Robert's Weekly Swindon Advertiser Article - 30th November 2016

On Friday, I launched a Dementia Summit at Christ Church Community Centre that brought together local organisations from different sectors to discuss how we can make Swindon a more dementia friendly town.

There are over 2200 people in Swindon living with dementia – a number which is growing every year. During my time as an MP, I have spoken with many people who have been affected by the condition and learned about the major impact that dementia can have on individuals, their families and carers.

It is vital that Swindon’s communities, charities and local organisations support people living with dementia and their carers in the right way and empower them to be active members of their community, which is why I helped to organise this event.

Representatives from the Swindon Dementia Alliance and staff from the Swindon Alzheimer’s Society were on hand and provided all of the local organisations attending with a variety of resources and advice about how they can become more dementia friendly.

I was delighted that so many local organisations, businesses and charities attended the event and showed a keen interest in working together and learning what they can do to support people suffering from dementia in the town and help to improve life for them.

Speaking of local charities, I enjoyed visiting a Christmas Craft Fair at the weekend at the Swindon Therapy Centre for Multiple Sclerosis in West Swindon. This fantastic charity plays an invaluable role in the local community and is a lifeline for its many members and their families. I am looking forward to joining volunteers at a charity bag pack event at Waitrose later in December along with my team.

As Christmas draws closer, I will be attending quite a few local events and concerts. This week, I am looking forward to being entertained by the children of Swindon’s Special Schools at their annual concert at the Citifaith Church.  This is a moving and memorable occasion that I wouldn’t miss for the world.

The work of Government continues and last week, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, delivered his Autumn Statement to Parliament. Since 2010, the Government has made huge progress in turning the economy around following the recession.  The employment rate is now at a record high and the deficit has fallen by almost two-thirds, but there is more to do.  The British people’s decision to leave the EU presents new opportunities, but also new challenges. The Autumn Statement sets out policies which will support the economy during this change and adjusts spending to help build an economy that works for everyone.   I was especially pleased with the Chancellor’s announcement that a £1m windfall been awarded to Wiltshire Air Ambulance towards the cost of its new airbase.

Moving onto local issues, I have been contacted by several residents in Wichelstowe regarding the current parking situation. Councillor Claire Ellis and Nick Burns-Howell have organised a public meeting, which I will be hosting, at East Wichel Community School this coming Thursday, 1st December at 7.30pm.  Council Leader, David Renard, Councillor Gary Perkins ,Wichelstowe Programme Manager, Rob Powe and an Officer from the Swindon Borough Council Highways Department will also be attending. Please do come along to have your views heard and put forward any questions that you have about this issue.