August 2015

Weekly letters to my constituents

Caroline in Parliament

August 2015

August 25th 2015

As regular readers may remember, I recently met with representatives of Beat, the UK’s leading charity providing help and support to people suffering from eating disorders.

Beat are a charity I have come to know well and, as the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image, I have seen the difference they make to the lives of people who suffer from the largely unknown mental health condition’s which form eating disorders.

I have therefore chosen to raise money for this deserving charity by running the Great South Run in October. The course is 10 miles long and begins near the Portsmouth War Memorial before weaving through the streets of the city, past the Spinnaker Tower, HMS Victory and the Historic Dockyard before heading toward Southsea and the Esplanade. I am not a professional runner and this will be an interesting challenge, but one that I am looking forward to in the hope of raising awareness of, and funds for, this fantastic charity.

I have already begun a training schedule which – I hope – will prepare me for the run. While it will certainly be tiring, the course has an end in sight – the constant feeling of exhaustion experienced by sufferers of Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia does not and without help from charities like Beat, many people suffer in silence.

I am delighted by the progress which has already been made in recognising eating disorders as mental health conditions, however much more needs to be done to help the thousands of people of both sexes and all ages, who are affected.

You can keep track of my training by visiting my Facebook page or Twitter profile and you can donate to my campaign by going to Next week I shall return to writing about my work in Parliament, however in the meantime, please help by supporting me in raising funds for such a worthwhile and important charity.


August 18th 2015

I had the pleasure of being able to help a budding television producer last week who came to interview me about body image anxiety. This is a subject about which I know a great deal as I am the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image. Grace has previously worked on the Great British Bake Off and travelled to Romsey to record the interview for her final coursework. I am always very happy to be able to help students and have also met a number of journalism students from Southampton Solent University in the past.

Last week also brought the waiting of AS and A level students to an end with many relieved students beginning their journey toward a degree. For some students however, the results were not as they had hoped. This can be a very challenging time, however, there are other opportunities for those who didn’t achieve their potential. Apprenticeships are an excellent route into employment and provide young people with a qualification in whichever area they chose. I have employed a Business Administration apprentice in my office since last summer and am delighted by the progress she has made.

I also attended a Biz-Pedia lunch with local businesses from around the Southampton area. The company, started by a local entrepreneur, brings businesses together to discuss issues and find ways of helping each other. I was pleased to be able to talk about what the Government is doing to help small businesses and also to have the opportunity to listen to the concerns of business owners. Some of the issues raised included planning, rural broadband and bank lending, but also the importance of rural businesses to the economy. As the Member of Parliament for a large rural community I know how challenging it can be to start and grow a business so I am pleased to see events such as this bringing people together.


August 5th 2015

I held my monthly drop-in surgery at the Mill Arms in Dunbridge on Saturday and met with constituents on a range of issues. I then attended the unveiling of a new car to be used by Hampshire Constabulary in an effort to reduce the number of uninsured vehicles being used on the roads. The car, sponsored by insurance company Ageas, is fitted with number plate recognition technology and can alert officers to uninsured vehicles immediately.

I had the unique opportunity to visit one of Romsey and Southampton North’s hidden gems on Monday morning. CTC Aviation is one of only three pilot training centres in the UK which select, train and place student pilots with companies such as Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. I took the chance to fly an Airbus A320 simulator which was certainly a new experience for me. Thankfully I completed the flight safely and without incident.

I noticed how few women students were training and heard this was representative of the aviation industry as a whole. It seems girls are not encouraged to think about being a pilot when at school and therefore do not see flying as a realistic career prospect. I was pleased to discover CTC are putting women at the forefront of their advertising campaign for new students in the hope of encouraging more women to fly.

Immediately after visiting CTC Aviation I met with Women’s Aid who are doing crucial work for vulnerable women in the area. It’s vital that Women’s Aid continue to receive local and national support so they can continue their efforts in protecting women.

I am looking forward to seeing RAOD’s Youth Theatre production of Seussical the Musical later in the week.  It is always a great pleasure to watch their performances and the Plaza is always packed. Romsey is very lucky to have such a large number of performance groups in areas such as theatre, music and art. I was also pleased to be able to attend Hampshire Art and Craft’s Rum’s Eg Gallery to view their fascinating ‘Dovetail’ exhibit. The exhibition showcases sculptures and functional pieces using wood crafted by hand.


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