Children and young people have suffered immensely during the pandemic. But the mental health crisis facing Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is nothing new.
CAMHS services are at breaking point. They were before the pandemic.
Tens of thousands of children are being turned away from mental health services – support they vitally need.
Parents have raised this issue. Doctors have raised this issue. The stats provide the evidence.
When will the Government admit that CAMHS services need to be better resourced?
On the eve of Tokyo 2020, Tooting is preparing to celebrate a hero of the Antwerp Games a century earlier - champion middle-distance runner Albert Hill.
Hill, who took gold at the 1920 Olympics, was born and raised in Tooting. A blue plaque commemorating his outstanding achievements is now set to be erected outside his former home.
The plaque was funded through community donations, and is the result of the tireless efforts of the students of Fircroft Primary School, who campaigned for its creation.
Local historian Geoff Simmons said, “It’s great that Great Britain’s Olympic past is being honoured, but its future is under threat. Tooting Bec Athletics Track, home to the historic athletics club Herne Hill Harriers, and used by 80,000 young people every year, has been ruled unfit for competition and is in need of repair.”
Click here to sign the petition calling on Wandsworth Tories to fund vital repairs to Tooting Track.
Balham has a long and proud history, and its architecture is of real importance to the local community; and Balham Railway Bridge is a prominent and important feature of this historical architecture. Unfortunately in recent years, the bridge’s grandeur has sadly faded beyond all recognition.
I recently spoke with the local community group Beautify Balham who have made suggestions, such as painting the bridge an attractive colour, re-painting the metal columns, and installing up-lighting to showcase the bridge.
I am wholly supportive of these suggestions. As such, I wrote to Network Rail, asking them to consider incorporating these simple yet impactful improvements as part of the £2.6 million investment they have committed to restore Balham Station.
Swift action was taken and I was delighted to hear that the Bridge has had its first coat of paint!
It has been a pleasure to support the wonderful Beautify Balham volunteers with this campaign and I would like to especially thank Councillor Clare Fraser, who works so hard to support local residents.
Today, I voted against the Nationality and Borders Bill, a piece of legislation that risks breaking international law and turns our backs on unaccompanied children fleeing war and persecution.
The Conservatives just voted to make it harder to give a safe haven to children fleeing violence and war. They should be ashamed.
The cruel irony of this Government’s approach is that it’s weak on taking action against criminal gangs and brutal when it comes to orphaned children from war zones.
As someone who has held the hands of frightened children and terrified parents working as a doctor in war torn areas such as the Rohingya and Palestine, I am appalled at the Government’s approach to protecting those in need of safety.
On Sunday I had the great honour of presenting the medals and winners’ trophy to the Sinjun Grammarians under 12s cricket team - 2021 champions of the Surrey Tier Three League.
Masterfully managed by Mukesh Dev, and captained with distinction by Rufus Ford, the team’s achievement is all the more remarkable on account of the club’s small size – with a membership of just over 50 junior players, Sinjun Grammarians rarely have enough players in the same age group to enter into league competitions. Their success is also astounding for the fact that the playing group, who were experiencing league competition for the first time, marched to the title unbeaten in all their 10 games.
I could not be more proud of this group of talented young athletes, not only for overcoming the odds and taking the title so convincingly, but for the focus, determination, sportsmanship, and teamwork they showed along the way. This is what Tooting is all about: the players are truly a credit to themselves, their families, their club, and our community.
I was absolutely bowled over by the Club’s decision to award me the title of Honorary President of Sinjun Grammarians Cricket Club. This success is undoubtedly the first of many such achievements for this passionate group of young cricketers, and I look forward to celebrating with them again in coming seasons. Well done, team!
“Prior to 2017, no Government invested in or prioritised mental health services.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself - and I didn’t need to, for these are not my words. They are the words of Nadine Dorries, the Mental Health Minister.
The devastation left behind by the cuts to mental health services is staggering. And who was the architect of these cuts? No one other than the new Health Secretary during his time as a Treasury Minister.
This matter cannot go unaddressed.
That is why in Parliament today I asked the new Health Secretary to explain why a quarter of mental health beds have been cut since 2010, why 140,000 children were turned away from mental health services last year, and, finally, if he is ashamed of his track record.
See here to view the video.
On Sunday, I was back in A&E working in the run up to the England v Italy match. While, unfortunately, it did not come home, it was great to spend time with hard-working colleagues at St Georges.
With infections and hospitalisations increasing, it’s still incredibly important for us all to look out for one another and play our part in stopping the spread of the virus.
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister gave an update on moving to stage four of the coronavirus easing roadmap. This means that from 19 July, the following will apply:
Understandably, many are worried about the repercussions of these eased restrictions. Indeed, many residents have been in touch regarding the use of face coverings on public transport and their anxieties surrounding this.
On Wednesday, Sadiq Khan announced that face coverings will remain mandatory for all, unless exempt, when travelling on the TfL network. This will, no doubt, be a relief to many in the local area, and I pay tribute to the Mayor of London in taking a firm stand against the Government’s recklessness.
Labour is calling for a controlled approach that keeps in place baseline measures that can push down infections, like mandatory face masks on public transport – which we know protect people, reduce the spread of the virus, and don’t harm the economy. By removing mask requirements - the Johnson Variant is being fast-tracked. Cases will soar, as will hospitalisations.
Everyone in Tooting has been fantastic in reducing the spread of coronavirus. With one of the highest vaccination rates in London, I can only ask residents to continue looking out for one another.
The future of Tooting Bec Athletics Track is still yet to be secured, with vital repairs still needing to be undertaken.
Tooting Bec Athletics Track is a much-loved and well-utilised facility, both by local residents and the wider London community. The track is a home to schools, clubs such as Herne Hill Harriers, as well as aspiring athletes. To lose such a valuable asset would be a devastating blow to so many of our young people in our local area.
Top British athletes are made at Tooting Bec Athletics Track - Jade Johnson, who represented Great Britain at two Olympics, trained at the track since childhood, as has Katie Snowden, who will represent Great Britain in Tokyo next month.
By allowing the track to fall into disrepair, Wandsworth Tories are destroying the legacy of London 2012, and seriously damaging the chances of our next generation of Olympic hopefuls in the process.
The deadline for the petition to save Tooting Bec Athletics Track has been extended until 1 August – click here to sign and show Wandsworth Tories how much our community cares about the future of our young people.
This week, I was honoured to present Dons Local Action Group with the cheque of money raised through my Euro 2020 raffle.
I’m so proud that our community has, once again, come together. The response was truly overwhelming, and in only four days we were able to raise £1,270 in much-needed funds for the Dons Local Action Group
They’re an incredible local charity and I know they’ll be able to do a lot of good for so many families and young people with the money raised.
A huge thank you to everyone who bought a ticket!
Worryingly, coronavirus rates are soaring once again across London. The vaccine is our best defence. If you are yet to receive either your first or second dose, please do so as soon as possible.
To help get Tooting vaccinated, the Pearl Chemist Vaccination Centre is now offering a walk-in clinic for those aged 18+ at St Boniface Church on Mitcham Road (Monday to Saturday 9-5pm).
Appointments are available for first doses as well as second doses. Second doses can be given eight weeks after the first.
Any questions can be directed to Pearl Chemist on 0208 049 6640.
here you can read about my campaign activities