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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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NOVEMBER 2015

Jon Ashworth MP signs pledge for HIV testing campaign

Friday November 13 2015

Jon Ashworth MP signed the ‘Halve It Pledge’ at City Hall with fellow Leicester MPs Keith Vaz and Liz Kendall as part of National Testing Week.

This pledge commits the City to halve late HIV diagnoses by 2020.

Jon stated: “It is vital that people are aware of early testing and early diagnosis, as this can save lives. I am very pleased to see Leicester promoting the importance of getting tested on 10 street signs and bus stops in the City.”

“This campaign also raises the importance of ensuring that there a variety of ways to test for HIV, including home sampling and finger prick testing.”

Many organisations across Leicester, such as Leicestershire Aids Support Service (LASS) and Trade Sexual Health, are offering free drop-in testing sessions.

 

Councillor Abdul Osman, Assistant Mayor for Public Health, commented: “Taking an HIV test is really important, especially if you belong to a high-risk group. HIV testing is quick, free and easy. We would urge people who think that they may have contracted HIV to take a test.”

“It is better to know and get treatment early. Testing and treatment remain confidential and available via the NHS. “

For more information, visit the sexual health page at;

www.leicester.gov.uk/ourhealthycity.

Photo top right, Jon with the signed Pledge, bottom right, Jon on Horsefair Street with (left to right) Councillor Abdul Osman, Liz Kendall MP and Keith Vaz MP
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Jon with the signed Pledge

Jon on Horsefair Street with (left to right) Councillor Abdul Osman, Liz Kendall MP and Keith Vaz MP

 

Jon Ashworth MP ends his Voter Registration Drive at QE College

Friday November 20 2015

With the news that one million people were set to lose their votes, Jon Ashworth has led a Voter Registration Drive in Leicester which began with a photo call at The Town Hall in early October.

Jon stated: “The Government rushed through changes to the electoral registration system which meant around one million people were in danger of losing their right to vote. I have been out and about in my Constituency knocking on thousands of doors to encourage people to register.”


 

“As well as door knocking I have worked closely with De Montfort University to register students and I have worked with the local Colleges, including Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College, to encourage students to register.”

The College held a Voter Registration Day on Friday 20 November, which was the last day people could register to vote for the new register that is published on 1 December. Jon spent time at the stall at the College and met with students.

 
Jon with (from left to right) Aishah, Matthew, Fatima and Aniqa
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Jon Ashworth MP Congratulates DMU on its Successful Voter Registration Scheme

Friday November 20 2015

DMU congratulated after thousands of students register to vote.

A DMU campaign has seen close to 3,000 students register to vote in Leicester, giving them an essential voice in local and national politics.

Last year, the Government introduced the Individual Electoral Registration System (IER) which meant every eligible person had to register to vote individually, including students living at their term-time address. This particularly affected students, because the change in law meant that universities could no longer complete electoral registration on their behalf.

In order to help its students living within Leicester, DMU worked closely with Leicester City Council to develop a system which offered them the opportunity to register automatically when logging into the student intranet 'myDMU'. This is an online tool which enables students to do everything from submit assignments to read the latest campus news.

With the help of the DMU internal communications team and the De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) a phenomenal 97 per cent of eligible students responded. As a result, an extra 2,774 students have now joined the electoral register in Leicester, giving them the right to vote in local, regional and national elections.


 

Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth, whose constituency includes the DMU campus, met with students and staff today to congratulate them for running the campaign and signing up to it. He was hugely impressed to see such large numbers of students keen to register. 

Jon said: “I'm very grateful to the staff at De Montfort University and the Student Union for their amazing work in registering so many students. Students that would not have had a voice if this registration system had not existed.

“I would like to thank the Vice Chancellor of De Montfort University for his commitment to registering as many students as possible from the University Dominic’s recognition of the importance of students registering, and giving Higher Education a voice, was vital to the implementation of the system.”

Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of DMU, added: “The successful registration of nearly 3000 students is testament to DMU’s commitment to ensuring that all student voices are heard.

