Category Archives: Press Releases

Stop animal cruelty are increasing in Durham

In 2015, the RSPCA investigated 3253 complaints about animal cruelty in the county, with this number increasing to 3388 complaints last year. Calls to the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line rose by nearly 4% last year, averaging one call every 27 seconds. 

While saddening that such incidences of animal cruelty are continuing in Durham, this does not necessarily mean that residents are becoming crueller. Rather, people are now simply less willing to stand by and do nothing if they think an animal is suffering.

 These latest statistics clearly show that animal cruelty remains a major issue in the UK. However, we take satisfaction in knowing that because of the RSPCA’s intervention, they have prevented many more animals from suffering at the hands of those they have investigated and brought before the courts.

The RSPCA has been investigating and prosecuting animal welfare offences since they were founded in 1824.  Each year they investigate almost 150,000 complaints of alleged animal cruelty across England and Wales. 

Click to find out more

Grahame Morris MP launches new weight awareness campaign for dogs.

Labour MP for Easington Grahame Morris helped launch a new weight awareness campaign devised by Dogs Trust in partnership with Durham County Council and Durham NHS today. The launch of Woof, Waggle and Waistline, which took place on Tuesday 11th April at Seaham Leisure Centre in County Durham, will be the first of many community events aimed at improving the lives and welfare of overweight dogs and their owners, across the North of England.

Woof, Waggle and Waistline aims to help thousands of dogs in the North of England due to a growing trend in canine obesity hitting the region. Statistics gathered by Dogs Trust’s campaigns team in the North of England show that almost half of the 12,607 dogs who attended their community events in 2016 were overweight, while the NHS tells us that 2 in 3 adults are considered overweight.
Dog owners who attended the launch were provided with important information on supporting the health and wellbeing of their dog, including how to ensure they maintain a healthy weight. Owners of dogs identified as being overweight were given a free pack which included a comprehensive information booklet with lots of useful dietary advice.

The Durham Council Walk4Life and Wellbeing for Life team also attended the launch to highlight the benefits of regular exercise and how having a pet dog can help you get fitter. The Wellbeing for Life team also offered blood pressure checks to any dog owners who were interested in receiving them.

Grahame Morris MP said:

“Woof, Waggle and Waistline is a great initiative which will ensure more dog owners are aware of the importance of responsible dog ownership and how putting Dogs Trust’s advice and resources into practice can be a very rewarding experience for them.

“Obesity remains a huge problem across the UK for many families, including their dogs, so it is encouraging to see creative solutions being rolled out which can tackle this in a way that brings families and their pets closer together.”

Denise Kelly, Campaigns Manager for Dogs Trust North of England, said:

“We are very grateful that Grahame could come along and support the launch. We received some fantastic feedback from families who attended as they got to have fun whilst learning a lot about how we should be treating our family pets.

“We plan on holding a number of community events across the North of England throughout the year that offer informative advice to dog owners and potential dog owners alike on the fundamentals of owning a dog. This will include the importance of neutering your pet, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the cost and time involved in owning a dog and resources on dog training and behaviour, as well as the legal requirement to have your dog microchipped.”

Dogs Trust will be holding regular community events across the North of England. For more information, please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/ifwoofswerewords

Energy Impact Awards

NEA and British Gas have now launched this year’s Energy Impact Award scheme with a first prize of £10,000, and two runner-up prizes of £5,000 and £2,500 recognising and rewarding innovation and best practice.

The Energy Impact Award Scheme will recognise innovation and best practice amongst agencies running projects that focus on energy and tackling fuel poverty by benefiting vulnerable people in the local area. This could be, for example, projects that make links between health and fuel poverty, distributed and renewable energy projects, projects improving the lives of those living in fuel poverty, or other innovative initiatives in England, Scotland and Wales (please note that the award scheme is not operating in Northern Ireland).

The scheme is open to community groups, charities, and other third sector organisations. Local authorities, health agencies, and other public and statutory organisations are also eligible to apply and we are specifically looking for applications which demonstrate partnership working. Agencies from both England, Scotland and Wales are welcome to apply.

The three successful winners will also receive one full place each at the NEA Annual Conference in Nottingham in September 2017 including travel and accommodation (worth £650) as well as the opportunity to showcase their project at the conference to around 300 delegates. If any of the winners are in Scotland and would prefer to go to Energy Action Scotland’s Annual Conference instead that can be arranged.

