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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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MARCH 2013
Jon Ashworth MP congratulates May Jones on her MBE
Monday March 26 2013

After May Jones was presented with her MBE at Buckingham Palace she met her local MP, Jon Ashworth, at the House of Commons.

May started the Neston Action Group in 1997 which ran successful campaigns. When the Group disbanded May continued to work to improve the local community. Her many successes have included the installation of security doors and making homes safer in Neston Gardens.

Jon said: “May more than deserves her MBE for her commitment and dedication to the Saffron Lane Estate. Since I was elected the MP for Leicester South I have met May regularly to ask her advice and to make things happen in the area, such as the Saffron Christmas Party which has been held at the Kingfisher Centre in 2011 and last year at the Linwood Centre.”

 

Jon had lunch with May and her family before giving her a tour of the House of Commons, including the Terrace.

Jon commented: “It was great showing May around the House of Commons. She embodies the community spirit and togetherness of the Saff and I congratulate her on her award.”

May's local Councillor, Elly Cutkelvin, has worked closely with May since she was elected for the Freemen Ward in 2011.

Elly stated: “I meet with May, or speak with her, on a weekly basis to keep her informed of what is going on in the area and to listen to her plans and advice. I was thrilled when I heard that May was to be awarded an MBE and I'm looking forward to hearing about her day at Buckingham Palace and the House of Commons.”

 

Photo: Jon with May Jones, with her MBE, on the House of Commons terrace

 
Jon with May Jones, with her MBE, on the House of Commons terrace
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Jon Ashworth MP presents SAFTAs
Friday March 22 2013

Jon Ashworth MP presented SAFTAs to all the nominees at the Saffron Working Men's Club.

Prior to the event, Jon stated: “I'm looking forward to attending The SAFTAs on Friday. The awards ceremony is a great way of recognising the role that volunteers play in the local community. It is an honour to be asked to present the awards to people from the Saffron and Eyres Monsell area. Both these estates have togetherness and a community spirit that cannot be bettered.”

The SAFTAs are organised by Saffron Community Health Alliance and this will be the fifth annual event. The theme of the evening was the 1960s and there was be entertainment from DK Alexander and inspirational poems by the Creative Writers Group.

Karen Pickering, from Saffron Community Enterprises, commented: “This means so much to local volunteers who freely give their time and invest back love, energy and enthusiasm to make Saffron and Eyres Monsell a better place to live, work and play. We need community spirit to regenerate the life of the area for generations to come.”

Local Councillors, Elly Cutkelvin and Virginia Cleaver, will also be at the Awards Ceremony.

Councillor Cutkelvin commented: “It is a privilege to represent the Saffron area. The Estate has many unsung heroes who give their time for the benefit of others, and it is only right that they receive recognition of their vital work in the community.”

Awards were presented to local people who have helped to make lunches for elderly people, assisted at trips and friendship groups, organised community events and who have helped to ensure that local resources are directed in the right places to the right people.

 

Jon speaking at the SAFTAs

Jon presenting Sue Green from Eyres Monsell Community Association with her SAFTA
Photos, top; Jon speaking at the SAFTAs Awards, bottom; Jon presenting Sue Green from Eyres Monsell Community Association with her SAFTA.
 
Jon presenting Kellie Bugby with her SAFTA
Jon speaking at the SAFTAs

Photos, top; Jon presenting Kellie Bugby with her SAFTA, bottom; Jon speaking at the SAFTAs

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Jon Ashworth MP visited Wyggeston Queen Elizabeth I College
Friday March 22 2013

Jon Ashworth MP met with staff and students at Wyggeston Queen Elizabeth I College. The Sixth Form College primarily serves the whole of the City.

Jon attended an AS Politics Class where he is answered questions on various issues, including the role of Party Whips, House of Lords Reform, the need for more women MPs and economic growth.

Jon said: “It was clear by the nature of their questions that the students have a keen interest in politics. I hope I gave comprehensive answers and I maybe even inspired some of the students present to stand for office in the future.”

