Author Archives: Susan

St George in Bloom Receives Royal Horticultural Society Support to Garden for Health and Happiness

New community gardening project to launch RHS Britain in Bloom 2016 campaign

planting zone

The existing area before the project begins.


St George in Bloom is one of just 40 community groups across the country that has been chosen by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to receive £500 worth of support to deliver an innovative local gardening project, as part of this year’s RHS Britain in Bloom campaign.

In addition, St George in Bloom has also been selected as a regional finalist in the 2016 RHS Britain in Bloom competition, and we are proud to be representing our communities within St George, the City of Bristol and the entire South West region.

Under the banner of Greening Grey Britain for Health and Happiness, volunteers from St George in Bloom, The Church Road Town Team and officers from Bristol City Council will come together to create a garden with the aim of enhancing an area of neglected land where advertising Billboards are currently located in Church Road, St George, Bristol alongside the Sikh Temple.

sikh temple frontage


The frontage of the Sikh temple alongside the billboards site.


The project will help to improve this area on this busy route that leads directly to and from the City of Bristol, and develop an attractive area for local residents, passersby and visitors to enjoy and take a rest.. This will also help to enhance this vibrant and popular shopping area that has a variety of shops, cafes, and local businesses.

A local company has pledged to supply a seat that will be incorporated into the planted area, and another local company will kindly donate new fence panels that will serve as a back drop to the site.

The planting scheme will also focus on attracting Bees and Pollinating insects as part of St George in Bloom’s partnership with Bristol University’s ‘Get Bristol Buzzing’ project. Volunteers from St George in Bloom will also make and plant large containers that will enhance the frontage of the Sikh Temple that is also located alongside this area.

The RHS support will take the form of £500 worth of gardening materials as well as expert gardening advice, tips and insight from RHS Community Outreach Advisors, to ensure that the project makes as big an impact as possible on the local community.

Grenville Johnson Chair of St George in Bloom, said: “This project will help to transform this area of neglected land that sits alongside a busy route that leads to and from the City of Bristol.

It will help to raise everyone’s spirits, and demonstrate that we are all collectively working to enhance and improve our area of the city.
St George in Bloom greatly appreciates the generous financial support and advice from the RHS that will enable this innovative community led project to move forward”

RHS Director General, Sue Biggs, said: “Gardening and being in and around green spaces can provide a range of health benefits, from increased exercise, stress reduction and increased social cohesion that creates a sense of belonging.

“There are very few activities that tick so many health and wellbeing boxes for both individuals and communities, and that’s why projects such as St George in Bloom are so important, and why the RHS is delighted to be able to support them.”

The Greening Grey Britain for Health and Happiness theme of the 2016 Britain in Bloom campaign was chosen in recognition of the increasing body of evidence that shows that gardens and green spaces have a tremendously positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing. Both the physical activity of gardening and the use of green spaces for mental relaxation and stimulation have been shown to provide a range of health benefits.

All of the 40 chosen groups have shown that their projects can use gardening as a tool to, among other things, reduce isolation, encourage outdoor exercise, reconnect people with healthy seasonal food, promote improved mental health and aid relaxation.

<Click here for the full list of the 40 chosen groups>

For more information please contact Grenville Johnson, Chair of St George in Bloom
By phone: 01179496788 or email:

Discover East Bristol with Bristol’s Walking Festival

The complete programme is now out for the Bristol Walk Fest.  You can take this opportunity to find out more about the area covered by the beautiful Discover East Bristol map.  Listed below are all the walks that include part of the Discover East Bristol area.  Find out more about the project that delivered a beautiful map in both paper and online, on

portraitimage.jpg__1140x0_q85_crop-scale_subsampling-2_upscaleThe walking festival starts on Thursday 28th April with walks from different points of the compass to meet at a reception at the Bordeaux Quay, BS1 5 UH for refreshments and a chance to meeting this year’s walk providers.

The best compass route choice to see parts of the Discover East Bristol area is the North East (NE) wwalk.  You can choose to do the whole route or just a section and maybe use a bus for the final parts.

