Howard's Way 16 March 2006

Contributed by editor on Mar 16, 2006 - 12:15 AM


HOWARD'S WAY.... a weekly column from Michael Howard MP

March 2006<IMG height=195 hspace=10 src="images/michaelhoward3.jpg" width=130 align=right vspace=10 border=0>

First stop last Friday was St Peter’s Church of England Primary School in The Durlocks.

The school is planning a stage performance of ‘Oliver’ in June and has secured a grant from the National Lottery of £2000 to pay for it. I handed over the cheque and stayed for assembly.

There I learned a fascinating piece of information which was entirely new to me. Miss Blunt, the head teacher, was basing a homily around jelly babies, during the course of which she informed me that they started off as peace babies in 1918 at the end of the First World War. They were later discontinued and revived as jelly babies in 1953 after sweet rationing was ended. You and live and learn.

Next stop was the Burstin Hotel for the launch of CASE, Immunity Action South East Kent. The event was a celebration of voluntary work in the area. Another fascinating fact emerged. 1 in 11 of the region’s residents do some voluntary work.

That means a total of 726,000 people volunteer. What if we managed to increase that to 2 in 11? That would mean nearly 1 ½ million people taking part in voluntary work. I am convinced that there are many people who would volunteer if only they were asked.

If you want to do some voluntary work and don’t know what to do or how to go about it, phone the Shepway Volunteer centre on 01303-253339.

My last call was on the Shepway Primary Care Trust. This was one of my regular meetings with the Trust.

High on my list of concerns was the state of NHS dentistry in our area. The Government has given dentists a new contract but has failed to provide Primary Care Trusts with the money to pay for it.

That has caused real difficulties for the Trust. Chief Executive Ann Sutton assured me that she was doing all she can to square the circle. I hope our efforts succeed.