Focus: Policy and Politics - In the Lobby

David Heath, Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome, has been involved with Frome-based Action on Disability and Development since coming into office in 1997.

"We're very lucky to have an international charity based in my constituency," Heath says. "I've known about ADD for a long time, but since I've been an MP I've had a much closer working relationship with it.

"It's unusual to have a body of that kind based in a town in rural Somerset such as Frome. I think there is a sense of ownership there that you might not otherwise have."

Heath attends ADD events regularly and helps the charity highlight some issues in Parliament. But he played a central role in taking the messages of the Make Poverty History campaign - of which ADD was part - to local schools.

He explains: "I found myself doing a double act with people from the charity in lots of schools in the Frome area."

This involved discussing international development issues at school assemblies and helping local schoolchildren get their own messages across.

"The kids were very keen on sending their personal messages to the G8 and to our government," Heath says. "So we organised some postcard campaigns and things like that." Heath also facilitated some high-profile trips to London.

"One school produced a CD of songs, which they performed outside Parliament," he says. "It was the school that did the work, but I obviously had the opportunity to make sure they could come up to London and got the chance to perform outside Parliament."

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