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Portsmouth South MP thanks National Lottery players for helping to support local communities

Stephen Morgan MP has thanked National Lottery players for their role in raising much-needed funding for local charities and community groups.

The heartfelt thank you came as local groups in his constituency of Portsmouth South received £472,851of National Lottery funding since November, supporting their communities as they seek to overcome social and economic challenges caused by the pandemic and build back stronger.

The City MP welcomes the grants and wants more local good causes to apply for National Lottery funding, saying it could be a lifeline as local people and communities rebuild from the impact of the pandemic.

Groups to have benefitted so far include Pompey in the Community, The Good Mental Health CIC and Citizens Advice Portsmouth.

The funding is being distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players. National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK.

Information about how to apply for funding can be found at The National Lottery Community Fund’s website: www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk

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

“It’s heartening to see how the community has benefited from £472,851 of National Lottery funding in Portsmouth South. These groups are inspirational in the great work and support they provide to local people through what have been some extremely difficult times.

“This year is an opportunity for community spirit to continue to shine as the UK hosts the Commonwealth Games and commemorates Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. In 2022, communities will on build on this celebratory spirit by coming together to grow stronger relationships.”

John Mothersole, Chair of England Funding Committee at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“It’s fantastic to see that National Lottery Community funding is being used nationally by more than 13,000 charities and community groups, to address issues at the heart of communities, including employability, mental health, supporting young people and building connections to tackle loneliness. Our funding is continuing to have a significant impact on people’s lives across the country, helping to address priorities for both local communities and the UK as a whole and supporting them to build back stronger from COVID-19.”

In the last 12 months, The National Lottery Community Fund has given out nearly £600 million to 12,500 organisations reaching every local authority and constituency in the UK.

To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk

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City MP meets refugees with Portsmouth charity City of Sanctuary

Stephen Morgan MP has met with local refugees during a meeting with charity Portsmouth City of Sanctuary.

During his visit, the City MP also toured some of the facilities used by the charity to support refugees with their cases, as well as meeting Trustee and Founder, Shamila Dhana, to discuss ongoing issues and challenges.

Portsmouth City of Sanctuary runs a number of projects in Portsmouth for asylum seekers and refugees, including projects to promote integration, reduce social isolation for migrants in the city, build skills, empower, and promote friendship, volunteering and well-being amongst migrants.

The organisation is currently running gardening projects, bicycle projects, walks, dance sessions, and football sessions in the city.

It comes following the government’s announcement of its intention to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing, despite the Refugee Minister Richard Harrington MP saying only the week before that there was ‘no possibility’ of it happening.

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

“The work Portsmouth City of Sanctuary is doing is vital, helping to ensure the city plays its part to support those fleeing persecution.

“It was useful to meet with refugees here in Portsmouth, and speaking to them it is clear government needs to do more to support them and their families, who have been forced into such desperate circumstances.

“I was also really grateful for the opportunity to speak with Shamila and her team to learn more about the current issues and challenges they face.”

The city MP is backing the charity in encouraging local people to donate any women’s bicycles to support asylum seekers and an ask for more volunteers to help with English classes. If any constituent can help in this way they should get in touch with Mr Morgan or the City of Sanctuary team directly.

Following a number of local groups and constituents getting in touch with Mr Morgan about the government’s proposed Rwanda Asylum Processing Plan and announced changes to the Border Force,  the city MP commented:

“The proposal to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is a desperate and shameful attempt by Mr Johnson to distract from his own law breaking.

“It is an unworkable, unethical and extortionate policy that would cost the UK taxpayer billions of pounds during a cost-of-living crisis, and would make it harder not easier to get fast and fair asylum decisions.

“The Royal Navy are critical to our defence and national security, and should be left to concentrate on the growing threat from Russia, not forced to fix the failures of Conservative ministers.”

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Portsmouth MP joins ‘inspirational’ charity sending supplies to Ukrainian families

Stephen Morgan MP joined ‘inspirational’ local charity Parenting Network as the organisation packed final supplies to be sent to Ukrainian families this weekend.

Based in the Portsmouth Guildhall, Parenting Network has gathered more than 500 boxes of essential supplies in a single day following a call for support.

So far, more than £3,000 in funding has been raised, and all donated supplies are planned to be sent to the Polish-Ukrainian border later this week.

Matt Foster, chief executive of the charity, will be leading the contingent of three people to eastern Europe, making sure the aid reaches those who need it.

Packages include blankets, nappies, baby wipes, toiletries, baby comforters, sanitary items and other essentials.

All financial donations will go to buying more aid items when the team is on the Polish-Ukrainian border, or to fuel the lorries transporting the parcels.

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

 Portsmouth has been deeply moved by the suffering caused by the unprovoked and unjustifiable attack on Ukraine and its citizens, and I have received so many enquiries from constituents wanting to know how they can show their solidarity and support.

“The generosity of our city always shines through in times of crises.

“That’s why I am so pleased that our city’s own Parenting Network are bringing people together to help deliver essential supplies to the people of Ukraine.

