Dear Islanders, first I hope you all had a happy Christmas.

So, what’s happened in the past year? Despite Covid, it’s been a busy year.

In the spring, the Isle of Wight was included in the Solent Freeport, which will help create thousands of jobs in the Solent area.

The Filmwight office was launched to promote the Isle of Wight as a location for film and television.

In April, the Isle of Wight College was identified as a site for Government investment that will transform its buildings and facilities for future generations.

In July, despite hysterical forecasts of doom, Covid restrictions were lifted and we started to get on with our lives again.

On that point, a thank you so much to the Island’s vaccination teams and to everyone at St Mary’s. It’s now officially rated ‘good’, a testament the hard work by everyone at the hospital.

Also, thank you to Isle of Wight Council staff and voluntary organisations who have helped support Islanders.

In August, Government agreed a government-backed insurance scheme for festivals and events. Over the year, we received £1million to help support arts organisations through the Covid-19 pandemic.

In planning there were some wins and some losses. I continue to lobby Government to change its approach to greenfield development. Michael Gove announced he will give the Isle of Wight Council nearly £950,000 to help with brownfield clean-up.

Later in the year, Island Line reopened (a bit late!) after its £26 million upgrade.

We also received the great news that the Island’s £6million Levelling Up bid for investment for East Cowes had been secured. This is a major boost to our shipbuilding plans on the Isle of Wight.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope it will be a prosperous and happy one for Islanders. As ever, I will be doing my best to deliver for the Island.

I wish you all a great New Year.