LAST week, I had a very interesting meeting with Wessex Community Action. Salisbury has such a vibrant and diverse charity sector and I never fail to be impressed by the numbers of people willing to give unstintingly of their time and energy to do great work in the community.

However, the conversation also highlighted that multiple small charities are often working in similar fields and are in competition for the same funding.

It seems to me that there is work to be done assisting charities with forming networks and working collaboratively to access external funding streams and ensure their long-term sustainability.

This week my ministerial focus has been on the scourge of pension cold-calling. A ban on the practice came into force earlier this week. Pension scams can be devastating, occasionally resulting in the loss of an entire pension fund. Many forms of fraud are constantly evolving but one of the commonest ways to initiate pension fraud against the elderly is still telephone cold calling.

The government is now able to say categorically that anyone receiving an uninvited call selling a pension product can be certain that the call is not legitimate but is breaking the law. They should hang up immediately and report the call to the Information Commissioner.

The past week also saw the launch of the NHS Long Term Plan, a 10-year plan explaining what the health service will do to get the most out of the additional £20.5 billion being injected into the NHS over the next five years. The long term plan has drawn in more than 2,500 responses from individuals and groups, representing more than 3.5 million people. This has now been translated by working groups, led by clinicians, into a detailed plan to ensure the NHS is always there us when we need it.

At the heart of the plan is the principle that prevention is better than cure. The NHS will do much more in future to support people to stay healthy, rather than just treat them when ill. The biggest increase in funding will therefore go to primary and community care, including GPs.

I also welcome specific pledges on cancer screening and treatment, cardiac rehabilitation, stroke care, dementia and mental health – some of the key challenges that face the NHS.

I look forward to seeing the plan developed in the weeks and months ahead.