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Jim Fitzpartick
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2014 October

31 Oct

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Supporting digital skills for young people with Eastside Educational Trust

October 31, 2014 | By | No Comments

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On Wednesday 29th October, I attended a parliamentary reception to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Eastside Educational Trust, a leading charity which has been working in our constituency to engage and educate school age children through direct participation in the arts.

Eastside runs a number of projects spanning all artistic disciplines, including the BFI Film Academy, but today’s event showcased the work of the students participating in the Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) programme, Adobe’s global initiative to increase digital creativity.

15 students from the youth centre Spotlight in my constituency of Limehouse and Poplar have benefited from advanced training in the use of digital media tools, access to creative practitioners, and mentoring to help them develop their creative skills.

I was able to hear first-hand from some of the young people involved in the project how Eastside has given them the opportunity to express themselves and develop the kind of digital skills they will need to live and work in the future.

It was a privilege to see them show off their new skills and talk about their work with such enthusiasm and confidence, and it shows the talent that can be harnessed through organisations like Eastside. And it was great to hear directly from young people what they view to be the greatest challenges in getting involved in the creative industries.

Since it was founded, Eastside has brought more than a quarter of a million young people into contact with the arts through its many projects and helped launch the creative careers of countless talented young Londoners. If you would like to find out more about the charity’s work with children and young people you can visit their website www.eastside.org.uk or please feel free to contact them directly on 020 7033 2380.

30 Oct

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Free chips! Dogs Trust

October 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

JIM FITZPATRICK MP DISHES UP “FREE CHIPS” FOR ALL AT DOGS TRUST RECEPTION

Jim Fitzpatrick MP supports launch of Dogs Trust Chip My Dog website at annual House of Commons Reception

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Yesterday Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, showcased its chipmydog.org.uk website with the support of a host of MPs. The website is a unique “one-stop-shop” for all microchipping queries. Members of the public are now just a click away from a wealth of information on this important element of dog welfare, including:

  • Details of free microchipping activity across the UK via a quick and easy postcode search
  • Advice on how to update microchip details with a click-through function to UK databases
  • Guidance on the upcoming change of law in England and Wales
  • Advice on what to do if you have lost or found a dog
  • Frequently Asked Questions on all elements of microchipping

To mark the launch of the site, MPs were invited to take part in a photo opportunity which saw them manning a mocked up “chip van” which appears to offer free microchips to queues of dogs, and even a few fellow Parliamentarians!

Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse said:

“I am delighted to support Dogs Trust and help the charity launch its Chip My Dog website. I am supportive of the charity’s microchipping campaign and hope that the Scottish Government soon follows Westminster and Wales in announcing the introduction of compulsory microchipping for all dogs. Compulsory microchipping will make it easier to reunite lost dogs with their owners and cut unnecessary kennelling costs for Local Authorities. I urge my dog-owning constituents to get their canine companions microchipped and visit chipmydog.org.uk to find out more about this vital component of dog welfare”.

Clarissa Baldwin OBE, Dogs Trust CEO, says:

“Microchipping has been at the heart of Dogs Trust activities for a long time and we’re now looking forward to an exciting few years during which it will become compulsory in England, Wales and – we hope – Scotland. Chipmydog.org.uk will be the portal for all microchipping questions and we hope it will ensure that no dog is left unchipped when the laws change.”

“Whilst only the size of a grain of rice, a microchip can be a highly effective means of reuniting a lost dog with its owner. Results from our recent Stray Dog Survey showed that just over 10,000 dogs were returned to their owners for this exact reason. However, it is vital to update your details! Just as you would tell your bank you’ve moved house, so too should you inform your database. Sadly without up-to-date information a microchip on its own is redundant.”

To find out more about when the roaming Dogs Trust teams will be in your area or learn more about the benefits of microchipping visit www.chipmydog.org.uk.

