, , , , , , ,

Portsmouth MP catches up with YMCA after challenging year for local nurseries

Stephen Morgan MP has visited the local Portsea YMCA nursery, meeting with one of the leading early-years provider’s regional directors and its local manager, to discuss ongoing concerns about the stability of the sector.

YMCA is the largest charity provider of Early Years Education across England, working with 5,398 children each year across 83 childcare settings.

The charity is particularly focused on working in low income communities where families face multiple vulnerabilities and often need the greatest support.

Back in January, the Portsmouth MP wrote out to over 40 early years and childcare providers across his constituency to hear their views and concerns and was visiting the local nursery on Friday to follow-up on this work.

Many early years providers in the UK currently face financial uncertainty due to the impact of national Covid-19 restrictions.

According to a Coram report in December, 58 per cent of local authorities think that local childcare providers may close for good, leading to calls for immediate investment and clarity about future funding arrangements.

Earlier this year, Mr Morgan demanded the Education Ministerial team take action on funding for early years and childcare providers across the country during departmental questions in the House of Commons.

He also wrote to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP, outlining his priorities for local education in Portsmouth, including his concerns about the financial pressures nurseries are currently facing.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said,

It’s great to be able to catch-up in person now with the YMCA to understand their views and concerns after what’s been an incredibly challenging period.

“It’s clear to see the fantastic work YMCA does for local families here in Portsmouth and across England, but along with many early-years providers across the country, they’ve been left behind by this government.

“The government has got to provide the support that is required for local early-years providers that has been woefully lacking this past year, to ensure young people catch-up on crucial early-life development, as well as make sure young families are able to get back to work and be part of our recovery from this crisis.”

The Portsmouth representative has vowed to continue to work on behalf of early-years education providers to secure the support and funding they need.

, , , , ,

“I will continue to oppose the decision to reduce the UK’s aid budget”

A number of constituents have been in touch with me about the Government’s reduction in the UK’s aid budget, concerns I also share, which is why I write this update as the issue is live in the national press at the moment. Thank you to those who have gone to the trouble of writing directly to me about this matter or posting comments on my social media.

I am deeply concerned by the UK Government’s decision to reduce aid spending from the legally binding target of 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5% in 2021. This is despite the Conservative manifesto pledge to maintain the 0.7% commitment.

I am very concerned that this decision will make it harder for the UK to tackle global poverty and injustice, and create a safer, healthier and better world for us all. Indeed, in March 2021, the International Rescue Committee said it had already seen the impact of cuts to its programmes that provide vital services to vulnerable women and girls.

The UK has a proud history of stepping up and supporting those in need. We must not abandon our responsibilities to the world’s most vulnerable. Ahead of hosting the G7 summit and COP26 (the United Nations Climate Change Conference) this year, we must lead by example. However, the UK is the only G7 nation to cut its aid budget this year. The UK Government must reverse this decision.

I firmly believe the 0.7% commitment is a vital way to achieve future shared prosperity and peace around the world. COVID-19 has shown us how interconnected the world is, and how vulnerable we are to global challenges. Aid is vital for overcoming these global challenges, saving lives, and building resilience overseas, which protects us at home too.

Worryingly, the UK Government has recently announced a reduction in vital support to Yemen. It pledged to provide at least £87 million in aid to Yemen over the course of the financial year 2021-22, which is a significant decrease from the £160 million it pledged last year. This is a time when Yemeni people need help the most, as the United Nations has estimated that over 16 million people in Yemen will be facing crisis levels of food insecurity by mid-2021. We must do more to support them.

Following the UK Government’s decision to reduce aid to Yemen, I am very concerned about the other priorities where aid spending will be reduced this year.

I am proud of Britain’s reputation as a global leader on aid. That is why constituents can be rest assured, I will continue to oppose the decision to reduce the UK’s aid budget, making views known in Parliament.

Stephen Morgan MP

 

 

, , , , ,

A time to say thanks: Portsmouth MP celebrates work of local volunteers

Stephen Morgan MP is joining local charities in thanking volunteers for their hard work in supporting people and communities across Portsmouth, as part of Volunteers’ Week 2021.

