I ALWAYS think it is important that big businesses give back to the communities in which they are based. This is something I try to encourage whenever I meet with them.

I was therefore very pleased last week to organise a donation of several hundred books by WH Smith to young carers across Swindon.

Earlier this year I met WH Smith and suggested that the Young Carers were a fantastic group to support.

Last Friday over 80 youngsters descended upon the offices of WH Smith in Greenbridge to collect their books! The excitement on their faces when they were able to browse and pick whichever new books they wanted was really great, and the sheer joy when the free Lego and stationary was presented to them made it all the more worthwhile.

Young carers are often burdened with responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.

It may be a parent, brother, sister or other family member who has an illness, physical or learning disability, a mental health problem or misuse of drugs or alcohol.

This can often put a strain on other areas of their life and can potentially have a detrimental impact on their school work and limit their ability to spend time with friends.

This is where Swindon Carers Centre (SCC) steps in, to provide support and guidance, as well as an opportunity to have a break and enjoy fun activities away from day to day responsibilities.

This is where I wanted to help and a huge thank you must go to WH Smith for being so generous and accommodating, as well as the staff at SCC who once again did a great job of getting everybody together on the day.

One of my last meetings in Westminster was with fellow MPs from across the South West and Network Rail to discuss rail infrastructure.

As major projects including the £6bn electrification of the Great Western Main Line and the introduction of new high speed rolling stock are delivered, we are now looking to improve connectivity across the area. This includes delivering extra services to Bristol, Oxford & Cambridge.

I took the opportunity to push (again) the need to modernise Swindon Station, and consider options to build a new station to serve the Eastern Villages Development to unlock better public transport and deliver further growth.

One thing I enjoy about Christmas is how it inspires people's generosity, and this was evident in the response to my Christmas Appeal.

I was bowled over by the number of people who stopped by my office to drop off gifts, and it was a pleasure to see them build up under the office Christmas tree.

In all we received 78 gifts, which will now be distributed to elderly people who are experiencing loneliness this Christmas.

Although Christmas is usually a time to spend with family, not everyone is so fortunate and it is important to bear them in mind.

I hope that these gifts will bring some Christmas cheer to people who may feel isolated this Christmas.

As we take a break over Christmas and enjoy some time off, it is important to remember all the people who will be working over the Christmas period to keep our vital services running. Their dedication is inspiring and very much appreciated.

Finally, I want to wish everyone a very peaceful and merry Christmas.