Justin Tomlinson MP is committed to supporting local charities. He does this in part by opening up his community office on the Orbital Shopping Park to charities to use free of charge for their committee meetings, coffee mornings and training sessions, as well as other different events.
One of the charities which has regularly held its meetings at Justin’s office has been SMASH – Swindon Mentoring and Self Help. SMASH run a mentoring scheme across Swindon, where adults are paired with a young person who faces significant challenges. Mentors meet with the same young person once a week to give support, encouragement and guidance. Mentors encourage young people to believe in themselves, building up their self-confidence and helping them take the first steps towards achieving their goals.
On Sunday, Justin was delighted to join SMASH, including mentors, friends of SMASH (who help with fundraising), members of staff and other supporters & volunteers, at a celebration event held at the Blunsdon House Hotel. Over a 100 people gathered at the event, where those who had dedicated their time and efforts to helping SMASH were thanked for their hard work. The event was kindly sponsored by the Police Federation.
Justin gave a speech in which he outlined why he was so supportive of the work that SMASH does. Drawing on his experience at school, Justin talked about how he had friends who missed out on a support network, which led them down the wrong path and eventually led to prison.
As well as hosting regular events at his office, Justin has also helped to gain recognition of SMASH and help raise awareness of the work that they do. He has personally nominated them for a Kids Count Award, which the charity won having been invited to Parliament by Justin to collect the award. He also wrote an endorsement for the charity as part of their Queen’s Award successful nomination – a national award which acts as the MBE for voluntary groups.
Justin Tomlinson MP said: “I have seen first-hand what happens when young people are not provided with the support and guidance that we all need when growing up. Every single young person deserves a chance, and everybody should be able to experience support from the people around them. Unfortunately, some youngsters aren’t that lucky which is why the work of SMASH is so important.”