“I’ve been promoting opportunities for local people to give what they can and was glad to see first-hand this evening how they are working to pack their final donations.

“My huge thanks to Matt and his team for helping our city support the people of Ukraine in their hour of need.”

To donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/aid4ukraine

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Portsmouth MP questions Ministers on national support for ‘vital services’ like Fratton’s MAKE

Stephen Morgan MP questioned Ministers in the House of Commons today on how the government is supporting social enterprises like Fratton’s MAKE, that have supported vulnerable people during the pandemic.

During Men’s Health Week last year, the Portsmouth MP paid a visit to ‘Breakfast OK’, held at Fratton-based social enterprise MAKE, which offers a chance for men to meet up and have a chat, rant or simply share their experiences with others in a relaxed environment over breakfast.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, in England, around one in eight men has a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

But social enterprises across the country are demonstrating their resilience in helping to tackle social issues. In spite of acute challenges, including difficulties accessing support, Social Enterprise UK says 65% are now expecting to retain their position or grow (compared to all SMEs who experienced around 50% turnover growth in the last 12 months), and only 1% expect to close (compared to 11% of business as a whole).

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

“Social Enterprises like MAKE are doing vital work to support communities through the pandemic and are showing they have an important role to play in providing services that many vulnerable people depend on.

“Government is failing to recognise this, and these organisations are being held back by the lack of support from Ministers.

“I will continue to push for the support MAKE and others deserve in Westminster to ensure those who need help get the support they require as we recover from Covid-19.”

Breakfast OK runs every Saturday from 10am-12pm at MAKE, 1 Cornwall Rd, Fratton, PO1 5AA.

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City MP discusses mental health with All Call Signs ahead of Remembrance Sunday

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan visited award-winning forces mental health initiative ‘All Call Signs’ to discuss their work and highlight Labour’s pledge to veterans ahead of Remembrance Sunday.   

The Shadow Armed Forces Minister highlighted the importance of improving ongoing mental health support for personnel and veterans, particularly given events in Afghanistan this year.

It comes as Labour announced £35 million fund to support British veterans and Afghan interpreters.

The funding, recovered from cancelled MoD interpreter contracts, will be used for grants to charities and Local Authorities in England to provide mental health support services and support for those Afghan nationals who have relocated to the UK through the ARAP scheme.

Calls to veteran’s mental health charity Combat Stress have doubled since the Taliban swept to power. At the same time, its income has fallen by 37% in the last financial year partly due to cuts in NHS funding support.

Research last year found only 26% of charities thought that the government supports the mental health of veterans, and 79% of charities believe that the responsibility to support veterans should lie more with the government and armed forces.

All Calls Signs, based on Albert Road in Southsea, provide peer support organisation for veterans and serving military personnel.

Their chat app is staffed by over 700 volunteer listeners with experience of life in uniform with digital caseworkers bridging the gaps in veteran’s mental health services for hundreds of users seeking help.

Portsmouth South MP and Shadow Armed Forces Minister Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I’ve long been a proud supporter of All Call Signs’ innovative work to support serving personnel and veterans across our country, and am really proud this organisation is based in Portsmouth.

“This year our armed forces have stepped up once again to protect us at home and abroad. Events in Afghanistan have taken an understandable toll on both serving personnel and veterans, so Remembrance is a timely reminder that we must keep our promise to support those who have fought for our country.

“Recent government announcements on mental health are a drop in the ocean whilst the uncertainty surrounding future funding for the Office of Veterans Affairs threatens to pull the rug from under our personnel when they need it most.

“Labour’s new support fund of £35 million will make sure we protect those who protect our country and keep us all safe.”

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City MP backs Guide Dogs campaign on the use of e-scooters

Stephen Morgan MP has backed a campaign led by the Guide Dogs charity to raise awareness of the danger that unsafe e-scooter use poses for people with sight loss.

Portsmouth is currently one of the cities in England trialling an e-scooter rental scheme to help the government to determine whether they can be used legally more widely across the country. However, there has been a boom in sales of privately-owned e-scooters which are not legal to use on public roads – yet their use is widespread.

YouGov polling produced for the charity Guide Dogs showed that 92% of people who had seen an e-scooter in the past 6 months, had seen one driven on the pavement. E-scooters driven unsafely on the pavement cause problems for many pedestrians, but people with sight loss who cannot see an e-scooter approach are particularly at risk.

The Portsmouth MP has written to the Home Secretary on the issue after his constituents raised similar concerns, as well as requesting further detail on government plans to protect and regulate against the continued illegal use and sale of e-scooters for use in public spaces and roads.

Mr Morgan will also be meeting the local provider of the e-scooter scheme to raise matters with them too.

Stephen Morgan MP is supporting Guide Dogs’ call for a public information campaign to stop the illegal use of e-scooters.

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

“It is clear from conversations with constituents that e-scooters pose a risk to some vulnerable people.

“The government has got to come forward with a clear strategy on how it plans to better protect those most at risk to e-scooters, whether that’s through local rental schemes or illegal use of ones that are privately owned.

