Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Keeping your animals safe this Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night is just around the corner, and while there are lots of fantastic fireworks displays planned around the constituency in the coming days, it is important to bear in mind the damaging impact such displays can have on pets, livestock and wildlife.

Every year the RSPCA receives hundred of calls from concerned animal lovers about the effect of fireworks on animals’ health. This year they have produced a list of ways you can help to reduce the chances of fireworks frightening your pets and animals. It is advised that you go to an organised firework event, rather than holding your own celebration, as this will reduce the overall number of displays taking place. However if you do want to hold your own celebration please do only let off fireworks on the traditional dates and let your neighbours know in advance. You can also buy low-noise fireworks to reduce the fear and stress caused to animals. 

To find out more about fireworks and animal safety visit here: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/fireworks

Monday, 28 October 2019

Championing our veterans

I welcome the news that the Government has created a new Office for Veterans’ Affairs, delivering on a promise made by the Prime Minister during his first week in office. Veterans have offered to make the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our country, so it is only right that the Government carries out its moral duty to provide veterans and their families with the best possible support after they leave service. The Office for Veterans’ Affairs will aim to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran by championing our ex-servicemen and women and their outstanding contribution to our economy and society. The Government has also announced £5 million in funding to staff and resource the new Office. 

I am delighted that we now have an Office in government to promote our outstanding ex-servicemen and women and I am confident that the new Office will provide our veterans with the support they need after they leave service.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Blogging for the Bank of England- get your school involved!

The Bank of England is looking for secondary schools and colleges from the Hexham constituency to take part in its annual school blog competition, run in conjunction with the Financial Times.

School and college students aged between 16-19 are invited to blog on the topic of 'the economy and climate change'. The Bank of England says:

"We’re concerned about climate change.   Its impact is already visible: glaciers are shrinking, sea levels rising and heatwaves are intensifying.  And a threat to the environment is also a threat to the economy. Climate change, and society’s response to it, presents risks that could impact our monetary and financial stability objectives.  Financial and economic risks can arise from events such as floods and droughts, e.g. insurance firms facing higher claims.  Such risks can also arise in the transition to a low-carbon economy, like changes in government policy and technology." 

Students are asked to explain, in no more than 500 words, what could be done to reduce these risks, taking into account the roles played by government, companies, regulators and investors, and backing up their arguments with sound reasoning and relevant data.

The winning blogs will be published on Bank Underground and the FT online. The deadline for entries is Friday 31st January 2020.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Christmas is coming to Brocksbushes!

With just two months to go until Christmas (!), there are lots of great pre-Christmas Fayres coming up soon. I really recommend the Brocksbushes Christmas Fayre which is taking place in a few weeks time. The Fayre, which is always very popular, has three huge marquees full of wonderful gifts, food and wines for Christmas, and with free entry and parking it is definitely not to be missed!

The Brocksbushes Christmas Fayre takes place from 7th-10th November from 10am-4.30pm. It's a fantastic opportunity to start getting ready for the Christmas season so don't miss out!

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Get your winter flu jab now!

Winter is fast approaching, which means now is the perfect time to get your flu vaccination if you fall into one of the vulnerable groups. If you are aged over 65, a pregnant woman or have an underlying health condition or weakened immune system, I would encourage you to arrange to get the vaccine at your local GP surgery. I am immuno compromised myself and get the vaccination every year- make sure you do too!

You can find out more about the flu jab via the NHS here:


Monday, 21 October 2019

Crafts and Beauty in Hexham Abbey

Every Tuesday Hexham Abbey hosts its Craft and Beauty Fair in the cloisters porch. The Fair brings together local makers and traders from all around our local area to showcase and sell their hand-made products. Running from 9.30am-1.30pm, the next Fair takes place tomorrow, but the weekly event is on every Tuesday so next time you're in Hexham make sure to pay a visit!

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Funding opportunity for local community groups

If you are part of a community group that is looking for funding to improve places and facilities in your local area then the National Lottery Community Fund could be able to help!

The National Lottery Community Fund last year awarded over £500 million to more than 12,000 projects that matter and make a difference to the lives of people in communities across the UK. The funding programme is open all year round and is open to groups and organisations of all sizes. 

