• Busy

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    04 March 2016

    Last week I was flat out across our vast constituency. I had the great pleasure of addressing a fundraising charity coffee morning in Drewsteignton. The event was to support Exeter and East Devon Mind – the local mental health charity. They do great work offering therapies to those suffering mental distress and also provide access to complementary reflexology, massage and Tai Chi. They host groups for music, meditation and pottery. Mental health has too often been swept under the carpet and attracted stigma but that is thankfully changing – during my time in parliament it has been uplifting to witness MPs in the chamber discussing their own metal health challenges. Mental health issues will affect around half of us at some point. The government is investing more in this area but it is vital that local charities like Mind flourish. For more information visit their website or email at or phone 01392 210122. If you feel you need urgent support or someone to speak with you can also contact the Samaritans on 0845 7909090 or 01392 411711 or see someone in person at their Exeter branch by visiting 10 Richmond Road, Exeter,EX4 4JA Monday - Saturday 6pm-9pm, Sunday noon-9pm. In Chagford I met with CllrJames McInnes to discuss local education (which is generally outperforming other authority areas) and the new Chagford school development. There are a number of issues that I will be taking up with the Secretary of State for Education as a consequence. In Okehampton I met with the Leader, Deputy Leader and officers of West Devon council to review finances – the local government settlement on which I and other local MPs lobbied hard was far better than initially expected but still means that there are challenges ahead and areas of uncertainty – there are several issues that I will be taking up with Ministersin Westminster. Also in Okehampton I met with other councillors to discuss important local issues such as affordable housing, road and rail infrastructure and broadband roll out. Whenever I meet with local councillors (of all parties or none) I am always struck with the care and concern that they show towards their local communities – we owe hardworking councillors a great deal. I held a less happy meeting in Moretonhampstead with the CCG regarding the roll out of health services at the local hospital. I am deeply unimpressed with the progress that has been made since the initial commitments provided in 2013 and made that very clear in the meeting. The CCG has promised rapid progress over the next 3 months and that they will provide the information required for me to monitor this on a regular basis. I will do so. I also met with our police and crime commissioner to discuss police funding (which has been protected – I made strong representations on rural police funding to the policing Minister) and with Tony I stressed the importance of not overlooking remote rural crime especially that affecting our hard-pressed farmers.