Monday, 29 March 2021

Covid-19 roadmap- one step closer to life as we know it

Today marks the next stage of the roadmap out of restrictions. As part of stage 1b, from today:

  • Groups of six or two households are able to meet outside in public spaces or private gardens as long as they socially distance.
  • The 'stay at home' guidance has been lifted, meaning that it is no longer essential that you remain indoors. However you should still work from home if possible and minimise the number of journeys you take.
  • Outdoor sports facilities, including swimming pools, golf courses, sports pitches and courts, can reopen to allow sports to resume. This includes team sports, meaning that many grassroots competitions can now go ahead.
The coronavirus is still in circulation and we must all remain cautious and continue to take measures such as social distancing and wearing face masks. However the continued success of the vaccine programme means that we can now move on to the next step of getting back to life as we know it.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Add your voice to the story of the pandemic in Humshaugh

Residents in Humshaugh have come up with a brilliant way to document the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the village and its residents.

Humshaugh Publications are asking residents to contribute to a book they are producing about the coronavirus pandemic in Humshaugh. Residents are being asked to provide something that shows how Covid-19 has impacted their lives- this could be a short piece of writing, a photograph, drawing or something else entirely.

I think this project is a fantastic idea. The past year has been unprecedented for all of us, and this book will act as a document of this time in Humshaugh for the future.

If you are a Humshaugh resident,  I would really encourage you to participate in this great project and add your voice to Humshaugh's story. You can send your contributions to or by the end of March. You can also leave contributions in the basket at the village shop.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Census Day 2021

Today is Census Day. 

It is so important that you complete your census for various reasons. Not only does the information that we all provide create a record for future generations to look back on, but it also helps to inform both central and local government so that they can make decisions about the delivery of key resources, such as school places and health services. 

The census is a survey that takes place every ten years, designed to give a picture of the people who live across England and Wales. The census should take around ten minutes per person to complete.

To fill out your census online, visit here- 

Thursday, 18 March 2021

50 and over? Book your vaccination now!

More than 25 million people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine- almost half of the adult population across the country. This incredible figure includes 95% of people ages 65 and over and 9 in 10 of those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

The vaccination programme is now moving on to its next stage, with all people aged 50 and over now being invited to come forward and book their vaccination appointment on the NHS website here- 

The data shows that both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines reduce the likelihood of serious illness from coronavirus by 60% after the first dose, with protection against hospitalisation at around 80% and protection against death around 85%. It really is so important to get your vaccination to protect yourself and those around you, so if you are aged 50 and over please do book your vaccination now!

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Funding opportunity for local environment projects

An unmissable opportunity has opened up for environmental charities and their partners to secure grant funding for projects focusing on conservation and restoration.

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund, working in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is set to support nature projects across England with a second round of funding worth up to £40m. This  follows on from the first round of funding awarded in December 2020.

Successful projects must deliver on at least one of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund's three themes- nature conservation and restoration, nature-based solutions and connecting people with nature.

The deadline for applications is 14th April 2021 (£50,000 to £250,000 level) and 22nd March 2021 (£250,000 to £2m). More information about how to apply can be found here- 

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Where can you get your vaccination?

The biggest vaccination programme in our country's history continues to go from strength to strength. People over the age of 55 are now beginning to receive their invitation letters, and in the Hexham constituency an incredible 4 in 10 of the adult population have now had at least one dose of the vaccine. This fantastic achievement is a testament to the amazing efforts locally of the NHS, our GP surgeries and support workers and volunteers.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been contacted by constituents who are concerned that they are being asked to travel long distances from their home when booking a vaccination appointment through the online booking system.

I have raised these concerns with the NHS vaccination programme in the North East, who have clarified how they are currently utilising various locations across the North East to vaccinate as many people as possible.

The vaccination programme is following the first phase priority groups, to ensure that those who are most at risk of serious illness from the coronavirus are vaccinated first.

Local GP practices are currently focusing on vaccinating those who are clinically vulnerable and have underlying health conditions. 

Meanwhile, people who are over 55 should receive a letter from the National Booking System inviting them to book a vaccination appointment at one of the large vaccination centres. These centres are situated at various locations across the North East, including Darlington, Washington and the Centre for Life in Newcastle. 

It is great to hear that so many constituents have been able to receive a vaccine at one of these large centres. However, I understand that other people might be uncomfortable or unable to travel further afield to be vaccinated. It is important to stress that even if you receive a letter to book through the National Booking System, you do not have to be vaccinated at a large vaccination centre. Everyone who wants to be vaccinated at the local GP vaccination service can be.

If you would prefer to be vaccinated at your own local GP practice, please ignore your letter and do not respond to the National Booking System. Instead, wait for your GP practice to contact you to arrange an appointment. This may not happen straight away and may it take a little while longer for them to contact you as they work through their priority groups, but your GP will be in touch with you to arrange an appointment as soon as they are able to.

I understand that people are extremely keen to receive their vaccine, however please do not contact the NHS or your GP practice to arrange your vaccine. They will contact you when it is your turn.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Welcome news in the Chancellor's Budget

On Wednesday the Chancellor announced his Spring Budget, which was full of good news for people across the Hexham constituency and the country as a whole. The Chancellor outlined his plans to support people and businesses through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond the end of the Prime Minister's roadmap for easing restrictions and to level up the economy across all regions of the UK.

Key announcements in the Chancellor's Budget include:

  • The extension of the furlough scheme until the end of September to ensure continued support for businesses, employees and their families
  • Two further grants for the self-employed, including those who are newly self-employed 
  • New Restart grants of up to £18, 000 and recovery loans to support local businesses to reopen
  • The opening of the new Levelling Up Fund for its first round of bids
  • The opening of a new Treasury campus in Darlington, as part of the Government's commitment to level up and spread opportunity across the whole country
This Budget will provide businesses and families across Tynedale with the support they need to get through the pandemic. The extension of financial support, including the furlough scheme and additional grants for the self-employed, will be a tremendous help to local businesses and individuals as we start to reopen the country and economy. I am especially thrilled at the announcement of a new Treasury campus in the North East, which signals that the Government is committed to delivering investment and opportunity across our region.

Further information about financial support available to businesses and individuals can be found here- 

Monday, 1 March 2021

20 million vaccines!

The vaccine programme continues to go from strength to strength, with another milestone reached over the weekend- more than 20 million vaccines have now been administered across the UK. That works out as an average of more than 2.5 million doses per week or 1 in 3 adults vaccinated across the country.

In the Hexham constituency, 41.4% of people have now received a vaccine- a really incredible achievement by the NHS, volunteers, the Armed Forces and everyone involved with the vaccine rollout. 

The Prime Minister is aiming to have offered every adult a vaccine by the end of July. Everyone in the top four priority groups has now been offered a vaccine, and invites are now going out to those in groups 5 to 9.

Thank you to everyone who has come forward for their vaccine. Every jab makes a difference in our fight against Covid-19.