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15 Mar

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP meets local scientist at STEM for BRITAIN

March 15, 2017 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick met local scientist Anasua Chatterjee at STEM for BRITAIN, a poster competition in the House of Commons involving over 200 early stage or early career researchers organized by the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee.

Anasua from University College London was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament and her poster on research about ‘splitting the electron in a silicon transistor’ was judged by professional and academic experts against dozens of other scientists’ research in the only national competition of its kind.

Jim said:

“These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for BRITAIN is a great opportunity to meet them and learn about their work.

“I enjoyed meeting Anasua today and found her work fascinating. I wish her every success in the future.”

02 Mar

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP swears to take on mental illness

March 2, 2017 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick has pledged to take on the unacceptable lack of progress in tackling young people’s mental health. The Member of Parliament for Poplar and Limehouse joined MPs from all parties in swearing to tackle mental illness at an event in Westminster.

New figures from mental health research charity MQ show that four in 10 (42%) people in the UK have come to believe that mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression are now an inevitable part of life, such is the lack of understanding and action around mental health.

84% say that not enough is being done to tackle mental illness for the future. And 68% of parents believe that having more education about mental illnesses could prevent suffering for future generations.

Three children in an average class are affected by a diagnosable mental illness. But many are waiting a decade between experiencing their first symptoms and getting help. Only a quarter of young people referred to services receive appropriate care.

Overall only £8 is spent on research per person affected on mental health in the UK, which is 22 times less than per person for cancer (£178) and 14 times less than dementia spend (£110).

And despite 75% of mental illness starting before the age of 18, less than 30% of the total mental health research spend is focused on children and young people. As a result, the majority of mental healthcare resources are not designed or developed for young people, leading to poor treatment outcomes in young people and hindering prevention efforts.

Jim said:

“Mental illness should not be seen as a day-to-day part of life. The current state of mental health treatment would simply never be accepted for a physical condition- we need parity. Through research we can get to grips with this growing crisis in young people’s mental health – and build progress towards much-needed hope for everyone affected.”

Swear to take on mental health. Search #WeSwear on social media or visit: http://www.mqmentalhealth.org/we-swear for further information as to how you can help.

01 Mar

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People with Arthritis need more support to work, says MP

March 1, 2017 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick MP has called on the government to provide more support for workers with arthritis to help close the ‘arthritis employment gap.’

Arthritis is the number one cause of pain, disability and working days lost, according to Arthritis Research UK, which highlighted the issue to Jim at a recent parliamentary briefing. Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions like back pain affect one in six of us.

Musculoskeletal conditions cause pain, stiffness and fatigue that can make every day work tasks such as sitting, standing, walking, lifting, and typing difficult. They are the leading cause of workplace absence in the UK, causing 32.4 million sick days each year.

Only 60% of working age people with a musculoskeletal condition are in work, compared to 80% among those without a health condition or a disability. This ‘arthritis work gap’ means that 600,000 people with arthritis are currently missing out on the opportunity to work.

Now, following the Government’s Improving Lives consultation on employment support for disabled people, Jim is calling on the Government to ensure that people with arthritis have the support to stay at work for longer:

“It’s clear how enormous the impact of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions is on our local communities. 30,975 residents are living with back pain, a leading cause of sickness absence, in Tower Hamlets right now – 11% of local people.

“The ability to work is something that we often take for granted, but I’ve learnt today that for those living with arthritis this can be difficult. But with the right support and flexibility many people are able to work.

“That’s why I’m supporting Arthritis Research UK’s ‘Work Matters to Me’ campaign, putting this vital issue on the map. The Government must ensure that there is a level playing field so that people with arthritis who are able to work have the right support to remain and return to work.”

Dr Liam O’Toole, chief executive officer at Arthritis Research UK, said:

“I’m delighted that Jim is supporting our campaign to give people with arthritis the freedom from their condition in employment, enabling them to live their lives to the full.

“The current situation for people living with the daily pain of arthritis is untenable. Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain are the number one cause for workplace sickness absence in the UK.

“Our retirement age has increased and we’re an ageing working population, so even more people are going to be living with the pain and unpredictability of arthritis, and face an uncertain working future.

