I am Michelle Donelan. I was first elected as a Member of Parliament in 2015, re-elected in 2017 and then again in 2019. Our constituency includes Chippenham, Corsham, Bradford on Avon, Melksham and the surrounding villages.
Before politics I worked in Marketing in the media / entertainment industry having started my career in Australia for Pacific Magazines before working for The History Channel a joint venture with BSkyB. I later worked for WWE (Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment) as an International Marketing Communications Manager – this proves a bit too popular in the school democracy workshops I run.
I went to a state school and was the first in my family to finish University. My family taught me to work hard and make the most of the opportunities that came my way. I honestly do not believe that there are enough opportunities for everyone in this country – this is why I entered politics and the theme of my first speech in parliament. I believe an MP’s job should be to knock down barriers, open doors and create opportunities for all.
We need a fairer society where we trust in the individual and enable them with the choices and chances to succeed. I want to help create this – a country where there is not just a safety net to catch all those who fall but also ladders out – for example we have a number of initiatives to tackle debt but there are so many more effective things we could be doing. Most people do not even know about the help available which is why I now run Money Matters events promoting the help.
I have always believed that everyone should have a fair shot at life and that this is impossible without a good education. I have done a lot of work to tackle the UK’s skills gap which I have called a ‘ticking time bomb.’ This has included organising Wiltshire Festivals of Engineering – over 4,000 children attended the last one.
I am passionate about our area and love living here – I never take for granted the trust that you have bestowed upon me and the responsibility. I have continually stood up to Government and local government (both Conservative) when I feel polices are not in the interests of local people and our area. From parking charges to education funding – I am on your side.
I think we should celebrate the voluntary sector more and those local people who give up their time. I am an Honorary President of Wiltshire Carers and The Independent Living Centre, a Bradford on Avon Emergency Community Volunteer offering help with disasters like floods. I am a strong supporter of a number of local charities including Doorway and have volunteered with them as well as our local Rotary Clubs. I have played an active role helping with community events because communities make places not the other way around.
I am acutely aware that many people would not even think of contacting people who stand to be their representative. That is why I try to be as accessible as possible with pop up surgeries in supermarkets, pubs and cafes having stands at village fetes and street stalls. I visit a business a week, do democracy workshops in our schools, visit and work with local charities and hold on average two surgeries a week and hold events from Over 55s events to Disability confident schemes.
I am a Christian who loves her family and does not get much time for hobbies but does try to keep fit. I do not view being your MP as a job but a way of life. Like all candidates I suffer some abuse on social media but I do like to think that you know how passionately I care and work on your behalf.