On Friday as part of International Day of Action for Women’s Health I visited The Nelson Trust here in Swindon to see the inspiring work they are doing.

The Nelson Trust, who opened their Women’s Centre in Swindon back in 2013, is an invaluable service to support victims of trauma and crime, and also those who themselves get caught up in criminal justice system, with advice and counselling.

The Ministry of Justice continues to provide the service, which is an independent organisation, with funding for its work and I want to pay tribute to the dedicated team there who help make a difference in reducing the cycle of crime and supporting victims.

I am pleased that the Government is holding a public consultation to help inform the development of our Women’s Health Strategy.

It is vital that we shape the future of women’s health services around their genuine needs, so please take part before it closes on the 13th June.

The easiest way is via the survey at consultations.dhsc.gov.uk/talkwomenshealth.

We are extremely fortunate in Swindon to have hundreds of volunteers who carry out fantastic work every day, making a huge difference in our local community.

Their contribution is often unseen and unrecognised by many. However, the pandemic has rightly raised the profile of volunteering and more people than ever are aware of the immense contribution made every day by volunteers.

I am very proud of the great work being carried out by this secret army in Swindon and encourage everybody as part of Volunteers’ week to take the time to say: thank you volunteers!

At the Budget the Chancellor promised to double the funding to help businesses take on new apprentices.

The Government has delivered on that promise and employers of all sizes in England can now apply for extra funding to help them take on apprentices, in the latest drive to revolutionise the skills and training offer across the country.

The boost to the apprenticeship incentive scheme means that businesses can now apply to claim £3000 for new apprentice hired as a new employee from 1 April until 20 September.

The cash incentive is designed to help more employers invest in the skilled workforce they need for the future, as part of the government’s Plan for Jobs.

It builds on the extensive action already underway to protect, support and create more jobs while bringing our skills and education system closer to the employer market and widening the opportunities that are available, as we build back better from the pandemic.

Apprenticeships are an excellent way for employers large and small to grow their businesses and I would encourage all firms here in Swindon to explore this fantastic opportunity.

More information can be found here:gov.uk/government/news/cash-boost-for-apprenticeships-launched.

As the weather has taken a turn for the better, it is great to see more people out and about with family and friends, as we continue on the Covid roadmap. The vaccine programme remains the most important part of our mission, and it is encouraging to see our local Swindon numbers keep climbing. To younger residents, please come forward and get the jab. I know demand is high, but you can help make the difference in the weeks ahead.