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Adrian Sanders MP on board with Guide Dogs’ Talking Buses campaign

 

Bay MP Adrian Sanders showed his support for a campaign led by the charity Guide Dogs to make travelling by bus easier for people with sight loss.

Adrian went to a reception at the Houses of Parliament on 2 July in support of Guide Dogs’ campaign to make sure all new buses have audio visual (AV) next stop announcements, which are vital for blind and partially sighted bus travellers.

The reception, which was addressed by Bus Minister Baroness Kramer, highlighted how announcements enable blind and partially sighted people to understand their location, and prevent them from missing their stops.

AV systems are only fitted to around one fifth of the bus fleet nationally, with the overwhelming majority of these buses operating in London.

Guide Dogs is calling for the Government to require all new buses be fitted with AV, as currently bus operators are under no obligation to include this technology when upgrading their fleet.

Adrian said:

“AV announcements are a great way of helping blind and partially sighted people get around more easily. By making bus travel simpler, the announcements can help people keep, and increase, their independence. The sooner we can get them on the buses in Torbay, the better.”

James White, Guide Dog’s Campaigns Manager, said:

“Buses are a lifeline for people who are blind or partially sighted, and we welcome the support of Adrian Sanders MP for people with sight loss to be able to travel safely and independently.”

“Without AV, bus travel for people with sight loss can be especially difficult, stressful, and dangerous when stops are missed and they end up in an unfamiliar area.

“Safe and accessible bus services give people with sight loss much greater freedom to work, socialise and participate in the community.”

 

Adrian Sanders MP July 2014 Update

Raising the Profile of Diabetes in Parliament

I was delighted last month to hold an important Westminster Hall debate on diabetes; a topic close to my heart, having myself had type 1 diabetes for nearly a quarter of a century.  I secured the debate to mark the recent Melbourne Declaration on Diabetes which I was fortunate enough to be a part of.

The debate was a chance to have a frank discussion about the growing presence of both types of diabetes in the UK. I was joined by MPs from across the political spectrum in debating important issues surrounding diabetes, such as discrimination in the workplace, the need for better diabetes-focused education in our schools and how we can better work internationally to tackle diabetes properly.

The full debate can be watched here.

Osborne’s Misguided Plans for HS3

Plans for HS2 are hardly off the starting blocks and the Chancellor has already started discussing HS3. While I’m all for the building of new railways, I don’t think we should be funnelling money into projects that come so clearly at the expense of areas such as the South West.

The South West peninsula is by far the most underfunded part of the UK rail network. With increasing passenger numbers and increasingly unpredictable weather, the existing infrastructure and trains are clearly not up to the task. Current electrification works are only planned as far as Bristol.

While I’m not expecting high speed trains to the Bay anytime soon, it really is wrong to even be discussing another prospective high speed railway through the Midlands to the North without addressing the transport problems of the farther flung corners of the country first.

‘Keep Me Posted’ Keeps the Pressure On

I believe that people have the right to choose how they receive information about a service which they pay for and so, over the past few months, I’ve been supporting the Keep Me Posted campaign.

Keep Me Posted has been pushing for everybody to have the right to choose how they receive their bills and statements from major organisations, such as banks and building societies.

In the world of IT communication and so-called ‘paperless’ offices, organisations have increasingly taken to automatically giving people digital copies of statements and bills. However, many people find this frustrating and still want to receive paper copies. More importantly, they don’t want to be charged for receiving paper copies.

The campaign has met with success in convincing companies to offer paper copies, by adopting Keep Me Posted’s Six Point Pledge.  However, many people are still being penalised for wanting paper copies, so Keep Me Posted must keep the pressure on.