“But with the right kind of support and job; work can benefit your mental and physical health as well as your financial position.

“We need to see Government action to address the employment needs of people with long term conditions such as arthritis, so that they have the right support and opportunity to maintain their freedom and quality of life.”

To find out more about working when you are living with arthritis please visit our website at http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/arthritis-and-daily-life/work-and-arthritis.aspx

01 Mar

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP puts Poplar and Limehouse’s heritage on the map

March 1, 2017 | By | No Comments

Event in parliament reveals the impact of National Lottery investment in Poplar and Limehouse and its position on the RSA’s Heritage Index.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse, attended an event in Parliament hosted by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to learn more about the impact of National Lottery investment in his constituency and where it ranked on the RSA’s 2016 Heritage Index.

Produced in collaboration with the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Heritage Index is an annual index that combines over 120 metrics, from historic buildings to local delicacies, revealing which local authorities are best at using heritage to foster a distinctive identity – and which could do better.

Analysis of this year’s index reveals that places which do most with their heritage have a higher quality of life (ONS well-being measures) than areas which have low levels of activity. As well as inherited physical assets such as battlefields and castles, the index measures new forms of heritage activity like community initiatives and volunteering. Jim Fitzpatrick MP discovered that Poplar and Limehouse sits in the 86th position overall in England, but that there is potential to make more of its heritage.

Jim said:

“It was great to attend this event and hear more about Poplar and Limehouse’s heritage assets and how they are being used by the community. I would urge constituents to think about the local heritage where they live, and think about how they could apply to HLF to undertake a project to explore it further.”

This event was part of National Lottery in Parliament, an exhibition to raise awareness among politicians in Westminster of the National Lottery funding available to its constituencies and demonstrate how National Lottery players’ money is changing people’s lives and improving the nation’s wellbeing.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF, said:

“Heritage is at the heart of what makes a place distinctive. The Heritage Index is a vital tool which is helping communities to better understand that heritage and tap into its vast potential. Securing National Lottery funding is one way of helping to fulfill that potential and it’s been making a difference to local communities across the UK for over 20 years.”

Since The National Lottery started in 1994, the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded over £30 million to almost 90 projects in Poplar and Limehouse.

Find out more about the Heritage Index 2016 at the RSA’s here: www.thersa.org/heritage and here http://bit.ly/RSAHeritageIndexdata. Find out more about accessing National Lottery funding for heritage projects at www.hlf.org.uk

01 Mar

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP joins Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to demand tougher punishments for animal abusers

March 1, 2017 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick is backing a new campaign by leading animal welfare charity, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, to call for tougher punishments for people who abuse and neglect animals.

England and Wales’ unacceptably low punishments for animal abusers are some of the weakest in the Western world. Battersea has launched a major campaign calling for the maximum sentence for severe animal cruelty offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to be raised to five years in prison, which is common elsewhere.

Under the current law in England and Wales, the strongest sentence for even the most depraved cases of animal cruelty is just six months in prison – the lowest such sentence in Europe, the United States and Australia. Prison sentences for offences such as fly-tipping or theft are much higher.

Attending the launch of the campaign in the Houses of Parliament, Jim pledged his support to increase sentences for animal abusers.

The Poplar and Limehouse MP said:

“It is unacceptable that people can abuse and neglect animals and get away with such a small penalty. Battersea’s research shows England and Wales have the lowest sentences for cruelty across 100 countries and states worldwide. Six months in prison is neither a punishment nor a deterrent when it comes to some of the most serious offences. I’m standing up for animals by supporting this campaign and calling for tougher penalties.”

Like many animal welfare charities, Battersea cares for the victims of cruelty and neglect, with many making remarkable recoveries under the care of the charity’s Veterinary team. These include Tiger, a tabby cat brought into Battersea on 25 January. Concerned about his condition, the Veterinary team rushed him into X-ray, where it was discovered he had been shot in the head at close range with an airgun. Two metal pellets were found lodged in his skull and, had they been any closer to his brain, would have proven fatal. During a delicate surgery, Battersea’s highly-trained staff were about to carefully remove the pellets without causing further damage and Tiger has recovered well from his terrible ordeal.

