Emma spoke with members about the vital role Apna Ghar plays in supporting the community and heard about the experiences of users in South Shields. Many of the women spoke to Emma about the current issues affecting them as well as their families.
She also spoke about the work she is doing in Parliament to highlight the problems faced by women in her constituency, including calling for a debate on food poverty and scrutinising the Government’s approach on domestic violence.
Emma said that under the Tories unemployment for women had reached a 25 year high, how child benefit had been frozen and how public sector jobs had fallen by 600,000, meaning most of the losses were felt by women. The group agreed that they were feeling the strain financially as VAT rises made essential items more expensive as wages stagnated. The women explained that they also struggled as vital services like Sure Start were either closing or limiting their offer to the public.
Emma went on to speak about what Labour is doing to improve the lives of women across the country through its support for a living wage, its plan to make child care available for all primary school children between 8am and 6pm, and strengthening maternity legislation to put an end to the scandal of 50,000 women a year losing their job while on maternity leave.
Apna Ghar was launched 23 years ago by its founder Vimla Storey after she arrived in South Shields from India. It is aimed at women and their families from ethnic minority communities and offers health clinics, advice on issues such as benefits, employment and immigration as well as translating and interpreting services.
“It was great to come here today and see the vital work Apna Ghar do in South Shields first hand. Through them, ethnic minority women are able to receive much needed support and I am incredibly proud to have such an organisation in my constituency.
“I look forward to working closely with Apna Ghar on the issues effecting ethnic minorities in Shields and wish them every success in the future.”
Shahida Ali, Chair of Apna Ghar, said:
“The ladies at Apna Ghar would like to welcome our new Member of Parliament – Emma.
“We are especially proud to have our first lady representative and look forward to working alongside her in promoting the cause of women in South Tyneside.”