29 Oct

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Joint letter on nursery closures

October 29, 2014 | By | No Comments

I recently visited Overland Children’s Centre with Rushanara Ali MP to discuss the Council’s proposed nursery closures. Below is our joint letter as supporters of the ‘Save Our Nurseries’ campaign.

overland nursery

Click here to view our joint letter in PDF >

 

Mr Robert McCulloch-Graham
Corporate Director Tower Hamlets Council
Education, Social Care & Wellbeing
The Town Hall
5th Floor Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 2BG

28 October 2014

 

Dear Robert,

Re: Proposed closure of nurseries across Tower Hamlets

We are writing to you as supporters of the ‘Save Our Nurseries’ campaign. This campaign was initiated by a group of concerned mothers of children from four nurseries which have been signposted for closure by Tower Hamlets Council.

As you are already aware, the four nurseries which have been impacted by the Council’s proposed cuts as part of the ‘Your Borough, Your Voice’ consultation include Overland’s Children’s Centre and Queen Mary Day Nursery in Bow, John Smith Children’s Centre in Stepney and Mary Sambrook Day Nursery in the Shadwell area. While we anticipate that an extended consultation will determine the future of these services, many of our constituents remain extremely concerned about the devastating effect of such closures.

Since the last election, the cost of a nursery place has risen by 30% – five times faster than pay. Across the UK, there are now 35,000 fewer childcare places – and 578 fewer SureStart centres – than there were in 2010. Yet this national crisis threatens to hit areas such as Tower Hamlets hardest. Recent figures published by the Campaign to End Child Poverty revealed that 49% of children in Tower Hamlets already live below the poverty-line. Further closures to these nurseries will have a potentially devastating impact on families most in need.

We have met with the mothers who are frequent users of these services and they have spoken highly of the nurseries and support they have received from them. They now fear such services, that provide a lifeline for their children, will no longer be accessible to them. Our constituents have expressed anxiety about the proposed cuts which will inevitably have the highest impact on their children – many of whom have special educational needs and health issues that require specialist care. For example, as you are already aware, Overland’s Children’s Centre provides specialist care services for deaf children.

Our constituents have expressed their frustrations about the lack of communication with the council and the inability to convey their concerns through practical and easily accessible means. The mothers have asked Tower Hamlets Council to engage with them in open communication and to exercise transparency when reviewing the decision for these proposed cuts. They have asked the council to provide a fair and viable consultation that is inclusive of their input, allowing the parents and nursery staff to properly communicate their anxieties, and we offer our full support for their cause.

It would be helpful if the council could outline the total savings it intends to make as a result of these closures and the alternatives that have been put forward as a consequence.

We urge you to reconsider the proposed cuts and would be grateful if you could look into our constituents’ requests and provide a response to our enquiry as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

 

                 Rushanara Ali MP                                            Jim Fitzpatrick MP

                       Bethnal Green and Bow                                    Poplar and Limehouse

 

 

28 Oct

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Anthony Nolan – more young lifesavers!

October 28, 2014 | By | No Comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Poplar and Limehouse MP, Jim Fitzpatrick, is supporting a blood cancer charity’s campaign to find more teenage lifesavers.

Jim is backing Anthony Nolan’s ‘Save a Life At 16’ campaign in a bid to help the charity save the lives of more blood cancer patients.

The campaign sees the charity attempt to persuade HMRC to include details of the Anthony Nolan bone marrow donor register when it writes to young people with their National Insurance numbers in advance of their 16th birthdays.

The charity has pledged to cover all associated costs and hopes this would encourage more 16-year-olds to join the register. This is important as young people are more likely to be chosen as stem cell donors by transplant doctors.

The charity hopes that if young people are informed about the chance to save the lives of people with cancers such as leukaemia, many more will step forward to register, with an increase of up to 25 per cent in the number of young donors predicted.