The scheme will close on Friday 19 May 2017, shortlisting and judging will take place in June 2017 and winners will be informed thereafter.

To apply first read the guidance document here and then download the application form here.

Premier League launches most ambitious community programme in aim to connect with 10,000 primary schools by 2019

  • Premier League Primary Stars will provide free curriculum-linked teaching resources for girls and boys aged 5-11
  • Free to download lesson plans, activities and video content are designed to inspire learning in Maths, English, PE and Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE)
  • National programme will expand in-school support for teachers provided by 88 Premier League and English Football League clubs in England and Wales
  • New campaign sees the Premier League also launch its first ever national advertising campaign featuring Kevin De Bruyne, Gary Cahill, Eric Dier, Sadio Mané, Juan Mata, José Mourinho, and Theo Walcott.

The Premier League has today launched Premier League Primary Stars, a national curriculum-linked education programme which uses the appeal of the Premier League and professional football clubs to inspire children to learn, be active and develop important life skills.

This is the Premier League’s most ambitious community programme to date and aims to support 10,000 primary schools by 2019.

The Premier League Primary Stars resources, have been created in partnership with industry experts Edcoms and the PSHE Association, National Literacy Trust and other key stakeholders. Children’s authors Cressida Cowell (‘How to Train Your Dragon’ series) and Dan Freedman (‘Jamie Johnson’ series) helped create the programme’s English resources, while Sky Sports presenter and mathematician Rachel Riley is a consultant in the development of Maths teaching resources.

This content adds to the existing support professional football clubs provide to primary schools and their local communities and will offer a free downloadable suite of resources for teachers across Key Stages 1 and 2 in English, Maths, PE and PSHE.

The launch of Premier League Primary Stars also sees the Premier League unveil its first ever national advertising campaign which will air from Sunday 2 April across television, cinema, and social media channels. The advert features top Premier League names including Kevin De Bruyne, Gary Cahill, Eric Dier, Sadio Mané, Juan Mata, José Mourinho, and Theo Walcott, who joined children at primary schools across the UK to recite the poem “Try, Try Again” by T.H. Palmer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Scudamore, Executive Chairman, Premier League added:

“We are very excited to launch Premier League Primary Stars, our new national education programme that will use the power and popularity of football to inspire children to work hard and enjoy English, Maths and a range of other subjects.

“Our clubs already do great work in primary schools, and Premier League Primary Stars will support and enhance that work with educational resources for teachers, books from celebrated children’s authors, and much more.

“We want to support 10,000 primary schools in England and Wales by 2019 and we hope that our first national TV advertising campaign, including star names from our clubs, will capture the imagination of parents, teachers and children and encourage them to sign-up to Premier League Primary Stars.

Arsenal footballer, Theo Walcott, who stars in the advertising campaign stated:

“As a dad of two boys, I was very keen to support the Premier League’s Primary Stars community programme. I hope this programme can have a very positive influence on the education of young children across the country.”

Rachel Riley, who has helped to create the Premier League Primary Stars maths resources, said:

“Maths is a subject that a lot of young people find challenging and is often dismissed as boring. What I love about the resources we’ve developed for the Premier League Primary Stars programme is that it makes maths relevant to children’s everyday lives.

“I’ve seen the reaction from children using the lesson plans – they are excited, interested and engaged. I think this is a fantastic programme that will undoubtedly inspire children to learn but also give teachers the tools to be creative with their lessons. Anything that excites primary school children about maths gets a gold star from me.”

Grahame Morris pledges to help charity raise awareness of screening during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Grahame Morris, MP for Easington is supporting Bowel Cancer UK’s campaign to urge more people to take part in bowel cancer screening and save lives, as part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April.

More than 44 people die from bowel cancer every day in the UK, it’s the nation’s second biggest cancer killer.  However, it shouldn’t be. It’s treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.

Bowel cancer screening can save lives but at the moment in some areas of the UK only a third of those who receive a test complete it. Thousands of people are missing out on the chance to detect bowel cancer early when it is easier to treat.

Grahame said, “As the local MP, I am totally committed to improving uptake rates for bowel cancer screening, both locally and nationally. I would urge my constituents who are sent a bowel screening test to use it.  Taking part in bowel cancer screening is the best way to get diagnosed early.  If you are over 60, take the test when you receive it in the post. If you are younger, tell the people over 60 in your life to take the test. Early diagnosis really can save lives.” 

Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said, “I’d like to thank Grahame Morris for supporting our campaign during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month to raise participation levels for bowel cancer screening. One in 14 men and one in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime but it is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.”

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat. If you’re registered with a GP and aged 60-74, you will receive a test in the post every two years. You carry out the simple test at home in private and it comes with step by step instructions. The test looks for hidden blood in your poo, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer.

Visit Bowel Cancer UK’s website to find out how you can get involved in their campaign for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month: bowelcanceruk.org.uk.

Mr Corvan’s Music Hall is touring the region!

After the success of Hadaway Harry, it’s time for Edward “Ned” Corvan (1827-1865), the first North East singer/songwriting superstar to take a bow!

Mr Corvan’s Music Hall is touring the region in May/June, and it has its world premiere at Durham Gala Theatre on May 25, 26 and 27 (evening and matinee) before touring the region. See image below for venues and dates.

List of dates - poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisecrack Productions says:

It’s the most eagerly awaited new writing in the region this year, a play with great music. We’ve brought in Benny Graham (Pitman Poets) and Johnny Handle (folk superstar) to help with Ned’s brilliant songs.

We have two of the top actors in the North East – Jamie Brown and Chris Connel – and the former Bellowhead violinist, Rachael McShane, as the cast.

Anti-establishment to the core, Ned was a great favourite in the Durham and Northumberland coalfields. He dedicated his first book of songs to “keelmen, colliers and working men in general”.

A virtuoso violinist, singer/songwriter, comedian and artist, Ned’s story is funny and tragic, and inspirational.

We’ve pegged the tickets at £15 to make this accessible. It’s about our North East heritage.

A fortnight ago we – Wisecrack Productions – stormed the Theatre Royal, Newcastle (standing ovations) with Hadaway Harry (about Harry Clasper). See quotes below. The week before Hadaway Harry played to full houses and standing ovations in Putney, London.

Details at https://www.mrcorvansmusichall.co.uk New window

How will you make Earth Hour matter?

MPs are celebrating Earth Hour to send a message that they care about the natural world and help inspire their constituents to go beyond the hour to build a sustainable future for both people and the planet.
FACT: 2016 was the hottest year on record for the third year in a row
FACT: 16 of the 17 warmest years have been recorded this century
FACT: 1 in 6 species are now at risk of extinction from climate change

Grahame Morris MP said: “Our natural world is precious to all life that inhabits it, but we need to do more to protect it. WWF’s Earth Hour reminds us that there are simple things we can all do for the planet, not for just one hour, but every day. It’s a great opportunity to bring together millions of people from across the world with one united goal – to help protect our planet. That’s why this Earth Hour I’m showing I care about the future of our planet by making a special pledge for a low carbon future.”

Every year Earth Hour inspires millions of people around the world to come together and switch off their lights for one hour in a symbolic act to show they care about our brilliant planet. WWF already works to tackle a lot of environmental challenges – like deforestation, threats to endangered species, and the impacts of climate change – but Earth Hour is a chance for everyone to say they’ll do their bit to help create a sustainable future. It reminds us that together we have the power to make change happen.

If everyone in the world lived as we do in the UK, we’d need 3 planets to support us, but by making small changes every day we can make our daily lives more sustainable.

Everyone can join the celebration for WWF’s Earth Hour on Saturday 25th March at 8:30pm, For more information and to sign up please visit wwf.org.uk/earthhour

Join in the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #EarthHourUK and @wwf_uk.

About Earth Hour
Earth Hour, organised by WWF, is the world’s biggest celebration for our amazing planet. In the UK last year, over 10 million people took part, along with over 4,800 schools, 200 landmarks and thousands of businesses and organisations. Iconic landmarks including Big Ben and Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Blackpool Tower, The Kelpies, Caerphilly Castle and many more joined the global lights out.

Globally, from Samoa to Tahiti, a record 172 countries and territories took part in the world’s biggest Earth Hour yet. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa in Dubai, South Africa’s Table Mountain, The Acropolis in Athens, The Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Empire State Building and Times Square in New York City, and the Las Vegas Strip were just a few of the world-famous landmarks that joined in.

About WWF
WWF is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive. Find out more about our work, past and present at wwf.org.uk.

 

Grahame Morris MP puts Easington’s heritage on the map

Heritage Lottery Fund reveal the impact of National Lottery investment in Easington and its position on the RSA’s Heritage Index

I have been in touch with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to learn more about the impact of National Lottery investment in my constituency and where it’s ranked on the RSA’s 2016 Heritage Index.

