As I was driving home the other day, I saw some early daffodils defying the cold and gloomy weather to provide a small glimpse of spring starting. The start of the year was both cold and wet, and I look forward to better weather!
I am by nature an optimist, always choosing to see the positives in any situation. The last few weeks in politics has been no exception. As well as the challenges and opportunities of my Westminster parliamentary work, I have recently been able to visit a wide variety of people and places in the constituency which highlight to me what a great place Dorset is to live and work.
I particularly like visiting schools, and meeting our young people. I chair the Dorset Young Chamber steering group, which is an excellent initiative that seeks to be the bridge between education and the workplace. I am passionate about ensuring that our young people have the right skills and qualifications to enter the world of work.
I have met several local head teachers to discuss education funding and I am pleased that progress has been made to implement the new National Funding Formula. The aim is to ensure that schools in Mid Dorset and North Poole are no longer disadvantaged by their low levels of funding. Not every school is gaining from the changes, and as ever, the devil is in the detail. As a result, I have met with the Secretary of State to discuss the new formula and I will be leading a delegation of MPs about the effect on Grammar Schools later this month. There is a further period of consultation and the deadline is the 22nd of March. Please do go to my website and find the link to the consultation under “Have Your Say”.
I am really pleased to have been able to visit several valuable local charities and organisations recently, including The Crumbs Project who offer specialist training provision for mixed-ability and disabled trainees; Julia’s House to find out more about their vital work supporting children and families; and the Bournemouth Churches Housing Association to discuss their work helping homeless people. I really value the opportunity to meet charities such as the BCHA and see their excellent work. As an MP it helps me better understand the issues and bring these into debates. A good recent example is the Homelessness Reduction Bill of which I have been privileged to be a part. Seeing the work of our charities not only inspires me but equips me to represent them better.
I continue to hold regular surgeries for constituents. If you have an issue that you need help with, please do get in touch; email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact my office on 01202 624216. You can also follow what I’ve been doing on Twitter @Michael4mdnp or Facebook www.facebook.com/michael4MDNP