To find out more about the National Lottery Community Fund’s funding opportunities and how they could help improve your local community group, visit here: www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding 

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

My thoughts on the end of Barclays withdrawals from the Post Office

When Barclays closed many of their branches - particularly in rural areas - they made a promise that customers would be able to withdraw money from any Post Office. 

This week they announced that they are ending the ability for customers to access free cash from the Post Office. This is simply not acceptable, and I am extremely concerned about the impact this will have on our rural communities.

I met with Kate from the Bellingham Post Office to sign her petition, as well as Eileen from Kirkwhelpington Post Office, and both expressed their concerns about what this will mean for our rural communities.

I will be meeting with Barclays in London to protest this decision, and many of my MP colleagues across the country will be doing the same.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

The 10th Kielder Marathon

I would like to wish good luck to everyone in tomorrow's Kielder Marathon. This year's event is extra special as it marks the 10th anniversary of the first Kielder Marathon, known as Britain's most beautiful marathon. Hopefully the weather doesn't let Kielder down!

Friday, 11 October 2019

A massive boost for our local schools

Campaigning for Fairer School Funding in Bywell

Every school across Tynedale and Ponteland will see their government funding increase next year as a result of today's massive funding boost announcement by the Prime Minister. 

Levelled up education funding means per pupil funding at Queen Elizabeth High School will top more than £5,000 next year. 
This has only been possible as a result of a long campaign which has been supported by fantastic local headteachers such as Graeme Atkins. I recently met with Graham at the consultation on Queen Elizabeth High School's new building to see their exciting plans for the future. 

With Graeme Atkins, Headteacher of Queen Elizabeth High School and Cllr Cath Homer, Hexham East

The funding boost is part of a massive investment in our schools locally which means that by 2021, every high school across Tynedale and Ponteland will have been rebuilt or refurbished.

·      Work is already well underway on the new £45m Ponteland Schools and Leisure Complex, which is set to open next year. 

·      £4.5m is being invested to upgrade Haydon Bridge High School, which will see two new multi-use games areas, a new vocational centre, and a total redesign of the front of the school, which is due to be completed at the end of the year. 

·      Prudhoe Community High School’s brand new building was opened in 2016. It is now officially a good school with outstanding teachers and great pupils.

·      Queen Elizabeth High School is set to get a brand new, state of the art building as part of a £36.1m investment, due to be completed in 2021. 

This new funding will make a massive difference to our fantastic local schools

Thursday, 10 October 2019

World Mental Health Day

Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide.

Today is World Mental Health Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues and overcoming social stigma. The theme of this year's event is suicide and suicide prevention; suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 in the UK. Schools, workplaces and organisations are being encouraged to raise understanding of mental health and wellbeing to ensure that those who need it most receive the support they need.

World Mental Health Day is a timely reminder to us all to take time to talk to and confide in those we trust most, so this World Mental Health Day, why not take a few minutes to sit down with a cup of tea and share what's on your mind with a friend, colleague or family member? Or take a moment to ask someone how they are today? It could make the world of difference.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Get Set for the Parkrun!

Back in 2016 I cut the ribbon and ran in the very first Prudhoe Riverside Parkrun. The run takes place every Saturday at 9am and is a timed 5km run for runners of all abilities. Organised entirely by volunteers, the run is free but you must register online first. There is now also a Parkrun in Hexham which starts at Tyne Green. 

If you haven’t yet taken part in one of our local Parkruns I really do recommend it; it will change your life, your fitness and so much more. Thank you also to our local Parkrun organisers. Why not give a Parkrun a try this Saturday? Find out more about how you can get involved here:



Saturday, 5 October 2019

Cast your vote at the Rural Oscars!

Nominations are now open for the 2020 Countryside Alliance Awards! 

You can nominate businesses in seven different categories- Local Food/Drink, Village Shop/Post Office, Butcher, Rural Enterprise, Pub, Game Champion and the Clarissa Dickson Wright Award. Nominations close on 8th December.

If you would like to recognise a special rural business in your local area, from your favourite village pub to your local community's post office, then why not fly the flag for Northumberland and nominate them for a Countryside Alliance Award? 

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Landscapes review: making our National Parks greener

In May 2018 the Government asked an independent team to carry out a Landscapes Review to make our National Parks and AONBs greener, more beautiful and places that are there for everyone. It is a detailed and outstanding review, and has a real impact on Northumberland. It is well worth a read by visiting the link below.