Produced in collaboration with the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Heritage Index is an annual index that combines over 120 metrics, from historic buildings to local delicacies, revealing which local authorities are best at using heritage to foster a distinctive identity – and which could do better.

Analysis of this year’s index reveals that places which do most with their heritage have a higher quality of life (ONS well-being measures) than areas which have low levels of activity. As well as inherited physical assets such as battlefields and castles, the index measures new forms of heritage activity like community initiatives and volunteering.

Easington sits in the 183rd position overall in England, but that there is potential to make more of its heritage. 

Since The National Lottery started in 1994, the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded over £3.2 million to more than 60 projects in Easington. This includes funding for parks, miners banners, restoration of churches, war memorials, and much more.

It was great to learn more about Easington’s heritage assets and how they are being used by the community.  I would urge constituents to think about the local heritage where they live, and think about how they could apply to HLF to undertake a project to explore it further.

The Heritage Lottery Fund were involved in National Lottery in Parliament: a week-long exhibition to raise awareness among politicians in Westminster of the National Lottery funding available to their constituencies and demonstrate how National Lottery players’ money is changing people’s lives and improving the nation’s wellbeing.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “Heritage is at the heart of what makes a place distinctive. The Heritage Index is a vital tool which is helping communities to better understand that heritage and tap into its vast potential. Securing National Lottery funding is one way of helping to fulfill that potential and it’s been making a difference to local communities across the UK for over 20 years.” 

Find out more about the Heritage Index 2016 at the RSA’s here: www.thersa.org/heritage and here http://bit.ly/RSAHeritageIndexdata. Find out more about accessing National Lottery funding for heritage projects at www.hlf.org.uk

Grahame Morris MP supports NHS bill to put an end to privatisation

MP Grahame Morris has expressed his support for the NHS Bill currently going through parliament.

The NHS Bill is a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Margaret Greenwood MP.

The aim of the Bill is to return the NHS to its founding principles as a publicly-owned, planned and managed National Health Service.

The Bill reverses the core changes of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which are leading to the break up and privatisation of the NHS.

It provides for the integration of health and social care, removes the costly and inefficient internal market and transfers PFI debt to the Treasury, allowing hospitals to get on with the job of treating patients.

Grahame said:

“The public is well aware of the damage being caused to the NHS by this government’s cuts.

“People in Easington are rightly concerned about the future of healthcare in the region.

“What is less well known is the impact that the 2012 Act is having on the NHS across England.

“As a result of that Act, NHS hospitals in England are now allowed to make up to 49% of their money out of private patients. This is just wrong; an increase in private patients in NHS hospitals will clearly mean longer waiting times for NHS patients.

“The 2012 Act passed by the Tories and Liberal Democrats also means that the NHS no longer has to provide a comprehensive service. As a result, we are seeing the rationing of services such as hip replacements and cataract operations.

“We are also seeing an increase in the number of contracts going to private companies, with the cherry-picking of services by private providers undermining the NHS and threatening the pay and conditions of NHS staff.

“The NHS Bill aims to stop the privatisation of the NHS, remove competition and the profit motive as a driver of policy and return it to its founding principles based on a sense of public service.”

“It really is important we make a stand and call on the government to put a stop to the privatisation of our National Health Service and support the NHS Bill.”

Grahame Morris MP pledges to help end the ‘cold homes crisis’ in Easington

I am proud to be supporting charity National Energy Action’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day by pledging to do more to tackle cold homes.

In Easington alone 4217 households are believed to be in fuel poverty.

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is a national campaign to highlight the problem of fuel poverty, which currently sees over four million households 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.

For every 1,000 Easington homes, on average 87 received support from the main national energy efficiency programme despite all households paying for the policy through their energy bill.

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.

There are at least 1188 excess winter deaths in North East every year, NEA believes 30% of these were attributed to cold homes. This is also placing a huge strain on our already stretched health services.

More needs to be done nationally, however I know that there is excellent work going on in my constituency and across the UK to tackle this issue, and I look forward to working alongside others in the community to help raise awareness of the problem and the solutions available.

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 Grahame is supporting the campaign and helping to ensure that his constituents can live warm, healthy and happy lives.

National Energy Action is the national fuel poverty charity, working across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure everyone can afford to stay warm in their homes.

For more information visit www.nea.org.uk