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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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FEBRUARY 2013

Jon Ashworth MP visits India with Save The Children

Tuesday February 26 2013

Jon Ashworth flew to India on Sunday 24 February as part of a project organised by Save the Children. The visit, which will last until Saturday 2 March, will involve Jon visiting Save the Children's poverty projects in Delhi and Calcutta, two of India's most populated cities.

As part of his trip Jon will visit health units, childhood development centres and schools in various urban slums in Calcutta and Delhi. He will meet with the staff who work on these projects, and also the children who use these vital services.

Speaking before the trip, Jon said: “India is home to some of the world's worst poverty. One third of the world's poorest people live in India, and more than one and a half million Indian children die every year before they even turn five years old. Poverty is a huge problem in the country, and it's really important that we see how we can help as many poverty-stricken people as possible.”

Jon commented further: “400 million of the world's poorest people live in India, and given that the country is home to 1.2 billion people, this is poverty on a huge scale. The work that charities like Save the Children do is really important, and I'm sure the projects we'll visit are having a positive impact on so many children in India.”

 

Flora Alexander, Government Relations Adviser at Save the Children, commented: “We're really pleased that Jon is visiting Save the Children's work in India. It's vital that MPs see the scale of the challenges faced by children in India. Child mortality is a huge problem – India accounts for one in five of the children who die before their fifth birthday globally. And almost half of children in India are so malnourished that they are stunted - physically and mentally impaired due to a lack of nutritious food.

Save the Children is delivering innovative programmes across India to tackle these issues and we're delighted that Jon will be visiting our work.”

Note
Jon is visiting India this week along with fellow MP, Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East. They will both try to write for the Save the Children website Blog whilst they are there. You can read the first entry, by Michael, here:

 
Jon with Michael Dugher MP after talking to a family of four who all live in one tiny room in Okhla, Delhi’
Jon with community health volunteers in the Okhla slum, Delhi

Photo top; Jon with Michael Dugher MP after talking to a family of four who all live in one tiny room in Okhla, Delhi. Photo bottom; Jon with community health volunteers in the Okhla slum, Delhi

Click photos for enlargement
Jon Ashworth MP visits Foundation Hostel to listen to residents' concerns
Friday February 22 2013

Jon visited Foundation Housing Association on Friday 22 February. Foundation is a specialist provider of black and minority ethnic and culturally sensitive housing and support services in Leicester.

The services provided by Foundation, along with all other voluntary sector and City Council services, are currently being looked at under the Council’s Homelessness Strategy Review. Public consultation on the Strategy Review closed on Monday 18 February.

Jon said: “The City Council is under great pressure in light of the Government’s cuts to funding. However, it is vital that in Leicester there are sufficient culturally sensitive homeless services available.”

“I understand that the proposed plan is to only retain the Dawn Centre and Border House as direct access hostels. If this was implemented then it is has to be asked how the needs of the black and ethnic minority citizens of Leicester will be met.”

Jon visited Myrtle Road Hostel along with Nikki Chawda, the Managing Director of Foundation Housing Association.

Speaking before the visit, Jon said: “Given the huge changes to homelessness provision proposed by the City Council, it is important that I hear from those that will be directly affected by these changes.”

 

Jon talking with residents at Foundation Housing's male hostel. From left to right: Jon Ashworth, Ali Hassan, Abdullah Abdullah, and Munir Santoni

Photo above: Jon talking with residents at Foundation Housing's male hostel. From left to right: Jon Ashworth, Ali Hassan, Abdullah Abdullah, and Munir Santoni
Nikki Chawda commented: “Along with our residents, we are extremely concerned about the impact that the potential loss of BME and culturally sensitive hostels will have on our diverse communities, as proposed in the Homelessness Strategy. We have provided our response to the consultation exercise on this critical issue.”

“I am pleased that City Councillors and Officers have made the time to visit the project and listen to the concerns of service users and staff, and I am assured that the views and concerns of our customers will be taken into consideration.
 
