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It's a busy schedule working as the MP for Leicester South. We try to make sure we keep everyone up-to-date with important issues, topics that affect constituents. We do this with regular updates on the website, including this page, where we highlight news items.
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JULY 2011

Bid to make Leicester top destination for music acts and bands

Thursday July 28 2011

Jon Ashworth MP hosts a summit in bid to make Leicester top destination for music acts and bands and promote Leicester's talent

Leicester South MP, and keen music fan, Jon Ashworth MP working with Leicester Shire Promotions is hosting a ‘summit' dinner in the House of Commons, this Thursday 28 th July in a bid to promote Leicester as top destination for big band and major music acts.

Jon Ashworth MP said “I've always been a big fan of music and I see no reason why we can't attract more high profile bands and major music acts to Leicester in the same way Birmingham and Nottingham attract major acts.”

“That's why I've teamed up with Martin Peters of Leicester Shire Promotions and pulled together this summit in the House of Commons this week with major figures from the music industry to bang the drum for Leicester and tell them what we can offer and at the same time promote Leicester's music scene and our local talent as well.”

 

“Given our large student population and with venues like the O2 Academy, De Montfort Hall plus our two stadiums, we should be able to get major bands and acts to come to Leicester when on tour.”

“I hope this summit will be a chance to discuss how we get more acts to Leicester as well as look at how we make it more viable for those venues to put on the acts. In the past De Montfort Hall hosted The Beatles, The Who, The Stones, Bob Dylan and many more – I want the modern equivalents to come to Leicester.”



This event is also covered in Music Week. Click below to view:
Music week, Leicester south article

 
2010 Summer Sundae Festival in Leicester
 

Jon Ashworth MP visits The Saffron Resource Centre

Tuesday July 26 2011

Jon Ashworth MP today visited the Saffron Resource Centre on Saffron Lane where he met the Centre Manager, Bev Hall, and representatives of the other agencies that operate out of the Centre.

The Saffron Resource Centre was established in 1975 for the benefit of the residents of the Saffron Lane and the surrounding areas, including Eyres Monsell and Aylestone.

Jon held a round table discussion with all present on the work of the different agencies and projects, how they link in with one another, and the difficulties they are all facing in the current climate of cuts.

Jon stated: “Listening to the ongoing battle of the different agencies to secure funding to continue in their excellent work was very concerning. Also, the government has chosen to severely cut back on the scope of Legal Aid at a time when demand for such services is increasing.”

Numerous agencies are either based in the Resource Centre, operate out of the Centre or run sessions there.

 

 

These include Saffron Young Peoples Project, the Jakin Project, Saffron Acres, Community Advice & Law Services, Supporting Tenants & Residents (STAR), Multi Access Centre, Community Legal Advice Centre, the NHS Stop Smoking Service, Choices Sexual Health Project, and the Centre's in house Advice Workers.

Bev Hall, Centre Manager, commented: “The Resource Centre provides services for the whole community, from children attending sessions at the Saffron Acres allotment project, to the elderly members of our community at the Day Centre run by Saffcare at Southfields Drive Community Centre.”

Jon commented: “It is clear that the Saffron Resource Centre, along with the Linwood Centre, is a vital asset to the Saffron Estate and surrounding area. At a time of cuts that are too deep and too quick, including changes and reductions to welfare benefits, it is crucial that such services are available locally and are embedded within the community and I will continue to argue that the government has a responsibility to fund such local provision.”

 
Jon, together with Centre Manager, Bev Hall, and representatives of the other agencies that operate out of Saffron Resource Centre

Jon, together with Centre Manager, Bev Hall, and representatives of the other agencies that operate out of the Centre.
Click photo for enlargement

The Saffron Resource Centre is at
432 Saffron Lane
and can be contacted on
0116 2837212.

Highfields Festival, Saturday July 23

Saturday July 23 2011

Leicester South Labour MP Jon Ashworth will be visiting the Highfields Festival on Saturday July 23 and presenting certificates to young people at the Celebration of Diversity and Unity Event.

This is the first Highfields Festival and will be held tomorrow and Sunday at the Highfields Centre on Melbourne Road and in the adjacent car park.

Jon commented: “The Festival is for all the local communities and it would be good to see people from all the communities in Highfields including those from the newer communities in the area.”

The festival will consist of a Community Fair and a Jobs Fair, children's activities and workshops in arts and sports. Jon will be attending the youth event on the Saturday evening, (A Celebration of Diversity & Unity in the Community and Mango Studios Showcase Youth Event).


 

At this showcase youth event Jon will be presenting certificates to local young people who have written and recorded music and songs at the facilities at the Highfields Centre, and which are on a CD that is being launched at the event.

