Here in Swindon, we are lucky to have a large number of fantastic small businesses and I enjoyed having the opportunity to meet with as many of them as possible during Small Business Saturday and in the months beforehand.
As part of my tour, I met with the Pre and Dia, the new owners of Dotties Café, and Nick from Balula’s, both local businesses based in Old Town. I also had the chance recently to meet Frances and Marie from the Town Gardens Café and purchase my Christmas tree from Stewart from Common Farm up in Wroughton.
It has been a challenging period for our small local businesses, so it is more important than ever that we come together and support them by shopping local, sharing information about them online and spreading the word to our friends and family.
On Saturday I also enjoyed joining local councillors Nandini Singh, Keith Williams and Mary Martin, and other members of the community, including Gyan Gurung, bulb planting in The Prinnels, West Swindon.
It was great to see another example of Swindon’s community spirit in action and support local residents in making sure that their area is clean and green. These events are great fun and I strongly encourage everybody to get involved.
Last week I had a meeting with the External Affairs Manager for the Post Office in the South of England to discuss the future of the service in the West Swindon Centre. I pressed her on a number of issues.
It is clear from our conversation that the Post Office are committed to keeping the service and are in conversations with alternative providers to make sure that the service carries on for local residents.
I will of course keep representing local residents on this issue and will keep everyone updated on my progress.
The news broke last week that the decision has been made to make the dome of the Oasis a Grade 2 listed structure. The rest of the building has not been listed, and I think this gives us much more of an opportunity than some people realise.
We need to have imagination, optimism and energy to make sure that our much loved Oasis can reopen and be accessible to Swindon residents once again.
On Monday I had the opportunity to ask the Policing Minister a question in the House of Commons about the Government’s Ten Year Drug Strategy. This Strategy is designed to cut crime and reduce both the supply and demand for drugs by getting more people into treatment, breaking the cycle of crime driven by addiction and keeping drug-related violence out of neighbourhoods across the country.
My question focused on how through this Strategy we can reform the Probation Service to help reduce reoffending and how this can be done through ensuring individuals leaving the secure estate have the three things they need: a job, a house and a friend.