• Conor supports victims of contaminated blood scandal

    Conor McGinn MP announced his support for the campaign to help those affected by the contaminated blood scandal after meeting with Sue Molyneaux, a constituent who is a widow of one of the victims to hear first-hand the impact on her and her family of her husband’s death.

    From the 1970s through to the early-1990s, thousands of people underwent treatment with NHS-supplied blood products. Many of these products are now known to have been contaminated with HIV and/or Hepatitis C. Thousands were affected and many have sadly passed away, and their families and survivors have campaigned for years for justice and to receive compensation.

    Despite previous commitments to give the survivors and families a resolution to the scandal the Government has again delayed matters by setting up a further consultation on the compensation package, which could see some of those who were affected lose thousands of pounds.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “It’s impossible to underestimate the scale of this scandal and the pain it has caused to many families including my constituent Mrs Molyneux.

    “Many have gone through the heartache of losing a loved one and then have had to fight for many years to make the Government take action to address concerns over the administration of the compensation scheme.

    “Alongside my colleague Diane Johnson, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood, I am supporting the victims of this scandal and will work to ensure they receive just compensation.”

  • Conor celebrates National Apprenticeship Week and calls for more high-quality apprenticeships

    Apprentices

    To mark National Apprenticeship Week Conor McGinn MP paid a visit to Kalzip in his constituency.

    At the site Conor met apprentices employed by the company through a St Helens Chamber-led scheme. He spoke to Debbie Ashurst, Planning and Materials Control Manager, about why the company felt it was important to take on apprentices and took the opportunity to meet the apprentices and listen to their experiences and how they enjoyed the opportunity to learn new skills in the workplace.

    National Apprenticeship Week is coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service to celebrate apprenticeships and traineeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

    Kalzip, an international company based in Haydock produces roofing and building materials for use  all over the world, currently has taken on 7 apprentices via the St Helens Chamber of Commerce.

    Speaking after the visit Conor said:

    “Delivered well, apprenticeships are an important route into employment.  They give an opportunity to learn and develop skills for the workplace whilst earning a living.

    “Companies like Kalzip have recognised that high-quality apprenticeships are good for employers and good for those completing them. And with help from St Helens Chamber, they’ve identified some really fantastic young people and given them a great opportunity.

    “But for too long the UK has not invested enough in apprenticeships. The current Government have failed to address this; they have not fixed the underlying structural economic weaknesses which hold our country back.

    “The UK faces a skills emergency, skills shortages make up over a third of vacancies in some industries. This is bad for businesses and for working people too. Boosting apprenticeships must be part of the solution.

    “Employers like Kalzip and organisations like St Helens Chamber are helping to address this. I am glad to be supporting them and will continue to press for high-quality apprenticeships, a solution to the skills shortage and help to get young people into work.”

     

  • Conor visits St Helens Carers Centre

    Apprentices 3

    Conor visited St Helens Carers Centre to meet the Chair Jane Dearden and Chief Executive Alan Ashton and hear about the work of St Helens carers.

    The Centre aims to be a one-stop-shop for Carers, where they can get support, information, advice and access services. Conor spoke with Jane and Alan about the challenges faced by carers, the support they need and the help the carers centre provides.

    Established in 2001 the carers centre supports over 10,500 adult carers and over 500 young carers, which represents a little under 50% of all carers in the borough, making St Helens Carers Centre one of the most successful in the country.

    However, this success brings its own challenges and St Helens carers are working hard with the council to find ways, with ever tightening budgets, to meet the needs of local carers.

    Speaking after the visit, Conor said:

    “Carers across St Helens make a vital contribution to the people they care for, to our local communities and to our economy, and they in turn receive excellent support from the St Helens Carers Centre.

    They do a difficult job in very difficult circumstances, indeed the system would completely collapse without them. Carers should receive proper support and funding from Government. 

    “However, under the Tories funding for adult social care was been slashed by over £4.5billion from 2010-2015. As a result our care system is under a huge strain and on the brink of collapse.

    “I urge the Government to act now to ensure that funding is in place so that carers receive the support they deserve.”

     

  • Conor joined pupils at a special service to celebrate education pioneer Sarah Cowley

    cowley 300 event

    Pupils past and present rubbed shoulders at a special service to celebrate education pioneer Sarah Cowley.

    A number of events are being held to mark the 300th anniversary of the death of Sarah Cowley whose dream was to enable every child access to education and not just the wealthy.

    Around 200 people and several dignitaries attended the service at the old school building on Hard Lane including the Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens Steven and Lynn Glover, Reverend David Eastwood, Conor McGinn MP and Cllr Andy Bowden who represented The Cowley Trustees.

