LAST week I sat down with Devon County Councillor James McInnes who represents Hatherleigh and Chagford Division and serves as the cabinet member at County Hall for Adult and Social Care.

We met in Chudleigh and discussed a number of issues facing adult and social care here in Devon and across the country.

We touched on the independent review that was recently concluded by former Labour Secretary of State for Health, Patricia Hewitt, into the oversight and governance of integrated care systems (the government is now considering the recommendations) and spoke about the need to change how the care sector is viewed.

We need young people to aspire to a career in care in the same way they aspire to a career in nursing or medicine – it is certainly no less worthy.

From Chudleigh it was onto Bradfords in Moretonhampstead, where I learned more about how the construction industry is changing to meet our Net Zero ambitions.

This includes a particular focus on retrofitting homes with better insulation – a key challenge when it comes to reducing UK carbon emissions.

We discussed the unique challenges of staff recruitment, retention and training and I was very pleased to hear that Bradfords is working closely with Exeter and South Devon Colleges to invest in the next generation of construction apprentices. 

After Moretonhampstead it was over to Bovey to catch up with Peter Mallaband at New Park in Bovey Tracey.

Peter is a former Chair of the New Park Residents Association and someone I have enjoyed working with over more than a decade to strengthen the rights of park home owners.

Peter has dedicated much of the past four decades to standing up for residents – predominantly older citizens – who live in park homes. 

It was Peter who inspired me to take up their plight when I first entered parliament in 2010.

More than 1,000 residents in Central Devon live in park home communities and the time we spent discussing the problems meant I was able to make key contributions to the 2013 Mobile Homes Act which strengthened the rights of park home owners and gave local authorities greater powers to take action against site owners over breaches.

I went to see Peter because the New Park Residents Association is winding down within the next few weeks.

Peter rightly looks back proudly to what the Association has achieved and his work in supporting more than 40 other park home communities to set up their own associations.

Last week I have also been promoting Discover National Parks Fortnight.

I feel incredibly fortunate to represent around half of Dartmoor, including some of its great market towns and beautiful villages such as Widecombe-in-the-Moor, which I visited last Friday.

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