IT has been another busy week, zig-zagging across our huge constituency for various local meetings.

First up was a visit to Tor Counselling in Okehampton – a free confidential counselling service for children and young people who live in the town or surrounding area.

Based within, but separate from, Okehampton College, Tor Counselling is currently counselling 55 young people every week.

With 50 per cent of long-term mental health problems established by age 14 and 75 per cent by age 25, the service is vitally important and can prove to be life changing.

This was a great opportunity to discuss mental health issues and I have offered to support Tor’s fundraising efforts.

It was then up to Hatherleigh for a meeting with Karen Pearce, Service Lead for Action for Children within our constituency.

The charity supports children aged eight and under by providing families with practical and emotional care and support.

It is currently working with more than 4,000 parents, children and carers in Devon and employs 176 Child and Family practitioners in our county.

The meeting was a valuable insight into the important work the charity does and how it serves communities like Hatherleigh.

Action for Children's community sessions are key – making it easier for families to access the support they need rather than relying on them to make the journey further afield to places like Tavistock.

From Hatherleigh it was over to Sampford Courtenay to meet Mariners Away, a long-established local shanty crew.

The group will be performing a fundraising charity concert on Friday, October 20 at Exeter Corn Exchange in support of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD and E) charities.

I spoke briefly with members of the group.

Singing groups play an important social role, particularly for older people who can easily become isolated. Tickets for the concert can be booked at: .

I then headed to Crediton to visit two important local businesses – Sandford Orchards and Crediton Dairy.

At Sandford Orchards I caught up with Barny Butterfield (Chief Cider Maker) and discussed some of the issues affecting the industry, including recent reforms to alcohol duty.

Duty has been reduced on lower strength drinks but increased on higher strength drinks to encourage more healthy consumption. And to support our pubs there is a reduced duty rate for draught products so a pint in a pub will pay less duty than their supermarket equivalent.

At Crediton Dairy I caught up with Head of Milk Supply and Procurement Phil Cork.

The business is one of the largest employers in our constituency with a turnover of £75 million and plays a huge role in supporting local farmers.

Its products are in more than 13,500 food retail stores nationwide. It is encouraging to see a local business flourishing.

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