MP's column

This Friday, 10th January I will be in St Ives Library from 8.30 until 10am and available for anyone who wishes to raise an issue or concern with me on a one-to-one basis. On Friday, 24th the same will apply but this time in Helston Central Methodist Church. I hold these drop-ins each month in both St Ives and Helston. On all other Friday mornings I hold a traditional MP’s surgery by appointment in Penzance. If you wish to make an appointment or for any other reason please email me at derek.thomas.mp@parliament.uk or call the constituency office on 01736 363038.

For less private discussions I plan to continue my informal ‘drop-in’ events in local pubs on Friday evenings. You can email me for details of these or go to derekthomas.org. This Friday (10th) I’ll be at the Sloop Inn, St Ives at 5.30pm for an hour.

In recent years I’ve taken the opportunity to formally thank the army of volunteers who do so much on behalf of us all across West Cornwall. These Thank You Events take place once again as follows: Saturday, 25th January at Helston Bowling Club 10am for volunteers and community organisations in and around Helston; Saturday, 1st February at Hope Church 10am for volunteers and community organisations in and around Penzance; Saturday, 8th February at the Salvation Army, St Ives 10am for volunteers and community organisations in and around St Ives. This year we are inviting voluntary groups to host a stand explaining how people can volunteer and these events are open to all existing volunteers and anyone planning to get involved. Come along and find out how!

In the run-up to Christmas I was alerted to the closure for refurbishment of the First and Last Pub in Sennen. Sennen residents are understandably concerned about renovation work at the pub planned by the owners Heritage GB – and in particular, the lack of consultation with locals about what changes are being planned.

The timing of the closure of the pub is also unfortunate (just before the Christmas festivities) and I have written to the CEO of Heritage GB about this and the possible detrimental effect that the closure will have on the livelihoods of staff members. Naturally, Heritage GB have every right to make whatever changes they see fit within the restrictions of the pub’s listed status but I would argue that it would be beneficial to find out the opinions of the people who use the facilities most often and who consider the pub to be the heart of their community. I have enquired about the possibility of a meeting with a few residents which I hope would be mutually beneficial as this will give the owners the opportunity to provide reassurance about their plans for the First & Last. I know that the First and Last is a valued local pub and feedback on what the people of Sennen are looking for from their local to the owners can only be a plus.