I am delighted to once again be working with the National Reading Agency and our local libraries in Swindon on the Summer Reading Challenge - a fantastic initiative for which I host the official launch in Parliament each year.

The challenge is a fun way for kids to keep up with their reading over the summer months with a focus on reading for pleasure.

Research shows that during the summer holidays, children can lose some of the good gains made on reading and literacy, so to improve this, the challenge encourages them to read six books over the holidays. Last year 2,698 children in Swindon took up the challenge.

This year, we are aiming for even more!

Each year there is a theme and this is definitely my favourite yet, as we mark 80 years of the Beano with the Mischief Makers! I did have a weekly subscription to the Beano when I was young so it certainly evokes fond memories.

To take part, all children need to do is to head to their local library where they will be given a colourful collector’s map of Beanotown, which keeps a record of their reading journey.

They will collect stickers which will help them crack the clues and help Dennis, Gnasher and friends find the buried treasure.

As with last year’s challenge, Swindon libraries are grateful for any help from volunteers who can greet people coming into the libraries and assist children with filling out their challenge forms.

Anyone who may be interested can contact Debbie from Swindon libraries on DJackson@swindon.gov.uk.

I will be supporting the libraries throughout the challenge, including promoting it at my annual summer activities fair (Saturday July 21, 10am-12pm, Orbital Shopping Park) where parents can come and find out about different activities to keep the family entertained over summer.

We have a good mix of different organisations due to attend and talk about their summer holiday options.

Elsewhere, I was delighted to visit one of our big local employers last week, as I spent an enjoyable afternoon touring the gigantic Aldi distribution centre.

The site provides the base for 82 different stores across the region, with the busy warehouse as the hub with all of the fresh food leaving daily on hundreds of lorries which pass through the site to deliver to stores.

And as Aldi build more stores across the country, including here in Swindon, the site has expansion plans which will involve a total investment of £11.3 million, including 100 new local jobs.

Topics of discussion with the members of the senior team included the supermarket’s contribution to reducing plastic, with an ambitious aim to deliver a 50 per cent reduction in plastic packing by 2025, as well as plans to scrap all single-use plastic bags.

We also talked about the ‘Get Set to Eat Fresh’ campaign which is a well-promoted campaign to highlight the benefits of healthy eating.

It includes a collaboration with Team GB, and is an excellent tool for assisting in the efforts to reduce childhood obesity, something which the Government is very much focused on.

I am very proud that we host such a diverse mix of local employers here in Swindon, and it is a great honour to be able to visit them and engage on the key issues.