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration – now in its 37th year – of the contribution and dedication of millions of volunteers who give up their time in the service of others.

The Portsmouth representative has worked with a wide range of charities supported by local volunteers throughout the lockdown, including HIVE Portsmouth, which has helped to provide food and other essentials for the most vulnerable in the local community, with some of its volunteers also helping to support the local vaccination effort.

Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said,

“Throughout this pandemic, volunteers in Portsmouth have played a crucial role in supporting those most in need.

“They have got on with the job at hand, a lot of the time without praise and expecting nothing in return, to help the most vulnerable in our society. They really are some of the best of us.

“This week, it is important we recognise their incredible dedication this Volunteers’ Week, and say, thank you!”

Sarah Vibert, interim chief executive at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), which supports the coordination of Volunteers’ Week, said:

“Volunteers’ Week is about recognising all of those who have delivered vital work as volunteers over the past 12 months. We should acknowledge the huge number of first-time volunteers in communities around the country, and also say thank you to all those who usually volunteer but have not been able to because of the pandemic.

“Volunteers are always working at the heart of every UK community. It is hard to overstate the incredible impact they have made during an incredibly challenging year.

“The pandemic has highlighted how much we need each other as a society. Charities and volunteering enable us to put that need into action and remain at the heart of our communities through the best and worst times. As a result of the incredible impact that volunteers have had during the pandemic, and continue to have in the recovery efforts, more people than ever are aware of the immense contribution being made every single day by the amazing volunteers across the UK.

“We must ensure this recognition continues. That is why, on this 37th annual Volunteers’ Week, it’s time to say: thank you volunteers!”

Mr Morgan worked alongside HIVE volunteers earlier this year in its work to support the local vaccination effort and wrote out to 50 supermarkets and local stores across Portsmouth, asking them to allow time for Hive volunteers to access priority goods for older people before shelves can be stripped, as well as allowing access to food and essentials at priority times to ensure that foodbank shelves do not become too depleted.

, , , , ,

City MP steps up efforts to bring back Southsea parkrun

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has this week taken action to ensure that Southsea parkrun can restart safely.

Responding to concerns raised by the volunteer-led organisation, as well as local residents, Mr Morgan wrote to Public Health Minister Jo Churchill earlier this week.

In the letter, Mr Morgan wrote of the huge ‘physical and mental health’ benefits parkrun provides and urged the government to clarify that it was able to take place once again in line with the roadmap and clinical evidence on Covid transmission.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has now confirmed that parkrun’s plans “follow all the guidelines set out by the government to keep people safe and there is no reason they can’t now take place.” He also urged local councils to do “whatever it takes” to get them back up and running.

Today Mr Morgan met the City Council’s Director of Culture to raise these concerns and find a way to ensure the much-loved community event returns. It is hoped that the event will go ahead on 5 June as planned using an alternative route close-by.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

 “I’ve seen first-hand the enormous physical and mental health benefits Southsea’s parkrun provides. People really need this as we emerge from the pandemic.

“The events follow all government and clinical guidance, so there should be no barriers to our local runners getting back out there.

“I will continue to work with Ministers and the council to get these events running again as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

, , , , ,

Portsmouth MP backs Walk to School Week campaign

Stephen Morgan MP has praised pupils in Portsmouth South this week as they celebrate the strides they have made to improve air quality and get active by walking to school, as part of Walk to School Week (17-21 May 2021).

Walk to School Week is organised by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking. It encourages families to walk, wheel, cycle or scoot to school and see the big differences that come from small steps, from healthier and happier children to fewer cars outside the school gates.

A generation ago, 70 per cent of children walked to school, now it’s less than half. The Government has recognised the importance of walking to school and has set a target to get 55 per cent of primary school pupils walking to school by 2025.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said: 

“Walk to School Week gives children the chance to enjoy fresh air and exercise. It reduces congestion, improves road safety and means we have cleaner air and less problem parking around schools.