Jon Ashworth MP said: “I am thrilled to be presenting the certificates to the young people - they have worked together to produce a CD, which deserves to be recognised and acknowledged.”

 
Jon presenting certificates to local young people who have written and recorded music and songs at the facilities at the Highfields Centre
Jon presenting certificates to local young people who have written and recorded music and songs at the facilities at the Highfields Centre
Click any photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP at Public Meeting on Crisis in Horn of Africa

Friday July 22 2011

Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth and Hashim Duale of the local Somali Community held a public meeting on Friday July 22 to highlight the crisis in the Horn of Africa.

Ahead of the public meeting, Jon Ashworth MP said: “The situation in the Horn of Africa is nothing short of a catastrophe. The UN has now officially declared parts of Somalia to be a famine. Save the Children have estimated that a million children could die if we don't act and nearly 500,000 children are suffering from malnutrition in South Somalia alone."

“While I praise the UK government for the aid they have provided so far, more is desperately needed from other governments around the world. I'm delighted the Leicester Mercury and UNICEF have linked up to raise funds, hopefully this public meeting is a chance to talk about the how local communities can do more to raise money in Leicester as well.”

The meeting was held in Somali House, Wharf Street North, St Matthews Estate, Leicester.

 
All media were invited to attend and Jon Ashworth was available for media interviews before or at the event.


Photos taken at the meeting:
Below, Jon speaking at the meeting.
Top right, Jon with Councillor Mohammed Dawood and Abdidahir Jama who is the Manager of Somali House where the meeting was held.
Bottom right, Jon with Hashim Duale who organised the meeting.

Jon speaking at the meeting.
 
Jon with Councillor Mohammed Dawood and Abdidahir Jama who is the Manager of Somali House where the meeting was held.
Jon with Hashim Duale who organised the meeting.
Click any photo for enlargement

Indian Film Star and politician Smriti Irani

Monday July 18 2011

Jon Ashworth MP meets Indian Film Star and politician Smriti Irani

Jon Ashworth MP today met with Smriti Irani at Parliament. Following his meeting, Jon said: “It was an absolute pleasure to host Smriti Irani in the House of Commons today and to have the opportunity to discuss her international work.”

 

“We also discussed the rich diversity of Leicester and I was delighted that one of Leicester City Council's Assistant Mayors, Manjula Sood, and Raju Vyas attended the meeting as well.”

“I invited Smriti to Leicester next time she visits the UK and hopefully she will be able to see our great diverse City for herself.”

 
Jon Ashworth MP meets Indian Film Star and politician Smriti Irani in Westminster Hall

Click photo for enlargement

ESOL cuts - Jon Ashworth MP demands answers from Government
Friday July 15 2011

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth demanded the Government provide answers regarding their plans for ESOL provision.

Speaking after the debate Jon Ashworth said: “The Government has now published its Equality Impact Assessment into the cuts to ESOL provision. The Assessment shows that nationally almost 60,000 women studying English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) could be priced out of education.

“We know that over 5000 learners in Leicester were enrolled on ESOL courses this past year – a large proportion of these will be women who will not be able continue in ESOL courses from this September when the cuts bite."

“Following pressure from campaigners, Labour MPs and myself the Government have now conceded that they will look at ways in which support can be specifically targeted at vulnerable groups who are currently set to lose out and to work in partnership with Department for Communities to promote community cohesion."

 
"However, I am deeply worried that this is too little, too late which is why I pressed the Government to provide more answers in the House of Commons today? Specifically;
 
When will this new scheme be announced?
 
Will the women currently set to lose out, be given support to remain in ESOL this September?
 
Will the Department for Communities make funding available?
“Finally I pressed the Government, if they will not reverse their decision to cut ESOL provision will they at the very least delay imposing these unfair ESOL cuts until their scheme for vulnerable groups is implemented.

So far we've had little detail from the Government and I will continue to pursue this issue until we get a fairer deal then what is currently on offer.”
 
Photos taken when Jon visited the ESOL at the Highfields Centre in 24 June to speak about the proposed government cuts.

Photos taken when Jon visited the ESOL at the Highfields Centre in 24 June to speak about the proposed government cuts.

Photos taken when Jon visited the ESOL at the Highfields Centre in 24 June to speak about the proposed government cuts.
Click photos for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP visits Voluntary Action Leicestershire

Friday July 15 2011

Jon Ashworth MP today visited Voluntary Action Leicestershire and met with the Chief Executive, Kevan Liles, and the Partnerships Leader, Kevin Allen-Khimani to discuss the role and future of the voluntary sector.

Voluntary Action Leicestershire (VAL) is a key voluntary organisation that involves volunteers and local groups in improving life in Leicester and Leicestershire. It was established in 1965 as the Council for Voluntary Service for Leicester and has developed into a major force for change and improvement in the City.

