ONE of the most rewarding aspects of my job is seeing the way people come together for the good of their local community.

I came across a great example of this after last week’s column asked for people’s views on what can be done to improve rural tourism.

Almost before the column was published Jinny White contacted me via my Facebook page to suggest that I get along to Bedale Tourist Information Centre (TIC) where I would pick up plenty of evidence to submit to the forthcoming Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee inquiry into this important subject.

How right she was. It was very interesting to meet Jinny and many of the volunteers at the centre last Friday and hear their views about how best to look after the many visitors to our area and how we might attract more.

They had telling points to make about transport, the importance of the developing further the Wensleydale Railway and the type of accommodation we offer.

We also talked about sustainability and the importance of getting the balance right between the needs of visitors and local people.

We want to grow our local tourism industry sensibly and I’ll be feeding that into the select committee’s inquiry.

The Bedale TIC does an excellent job of providing everything the visitor might need to know and lots more beside. It’s 100 per cent volunteer-run and more than 40 local people are involved in running it.

I would urge Bedale residents who may not have called in so far to do so because it is a veritable treasure trove of information about the local area – such as the handy and comprehensive list of every pub, restaurant and cafe in the district and the great range of secondhand books.

It is a most praiseworthy community effort and typical of so many community-run facilities in Bedale and elsewhere across the constituency.

While in Bedale it was gratifying to see the town as busy as ever but with less traffic thanks to the opening of the new bypass.

Granted, it is early days to assess its full impact but I used it for the first time last Friday and the ease with which you can now get into the town centre – or head on up to Wensleydale – will I’m sure be appreciated by local people and visitors alike.

It has, of course, been “back to school” week for many young people and teachers – and also MPs in Westminster.

The mood in the House of Commons has been one of cautious optimism. Since the referendum result we have seen the economy stay on course and there have been some encouraging indicators in the past fortnight.

I’ll be supporting our efforts to get the best deal for Britain in our forthcoming negotiations to leave the EU and I think Theresa May and the Brexit ministers have made a good start.

I think they are entirely right, at this early stage, to speak in terms of general principles. It makes no sense to “declare our hand” before we start detailed negotiations.