Caroline Lucas arrived at Westminster in 2010 bringing with her an outstanding record on animal welfare issues gained during her ten years as a member of the European parliament. Since becoming MP for Brighton Pavilion, she has maintained her keen and passionate advocacy for the welfare of animals. Caroline has taken an interest in the issue of wild animals in circuses and the transportation of animals and has put numerous written questions to ministers on these matters.On the difficult topic of animals in scientific procedures
Caroline has been most active in doing her utmost in the House of Commons to ensure welfare is given the highest priority, balanced with the benefits that accrue from this area of research. Naturewatch has been privileged to be able to seek the wise counsel of Caroline over the past fifteen years on a wide range of animal welfare issues, both nationally and internationally and she always carries with her the support and respect of her fellow parliamentarians. Due to her extensive and in-depth knowledge of animal welfare matters, not just in the UK but also throughout Europe, Caroline speaks with great authority gaining cross party praise for her sensible yet firm stance in addressing the welfare of all animals and seeking w orkable solutions for the benefit of both the animals and people. Naturewatch is very proud to be able to nominate Caroline Lucas as a most worthy beneficiary of the 2012 Charity Animal Welfare Champion award.
Our charity, Wild Futures aims to protect primates and habitats worldwide. Wild Futures’ flag ship project is The Monkey Sanctuary near Looe, Cornwall which rescues and rehabilitates monkeys, many of which come from the pet trade. We feel very strongly as an organisation that MP Sheryll Murray should be recognised as a charity champion 2012. Sheryll Murray visited The Monkey Sanctuary in June 2010 and since then she has been boldly championing our charity and our major campaign – to end the suffering caused by the exploitation of primates as pets and performers in the UK.
Sheryll has publicly highlighted the plight of animals forced to perform in circuses, using our rescued Barbary macaque called Donkey as an example. She has also introduced a bill to ban the keeping of primates as pets in the UK. The bill is due for a second reading in the coming months. Sheryll has enabled our voice to be heard and has hugely raised awareness of our organisation and campaign. Sheryll clearly understands the unsuitability of primates as pets and recognises that effective, enforceable legislation is the only way to keep primates from suffering. We are extremely grateful to Sheryll for all of her support and feel that she truly is our charity champion who deserves to be recognised.
Mark Pritchard is nominated by CAPS in light of his dedication in seeking a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses and despite having to pursue this aim in the face of significant opposition. Mark has truly championed this cause, and we hope that his efforts are given this much-deserved recognition.
Baroness Valerie Howarth works tirelessly to bring the needs of children, especially vulnerable ones, and their families to her fellow Parliamentarians. As a cross bencher she is able to offer her voice without party policy bias, ensuring that the true nature of need is clearly portrayed. Her work with children's charities like Little Hearts Matter is hands on. She spends time talking to young children disabled by their heart condition, and to their parents, gaining a true insight into their needs as they struggle to gain some sort of independence. She uses this knowledge in partnership with her understanding of the workings of social service care to help charitable organisations plan service provision that will support a family through the roller coaster that is life with a disability. Valerie also works to link 3rd Sector organisations. Partnership working has enabled Little Hearts Matter to access expertise from organisations like Childline when planning bullying services. It has also enabled other organisations to gain LHM's expertise in complex medical and social care need. Valerie is a true charity champion understanding the pressures of maintaining service provision whilst balancing the Governance and financial stability of a 3rd Sector organisation.
Julian Lewis has been a Friend of the Venturers since first elected as an MP. When ever we have a problem at Government level he has resolved issues like the Quality Care Commission who initially said we would have to pay £600 a year for our Ambulance which provided free First aid at Charity Events. Relief of VAT on petrol use in our Rescue Boats, and other problems charities face. He always attends local events Like D Day at Lepe Beach , Remembrance Day at Fawley Church , Armed Forces Days at Fawley Parish and is really a peoples MP and present at many other local events. Even Labour and Lib Dems vote for him at the General Election
Greg Mulholland was first introduced to Whizz-Kidz in 2010when he was recruited as a Whizz-Kidz ‘Champion’ within Parliament. From the first Greg was eager to do more and be as active as possible for Whizz-Kidz. reg met with 2 of his constituents, who have received equipment from Whizz-Kidz, he listened to their stories and understood straight away the difference the right wheelchair can make. He has attended Wheelchair skills training, to see for himself the work we do after delivery of equipment, he attended a clinic to see our specialised Paediatric Therapists at work. He has hosted dinners in Parliament to enable Whizz-Kidz to influence and direct policy and legislation regarding wheelchair reform and for us to recruit corporate partners. He has shown unwavering encouragement and continued support since our first meeting but in the past year he has gone above and beyond anything we could have hoped an MP to do for Whizz-Kidz.
