Monday 22 July 2013

Congratulations to Wigan Sea Cadets

I visited my local Sainsbury's Store on Saturday to congratulate Wigan Sea Cadets on becoming Wigan Sainsbury’s new Local Charity partner

The Cadets will receive a year’s worth of fundraising and awareness support from the store’s colleagues and customers.

Well done to Wigan Sea Cadets - I know what a difference the initiative has made to local charities in my constituency in raising not just vital funds, but raising awareness of their cause too. I look forward to seeing how the partnership progresses over the coming months.

Wigan Sea Cadets were announced after customers had their say and voted in-store and online between 1st to 15th May. The Local Charity partner scheme began in 2009 and has raised more than £5 million to support local communities in the last four years.

Ian Almond from Wigan Sea Cadets said, “We know the success that the Local Charity partnership has bought to many charities in the local area so when we received the recent phone-call to tell us the news, we were thrilled. The exposure and support is going to be massively beneficial to our charity and I’d like to thank every Sainsbury’s Wigan customer who voted."

Friday 19 July 2013

'Pack Your Policy' on holiday

I have today warned constituents about the dangers of travelling uninsured. In support of a campaign by ABTA – The Travel Association and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), I am urging holidaymakers across the Borough to “pack your policy” ahead of the great summer getaway.

According to new research by ABTA – the Travel Association, many UK holidaymakers are unaware of the costs of medical treatment abroad and may be putting themselves at risk of sky high medical bills if something goes wrong. 1 in 5 (20%) individuals now travel abroad without insurance, despite the need for medical assistance being relatively common. According to ABTA research, 16% of people have visited a doctor or hospital while abroad.

Most at risk are younger travellers as almost half (48%) will have a holiday abroad without taking out travel insurance. Recently released FCO research has found that 4 out of 5 (82%) young people admit to taking part in more adventurous behaviour on holiday – yet fewer than half (45%) check that their insurance covers risky pursuits.

We all look forward to our well-deserved summer holiday. However, it is very important that we make sure that when we do travel overseas, we are covered if something goes wrong. Many countries do not have national schemes to cover the cost of healthcare and treatment abroad can therefore be very costly. It is just not worth taking the risk. That is why I am very happy to support this campaign. I urge all of my constituents to make sure you “pack your policy” this summer.

ABTA has launched a new advice section on travel insurance for consumers.

Monday 15 July 2013

Well done to Hindley J& I Primary School

Some of the children's artwork on display in
my constituency office
Send My Friend to School brings together thousands of children across the UK to speak up for the right to education, and remind world leaders of their promise that all children should get the chance to go to school.

In 2000, over 180 countries signed up to a set of commitments for a better world to tackle issues such as hunger and poverty. These Millennium Development Goals included a goal of education for all by 2015.

But time is running out. With only two years to go over 60 million children are still missing out on school. At the current rate of progress there will still be about 48 million children out of school in 2015.

Pupils at Hindley J&I Primary School have been learning about this important issue and they sent to me some very special artwork to tell me in their own words about the campaign.

They were not alone! Since the launch over 10,000 primary schools across the UK have taken part and by joining Send My Friend to School they are taking part in something even bigger - because right around the world people are also calling for education for all.

More than 18 million people in 100 countries have taken part in campaigning activities to date.

Friday 12 July 2013

Emotional Impact of Stroke raised in Parliament

I joined forces with the Stroke Association and stroke survivors from around the country in Parliament this week to help raise awareness of the emotional impact of stroke.

The event was held to highlight the findings of the Stroke Association’s latest report ‘Feeling overwhelmed’ which reveals that many stroke survivors and carers struggle to find the appropriate support to help them cope with the emotional impact of the condition.

There are 1.2 million stroke survivors living in the UK and someone has a stroke every five minutes.   Although a stroke happens in an instant the effects can last a life time, recovery is different for every stroke survivor and their family.   Emotional issues such as depression, anxiety and a lack of confidence are common but the Stroke Association’s report found that almost 80% of stroke survivors surveyed throughout the UK said that had received no information or practical advice to help them cope with the emotional impact of stroke.

I spoke to stroke survivors and carers about their experiences and found out about the free resources available to stroke survivors including the Stroke Association’s ‘You are not alone’ guide which offers practical advice and tips on coping with the emotional effects of stroke.

According to a recent Stroke Association survey around 60% of stroke survivors in the North West had experienced depression and 67% had experienced anxiety as a result of their stroke. Stroke is life changing and the emotional impact can be far reaching. For many the psychological impact can be just as devastating as the physical. Stroke survivors and their carers can feel overwhelmed by worries, fears and emotions as they struggle to cope with the aftermath of stroke.

I want people in our community who are struggling emotionally after stroke to know that they are not alone and that information and support is available. I would encourage stroke survivors, carers and family members to call the Stroke Association’s helpline or visit their website to find out what support is available.

A downloadable copy of the You’re not alone guide is available. Alternatively you can call the Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100 for more information about stroke and the support that is available locally.

I am pictured with Kathleen Playfield  a Family and Carer Support Coordinator for the Stroke Association in Salford (left) and Dr Caroline Kinney a NHS Stroke Clinical Psychologist at Salford Royal NHS Trust (right).

Monday 8 July 2013

When Rugby League was Born

A play recreating the historic 1895 meeting performed by pupils from six local primary schools took place on Saturday at The Museum of Wigan Life.

The meeting involving 21 northern rugby union clubs was called to discuss the issue of 'broken time' payments. At the time, union was strictly amateur and payments to players for taking part in the game was forbidden.

Northern clubs like Wigan and Leigh wanted to compensate players for loss of earnings. The meeting took place in Huddersfield against this backdrop and led to the greatest schism in sporting history.

The code of Rugby League was born!

Thanks to Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust for organising this special event and a special word for the stars of the show - the pupils of Aspull Church, Britannia Bridge, Bryn St Peters, Garrett Hall, Hindley St Peters and St George's Central primary schools.

The play was part of the Borough's celebration of the Rugby League World Cup and the two games that the Borough will host at the DW Stadium and Leigh Sports Village.

The ticket hotline is 0844 847 2013 or for online sales visit here.