 

The College has been rated as ‘outstanding' by Ofsted since 2008, with students consistently achieving high levels of academic success and progression into higher education or employment.

Jon also met with the Principal of the College, Sandra Hamilton-Fox, where they discussed current issues facing Sixth Form Colleges.

 

Photos right, top, Jon answering questions at the AS Politics class, below Jon with the Principal, Sandra Hamilton-Fox

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Jon answering questions at the AS Politics class
Jon with the Principal, Sandra Hamilton-Fox

Jon Ashworth MP is a mental health champion

Friday March 15 2013

On Friday March 15 Jon Ashworth MP hosted the ‘Mental Health Summit: The Need for Social Support' at the Council Chamber in the City's Town Hall.

This Summit looked at the need for social support in providing vital care and services to those affected by mental health issues, and builds on the work of the Pre-Summit that took place in November last year.

The Summit was attended by approximately 50 key local stakeholders from the City Council, Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, Leicestershire Police, and voluntary sector groups.

The key message of the Summit was that clinical and health services alone are not enough when addressing mental health issues; there is also a need for social support. Pledges were sought from the key organisations during the Summit in order to reinforce this message.

The Summit started positively when Councillor Cooke, who chaired the morning session, announced that he would be The Councillor Advocate for Mental Health.

Jon stated: “I was delighted that Councillor Cooke agreed to take on this Advocate Role. Mental health service users, carers and voluntary sector organisations now have a point of contact within the City Council who will raise their concerns on their behalf.”

The Summit aimed to get all organisations working together for the improvement of mental health in Leicester.


 

Key to meeting this aim were the pledges made by Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group to have on-going dialogue with the Voluntary and Community Sector and to fund a further Summit to coincide with World Mental Health Day on October 10.

A key recommendation to come out of the Pre-Summit in November 2012 was the need for a “Crisis or Halfway House” which would be a community based alternative to an acute admission ward. Significantly, at the Summit Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust agreed to host a meeting with the City Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group to look at establishing such a facility.

Gabby Briner, Chair of the Voluntary Sector Partnership Forum for Mental Health, commented:

“The Summit identified key pledges from individuals and organisations that if acted upon will assist all the organisations to work together to improve the provision of services for people with mental health issues and their carers.”

The Race Equality Council pledged to assist all organisations to fully understand how to undertake Equality Impact Assessments and to understand the outcomes of such Assessments. This will go some way to ensuring that services meet the needs of all service users and carers in the City.

In addition to various other pledges made on the day, such as that by the City Council to look at speeding up the process of referral to services via Adult Social Care, Jon himself pledged to be a ‘Champion for Mental Health'.


 
The Multi-Agency Panel taking questions from the floor and making pledges.From left to right, Councillor Patel (Assistant Mayor for Adult Social Care)), Simon Cole (Chief Constable, Leicestershire Police), Kevan Liles (Chief Executive, Voluntary Action Leicestershire), Dr Simon Freeman (Managing Director, Leicester City CCG), Jon chairing the Panel, Julie O'Boyle (Consultant in Public Health NHS Leicester City), Paul Miller (Divisional Director for Adult Mental Health / Learning Disability Services, Leicestershire Partnership Trust)
Photo: The Multi-Agency Panel taking questions from the floor and making pledges.

From left to right, Councillor Patel (Assistant Mayor for Adult Social Care)), Simon Cole (Chief Constable, Leicestershire Police), Kevan Liles (Chief Executive, Voluntary Action Leicestershire), Dr Simon Freeman (Managing Director, Leicester City CCG), Jon chairing the Panel, Julie O'Boyle (Consultant in Public Health NHS Leicester City), Paul Miller (Divisional Director for Adult Mental Health / Learning Disability Services, Leicestershire Partnership Trust)

Click photo for enlargement
Jon commented: “As a Champion for Mental Health I will raise issues or concerns with the government, the City Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group and Leicestershire Partnership Trust on behalf of the Voluntary and Community Sector in Leicester.”

