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Toby accepting the Pub Parliamentarian of the Year Prize

Parliamentary Beer Group nominates Chesterfield MP as Pub Parliamentarian of the Year

Last week, the 25th Annual Beer Awards was held by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group to celebrate the efforts of people in the brewing and pubs industry. All-Party Parliamentary Groups – or APPGs for short – are cross-party groups run by MPs to try and bring attention to a particular issue.

At the Beer APPG Awards, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins won the Pub Parliamentarian of the Year award, for his work as Chair of the Pubs APPG, and in running the Parliamentary Pub of the Year competition, which celebrated hundreds of pubs up and down the country. Many in Chesterfield may remember Toby’s own nomination for the Parliamentary Pub of the Year: The Chesterfield Arms; the East Midlands regional winner.

Mike Wood, Chair of the Beer APPG, said of Toby’s award:

Toby accepting the Pub Parliamentarian of the Year Prize


“Whilst we are called the “Beer Group”, we are as much about pubs as beer.  Beer and pubs are inseparably linked. 

This year’s Pub Parliamentarian was elected in 2010 and shortly afterwards he was appointed Shadow Pubs Minister where he very quickly mastered the brief – becoming enormously knowledgeable about UK pubs, their contribution to our communities and the pressures they face.  In 2017, he was elected to be the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pubs Group. In this capacity he organised the inaugural Parliamentary Pub of the Year award.  There were over 100 entries and the shortlisted pubs were invited to a fantastic event on the Terrace in January this year.   All the shortlisted pubs made short videos and MPs voted for the winner with handsets. The winning pub was the Four Elms that had been nominated by their local MP, Jo Stevens, MP for Cardiff Central.”

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Versus Arthritis;
"Working it Out" Reception;
House of Commons, Westminster;
2nd July 2019.

© Pete Jones

Chesterfield-based Versus Arthritis event leads to MPs call for better support to keep people with arthritis in work

Toby Perkins MP joined people living with arthritis at a Parliamentary event in Westminster on Tuesday 2nd July. Toby heard firsthand about the impact the chronic pain associated with the condition can have on the ability to remain in employment and how to ensure every person with arthritis who wants to work has the support they need.

At the event, healthcare charity Versus Arthritis – based in Chesterfield – launched its new report, Working it Out: Demanding More From the Access to Work Scheme. Access to Work is a government scheme that can provide valuable workplace assistance, such as specialist equipment, transport and support staff.

However, the charity found that 59% of people they spoke to had never heard of the Access to Work scheme, with many more unaware of the type of help it can provide. This means that too many people with arthritis are going without the support they need and are unnecessarily struggling or dropping out of work.

Versus Arthritis also found that one in four applicants (with arthritis) surveyed said the scheme was difficult to communicate with, and three quarters did not know they were entitled to a review of their support.

Versus Arthritis is calling for ongoing promotion of the scheme to people with arthritis and improvements to the way it operates, so that people with arthritis do not face barriers to getting the right support.

Arthritis can make work more difficult, with tasks such as commuting, carrying equipment or even typing becoming challenging. Only 63% of working age adults with a musculoskeletal condition are in work, compared to 81% of people with no health conditions.

Toby said:

“As an Arthritis Champion, I understand the difficulties facing people with all forms of arthritis, and that is why I have committed myself to voicing those people’s concerns in parliament by being an Arthritis Champion.”

“4,368 people in Chesterfield are living with osteoarthritis of the hip, 7,325 with osteoarthritis of the knee and 15,160 with back pain. Many more are affected by other related conditions every day.

“I wanted to show support in Parliament for my constituents and highlight the steps we can all take to make life easier for people with arthritis who want to work. It is important that people with arthritis in Chesterfield are aware of the help available, such as the Access to Work scheme, and can access support when they need it.”

Arthritis can be understood within the class of “invisible illnesses”, a group of conditions which are often stigmatized and poorly understood. Recently, Toby held a debate in Parliament about Fibromyalgia – another invisible illness with some similar symptoms – which generated a huge amount of cross-party support for helping people with fibromyalgia and invisible illnesses more broadly.

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RNIB event attended by Chesterfield MP highlights importance of emotional support for blind and partially sighted people

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins met with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) last week at a parliamentary reception to hear about the charity’s Sight Loss Advice Service and the vital work that Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs) carry out.

Statistics show that calls to RNIB focused on emotional support are set to triple, increasing from 2,021 calls in 2016 to a projected 7,000 calls in 2019.

Questions around emotional support are one of the top three reasons why people spoke to the advice line in 2018 and is expected to remain in the top three for 2019.

