Events information will appear below.

Trefoil Guild


Fiona Bruce MP, a Guide Ambassador for Cheshire, attended the AGM of the Trefoil Guild for North West England. Guilds from across the North West were represented be several hundred Guides who met at St Mary’s Church, Sandbach, to hear reports of very active groups from across the region.
In the Trefoil Guild, men and women aged 18 and over can make new friends, travel, explore, serve their communities, and help both guiding and scouting thrive across the UK.
Fiona Bruce said “I was enormously impressed at the enthusiasm of those who attended the AGM, the huge range of community and voluntary work undertaken by Trefoil Guild Members and its increasing popularity – it was remarkable to hear reported at the AGM that in 2018 the Trefoil Guild is adding no less than 100 new members every week!”

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Jobcentre Plus Travel Discout Card



Fiona Bruce is supporting the Rail Delivery Group’s initiative, on behalf of Britain’s train companies, to raise awareness about a travel discount card that helps lower the cost of finding work.

The Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card is available to eligible people in England, Wales and Scotland who have been out of work for 12 weeks or longer.  It offers jobseekers a 50% discount on train fares as they travel to interviews, to the Jobcentre or to and from training, for up to three months at a time.
  
Fiona Bruce said: ‘It is important that we do what we can to encourage and support people into work. I welcome the Jobcentre Plus and the train companies working together to provide this support which ensures jobseekers can apply for a wider range of jobs, by reducing what can be a barrier - the cost of travel. I would encourage jobseekers in my constituency to take advantage of this initiative.”

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Peter Kolker standes down


TITLE: Fiona Bruce MP thanks Peter Kolker for his long service as Chairman of Congleton Constituency Conservative Association

At an event at The Vicarage in Holmes Chapel Fiona Bruce MPthanked Peter Kolker for his long service, hard work and support as Chairman of Congleton Constituency Conservative Association after he stood down as Chair this month.

Peter Kolker has served as Chair of the association for a number of years since 2009. Peter first got involved with the party in 1997, first getting elected to Congleton Borough Council in 2000.

Fiona Bruce presented Peter with a picture signed by the Prime Minister and the Association presented a gift to Peter Kolker and to his wife Judith Kolker.

Fiona said at the event: “I want to thank Peter for his work as Chairman and in particular for his kindness, wisdom and support. Peter has been remarkably dedicated and I cannot express enough thanks personally to Peter for his friendship and support.”

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More active role for parents in Education



Fiona Bruce MP met representatives from Parentkind to discuss how to support parental engagement in education in Congleton.

Parentkind, previously known as PTA UK, is a national charity that champions the parent role in education and is the leading membership organisation supporting Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) and other parent groups in schools nationwide, with over 13,700 member schools across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The charity currently supports 26 schools in the constituency with practical advice and information to help them support their school and work with them to give pupils the best opportunities for a positive education.

At the meeting MPs were informed about the benefits of parental engagement in a child’s schooling and how they can support constituents to get involved. Data from the Department for Education shows that parental involvement in a child’s education can have a more powerful influence on a student’s school performance than household income, family background or levels of parent education.

Fiona Bruce along with fellow MPs promised to promote the value and importance of parental involvement in education to help ensure children achieve their potential. Fiona signed up to Parentkind’s pledge which states:
“I consider the active participation of parents an essential ingredient in the success of our children’s education and I commit to supporting education policy that brings homes and schools together for the good of all children and society, where more parents are engaged in their child’s education in more ways."

Acting CEO Michelle Doyle Wildman said: “We are hugely encouraged that so many MPs have pledged their support to Parentkind’s mission. We look forward to working with Fiona over the coming months in our efforts to establish parental participation in schools as an essential part of school improvement plans and positive outcomes for every child.”

Fiona Bruce MP said:
“The evidence shows that parental involvement is incredibly important in a child’s education, more important than household income or family background. I congratulate the work of Parentkind and their members in supporting our children’s education and encourage parents and carers to find out more about how Parentkind can support them and what they are doing in your local area, please visit https://www.parentkind.org.uk/.”
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Parentkind is working with PR specialists The PHA Group. For further information, please contact the Parentkind press office on 01732 375 477 or via email at parentkind@thephagroup.com
About Parentkind
Parentkind is the new name for PTA UK, and is the charity that champions parents so that they can participate in their child’s education and school life to the full. Parentkind is also the largest membership body of Parent Teacher Associations and other parent groups in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Parentkind works in partnership with Parent Councils UK providing training to teachers, governors and parents to build successful home-school relationships. For further information see www.parentkind.org.uk

Contact details: Fiona Bruce MP – 01260 274044 Fiona.bruce.mp@parliament.uk

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Malaria No More


Fiona Bruce MP has shown her support for the “Malaria Must Die so that millions can live” campaign and is callingon Commonwealth leaders to do more to help combat this disease.

