Friday, 25 February 2011

A day in the life...

Someone told me other day that since I had taken to describing this site as an online diary rather than a blog, I should sometimes give a run down of my engagements as you would expect from a diary. So here goes...

I had to drive down from London late last night. It took two cans of Red Bull to keep me alert which had the unintended consequence of meaning I had even less sleep than I anticipated.

We started today at Carn Brea Leisure Centre where I had a tour and meeting to discuss this success story. I have many fond childhood memories at Carn Brea and was a regular user of the athletics track. Ten years ago this vital community asset temporarily closed but the local people were having none of it and formed a Social Enterprise to take over the building. Today it is the model that others want to follow and has been awarded the Social Enterprise Mark.

Next, we moved on to a round table meeting with a group of farmers and NFU members from West Cornwall. Our 90 minute discussion covered a wide range of issues from TB to the supermarket ombudsman, nitrogen vulnerable zones, the agricultural wages board, solar power and red diesel.

Next we head over to Redruth to meet the Citizens Advice Bureau. I have a lot of time for the great work they do in the area and today our session focussed on the problems of debt and, in particular, how to tackle the problems caused by door step lenders who cause so much misery.

Back to Camborne for 2pm for a meeting with Alan Milliner from White Gold, a very successful project which helps to tackle youth re-offending. It is one project that delivers results and has been recognised for its good work but they need some help making sure they can access new government schemes to support former offenders back into work. It is an area that has been prioritised by the coalition.

It's then back to Redruth for a visit and meeting with staff at Camborne and Redruth Hospital. There are quite a few structural changes taking place in the NHS at the moment which will transfer more power downwards to patients and the doctors who treat them. Some of the ideas are controversial so I wanted to see the largest community hospital in Cornwall and get a sense of how things will affect them. Clive, Debbie and Wayne give me a tour of the hospital. There is a good atmosphere on the wards and enthusiasm from staff which is always encouraging. There has been some recent refurbishment on one of the wards which has made a real difference.

Next its back to Camborne for a meeting with Joff Bullen, arguably Cornwall's leading authority on Cornish mining heritage. I was keen to explore with him how we can improve the performance of groups like English Heritage, Icomos and UNESCO so that we deliver some value to our economy from World Heritage Site Status. He gives me some good ideas for a conference I am planning on the subject.

We have 20 minutes to grab a bite to eat before heading down to Gweek at 6.45 for the latest in the series of "meet your MP" events which we are running throughout local villages. Issues in Gweek range from street lighting to the free schools policy, Gweek Boatyard, bus services, speed limits and planning appeals. With quite a few national issues chucked in too!

I have been running surgeries every Saturday morning since being elected. They are a great way of keeping in touch with local concerns and spotting emerging trends and problems. Demand for them is growing and so tomorrow we have a dozen appointments lasting seven hours. So I had better try to get more sleep tonight!