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[02/04/2014 | No comment]

This week I attended the launch of Sikhs for Labour – a new group created to promote the shared values of the Labour Party and the Sikh community. The group, which I’m a member of, will work to improve the understanding of the issues of concern to Sikhs, support Sikh representation in government at national and local levels, and be the voice of the Sikh community within the Labour Party.

You can follow the work of Sikhs for Labour on twitter at @sikhs4labour or go to their website if you would like to join.

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Liz with Seema Malhotra MP, Neena Gill, the Chair of Sikhs for Labour and Vijay Riyait, a councillor from Leicester West at the launch.

 

[02/04/2014 | No comment]

On 1st April I attended a training session organised by the Alzheimer’s Society to become a Dementia Friend. The Dementia Friends programme is an initiative that aims to improve people’s understanding of dementia and teach them how small things they can do that can make a difference to people living with the condition. The programme aims to train a million people by next year, to help make Britain more dementia-friendly, end the stigma surrounding the condition and improve the lives of more than half a million people living with dementia in our country.Dementia Friends April 2014

Jeremy Hughes, the Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society and Natalie Rodriguez, one of 4,500 Dementia Champions carried out a number of exercises which helped me understand the way dementia impacts on people’s memory and emotions, and how it affects their everyday lives. I would encourage my constituents to become Dementia Friends too – if you would like to take part in a session please go to dementiafriends.org.uk to find out more.

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Safer, greener communities »

[27/03/2014 | No comment]

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One of the biggest things that frustrates people who need care and support is having to deal with lots of different people and services, and telling their story time and time again.

Islington in London is pioneering the use of care coordinators who act as a single point of contact for older and disabled people and their families. The care co-ordinators are backed by joined-up teams of social workers, district nurses, occupational therapists, physios, mental health nurses and local voluntary organisations who work together to make sure everyone gets the right help, at the right time.

When I visited the ‘N19’ project in Islington, I met Mohammed, who is 33 and suffers from MS. He told me how his care coordinator Tash, who is an occupational therapist, helped him get a special shower which he can use in his wheelchair, a ramp that allows him to get out into the garden, and a good physiotherapist to help him walk with crutches, when a few months ago he was confined to his wheel chair.

I also met Elizabeth Simms, who is 92, and her daughter Kate and grandson Alfie. Elizabeth’s care co-ordinator Shane, who is a social worker, has made a huge difference to her life. For example, Shane has arranged for someone to come and help Elizabeth prepare her food and do the shopping, sorted out proper security after a recent burglary, and made sure she has a special bracelet with an emergency call button which she can press if she falls or needs urgent help. Due to these changes Elizabeth decided not to move to a residential care home, as she had previously planned, because she feels confident enough to stay living in her own home. Shane has also given Kate, who lives in Oxford, much greater peace of mind about her mother’s health and safety.

Kate said “everyone needs a Shane” – and I agree. I think everyone who uses local NHS and care should have single care co-ordinator to arrange support around their needs and help them stay living independently in their own homes for as long as possible.

Safer, greener communities »

[27/03/2014 | No comment]

 

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On Wednesday 26th March I met our Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Clive Loader, and our Chief Constable, Simon Cole, in Westminster. We discussed a range of issues that affect my constituents including the vital role of neighbourhood policing, the challenges of protecting and improving frontline services, and ensuring crimes are prevented wherever possible.

Supporting families »

[25/03/2014 | No comment]

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On 21st March I attended the launch of a cyber safety program for teenagers called “Well Versed” at Fullhurst Community College. This program helps young people to manage their online lives, by getting pupils to share their experiences of being on the internet with one another.

“Well Versed” is backed Google, Livity and the Parent Zone. One of the main parts of the project is getting 13-18 years olds to submit a 15 second YouTube clip with their advice about how to stay safe on the online. The best clips will then be put together in a video montage and shared with schools across the country.

The teachers I met from Fullhurst and other schools in my constituency, told me about the huge benefits of the internet, particularly the opportunities for young people to learn online. However, there are also challenges, such as the increasing problems of online bullying.

The answer isn’t to try and turn the clock back, but to educate young people and their parents about how to best manage their lives online.  You can read more about how to get involved in the “Well Versed” project here.