Snow, litter, business and community

County council staff have been praised for their efforts during recent snow.
County council staff have been praised for their efforts during recent snow.

The recent bad weather has disrupted many of us in the last few weeks, with the snow making life particularly difficult for our local small businesses.

I would like to thank all the staff at Northumberland County Council, who worked tirelessly in such terrible conditions.

Unfortunately, I had to cancel my Spring Information Fair because of the adverse weather conditions. I was really disappointed, especially since so much hard work had gone into organising the fair, however the safety of everyone involved was more important.

The fair is now due to take place on April 20, at St Mary Magdalene Parish Hall in Prudhoe. If you would like to find out all about health, wellbeing, benefits and local activities for older people, then please do come along.

The bad weather hasn’t stopped me from travelling around the constituency though, and the past few weeks have been packed full of visits to local people, businesses and charities.

I was delighted to open the new Hexham offices of Lifespan, a North East based charity that supports people suffering from serious, life-limiting illnesses and their friends and families. The charity works with GPs, consultants, hospital and nursing teams to offer therapies, counselling, bereavement support and more at home, in hospitals and in hospices.

It was great to meet Manager Sheila and her team of staff and volunteers, who all do such incredible work.

I also paid a visit to Wentworth Grange care home in Riding Mill, which has been rated ‘good’ in a Care Quality Commission inspection, an improvement on past inspections in 2015 and 2017.

Wentworth Grange supports around 50 elderly service users across two units. I enjoyed meeting staff and residents who are all benefitting from its care, and I am in no doubt that Wentworth Grange will keep getting better.

Local cricket clubs have helped to fund-raise for a new pavilion at Stamfordham Cricket Club, and I visited the club and purchased a brick as part of the final fund-raising push, the Buy a Brick scheme. Each brick that is purchased will be engraved with the contributor’s name and will be built into the wall of fame on the front of the bar.

The new pavilion looks fantastic and I am sure that it will mark the beginning of an exciting new era for cricket in the area.

Earlier this month I took part in The Great British Spring Clean, Keep Britain Tidy’s annual national clean-up. Littering has such a devastating impact on our countryside and wildlife so it was great to do my bit in keeping our streets clean and tidy.

I also enjoyed a visit to The Manors care home in West Wylam to meet residents and staff, as well as pupils from Adderlane First School. We had a good discussion about litter in the area and what we can do to ensure that our streets are kept clean. We all have a part to play in keeping our local communities clean, and I am so encouraged to see young pupils getting involved.

My Small Business Awards were launched in December to celebrate Small Business Saturday, and this month I visited Graham Smith Antiques in Horsley, a family-owned business specialising in furniture. I met owner Graham, who personally sources and chooses all of the antiques on sale. I was really interested to hear about the wide range of places Graham has sold antiques to, from Tasmania to Alaska.

It is so important to support local businesses, and I definitely recommend taking a look at the antiques — it is truly a treasure trove.

There is plenty more planned in the constituency in the coming weeks, and I am looking forward to meeting more of the people that play such important roles in our community. As always, if I can help in any way, please contact my office.