Over the summer, the Government unveiled a new £1.57 billion fund to support the cultural and heritage sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m pleased to see it supporting our sector here in the Forest of Dean.
Clearwell Mine Management Ltd will receive a grant of £43,800 from this Culture Recovery Fund, supporting a key local tourist attraction and major amenity for geologists and historians, visiting schools and colleges, as well as military training organisations.
The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust is also set to get a grant of £146,000 which will help preserve its 4.5-mile-long sculpture trail. We are fortunate to have such a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to appreciate art in our beautiful woodlands, and I am happy that the Government has recognised this.
In recent weeks, concerns were raised with me by Cllr Alan Preest, Lydney’s Town, District and County Councillor, and Forest of Dean constituent Sarah Taylor Phillips about the latest changes in CrossCountry train timetables due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Following this, I held a Zoom meeting with CrossCountry Trains and my Monmouth colleague David TC Davies MP to ensure CrossCountry assist school children from the Forest of Dean and Monmouthshire to arrive in Cheltenham and Gloucester in a timely manner for school each day.
I am pleased that CrossCountry has committed to resume the morning departures from Chepstow at 0715 and Lydney at 0724 to Gloucester after the half-term break, starting on Monday 2nd November. Furthermore, CrossCountry will also continue to work with local stakeholders to find realistic options to replace the afternoon return service at the end of the school day.
Finally, I continue to have regular COVID-19 calls with local NHS, Gloucestershire County Council and my fellow Gloucestershire MPs. Our most recent call was last Friday, where we discussed the most up to date data for our area.
I want to take this opportunity to reassure all of my constituents that we have a fantastic local director of public health in Gloucestershire, Sarah Scott, and I have real confidence in her and her team at the county council. As ever, I ask all constituents to try and follow the relevant guidance.