Jon commented: “Seeing the VAL building on Newarke Street and meeting some of the many teams that are based there was a very interesting and informative experience. Discussing some of the current important issues with the Chief Executive and Partnerships Leader was also informative, especially the matter of the government's cuts and the impact on the voluntary sector.”

 

Kevin Liles stated: “VAL now has a staff team of 80 and we are determined to make a real difference through involving local people as volunteers and supporting excellent community and voluntary activity. As part of this role we are currently undertaking a ‘Cutswatch Leicestershire' survey to find out if the changes in public sector spending have affected the many and different voluntary and community groups in the County.”

Jon commented: “The outcome of this survey will be crucial to the existence, and operation, of a ‘Big Society' as envisaged by this current government.”

Anyone wishing to volunteer, set up or run a community group, or wishing to influence public policy should contact Val on

0116 257 5050 or
email helpline@valonline.org.uk

 
Jon Ashworth with the Chief Executive, Kevan Liles, and the Partnerships Leader, Kevin Allen-Khimani

Jon Ashworth with the Chief Executive, Kevan Liles, and the Partnerships Leader, Kevin Allen-Khimani
Click photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP visits Clarence House in the city centre

Friday July 15 2011

Jon Ashworth MP today visited Clarence House, which is Age Concern's main centre for elderly people in Leicester. Jon met with Tony Donovan, Executive Director of Age Concern Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Antony Foster, the Centre Manager at Clarence House.

Jon was shown around the building and met some of the many elderly people taking part in or using the different activities and services offered at Clarence House.
Jon commented: “Clarence House is a vibrant building with many activities for the elderly of the City and the County to attend. There is also the canteen where people can come for a meal, snack or drink and meet up with people. The canteen was busy when I was there with others leaving for the afternoon sessions.”

On a daily basis there are between 750 and 1,000 people using Clarence House. It is in an ideal situation being on Humberstone Gate where many buses stop and depart from.

 

Antony Foster stated: “In addition to various activities for elderly people, there are many courses, such as computing, an information and advice service and social groups. There are also three day centres in the building to which the Local Authority refer people to.”

Jon stated: “I was pleased to see so many active elderly people and I hope that Age Concern can continue to provide such a range and number of activities once the personalisation agenda is embedded.”

To contact the Information and Advice Service, and to get more information on the numerous activities at Clarence House, please telephone 0116 299 2233.

 
Jon with Tony Donovan, Executive Director of Age Concern Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Antony Foster, the Centre Manager at Clarence House

Jon with Tony Donovan, Executive Director of Age Concern Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Antony Foster, Centre Manager at Clarence House
Click photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP visits the Linwood Centre to attend a Coffee Morning

Monday July 11 2011

Jon Ashworth MP today visited the Linwood Centre to attend a Coffee Morning which launched a week of events celebrating 25 years of the Linwood Centre. At the Coffee Morning Jon met users of the Centre past and present and local residents.

The building was originally Linwood Boys School, and a few years after the schools closure (the boys being sent to join the girls at Mary Linwood School, which is now the Academy) the Linwood Centre was established.

Jon commented: “The Linwood Centre is a vital part of the local community providing various activities and events to bring local people together. It offers classes, drop-in activities and special events for people of all ages. I recently visited the Centre to meet Kellie Bugby of Saffron Arts forum, and I hope to visit again in the near future.”

 

Following the Coffee Morning on Monday 11 July, the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Linwood Centre continue on Tuesday with the Lunch Club Birthday Celebrations, on Wednesday with Linwood History Day and on Thursday with a health and fitness fun day.

The week of celebrations is rounded off with Tea, Tots and Toys on Friday where there will be a party food for Tots, Sure Start Biscuit decorating, face painting and much more.

 
Jon at the African Caribbean Centre

Jon visiting the Linwood Centre to attend a Coffee Morning which launched a week of events celebrating 25 years of the Linwood Centre.
Click photo for enlargement

Re-launch of the African Caribbean Centre on Maidstone Road

Saturday July 9 2011

Leicester South Labour MP Jon Ashworth will be attending the celebrations for the re-launching of the African Caribbean Centre on Maidstone Road.

This Centre, which has recently undergone a £400,000 re-vamp, is holding a celebration from 11am to 2pm on Saturday 9 July. During the day there will be various activities including a Caribbean jewellery taster session, a martial arts display and performing arts.

Jon Ashworth commented: “I am very pleased to be visiting the African Caribbean Centre that is well used by the community and plays a vital role."

 

"The improvements made will make it an even better place to visit. These include a new reception area, a lift to all floors, a community cafe, new meeting facilities and a refurbished restaurant.”

The African Caribbean Centre offers classes, programs, drop-in activities and special events for people of all ages. Please contact the Centre on 0116 2211793 for more information.

