Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Dor Kemmyn September events

The Dor Kemmyn team are holding two Inter Faith events in September, which I am sure will be informative and rewarding for all those who attend

Kehillat Kernow Presentation – An evening of Story Telling, Music an Nosh on Sunday, 2nd September at the Falmouth Poly from 7.00 pm – 10.00 am. 

Dor Kemmyn’s Autumn Walk on Saturday, 29th September around Loe Pool, Porthleven. 

More information these events and on the work that Dor Kemmyn does, can be found here:

Friday, 24 August 2012

A localism revolution for Cornwall

Earlier this week George Eustice and I published an article, starting a debate to find a new answer to an old question - what can be done to realise the aspiration of Cornish residents for more say over the decisions that affect us, our families and community.
The new Localism and Sustainable Communities Acts enable the transfer of power from Westminster to local people and communities and allows Councils to claim greater control over the public services that can make a real difference to the quality of our lives.  Giving communities a stronger voice than ever before in the making and delivery of the policies that will affect one and all.
Here in Cornwall, our communities celebrate vibrant and dynamic identities.  We all share an immense pride in our distinct history, culture and identity.  We are in a unique position to take the Localism and Sustainable Communities Acts to their very limits, utilising the potential of the Acts to create a potent localism, involving a radical devolution of power not just to County Hall but to people and their town and parish councils across Cornwall, to reflect local identities, aspirations and needs.
With elections for parish, town as well as Cornwall Councils just around the corner, now is the time to be discussing these new opportunities, to draw up plans that could lead to Cornwall trail blazing a new and exciting approach to local democracy.
There is no doubt in my mind that a new approach is needed.   At my surgeries every week and in my postbag every day I hear from people who feel that their views don’t count as decisions about the future of their area are taken.  Most of the time this is not the fault of hard working individuals at Cornwall Council, but is the legacy of the imposition of a Truro-based unitary authority on the Duchy against the wishes of local residents.
Cornwall Council has achieved many important improvements to valued public services while dealing with cutbacks in funding from central government.  But we need to move forward with a new approach where residents of towns and villages across Cornwall have the opportunity to actively shape the policies that will affect their communities for years to come.
For this democratic renewal to take place, we need talented and committed individuals to come forward to stand as candidates, for Cornwall Council, parish and town council elections.   
It is only with this commitment from community-minded local residents that we can move towards a system where more and more policies are not imposed from Whitehall or County Hall, but grown from village and town halls.
Do we really need a costly extra level of politicians in an Assembly to enable people in Cornwall to take control of our destiny?  I think not.  In these difficult and challenging times, more than ever, we need to pool the talents of everyone in each community to work together for a hopeful future.

Zelah Fete

I was delighted to attend the Zelah Fete last Saturday and hope this becomes an annual event in the future.  I also was pleased to see that the weather did not stop the brilliant achievement of raising £2000 for worthy causes.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Falmouth Week 2012

I am delighted that the 2012 Falmouth Week was such a great success, despite the less than perfect weather!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

2012 sports challenge at Cornwall leisure centres

I am pleased to see that the great community spirit encapsulated by the London 2012 Games continues to inspire events such as this challenge, which should certainly help those involved to live life to the full and stay healthy.

Volunteer Cornwall

Volunteer Cornwall is an excellent organisation that carries out a great deal of important work throughout the county. I am glad to see its work highlighted.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Stepping Stones to Homes initiative has early success in Truro, Callington and Bugle

I am delighted to see that the Stepping Stones to Homes initiative has met with success

Cornish MPs meet with CAB

As co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Citizens Advice I am delighted that that I was able to bring MPs from Cornwall together with Citizens Advice Bureau Social Policy Co-ordinators to discuss the ways in which we can all work together to support the people of Cornwall.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Falmouth Hotel Plans

I have met with local residents who have asked me to intervene in plans for the Premier Inn on Cambeltown Way

Calling for more powers for Cornwall's communities


West Briton Column 23 August 2012

When someone approaches me with an offer of something free, I am skeptical and look for the catch. I expect you are the same. However, when there is a genuine offer of help that could do some good without any catches it is often very difficult for those making the offer to reach those that would benefit most.

