From Michelle Donelan <[email protected]>
Subject My Latest Update
Date April 6, 2023 5:16 PM
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Including my packed digital skills event for local businesses and catching up with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust |

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Welcome to my latest newsletter, I hope you are well. As ever, if there is anything I can do to help, or if you would like to speak to me at one of my upcoming surgeries, please do let me know.

** Easter 2023

As we approach Easter this weekend, I wanted to take a moment to send my warmest wishes to everyone.

Easter is a time for reflection, renewal and hope. It reminds us of the importance of the power of faith and coming together with loved ones to celebrate the blessings of life, and reflecting on all that we are thankful for.

I hope that you and your family are able to enjoy a restful and peaceful Easter, and are able to make the most of the long weekend.

** English Tourism Week

I marked the end of English Tourism Week with a delightful visit to the friendly and welcoming team at Iford Manor Cafe & Kitchen.

The restaurant and cafe have been lovingly created by Husband-and-Wife team William & Marianne Cartwright-Hignett. Much of the food served is grown, reared or foraged from the breath-taking Iford Manor Estate and it was a great to see the passion and care that has gone into the menuโ€™s created by Matt Briddon, which results in almost zero food waste (a very nice touch). All with the backdrop of the Iford Manor Gardens.

The repurposing of this historic venue is highly beneficial for the area as a high proportion of visitors to the Iford Manor Estate are international tourists, a reminder that heritage is a major contributor to the inbound tourism spend, which all goes back into the local economy. Iโ€™m looking forward to returning for one of their Supper Clubs or Jazz Sundays. You can find out more about them here:

** Packed Digital Skills Event For Local Businesses

๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿ’ป Fantastic to bring Google to the Business Cyber Centre in Chippenham last month, improving over 70 local small and independent businesses digital skills and marketing with workshops and training!

๐Ÿ“ฃ The day included free digital mentoring to help local people and small businesses upskill and grow, sessions on how to grow a business online and find new customers, and private mentoring sessions experts to focus on personal and business goals.

๐Ÿ“ˆ I was really pleased to see so many local businesses and residents from across the constituency at the event and hear from Googleโ€™s fantastic digital trainers.

๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ Since being elected in 2015, I have visited and supported hundreds of small, local and independent businesses and Iโ€™m always keen to help them however I can โ€“ this event was a great way of supporting them to develop their skills.

๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป A huge thank you to the Business Cyber Centre where this event was held, it really is such a fantastic venue โ€“ I opened the site back in May 2022, which was made possible with ยฃ3.7 million of Government investment.

๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿซ Plus a big thank you to everyone at Google and their trainers who helped to make the event possible!

** Melksham Free Diners

Spent a lovely afternoon returning to the Melksham Free Diners at their Easter event - it was great to meet so many there with some delicious food. The group have recently formed a singing group, the Melksham Diners Singers, so it was a real privilege to hear them, as well as enjoying some homemade cream cakes and picking the winner of the raffle!

** Supporting Skills And The Local Economy In Bradford on Avon

โš™๏ธ Great return visit to global firm Hitachi at their site in Bradford on Avon, meeting Managing Director Tim, Chief Operating Officer Patrick and some of the Test Engineers who work on site.๐Ÿ‘ท

๐Ÿš… I was given a very interesting demonstration of the cutting edge simulation training they use at the site to improve both the efficiency and the safety of the railway network - so work being done here is helping improve infrastructure up and down the country.๐Ÿ”ง

๐Ÿ“ˆ Hitachi are another fantastic example of a huge global company who are based right on our doorsteps, helping to support skills and innovation, the local economy and job creation in Wiltshire, something I have continued to champion at every opportunity. ๐Ÿงฐ

** Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

๐ŸŒณ Lovely to catch up with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust at their HQ over in Devizes. The Trust manage over 40 nature reserves across Wiltshire and Swindon, and have some really exciting plans for the future, including for their Care Farms - the site in Broughton Gifford which I visited again last Summer is a fantastic centre for SEND students to learn outdoors. ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŒพ

๐ŸŒ„ Land in Wiltshire being managed by the Trust will be appearing on David Attenboroughโ€™s new TV series Wild Isles - incredibly exciting so do look out for that! ๐Ÿฆ…

๐ŸŒพ We also discussed Government land management schemes post leaving the EU so Iโ€™ll be feeding this back to the Minster in charge of delivering the schemes. ๐Ÿšœ

๐Ÿ“ฃ The Trust are always on the lookout for volunteers, so if you would like to get involved you can find out more here ([link removed]) . The Trust do such invaluable work for nature and the environment in the county I am always keen to support them however I can.

** What The Spring Budget Means For You And Your Family

Following the Chancellor setting out our plans to halve inflation, grow the economy and reduce debt, I held an #AskMichelle online discussion from Parliament last month for you to share your thoughts and ask me any questions.

The encouraging news is that by restoring stability we have avoided recession and growth is forecast to return from next year.

