Winter pressures on the NHS
This is always the most difficult time of year for our health service. Last week, I reported that the Government had announced that the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust had been granted an additional £1.5 million funding to help cope with winter pressures. One of the best things that we can do is to try and reduce the pressure on A&E departments.
It is also good news that an out-of-hours crisis service is being piloted at a hub in Redruth, after being awarded £70,000 from NHS England. It aims to prevent people with mental health problems going to A&E. Valued Lives is a new charity and will be running an out-of-hours crisis service which people can contact online, over the phone, or in person.
Floods at Portreath
It is also the time of year when we are at most risk of winter floods. Last weekend we saw Storm Eleanor wreak havoc here in Cornwall. In Portreath, the harbour wall was damaged. Staff from Cormac and the Environment Agency worked very hard to make the damaged wall safe, and assisted local residents who were facing a flood risk in their homes. This is not the first time that Portreath has had these problems. Four years ago, it was badly hit during winter storms. I will be visiting Portreath on Friday, to see first-hand the damage that has been done and discuss any problems that local residents face.
New year's resolutions
At this time of year, many people have resolved to try to take more exercise and embark upon healthier lifestyle habits. Mine is to try to run to work at least once a week.
Sport has an incredibly important role in developing confidence in young people and establishing a healthy lifestyle with exercise from a young age. However, competitive sport is not for everyone. In particular, too many teenage girls drift away from sport later in school, but groups like RedYouth can provide a really inspiring alternative. One of the activities offered is streetdance. The development of activity groups such as RedYouth has been really positive. It is always clear that those participating develop self-confidence from their involvement in the group and make new friends.
I will never forget the support that I had from volunteers at Cornwall Athletic Club when I was growing up, and I fought hard to make sure the new running track will be located in the CPR area because in doing so it offers the most to all of our community athletics groups. Above all it is volunteers today who keep all of our sports clubs going from rugby and football to cricket, swimming and dance.