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East Kilbride News 22/10/18

25/10/2018

At the House of Commons last week, whilst the importance of the long stalling Brexit negotiation’s was still at the front of members minds and the priority of many of our debates, I also took the opportunity to focus upon my mental health portfolio by speaking in the Eating Disorders debate. This is an issue with great stigma, where people find it difficult to seek help and that is associated with significant morbidity. There was consensus within the debate that across the UK, much more must be done to develop local services, to stop the postcode lottery, to train GPS to recognise early warning signs, and to ensure shorter waiting lists for those affected and their families. I have therefore written to the Scottish Government Mental Health Minister to reflect the debate we had and the recommendations made going forward. I am keen to support progress and best practice in the field.

Last week, on world mental health awareness day, I was invited to Number 10 due to my longstanding work in the NHS and my role as shadow Mental Health Spokesperson. At the event, it was announced that the UK Mental Health Minister will also take on ministerial duties for suicide prevention. I will be focusing upon this issue, across our constituency and Scotland, as the statistics are startling where lives are being lost to suicide. This has already been highlighted by our EK News and I was also delighted to meet with the local charity FAMS [families against murder and suicide) this week who do wonderful volunteering, prevention and support work for those affected and their families. My office can provide further details for anyone who wishes to get in touch with this charity or to speak with me about these issues.

The Health and Social Care Select Committee on which I sit are publishing an important Inquiry Report on Prison Mental Health Care and Treatment this week. Recommendations for improvement in both services and funding are likely to be made including increased access to mental health services within prisons and improved care of cognitive disorders such as Dementia in the older prison population. Prison is of course, a place of punishment alongside rehabilitation but access to healthcare is a human right and we must ensure that individuals can see GPS, specialists and address mental health issues which may lead to reoffending.

Our HMRC remains under threat from closure by the Tory Government and I have been lodging further questions to Government challenge this decision and the devastating impact it would have upon our EK economy. It is a misguided decision that pays no respect to our constituency or-its skilled workforce and I continue to fight it every step of the way.

On a brighter note I was absolutely delighted to attend Greenhills Parish church this weekend to present the wonderful Susan Whitehead who reached her 101st birthday this year with her Early Day Motion that I lodged in Parliament to celebrate her contribution to Greenhills and East Kilbride. Susan is an absolute inspiration and I was pleased to meet with her and her family and to present her motion in church alongside Rev. Brewster. It was an insightful and spiritual service which I and the parishioners also thoroughly enjoyed.

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Strathaven Echoes 17/10/18

25/10/2018

We are on conference recess and I have really enjoyed being able to spend so much more time in the constituency, where I can personally address your local concerns. I held my carer’s surgery last week and was struck by the support needed for carers of partners who have Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease, and also the supports needed for young carers with parents who have physical disability or mental health issues. Government across the UK is absolutely indebted to the work that carers provide and I am so pleased that the Scottish Government are recognising their contribution via their carer’s allowance and supportive legislation going forward. As individual parliamentarians, we must also do all that we can and I will be continuing my surgery for carers every quarter in the East Kilbride Library.

I was pleased to have the recent success delivering for our constituents in Strathaven by having the local Post Box reinstated on the corner of the street across from Lidl’s. It was particularly important for my local elderly constituents who use the post box regularly, as it is well placed for easy access, and I am delighted for them that a satisfactory outcome was achieved.

It was a privilege to attend the Third Sector Awards hosted by VASLAN in order to support all of our local groups and organisations who do such amazing volunteering. Darcy’s Equine Assisted Learning from Glassford won their category linked with providing Training Opportunities for young people. The organisation supports young people who have behavioural and emotional difficulties and engages with them in healing through horse welfare activities. This unique project does wonderful work which reaches out and is exceptionally therapeutic to those young people who struggle with emotional connection.

East Kilbride’s Agape Wellbeing and the Swap and Save One Stop Shop also did fantastically well to have their organisations nominated for awards. Agape Wellbeing do fabulous work supporting people across East Kilbride with mental health issues and in providing social support and activity groups; and the Swap and Save One Stop Shop whose logo is “swopping is the new shopping” word very hard to reduce waste and to recycle clothing protecting our environment. I was pleased to personally congratulate and to thank our local groups on the night.