“I am proud to support Walk to School Week as it provides a fantastic opportunity for families in Portsmouth to give walking to school a go and see how they could make a more permanent change to their travel plans. “

Mary Creagh, Chief Executive, Living Streets added:  

“Walk to School Week is a fun, inclusive, free and simple activity, which improves the physical and mental wellbeing of children and celebrates walking for all.   

“Pupils enjoy the health and happiness that comes from walking, while schools and local communities enjoy reduced congestion and pollution.

“We’re thrilled that families nationwide are joining us this week and enjoying the fresh air, fun, freedom, and friendship that walking to school brings.”

, , , , , ,

Portsmouth MP calls on the Government to ‘Cure the Care System’ during Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week

This Dementia Action Week (May 17-23) Stephen Morgan MP is joining Alzheimer’s Society in asking the Government to #CuretheCareSystem.

It’s been a devastating year for people affected by dementia. Right now, in Portsmouth and across the UK, nearly a million families are struggling to take care of their loved ones with the dignity and support they deserve. Decades of under-funding have led to a system that is difficult to access, costly, inadequate and unfair. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed these problems like never before.

More than 35,000 people with dementia have died of COVID-19 – around one in four of all UK deaths – making those with the condition the worst hit by the pandemic. Meanwhile, many people living with dementia have experienced a significant deterioration in their condition due, in large part, to interrupted health and social care.

According to Portsmouth Pensioners Association, £160m has been removed from the Adult Social Care budget in Portsmouth since 2015 as part of austerity measures, which falls far short of what’s needed to meet demand in our city.

Over the last two years, 1,500 people in Portsmouth in the medium to lower needs group have had their social care removed to make budget savings.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“I’m proud to support Dementia Action Week and Alzheimer’s Society’s calls for the government to announce its plans and commitments for social care reform as a matter of urgency.

“NHS care is provided according to need and is free at the point of use. As a matter of fairness, dementia care must be delivered on the same principle.

“Many people in Portsmouth are affected by dementia, and they deserve to be able to access the person-centred care and support they need to live well. That’s why we need to cure the care system now.”

An Alzheimer’s Society spokesperson added:

“Dementia does not just impact on the person diagnosed. It claims more than one life as families battle for the right care for themselves and their loved ones.

“Our findings paint a bleak picture. Family carers are exhausted, with more than 40% putting in more than 100 caring hours per week.

“People with dementia and their loved ones have told us they simply aren’t getting the care and support they need. Sadly, too many family carers reach a point of crisis before receiving help.”

It comes after last week Mr Morgan wrote to the Prime Minister last week sharing the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association, about the level of social care provision in the city.

He has also held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care, regularly submitted a range of written parliamentary questions on the issue and backed Labour’s National Care Service policy proposed in 2019.

, , , , , , ,

Stephen Morgan MP opens new community pop-up shop open in Landport

Stephen Morgan MP opened the Landport Larder today, where residents can now purchase food for a fraction of the cost of supermarkets thanks to a new community pop-up shop.

For just £3.50 a week, people can select 10 items from a selection of tins, chilled items, and fresh fruit and veg. This would cost an average of £15 from the supermarket.

The larder has been set up by Enable Ability at Landport Community Centre, with support from Abri, one of the south of England’s largest housing providers.

The Landport Larder will be open Tuesdays, from 10am – 1pm at Landport Community Centre.

Customers will need to bring a bag to take items home in and will need to wear a mask while in the centre.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“It’s great to see initiatives like the Landport Larder offer much needed support to our communities.

While we know that the pandemic has hit us all hard, it has also brought communities together, supporting each other and coming up with new, creative ways to help others.

I hope we see more initiatives like this to create a positive legacy for what has been a hard time for us all.”

Paula Windebank, Community Development Officer at Abri, added:

“We’re proud to support the Landport Larder and help our community access fresh, healthy, affordable food.

It’s part of our five-year £15m investment to create thriving communities and empower lives, making sure we’re delivering change where it’s needed most.”

