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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: https://www.sportengland.org/funding/community-asset-fund/

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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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Chesterfield MP backs calls for diabetes emotional and mental health support

Calls from leading charity Diabetes UK to create new national standards for diabetes emotional and mental health support, and to increase support available locally to the 18,210 people living with diabetes in the area have been backed by local MP for Chesterfield Toby Perkins.

 

Recently published research from the charity revealed that the relentless nature of diabetes can impact people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health, ranging from day-to-day frustration and low mood, to specific psychological and mental health difficulties such as clinical depression and anxiety.

 

The findings, published in the report “Too often missing: Making emotional and psychological support routine in diabetes care”, show that diabetes is much more than a physical condition. Mr Perkins joined Diabetes UK at a parliamentary event, as the charity launched its campaign to make the emotional and psychological demands of living with diabetes recognised and provide the right support to everyone who needs it.

 

Diabetes UK is urgently calling on the NHS to create national standards for diabetes emotional and mental health services. These should ensure that everyone receives joined up care, that they are asked how they are feeling as part of every diabetes appointment, and that a mental health professional with knowledge of diabetes is part of every diabetes care team.

 

Mr Toby Perkins MP said in support of the campaign:

 

“The demands of living with diabetes affect people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing, but mental health support is often missing from diabetes care. And when diabetes cannot be well managed, the risk of dangerous complications increases.

 

We need diabetes care that includes emotional and psychological support to help people improve both their physical and mental health, reduce pressure on services, and save the NHS money.”

 

Diabetes UK has launched a petition to call for national standards for diabetes mental health support and services. To find out more about the campaign and sign the petition go to www.diabetes.org.uk/missing

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Toby Perkins (002)

Toby Perkins MP hears about the impact of alcohol on health

Last week, Toby Perkins MP for Chesterfield joined the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA)’s Parliamentary Event to celebrate the recent strides forward in alcohol policy and outline the many challenges that remain.

The ripples of harmful alcohol consumption pass from individuals, through families and communities, and impact our society as a whole. These effects are substantial and wide-reaching as alcohol contributes to the death of 65 people every day in England alone, is involved in 39% of all violent crime in England and Wales, and costs NHS England £3.5 billion every year.

Toby Perkins MP said:

“Alcohol can, in some circumstances, have a truly devastating effect on individuals and our communities. We need to support targeted, evidence-based programmes that allow us to reduce alcohol harm. This can make individuals, their families, their communities, and our country safer and healthier.”

“As chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pubs, I am aware of the role pubs can play in reducing alcohol harm. Pubs need to be right at the forefront of targeted harm reduction programs – as they are the safest place a person can drink”

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Toby with Reverend Daniel Cooke

‘Heating and seating’ funding campaign launched to help refurbish chilly church

The St Michael & All Angels Church in Brimington is trying to raise £100k to pay for a new heating system and to make the church more accessible for disabled and elderly church goers.

Toby with Reverend Daniel Cooke

Toby with Reverend Daniel Cooke

Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins, recently visited the Church to meet with Reverend Daniel Cooke and has now given his support to the fundraising campaign.

Toby said, “the heating system at the Church is older than Reverend Cooke himself and it can get almost unbearably cold. The building is a great space that could be utilised more by the community if the heating system was replaced and a refurbishment completed to make it more accessible and usable”.

As well as replacing the heating system, the Church is planning to remove the old pews, which are inaccessible for many disabled and elderly people, and introduce more flexible seating that will allow access for wheelchairs and pushchairs, and make the building more suitable for community activities and events. The Church has already raised £20k of their £100k target, and is now being supported to apply for a grant by Toby Perkins and other groups.

Toby added, “There are other churches in the Chesterfield area that have modernised and become more accessible, and they have become real community hubs. Hopefully, the St Michael & All Angels Church can do the same and I would urge people to donate what they can.”

Donations can be made via the Church’s Justgiving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stmichaelsheatingandseating

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Toby at the site of the new centre, which is expected to be completed by Summer 2020

Local MP calls for more donations as landmark project to rebuild the RSPCA Chesterfield Animal Centre continues

The Chesterfield and North Derbyshire RSPCA are rebuilding Chesterfield Animal Centre in a £2m project and local MP, Toby Perkins, went along to see the progress that is being made.

Toby at the site of the new centre, which is expected to be completed by Summer 2020

Toby at the site of the new centre, which is expected to be completed by Summer 2020

Toby said, “I visited the centre before work had even started and saw the ambitious plans for rebuilding the centre. It is amazing to see how much progress has already been made and I can’t wait to come back for the grand opening when the development is completed.”

Due to open in summer next year, the new centre will include 26 replacement dog kennels, a 22-pen cattery and a dedicated unit for puppies. There will also be an isolation unit, which will include three dog kennels and four cat pens, as well as an outdoor exercise area.  The new pens will provide a dedicated space to care for cats and dogs that require additional medical attention when injured or poorly.

Toby added, “This is a £2 million project and the staff at the centre have made a truly Herculean effort to raise the vast majority of the funds needed. But they still need donations to complete the project and keep the new centre going. They receive no money from public funds and are independent from the national RSPCA so I would encourage local animal lovers to dig deep and donate.

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earth hour photo

A VOICE FOR OUR PLANET

Earth Hour helps find solutions for the environmental challenges we face globally. This includes influencing national climate policies, planting new forests in Uganda, and banning plastic in the Galapagos. The world’s biggest landmarks – such as the Sydney Opera House, Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, and Edinburgh Castle – switch off lights as a visual display of their commitment to our planet.

 

Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins has added their voice for Earth Hour, the world’s largest annual event to protect the planet, and joined a movement to safeguard nature and set it on the path to recovery.

 

Toby made a pledge for the environment; joining over 100 MPs who showed their support for Earth Hour in Parliament this week, ahead of the global lights out event on Saturday 30th March at 8:30pm.

 

MPs pledged their #VoiceForThePlanet to send the message that it is unacceptable to sit back and watch the destruction of nature, and to help inspire their constituents to make their voice heard this Earth Hour, by choosing to change something in everyday life that will help protect our planet.

 

Toby said: ““Earth Hour gives a voice to people everywhere who want to raise awareness of some of the biggest environmental challenges we are facing. I hope that by adding my voice for the planet I can encourage my constituents to do the same.”

 

 

#EarthHourUK

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Welcome

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
Email: toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF

Surgeries

I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk to make a booking.

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