Latest News from MP Claire Coutinho

November offered us all a chance to slow down and remember. We remember all those who gave their lives in service to our country, remember our own loved ones who have passed and, this year in particular, remember the dutiful dedication of our late Queen.

I was honoured to join volunteers and local leaders at events across East Surrey. I met Parish Councillor John Farnaby to lay a wreath at Sgt Stanley Fenemore’s memorial in South Godstone, joined Joan and Jackie to raise money for this year’s Poppy Appeal in Morrisons in Caterham, and attended the impeccably organised Remembrance Service at St Paul’s Church in Woldingham. At each of these events it struck me that while we may slowly be losing the living connection to both World Wars, we are in no danger of losing the spirit and emotion felt by so many throughout the remembrance period.

In November I also sat down with Lyndsey Whatley, our brilliant new Borough Commander at Surrey Police. I raised your concerns about the rise in keyless car theft and tool theft from vans, which has sometimes taken place in broad daylight while workers are on busy on site. I was heartened to hear the good news that the number of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras within Tandridge has increased from 4 to 11, thanks to the Government’s Safer Streets Fund. This has been really helpful for tracking down suspects and helps officers to better follow active lines of enquiry. Lyndsey also updated me on some of Surrey’s cross-border operations with other police forces to unite their efforts against organised crime groups.

Through my Friendship Project, I’ve heard from lots of local groups that finding door-to-door transport to get vulnerable residents to and from hospital appointments and shopping trips can be a real struggle. Voluntary organisations like the East Surrey Rural Transport Partnership step in to offer transport services where they’re needed, and I met Anita Donnelly, their Community Development Officer, to talk about Surrey County Council’s Future Bus Network Review. The review is open until 6th January, and you can share your views on the Surrey County Council website, or pick up a hard copy in libraries, local council offices and on buses in the affected areas of Surrey. You can also request that a hard copy is sent directly to you by calling 0300 200 1003. If you use local bus services I would strongly recommend you take part and fill in the survey, as it will shape future bus services across the County.

I also met Dr Gillian Orrow and Dr Anna Mustill from Growing Health Together, a collaborative partnership group of local health professionals which works to improve health outcomes and prevent disease across East Surrey. We discussed the enormous potential for preventative medicine and social prescription to not only make local people feel happier and healthier, but also to save the NHS money and ease the pressure on existing services. I’m going to be telling Ministers about Growing Health Together’s fantastic work, and I hope to secure them extra funding in the process.

It seems like I say this every year, but I can’t quite believe that it is December already. This has been a truly tumultuous year, and I hope you are able to take time over the Christmas period to be with your friends, family, and loved ones. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all.


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