Greg was delighted to hear that a new outreach Post Office service will operate from Matfield Village Hall three times a week. The old Post Office that was located in InnStore closed at the end of March 2017 when the premises was converted into an office.
"Post Offices provide a vitally important service in rural villages so I have been pressing the Post Office to do everything it can to get a new service up and running in Matfield. I know the Parish Council and Matfield Village Hall Committee have both been working really hard to find a solution and it's great news for the village that they've been able to find a new location."
The new service will be open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am - 1pm in Matfield Village Hall.
Greg met with the Chief Executive of the Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Service (DAVSS), Mark Hutcheon, to discuss its recruitment drive for new volunteers.
Over the last year, DAVSS has supported over 800 people who have suffered from domestic abuse and responded to more than 500 helpline callers.
"The work that DAVSS does in our local area to support victims of domestic abuse is incredibly important. The charity depends on volunteers so if you feel you can offer any time, I know that they would be delighted to hear from you."
Volunteers can support DAVSS in a number of ways including direct interaction with victims (following professional training) or through support roles such as marketing, graphic design and fundraising.
Click here for more information.
Small Business Saturday is a campaign to encourage people to visit small businesses in their local area.
"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and vital to our economy, employing over 12.5million people nationally. It's really important that we recognise this contribution which is why I am a great supporter of Small Business Saturday.
"We have some thriving small businesses in Tunbridge Wells and it's vital that we continue to encourage this entrepreneurial spirit."
Following a consultation earlier in the year on the future of the South Eastern rail network, the Department for Transport has published the improvements which will be expected from the new franchise holder. Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark submitted his response to the Department's consultation in June, which was informed by the priorities of his constituents and input from his Rail Action Group of local commuters. Following the publication of the Department's report, Greg said:
"I was pleased to see that a number of key priorities from my response have made the Department for Transport's list of requirements for the next operator. This includes providing 40,000 more seats through longer trains and committing them to new standards of communications and customer service. The Department has listened to the concerns many people had about possible cuts to rural services, and has committed to protecting at the very least the existing service levels from stations such as Paddock Wood, Marden and Staplehurst. Passengers will also be able to benefit from improved compensation, with Delay Repay available after only 15 minutes, and Wi-Fi will be provided across the entire network. Smart ticketing will also be expanded, and I was delighted to see a commitment to introducing a carnet or other type of more flexible ticket for regular but not full-time commuters.
I very much welcome that the next operator will be held to a higher standard, and will expected to deliver a service that's more in line with what passengers deserve."
Greg visited the Freight Transport Association on Friday, planting a tree to mark the national trade association's forty years in the town before meeting with staff to discuss transport matters.
Commenting on his visit, Greg said:
"The Freight Transport Association has been the voice of Britain's transport industry for well over a century, now employing nearly four hundred people and representing over 16,000 members. They recognise what a great place Tunbridge Wells is to work, live and do business and so I was particularly pleased to join them in celebrating the fortieth anniversary of their move to the town. I wish the FTA and tree alike many years of healthy growth here in Tunbridge Wells."
Greg and the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Julia Soyke, joined volunteers of Operation Christmas Child as they sort thousands of wrapped shoeboxes containing presents. The 30,000 shoeboxes are sent to children living in Eastern Europe, central Asia and Africa.
Greg thanked Markerstudy for providing the venue and to the company's staff and others for volunteering to check and pack the Christmas boxes.
Greg met with the Chief Executive of the Alzheimer's Society, Jeremy Hughes, during a visit to their local day support service at Hazeldene House in Pembury.
During the visit, Greg also chatted to people with dementia and their carers.
"For people with dementia, isolation can a big problem. Day services like this are incredibly important as they give people with dementia, family members and carers the opportunity to come together in an informal setting and share their experiences."
Greg visited the Raj Pavilion restaurant in Tunbridge Wells to congratulate its chef, Soyl Miah, on winning an annual Curry Life Award.
"To be named as one of the best curry chefs in the country is a remarkable achievement and this national recognition enhances Tunbridge Wells' reputation for good quality food. The Raj Pavilion is much loved by many Tunbridge Wells' residents and visitors and is a great supporter of good causes in the community. It's great to see the restaurant get this award."
One of my proudest moments each year as the Member of Parliament for Tunbridge Wells is laying a wreath on Remembrance Sunday at the War memorial. This year's commemoration, last Sunday, was as ever, meticulously organised; and on a cold but sunny morning it was wonderful to see a crowd that filled the road in front of the memorial united in tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.