Jon talking with Abdissalaan Ahmed, a hostel resident

Photo above: Jon talking with Abdissalaan Ahmed, a hostel resident

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Leicester's heritage of culturally diversity is unique and its success has been built on the ability of a range of providers to respond to those different needs.”

For more information about the City council's Homelessness Review and Proposals visit their website:

New Work Club opens on Saffron Lane Estate

Tuesday February 19 2013

On Monday 25 February a unique Work Club, based at the Linwood Centre, will open its doors for the first time.

The Saffron Lane Work Club will be running a 15 week programme that will increase people's confidence and skills in looking for work.

The Work Club will be run by Phoenix Therapies a local social enterprise.

Lainy Wills, one of the Directors of Phoenix, stated: “We can't wait to get going. When you are unemployed it is easy to feel lost, low and give up hope of finding a job that you will enjoy. This training will help people to refocus, think outside the box and kick start a new beginning for all the learners.”

The Club, which has been funded by the European Social Fund, will look at accessing the hidden jobs market, creating your own personal map to get the job you want, confidence building and help dealing with the stress of being out of work and finding employment.

 

 

Unlike other Job Clubs where people can drop in, people will need to attend all 15 weeks at the Saffron Job Club.

Jon Ashworth, who is supporting the Work Club, said: “Given the economy is in the doldrums and joblessness remains high, we need a change in national government economic policy to stimulate growth and create jobs in the area. But until the government do this we must do all we can to assist locally to give people the confidence and ability to enter the jobs market. I'm pleased this project has been set up and I look forward to visiting it in the near future”

“My plan is to visit the Work Club at least once during the 15 week period and I'm really looking forward to meeting local people benefitting from the experience and knowledge of Phoenix Therapies.”

The Work Club is also being supported by the Eyres Monsell Work Club (ran by The Multi Access Centre) and the Saffron Estate Sure Start.

 
To find out more and to book your place on the programme please ring Lainy on 07722026705 or email phoenixtherapies@live.co.uk

Jon Ashworth MP holds Advice Session at University of Leicester Students' Union

Friday February 15 2013

Jon Ashworth visited the University of Leicester Students' Union on Friday 15 February to give students an opportunity to meet their local MP and talk to him about issues that matter to them.

As part of his Parliamentary duties, Jon Ashworth regularly holds weekly advice sessions around the Constituency and in his city centre office. These advice sessions allow constituents to raise all manner of concerns with him, be they issues relating to local housing and benefits or lobbying on major national policy issues.

This visit will be the first advice session held at the University Student's Union, and will give young people the opportunity to directly engage in politics.

Jon said: “Young people are often accused of not taking an interest in current and topical affairs, and I don't think that's a fair accusation. I regularly get young people, students and pupils contacting me about issues that matter to them, and last month I visited Madani High School to discuss lowering the voting age to 16 with pupils at that school.”

 

“Young people clearly are interested in political issues, and campaigns on student fees, Educational Maintenance Allowance, and the growing youth unemployment problem demonstrate this. This advice session gives me the opportunity to talk to students and hear what matters to them.”

The advice session took in The Square, Percy Gee Building, University of Leicester.

Trevor Page, Chief Executive of the University of Leicester Students' Union, commented: “We are really excited that Jon has decided to hold an advice session here at the Students' Union. It's important that their local MP can hear their concerns directly and is able to help them .”

Photo: Local Councillor, Patrick Kitterick, Andy Wright, (Operations Manager at the University of Leicester Students' Union) and Jon
Click photo for enlargement
 
Local Councillor, Patrick Kitterick, Andy Wright, (Operations Manager at the University of Leicester Students' Union) and Jon

Jon Ashworth MP visits ‘SAFE' project and supports international campaign to end violence against women and girls

Friday February 15 2013

The ‘Safe' project in Leicester provides support to people who experience, or are at risk of, experiencing domestic violence. Jon visited the project on Friday 15 February to learn more about the services it offers to women and speak with their service-users.

The visit comes following a debate in Parliament on Thursday 14 February, where MPs debated protecting future generations from violence against women and girls. The debate forms part of the ‘One Billion Rising' campaign, which will also saw thousands of campaigners come together at 150 different events across Britain.

