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MP ENCOURAGES COMMUNITIES TO GET BEHIND “THE GREAT BRITISH SPRING CLEAN”

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Local MP, Victoria Prentis, organised the campaign’s Parliamentary launch and is calling on schools, businesses and community groups to get outdoors, get active and help clear up North Oxfordshire.

“The Great British Spring Clean” follows on from last year’s very successful “Clean for The Queen” campaign and brings together many of the anti-litter organisations in the UK. Costa Coffee, McDonald’s and LIDL are just a few of the companies also supporting the initiative.

Community groups including parish councils, residents’ associations, Girl Guides and brownies and Scout and Cub troops are encouraged to organise their own litter pick or event in the coming weeks or over the campaign’s big clean weekend over 3-5 March.

Victoria said, “Since coordinating the Parliamentary campaign for Clean for The Queen last year, litter has become something of an obsession. I was therefore really keen to help Keep Britain Tidy with this year’s initiative “The Great British Spring Clean”. We should do all we can to encourage people to go out and clean up their communities. The initiative also provides a useful opportunity to raise awareness of the problems litter causes. I am really hoping people in North Oxfordshire will get behind the campaign and was delighted to see so many of my colleagues at the launch. If you are planning your own event locally, please do get in touch. You can also register a clean-up on the campaign’s website where there are also a lot of useful downloadable resources.

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive, Allison Ogden-Newton, commented, “It was fantastic to see Victoria support our campaign. The Great British Spring Clean is about getting all Britons who care about their environment to take action and I’m looking forward to seeing lots of people out and about, contributing to cleaning up their communities on 3rd 4th and 5th of March.”

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Victoria at the Parliamentary launch of “The Great British Spring Clean” on 31 January 2017.

MPS WELCOME MATERNITY SERVICE REFERRAL

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On Thursday 2 February, Victoria Prentis MP and Witney MP Robert Courts welcomed the Joint Health & Overview Scrutiny Committee’s unanimous vote to refer the Oxford University NHS Foundation Trust’s (OUHFT) decision to suspend obstetric services at the Horton General Hospital to the Secretary of State for Health.

In a discussion over the management of pressures under urgent care, Cllr Kieron Mallon (Bloxham & Easington Division), Eddie Reeves (Conservative candidate for Calthorpe Division) and Ian Davies, Director of Operational Delivery at Cherwell District Council, had the opportunity to address the Committee, and put on record their concerns about the way in which the decision to suspend obstetric services at the Horton had been taken by the OUHFT last August. They put particular emphasis on the detrimental impact it has had on patient safety and choice in North Oxfordshire and beyond.

Following the representations, Committee member and County Councillor Arash Fatemian (Deddington Division) introduced a motion calling for the suspension to be referred to the Secretary of State for Health given that there is now no prospect of the full service resuming in March. The motion subsequently went to a vote, and the Committee agreed unanimously to refer the suspension to the Secretary of State.

Speaking after the vote, Victoria Prentis MP said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Health & Overview Scrutiny Committee has referred the ongoing suspension of obstetric services at the Horton to the Secretary of State. Ever since the Trust Board’s decision in August last year, I have been trying my best to get HOSC to refer the decision. At their meetings in September and November, they indicated that they did not feel it necessary to do so, given the Trust’s assurances that the service would resume in March. As that has become increasingly unlikely, the people of North Oxfordshire have been faced with a change in service on which they had absolutely no say. It was essential that HOSC referred this decision to the Secretary of State.

“HOSC’s decision is a major breakthrough for all of us who have been campaigning hard against the downgrade. The cross party nature of this campaign is apparent in the unanimity shown.

“It will be interesting to see how the decision to refer will impact the Oxfordshire Transformation Programme split consultation exercise which is ongoing, and about which I continue to have grave concerns. The fight continues, but I am confident that the Secretary of State will take this issue very seriously.

Robert Courts MP said: “The ramifications of the suspension of obstetric services at the Horton go far beyond the residents of Banbury.  

“My constituents in West Oxfordshire would face horrendous travel times if this important service were to close.  If expectant mothers have to travel to Oxford or further for treatment I would be seriously concerned about the impact on their health.

“The decision by the HOSC to refer this to the Secretary of State is absolutely right.  This matter needs more scrutiny and consultation and should never have been so light.

“I continue to have major concerns about the split consultation taking place on Oxfordshire’s Transformation Plan.  The decision will surely impact this consultation.  I am ready to fight to ensure that this is matter is fully considered by the Secretary of State and I eagerly await his decision.

“As the wider consultation process continues, I will ensure that constituents’ concerns are heard and responded to.”

Cllr Arash Fatemian said: “I was pleased to have the opportunity to table this important motion at the meeting. It was the right time and the right decision was made. My thanks to the Committee for their cross-party and unanimous support.

