Monthly Archives: June 2011


brampton and beyond community trust

Rory  put his weight behind a bid from Brampton and Beyond Community trust to acquire the Irthing Centre from the County Council. The trust currently leases the site and would like to take ownership to expand its activities. The Trust is a registered company and charity that aims to improve the social, environmental and economic well-being of the community by operating a resource centre offering services such as childcare, a youth club, adult education classes, and local minibus hire. The Trust hopes to expand its membership in order to help increase its activities.

Rory met with parents, children and staff at the children’s centre, and then spent time in the adult sewing club before meeting students in the adult computing class. He discussed with Trustees plans to expand the Trust’s activities, as well as its current drive to increase membership. The Trust hopes in the future to open a community shop, a visitor hostel, a community cafe, and an arts centre, as well as many other initiatives designed to increased community involvement.

Rory said: “Brampton and Beyond is an excellent model of a local community Trust, and one that I would love to see replicated around the constituency. If successful, the Trust has the potential to create a vibrant and inclusive hub in the centre of Brampton, serving a very substantial area of the surrounding district. I was enormously impressed by the activities already going on at the Irthing Centre, and can see from the parents using the children’s centre and the students in the computing class what a huge difference it already makes to local lives. Largely due to the excellent motivation of the Trustees, I have no doubt that the Trust’s plans for the future are most definitely achievable, and I encourage anyone living in the area to consider becoming a member. The more weight the organisation has, the more likely it is to achieve its goals.”

Mike Downham, Chairman of the Trust said: “We were very pleased to welcome Rory Stewart MP to Brampton Community Centre and to meet with the Trustees. The Centre staff were encouraged by Rory’s detailed interest and questions, and the Trustees valued his quick grasp and supportive reactions to our efforts to contribute benefit to the people of Brampton and the surrounding area. Now we are concentrating on our negotiations with the County Council to secure the Irthing Centre site for long-term community benefit, and on getting everyone in the community to consider signing up as a member of the new Trust, and to come to have their say at our first Annual Meeting on 30th June at 7.30 in Brampton Community Centre.”

Picture attached. Caption: Rory and Katie Douglass at the adult sewing class



single farm payments


Rory called yesterday in Parliament for more vigorous lobbying for British farmers in Europe in the next round of Common Agricultural Policy negotiations. In a Westminster Hall debate, the local MP highlighted the importance of payments to farmers in order to protect food production and ensure the survival of hill farming communities. He said Britain needed to intensify its diplomatic efforrts to make sure British farmers were as well supported as German and French farmers in the next round of negotiations on EU Agricultural policy. This required he said more focus from British Embassies in Europe.

Speaking in the debate he said: “Single farm payments are vital to everybody. We see that every day in Cumbria, where such payments are necessary for the support of our hill farms. The entire agricultural
economy depends on those payments.

The local MP criticised the “unacceptable” and “debilitating delays” in payments by the Rural Payments Agency and called on the Minister to press ahead with his reforms to agency systems. He also criticised
rigid and inappropriate imposition of environmental schemes, particularly on stocking levels. There needed he said to be much more commonsense and “local flexibility”.

He also spoke of the need to establish a board in Cumbria to protect Newton Rigg agricultural college from any asset-stripping and raised the recent incidence of bovine TB in Plumpton, calling for all necessary action to be taken to prevent the disease from occurring again. He commented: “It is vital that we deal with tuberculosis. Whilst it seems in this particular case to to have been caused by the movement of cows from areas that are already TB-infected, and the infection may then have spread to the badger population, any measures – including proper control of badgers – must be taken. TB in our cows is completely unacceptable.”

make the constituency a wind turbine free zone…

Over two hundred people from all over Cumbria and south-west Scotland came together on Saturday 4th June at the Solway Moss near Longtown in a demonstration against inappropriate wind farms organised and led by Rory. The rally, which brought together campaigners from Longtown, Bewcastle, Sleagill and Reagill, Berrier Hill, Cumwhinton, Rosley, Great Broughton and Girvan, highlighted the depth of opposition to “inappropriate wind turbine developments” in the area, which has a history of hard-fought campaigns against wind energy developers.