I also had the pleasure of attending St Andrews St Brides High School Awards which allowed me the opportunity to present my Debating Shield Award 2018 to two very impressive pupils Neve McArthur and Jessica

Hagan. It is absolutely refreshing to see how many of our young people are developing such high level skills.

I will be back in the House of Commons this week and I have been invited to an event at Downing Street linked with my work on mental health in parliament. Our select committee report on prison mental health care and treatment will be published in the near future and I am hopeful that both recommendations for improvement in services and funding will be taken forward. Our NHS, mental health and disability continue to be my key priorities at Westminster.

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East Kilbride News 08/10/18

25/10/2018

We are on conference recess and I have really enjoyed being able to spend so much more time in the constituency, where I can personally address your local concerns. I held my carer’s surgery last week and was struck by the support needed for carers of partners who have Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease, and also the supports needed for young carers with parents who have physical disability or mental health issues. Government across the UK is absolutely indebted to the work that carers provide and I am so pleased that the Scottish Government are recognising their contribution via their carer’s allowance and supportive legislation going forward. As individual parliamentarians, we must also do all that we can and I will be continuing my surgery for carers every quarter in the East Kilbride Library.

I was pleased to have the recent success delivering for our constituents in Strathaven by having the local Post Box reinstated on the corner of the street across from Lidl’s. It was particularly important for my local elderly constituents who use the post box regularly, as it is well placed for easy access, and I am delighted for them that a satisfactory outcome was achieved.

It was a privilege to attend the Third Sector Awards hosted by VASLAN in order to support all of our local groups and organisations who do such amazing volunteering. Darcy’s Equine Assisted Learning from Glassford won their category linked with providing Training Opportunities for young people. The organisation supports young people who have behavioural and emotional difficulties and engages with them in healing through horse welfare activities. This unique project does wonderful work which reaches out and is exceptionally therapeutic to those young people who struggle with emotional connection.

East Kilbride’s Agape Wellbeing and the Swap and Save One Stop Shop also did fantastically well to have their organisations nominated for awards. Agape Wellbeing do fabulous work supporting people across East Kilbride with mental health issues and in providing social support and activity groups; and the Swap and Save One Stop Shop whose logo is “swopping is the new shopping” word very hard to reduce waste and to recycle clothing protecting our environment. I was pleased to personally congratulate and to thank our local groups on the night.

I also had the pleasure of attending St Andrews St Brides High School Awards which allowed me the opportunity to present my Debating Shield Award 2018 to two very impressive pupils Neve McArthur and Jessica

Hagan. It is absolutely refreshing to see how many of our young people are developing such high level skills.

I will be back in the House of Commons this week and I have been invited to an event at Downing Street linked with my work on mental health in parliament. Our select committee report on prison mental health care and treatment will be published in the near future and I am hopeful that both recommendations for improvement in services and funding will be taken forward. Our NHS, mental health and disability continue to be my key priorities at Westminster.

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Strathaven Echoes Column 3/10/18

25/10/2018

We are on conference recess and I have really enjoyed being able to spend so much more time in the constituency, where I can personally address your local concerns. I am delighted to have ‘delivered’ for constituents in Strathaven by having the Post Box reinstated on the corner of the street across from Lidl’s after writing to Royal Mail on numerous occasions on this issue when the post box was removed. It is particularly important for my local elderly constituents who use this post box regularly, it is well placed for easy access, and I am pleased that a satisfactory outcome was achieved for all.

I am also delighted to have nominated Strathaven’s The Weavers for Parliamentary Pub of the Year following from their gaining the most votes on my Facebook Poll. They are delighted with this accolade but I have to say it is extremely well deserved because they are engaged in a variety of local charity and community work alongside providing a range of great ales.

It was also very inspiring to meet with local staff from The Cats Whiskers at Sanderson High School in East Kilbride last week when we were both attending to support the charity ‘Friends of Sanderson High’. The Cats Whiskers are a fully inclusive employer and offer opportunities for young people with learning disabilities enabling them to gain work experience and to go on to fulfil their full potential. As Chair of the Disability All Party Parliamentary Group over the past three years at Westminster, I am very proud of their achievements. My office is also offering work experience to pupils from Sanderson High because when it comes to diversity and inclusion, it is imperative that politicians don’t just talk the talk to businesses but also walk the walk themselves.

