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Portsmouth MP relaunches advice centre with local charity as city steps up response to Afghan crisis 

Stephen Morgan MP has relaunched one of his regular advice centres with local charity Friends without Borders to provide a more direct route for those in his constituency seeking shelter and support.

The charity, which provides support for asylum seekers within the Portsmouth area, will host the Portsmouth representative and a member of his casework team once a month for a dedicated 90-minute surgery for local asylum seekers.

It comes as the city steps up its response to support those fleeing the humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in Afghanistan. Portsmouth City Council has welcomed at least three families so far, with a further six expected over the next few weeks.

Mr Morgan’s office has been dealing with dozens and dozens of cases in recent weeks, liaising with the Home Office and relevant government departments to ensure those that are eligible get the urgent support they need.

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

“I know our city will be wanting to play its part in supporting those families that have had to leave Afghanistan, as well as those fleeing many other humanitarian crises unfolding at the moment.

“In addition to the recent influx of Afghan related cases my office has been dealing with, I’m glad to be able to once again set up my monthly face-to-face advice centre at Friends without Borders, who have done tremendous work over the years.

“It’s so important those who need it most get access to the support and benefits they need from government. I will be doing all I can to support them in the weeks and months ahead.”

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Stephen Morgan MP launches 2021’s search for community stars with Fratton Big Local

Stephen Morgan MP, in partnership with Fratton Big Local, has launched this year’s ‘Inspiring Fratton’ awards, which seeks to celebrate the achievements of people in Fratton.

The Portsmouth representative, who was born and raised in Fratton and attended local schools, co-created the awards with Fratton Big Local three years ago.

Fratton Big Local is a ‘Big Lottery’ funded 10-year project which aims to make lasting improvements to Fratton.

Run by a partnership of local residents, the scheme makes decisions about how to spend the funding, based on engagement and conversations with local key groups and those living in the area.

Awards categories are split between over 18s and under 18s, ranging from best community volunteer, to the best café or takeway on Fratton Road.

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, said:

“Born and bred in Fratton I’ve always believed the area is a strong and resilient community, but the last 18 months have tested every resident, in every part of this area.

“When, three years ago, I set up the Inspiring Fratton awards with Fratton Big Local, we never thought our community would be tested in the way it has in recent months.

“That’s why the Inspiring Fratton awards are even more important this year. They allow our community to come together and celebrate achievements, highlighting the unsung heroes in Fratton who have gone above and beyond, making a positive and lasting legacy for our community.

“I urge everyone in Fratton to nominate local people, groups and small businesses to win this year’s awards. It’s time to recognise our area’s heroes.”

If you think you know someone who makes Fratton shine a bit brighter, please nominate using the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DD67N3F

Nominations close on the 29th October 2021 and the awards will be presented on the 3rd December 2021.

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Portsmouth Labour launch survey amid social care crisis

Portsmouth Labour Party has launched an online survey for local residents to provide their views on the mounting social care crisis.

Results from the short questionnaire will inform a dossier of evidence Stephen Morgan MP and the local party is preparing to lobby the Health Secretary for change.

It comes following reports that Ministers are considering a rise in national insurance to pay for an overhaul of the UK’s social care system. This would be a direct breach of the 2019 Tory election manifesto promise not to raise taxes.

According to Portsmouth Pensioners Association, £160m has been removed from the Adult Social Care budget in Portsmouth since 2015.

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 survey is the latest in a string of actions the City MP has taken locally and in Parliament.

Mr Morgan has long campaigned for Government to tackle the crisis in social care and has been sharing the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association with Ministers.

Portsmouth Labour has also been taking action on the city council to ensure care users get the support they need.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The pandemic has brutally exposed the crisis in our social care system. The virus quickly took hold of an ill-equipped, underfunded and poorly coordinated sector, creating searing inequality for carers and devastating effects on individuals and families.

“It has been more than two years since the Prime Minister stood on the steps of Downing Street and claimed he had a solution, but as ever with this government it is big on promises, low on delivery.

“I’m proud to launch this survey alongside Cllr Kirsty Mellor and look forward to working across the community to find the right solutions to one of the greatest challenges facing our society.”

Cllr Kirsty Mellor, Portsmouth Labour’s social care spokesperson added:

“While we welcome the recognition from the government that significantly more resources are needed to relieve the social care crisis, it is disappointing to see that announcement of any details have yet again been delayed! We’re campaigning locally to identify what actions can be taken by the council to respond to the urgency of the situation.”

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‘Portsmouth’s GCSE students deserve huge credit, but they’ve been let down’ – local MP during results day visit

Stephen Morgan MP congratulated local GCSE students during a visit to ARK Charter Academy on Thursday for ‘overcoming huge obstacles’, despite disruption to their learning, after multiple lockdowns over the past 18 months.