Rory said: “The largest element of our economy is tourism. It is this constituency’s life-blood. The landscape of the northern Lake District is dear not only to those who live here but to all Britons and to millions around the world. Wreck that landscape and you wreck our economy. Cumbria has already agreed to play a large role in reducing the nation’s carbon emissions by building three new nuclear power stations which will generate more than a thousand times the energy of an average wind-turbine. Why should we also wreck our landscape and through it our economy with inappropriate wind-turbines?”

Rory has also supported a website, which will bring groups together to share information and campaign. He argued that the issues facing opposition groups in Longtown and Bewcastle were exactly the same as those in Rosley, Sleagill and Reagill, or Berrier Hill, and advocated solidarity in the fight against proposed developments. In his speech on Saturday he said: “People say glibly that you can’t pay the bills with the landscape: here, that is exactly what we do. People don’t come to Cumbria for its food, architecture or weather alone: people come to Cumbria because it represents a rural ideal of England. There is emotion, passion and history in our relationship with our landscape, and it is our landscape that we want to protect. Allegations that we are NIMBYs are so untrue; none of us are that. Here today are some of the most committed and engaged members of our local communities, and we are engaged because we love our landscape so deeply.”

The area of Beck Burn – on which nine 425ft-high turbines are proposed to be built – is a site of great ecological and historical importance. The proposed application has brought together a group of local residents opposed to the development, and is led by mother and daughter team Dorothy Siddle and Annette Trotter. Speaking at the Moss, Mrs Siddle said: “How will this historic peat bog ever be restored to its former state if we build nine – or possibly fifteen – turbines here? Each one involves thousands of tonnes of cement in the ground. It will ruin the natural habitat, which is a natural carbon sink. Rare night-flying migratory birds will suffer. These developments damage our land, and are completely contrary to all arguments of preservation and environmental protection.”

The outdoor demonstration was followed by a panel discussion and presentations in Longtown community centre by leading regional activists such as Dr Mike Hall of FELLS (Friends of Eden, Lakeland and Lunesdale Scenery) and Duncan Griggs of NOWT NE Cumbria.

For more information, please visit

carers week

Rory  has teamed up with TV presenter Angela Rippon to support this year’s Carers Week (13-19 June) and recognise the contribution made by those people in Penrith and the Border and throughout the UK who provide unpaid care for those who are ill, frail or disabled. The theme for Carers Week 2011 is ‘The True Face of Carers’. It calls for greater recognition of the diverse range of people who have caring responsibilities. The work they carry out is vital for their families and friends, and for their communities.

Rory and Angela have joined together to pay tribute to carers, and to urge that they receive more support in their caring roles. Rory said: “Caring is something which is vital to Penrith and the Border, and we
are immensely proud of our rich history of volunteering, and caring for those in our communities. We are lucky to be home to some excellent local charities who do such an amazing job of supporting those in need, and I would like to pay tribute to them: Cilla Clarke and Julie Gaulton of Eden Carers, Julie Allen and the team at Hospice at Home, and Carole Ferguson and her volunteers at Eden Valley Hospice. These are just some of the charities that make up a strong patchwork of local groups who all have at their heart the needs of others. I am actively working with our caring charities here in the constituency to make sure that we are able to use advances in tele-medicine and tele-care to benefit our rural communities, and together we will continue to combat the problems of rural isolation and poverty.”

Angela Rippon has personal experience of being a carer. She says: “For a number of years now I’ve become aware of the extraordinary job that carers do throughout this country. I feel that it’s important that anybody who has any knowledge at all stands up and be counted for them and make the job that they do public, because they should not be invisible, they should be out there and being seen as the heroes and heroines that they are. It’s a strain that people accept willingly and lovingly, and if they’re prepared to do that, I think that as a civilised nation we should be prepared to do something in return.”

Other celebrities supporting this campaign include Dame Judi Dench, Sir David Jason OBE, Jack Charlton OBE and Martin Lewis.

Carers Week is organised by a partnership of 9 national charities: Age UK, Carers UK, Counsel & Care, Crossroads Care, Dementia UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, MS Society, Parkinson’s UK, and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers. For more information about local events and activities taking place as part of Carers Week, visit