MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

MOST people will by now be aware of the phrase “the big society.”

Launched by the Prime Minister last week, who called it his “great passion,” the policy aims, in simple terms, to give power to the people.

The concept will give local groups the chance to run facilities like libraries and post offices, shape housing projects and even get involved in the running of transport services.

It’s an idea I fully support and I’m delighted to say it seems to be already in action right here in Fylde.

Community groups with an interest in parks like Friends of King George V Playing Fields in St Annes and Park View 4U in Lytham have already seized the initiative, applying successfully for lottery grants and creating wonderful play facilities for local children.

Last week too I visited Lytham St Annes High School where I presented a group of Sixth Form students with special Diana Awards for their work on a peer mentoring and anti-bullying initiative.

Their work in doing something for others and improving the lives of the younger students at the school is what the big society is all about and I would urge people to seize the chances this new initiative will create.

One man who is doing his bit for society is the Chief Superintendent of our local police force Richard Debicki.

I had the pleasure of meeting him this week as part of my efforts to get to know more about the challenges our local services face.

He talked to me about everything from the force’s efforts to tackle the most serious organised crime to dealing with lower level offences, which can also have a straining effect on people’s lives.

With that in mind, he has now offered me the opportunity to go on a fact-finding mission, spending an evening with local officers to get a better grasp on the problems they face, so I may be coming to a beat near you very soon.

My time with the Chief Superintendent was both reassuring and fascinating and I am confident that the fight against crime in Fylde is in very safe hands.

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