Historic government under-funding led to neglect even in a relatively well-off area like Elmbridge. In 2009 Dr Helen Bowcock wrote a seminal report, Hidden Surrey, commissioned by the Surrey Community Foundation. It highlighted small pockets of real social need across a relatively affluent county – but also found a range of local charities stepping up to the plate.
I regularly visit our inspirational community groups doing invaluable work across Elmbridge – including Lower Green Community Association, our Citizens Advice Bureaus, Walton Charity, Whiteley Retirement village, and various local youth groups.
Since 2010, I have teamed up with local volunteers to set up the Elmbridge Community Fund (pictured). The aim is to raise enough funds for a permanent local fund that can provide grants to support local charities making a real difference in the community. In 2015 I donated my MPs’ pay rise (over the 1% cap applying to the rest of the public sector) to the Elmbridge Community Fund, making good on my election pledge.