If you were wandering around Swindon this weekend you may have been forgiven for thinking you had walked on to the film set of the latest blockbuster movie. Over two thousand people descended from far and wide on the STEAM Museum for the annual Swindon Comic Con, a celebration of film and television sci-fi. If the pictures are anything to go by then those attending certainly did get into the spirit of the event and if anyone is still wondering why Spiderman was shopping in the designer outlet centre then now you know.

In the town centre four of our Switch on to Swindon ambassadors (The Brunel Centre, inSwindon, The Parade and Regent Circus) joined forces to put on a Pirate Festival featuring, amongst other things, a remarkably good Captain Jack Sparrow look alike. Hundreds of shoppers were able to take part in a whole host of activities over the weekend and the festival certainly added an extra dimension to the shopping experience.

Events like this are important. I have said since day one of taking this role that we must recognise where improvements need to be made in the town centre and redouble efforts to make those improvements. Regeneration by its very nature takes time, and amidst the long term planning and implementation of major projects we must continue to build confidence and make the most of the assets we have. STEAM, the Designer Outlet Centre, the town centre are assets and by putting on events like this we can attract new people to Swindon and change some perceptions.

Investment is the biggest sign of confidence in a place and I was delighted to see the opening of the 3 Newbridge Square office building (formerly known as Tricentre 3) in the town centre following a £2m refurbishment. This is a great vote of confidence in Swindon and offers a modern working environment that will appeal to existing businesses in the town and those looking to relocate.

Civic Day Community and history are two key themes of the Switch on to Swindon campaign and so it seems fitting to give a big plug to Civic Day, a national celebration of civic pride, which takes place on June 17th 2017.

The first ever Civic Day was held on June 25th, 2011 and involved over 200 community groups across England who put on over 350 events to celebrate where they live. Since then over 1000 community events have been held across England. This year Civic Day is celebrating 50 years of conservation areas which provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and enjoy Swindon’s unique Railway Village Conservation Area.

Swindon Civic Voice and Mechanics’ Institution Trust, Swindon have teamed up to offer ‘Open Doors’ at four of Swindon’s heritage assets: Milton Road Baths, the Railway Village Museum, Central Community Centre and The Baker’s Arms. Guided tours of the Railway Village will also be given at 11am and 3pm – to find out more email: info@swindoncivicvoice.org.uk Sign up 100 people registered for our Summer Switch on to Swindon event in the first 24 hours so we are on course for another sell out event in July. Tickets are open to existing ambassadors at the moment so if you don’t want to miss out sign up now at www.switchontoswindon.com/ambassadors