturday 9 March 10 am to 12 pm.

* Shirehampton Public Hall,
Station Road to talk about Henbury, Shirehampton, Avonmouth and Sea Mills libraries on Monday 11 March 7pm to 9pm or Wednesday 13 March 10am to 12pm.

Spaces at these events must be booked in advance online. Reserve a space and find out more about the ideas gathering on:

www.bristol.gov.uk/libraryideas

 

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Universal Credit Two-Child Benefit Cap lifted after MP campaign

Following sustained pressure from MPs including Darren Jones, charitable organisations and advice agencies, the two-child benefit cap for families claiming Universal Credit has been removed. It was due to be enforced retrospectively from February 2019 for parents whose third (or more) child was born before Universal Credit was rolled out in 2017.

Darren Jones MP had previously signed a cross-party letter led by colleague Rushanara Ali, calling on the Prime Minister, Chancellor and then DWP Secretary Esther McVey to scrap the cruel two-child limit on some benefit entitlements. See the letter here: Universal Credit – Letter

Darren Jones MP said:

“I campaigned last year for the cruel two-child benefit cap (which was about to be applied retrospectively to families claiming Universal Credit (UC) with 3 or more kids prior to 2017) to be quashed.  I also campaigned for the transfer of existing claimants (of so-called Legacy Benefits) onto UC to be stopped as government admitted some claimants would be worse-off purely because of the move onto UC.

I am therefore delighted to hear the new Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd has bowed to sustained pressure and ditched plans to extend the two-child benefit cap for UC claimants (from February 2019) as planned. This cap would have affected around 15,000 families, some of which will be here in Bristol North West. This cap would have pushed many vulnerable families into further financial hardship and children born before UC existed into poverty.

Amber Rudd has also confirmed she will delay asking MPs to vote on the transfer of people onto UC and will use this time to re-assess waiting times and the roll-out.

Whilst people must consider their financial situation when planning their family, alongside many other considerations, any retrospective capping of benefits is blatantly unfair and punishes children already born.

I will continue to call upon the government to review their wider two-child benefit cap and make sure no-one is poorer because of admin changes in how their benefits are paid”.

 

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Darren calls for investment in social care

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West has spoken our about the need for dramatic investment in social care funding following the release of the Coram Family and Childcare Older People’s Care Survey 2018. This is the third annual survey mapping the cost and availability of older people’s care across the UK.

Darren said:

“Anyone who needs social care or tries to put care in place for an older relative knows the current system is not fit for purpose. The government continues to dodge any real assessment of the social care crisis facing the UK’s ageing population, doesn’t fund council’s properly so they can adequately meet rising demand and has not ensured parity of importance between health and social care services.

I have met many constituents who have struggled to source adequate care and find the bureaucracy of the system significantly adds to levels of anxiety and stress. The Local Government Association is right to say the government just kick this issue ‘into the long grass’. I will continue to call on the government to fund council’s properly so they can meet the demand for social care services“.

The key findings of the survey in relation to the availability of older people’s care were:

•There is not enough care available for older people, with only one in five local authorities (20 per cent) reporting enough care in their area to meet demand.

•Over 4.3 million people aged 75 and over live in areas where there is not enough social care to meet demand.

•Some 34 per cent of local authorities expect the situation to get worse in the next year, while only 1 per cent expect it to get better. Bristol City Council has only recently flagged up how catastrophic a no-deal Brexit could be for social care across the city.

Key findings on the price of care were:

•The average weekly price paid by local authorities for all residential care types in the UK is £585. This represents a 5 per cent price rise since last year.

•UK averages show that individuals paying for their own care face prices which are 13 per cent more expensive than what the local authority pays for the same care. It takes less than 17 months for someone funding their own care to spend over £20,000.