Jul 22

Mental health writing competition has a new twist

Mental health and me 2016The Mental Health and Me writing competition organised by Writing on the Wall is back in 2016 – with a new twist.

This year, the competition is organised around three categories – Faces, Places or Spaces.

The judges are looking for people with real or fictionalised experiences of one of the themes to enter a short story, poem, spoken word piece, tweet, journalism piece, blog post, a diary entry or a letter.

The organisers say that the people we meet and relationships we keep, the places we visit or inhabit, and the spaces we go to or even the mental spaces we hold within, will mean something different to everyone and spark a breadth of creativity.

I was pleased to take part in the awards ceremony last year, as part of the week long Liverpool Mental Health Festival.

Now in its third year, the competition has succeeded in attracting a great range of entries and encouraging people to find new ways to express themselves.

If you think you might be interested but are a little unsure if it is right for you, the organisers are offering a creative writing workshop to boost people’s confidence on Wednesday August 17. The deadline for entries is Thursday September 1.

The overall winner receives a trophy, and book tokens from Liverpool’s independent book store, News from Nowhere. All shortlisted entries will be included in an anthology, published by Liverpool Mental Health Consortium and Writing on the Wall. Once the winner has been announced free hard copies will be available to everyone included in the anthology, which will also be made available online.

To find out more click here.

Jul 21

Find our young humanitarian citizen 2016

Britisah Red CrossThe British Red Cross is searching for young people who have made a big contribution to our local community.

Each year, the British Red Cross celebrates the achievements of young people in one of four categories – first aid, volunteering, community action, and fundraising – with its Humanitarian Citizen Award.

All nominees will receive a certificate celebrating their nomination and their achievements will be featured in Red Cross publications.

The final awards will be made at a ceremony in the House of Commons on November 15.

If you know of an individual or group who deserve to be considered, you can nominate direct by clicking here. The deadline for nominations is Sunday August 7.

If you love photography, you can enter the British Red Cross annual photography and video competition, which runs alongside the Humanitarian Award. It is open to young people up to the age of 25. The theme this year is ‘making a difference matters’.

Prizes will be awarded in two age categories: 17 and under, and 18 to 25. You can find out how to send your video or photograph by clicking here.


Jun 24

Liverpool votes to remain, UK to leave

Liverpool voted to remain in the European Union by 118,453 (58.2 per cent) votes to 85,101 votes (41.8 per cent) on a turnout of 64 per cent, but the UK as a whole voted to leave the European Union.Luciana Berger Metro Mayor campaign.

I campaigned hard for a remain vote.

I am obviously bitterly disappointed that our success here in Liverpool was not reflected across the country.

These are going to be difficult times for our City Region.

In the short term our priority must be to stabilise the local economy and protect jobs.

We then need to secure the best possible deal for our city region and the UK as a whole in the negotiations that will follow with our partners across the EU.

I, and the whole Labour Party, will be committed to protecting people’s jobs, pensions, our NHS and other public services and to preserve the best of our relationships with the rest of the world.

We must listen to what the referendum result tells us and renew our commitment to building communities that are based on common interests and not conflict.

We must take control of our own future and negotiate city-city and region-region trade agreements across the EU and wider world that make the most of our assets.

We need a Liverpool City Region that breaks down the barriers affecting our people and trade like never before.

Jun 23

Today, vote to Remain in the European Union

Vote posterballotToday we have the chance to vote for the country we are proud to live in – one that reaches out to the rest of the world, trades freely and believes that together we can achieve more than we ever could isolated and alone.

The Labour shadow Cabinet, Labour MPs and trade union leaders representing six million workers are all united in a simple clear message – we are better off in the European Union.

I hope that you will join with me and vote Remain today, and encourage your family, neighbours, friends and work colleagues to do so too.

Jun 22

EU membership protects jobs and rights

Union Jack backgroundMembership of the European Union protects up to 3 million jobs in the UK, including 350,000 here in the North West.