Jim, who has written to HMRC and the Public Health Minister to ask them to support the plan, said

“I am delighted to provide my support to Anthony Nolan’s campaign to find more young lifesavers. The chances of receiving the best possible match if you are from a black, Asian or ethnic background currently stands at only 20 per cent. I believe this is a real opportunity for Government to work with Anthony Nolan not only to raise awareness of the need for more young people on the bone marrow donor register, but also to save the lives of people with blood cancer. Poplar and Limehouse currently ranks #248 on the donor register – lets change this!”

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Every year in the UK around 2,000 people with blood cancer need stem cell donations from a stranger. We believe young people are passionate about helping others, but they also need to be well informed about the chances open to them.

“By agreeing to our proposal, the government can make it easier for people as young as 16 to become lifesavers.”

The news comes shortly after Anthony Nolan revealed that 867 in Poplar and Limehouse are on the bone marrow donor register.

27 Oct

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First World War funding for heritage projects available for communities

October 27, 2014 | By | No Comments

Jim Fitzpatrick MP urges local Poplar and Limehouse communities to apply for National Lottery money available to mark the Centenary

On Wednesday 22nd October, Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse attended a House of Commons event hosted by TV historian Dan Snow, to find out how people from his constituency can secure Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) money to help them mark the Centenary of the First World War.

The event showcased just a handful of over 1000 First World War projects taking place across the UK, thanks to more than £60million of investment from HLF.

Grants of between £3,000 to £10,000 will continue to be available throughout the Centenary through HLF’s ‘First World War: then and now’ programme which is enabling people to explore, conserve and share their First World War heritage.  Groups that need a grant of more than £10,000 for a project can apply to HLF through its open programmes.

Projects on display showed the breadth and scale of First World War stories being explored and shared across the country:

  • in Coventry, young people have been researching the rise and decline of women’s football during and following the end of the War;
  • groups across Hertfordshire have uncovered the stories of those remembered on local war memorials across the county;
  • in Belfast a project has been exploring why Irish nationalists volunteered to fight for the British army during the conflict; and
  • a stone memorial has been created in Derby to recognise the contribution of the very many Sikhs who served in the war

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, said: “The projects and stories I’ve seen here today have been an inspiration.  It’s so important that we remember the impact of this war one hundred years on. There is still time to apply for money and I would urge anyone in my constituency with an idea for their own project to get in touch with HLF.”

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “It’s been wonderful to see so many communities take up this opportunity to explore how the First World War affected their local area. So many interesting and unexpected stories have been uncovered, helping us to develop a rich and long-lasting picture of how this momentous conflict touched and shaped every corner of the UK.”

The event also saw the launch of Historypin’s First World War Centenary hub. The hub is a free online space where people right across the UK can share all the historical and contemporary photographs, films and audios clips that have been collected while marking the Centenary of the First World War.  It has been developed in partnership with HLF, Jisc, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Imperial War Museums.

More information on how to apply for HLF funding is available at www.hlf.org.uk

27 Oct

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Sreepur Village Orphanage Fundraiser

October 27, 2014 | By | No Comments

sreepur dinner

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.

Thank you to everyone who attended!

20 Oct

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Nursery closures

October 20, 2014 | By | No Comments

overland nursery

This month I have been in correspondence with Tower Hamlets Council regarding cuts to children’s services and proposals to close Overland Children’s Centre.

In terms of the general issue of children’s services cuts, a number of constituents contacted me about the consultation exercise being undertaken by the council, saying that such cuts would impact not only on children, parents, future generations, but also will have a direct impact on poverty within the borough.  Concerns have also been voiced regarding a lack of consultation.  I am pressing for answers on these questions, although it is fair to say that many of us could foresee this scenario.  It’s all well and good promising that funding levels will be maintained; but those proverbial chickens tend to come home to roost.

The Overland Children’s Centre is a resource for deaf children.  Parents are incredibly concerned that the support provided by Overland could be taken away.  Many describe the centre as a lifeline for the children and their families, and say that, by attending the centre, there is a significant increase in the confidence and communication skills of deaf children.  Once again, the lack of consultation has been raised as an issue, too.

