Last Saturday residents in Swaythling may have seen me on Stoneham Way cleaning for the Queen for the second weekend in a row. I joined local Councillors and volunteers for the annual Swaythling clean up. This year we collected 8 large sacks of litter and had the chance to chat to local residents who were extremely appreciative of our efforts. Following this I joined hundreds of Romsey residents for the annual Reminiscences of Romsey event, organised by the Romsey Test Rotary Club. It was fascinating to see photographs of so many momentous events in the Market Place, between 1940 and 1980, including some that I remember. Mountbatten School junior choir performed some wonderful numbers for us all and I very much enjoyed the demonstration by Canine Partners.
This week is National Apprenticeship Week and as part of the celebrations I again hosted the YMCA Training Apprenticeship Awards. I am a huge proponent of apprenticeships having seen first-hand the amazing progress young people can make when given an opportunity. The ceremony focused on the many success stories of YMCA-backed apprentices and best practice examples for other businesses who are considering taking on an apprentice.
Of course this week is budget week and although I was disappointed not to get in with a question I had on the order paper for DfID questions, I had good news a short while later. The Chancellor has given the green light for funding for a new dedicated emergency and trauma department for children at Southampton General Hospital. This is a wonderful step forward for local people, many of whom will have children and be all too familiar with trips to A&E.