“By being a Local Champion I hope I can contribute to the improvement of mental health services in the City and specifically those services that provide social support to mental health service users and carers.”
Jon Ashworth MP hosts Mental Health Summit for key stakeholders in city
Friday March 15 2013

Jon Ashworth MP hosted the ‘Mental Health Summit: The Need for Social Support’ at the Council Chamber in the City’s Town Hall. The Summit looked at the need for social support in providing vital care and services to those affected by mental health issues, and builds on the work of the Pre-Summit that took place in November last year.

In November’s Pre-Summit, Jon and various representatives from the voluntary sector obtained the views of 60 mental health service users and carers. The views given at this Pre-Summit have been analysed by the Service User and Carer Research Network (SUCRAN) based at De Montfort University, and a report on these issues was presented at the Summit.

One of the key messages of the Summit was that clinical and health services alone are not enough when addressing mental health issues; there is also a need for social support.

Jon Ashworth stated: “Key to this social support, whether it be supported housing, drop in facilities, getting out and about and various types of learning or educational activities, is the role of the Voluntary and Community Sector and its relationship to the statutory sector. The benefits of social support shouldn’t be underestimated, and this Summit will allow us to convey that message. It’s important that those people who make the decisions about mental health provision in Leicester recognise the need for such social support and the value of the voluntary Sector.”

Friday’s Summit was attended by up to 60 key local stakeholders from the City Council, various NHS organisations, Leicestershire Police, and voluntary sector groups. It is hoped that the social-support message will reach key decision-making individuals in these agencies.

Jon commented: “It’s especially important that these people hear our message because from next month the government’s Health & Social Care Act will come into effect. This Act, which restructures the NHS, will see commissioning duties move from the Primary Care Trust to Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group and the transfer of vital public health responsibilities to the City Council. With central government making huge cuts to voluntary organisations we need to ensure that statutory bodies are aware of the key issues that exist in mental health care.”

James Dooher, author of the Report on the Mental Health Pre-Summit Research, warns: “If the erosion of the voluntary sector continues, we will no doubt see an increased demand for statutory services in both primary and secondary care, which obviates any potential savings that may have been made.

 

Demand for care and support will remain, but without the basic pillars of community support we will no doubt see an increase in disenfranchised, vulnerable, lonely, ex service users, with nowhere to go, and no opportunities for their voice to be heard.”

Gabby Briner, Chair of the Voluntary Sector Partnership Forum for Mental Health, also commented: “This Summit is an important opportunity for local voluntary organisations, service users and carers to meet with health and social care commissioners and local politicians to share their vision of how we can together improve local mental health services. Voluntary groups deliver community-based services which prevent people from becoming mentally unwell and also support those with mental health problems to live a full life.”

“There is still a lack of understanding of mental health issues in society leading to stigma, discrimination and social isolation. Also services are too reliant on prescribing medication to deal with problems where people mainly need good social support to recover – we in the VCS want to do more to help but need essential funding to continue and develop our work.”

In addition to the decisions of commissioners influencing the type and extent of social support available to service users and carers, a key factor is the potential of personalisation.

David Barsby of Voluntary Action Leicestershire has said: “I believe there is great potential for people to benefit from Personal Budgets, including those who experience poor mental health. Unfortunately systems remain complex and many individuals, especially those with fluctuating mental health difficulties, will fall below eligibility and it is those individuals that I am most concerned for.”

At the end of the Summit the Charter for Mental Health was re-launched by the City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby.

To access the full report on the Mental Health Pre Summit undertaken by the Service User and Carer Research Audit Network at De Montfort University please see:

Photos right. Above top, Jon opening the Summit, middle; Gabby Briner, Chair of the Voluntary Sector Partnership Forum for Mental Health, with Councillor Cooke who hosted the morning session of the Summit. Bottom; Councillor Palmer, Deputy City Mayor at Leicester City Council and Chair of The Health & Wellbeing Board

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Jon opening the Summit
Gabby Briner, Chair of the Voluntary Sector Partnership Forum for Mental Health, with Councillor Cooke who hosted the morning session of the Summit
Councillor Palmer, Deputy City Mayor at Leicester City Council and Chair of The Health & Wellbeing Board


 
 
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