In January my focus has been to get out and about in the constituency to see and meet as many people, businesses and organisations as I can.
I was thrilled to move into my accommodation in this lovely town. It’s very central and allows me to explore the town and get out and about in Suffolk to see the villages and people within the constituency.
I have been honoured to be allowed to visit a number of excellent charitable organisations in the area, one being Headway http://www.headwaysuffolk.org.uk/neurohubs/bury-st-edmunds/ who do amazing work with people with all forms of acquired brain injury and neurological conditions and provide therapies and activities designed to enrich the lives of those affected. I was also able to pop into Gatehouse http://www.gatehouse.org.uk/ in the town who do fantastic work serving the growing needs of disadvantaged people within our community. At Havebury Housing http://www.havebury.com/ I was shown around some of their flats in the town and found out about the facilities and housing opportunities Havebury are able to offer.
My travels around took me to companies within the constituency. At British Sugar http://www.britishsugar.co.uk/ I had a fascinating tour of the manufacturing facility and saw part of the process that turns sugar beet into refined sugar that we all use in our kitchens. Andrew Denny of Denny Bros http://www.dennybros.com/ gave me a tour of their premises and we were able to talk about some of the pressures that are affecting businesses in the region currently. At Sealey’s Limited http://www.sealey.co.uk I found out about the parking pressures and difficulties in the area that employees, delivery vehicles and residents are experiencing in the area.
I have been meeting quite a few people and organisations involved with Railway crossings. I attended a public meeting in Stowmarket and heard some very interesting points from rail users and the companies about the issues surrounding railway crossings and how their availability impacts upon residents in Stowmarket.
I am a great advocate of local markets and was thrilled to be shown around the Bury St Edmunds Wednesday market by Sharon Fairweather. I met some great people and was able to persuade a friend that buying locally sourced produce was the way forward. Fresh, local and, without having travelled long distances, low food mileage as well – not to mention good value for money.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Service in Abbey Gardens was a very moving event and was followed by the unveiling of the Peace Sculpture. The sculpture is made from polished stainless steel. The Peace Garden also contains 57 cobble stones –one for each of the victims of the 1190 massacre.
Thurston Community College, King Edward Upper School and the West Suffolk College were also very kind in allowing me to visit them and see the work that they and the young people who attend are carrying out. All were very vibrant places to visit with great sounds of young people shaping their futures and gaining experiences for the future.
A meeting with the NCS providers locally reminded me why I think this is such a brilliant scheme. Helping our young people learn independence, have fun and being involved with a genuine community action project is a great way to spend four weeks in the holidays – check it out. http://the-challenge.org/ncs/
The John Peel Centre in Stowmarket http://johnpeelcentre.com offered me a real insight into how a community group can really bring the arts into our lives. I can’t wait to go to a ‘real’ event there sometime in the future. In awe of the fact that it totally exists on the great work of volunteers supporting its running.
Out and about canvasing the Moreton Hall area – meeting people and listening to those issues that are important, the economy, the NHS and opportunities for the young. Really good to be spending time with local candidates too.
Superintendent Andrew Mason of Bury St Edmunds Police explained to me about the issues of modern policing the way crime is changing and how they are rising to the challenge. The use of Number Plate Recognition cameras and how that helps to keep us safe – security and safety is so important to all of us.