Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, has been conducting constituency visits where he can throughout the pandemic and, since summer recess (read about this here), has been spending a lot of time in North West Durham.
Since summer recess, Richard has:
- Met with the clinical team at Shotley Bridge Hospital when the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock MP visited North West Durham. You can read about this here.
- Visited Shotley and Benfieldside Tennis Club and was able to attend the FA Vase Semi Final, which Consett won. You can read more about this and the work Richard has been doing on spectator sports this year here.
- Visited the Glass and Art Gallery in Consett to meet with owners Ron and Maralyn. He had the chance to see some of Maralyn’s stained glass artwork and talked to them about how they have been affected by the pandemic.
- Received a number of letters from pupils at Esh Winning Primary School and Grove Primary School about coronavirus, the environment and Richard’s work in Parliament. Richard will be visiting the schools when he is able to, in order to meet the pupils and discuss further his responses to the letters he received, the work he is doing in North West Durham and how they are all enjoying being back at school.
- Spoken to the head of Arriva buses, who serve the Crook area, to share concerns constituents have raised about local transport, bus timetables, how local transport is operating during coronavirus and school transport. He also visited the Go North East bus depot to discuss how they have been managing this year, and how they have adapted to continue providing transport for the community. Richard has been working since his election to improve local transport and bus services and you can read about this here.
- Visited Templetown, where he met constituents to speak about planning concerns and their concerns more generally about coronavirus and what they’d like to see for the area in the future. They also discussed speeding in the area and the changes they would like to see to make roads safer.
- Spoken with farmers about the Agriculture Bill during a virtual meeting. They discussed how coronavirus has affected farming, what they would like to see in the Agriculture Bill, sheep worrying and what steps can be taken to protect our green spaces. You can read more about this here.
- Seen a successful outcome to his access to cash campaign, which you can read about here, as he ensured the cash machine at the Post Office on Billy Row was not removed (read about this here) and has now ensured that the cash machine at Moorside is free to use, where it previously cost an enormous £1.99 every time a resident withdrew money. You can read about Richard’s access to cash campaign here.
- Visited St John’s Chapel to see the Remembrance display of poppies that were on show. He met with Venita and Anne, who, alongside Joy and dozens of other volunteers, have spent literally thousands of hours creating sculptures as a tribute to remember those who gave their lives in both World Wars. Richard was shown the field of poppies that are on display there, which are a memorial to the 244 local people who died in World War One and World War Two. You can read about this here.
- Spent Remembrance Sunday in North West Durham, visiting Consett War Memorial on at 11am for the two-minute silence, along with a group of constituents, who remained socially distanced. Richard also visited and distributed ten wreaths and poppies at locations throughout the constituency, including in Dipton, Medomsley, Muggleswick and Tow Law. The wreaths were provided by Vera Parnaby, a resident of Consett, who has devoted 75 years of her life to campaigning for the Royal British Legion and has now raised over £1,000,000 for them. Read about this here.
- Visited Consett Police Station to discuss local crime, including agriculture crime and domestic violence, which has sadly seen a rise since the beginning of the year. They spoke about a few casework issues Richard is currently working on and how the police are dealing with restrictions, as well as how the police are protecting the community.
- Spoken to Mind to discuss the closure of Derwentside Mind, as well as how this year has affected mental health and how they are managing to operate under the new restrictions. Richard was given new contacts at Darlington Mind and Hartlepool and East Durham Mind, and will be working with them to ensure that they can offer support to the Derwentside area.
- Spoken to North West Durham care providers, those who work in care homes and those who provide care in the community, about how they are dealing with the new restrictions. They raised several concerns around vaccines and care home visits, which he has now raised with a Minister in the Department for Health and Social Care.
- Visited the Blue Bell Inn in St John’s Chapel, as well as the Black Lion pub in Wolsingham, for takeaway beer and takeaway pizza, as well as to talk about how pubs are adapting to the restrictions currently in place and the Government support available to them.
Richard has also spoken to dozens of constituents about case work issues that cover a wide range of issues. He has held surgeries with pubs, beauty salons, hairdressers and other businesses to talk about the Government support available to them, as well as the concerns and queries that they have.
You can sign up to Richard’s newsletter and hear more about the work he is doing for North West Durham here or by using the form on this page.