     Some former pupils took part in readings and performed with The Cowley Singers and the ‘Veterans’ band. Members of the Cowley Institute for Performing Arts also sang with the Parish Church School Choir. Former head of music Ray Dobbs accompanied the musical performances on the piano.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “The service was a fitting tribute to the memory of Sarah Cowley and to the legacy she left behind. Her decision to leave money to support the education of local children has made a huge difference to many people’s lives and many still benefit from the trust fund she established.

     “All those involved in organising the 300 year commemorations have done Sarah Cowley’s memory justice. The event celebrated the achievements of pupils past and present. Sarah recognised 300 years ago the barriers that exist to getting a good education. She did something about it and her legacy continues to this day.”

     

  • Conor calls for musicians and film-makers to enter Rock the House and Film the House

    Conor McGinn MP is supporting musicians and film-makers from St Helens North by calling for local artists to enter Parliament’s two largest creative competitions, Rock the House and Film the House.

    The competition, now in its fifth year, offers the opportunity to put local musicians and film-makers in direct contact with the movers and shakers of the two industries and is judged by the leading lights of industry, with prizes ranging from festival slots, studio time and top-notch equipment, the Rock the House and Film the House competitions are a pioneering opportunity to showcase what the constituency has to offer, raising awareness about the importance of Intellectual property (IP) to our creative industries and country.

    Dates for the 2016 competitions are:

    • 1st May, closing date for entries to MPs
    • 31st May, closing date for MPs to announce their constituency nominations
    • 20th June, final battle of the bands
    • 4th July, awards ceremony

    More information on how to apply for each competition can be found at:

    Conor McGinn MP said:

    “I welcome the return of Parliament’s most-hotly contested competitions, and would urge all local musicians and film-makers to enter Rock the House and Film the House. This is an excellent opportunity for us to celebrate our local talent and, as all nominations are judged by industry experts, there is no finer chance for our musicians and film-makers to gain exposure.”

    Rock legend and actor, Alice Cooper said:

    “Rock the House is a great project which celebrates the fantastic diversity of the British music scene and gives musicians a vehicle through which to hold their legislators accountable about protecting the music industry’s intellectual property.”

    For more information on how to enter Rock the House go to www.rockthehouseuk.com;

    and for Film the House www.filmthehouse.com.

  • Conor visits refurbished pub

    Red cat

    Conor pulled a pint to mark the refurbishment of one of his constituency’s pubs, the Red Cat in the pretty hamlet of Crank.

    He toured the revamped premises, which re-opened recently following a £200,000 joint investment from pub operator Punch and publican, Graham Roberts.

    Commenting on his visit, Conor said:

    “I was really pleased to visit the Red Cat pub and see the transformation first hand.

    ” It’s great to see the pub doing so well and alongside support from Punch, Graham has created a thriving pub to serve the local community as well as passers-by.

    “The food and events on offer looked great too! I wish Graham and his team the very best.”

    The Red Cat, a family friendly pub, re-opened in December after a complete refurbishment with new flooring, toilets, fixtures, fittings and furniture. It continues to offer a wide range of real ales, beers and lagers, alongside traditional British pub fayre using locally sourced and seasonal produce. There are plenty of events and special offers on, including a Quiz Night each week and Steak Night on Wednesdays, with further events planned.

  • Conor calls for Government rethink after visit to local supporting housing scheme

    Conor McGinn has called for the Government to rethink its decision to cut financial assistance for vulnerable people in supported housing.

    The MP spoke out after visiting Heald Farm Court in Newton-le-Willows, one of Helena’s 22 supported housing schemes in the borough, which provides homes for over 80 vulnerable older people.

    The implementation of a cap will reduce the specialist services provided to those in supported housing schemes increasing pressures on the NHS and local authority.

    National Housing Federation research shows those affected will lose an average of £68 a week, making many sheltered housing schemes unsustainable with some estimates suggesting over 80,000 places could be lost nationally.

    On his visit, Conor heard from residents, staff and Helena’s managing director about the implications for the community in St Helens.

    Conor said:

    “This policy will have a devastating impact on some of the most vulnerable in our community. If the Tories press ahead, the loss of support will have serious consequences for older residents, veterans and victims of domestic abuse living in this sort of accommodation.

    “Schemes like the one I visited at Heald Farm Court are fantastic places, but there is only so much the staff and Helena can do to protect those that need our support. The Government must listen and act.”

  • Conor’s tribute to former St Helens MP John Evans

    I was so sorry today to hear about the death of former Newton and St Helens North MP John Evans.

    John was a much-loved member of our Labour family in Newton-le-Willows and St Helens and he will be sadly missed. He was a fine public representative who served the people of our borough with distinction since he was first elected MP in 1974.

