I would like to wish residents across the Isle a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
I would also like to thank residents for the kindness and support throughout 2014.
I look forward to working closely with residents next year to continue to improve the Isle.
We started 2014 dealing with the aftermath of the tidal surge but ended it with the announcement from the Government that it is investing £80 million in our local flood defences.
This is something I have spent much of the past year fighting for and I am delighted we secured this result. Better still, the Government has agreed to consider our ambitious plans contained within the Humber Flood Strategy which seeks £1 billion of investment in flood defences (far right) over the next decade or so.
I have also enjoyed working closely with local councillors such as Liz Redfern, Ron Alcock and John Briggs to achieve considerable successes for the Isle. CCTV for Epworth, Leisure Centre upgrade, new Skate Park in Epworth (right), a commitment to a new Leisure Centre for Crowle, and saving of Market Hall for the community are just some of those successes.
We also are in the process of superfast broadband, funded in part by North Lincs Council and the Government, being rolled out to communities from Westwoodside to Crowle.
More needs to be done to get this to many of our smaller communities and I am on with that!
It has also been great to visit a number of schools over the past year on the Isle.
I love getting back to the classroom as it reminds me of my own time as a teacher.
One of the campaigns I worked on in Parliament this past year was to get fairer funding for our local schools, following years of under-funding.
It wasn’t an easy fight, but we got there in the end with the Government agreeing to increase funding in North Lincs by £137 per pupil from next April. A huge boost to local schools.
Whilst we are on the subject of schools, I should like to say a big thank you to all our school kitchen staff.
They have had a lot of extra work since the start of the Government-funded free school meals for all infant pupils started in September.
It hasn’t been easy for lots of the schools to accommodate these extra meals but kitchen staff have done a great job.
I’d also like to thank our emergency services for all they do to protect and look after us all year round. Christmas is an especially busy period for our hospital and ambulance staff who will be hard at it whilst we are all tucking into our turkey. Thanks to them for all they do.
Once again, a very merry Christmas and I wish all the readers of the Epworth Bells a prosperous and happy New Year!