A NEW year is often seen as a fresh start.

A chance to re-write our to-do lists, pause and consider our priorities.

We can be full of optimism for the 12 months ahead.

Turning to my own priorities for the New Year, I am fortunate to have heard from hundreds of residents already since the election.

I am currently focusing on urgent cases and working through correspondence. One key task is to finalise setting up my offices and hiring staff to increase my case work coverage and surgery meetings. Please keep an eye out for the adverts if you are interested in working with me.

The climate emergency impacts us all so I will be liaising with local climate action groups, including the Youth Strike team, Nailsworth Climate Action Network and the Green party who have all made contact. I cannot wait to reactivate my #FurtherEducationFriday campaign to promote skills and life-long learning with SGS Stroud. I also look forward to visiting as many schools as possible and meeting the youth council.

As we enter the EU future relationship negotiations, I will be assisting local farmers, businesses and residents, together with pursuing government funding for our high streets and transport links while working with local councils to review previous bids.

Finally, I want to push the government in its focus on social care and early intervention for families.

The above points are of course not exhaustive, and I am sure you all have great ideas. I look forward to hearing from as many of you as possible during 2020 as I am excited to start this new decade working together to achieve for Stroud, the Valleys and Vale.

I wish you all a happy New Year.