The flip side of success and prosperity in any decent society must be concern for those less fortunate and a readiness to volunteer to help.

Some good news this week for North Wiltshire. Rudloe and Colerne based Airbus (Space) signed a £500 million contract with the MOD to extend and enhance their Skynet fleet of seven satellites. Funny to think that Britain’s satellites are controlled from right here (in aptly named Skynet Drive in Hawthorn); alongside all communications for all three armed services.

The contract also covers technology development programmes, new secure telemetry (whatever that may be), tracking and command systems, launch, in-orbit testing and ground segment updates to the current Skynet 5 system. The Skynet 6A satellite will join the Skynet constellation of 7 satellites when launched in 2025.

Satellites orbiting the Globe are matched by volunteer drivers orbiting and criss-crossing Wiltshire.

In the same week as I heard from Airbus, I heard from Community First, a charity based in Devizes who inter alia run the 43 ‘Link’ schemes in Wiltshire. These are voluntary groups offering a transport and good neighbour service to local people who are in need, perhaps because they are elderly, disabled, isolated and lonely, single parents, or perhaps temporarily in need because of illness. It’s a vital safety net provided entirely by volunteers. Last year, for example, Link Schemes made 31,351 health related journeys and completed 48,027 ‘good neighbour’ tasks including collecting prescriptions and shopping.

However, because of Covid 19, the Link schemes are short of drivers since a large number of their existing volunteers are unable to drive because of age or vulnerability. So they desperately need to recruit volunteer drivers and helpers to maintain this vital service across Wiltshire. You get your mileage paid, so it’s just your time and energy that you are giving up to help people who so desperately need it. If you can, please ring 01380 722241 or email linkproject@community first.org.uk to volunteer to help.

Ours is a prosperous and successful area, and we hope to keep it that way. But there are all sorts of people who need our help. Let’s try to pay back our comfort by a bit of volunteer driving and general neighbourliness.

I may have spoken too soon about prosperity in the light of the bad news about 600 jobs to go out of 4000 Dyson employees. We do not yet quite know where these redundancies will occur but I understand it is on the retail side of things, as a result of the switch to online buying. One report indicates that there may be job losses in the customer service department in Malmesbury which, of course, is very bad news, and my team and I will do whatever we can to help constituents who may be affected.