Last Updated: 24 January 2020
Created: 24 January 2020
Now that the election is over, my community office – which had to be closed during the campaign – is back up and running as normal.
As you may be aware, I make my office available for local community groups, voluntary organisations and charities – and I am pleased that there is already high demand for bookings. It was great to see a fantastic turnout for the monthly Parkinson’s UK coffee morning, and the space has also hosted events for Sendiass, Swindon SEND Families Voice, Jambo Youth Group, NHS Heart Failure Support Group and SMASH.
On Tuesday evening this week, the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group were using the office to discuss plans for their Charity Ball – which they are holding in July to raise money for speech and language therapy sessions. Difficulties with speech and language development can be one of the biggest barriers to learning for children and young people with Down’s Syndrome. The Group has been providing speech and language therapy for 10 years and is the only charity in the UK to offer speech and therapy sessions for the children it supports. In order to provide speech and language therapy it must raise a significant amount of money – which is where the Charity Ball comes in.
This year’s ball has a Greatest Showman theme and will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Swindon – and will have live music, an auction and raffle. Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group do amazing work to support people with Down’s Syndrome, as well as their families. It would be great to see this event well supported.
This week also saw good news for Wilshire Police, as the Government announced £8.8m in additional funding to the force - an almost 10% increase on the core (resource) grant provided to forces last year. The funding builds on several policing commitments made by the Prime Minister, which includes: 20,000 additional police officers, £150 million in funding to fight organised crime and to continue to crack down on online child abuse, £39 million to tackle serious violence, and an additional £906 million for counter-terrorism policing in 2020 to 2021.
Crime doesn’t only impact the victims and their families, it also has an adverse effect on the wider community, which is why I am delighted that the Government is taking this issue seriously by making this significant investment in tackling extremism and serious crime.
Finally, how quickly times have changed! After a week which saw the Withdrawal Bill finally pass in Parliament, almost unnoticed – we all quickly turn our attentions to new challenges and opportunities. In my case, I had the pleasure to be invited to the Great Western Academy where the students had spent the day in groups setting up their own political parties, choosing their own policies and seeking to be firstly selected within their classes, then competing in a final in front of the whole school. I was really impressed with the quality of their campaigns, well thought out and reasoned policies, with first-class, confident and articulate presentations. Far, far better than I could have managed at their age! They were all a real credit to their school, and we politicians would do well to learn from them!