, , , , ,

City MP backs calls to address ‘decade of decline’ for local swimming pool access

Stephen Morgan MP has backed calls to address growing concerns about the number of decent swimming pools available to use for Portsmouth residents.

The city currently only has just a few options that are available to the public, while Swim England has also forecasted a wider 40% reduction in the number of available swimming facilities in the country by the end of the decade.

It has also warned this would leave 73% of local authorities short of the equivalent of at least one swimming pool.
Swimming remains one of the most popular activities in England, but almost 4 million people could be shut out of the activities they love because of these closures.

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

“Swimming is an ideal activity for people of all ages with huge benefits for people’s physical and mental wellbeing, so I’m particularly concerned about the reduction of access to local pools we are seeing in Portsmouth and across the country.”

“The city council’s decision to close facilities in Eastney and the Pyramids will have real impacts for local people, but I welcome the university’s efforts to open their new facilities to the public, alongside student and staff access.

“The next generation shouldn’t have fewer opportunities than the last and Government has got to get serious about the level of support that is needed to address this growing problem.

“Our city has helped to develop some top athletes over the years. It’s vital we don’t lose this valuable tradition. I will continue to push the government on this to ensure that happens and end this decade of decline.”

, , ,

City MP announces winners of his annual Christmas card competition that aims to bring people ‘Together at Christmas’

Stephen Morgan MP has announced the winners of his 2021 Christmas card competition for school-aged children. 

Students across the Portsmouth representative’s constituency of Portsmouth South were asked to send in their designs to his office for judging.

The theme of the popular competition for this year was ‘Together at Christmas’, which received over 400 entries.

The city MP this week visited the winner and runner up of his Christmas card competition at their respective schools of Southsea Infant School and Meon Junior.

The winner, Grayson (age 6), won first place for his drawing of winter owls. Amelia (age 10) claimed runner-up for her picture of a Christmas scene in Portsmouth.

Mr Morgan hopes, after such a tough year, the competition will help spread some much-needed cheer across the local community as well as help young people understand the contribution made to Portsmouth of those working on the frontline in 2021.

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

“I’m delighted to announce this year’s winner and runner-up for their fantastic entries to my annual Christmas card competition. It was a really strong selection with so many entries, but the work of Grayson and Amelia really stood out.

“The past 18 months have been particularly difficult for so many people, both in our city and across the country, so I hope this year’s competition will be a chance to spread some much-needed cheer across our city and help bring communities back together once again.

“Whilst many of us are hoping to see each other over Christmas, it’s important we all play our part to make sure no one is lonely over the festive period. Whether that’s a chat over a cup of tea, a knock on the door, or sending a card to a neighbour just up the road, there’s something we can all do to bring people together this Christmas.”

The winning entry is to feature as the design for Stephen’s official Christmas card. The card will be sent to hundreds of individuals and organisations across the constituency and country later this month, with a copy sent to Her Majesty the Queen.

, , , , , ,

Aquind: Portsmouth MP grills ministers on checks carried out on alleged ‘fraudster’ owners of ‘disastrous project’

Stephen Morgan MP grilled ministers in the House of Commons today on what checks have been carried out on the owners of Aquind, after one was implicated in a £72m fraud scheme linked to Putin’s Russia.

Revelations uncovered by BBC Panorama and The Guardian newspaper in October raised serious questions over whether a reported £72m, made by Aquind co-owner Viktor Fedotov through an allegedly corrupt company, made its way to the heart of the British government and has influenced its decision to give the Russian-born AQUIND co-owner’s infrastructure project the green light or not.

Alexander Temerko, who is a friend of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and also a co-owner of AQUIND, has together with the company donated £1.1m to the Conservative Party.

The Portsmouth MP recently hosted Shadow Energy Minister Alan Whitehead MP on a visit to the city to meet with ‘Stop Aquind’ campaigners, as next month’s deadline (January 21) for the government to make a decision on whether to approve the controversial project looms.

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

“There are serious allegations surrounding the Aquind interconnector project and yet many questions are still left unanswered. After delaying its decision twice, the government has had more than enough time to do the due diligence that’s needed to get to the bottom of this.

“Reported shady ties between Aquind’s co-owners and dirty money tracing back to Putin’s Russia need to be fully investigated, particularly if any of it has made its way to ministers at the heart of the British government via political donations.