Since I joined the Cabinet, I have been able to be present on Whitehall for the national service, led by the Queen at the Cenotaph. Two years ago I had the privilege of officially reviewing the civilian services on parade there – the police officers, firefighters and ambulance men and women whose bravery, dedication and service in times peace as well as times of war is too easily taken for granted. But as great an honour it is to be at the London event, it is our local ceremony that most powerfully brings home to me the debt we owe to the people who lived and worked in places that are so familiar to us – homes to which they never returned.
Many of us, on Remembrance Sunday, begin the day at the Southborough parade which takes place before the main one in Tunbridge Wells. The Southborough War Memorial has one of the most beautiful settings of any in the country – in the corner of Southborough Common, by the cricket field close to St Peter's Church and shaded by magnificent oaks in their final autumn colours.
Yet what is engraved on it stands in contrast to the idyllic setting. Out of the total of 252 names, 207 men of Southborough and High Brooms who fell in World War I are listed, and then 45 who were killed in world War II and other conflicts. Scarcely a family was spared, with many names still familiar locally today. Twenty four of the names are from among the 155 men who perished in the sinking of HMS Hythe near the Dardanelles on 28 October 1915 – a tragedy further commemorated in a marble carving now in St Matthew's Church, High Brooms.
The Tunbridge Wells memorial contains 972 names, and I have always found its arresting, fine statue of a soldier standing alert and ready for combat both powerful and moving. It raises up a man rather than an abstraction. In doing so, it conveys wider themes of courage and duty as being of us, rather than separate from us.
A bigger crowd gathers every year, and during my time the previous weekend selling poppies in the Royal Victoria Place with the British Legion, it seemed to me that the desire to be part of the commemoration was as strong with younger people as it was with the generation who had experienced service at first hand.
As each year goes by, fewer of the people who defended us when we were in peril are left among us.
The columnist Simon Jenkins wrote in a newspaper last week that it is time to draw a line under what he called the "wars of the 20th century" and to begin to forget. I could not disagree more. We must never forget the sacrifices, not only of those who died, but of those generations who endured the horrors and deprivations of war to allow us to live the lives that we live today.
There must be no complacency, no wishful thinking that our way of life is unassailable. In whatever way each of us can, we must always be ready to stand up for freedom and strive for peace.
Following two serious road traffic accidents in Hawkhurst, Greg has expressed his frustration at the lack of progress on changing the policy on the location of new fixed speed cameras so that it takes Speedwatch data into account.
"Last summer, I called a meeting with Kent Highways and the police to press the case for using data collected by Speedwatch volunteers to help inform the location of new fixed speed cameras. At the moment, the criteria for installing speed cameras is based on the number of fatal or serious accidents along a particular stretch of road. Speedwatch provides accurate information on where people are regularly breaking the speed limit and I think this also needs to be taken into account. One of the villages I cited at that meeting was Hawkhurst where Speedwatch volunteers had observed the highest proportion of speeders compared to any other Speedwatch scheme in the whole of Kent and very sadly there have recently been two very serious road traffic accidents – one involving fatalities.
"It is unacceptable, therefore, that whilst both Kent Highways and the police promised to review their stance on this, they remain of the opinion that Speedwatch data should not influence the location of new speed cameras. I have asked them to urgently reconsider their position."
Hawkhurst has the highest combined score (47/60) of any Speedwatch scheme in Kent (the next highest is 37/60). This score is based on the number of speeders observed per active session day, the proportion of excessive speeders and the proportion of advice letters generated.
During 2014 and 2015, Hawkhurst Speedwatch recorded the highest number of speeders in Kent (8,453 compared with 7,349 for the next highest scheme).
Six of the eight highest speeders recorded throughout Kent in 40mph zones were in Hawkhurst.
The two recent accidents took place in Hawkhurst on Sunday 24 September 2017 where three people died after a car crashed into a wall and on Sunday 22 October 2017 where two people were injured.
Greg was delighted to hear that a new outreach Post Office service will operate from Matfield...
Greg met with the Chief Executive of the Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Service (DAVSS), Mark...
Small Business Saturday is a campaign to encourage people to visit small businesses in their local...
Following a consultation earlier in the year on the future of the South Eastern rail network, the...