Many of us here in Swindon have enjoyed spending time at the Oasis Leisure Centre over the years, including my own family, so I was extremely concerned to see this important and much-loved community amenity close.
The Save Oasis Campaign has been doing an excellent job of raising the profile of the Oasis and has attracted support from former Olympian Sharron Davies MBE, former Olympic Swimmer Rebecca Adlington OBE and our very own Olympic swimmer Jazz Carlin, who has fond memories of swimming at the Oasis Leisure Centre as a child.
Justin Tomlinson MP and I am keen to find a way forward that will allow the Oasis to reopen and for improvements to be made to this much-loved amenity. I contacted GLL this week to press for the lease to be handed back, I was informed by them that they are still working to surrender the lease and that they are hoping that this will be concluded shortly.
I have also contacted Seven Capital to urge them to work closely with the Swindon Borough Council’s Cross-Party Advisory Group, as well as contacting Historic England to press for an early decision on the application for listing of the building.
I will carry on working to try and achieve a positive outcome for all of us who know and love the Oasis.
Earlier this year I teamed up with Justin Tomlinson MP to call for local residents and businesses to come forward and help provide more Swindon school children find working laptops for home schooling.
The Government have been doing an excellent job with the ‘Get Help With Technology Scheme’, but we would both like to say a big thank you to all of those who have donated laptops as part of this campaign, as well as all of those IT professionals who come forward to offer their support.
A particularly big thank you must go out to the fantastic team at SP Computers Swindon Ltd and to all those at Excalibur Communications for taking in donations and getting these devices ready for schools to use.
So far laptops have been donated to Lainesmead Primary School and The Dorcan Academy. Over the coming weeks we hope to have further laptops ready to go out to more local schools. This has been a brilliant community effort and I am proud of what we have achieved.
Earlier this week we had the fantastic news that 90% of people aged 80 and above had received their first vaccine dose and that in total we have administered over nine million first doses.
I am incredibly proud of the progress that the UK is making in vaccinating the population, with 1 in every 60 adults in the whole country being vaccinated last weekend. It is encouraging that with our vaccine supply and scheduled deliveries we are still on track to offer vaccinations to all those in JCVI priority cohorts 1-4 by 15 February.
However, our NHS continues to be under serious pressure, and it is vital that we all continue to follow the rules: stay home, save lives, protect the NHS.
Yesterday in my role as Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary I answered questions in the House of Commons about the work of the Ministry of Justice as we continue to deal with Covid-19 and reform the criminal justice system to better tackle reoffender and ensure the most dangerous criminals spend longer behind bars.