Speaking before the event, Jon said: “I'll be going to Thursday's debate, and visiting ‘Safe' will give me a chance to hear the thoughts and ideas of people who have been directly affected by this issue. Violence against women remains a huge problem in our society.”

In any one year, there are 13 million separate incidents of physical violence or threats of violence against women from partners or former partners.

 

Jon commented: “These figures are shocking, and it's time for all of us to stand up and say enough is enough. It's important that this issue is raised on a national and international level. It's also important for me to hear what people in my Constituency think, and meeting with service-users and the service-providers at ‘Safe' will be a great opportunity to do this.”

‘Safe' offers a helpline, outreach projects, and also a ‘Safe Home' project to those who need their help. The ‘Safe Home' project offers advice and support to women and men fleeing domestic violence, and helps people secure safe accommodation.

Meena Kumari, Safe's Senior Manager, commented: “We are really pleased that Jon Ashworth is visiting the SAFE project to meet some of the women that have experienced Domestic violence. Their real life stories will provide understanding of the journey and the difficulties these women face and give an insight into what daily life is like at the hands of an abuser. He will also see what a difference a project like SAFE can make to people's lives.”

 
Jon with Meena Kumari (SAFE's Senior Manager) listening to service users

Photo: Jon with Meena Kumari (SAFE's Senior Manager) listening to service users

Click photo for enlargement

For more information about the ‘One Billion Rising' campaign, visit their website: http://obruk.wordpress.com
Jon Ashworth MP saves Southfields Basketball Club
Friday February 8 2013

Jon Ashworth visited Southfields Basketball Club to meet with the young people who attend the regular Friday night basketball coaching sessions there, and players from Leicester Riders.

It was only in November 2012 when Jon met with constituents who had been told that Leicester City Council had decided to stop funding this Club in February 2013.

Jon said: “After I met with Tracy and other constituents I contacted the City Council to ask it to reconsider its decision to end its funding of the Club that had been running for more than 25 years. When this approach failed I contacted the Director of Leicester Riders to see if they could help.”

Last week it was confirmed that Southfields Basketball Club will not close later this month after a deal was agreed by the Leicester Riders and the City Council. Kevin Routledge, Director of the Riders, who will at Southfields Drive on Friday, commented: “After Jon contacted me I was more than happy to see how the Riders could help in keeping this valuable Club running. Key to reaching an agreement with the City Council was the work undertaken by local ward Councillor, Rory Palmer, and by Councillor Adam Clarke who represents Aylestone Ward, where Tracy lives.”

“Linda Bryant who provides the coaching at Southfields does outstanding work with young boys and girls, and it would have been a huge loss to the whole of the community, if the sessions were stopped. In due course, we would intend to move the sessions to the new Community Sports Arena at Grace Road, but, in the interim, the support of the Council is very much appreciated.”

It has been agreed that Leicester City Council will provide the facilities at Southfields Drive Sports Centre free of charge to the Basketball Club and the Riders will cover the costs of the coach.

Councillor Palmer stated: “I am pleased we have found a solution and want to thank the Riders for stepping in. The City Council will be waiving the sports hall hire charge to give this project a boost for its first year. This is a good example of partnership working between the City Council and Leicester Riders.”

Councillor Clarke said: “This is a great solution to a problem that is recurring as local authority budgets are squeezed by central government. It is great the Riders were able to step in, and the Council was able to show flexibility.

 

Kevin Routledge (Director of Riders), Rob Paternostro (Head Coach of Riders), Jon, Riean Patel (aged 7) and Grace Carter (aged 8)

Rob Paternostro (Head Coach of Riders) and Jon
Longer term, the Community Sports Arena planned by the Riders, the County Cricket and Leicester College for Grace Road will be the obvious, sustainable solution.”

Tracy Carter, who approached Jon Ashworth at the end of November 2012, said: “I'm so pleased that the Basketball Club has been saved. I could not believe it when we received letters saying the Club was to close.