    John was a Labour man to the core of his being, representing the National Union of Labour & Socialist Clubs on the party’s NEC and serving as its Honorary Political Secretary – roles I held and hold – for many years.

    He will forever be associated with the Parkside Colliery – which he fought so valiantly to defend from closure – and he honoured the men who worked there, and the local community, by taking Lord Evans of Parkside as his title after entering the House of Lords when he stepped down from the House of Commons in 1997.

    I know Dave Watts felt very proud to follow in John’s footsteps as MP. I too feel proud to follow in his tradition as a Labour and trade union MP, honoured as he was to represent the people of Newton-le-Willows and St Helens.

    We offer our condolences to Joan and the entire family circle at this sad time.

  • Conor and Linda Robson ‘get behind the daffodil’ for Marie Curie this March

    marie curie

    Conor  and actress and presenter Linda Robson have joined forces to ‘get behind the daffodil’ this March and help Marie Curie Nurses provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness.

    Conor and Linda were pictured together with Marie Curie Nurses, Leonie Christian and Elisabeth Goze, at a parliamentary event in Westminster to celebrate the launch of the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign.

    Conor pledged his support to the appeal and is encouraging local people to help the charity raise more money than ever before by simply giving a donation and wearing a Marie Curie daffodil pin, available from volunteers across the country, or Superdrug and WHSmiths shops, and Wyevale garden centres, during March.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “I am proud to be backing such an important campaign and would like to pay tribute to the important work done by the nurses who provide invaluable care and support.

    “High quality palliative care services should be widely available and we should be giving as much support as we can to the Marie Curie Nurses.

    “I encourage people in my constituency to give a small donation and wear the Marie Curie daffodil pin to help raise as much money as possible.”

    Linda, who plays Tracey in the hit television show Birds of a Feather, and co-presents ITVs Loose Women, is a long-time supporter of Marie Curie, having experienced first-hand the vital work of the charity.  She said: “Our mum Rita was cared for by Marie Curie and we could never have coped without their constant support and care in her final months.  Our family still cannot put into words just how grateful we are.”

    “I’m delighted to be here with Conor to help launch the 30th anniversary of the Great Daffodil Appeal – and to thank personally Leonie and Elisabeth for their incredible care and support when we needed them the most.”

    Scott Sinclair, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Marie Curie, said: “Having the support of Conor and Linda makes a huge difference to Marie Curie in terms of raising awareness about what we do and helping us to reach more people who need us.

    “We know that seven out of 10 carers say people with a terminal illness don’t get all the care and support they need. We don’t think that’s good enough. That’s why we are asking MPs to commit to ensuring that everyone has the right to palliative care when they need it and help support our annual fundraising appeal.”

    “Our services rely on charitable donations, so I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who gives a donation and wears a daffodil pin during March.”

    The money raised from the Great Daffodil Appeal will help Marie Curie Nurses provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones at home and in one of the charity’s nine hospices.”

    To coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie has also published a new report which shows that people living with blood or brain cancer – which together account for around 10% of all cancer deaths annually – are more likely to miss out on care and support focussed on providing relief from symptoms, pain and emotional stress. The report, backed by Bloodwise and the Brain Tumour Charity, argues that all people with cancer should have their palliative care needs assessed when they are first diagnosed.

    For more information about the Great Daffodil Appeal and to volunteer to collect for Marie Curie, please call 0845 601 3107* or visit mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil.  To donate £5 text *DAFF to 70111 or call 0800 716 146 and donate over the phone.

  • Conor invites local schools to enter the Speaker’s School Council Awards

    Conor McGinn has called on schools in his constituency to enter the 2015/16 Speaker’s School Council Awards.

    The awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate school council’s achievements in bringing about positive change in their school or community.

    The competition is open to every infant, primary and secondary school, sixth-form College, and SEN school in the country.  The winners are invited to the Houses of Parliament for a prize giving ceremony hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons.

    This year the speaker wants to hear about a project initiated by school councils that they are proud of.

    Commenting Conor said:

    “I have visited many schools across the constituency and spoken with school council members who have had great ideas and put them into practice.

    “These awards are an opportunity to highlight the contribution school councils make and I hope many in my constituency will put themselves forward.”

    Entries can be submitted from until 16 May 2016.

    Visit www.speakersschoolcouncil.org for inspiration and guidance on how to enter the competition, or see the attached sheet for details about how you can inspire others by submitting a blog, story ‘top tip’, or an image.

    For more information, contact the Speaker’s School Council Awards team on 0207 219 6260 or email speakersschoolcouncilawards@parliament.uk.

     

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