Michael joined school governors, local supporters and representatives from churches across Sevenoaks as he helped to open Trinity School’s new building last Friday.
After giving a reading in a service led by the Bishop of Rochester, he participated in a balloon release and helped to plant an olive tree in the school’s grounds.
Michael said: “I was very pleased to help to open Trinity School’s new building. This event was the culmination of many years of effort from local parents and volunteers and this excellent new building is the result of their work. School choice is expanding in Sevenoaks and I look forward to seeing Trinity going from strength to strength in the years to come.”
Michael helped to launch Swanley in Bloom on Saturday on a visit to the town centre.
He was accompanied by Cllr Victor Southern as he met local representatives and the team from Coolings Garden Centre, which sponsors the event.
Michael said: “I was delighted to help to launch Swanley in Bloom. This event has a very important role to play in making local people proud of their community and getting people interested in gardening. I look forward to hearing more about its progress in the coming months.”
Michael visited Chevening Financial in Sundridge on Friday to congratulate them on becoming the first ever recipient of the Small Business Big Heart Award.
He was met by representatives including David Hawes-Gatt, Managing Director of Chevening Financial, and heard about the business’ work and contribution to the community.
Chevening Financial secured the title after stiff competition from small businesses across the UK. It was selected as the winner in recognition of its eight-year long programme of community support. This includes taking housebound pensioners out for shopping and socialising, with Mr Hawes-Gatt clocking up 4,000 miles in total to date. The company is donating its £1,000 prize money to DEBRA, a charity it supports which helps people with the genetic skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).
Michael said: “I was delighted to be able to congratulate David and his team at Chevening Financial in person for receiving this award. Becoming a regional finalist was impressive; winning the national competition is a quite remarkable achievement. I am proud that a business in my constituency is playing such an active role in the community and I look forward to hearing more about its work in the future.”
On his latest day in his constituency, Michael also discussed healthcare with local commissioners, visited the Parents’ Consortium in Hextable and met representatives from Swanley Town Council.
Michael yesterday welcomed members of the Sevenoaks Youth Council to Westminster.
Led by Sevenoaks Town Council Chief Executive Linda Larter, the group received a tour of the Palace of Westminster before meeting Michael in one of Parliament’s historic committee rooms.
Michael answered questions on a range of topics relating to his responsibilities as Secretary of State for Defence, including North Korea, cyber security and nuclear proliferation.
The group were also able to watch Michael from the public gallery in the House of Commons as he answered questions from MPs.
Michael said: “I was delighted to welcome members of Sevenoaks Youth Council to Parliament. With their perceptive and intelligent questions, they showed that young people in my constituency are increasingly interested in major political issues. I always enjoy welcoming people to see how Parliament works and look forward to hosting more schools and community groups soon.”
Michael showed his support for local businesses earlier this month with a visit to Sevenoaks town centre.
He met business owners on from high street shops and small businesses such as The Chinaman, Sevenoaks Bookshop, Barkers and Grace to talk about the busy lead up to Christmas and their efforts to attract customers. He was joined by Sevenoaks District Council Leader, Cllr Peter Fleming and Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Cllr Roddy Hogarth.
Michael said: “I was pleased to visit these thriving local businesses at such a busy time of the year. They really are the lifeblood of Sevenoaks’ economy and this was an excellent opportunity to hear about their latest progress.”
On Friday, Michael visited the Teardrop Centre in Swanley.
The site, which was formerly derelict, has recently been brought back into use by Trimline Distribution Group. Michael was shown around by Partner Bruce Hazell and heard about the progress that has been made to restore the centre.
He spoke to an assembled group of employees about the Government’s support for the economy and answered questions about his work as Secretary of State for Defence.
Michael today welcomed members of the Weald CP School Bridge Club to the Houses of Parliament.
Local volunteers have been promoting Bridge to pupils at the school for over a year. The visit to Parliament celebrates the Bridge Club’s achievement of becoming the most successful school bridge initiative in Kent. 16 pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 have already gained English Bridge Union (EBU) proficiency certificates and there are now plans to extend the programme into other schools.
Hosted by Baroness Henig, captain of the House of Lords Bridge team, pupils were given a tour of Parliament and had the opportunity to play Bridge with several members of the Lords before meeting Michael.
Michael said: “I was delighted to welcome the pupils to Parliament today. They should be very proud of their achievement. It is good to see that initiatives like this one are proving to be so successful in our local schools.”
Michael visited Buzy Bees Soft Play Area in Ash on Friday to celebrate its first birthday under new management.
Buzy Bees offers children a fantastic soft play environment and Michael was delighted to see so many children enjoying the facilities.
As well as the soft play area, Buzy Bees offers an after school club and a holiday club for parents needing extra childcare.
Michael said: “It was wonderful to see the children enjoying the soft play area and to see their parents and guardians taking advantage of the on-site café. This thriving local business is offering an invaluable childcare service to the local community. I would like to wish Buzy Bees the very best of luck for the coming year.”
To find out more about these facilities, please click here.
Michael was welcomed on Friday to Rural Age Concern Darent Valley’s Cottage Day Centre in Fawkham.
Greeted by Chief Officer Liam Curran and Trustees including Cllr Madeleine Rogers and Cllr Faye Parkin, Michael met clients and heard about the charity’s exciting expansion plans.
The day came after his visit to Age Concern’s refurbished shop in the centre of Swanley in April.
Michael said: “I was delighted to meet clients and staff at the day centre. It offers a vital service for older people living in rural areas in the north of my constituency. We need facilities like this to be bigger and even better and I look forward to supporting Age Concern’s efforts to expand.”
On Saturday, Michael cut the ribbon on the first piece of disabled friendly equipment to be installed in Swanley Park. He was joined by local councillors, the Mayor of Swanley, Cllr Shanker Gaire, and local resident Kerry Rogers and her family.
Michael said: “I was delighted to open the new piece of disabled friendly equipment at Swanley Park. I am particularly pleased that even more children will now be able to make the most of what the park has to offer. With the impressive fundraising efforts of the Mayor of Swanley, Shanker Gaire, and the hard work of local councillors, I am sure this will be only the first of many improvements.”
Swanley Town Council has committed to building an extension to the existing playground in Swanley Park which will provide disability friendly and sensory playground equipment. Cllr Gaire’s fundraising efforts are supporting this commitment and the council will shortly be inviting companies to submit bids and design ideas for the extension.