Spotlight on schools and businesses

World Book Day
World Book Day

Another month is over, and what a busy month it has been for me.

Fortunately, I have been able to spend quite a bit of time out and about in the Hexham constituency this month.

And I have really enjoyed being able to make the most of the opportunity to meet and speak with so many people and businesses.

It is these people and organisations who really are at the heart of our local communities.

For this month’s column I have to begin with the brilliant news that schools in the Haltwhistle area are set to benefit from an incredible multi-million pound investment by Northumberland County Council.

I recently visited the middle school at Haltwhistle Community Campus to meet with head teacher Susie Drake, as well as representatives from the WISE Academy and local county councillor Ian Hutchinson.

It was fantastic to hear from these people all about their exciting plans for the school.

The school building is set to be revamped to the highest quality, with the aim of providing the very best education for future generations of children and young people.

The future is certainly bright for education in the Haltwhistle area.

EGGER is one of the Hexham constituency’s biggest employers and Northumberland’s largest manufacturing employer, noted as one of Europe’s most technologically advanced chipboard production plants.

With this in mind, I was delighted to be able to welcome Energy Minister Claire Perry to the business recently, and to show off to her what a great local employer it is for the community.

During the visit, we spoke to the Minister about why forestry is so key to EGGER’s business, and we specifically talked about how we can improve the supply of timber.

I have no doubt at all that the Minister was impressed by EGGER and the work it is doing.

However, this is just one example of the brilliant employers we have in our Hexham constituency.

This month, I also visited the new housing development site of Karbon Homes in Hexham.

This is a plot where 38 new high quality and affordable apartments are being built by local builders.

From what I have seen, the homes look like they will be very impressive when they are finished.

And I was especially pleased to see that the project is providing jobs for local people in Tynedale. In fact, some of the builders on the site are living just around the corner from the development.

I look forward to returning to this housing development when the new homes are completed.

I am always passionate about making sure that children love to read.

So this month’s World Book Day marked a brilliant opportunity to encourage schools, as well as families, to share a story with their children and start to ignite a passion for reading.

I am so pleased to have been able to show my support for the worldwide reading event.

Finally, this month I have decided to give up single-use plastics for Lent.

In this country every year some 3.4 billion single-use plastic bags are given out by businesses.

In addition to this, we use 4.7 billion plastic straws per year.

If we are to be serious about reducing plastic pollution, however, we all must act.

So I would like to encourage everyone in the constituency, and beyond, to cut down on single-use plastics.

You can also shop locally and help to pick up litter in your local area this Lent.

If we all act together, we really can make a huge difference to our planet.