“Ministers must come clean on checks they have done around Aquind and its owners to protect our national infrastructure and finally bring an end to this disastrous project once and for all.”

 

, , , , , ,

Small Business Saturday: City MP announces winners of his ‘Support local’ awards

Stephen Morgan MP has announced the winners of his ‘Support Local’ Portsmouth small business awards, as the country marked Small Business Saturday.

Last month, the city MP called for local people to nominate their favourite local shops and traders in his constituency in three different categories. With dozens and dozens of nominations across Milton, Southsea, Old Portsmouth, Eastney, Fratton, Landport, Buckland and Portsea, this year’s winners are:

  • Greenest Local Business: Package Free Larder, Elm Grove, Southsea
  • Friendliest Local Business: MAKE, Cornwall Road, Fratton
  • Overall Best Business: Andre’s Food Bar, Osborne Road, Southsea

The Portsmouth MP delivered the award winners with certificates on Saturday, and thanked them for their service to our communities.

Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

On Small Business Saturday, customers across the U.K. go out and support all types of small businesses, online, in offices and in stores. Many small businesses take part in the day by hosting events and offering discounts.

£1.1 billion was spent with small businesses across the UK during last year’s Small Business Saturday, with 15.4 million people turning out to support small businesses.

The city awards build on last year’s successful initiative by the Portsmouth South representative that saw hundreds of people nominating local shops and traders across constituency.

The City MP has been a long-time supporter of Portsmouth’s local businesses.

In May, the Portsmouth representative launched his ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ campaign that encouraged local people to support small businesses as the economy unlocked. Since being elected, he has been lobbying government through a range of parliamentary questions, raising concerns in Parliament and calling on Government to better support Portsmouth’s businesses.

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

“Local businesses are the lifeblood of our city, but the past 18 months has been an incredibly difficult time for many of them.

“That’s why I have been calling on people to ‘Support Local’ this Christmas, and am delighted to finally announce this year’s winners of my small business awards. They truly deserve recognition for the way they have gone above and beyond in serving our city’s communities this year.

“Like many Portsmouth people, on this weekend’s Small Business Saturday, I’ll be out and about supporting local traders and shops. So many small businesses and shopworkers helped keep our city going during the pandemic. Now it’s our turn to support them not just this Saturday, but all year round.”

, , , , , , ,

City MP praises local heroes at this year’s Inspiring Fratton Awards

Stephen Morgan MP praised this year’s winners of the Inspiring Fratton Awards, a scheme set up three years ago by the locally born parliamentary representative in partnership with Fratton Big Local.

The Portsmouth MP handed out the awards to winners during a ceremony at St Mary’s church on Friday evening.

The Inspiring Fratton 2021 Award Winners for are:

  • Contribution to Creativity in Fratton Over 18: Claire Phillips
  • Contribution to Creativity in Fratton under 18: Darcie Kingston
  • Contribution to Education in Fratton Over 18: Lynn Harris
  • Contribution to Education in Fratton under 18: Keira Coles
  • Contribution to Sport in Fratton in Fratton over 18: Ali Fayazi
  • Contribution to Sport in Fratton in Fratton under 18: Christopher Lillie
  • Contribution to Volunteering in Fratton Over 18: Kay Ackerman
  • Contribution to Volunteering in Fratton under 18: Lilyann More
  • Best Café / Take Away in Fratton Rd: Paanchi
  • Best Trader/ Business in Fratton Rd: Electric Arms
  • Contribution to Community Life in Fratton in extraordinary time Over 18: Helen Barter
  • Contribution to Community Life in Fratton in extraordinary time under 18: Alice Stoneham

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.

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

“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.

“After last year’s hybrid award ceremony, I was delighted to be able to hand these awards over to their richly deserving winners, with so many more people there to see it in person this time.

These unsung heroes in Fratton who have gone above and beyond this year are truly making a positive and lasting legacy for our community.”

This is the third year the awards ceremony has taken place, with last year’s Inspiring Fratton Awards ceremony being hybrid event that was broadcast online.

