As you will have seen in the news last week, the government has made a firm decision to cancel the northern stage of the HS2 project and reallocate funding to other infrastructure programmes across the country. I am delighted that the Camelford Bypass (A39) has been included as one of the schemes. The increased funding is another step towards the delivery of the project. I have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that Camelford was one of the schemes that benefited, and I will continue to work with local government and national government on its delivery.
At the party conference this week I made time to visit several groups on behalf of constituents including, the Alzheimer's Society where we discussed their work and what politicians can do to help those suffering from this disease, and those caring for them. I took the opportunity to speak with the Post Office about local services. I stressed again to the CEO, Nick Read, that we needed services back up and running in Wadebridge and Kilkhampton as soon as possible. He assured me that both are getting extra attention and they’re working towards a solution. The NFU is another organisation I always make time for and it was good to see them at the conference. They’ve given me much to think about before I head back to Parliament.
The government has launched the application process for the Community Automated External Defibrillators (AED) fund. Local organisations can now apply for a grant to fund a life-saving defibrillator for their local area. Backed by £1 million of government funding, the defibrillator grant will provide at least 1,000 new defibrillators for community spaces across England. Each new defibrillator will be externally mounted to enable 24-hour access by members of the public. Defibrillators provide vital treatment, with the latest research showing that the use of these devices within three to five minutes of a cardiac arrest increases the chance of survival by over 40%. To receive funding, community organisations will be asked to demonstrate that defibrillators will be placed in areas where they are most needed, such as rural areas, places with high footfall or spaces for vulnerable people. Examples include town halls, community centres, local shops, post offices and local parks, as these spaces ensure that defibrillators are evenly spread throughout communities and easily accessible if someone is experiencing an unexpected cardiac arrest. The funding is part of our drive to equip the health system with the right technology to help save lives. Applications for funding will be submitted to Smarter Society and the London Hearts Charity, who have been jointly chosen to manage the grant funding as they will bring industry knowledge of defibrillators and an understanding of where they should be installed. Applications for funding can be made by visiting the following link https://www.defibgrant.co.uk/#apply