Weekly Column 10.05.18

I must start this week by congratulating AFC Corsham for their 12-hour football marathon in aid of the charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers. This fantastic charity supports children who have lost a parent while serving in the British military and with a large military presence in the constituency is close to many people’s hearts. The youth team kicked off with the men’s team taking over to finish the event and it was a delight to be there to cheer them on.

Up and down the country recently people have been celebrating the 100 years of the formation of the RAF. Here in the constituency I was able to join in the celebrations by welcoming the Royal Air Forces Association members to Chippenham as they marched through the town on their 10-mile commemorative walk from Corsham to Calne.

I am a passionate supporter of our armed forces and raising awareness of the challenges which active service places on the individual and their family, so it was fantastic to be able to meet and speak to so many at the event. The dedication and commitment seen by those I was able to speak to was matched only by the warm reception which they received from the people of Chippenham and it was a delight to be part of the event and celebrate this milestone.

I have spoken frequently in Parliament on the devastating humanitarian crisis being endured by the Rohingya people displaced by violence in Myanmar, praising the UK’s world-leading response but challenging the Government to continue to do more.

I am delighted with the recent announcement that the UK is to provide an additional £70m in financial support which will be used to protect 200,000 people from cholera, provide 300,000 with shelter as the monsoon season approaches and support the 20,000 women estimated to have given birth and are caring for newborn babies in such difficult conditions.

The UK is leading the way responding to this crisis but we must continue to pressure other countries to do the same, with every penny given bringing a small amount of hope to those for whom life must by unimaginably difficult.

I have been trying to do at least one supermarket drop-in surgery a week recently, including Tesco, Iceland, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Asda across the constituency on weekdays, evenings and weekends. These are in addition to my private surgeries.

I always try to be as accessible as possible and reach people who would probably never approach their MP. The idea is people can just pop over during their shop, for a chat or to discuss a concern.

I have future similar ones planned across May in Hilperton, Melksham, Corsham and Atworth. For details please do get in touch: michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk or call 01249 704465.