Weekly column: 25 April 2018

Last month I asked the Prime Minister whether she would commission a national enquiry into adverse childhood experiences (such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism in the family and parental separation), as studies show that children who suffer four or more of these are far more likely to suffer with mental health problems, suicidal tendencies, increased prison rates and demonstrate violent behaviour themselves.

I am therefore delighted with the Government’s recent announcement that we will be committing additional spending to support children living in alcohol-dependent families, including £6m which will ensure priority access to mental health support and a fund which local authorities can apply to in order to provide targeted support.

Alcoholism is just one of the many adverse factors I raised with the Prime Minister and which impact children’s lives and I will continue to push for more to be done, but with the Children’s Society estimating that alcoholism affects 700,000 children at any one time, it’s a vital step forward to ensure that no child gets left behind.

I recently had the pleasure of being the keynote speaker at a constituency technology event organised by Viision focussing on the future of technology.

Throughout my time as an MP I have championed the need to bridge the skills gap in design and technology to ensure that we have sufficient home- grown talent to allow Wiltshire and the UK to be at the forefront of the digital and technological revolution.

It is fantastic that businesses such as Viision are being pro-active in building co-operation between businesses on this issue and playing their part in ensuring Wiltshire is ready to lead the way in technical innovation. I look forward to welcoming them back to my Festival of Engineering later in the year which I am holding again, this being the Government’s year of engineering, to tackle stigma, misconception and barriers to young children wanting to study and work in STEM subjects and ensure we have the skills we need to for the future.

It has been another busy week both inside and outside Parliament and it was a delight to meet so many people at the drop-in events I held across the week.

I held an open surgery at the Hartley Farm Shop in Winsley, with a large attendance. It was great to be able to support this fantastic local business and meet so many people to discuss their issues and concerns so thank you to all the team there who made it possible.

I have always prided myself on being as accessible as possible which is why I run regular appointments at weekend and in the evenings with this Saturday in Chippenham and future weekend dates already in the diary. If you would like more information on drop-in locations or private appointments then please email me on michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk or call me on 01249 704465 and I would be delighted to meet you.