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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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DECEMBER 2015

Jon Ashworth MP visits Charnwood Primary School to meet the winner of his annual Christmas Card Competition

Friday December 18 2015

Jon visited Charnwood Primary School to present a signed certificate, a framed copy of the Christmas card and a book voucher to the winner of this year’s competition.

The winning picture that is on the front cover of Jon’s Christmas Cards is by Fahima Manjra, aged 9.

Jon said: “Fahima’s drawing is brilliant and brings to life the joy of Christmas. There is a snowman, a Christmas pudding, and the message ‘Jolly Christmas’ all surrounded by snow in the picture. It’s perfect for my Christmas Card.”

The designs by the six runners up, all from a range of schools in Jon’s constituency, are shown on the back of Jon’s card. One of the runners up, Unaysah Salloo, aged 10, is also from Charnwood Primary School. Her card featured a 3D Christmas tree with presents underneath. Unaysah also received a signed certificate from Jon.

Ms Jassat, the Head Teacher at Charnwood Primary School, said: “I am delighted Fahima has been chosen as the overall winner for Jon’s Christmas card competition. Unaysah is a worthy runner up. Both pupils have an artistic flare and this competition has encouraged them to showcase their talent. In fact the whole school took part in creating designs for this competition.”

 
Jon with Fahima

“This contributed to raising our pupil’s awareness and understanding of British culture and festive traditions. At Charnwood, we take pride in celebrating the similarities and differences of individuals, families, cultures and lifestyles in our school and the wider community.”

Jon commented: “I want to thank all the children that entered my annual competition this year. It was hard to pick a winner, especially as there were so many excellent designs. I wish all the staff and children at the schools in my Constituency a very happy Christmas.”

 

 
Jon with Fahima and her family

Jon receiving a present from Father Christmas

 

Photos clockwise from top left; Jon with Fahima, Jon with Fahima and her family, Jon receiving a present from Father Christmas
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Jon Ashworth MP does some wrapping for Toys on the Table

Friday December 18 2015

Jon Ashworth MP, who helped wrap some presents at Matrix House, said: “Toys on the Table does an amazing job in ensuring that children who may not receive anything get toys and presents for Christmas.”

Donors can give new gifts, or donate funds, to the Toys on the Table Campaign at various drop off points in the City. This year Jon will be donating a ‘Peppa Pig’ jigsaw puzzle and a Snow White Fairytale floor puzzle for over three year olds.


 

 

Jon commented: “Since I was elected as the MP for Leicester South I have been involved with Toys on the Table every year. Sadly, there is a growing need for this campaign to continue giving toys to children.”

“I urge everybody in Leicester to buy a present for Toys on the Table and make Christmas a bit more special for those families finding it difficult to make ends meet.”

 
Jon with Bill Bowley
Photo shows Jon with Bill Bowley
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Jon Ashworth MP takes part in the Christmas fun at the Saffron Christmas Celebration

Friday December 11 2015

This year’s Christmas Celebration, which has moved from the Linwood Centre to the Kingfisher Centre, was an evening of fun and entertainment for the local area.

The event was officially opened by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Ted Cassidy, and Jon Ashworth.

Speaking ahead of the event Jon said: “I’m a regular visitor to Saffron and I’m looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting people for the first time on Friday. Saffron continues to have a tremendous community spirit and it is good seeing people come together to Christmas.”

The Christmas Celebration, which has been received funding from the Saffron Ward Community Fund and other donations, had fairground rides, face painting, hair braiding and lots of other activities for children. And there was, of course, Father Christmas to give out presents to the local children.

 
Councillors Elly Cutkelvin and Bill Shelton with Jon and The Lord mayor

May Jones, one of the organisers of the event, commented: “Last year’s event was to be the last one as the Linwood Centre is now closed, but myself and other local people decided that even though we have lost our Community Centre we wanted to keep the Christmas event going. This event is for the children to have something on the Saff.”

 
Photos clockwise from top left; Councillors Elly Cutkelvin and Bill Shelton with Jon and The Lord Mayor; Jon with Ann at the Saffron Christmas Celebration; The Lord Mayor, Councillor Cassidy, May Jones and Jon
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Jon with Ann at the Saffron Christmas Celebration

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Cassidy, May Jones and Jon

 

Jon Ashworth MP to accept petition on ESOL Cuts

Friday December 11 2015

Jon accepted a petition that had been signed by 20 organisations and opposes the recent cuts to ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision.

The petition states that the signatories “oppose the cuts to ESOL and the fees and health costs for extending leave to remain for refugees, which will have a big impact on people in Leicester.”

Eight of these 20 organisations were present at the hand over, as well as Councillor Sue Waddington, Assistant Mayor for Jobs and Skills, members of Leicester Civil Rights Movement and students who have benefitted from ESOL classes.

Jon said: “The withdrawal of funding for ESOL provision will adversely affect students locally. Students require these classes in order to access employment, support their children with homework, and integrate properly into society.”

“These funding cuts will leave students without the ability to communicate and gain qualifications which can benefit the whole country, and will have a dire effect on social cohesion.”

In July, the Skills Funding Agency announced that there would be a full withdrawal of funding for ESOL provision for the year 2015 to 2016.

 
Jon discussing the cuts to ESOL with Malka, and Sue Waddington the Assistant Mayor for Jobs and Skills.

This reduction of funding comes on top of a 24% reduction for Further Education in 2015, which has already affected ESOL provision extensively.

Funding for adult courses will also be cut by a further 3.9%, which will be applied to adult budgets set in March 2016.