Our membership limits excessive working hours, protects paid holidays, maternity leave and equal rights for part-time workers.

Around 200,000 people work part time in the Liverpool City Region, the vast majority of whom are women. The right of part time workers to access pension schemes was secured following an EU ruling which found the exclusion of part time workers from pension schemes to be discriminatory

The right of women to return to the same job after maternity leave, rather than being treated as new employees, was also secured through European law

The EU also gives us the chance to create another 790,000 jobs by 2030 through opening up markets in tourism, digital services and green energy – just the sectors our region can excel in.

The decision our country makes tomorrow will affect us all.

The Labour shadow Cabinet, Labour MPs and trade union leaders representing six million workers are all united in a simple clear message – we are better off in the European Union.

A Remain vote tomorrow will secure employment rights and create the chance to build a better future.

I hope that you will join me in voting Remain.

Jun 21

Vote Remain to protect our mental health services

Luciana Berger speaks to conference goers at the Liverpool City Region mental health and place making conference today

Luciana Berger speaks to conference goers at the Liverpool City Region mental health and place making conference today

Local mental health services will be seriously threatened if the UK votes to leave the European Union on Thursday.

As Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health I witness increasingly pressured mental health services across the country.

They are too vital and too fragile to be thrown into the chaos that would ensue following a leave vote.

New figures I uncovered from the government show that the number of antidepressant prescriptions in our region has leapt by 30 per cent in the past five years, compared to the increase of 22 per cent across England as a whole.

I believe that the growing pressure on mental health services in Merseyside is such that local services will struggle to withstand the instability and insecurity that will come from ‘Brexit’.

In the past five years, pressure on our mental health services has grown more than in the rest of the country. We simply cannot afford for these vital services, and the people who rely on them, to be placed at any further risk.

The Chief Executive of the NHS in England, Simon Stevens has warned that Brexit would send the economy into a ‘tailspin.’ That would damage funding for mental health.

Funding for our local mental health services is already incredibly tight and not sufficient to meet the complex needs of a growing number of mental health patients in our region. Our mental health services need stability and security, not the chaos and uncertainty that will ensue if we leave the European Union on Thursday.

There are 4,500 NHS hospital and community health staff in the North West who are from other EU countries, including 1,100 doctors and over 1,500 nurses. The do a vital job but Brexit will be put their work at risk.

I know from meeting mental health service users, carers and staff in our region that we are facing a real shortage of mental health nurses, psychiatrists, psychological therapists and social workers. If we were to vote to leave, we could lose many of the staff from across the EU who ensure NHS services in our region can function.

Numerous legal frameworks, including the European Convention on Human Rights, which have protected mental health patients across the Liverpool City Region for decades, would be at risk if Britain left the European Union:

A vote to leave the EU on Thursday would threaten the legal frameworks which have quietly been safeguarding and bolstering the rights of psychiatric service users in our region for decades.

Please join me on Thursday in voting to Remain and protect our vital health services.

Jun 16

We are better off in the European Union

Today we have just one week left to make sure that Britain remains in the European Union, retains its vital trading links with the biggest single market in the world and protects the hundreds of thousands of jobs here in the North West that depend on our membership.

The Labour shadow Cabinet, Labour MPs and trades union leaders representing six million workers are united in a simple clear message – we are better off in the European Union.ClDiByqUgAAXFeW

There is no doubt that a Tory government faced with a leave vote will slash and burn our vital public services, slice and dice the National Health Service and create a bonfire of the rights at work that are underpinned by the European Union.

A leave vote will risk a panic response from a defeated Tory party leadership that will try to prop up the government through an emergency Budget.

The Chancellor George Osborne has said as much, threatening to push up the basic rate of income tax, cut spending on the police, transport and local government by 5 per cent, and ‘slash’ education, defence and NHS spending.

It is a price that people struggling to rebuild their lives from years of Tory cuts and economic mismanagement cannot afford to pay.

