Morpeth Herald - April 2019

Spring is in the air in the Hexham constituency, and with it has come a whole host of good news and exciting events that have made the past month one to remember!

A highlight undoubtedly came with the Chancellor’s announcement during his Spring Statement that he is backing the Borderlands Growth Deal with up to £260 million of funding. This funding will cover the border regions of England and Scotland, including of course the Hexham constituency and Northumberland. This announcement truly is fantastic news for our region. For too long the Borderlands region has not been adequately funded, and this is a hugely positive step forward. 

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 contributes £665 million annually to our local economy. As part of the recent English Tourism Week I met with Tourism Minister Michael Ellis and representatives of Visit England to hear about the amazing benefits that tourism brings to our economy, both locally and across the country. I also attended the Northumberland Tourism Fair at Hexham Mart. More than 130 exhibitors attended and it was great to see the real sense of optimism there is about tourism in Northumberland. The event was hosted by Northumberland-based social enterprise Local Living, with support from Northumberland County Council, and 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 right on our doorsteps. 

I am a passionate supporter of Fairtrade, and I was delighted to attend an event in the House of Commons a few weeks ago as part of Fairtrade Fortnight to find out how we can 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, ensuring better prices, decent working conditions and local sustainability. It is up to us all to make sure that we do not support Fairtrade for a fortnight, but every time we shop. 

It was great to visit Hexham’s Men’s Shed at the No. 28 Community House, where I was able to thank the Tynedale Lions 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, reducing social isolation and promoting wellbeing and positive mental health. The Tynedale Lions have been the driving force behind the project, raising over £4000 in the last 18 months. 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 that this will be a very important part of the Hexham community.

I am sure that the coming weeks will be equally busy and memorable in the Hexham constituency and I look forward to getting out and about to visit some of the people making a difference in our communities. As always if you would like to contact me, please write to my constituency office at teamoppy@gmail.com and I will do my best to help.