Iris Lightfoote, Chief Executive Officer of The Race Equality Centre said: “This statement was agreed at a public meeting held on Saturday 21st November organised by Leicester Civil Rights Movement (LCRM) which was chaired by The Race Equality Centre.”

 

 

 
 
Jon being presented with the petition by Malka Al-Haddad from Leicester Civil Rights Movement

“The audience heard from a number of speakers explaining the impact of the cuts to ESOL provision, and the newly introduced application and health costs for renewing extended leave requests. In signing the statement, organisations are conscious of, and opposed to, the punitive financial burden these charges are having on vulnerable families in Leicester.”

 

Photo top left; Jon discussing the cuts to ESOL with Malka, and Sue Waddington the Assistant Mayor for Jobs and Skills, Top right; Jon being presented with the petition by Malka Al-Haddad from Leicester Civil Rights Movement
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Jon Ashworth MP supports the ‘Making Christmas Special’ campaign

Friday December 11 2015

For the third year Jon has backed the campaign, hand delivering his gift and meeting some of the patients.  Today, Jon visited an older people’s ward at the Royal Infirmary to meet some patients and deliver his gift.

Making Christmas Special is a unique campaign that encourages local people to donate a Christmas present for one of the older patients who will be too ill to leave hospital to be at home with their families this year. 

Last year local people showed their amazing generosity by donating almost 1,000 gifts, ensuring that every older patient got a gift on Christmas morning.

Jon said: “I am delighted to once again be supporting Leicester’s Hospitals and their ‘Making Christmas Special’ Campaign. I am pleased to donate a gift that the nurses will deliver to one of their older patients on Christmas morning."


 

“It is great to see the Trust’s Communication Team and Volunteer Service, along with Age UK Leicester shire & Rutland, making a real difference for people who are, sadly, not able to leave hospital for Christmas.”

Carole Ribbins, Deputy Chief Nurse for Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “Receiving a small gift on Christmas Day really means a lot to our patients, so my thanks go to Mr Ashworth for his continued support.”

Tony Donovan, Executive Director at Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland, added: “This campaign makes an enormous difference to older patients who have to spend Christmas in hospital and the generosity of the community always brings a smile to their face. We’re delighted to be working with Leicester’s Hospitals to bring the Christmas spirit to what could otherwise be a lonely time.

“People can take donations to any of our Resources Centres or Charity Shops and these will be given to the hospital in time for Christmas Day.

 
Jon giving Win Horsepool a present with Tessa Trace (Head of Marketing for Age UK Leicestershire)
Jon giving Win Horsepool a present with Tessa Trace (Head of Marketing for Age UK Leicestershire)
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Jon Ashworth MP has a Q & A with students from Regent College

Friday December 4 2015

Jon Ashworth MP met with students at Regent College. The Sixth Form College offers a range of courses, from A-Level to BTEC vocational courses.

Jon attended a Question and Answer Session where he answered questions on various issues, such as his work as a Constituency MP, the House of Commons and the General Election.

Jon said: “It is great to see sixth-form students interested in politics, and I was very happy to answer their questions. I hope that some of them are inspired by my answers, and that they may even go on to have a future in politics.”


 

The College has been rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted since 2013, and Ofsted reported that ‘teachers are motivational and have high expectations of their students’

Jon also met with the Principal of the College, Paul Wilson, where they discussed current issues facing Sixth Form Colleges.

David Griffiths, teacher at Regent College, said: “Regent College is pleased to have Jon Ashworth MP visit to participate in a Q&A session with A-level Citizenship and Politics students; assisting them with their studies and political knowledge. Jon has always made himself available to spend time with the students and this has always helped tremendously.”

Photo right: Jon answering student questions
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Jon answering student questions

Jon Ashworth MP visits Cocoa Amore and celebrates the contribution of small firms in Leicester as part of this year’s Small Business Saturday

Friday December 4 2015

This Saturday, 5 December, is Small Business Saturday where consumers are encouraged to ‘shop small’ and celebrate the contribution of entrepreneurs and small firms this weekend.

In the run up to Saturday Jon visited Cocoa Amore and, under supervision, tried his hand at truffle making, and also had a tasting session from across the Cocoa Belt.

Jon said: “It was a really enjoyable and informative visit to Cocoa Amore at its new premises on Silver Street. It is important that we all do what we can to back local small shops and independent business on Small Business Saturday.”

“Small businesses make a vital contribution to the local economy as well as adding to the local community and boosting diversity on the High Street.”

Cocoa Amore was opened by Peter Gardner in 2013 in the Silver Arcade, but due to its success it soon ran out of space and moved up to the road on Silver Street.

As well as selling a wide range of hand-made chocolates, Cocoa Amore offers chocolate making workshops and corporate days to businesses.  A good Christmas gift, which is a little different, are the gift vouchers for chocolate making workshops.

Peter Gardner commented: “Local independent businesses are the backbone of every town. Having had the opportunity last year to showcase Cocoa Amore at Downing Street as part of Small Business Saturday I wholeheartedly support the Shop Local ethos.”

 

 
Jon on a taster session with Alun Pomfrett

Jon making truffles

 

If you want more information on Cocoa Amore then please visit the Trip Advisor Page:
Reviews-Cocoa_Amore-Leicester
 
Jon doing some chocolate moulding

Jon and the completed truffles

 

Photos clockwise from top left; Jon on a taster session with Alun Pomfrett, Jon doing some chocolate moulding,Jon and the completed truffles,
Jon making truffles
Click any photo for enlargement
 
 
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