That is why, whatever the Tory divisions and misinformation being produced, Labour’s case for a remain vote on June 23 is clear, straightforward and worth repeating again and again:

  • Protecting paid holidays, maternity leave, equal rights for part-time workers and limiting excessive hours.
  • The protection of up to 3 million jobs in the UK that are linked to the European Union, including 350,000 here in the North West;
  • The chance to create another 790,000 jobs by 2030 through opening up markets in tourism, digital services and green energy, just the sectors our region can excel in.

If you haven’t had the EU referendum conversation with your family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues, please do so.

A remain vote next Thursday is vital to protect today’s jobs and rights at work as well as the prospects for our future generations.

Jun 09

Everyone must have their say in the EU referendum

Vote posterI welcome the fact all the organisations advocating a Remain vote, including the Labour Party, succeeded in pressing the government to extend the voter registration deadline and allow people to get their vote.

The fact that some of the individuals advocating a leave vote in the vital EU referendum on June 23 argued against extending the registration deadline after this week’s government website crash was a serious mistake.

Why would anyone confident in their arguments want to deny members of the public their say in such a vital debate?

We must have as many people as possible debating and discussing the issues and as many people as possible turning out to vote on June 23. This is a vital vote for the future of our country and we need everyone engaged and ready to vote.

We know that a record 525,000 people registered to vote in the hours before the terrible website crash – 325,000 under 35. That shows that so many people do want to have their say.

You can still register until midnight tonight. Just click here.

It mirrors my own experience knocking on doors and joining campaigners at events and on street stalls up and down the country in recent weeks.

People want the facts and want to play their party in choosing our future.

Here are just some of the reasons that I will be voting Remain:

Voting Remain makes our economy stronger:

  • Our exports are worth £226 billion a year to the EU – half of everything we sell to the rest of the world we sell to Europe, worth over £11.6 billion to us here in the North West.
  • Up to 3 million jobs in the UK are linked to the European Union, including 350,000 here in the North West.
  • Another 790,000 could be created by 2030 through opening up markets in tourism, digital services and green energy, just the sectors our region should be excelling in.

Voting Remain guarantees people’s rights at work:

  • 26 million workers are entitled to 28 days of paid leave and limits on how many hours they have to work.
  • Over eight million part-time workers – six million of them women – have equal rights with full-time colleagues.
  • A million temporary workers enjoy the same rights as permanent workers.
  • 340,000 women every year have guaranteed rights to take maternity leave.
  • Do we really want to leave the EU and let this Tory government sign away even more workplace rights and benefits?

Voting Remain makes us safer and gives us a stronger voice in the world:

  • Climate change, cross border organised crime, economic growth, and many more of the world’s biggest problems are best tackled together, not in isolation.
  • The EU offers an integrated approach to policing and justice that better tackles the crimes that recognise no borders.
  • Our allies all around the world, NATO partners and Commonwealth countries, are urging the UK to stay in the EU because they know the EU is stronger with the UK and as a member the UK is safer through our membership.

That is why I am campaigning every day from now until when the polls open at 7am on Thursday June 23 to persuade as many people as possible to vote Remain. I hope you will join me.


Jun 03

Register for crucial EU referendum

Please register to vote for the European Union referendum on June 23. Every vote counts and it especially important for young people to check that they are registered by Tuesday June 7. If you are not registered, you will not be able to vote in the most important election in a generation.EU register to vote

I am voting to Remain in the EU because it is best for jobs, our place in the world and our future.

The EU already guarantees a wide range of rights at work. It has the potential to deliver ever more positive change for the people of Britain.

But, too often the British government has had to be dragged kicking and screaming into acting to protect our own environment.

Three years ago the EU voted to restrict the use of pesticides linked to the decline of the bee population. The coalition government lobbied against the restrictions but they passed.

When a recent court judgement ordered the British government to do more to tackle air pollution, it was the UK Supreme Court in London, acting to enforce EU standards. EU air quality regulations are saving 80,000 lives a year across Europe.

