Lamin_and_John__Canada_St_05_02_2016.pngToday Lucy visited Canada Street for the first time since veterans and their families moved into their new homes. The street in Newton Heath was transformed last year by DIY SOS, as part of a huge renovation project to create new homes for veterans, and Lucy visited the site in September while the work was underway.

The project was supported by Manchester City Council, Haig Housing and veterans’ charity, Walking with the Wounded, and today Lucy was able to see the completed homes and meet with the families who’ve moved into them.

Lucy said:

I really enjoyed visiting the new houses on Canada Street and meeting the veterans who are living and training there.  In September I visited Lamin’s property while it was still being renovated and it is fantastic to see it finished and to see him and his family settled in in their new home.

The early stages of the project have been a great success and it is testament to the hard work of all of the agencies involved. Manchester has been a trailblazer for this kind of support for veterans and it has inspired other projects around the country.

The project has not only transformed the lives of the veterans involved but also an area of my constituency which was long overdue for redevelopment. It is great to see the impact that this has had on Lamin and his family and I look forward to the project welcoming other veterans as it grows.

Lucy visits Canada Street Veterans' Village

Today Lucy visited Canada Street for the first time since veterans and their families moved into their new homes. The street in Newton Heath was transformed last year by DIY...

yhuj.jpgLucy has co-written a blog on child mental health, together with Labour's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Luciana Berger.

First published in the Huffington Post on 8th February 2016


It is said that school days are the best days of our life. Adults looking back on their life often feel nostalgic for the simple joy of being young, the sense of wonder that accompanies learning about the world in which we live, spending the best part of the day with friends, and without having to worry about earning money or paying bills.

The reality today is that young people are growing up in a fast-paced world that is constantly changing around them. Pressures that didn't exist fifty, thirty or even ten years ago now form a huge part of their everyday lives. 

Parents are increasingly worried their children are coming home from school stressed due to the constant pressure of exams and assessment. Issues at home with family relationships, challenges with adolescence and growing up, not to mention the additional difficulties LGBT young people can face at home and school, mean that children and young people can often feel worried and isolated. 

Young people must also get to grips with the realities of modern life, whilst learning to navigate their way safely around new media and plan ahead for an uncertain future. Information sharing via the internet means that they will be long reminded of and held responsible for their behaviour as children well into their adult life. The ease of uploading photos online and access to 'thinspiration' websites is exacerbating eating disorders and reinforcing unrealistic expectations of body image. Incidents of 'cyberbullying' are on the rise, with more than one in ten children now saying they have experienced it. 

This is adding to a growing crisis in the mental health of the next generation. Among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have soared by 70 per cent over the past 25 years. One in 10 children now has a diagnosable mental health condition - around three children in every classroom. There are rising numbers of referrals to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), coupled with long waits for treatment and high thresholds for care. As a result, many children and young people with mental health problems are not getting the help they need early enough and are becoming so ill they need hospital care. The number of children turning up in A&E with mental health problems is now more than double what it was in 2010. Despite this, Ministers have admitted they won't spend the full £250million they promised for children's mental health services this year.

Schools have a key role to play in ensuring the problems pupils may be experiencing are spotted early and tackled, yet the support, resources and leadership they receive on this issue from Government is not good enough. Staff in schools are desperately trying to manage the growing crisis in young people's mental health and the decreasing lack of access to expert support is making their jobs so much harder. 

A survey out today from the National Association of Headteachers and children's mental health charity Place2Be found that two thirds of primary school leaders find it difficult to refer children to local mental health professionals and three quarters say they lack the funds to provide the kind of mental health support they'd like for their pupils. 

Left untreated, the consequences of poor mental health among children and young people can be devastating for a school community, and long-lasting. Some three quarters of adult mental health problems are present before the age of 18.

Despite the fact that mental illness is a fact of life, like cancer or heart disease, a deeply embedded stigma and taboo is still associated with it. This needs to be tackled in school when students are young to prevent far-reaching consequences. Both teachers and young people need to be supported to spot the signs to ensure they seek help early on. Sadly, this Government is not doing enough to ensure this happens. The consequences of this inaction will be considerable: young people will suffer and our society will pay for their loss of potential. Estimates suggest that the cost to our country of mental health problems is now close to £105billion a year.