VICTORIA PRENTIS INVITED TO PRESENT BANBURY SWIMMING CLUB AWARDS

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On Friday 27 January 2017, North Oxfordshire MP, Victoria Prentis was invited to present prizes to members of Banbury Swimming Club.

Throughout the year, the children of the club have been working hard to improve their swimming times, culminating in four club championship events at the Spiceball Leisure Centre at the end of last year. Prizes from the Club Championships were given for different strokes and distances achieved by the members of the club.

During the evening, which was held at the General Foods Sports and Social Club, Victoria also had the opportunity to thank the volunteers, parents and coaches of the club, for all of their hard work ensuring the club remains open for its many keen swimmers.

Following the award ceremony, Victoria commented: “I was honoured to be invited to present the club’s prizes, not least because I learnt to swim in Banbury, like many of the clubs members. Sport is an integral part of our community, and the opportunity to learn to swim is particularly important for young people. I was delighted to present awards to swimmers for their excellent achievements, and wish them all the best in the coming year.”

Club Chair, Ian Walkden said: “Parents and swimmers really enjoyed the evening. It’s a great encouragement to all young swimmers and volunteers to receive recognition for their dedication throughout the year. It was great that Victoria could spend some time with us acknowledging their acheivements”

For further information on how to get involved with Banbury Swimming Club, including opportunities to learn to swim, please visit www.banburyswim.co.uk.

VICTORIA PRENTIS ATTENDS FIRST CONSULTATION MEETING

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On Thursday 26 January, Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, attended the first of twelve public consultation meetings, organised by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG).

On 16 January 2017, the OCCG launched the first phase of the Oxfordshire Transformation Programme, ‘The Big Health and Care Consultation’. As part of the process, a number of public meetings are being organised across Oxfordshire.

Held in St Mary’s Church Banbury, Thursday’s meeting was attended by nearly 500 people from Banbury and its surrounding areas. The meeting took the format of a presentation of the proposals by panellists, including representatives from the OCCG and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUHFT), followed by questions from the public to the panel.

At the start of the questions, Victoria stood up to express her concerns about the splitting of the consultation, as well as the distance from the Banbury area to the hospitals in Oxford. Questions from the public included queries about training rotation at the Horton, parking at the John Radcliffe (JR), stroke care, the future of the Horton maternity unit, and the transparency of the consultation process.

Following the meeting, Victoria commented: “While I have concerns about the consultation process, it is vital that my constituents have a proper say over the future of services at the Horton General Hospital. Thursday’s meeting was well-mannered, but showed how much public support there is for the Horton. The meeting was particularly short on detail, and I do not feel that we were given sufficient evidence. The process does not provide a holistic approach to the issues we face in Banbury, or enough information for the public to make an informed decision.”

To view the consultation documents, please visit www.oxonhealthcaretransformation.nhs.uk/.

Upcoming local consultation meetings:

Thursday 2 February- 2-4pm (Chipping Norton, venue to be confirmed)

Tuesday 21 February- 3-5pm (Weyland Hall, Bicester)

Monday 27 February- 10.30am-12.30pm (Brackley, venue to be confirmed)

Thursday 16 March- 7-9pm (Banbury, venue to be confirmed)

To apply for your free ticket to a meeting, email cscsu.talkinghealth@nhs.net, with your preferred event, full name, and contact number.

MP ENCOURAGES CONSTITUENTS TO TAKE PART IN JOHN RADCLIFFE JOURNEY TIMES CAMPAIGN

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Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, is encouraging her constituents to take part in her campaign, collecting information on journey times to the John Radcliffe Hospital (JR) in Oxford.

The idea follows a meeting with the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG), where journey times were discussed. Victoria stated in the meeting that door-to-department journey times, including the time it takes to park, must be included in statistics showing travel times to the JR.

With the downgrade of the Horton maternity unit in October 2016, Victoria is keen to ensure that the Oxfordshire University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and OCCG are aware of the genuine impact of travel times between Banbury and the JR.

A consultation on healthcare provision in Oxfordshire, including services at the Horton General Hospital, is expected to begin this month. Statistics on travel times are expected to be an important part of the consultation process.

The campaign is open to anyone travelling from Banbury and its surrounding areas to the JR for an appointment, or to visit a relative. It will involve filling out a short form about a journey to the JR, and sending it or emailing it to Victoria’s constituency office. She and her staff will then collate the responses to submit to the OCCG.

In encouraging constituents to take part in the campaign, Victoria commented: “Following the downgrade of the Horton maternity unit, I remain extremely concerned about travel times to the John Radcliffe. The journey can be so unpredictable and parking times must be taken into account. These variables need to be considered ahead of the consultation on NHS services in Oxfordshire. It would be brilliant if as many people as possible get involved in the campaign to give us a good indication of true journey times from Banbury.”

