Category Archives: Batley & Spen

Bulldogs Girls celebrate new home with a thumping victory

Jo Cox sees the Bulldogs Girls' trophies in the cabinet at Mount Pleasant

Craig Taylor shows Jo Cox the Bulldogs Girls’ trophies in the cabinet at Mount Pleasant

Last Saturday Batley Bulldogs Girls played their first game at their all new pitch, kindly made available to them by Upper Batley High School.

The under 16 team got off to a winning start, thumping East Leeds 28-0.

Three weeks ago, with the season fast approaching, the girls were still looking for a home field for their under 16s, 14s and 12s.

Coach Craig Taylor enlisted the help of Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox, who helped negotiate an arrangement for the girls to play at the high school on Batley Field Hill.

Last year the girls toured Australia after an amazing fundraising effort which saw them raise £60,000 for the trip. Participation and interest in the team has grown steadily and now engages over 60 girls, including a women’s team to play in the winter league.

Coach, Craig Taylor said: “We really appreciate the help and support that Jo has given us and since putting us in touch with the school they have been fantastic too. Allowing us to use their field has been a god send really and it’s a great location for rugby.”

Sam Vickers, headteacher at Upper Batley High, said: “We were only too happy to help the girls by letting them use our field. The rugby pitch is not quite as well used as it could be but with the support of Craig and the Bulldogs we are hoping to get some of the boys more into the sport too.”

Mrs Cox said: “The girls are a fantastic success story for Batley and the popularity of the teams has outstripped the facilities available to them. Getting a field to play on was only the first step and in time I am optimistic that both Kirklees Council and Sport England will find ways to help support the girls.”

“The school have been great and not for the first time they have shown their commitment to the wider community by helping to make this happen.”

Labour MPs secure public meeting over hospital concerns

Paula Sherriff MP and Jo Cox MPLabour MPs Jo Cox and Paula Sherriff have secured a public meeting with Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust to address local concerns about changes at Dewsbury & District Hospital.

Stepping up their campaign to protect the hospital from the effects of a planned downgrade of services, the MPs are working together to raise key concerns about changes to A&E and maternity departments.

After meeting with the interim chief executive of the Trust last week the MPs have also written to the Health Secretary to raise further concerns about ongoing issues, particularly in relation to acute care.

Following a number of alarming complaints from constituents, Ms Sherriff has secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Monday evening to raise concerns about staffing levels at the hospital.

Mrs Cox, the MP for Batley & Spen, said: “We continue to have serious concerns about the way the trust is running our hospital. We are determined to use every avenue available to us here and in Parliament to continue the fight for DDH and make sure those concerns, and the concerns of local people, are addressed.”

Ms Sherriff, the MP for Dewsbury, said: “Our concerns stem from the information that we, as MPs, receive from patients with complaints, anecdotal information, internal whistle blowers and formal accounts. These suggest to us that there are some serious problems both within and affecting the Trust. It is imperative we get to the bottom of them.”

A review is under way looking at the timeline of the reconfiguration. This will be complete before the end of April and will look at whether or not the reconfiguration would help the current issues, or whether it would make them worse.

The MPs are in discussions with the Trust about when and where the public meeting will be held.

Mrs Cox added: “Although the changes being made at Dewsbury, and to the Trust as a whole, are very well advanced at this stage we both remain very concerned about the lack of information the public have about them.”

Ms Sherriff added: “Our constituents remain extremely worried about the proposed loss of services at our hospital. We will continue to hold the Trust to account and fight for the best deal for local people.”

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Jo Cox raises national crisis in Autism delays and backlog

Jo Cox leads a debate on AutismChildren are waiting on average more than three years for an Autism diagnosis.

The delays and backlogs with assessments is a national crisis and it was raised in Parliament this morning by Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox.

Without a diagnosis funding and support for children does not materialise. This has led, Mrs Cox has told Parliament, to many parents having to pay privately to get a diagnosis.

Mrs Cox said: “It is really important to underline the scale of this problem, and the consequences of it.

