Monthly Archives: August 2012


Rory encourages his constituents to enter ‘Village SOS’ competition – ‘No community is too small’

Rory is calling on Penrith and the Border’s constituents to get involved with the Village SOS initiative – a joint programme of the Big Lottery Fund in collaboration with leaders in the rural enterprise sector such as the Plunkett Foundation, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), Co-operatives UK and Locality – which is funding rural villages and small towns to start community businesses that have the potential to breathe new life into their areas and create jobs.

Village SOS is looking to award grants of between £10,000-£50,000 for enterprising community projects, and any community with less than 3,000 residents is invited to apply. It has already supported many shops, cafes, pubs, transport schemes, community broadband and energy projects, set up by locals who worked together to breathe new life into where they live.

The deadline for the current funding round if September 12th 2012.

Rory said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for any village or small town in the constituency to bid for a tranche of very welcome funding. It’s an initiative that is extremely relevant to our constituency. If your village has an interesting idea for a community enterprise, and has fewer than 3,000 people living in it, please do consider applying to become a member village. Let’s continue to put Cumbria on the map for its extraordinary volunteers and community enterprise. I will of course be happy to personally support any community initiative that is eligible for the Village SOS Competition.”

Applications from voluntary and community groups or organisations such as charities, village hall committees, associations, trusts, co-operatives or social enterprises are welcome, as well as from parish, town or community councils, where it can be evidenced that local residents have clearly shaped the project.

For more information about the Village SOS application process please visit



Rory hosts ministerial visit in bid to rescue Longtown munitions site


Rory today hosted a constituency visit to the Ministry of Defence Munitions site at Longtown from Peter Luff MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology. The Minister was met by Rory Stewart and his colleagues John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle, and David Mundell, MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale in a three-hour site visit that included lunchtime meetings with staff and Trade Union representatives, County and City Council executives, and local councillors. The meeting was the culmination of the local MPs’ strenuous lobbying efforts, which have been ongoing for over two years. This has involved numerous meetings with staff and Trade Union representatives themselves, the Minister Peter Luff, and officials within both the MoD and the Weapons Inspectorate.


Rory said: “We have one goal, which is the retention of the site at Longtown. It fulfils an invaluable role, not only to our defence systems nationally, but to the local economy, employing a significant proportion of residents in the Longtown, Carlisle and Gretna areas. Three-hundred jobs are at risk which, proportionately, would be a huge loss to our local economy. However, above all, this is an extremely important site logistically, in terms of its capabilities, the expertise deployed by a staff – with a very low turnover – and its important infrastructure links. To close the site seems short-sighted and inflexible; the MoD have operated a successful site here for many years, and it is the backbone of Longtown’s economy. I trust that the Minister has been able to see, today, the clear arguments for its survival, and we are hopeful for a positive outcome. We have certainly done our best today to highlight the site’s benefits, and will not tire in our campaign to see the site stay and thrive in Longtown for many more years.”



Rory to chair dairy farming conference attended by agriculture minister

Rory Stewart is to chair an afternoon dairy farming conference at Dolphenby Farm, Edenhall, Penrith on Tuesday 21st August, which will be attended by the Minister for Agriculture Jim Paice.

The conference is the culmination of Rory’s efforts in support of Cumbrian dairy farmers, who have experienced a summer of crisis as liquid milk rice reductions have dropped at an unprecedented rate. Rory has held emergency talks with the NFU and dairy farmers from his constituency, attended a historic summit in Westminster (alongside thousands of the country’s farmers), and has personally lobbied the Prime Minister and Ministers within DEFRA for urgent action to be taken.

The conference’s aim is to map a way forward for Cumbria’s dairy industry, and will be attended also by the NFU’s Chief Dairy Adviser Robert Newbery, First Milk’s Kate Allum, Dolphenby dairy farmer Robert Craig, and independent dairy consultant Mark Voorbergen.

Rory said: “Cumbrian farmers need to make their voices heard, and I am extremely glad that we are getting this chance to once again see a Minister come to Penrith and the Border and shine a spotlight on the current plight. Simply put, it is unacceptable that our farmers are making a loss on the production price of their milk, and I believe that matters have gone too far. Cumbrian farmers – and indeed the dairy industry at large – has my full support. This conference comes at a critical time, and we must not lose momentum nor waste this opportunity to make real changes to an inequitable contracting system, and find ways of giving our dairy farmers a stronger voice and more muscle.”

For more information about the dairy conference – for which places are limited, and registration is required – please contact Toni Bruce of First Milk at [email protected]


Rory pledges his support for Solway Aviation Museum


Rory met this weekend with members of the management team and staff of the Solway Aviation Museum and visited their world-famous Avro Vulcan bomber, in a show of solidarity for the volunteer-run tourist attraction, which faces an uncertain future as a tenant of Stobart Air at Carlisle’s airfield.

The museum’s team is concerned at the potential impact of plans by Stobart Air to convert the site to a 400,000sq ft distribution centre, and the restrictions on their lease that prevent the museum for applying for funding. Rory Stewart has pledged to help find a way to ensure that the museum continues to operate and thrive on the site, praising its “unique role in preserving a fascinating era in national aviation history”.

The museum, which is home to a collection of aircraft, aviation artefacts, and displays reflecting Britain’s position as a world-leader in aircraft design and innovation at the dawn of the jet age, is run by a dedicated team of volunteers who give up their free time to painstakingly restore many of the exhibits. Located for many years next to Carlisle Airport, the museum attracts upwards of 4,000 visitors each year and is one of the few remaining airport museums in the country. It is managed by a registered charity.

Rory said: “The Solway Aviation Museum is a real gem. Specialist aviation museums such as these are rare, and we should be especially proud to have one right here in Cumbria – not only celebrating Cumbria’s place in aviation history, but celebrating great British traditions of design and innovation. The museum survives thanks to the passion and dedication of its volunteer staff, and I will certainly do all I can to help them to continue operating in these uncertain times. The Solway Aviation Museum is a unique asset to Carlisle’s airfield, and so it would be very short-sighted not to ensure that it continues to operate here.”

George Kerr for Solway Aviation Museum said: “Rory Stewart’s support in Solway Aviation Museum’s 50th year is critical as it seeks ways to secure its future and expand its role as Cumbria’s only remaining aviation museum”.