Grants available to help local community groups to cut crime and anti-social behaviour

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Jeff Smith is calling on local community organisations in south Manchester to apply for their share of a new £200,000 pot for projects that help to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

The Active Citizens’ Fund, launched earlier this week by Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner (GMPCC) Tony Lloyd, aims to give grants to organisations that are focused on building resilient communities that are less vulnerable to crime in the future.

Interested organisations can apply for up to £5,000 to be used to reduce demand on police forces and foster thriving communities.  Successful applicants will then be asked to present their ideas to a panel in October before awards are made at the end of the year. Over the next two months, the Office of the GMPCC will hold a number of advice sessions to help those organisations interested in applying (booking required).

Jeff said: “I’m pleased to be supporting this new initiative to encourage grassroots organisations to take on a bigger role in reducing anti-social behaviour.

Building strong and resilient communities is the most sustainable way to reduce crime in the long-term and that requires the police and community groups working closely together through schemes just like this.”

You can find more information on how to apply, and the details of the advice sessions hereThese advice sessions have limited space and spaces must be reserved.

The deadline for applications to the scheme is Thursday 22nd September.

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Jeff Smith praises new fair finance initiative

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith encouraged constituents to look into ‘Fair for You’, a new social enterprise providing an ethical alternative to high-cost finance.

‘Fair for You’ aims to deliver access to affordable and flexible credit to those families who have previously relied upon high cost credit options such as Bright House or The Money Shop.

Organisations such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have shown that those on low and insecure incomes typically borrow at rates between 100% and 400%.  The rates are often high as those on low income tend to borrow smaller amounts with weekly repayments, which commercial credit companies view as high risk loans.

‘Fair for You’ aims to tailor their credit options to the needs of low-earners.  There are no fees on the loans, the repayment plans are flexible and they work closely with welfare advice charities which can help if a customer misses a payment.  The scheme is backed by Church Action On Poverty and the Campaign for Responsible Credit.

Commenting on the scheme, Jeff said: ‘High cost credit offered at inflexible terms is one of the leading causes of long-term poverty.

Initiatives such as ‘Fair for You’ allow those on low incomes to buy essentials such as washing machines and sofas without becoming further and further in debt.

For all those who have had difficulties with accessing affordable credit in the past, I’d recommend checking out Fair for You

Find out more about the services ‘Fair for You’ offer on their website.

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‘Missing Type’ Campaign for new blood donors backed by M_nchester Withingt_n MP Jeff Smith

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith is supporting the Missing Type campaign to find the blood donors of the future.

This year’s Missing Type campaign – first held by NHS Blood and Transplant in 2015 - brings together 25 blood services from 21 countries to call for new donors to ensure blood donation for future generations.

Throughout the campaign As, Bs and Os - the letters of the main blood groups - are disappearing in iconic locations around the world, as well as being dropped from the Twitter biographies and email signatures of supporters.  The campaign aims to raise awareness of the particular need for more young blood donors, more black and Asian donors, and more donors with O negative and A negative blood to guarantee the right mix of blood groups to meet future patient need.

Jeff said: “I’m proud to support the Missing Type campaign and I hope that people in Manchester Withington will help ‘fill in the gaps’ by registering as new donors.

Donated blood is used for patients with a variety of conditions like anaemia and cancer but also for patients having surgery and new mothers who lose blood in childbirth.  Every donation helps or saves up to three people.”

Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Blood donation is an amazing gift and we are really grateful to Jeff Smith for his support. Blood transfusions save lives.

Thanks to the generosity of our current donors, hospitals have the blood needed to treat patients and there is not a crisis in blood stocks.  However, we need more people to start giving blood to replace those who can no longer donate and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future.

Don’t worry if you’ve never given blood before and don’t know what blood group you are – you find out shortly after your first donation. What’s important is that you register as a donor and book your first appointment to donate.”

For more information on the campaign visit: www.blood.co.uk, call 0300 123 23 23, or watch the campaign video.

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Jeff Smith MP learns how to stack the odds against cancer

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith attended a Cancer Research UK event in Westminster last week to learn more about how lifestyle changes can reduce people’s risk of getting cancer.

Jeff met with campaigners and nurses from the charity’s Cancer Awareness Roadshow, to find out more about their work on cancer prevention.

