From Michelle Donelan <[email protected]>
Subject Latest updates from Michelle Donelan MP
Date August 10, 2019 3:01 PM
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Email: michelle.don[email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES

** Standing up for what is best for our country and constituency

They say a week is a long time in politics - well this is certainly true of late! In recent weeks Theresa May stepped down and Boris Johnson became Prime Minister. I believe he is what our country needs and that he can deliver Brexit, so we can get back to focusing on our important domestic issues like education, policing and the NHS. In the meetings with each of the leadership candidates I pushed them for more money for our schools and more police officers - work is now starting on both.

Locally, I have been as busy as usual and I really enjoyed having a stand at Melksham Party in the Park. Like every year the music festival was great - well done to all the organisers. Lots of people came up to me for a chat and to get my help. If you need my assistance with a problem or want to simply talk to me about a local or national issue call 01249 704465 or email [email protected]

I recently held a Disability Confident Event at Melksham Town hall and it was great success with very positive feedback from employers who either signed up for he ‘Disability confidence scheme’ or pledged to work up to the next level. I believe in an even playing field where everyone has a fair shot at life and this scheme is not just about enabling people with disabilities (visible and invisible) to get jobs but also about ensuring they have the same opportunities to get the career that they want. We heard some very passionate stories from local employees with disabilities and their experiences.

The other week I held an Over 55s event in Chippenham and hundreds attended. I am planning another one but in Melksham, September. Do get in touch if you have an organisation, charity or club that you think would be suitable to have a stand at the event.

I was shown the beautiful new gardens at Wiltshire Heights care home in Bradford on Avon this week. The gardens have been revamped and carefully designed by volunteers from the Wiltshire Police Cadets and the team who drive the buses for the home. The local PCSO who grafted with the cadets talked to me about how passionate the young people were about the project.

The colourful new gardens also include a new solar powered water feature and several additional seating areas around the home to allow residents to follow the sun into the afternoon.

Wiltshire Heights is entered in two competitions on the strength of their outdoor spaces, The SW in Bloom and Porthavens own annual competition and I would like to wish them the very best of luck!! I look forward to hearing the results.

On Monday, I was treated to tour of the Moulton Cycles site at The Hall in Bradford on Avon by current director John McNaughton. The Hall is one of Bradford on Avon’s real treasures and was the private residence of Alex Moulton and home to his iconic cycle company, Moulton Cycles. Since Alex’s death in 2012 the site in Bradford on Avon has remained home to the company and the world-famous bikes are made here in their entirety.

The Moulton Bikes offices, small workshops, factory and The Hall itself are a homage to Alex Moultons passion for engineering. The bikes are meticulously constructed by a highly skilled workforce some of whom have been with the company for over 50 years!! Each bike is carefully put together with a standard of engineering that is second to none, all in Bradford on Avon. The extensive residential property and the grounds surrounding it are a stones throw from the town centre.

The site is now owned by the Alex Moulton Charitable Trust and they have taken on the obligation to preserve it and its rich history for generations to come. There is an extensive program of summer fundraising and social events from open air cinemas to talks on Alex and his love of engineering. For more information please see the website: [link removed]
([link removed])

I re-visited Wiltshire Mind ([link removed]) this week in Melksham. To hear about their recent projects and more about their amazing work. The charity is a local and self-funded operation, they are affiliated to Mind the national charity however they receive *no funding* and are not commissioned to provide services so they must raise every penny to continue the invaluable work they are doing.

I have always been passionate that we need to put more resources into mental health suport and whilst we are doing this we still rely on local Mind charities who really help transform lives. To help them raise funds I am organising a fundraising dinner in October and will provide details soon so keep checking the page.

Wiltshire Mind currently run services from Trowbridge, Melksham, Chippenham, Salisbury, Malmesbury and Devizes and their provision includes Peer Support Groups, Carer Support Groups, 1-1 Counselling Services and a new young people’s counselling service. The charity also provides training for businesses and organisations through a range of 1-2 day courses, providing work places with the tools they need to identify and help their workforce through periods of difficulty with mental health. This helps them to find their other services so I urge all businesses to think of the value of running a course for their staff and the community at large. Wiltshire Mind are particularly involved with the armed services and conscious of the imminent arrival of all of our troops back from Germany, they would very much like to be able to offer their services in the garrison towns. I have pledged to help with this.

Last week I visited another rural business - SW Machinery Hire Ltd ([link removed]) just outside Lacock. Simon Williams founded SW Hire in 2003 to hire out a range of machinery to the agricultural sector. The business has continued to grow since 2003 and now provides equipment to over 600 customers. A few questions for Ministers came up which I am following up on. Simon studied at Wiltshire Colleges’ Lackham campus and hires an apprentice from the college showing how it is supporting the local rural
economy. The company has significantly contributed to local charities in recent years with their Charity Ball in 2018 attended by over 400 people.

