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Time to nominate your local ‘community hero’

Posted on Saturday 16th February 2019 at 6:04 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of David Baker receiving his award. Photo of Alfred Sollars receiving his award.

Would you like to thank a volunteer who has gone the extra mile? Nominations are now open for the South Gloucestershire Council Chair’s Community Awards 2019.

The annual awards recognise and celebrate the valuable contribution local unpaid volunteers and community groups make to life in South Gloucestershire.

The next celebration of community work and volunteering takes place in April and you have until Thursday 28th February to nominate your local ‘community heroes’.

Suggestions for nominations include individuals and groups who have contributed to community development, promoting equality, arts, sports, play, environment, working with older or young people, advice and advocacy or someone who has simply been a good neighbour. From charity fundraisers to local football club managers, sports coaches and arts festival organisers, these awards have seen South Gloucestershire Council honour the dedication and commitment of hundreds of unsung heroes across the district.

Council chair Cllr Rachael Hunt said:

“Our Community Awards have been running since 2003 to celebrate the contribution local people make to life in South Gloucestershire and since then over 400 people have received an award.”

“During my year as chair of the council it has been an absolute honour to meet so many people from across our area who work tirelessly, and without financial reward, for the benefit of their communities. These awards are a small way to recognise the importance of volunteering and to thank a few of our local community heroes.”

“I am really looking forward to seeing this year’s nominations and hearing about all the wonderful work going on in South Gloucestershire.”

More: How to make your nominations for the awards »

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Have you ever attended or worked at Wheatfield Primary School?

Posted on Thursday 14th February 2019 at 10:22 pm by SH (Editor)

Poster advertising the 'Wheatfield at 20' drop-in event on Saturday 16th March.

Bradley Stoke’s Wheatfield Primary School is celebrating its 20th anniversary and is trying to locate as many past pupils and staff as possible to join them for a special event.

The school will be holding an ‘open afternoon’ on Saturday 16th March between 3pm and 6pm. Past pupils and staff are welcome to ‘drop in’ and catch up with faces past and present – there will also be an opportunity to take a tour of the school and see what the current crop of pupils have been up to.

Ahead of this event, Wheatfield is encouraging past staff and pupils to get in touch and share some of their memories. The school is especially keen to use the experiences of past pupils as inspiration for those now attending the school and would very much welcome hearing from anyone who is willing to share their story. They have set up a template to capture some key information (and maybe the odd photograph) which can be downloaded from the school’s website.

There are several ways to get in touch if you would like to be part of this event: Search for the Facebook page ‘Wheatfield at 20’, visit the school website and follow the link on the homepage or email

Everyone at Wheatfield is hoping that word will spread and the event will well represented by each cohort that has passed through the school’s doors over the last 20 years.

This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 27). 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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Positive start to the year for the Bradley Stoke in Bloom volunteers

Posted on Wednesday 13th February 2019 at 9:35 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Bradley Stoke in Bloom volunteers with an insect hotel at Manor Farm Corner.

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

First of all, I must say a big welcome to our newbies, Tom, Stevie and Suzanna. I’m just hoping we didn’t put them off on their first day with the huge amount of work we all accomplished, although they were well rewarded in biscuits, and the rain did finally stop! After a slightly late start (mix up with the padlock keys) we began at the Manor Farm Corner (Brook Way / Savages Wood Road). Or maybe that should be corners, as we’ve taken over the adjacent corner as well. The established corner was weeded and pruned and we put in some of my personal favourites: hostas and irises which were a gift from Almondsbury Garden Centre. The ‘new’ corner saw the remaining bramble dug up, an ongoing and thankless task, and the border weeded. Photo of a young BSiB helper.Before we knew it, Suzanna had whizzed round and put in a very neat looking edge, so now not only does the dogwood add a welcome splash of winter colour, but it all looks so much more professional. Under the trees, we have left the dandelions, as these are one of the first plants to flower in the spring and they give the newly woken bees a much needed boost. And we have finally installed the insect hotel, which was made during a skate park working day. Although we have kept it low, so that it can’t be used to climb over the wall, it is still large enough for many insects and there is even space underneath for a hedgehog ‘des-res’. There are special places for butterflies to overwinter and for solitary bees to lay their eggs, as well as many snug hiding places for all manner of creepy crawlies to enjoy, although I do find that they tend to ignore our carefully designed plans and just go where they feel like! Tom added the finishing touches to Stevie’s roof, while a young Max helped us to put in a few more bee homes and then the job was done.

More: The rose garden, The Common East and Aztec Triangle »

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New year starts without a single PCSO in the Stokes

Posted on Tuesday 12th February 2019 at 5:43 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo (from behind) of a PCSO and a police officer walking along a path.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s commitment to neighbourhood policing has once again been thrown into question with the news that 2019 has started without a single Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) on active duty in the Stokes.

The diminishing number of PCSOs first came to light back in March 2018 when a meeting of the Stoke Gifford Community Engagement Forum was informed that beat manager PC Julie Rudyard was currently the sole officer covering Stoke Gifford because one of the two PCSOs assigned to the beat was on maternity leave and the other was unavailable.

The matter surfaced again at a Stoke Gifford Parish Council meeting in April 2018, when Cllr Keith Cranney raised concerns about “the lack of police resources in the Stoke Gifford police beat team”. The parish clerk was requested to write to the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Avon and Somerset, Sue Mountstevens, “about the force’s future commitment to neighbourhood policing in the local area”.

At around the same time, the Bradley Stoke beat team lost one of its (then) three PCSOs through the transfer of one team member to Patchway.

Later in the year, after the town had seen its highest crime figures for many years recorded in June, a second PCSO was lost after successfully applying to join the regulars, leaving just one PCSO. Christopher Baker, on the team.

Photo of PCSO Christopher Baker.

PCSO Baker was well known for running a popular Facebook profile offering advice and responding to queries from members of the local community in Bradley Stoke and beyond. On days when he was on duty, he would often make several posts on his own Facebook profile and respond to issues raised in posts on local Facebook groups.
However, the last update was made to his profile page on 28th November 2018 and nothing has been heard from him on any online channels since then, leading to speculation about whether his is still around.

More recently, at the Bradley Stoke Community Engagement Forum on Thursday 17th January, a member of the public asked Sgt Adrian Fallows what had happened to PCSO Baker. Sgt Fallows replied “He’s not working with us at the moment”. In response to puzzled looks from some of the audience, he then added: “That’s all I can say.”

More: Policing element of council tax increased in 2018 »

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