From Michelle Donelan <[email protected]>
Subject My Latest Newsletter
Date July 1, 2022 6:15 PM
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An update on my work from around the Chippenham Constituency in the last month         

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Welcome to my latest newsletter, I hope you are well and were able to make the most of the long weekend for the Platinum Jubilee at the start of June.

If you haven’t done so already, you can stay up to date with my work by following my Facebook page here ([link removed]) .

** Advice Surgeries

This month I’ve been all over with my advice surgeries - St Barnabas Church in Beanacre, Asda in Melksham, Sainsburys in Bradford-on-Avon, St Mary’s School at Broughton Gifford, the Springfield Campus in Corsham, and at Staverton Village Hall.

I think it’s really important for me to get round as many of the local towns and villages as possible with my surgeries, as you often speak to people who I am able to help, but wouldn’t necessarily think to contact me.

If there is somewhere locally you would like to see me hold an advice surgery, or if you’d like to book an appointment with me, please do feel free to email me: [email protected]


** Platinum Jubilee

In the last month our community celebrated the Platinum Jubilee, and it really was a brilliant celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s seven decades of tireless and dedicated service to our country. Our community commemorated the occasion in true Wiltshire style which was lovely to see!

It was a real honour to be invited as a Cabinet Minister to attend St Paul’s Cathedral for The Platinum Jubilee service and have the opportunity to represent our constituency at a very special service of thanksgiving for our Queen.

There are too many brilliant local events that I attended to possibly fit in this newsletter, but some highlights for me included the Save the Hop Pole BBQ in Limpley Stoke, the celebrations in Bradford-on-Avon, the fetes in Shaw and Whitley villages and at Hilperton Village Hall, judging the best dressed window display in Melksham, helping out with the cake sale at The Corsham Club, and the market place fair and exhibition in Melksham.

The Saturday evening finished with the brilliant garden party at Monkton Park Golf Course, and I visited the Picnic in the Park at Chippenham, the community meal in Melksham, and the Big Lunar Lunch in Lacock on the Sunday, where I gave out some lovely commemorative mugs to the children and had the very difficult job of picking the best crown!

It really was a lovely weekend, a huge thank you to the small army of local volunteers who made each event possible.


** Melksham Rugby Club

It was a real pleasure to attend the Juniors' awards at Melksham Rugby Club earlier this month, celebrating the hard work and achievements of the young players.
This would not be possible, of course, without the hard work of so many volunteers who give up their time to serve the club and make it all possible. Mark Simmons, Dave and Caroline Williams, Matthew Glover, Gary Cooke and Ian Newman were all awarded lifetime memberships for 30+ years of service to the club, which is undoubtedly a vital local asset.


** 'Harper's Law'

'Harper's Law' has now come into effect - it will give mandatory life sentences to the killers of emergency service workers, following a tireless and dedicated campaign by Lissie Harper. Lissie is the widow of PC Andrew Harper, the Thames Valley police officer who was brutally killed whilst on duty in 2019.

The new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act also doubles the maximum penalty from 12 months to 2 years for those who assault police or other emergency workers.

This is absolutely the right thing to do, I first spoke on this topic years ago in Parliament and it is so important that we are helping to protect those who put their lives on the line to keep our community safe.


** Melksham Hub Café

I was very happy to support Melksham Hub Café and their application to GWR’s Community Fund. Last year, GWR’s fund provided a whopping £838,100 for community projects, and I was delighted to support this application.

Every Wednesday, the café hosts Glee Club, which is a safe environment for people with SEND to continue the development of their skills, confidence, and development. It provides a vital network of support for people with SEND long after college has finished.

I popped down to see them recently and it really is a fantastic resource for Melksham and the surrounding areas, so happy to help in any way that I can.


** Birds Marsh Link Road

Many of you have contacted me about the the unacceptable delay to the opening of the Birds Marsh link road. I have raised this Cllr Mark McClelland to establish what the delay was, and was grateful to receive a detailed reply which outlined exactly what the council are doing to expedite the opening of the road.

I also raised this with Persimmon Homes and Barratt Homes given the significant impact on traffic, and I am pleased to have had a timeline of 6 weeks from Persimmon homes. Longer than it should have taken, but hopefully this is reassuring news for those nearby.

You can read the responses from Wiltshire Council and Persimmon Homes here ([link removed]) .


** Free Speech Bill

Earlier this month, I led the Free Speech Bill through its successful Third Reading in the House of Commons.

Free speech is what makes the UK one of the most open, prosperous and tolerant countries in the world. But it is under attack by an intolerant few on our university campuses. Lecturers forced to get Police protection, physical and verbal abuse hurled at visiting speakers, 1 in 4 students scared to express their views on campus, and the UK was recently downgraded to 63rd in the World’s Academic Freedom Index - something has to change.

As I said in the Chamber, I do not see how any MP can justify arguing against giving students and academics the same rights to free speech as they themselves enjoy as Members of Parliament. Amazingly, Labour and the Liberal Democrats did just that – time and again they stood up in the chamber and argued against enshrining free speech protections into law for students and university staff.

I made several speeches at the Dispatch Box in defence of free speech, and thankfully, we carried this important Bill forward. The right to freely express views lawfully is a British value that we have exported throughout the world, it is time we support it again at home.

You can watch my speech here ([link removed]) .


** Other recent work
* Liaised with Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Council regarding the illegal traveller site in Levi’s Park in Chippenham – I am pleased to say that they were swiftly moved on
* Opened the Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub Annual Conference – talking about local opportunities and how important it is that young people don’t feel that they have to move away from our area in order to succeed in their careers
* Went to check out the Taste of Corsham event – so many lovely vendors with delicious food
* Spent an afternoon calling into small businesses in Chippenham to see if there is anything I can do to help
* Held Democracy Workshops with local schools – including the Y7s and Sixth Form at Melksham Oak, Churchfields at Monkton Farleigh and Atworth, and the Y5 and Y6 pupils at Monkton Park in Chippenham
* Popped into the Market in Bradford-on-Avon – fantastic to see it so busy and to see the businesses there thriving


Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter.

As ever, if you have a problem that I might be able to help with, or if you’d like to come and speak to me, please don’t hesitate to send me an email: [email protected], or give my office a call: 01249 704465.

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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