Last weekend the Southampton Council of Faiths held their annual Peace Walk. 

It is a great initiative and sees communities come together to walk between many of the religious buildings in the city.

I was pleased to join the Lord Mayor of Southampton, Councillor David Shields, the Leader of the Council and the Labour Candidate for Romsey and Southampton North for the start of the walk at the Peace Fountain in East Park. From there I walked to the Vedic Temple where we heard about the Hindu Faith, and David Vane who organises the walk spoke to us about his Buddhist faith. From there it was on to the Gurdwara Guru Tegh Bahadar Sahib, where there was a very warm welcome.  

Sometimes I say that we are lucky in this area to have a tolerant and inclusive community, but it is not luck  It is down to the exceptionally hard work of a small number of very dedicated people of all faiths and none, who come together to make sure there is co-operation and understanding. 

I have also celebrated National Beauticians Day this week. It may seem trivial to some but the beauty industry employs hundreds of thousands of women, generates £28 billion annually for the economy and is a sector which helps combat loneliness and lack of self confidence. I stood up for the sector during Covid and continue to do so now, yes, it needs tighter regulation but that is happening. But mostly it needs to be recognised as a sector that is generating thousands of incredibly driven and determined entrepreneurs, and we should all celebrate that. 

Caroline Nokes,
Conservative candidate for Romsey and Southampton North