WEEKLY COLUMN by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie 

I WAS pleased to learn from the Minister that GL11 Community Project in Cam has received more than £60,000 from the Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund.

This money is designed to help support people under severe pressure because of the increased cost of living. Government provided millions of pounds to the National Lottery Community Fund so that local organisations can bid for support.

GL11 provides training and education opportunities for communities. It delivers recreational and social opportunities through drop-ins for groups, families and individuals aimed at reducing isolation and benefitting the wider community.

There are many amazing charities across Stroud, the Valleys and Vale who I see winning Government backed bids.

This support comes shortly after Berkeley Trinity Community Hub and Library was granted £130,000 form the Community Ownership Fund.

I supported this bid and I am delighted they were successful. I will keep backing local projects.

Winter can be a really tough time for some public services and I am saddened that junior doctors continue to strike with more industrial action scheduled in the new year at the busiest time for hospitals. Around 88,000 appointments had to be cancelled in England last week because of the strike. This is hindering the ability of the NHS to tackle the Covid backlog of much needed operations.

Junior doctors have asked for a whopping 35% - something no government could ever agree to but the BMA is determined despite inflation falling down to 3.9%.

I do support the best possible pay for those who work in the public sector but it needs to be affordable for the country.

I hope the BMA can reach a settlement like has happened with other health workers and we can avoid more unhelpful strikes.

This is my last column of 2023 and I would like to wish SNJ readers a safe and prosperous new year.

I would also like to thank the SNJ for the vitally important part it plays across the district as a trusted source of news.