IT has been another very busy week.
My local meetings included a visit to Gooseford Farm near Whiddon Down to see how new technology is improving productivity, a visit to Kenn Church of England Primary School to talk to pupils about Parliament, a briefing from Devon Mind on local mental health services, a discussion with representatives from South Devon Railway ahead of a share offering, and a visit to Chudleigh Youth Centre.
In Westminster I planted a cross in the Constituency Garden of Remembrance on behalf of our constituency and on Sunday I had the honour of laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in Westminster.
Gooseford Farm – As the MP for a large rural constituency, I have spent a lot of time speaking to farmers about their concerns and doing what I can in Westminster to tackle them.
One of the achievements I am most proud of is leading legislation that introduced fines of up to £100 million for large retailers who treat farmers unfairly (for example if they fail to pay a fair price for milk).
At Gooseford Farm I was shown how new technology has revolutionised their dairy operations and boosted productivity.
We discussed various issues facing the industry, but also spoke about opportunities – the diversification of the farm in recent years being key to their success.
Kenn Church of England Primary School – I always enjoy going to local schools and talking to pupils about Parliament and democracy.
My visit to Kenn Primary School was great fun – the children were well behaved, engaged with their learning and asked some very thoughtful questions.
Devon Mind – I have regular meetings with local charities that focus on mental health, and last week I was briefed by Olivia Craig, CEO of Devon Mind, about how the Devon Mental Health Alliance, established in 2021, is transforming mental health provision across our county.
Key to their work has been looking at where people may fall through gaps in support, to ensure that everyone gets help when they need it.
South Devon Railway – The heritage railway in Buckfastleigh (a wonderful day out that I would highly recommend!) is both an important local tourist attraction and a guardian of our history.
I was very interested to learn about a planned share offering that the railway will soon launch to raise vital funds.
The income will be spent on restoring a historic locomotive, on improving visitor facilities and on projects that will reduce the railway’s carbon footprint.
Chudleigh Youth Centre – I caught up with Chair Bill Keen at the centre and was pleased to hear that attendance has recovered to pre-pandemic levels and that the management committee has been strengthened by three new members.
The centre is waiting for decisions on two grant applications, which are particularly important to replenish funds after some major electrical work. I agreed to write in support of the applications and look at other potential funding sources.