Compass Walks

The walk numbers and names are listed below that are partly or completely in the Discover East Bristol area.  For full details use the walk numbers to look  up the walks in the programme here.  Just go to the 3rd page, which shows the list of all the walks in numerical order, click on the walk name and you will be taken straight to the walk details.  Nearly all the walks listed below are free with the exception of the Natural Dye Plant Identification walks.

15 – St George Park Stroll
19 – Natural Dye Plant Identification
24 – Memory Lane
25 – Natural Dye Plant Identification
30 – A Stroll in St George’s Park
33 – Wander the Waterways of St Philips, Brislington and Crew’s Hole
53 – Discover East Bristol – Golden Green Spaces
55 – Good for your Heart, Good for your Head
59 – Discover East Bristol – Nature Reserves and Open Spaces in Fishponds area
60 – St George Park Stroll
74 – Multi-Faith Trail
78 – A Stroll in St George’s Park
82 – Discover East Bristol – Hills, Views and Rivers
83 – Stoke Park History Walk
88 – Frome Valley Day Walk
105 – St George Park Stroll
112 – Discovering East Bristol – Hidden Fishponds
116 – A Stroll in St George’s Park
118 – Medicinal Herb Walk in Eastville Park
127 – Discover East Bristol – Troopers Hill Avon Valley Walk
137 – Eastville Park Bat Walk
140 – St George Park Stroll
152 – Discover East Bristol – These Boots are Made for Walking
156 – A Stroll in St George’s Park
158 – Eastville Park Bat Walk
159 – Wild Frome
167 – Creative Adventure Walk
175 – St George Park Stroll

Lord Mayor’s Medals

Congratulations to Rob Acton-Campbell and Fiona Russell, members of the St George Neighbourhood Partnership, presented, yesterday, at Bristol’s Mansion House, with Lord Mayor’s Medals by the Lord Mayor, Clare Campion-Smith.


Rob Acton-Campbell, Chair of the St George Neighbourhood Partnership was presented with his medal in recognition of work he has carried out not only as Chair of the St George Neighbourhood Partnership but also as Secretary of the Bristol Parks Forum, a committee member of Friends of Troopers Hill and Friends of Eastwood Farm and as Champion of the St George Neighbourhood Partnership Environmental sub-group.  Part of his nomination read

“The signature note of all Rob’s work is partnership.  What makes him so special is how he inspires confidence in people to work together, encouraging them to achieve great things for their community and giving them the tools to do so.”

An example of this was described during yesterday’s presentation detailing how Rob had co-ordinated 3 local parks’ groups, Friends of Dundridge Parks, Friends of St George Park and Friends of Troopers Hill in applying for funding to support a series of events throughout the 2015 in their parks.

Fiona Russell, Chair of Meadow Vale Community Association, received her medal in acknowledgement of the work she has carried out for her local community, particularly in improving the facilities available for young and old in Speedwell’s Meadow Vale Community Centre and the adjacent Meadow Vale Park.

Her nomination included her tireless work addressing social deprivation in the Speedwell area.

3 other members of the Neighbourhood Partnership were honoured in earlier years.

In May 2012, Ann Radnedge, then Chair of Meadow Vale Community Association, received the award for her work with the Speedwell and Meadow Vale Communities creating the Meadow Vale Centre and working hard attracting funding and grants for the centre.

In May 2013, Grenville Johnson, currently Chair of St George in Bloom and Chair of Kensington Rd Residents’ Association and Neighbourhood Watch, was honoured for for his many voluntary works within his community.  In the photo of the award recipients, Grenville is in the back row, second from the right.  The report reads ” Grenville Johnson, a retired head teacher who has been the leading light in the Kensington Road Residents’ Association and neighbourhood watch in St George, as well as chairing the St George Neighbourhood Partnership for the past few years”.

You will have seen many reports on this site of Greville’s continued work for the community, particularly as Chair of St George in Bloom.

