Optimism is in the air over tourism offer

Guy Opperman
Guy Opperman

Spring is in the air in the Hexham constituency.

And with its arrival has come a whole host of good news and exciting events that have made the past month one to remember.

A highlight for me undoubtedly came with the Chancellor’s announcement during his Spring Statement that he is backing the Borderlands Growth Deal with financial help.

He will provide up to £260million of funding for this initiative.

This funding will cover the border regions of England and Scotland, including, of course, the Hexham constituency and the county of Northumberland.

This announcement truly is fantastic news for our region.

For too long it seems, the Borderlands region has not been adequately funded, and this is a hugely positive step forward for the area.

We all know what an amazing place Northumberland is — last year our county was crowned the Best UK Holiday County/Destination of the Year at the British Travel Awards.

And tourism currently contributes £665million annually to our local economy.

As part of the recent English Tourism Week activities, I met with Tourism Minister Michael Ellis and representatives of Visit England to hear about the amazing benefits that tourism brings to our economy.

Such benefits are felt both locally and across the country.

I also attended the Northumberland Tourism Fair at Hexham Mart.

More than 130 exhibitors attended the event and it was great to see the real sense of optimism there is in the industry about tourism in Northumberland.

The event was hosted by Northumberland-based social enterprise Local Living, with support from Northumberland County Council.

I really enjoyed being able to meet some of the people at the heart of Northumberland’s tourism industry.

There really are so many amazing places to visit across Northumberland, from the world famous Hadrian’s Wall to the stunning Northumberland National Park.

We are so lucky to have so much to enjoy right on our doorsteps.

I am also a passionate supporter of Fairtrade.

As such, I was delighted to attend an event in the House of Commons a few weeks ago as part of Fairtrade Fortnight, where I learned more how we can all support Fairtrade all year round.

Fairtrade gives us the brilliant opportunity to support those who grow our food in some of the poorest countries around the world.

It is about ensuring better prices, decent working conditions and local sustainability for those growers.

It is up to us all to make sure that we do not just support Fairtrade for a fortnight, but consider it every time we shop.

It was great to visit Hexham’s Men’s Shed at the No. 28 Community House.

Here, I was able to thank the members of Tynedale Lions Club for their support with this fantastic project, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of men living in the area.

The Men’s Shed is a community space for men to get together.

Its aims are about reducing social isolation and promoting men’s wellbeing and positive mental health.

The Tynedale Lions have been the driving force behind the project, raising more than £4,000 in the last 18 months alone for the initiative.

I am so impressed by the incredible work that has been done in setting up the Men’s Shed in Hexham, and I have no doubt at all that this scheme will become a very important part of the constituency community.

I am sure that the coming weeks will be equally as busy and memorable in the Hexham constituency.

And I look forward to getting out and about to visit some of the people who are making a difference in our communities.

As always, if you would like to contact me, please write to my constituency office by email to teamoppy@gmail.com and I will do my best to help you with your concerns.