Claire Horton, Battersea’s Chief Executive, said:

“It isn’t acceptable that our courts are unable to hand out tougher sentences in such extreme animal cruelty cases, yet the likes of fly-tipping can result in prison sentences of up to five years. Let’s get this into proportion and let the punishment for abusing animals truly fit the crime.”

15 Feb

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP pledges to help end the ‘cold homes crisis’ in Poplar and Limehouse

February 15, 2017 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick is supporting charity National Energy Action’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on Friday 17 February by pledging to do more to ‘tackle cold homes’.

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is a national campaign to highlight the problem of fuel poverty, which currently sees over four million households unable to afford the energy they need to stay warm and healthy in their homes. It is a particular problem for those in low incomes living in energy inefficient homes that are difficult and expensive to heat.

Jim said:

‘Living in a cold damp home can lead to extremely poor health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as older people, young children, and those with long term sickness and disabilities. Not only will it be causing misery for millions of people this winter, but also costing our already underfunded NHS an estimated £1.36 billion each year.

“In Poplar and Limehouse 3626 households are believed to be in fuel poverty. I know there’s excellent work going on in my constituency but the as the research shows more needs to be done. I look forward to working alongside others in the community to help raise awareness of the problem and the solutions available.”

Jenny Saunders OBE, Chief Executive of National Energy Action commented:

“Fuel poverty is a serious problem and one that we cannot tackle alone. I am delighted that Jim is supporting the campaign and helping to ensure that his constituents can live warm, healthy and happy lives.”

15 Feb

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MP urges young people to consider volunteering abroad with International Citizen Service after meeting local volunteers

February 15, 2017 | By | No Comments

I met young people who volunteered overseas through the Government funded International Citizen Service (ICS) programme. 13 ICS volunteers came to Parliament to display their photographs shortlisted for the 2016 ICS photo competition, and talk about their experiences of taking the plunge and volunteering overseas.

The photo competition finds the very best of photos brought back by the thousands of ICS volunteers who return each year from working with some of the poorest communities around the world. Competition was fierce this year with more than 300 talented photographers from 22 countries submitting their favourite shots in the categories ‘Voice’, ‘Enterprise’, ‘People’, ‘Environment’ and ‘Education’. I heard from the volunteers that over 32,000 people visited the voting webpage to decide the shortlisted entries, which were displayed in Parliament, and will be showcased around the UK in 2017.

Among the volunteers at the exhibition was Lydia Daintith from West Lancashire, who snapped a beautiful shot of a local woman praying to the side during a church service in her host community.

“Religion is a big part of the Zimbabwean culture and this photo captures a raw, intimate moment between a woman and her creator,” said Lydia.

Also attending was Hayley Pang from South West Hertfordshire, who volunteered working with local entrepreneurs in Zanzibar to help grow their businesses, look at other ways to support their income and provide employment. In her picture are the three leaders of Mr Pili Pili, a chilli sauce start-up.

“Across the duration of the ICS placement, we have worked with a farmer group helping them to brand, produce, package and market some delicious chilli sauce they make with their own freshly grown produce. Before we left, we were sure to carefully select and hand over Mr Pili Pili to the farmers themselves. What a project to be part of!” said Hayley.

It was inspiring to meet the young and brilliant volunteers and hear about their experiences on the ICS programme. The volunteers are passionate advocates for the impressive work that British aid money is making possible in some of the poorest communities around the world.

All UK ICS volunteers live and work alongside young people from the countries where they are placed and contribute to programmes and projects that last longer than just the 12 weeks that they are in the country. ICS support means that a diverse range of UK young people can take the opportunity to fight poverty overseas, while also gaining indispensable skills as well as making a contribution to their own communities once they return. ICS volunteers are passionate about making positive change, and I urge young people to look it up and seriously consider applying.

ICS volunteers, aged 18-25, work on long-term projects that seek to help bring about an end to poverty in some of the poorest communities in the world. The scheme offers young people the chance to gain valuable new skills, whilst working on projects that make a genuine difference to the people they work with and their communities. Those aged 23-35 can also apply to be ICS team leaders.

