It was great to be out and about here in Swindon over the special Bank Holiday, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones as we celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
I was delighted to see so many people at the Beacon Lighting at Lydiard as events got underway. Around two thousand people were there to witness the lighting, and there was a truly wonderful atmosphere. I also attended the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's and then spent time visiting many of the different events taking place across the town, including a street celebration in The Prinnels, a Jubilee Celebration in Wroughton, The Eldene Community Big Lunch, as well as events in Old Town, Westlea and Liddington to name but a few.
I would like to pay tribute to the many volunteers across the town who organised and helped to make all of these Platinum Jubilee events such wonderful and truly memorable occasions for all. I would also like to say a big thank you to all of the children who took part in my Queen’s Jubilee Portrait Competition. I have thoroughly enjoyed looking through all of the superb entries and showcasing these on my website and social media pages over the Jubilee Bank Holiday. I must admit that I have not chosen any winners yet. We have some extremely talented children here in the town and it will be a very difficult job. I plan to do this on Friday when I have time to sit down and go through all of the entries again and carefully select the winners.
Following the vote in Westminster on Monday evening, it is important that the government now continues to focus its efforts on delivering what matters to the British people, including here in Swindon. These important priorities include easing financial pressure on families, making access to NHS care quicker and easier, making the streets safer, and levelling up and uniting the country.
In south Swindon, I will continue to work hard to push for further improvements and government funding for Great Western Hospital. The new Radiotherapy Centre will be open from July, providing diagnostics and continuing radiotherapy treatment for local residents, ending travel to Oxford for the vast majority. The new £20m Urgent Treatment Centre is also due to open in July and will treat thousands of local residents in a more streamlined and efficient way. This is all part of the government’s investment in facilities at Great Western Hospital.
I continue to work closely with Swindon Police and support their work to make our streets safer, especially when it comes to tackling issues such as anti-social behaviour affecting local residents. As you may already be aware, I have been running a Speeding and Anti-Social Driving Behaviour Campaign, and I am pleased with the improvements we are seeing as part of the multi-agency work taking place.
Education also remains a key priority for me. Here in Swindon, our impressive technical education and training offer includes the University Technical College (UTC), New College Swindon, and the Institute of Technology. These are all supporting more local people into engineering and STEM subjects, boosting diversity and skills amongst our workforce. When it comes to funding for our schools, I will continue to push hard alongside Justin Tomlinson MP, to ensure that we receive our fair share of government funding.
I also continue to work hard to support local businesses, large and small, through my Local Business Support Campaign, raising awareness and promoting the many excellent local businesses we have here in the town and encouraging local residents to support and use them whenever possible.
Finally, I continue to focus on working closely with Swindon Seniors Forum, as well as other key local agencies, as part of my Campaign To Tackle Loneliness in Swindon, as well as working on other local initiatives including my Laptops For Local Schools and Charities Campaign, and campaigning for Swindon to become home of the Great British Railways Headquarters. You can find out more about my local campaigns on my website here https://www.robertbuckland.co.uk/campaigns