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3 Featured Children & Young People Community Economy Office News

Liz visits Brightsparks Nursery in Crawcrook

 

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I visited Brightsparks Nursery in Crawcrook last weekend, and was delighted to see all the fantastic work staff there are doing to make it an “Outstanding” rated Nursery.

Unfortunately, maintaining this standard is now going to be very difficult. The Government’s new funding regime has created a major shortfall for many nurseries -Brightsparks included- and staff are very worried about making ends meet.

I am therefore going to be doing what I can to put pressure on the Government to reconsider this appalling decision.

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Today I asked the Minister for Children, Young People and Families how nurseries are supposed to remain open when facing such a shortfall under the new funding regime.

After staff at the nursery had told me how difficult they were finding it to make ends meet, I was determined press the Minister on this.

I hope the Minister will now take a thorough look at the costings of the new funding.

 

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2 Featured Community Office News

Liz visits Northumbria Police

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Yesterday I spent the day with Northumbria Police to find out about their work on the ground. I started at Whickham Police station, went on to the control room at Ponteland, met the Safeguarding team based in Gateshead and visited the custody suite at Forth Banks and finished by going out on patrol with my local neighbourhood police team.
Thanks to all the officers and police civilian staff who took the time to show me policing on the ground.

The Government must give our police service the funding it needs to protect us. Our local police are doing a great job but are really stretched to do all that we ask them to do.

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1 Featured Community Liz's Column Office News

Liz’s column, March 2018

Challenging events often reveal the very best in people. I would like to pay tribute to all those local heroes who have been clearing roads and digging out stranded cars, visiting older neighbours and delivering groceries to the housebound. Volunteers, good neighbours and public servants in our local councils, NHS and police have kept out communities going this week in the heavy snow. The Beast from the East is no match for the community spirit of the North East.

We’re known around the country as the friendly region of England and the Geordie welcome and sense of humour are unparalleled. But our region is also internationally recognised for our innovation, imagination and creativity. We have a long history of leading technological change. The North East makes claim to such inventions as Joseph Swan’s lightbulb, Stephenson’s Rocket locomotive, Walker’s friction matches and in more recent times Sir Jonathan Ive, the visionary behind the iPod, who trained as a designer at Northumbria University. We’re also home to so many award-winning artists, writers and musicians.

So, I’m delighted that this week, as we look ahead to warmer days, more has been revealed about the Great Exhibition of the North. For the first time ever, a great exhibition will bring the world to the North East and it is set to be the biggest event in England this year. The three-month celebration of the North of England’s pioneering spirit – our inventors, artists and designers – will demonstrate how our region has shaped the world and is building the economy of the future.

Over 80 days Gateshead and Newcastle will become the national showcase for dozens of amazing exhibits, live musical performances, displays of innovation, new artworks and magical experiences – and it will be free. Tourists can follow three walking trails around Tyneside towards The Baltic, Sage Gateshead and the Great North Museum. The BBC have also partnered up, so expect to see plenty of coverage of our beautiful region on the telly. This year will truly be one to remember as people “#GETNorth” for the celebrations.

On to another big beast from the North East – Red Ellen Wilkinson. Last week I was delighted to attend a talk about the pioneering Jarrow MP at the Brewery Tap in Dunston, the home of “Red Ellen” ale. In this centenary year, when we celebrate womens’ suffrage, there is much we can learn from Ellen Wilkinson.

As a Jarrow marcher, trade union organiser and later the Education Minister in the post-war Atlee government, she was instrumental in the fight for jobs, reducing working hours for hard-pressed industrial workers, increasing the school leavers age, introducing school milk and she was scorned by the Nazis for her opposition to their brutality. My good friend from North West Durham, Laura Pidcock MP joined me as we both shared our own experiences as women in Parliament and lessons we can learn from the fierce Labour MP known as “The Fiery Particle”.

We are celebrating another anniversary this year. Our angel has turned twenty. I am so proud that the Angel of the North keeps watch over my constituency. Many of you will have seen the interview with Sid Henderson, the former Gateshead Councillor who led the way, against much criticism, to build the angel in 1998. Sid reminded us of the challenge that Gateshead’s Labour councillors faced in convincing the public that the angel would bring tourism and prosperity and put the region on the world map.

Just along the road in Birtley is another great home of art. I visited the Thought Foundation earlier this month and was deeply impressed by this hidden gem. The arts centre and cafe is based on the values of human kindness and thoughtfulness. Their exhibitions exploring issues around Brexit and the environment are quite spectacular. With so much media attention on the plastic waste contaminating our oceans, I would thoroughly recommend a visit to see their installation highlighting the issue using thousands of disused plastic cups. There’s plenty to see, do and think about in this family friendly space.