In 2010 Greg became the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Paediatric Mobility Reform, sponsored by Whizz-Kidz. Greg was as enthusiastic as us to make sure the changes to the NHS in the Health and Social Care Bill would be advantageous to the reformation of the Wheelchair Services. Greg chaired evidence hearings in Parliament where experts from different fields of service gave evidence indicating a need for reform and how it could be achieved.
In the past year Whizz-Kidz has launched the report '"My wheelchair is my shoes" – Making the case for Wheelchair reform', which was the result of these hearings. In July Greg secured a question at Prime Ministers Questions and he chose to highlight the report further and to ask the Prime Minister for a meeting to discuss wheelchair reform. This meeting has taken place and since then the Health Secretary and key civil servants have been involved in many meetings with Whizz-Kidz regarding the reform of wheelchair services. None of which could have been accomplished without the support and determination of Greg Mulholland. Because of Greg, more and more children are receiving the right wheelchair at the right time.
Although she only entered the Lords relatively recently in June 2010, Baroness Hayter has used her considerable political experience and her in-depth knowledge of alcohol issues to make a big impact and succeed in getting alcohol high on the political agenda. As Chair of the All Party Group on Alcohol Misuse, she has led and developed a lively and active group of parliamentarians who meet regularly to discuss, debate and cajole action from different government departments.
While big changes have been taking place in the NHS and with public health transferring to local authorities, Dianne Hayter has ensured that the APPG and the alcohol sector remain ahead of the curve with relevant meetings hearing from speakers on these subjects. With a new government strategy expected by Easter on alcohol, one of her big achievements through the APPG is to have fostered a cross party understanding of the issues. It has been vital to Alcohol Concern’s campaigning work to ensure that as much as possible we’ve been able to debate the important issues such as a minimum price for alcohol in a cross party environment and build consensus on the principle. She has also consistently raised and commented on a range of alcohol issues throughout the year in the Lords and in the media. In particular she has been a dedicated campaigner in seeking to lower the drink driving limit, which is an issue close to her heart as her mother was killed by a drink driver.
There are many parliamentarians who have worked hard on alcohol issues in the recent parliament but Dianne Hayter stands out for her dedication, commitment and her ability to bring people from across the political spectrum together to demand action on alcohol misuse.
Gavin Shuker discovered Rett UK by chance whilst fulfilling another constituency visit in Luton. Rett UK is a small national charity which provides expert support to all those affected by Rett syndrome. Rett syndrome is a severe, life-long, life limiting neurological disorder and the most common cause of severe learning disabilities in females. Gavin stated that he wanted to use his influence locally to help some of the most vulnerable people in practical ways. Since then he has been utterly committed to the charity. He has formed a close relationship with Rett UK and he has hosted a lunch for local businesses at the charity’s office which elicited a donation of £600 and free services from other local people.
We are proud and grateful that he chose Rett UK as his Charity of the Year 2012. Gavin attended the Gala dinner and the Family Weekend and most importantly has committed to creating opportunities or a platform for Rett UK every calendar month of this year. His efforts have raised awareness of Rett syndrome locally and nationally and we believe that he has proved himself a worthy Charity Champion.
Celia has recently become a new Trustee of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. Despite huge demands of her time in the Lords, Celia has managed to give up a great deal of time in supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign – the only charity leading the fight against all forms of muscle disease. Celia has limb girdle muscular dystrophy. By attending Trustee meetings, Celia has been able to share her parliamentary and political expertise as part of our campaign to ensure that vulnerable families living with muscle disease are able to access the care and support they need on the NHS. In Parliament, Celia has chaired meetings of the APPG for muscular dystrophy – probing health bosses who regularly provide oral evidence to the Group.
Not only has Celia also secured debates with Health Ministers in the Lords on this very topic, she has also arranged meetings between Ministers and people living with the condition, as well as hosting fundraising events on behalf of the charity. Celia has even attended local ‘Muscle Group’ meetings and the charity’s National Conference – to hear at first hand the challenges faced by this particular patient group. Two years ago there were only 13 Muscular Dystrophy Care Advisors to support the 70,000 vulnerable families living with these devastating conditions. Thanks to Celia’s work with the charity and clinicians from across the UK, there are now 31 NHS funded Muscular Dystrophy Care Advisors – a number set to grow even more as other parts of the country begin to understand the importance of these roles.
