As we approach Easter and the weather seems finally to be showing some signs of warming up, I am reminded how much has happened since last spring.
Having been selected as the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Fareham just over a year ago, I had begun my positive campaign for the General Election – and life has barely slowed down since!
Since having the honour of being elected in May, I have been immersing myself in the work of a constituency MP, getting to know more of the people who make up our wonderful local community.
My pride in Fareham has grown as each week has passed, and I was pleased to see the report from the think-tank Demos showing us out-performing other towns on a range of criteria.
I have enjoyed my many visits to schools, businesses, charities, and public services across the constituency, and am constantly surprised by the broad range of interesting activities going on locally, often without widespread recognition.
Being able to celebrate achievements and bring them to wider notice is one of the most rewarding things I have been able to do.
The other satisfying part of the job is the chance to put into action the campaigns I set out at the election.
Getting more services into Fareham Community Hospital has been one of my top priorities, and I was pleased that last month I was able to get health secretary Jeremy Hunt to visit and speak to members of the taskforce I’ve established on the issue.
The ongoing problems at QA and pressure on GP appointments underline the case for more to be done.
Another big campaign has been to deal with the lack of A-level provision in Fareham. I am pleased to have had a great response on the issue, and at the end of last year we held a meeting at Cams Hill School, to discuss an exciting development in the campaign.
Headteacher Gwennan Harrison-Jones and her team have been working with my support to open a sixth-form, which would provide places for up to 500 A-level students.
The proposal is for the new sixth-form to open as a free school, something I’m keen to support, having had experience of helping set up a free school in London.
I am doing all I can to support the application, and to persuade the Department for Education of its merits, but it is vital for us to demonstrate wide support from the local community. That’s why we are asking people to contact the school to register their support.