The Portsmouth MP was speaking to students, parents and staff at the city school, as results were collected, to learn more about the challenges they have faced over the last year and a half and what more can be done to improve education in Portsmouth.

Children across the South East have missed an estimated 101 days of in-person school – over half a normal school year – but the Conservatives’ meagre education ‘catch-up’ plan provides just £0.93 per child for every day of in-person school missed.

Meanwhile, Labour’s £15 billion Child Recovery plan would invest £982 million into the South East to ensure all schools can deliver a new range of activities and support – from sports to drama or music – to fuel post lockdown recovery, whilst starting to address entrenched learning gap which sees children on free school meals falling behind their peers.

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

“GCSE students across Portsmouth deserve enormous credit for their achievements and hard work over the last year and a half, despite the challenges they faced only made worse by this government’s actions.

“From delaying a circuit breaker that led to more hours of lost learning, to a ‘catch-up plan’ that doesn’t even touch the sides, Portsmouth’s students, parents and teachers have been left by the wayside by this government.

“I’m incredibly proud of the determination and achievements of Portsmouth’s students this year, as I have heard first-hand today, but to recover from this pandemic and challenging period, this generation needs far more support from Government.”

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City MP: Portsmouth must harness the success of the Olympics to deliver the next generation of talent

Stephen Morgan MP wants to ensure Portsmouth and the country harnesses the success of Tokyo 2020 to deliver the next generation of Olympic talent from the local grassroots level.

It comes following a visit to Portsmouth Northsea Swimming Club, on training at the Mountbatten Centre, which since 1927 has been delivering swimming courses and training for all abilities, from beginners to national level competitive swimmers.

The club is one of the leading swimming clubs in the UK and has produced a number of Olympic swimmers, including Katy Sexton, Gemma Spofforth and Paralympic athlete Lauren Steadman.

Its objective is to deliver swimming provision for the community and to return the club to the topflight of national swimming clubs.

Earlier this year, the club raised over £25k through crowd funding, grants and support from local businesses and individuals, which will be used to plug the gap in its finances caused by the lockdowns.

Meanwhile, with the action underway at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, and following the gold medal win for Team GB’s Adam Peaty in in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke, and Tom Daley and Matty Lee in the Men’s Synchronised 10m Platform, the Portsmouth South MP is hoping the Olympics will leave local people #InspiredToTry swimming.

Following the visit, Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“I am really proud of the journey Portsmouth Northsea Swimming Club has been on from humble beginnings in a local pub, to a club that caters for swimmers at all levels.

“It’s really encouraging to learn how our community has come together to keep this fantastic asset going during lockdown despite the challenges of the pandemic, and to see first-hand the difference this support makes.

“Team GB have had an amazing games in the pool inspiring a new generation of swimmers. This Olympics legacy must include creating a country that puts health, physical and mental, first.

“I hope the excitement of Tokyo 2020 will provide the motivation for many Portsmouth people to be ‘Inspired To Try’ swimming which brings so many health benefits”.

Swim England has forecasted a 40% reduction in the number of available swimming facilities by the end of the decade. This would see over three million people unable to access their sports.

The city MP has vowed to challenge Government and other decision-makers over this.

 

 

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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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Support for young people ‘vital’ for city’s recovery as local MP tours new hub to boost youth employment

Stephen Morgan MP has underlined the importance of young people getting the support they need to find their route to employment as the city begins its economic recovery.

It comes following the Portsmouth MP’s visit to a new hub in the city that has been launched to directly support young people aged 16-24 on Universal Credit to find work.

My Future in Portsmouth Youth Hub is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), paying for 3 full time staff through Portsmouth City Council and allocating 2 part-time DWP Work Coaches.

The age groups are particularly vulnerable to the economic impact of the pandemic, with over 1,900 young people included, representing 19% of Universal Credit claimants. This level has been consistent since the middle of last year and compares to pre-Covid averages of around 720 young people.

The hub is a ‘one-stop service’ that helps job seekers aged between 16 and 24 to find work, by:

• Helping people into work (CV updating, job searching, writing applications and cover letters and preparing for interviews)
• Confidence building
• Health and wellbeing
• Housing
• Managing debt
• Accessing benefits
• Mental health support
• Health and wellbeing advice
• Discussing options, including: Kickstart, apprenticeships, traineeships, adult education and paid employment.

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

“Young people have been amongst the worst affected by the pandemic, so I’m really glad to see authorities working together to help provide the support they need to secure their futures and our city’s recovery.