European Union targets have been vital in encouraging the adoption of renewable energy. Some countries like Germany and Denmark have embraced this change, invested and revolutionised their energy markets, creating new high skill jobs and leading technological advance.

The EU protects consumer rights. It is an EU directive that has stopped mobile phone companies overcharging for calls made abroad. That is the collective strength of 28 countries representing 520 million people.

It was the Labour Government that wrote European Convention on Human Rights into UK law through the Human Rights Act of 1998.

Vote posterToday, senior figures in the Conservative government are discussing repealing that Act which protects each individual.

It is because of those human rights in law that we had the inquest into Hillsborough, so that those families finally got justice after 27 years.

  • Over 26 million workers in Britain benefit from being entitled to 28 days of paid leave and a limit to how many hours they can be forced to work;
  • Over eight million part-time workers (over six million of whom are women) have equal rights with full-time colleagues,
  • Over one million temporary workers have the same rights as permanent workers,
  • 340,000 women every year have guaranteed rights to take maternity leave.

These rights mean workers throughout Europe have decent rights at work. – and that makes it harder to undercut terms and conditions across Europe.

A vote to Leave means a Conservative government would be in charge of negotiating Britain’s exit. Everything it has done so far shows that we could not rely on it to protect the workplace rights that millions of people rely on.

The European Union can and must do far more to meet the needs of our people. But we must Remain to have our seat at the negotiating table in the future.

That is why it is so important that people are registered to vote. You can register today by clicking here.

Jun 02

Metro Mayor for Liverpool City Region

Luciana Berger A5 FlyerI am putting my name forward for selection as Labour’s candidate to become the Metro Mayor for Liverpool City Region. I will remain the MP for Liverpool Wavertree and Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health while the selection takes place over the summer.

As your MP, I cherish the responsibility to represent you and our constituency in Parliament. But every day I see how hardship and deprivation impact on people’s lives and how Westminster cannot always solve local problems.

The Metro Mayor is a completely new role with detailed responsibilities that are still being developed. But it will be a huge and exciting opportunity for all of us in the region.

The Metro Mayor will be an opportunity to deliver radical change for our region. It’s a chance to take back power and resources from London and give our region a stronger voice, both nationally and internationally. So it is a big job. An important job. And it is a role that, with the right approach and the right person, will have a massive impact on all our futures.

As an MP and a member of the Shadow Cabinet I have worked and will continue to work to make a real difference. From forcing the government to introduce green apprenticeships to tightening the law on dangerous dogs to holding the government to account on mental health – I have seen what Westminster and tireless campaigning there can do.

However, Westminster alone cannot harness the extraordinary potential and creativity that make our region such a unique and inspiring place.

So a strong, listening and creative Metro Mayor can help bring about the changes that will build a great future for this region.

A Metro Mayor that harnesses all the energy and talents of everyone, whether trade unionists or business people, teachers or students, will be able to deliver a future we can all be proud of.

I am standing because I believe that now is the moment when our region must choose the future.

I am standing for selection because I want to create an economy that provides high value and rewarding jobs and careers for our young people. I want to bring about the future that we all want for the region. Liverpool and the wider region is my home, and I want the best for it. I live here and have made my home here.

If elected, I will develop and lead a team that makes a real success of the devolution deal by listening, involving people and making the best use of all our talents and experiences.

Together, we can harness the spirit, skills and knowledge of people from across the region to make this a healthy, happy and prosperous place for everyone. Achieving this will mean doing things differently.

I am consulting widely and listening carefully, because everyone who lives here should have a say on how we move forward together.

That is why, from day one, my campaign has been doing things differently. I am asking for your help in setting the future priorities of the Metro Mayor. Please click here to let me know you want to share your ideas, or email me at: info@lucianaformayor.co.uk

You can learn more about my five campaign priorities, tell me yours and find out how to get involved by clicking here or you can email me with your questions and suggestions at: info@lucianaformayor.co.uk.

Together, we can choose our future.


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