If you are travelling to the JR from the Banbury area, please cut out the form, fill it in, and send it to Victoria.prentis.mp@parliament.uk or by post to:

Victoria Prentis MP, Heyford Park House, Upper Heyford, Bicester, OX25 5HD.

An online survey can be found here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HQ55BQB, or if you would like an electronic version of the form, email a request to victoria.prentis.mp@parliament.uk.

Please post your photos of you leaving and arriving on social media, with your travel time to the JR, using the hashtag #Banbury2JR.

Form to record journey times

Form to record journey times

Click this link to download the form: form-for-banbury2jr-final

VICTORIA PRENTIS MP VISITS UTC AEROSPACE SYSTEMS CTG IN BANBURY

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On Friday 16 December, Victoria visited CTG in Banbury to gain an insight into the company, and their operations.

CTG is a leading company in the composite industry, and one of UTC Aerospace System’s 126 manufacturing sites around the world. UTC Aerospace Systems is one of the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and defence products. CTG has developed and patented a number of key composite technologies, and has established an international reputation for quality and innovation in the aerospace industry.

During the visit, Victoria experienced first-hand the production of CTG composite technology, and discussed challenges facing the aerospace systems industry. She was able to look at a number of key areas of the organisation including design and production.

Following a tour of the site, Victoria commented: “As a leading company in its industry, the visit was an important opportunity for me to engage with CTG, and find out more about how they contribute to technological advances in the UK. I was particularly interested in its development of new, lighter composite materials for the aerospace sector. It was great to hear of many exciting developments within the company, and sector as a whole. CTG employs hundreds of local people, and is a key part of North Oxfordshire’s economy.” 

John England, Managing Director, UTC Aerospace Systems CTG said:  “Our business is at the forefront of aerospace innovation and technology. It was fantastic today to show Victoria around the facility and demonstrate our capabilities.  We are working on next generation aircraft composite parts to enable lighter, stronger components to be used on aircraft reducing fuel usage and emissions.”

NORTH OXFORDSHIRE MP GETS COLLEAGUES SINGING FOR SYRIANS

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On 13 December, over eight hundred people joined Victoria Prentis MP and fellow Parliamentarians at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster, for the flagship carol service for Victoria’s Singing for Syrians initiative.

Now in its second year, Singing for Syrians raises money for the Hands Up Foundation, a charity which pays the salaries of doctors and funds prosthetic limb clinics in the region. People all over the country have been taking part in events, singing together in an expression of solidarity with the Syrian people and a rejection of extremism and hatred.

The choir at the concert was made up of a group of cross-party MPs, including Phil Boswell MP, Robert Buckland MP, Fiona MacTaggart MP and Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP. Fellow Oxfordshire MP Nicola Blackwood, together with Andrea Jenkyns MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP and Will Quince MP all performed solos. They were joined by performances from celebrities Simon Callow, Alexander Armstrong, Tom Hollander, Brigid Keenan and Michael Morpurgo.

Victoria said: ‘It was brilliant to see St Margaret’s full to the brim with people showing their support for those living through the ongoing horrors of civil war. We want the people of Syria to know that they are not forgotten and we are doing all we can to alleviate their suffering. The concert alone raised £37,000 and over 20 more events are planned across the country in the days leading up to Christmas. All the money will go directly to where it is needed most. It will make such a difference. I am so grateful to all those who supported us at the concert, including my Parliamentary colleagues, as well as our big supporters including local companies: Brita Ltd, Dorchester Living and Bicester Village.’

The following day, Victoria spoke in Prime Minister’s Questions. She raised the Singing for Syrians concert and asked what is being done to make sure that UK aid is reaching the most vulnerable people. The Prime Minister responded: ‘First of all, I absolutely join my hon. Friend in congratulating everyone who took part in Singing for Syrians. I am sure the whole House welcomes the work that that group is doing and the money that it is raising and putting to extremely good use. The House was struck when she mentioned the number of people who are on the waiting list for prosthetic limbs. Our humanitarian aid support for Syria is the biggest such effort that the UK has made. Of course we are giving money to the refugees who have fled from Syria. We are also working diplomatically to try to reduce the suffering and to ensure that the sort of aid and medical support that she is talking gets through to the citizens of Aleppo. We will continue to ensure that our humanitarian aid is being put to good use—helping those who are vulnerable and also helping those who need the education and support to be able, in due course, to rebuild Syria when it is stable and secure.’

For more information on Singing for Syrians, please visit www.singingforsyrians.com.

Victoria Prentis MP gives The Address.

Victoria Prentis MP gives The Address.