The ICS scheme is funded by the UK Government, so young people don’t need cash, qualifications or work experience to take part, just the desire to make a difference to the lives of some of the world’s poorest communities. If accepted onto a placement, volunteers also commit to take part in an ‘Action at Home’ where they take part in, or organise an event or activity, where they directly contribute to their local communities.

Felicity Morgan, Director of ICS, said:

“It’s great to get the support of passionate MP’s like Jim and I couldn’t agree more that more young people should consider applying to volunteer abroad through the ICS programme. We’re passionate about supporting young people from across the UK and using their energy to tackle poverty overseas while also making a contribution to their communities back home. Our experience of working with young people shows they really can take on the big issues and make a difference in people’s lives.”

To find out more about ICS or to apply, visit www.volunteerics.org

All of the shortlisted entries are online at http://www.volunteerics.org/blog/portraits-progress-10-photos-showing-beauty-volunteering-across-world

15 Feb

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Local MP encourages schools to go sky high with National Rocketry Competition

February 15, 2017 | By | No Comments

Poplar and Limehouse students could be the next generation of rocket scientists

Schools can register now for the chance to win an all-expenses-paid-trip to the Paris Air Show

MP for Poplar and Limehouse, Jim Fitzpatrick is encouraging local schools to compete in the UK’s largest youth model rocket competition – The UK Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKRoC). Jim joined the winning UK secondary schools from 2015 and 2016, to find out how schools in Poplar and Limehouse can become this year’s champions.

UKRoC involves the design, build and launch of a model rocket with the aim of ensuring the passenger – one raw egg – remains intact throughout the launch and landing. The rocket must reach 775 feet with specific target flight duration of 41-43 seconds. Rules governing the competition are altered every year to ensure designs can’t be repeated.

The national final champions win an all-expenses paid trip to Paris, to represent the UK in a fly off against teams from the USA, Japan and France at the Paris International Air Show in June 2017.

Jim said:

“The UK Youth Rocketry Challenge provides students a unique opportunity to apply what they have learnt in science, technology, engineering and maths and gain highly valued skills.

“The competition is a great chance for students to apply their skills creatively whilst also having a lot of fun and I hope local schools in Poplar and Limehouse take part in the competition.”

To learn more or to register: http://www.ukayroc.org.uk/

09 Feb

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP calls for urgent action to tackle Lyme Disease as concerns mount

February 9, 2017 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick called for urgent action to tackle Lyme Disease. Lyme disease, or Lyme Borreliosis, is a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks. However, concerns have been raised that the true number of people suffering from Lyme Disease is not known, and that there needs to be greater awareness of the disease among the public and healthcare professionals.

Lyme disease is widespread throughout the UK, yet many people are still unaware of the risks. Doctors need to be trained to recognise the symptoms and make a clinical diagnosis rather than relying on tests which need improving.

On Wednesday 8 February 2017, an event was held with Lyme Disease specialists, doctors and charities in Parliament regarding the growing problem of Lyme Disease in the UK.

Speaking after the event, Jim said:

“More and more people are suffering from Lyme Disease, but it’s a disease which many healthcare professionals and ordinary people do not know anything about.

“We urgently need new measures to determine the true incidence, prevalence and risk of Lyme Disease in the UK, and an awareness campaign for healthcare professionals and for the public, otherwise more and more will be left without appropriate treatment.”

01 Feb

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Jim Fitzpatrick MP encourages communities to get behind ‘The Great British Spring Clean’

February 1, 2017 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick attends parliamentary launch calling on schools, businesses and community groups to get outdoors, get active and help clear up Poplar and Limehouse.

Community groups including parish councils, residents’ associations, Girl guides and brownies and Scout and Cub troops are encouraged to organise their own litter pick or event in the coming weeks or over the campaign’s big clean weekend over 3-5 March.

Jim said:

“I wanted to help with The Great British Spring Clean as it is really important to encourage people to go out and clean up their communities. The initiative also provides a useful opportunity to raise awareness of the problems litter causes. I am really hoping people in Poplar and Limehouse will get behind the campaign.”

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive, Allison Ogden-Newton, commented:

“It was fantastic to see Jim come out and support our campaign. The Great British Spring Clean is about getting all Britons who care about their environment to take action and I’m looking forward to seeing lots of people out and about, contributing to cleaning up their communities on 3-5 March.”

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