Dame Anne attended Scope’s Parliamentary reception in Westminster which launched the charity’s campaign for better local services for disabled children and their families.
To launch the campaign, Sally Phillips (known for her roles in ‘Miranda’ and ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’) was at the reception.
Taking centre stage during the reception was a giant Christmas tree adorned with handmade ‘wish stars’ decorated by members of the public and inscribed with messages to the MPs stating why supporting disabled children and their families matters.
Dame Anne said: “I am in support of Scope’s campaign and share their belief that it is vital for all who need services to have access to them in their local area.”
Dame Anne was delighted to be invited to Momentum Skills on to field questions from their service users, who suffer from acquired brain injury. She said: “I always welcome the opportunity to meet with groups in my constituency to listen to the issues that concern them and our discussion ranged from topics such as the licensing of mobility scooters to the forthcoming referendum on independence. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and I would like to thank Momentum for inviting me along.”
Liz Howarth, Momentum Vocational Tutor said: “The service users from Momentum invested a lot of time and hard work researching and preparing for Anne’s visit. This provoked lots of exciting discussions on key issues ranging from local concerns such as Union Terrace Gardens to national issues including immigration and national service.
“But more than this, it’s essential that service users at Momentum have the opportunity to engage with the politicians and decision makers that make the policies that affect them. The Welfare Reforms are inevitably going to have an impact on our Service Users, and as Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, Dame Anne Begg is well placed to take on board the concerns of our clients.”
Following the visit, Momentum Client Billy Little stated: “I enjoyed Anne Begg’s visit to Momentum, to debate on why all the political parties are scared to put up a referendum on the EU. Her views were enlightening to me even though I disagreed with them.
“However, for me, the most interesting and enlightening debate was one we had on Assisted Suicide. This was because she showed the obstacles that surround this topic and how sensitive the subject is and the different problems all the politicians face on the subject.”
Dame Anne is backing the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s award winning fundraiser, wear it pink day – and she wants constituents to join her.
Now in its 10th year, wear it pink, on Friday 26th October 2012 will see supporters from all over the country in schools, colleges and businesses embracing the event’s new theme, superheroes. The theme stems from the charity’s belief that everybody who joins the fight – from people affected by breast cancer, to Breast Cancer Campaign scientists and all wear it pink participants – is a superhero.
Breast Cancer Campaign is asking everyone to pull on something pink and donate £2.00, whether it’s a superhero cape, pink socks or pink pants you wear over your tights, you can help the charity achieve its target of raising £2 million, so they can continue to fund ground-breaking research.
Join the hundreds of thousands of people who take part in wear it pink every year. With your help Breast Cancer Campaign can improve survival rates for the one in eight women who experience breast cancer during their lifetime.
Dame Anne Begg MP says “Every year in the UK, around 48,000 women and 340 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. This is why we all need to support wear it pink day on 26th October, so that Breast Cancer Campaign can continue to fund research which will one day lead to a cure.”
To take part in the UK’s original and best pink day visit wearitpink.co.uk and register to receive your free fundraising pack now. Vanish is backing the fight against breast cancer for the third year running by raising an incredible £250,000 for wear it pink.
Dame Anne is proud to support the ‘Horizons’ charity whose vision is “an Africa in which a mother does not die every minute.” After being contacted by a constituent, Dame Anne has backed the campaign which is hoping to launch officially in October of this year.
Here is an extract from their website:
“A Mother Dies Every Minute (unnecessary and preventable deaths, the majority in sub-saharan Africa). Help us stop women dying during pregnancy and childbirth. Help us empower the women living on less than a dollar a day. Pregnancy and childbirth should be a happy event.. even for women living in sub-saharan Africa. By joining hands, we can make the impossible possible. Together, we can bring a sustainable change to the lives of women of sub-saharan Africa starting in The Gambia. We will provide innovative quality healthcare for pregnant women and infants living below the poverty line in an international standard hospital.”
Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, has pledged her support to Guide Dogs’ campaign to highlight the issue of guide dogs being attacked by other dogs. Today she met with guide dog owners, and their assistance dogs, to listen to their own experiences.
Research by the charity has revealed that more than eight guide dogs are attacked every month. The attacks can result in the guide dogs being unable to work and in some cases, can never work again. This can have a devastating impact on the owner, as they are then unable to go out independently whilst they wait for a new guide dog. This also has financial implications for the charity, which pays the full costs of a guide dog – approximately £50,000 throughout its lifetime.
Guide dog owner, William Sharkey, told Dame Anne about an incident involving his assistance dog, Lily: “As a newly qualified guide dog owner, I was very angry when Lily was attacked by two dogs in Aberdeen city centre. I was particularly horrified that the owner took no action to restrain their dogs and afterwards I didn’t think it was worth reporting to the police as I was unable to identify the owner. The incident really knocked Lily’s confidence and it took some time for her to return to her normal self.”
Although the recent announcement by the Westminster government to introduce compulsory microchipping in England is a welcome step forward, there is still more work needed to protect guide dogs and their owners from these vicious attacks. With concern increasing about the number of attacks by other dogs on guide dogs, the charity is also calling on the Government to give police the power to treat an attack on an assistance dog as seriously as an attack on a person.
David Cowdrey, Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs said: “There were 147 attacks on guide dogs between June 2010 and December 2011. We believe that an attack on an assistance dog should be considered as an attack on the person, to reflect the fact that a guide dog is a vital mobility aid and that such attacks are very distressing for people who are already vulnerable.”
Dame Anne said: “I was shocked to hear of the high number of attacks on guide dogs, as are those constituents who have contacted me about this issue, and I will be lobbying the government to ensure meaningful measures are introduced to protect guide dogs and their owners. Although the Scottish Government has already rejected compulsory microchipping, I hope that they will follow suit to ensure that guide dogs in Scotland are protected. I would also call on anyone who witnesses an attack on a guide dog to help the police in identifying the offending owner.”