This is why I organized and hosted “How to Save Money Heating Your Home” on Lemon Quay in Truro last week. I am very grateful to all the exhibitors that came along,  including the Cornwall Rural Community Council, Age UK Cornwall, Community Energy Plus, the Cornwall Volunteer Centre and Green Deal providers British Gas, Enact Energy and the Mark Group. It was great to also see representatives of NHS Cornwall, Cornwall Council and Devon and Cornwall Jobcentre Plus exhibiting alongside private and voluntary sector colleagues.

Many visitors to the event commented how useful it was to obtain so much helpful information in one place. For those that missed the event, I have produced a free booklet that provides you with all the information you need to save money this winter – including genuine free offers of help and benefits. These are tough times and I hope that anyone who is worried about their bills or has a friend, workmate or family member who could do with some advice and help, will contact my office and we will send a free guide in the post. You are always welcome to pop by my office at 18, Lemon Street in Truro to collect one.

More than ever it is important that all parts of society, from businesses to our valued public services to the not for profit and charitable organizations, work together to help those that need it and make the resources that we do have work harder.

I am pleased to see so many people signing up for Cornwall Together, the energy buying cooperative. As regular readers will know I have been championing buyer groups especially for heating oil so the best possible price can be negotiated with suppliers. Now is a good time to be buying heating oil ahead of the cold weather when prices spike and I am frustrated that despite my calls for the winter fuel payment to be paid early to people who live off mains gas, this is yet to be agreed upon. The savings would make a real difference. Right now heating oil is 7p a litre cheaper than in the winter months. I am keeping up the campaign and during my first week back in Parliament will be supporting a colleague who has been lucky enough to secure a Private Members Bill that would enable this to happen.

Finally, I urge anyone of any age who is interested in the future of Truro and Kenwyn parish to go along to the Neighborhood Planning display that is coming to a location near you over the next few weeks. Alternatively let us have your views by contacting the team through the website www.trurokenwynplan.org.

Friday, 17 August 2012

West Briton Column - 16th August 2012

Many people work hard to make Cornwall the popular and welcoming destination it is every summer, especially our local police.  Each summer the population across the South West rises from 1.5million to 8million as tourists flock to our beaches but the number of police remains constant.  Whilst many of us are able to take time off in the summer months to spend time with family members, police officers have to work harder to look after our communities.

In recent weeks I have been working with Devon and Cornwall Police to highlight to Ministers the extra demands imposed upon policing resources every summer, and to press for a new funding settlement that recognises this.

It is very important to me that our police officers have the support they need, at what is a time of great change for policing.

There has been cross-party agreement that police spending cannot be exempted from the national need to make savings, and that the focus of policing needs to shift to deploying officers on the frontline more effectively.  This has led to policing reforms being implemented across the country.

Figures released last month show that recorded crime in England and Wales fell by four percent over the past year, with the murder rate falling to the lowest level since 1983.  We are very fortunate to live in a low crime area.  You can visit www.police.uk and see this information.

Such progress couldn’t have been made without the incredible commitment of our police officers, countless numbers of whom everyday display dedication and personal courage that goes above and beyond the call of duty.

I meet regularly with local police officers to keep up to date with their thoughts on policing in Truro and Falmouth and am always struck by their spirit of public service, and particular keenness to engage with the communities they protect.  For example, in Falmouth, the newly formed ‘Street Watch’ initiative is an excellent example of this community focus.  Local residents, trained and supported by serving police officers, patrol the beach area in high-visibility jackets deterring low level crime, and pass on useful information to their police colleagues.  Others volunteer as Special Constables and join the ranks of the police in their spare time.  This commitment to duty shows their dedication to their local communities.

On Saturday night I joined the volunteer marshals at the Falmouth Carnival.  With financial support from Falmouth Town Council for high-visibility jackets and radios, the marshals have been trained by the police to help ensure the growing number of very popular events hosted in Falmouth run smoothly.

The police need our support more than ever and I will continue to support initiatives, often led by local businesses, parish councils and residents that take some of the strain from the police.

Such engagement with the public will continue to develop with the election of a Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall in November.  The successful candidate will have a unique opportunity to ensure that the priorities and wishes of the public are at the heart of local policing.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Cornwall StreetGames!

I was delighted to attend the StreetGames Festival on Lemon Quay on 10 August, and see first-hand the young people of Cornwall’s enthusiasm for all kinds of sports.

Friday, 10 August 2012

ROC Welcome a Success!