“My Future in Portsmouth Youth Hub will provide a really important service for local young people to find the work they need, many of whom will be looking to get their first job in tough circumstances, so my thanks to those in Portsmouth who have helped to put this into action.”

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Portsmouth MP continues work with police to tackle crime in visit to contact ‘nerve centre’

Stephen Morgan MP has visited the Constabulary’s contact management centre in Southampton as he continues to support the fight against hate crime, violence and anti-social behaviour, amid rising concerns.

The contact management teams, operated by Hampshire Constabulary, works alongside Thames Valley Police, taking emergency 999 calls and handling non-emergency contact via the 101 service.

Those in the Contact Management Centre are responsible for recording detailed crime reports, filing intelligence and managing other general enquiries.

It comes following a decade of cuts to the Police, with workforce figures showing that Hampshire constabulary has just 135 officers per 100,000 people, the lowest of any force in the country.

Hampshire’s Chief Constable has also confirmed that underfunding means police responses have to be rationed.

Meanwhile, Labour has launched its national ‘Safer Communities’ campaign, pledging to crack down on anti-social behaviour and end violence against women and girls.

The visit today took place after the city MP hosted a round table discussion with community groups and campaigners earlier this year with regards to tackling violence against women and girls and efforts to end hate crime.

Mr Morgan was joined on the visit by members of local group Chat Over Chai and Portsmouth’s District Commander.

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

“Residents tell me that hate crime, violence and anti-social behaviour are growing concerns, so I’ve visited Hampshire Constabulary’s contact nerve centre to see how police are working to tackle this.

“Officers have been working tirelessly to keep us safe during the uncertainty of the pandemic and I want to thank them all for their efforts. But increasingly we see they are being let down by central government.”

“A decade of cuts has left police doing more with less. We still have fewer officers than we did a decade ago, and we know that is having an impact on the safety and security of our neighbourhoods. It’s little wonder the Police Federation now has no confidence in the Home Secretary.

“This government needs to cut the gimmicks and get serious about tackling crime in our communities.”

Earlier this month Stephen Morgan launched a city-wide survey to better understand local views and challenges for crime and safety in Portsmouth.

 

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Stephen Morgan visits Fratton Park to urge Portsmouth people to ‘play their part’ in getting jab

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has today urged anyone in the city aged 18 years and over to ‘play their part’ and take up the vaccine following a visit to pop up vaccination clinic at Fratton Park this weekend.

The clinic which was ran by Solent NHS Trust, in partnership with Portsmouth FC and Portsmouth City Council, is part of a wider effort to ensure everyone who is eligible has access to the vaccination.

Individuals were able to get their first or second dose (if it has been eight weeks since their first dose) of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine. Second doses of the Moderna vaccine are also being offered at St James’ Hospital.

Following the visit to Fratton Park today (Sunday 25 July), to encourage take up, Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South said:

“In the UK only 58% of people aged 18-25 have had their first dose according to new Public Health England data, despite all adults having been offered the jab.

I welcome the efforts of Solent NHS Trust, the city council and others working together to make it as easy as possible for local people to take the vaccination. It has been great to see this first hand at Fratton Park today, and I thank the football club for helping our community in this way.

It is clear that the vaccination programme is our best route out of the challenges we face today, so my message to those who are yet to take up the vaccine offer is simple: To protect you, your loved ones and your friends, please play your part and get the jab”.

Stephanie Clark, Portsmouth vaccination lead at Solent NHS Trust, said:

“We are delighted to be offering Covid-19 vaccinations at pop-up clinics around the city.

“It’s important that we offer as many people the opportunity to receive their life-saving jabs and we hope that by hosting these clinics in iconic locations across Portsmouth, including Fratton Park, that even more people will come forward for their vaccine.”

Anna Mitchell, chief commercial officer at Portsmouth FC, said:

“We are delighted to be able to host and support the national vaccination programme in partnership with the Solent NHS Trust.

“It is so important that fans and members of our local community take up the opportunity to be vaccinated to protect each other and welcome fans back to Fratton Park safely.”

As of July 18, 141,985 adults in Portsmouth have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination and 105,933 have received their second. This equates to 74.8 per cent and 55.8 per cent of the adult population respectively.

More walk-in clinics are being offered throughout Portsmouth to make it easier for people to get their vaccination. This week, walk-in clinics are available at St James’ Hospital, Locksway Road: 8am-7.30pm – daily (first and second dose AstraZeneca and Moderna)

See a full list of walk-in clinics available throughout the region on the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG website.

If you are unable to attend any of the walk-in clinics but would still like your vaccination, you can use the national booking system to book an appointment. Please visit the NHS website or call 119.