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Darren visits Lawrence Weston BMX Track

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, recently visited the new BMX track in Lawrence Weston.

Darren said:

“My first bike was a BMX, but we didn’t have a BMX track then! The BMX track on Henacre Road in Lawrence Weston is a great asset for local kids, and hats off to the parents volunteering to make it happen week in, week out. I would love to see more free family-focussed facilities like this across Bristol North West”.

If your Bristol North West-based club would like Darren visit, please send the request to his office via: darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk. Darren’s diary is pretty busy but we’ll do our best to find a suitable date and time.

 

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Darren calls for end to two-child limit policy on Benefits

Darren Jones MP has signed a cross-party letter led by colleague Rushanara Ali, calling on the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Esther McVey to scrap the cruel two-child limit on some benefit entitlements.

Darren Jones MP said:

” Whilst the government claim this policy is to encourage future ‘responsible parenting’, in many cases it has been applied retrospectively to families who already have 2+ children! Since coming into effect last April, the two-child limit policy has affected an estimated 400,000 children and will eventually affect around 3 million children once the transitional protection runs out – including 5000 in Bristol North West. Each of these families will be £4,000 a year worse off, on average, than in the absence of the policy.

I want to stop the policy being extended to all new Universal Credit claimants from February next year.

In the letter signed by over 100 MP’s we say:

“The two-child limit makes it harder for working families with more than two children to work their way out of poverty, however hard they try to improve their situation. Furthermore, many non-working families will no longer be able to escape the impact of the benefit cap by moving into employment, because they would instead be caught by the two-child limit.”

“The complex rules for applying the two-child limit, including the lengthening list of exemptions, undermine the aim of making the benefits system simpler to understand and easier to administer“.

See the letter here: Universal Credit – Letter

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Darren supports World Mental Health Day – Ask Twice

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has backed calls to ‘ask twice’ this World Mental Health Day (10th October).

Time to Change, a growing social movement run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness are working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems. Despite some progress, many people still don’t consider mental health relevant to them.

This World Mental Health Day, Time to Change is urging people to ‘Ask Twice’ if a friend or family member says they are ‘fine’ but it is suspected they may be experiencing a mental health problem. The simple act of asking again, with interest, shows a genuine willingness to talk and listen.

Darren said:

“This World Mental Health Day, I am supporting Time to Change’s ‘Ask Twice’ campaign – all we need to do is ask again if a friend or family member says they are ‘fine’ but you suspect they may be experiencing a mental health problem. This simple act can show you’re actually interested and willing to hear the response – whether that’s now or when someone’s ready. I will also continue to call upon the government to ensure the NHS and local authorities have the funding they need to provide local, consistent and good quality mental health services and support”.

More information on the campaign and how you can get involved is available from time to change.

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Darren calls for more deaf children’s services funding

Teachers of the Deaf can create a proper learning environment for deaf children, give them specifically enhanced teaching and work with other staff to ensure that deaf children’s needs are met. Despite all of this, due to local authority cuts their numbers in the South West are falling: there has recently been a 16% drop. In an era where almost double the amount of deaf children are failing to get 5 good GCSEs than non-deaf children, that’s not good enough.

Darren made this point in a Parliamentary debate about deaf children, with the help of two of your stories.

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Darren shares response from council on Blaise Castle vandalism

A number of constituents contacted Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, about the recent vandalism, estimated to cost roughly £2000 to repair, to the Blaise Castle Museum’s balustrade wall.

Following these concerns, Darren contacted Bristol City Council to ensure they were aware of the range of antisocial behaviour and vandalism being experienced and witnessed by park visitors.

Darren said:

” As promised, I’ve raised our concerns about vandalism and ASB at Blaise Castle with the council. I also took a look at the latest damage for myself last week. Here’s the reply I received from the council on Friday 7th September:

“I can confirm that Blaise Castle estate has been experiencing heightened levels of vandalism over the last couple of weeks. Parks staff have made a number of reports to the police during this time & made requests for police patrols of the estate in the evenings when most of the issues seem to occur.

Estate management are currently investigating options for CCTV, the cost implications & its effectiveness in reducing crime should the option be taken. Estate management are also trying to engage with local police to try to reduce antisocial behavior and make improvements to infrastructure to reduce opportunities for vandalism”.

If you have any information on this incident, or any other crime/ASB in Blaise Castle, please call the police on 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5218 191 967″. 

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Survey: sale of energy drinks to young people

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has launched a survey on the sale of energy drinks to young people.

