I have been in close correspondence with parents across the Stroud District who are deeply concerned about school bus transport.
I certainly share concerns about the operator Stagecoach. I take the view the current level of service for schools is unacceptable and is failing our children.
The fact is, Stagecoach is subsidised to deliver various services across Gloucestershire. With this in mind, children should not be left waiting and unable to reach school on time.
It is unsafe and exacerbates the disruption so many children have experienced due to the pandemic.
I have been in contact with multiple bus operators for months to ask how they are going to improve the situation for a number of routes.
I have also contacted Gloucestershire County Council to explore options to support our communities and local community transport groups, given the poor bus service in our rural areas. Please watch this space for further updates.
In much better news, this month I met with Paul Lilley, Chalford Parish Council Chair and Chris Attwood, groundsman at France Lynch Pleasure Ground to discuss progress on building an inclusive playground.
I am delighted to see the good work taking place in the village because I am campaigning for inclusive access in playgrounds for disabled children and improved facilities.
Play areas may seem like a non subject to some but they are a vital part of many children’s development and they are free entertainment when costs are going up for households. As a busy parent, I also love having a chat with other mums and dads as the kids run around.
Earlier this year I wrote to all parish councils about this issue and backed lottery funding applications. Since then, the district council has also chosen to provide a funding pot for improving play areas. I welcome this and thank Paul, Chris and the team in Chalford for showing what can be done.
This paper has documented the ongoing widespread concern about sexual assaults locally. The community has mobilised to act and make it clear violence against women and girls is utterly unacceptable.
This is an issue close to my heart and I have championed it in parliament. Pupils at Stroud High also highlighted to me the maddening harassment they have faced on the streets while wearing their school uniform.
Recently I met with police and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Chris Nelson to discuss this and I joined Chrissie Lowery, Founder of Safe Space and local artist Ian Miller at the Dudbridge tunnel project. The tunnel has been transformed.
The Safe Space team is calling for more local businesses to provide a safe space and join the scheme by registering on www.safespacescheme.org I am fully supportive of this community solution and I thank everyone involved. Bringing safety, light and artistic joy to something so dark is to be applauded.