Jeff Smith

Standing up for Manchester Withington

News

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In the run up to the Metro Mayor election on 4 May, young people from the newly established Greater Manchester Youth Assembly have organised a special hustings event to give young people the chance to quiz the candidates on their visions and priorities in Greater Manchester.

The hustings follows new research from Dr Andy Mycock (Huddersfield University) and Councillor Beth Knowles which revealed that young people are sceptical about the Mayor’s ability to make an impact on their lives.  The aim of the research, and the hustings, is to engage young people in the opportunities of devolution and ensure that it delivers for them.

The details of the hustings are:

When: 6 April 2017 18:00-20:00

Where: Friends Meeting House Manchester, Upper Hall, Mount Street, M2 5NS

Candidates:

Andy Burnham – Labour

Sean Anstee – Conservative

Jane Brophy – Liberal Democrats

Will Patterson – Green

Shneur Odze - UKIP

There is limited capacity for this event, to reserve a space please register on the Eventbrite page here.

Invitation: Youth Mayoral Election Hustings

In the run up to the Metro Mayor election on 4 May, young people from the newly established Greater Manchester Youth Assembly have organised a special hustings event to give...

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith is supporting Time to Change’s campaign to encourage men to be more open and supportive when talking about mental health.

While there has been a positive step change in the way mental health is viewed and talked about in England, with 3.4 million people having improved attitudes, research shows a persistent gap between the attitudes of men and women.

Time to Change, the mental health campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, carried out research into men’s attitudes towards mental health over the course of a year, which included feedback from 18 focus groups across the country. This new insight revealed a number of barriers preventing men in particular from opening up to the topic of mental health. 

Compared to women, men are far less likely to report their own experiences of mental health problems and less likely to discuss mental health problems with a professional.  They are more likely to say that mental health problems are the result of a ‘lack of self-discipline and willpower’.  This difference can be fatal, with men three times more likely to take their own lives than women and suicide being the leading cause of death in men under 45.

Matthew Williams, 42, from Middlesbrough has depression. He credits his two close friends for being there when he was struggling with his mental health:

“I’m very lucky to have two lifelong friends who have been a huge support to me when I was ill. I’ve always talked to Craig about everything. Simon, whilst we had never really talked a great deal about personal things, showed me he cared in other ways, by getting me out the house regularly to play darts, giving me a short break from everything that was going on in my head.

“Having depression can be incredibly isolating but knowing that Craig and Simon are in my corner makes me feel like I’m not fighting it on my own.”

Jo Loughran, Director of Operations at Time to Change, said:

“Our research clearly shows that mental health problems are just not on the radar for men. However, we also know that men feel strongly about brotherhood and friendship and can play a vital role in looking out for their friends’ mental health and wellbeing.

“We want to show that being in your friend’s corner doesn’t have to be difficult or awkward. Breaking the cycle of men feeling unable to reach out has never been more urgent. We need to help men realise they can make a real difference, even change someone’s life.”

Jeff said: “We all have mental and physical health, but for many men discussing depression or anxiety is far harder than talking about a broken leg or a sprained wrist.

This is a vital campaign to remove the stigma that still exists around mental health among some men.  As someone who has suffered from depression in the past, I know that calling on friends and family is one of the most effective ways of getting through difficult times.”

To find out more information about the campaign and how you can get involved, visit: www.time-to-change.org.uk/inyourcorner

You can watch the launch video for the campaign here.

New campaign to encourage men to speak openly about mental health

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith is supporting Time to Change’s campaign to encourage men to be more open and supportive when talking about mental health. While there has been a...

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Last week, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith welcomed to parliament the six shortlisted candidates for the Emmeline Pankhurst statue to be built in Manchester city centre.

 

The vast majority of statues around the UK are of men and Manchester currently has no statues of women other than Queen Victoria. Thanks to a great local campaign, that’s about to change.

