latest news from liz »

[24/04/2014 | No comment]

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I went to an event at New Parks Youth and Community Centre organised by the Multiple Sclerosis Society where I met Amit, his wife Martine and their two sons Ethan and Keelan.

Amit was diagnosed with MS in 1990 and he’s now in the secondary progressive stage of the condition. Martine takes on most responsibility for looking after her husband but Ethan and Keelan also help out at home, for example taking Amit his medicines in the morning and helping with the cleaning and gardening.

No-one has ever asked Martine whether she or her children need practical or emotional help. When the Government’s Care Bill was in the House of Commons I pressed for votes to put a legal duty on GPs, hospitals, schools, colleges and universities to identify carers of all ages so they can get the right advice and support. Ministers said this wasn’t necessary, and we lost the vote.

However, talking to Ethan, Keelan, Martine and Amit shows me the Government is wrong. I will continue to press for more support for carers in Leicester and in Westminster, to make sure they get the support they deserve. You can read more about this issue here.

[24/04/2014 | No comment]

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The Council is consulting on whether they should continue to subsidise the city’s two municipal golf courses and I recently visited Western Park golf club to meet with the management committee and receive a petition to keep the course open that’s been signed by more than 2,500 people.

The coalition Government has slashed Leicester City Council’s budget by more than a third. This means the Council has to make extremely difficult decisions about where savings will be made, not just in sports and leisure services but housing, libraries, care for the elderly and children’s centres.

Western Park golf course is a hugely valuable community asset with a rich history and a great deal of potential going forward. I want to work with the club and the City Mayor – who I will be raising this issue with – to see if we can find a sustainable model to keep golf at Western Park in future.

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my priorities »

[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.

 

Caring for older people » Supporting families »

[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.

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.