On Saturday 25 October, the Sreepur Village Orphanage held a fundraising dinner to celebrate its 25th anniversary at the Sonargaon Restaurant.
The Sreepur Village Orphanage is a wonderful charitable organisation both Sheila and I have been supporting for a number of years.
Our involvement with Sreepur Village as patron and trustee includes our visits to Sreepur to see and assist in Sreepur Village’s work with women and children in Bangladesh first hand. We have also hosted our own events at the House of Commons in support of the charity, raising funds as well as Sreepur’s profile.
Sreepur’s ‘Shishu Polli’ is often the first place each woman residing in the village wakes up knowing that she will be safe, will receive nutritious meals and will have the company and friendship of other women in similar circumstances.
Sreepur’s work also extends to the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse with help provided to women and children affected by the tragedy. We have since supported the education of 139 children living with foster and extended families as a result of the collapse.
Without the work of Sreepur, many destitute mothers and their children in Bangladesh would have little or no means of surviving.
Overall, the dinner was a fantastic success, with funding raised for Sreepur via a number of means including a raffle and auction which I was delighted to host. We were also lucky enough to receive our entertainment for the night courtesy of Cllr Rajib Ahmed and Doros Ullah who performed traditional Bangla songs.
Today I faced the hotseat as I joined Vanessa Feltz on BBC London 94.9 for an hour of “Ask your MP”. It was a great opportunity to talk about some of the wonderful developments in Poplar and Limehouse as well as answering some of your questions directly.
If you didn’t get the chance to tune in, have no fear! Click on this link and forward to 02:01:50.
I was delighted to attend the launch of Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign in the House of Commons last week. The newcampaign is about empowering people with a learning disability and their families to make sure their voices are heard by their local MPs and candidates in the lead up to the May 2015 General Election.
People with a learning disability and their families are as much a part of our society as anyone else and deserve to have their voices heard on the issues that matter to them. I am listening and I hope that many more MPs and potential candidates will do the same by getting on board with Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign.
I attended the launch of the new Dairy All Party Parliamentary Group in Westminster today and was thrilled to be part of an important committee which considers all aspects of the dairy sector. I am aware of the many issues concerning the industry and look forward to providing my assistance as well as representing the interests of those related. It is evident that the UK government currently supports various schemes relating to the dairy sector, however, I am certain more can be done and will be done with the effort of this committee.
Today I was one of the record number of legislators who took an HIV test at a ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event hosted by the Halve It Coalition and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS. MPs and Peers took a test administered by clinicians from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in an act of solidarity with all those living with HIV across the world every day of the year, and in demonstration of the UK’s policy commitment to HIV testing. During the event members of the Halve It steering group, including leading HIV clinicians and CEOs of patient and policy organisations, spoke with parliamentarians about HIV testing and related sexual health issues.
Westminster got a taste of Wimbledon last week and I had the pleasure of meeting some of the two million children given a chance to play tennis as a result of the schools tennis programme run by the Tennis Foundation and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). The event was part of a programme of activity to promote tennis as a sport for all ages and abilities, at a time when it takes centre stage for the British public on the eve of the Championships.
Last week I attended the launch of Macmillan Cancer Support’s new research report, Waiting to Benefit, into disability benefit Personal Independence Payment (PIP). It is a great shame many who are diagnosed with cancer have to wait a considerable amount of time before they start receiving disability benefit. I am supporting Macmillan and intend to raise this issue with the Minister for Disabled People until the matter is resolved.
Last week I stopped by a homeless shelter ran by the excellent GrowTH charity at St Matthias Church, Poplar. John Biggs, Assembly Member for City and East and Tom from my office joined me for what was a revealing visit.
The shelter provides somewhere to sleep at night for those who have fallen on hard times and need temporary accommodation to help them get back on their feet.
Last month we found out that homelessness has doubled in Tower Hamlets since 2010 to 326 people. However the statistics only tell one side of the story. It’s clear from the personal stories I heard there are more homeless people than the governments letting on and not enough is being done to help these people get into work and off the street.
I’d like to thank GrowTH for their invitation to visit. More about them here.