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Bradley Stoke in Bloom volunteers frustrated by bureaucracy

Posted on Saturday 19th January 2019 at 6:33 pm by SH (Editor)

Bradley Stoke in Bloom.An update from Sara Messenger of the Bradley Stoke in Bloom group.

As 2018 draws to a close, we look back at what we’ve achieved this year and although we didn’t get done all I had hoped to, we have, for such a small group, achieved quite a bit! High points were winning the Bees Needs’ award (for The Common East), our giant carrots at Rabbit Roundabout, the Primrose Bridge steps (see photo, below) and judging the fabulous gardens that were entered for our ever-expanding Best Front Garden competition. But there have been many low points – vandalism and graffiti lowers the morale of the group, our inability to reconnect with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and their ‘In your Neighbourhood’ scheme and the lack of communication and support from South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), to name but a few.

The Bees Needs’ award has placed a spotlight on our work and the lack of any agreement with SGC. We have recently had a meeting with one of their officers and I am trying very hard to view our discussions in a positive light, in the hope of finally securing a positive working relationship with them, although I have yet to be convinced that this can be achieved. They seem terribly keen to ‘manage’ the group, which is great if you want compliance, but if you want engagement and creativity then self direction works better. We did in the beginning try very hard to agree a direction with SGC, but with every request being met with either a refusal or silence, we chose to do what I’m told every other ‘in Bloom’ group does, and just get on with it. ‘Better to seek forgiveness than permission’ has been suggested as a new strap line!

We are funded by Bradley Stoke Town Council, who seem to trust the knowledge and judgement of their volunteers. They understand that too many rules prevent innovation and originality and destroy the intrinsic motivation of people who volunteer because they enjoy it, find it interesting and want to be part of something that is important, both to themselves and to their community. But others seem reluctant to agree to anything, thinking they are insuring against disaster, but what they’re ensuring is mediocrity. Too many petty rules and we lose our spirit. Hopefully, they will listen to us this time as, ironically for an ‘in Bloom’ group, we do not have an infinite supply of olive branches!

And on that positive note, we really need more volunteers! I would like to see our website given an overhaul (not something I can do) and we really need more help on our workdays. You don’t need to have much experience or a great knowledge of gardening (green side up, brown side down covers most of it), but you will need working boots, a smile, an ability to eat vast amounts of biscuits and a desire to see our little town bloom! Make 2019 your year to grow, not just greenery for your town but for you to grow as a member of this community!

More: Photo of rainbow steps. Contact details for BSiB. »

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Khushi’s dream visit to the UN through karate

Posted on Sunday 13th January 2019 at 9:18 pm by Laura Mortimore

Photo of Khushi Ashwin holding a poster showing the 17 UN sustainable development goals on which the 1M1B programme is based.

Fourteen-year-old Khushi Ashwin, who lives in Bradley Stoke, is one of 25 young adults from around the world who have been selected to speak at a special conference on global sustainable development being held at the United Nations in New York in February 2019.

Khushi, who attends Abbeywood Community School in Stoke Gifford, has been working towards her dream for many months now and through her hard work and determination, that dream is finally becoming a reality.

Khushi is a black belt 2nd dan in shotokan karate and she is campaigning for gender equality. At fourteen, she already has a mission to reduce violence against women. She says:

“I dream of a world where there is no discrimination based on what gender you are. I want equal rights to be given to all girls and boys.”

She has chosen karate as a means to help her get closer to achieving her dream of women’s empowerment. Describing what karate means to her, she says: “I personally have had many benefits from learning the martial art form of karate. It is an amazing sport which is not only fun to do, but also trains our physical bodies to be flexible, keeps us mentally fit and teaches us self-discipline and endurance, and above all it teaches us self-defence techniques.”

Khushi has attended a Future Leaders’ course organised by 1 Million for 1 Billion (1M1B), a skills development and entrepreneurship programme based on the 17 UN sustainable development goals.

The programme aims to train one million young people to create jobs for one billion people.

More: Teaching self-defence karate to disadvantaged girls in India »

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Gold standard in paediatric first aid for Bradley Stoke nursery

Posted on Friday 11th January 2019 at 7:26 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of staff and children at the Mama Bear's Day Nursery setting at Baileys Court.

A Bradley Stoke nursery is celebrating success in achieving Millie’s Mark accreditation, a special endorsement to childcare providers who go above and beyond the minimum requirements by having 100 percent of staff trained in paediatric first aid.

In line with the objective of the scheme, all staff at Mama Bear’s Baileys Court day nursery are now fully trained, with newly increased awareness of how to deal with potential health issues in babies and young children.

Millie’s Mark is named after Millie Thompson, who died after choking on food at nursery in 2012 when she was just nine months old. Her parents, Dan and Joanne Thompson, are behind the successful campaign for changes to first aid requirements for childcare providers.

The scheme is delivered by the National Day Nurseries Association and supported by the Department for Education.

Nursery manager Emma Tolley said:

“Being Millie’s Mark-accredited increases our ability to respond quickly and effectively in emergencies, raising the quality and skills of the whole team and ensuring we deal competently with day-to-day first aid issues, such as allergies.

“It also provides enhanced reassurance to parents, because the nature of this scheme is that there will be continual assessment to keep our accreditation current.”

It took the team four months to complete the training, which included internal mentoring and on-the-spot training scenarios.

Photo: Staff and children at the Mama Bear’s Day Nursery setting at Baileys Court.

This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 23). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Council seeks new powers to combat dog waste littering

Posted on Thursday 10th January 2019 at 8:47 pm by SH (Editor)

Keep Britain Tidy glow-in-the-dark poster displaying a pair of eyes and the phrase "We're watching you!"

South Gloucestershire Council is consulting on proposals that would give authorised persons the power to challenge anyone in control of a dog to demonstrate that they have the means to clear up after the animal, even if it hasn’t defecated at that time.

It is also proposed to extend the land types on which people have to clear up after their dogs so that it applies to all land ‘open to the air’ to which the public have access to.

Currently, the council lacks the power to enforce against dog fouling on commons, woodland, farmland or heathland.

The proposals would be implemented using powers under Section 59 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 to make a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in relation to dog fouling.

Breach of a PSPO is an offence, which can result in fine of up to £1,000 if convicted, however the council’s proposals recommend issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 (reduced to £75 for prompt payment) instead of prosecution.

In a further effort to reduce the amount of dog waste littering in South Gloucestershire and ensure that dog owners meet their responsibilities, the council is taking part in a national poster campaign.

A council spokesperson explained:

“Incidents of dog fouling usually increase as the darker nights draw in, and studies show that people are less likely to pick up after their dogs when they feel they aren’t being watched.”

“That’s why we are taking part in Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘We’re Watching You’ campaign, which features innovative, eye-catching, glow-in-the-dark posters to help to remind thoughtless dog owners that ‘we’re watching you’. The posters will be placed in known problem areas across South Gloucestershire.”

More: How to respond to the council’s consultation »

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