As well as going to work, this week I have been dealing with the Capstone Valley announcement; was invited to a "new generation" dinner at the BBC; attended my Association's Executive meeting; coached the girls football team; went to Norwich where I bumped into the Conservative campaign team for the Norwich North by-election; drove down to Hythe to see my best friend who is over from Australia and 4 months pregnant with her first child; and been to the wedding of a friend in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire.
And all this fitted around a Friday off in the constituency where I met with the Snodland based Valley of Visions team to hear about the variety of projects they are co-ordinating to conserve the Medway Gap within the Kent Downs. It was fascinating to hear what they are trying to do, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and to learn about all the wonderful wildlife that exists within the valley. After leaving Snodland I headed up to Chatham to attend a seminar hosted by MCCH Medway about Pathways to Inclusion. Bizarrely I knew the man from Cabinet Office who came to speak about the Adults facing Chronic Exclusion programme and it was good to hear him present to the group. He spoke quite candidly about future spending issues and the need for reviews to ensure that proper cost benefit analyses could be done on programmes. I got the impression that the Pathways to Inclusion scheme was (rightly) very well regarded and I certainly look forward to hearing more about it in the future. That meeting was followed by one at the Council with the Deputy Leader, Cllr Alan Jarrett, to discuss current initiatives across Chatham and to give my views on certain 'live' issues concerning people. As the only candidate in Medway not on the Council I found it an extremely useful meeting.
Then yesterday, a large group of Conservative activists, including Gravesend MP Adam Holloway and helpers from Bearsted, Faversham and Rochester, gathered to help deliver 23000 petitions to residents across Chatham calling for the Government to stop trying to build houses on Capstone Valley. The petitions are already coming back and people are emailing me to get more cards. I hope this time, third time lucky, the people of Chatham are listened to!