One of my favourite visits each summer is to meet young people from the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group who have been participating in the Salamander Project.
In its ninth year, the Salamander Project is a five-day long course for people with Down’s Syndrome in which the participants work with the local emergency services to develop their self-esteem, build skills and have fun.
The group works as a team to learn firefighting skills, such as abseiling, ladder climbing, search and rescue, first aid, road traffic collision rescue skills, water rescue, and how to use real operational equipment.
On the final day, a showcase is held where the youngsters can demonstrate their skills in two scenarios; the first a road collision where people are cut out of cars, and the second a house fire where the fire must be put out and the people inside are saved.
This is all performed in front of proud family members and friends.
It’s inspiring to see how much the youngsters enjoy participating and transforming into members of the emergency services.
When I first visited the project, I didn’t expect to see them cutting a person out of a car, tackling a blaze, or performing CPR, but they do so as if they were the professionals.
I’m also incredibly grateful to all of the staff from our dedicated emergency services who make the project possible each year. Many use their annual leave to give the group the opportunity to experience their work.
Finally, as the summer draws to a close, and children get ready to return to school, I’m also getting ready to head back to Westminster.
Ahead of the return to Parliament, the Prime Minister has been in Japan to lay the foundations for a new trade deal.
Japan is the world’s third largest economy and we benefit more from Japanese investment than any other country in the world apart from the US.
Japanese companies already invest more than £40bn in the UK and about 1,000 Japanese companies directly employ 140,000 people in the UK, with thousands more in the vital supply chain.
This is something we are all too aware of in Swindon, with Honda and associated companies not just building cars for the UK market, but selling them around the world, including back to Japanese consumers.
As part of her visit, the Prime Minister has announced we will set up a new joint working group to unblock remaining barriers to trade and take steps to build the closest, freest trading relationship between the UK and Japan after Brexit; building co-operation in industrial policy across science, innovation, and energy to ensure our economies continue to work for all.
Tomorrow I am hosting a charity coffee morning for the Jessie May Trust at my community office from 10am until noon.
Jessie May is a charity that provides hospice at home care for terminally-ill children.
After a lot of hard work and perseverance initial funding was secured, and Jessie May was officially launched in 1996 and the charity now hopes to expand its fantastic work into Swindon.
Therefore I hope people will come and show some local support for this important cause.