Follow the action!

For all (well, most) of the action as it happens, follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday, 25 April 2008

St Georges Day Lions

There are hundreds of voluntary bodies in Bristol that do untold amounts of good work. Amongst them is the Bristol Brunel Lions Club and the Bradley Stoke Lions club. I would like to congratulate both on their superb work in together raising over £1000 to give children with special educational needs at Kingsweston Special School the chance to go on holiday. The cheque was presented to Richard Yandell, the deputy head of Kingsweston School at The Lions' special St.George's Day dinner, last Thursday.

I have visited Kingsweston Special school and seen first hand the extraordinary care and education they give to children who have special needs, and the ground breaking work they are doing with inclusion classes in six separate mainstream schools in the area. They are national leaders in giving children with SEN the chance to go to a mainstream school, with the support and backing of special school expertise and facilities where children need it. So congratulations to Kingsweston Special School and the Lions.

No political system can replicate the energy of the good-will I saw at the Lions' St.George's Day dinner. A political system can only help people like the members of the Lions Clubs to do their good work by removing bureaucratic obstacles from their path. As a city and as a country we should be proud of the army of voluntary workers who do so much, unpaid and unsung, to keep our country up and running.So what better way to celebrate our national day of Englishness than roast beef, treacle sponge, and the presentation of a fat cheque to a very, very good cause? Well done to the Lions and to all at Kingsweston School. A lot of your work might go unsung, but it's mostly people like you who've made our country great.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Green but getting lost? Not anymore!

Can I recommend an amazing website I was told about the other day?

What does it do? It untangles all those hundreds of confusing bus route documents and rail timetables, park and ride locations etc; This is your one-stop-shop for getting around the city by public transport.

I've not seen anything like this before. So simple. So effective!
A brilliant idea, bookmark it now and tell all your friends!

All very happy and smiley on the bus, here. But little did I know I was going in completely the wrong direction... I should have looked at, yes, !

Friday, 11 April 2008

Boxing Clever

Boxing's had a hard press in the past, but now the tide is turning: The Evening Post recently devoted a double page spread to the merits of boxing, and at the same time, Avonmouth's National Smelting Boxing Club got the fantastic news that they have finally been given the go-ahead to expand their boxing gym.

I have been supporting the club's coach, Garry Cave, in his bid for funds and know the enormous amount of work ( mostly paperwork) that went into providing more sporting opportunities for our local youngsters. The gym is nearly always packed and I have always been struck by how polite, dedicated and disciplined the young boxers are.

I've not really got the nose for really competitive boxing, but I used to train with local legend, Jane Couch at Spanniorum Farm Gym. I know first hand just how important boxing is in giving young people a chance to let of steam in a secure, disciplined environment - particularly our boys who are falling behind girls at school, playing truant and being expelled or suspended at an alarming rate.

Our young people risk being suffocated by a health-and-safety cotton-wool culture. But the results of bottling up young people's energy and natural aggression are disastrous - just ask anyone living on a street plagued by bored kids, and sometimes violent anti-social behaviour. I know that young men ( and women!) who take up boxing build self esteem, get fit, learn discipline and respect, so do better at school and no longer feel they have to prove themselves by picking a fight- but can walk away.

These days, I enjoy training at Southmead boxing club, under the expert supervision of the coach, Lee Cummings. Areas like Southmead really need a boxing club like Lee's - and they've got some talented boxers in the making, as I saw when two of them competed in a big contest last night. I'm working with local clubs to make boxing more available to more young people. Not only is it a great way to get fit and let off steam, it's also one of the best ways to tackle youth crime. No wonder the Police support it. So a simple message to the National Smelting and Southmead Boxing Club - well done, and let's keep up the good work!

Monday, 7 April 2008

Over 200 Protesters: Over 1000 signatures say: Save our Post Office!

Over 200 local residents joined in the protest march to save Wellington Hill West Post Office, and post offices across Bristol on Saturday.

Together, we marched from The Beehive Pub to rally outside Wellington Hill West Post Office, which despite being one of the busiest branches in the area, is threatened with closure.
Then we went on to march up Henleaze Road to form the longest post office queue Bristol has ever seen outside Henleaze Road post office, to illustrate:

1. How difficult it will be for the elderly and disabled to make it to the next nearest post office. ( I like to think of myself as a pretty energetic type, but it WAS a bit of a walk!)

2. The chaos at Henleaze Road Post Office at busy times like the run up to Christmas.
Many older residents told me that they were sorry but they wouldn't actually be able to make it all the way up to Henleaze Road Post Office since it was too far for them to be able to walk - which tragically proves the point.

It was really disappointing to see that Doug Naysmith MP, representing the local Labour party voted in favour of the closures in a recent debate in the House of Commons - but local people have made their voice heard as strongly as they can: Post Offices matter - for residents, for local business, for the community. It is wrong to close them down - particularly when sub-postmasters are ready, willing and able to make their small business more viable. But the Government and Post Office Ltd. seem determined not to let them make a go of it, but to axe them instead.

The consultation closes on April 9th. I am submitting a full report together with over 1000 signatures and comments from local people against the closure. We'll have to await the verdict of Post Office ltd which will be announced in a few weeks - but a huge thanks to all those residents who came out in force to oppose the closures. We really have done everything we can.
ps. If you're wondering about that big white envelope thing in the corner of the picture - it's a stiff letter to Post Office Ltd. - On cardboard... (groan now.)

Friday, 4 April 2008


Yep, Bristol's biggest Post Office Protest March is taking place tomorrow, April 5th, starting from The Beehive Pub at 10am.

We'll be marching past Wellington Hill West Post Office and up the hill to form Bristol's biggest ever post office queue outside Henleaze Road Post Office.

Bring placards, banners and a stong voice!

Then back to The Beehive for some well needed refreshment after, I think.

See you there!