 

Manchester Councillor Andrew Simcock launched the ‘WoManchester’ campaign to build a statue of a ‘woman of significance to the city’ in 2014. A shortlist of 20 noteworthy women was drawn up that included novelist and social reformer Elizabeth Gaskell, birth control pioneer Marie Stopes, mathematician and former Lord Mayor of Manchester Kathleen Ollerenshaw, and sisters Christabel and Sylvia Pankhurst.

 

It was Sylvia and Christabel’s mother, Emmeline Pankhurst, who emerged as the overwhelming choice of over 5,000 people in a public poll. Born in Moss Side in 1858, the leading suffragist and founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union was known for her dedication to “deeds, not words” in the campaign for universal women’s suffrage.

 

The maquettes of the six shortlisted sculptors were brought to parliament to be viewed by MPs, collectors and members of the public.  Following the event, the six models are being auctioned off, with the proceeds going towards the construction fund for the statue itself. 

 

The project is at no cost to the taxpayer, with Councillor Simcock commencing fundraising with a 1,059 mile cycle ride from Lands’ End to John O’Groats in June 2015.  The campaign is also welcoming donations from individuals and organisations who would like to pledge to the construction fund.

 

Commenting on the campaign, Jeff Smith MP said: Like most cities, Manchester has not done enough to recognise the contribution that women have made in creating the society we live in today. I’m delighted to support the campaign to change that.

 

Emmeline Pankhurst is a worthy winner of the public poll, and it was fantastic that Helen Pankhurst joined us in parliament to celebrate her great-grandmother’s remarkable life."

 

Councillor Andrew Simcock said: “All the sculptors have been working hard on their maquettes of the Emmeline Pankhurst statue and I am delighted that we had a full house at the Houses of Parliament for the unveiling.

 

Helen Pankhurst said: “This moment, the Houses of Parliament unveiling, is a symbolically important one as part of the build up to the centenary celebrations of the one hundredth anniversary of women partially securing the vote in 1918.

 

There is much to celebrate in terms of the progress in women’s rights over the last hundred years.  However, there is also much more to be done, in the social, economic and political spheres.

 

Emmeline’s demands that we don’t just accept things as they are, but demand more of our institutions, our culture and of ourselves, remains as pertinent today as ever.”

 

More information on the sculptors and the campaign can be found here.

 

You can also support the campaign on Twitter, by voting for your favourite on the online poll or by donating to the statue fund here

 

Emmeline Pankhurst comes to Parliament as six candidates for Manchester statue unveiled

Last week, Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith welcomed to parliament the six shortlisted candidates for the Emmeline Pankhurst statue to be built in Manchester city centre.   The vast majority...

Last week Jeff joined Network Rail representatives and local Labour councillors to discuss improvements to railway bridges in south Manchester.

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Jeff visited the bridge in East Didsbury (pictured above) ask for work to tackle pigeon fouling, littering and fly-tipping on Network Rail land, and to create a new community art project on the bridge.

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At the weekend, Network Rail replaced the bridges at Fog Lane (pictured above) and Mauldeth Road, after routine inspections found that the bridges had reached the end of their design life.  You can see a video of Jeff’s visit to Fog Lane, along with Councillors Andrew Simcock and James Wilson, here

Commenting at the site, Jeff said: “The new bridge replacements have been 3 years in the planning so it’s great to see that the work was carried out so successfully.  The new bridges are designed to last for the next 125 years without major maintenance."

Councillor Simcock captured the bridge replacement in action in the photos below: 

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Jeff visits local railway bridges with Network Rail

Last week Jeff joined Network Rail representatives and local Labour councillors to discuss improvements to railway bridges in south Manchester. Jeff visited the bridge in East Didsbury (pictured above) ask...

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Following my recent discussions with the Regional Engagement Team at High-Speed 2 Ltd, I have organised for a representative and an engineer to come to my constituency office in Withington to answer any questions constituents have.

The details are:

Date: Friday 3rd March

Time: 13:00-14:30

Venue: Community Rooms 1 & 2, Withington Fire Station, Wilmslow Road, M20 4AW

There will be large-scale maps of the route under south Manchester (Didsbury and Withington)  which will include the detail of the line and vent shafts.