I additionally attended the Third Sector Awards last week hosted by VASLAN to support our local groups and organisations. I was delighted that the Trust Jack Foundation in Stonehouse won the Award for Health and Wellbeing for providing vital mental health supports to young people in crisis. It was lovely to be able to personally congratulate them on the night and to wish them well with future projects.

Darcy’s Equine Assisted Learning from Glassford also won an Award linked with providing Training Opportunities for young people. I understand that they support young people who have behavioural and emotional difficulties and engage them in healing through horse welfare activities. This unique project do wonderful work which reaches out and

is exceptionally therapeutic to those who struggle with emotional connection.

I will be back at Westminster before my next column and we will be honing in on Brexit negotiations. Things still seem to be exceptionally chaotic and party conferences have to date, given no further clarity on the Conservative or Labour Party position as differing MPs continually relay polarised views. Businesses need clarity and stability moving forward and I will continue to stand up for our jobs and livelihoods both locally and nationally at Westminster when we return.

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Strathaven Echo 14/09/18

14/09/2018

Strathaven is a wonderful part of our constituency that continues to thrive and I have been delighted to support many local organisations, businesses, charities and events over this summer recess. It is testament to our local organisers that our Strathaven Balloon Festival had over 20 000 attendees this year and was our busiest yet. I was delighted to attend the official opening and to thank all organisers for their outstanding work. It is appropriate that I specifically commend them in Parliament for putting Strathaven on the map once again -of culture, sport and tourism, and I will be submitting an Early Day Motion into Parliament as soon as we return -to mark their outstanding achievement.

I am also delighted to announce that one of Strathaven’s local pubs, The Weavers has been voted Parliamentary Pub of the Year by my constituents. The Weavers has long had outstanding service, a fantastic range in produce, welcoming staff and such a friendly atmosphere. Very well done to all at The Weavers- they will go forward to the next round of the House of Commons competition as our entry for Pub of the Year and I will keep you informed of their progress.

As Chair of Parliament’s Disability All Party Parliamentary Group, for the past three years, I have been particularly proud to dedicate my parliamentary service to ensuring inclusion across our society and to campaigning for adequate supports for persons with disability. I was honoured to receive commendation from Disability Rights UK for my work in parliament, which has been entirely fulfilling and has allowed me to meet and support entirely inspirational individuals and groups going forward. I am delighted therefore, to have been voted Chair of the Disability All Party Parliamentary Group again for parliamentary term 2018-2019 and will continue to dedicate myself to these important issues.

In our constituency, this week, I am proud to be hosting an event which places inclusion at the forefront of achievement – Meet the Paralympians in conjunction with Channel 4. This exciting event will be held at Stewartfield Community Centre, East Kilbride on 8th September from 2-3pm. It is entirely free entry, with light refreshments served and gives local constituents, young people and their families the opportunity to meet with, have autographs signed and hear the inspirational stories of world class medal winning Paralympians. Attendees include Strathaven’s own Wheelchair Curler Aileen Neilson, Olympic swimmer Abby Kane and Olympic Skier

Brett Wild. These inspirational Paralympians want to inspire the next generation and beyond. I am delighted to host the event and to have been supported by Chief Executive Gerry Campbell of South Lanarkshire Culture and Leisure. I look forward to seeing many of you there!

Finally, my constituency office in Strathaven has been extremely busy, with cases involving placing request for school and welfare matters including Universal Credit and Pensions enquiries this fortnight. Anyone affected by any local issue, please pop in to the office from 9-5pm weekdays, no appointment necessary. Alternatively, contact me directly on lisa.cameron.mp@parliament.uk or 01357 520875 and we will seek to support you going forward.

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East Kilbride News 12/09/18

13/09/2018

This week, as Chair of the Disability All Party Parliamentary Group, I hosted my first “Meet the Paralympians” event supported by Channel 4 and held in Stewartfield Community Centre in East Kilbride.  It was a truly fantastic event attended by our own local Paralympian and medal winner Aileen Neilson from Strathaven, alongside medal winner and Paralympic Skier Brett Wild. 

The event was extremely well attended by constituents across the generations and children in attendance described how inspired they felt meeting the Paralympians, taking selfies with them and holding and wearing real Paralympic Medals.  

I was particularly delighted to have attendance from East Kilbride Disability Sports Club, including their own medal winners from The Special Olympic Games such as East Kilbride’s Diane Gillan.