ECLOs work alongside health professionals in eye clinics to offer support and advice to blind and partially sighted people on a range of areas.

They are an important part of RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service, which provides practical advice and emotional support over the phone, as well as face to face in eye clinics, for anyone affected by sight loss.

Toby said: “I am supporting RNIB’s drive to raise awareness of the importance of practical and emotional advice for blind and partially sighted people.

“I’ve heard about the fantastic work that the Sight Loss Advice Service carries out and the benefits to the people living with sight loss in Chesterfield.”


Get in touch with RNIB on 0303 123 9999 or visit for more information.

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Toby taking part in a speed-stacking challenge

MP bowled over by school’s approach to sport

Sporty students at Brockwell Junior School marked the Youth Sport Trust’s 2019 National School Sport Week by inviting local MP, Toby Perkins, to watch them and compete against them in

Toby hits one for six!

a range of sporting activities.

Toby said, “At a time when there is huge pressure on school budgets and more of a focus on league tables and exams, sports and P.E. can often not receive the time or consideration that it deserves. At Brockwell Juniors, they have taken a very proactive approach to sports, thinking of more diverse activities to ensure all children can participate, and this has led to happier, healthier children as well as the school securing a number of trophies and high-profile sporting wins”

Toby had the chance to try speed stacking and archery, as well as demonstrating the cricket skills he had previously put to good use playing for Holmewood MWCC many years ago!

The theme for the 2019 YST National School Sport Week was Journey to Wellbeing and encouraged schools to organise activity which align with the following five steps to wellbeing:

  • Being active
  • Connecting
  • Giving back
  • Taking notice
  • Learning


The Youth Sport Trust is the leading national charity working in partnership with over 20,000 schools, government and leading sporting organisations to improve PE and school sport. We harness the power physical activity to improve young people’s life chances with a focus on building life skills and resilience, as well as supporting physical and mental wellbeing.

Toby added, “As a former Derbyshire rugby player, who enthusiastically follows many sports, I am a huge believer in the value of competitive sports in schools. It not only promotes activity and fitness, but improves children’s confidence, social skills and ability to work as a team. We need the Government to provide more funding to schools to ensure that P.E. remains a central part to the school week.”

Toby taking part in a speed-stacking challenge

Toby taking part in a speed-stacking challenge

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Toby at the monthly social meeting of the YNA group

Derbyshire mental health group lets people know that support is always available

A peer-to-peer support group for people with mental health issues, ‘You’re Never Alone – Mental Health Awareness (YNA)’, invited local MP Toby Perkins to attend their monthly meeting to learn more about the group and the issues facing mental health sufferers.

The group was co-created by Chesterfield resident, Mark Sims, and provides advice, support and friendship through a Facebook group and regular meetings.

Toby said, “With the cuts to health services it has become increasingly difficult for people to access the support they need. Waiting lists for counselling services can see patients waiting for over two years before they are seen and so there are hundreds of people across Derbyshire not receiving support and feeling like they are alone with their mental health issues. Peer-to-peer support groups such as the YNA group can be a significant help to people who are falling through the cracks in the system”

The YNA Facebook page is a private group that allows people to interact with others with mental health issues and build up their support network. The groups admins are also available for one-to-one support via messenger and email.

Toby added, “Whilst these groups are important, they can never replace NHS mental health services and we need the Government to ensure that mental health is receiving parity of esteem for funding, to protect patients who are vulnerable and unwell.”

You can join the group at

Toby at the monthly social meeting of the YNA group

Toby at the monthly social meeting of the YNA group

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Guide Dogs Mass Lobby leads to MPs call for new equalities legislation

Toby Perkins MP supported a campaign to tackle discrimination against guide dog owners at an event in Parliament organised by the charity Guide Dogs.

On Wednesday, 19 June, more than a hundred guide dog owners from across the country converged on Westminster Hall in Parliament to share their experiences of being turned away by businesses because of their dog. At the event, the MP for Chesterfield spoke to guide dog owners about the lasting impact of these refusals.

It is against the law to refuse access to a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog except in the most exceptional circumstances. Despite this, a new Guide Dogs survey found that three out of four (76%) assistance dog owners had been turned away because of their dog.

Taxis and minicabs were the worst offenders – experienced by 73% of those reporting refusals in the last twelve months. Refusals at restaurants (54%), newsagents (42%) and high street shops (36%) were also common.

Guide Dogs are calling for all taxi and minicab drivers to be required to take disability equality training so they are aware of the rights of disabled passengers. Guide Dogs also supports changes to equality legislation to make action against businesses who refuse access easier.

