Broadband to bottles: taking pride in our community

I hope that by the time you’re reading this that spring will have truly sprung. But as we have seen from the month, things can be unpredictable!

Here in the East we defied the ‘Beast from the East’ with incredible community spirit and dedication to keep our services running and to guarantee our safety.

I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who went above and beyond whether working in our frontline services or to those who, for instance, helped clear the road for ambulances and other essential vehicles.

Now, as we welcome the Easter weekend, we can take a moment to reflect on what has come before and what we have to look forward to. The past couple of months have not been short of local campaigns to get behind.

The response to my campaign for better broadband and mobile coverage has been overwhelming and the results from my 11,000 strong survey suggest residents rate their connection poorly.

However, I am encouraged that Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, with the support of this paper, have gotten behind the campaign for better mobile signal. I hope that at my upcoming Broadband Summit, we can work with Government, businesses, local councillors, the church community and other stakeholders, to deliver the better broadband and mobile connectivity Suffolk desperately needs.

A further campaign spanning Lent has been the pledge to ‘Pass on Plastic’ with Karen Cannard, and to reduce our plastic footprint.

This campaign has had a really positive effect not only on my own awareness of how much plastic I use, but also ways we can challenge our reliance on it. Now, when it comes to shopping for instance, I am far more conscious about bringing my own reusable bags and reusable containers to the market rather than requesting more.

Moreover, the campaign has gone on to inspire other local groups to get involved, including a commitment to reusable china mugs at Stowmarket Chorale and a launch of reusable coffee cups at Bury market.

The awareness for plastic rubbish is sweeping the constituency quite literally, as this month’s Great British Spring Clean captured the commitment of many to get out and clean up our countryside.

We had an excellent team collecting rubbish around Sybil Andrews, and it was also a pleasure to join the senior team at West Suffolk Hospital to clean around the grounds and give the welcome we want visitors and patients to feel.

Moreover, St Edmundsbury has been granted £10,000 of government funding to support litter collection along areas of the A14. Although a small fund, this is an issue many people raise. I am delighted to have supported the Council in securing this support, showing our continued efforts to achieve more for our local area.

I hope this inspires many more people to take pride in and celebrate our local community. With that, can I wish each and every one a Happy Easter and a restful weekend!

Published in the Bury Free Press