Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Calling for increased awareness about organ donation

With Organ Donation Week campaigners
This year I am proudly supporting Organ Donation Week and an appeal for more people to talk about organ donation.

Thousands of local people are on the NHS Organ Donor Register but hundreds of lifesaving transplants are being missed around the country every year because families don't know what their relative wanted.

During the week, NHS Blood and Transplant, hospitals, charities, and supporters of organ donation are encouraging people across the UK to talk about organ donation with their relatives and friends.

I'm happy to support this lifesaving appeal and it's really easy for everyone to take part: just have a chat with the people around you.

That chat might be the next time you sit down for a meal, when you are shopping or working, or when you are just driving in the car. If you want to be a donor, your family's agreement is still needed for donation to go ahead, even if you are on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Families who agree to donate say it helps with their grief and that they feel enormous sense of pride at knowing their relative gave others the chance of a new beginning, so I would encourage everyone to do what they can to support this appeal.

Pledging my support to breast cancer fundraiser 'wear it pink'

With Sky News present Jacquie Beltrao pledging
our support for 'wear it pink'
I am pleased to again pledge my support to Breast Cancer Now's flagship fundraiser, 'wear it pink,' which will see thousands of people across the UK adding a splash of pink to their outfits on Friday 20 October and raise vital funds for breast cancer research.

Wear it pink takes place during October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is now in its 16th year. Over this time it has raised £30 million to fund life-saving breast cancer research - but there is always more to do, so I would encourage everyone to sign up and help raise more funds for this worthwhile cause.

Anyone can take part in wear it pink, which brings together schools, workplaces, and communities. All you need to do is wear something pink, or hold a pink event at home, work, or school, and make a donation to Breast Cancer Now. Whatever you do, you're helping the charity achieve its aim that, if we all act now, by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live.

The fact is, breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, and one in eight women will face it in their lifetime. Each year around 11,500 women and 80 men lose their lives to this awful disease.

This is why I'm urging local people to take part in wear it pink in October.

To take part, please visit for further details, fundraising ideas, and how to register for your free fundraising pack.

Supporting Internet Matters to help keep children safe online

I recently met with online safety campaigners from Internet Matters to hear about how we can help make the internet a safer place for children.

The not-for-profit aims to assist parents in keeping kids safe online and held a drop-in session in Parliament, alongside Google, to showcase the tools they both have available for parents and schools.

Just in time for the new school term, Internet Matter have relaunched the schools section on their website. Research shows that schools are the most popular place for parents to seek help with online safety issues, so I was given a guided tour of the new resource hub which now includes a host of school programmes, training, classroom resources, and a communication pack to help schools drive engagement with parents.

Likewise Google has already developed online safety tools such as its Safe Search feature which filters potentially offensive content, and the YouTube Kids app which allows families to watch child friendly programmes with peace of mind.

As children increasingly live their lives online, internet safety is becoming more of a pressing issue for teachers and schools.

All young people should be able to enjoy the wealth of information and entertainment available online in a way that is as safe and age appropriate as possible, and building a form of digital resilience is key for life in today's world.

For more information on helping to keep children safe online, please visit