I hope you all enjoyed the Easter weekend and the excellent weather. I write this as I return to Westminster after a two-week recess, during which I visited local businesses, venues and groups across Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Needham Market.
Recess, the term used to describe when Parliament is not sitting can create a perception of this being a break for MPs, but I can assure you we do not see it as such. It gives us a chance to speak to constituents and carry out local meetings and engagements that it can be difficult to fit in when I am in Parliament from Monday to Thursday.
I started the Easter recess with a visit to Stowmarket High School to look at the work they are doing to improve their SEND education offer across the school. Education is an area close to my heart and I believe every child across the constituency has the right to a good education. The progress that the school has made is positive and I’m hopeful of confirmation of that when the school is next inspected by OFSTED. Whilst visiting West Suffolk College to catch up with the latest developments they are making at the Bury St Edmunds campus, and I had a fascinating conversation about augmented reality. The opening of the new sixth form building at Stowupland High School later that week was an opportunity to thank those involved in the project and take part in a Q&A session with sixth form students. Listening to their thoughts and to the details of their mentoring scheme was a particular highlight.
Stowmarket Town Football Club is somewhere I visit frequently and during recess they hosted a meeting to discuss the ongoing work with the SHELF project, which aims to bring more sport and community facilities to the town and is something that I have long supported and championed. I then visited residents in Needham Market who have concerns over the use of the high street as a diversion route for the A14 and the disruption it causes with HGVs. I have taken their petition back to Parliament with me and will be submitting it on their behalf.
Another highlight of the Easter recess was my visit to the Theatre Royal to talk about the excellent work they are doing within the Bury St Edmunds and wider Suffolk community. Working with local schools helping pupils create their own plays, and seeing them performed at the theatre and offering young people with additional needs the chance to become involved in theatre with their workshops. The joy on the young peoples faces who participated was fantastic.
I continue to be amazed at the hard work of individuals, groups, institutions and businesses across the constituency to make our community better. I look forward to continuing to champion this good work in Parliament.