In partnership with the Croydon BME Forum I am launching a new programme today to support aspiring black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) journalists in Croydon. The initiative will help young people in Croydon develop the experience and networks necessary to secure highly competitive journalism jobs and increase diversity within the 94% white profession.
The Journey to Journalism programme will offer young people aged 16-24 from Croydon Central work experience with national newspapers, including The Times, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily and Sunday Express, Metro and The Sun. Applications will be judged by a panel of leading BAME journalists, including Fatima Manji and Stephen Bush.
To apply click 'read more' below.Read more
Next week, from 27th – 28th September I will be visiting Calais with Help Refugees to learn more about the ongoing refugee crisis.
With winter approaching, I am collecting donations to help those camping in very basic conditions. I would appreciate your help. Please drop any donations to my office between 10am-6pm from Monday-Wednesday at 43 Blackhorse Lane, CR0 6RT.
Priority items include: Men's underwear, tents/tarpaulins, sleeping bags/blankets, trainers and raincoats. Click below for a full list.Read more
In response to the Windrush scandal, I will be running a specialist advice surgery for constituents who have been affected or who are worried about themselves or a family member. Revelations in recent weeks have exposed widespread failings in the Home Office leading to members of the ‘Windrush generation’ in Croydon and across the UK denied access to services and pressured to leave the country, despite having legal claim to British citizenship.
Next Thursday 17th May, between 15:00-18:00 I will be hosting a drop-in advice surgery at my office, open to any Croydon Central constituents linked to the Windrush generation or other Commonwealth countries. I have secured attendance from members of the Home Office’s specialist Windrush taskforce, experienced immigration caseworkers put in place by the Government to resolve the crisis.
I was delighted to open my new constituency office on Saturday alongside Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry!Read more
This week I've been analysing more results from my inaugural Croydon Schools Survey, where over 50 headteachers told me of the pressures they are under due to funding cuts. Last week I explained how 92% of headteachers have been forced to make staffing cuts because of funding. Today I've revealed that children with special educational needs (SEN) are also experiencing widespread cuts to their support. 85% of headteachers have had to cut SEN support due to lack of funding, and over a third have actually cut SEN staff numbers.
Meanwhile the number of children registered as having special needs in Croydon has actually risen significantly - by around 25% over the last seven years. It's a scandal that our schools can't even afford to support our most vulnerable children properly. Learn more by clicking the link below.Read more
During the election and in the months since, one of the most worrying issues raised with me is the financial pressure our schools are under. The Conservative Government keep saying everything is fine, while teachers, headteachers and parents on the front line are saying loud at clear that there is a growing funding crisis in schools.
New analysis from the NUT estimates Croydon schools will have seen effective cuts of £8.3m by 2020. The large number of conversations I have had with teachers and headteachers support this, however some people continue to doubt these calculations and claim schools are better off than before.
So I've surveyed over 50 Croydon headteachers myself to get to the facts. Then I brought some of those headteachers to Westminster to present the survey results to the schools minister and explain the pressures our schools are under. The results of the survey are very clear, and quite shocking:
Read more about the results by clicking the link below.Read more
Over the past week since Parliament returned from the summer break, I've continued my campaign against knife crime.
Last week I held a debate on this topic in the House of Commons which was attended by MPs of various parties. I challenged the Minister to develop a 10-year National Knife Crime Strategy.
This week, my cross-party group on knife crime was officially launched. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime has had a strong response from MPs from across the country, with over 30 MPs and Lords signed up as members.
Click 'Read more' below to learn more and watch my full speech in the House of Commons.
Inaugural meeting of the APPG on Knife CrimeRead more
During the election I promised real action on knife crime, which rose by a staggering 94% in Croydon over the last year. The tragic death of 15-year-old Jermaine Goupall in Thornton Heath earlier this month shows how urgently we need action on this issue both in Parliament and in Croydon. That's why I'm setting up a cross-party group which will launch next month, to bring forward some new ideas and push this issue higher up the agenda in Westminster.
Meeting Reaching Higher, a community group doing fantastic work with young people in CroydonRead more
Earlier this week I met two important community groups: Another Night of Sisterhood (ANOS) and The LIONS Society. Both groups were set up by members of our community who had seen too many lives ruined by knife crime and gang violence in Croydon - both young people and parents.
This meeting was the first in a programme I'm calling 'Croydon Voice'. Across August and September I'll meet community groups, police and other organisations across Croydon who are working to reduce knife crime and youth violence in our town. I also want to meet families of those affected by knife crime or gang violence, and young people who have experienced it directly. Croydon Voice is about giving a national voice and a platform to those working at the grassroots, or experiencing the tragic consequences of knife crime directly. (Cont'd)
Sarah Jones with leaders of The LIONS Society and ANOS, including Donna Murray-Turner and Raymond Robb, 31st July in South Norwood
I pressed Theresa May in Prime Minister's Questions today for more support to tackle knife crime. We can't afford to let the situation get worse - too many lives are at stake.