My daughter, Grace, who attends the Club, is so grateful for Jon for his help in saving the Club. All the children and the young people want to say a big thank you to Jon and the Riders.”
 
Jon with Tracy Carter
Jon, local Councillors Adam Clarke and Virginia Cleaver and Isobel

Photos, top left clockwise;

Kevin Routledge (Director of Riders), Rob Paternostro (Head Coach of Riders), Jon, Riean Patel (aged 7) and Grace Carter (aged 8);

Jon with Tracy Carter;

Jon, local Councillors Adam Clarke and Virginia Cleaver and Isobel;

Rob Paternostro (Head Coach of Riders) and Jon

Click any photo for enlargement
Jon Ashworth MP visits Grace Road to see plans for a Community Sports Arena
Friday February 1 2013

Jon Ashworth visited Leicestershire County Cricket Ground to look at the exciting new plans for a transformational Community Sports Arena on the site.

This project is a partnership between the Leicester Riders Basketball Club, the County Cricket Club, and Leicester College.

The Arena will be largely focussed on mass participation sporting activities, primarily basketball and cricket. It will also be used for talent development of young boys and girls, as well as serving as the new home of the Leicester Riders. For events it will have seating for 2,000 spectators. Leicester College students will use the facilities for learning and training opportunities which will enhance both their course and enrichment activities.

Jon Ashworth said: “It is important that I find out more about this project, especially as the Arena is much needed in Leicester City. I am encouraged that the Arena will focus on the community which will bring numerous benefits, including health improvements, jobs and regeneration.”

“I am aware the Riders already have an immense and hugely valued outreach community programme, working with many schools and colleges in the City, as well as Health, the Police, Sport England, and other partners. This project will greatly enhance this community programme.”

The Arena is a £2.5m project and is subject to a funding bid to Sport England.

Councillor Adam Clarke, who organised the meeting, said:“The Arena is about so much more than sport. It will be a great asset for the community, and help tremendously in addressing the health challenges we face, as well as engaging with young people in the ward. It is important we do everything we can to smooth the path to making this important project a reality."

 

Mike Siddall, Chief Executive of the Cricket Club, speaking before the visit said stated:“We are greatly looking forward to showing Jon our plans and current facilities. For the Club, this Project is absolutely essential to our radical reshaping of our business, and we are delighted to be working with the Riders and Leicester College in such a close and positive way.”

Kevin Routledge, Director of the Riders, who hosted Jon Ashworth, commented:“There has been much talk about the Olympic legacy, but can there be any greater legacy than this project, which addresses severe and acute needs for indoor sports provision in the City – a short fall that has been evident for 15 years. We are a City of champions in terms of results on the field; now we need to start to upgrade our facilities to measure up to that status.”

For Leicester College, Deputy Principal Don Brooks said:“We are absolutely committed to improving the facilities we can provide our students, and this project has immense synergistic benefits. Working with two of our professional sports clubs will not only increase sporting opportunities for students, but also widen the outreach possibilities across a wide range of our curriculum. We are absolutely determined to do whatever the College can, to make this project a success.”

Photos, top; Jon is shown the plans for the Community Sports Arena by Kevin Routledge (Director of the Leicester Riders) and Paul Haywood (Chairman of Leicestershire County Cricket Club). Middle; Jon and Kevin with the British Basketball League Cup that Leicester Riders won last month Bottom; Jon with (left to right) Kevin Routledge (Director of the Leicester Riders), Mike Siddall (Chief Executive of Leicestershire County Cricket Club) and Paul Haywood (Chairman of Leicestershire County Cricket Club)
 
Jon is shown the plans for the Community Sports Arena  by Kevin Routledge (Director of the Leicester Riders) and Paul Haywood (Chairman of Leicestershire County Cricket Club)
Jon and Kevin with the British Basketball League Cup that Leicester Riders won last month
Jon with (left to right) Kevin Routledge (Director of the Leicester Riders), Mike Siddall (Chief Executive of Leicestershire County Cricket Club) and Paul Haywood (Chairman of Leicestershire County Cricket Club)
Click any photo for enlargement
 
 
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