To begin the parliamentary recess, I visited Tim Bowles at The Farm Camp ([link removed]) in Winsley. I often meet with farmers, Chippenham being a predominantly rural constituency and I am always impressed with the diversification efforts that back up the more traditional farming model. Tim is the 5th generation to live and work at Church Farm and his hard work has turned the Farm Camp into a contemporary thriving rural business providing accommodation in beautiful bell tents and outdoor experiences
from team building with sheep to reconnecting over outdoor cooking from foragers and professional chefs. They also run supper clubs for the local community to enjoy - I shall be popping into one soon!

This week I held a street surgery at the Melksham Market. Melksham in bloom is really beautiful. I always worry about reaching and helping those people that would never dream of contacting their MP that’s why I try to be as accessible as possible with pop up surgeries at markets, fetes, supermarkets, cafes you name it! Do get in touch if you have a problem or simply want to chat about a local or national issue [email protected]
I spent some time on last Friday afternoon having a chat with the residents of Cepen Lodge in Chippenham. It was lovely to be shown around the home and facilities by the staff and to then spend some time talking with the residents, some who have spent their whole lives in the Chippenham area and some who have moved from further afield but all agreed Cepen Lodge was a lovely place to live. Thank you very much for the tea and lively conversation!

Just before recess began, I met with the Head Teacher of Abbeyfield School, Chippenham ([link removed]) and Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for Education and some of James Gray MP’s Head Teachers to discuss the issues facing schools in Wiltshire with PFI constraints hanging over their heads. It was a great opportunity to discuss the unique extra challenges that schools with PFI contracts face along with general funding concerns. I am fighting for more money into
our education system plus more investment specifically on special educational needs. However, we must also ensure we help schools strangled by existing PFI contracts.

I was delighted to visit one of the areas most loved activity centres, Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre ([link removed]) . The Scrapstore is an award winning environmental and community charity and in a time when we should all be doing more to recycle and use less single use plastics, the centre couldn’t be more valuable. From their site on Bowden Hill at the edge of Lacock the dedicated staff and volunteers collect, sort and store all types of resources that would be rubbishin another
life. The products are then lovingly used in creative activities for children and adults alike 6 days a week. I have pledged my support to ensure they can remain on their current site and have joined a committee led by Chippenham Town Council working with the Scrapstore and Waste Not Want Not to look at opportunities for both to be homes in an Ecohub for Chippenham. For more information on the Scrapstore please contact [email protected] or tel: 01249 730011

The other week I held a very successful ‘Disability Confident’ event in Melksham. A DWP representative spoke about the scheme and amongst others we heard from a brilliant pair of speakers from Poundland – a manager and a customer assistant with Asperger’s – who were able to inspire the employers that attended. They struck home the message that people with a disability have incredible value for a company and can be a real positive to employer and other employees.

People with disabilities (both visible and invisible) deserve not just an equal opportunity to a job but also the career of their choice. The need to create an even playing field and opportunities is exactly why I entered politics.

Disability Confident is a fantastic initiative which raises awareness of the physical and mental disabilities many employees and jobseekers have and encourages companies to give everyone in our society a fair opportunity of employment.

All the charities and organisations which attended helped to inform local businesses in our constituency of the different disabilities people have, how they can support and accommodate them and the local support network available. Pluss, the brilliant charity helping people with a disability into work, and the Department for Work and Pensions were also able to give employers the information they needed to sign up to the Disability Confident scheme and I would encourage any employers who were unable to attend to find out more online: [link removed] ([link removed])

A few weeks ago I held an Over 55's Information and Advice Fair in Chippenham. Over 400 residents attending this event. I shall be holding one in Melksham on Sunday 6th October. The reason I organised this event is to help raise awareness of all the amazing work local and national organisations in our area and what’s available for over 55 to get involved with. At 55 people are certainly not in the older bracket but they do start to retire then and look for new social networks - this is the age Age UK and Saga use hence the event. The Neeld Hall was packed out with over 50 stands covering a wide range of services and interests that Chippenham and the surrounding area has to offer the over 55’s community. Organisations that attended the event included: Citizens Advice
([link removed]) , Age UK
([link removed]) , Independent Living Centre, Semington
([link removed]) , Chippenham and District Artists, Dorothy House
([link removed]) , Chippenham Men's Shed
([link removed]) , Wiltshire Carers, Chippenham Town Bowls Club and many many more local groups and societies.
Email: michelle.don[email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES

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