I was delighted to attend the Robert Owen Communities (ROC) Welcome BBQ event at Trevew Primary School recently and am glad to continue supporting ROC in the valuable work they do in supporting people with learning disabilities.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

West Briton Column 9 August 2012

Whatever the final tally of Olympic medals, this week will stand out as a celebration of British sporting skills and values, and of our sportswomen in particular. It’s great to see Cornwall’s contribution to the Games, from the achievements of athletes like Helen Glover and Ben Ainslie, to the Cornish tin used to forge the bronze medals.

Let's hope part of the legacy of the London Olympic Games is for the media to cover more women's sport. For far too long the vast majority of coverage has been of our much loved but predominantly male colleagues.

At the same time what a great celebration of the British tradition of volunteering. From the opening ceremony and magnificent role of thousands of artists and musicians to those, including a small army from Cornwall, who are welcoming people to London and the Olympic Park.

This week the regattas, carnivals and many creative activities that make Falmouth Week such a highlight of the year, and not just for sailors, will also depend on many volunteers who work very hard to help us all celebrate the great place we live.

Cornwall’s zeal for volunteering crosses the generations, the National Citizenship Service  
is going from strength to strength in Cornwall. I look forward to meeting with some of these young volunteers next week in Truro.
Building on the very positive attitude that most people have of Britain around the world, I am keen to encourage more Cornish businesses to export goods and services. We have some first class local success stories of firms who are growing as a result of exporting but overall Cornwall is doing less well that other  parts of the UK.

That's why last week I was delighted to join over 90 businesses at an event at Truro College to highlight the help that is available to businesses in Cornwall that want to start exporting or want to try new markets. A range of technical expertise and practical help is available from Export Cornwall and the UKTI. About half of the exports from Cornwall go to the USA and the EU. While these markets will continue to be important, the real growth potential lies in the faster growing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Why do I think it is important for Cornish companies to export to these fast growing markets? Our economy needs to grow in a sustainable way so we can create new jobs. Skilled and well paid jobs. We need to rebalance our economy from dependency on financial services in the SE of England. All around the UK we need to produce more of our food and energy and make more goods and services for ourselves and to export. Sustainable growth will come from exporting more. Jobs will be created in those businesses that succeed.

At the moment only one in five UK companies exports. With encouragement and support if one in four companies exported, 100,000 jobs would be created and our trade deficit would be eradicated.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Help with your Heating Bills

I hope that this event, being held between 10am and 4pm on 15 August on Lemon Quay in Truro, will provide assistance to everyone looking to save money on their heating bills in the coming months.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Falmouth Streetwatch

I was pleased to be able to visit Falmouth Streetwatch and learn about some of the vital work that they do in assisting the hard-working men and women of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary in Falmouth

Monday, 6 August 2012

Celebrating Olympic Success

I am absolutely delighted to see the incredible success of the Great Britain Olympic competitors in the London 2012 Games so far. Ben Ainslie, who won his fourth Gold Medal yesterday, was brought up in my constituency, and his win really helps put Restronguet sailing club and Mylor on the map.

Clerk of the Commons Visit!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Cornwall Together Success

I am delighted to see that there has been such a positive reaction already to the Cornwall Together initiative, which launched last Monday:

ROC Welcome launch

I am looking forward to attending the Robert Owen Communities (ROC) Welcome launch at The One Eyed Cat in Truro on 3 October. ROC is a charity that works with people with learning disabilities, and their circles of support, across Devon and Cornwall.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Falmouth Shortlisted for National Award

I was Falmouth the very best of luck in the competition for the Great Town award from the Nation Academy of Urbanisation

Eschol House Summer Fete

I was delighted to recently visit Eschol House, a nursing home in Portscatho, to assist in their fund-raising efforts at their annual summer fete, with all funds raised going to the Alzheimer’s Society.

Cornwall scores high in happiness index!

I am delighted to see that Cornwall has placed so highly in the life satisfaction statistics:

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Cornwall Council takes steps to tackle empty home problem

I think that this plan is a good step in the right direction:

Cornwall Rail Service Assurance

 I am pleased that the minister has listened to the concerns expressed by my colleagues and I, and that as a result we are now making progress in ensuring that sufficient numbers of Penzance to Paddington trains are in operation from 2013.

Nature Partnership News

I am pleased to see that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has been selected to have one of the first Local Nature Partnerships in the UK.

Falmouth and Penryn Gardens win awards!

I am delighted to see that these beautiful gardens have garnered the recognition they deserve in the Green Flag Awards