The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘kindness matters’. With garden centres, including Groves Nurseries, and many local shops reopening; life is taking on some normality, which will be reassuring to those feeling isolated. Remember, help is always at hand through Bridport’s Community Support helpline on 01308 808900.

I’ve recently been introduced to a charity with kindness at its core. Shared Lives carers share their home and family life with a young person or adult who needs support with everyday life, find out more at I also want to support and raise the profile of fostering in Dorset, especially during Foster Care Fortnight. Dorset Council offers online drop-in sessions if you are considering this worthwhile opportunity.

In Westminster, I have spoken with the Prime Minister, sharing concerns of farmers about food standards of imported goods, in advance of the vote on the Agriculture Bill. On Wednesday, during Prime Minister’s Questions, I asked Boris Johnson to look again at support for constituents employed before 19th March but not eligible for the Job Retention Scheme. I have also written to the Secretary of State for Education about our return to schools to be thoroughly understood, particularly in respect of three-tier education. In addition, during online ministerial meetings, I’ve discussed broadband speeds; bus and rail services, illegal immigration on the Jurassic Coast and UK farming standards.

Although West Dorset has a relatively low number of Coronavirus cases, I share concerns about increased visitor numbers to the area as lockdown relaxes - although some fake social media reports about this are unhelpful. If we adhere to social distancing, it is not only safe but also important to start taking responsibility for ourselves; as the first step to returning our communities to recovery and normality, as well as reduce the indirect effects of this virus.