I felt privileged to try on a Paralympic Medal too as did local Councillor John Anderson, who works really hard across his ward supporting inclusion in sports particularly at The Red Deer Bowling Club Wheelchair Events.  The medals are much heavier than you think and it was truly amazing to be able to see and touch them and to think about all the training that has gone into achieving the ultimate prize and attainment in sport.  

Our Paralympians gave speeches about their journey to the Paralympic Games, the supports they had received along the way and the key elements to their success. 

 Aileen Neilson said that Inspiration was her key and that it was particularly important to ‘keep trying’.  She is the first woman to have skipped a wheelchair curling team in the Paralympic Games (2010) and World Championships (2011).  Aileen won a bronze medal from the 2007 World Wheelchair Curling Championships and a silver medal from the 2011 World Wheelchair Curling Championships.  She then won a bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Paralympics a Sochi.  Aileen has a teaching background in South Lanarkshire and intimated that it is particularly important to her to give back to the local community.

Brett Wild is a Paralympic Skier and is the guide of Millie Knight who is partially sighted.  In 2017, they claimed a historic downhill victory at the World Championships as well as securing the World Cup title for the same discipline.  At the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games Millie and Brett won silver medals in the downhill and super-G as well as a bronze medal in the slalom. Brett told us that team working was key to his success alongside believing in yourself and learning from set-backs.  He described incurring injuries in sport and having to develop ‘a can do’ mind-set to overcome adversity.  

Hosting such an inspirational event makes me more determined than ever to maintain my key focus on Disability and Inclusion in the House of Commons to ensure that everyone is given opportunity to reach their full potential.  I am delighted to have been re-elected for the third year as Chair of the Disability All Party Parliamentary Group and will update readers regularly on this crucial work at Westminster. 

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East Kilbride News Column29/08/18

05/09/2018

I have been overwhelmed this summer recess with enquiries to my local constituency office on issues of PIP, ESA and Universal Credit.  Constituents continue to struggle with the changing benefits system and many are experiencing extreme poverty whilst their claims are being processed. I know from contact with Dennis Curran at Loaves and Fishes that our foodbanks are becoming overwhelmed with those in need of basic provisions. My office will continue to do all we can on your behalf via our MPs hotline to DWP, so please get in touch if you need urgent assistance.  

This recess, I have also enjoyed visiting our local businesses and organisations.  East Kilbride has always been at the forefront of engineering and last week, it was inspirational to meet with staff at Mage Control Systems and to hear about their pioneering work in the fields of health and energy.  They have been expanding their staff base in East Kilbride and successfully won an award at South Lanarkshire Business Awards 2018.  

It was also very important that I spend time with Lanarkshire Medical Group who have been successful in their bid to run our Greenhills Medical Practice.  It was very positive to hear about their multi-disciplinary health team including GPs, Pharmacy, Palliative Care and Advanced Nurse Practitioners.  This should provide a holistic service for patients accessing Greenhills General Practice. 

In Strathaven, we have had our successful Balloon Festival, with thousands of international tourists descending upon our constituency to see the amazing array of hot air balloons take off this weekend.  I was delighted to meet with the organisers on Friday to commend this work and for the opening of the festival.  

In East Kilbride, I am hosting a free Meet the Paralympians Event and Autograph Signing at the Alistair McCoist Centre on the 8th September from 2-3pm in conjunction with Channel4.  It will be a fantastic afternoon in East Kilbride for local constituents -where we will hear about the importance of inclusion in sports and the inspirational stories of the Paralympians in attendance -including Olympic medal winners Aileen Neilson, Abbey Kane and Brett Wild.  Please come along and enjoy the day. 

Finally, I am delighted to announce the campaign I launched in Parliament last December for Lucy’s Law to ban third party puppy sales in pet shops and via cruel puppy farmers has been agreed by the UK Government and should become Law by next year. I was invited to Number 10 last week for the announcement alongside campaigners who have worked so hard with me on this issue via the Parliamentary Dog Welfare Group that I Chair.  This legislation will make huge difference to of puppies, targeting the illicit trade in imports and ensuring members of the public buying them are protected.  We care about animal welfare just as we care about the welfare of the most vulnerable and it is testament to everyone involved that our campaign for Lucy’s Law has been such a success.  