Phillippa Farrant – a Mum whose son has Duchenne and who also chairs the Duchenne family support group said: “Celia’s dedication and commitment towards the fight against muscle disease is truly inspirational. “We wouldn’t have been able to achieve the breakthroughs we have seen recently without her help. “The hundreds of families I speak to regularly really value her support – and we all want to see her recognised for the tremendous work she does” Chief Executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, Robert Meadowcroft, said: “Both on a professional and personal level, Celia is able to use her skills effectively to make a real difference.
As our Patron, Baroness Jenkin, has provided Restless Development (www.restlessdevelopment.org) with outstanding support over the past seven years. Restless Development is the youth-led development agency. We are a charity working across Africa and South Asia to place young people at the forefront of change and development. We support young people to tackle the most difficult challenges they face, including HIV, unemployment and poverty. Our vision is to see young people taking up leadership roles to address these issues. Baroness Jenkin has provided numerous platforms for our work to be recognised and raised over £400,000 of vital funding. Baroness Jenkin believes in the role of young people to improve their societies and to bring about positive change.
As Patron of Restless Development, she gave a voice to the role of young people in the landmark debate on youth held in April 2011 – the first of its kind in the House of Lords. The debate highlighted youth as a cross-cutting theme for all international development issues. Baroness Jenkin has been an ambassador for us in the global advocacy and fundraising campaign, ‘Live Below the Line’ (www.livebelowtheline.org.uk/restlessdevelopment) . The campaign highlights the 1.4 billion people around the world living below the poverty line, the majority young people. It challenges the public to live on £1 a day for five days. Baroness Jenkin raised over £17,000 through ‘living below the line’ and succeeded in getting other Peers to take on the challenge and understand extreme poverty. She ran a ‘soup kitchen’ in the House of Lords, serving 33p lunches for Peers and provided fundamental publicity including blogging on the Lord of the Blog site. She has played a crucial role highlighting the impact of extreme poverty on young people and changing attitudes.
Baroness Jenkin has fundraised over £400,000 by co-chairing The Ultimate News Quiz (www.theultimatenewsquiz.com). Also providing the opportunity for a smaller organisation to secure necessary publicity and recognition. She has relentlessly sought out opportunities for our work to be acknowledged in Parliament and other arenas. Most laudably, she has done all of this with tireless enthusiasm and commitment, going far beyond the call of duty.
Mencap and Leonard Cheshire Disability would like to nominate Lord Low of Dalston for the Society Champion Award for Chairing the Low Review which was influential in persuading the Government to overturn its decision to remove the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment from people in residential care. Lord Low’s contribution helped to save up to 80,000 vulnerable people from losing the financial support necessary to visit friends and family and to get out into their local communities. In light of the inclusion of this proposal in the Welfare Reform Bill, Mencap and Leonard Cheshire asked Lord Low to launch a review which would culminate in the publication of a review exploring the funding arrangements for meeting personal mobility needs as between local authorities and care home providers as well as evaluating how the mobility component of the benefit is being used by care home residents and the impact of the loss of this on these individuals.
The review was also requested to examine the existing responsibilities and arrangements of both local authorities and care home providers for funding the mobility needs of care home residents with a view making recommendations for how future funding arrangements could meet these needs. The Low Review collected written and oral evidence from individuals, care home providers and local authorities and its findings were able to prove that the measure in the Welfare Reform Bill was based on a false assumption (http://lowreview.org.uk). Subsequently, the Government tabled an amendment to remove this from the Bill, citing the unequivocal evidence of the Low Review’s report – coupled with its own internal review – as the basis for the decision.
In leading the review, Lord Low showed leadership and integrity when drawing up his conclusions. His actions and decision-making was integral to the effective running of the review and, ultimately, to the Government’s decision to renege on its initial decision regarding this issue. We, therefore, believe that he is deserving of this award for saving the independence of tens of thousands of individuals and, in doing, so, for actively promoting their ability to become involved in their local communities.
As a young MP with cerebral palsy, Paul Maynard has joined forces with young disabled people to lead the fight for better services and facilities for disabled people across the UK. Thanks to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled People, which Paul launched in early 2011, young disabled people now have their own forum in Parliament for the first time. A sign of Paul’s excellent leadership is symbolised in his insistence that young people represent themselves during the APPG meetings, of which there have been six over the past twelve months. At these meetings senior executives from universities, Transport for London, train and bus companies, cinemas and tour operators have been called into Parliament and quizzed on their access and disability policies and practice.