In February 2014, Richard Curtis, Chair of Church Rd Action Group, received the award for his work with the Redfield local community and for his work as a Magistrate with the Bristol Bench.  This is how his award was reported in the Bristol Post   ” Richard Curtis carries out a tremendous amount of work for his local community which he has done for many years in and around the Redfield area. Richard is chair of many local community groups, working with residents to improve the environment of the local area and addressing local issues, as well as being a magistrate, sitting on the Bristol Bench in both the Family and Adult Court. Richard gives his time to the local community generously, dedicating himself to making his local community a better place in which to live and to visit. Richard is more than happy to share his knowledge and skills with other people, offering advice and encouragement benefitting the local community and the city as a whole”.

You may remember this project that Richard ran in 2011.

Congratulations to all 5 of these holders of the Lord Mayor’s Medal.  We are really proud of these members’ achievements.

A complete list of all the recipients of the Lord Mayor’s Medal from 1983 to 2015 can be seen here.  Today’s Bristol Post article lists all of this year’s recipients.


Volunteers needed to help patients at Air Balloon Surgery

Do you have time to spare to give a little help and support to patients of Air Balloon Surgery who may be lonely, isolated or housebound?

Could you help giving lifts to patients with transport difficulties to Air Balloon Surgery?

To find out more about the Wellbeing Volunteer scheme being run at Air Balloon Surgery with RSVP West please contact Miffy Saunders on 0117 9099516 or by email at, or visit for more information about all their volunteer schemes or complete this Expression of Interest form and drop it off at the surgery or email it to Miffy.

RSVP poster rebranded-2 - ABS version

What a team!

The Church Rd Town Team has been working hard at the big billposter site near 301-307 Church Rd close to St George Community Centre and the Sikh Gurdwara.

town team The story so far:

  • Gaive Golding, leading this project for the Church Rd Town Team (CRTT), Fin McNab (from Sustrans) and some others broke up all of the tarmac on the site.
  • CRTT, aided by Fin and a group of people from Good Gym Bristol, cleared the site.  CRTT provided a skip to cart the tarmac etc away.
  • Fin obtained and sowed a mix of wildflower seeds.
  • Time passed…. the seeds didn’t take….
  • CRTT members cleared the weeds again…
  • On Sunday 6th March, 2016, CRTT laid the membrane purchased using Green Capital money from Bristol City Council as pictured above.  From right to left are Maxine and Nigel Williams, Gaive Golding, June Barclay,  Ian Townsend and Simon Webb.

Next steps:

  • Plant the area and lay bark chipping between the plants.
  • CRTT are working with St George in Bloom to do the planting:
    • CRTT have allocated a little under £500 from the remaining CRTT funds for planting.
    • Grenville Johnson, Chair of St George in Bloom, has submitted an application for funding from RHS.  Grenville also hopes to be able to obtain the plants at trade prices using his RHS contacts.
    • St George in Bloom, CRTT and any willing volunteers who can be recruited, will do the planting, to save labour costs.  Gaive, who used to be a landscape gardener, will be a source of expert guidance.
    • The plan is use aromatic herbs, such as Thyme, Rosemary and Lavender, that will require little watering and will be able to cope with the poor soil quality on the site.  Depending on funding and their ability to obtain the plants, the team hope to get the planting done in the next couple of months.
    • Gaive has found a source of bark chippings which will be laid as soon as it can be delivered.

Aspirations – maybe, one day… some flagstones/a short path and a bench…

If you would like to keep up to date with the Church Rd Town Team’s activities sign up to their mailing list.

Parking changes at Air Balloon Surgery

Air Balloon Surgery have suffered for some years from parking behaviour that has caused problems for patients and emergency vehicle.  As a result they are employing a company called Parking Eye, who will be issuing fines when the surgery car park is misused.

Here is an extract from a letter the surgery has written to neighbours:

In the next week or so we are changing arrangements for the practice car park. At times, unfortunately, we have significant abuse of use of the car park which causes problems for our patients and for any emergency vehicles which need to visit us. We have tried to tackle this problem over many years, using a light touch approach which sadly hasn’t worked.