Today, at the start of children's mental health week, we have a real opportunity to raise awareness of this growing issue and apply pressure on the Government to take meaningful action to tackle it. All of us have a responsibility if we want to make sure our young people have the support they need to develop the skills to cope with the difficulties that modern life throws at them.

It is long overdue that we send the message to the next generation that they don't have to cope on their own.

Lucy Powell is the Shadow Secretary of State for Education
Luciana Berger MP is the Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health


First published in the Huffington Post on 8th February 2016

Blog: The Next Generation Shouldn't Have to Cope on Their Own - It's Time for Ministers to Act

Lucy has co-written a blog on child mental health, together with Labour's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Luciana Berger. First published in the Huffington Post on 8th February 2016  ...


First published in Jewish News on January 27, 2016

‘DON’T STAND BY’ is a powerful theme and a harrowing reminder for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016. Nazi persecution, the Holocaust and subsequent genocides were all facilitated by those who stood on the side-lines, cowed by hate, and allowed their fear or indifference to seal the fate of innocents.

That’s why, for me, the work of the Holocaust Educational Trust is so vitally important. Late last year, I was honoured to join students from across Greater Manchester on a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau.


The visit was part of the Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project, which is now in its 16th year. 

The project allows post-16 students and their teachers to visit the camp to increase their knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust, and I joined students from Chetham’s School of Music and Connell Sixth Form College in my Manchester Central constituency, along with others from across the north-west, as they took part in what was an emotional and moving visit.

The visit included learning about the pre-war Jewish population of the nearby town of Oświęcim, looking at the community that was lost because of the Holocaust. 

A short coach journey took us to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where we were able to appreciate the sheer scale of the camp from the main watchtower. 

We then spent time inside the barracks and crematoria of Auschwitz, witnessing the piles of belongings seized from the victims.

Finally, I joined the students for a candlelit vigil and moment of reflection to remember the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust and the other victims of Nazi persecution.

All of the students who took part in the visit will now become Ambassadors for the Holocaust Educational Trust, sharing their experiences with their peers and younger students as part of a wider aim to raise awareness and challenge prejudice and racism in today’s society. 

Speaking to the students who took part, it’s clear that the visit had a huge impact on all of them and has motivated them to share what they’ve learnt when they return to their schools and families.

On their visit, these students also learnt the dangers of standing by and will be empowered to share their stories of the day and spread the word that we should challenge persecution, fear and hate wherever we see it.

Vimla Appadoo, one of the Trust’s regional ambassadors and a constituent of mine, was incredibly moved by her participation in the project. 

She wanted to take what she had learnt back into her school and community and has just recently launched a project with Manchester Creative Studio. 

Here, sixthform students will be working on a six-week project to reimagine how to remember the Holocaust as part of their graphic design curriculum. 

It is an interesting and innovative initiative aiming to engage people who wouldn’t usually feel like the Holocaust would be part of their education. I can’t wait to see the results.

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of visiting Auschwitz and recognising the full extent of the industrialised nature of the Holocaust. Hearing is not like seeing and although familiar with images of Auschwitz from the news and documentaries, nothing compares to visiting it yourself. 

It’s definitely an experience I will not forget and I hope projects like this will ensure the lessons of the Holocaust are remembered by future generations.

The Holocaust Educational Trust lives daily the message of ‘don’t stand by’. Its work allows very many young people to learn the perils of prejudice and hate and the consequences of standing by. 

I was incredibly moved to spend a day with students and the Trust seeing the results of the Holocaust first-hand. 

On Holocaust Memorial Day this year, I reflected on my visit and spread the message that we should not stand by again in the face of hate, fear and indifference.

First published in Jewish News on January 27, 2016

Lucy: Nothing can compare to seeing Auschwitz with your own eyes (Article)

First published in Jewish News on January 27, 2016 ‘DON’T STAND BY’ is a powerful theme and a harrowing reminder for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016. Nazi persecution, the Holocaust and...

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