It has been a great month in Tynedale and Ponteland.
And the Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds’ announcement of a £24million investment programme for young people in the North East is incredibly welcome news for the region.
The fund will be used to boost early career training for new teachers to raise standards in schools, to improve outcomes for students aged 16 or over, and to improve pupil transition between schools in the county to ensure that progress is maintained.
The programme will also work with local businesses to create more opportunities for young people across the region.
This is great news, and I look forward to seeing investment in education in our region giving our children and young people the best possible chance in life.
I have always been a great supporter of the National Citizens Service so it was fantastic to spend time at Haydon Bridge and Hexham High Schools.
I was there helping the NCS team to explain the amazing opportunities that the scheme offers to local Year 11 and 12 pupils.
NCS is a life-changing scheme that gives young people the chance to learn vital skills, gain confidence and meet new people.
If you are aged 15 to 17 then I would encourage you to find out more about the scheme — you won’t regret it.
I also had the pleasure of meeting two local people wanting to make a real difference.
Toni and Verity are passionate about improving the mental health offer for young people and their parents/adults in the Hexham area.
It was really interesting to discuss their project, which is entirely voluntary.
Mental health can affect any of us so it is inspiring to meet people who are working to improve mental health care and support in our local area.
It was also good to meet some of the Team Tyne Innovation crew who are preparing to row the Atlantic as part of the 3,000-mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge — the world’s toughest rowing race.
We met in Wylam, where I was shown their boat, which is neither big nor comfy for such an epic adventure.
My thanks to the many local sponsors who are helping to make this incredible adventure a reality — it’s going to be an incredible adventure for all involved.
It was also great to be able to support Tom Martin and all of the team at the Wylam Apple Day.
It was the perfect way to spend an autumn morning.
Tom really is a Northumberland legend — the Community Orchard at the school would not have happened without him.
I’m proud to have been able to help a little bit at the start of the project back in March 2011.
There are so many more exciting events planned for the rest of the year.
And after the fantastic success of last year’s competition, I am delighted that my constituency Christmas card competition is back for another year.
The competition is open to all Year 3 pupils in the Hexham constituency.
The winning design will be made into my constituency Christmas card, which will be sent to many people, including the Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet.
The winner will also be given the chance to visit the Houses of Parliament and to see the world famous Christmas tree there, which comes from our very own Kielder Forest each year.
The deadline for entries is November 9, 2018.
If you would like more information about the competition, or guidelines for entering, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please do encourage your school to enter — you never know, your school could have the winning design.