The campaign Malaria Must Die was started by the charity Malaria No More UK which Fiona has supported for a number of years and is calling for all the Commonwealth leaders, who will meet in the next month at the annual summit in London, to commit to taking action.

Each year 500,000 people die from malaria. The number of people dying each year is down by 60% since 2000 which has lead to 7 million lives being saved. However, much more needs to be done – a child dies every 2 minutes from malaria. Ending malaria will not only save millions of lives but it will also play an integral part in tackling poverty. Every $1 spent on malaria creates a benefit of $36 thanks to children being able to attend school and adults being at work.

Fiona said: “90% of the citizens of the Commonwealth live in countries with malaria. The Malaria Must Die campaign is calling on the leaders of every Commonwealth country to take action and build on previous successes in the fight to end malaria. Too many are still dying from this terrible disease and more must be done, both to save lives and continue the fight against poverty.”

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Fixed Odds Betting Terminals FOBT


Fiona Bruce MP attended a meeting in Parliament this week of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on FOBTs’. During the meeting Fiona Bruce spoke of those whose lives have been impacted by the machines, particularly families and children saying “we need to see a reduction in the stake from £100 to £2. Nothing but this level of reduction will make the difference to the families and children, often the poorest in society, affected by the gambling loses incurred by those addicted to these machines”.

The event follows the publication of a new survey by YouGov which shows that 75% of MPs support a considerable stake reduction on FOBTs and with 62% calling for a £2 stake. The survey further shows that the 68% of MPs support the claim that the machines are a major source of problem gambling.

Problem gambling affects 430,000 people in the UK annually. As well as this being a tragedy for gamblers themselves and their families, a recent report showed that problem gambling also carries a huge societal cost. It estimates that this cost to the UK is £1.5bn a year when its impact on wider social welfare is taken into account – including areas such as employment, mental health and financial stability. The report published by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), found that those on lower incomes or in deprived areas are the main beneficiaries of a reduction to a £2 stake.

Last month, the Group also launched a FOBT Loss Tracker on its website, which shows how much has been lost on the machines since the DCMS review started in October 2016, over £57 is lost every second. The tracker currently shows that over £2.5 billion, has been lost since that period of which over £1 billion will be from at-risk and addicted gamblers.

Continuing her support to the campaign for a stake reduction, Fiona Bruce MP said after the meeting:
“I am very pleased that so many more MPs have now joined our campaign and that the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Matthew Hancock, is clearly really listening to our concerns about the devastating effect FOBTs are having on families, individuals and communities. The APPG tracker just highlights the rate at which those who can least afford it are losing money on these machines. The Government needs to take a decisive action and cut the stakes on FOBTs to £2. At this level the harm to families and individuals is significantly reduced simply because the amount that can be lost over a short period of time is also significantly reduced.”

Supporters of the campaign, which includes the General Synod of the Church of England, 93 local authorities, the Royal Society for Public Health and politicians from all parties, have called on the Government to take action on FOBTs in order to protect the most vulnerable in society.

The Government is seeking to reduce the stake on FOBTs from £100 to between £50 and £2. It launched a 12 week public consultation on the stake options, which closed on 23rdJanuary and is due to make a decision imminently. 

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Fiona Bruce MP supports people living with Arthritis in Congleton


  

Fiona Bruce MP has learnt about the huge impact that arthritis related conditions have on 17.8 million people across the UK, after attending a parliamentaryevent on Tuesday 20 March 2018.
MPs who attended the event also met people living with arthritis, who explained how the condition can affect their lives in different ways – fromgoing to work, to coping with thedaily tasks such as cooking or driving that many ofus take for granted.
The event coincided with the launch of Arthritis Research UKs new ‘Ask Us’ campaign, which encourages those living with arthritis to reach out to the charity and ask questions about their condition. The campaign directs people to information andadvice provided by the charity, which is based on many years of research and knowledge from experts and patients. This information and advice is provided via their online information, helpline, and online ‘Virtual Assistant’.
By working together with MPs like Fiona Bruce, the charityhopes to encourage people to find the answers to their queries froma source they can trust.
Jennylyn Williams, a campaigner and volunteer who spoke to MPs at the event, said, “I enjoyed taking part inthe parliamentary reception, and feel that it was good for MPs to meet someone in person withexperience of the condition. I thinkmany MPs were surprised by the fact I was diagnosed at 31, as well as learning about the impact the condition has on my bodyespecially my hands. I was able to explain to themwhat it's like to live with arthritis every day. I was honoured to be a voice in parliament forthemany people living with arthritis across the country.  I hope that having met me,and hearing mystory, MPs from all parties will be more likely to call for improvements for people with arthritis.
Ms Bruce said, “I was shocked to learn that in Congleton, 8,201 people aged over 45 live with osteoarthritis ofthe knee, 4,929 people agedover 45 live with osteoarthritis of the hip, and 16,955 live with back pain. Too many people locally are living with daily pain, fatigue, and isolation. This is unacceptable. People living with these conditions musthave their needs recognised, which is whyI have pledged to be an Arthritis Champion and speak up in Parliament for people with arthritis. I hope that my colleagues will join me in ensuring that constituents livingwith arthritis get the support they need, and I urge people affected to reach out to Arthritis Research UK for expert information. Together, we can do more to fight the devastating impact that arthritis has on the lives of more than 17.8 million people across the UK.”

