From your local MP – David Johnston

I was really pleased with how my Pensioners’ Fair in Wantage went. Lots of pensioners came and were able to get information and advice from a wide range of organisations that took stalls, including Vale Community Impact, Carers Oxfordshire, Thames Valley Police and Grove Day Centre. My thanks again to Driving Miss Daisy in Didcot for sponsoring it.
Last month, I officially opened Soha Housing’s new building in Wallingford, Frances Curtis Court. It provides retirement living options and I was very impressed that they had managed to build it on time and on budget despite the pandemic. It was particularly nice that Frances Curtis’s Grandson was able to be there for the event, too.
Andy Baker is a local hero in Didcot and I am proud to be a patron of his charity, Play2Give. It was great to be able to be at his 2023 Gatsby Ball last month, a really great event with 140 people in attendance. It celebrated his organisation having now raised more than £100,000 for Oxford Children’s Hospital. Well done, Andy!
Two things for you and your families to participate in before next month. I have just launched my annual Christmas Card Competition for primary school children. It’s open till the 13th November and entries need to be on an A4 page – the winning design will go on the front of my card!
I’ve also opened a survey asking what you think about the PM’s proposal to increase the age you can buy cigarettes by a year every year so that a 14-year-old today is never able to buy one. Find details about both on And do please sign my Grove Station Petition while you’re there if you haven’t!
It’s been a very busy first few weeks as Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing. I’ve met with lots of individuals and charities that support work in the areas I’m now responsible for; helped to launch a new £70 million programme to improve the support children with special educational needs get; responded on behalf of the Government in a debate about the role of kinship carers (family members who take children in who can’t live with their parents); hosted visits by Ministers from Sweden and the Netherlands to share ideas; and launched more of the Government’s work to reform children’s social care.
There’ve been plenty of visits, too – including to nurseries, a family hub, a children’s home and the Seashell Trust, a charity that supports children with learning disabilities and autism. There’s lots to do – the Special Educational Needs, Alternative Provision and Children’s Social Care System are all being significantly reformed simultaneously and, at the same time, the Government is making the single largest investment in childcare ever to dramatically increase the free hours of childcare parents can claim. This constituency will always be my primary focus but I’m very much enjoying my additional responsibilities so far.
As ever, if I can help with anything then do please get in touch via

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