THE twists and turns involving the fantastic Children’s Heart Unit at Leeds General Infirmary have come fast this week, but it appears that good news is on the horizon, with NHS England and Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust agreeing to re-open the unit “subject to independent assurance of concerns raised”.
The campaign to “#reopenleeds” has united the city, and gained national media coverage. The timing of the decision to suspend surgery at the unit raised many questions about the reasoning behind the decision, and those were only compounded when the data linked to the decision were uncovered.
Once the surgery is back to saving the lives of Yorkshire children, it is time to get answers about why this bizarre decision was taken, and what effect it had on children in Yorkshire over the last week.
The whole episode reinforces why there has been such a strong campaign to protect the long term future of the Children’s Heart unit. That fight is not yet over, and Rachel will continue to do what she can to support it.
Please find below the March 2013 Monthly Report from Rachel's office.
As you may be aware, Rachel gave birth to her first child on 25th March and is currently on maternity leave. While Rachel is on maternity leave, her staff will continue to run both her Leeds and London offices and hold surgeries for constituents, and you can get in touch in the normal way.
On Saturday (23rd March) Bramley Baths was transformed into a cinema with patrons being able to enjoy films from the swimming pool itself or from the upper tier balconies.
A screen was fitted at the end of the pool, and films Finding Nemo and Jaws were shown during the 'Swim-Along-Cinema' with speakers being placed both over and under the water to create a cinematic effect wherever the public chose to view including from the pool in the comfort of floating chairs.
Bramley Baths was taken over as a community enterprise in January 2013 and will be open this Bank Holiday - The full programme is available here.
Call 0113 214 6000 or visit Bramley Baths, Broad Lane, LS13 3DF.
All pictures credited Photo Copyright Rex Features.
Rachel gave birth to her first child, Anna Elizabeth Joicey, at 6.56 this morning, weighing 7lb 15oz.
Rachel and her husband are delighted and all are doing well.
Rachel will be taking a period of time off on maternity leave to spend some time with her newborn daughter, but in the meantime her office will be running as usual. If you have anything you would like to raise please get in touch, via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0113 263 0411.
Rachel is encouraging people from Leeds West to attend the Bramley & Stanningley Forum, to meet the new Police Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson;
CRIME THEMED FORUM Thursday 28th March 7pm – 9pm,
Trinity Methodist Church, Bramley, LS13 2EP
Also on the agenda will be Councillor Peter Gruen, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council and Executive Member for Neighbourhoods Planning & Support Services; David Oldroyd, Chief Superintendent for North West Leeds, and local Ward Members who will talk about the initiatives happening to tackle crime in the area, and what the priorities are from a National, Leeds City Council and local Neighbourhood Policing Team perspective.
All the speakers will give a short presentation and then the floor will be opened for a question and answer session for residents to raise their views. Residents who are concerned about crime in their area, or just want to know more about the initiatives are invited to join in the debate.
For further information please contact Zoe Tyler – 0113 3367859 or email email@example.com
West Leeds debt forum hosted an excellent event with campaigners and colleagues from across the city this week. Speakers, including John Battle and Councillor Peter Gruen highlighted the issues and the event was Chaired expertly by Norah Gibson.
People with money trouble were encouraged to avoid using high cost payday loans, and worse, illegal loan sharks. Cath Wohlers of the Illegal Money Lending Project pointed out the actions being taken to punish loan sharks, sentencing them to long prison terms and confiscating their ill gotten gains, which are then used to fund advice and support for their victims.
Rachel is currently on maternity leave but is keen to ensure these problems are addressed and wants people to know about the help that is available:
"When people get into financial difficulty it is important they know help is available. With rising unemployment, Social Security cuts and a stalling economy, more and more people are getting into debt. There are many services in Leeds West for those worried about debt and managing their money, with professional advice provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau, Leeds City Council and others.
"Rather than turning to loan sharks and payday loans, we can look to alternatives provided by Credit Union's, including Bramley Credit Union and Leeds City Credit Union, who help many people with a poor credit history and low income."
If you need help about debt or borrowing money contact
West Leeds debt forum: www.westleedsdebtforum.com
Citizens Advice Bureau; 0844 477 4788
Bramley Credit Union: 07972 802501, Leeds City Credit Union; 0113 242 3343
Advice is also available from your One Stop Shop, Housing Office and West North West Homes.
If you have problems with loan sharks call Stop Loan Sharks; 0300 555 222 or West Yorkshire Trading Standards; 0845 404 0506
On Saturday 25th May 2013 Jean Piper will be undertaking her second Skydive event to raise money for Sue Ryder - Wheatfields Hospice. Within the hospice, there is the Clive Piper Tribute Fund. This fund was setup by Jean as a tribute to her husband Clive who died from Lung Cancer.
Jean is looking for donations to this fantastic cause as well as volunteers to join the dive! If you are up for the challenge you can find out more information by clicking here to visit the Skydiving Hibaldstow page or donate via Virgin Money Giving by clicking here.
Jean is also raising money for Mount St Joseph's Nursing Home, if you would like to donate by cheque please click here to email Jean for details.
Responding to George Osborne's Budget today, Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband said:
The Chancellor has failed the tests of the British people: Growth, living standards and hope.
But he has not just failed their tests. He has failed on his own as well. All he has to offer is this more of the same Budget.
Today the Chancellor joined twitter. He could have got it all into 140 characters.
Growth down. Borrowing up. Families hit. And millionaires laughing all the way to the bank. #downgradedChancellor.
Mr Deputy Speaker, more of the same is not the answer to the last three years. More of the same is the answer of a downgraded Chancellor, in a downgraded Government.
Britain deserves better than this.
You can read Ed Miliband's full response to today's Budget here.
Rachel recently visited the Baths and was told all about the fun events that were planned for the Spring!
The first of these is an Open Day on Saturday 23 March at Bramley Baths, Broad lane, Leeds, LS13 3PS. The event will include lifeguard demonstrations, Gym taster sessions, a tour of the baths and the opportunity for dip in the pool.
In the evening there will be a Swim-Along-Cinema where two films will be screened in the pool as part of the I Love West Leeds Festival, booking for the films is essential. To reserve a seat on the balcony for Finding Nemo (U) at 6.40pm or for Jaws (12A) at 9.00pm please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel has been campaigning on the issue of lapdancing clubs for a number of months. In that time many residents and businesses have expressed their opposition to the excessive number of clubs, particularly those located in inappropriate locations in the city centre such as opposite the War Memorial.
Now, Leeds City Council have launched a consultation on a new planning policy for Sexual Entertainment Venues. This new policy would:
- State that the appropriate number of clubs in the city is 4, rather than 7, along with other changes such as banning them from residential areas, and keeping them away from sensitive locations in the city.
Residents, community organisations and other interested people are asked to comment on the proposed policy from 18th March to 26th April. The proposed changes and the response form can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk/spc.
“I’m delighted that Leeds City Council has proposed these changes and that we could soon see a reduction in lapdancing clubs, and particularly their removal from inappropriate locations. I urge anyone in favour of these changes to get in touch with Leeds City Council and show your support”.