Category Archives: Charities

MP Supports Big Energy Savings Week

Household energy bills in Scotland have doubled in the last nine years and a third of Scots struggle to afford their gas and electricity bills. Despite this, £20 billion of benefits went unclaimed in 2011 and many people could save up to £200 a year by switching their energy supplier. That’s why this week I will be supporting Big Energy Savings Week; a national campaign to help people cut their fuel bills and get all the financial support they are entitled to.

The campaign is a collaboration between Citizens Advice Scotland, Scottish citizen’s advice bureaux, Citizens Advice (England & Wales), the Energy Savings Trust, Government, energy suppliers and other charitable organisations.

The primary message of Big Energy Saving Week is that consumers can save money and energy if the Check – Switch – Insulate.

Check – contact your energy supplier to check that you are on the best tariff and payment method for your circumstances, or if they can offer you any discounts to cut your bills.

Switch – visit an accredited switching website to see if you could get your energy cheaper elsewhere. Shopping around for your energy supplier could save you as much as £200 if you have never switched before. If you use heating oil as your main fuel, see if there are any local buying clubs you can join. If not, start your own.

Insulate – If you’re worried about how much money you’re spending to heat and light your home, or just want to spend less, there are some simple steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient. Keep in the heat by insulating the cavity walls and the loft of your home – you could save up to £320 per year. Most suppliers are giving away free or discounted insulation and other energy efficiency measures so ask if you’re eligible.

If you want more information about the campaign, you can watch a video about Big Energy Savings Week here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dA7OFZCr45c&feature=youtu.be

Anne joins the fight against breast cancer

Dame Anne has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s biggest (and pinkest) fundraiser, wear it pink day.Anne Begg 4

Over the last 10 years wear it pink has raised a staggering £23 million and on Friday 25th October 2013 people will come together in schools, colleges and businesses throughout the country to raise vital funds for Breast Cancer Campaign’s lifesaving research.

To register for wear it pink and receive your fundraising pack visit www.wearitpink.org or call 0800 107 3104.

Guide Dogs’ call to keep pedestrians safe from silent menace

Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, has supported Guide Dogs’ call for the installation of a vital safety feature on quiet hybrid and electric vehicles to keep pedestrians safe.Guide Dogs parliamentary reception

Research shows that some quiet vehicles cannot be heard until one second before impact and, in certain conditions, are more likely to be involved in a collision with a pedestrian than conventional vehicles. Guide Dogs held a Parliamentary reception, where Transport Minister Norman Baker spoke, to highlight the charity’s concerns about the safety implications of vehicles that cannot be heard.

Dame Anne said: “While the introduction of more environmentally friendly cars is to be welcomed, it is also important to acknowledge that we all rely on hearing approaching vehicles when crossing the road.

“Quiet hybrid and electric cars can also impact on the independence of blind and partially sighted people and their ability to go about their daily lives. I would, therefore, hope that manufacturers will ensure that hybrid and electric cars are easy to hear.”

James White, Guide Dogs’ Campaigns Manager, said: “As the number of quiet vehicles increases on our roads, we need to ensure they are safe. Blind and partially sighted people rely on the sound of an engine to cross a road safely. If you can’t see or hear a car then how do you know it is there?”

“We welcome Dame Anne’s support for our campaign. Quiet vehicles must be safe for all pedestrians and we urge the Department for Transport to take steps to ensure this happens”

Tesco FareShare food bank

On Friday 5th July, Dame Anne visited her local Tesco to help in their campaign for food donations. Customers were asked to pick up an extra non-perishable food item during their shop and then donate it on the way out. The campaign ran all weekend and the majority of shops around the UK took part, with Tesco donating a further 30% of all donations. Food donated will stay in the local area to be distributed to local food banks.

Dame Anne donating food at Tesco
Dame Anne donating food at Tesco

Celebrate Aberdeen Parade

Last month, Dame Anne joined in with the Celebrate Aberdeen Parade down Union Street to celebrate the voluntary sector in the city. The parade stretched out over the entire length of Union Street, showing just how huge the third sector is in Aberdeen. Charities play an important role in the city and this was highlighted by the parade.

Below is a picture of Anne and Councillor Angela Taylor:

Celebrate Aberdeen parade
Celebrate Aberdeen parade

Read all about it – Scotland’s first easy read newspaper launched in Aberdeen

Dame Anne Begg MP was delighted to attend the Scottish launch of the UK’s first easy read newspaper designed for people with learning disabilities. Inspire kindly hosted the launch at Café Coast and it was attended by some of the people they support.

Dame Anne and Linda read through the most recent edition of Easy News
Dame Anne and Linda read through the most recent edition of Easy News

Easy News is produced by disability charity United Response, and is designed to tackle the “information gap” facing many people with learning disabilities. United Response’s own research revealed that only 11% of people with learning disabilities read newspapers, usually because they are deterred by the complexity of the language. Partly as a result, just 16% of people with learning disabilities said they were interested in politics, and over half didn’t feel that politics actually had an impact on their daily lives. Easy News is designed to change that, with 58% of respondents saying that they would be interested in reading an accessible newspaper with simple language and strong visual images to help people understand.

Jaime Gill from United Response introduces Easy News
Jaime Gill from United Response introduces Easy News

Dame Anne said: “I was very impressed when I attended the launch of Easy News in the House of Commons so I was keen that it should be available in Scotland too.  I’m particularly delighted that the Scottish launch is happening in Aberdeen.

