Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, is urging residents to give safely to charities this Christmas by remembering the ‘Safe Xmas’ acronym developed by the Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, and the Fundraising Standards Board, the self-regulatory body for UK fundraising.
Both regulators will also be issuing the advice on social media, which can be found by following #SafeXmas.
Christmas is a traditional time for giving and charities work hard to raise money during this time to fund their work throughout the year. The general public give generously to charity and in a survey of people’s giving habits last Christmas, 85% of people said they give directly to charity at Christmas, donating an average of around £40 to the good causes they care about.
Almost all collections are genuine, but some people will try to abuse the generosity of others for their own gain. With some charities and supporters having experienced fraud, it is vital that the public know that their donations are going to the right place. The Charity Commission and FRSB have come together to issue a few simple tips for giving with confidence this Christmas.
Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, calls on local residents to give safely this Christmas, saying:
“People here in Aberdeen South are incredibly generous in giving both time and money to good causes at Christmas. Many charities will be relying on these donations to fund vital services that continue throughout the year and nobody can afford for those donations to go astray.
“If you are asked to give money to charity and something doesn’t feel quite right or you just want to be completely sure, take a good look at the fundraising materials, follow the ‘Safe Xmas’ tips and, if in doubt, get in touch with the charity you want to support directly.”
- Search for a charity’s name, registration number and landline on fundraising materials
- Ask to see a collector’s ID badge and don’t be afraid to ask questions
Find the FRSB tick logo, showing that the charity’s fundraising is regulated
Ensure the collection device is sealed
- Extra information about charities can be found at gov.uk/charity-commission
Make sure clothing collection bags are clearly branded with a charity’s details
Always check email and web links are genuine before donating
Still unsure? Contact your favourite charity direct and donate
For more information on fundraising regulation, go to the FRSB website, to the Charity Commission’s guidance on GOV.UK or to the Commission’s newly published fundraising statement which signposts readers to the correct regulator for any issues they wish to raise.
MP for Aberdeen South, Dame Anne, has called on Scottish Water to find a resolution to the longstanding odour problems in Torry.
Dame Anne Begg has written to Scottish Water’s Chief Executive Douglas Millican supporting the request from Torry Community Council to commission Professor Robert Jackson, a leading expert in waste water management, to find a lasting solution to eliminate the odour.
Dame Anne Begg said: “I have been aware of the odour problem associated with the Waste Water Treatment Works for many years and, despite the many reassurances that the issue will be resolved, to date nothing has achieved a lasting solution.
“The residents of Torry have been extremely patient while Scottish Water investigate the cause of the odour. I think they’re patience should now be rewarded by a clear commitment from Scottish Water to ensure that this issue is solved once and for all.”
I was delighted that Torry Development Trust was successful in raising sufficient money to reinstate the Torry Christmas lights on Victoria Road.
Thanks to the generosity of local businesses and individuals, there are now six lights along the main shopping area and a further three near the Mansefield Road junction creating a festive feel for Christmas shoppers.
Dame Anne visited her local Tesco to help with the National Food Collection. She joined staff from Tesco and Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) to ask customers to pick up extra non-perishable food items during their shop and donate them on the way out. The campaign ran for five days 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 criticises lack of action over child poverty in Aberdeen as recent figures show 18% of children in Aberdeen grow up in poverty.
Aberdeen South MP, Dame Anne Begg, says that only Labour’s plans to tackle the cost of living will help reduce child poverty in Aberdeen.
The release of the child poverty map by the Campaign to End Child Poverty showed that 18 per cent of children in Aberdeen are living in poverty after meeting housing costs. This is on the back of recent news that unemployment in Aberdeen South is 1 per cent.
Commenting on the report Dame Anne said: “Despite unemployment in Aberdeen South sitting at one percent, children are still living in poverty. We have an acute housing shortage, energy bills soaring, and jobs aren’t paying enough.
“We face the biggest housing crisis in a generation and both Tories in Westminster and Nationalists in Holyrood are letting children down.
“The Tories always say work is the best route out of poverty, but we can see in Aberdeen that simply isn’t the case.”
Dame Anne went onto criticise the Scottish Government: “The SNP have failed to use the measures open to them to mitigate the impact of Tory policies like the bedroom tax. The SNP have refused to use all the Scottish Welfare fund and the fuel poverty budget, at a time when 900,000 households are in fuel poverty.
“Labour has endorsed the comprehensive plan set out by Sir Michael Lyons Housing Review, the first of its kind in a generation, which shows how Labour will meet their commitment of building 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and sets a course for doubling the number of first-time buyers by 2025. Labour will also increase the minimum wage, and freeze energy bills.
