Many MPs are invited to support good causes.
I’ve abseiled down Cheddar Gorge; been caving under the Mendips and most recently, I’ve been out collecting donations for victims of the floods in Somerset with fellow Lions Club members.
I even took part in a pancake race organised by Shelter, the homeless charity, last year alongside the BBC chief political correspondent, Nick Robinson.
Some months ago, the Bath based organisation ‘Send a Cow’ challenged me to spend a week Living Below the Line.
The challenge involves surviving on £1 a day to raise awareness of poverty in developing countries and to raise money to help pay for some of Africa’s poorest families to have livestock, training and support so they can help themselves out of poverty.
I’ll admit that by last Sunday, as I looked at the diary for my busy week ahead in London, I was just beginning to regret having accepted the challenge all those weeks ago, when March seemed such a long way off.Read more
Tessa joined 150 parents, children and cyclists, and even men on stilts in carrying coffins to echo calls to the county council to build a safe footpath on a busy Cheddar Valley road.
Supporters of the Coffin Lane Campaign piled into the Axbridge Town Square on Saturday to join the procession to Cross.
The procession went through West Street, on to Townsend carrying a banner, colourful placards and mock coffins to the Beer Garden at the New Inn, Cross.
The coffins were a reminder of the days when deceased residents of the workhouse were carried down this route to St Andrew’s Church, Compton Bishop, but also told of the current worries for those who have to walk or cycle along Cross Lane.Read more
I recently read a shocking statistic: one single hospital in France treats more patients with advanced stereotactic radiotherapy than all the hospitals in England combined.
All our European neighbours routinely use advanced stereotactic methods to deliver radiotherapy and treat cancers.
So it’s no surprise to find nearly all our neighbours have higher cancer survival rates than us. We’re languishing somewhere at the bottom of the survival league for some cancers, just above the Czech Republic and Poland.
Stereotactic radiotherapy – using machines like Gamma Knife and Cyberknife – uses high accuracy, is less toxic and results in a greater ability to control or cure cancers.Read more
Tessa was challenged to ‘live below the line’ by the Bath-based organisation, Send a Cow who help some of Africa’s poorest families by providing training, support and livestock to enable rural families to grow themselves out of poverty (here is a link to their recent Impact Report).
They work in seven countries in Africa. As well as their work in Africa they also educate school children in the region about growing food, poverty in Africa and the farming methods that are used in the countries we work.
Send a Cow have a new campaign for 2014 – Live Below the Line. Participants have been asked to eat and drink on just a £1 a day for 5 days from 10 March – 14 March 2014 to raise money but also to raise awareness of the reality of poverty in developing countries, and in Send a Cow’s case, Africa.Read more
Local MP Tessa was warmly welcomed at Burnham Moose’s monthly lodge meeting last Thursday, as the evening’s guest speaker.
Tessa talked about what it is like to be in Parliament, demonstrated with examples and amusing anecdotes from the last four years, including being locked in House of Commons Library, taking the fight against the Chancellor’s caravan tax to the Treasury and representing UK jam makers.Read more
Local MP Tessa Munt is encouraging more local businesses to take on an apprentice after new research revealed how beneficial this can be to businesses.
Every time a local company hires an apprentice, its bottom line gets an average boost of just over £2,000. This represents the benefit after typical wage and training costs here in the South West are deducted, but the advantage ‘kicks in’ as soon as the apprentice joins the firm and starts being trained.
Last year, 1,000 people started an apprenticeship in Tessa’s patch, which means that new apprentices alone provided a local boost of over £2m last year.
The number of apprentices has been increasing rapidly. Despite this, surveys show that 60% of small businesses are missing out because they don’t know enough about how apprenticeships work. Many assume that an apprenticeship is difficult to administer and will involve a short-term cost.Read more
Tessa attended the Bully Banks’ campaign day in Westminster to show her continued support for local small and medium-sized businesses damaged by appalling misconduct by the high street banks.
Bully Banks is a campaign group of nearly two thousand small businesses across the UK which were damaged by the mis-sale of four products: Interest Rate Hedging Products, (also known as Interest Rate Swap Agreements), fixed rate business loans, Enterprise Finance Guarantees and factoring services.
“It’s absolutely outrageous that thousands of businesses are still suffering because the bankers failed to act honourably. I have written to the Chancellor suggesting he demands that every bank delivers full and fair redress to the thousands of small businesses which have been damaged by their own bank’s inappropriate conduct.Read more
For many years, the majority of holidaymakers’ only experience of Somerset was through a car window as they hurtled down the M5 on their way to our more famous neighbours – Devon and Cornwall.
In recent years, however, this has changed. Thanks to the tireless work of the County’s tourism businesses we all know about Somerset’s friendly locals, our iconic landscape, rich history, vast array of products and events including Cheddar Cheese, Scrumpy Cider, Ales, Strawberries, the Wurzels, Glastonbury Festival, and much more – too many to mention!
Somerset has firmly established itself as a popular destination for domestic and international tourists.
But the scenes that have hit TV screens week after week since just before Christmas have shown catastrophic levels of flooding after the wettest winter for a couple of hundred years.
Minister after Minister has donned welly boots and visited Somerset, and as the floodwaters have risen, they’ve been pledging, with ever-increasing urgency, that they will bring the help, the people and the money that is needed to clear up the mess.Read more
Local MP Tessa last week joined staff at the Vine Surgery in Street for the afternoon.
Tessa was very keen to experience firsthand how a busy surgery operates. She was greeted by Dr Frances da Cunha and Practice Manager, Dr Sharon Morgan for a tour, before sitting in on some consultations with patients. After a quick break Tessa spoke with Sharon and the Reception team about their roles and changing workloads.
Tessa also spent time meeting with the PPG (Patient Participation Group) representatives, District Nurse Lead and GP’s from other West Mendip Federation Practices.
“I was delighted to be invited to spend the day at the Vine Street Surgery. Surgeries like Vine Street provide a vital and much valued service to communities”.
“GPs are working harder than ever before to meet demand. “More than 340 million patient consultations are now estimated to be undertaken annually by GPs, up 40 million since 2008.
“Politicians take decisions every day that impact on people’s lives, It’s absolutely vital that we get a real understanding not just of the pressures that many practices are facing, but how greater support from Government would help general practice deliver even better care to patients.”