Paul has spearheaded the APPG’s ongoing Inquiry that receives both oral and written evidence, which will culminate in the publication of a report later in the year. Over the last year, Paul has also taken a leading role in improving the accessibility of leisure facilities across the UK. He was recently interviewed for the ‘Lights, Camera, Access’ documentary on inclusion and disability awareness at UK cinemas, made by the Trailblazers young campaigners’ network. Paul also chaired a parliamentary evidence session on this subject and supported fifteen disabled campaigners as they put their concerns and issues to senior executives from the UK’s cinema operators. As a direct result of this meeting, the young campaigners secured commitments from the major cinema companies to improve booking systems, physical access and staff disability awareness training. Paul’s work on behalf of young disabled people reaches beyond the APPG. He has tabled an amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill 2010-12, which will ensure that the perpetrators of disability hate crime will now receive equal punishments to people who carry out hate crimes based on other forms of discrimination.
Thanks to Paul young disabled people have an approachable, passionate and determined advocate in Parliament who is dedicated to improving the rights and opportunities of young disabled people in the UK.
Harlow Foodbank is an outstanding charity that has changed the lives of family's and people on low income in Harlow. In February 2012 alone, they fed over 200 people who would have gone hungry because of falling on tough times in this recession. I have put them in contact with Kelloggs who donated cereal and £500 towards their cause and has enabled them to continue to feed the people of Harlow. I volunteered for the foodbank as part of social action week and was astounded by the enthusiasm, generosity and hard work of all the volunteers who give so much. They are a fantastic example of social action in practice and were one of the first foodbanks in the country to work with the job centre to accept foodbank vouchers from those who need it the most. I cant recommend this charity enough for the work they have done and the difference they have made to peoples lives.
NORPIP is a charity that has been started from scratch within the last year, it is now providing help to families in Northamptonshire with problems bonding with their babies and will be officially launched on 18th May at a ground changing conference, setting the agenda for early intervention throughout the country. The neurological effects on a baby’s brain development because of the failure to bond or attach to its parent during the first crucial two years of life is profound and only recently understood.
It is now believed that, without this positive relationship with a parent or principal carer, the significant impacts on the infant can cause incomplete development of the frontal cortex, leading to mental and physical health problems throughout life. Also mood disregulation, lack of empathy, inability to make and sustain relationships, a greater likelihood of criminality, alcohol and chemical dependency. Finally, an inability to form attachments with their own babies. This is a self-perpetuating, inter-generational cycle of deprivation which can be helped by early intervention and which this country cannot afford to ignore. Other than the obvious benefit of a happy family environment, and the potential future of these children, the financial saving to the taxpayer is enormous.
The Addiction Recovery Centre in Kirkintilloch is a support centre for people who are facing alcohol, drug and gambling problems, staffed by volunteers. They also offer support to all family members including children and teenagers who are affected by the effects of addictions. While based in Kirkintilloch, the centre serves the whole of East Dunbartonshire and part of North Lanarkshire local authority area. The centre provides facilities for learning, training, health, well-being activities and sport pursuits for those in recovery enabling them to become a positive and useful member of their family and community and also to establish or re-establish full time employment, college placements or their own business opportunities.
Their recovery programme helps people live positive lives and become positive members of their family and useful members of the community. Quick to lend a hand, the centre will normally see people within half an hour of first contact. The same applies to any outside agency with referrals. For those with trouble getting to the centre they are able to arrange transport using one of their volunteer drivers and the use of their own minibus. In addition a stair-lift has recently been installed to enable anyone with mobility difficulties to easily reach the main meeting rooms on the first floor. The centre is 98% user involvement and their programme is based on total abstinence as 98% of the people who attend the centre have a desire to live their lives totally free from alcohol, drugs and gambling.
The Addiction Recovery Centre in Kirkintilloch recently received a 2011 Queens Award for Voluntary Service, a remarkable achievement. On a recent visit I was able to witness firsthand the great voluntary work that happens at the centre for the community, and what a positive influence it has on the people who use its service.
