It was great news for Swindon that the Great Western Hospital was this week one of 70 hospitals across the country to be able to start administering Covid-19 jabs as part of the mass vaccination programme being rolled out across the UK.
The Covid-19 vaccine has undergone rigours tests, including clinical trials that are globally recognised as having the highest safety standards. I strongly encourage everyone here in Swindon and across the country to get vaccinated when their turn comes around.
It has been an extremely difficult year for all of us and whilst we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with mass testing and vaccinations, we simply cannot afford to be complacent and let the virus spread out of control.
This year I am calling on residents here in South Swindon to take part in my ‘A Swindon Christmas’ photography competition. To enter all you have to do is take a photo of something which you think represents the best of Swindon at Christmas time and send it to me.
I will be proudly showcasing every photograph I receive in a gallery on my website and the winners and runners up in both the under-16 and over-16 categories will also receive a certificate.
You can either email me a copy of your photograph via email@example.com or by posting it to 29b Wood Street, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4AN.
Entries must be received by 31st December 2020.
Last Friday I had the opportunity to take part in a virtual visit to the Nationwide Branch in Regent Circus to learn more about the additional measures they have put in place to help those with hidden disabilities.
At the beginning of the year Nationwide became the first financial services provider to launch the Hidden Disability Sunflower Scheme. In the UK nearly 14 million people live with a disability and 80 per cent of these are hidden disabilities, such as anxiety, autism, chronic pain, mental health issues, learning difficulties and rheumatoid arthritis.
That is why I welcome the news that Nationwide are making sunflower lanyards available, free of charge, for their members who want to self-identify that they have a hidden disability.
I was extremely concerned however during the visit to hear about examples of abuse that branch colleagues have experienced. Please be polite and considerate to all of those who are working to assist members of the public, especially during the run-up to Christmas.
Remember we are in the middle of a global pandemic, and these people are working extremely hard in difficult circumstances. Showing them your respect and appreciation will mean a great deal to them!
Another busy week in Parliament saw me answering questions in the House of Commons on the work of the Ministry of Justice yesterday. These questions ranged from the role of the Supreme Court to how the reforms which I am spearheading will help establish a smarter approach to sentencing and help restore the public confidence in our criminal justice system. In the past two weeks I have taken part in two question sessions in the Commons and answered questions to two Select Committees as well; Parliamentary scrutiny is a vital part of our democracy and I will always work with Parliament to provide a high degree of accountability.