Whilst much of the political attention is currently focused on the Welsh Parliament Election, the House of Commons remains a hive of activity.

Alongside my roles on several select committees and as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Treasury, I continue to work hard in representing Montgomeryshire and discussing local issues within Westminster.

I recently met with UK Government Ministers to discuss improving rural mobile and broadband signal, and ensuring the Government delivers on its commitment to tackle ‘not spots’ which are sadly still all too common across mid Wales.

The positive news is that BT and other mobile providers are committed to building new masts across Montgomeryshire that will help tackle this issue.

Nominations for the UK Government’s ‘UK Community Renewal Fund’ have this week opened. This will see £150,000 allocated to Powys to work up proposals for local infrastructure investment, which will be of huge benefit to many Montgomeryshire residents.

This seed money is incredibly important to enable new ideas for the region to get off the ground and ready for larger investment.

I have already held a number of discussions with Powys County Council regarding the fund and will be pushing local schemes over the coming weeks for quick investment direct from the UK Government.

I am also very excited about the forthcoming inaugural Montgomeryshire Community Awards, which will take place on Friday, May 14.

This past year has been very challenging for families and communities across the county, as indeed it has been for everyone within the UK and beyond. Covid-19 has placed unprecedented pressure on individuals, businesses and organisations, but yet the community spirit of our wonderful area has shone through and reminded us how lucky we are to live here.

The awards will celebrate the achievements of some remarkable people and groups within Montgomeryshire, and features five categories recognising the efforts of volunteers, key workers, young people, community groups and businesses within Montgomeryshire.

I am very pleased that the awards have been so generously championed by a number of Montgomeryshire businesses and organisations, including the County Times, and also by the number of nominations that have already been received.

Please visit www.montgomeryshirecommunityawards.co.uk for further details.