On Saturday I had the opportunity to safely visit the Steam Museum, which at the moment is the epicentre of our local vaccine push led by the Brunel and Wyvern GP Partnerships. The main events hall, which is normally home to important events and exhibitions, is now host to what is in 2021 the most essential task of all.
Thousands of people here in Swindon every week are getting the jab and it was fantastic to be able to go and see and thank volunteers and professional staff involved in making the rollout such a success.
The progress we are making with the vaccine rollout is highly encouraging and I welcome the fact that we reached our goal of offering a vaccine to the 15 million people in priority groups 1 to 4 by 15th February. Hitting this target means we have now been able to offer a vaccine to those must vulnerable to Covid-19 and marks an important milestone in our fightback against the virus.
I am in regular contact with the Health Secretary and it is clear that while supply continues to be the rate limiting factor and the rollout is not without its challenges, but we are now working to vaccine all priority groups in groups 1 to 9 by the end of April. This programme will then be expanded so all adults can be vaccinated by September.
We have more to do and a lot more groups to be vaccinated, but I am confident that with operations like the one I have seen here in Swindon that we will do it.
Coate Water and Lydiard Park are jewels in our town’s crown and play an essential part in our health and wellbeing. As a part-time runner, I can often be found trudging around these two beautiful parks in an attempt to keep fit.
I welcome the £30k of improvements the Conservative-led Swindon Borough Council have made to the Lydiard Park play area which will reopen very soon and a new play area at Coate Water will be built in time for the summer.
Working with the local councillors for the area, I know that a new waterside restaurant and café, a brand-new accessible play area and cleaning the iconic diving board are other priorities for Coate water.
The Council want to know what improvements you would like to see made at Coate Water, Stanton Park, Mouldon Hill, Shaw Forest, Barbury Castle, Pentylands Country Park, and of course Lydiard Park.
Please take the time to fill out their online survey and share your views on how the Council can improve our town’s parks: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/swindonparks/.
If you are looking for ways to keep the whole family entertained during half-term, make sure you check out ‘The Festival of Tomorrow’ – Swindon’s free, family-focused festival of science and innovation which is taking place on the 19th and 20th February.
This year the festival is going virtual with a full programme of free online and interactive events. For families, events include must-see planetarium, a behind the scenes tour of the Science Museum and a session chaired by BBC journalist, Roland Pease, on how UK science leads the fights against Covid-19.
The Festival of Tomorrow is designed to inspire Swindon’s next generation of engineers, scientists, and researchers. More information on this exciting local event can be found via: https://www.scienceswindon.com/.