More than four in ten cancer cases in the UK could be prevented each year, with smoking and obesity being the biggest avoidable causes of the disease.

But while the dangers of smoking are well known, many are unaware of the link between obesity and cancer.

This is particularly concerning when 61% of people in the North West are currently overweight or obese.

Jeff Smith MP said: “I am proud to have The Christie Hospital in my constituency, the largest cancer hospital in Europe, treating over 40,000 patients each year.  

While we’ve come such a long way in the fight against cancer, it’s shocking to hear that so many cases in Manchester Withington and across the region, could be prevented.

The numbers make it clear we need to act now to help people to make positive lifestyle changes, such as becoming more active and maintaining a healthy weight.

While there are no guarantees against the disease, I want to do everything I can to help my constituents and their families stack the odds in their favour and lead long and healthy lives.”

The Westminster event coincided with the launch of Cancer Research UK’s new ‘Junk Free TV’ campaign, which aims to help address children’s obesity.

It calls for the removal of junk food adverts on TV before the 9pm watershed, to help reduce the impact of this negative influence over children’s food choices.

Alison Cox, Director of Cancer Prevention at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s great to have Jeff Smith’s support with raising awareness of how people can reduce their risk of cancer.

“There are a lot of things working against us when it comes to making healthier choices. We’re all bombarded by advertising of junk foods packed with extra calories and this leads kids to pester their parents to buy unhealthy food for them.

“That’s why we’re calling on Government to introduce a number of measures to protect the health of the nation’s children, including removing junk food advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed.

“Obese children are more likely to be obese as adults, so it’s vital that young people are encouraged to eat healthily and keep active and that healthy choices are easy to make.”

To support the Junk Free TV campaign, visit cruk.org/junkfreetv.

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Jeff Smith MP helps constituents to get gas and electricity under control with smart meters

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith showed support for the smart meter rollout at a briefing in Parliament last week.

By 2020, every home in Britain will be offered a smart meter at no additional cost.  Smart meters provide accurate bills in real time, showing your gas and electricity usage in pounds and pence. With this information consumers will know exactly how much the next bill will be, and will no longer received estimated bills based on manual meter readings.

A recent customer survey showed that more than eight in ten people with a smart meter would recommend the technology to a friend, neighbour or relative, and nearly four in five (79 per cent) are confident that their bills are accurate, whereas only 59 per cent of those without feel the same.

Jeff Smith said: “Smart meters will give us all much more control of what we spend on gas and electricity, and finally put an end to estimated bills.

I was delighted to see first-hand how smart meters will benefit my constituents. I encourage everyone to visit Smart Energy GB’s website or visit their local Post Office branch to pick up a leaflet to find out more about smart meters.”

To find out more about the smart meter rollout, contact your energy supplier, pick up a leaflet from your local Post Office branch or visit www.smartenergygb.org/get-yours.

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Jeff Smith MP calls on Government to act on cardiovascular diseases in Manchester

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith urged the Government to tackle high rates of premature deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in Manchester.

NHS figures released last week showed that 142 people per 100,000 in Manchester die prematurely due to a cardiovascular disease, nearly double the national average. 

Manchester has retained its position as having the highest rates of premature deaths from a heart attack or a stroke in the country, with 372 people dying of cardiovascular diseases in 2014.

Jeff called on the Government to make time to debate the specific drivers of cardiovascular disease in the region, given that almost all areas of Greater Manchester had higher than average results.

Commenting on the figures, Jeff said: ‘You are more likely to die prematurely of a cardiovascular disease in Manchester than anywhere else in the country.

These figures represent the continuation of a worrying pattern for the Greater Manchester region and remind us that urgent action is needed.

The Government should act quickly to assess the specific drivers of cardiovascular disease in the region and work with Manchester City Council to reverse this concerning trend.’

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Jeff Smith MP supports devolution plan to improve the lived experience of people with dementia in Greater Manchester

Jeff Smith MP for Manchester Withington joined other MP’s from across Greater Manchester for a parliamentary briefing about plans underway to make Greater Manchester the best place for people with dementia and their carers to live.