, , ,

Portsmouth MP welcomes back ‘Boxing for the Brain’ initiative to support mental health

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed back local initiative ‘Boxing for the Brain’, a network that aims to support mental health in the community, as its partner boxing gym opened its doors for the first time today, post-lockdown.

Based at local boxing gym ‘Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy’, the initiative offers drop-in support sessions, talks on mental health and a range of courses to offer something for everyone.

It comes as the city MP supported the boxing gym’s recent application for £10,000 of community funding for improvements to its existing facilities and planned expansion to create a better environment to support its community outreach sessions.

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, who visited the boxing gym to learn more about its work today, commented:

“Boxing for the Brain is a fantastic programme that provides support to all those in the community who may be struggling with their mental health.

“It is really important that as restrictions slowly begin to ease that we recognise the importance of how our physical fitness goes hand-in-hand with our mental fitness too, as I know from my postbag the impact the latest lockdown has had on many people’s mental health.”

“Investing in projects like these is critical to supporting the wellbeing of our local community and will play a critical role in our city’s overall recovery from this pandemic.”

Mr Morgan met with the founder of Boxing for the Brain in Parliament early last year to offer his support.

Since then he has visited the project at Fort Cumberland before the first lockdown last March, met with those involved since and is supporting the project by being an ambassador.

For more information about the project visit www.boxingforthebrain.co.uk

, , , ,

Stephen Morgan MP backs Southsea businessman Kevin Watkins’ sail across the Atlantic

City MP Stephen Morgan has thrown his weight behind local businessman Kevin Watkins’ efforts to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to raise funds for Action Medical Research’s Born Too Soon campaign.

The charity aims to highlight the impact premature birth has on babies and their families and to help fund research that can save lives.

Kevin Watkins, who runs Southsea Cycles along Albert Road, has enlisted the support of Stephen Morgan MP and local campaigner Charlotte Gerada to promote the proposed gruelling event for charity and inspire the city’s communities to learn more.

Bringing the 28-foot boat to his neighbour on Albert Road, Southsea, Kevin showed the Portsmouth South MP the equipment which will get the team across the Atlantic, starting in the Canary Islands and finishing in the Caribbean.

After meeting the ‘Elijah Star’ crew and learning more about the adventure, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I am delighted to support Kevin and his crew as they raise money to power research to prevent premature birth.

“As a local businessman and former Royal Navy Marine Engineer, Kevin’s efforts are rooted in our Portsmouth community.

“With ten per cent of all births being premature, I would encourage everyone to consider donating so we can combat the biggest killer of children under five.

“I look forward to working together to inspire local communities, attract donations and raise awareness for this fantastic cause before the crew set off in December next year.”

To find out more visit https://elijahstar.com. The City MP has vowed to help the crew by taking the message to local schools.

, , , ,

City MP highlights funding for Portsmouth charities

Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, has urged local charities and good causes to apply for funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Over 3,500 grassroots organisations in Britain will receive a share of almost £17 million this year.

Local projects can apply for funding from the Postcode Society Trust which is for organisations operating in the south of England. Registered charities can apply for up to £20,000 of funding, which is available for both project-based and core costs.

Applications will be accepted every month until October 2021.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Over the last year many charities across Portsmouth have responded to the pandemic by working to support and protect our city’s communities. Yet the last year has also been a difficult time for charity fundraising.

“The funds raised by People’s Postcode Lottery players and available to local charities are therefore a great chance for local organisations to secure funding.

“Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have already raised over £700 million for good causes and I would love to see some more successful applicants from our area so I urge all local charities and community groups to consider submitting an application.”

People’s Postcode Lottery’s head of public affairs, Malcolm Fleming said:

“People’s Postcode Lottery players are making a massive difference to charities across the country and we are delighted that this year the funding available for local charities should more than double.

“We urge all interested organisations to visit the trust website to find out more about the funding available and how to submit an application.”

As a commitment to supporting smaller good causes, applications will only be accepted from organisations with an annual income of less than £1 million. Preference will be given to those with an income less than £500,000.

More information, including a funding guide and eligibility quiz, can be found on the trust’s website: www.postcodesocietytrust.org.uk