“That’s why I’m supporting the Guide Dogs’ campaign and will continue to keep pressure on government, in addition to the range of actions I have taken already on this important issue.”

Chris Theobald, Senior Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns Manager for Guide Dogs, said:

“We have seen alarming reports of unsafe and anti-social behaviour, pedestrians injured in collisions, and illegal private e-scooter use increasing. 68% of guide dog owners have told us that e-scooters reduce their confidence to leave the house.

“It’s essential that pavements are kept clear and safe. That’s why we’re asking for better enforcement, controls on sales, and safety features if they are to be legalised.”

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World Mental Health Day – message from Stephen Morgan MP

Today is World Mental Health Day and Mind, the mental health charity, is encouraging everyone to ‘Do One Thing’ to reduce mental health inequality.

The pandemic has had a profound effect on our nation’s mental health. Covid-19 has been just as much a mental health emergency as a physical one. Right now, there is a backlog of around 1.6 million people officially waiting for treatment from mental health services, with private estimates from the sector suggesting around 8 million more would benefit from treatment.

We also know that existing inequalities have been exacerbated by the pandemic, disproportionately impacting young people, people from ethnic minority communities and those in financial hardship.

People with pre-existing mental health problems have been amongst those most severely affected. Two thirds of people with mental health problems told Mind that their mental health has deteriorated since the start of the pandemic – facing increased complexity of needs, worsening physical health and disruption to support. But we can change this.

This World Mental Health Day, I’m encouraging everyone to ‘do one thing’. As Mind say ‘If we all do one thing, we can change everything’. Whether you use social media or speak with friend, family, or colleagues, do one thing.

I hope that you and your family find the information below useful and I urge all constituents to get involved this World Mental Health Day.

Stephen Morgan MP

 

Access information and support

One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any one year. There is a range of support available both locally and nationally to help.

  • A range of resources on our website specifically focussed on looking after your mental health in the workplace. Click here
  • Mind’s “how to manage stress guide” is for anyone who wants to learn how to manage stress. It explains what stress is, what might cause it and how it can affect you. It also includes information about ways you can help yourself and how to get support, as well as providing tips for those around you. Click here
  • Mind’s introduction to mental health problems explains what mental health problems are and the different kinds of help, treatment and support that are available. Click here
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Portsmouth MP labels Portsea Men’s Shed a ‘vital community hub’ following its recent move

Stephen Morgan MP has labelled Portsea Men’s Shed a ‘vital community hub’ to give local men an opportunity to make new friends and make a contribution locally.

It comes following it’s reopening in Portsea in June, after a lengthy period of searching for a new operational base following its departure from its original site at St George’s Church.

The city MP has helped the charity ensure a bright future since being elected, securing funding for the project via the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) und and supporting the projects by volunteers in other ways.

The regular members of Portsea Men’s Shed have been busy fitting out tools and workbenches as they look forward to opening up for new members and carrying out community projects.

Visiting today, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented:

“It’s great to be back with Portsea Men’s Shed at the new home in our city.

“After previously working to secure local community funding for this fantastic project, I’m glad to see it being able to continue to provide the important opportunities and programmes to local residents as it always has.

“The last 18 months have left many people feeling isolated and cut-off from the rest of the world, which is why Portsea Men’s Shed is so important for helping local residents reconnect with the community, whilst offering them a real chance to help others in a meaningful way.”

It is understood the project is looking for new members.

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City MP works alongside support charity helping Portsmouth families ‘achieve their potential’

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has spent the day working alongside frontline family support charity Home-Start to see the difference they are making to parents and children.

The independent family support charity offers trained volunteer support to parents experiencing postnatal depression, isolation, illness, bereavement or family breakdown.

Established in 1992, it has supported thousands of families across the city.

The Portsmouth South representative met parents and volunteers working with the service to hear about the support being provided and the positive impact it has had on their family life.

One family from Somerstown had benefited from the group’s ‘Big Hopes Big Future’ programme, which works with children in the year before they start school. A trained volunteer is matched with  the family and visits them for 12 week, offering support to develop the child’s key skills and routines to help children settle in to their new school.

Jo Toms, Operations Manager, Home-Start Portsmouth:

“After a year like no other, we are very grateful to Stephen Morgan who shadowed our work and met with families, volunteers, and staff of Home-Start Portsmouth, highlighting how the pandemic has had an impact on parents and young children.

“It’s good for parents to feel listened to and share their experiences and stories of the last year.

“I am incredibly proud of our service, the support we offer to Portsmouth families, the staff team but most of all our volunteers who have continued to offer face to face visits, doorstep drops, telephone calls, texts and Zoom calls throughout.

“We have been there for families and it was important to showcase what our volunteers do and the difference they make.”

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Home-Start have been a vital frontline service for local families during a period of unprecedented challenges for our City.  

“The pandemic has unfortunately meant isolation, bereavement and loss of income and have become increasingly common, but Home-Start helps lift up children and parents so they can achieve their potential.

“It was a privilege to work alongside their dedicated volunteers today and see first-hand the positive impact their invaluable work is making to homes in our city.”

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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.