It was great to be back in Havelock Street in Swindon Town Centre on Friday, to visit a brand-new local business. The new Post and Packaging Shop offers a wide range of services to both local residents and businesses, giving customers more choice on how to send their parcels and mail. The shop also sells packaging materials in all shapes and sizes, from a single box to a thousand boxes, as well as offering printing and scanning services. What better place to come than here in the heart of Swindon, to a new local business, run by local people in a street that is home to a number of excellent local enterprises.
I was also very pleased to be back at The Open Door Centre on Friday along with Justin Tomlinson MP. This is an excellent local charity, and it was great to see old friends there and take part in a question-and-answer session, as well as discussing the charity’s exciting plans for the future.
Following this, on Friday afternoon, I was very pleased to be back at the Carriageworks, which is now the new home of Create Studios. This superb new space will allow Create to do so much more in terms of film production, working with the local community and our young people. This is all thanks to funding from the Arts Council and money from the Government’s Towns Fund, which I helped to secure a few years back as part of Swindon’s regeneration. It was great to see everyone at Create again and also welcome Culture Minister Lord Parkinson on his visit to Swindon, to see where Government funding is being spent in our town.
On Monday, I was delighted to join the Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership as they presented their bus to the Ukrainian Ambassador at Parliament. I am honoured to have worked with SHAP since their inception, and this important event, attended by MPs and Peers, builds on the thousands of tons of aid being sent from Swindon to Ukraine and goes to show our amazing community spirit.
Following the welcome news last week that the government has announced an extra £3,180,814 in funding for schools here in South Swindon, I am very pleased that St Joseph’s Catholic College, The Dorcan Academy, Holy Rood Catholic Primary School, Holy Family Catholic Primary School and The Chalet School are set to benefit from additional funding as part of the Government’s £450 million School Improvement Fund. Overall, the government has committed £1.8 billion of capital funding for the financial year 2023-24 to improve the condition of school buildings – including £1.1 billion for local authorities, large multi-academy trusts and voluntary aided bodies announced in March. I am pleased that here in South Swindon we will receive our fair share of this funding.
There is also welcome news for sports facilities here in South Swindon this week, with a total of £252,640 of funding being awarded to three projects as part of the Government’s Multi-Sport Grassroots Facilities Programme. The Government is investing over £300 million between 2021 and 2025 to level up facilities across the whole of the UK.
A £250,000 grant has been awarded to Swindon Town FC Community Foundation for a covered small-sided facility, a £1,440 grant has been awarded to Wichelstowe Wanders FC for goalposts, and a £1,200 grant has also been awarded to Wroughton Parish Council for goalposts.
When it comes to Government funding, I will continue to fight hard to ensure that we receive our fair share here in South Swindon.
Finally, following my visit last week, my local charity of the week is The Open Door Centre, a fantastic day resource for adults with learning difficulties here in Swindon. Members from all walks of life are welcomed to the centre, whose aim is to enrich their lives socially and to provide transferable skills, which aids service users in their daily lives.
All members are encouraged to be independent adults, understanding their rights and choices, in order to become respected, confident, and valued members of society.
You can keep up to date with the brilliant work of the Open Door Centre, and find out how you can support this wonderful local charity on their website here: https://theopendoorcentre.squarespace.com/