Now that the party conference season is over, Parliament has resumed and with it my duties in Westminster.
I have been working in Swindon on local issues, visiting residents, meeting local businesses and attending a whole host of events, as well as holding two advice surgeries where I met with constituents and discussed a range of different issues.
Last Wednesday evening, I attended the Willows Counselling Service AGM. This local charity has worked hard to support the needs of people experiencing mental health issues for over twenty years and during my time as MP, I have worked closely with them.
Willows provides counselling services and support to those suffering the effects of trauma and is committed to the local community, often working alongside other outreach programmes. It depends on fundraising to maintain its service and on Saturday 19th November, Willows will be holding a cake sale at the annual Christ Church Christmas Fayre. For more details visit http://www.willows.btck.co.uk/
On Thursday, I met with local business, Tetronics. The company, situated on South Marston Industrial Estate, provide waste solutions and its UK-based pilot plant has converted waste collected from homes in Swindon into methane, the primary component of natural gas. Swindon is home to many companies that are supporting new technologies and I am happy to support them.
I spent an interesting few hours visiting staff at Uplands School. The staff at Uplands are all dedicated to improving opportunities for children and young people in their care and I am very proud of the achievements of our excellent special schools here in Swindon.
I am pleased the Borough Council’s Adult Social Care department works to support young people who are preparing to move into adulthood, by getting ready long before their 16th birthday, rather than reacting to events.
On Friday, I joined forces with Heart Wiltshire and “dressed loud” to raise awareness and money for Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group as part of Global Make Some Noise. After this, I met with staff and students at New College. I enjoyed attending a lesson at the college and learning more about the Personal Finance Programme that is being taught there.
I was delighted to be asked to present eight New College students with personal achievement awards after they achieved the top 1% exam results in the country and were offered scholarships at the London Institute of Banking and Finance. It is fantastic to see that students in Swindon are so dedicated to their learning and working hard in order to achieve this level of national success in their exams. I would like to offer my congratulations to them all.
On Saturday morning, I visited the Swindon Therapy Centre for MS to celebrate the opening of the Extended Neurology Resource Centre. This local charity has played an invaluable role in the local community and has been a lifeline for its many members and their families. The therapies offered by the Centre are a major contribution to the fight against MS. Not only does the group offer support, but also practical solutions to problems and help with day to day living.
On Saturday afternoon, I held an advice surgery with councillors opposite the Ellendune Shops. It was good to catch up with fellow residents in Wroughton and discuss a variety of local issues.
Finally, I was very sad to hear about the death of James Baker following his battle with terminal cancer. James, 26, who lived in Westlea, was a popular former Swindon College student who touched the lives of many people in Swindon. My thoughts are with his family and many friends.