“You only have to meet a handful of parents to realise the unbelievable pressures these waiting times put them under. Diagnosis is a critical milestone for people on the spectrum.

“It helps individuals take control of their lives and can unlock access to essential support and services. It can be just as important for parents, family members and friends, enabling them to better understand what is happening to their loved ones.”

National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidance that says it should be no longer than three months before between being referred and being seen for diagnosis.

Jo Cox meets Autism campaigners from Kirklees before her debate

Jo Cox met with Autism campaigners from Kirklees before her debate

Mrs Cox has met with local families with children awaiting diagnosis, the National Autistic Society and those responsible for health services in Kirklees. She welcomes news, ahead of her speech, that a plan is now in place to clear the backlog in Kirklees within a year.

She said: “Some in Kirklees have been waiting more than two years for a diagnosis. I am delighted that the CCGs and Kirklees Council now have a plan in place to address the backlog having committed funding.

“I hope the government will take steps to help all local authorities and health commissioners to do the same across the country.”

One constituent told Mrs Cox what a blessing her son’s diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome had been. It didn’t just provide access to support and services but it helped everyone to understand why he felt and behaved the way he did. Her son said wished he had been diagnosed sooner because: “I always knew I was different, now I know why.”

Mrs Cox will tell MPs that this family were able to get a diagnosis because they had the ability to pay for it privately after raising £2,500.

“Here is a crisis now so acute that some desperate parents are paying for help that by right they should be able to access on the NHS – but what about those without the resources to pay? They are currently left in a distressing and damaging limbo – often for years,” she added.

Mrs Cox used the debate to ask the government to commit to:

  • A new requirement on NHS England to collect, publish and monitor data on diagnosis waiting times, including data on how many people are known to their GP to have autism.
  • That NHS England should ensure that standard ‘waiting times’ on mental health reflect the NICE national guidance that no one will wait longer than three months between referral and being seen for diagnosis.
  • That Government must share in this commitment, ensuring that NHS England now meets the three  month target and to meet this aim access to an autism diagnosis should be written into the Department of Health’s Mandate to NHS England, which means that they will be held to account on this target and it becomes a priority for them to get right.


Jo Cox hosts public meeting to discuss level crossing’s future

Jo Cox hosts a public meeting at St Thomas's, BatleyMore than 60 residents attended a meeting hosted by Jo Cox MP to raise concerns and comments on plans to remove the signal box at Howley Street at Batley.

Signalling improvements by Network Rail means the box will be removed. This will cast doubt on the future of the adjacent Lady Anne level crossing, which is controlled by the signal box.

Mrs Cox arranged the consultation following a meeting with Network Rail in Parliament where she raised residents’ concerns.

The Batley & Spen MP said: “This was a very productive meeting and very well attended. Network Rail had the chance to outline their plans and thoughts and residents were able to feedback their concerns, comments and their hopes as the scheme moves forward.

“It is quite clear to me that the crossing is well used although opinion is divided on what exactly should happen there going forward. Nevertheless, residents made some very good and well reasoned arguments that I am confident Network Rail will take on board.”

Lady Anne Crossing at Howley Street, BatleyResidents questioned the reasoning for removing the level crossing and whether it could be maintained with an automated system.

One suggestion is to erect a footbridge in place of the crossing. Residents raised concerns about the design, scale and location of such a bridge and whether it would accommodate horse riders, who at present use the level crossing a great deal.

There were also concerns about loss of access for emergency vehicles, the usage and monitoring data being used by Network Rail and the potential for inconvenience for those seeking to cross between Upper Batley and Soothill.

Mrs Cox added: “I will raise all the issues in writing with Network Rail as well as a series of other questions and concerns that arose.”

Simon Lewis from Network Rail, who made a presentation at the meeting at St Thomas’s Church on Grosvenor Road on Saturday morning, said safety and reducing risk was a driving factor in their thinking.

He said he would feedback all the concerns and comments raised and pledged to hold a follow up meeting to discuss the proposals further.

Mrs Cox thanked everyone who attended and thanked St Thomas’s Church for hosting the meeting.