With Christmas over and the decorations packed away for another year, it is good to take a moment to reflect on the past twelve months, as well as to look forward with hope and optimism to what 2018 holds in store.
This year, we have come together as a community to fight loneliness, a growing issue that can be felt more acutely in rural areas such as Suffolk. Many of you helped to arrange coffee mornings or organise the fantastic street parties in the summer and, as a regional ambassador for the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, I would like to thank everyone who has helped this campaign. It is important that we all stay connected and, as communities, look out for one and other.
In December, Bury hosted the second Older Persons’ Information Fair, following the huge success of the event in Stowmarket last year. Over 45 local service providers and community groups came along to the event, ensuring that everyone in our community is aware of, and can access, the beneficial support that is available. One principle aim of this event was to provide information for older people to combat loneliness.
Evidence shows that the effects of loneliness can be just as detrimental on our health as being overweight. That is why a catch up with a neighbour you’ve always meant to have a chat with, an offer of putting the bins out for someone you know has lost their partner or just a friendly hello could be remedy enough. A New Year’s resolution we can all join in with; let’s tackle loneliness together.
As some of you know, I relish the countryside we live in. Straight out of the back door and I can stride out, breathe the air and connect with nature. Perhaps a little too much pudding over the festive season means a few more walks for me in 2018!
But the desire to improve our connectivity with one another, through broadband and local infrastructure, remains my primary focus. Just recently, I sent out a survey to 11,000 constituents asking for your opinions on the mobile and broadband services currently being provided.
I know many residents are frustrated not to be able to access services essential to our modern world; whether for business, leisure or learning. Gathering vital information regarding residents’ experiences and the current challenges can drive my campaign, with our internet providers, that what is good enough for them is not good enough for us.
I also continue to campaign for improvements on the A14, pushing for the upgrading work now, and helping to get the region moving more than ever!
As we look forward to a bright and prosperous 2018, celebrating 100 years since the end of World War I, 100 years of women’s suffrage and 70 years of our wonderful NHS, there is much to be thankful for and even more to be hopeful about for the future. With that may I wish you all a happy New Year!
Published in the Bury Free Press