Our expansion of free childcare will make a huge difference for working parents - itโ€™s something which I know is a significant cost for many families and I have continued to push for reforming the system. From the moment maternity or paternity leave ends, 30 hours of free childcare up to the age of 4 will be provided to working parents - an average saving of ยฃ6,500 every year for a family with a 2 year old.

These reforms will help to ease pressure on families, break down the barriers back into work for parents and further support our economy.

Some of the other key announcements from the Budget for you and your family include ๐Ÿ‘‡

โšก๏ธExtending the Energy Price Guarantee for a further three months, offering households certainty until bills are expected to drop in July - on top of the average ยฃ1300 of Government support provided so far.

โ›ฝ๏ธ Freezing fuel duty for the 13th year in a row, saving the average driver ยฃ100 a year.

๐Ÿ›ฃ๏ธ Investing over ยฃ3.6 million to fix potholes across Wiltshire.

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ’ป A ยฃ900m cutting-edge supercomputer and AI investment which I will be leading on in my Ministerial job - this will help to transform everything from tech to healthcare.

๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โš•๏ธ Reforming pension tax limits to encourage highly skilled workers like doctors to stay in the NHS, reducing waiting times.

๐Ÿ“ˆ Cutting taxes for businesses that invest in the UK - driving growth and supporting job creation.

If you have any questions or thoughts about the Spring Budget please do feel free to share them with me.

** Best Places To Live In Wiltshire!

โญ๏ธ Fantastic to see all four towns in the constituency featured in the Top 10 Places to Live in Wiltshire, voted for by Wiltshire Live readers! Corsham topped the poll, followed by Bradford on Avon, Melksham and then Chippenham.๐Ÿ…

๐Ÿก With our stunning scenery, brilliant independent businesses, pubs and restaurants, beautiful countryside on our doorstep and the community spirit I see every day, Iโ€™m not at all surprised to see the constituency so well represented! You can see which other towns made the top 10 here ([link removed]) .

** Easter Events In Our Community

๐Ÿฃ Here are just some of the events and activities coming up in our community to celebrate Easter this weekend. Let me know below if you have spotted any others and do feel free to share! ๐Ÿ‘‡

๐Ÿ‘‰ Easter Egg Hunt, Park Gardens, Chippenham - 6 and 7 Apr, 10am onwards
๐Ÿ‘‰ Easter Egg Day, The Glove Factory Studios, Holt - 8 Apr, 10am onwards
๐Ÿ‘‰ Easter Egg Party, The Good Loaf Cafe Melksham - 8 Apr, 10am onwards
๐Ÿ‘‰ Easter Fun at the Rising Sun, Lacock - 8 Apr, 11.30am onwards
๐Ÿ‘‰ Easter Fayre and Buny Hunt, Pewsham Community Centre - 8 Apr, 11am onwards
๐Ÿ‘‰ Easter Communion with breakfast, St Georgeโ€™s Semington - Easter Sunday, 9.30am
๐Ÿ‘‰ Bradford-on-Avon Lions Easter Egg Hunt and Bonnet Competition, Victory Field - Easter Monday, 10am
๐Ÿ‘‰ Bradford-on-Avon Duck Race, Westbury Garden - Easter Monday, 11am onwards
๐Ÿ‘‰ Easter Trail, Semington - 15 Apr to 18 Apr, buy trail sheets from The Somerset Arms
๐Ÿ‘‰ Easter Bug Hunt, Corsham Town Centre - until 26 Apr

** Recent Surgeries

It was great to see so many people at my recent advice surgeries across the constituency - including at my office in Chippenham, Bowerhill Village Hall and at Melksham Town Football Club, where I was joined by local town councillor Mike Sankey. I hold surgeries right across the constituency, so please do let me know if you would like to book an appointment or if I can help in any way.

** Other News In Brief

โญ๏ธ I attended the Mayor of Melkshamโ€™s Civic Awards last week - some very worthy winners from the community. Congratulations to all of those whose hard work was recognised!

๐Ÿ I had a very exciting visit to Five Zeros Supercars just outside Bradford on Avon - they are a totally unique supercar storage space with a cafe and diner as well! Some amazing cars on display and well worth a visit!

๐Ÿฆ I also met some small, local and independent business owners in Melksham town centre about my Access to Cash campaign - look out for a further update on that in the next few weeks.

๐ŸŒณ A huge well done to the 70 residents who helped plant over 1,000 trees in a community planting event at Poulton Park in Bradford-on-Avon - fantastic work! These miniature forests are planted dense with the aim of allowing trees to grow more quickly, improve biodiversity and absorb more CO2.

๐Ÿ‘ฎ Congratulations to the further eight Wiltshire Police officers who completed their initial classroom training over in Devizes last week and will now be out and about helping to keep our local towns and villages safe whilst completing their training!

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest newsletter, if there is anything I may be able to help with or if you would like to speak to me at my next surgery, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Best wishes,

Michelle Donelan
Member of Parliament for Chippenham Constituency
Email: [email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES.

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