Chance UK is an innovative, effective an independently evaluated early intervention charity working with primary age children with behavioural difficulties. Children assessed as most likely to go on to criminal offending and anti-social behaviour later in life. The organisation works closely with parliamentarians across the political spectrum to promote the impact of early intervention and to ensure that the voices of children of the most ‘hard to reach’ families are heard. Chance UK worked with the previous government exploring how mentoring for vulnerable children can be rolled out across UK and had one of the last receptions at No 10 of the last parliament. Chance UK has worked with a range of ministers and former ministers to advise on a number of issues including safeguarding, effective partnerships, youth crime and justice.
The Conservative Party launched ‘Make British Poverty History’ from the Chance UK offices where the now Prim e Minister, David Cameron, the Rt Hon Ian Duncan Smith MP and other (then) shadow ministers met mentors to learn about the real impact a positive role model can make on a child’s life when the intervention comes early enough. This event led o the CEO of Chance UK being invited to work with the Centre for Social Justice. The CEO was a member of the working party for the CSJ’s ‘Dying to Belong Report: An in Depth Review of Street Gangs’ and is currently an advisor on both the Youth Justice working Party and on the Exclusion Policy Paper for the CSJ.
Chance UK was one of the first organisations to volunteer to take part in the Inner City Challenge and I was privileged to be placed with them and learn more about their work. Chance UK are coalition members for Fear Factory which aims to ensure cross-party commitment to create an effective, long term Criminal Justice Strategy. The CEO is a member of the Breaking the Cycle Commission to inform government policy on the impact of substance misusing parents on their children. This commission will be launched at the House of Commons in October 2010. Chance UK’s innovative partnership model has been presented to top civil servants at the Permanent Secretary’s away day. The longest established of these partnerships with Action for Children in Liverpool, was recently the focus of a ‘Top 200’. CEO, Gracia McGrath OBE alongside the dedicated staff team makes waves by tirelessly working alongside government to promote the need for intervening early for those children most at risk. Despite their small size they have a huge impact on influencing policy.
The Commonwealth Countries League was formed in 1925 as offshoot of the suffragette movement. In 1967, it started to provide funding for secondary education to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, in their own Commonwealth country. It became a registered charity in the UK in 1982. The CCL Education Fund has provided sponsorship for over 3000 girls in 30 Commonwealth countries, giving them a life they never dreamt they could have. In 2011 Ladi Dariya, one of the charity’s former beneficiaries; started the ‘Thousand Schools for a Thousand Girls’ (TSTG) Initiative as a way of giving back to the society.
This project was launched at the House of Parliament in May 2011 by its patrons; The Rt Hon. Baroness Betty Boothroyd OM, Baroness Shreela Flather JP, DL and Baroness Ros Howells. Mr Nick Boles, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Schools Minister Mr Nick Gibb- representing the Minister of State for Education Mr. Michael Gove, was also in attendance and spoke passionately about how the initiative can change lives and communities in the developing world. The beauty of this initiative is that it is practical and simple. A thousand schools all over the UK are encouraged to enroll and raise £1 per child every year to sponsor one girl from a Commonwealth country of their choice, through secondary schooling. Each girl that is educated by this initiative will act as a catalyst for change in their community and country. Schools from Lincolnshire to Yorkshire, from Nottingham to Bath, from London to Oxfordshire (to mention a few) are supporting girls from Ghana to Grenada, from Sri Lanka to Sierra Leone, from Rwanda to Papua New Guinea and beyond!
This is enabling children in the UK to understand the struggle for advancement of young women in developing countries. Young people in the UK want to help and connect with their peers around the world and this initiative helps tap into that spirit. In September 2011, the CCL Education Fund and the TSTG Initiative especially, was entered into the House of Lords HANSARD as an example of local actions with global effects.
Protection Against Stalking (PAS) has, in the last 12 months, achieved the impossible. It mobilised a People's Inquiry into Stalking, with parliamentarians of all parties and none taking evidence; it prompted a Government Consultation on Stalking, and today (12 March) in the House of Lords, the Government has at last tabled amendments for a new law of stalking, following meetings of PAS and the Prime Minister. PAS is tiny, but punches well above its weight, principally because most of its campaigners are articulate and convincing past victims of stalking, or the parents of murdered stalking victims. Over the last thirty years many campaigners have tried to get legislation in England and Wales. PAS – with other organisations such as NAPO – have led the charge in a short time to brilliant effect.
I’m a fairly new parliamentarian, and all I have heard today is how unusual it is for a campaign to be this effective in this short space of time. That’s down to PAS (and Laura Richards in particular), their dedication and commitment to unceasing work until the law is changed. It has been truly humbling to work alongside them in putting amendments to Government.