South Manchester residents are welcome to drop in on the day, but it would be helpful if you could let us know if you plan to attend. Please email will.archer@parliament.uk

HS2 Ltd. are also holding an information event on Saturday 25th February at the William Hulme Grammar School between 10:00-17:00.  Details of this event can be found here.

HS2 in south Manchester - Information drop in – Withington, Friday 3rd March

Following my recent discussions with the Regional Engagement Team at High-Speed 2 Ltd, I have organised for a representative and an engineer to come to my constituency office in Withington...

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has shown his support for Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, a campaign organised by National Energy Action to raise awareness of the problem of fuel poverty.

Over four million households are currently unable to afford the energy they need to stay warm and healthy in their homes. It is a particular problem for those in low incomes living in energy inefficient homes that are difficult and expensive to heat.

Jeff said: “Living in a cold damp home can lead to extremely poor health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as older people, young children, and those with long term sickness and disabilities.

Not only will it be causing misery for millions of people this winter, but also placing a huge strain on our already stretched health services.

In Manchester Withington alone, 5,900 households are believed to be in fuel poverty. The Government must act to bring people’s fuel costs down.

Jenny Saunders OBE, Chief Executive of National Energy Action commented: “Fuel poverty is a serious problem and one that we cannot tackle alone. I am delighted that Jeff Smith is supporting the campaign and helping to ensure that his constituents can live warm, healthy and happy lives.” 

Jeff pledges to ‘tackle cold homes’ on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has shown his support for Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, a campaign organised by National Energy Action to raise awareness of the problem of fuel poverty....

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith, as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), has called on the government to take against the machines.

The All-Party Group, formed to investigate the impact of FOBTs on communities, launched an inquiry in June 2016 which invited policymakers, bookmakers, those with gambling addictions and others to submit evidence.

FOBTs, also known as B2s, are touch-screen roulette machines on which gamblers can play casino-style games.  Concern has grown that the machines are both highly addictive and not adequately regulated, and offer high stakes casino style gambling with gamblers at risk of losing £100 every 20 seconds.

Commenting at the report launch, Jeff said: “I’m pleased to have taken part in this important inquiry into the damaging impact these machines can have on our communities and families.

The government must now listen to the findings and take concrete action to limit the most harmful aspects of FOBTs.  That means reducing the stake and speed with which people can gamble, and giving Local Authorities the planning powers they need to prevent the clustering of betting shops.

I saw during this inquiry how Fixed Odds Betting Terminals can cause bankruptcy, family breakdown and antisocial behaviour. It’s time for the Government to act.”

You can find a copy of the full report here.

Parliamentary Group calls for a government action on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith, as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), has called on the government to take against the machines. The...

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Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith met residents and staff for lunch recently at L’Arche Manchester.

L’Arche is a community based home in Withington, where people with and without learning disabilities share life together, living and working in the community. Although grounded in the Christian tradition, L'Arche Communities welcomes people of all faiths.  

Jeff said: “It was great to get a tour of the home by one of the residents and see the fantastic work they do in the community.  I want to thank the residents and the staff for welcoming me into their home.”

To find out more about L’Arche go to www.larche.org.uk

Jeff visit L'Arche in Withington

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith met residents and staff for lunch recently at L’Arche Manchester. L’Arche is a community based home in Withington, where people with and without learning disabilities...

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We should show leadership and compassion by guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens": My letter to the Prime Minister

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Last week Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment.

In doing so, he pledged his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.

Friday 27th January will mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘How can life go on?’

After signing the Book of Commitment, Jeff commented: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from Manchester Withington and across the country to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust.

As the Holocaust moves from living history, to just history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the victims and also pay tribute to the survivors.”

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “Our mission is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance.

We are very grateful to Jeff for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms.”

Jeff signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment

Last week Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment. In doing so, he pledged his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who...

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