Homelessness is everyone's concern

In Portsmouth over the past year the number of rough sleepers has doubled.
A number of residents have shared with me their concern about this and what positive action can be taken to address the issue and support those in need. Homelessness is everyone’s concern.
As a newly elected councillor, I will be joining a task group which will report later in the year on what the council could do to address the challenges the city faces around homelessness.
One thing I am keen to see is better promotion of the support local agencies and charities provide in the city.
For your use now, these include:
Central Point: A day centre providing advice and support for homeless people.
023 9229 8791
Based at 22-24 Kingston Road, Portsmouth PO1 5RZ
Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8.30am to 3pm
Open for rough sleepers only on Wednesday 8.30am to 12pm and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 12pm
Portsmouth Recovery Hub: A support service for people with drink and drug problems 
023 9275 1617
Based at Campion Place, 44-46 Elm Grove, Southsea PO5 1JX
Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am to 5pm and Wednesday 11am to 5pm
Housing Options: City council service dealing with homeless applications and advice around housing options
023 9283 4989
Based at Civic Offices, Portsmouth PO1 2AL
Open Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm and Friday 9am to 4pm
Advice Portsmouth: A service providing advice on debt, benefits, housing and employment
023 9279 4340
Based at 116 Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth PO2 8AL
Open Monday to Wednesday 9am to 5pm, Thursday 1pm to 7.30pm and Friday 9am to 4.30pm
I hope this information and contacts are of use.

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Guildhall Walk health care services to remain open until 2017


The services provided by the healthcare centre on Guildhall Walk are popular with residents, students and visitors

 Portsmouth’s much-loved healthcare centre on Guildhall Walk is set to stay open for another year, thanks to people power.
The current centre runs two popular services – a GP practice and walk-in provision, serving the city centre, students, visitors and the homeless.
The local clinical commissioning group decided a number of changes to the service in March following a period of public consultation. Thousands had their say and helped water down health decision-makers plans.
Cllr Stephen Morgan, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group and ward councillor for Charles Dickens where the centre is based, led a campaign to help protect the services in the city centre.
A petition attracted over 1,000 signatories and fed into the formal consultation by the CCG. The campaign was backed by local businesses and gained celebrity support.
Cllr Morgan said:
“I am pleased health decision-makers are listening to our concerns and that the CCG is in talks to keep the surgery and the walk-in centre open for current patients until next March. At a time when efforts are being made to improve access to health services this is common sense.
I’m also assured there are plans to give more powers to pharmacies so that they can treat a wider range of illnesses and injuries and serve more people. This should help fill any gap in the loss of essential services in the city centre”.
For more information about Portsmouth Labour’s campaign to protect health care services in the city visit: www.stephenjmorgan.org

Are you registered?

On 23 June the UK will vote to decide whether to remain in or leave the European Union.
The Electoral Commission is keen for as many people as possible to exercise their right to vote in order to ensure the referendum is as inclusive as it can be. It is important that people understand the need to register to vote if they haven’t already.  
With this in mind the Electoral Commission are calling on as many communities, networks, businesses and individuals as possible to spread the word about the need to register to vote by 7 June.  
Whilst the average registration level is already 85% for the country as a whole, the Electoral Commission are trying to increase it further. 
In particular, registration levels are lower amongst certain groups. This includes young people, Black and Minority Ethnic groups, frequent home movers, residents in social housing and British citizens overseas.  
To register to vote go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Getting young people involved in local democracy 

Mayor making takes place in the Guildhall on Tuesday

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth Labour’s newest councillor elected in Charles Dickens ward last Thursday, is acting on plans to involve young people in local democracy. 
As part of the recent local election campaign Stephen Morgan visited a number of schools across the ward in the heart of Portsmouth talking to parents and carers at school gates or meeting with young people. This included a grilling by school councillors at Arundel Court School in Landport.
School councillors asked questions about safety in tower blocks, dog mess and improving the safety of cycling, and invited Stephen to set out his plans to make the ward a better place to live. 
Now Stephen wants to keep the engagement with young people going and has specifically written to school councillors to invite them to Mayor Making next Tuesday at the Guildhall.
In the letter to young people Stephen says:
“I’ve always wanted to represent my community and do my bit to help others – it was a dream of mine since I was young. When I was your age, we didn’t have school councils, but if we did, I would have wanted to have been on one. 