Many of our patients are elderly and vulnerable and need to park close to us, and we have concerns that at some point an ambulance won’t be able to get into the car park and patient safety may be compromised. We have taken a decision to employ a company called Parking Eye to manage the car park. When the scheme is in place, users of the car park will now need to enter their car registration details into terminals located in the surgery and the pharmacy to receive a set period of parking on site. Any one not entering their details in the terminals or over staying the authorised parking period will receive a fine issued by Parking Eye.

I would emphasise that this measure has only been taken after considerable thought and research and has not been take lightly as we do anticipate that there may be a knock on effect, to you our neighbours. We have spoken to other GP practices successfully using Parking Eye. The practice does not receive any financial benefit from this scheme-the fines pay for the installation costs and the costs of running the scheme. Our only interest in bringing in these measures is to try to improve our services for our patients and to better manage the car park.

We do hope that this will have a minimal effect on you and that you are able to support this difficult measure we have felt forced to introduce.

The surgery has also supplied these answers to frequently asked questions:

Q: Why are you introducing car parking measures?

A: Because our patients tell us it is often difficult to park and the car park is inappropriately used at times

Q: Is the practice getting money from this?

A: None at all. This is purely aimed at helping our patients and emergency vehicles access

Q: What happens when I visit the practice and forget to log in my car registration details?

A: You need to come and talk to us and we will give you contact details for you to talk to Parking Eye who run this scheme, to appeal any charges.

Q: Why are you using this company and this approach?

A: This is a national and very reputable company with experience of operating other successful schemes in other GP surgeries

Q: After entering car registration details how much parking time do you get?

A: 90 minutes or 1 ½ hours.

Q: What if I need to be at the surgery longer than 90 minutes?

A: If you know you will be longer than 90 minutes when you arrive at the surgery, talk to reception when you arrive.  If your visit unexpectedly takes longer than 90 minutes, talk to reception as you leave.

We hope you are able to support us to improve parking for all of our patients

The St George “Spring Bling” Issue 1

Do you want to make St George tidier, cleaner and more attractive for people or wildlife? There are 9 ways to Take Part or Get Help or Report It.

Read all about it in this

<<FIRST ISSUE of the St George “SPRING BLING>>


Let us know about your successes.

International Women’s Day event at St George Library

Meet local author Lucienne Boyce at St George Library.library event

St George in Bloom – RHS Press Release

in bloom finalist logo

St George in Bloom has been selected from more than 600 entrants to take part in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom UK Finals 2016.

St George in Bloom is one of 72 finalists from across the UK and is in the Urban category. The group was selected for its outstanding commitment to environmental responsibility, community participation and gardening achievement.

In August this year, St George in Bloom’s passionate volunteers will be showing off their commitment to a greener, healthier Britain. They will lead RHS Britain in Bloom judges on a tour of local projects and initiatives in the hope of being awarded Gold at the annual award ceremony in October.

In recognition of challenges some RHS Britain in Bloom 2016 UK finalists face as a result of the recent floods, the RHS has created a new award to honour those who have battled against adversity.

The RHS discretionary award for overcoming adversity will recognise those groups that have worked in difficult circumstances to put the bloom back into their towns, villages and cities across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Jersey and Guernsey.

Grenville Johnson, Chair and founder of St George in Bloom said “We are absolutely delighted to be included in the UK finals, and to be given the opportunity to showcase the St George area of the City of Bristol, and the South West region in the urban category. This is a huge honour in view of the fact that St George in Bloom was established just over two years ago.”

Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Community Outreach, said: “We would like to congratulate St George in Bloom for reaching the UK finals of RHS Britain in Bloom. It’s a tremendous achievement and illustrates the groups’ impressive commitment to improving their local environment.

“Volunteers of all ages and all walks of life participate in Bloom, making extraordinary efforts to improve streets and neighbourhoods in towns, villages and cities across Britain. It is vital we celebrate and recognise their efforts to strengthen their communities and inspire others to get involved.”

Britain in Bloom groups are assessed on a wide range of initiatives, such as the maintenance of parks and communal gardens, the management of natural spaces, community campaigns to promote recycling and environmental awareness, and projects involving local residents and schools.

You Said – We Did – February 2016

Every quarter there is a Neighbourhood Forum meeting open to all residents of St George to bring local issues to council officers and police.  An action tracker is kept of the issues raised at the each meeting and a record kept of what has been done about them.

