In a Commons Adjournment Debate on Rural Transport on Monday this week, Dr Neil Hudson MP was able to reiterate the need for rural bus and train networks to improve connectivity and combat rural isolation.
Improving connectivity, both physically and digitally, has been a pivotal campaign for Dr Hudson in Parliament. Dr Hudson has worked on important projects such securing over half a million pounds of funding for post-16 transport and assisting the volunteer bus schemes, the Border Rambler and the Fellrunner.
Dr Hudson raised the issues of the impact poor connectivity can have on the mental wellbeing of residents and raised the issue of Gilsland Station with Guy Opperman, neighbouring MP and Minister for Roads and Local Transport. Gilsland Station is an area shared by both Dr Hudson and the Minister, and Dr Hudson highlighted the importance of reopening this station and restoring the railway links.
During the debate, Dr Neil Hudson MP said:
“I'm sure my Hon Friend will be well aware of our EFRA select committee report last year on Rural Mental Health and one of the key findings was that connectivity is absolutely pivotal to people's health and wellbeing in rural communities.
Part of that is our rural bus network, and often that is run by volunteers, such as the Fellrunner or the Border Rambler service in my constituency. Does my Hon Friend agree with me that our rural bus network must be supported to keep people connected and well in our rural communities?”
After the debate, Dr Neil Hudson MP said:
“I was very grateful to have the opportunity to speak at this debate on this extremely important issue of rural transport. The link between connectivity and mental health and wellbeing cannot be overstated.
I was delighted to again speak about our wonderful volunteer bus services, the Border Rambler and the Fellrunner who provide a much-needed connection for so many people who would otherwise not be able to travel outside their area. It was also great to raise in the Chamber with the Minister, about the need for restoration of Gilsland Station."