ROBERT BUCKLAND: The arrival of Waitrose is a big boost for our town

Robert Buckland - MP for South Swindon

Robert Buckland - MP for South Swindon

First published in Adver Columnists
Last updated
by , Swindon South MP

Parliament breaks up for Easter this week. I always look forward to the recess because it provides an opportunity to get out and about in Swindon even more than usual.

It all starts tomorrow morning when I’ll be opening the town’s first Waitrose supermarket, part of the new Wichelstowe development.

Swindon Borough Council has been trying to entice Waitrose here for many years. The fact they’re coming here now is a big vote of confidence in our local economy at this crucial time. Whether or not you choose to shop there (and other supermarkets are available!), the new store has provided a big boost to employment.

Apparently more than 700 people applied for the 150 new jobs, which is a record for the company.

I’m pleased that they looked at individual applications as well as people put forward by Jobcentre Plus and Council initiatives, so that the vast majority of people who’ve been employed will be local residents entering or re-entering the workplace. I think this new business will be a great asset to the town and particularly the emerging community of Wichlestowe.

Already this week I’ve attended a wide range of events around Swindon. On Monday I was delighted to be joined by Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell. We were at the Central Library to mark the start of Parkinson’s Awareness Week, where local residents were getting more information about the condition and the help that’s available. We met Dave Logan, vice chair of the Swindon and district branch of Parkinson’s UK, who is undertaking a Swim Challenge.

He is swimming the equivalent of the distance from England to France – 34km – to raise funds for a new balance and exercise class in Swindon.

This new venture is going to cost just over £5,000 a year to run, so the fundraising efforts are to be applauded.

The Swindon and district branch has a busy week of events planned to help promote awareness in the area and it was good that we had such a high-profile visitor as James Cracknell to support them.

Also on Monday I was out and about with volunteers delivering the vital home library service in Wroughton. The Royal Voluntary Service and Swindon Libraries do fantastic work visiting customers who are unable to get out of their homes.

And it’s about so much more than just books.

As I saw, the RVS spend up to 20 minutes with each customer, providing company and conversation over a cup of tea as well. This is a really important service and I was delighted to be able to support it. It’s yet another example of Swindon’s community coming together.

Swindon Advertiser: An artist’s impression of the planned Waitrose supermarket for the Wichelstowe District Centre

The new Waitrose in Wichelstowe during the later stages of development. The store is set to open on Thursday

The Swindon and district branch has a busy week of events planned to help promote awareness in the area and it was good that we had such a high-profile visitor as James Cracknell to support them.

Also on Monday I was out and about with volunteers delivering the vital home library service in Wroughton. The Royal Voluntary Service and Swindon Libraries do fantastic work visiting customers who are unable to get out of their homes.

And it’s about so much more than just books.

As I saw, the RVS spend up to 20 minutes with each customer, providing company and conversation over a cup of tea as well. This is a really important service and I was delighted to be able to support it. It’s yet another example of Swindon’s community coming together.

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