Out and About

LAST week I was busy right across my vast constituency.

Along with holding four advice surgeries I visited Exminster and Kennford to discuss the latest flooding. I also made a very enjoyable visit to Silverton Primary. The school scored very well in its latest inspection especially in ensuring a safe and happy environment for the children along with high scores in reading, writing and arithmetic.

In Okehampton I spent valuable time with the local Sure Start centre — these centres provide vital support to parents and children during the early years of a child's life. The positive and healthy development of a child in its very earliest years is vital to how they develop later into adulthood and these centres do much to provide the required support. My thanks especially to the mums who shared their experiences with me.

Also in Okehampton I was able to discuss a relatively new and promising project that has successfully introduced young people to the idea of entrepreneurship in the countryside.

In Hatherleigh I toured the abattoir and met management to discuss Bovine TB and the important links there are between farming, slaughter, food processing and distribution with, of course, many jobs dependent upon each.

It was also a particular pleasure to make another visit to Buckingham Orchard, the park home site in Chudleigh Knighton. Some years ago I helped to set up the local residents' association there and made a big push in parliament for fairer protection for park home residents (with my longest speech in the Commons being on this issue).

The new Act brings very positive new enforcement powers that will be available to local authorities in April this year and will help ensure that park home site owners comply with their licence conditions.