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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Creating a Huge Stir in Henbury


There are certain landmark events in the year of a candidate - and MacMillan's "Big Stir" coffee morning is one of them. This is the third event I've been to as a candidate, and every year I am bowled over by the energy and determination of the local communities who organise them, with Macmillan.

This year, I was once again at Henbury's coffee morning, with Henbury's new Councillor, Chris Windows. (Seen here causing havoc with the raffle). The Scout Hut on Tranmere Avenue was packed out. There was a seemingly never-ending stream of raffle prizes - testament to the generosity of local people - and some superb stalls of locally hand-made crafts, cards and cakes.

And at time of writing, the Henbury Big Stir alone raised over £800.

And a special congratulations must go to Cynthia Reynolds, Carole Lye and their team for making it such a successful day.

Anyone who has had contact with the work the Macmillan nurses do, will know how valuable the cancer care they give really is. They looked after my gran in her last days, and I will never forget their gentleness and expertise, and how reassuring they were to the rest of the family as well. It's hard to find someone who has not in some way come into contact with the work they do.

Even if you could not make the coffee morning, you can still donate to Macmillan - just click here to support.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Christmas starts now, for Brentry's big lights display


Some months ago now,
I bumped into Lee and Paul Brailsford taking down their magnificent Christmas lights display.

Yesterday, I came across Lee Brailsford again - just beginning the mammoth task of erecting their extraordinary, charity-fundraising lights display.

For the Brailsford brothers, Christmas starts in September. The amount of time and effort - not to mention their own money -these local residents invest in providing a focal point to be enjoyed by all the community at Christmas is astounding.

The Big Light Up is on 1st December, and Lee told me how the traditional elements of Christmas provide so much joy for so many people in the community -particularly the elderly. You just have to read their comments page to see how much it means to so many people.

And last year, the brothers raised over £2000 for the Childrens Hospital. Not bad for a tradition that started out as two boys enjoying decking out their mum's house at Christmas... and just shows what can be achieved with a bit of determination, vision and quite a lot of hard work!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Residents turn out in force for Shire's public meeting


When I stood up amongst the crowd who had been refused entry to a meeting about the future of the Daisy Field and Lamplighters land, back in June, I pledged to get them a full public meeting to really discuss the issue.

Under the Council's Parks and Green Spaces Strategy, the Daisy Field and Lamplighters Land are amongst plots of land identified as of potential 'low value' to the community, and susceptible for being sold off for housing.

Three months, a petition, a 'write-to-the-council-campaign' and a Big Picnic later, the council officers responsible came to address a packed public meeting, chaired by Avonmouth's new Councillor, Siobhan Kennedy-Hall.

It is a very good thing we did get this meeting: The level of information, sound argument and strength of feeling displayed by residents at the meeting was impressive. The amount of 'new information' that the council officers gained by listening to residents, many of whom have lived in Shirehampton for many years, was significant.

We got some pledges of action by the council, and Cllr. Kennedy-Hall is following that up. Most importantly, council officers were exposed directly to the thoughts and feelings of the general public.

The decision has yet to go to consultation - but hopefully the campaign will have started early enough to prevent the Daisy Field and Lamplighters land from even appearing in the consultation document.

We have been determined to sort this out before the consultation process because residents sadly now have little faith that they are able to sway any decision that has gone to consultation - they fought to save their swimming pool, and the Robin Cousins Centre - to no avail. Let's hope this campaign, having got in early, is more successful.

And you can still do your bit!

1.
By signing the petition

2. Writing to the council: Send your letter, with specific comments on why the Daisy Field and Lamplighters should not be built on, to:

Rob McGovern
Area Green Space Plan Project Officer
Bristol Parks
Colston 33
Colston Avenue
Bristol, BS1 4UA