Could all this tie in with the contents of a press release I put out this month, which focused on concerns about the distribution of grants in Tower Hamlets?  A recent analysis by ‘Love Wapping’ reported that there has been an uneven distribution of monies in the borough.  I have written to Mayor Lutfur Rahman for confirmation of the accuracy of this information.  I shall look forward to his reply, and to the replies to my other correspondence regarding children’s services, and shall be happy to report back to local people accordingly.

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17 Oct

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‘wear it pink’ day

October 17, 2014 | By | No Comments

wear it pink Jim Fitzpatrick 2

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink day.

The theme of wear it pink this year is to ‘look good, do good’ in support of breast cancer research. On Friday 24 October people across the country will come together to find fun and stylish ways to wear pink in the office, at home or at school. Donations raised by this year’s fashion inspired event will go to Breast Cancer Campaign to fund lifesaving breast cancer research.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP says “Every year in the UK around 50,000 women and 400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, 12,000 women and 80 men die from this disease each year. This is why we need to support Breast Cancer Campaign’s fundraising efforts to support world-class breast cancer research that saves and improves lives, giving people quicker diagnoses and more effective treatments. I hope you’ll all join me by wearing it pink on Friday 24 October and showing your support for breast cancer research.”

wear it pink on Friday 24 October to support Breast Cancer Campaign’s lifesaving research. For more information or to register for wear it pink and receive your fundraising pack visit www.wearitpink.org.

15 Oct

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Palestine Vote

October 15, 2014 | By | No Comments

I'm at the back, third from the right.

On Monday, the Commons voted strongly in favour of recognising Palestine as a sovereign state.

The result, however 274 to 12, is not binding on the government.

I queued for five hours in an effort to raise my concerns and make a contribution but there were too many MPs trying to speak and a number of us were not called.

Here is a flavour of what I would have said:

“We know that 134 out of 193 UN member states collectively recognise the state of Palestine.

We know that the IMF and World Bank recognise the state of Palestine.

We know that the UK has been moving towards the principle of recognition but now is the time to actually recognise Palestine as a sovereign state.

My belief is that in recognising Palestine now, we give her the additional responsibility that comes with statehood.

Politicians like President Abbas who believe in non-violence and in a political route to self-determination often feel we in the West are doing nothing to help them – and on the contrary, our inaction is helping those who argue the only way to success is via armed resistance.

A vote for recognition would do a lot to restore their faith in a political route.

It is a long awaited right for Palestine to be offered her recognition as a state, and with that right come responsibilities – a point strongly made by other MPs.

Moreover, Israel needs to know she is losing support from key allies such as the UK. Ignoring UN resolutions, continuing to build and expand illegal settlements, using disproportionate force as we saw this summer, causes despair among their many supporters.

We all want to see Israel safe, but we also want to see Palestine safe.

The UK’s current position is hugely symbolic because of the historic role we have played in Palestine but our decision should and must have an impact.

We all want to see peace but it’s not happening, to say recognition would be a further obstacle is denying the reality. For those of us who support the motion, it is part of the way forward.”

14 Oct

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Tower Hamlets – Highest Child Poverty Rate in the UK

October 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

According to figures released by the End Child Poverty Campaign, Tower Hamlets has the highest child poverty rate in the UK with 49 per cent of our children living in poverty.

I wrote to Mayor Rahman just last week regarding this issue and raised my concerns over an analysis showing the four wards with the highest poverty indices in Tower Hamlets being in receipt of the lowest grant support.

I have yet to receive a response to my correspondence but I know that Labour has been working tirelessly in Tower Hamlets to improve the lives and wellbeing of its children, including Labour’s campaign for free school meals for primary school pupils which began this September.

I have also been in close contact with the End Child Poverty campaign and have written to the Children’s Minister and Shadow Minister for Education regarding this issue, asking for a ‘roadmap’ to reducing child poverty and further information on Labours’ plans to ending child poverty by 2020 respectively.

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