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Darren hosts school debate on energy drinks and social media use for Parliament Week

To celebrate Parliament Week 2018, Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, chaired a debate with students, parents and teaching staff at Oasis Brightstowe in Shirehampton on Friday 15th November.

As both the local MP and a member of the Science and Technology Committee, Darren Jones MP met students, parents and teaching staff at the Shirehampton school to discuss the government’s consultation on energy drinks which includes options to ban the sale of said drinks to either those under 18 or all under 16’s. The debate also included discussion on the impact of screen time and social media use on young people – a subject the committee has also investigated.

Darren has previously shared his concerns about the advertisement and marketing of energy drinks and health impacts on young people and urged for tighter restrictions on their sale.

Following the committee’s inquiry into energy drinks, Darren launched a constituency-wide survey to gather feedback on the government’s proposals. The survey showed 89% of respondents agreed with banning the sale of energy drinks to under 16’s, 80% believed only those over 18 should be allowed to purchase energy drinks. There was also overwhelming support (93%) for tighter regulation on the advertisement of energy drinks with 90% of constituents undertaking the survey feeling cigarette-style health warnings should be prominently displayed on packaging.

One anonymous constituent who works with children with SEN said “Children often miss meals, lose out on sleep (due to social media and gaming) and make poor dietary choices. Energy drinks have a massive impact on all children, but for those who are medicated for conditions such as ADHD it has a hugely detrimental effect. Although these drinks are banned in school, many children drink them on their way to school as they believe it will help them focus. This is especially true during exams.”

Darren said:

“  I would like to thank everyone who completed my survey on energy drinks and attended today’s debate at Oasis Brightstowe. Whilst I have my own views and experiences of energy drinks and social media use, it is vital I hear from a wide range of people, so I can best represent their views – especially those of young people themselves.

Prior to the government’s consultation, I called for a detailed investigation on the health impact of these sugary, caffeine-filled drinks and urged for closer regulation of their sale and advertising. It’s clear people in Bristol North West share my concerns as did the young people I spoke with today – I continue to urge the government to bring a bill before parliament that restricts the sale of these drinks to those under 16”.

Darren added

“We also discussed social media use and the impact of screen time – with some of the students saying they spend around three hours a day on their phone and with all of the students having a phone by aged 12 clearly impact of ‘prolonged phone time’ needs more investigation. Interestingly, all the students and parents were supportive of the school’s ban on phones throughout the day to help support learning and ensure the school was a cyber-bullying free space.

At committee meetings, I’ve asked experts what affect social media and screen use have on young people’s health and it’s clear whilst most experts agree there is an impact on concentration, body image and self-confidence, we don’t know enough and technology is continuing to outpace the government’s regulation of the sector. I will continue to seek greater funding for cyber-policing, research and enforcement of online regulation to ensure our young people and all our data is safe”.

 

 

 

 

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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 becomes Honorary President of Westbury Squadron

Bristol North West MP Darren Jones recently accepted the honour of becoming the Honorary President of the 2442 Air Cadet Squadron based in Westbury-on-Trym.

Darren said:

” I really enjoyed attending a drill night in late August to see and meet the cadets and the team who support them. I was also able to join the Squadron for their annual Awards Evening held in September – it was inspiring to hear about the achievements and aspirations of young people from across Bristol North West”.

You can find out more about the squadron here.

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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 supports Bristol Giving Day

On 10th October, the team at Quartet Community Foundation are organising the inaugural #BristolGivingDay – an opportunity for everyone in Bristol to have fun, raise money and make life better for other Bristolians.

If you or your company want to find out more, or sign-up to fundraise visit Bristol Giving Day.

Darren said:

“Bristol Giving Day will join together businesses and local community causes to spread generosity across the city and inspire extra charitable giving to make a big difference to local causes including the Henacre Charitable Fund. Henacre is the fund I have founded to support less-privileged young people across Bristol North West.

I hope everyone is able to get behind Bristol Giving Day to support Bristolians in less fortunate positions”.

Quartet Community Foundation – Registered Charity Number (1080418).

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Darren calls on Education Minister to support Bristol’s schools

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones  has written to Nick Gibb, the Education Minister calling for him to listen to feedback from thirteen local head teachers and review the further cuts of £5m to education budgets in the constituency.

Darren said:

“Thirteen Bristol North West head teachers recently shared their concerns with the Education Minister Nick Gibb. In his reply he ignored their concerns so I have followed up asking that he urgently reviews the honest and measured feedback and stops ‘shifting the goalposts’ by quoting data that doesn’t reflect the real budget cuts or challenges our schools are facing. Our children’s education can’t be bought on the cheap”.

 

 

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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’.

 

 

Darren writes to Government calling for review into 16-17 year old children’s services

The Government are reviewing children’s services for 16-17 year olds. Children’s services provide extra support to vulnerable children.

However, they are only reviewing these services in relation to education outcomes. But we know outcomes are worse across employment and health outcomes as well. That’s why Darren wrote to the Government to ask they extend the review to consider these outcomes as well.

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Darren meets Pickles!

On Friday 6th July, Darren joined local residents, Greenway Centre staff and Southmead Councillors Helen Godwin and Brenda Massey in meeting a new addition to the Greenway Café- Pickles McPrickles the Gromit.

Darren said after the visit:

“It was fantastic to see Pickles so at home at the Greenway Centre in Southmead and all in aid of Gromit Unleashed – a truly wonderful Bristol charity that benefits families right across our city. Visit Pickles, enjoy a snack in the café, seek out the other Bristol North West Gromit at Blaise Castle and be sure to donate to this great cause!”

 

 

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Darren visits Southmead Community Centre and Westbury on Trym C of E Academy

On Saturday 30th  June, as part of his programme of summer fete visits, Darren Jones MP visited Southmead Community Centre and Westbury on Trym Church of England Academy.

Darren said after the visits:

“It’s the start of the summer fayre session! I popped by the excellent Southmead Community Centre and WOT PTA last weekend. These fantastic events are all down to the dedication of excellent volunteers – they work really hard to make these events a success for local families and the community – thank you!”

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.