Adrian in Westminster

  • I’ve been continuing my animal welfare campaigns by supporting the introduction of compulsory micro-chipping for dogs in 2016, pressing the Government to make it sure it ceases any trials of badger gassing and stops the use of wild animals in circuses.
  • During Prime Minister’s Questions this week I had the opportunity to press David Cameron about the need to reduce VAT rates on tourist accommodation and attractions in the UK in order to increase tourist numbers to British shores, including Torbay.
  • Over the past few weeks I have been helping to campaign for improvements in the way we handle and treat mental health problems. This has included drafting a new Early Day Motion (164), which aims to encourage the service industry to introduce exceptions and remove difficulties for customers who have mental health problems. One in every four people will suffer from a mental health care problem in their lives.
  • In the Transport Select Committee I was able to press Network Rail on future investment plans and raise again the need for electrification South Westwards.
  • Had meetings with the South West Technology Strategy Board and Creative England, both keen to assist eligible businesses in Torbay.
  • Great to welcome pupils from Torre Primary on a school visit to Westminster (school visits to Parliament can be organised through the Education Service)
  • Hosted a Diabetes UK Volunteer Awards event for people who care, support or fund-raise for people with Diabetes.
  • Backed the campaign to help children who need palliative care in Torbay
  • Supported Talking Buses with the RNIB, so all buses inform passengers about the route and the next stop.
  • Joined the Prostate Cancer Awareness campaign
  • Led a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Seminar attended by MPs from across the world on using social media as an MP

This week in Westminster

  • Announcement of Local Growth Deals
  • Second reading of the Modern Slavery Bill
  • PMQs and debates on Housing and Education
  • Justice and Home Affairs Debate

Adrian in Torbay

  • Enjoyable morning with Kenneth Court residents – facing many problems and extra costs as a consequence of Torbay Council cuts to the supporting people budget.
  • Met with Stagecoach to discuss current services and the issues affecting them.
  • Enjoyed the company of men (and women) at the Methodist ‘Men’s’ Breakfast in Palace Avenue and spoke about connectivity issues.
  • Visited the Devon Studio School in Torquay and met students with aspirations to work in health and care services.
  • Congratulations to the Torbay Development Agency for helping the South Devon Export Network win the Enterprising Britain Award in the Support For Exporting Category.

Upcoming Events in the Bay

  • From 6th June to 1st November 2014, visit the ’Torbay At War’ Exhibition at Torquay Museum. Weapons, Top Secret documents, uniforms and rarely seen wartime photos from the Museum’s extensive collections and beyond, bring to life the impact of World War II on Torbay.
  • 5th to 12th July it’s the Riviera Fringe Festival – click here for details. Sadly I will be in Westminster and miss the Dark Side of Pink Floyd concert.

Next Advice Surgeries

Friday 11th July: 3.30 – 5pm, Paignton Library, Great Western Road, Paignton

Friday 18th July: 3.00 – 4.30pm, Connections, Castle Circus, Torquay

Thursday 24th July: 4.00 – 5.30, Precinct Centre, Church Road, St. Marychurch

Can you help?

My ability to raise the issues that matter to people and help them to get things done is down to the efforts of volunteers and donors. If you would be interested in helping me locally in Torbay, please get in touch on 01803 411816 or email adrian@adriansanders.org. There are lots of different things you can do:

  • Putting up a poster in your window at election time
  • Delivering leaflets near where you live
  • Making phone calls
  • Entering data into computers
  • Doing clerical work
  • Organising social / fundraising events
  • Canvassing (calling on people door-to-door)
  • Standing in a local election

If you are able to help towards our costs by making a donation, please go to www.adriansanders.org/#involved and click on the Donate button.

Alternatively, you can send a cheque, made payable to Torbay Liberal Democrats, FREEPOST RSBS-KBTE-CSJR, Paignton TQ4 5BR.

Join the Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats are making a difference in government. Changes we have spent months or years campaigning for are happening. But this isn’t the end of the story.

We have always depended on the support of our members – and we still do. We’ve never had the big business or trade union cash the other parties can count on.

By joining the Liberal Democrats today, you can be part of the Liberal Democrat team in government. You can give us the strength to make sure this government gets on with the job of bringing real change to Britain.

Membership of the Liberal Democrats can cost as little as £12, or less if you are eligible for concessions. You can find out more at www.libdems.org.uk/join

Adrian Sanders MP supports Torbay campaign for every child to join local library and share love of reading

Local MP Adrian Sanders is supporting a campaign run by charity The Reading Agency to encourage all primary school children to join their local library and take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge – the UK’s largest reading for pleasure promotion for primary school children.

Research shows the Summer Reading Challenge increases children’s reading range and their enjoyment of reading significantly. It builds confidence and independent reading, while preventing the dip in children’s literacy levels during the long break from school.

A unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK, the Summer Reading Challenge got a record 810,000 children reading in the summer holidays in 2013. With the support of local MPs, libraries, schools and a host of well-known children’s authors including Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo, even more children aged 4-11 will be encouraged to join the library and complete the challenge this year.

Children will also be encouraged to share their love of reading by recommending a book to friends, family and carers with a campaign called ‘pass-it-on’ this year. The campaign is intended to inspire them to share their reading choices. It is endorsed by the new National Curriculum, which suggests that pupils should be “recommending books that they have read to their peers, giving reasons for their choices.”

Adrian Sanders MP said:

“I hope parents, grandparents and carers in Torbay will take their children to the library to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge.  It’s free, inclusive and makes reading fun – a vital ingredient in building literacy. Last year 1574 children in Torbay took part in the Challenge. I hope we can increase that number this year and show local libraries what a valuable asset they are to us and our community.”

Each year the Challenge uses a new theme to inject fun and creativity into reading. The 2014 theme is “Mythical Maze”, illustrated by award winning Sarah McIntrye. Children sign up at the library and receive a mythical maze poster.  As they borrow and read library books over the summer, children collect stickers of mythical creatures to complete their poster and discover facts about the creatures as they go. It’s a highlight of the holidays for thousands of children and families.

Children can go on the website summerreadingchallenge.org.uk to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which already offers over 300,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories.

The Reading Agency is also working with SOLUS UK Ltd to add some “digital magic” to the 2014 Challenge – for the first time, librarians and families will be able to download a free mobile App onto their devices which will recognize key Mythical Maze illustrations and trigger audio visual content including videos, games and messages from the mythical creatures.

The Summer Reading Challenge reaches children and young people of all ages.  For pre-schoolers there is a mini-challenge and for young people (aged 13 to 24) there is the opportunity to volunteer and  support younger children taking part.  Volunteering provides a quality workplace experience for young people in libraries, inspires them to think about future careers and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. This year it is expected around 8,000 young people will volunteer.

Lord Graham Tope, CBE, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Libraries said:

“Encouraging children to read is really important, as it not only builds literacy but confidence too.  With the long school holidays fast approaching, the Summer Reading Challenge is a fantastic way to get kids reading in a fun and engaging way.  I know it is popular with parents and children alike.  This year’s theme, Mythical Maze, will no doubt push numbers even higher with its striking illustrations and fun mix of characters.”

Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency said:

“Education policy makers understand the importance of children reading for pleasure. The Summer Reading Challenge which is developed and delivered in partnership with librarians across the UK is designed to keep children reading in the long summer break. It is the UK’s biggest children’s reading for pleasure promotion. Last year over 810,000 children took part with almost 67,000 because new library members to do so. What we hope is that everyone who takes part this summer really will find out that everything changes when we read.”

Ciara Eastell, President of the Society of Chief Librarians, said:

“We know how much fun families and children get out of taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge and re-discovering what their local library has to offer for the whole family.”

 

Follow the Summer Reading Challenge on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SummerReadingChallengeUK

Adrian Sanders commits to help children who need palliative care in Torbay

 

Adrian Sanders has given his support for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions in Torbay at a Westminster event held by children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives. The event took place on Tuesday 17 June during Children’s Hospice Week (13-20), the national awareness and fundraising week for children not expected to reach adulthood and the services, like children’s hospices, that support them.

Adrian met with Anna Gill OBE, a parent carer of a young person with a life-limiting condition, in addition to representatives from Together for Short Lives, the charity behind Children’s Hospice Week. He agreed to write to South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group and Torbay Council to ask what action they are taking to integrate services for children who need palliative care. Adrian also committed to asking health and social care commissioners how they were funding palliative care services supporting children with life-limiting conditions – and their families – in Torbay.

Adrian said: “Providers of children’s palliative care offer a vital lifeline to families. Yet commissioning of services, particularly from the voluntary sector, is patchy and inconsistent. Well commissioned and co-ordinated palliative care helps families make to the most of their time together and enables services to develop to meet their needs.

“It is essential that health and social care services work together to ensure that services – including (name of local children’s hospice service) – are joined up and funded fairly and sustainably by the NHS and local authorities to ensure that the excellent care they provide can continue.”