A huge Horsham crowd on Sunday witnessed a formidable turnout of Scouts, Cubs and Beaver packs for the St George’s Day Scout Parade. It was a vivid demonstration of how much support scouting garners locally.
It was an impressive community event on a sunny spring day. I have had the pleasure of joining over 300 local charity or community events in the last two years – everyone is different and everyone has a style of its own but Horsham has a tremendous track record of delivering the goods!
Parliament remains very much in action this week and I joined fellow MPs on Tuesday to quiz Charles Horton, CEO of Southern Rail. We are all determined to maintain the pressure on Southern: they know that far as we are concerned no option is “off the table” on future structure and governance. I also shared concerns on disabled access and ticketing. No one takes the recent improvement in performance (from an astonishingly low base) for granted but there is though a real sense that the service is slowly becoming more dependable.
Another piece of good news, already reported by the County Times, has been the Government’s announcement of the progress being made towards getting three new schools in the Horsham area including new primaries in Kilnwood Vale and Broadbridge Heath. I have pushed hard for both with the Department for Education and the news has been eagerly awaited. In Broadbridge Heath the focus will, I know, be on how effectively the new and existing primaries could collaborate to meet the needs of the whole community: I am aware that a great deal of imaginative thought is going into this.
Proposed new schools do not mean that local concerns on school funding have yet been resolved: on this the consultation is ongoing and I am hopeful of a good outcome. As with most Fridays in term time I am looking forward to making school visits this Friday. I have undertaken over 50 in the last two years, focussing in part on school-specific issues but also talking to the students whose enthusiasm (and often directness!) is – like the Scouts last weekend - enormous fun.
Photo caption: With members of Shipley Scout Group in Carfax for the St George's Day parade.