 

 
Jon at the African Caribbean Centre

Jon at the African Caribbean Centre
Click photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP visits Action Homeless

Friday July 8 2011
Jon Ashworth MP visited Mayfield House and met with the Rob Parkinson, the Chief Executive of Action Homeless. Jon visited the new ‘engage’ suite at Mayfield House which will be used for treatment support for those people suffering from addiction.

Action Homeless, established in the early 1970s, supports homeless and vulnerably housed people across Leicester City and county. It provides various services including information and advice, supported accommodation and resettlement services.

Jon commented: “The work that Action Homeless undertake is not only vital in providing places of shelter, but it aims to give people the confidence and skills they need to achieve and maintain independent living and to make a great contribution to the local community.”
 

“The ‘engage' suite at Mayfield House is a fabulous facility. The rooms for counselling give people the necessary space and environment, and there is an alternative therapy suite upstairs, which can be used for massages and acupuncture.”

At any given time a hundred people live in the supported accommodation projects across the city, with Action Homeless being one of the two biggest non-Council providers of homeless services in Leicester.

Jon stated: “From my discussions with Rob it is clear that the cuts in Housing Benefit may well lead to increased homeless in the City, but that the key action required is to unlock routes into employment for homeless people.”

 
Jon Ashworth MP with the Rob Parkinson, the Chief Executive of Action Homeless

Jon Ashworth MP with the Rob Parkinson,
the Chief Executive of Action Homeless.
Click photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP demands government takes action against the high cost of credit

Monday July 4 2011

Jon Ashworth MP will be visiting the Community Advice & Law Service to discuss the high cost of credit, and the problems facing those constituents who have used illegal loan sharking, ahead of a Commons debate on protecting consumers from detrimental high cost lending.

Jon said: “There is growing concern that a large number of the poorest is society are falling prone to high charging payday lending, doorstep lending and illegal loan sharking – especially as mainstream banks restrict the credit they will give.”

“There are too many instances of companies preying on the vulnerability and desperation of stressed customers who need to bridge their spending with short term and ultra high-interest credit. I am hoping to speak in the debate on Monday and will demanding the government take action against the high cost of credit which is hurting so many of my constituents.”

Labour MPs have introduced an amendment to the Finance Bill as it believes that a fundamental review is needed of the high cost of credit market and this should include examining the possibility of regulatory and tax measures to address the problem.

 

Jon Ashworth commented: “There are a range of measures that are necessary to help protect the customer, including support for financial literacy education.

But the government is harming this by terminating the £26 million Financial Inclusion Fund. The ending of this Fund threatens the Citizens Advice Bureau in Leicester and the Community Advice & Law Service that I am visiting on Monday 4 July.”

“The Labour amendment calls for a wide-ranging review as part of this Finance Bill and I can see no reason for the government to reject it.”

Jon is visiting the Community Advice & Law Service (formerly known as Leicester Money Advice) on Monday to meet advisors and hear at first hand the disastrous consequences faced by those who have borrowed from loan sharks and other forms of short term high interest credit lending.

 

Jon Ashworth MP visits Linwood Centre on Saffron Lane

Friday July 1 2011

Jon Ashworth MP today, July 1, visited the Linwood Centre on Saffron Lane. This was a planned visit to meet with Kellie Bugby to discuss the work of Saffron Arts Forum, but following the screening the previous night of the Tonight programme (Helen Newlove Investigates, ITV1) the visit took on a different tone.

Jon discussed with Kellie the various and different work that is undertaken to reduce anti social behaviour on the Saffron Lane Estate and commented: “I know there are numerous initiatives based on the estate that work with young people and seek to reduce the level of anti social behaviour, but unfortunately the ‘Tonight' programme did not focus on this excellent and innovative work.”

Kellie Bugby, who is involved in many local projects and who lives on the Estate, disagrees with the view expressed by ‘Tonight' that there is not a sense of community on the Estate.

 

Kellie said “We have carried out surveys locally and there is a very high percentage rate of people who feel very satisfied and happy living on the Saff. There is most certainly a sense of community here.”

One of the initiatives of Saffron Arts forum is the publication of their bi-monthly magazine, ‘The SAFF'. This magazine, which is also available online at:

(www.issuu.com/thesaffmag) keeps the community informed of what is going on locally and gives residents the opportunity to get involved. The magazine is delivered to every household on the estate. If you wish to contribute to the estate please contact Kellie at The Linwood Centre 0116 2249790 or find out more on:
facebook.com/the.saff.mag.

 
Jon, Kellie Bugby and Cllr Cutkelvin during the visit to the Linwood Centre on Saffron Lane

Jon, Kellie Bugby and Cllr Cutkelvin
Click photo for enlargement

 
 
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