Shona Cleland, Public Affairs Manager at Arthritis Research UK, said: It was great to see Fiona Bruceat our event. Arthritis can cause severe pain and fatigue and its effects can be devastating. We believe all people with arthritis should have support to live fulland active lives. To make this areality, we need MPs to tell their constituents about the help on offer, raise awareness of arthritis in Parliament, and work to ensure that all people with arthritis get the services andsupport they need.
To find out more about the charityand to ask any question about arthritis please visit www.arthritisresearchuk.org/askus

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Government Environment Plan

Fiona Bruce MP welcomes the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan announced by the Prime Minister Theresa May Secretary and Environment Secretary Michael Gove which pledges to eliminate avoidable waste, introduce new safeguards for wildlife and connect more children with nature.
The Government’s plan, titled “A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment”, sets out how the government will; eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, help wildlife thrive, become a world leader in environmental protection, deliver a Green Brexit, embed a ‘net environmental gain’ principle to development and connect people with nature by creating ‘nature friendly schools’. The Plan also includes a natural capital approach, meaning that any plan will have to consider the natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. This will ensure additional benefits such as health and wellbeing will be included, which help improve and direct decision making.

The plan sits alongside the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, which addresses cutting carbon emissions to combat climate change and drive economic growth.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

“Respecting nature’s intrinsic value and making sure we are wise stewards of our natural world is critical if we are to leave the environment in a better state that we inherited it. Our Environment Plan sets out how over the next 25 years we will radically reduce waste that is choking oceans and rivers, cleanse our air of toxic pollutants and create new habitats for our most precious wildlife to thrive. Through this plan we will build on our reputation as a global leader in environment protection, creating an environment everyone can enjoy and helping the next generation flourish.”
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Persecution of Christians

Fiona Bruce MP attends the Open Doors’ World Watch announcement every year in Parliament, this reports on religious persecution worldwide.
This year the World Watch List highlights the continually devastating levels of violence Christians face, from widows in Nigeria whose husbands have been killed by Boko Haram, to girls in Pakistan who have been raped, forcefully converted and married against their will, to those caught up in bomb blasts and shootings in Egypt.
Over 200 million Christians are living in countries ranked on the 2018 World Watch List as ‘high’, ‘very high’ or ‘extreme’ level of persecution. However, it is non-violent persecution that is having the most significant impact on Christians, with the report specifically highlighting India where there continues to be a trend towards a toxic brand of nationalism where non-violent persecution has pushed India’s score to new heights. There are now 11 countries designated as countries of extreme persecution, compared to just one, North Korea, four years ago.

Fiona said: “I am alarmed at the way in which persecution of Christians is escalating year on year. The international right to freedom of religion or belief is being denied and neglected in more and more countries and action must be taken to reverse this trend. I continue to raise concerns in Parliament, including the recommendations which are highlighted in Open Doors’ latest World Watch List published this month.”
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The Ups of Downs

Fiona Bruce MP recently met with representatives from The Ups of Downs in Parliament to discuss how to ensure people with Down syndrome are given every opportunity to live their lives to the full.

Nicola Enoch (pictured with Fiona Bruce), founder of The Ups of Downs, which is a registered charity, has recently launched a website to inform parents with children who have Downs syndrome or are expecting to have children with Downs Syndrome. The website https://positiveaboutdownsyndrome.co.uk/ draws on experiences of parents who have children who have Downs syndrome, challenging the negativity, fear and ignorance around Downs syndrome.

Fiona Bruce said: “Having engaged with representatives from Downs groups many times over the years in Parliament, I was very pleased to attend this event and meet with representatives from The Ups of Downs. It was moving to hear of the work Nicola has undertaken and I support their campaign to increase understanding about Downs syndrome.”


Nicola Enoch and Caroline Warren, Trustees of The Ups of Downs said: “We were delighted to meet Fiona Bruce. Alongside many other parents, we are extremely grateful to Fiona for her ongoing support to the Down syndrome community and for highlighting many of our concerns, in particular issues around screening for Down syndrome and the lack of accurate, impartial advice available to those considering screening, expectant and new parents.  We were pleased to share with Fiona details of the recently launched website Positive about Down syndrome, which is written by parents for parents and reflect the realities of living with the condition in the 21st century.  www.positiveaboutdownsyndrome.co.uk”
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