, , , , , , ,

Portsmouth MP welcomes local Afghan families with ‘open arms’

Stephen Morgan MP welcomed local ARAP Afghan families evacuated during August’s Operation Pitting with ‘open arms’ today, during a welcome event held in the city.
The Portsmouth MP met with eight Afghan national families that fled Afghanistan in the summer under the government’s resettlement scheme and was able to thank them for their efforts in working with British personnel in Afghanistan.
Earlier this week in Parliament, the Shadow Armed Forces Minister met with 120 of the soldiers who served in Operation Pitting and thanked them for their efforts to the secure the safety of the 15,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan, including those now based in Portsmouth.
The city MP has been helping with the evacuation programme in responding to over 300 individual cases of those hoping to flee Afghanistan with the Home Office and other government departments.
He has also been working alongside veteran community organisation Ems4Afghans that is providing support to those families in bridging hotels across the country with clothes, toiletries, and other essential items.
The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“I know from my engagement with our city’s existing Afghan community the challenges many families have faced being evacuated from Afghanistan and the harrowing stories of those loved ones left at home under Taliban control.
“It was a pleasure to finally be able to welcome families seeking sanctuary in Portsmouth, to thank them for their work in supporting the British armed forces and understand their hopes for the future as new constituents.
“Whilst this is a real demonstration of the strength of our community coming together to support each other, this may not be the same elsewhere.
“Many ARAP evacuees and their families now find themselves at the mercy of a postcode lottery of support and constrained by a cliff edge on their immigration status.   
“It’s vital now that Ministers deliver clear and consistent pathways for the support offered through Operation Warm Welcome if they are to keep the promises they have made to those who bravely supported our forces.”

Mr Morgan has been asking questions of Ministers over the handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and has vowed to continue to lobby government on the delivery of Operation Warm Welcome and support those seeking sanctuary in Portsmouth.
In recent weeks, Portsmouth Labour launched a ‘Hug in the Bag’ project to give practical support to Afghan families settling in the city. To find out more about how to get involved, contact Portsmouth Labour via hello@portsmouthlabourparty.org.uk or sign up to updates through its website: https://www.portsmouthlabourparty.org.uk/meetings/
 
 

, , , , ,

Don’t miss out: Stephen Morgan’s next ‘Pint with your MP’ session set to take place this weekend

Stephen Morgan MP is set to host his third ‘Pint with your MP’ session of 2021, with the next post-lockdown event taking place this Sunday at 3pm.
The pop-up ‘Pint with your MP’ sessions are designed as informal opportunities for constituents to say hello to their local Member of Parliament and share issues and concerns about topics of interest both locally and nationally.
The Portsmouth representative is determined to take up every opportunity to have more face-to-face conversations with constituents safely after more than a year of restrictions, whilst also helping to support local businesses, as the city recovers from the pandemic.
The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“I’m looking forward to hosting the next ‘Pint with your MP’ event, after really useful and well-attended sessions so far this year.
“This is a great way for local people to share views and issues with me to take back to Westminster whilst supporting a local business.
“As Portsmouth’s voice in Parliament, it’s really important to be out and about and speaking with people to ensure that everyone’s views are heard, not just the loudest ones or those who have better access to technology.
“I hope these sessions have been a chance for others to come and speak to me in a way that is more accessible to them.”

The full address for the ‘Pint with your MP’ session is: Groundlings Theatre, 42 Kent St, Portsea, Portsmouth, PO1 3BS.
Whilst national restrictions have eased, attendees are encouraged to take reasonable precautions to feel safe to attend.
The event is open to all constituents and booking is essential. To confirm your attendance, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pint-with-your-mp-tickets-191631694557

, , , ,

Men’s Health Week: City MP praises community project to support men’s mental health

Stephen Morgan MP has praised the work of local community project ‘Breakfast OK’ for its efforts to support and protect men’s mental health.

It comes as this year’s Men’s Health Week, running from Nov 14 – 20, focuses on mental health and how important it is that men feel comfortable speaking up about their own mental health and accepting support where it is available.

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.

The local initiative runs every Saturday from 10am-12pm at MAKE, 1 Cornwall Rd, Fratton, PO1 5AA.
Nationally, male suicide continues to be the biggest cause of death for men under 35, with over three out of four suicides being men.

Over 1 in 10 males in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders, but are much less likely to access psychological therapies in comparison to women.

On Men’s Mental Health Week, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Men’s mental health is in crisis and the stigma that asking for help and support when you need it is somehow weak or wrong must be stamped out.

“That’s why, during this year’s focus on mental health on Men’s Health Week, I’m proud to support and promote the value of the work local projects like ‘Breakfast OK’ provide to men who need help.