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2 Featured Community Office News

Gateshead Council picks up 4 prestigious awards at the “North East Care Awards”

The awards are held annually to celebrate excellence across the social care sector in the region and to recognise and celebrate the contribution of outstanding teams and individuals. The awards also bring together the statutory, independent and voluntary sectors.

Liz added “Gateshead Council’s Adult Social Care service had two employees, a team and a nurse who works in one of its short stay respite centres, as outright winners at the North-East Care Awards ceremony. Congratulations and keep up the good work!”

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Community Work & Employment

Liz backs local posties

Today is Postal Workers Day!

Liz said “It gives us the opportunity to thank our local posties for the magnificent job they do. We will continue to fight on their behalf for decent pay & conditions and Labour will bring the Royal Mail back into public ownership.”

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Community Office News

Christmas visit to the Post Office

After visiting a local post office and shop in Birtley this morning, Liz said “It was brilliant to visit the Barley Mow Post Office and One Stop shop this morning to see the wonderful work the dedicated staff do especially at Christmas time. Remember to send your Christmas cards and gifts early to make sure they arrive on time!”

 

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4 Featured Community

The fight against Puppy Smuggling

Earlier this week, Liz visited a House of Commons reception hosted by Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity. The charity coined the famous slogan – ‘A dog is for Life, not just for Christmas’ and Liz gave her full support in the fight against Puppy Smuggling.

Dogs Trust has been investigating the problem since 2014, and through three undercover investigations has found that unscrupulous breeders take advantage of, and profit from issues with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). As a result, underage puppies are being illegally imported into Great Britain from Central and Eastern Europe, and sold to unsuspecting members of the public.

Liz Twist MP said “I’m very pleased to support Dogs Trust in raising awareness of the plight of illegally imported puppies, who suffer the most harrowing of journeys at the hands of these unscrupulous dealers. It’s imperative that the Government takes immediate action by enforcing proper checks at the ports and on-the-spot fines to deter these breeders and dealers, as well as introducing revised legislation as a priority when the UK leaves the EU. We hope this will help to effectively regulate pet travel.

Due to the amount of correspondence my office receives, I understand that the animal welfare is a major concern for many constituents across Blaydon constituency.”

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Community Economy Families

Liz speaks in Universal Credit debate

I spoke in the Universal Credit debate last night. Universal Credit is being rolled out for most of Blaydon Constituency on the 1st November. We know from experience that Universal Credit is causing real problems including increased debt and more reliance on Gateshead Foodbank as people wait at least 6 weeks for their first payment. The Government must pause the roll out.

You can watch my contribution below:

“I was going to talk about the real problems experienced in my constituency—initially with the live service, the comparatively straightforward bit. I was going to talk about the huge amount of help needed by people applying for universal credit. I was going to talk about the delays in payments, and the practical problems that that causes, and about the arrears that people on universal credit are experiencing: an average of £625, as against the general average of £121. I was going to talk about the evidence that private landlords are beginning to refuse tenancies to people on universal credit and about the fear that some children could go without free school meals while their parents wait for their claims to be assessed, which is a problem that we really need to look at.

But the House has heard about all that from everyone else, so instead I am going to talk about Gateshead Foodbank, which covers my constituency and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Ian Mearns). In 2016 it issued 4,861 food parcels to keep families going, largely owing to the roll-out of live universal credit—and that is before we see full service.

This is about people. It is about families and children who are building up debt and going without, choosing between heat and food and making other difficult choices, and experiencing all the frustration of dealing with the new system. I ask the Government to think again about pausing. We have talked about “test, learn and rectify”; let us do that.”

 

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Community

Why not sign up to Your Northumbria?

Your Northumbria is a free community messaging system from Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside that allows you to register and receive the latest crime notifications and community news happening in your local neighbourhood. The system is designed to help you get the information you want, the way you want it, by phone, text or email. You can choose the topics that interests you too.

You can sign up to Your Northumberland by following this link: www.yournorthumbria.org

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Community

The Great Blaydon Bake Off

My team and I are hosting a Macmillan coffee morning on Friday 29th September from 10am-12pm in my Blaydon Constituency office.

Come along and buy a cup of coffee, a slice of cake and have a chat to raise money for a very worthwhile cause.

If you would like to join us please RSVP by emailing judithb.turner@parliament.uk

Constituency office: St Cuthbert’s Community Hall, Shibdon Road, Blaydon, NE21 5PT.

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