Toby supported pavement parking legislation previously. He worked with Chesterfield Borough Council to ensure all taxi drivers and restaurant owners were aware of legal responsibilities to allow guide dog users to access their services.

Toby said:

“It was great to hear directly from Derbyshire residents who have come down to parliament for an issue which I know so crucially affects their standard of life.

We all feel passionately that people shouldn’t be discriminated against because of their disability and it’s important that we educate café owners, taxi drivers, restaurant owners about their legal responsibilities – but also why they should welcome that obligation and encourage people to come in and use their facilities and services.”

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New Funding Opportunities for Local Miner’s Welfare Clubs

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has been highlighting an opportunity for local Miner’s Welfare organisations to get access to new funding from Sport England.

Toby recently attended a reception in parliament which announced potential new funding streams for these local organisations to better facilities.

Miner’s Welfare organisations can now receive between £1,000 – £150,000 to improve or maintain sports facilities and playing fields through Sport England’s Community Asset Fund.

The fund is dedicated to enhancing places and spaces in local communities that give people the opportunity to be active. It invests in projects that keep people playing sport but also looks beyond this, to how sport and physical activity can and does help engage people to provide social benefits.

This summer, Sport England will be running workshops across coalfield communities for Miner’s Welfare Organisations to learn how they can apply and assist them in securing funding.

The fund is open to any Miner’s Welfare organisations across 6 coalfield regions – including in Chesterfield. Toby will be strongly encouraging local clubs in the area to apply if they have a proposal which could help the local community – whether that be through cricket, football or any other sport.

Toby will also be looking at how to address problems raised by a recent meeting with Staveley Miner’s Welfare Club. The club raised the issue of vandalism and anti-social behaviour from a nearby park.

Toby said: “Miner’s Welfare clubs have played a crucial role in our local sporting scene. I should know, having played cricket for Holmewood Miner’s Welfare for many years in my 20s. But many of them have struggled financially in recent years, and I am keen to encourage bowls clubs, cricket clubs, and any other clubs representing Miner’s Welfare organisations to apply for money to enhance or upgrade their facilities.”

You can find our more information on the Community Asset Fund on their website:

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Toby challenging the Prime Minister to make changes to the SEN funding formula

Chesterfield MP challenges Prime Minister over funding for special educational needs

Chesterfield’s Brampton Primary School was praised in Parliament for their “exemplary record in special educational needs” by Toby Perkins MP as he also challenged Theresa May to change the funding formula to ensure every child with special educational needs receives the support they need.

Toby said, “I have met with the head teachers and school governors at several schools, as well as dozens of concerned parents, regarding the difficulties they are experiencing securing funding for children with special educational needs. The impact this is having on the education and development of these children, and the knock-on impact it can have for other children in their class, cannot be underestimated.

Under the current funding formula, the first £6,000 per year of funding the school receives for the education of a child with special needs is not actually funded by the Government. And to make matters even more difficult, the County Council are often refusing to acknowledge when a child should qualify for special educational needs funding, or the assessment process takes so long that schools are left for months on end without the support they need.”

In addition to raising this in Prime Minister’s Questions, Toby has created an opportunity to support the case by submitting an Early Day Motion on funding for children with special educational needs that has been signed by 41 MPs.

The EDM reads:

“That this House notes that the Government’s current formula for allocating financial resources to schools includes a requirement that schools themselves have to fund the first £6,000 of the support for the most disadvantaged Special Educational Needs pupils (SEND), those with Education Health and Care plans (EHCP), and that this provides a disincentive for schools to support EHCP applications or to accept pupils with EHCPs in the first place; further notes that these pupils are those who have the greatest need of support and that schools who develop a good reputation for supporting disadvantaged students face a financial penalty for doing so; and calls on the Government to ensure that in the forthcoming Spending Review the Government fully funds the provision for SEND pupils to ensure that schools and local authorities receive the finances to give SEND pupils the investment in their education that those pupils need and deserve”.

Toby is hoping to secure a Westminster Hall debate on this issue to press the Government to make changes to the formula.

Toby added, “Brampton Primary School has one of the best reputations for providing a comprehensive and individualised package of support for children with special educational needs. This has led to more parents wanting to send their children there, so they have a far higher number of SEN children on their roll. They have become a victim of their own success due to the Government’s funding formula and it is placing in jeopardy the fantastic work they do. The formula has to change.”

Toby challenging the Prime Minister to make changes to the SEN funding formula

Toby challenging the Prime Minister to make changes to the SEN funding formula

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I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF


I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email to make a booking.

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