“Hubs like these provide a lifeline for those who need support and I really encourage those who feel they need help to reach out and ask for when they do. It’s ok not to be ok.”

Charities and Organisations that offer support include:

Sarah Mitas, Manager at MAKE, also said:

“44 years ago, my father lost his life to the silent illness of depression. On the outside he was a kind, hardworking, fun dad. However, the turmoil he must have felt inside to even begin to consider taking his own life must have been overwhelming.

“Breakfast OK? was sparked by wanting to give others who have felt the way he did a chance to talk it through and the chance to realise they are not alone. Suicide doesn’t just take one life. It leaves ripples of overwhelming guilt, sadness and loss throughout families, friends and associates.

“We really want Breakfast OK? to give men the chance to know its ok to talk and you are not alone. If we can help just one father, brother, grandad, uncle, friend it is one more man we will not lose to this devastating illness.”

Darren, a recent attendee of the weekly sessions, added:

“Breakfast Ok? is a great way of letting out any problems that I’m struggling to express to close family. You are not judged by what you say and you can get a huge amount of support by someone just listening.”

, , , ,

Respect Shopworkers Week: Portsmouth MP calls for Christmas shoppers to ‘keep their cool’

Stephen Morgan MP has back USDAW’s Respect Shopworkers Week campaign and called for Christmas shoppers to ‘keep their cool’ over the busy festive period.

The Portsmouth MP has paid a visit to South Parade’s Co-op to speak with staff and understand the local challenges they have faced this year.

Respect Shopworkers Week is a national annual campaign that works to both curb and raise awareness of the physical and verbal abuse shopworkers receive day-to-day across the country.

USDAW’s survey results have shown a troubling increase in violence and abuse against retail workers in recent years — with another significant increase in 2020 during the Coronavirus crisis.

According to the shopworkers union, 90% of retail workers were abused whilst working on the shop floor over the last year.

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

“Shop and retail workers both here in Portsmouth and across the country have been the backbone of local communities over the last 18 months.

“During this crisis, our key workers have been there to support us when we needed it most. The very least they deserve is to be treated with the dignity and respect we would all normally expect from each other when in our place of work.

“That’s why I am proud to support this year’s Respect Shopworkers Week’ and urge local shoppers to keep their cool this Christmas.”

, , , , ,

Small Business Saturday: City MP calls for nominations of best local businesses

Stephen Morgan MP has called for nominations for the best local shops and traders as Britain prepares to mark Small Business Saturday on December 4th, 2021.

The Portsmouth MP is calling for nominations in his constituency in three different categories:

  • Greenest Local Business
  • Friendliest Local Business
  • Overall Best Business

Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

On Small Business Saturday, customers across the U.K. go out and support all types of small businesses, online, in offices and in stores. Many small businesses take part in the day by hosting events and offering discounts.

£1.1 billion was spent with small businesses across the UK during last year’s Small Business Saturday, with 15.4 million people turning out to support small businesses.

The awards build on last year’s largely successful initiative by the Portsmouth South representative that saw hundreds of constituents nominating local shops and traders across Southsea, Milton, Fratton and Eastney.

The City MP has been a long-time supporter of Portsmouth’s local businesses.

In May, the Portsmouth representative launched his ‘Pride in Portsmouth’ campaign that encouraged local people to support small businesses as the economy unlocked. Since being elected, he has been lobbying government through a range of parliamentary questions, raising concerns in Parliament and calling on Government to better support Portsmouth’s businesses.

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

“Local businesses are the lifeblood of our city, but the past 18 months has been an incredibly difficult period for many of them.

“That’s why I’m calling on local people to help me showcase the best of our city and highlight independent businesses that go above and beyond in serving communities across our constituency.

“I look forward to receiving nominations from our community and encourage everyone to show support to local traders and shops as we approach this year’s Small Business Saturday and beyond.”

Nominations for Stephen’s Support Local awards can be made here. The deadline for nominations is December 1.
All nominations will then be considered and winners from each category will be selected and awarded with a certificate for Small Business Saturday.

Greenest Local Business nominations could be for those that have a ‘zero-waste’ policy, while nominations for Friendliest Local Business could be those that have gone the extra mile or offered that personal touch. For Overall Best Business, nominations should be for businesses that have gone above and beyond in serving the constituency this year.

All entries must be based in Portsmouth South (Fratton, Milton, Southsea, Old Portsmouth, Eastney, Landport, Buckland or Portsea).