For this meeting on Tuesday 9th February, 2016, chaired by Rob Acton-Campbell, Chair of the St George Neighbourhood Partnership, the meeting started with a tribute to Councillor Ron Stone, who died just before Christmas, from Grenville Johnson.  Grenville also asked for ideas to be shared about a permanent memorial for Ron and volunteers to help the task group collating those ideas.

After a round of applause the meeting continued with different speakers invited to the meeting to talk about issues that are of interest to the neighbourhood.  These were:

i) Community Access Support Services – Anna Balcerek

The Community Access Support Service is a new 5 year project based at the Wellspring Healthy Living Centre in Barton Hill.  If the project is successful it will roll out across the country.

The project is very much about initiating conversations about mental health and working with community groups to provide what they need to address mental health issues. This could include signposting to services, collating feedback on the service provided to those in the community with mental health issues so those services can be improved or explaining what mental health services are available.

Community Access Support Services would like to talk to all community groups but have a particular interest in establishing links with faith leaders.

Time To Talk Day was on 4th February and encouraged conversations about mental health.  There are still a number of Time to Talk events in Bristol planned on the same theme.

ii) Update on Parks and Green Spaces – Richard Fletcher

Richard is Bristol City Council’s Area Manager, Parks and Caretaking, Central and East, covering an area from Clifton to Fishponds and St George.

He shared news of

– play area improvements in St George Park
– work to stop cyclists riding over the bandstand in St George Park
– improving the entrance to Plummers Hill from Naseby Walk
– improving entrances to Meadow Vale Park

There has been a particular concentration on entrances to parks because unwelcoming entrances mean people do not use parks and gain all the benefits they provide.

Richard also gave a brief summary of the 24 byelaws that are proposed and recommended that people respond to the consultation.  The byelaws  would cover just over 200 of the more than 400 green spaces managed by Bristol Parks.  The consultation,the list of green spaces affected and the full wording of the byelaws can be found on

The wording of the byelaws is defined by government.  The byelaws are already in use in many councils.  The spaces to apply these byelaws have been chosen because of reports recorded by police and Bristol City Council and problems affecting those sites that could be addressed by byelaws.

In answer to a question Richard confirmed that the proposed byelaws would not prevent blackberrying, contrary to media reports.

A representative of Friends of Troopers Hill encouraged support of the byelaws to protect Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve from fire and  irresponsible foraging, both of which impact wildlife sources of food and habitat.

A question was raised about whether the work done on creating an excellent archway entrance to Canford Park could be replicated in St George.  Richard explained that the funding for this came from a pot of money made available some years ago where councillors made suggestions for its use in parks.  Canford Park entrance was one of the approved schemes as was the multi-use games area in St George Park.

An update was asked about the lake in St George Park.  The fish have been removed and the walls of the lake have been inspected.   A further inspection by a civil engineer is required.  In the meantime some sections of path are protected from use because of concerns about their stability.

Rob Acton-Campbell added the news that Friends of Dundridge Park, Meadow Vale and Friends of Troopers Hill have all recently been awarded nationally funded grants for play area.  More news will be published on this website soon.  Here is the earlier news about the first grants awarded.

iii) Crime and Local Policing Update – PC Matt Clements

A new sergeant has been appointed, Sgt Hillier.  Matt’s perception of anti-social behaviour in the last 3 months is that it has reduced but there was an expected spike at Hallowe’en.

A particular target for thieves recently has been car keys, often left hung up just inside the front door of people’s homes.  When burglaries occur the thieves will just take the keys and leave with the stolen goods in the household’s car.

Problems with mopeds have reduced.  A new chicane, installed by Bristol City Council on Crown Hill has been very helpful.

