Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham

Last week brought good news from the Coalition government’s Regional Growth Fund, which is investing £168 million to help support more tha n 28,000 jobs in the south west.

Locally, here in Wiltshire, the fund has awarded DTR-VMS of Chippenham £3.1 million to fund a research project at the automotive specialists, safeguarding around 200 jobs and creating 21 more. DTR-VMS also plans to use some of the money to complete the refurbishment of a building in Trowbridge.

This announcement follows recent news that Herman Miller, a large furniture manufacturer, is looking to relocate its HQ to Melksham. Whilst these plans illustrate the constraints of employment sites in Chippenham, it is excellent news that these companies remain committed to our part of Wiltshire and their local workforce.

Although unemployment in the Chippenham constituency fell again slightly last month, there’s no room for complacency, and I’ll continue to work with local businesses to help secure lasting jobs, so we can get Wiltshire working.

Congratulations to Bradford on Avon’s Wiltshire Music Centre and Melksham Adventure Centre, two local organisations who’ve been recently successful in securing funds for improvements to their premises. Wiltshire Music Centre has secured over £370,000 from the Arts Council to upgrade its technical equipment and foyer, and to improve both access to the venue and its own office space. Such a critically-acclaimed concert hall is a treasured facility for the area, and I’m sure the new and improved space will be even more of a delight to visit and listen.

Melksham Adventure Centre committee members deserve congratulations for their hard work in securing funds from Inspired Facilities, part of Sport England, for a total overhaul of their building on the King George V Playing Field. The committee is inviting the public and anyone who has been involved with the centre over the past 30 years, to an open day on Saturday February 16 at 2pm.

Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club is also based at the centre and will benefit from the improved facilities – I recently raised the case of sculler schools and canoe clubs with Culture Secretary Maria Miller in the Commons, asking her to consider establishing a “right to row”, giving greater access to rivers around the country.

My next surgeries will be held at Bradford on Avon library tomorrow from 10am to 11.30am, and at the Pound Arts Centre in Corsham on February 1 from 4.30 to 6pm.

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