This week marks the beginning of Lent. A time for giving things up, but also for giving back. So, instead of abstaining from chocolate or booze, I’ve decided to take the easier option and train for the London Marathon. I say easy, I haven’t run a marathon in five years but I’m taking on the challenge again for the Enham Trust. A charity based in my council ward that helps disabled people live, work and enjoy life as independently as possible. Things haven't been easy for Enham recently, which is why I'm coming out of my marathon running retirement to, once again, raise vital funds for this amazing cause. So, if you’d rather give back than give up, please consider sponsoring me at: Thank you.

Talking of giving back, Test Valley Borough Council has teamed up with Unity and the local Citizens Advice Bureau to redistribute Winter Fuel Payments again this year to help those most in need. We’re mirroring a scheme that has been successful elsewhere whereby those who receive a Winter Fuel Payment but don’t necessarily need it, can donate it locally. All residents who are over the age of 66 before September 25, get an annual payment from the government of between £250 and £600. If you would like to donate some of your Winter Fuel Payment, please contact Unity on 03304 004 116, or go to the Donate page on their website. Anyone in need of additional financial support is urged to contact Citizens Advice on 0808 178 6882 or via the email form on their website. I must stress that we are not asking people to donate any money if there is any doubt whatsoever about whether they need it. We don’t want people to cause themselves financial difficulties while trying to support others.

Finally, I was very sorry to receive the news recently that ‘Mr Romsey’, Mark Edgerley, had died. There were some beautiful tributes to him in the Romsey Advertiser lasty week, which goes to show how loved and respected he was. Whenever I met him he was always so warm and engaging and always took the time to lobby for and talk up Romsey. My thoughts go out to his family. He will be missed.


Cllr Phil North

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council

Bourne Valley Ward Councillor

County Councillor for Andover South