Darren said:

“I’m a member of the cross-party Science and Tech Committee and in recent months we have undertaken an inquiry on the impact on health, particularly in children and young people,  of energy drinks. During committee meetings, I have raised my concerns about the sale of energy drinks and how they are advertised to young people.

The government has now launched a consultation on the potential banning of the sale of energy drinks to those under 18. They have suggested a ban could focus on under 16’s or under 18’s. The ban would apply to drinks containing 150mg of caffeine or more per litre – this would include drinks such as Red Bull, Monster and Rock Star.

Ahead of a visit to Oasis Brightstowe Academy in November – where I’ll discuss energy drink usage with pupils, teaching staff and parents – I am keen to hear your views and experiences on the sale, advertising and use of energy drinks.

I encourage young people, their parents/guardians, education and youth services providers to share their thoughts”.

Please complete the survey by clicking here.

 

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Darren comments on Blaise Castle vandalism

A number of constituents have contacted Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, about the recent vandalism, estimated to cost roughly £2000 to repair, to the Blaise Castle Museum’s balustrade wall.

A spokesperson for the Police said: “Between 4pm on Sunday, August 26 and 8.45am on Bank Holiday Monday, Aug 27, offender(s) caused around £2,000 worth of damage to stonework at the Blaise Castle House Museum in Bristol. If you have any information on this incident, call the police on 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5218 191 967″.

Darren said:

“This mindless vandalism is totally unacceptable. A number of residents have already contacted my office expressing their worries about rising ASB in the park- I’ll be sharing their concerns with the council and local beat team. I am also visiting the park today (31st Aug) for my Picnic Politics event so I’ll be taking a look at the damage and speaking to park users myself. I encourage anyone with information to inform the police”.

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Darren backs Bristol’s unpaid carers

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has backed local unpaid carers by advocating that ‘carers need care too’.

The Carers Support Centre Bristol and South Gloucestershire asked a sample of unpaid carers to share their experiences of arranging short breaks and what improvements could be made to the service.

  • 58% of carers have been caring for someone for over 10 years
  • 63% of carers felt improvements needed to be made to the short breaks service.
  • The top reason for needing a break was exhaustion with the second being changes in physical and/or mental health of the carer.
  • The top barrier to taking a break was expense (20% have to employ a carer and 39% have to rely on friends and family) with the second being an appropriate care service wasn’t available.

Darren said:

“The government must fund local authority’s properly so they can increase the funds available to support our carers – there must be consistent access to sitting services, day care and residential care that enables carers to take the breaks they need to maintain their own lives and health and wellbeing.

I’ll be hosting a carers-focussed surgery in January, with support from the Carers Support Centre, to help raise awareness of the challenges carers face and help where I can”.

More information on support for carers is available from: https://www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk/

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Darren asks experts whether social media and screens harm children

Darren was present at the Science and Technology committee’s third evidence session for its Social media and screens-use inquiry. Here, charities, learned societies and academics were asked about cyber-bullying, addiction and body image.

The first set of witnesses was Anna Clark, Cardinus Risk Management, Dr Vicky Goodyear, Lecturer in Pedagogy in Sport, Physical Activity and Health, University of Birmingham, Dr Heather Woods, Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Glasgow, Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion and Mental Health Lead, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and Professor Peter Fonagy, National Clinical Adviser on children and young people’s mental health, NHS England.

Darren asked them how we could verify children’s age for online purposes, given that many children do not own what makes this possible for adults (e.g. credit cards).

The second of witnesses was Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive, Internet Watch Foundation David Austin, CEO, British Board of Film Classification Emily Cherry, Assistant Director of Policy & Public Affairs, Barnardo’s.

Darren asked them whether the evidence base existed to prove the harm of screens and social media.

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Darren to host family-themed Picnic Politics

Darren Jones MP is hosting a family-themed ‘picnic politics’ at Blaise Castle on Friday 31st August. If you would like to share your experiences of accessing childcare, school places, support for children with SEND and the challenges of being a modern working parent please stop-by.

Bring a picnic (and the kids!) and join Darren by the grassed area next to the play area and café from 1.30 -3.30. Well-behaved dogs on a lead are also welcome.

Darren said:

“I want to hear from local parents about their experiences – I know from being a new parent myself that being a modern parent is both rewarding and challenging – I want to know what’s working well for local families and what isn’t. Join me on Friday 31st to share your feedback in an informal setting’.