“Not having access to news in a format which you can understand can make you feel left out of what is happening in the world. I hope that as many people as possible in Aberdeen will benefit from this newspaper.”

Easy News will be produced every other month and will be available in paper, downloadable PDF and audio versions. The second edition covers the horsemeat scandal, the Oscar Pistorius court case, a new report into disability benefits, the long winter and the EU referendum, amongst other topics and you can read it here: http://www.unitedresponse.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Easy-News-Issue-2.pdf

Dame Anne Begg MP, hears Cafe Au Cash’s money saving ideas.

Cafe Au Cash pitched their money saving campaign to Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South.

Cafe au cash

Cafe au cash is a team of 3 students from Aberdeen College who are aiming to help improve money management throughout Aberdeen.

Leona Bain from the Cafe au Cash team said “We feel that people spend a lot more money on coffee chains than they may realise. After some research we discovered that coffee chains offer their drinks at a discounted rate if people take their own cup to the shop. Our desire is to inform as many people as we can about the money you can save by taking your own cups and by taking your own drinks rather than buying from coffee chains. ”

Cafe au cash secured £200 for their idea from Money for Life challenge, they will be handing out leaflets in streets across Aberdeen and wearing branded t shirts to help raise awareness.

Dame Anne Begg MP said “It was great to hear from Cafe Au cash about their money saving idea.  I didn’t realise my self that taking your own cup into a coffee shop helps saves money, and this is a great way to raise awareness. Buying a coffee every day soon adds up to hundreds of pounds a year”

You can find out more about Cafe Au Cash on facebook https://www.facebook.com/CafeAuCash or twitter https://twitter.com/Cafe_au_Cash

You can also find more about the money for life campaign by going to their website http://www.moneyforlifeprogramme.org.uk/

Businesses in Admiral Court get behind the nation’s heart charity in National Heart Month

February is National Heart Month and the British Heart Foundation is urging the UK to show support.

Rock Up In Red - Admiral Court
Rock Up In Red – Admiral Court

Businesses in Admiral Court kicked off the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) National Heart Month by donating money to wear red to work.

There are over 2.7 million people in the UK currently suffering with heart disease and it is the UK’s single biggest killer. It kills one in six men and one in nine women and is responsible for almost 80,000 deaths in the UK each year, an average of 220 people each day.

National Heart Month is a time when the BHF urges people in the UK to think about their hearts and the hearts of those around them. It is also a time when the charity encourages supporters to fundraise and help the charity’s fight against heart disease. You can fundraise by whichever means you fancy and even better if it involves colleagues, friends and family.

Centre Manager Jennifer Massie said: “Everyone was happy to give their heartfelt support to the British Heart Foundation.”

One of the tenants of Admiral Court, Dame Anne Begg MP, said: “I commend volunteers and employers for getting involved in fundraising for the BHF during National Heart Month in Aberdeen South and encourage others to join in these activities to help the BHF to continue their vital, life-saving work.”

To find out more about National Heart Month – download a fundraising pack at bhf.org.uk/red or call 0300 330 0645.

Local musicians and small venues urged to enter national music competition

Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, has called for musicians and small venues in Aberdeen South to enter Rock the House 2013, Parliament’s biggest competition which celebrates up-and-coming British artists and the live music venues that support them.

The competition is open to all music lovers who fall into the following categories: solo artist, band, under 19 solo artist, under 19 band, and best small live music venue. Applications will close on March 1st 2013.

Dame Anne said: “Rock the House is a great opportunity for aspiring artists of any age looking to find a way into the industry. I am excited to listen to the tracks that the people of Aberdeen South can come up with, and hope to receive as many submissions as possible.”

Mike Weatherley MP, founder of Rock the House said: “This competition is the perfect opportunity for talented artists to promote their music, and win some life-changing prizes in the process – from guitars and amps, to slots at gigs and festivals. It will also put MPs in touch with musicians and small venues in their constituencies. We’ve discovered some great talent in the past, and can’t wait to see who we find this year!”

Brian May, Queen guitarist and songwriter said: “It is a great honour to back Rock the House. The UK is a hotbed of musical talent from all genres, and if the British music industry is going to grow and thrive then musicians need to be able to make a living from selling their product.

“This competition gives all musicians, from all backgrounds the chance to get out there and make live music – one of the things Brits do best.”

The finalists will compete in a live battle of the bands, and the winner of each category will then perform live on the balcony of the House of Commons on the evening of the 26th of June 2013.

Rock the House was founded by Mike Weatherley MP to raise awareness of intellectual property theft and live music issues in Parliament. In 2011, the competition was part of a campaign which successfully persuaded the Government that venues with a capacity of 200 people will no longer need a license for live music.

The launch party on Monday 26th November saw the first ever amplified gig in the State Speaker’s Room with British rock band the Young Guns, Rob Damiani from Don Broco and Bernie Marsden from Whitesnake attending the launch.

Other patrons of Rock the House include Alice Cooper, Ian Gillan from Deep Purple, Rick Wakeman, Mark Hoppus from Blink 182, Charlie Simpson from Busted, Matt Tuck from Bullet For My Valentine and Axewound, Rob Damiani from Don Broco, Yngwie Malmsteen, Rob Caggiano from Anthrax, Steel Panther, Scott Gorham from Thin Lizzy and Bernie Marsden from Whitesnake.

This year Rock the House has teamed up with BandApp to make submissions easier and better. For any artists involved this means they’ll get a great tool to promote them and their music. Any music lovers wishing to enter the competition need to head to www.rockthehousehoc.com to create this BandApp.