A Christmas Carol Service, Singing for Syrians, was held at St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey, London. The service was led by Thew Reverend Jane Sinclair Canon of Westminster and Rector of St Margaret's.

MP HOLDS POP UP SINGING FOR SYRIANS CONCERT ON COLLEGE GREEN FOR GIVING TUESDAY

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On Tuesday 29 November, North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis organised an impromptu Singing for Syrians concert on College Green, Westminster in support of Giving Tuesday.

Victoria was joined by colleagues including Attorney General Robert Buckland MP, Fiona MacTaggart MP and fellow Oxfordshire MP, Nicola Blackwood as well as Year 6 pupils from St Matthew’s School, Westminster. The pop-up event aimed to raise awareness of Giving Tuesday and Victoria’s “Singing for Syrians” fundraising initiative. Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving which encourages people to “do good stuff” for charity by giving their time, money or voice to a worthy cause. Together, everyone sang carols including “Away in a Manger”, “The 12 Days of Christmas” and “O Come All Ye Faithful”. Will Quince MP also performed a solo of the first verse of “O Holy Night”.

Passers-by stopped to listen and joined in with many of the carols. Many of the MPs who participated will be joining the choir for the flagship “Singing for Syrians” concert at St Margaret’s Westminster on 13 December. Simon Callow, Robert Peston and Michael Morpurgo will also be performing on the 13th. Tickets have now sold out.

Speaking after the event, Victoria said: “When I met the Charities Aid Foundation – who coordinate Giving Tuesday – they asked me what I might be able to do to lend my support to the day. I thought it would be a lot of fun to try and get some of my Parliamentary colleagues to come along and sing outside Westminster. It was all rather last minute,  but it just shows how easy it is to organise a Singing for Syrians event. I was really grateful to all my colleagues and the school children who sang their hearts out.

“Like last year, local support for Singing for Syrians has been brilliant. In the coming weeks, I know that concerts will be taking place in Adderbury, Somerton and Banbury. I am really looking forward to all of them. I would encourage people to look at www.singingforsyrians.com to discover more or to find an event taking place near them.”

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Victoria with fellow Members of Parliament outside Westminster in support of Singing for Syrians.

VICTORIA PRENTIS MP WELCOMES PARLIAMENT WEEK TO NORTH OXFORDSHIRE

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Victoria Prentis MP got involved in Parliament Week, an annual programme of events to connect people with UK Parliament.

Parliament Week has seen schools, museums, charities and businesses around the country join in a week long programme of activities and events which explore what the UK Parliament means to them and their community.

On Friday 18 November, Victoria visited Hill View Primary School in Banbury to meet with pupils and discuss how the UK parliament affects them.

Victoria commented: “UK Parliament week is a brilliant opportunity for organisations here in North Oxfordshire to get involved in this national programme. There are many ways you can get involved whether it be a debate, exhibition, or a discussion with your friends and family. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Hill View School, to talk to local children about government and my role as an MP.”

THE WARRINER SCHOOL CLAIMS VICTORY AT SECOND ANNUAL CHERWELL DEMOCRACY CHALLENGE

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On 25 November, Victoria Prentis MP and Cherwell District Council welcomed six secondary schools from her constituency to take part in the second annual Cherwell Democracy Challenge at the Council’s offices at Bodicote House.

In the first two rounds, each team of four debated whether councils should rehouse Syrian refugees, and if rules restricting the creation of new grammar schools should be relaxed. While the students knew the topics beforehand, and had been provided with a short information sheet, they did not know which side of the debate they would be on until the day. The controversial topics provided some lively debate, with many of the students arguing their case with conviction.

After a lunch kindly provided by the Council, the two finalists were announced as Blessed George Napier Catholic School and The Warriner School. They were given time to prepare for the final motion on Parliament’s role in the UK’s exit from the European Union while the rest of the students took part in a Q&A session with judges Councillor Barry Wood, Councillor Colin Clarke, Anita Higham OBE, Chris Lillington and Paul Angus.

The final was a close-fought match in the main council chamber, with both sides providing some convincing arguments. In the end, The Warriner were declared the winners.

Victoria commented: “The Cherwell Democracy Challenge was a wonderful event. It is fast becoming an annual fixture for local schools. I was delighted to see how much the standard had improved from last year’s inaugural event. The Warriner were worthy winners but I was really impressed by all the schools who took part and I look forward to seeing them again next year.

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Victoria with the winning team from The Warriner School, Bloxham.

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Judges Chris Lillington, Anita Higham OBE, Victoria Prentis MP, Cllr Barry Wood, Paul Angus and Cllr Colin Clarke in the Council Chamber.

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Victoria and the finalists of the 2016 Cherwell Democracy Challenge.

 

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