Registration to Resuscitation
Pictured below at Irvine’s Volunteers Rooms taking part in the nationwide Day of Action to support the Scottish Ambulance Service campaign Registration to Resuscitation to encourage local communities to register all Public Access Defibrillators (PADs) so when someone calls 999 the emergency services will know where the nearest defibrillator is if required. PADs can be registered on their dedicated registration website http://pad.scottishambulance.com/
Women Against State Pension Inequality
Pictured below, the 4 Ayrshire MPs preparing to submit petitions signed by constituents calling on the UK Government to introduce transitional pension measures for women born in the 1950s.
The new Ayrshire WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) had its first meeting on Saturday 1st October. The Women Against State Pension Injustice (WASPI) movement campaigns against the UK Government’s decision to accelerate the equalisation of the State pension age without giving sufficient prior notice so they could make contingency plans and ensure their financial security.
I spoke at the Ayrshire WASPI Rally which was held on Saturday 22nd April in Kilmarnock.
There is no objection to the gradual equalisation of retirement age but women were not informed they would be affected when the law was passed in 1995 and, therefore, many only found out when they were informed in 2011 that the process was to be accelerated; thus catching more women and delaying their expected retirement date by up to 6 years.
My SNP colleagues and I have taken this fight to Westminster on behalf of WASPI – seeking some mitigation of the impact on women born in the fifties who are bearing the brunt of the change, but thus far, the UK Government refuses to consider any further transitional arrangements.
It was great to see the solidarity of WASPI women at Saturday’s rally as women came, not just from all over Ayrshire but from Glasgow and Dumfries & Galloway. It was a lively affair with the speeches interspersed by the energy and rhythms of drumming group, ‘sum wummin drummin’. It certainly made it easy to locate the rally as I could hear them a long way off and passers by were walking in step with the music and smiling – music therapy at its best! There are still women born in the fifties and early sixties who are not yet aware they will be affected. If you are concerned you can contact Ayrshire WASPI group through their Facebook page and attend one of their advice ‘surgeries’ in Ayr or Irvine.
Campaign to Buy MS House
With MH House having been sold, the campaign is now looking to buy a piece of land further along the coast to build a purpose built facility. The fundraising group has now been established as a charity – Ayrshire Holiday Dreams Foundation (MSH) – and held a Valetine’s Dip on 19th February in the sea at Prestwick. Over 200 brave souls took to the water raising, thus far, £12,000. Below are a few photos of my ‘dip’. If you would like to sponsor me you can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Philippa-Whitford
Friday 26th August was ‘Wear it Red’ day to try and raise the £2million required to buy Malcolm Sargent House in Prestwick from CLIC Sargent and turn it into an independent charity providing breaks for families with seriously ill children. It is crucial we raise the deposit of £150,000 by the end of September to ensure that it is not put on the open market. So, if you couldn’t take part in the day itself but still want to support the campaign, please go to http://www.buymsh.com/ and give what you can.
Help with Energy Bills?
The Scottish Gas Energy Trust (SGET) is an independent charity which provides free financial help and advice to individuals who are struggling to pay their energy bills. SGET can also provide grants to help pay off gas and electricity debts and to purchase energy efficient white goods such as washing machines and fridge/freezers. The Trust has provided more than £85m of help and assistance to 175,000 people since it was established in 2004.
You don’t have to be a Scottish Gas customer to use the service and the help given is completely free. Contact the Trust on 01733 421060 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Bus Users Group
Following changes to a number of bus services across my constituency and Ayrshire, I initiated the formation of a Bus Users Group for Ayrshire. The Group is designed to be a Working Group through which interested parties can discuss the development of bus services in the towns and villages across the region and build on discussions that have already taken place between local councillors and the bus operators with regards particular services.
The Group comprises representatives from Stagecoach West Scotland, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, local councils, community councils, local Councillors and other elected members. You can read their first newsletter here ayrbususers Newsletter May2016