Ian Austin MP

Independent MP for Dudley North


Recent Activity

The Sedgley branch Barclay bank has been awarded the ‘Black Country Sight Friendly award’ following a nomination from a customer for their outstanding support with those who are visually impaired.

The award, first in its kind, was the creation of Beacon CEO Lisa Cowley who wanted to recognise local organisations helping support customers living with sight loss.

It is designed for companies and organisations who want to make their services more accessible for people with sight loss.

Dudley North MP Ian Austin helped present the award to the branch on Friday 11th October.

Beacon is a well-established West Midlands charity which was founded in the Black Country and has since expanded.

The charity is keen to make the public aware of how organisations are adapting to the needs of people living with sight loss and help encourage other organisations to follow suit.

It works with some of the biggest companies across the region to provide sight loss training to help ensure staff can help visually impaired customers.

If you want to get better understanding or learn how to better support visually impaired customers or colleagues you can contact them here: enquiries@beaconvision.org

Ian Austin said:

“It is great to see organisations which consider the needs of all their customers. Beacon is at the heart of our community and we all know the amazing work they do.

“This new award will hopefully inspire others to think about how they can adapt and change their practices.

“I am really pleased that our local branch is setting the standard for other branches to ensure their bank is accessible to those living with sight loss.”

“The team have done terrific work on this so I really enjoyed helping present them this much-deserved award.”

Beacon CEO, Lisa Cowley, said:

“This award is our chance to tell the Black Country what they can do to help those living with sight loss and celebrate those going above and beyond the call of duty.

“The competition was stiff and we had many outstanding nominations, but Barclays Bank Sedgley stood out from the rest.

“Their support ensures visually impaired customers feel safe and secure knowing a member of staff is there to help them every step of the way.”

David Monkton, who lives with sight loss and nominated the Bank, added:

“When I first learned about the award, I immediately thought of my local bank Barclays.

“Living with a visual impairment means I need support and require assistive technology to support everyday tasks.

“Barclays staff always give me a hand, guide me through using their machines and answer any questions. Everything is done securely and I always feel at ease with them.”

Julie Lacey, Branch Manager, explained:

“We are honoured to be given this award by Beacon who do such a lot of work across the Black Country.

“We help a range of customers and we know how important confidentiality and confidence is when dealing with money.

“This award recognises the hard work of all our staff and our continued aim to support everyone in the community.”


Dudley North MP Ian Austin visited the YMCA Black Country Group to hand £300 raised to help young people.  

Austin presented the cheque to YMCA host Kerry Davis and Rachael Taylor, the Manager of the YMCA Open Doors project.

The YMCA Black Country Group provide accommodation, support, advice, training and education to young people.

They focus on helping young people play an active and fulfilling role in their local community.      

Austin recently helped to organise a coffee morning with TV star Rachel Riley in Gather Café, Dudley, to raise funds for the YMCA Black Country Group.

Austin also donated from his Good Causes Fund whereby he uses the MPs pay rise to support local causes.

Ian Austin said:

“Thanks to everyone who came to our coffee morning with Rachel Riley to raise funds for the YMCA Black Country Group.

“Great to visit Kerry, Sarah and the group to hand over the donations raised from the coffee morning and my Good Causes Fund.

“I promised that when times are so tough for local families, I would use the MPs’ pay rise to increase my support for good causes and organisations in Dudley.”



Dudley North MP Ian Austin has called on the government to fund new buildings for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

The world-beating hospital cares for the most seriously ill children in the Black Country and across the West Midlands.

It is renowned worldwide for the quality of its care and research, but provides it in buildings that are 155 years old and there is currently no prospect of it being rebuilt for at least 15 years.

Austin spoke up in the debate on the government’s plans to build 30 new hospitals. He urged health minister Edward Argar to look at the case for rebuilding the children’s hospital and invited him to visit Birmingham, meet the chief executive Sarah-Jane Marsh and see the facilities at first hand.

The exchange in Parliament can be seen here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2019-09-30/debates/1C875DDA-DEEA-4FD8-A7F7-76009C5200D5/HealthInfrastructurePlan

Ian Austin said:

“The Children’s Hospital provides brilliant life-saving care for the most seriously ill children from Dudley and across the West Midlands, but does so in buildings that are 155 years old.

“The brilliant Chief Executive, Sarah-Jane Marsh and her fantastic team are providing 21st century care in 19th century buildings and I want the Minister to visit the hospital and do everything he can to ensure it gets rebuilt more quickly.”


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