“Only Labour has a plan to tackle the cost of living crisis and help lift children out of poverty in Aberdeen.”
Dame Anne Begg MP is today supporting International Day of the Girl, a UN-led campaign to raise awareness of gender inequalities and abuse suffered by girls around the world and this year’s theme is “Empowering adolescent girls: Ending the cycle of violence”.
The Labour Party has made stopping violence against women and girls a key priority for their programme for Government. Earlier this year, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP announced that a Labour Government would bring in new legislation to give better support to victims of violence and bring perpetrators to justice. And in the summer the Party appointed Seema Malhotra MP as the first ever Shadow Minister for Preventing Violence against Women and Girls.
The Labour Party has committed to:
- Introducing a new Commissioner of Domestic and Sexual Violence to sit at the heart of Government and ensure victims voices are being heard
- New national standards for policing to drive up performance across the board
- Introducing compulsory sex & relationship education in all state-funded schools, so young people are taught that no form of violence in relationships is acceptable
- A new £3million annual fund for refuges supporting victims of domestic violence
- New FGM Protection Orders to stop children suspected of being at risk of FGM from being taken abroad
Dame Anne said: “I want girls in Aberdeen South growing up knowing they won’t face discrimination because of their gender and never fearing violence will be used against them. That is why it is important that we continue to fight for gender equality and continue speaking out against violence and discrimination – in our local area, but also across the country and internationally too.
“This is an incredibly important cause and that’s why a Labour Government – and a Labour MP in Aberdeen South – will make it a priority.”
Seema Malhotra MP, Shadow Minister for Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls said: “The global level of violence girls in our country is horrific. All too often rape and violence are used as weapons of war and in many countries discrimination against girls is deeply embedded in the national culture. International Day of the Girl is an important moment where we can stand side-by-side with women and girls across the world and say: ‘we will not stand for this. We want change.’
“And we need change in our country too. Teenage girls and young women are now the most likely group to be victims of domestic violence, thousands of girls are at risk of FGM and NUS report a growing number of sexual assaults at university.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to this growing violence. That is why Labour is putting this issue centre stage in our plans for Government.”
You can find out more about the UN International Day of the Girl at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/girl-child
Anne visited Home-Start Aberdeen with her colleague Richard Baker MSP on Monday 6th October to mark Home-Start’s manifesto which was launched in Westminster in July.
Home-Start aims to support families under stress offering friendship together with emotional and practical support and the manifesto highlights the issues that Home-Start families are facing.
In Aberdeen, each year around 100 Home-Start volunteers work with approximately 200 families including over 500 children. Home-Start Aberdeen also manages the Recipe for Life project to provide practical assistance to prepare nutritious food and runs a charity chop at 101 George Street.
During the visit, Scheme Manager Georgette Cobban spoke about the variety of families they support across the city and the many reasons why families are referred to them. She also spoke about their recent initiative to recruit 50 volunteers over 50 weeks to allow them to meet the demand for their service.
For more information about Home-Start Aberdeen, go to http://www.homestartaberdeen.org.uk/
The manifesto can be read in full at http://www.home-start.org.uk/about_us/what_we_do/manifesto
Anne launched the new Peterculter Post Office by cutting the ribbon at an opening ceremony.
As part of Post Office plans to modernise the network and extend opening hours for customers, the new Peterculter branch located at 177 North Deeside Road Aberdeen AB14 0UJ offers Post Office® services from two open-plan counters from Monday – Saturday 08:00 – 21:00 & on Sundays 08:00 – 20:00.
Anne said: “I welcomed the news that Peterculter Post Office was to be modernised to create a bright modern open-plan branch and am delighted to have the opportunity to congratulate Mohammed and Shee on their hard work.”
Anne and Margaret Curran MP, Shadow Secretary for Scotland, took time out of their campaigning schedule to visit the café in Torry St Fittick’s Church for coffee and a scone.
The café is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays and offers a selection of home baking.
Dame Anne welcomed the news today that a community centre in her constituency had been successful in applying for a £8538 grant from the National Lottery’s small grants scheme Awards for All.
Inchgarth Community Centre successfully secured the funding to create an outdoor play space for children aged from early years to early secondary school which will be attached to the community centre.
Dame Anne said: “I would like to congratulate those who were involved in putting together this successful bid for funding. I am sure that the outdoor play space will be hugely beneficial for those young people in the area who do not have access to a safe play space.”
Awards for All is the small grants scheme which makes awards of between £500 and £10,000 to grass-roots community groups and voluntary organisations.