I had a Zoom meeting with Joanna Hunt of The Children’s Society, whose ethos is to try to help children and young people from infants up to 25 with minor mental issues.

A major challenge is that Shropshire is very rural and difficult to service properly. The charity is considering a pop-up service in places such as Oswestry.

All children who are helped are done so with the full knowledge of their parents. Recently, all the consultations have had to be via Zoom.

What I found impressive was that they are in contact with

3,000 young people every year.

Most young people receive their help via walk-ins though, during lockdown, children were encouraged to look at Beam on the web.

The aim is to provide consultation within 48 hours of being contacted through a combination of full-time staff and volunteers. All the staff are trained to offer different levels of support and parents are fully aware of any consultation.

The society says that the ages of 10 and 11 prove to be the most difficult for children, often because of the transition from primary to secondary education.

Joanna talked about CAMS (Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality) and says the society also has a good relationship with the NHS.

Another very worthy cause that I’m keen to help in any way I can during my year in office.

I had a really good visit to Broseley, which is a hidden jewel of Shropshire. I met the mayor, Councillor Tarlochen Singh-Mohr and a number of other influential people from within the town. These included Steve Dewhurst, of the tourism group, Anne Suffolk of Telford and East Shropshire Rambling Society, Kirsty Jones, who is responsible for youth work on Broseley Town Council, locum Town Clerk Ann Wilson, town admin officer Jenna Monday and Mark Hooper of tourism group Visit Shropshire.

It is clear Broseley has a fantastic sense of community. Its frustration is that

The Ironbridge Gorge Museums (IGM), a World Heritage site, is only a mile away with hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, few of whom, at present, cross the bridge to see Broseley – unless they are visiting Broseley Clay and Pipe Works, one of IGM’s network of 10 museums.

Broseley has the great advantage of having a good number of small, mainly family-owned, shops and businesses. The town is enchanting, and somewhat reminiscent of old-world towns in France or Italy with a plethora of small houses and narrow alleyways.

I could quite envisage that people might come as an add-on to their visit to the Ironbridge Gorge to, say, have lunch or tea.

The visit to Broseley was another rare chance to get out and about again. This, fingers crossed, will be an increasing occurrence as we come out of lockdown and restrictions ease. Zoom and Teams are well and good but there is no substitute for meeting people face to face.