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Strathaven Echoes Column 20/08/18

21/08/2018

I have been extremely busy this summer recess with enquiries to my local Avondale constituency office in Waterside Street. We are delighted to hear from you so please remember that you don’t need an appointment and that the office is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm to assist.  You can pop in and speak to staff directly about any constituency issue that is causing concern or email me on lisa.cameron.mp@parliament.uk

This weekend, I was delighted to visit Strathaven Bowling Club to hear about the fantastic community work that they do in relation to fundraising and providing lunches for older adults who live locally.  Bowling clubs such as Strathaven and Avondale are much loved and provide so much more than excellence in Scottish sports.   They contribute to the social fabric of our communities, improve health and wellbeing and reduce isolation.  I particularly wish to commend their work and pledge that I will do all I can as MP to support their endeavours.

On a less positive note, I have been irate this last month with the attitude of Scottish Power Energy Networks in relation to the devastating impact that their road closures has had upon small local businesses trying to make ends meet and the lack of effort made in reparation.  In some cases, local staff hours have had to be cut, which impacts upon residents with individual and family commitments and their ability to pay bills; and I have even been told that some businesses may go under.  This is just not good enough and I will be raising it on the floor of the House of Commons as soon as I return from recess, as big corporates must take full responsibility for their actions.

Pubs form an integral part of rural life, in that they are a hub of social activity, and I was delighted to meet with the owners of the Glassford Inn to speak about its’ central place within our village.  They have owned the pub for over 40 years and put so much effort into keeping it going.  Changes in legislation have put pressures upon small local inns like Glassford and I will do all I can to ensure that they are sustainable. 

This week, I am going down to 10 Downing Street to meet with the Prime Minister and Secretary of State Michael Gove regarding the campaign I launched in Parliament last December for Lucy’s Law -to ban third party sales of puppies through pet shops and via callous puppy farmers.  Following from my Early Day Motion which gained the support of almost 100 cross party MPs and a successful Petitions Debate, where 100,000 signatures from members of the public were gathered in less than two weeks, a consultation on this legislation was undertaken.  I have been invited to the outcome announcement this week and am very hopeful that we will see Lucy’s Law make it into statute.  Lucy’s Law is desperately needed to the ensure welfare of puppies and their mothers and to reduce trafficking of sickly underage puppies from the EU. Paws crossed we make it happen!

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East Kilbride News 15/08/18 Constituency focus in a busy summer.

17/08/2018

Recess is always a fantastic opportunity to meet with constituents, to support local business development and to visit charities and organisations.  I was particularly delighted therefore to attend East Kilbride Thistle Football Club’s charity match to support Prostrate Cancer last week and also to attend their 50th Anniversary celebrations this weekend.   EK Thistle are a wonderful local club who have contributed so much to the community over half a century and have become truly part of the fabric of young people’s sports in East Kilbride.   I am pleased to support them and wish them well for another 50 years!

Bowling at Red Deer Centre also contributes much to be celebrated and when I visited their match last week, I was particularly proud that it was fully inclusive, involving Wheelchair Bowls alongside bowlers from across the age span including youngsters.  I was delighted to present prizes to the winners at the end of the game.   During my visit, the club raised concerns to me that they had thought they were under imminent threat of closure however, with priority this week, I checked this out and I am able to say that this is confirmed not to be the case by South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture.  

During my appointment with South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture, I also raised concerns about local elderly constituents who are engaged in their swimming lessons and who state they will find it difficult to pay now that subsequent courses are chargeable.  I was given some reassurance that the council will aim to ensure these costs are fair and manageable but I am going along to visit the swimmers to see if there is anything further that I can do to support them.  Swimming is not just great in relation to exercise and health for older people but improves wellbeing and mental health whilst reducing loneliness too.

Across the constituency, I was particularly impressed with my visit to the University of the Third Age who run a variety of language courses and personal development courses for older people in East Kilbride.  I was able to hear a presentation about travel and culture and to speak myself about my work in parliament and to highlight my quarterly Carers’ Surgeries.  I was also delighted to get out and about visiting care homes across the constituency last week ensuring that everyone who may need assistance is aware of my surgery dates and organising home visits where required for carers and their relatives.

Today I am going with priority to Lanarkshire Medical Group to speak with them about their successful bid to take over services at Greenhills Medical Practice.  Many constituents have understandably been extremely anxious about the transfer of care and it has been important for me to advocate politically that this be managed in a streamlined manner ensuring that services remain local.   After receiving a response from the Cabinet Secretary for Health last week I am pleased that this issue has been taken forward positively for our town.

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