This is another excellent example of working in partnership and I am grateful for the work undertaken by colleagues along with De Montfort Students’ Union and Leicester City Council.”

 
Jon with students and staff from DMU
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Jon Lees, Deputy Director of Student and Academic Services (SAAS), led the initiative with the support of Jason Ferguson, Davina Moore-Read and Atul Mamtora from the university’s ITMS department, as well as DMU’s Internal Communications team and the DSU.

He said: “I am delighted that the efforts of staff and the DSU helped drum up such huge support for the initiative and ensure the student voice is heard loud and clear. This has helped to ensure students can now use their right to vote when the opportunity arises and have a say in issues that affect them and fellow residents in the City of Leicester.”

Jon Ashworth MP speaks at Home-Start’s Annual General Meeting in Leicester

Friday November 13 2015

Jon discussed the level of child poverty in the City and the reasons for the increasing number of children living in poverty.

As well as the work of Home-Start Jon will discuss some of the projects and schemes in the Constituency that he has visited as the local MP, as well as some of the initiatives he has undertaken himself to assist families and children.

Jon said: “It is an honour to speak at Home-Start’s Annual General Meeting, as they provide such an excellent service to families, both locally and nationally. I am also very proud to have supported Home-Start’s bid for a Children in Need Grant which was successful.”

“Since I was elected in 2011 I have visited and supported many voluntary services that assist families and children such as Home-Start, the Leicester Mammas Project, and Toys on the Table.”

Home-Start, which was founded in 1973 in Leicester by Margaret Harrison, provides support to over 300 communities in the UK. Through volunteers, the organisation aims to help families give their children the best start in life. Because of Home-Start, parents feel that the well-being of their children has improved, they are more involved in their children’s development, and are using local services more.

 
Elaine Macmanard, the Manager at Leicester Home-Start, commented: “We are extremely grateful to have Jon’s support. At a time when funding is so difficult and yet families needing help in Leicester is so great. We have seen an increase in referrals for our support of 65% compared to this time last year.

We are concerned about the level of child poverty in the city, and cannot solve the issue, but we can help parents to reduce the negative impact of poverty on their familes”

In Leicester, Home-Start provided emotional and practical support to 125 families and 203 children in 2014/15. Volunteers, who are often parents themselves, visit families in their own homes, supporting parents by increasing confidence, building self-esteem, helping families to use services and reducing social isolation.
Photos right, Jon speaking at the AGM next to Helen Everett, Chair of Trustees
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Jon speaking at the AGM next to Helen Everett, Chair of Trustees

 

Jon Ashworth MP signs the Equality for Mental Health Campaign

Thursday November 12 2015

This Campaign aims to persuade the Government to increase their investment in mental health services.

Jon stated: “As a Local Champion for Mental Health, I am deeply concerned about Government cuts to mental health services, and the unfair discrimination faced by people who suffer from mental health problems. “

“There is a deep concern that people with mental health problems do not enjoy the same access to services as people with physical health problems, and that once cuts are implemented, mental health is the first to suffer financial losses.”

As revealed by the Equality for Mental Health Campaign cuts to mental health services have meant that only 15 per cent of people who might benefit from talking therapies are actually getting such treatment. In addition, it is believed that 75% of children and young people experiencing a mental health problem do not have access to any treatment.


 

Gabby Briner, Chief Executive of Network for Change, and Chair of the Voluntary Sector Partnership Forum for Mental Health (Leicester and Leicestershire), commented: “There continues to be a lack of investment in mental health services and long waiting times for those desperately in need. In many respects mental health services are in crisis. Cuts to local council budgets have impacted deeply on the Voluntary and Community Sector and many of us are struggling to manage increased demand with shrinking resources.“

“Our Forum is especially concerned about feedback from service users who are becoming very unwell and in some cases suicidal due to lack of funds and availability of community support. Assessment processes seem to discriminate against those with mental health problems and much more needs to be done to ensure fairness and equality.”

 
Jon speaking in parliament
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