It can be a bit stressful when you get a call telling you that the Prime Minister wants to visit your constituency in a few days’ time and he is particularly interested in community projects involving young people. Diaries have to be changed, venues found and security arrangements checked. And then invariably things get dropped or changed at the last moment.
Thus, it was that Rishi Sunak came to see round Shoreham Harbour last week, albeit not quite at the appointed time for which everything had been set up. Shoreham Harbour is a real local success story with lots of Government support for the dry dock, additional fishing boat capacity, the hydrogen hub plans. Added to which just this week comes the news that Shoreham Port is at the heart of the ‘Local Industrial Decarbonisation Plan’ which has won funding from Innovate UK in partnership with local councils businesses and Sussex University.
So the Port’s excellent Chief Executive Tom Willis had lots of good things to show the PM before we introduced him to the 3rd&5th Lancing Sea Scouts who piped him aboard the scout sail training yacht Supeta, moored near the Port Kitchen. This is a fantastic local success story thanks to scout leader Tom Smith, councillor Andy McGregor and the scout leaders who have overseen the restoration of the craft generously donated by former Southwick councillor Janet Mockridge.
Last year alone it took over 1000 young people out on trips, teaching them how to sail the sea scouts on board were really excited to tell the PM. And actually, I have never seen him quite so excited to swap stories about Brownsea Island in Dorset where he had visited as a scout in days gone by too. Then after a quick huddle with local media it was on to Worthing to meet some more local people and press the flesh at the Burlington Hotel, and my job was done and no mess-ups.
I will be at the combined Shoreham Artisan and delayed Farmer’s Market this Saturday from 10am so do drop by and have a chat.