THE past few weeks I have been incredibly busy, both here in Central Devon and in Westminster.

A lot of my work in recent weeks has been centred around supporting community assets and assisting with bids for local funding.

Recently I paid a visit to the Burrow Community Store and Cafe in Exbourne. This began as a temporary volunteer-run pop-up shop in the Village Hall but, after raising over £185,000 of community funding, became a permanent underground site in 2011.

The Burrow is a vital community asset, which local people worked exceptionally hard to establish, but it faces financial challenges due to recent problems with its roof.

I met with representatives from the Burrow to discuss possible funding options, and I have committed to supporting any future bids for financial aid in what ever way that I can.

I would encourage local residents to keep an eye on The Burrow’s website and a Facebook page for updates on the progress of their funding appeal and information about upcoming fundraising events.

I also recently visited Belstone St Mary’s Church, just outside of Okehampton, which has had funding challenges of its own.

Having been in correspondence with the Church for a number of months regarding the difficulties it faced, I was delighted to learn that it had been awarded a grant for restoration and renovation by the National Churches Trust.

In addition to the grant, Belstone St Mary’s has also been able to make use of the Government’s Listed Places of Worship (LPW) Grant Scheme, which provides grants covering the VAT on repairs of over £1,000 to listed buildings used as places of worship.

With Phase 1 of the repairs completed and Phase 2 well underway, I hope the Church will be restored and back at its full capacity soon.

We have also received the fantastic news that four swimming pools in Devon will benefit from The Swimming Pool Support Fund, announced by the Government in partnership with Sports England.

More than 300 public swimming pools across England will receive a share of £60 million to help improve their energy efficiency and keep running costs down.

The money will ensure that vital community assets can continue to operate and will help us meet our target to get 3.5 million more people active by 2030.

I am thrilled that Moretonhampstead and Ashburton swimming pools, both located here in our constituency, will benefit from Phase 2 of the fund, with Moretonhampstead Swimming Pool receiving £40,922 and Ashburton Swimming Pool receiving £20,200.

Since being elected as the Member of Parliament for Central Devon in 2010, I have fought hard for local investment and supported numerous organisations in their search for financial support.

With the first window of Round 4 of the Community Ownership Fund having recently opened, I am currently in the process of assisting several local groups with their applications, and I hope we will see further investment in local communities across the constituency as a result.

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