Thank you to everyone looking out for each other

As the Prime Minister warned this week, each and every one of us should be vigilant about the potential for a second wave of coronavirus. It remains incredibly important that people are sensible and social distance wherever possible going forward.
 
But it is also a good time to say thank you to those across our community who have made special contributions during what have been strange and difficult times recently. This week in Parliament, I singled out a few of them when I raised the issue of mental health support with the Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
 
Loneliness and isolation have been the constant companion of many over these last few weeks. Yet volunteers in our area such as Tracy Carr of Talk It Out, Beverley-Jayne Last of Super Neighbours, and the occupational therapist Justine Norris have been working tirelessly to help support the mental health and wellbeing of so many people stuck at home. I know that there are many more who have made such a difference, including excellent organisations like Together4Dover, and I want to thank everyone who has played their part.
 
In response Matt Hancock paid tribute to the “community spirit” of our area and said they deserved the whole country’s gratitude. I completely agree.  I have been so proud of how our community has swung into action– from our amazing local healthcare workers to our Super Neighbours, the local business PPE supply service and everyone single person out there who has made sacrifices.
 
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove wrote to me just this week to thank our area’s critical workers, after I raised the experience of a local lorry driver turned away from a shop in a different area that was serving frontline emergency workers but wouldn’t serve him. There are so many out there doing vital jobs to keep the country going. All of us should be grateful and remember them in the next stage of the pandemic.
 
Locally we have been drawing up a recovery plan – and it’s clear that our focus should be on making sure the next stage works for Dover & Deal. That means doing even more to maximise our port operations, revitalising the ferry industry with the return of duty free and tourist traffic. It means capitalising on leaving the EU, with our area having a world-leading border that matches the country’s ambition to trade with the whole world.
 
And it means making the most of our seafronts. More and more people are looking to take their holidays in this country – and our area has so much going for it.
 
I want to thank everyone again who has made sacrifices recently.
 
I know that if we continue to work together and look out for each other, our community will emerge from this stronger than ever before.

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