October 2018: Your Local MP
Please back my new charitable fund to support young people
Westminster has only been open for two weeks over the past few months, because of the summer recess and the party conference season. During the summer recess, I split my time between being in Bristol North West, a short family holiday to France (with a swift pre-Brexit passage across the border!) and two short international trips representing the British Parliament in the United States and in Kenya. I would have rather spent my time dealing with Brexit in Parliament, but the Prime Minister probably enjoyed the chance for a breather from being held to account every day by us pesky Members of Parliament!
My trip to the US focussed on trade and defence, with some concerning excitement from US officials about the prospect of the lowering of standards in the UK in order to secure a US trade deal and some reassuring meetings on defence issues (including the US commitment to NATO, their policy on Russia being consistent and our mutual defence work on fighter jets – an important issue for us in North Bristol). My experiences on this trip will be useful in our future scrutiny of the proposed UK/US trade deal.
In Kenya, continuing my work on tackling modern slavery, I chaired a number of meetings with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Nairobi to facilitate the implementation of the Kenyan Government’s new human trafficking legislation. It was the most impactful 36 hours I’ve spent on the issue, and I was proud to see British police officers and civil servants helping the Kenyan authorities improve their policing and victim support of the victims of human trafficking and exploitation.
Party conference season is coming to an end, and I’m looking forward to getting back to work in Westminster. It’s going to be a bumpy few months ahead with anything from a no deal Brexit to staying in the EU on the table. All I know is that I’ll have to decide how to vote in what will likely be the most important vote of my time as your MP. If you want to let me know what you think about that, or want to attend a briefing with me before the vote, check out www.darren-jones.co.uk/brexit-briefing
Your Champion in Bristol
I’m working hard to bring transport investment to Bristol North West. I’ll be hosting a Transport Forum to gather your views and ideas on 19 October – you can reserve your ticket online: www.darren-jones.co.uk/transport-fund. The output from this work will go into the newly launched Bristol Transport Consultation, and I’ll keep lobbying to secure the funding we need for much needed transport upgrades.
I’ve also recently visited a number of local charitable causes. The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity is raising funds to buy their new helicopter base, just North of Bristol. The Southmead Hospital Charity also put together an inspiring visit, where I saw first-hand the positive impact donations can have on the lives of patients at Southmead Hospital – including their whizzy new prostate removal robot, operated by surgeons at a computer screen. This bit of kit, paid for by donations, gives patients a much better experience and quicker recovery time whilst saving our NHS surgery costs too.
Lastly, I’ve set up my own charitable trust – the Henacre Trust – our purpose being focused on “unlocking opportunity”. The Henacre Trust (named after the street I grew up on in Lawrence Weston) will make small grants to young people from less advantaged backgrounds like my own from across Bristol North West with a focus on “unlocking opportunity”. That might be the price of a bus pass to college, a rail fare to a university open day or the price of a school uniform or suit or dress for that first job or apprenticeship interview.
But before we can make grants, we need to raise at least £15,000. That’s why we’re taking part in the Quartet Fund’s Bristol Giving Day (on October 10) where donations can be made to the Henacre Trust on the website www.bristolgivingday.co.uk (just select Henacre Charitable Trust as the recipient). And it’s why we’re hosting a launch dinner at Kingsweston House on November 2 with local businesses and residents. If you’d like to come to that dinner to help us get to our starter fund target, please e-mail me on email@example.com
Lastly, I’ve recently launched a private mobile app for constituents to let me know what they think I should be working on. If you’d like to get involved please register your interest at www.poweredbyyou.org.uk.