The front office at Fishponds police station is still open, manned by clerical staff.

iv) Wellbeing Grants

Representatives of 3 groups who had received different levels of Wellbeing funding from the St George Neighbourhood Partnership recounted their experience of applying for Wellbeing funding and encouraged others to apply.  They were on hand during the break for further help and advice together with Susan Acton-Campbell, the Wellbeing Champion.

a) Redfest – Dominik Ljubic

Redfest provides an annual music and arts festival in St George Park. The event started with music in pubs, film shows and other small scale activities.  Redfest’s first Wellbeing grant was £240 in 2011 for a very small stage.  The event has grown and so has the size of the stage, which the Wellbeing grant has continued to support.  The Wellbeing grant is only one of many sources of money funding this free event that is much enjoyed by local people.

b) St Aidan’s Church – Jim Donaldson

St Aidan’s Church has applied for a number of small grants since 2010.  Jim told of the heavy, awkward trestle tables the church used to have to use for community events.  Thanks to funding lightweight but sturdy folding tables have been bought in two rounds of funding.  Jim emphasised the easy of making the application and the importance of returning the monitoring form at the end of the project.

He also took the opportunity to promote the St George Community Fair, showcasing many local community and volunteer groups.  The printing of publicity flyers and posters for this event has also been funded by a Wellbeing grant.  Jim proudly displayed a flyer pointing out the acknowledgement of the funding coming from the St George Neighbourhood Partnership.  The St George Neighbourhood Partnership will be represented at the St George Community Fair which will take place in St Aidan’s Church and church hall on Saturday 12th March, from 11am-2pm.

c) Playing Out – Jacks Jarrett

Jacks described the important of the grant Playing Out received from the Wellbeing fund to train local people as “activators” helping people to find out what Playing Out involved, advising about street closures, activities and much more.  She described the benefits of Playing Out in her own street where not only do children have the opportunity to play in the street but residents have a chance to get to know each other, so that, when Jacks’ oven broke down partway through cooking a meal she had no qualms in asking a neighbour if she could use their oven.

v) St George in Bloom – Grenville Johnson

Grenville Johnson shared the story of the founding of the St George in Bloom group and the success the group has achieved, supported by other community groups, with awards from South West in Bloom and their entry at a national level in Britain in Bloom

He described the planned judging route and appealed for volunteers to help the committee.    St George in Bloom can be contacted using this email or telephoning 01179496788

The St George in Bloom website provides news updates
as does Facebook:-

vi) Spring Bling – Gill Calloway

Gill, Neighbourhood Officer for St George, announced a Spring Bling initiative.  This is aimed at making our streets and green spaces look better.  Gill has created newsletters giving advice on where to get help to address issues ranging from bulky waste and elderly people with overgrown gardens to graffiti.

She encouraged making use of Keep Britain Tidy’s initiative of “Clean for the Queen” which links to the Queen’s birthday in March.

Spring Bling is working in partnership with St George in Bloom.  All are encouraged to enter one of the St George in Bloom categories which range from the best house frontage to best children’s display.  If you know someone with a lovely garden, balcony display or other special growing area, encourage them to enter.

There will also be a “Walk to School Tidy Up”.

Issues raised at the “Marketpace”

The marketplace is the break that takes places after the speakers’ session.  There are tables to visit to raise environment and traffic, to talk to the police, find out about grants and talk to the organisations represented by that night’s speakers.

Issues included:

– a cracked footpath in the park area at Meg Thatchers
– dog mess and litter on the lane from Tesco to Air Balloon Hill Primary School
– drug dealing
– the dropped kerb on Dundridge Lane that has not be completed
– the builders’ storage area that has been left in the green space at Terrell Gardens
– the unwelcoming entrance from Cecil Ave to Plummers Hill Open Space


Please do not wait for a forum to report simple issues that can be reported online or by phone.  Please do make use of “Report It!”, the tab at the top right of this page.  The best way we can use Neighbourhood Forum time is raising more difficult issues.

3 grants were awarded at the last St George Neighbourhood Partnership meeting.   The next closing date to apply for a Wellbeing grant can be  seen is Monday 25th AprilFebruary 2016.

You are invited to the next Forum meeting at 7pm on Tuesday 10th May, 2016 at Summerhill Methodist Church.

If you have an idea for a subject to be spoken about that is of local interest contact our Neighbourhood Partnership Co-ordinator, 
Abdulrazak Dahir,, telephone 0117 903 6409.