As part of the historic Greater Manchester devolution agreement, dementia has been set as an early priority for health and social care reform in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority area. Sir David Dalton, Chief Executive of Salford Royal Foundation Trust, is leading a dementia transformation programme called ‘Dementia United’. Over the next five years, this programme of work aims to bring together partners from across Greater Manchester to improve the experiences of people with dementia and reduce pressure on the health and social care system.

George McNamara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Society said: “Across Greater Manchester Alzheimer’s Society has been working to support this project, which we believe has the potential not only to transform dementia care in Greater Manchester, but to serve as a catalyst to improve life for people affected by dementia nationally.

Over the next five years Dementia United will work with partners from across the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs, as well as people with dementia and carers, voluntary sector groups, providers, academics and businesses to meet this ambition. The programme is likely to include piloting new key worker models; developing new assistive technology; regularly monitoring and comparing data from across Greater Manchester to reduce variance in dementia care; and ensuring people with dementia and carers are at the heart of designing the programme.”

Jeff Smith MP said: “It was great to join colleagues from across Greater Manchester at the Alzheimer’s Society’s parliamentary briefing on Wednesday to hear about the changes taking place in Greater Manchester to transform dementia support and the developments that are expected over the next five years.

I support plans to ensure that every person with dementia, and, every carer gets the high quality support and care they deserve in Manchester Withington. Together, we can make Greater Manchester a world leader when it comes to dementia.”

 

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Jeff Smith supports free trees in schools scheme

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith is promoting a scheme run by the Woodland Trust to plant 400,000 new trees in primary schools around the country.

The new scheme offers state-funded primary schools a free trees pack with everything they need to start planting, and guidance on how to make their school grounds and communities greener. 

The pack includes help with finding a space to plant the trees, information on how to protect the trees and help them grow, and on-line resources to support teachers to plan lessons on the environment.

Beccy Speight, Chief Executive of The Woodland Trust said: “It’s vitally important that children get the chance to plant a tree. We know from our research it’s a memory they’ll treasure for years to come, and often starts their relationship off with the natural world and all the benefits that brings. 

This scheme offers schools which have found it hard in the past a new way to plant trees, and bring an oasis of green into their community.”

Jeff Smith said: “This scheme is a fantastic way to encourage children to learn about nature while making their school grounds greener. 

I’m encouraging all eligible primary schools to apply for a free tree pack and start planting!”

Apply for a free tree pack on the Woodland Trust website here. The deadline for applications in September 7th.

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Jeff Smith calls for London-style bus franchising in Greater Manchester

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith joined Transport for Greater Manchester in Parliament to show support for the upcoming Buses Bill.

Announced in this year’s Queen’s Speech, the Buses Bill will give the elected Mayor of Manchester the power to introduce a London-style bus franchising system.  Analysts at the think-tank IPPR predict that the bill could bring ticket prices down, pave the way for an Oyster-card equivalent in Manchester, and allow the Mayor to provide new routes in suburban areas.

Jeff said: ‘I’m pleased to join Transport for Greater Manchester to show our support for the devolution of bus franchising powers to Greater Manchester.

In Manchester, we’ve been calling for the same powers as London for many years so I’m glad that the Government has finally agreed.

The Buses Bill could be the first step towards the flexible and interconnected transport system that Manchester so desperately needs.’

Jeff raised the potential benefits of the Buses Bill in his response to the Queen’s Speech earlier this year.  Read the full speech here.

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Jeff Smith urges constituents to have their say on West Coast Rail Franchise

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has called on Manchester residents to share their views and concerns on train services during the new consultation on the InterCity West Coast (ICWC) franchise.

The West Coast franchise connects Manchester to London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh, making it the most important intercity passenger route in the UK.  The contract is currently held by Virgin Trains, but is due to end in April 2018.

Local businesses and passengers are invited to make submissions to the consultation document.  Passengers are asked for their views on areas such as train timetabling, the price of tickets, the frequency of the services, and the accessibility of stations and trains.  These views will form the backbone of  the guidelines issued to companies bidding to run the service later this year.

Jeff Smith said: ‘The Intercity West Coast franchise helps Manchester remain the thriving commercial and social hub that it is today.

It is vital that Manchester residents have their say, and I'm encouraging all constituents to feed into the document and make their views heard. This is our chance to shape our train service for the future.’

The consultation is open until August 2nd and can be found here.

 

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