I’ve learnt a lot in recent months. Most importantly, I’ve learnt that dreams are meant to be chased and lived. So if you put your mind to something, I’ve learnt you will succeed”. 
Mayor Making takes place on Tuesday 17 May 2016 where the next Lord Mayor of Portsmouth will be sworn in. The event is open to the public but tickets are essential. 
For more information about Stephen’s community work visit www.stephenjmorgan.org

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Standing up for safer communities


Stephen led a campaign to protect police services in the city and keep the central police station open

The Tories’ cuts to the police are putting the safety or our communities at risk.
Over 18,000 police officers and 5,100 community support officers have already been lost. Further real terms cuts in funding risk making it harder to keep our streets safe as violent crime is on the rise.
Labour will stand up for safer communities. Councillors and Police and Crime Commissioners will oppose deep Tory cuts to frontline officers to keep bobbies on the beat. We will prioritise neighbourhood policing and bear down on crime and its causes.
In Portsmouth in the past year alone crime has gone up by 9%, violent crime up 36% and youth crime on the increase for the first time since 2007.
That’s why crime and security has been the top issue on the doorstep across Charles Dickens ward and why we’ve been working hard to protect local police services.
My commitments to you:
a84bf8a7-bc54-4dd0-bc6a-a11c5fccb16fIf elected for you in Charles Dickens ward for the city council on Thursday, I will:

  • continue my fight to protect and keep visible police services in the heart of the city
  • lobby the new police and crime commissioner to make sure any new police HQ stays in the city and not out in Havant
  • liaise with local neighbourhood teams to ensure action is taken when residents report concerns
  • seek better ways of solving concerns around security in tower blocks and improved entry systems
  • protect essential domestic violence support services in the city
  • support initiatives which assist crime prevention and support to victims

If you have other ideas or suggestions to stand up for safer communities, get in touch


Standing up for families who want decent quality local homes


Stephen Morgan understands council housing issues and has been working hard to address them

The Tories are putting the hope of home ownership at risk. They – like with the Lib Dems in coalition government before them – are presiding over a housing crisis.
Rents are soaring, home ownership is falling every year and house building is at its lowest peacetime rate since 1920s.
Current housing stock lacks investment with homes falling into disrepair and the “extreme” housing Bill working its way through Parliament may put an end to lifelong tenancies.
Labour will support working people by investing in new affordable homes to rent and buy. The party’s plans will bring down spiralling housing costs and control the housing benefit bill too.
My commitments to you:
a84bf8a7-bc54-4dd0-bc6a-a11c5fccb16fIf elected for you in Charles Dickens ward for the city council on Thursday, I will:

  • fight the break up of our communities in the city by lobbying government to amend the disastrous housing bill
  • seek better engagement with housing offices and more responsive and visible officers
  • continue to fight for the residents of Wilmcote House so they and others get fairer treatment from the council in redevelopment schemes
  • push for more affordable homes for local people
  • work with tenants groups’, attend the residents’ consortia and speak up for their concerns in the council chamber
  • push for the university to work more closely with the city to better integrate the student population into local life.

If you have other ideas or suggestions to stand up for decent quality local homes for families, get in touch

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Radical plan to support the community made

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Plans being made would mean the personal allowance being spent on community projects 

A plan has been drawn up to tackle local issues and improve our community by Stephen Morgan, standing in Charles Dickens ward in the council elections on Thursday 5 May.
Under proposals, Stephen would create a ward panel to help improve local life.
The panel would bring together existing community groups, residents and local businesses backed up with funding from the current councillor allowance scheme with a grants ‘pot’ for the ward.  The funding would be used to improve the area by inviting ideas and practical proposals from the panel.
Currently all councillors get paid at least £10,200 per year in personal allowances.
Lib Dems have previously proposed increasing ‘cabinet member allowances’ by 25%. Labour stopped this proposal going ahead and at February’s council budget-setting meeting made plans to reduce the cost of democracy and cut the councillor allowances by 20%. Sadly this was voted down by the other parties – at a time when essential provision such as social care, is being cut. This year the council is cutting services by £11m, with more reductions in services planned.
Under these existing allowance arrangements, the current Lib Dem councillor for Charles Dickens has claimed over £107,000.00.
In launching the plan, Stephen said:
“I’m not standing for the council to claim a personal allowance, I’m doing it to stand up for residents in the city and make a difference to the community I’ve been fortunate enough to have been brought up in. Local people do so much for their communities but this is rarely recognised. I want to tap into this hard work, and improve local life for all.  If elected and the City Solicitor allows it, I will start to use some of the councillor allowance to support and fund projects to ensure they make a bigger impact on local people’s lives”.

Stephen with his dad who have both done community work in the ward for decades

Charles Dickens is one of the most deprived areas in the south east of England with child poverty as high as 67% in some parts of the ward, life expectancy ten years lower than elsewhere in the city and other challenges facing families across its communities.
Stephen added:
“These grants will be decided upon with the support of a ward panel. I would create this in my first few weeks on the job. By bringing everyone together it is hoped my allowance will be matched with other grants and donations from others. Together we can make life better in Charles Dickens ward”.
For more information about Stephen’s campaign and local community issues visit www.stephenjmorgan.org