Home Start Arun
On Friday evening I attended a reception hosted by the Duchess of Norfolk at Arundel Castle in aid of Home Start Arun.
The charity is dedicated to the support of families in the local community, to ensure that young children get the best possible start in life.
In the last year alone, Home-Start Arun volunteers have supported 134 families and their 286 children. More than 3,000 children have been supported since the charity was set-up in 2000.
We heard not only from staff and volunteers at the charity, but also from people who had received help from it. This brave personal testimony from young parents who found themselves in real difficulty and found help from Home-Start’s caring team was very moving.
The aim of the evening was to broaden the local support base to create a network of people who are committed to the long-term sustainability of the charity.
Guests were invited to commit to help in whatever way they could, whether by volunteering, fundraising, communicating or donating. I was impressed by Home-Start and hope that as many people as possible will join their network.
The Duchess of Norfolk is a marvellous supporter of a number of charities, both local and national, and I hope that the reception which she held for Home Start will help to boost what is obviously a very good cause.
This has been a significant week for us locally as the Government announced that it would proceed with a third runway at Heathrow and not a second runway at Gatwick.
I believe this was the right decision, and the one recommended by the independent Airports Commission. London needs a hub airport. Expanding Gatwick would have been a mistake, attempting to create a rival hub (which never works) rather than a replacement.
The Airports Commission also said that Gatwick would have delivered less economic benefit and had poorer transport links. It would also massively have increased development pressure in West Sussex.
Next week I will be speaking in a Commons debate which West Sussex MPs have secured on schools funding. On schools, Gatwick, development, rail, the NHS and a host of other issues, we are working together to do our best for the local community.