Category Archives: Council Services

A New Start

Poster210617Members of St George NP have been meeting to discuss how we should respond to the changes to Neighbourhood Partnerships across Bristol as the Council reduces the funding available due to Government cuts – should the Partnership should continue and if so in what form?

Here are our proposals discussed at our public meeting on 21st June:

We believe that St George needs a group with the following priorities:

• To speak up for the whole of St George to ensure we get our share of any future funding;

• Give the area an identity and promote it as a wonderful place to live and work;

• Promote networking and exchange of information between community groups, Councillors, the Police & others;

• Continue to manage this website, our Facebook and Twitter feeds and to support community notice boards.

• Act as a community of community groups;

The current proposal is to form a new community led organisation that we hope will be able to achieve the above and build on the work of the existing partnership to be called The St George Community Network.

We envisage a group whose membership will be open to anyone who lives or works in St George or who has an interest in the area. There would be an elected committee and sub-groups to look at issues in more detail or to run specific projects.

The group would be independent of the Council but work collaboratively with Councillors and Council officers to bring about improvements in St George.

There would be open meetings for all members, committee meetings and sub-group/task group meetings. Public meetings could be arranged as necessary to discuss particular issues and/or promote proposed projects.


Update 28th May:

Following on from the meeting on 3rd May, Rob, Tamsin, Nigel & Susan met on on 17th May to discuss the arrangements for the public meeting to be held on 21st June 7.30pm at St George Library.

It was agreed there will be an introductory presentation by Rob & Tamsin, followed by a networking / mingle session to ask for people’s views on what they like about St George and what the new group should campaign for. Nigel will then close the meeting and summarise the outcome of the consultation.

There will be an opportunity for community groups to have displays in the library at the meeting, if you are interested please email Rob, Nigel or Tamsin via network@stgeorgecommunity.org.uk .

Also as agreed at the meeting on 3rd May, Nigel has produced a draft Terms of Reference for the new St George Community Network. It is intended that this would be adopted at the meeting to formally inaugurate the group on Wed 5th July, when the committee would also be elected.

In order to collect email addresses for those interested in being part of the new organisation and to send them information a mailing list has been set up – please sign up at here Future information about the meeting and the new group will be sent out through the mailing list.


Minutes and notes relating to the new structure:

Building strong communities where we live – BCC paper May 17

Constitution of the St George Community Association

Meeting of Transition Group / Interim Committee – 3rd May 2017

St George Neighbourhood Partnership Meeting – 29th March 2017

Notes of workshop on 16th February 2017

Notes of workshop on 8th February 2017

Earlier report on the future of Neighbourhood Partnerships

If you have any comments on our proposals or would like to get involved with the new St George Community Partnership, please contact us.

Updated 28th May 2017 – post first published on 21st February 2017

Discover East Bristol with the Bristol Walking Festival

This year’s Bristol Walking Festival features over 150 walks.  You can find the full list of an amazing range of walks on www.bristolwalkfest.com

However as St George is very much in east Bristol and we think it is always good to find out what’s special on your very own doorstep, one of our volunteers has gone through ALL 150 walks and picked out those that are in east Bristol.

There is something for everyone including the very young.

This is your chance to find out more about where you live, enjoy some beautiful views and perhaps take up the challenge of checking whether we have missed any walks.  Let us know if we have.

So to start portraitimage.jpg__1140x0_q85_crop-scale_subsampling-2_upscalewith, what are we calling east Bristol?  You may remember our involvement in the great project that resulted in the wonderful Discover East Bristol website.  There is also a paper map version that you can pick up at St George Library, the Tourist Information Centre on the Harbourside and many St George and Greater Fishponds venues.

 

 

Here is the list of Festival walks we have put together.  All the walks are free, unless there is a notein italics giving a cost:

Thursday 4th May – 10.30am – Multifaith Trail 1 – visits a Greek Orthodox church, the Jewish Progressive Synagogue and the Baha’i Centre.  This is just off the western edge of the Discover East Bristol map but well worth doing.  Where to meet etc here.

29226865505_bb39520ca0_zWednesday 10th May – 12.30pm –  Stoke Park History Walk and Sculpture Trail Walk – the start point is the Hub, Lockleaze which a very short bus journey on the 24 bus from Old Market.  You will have the chance to see some beautiful wood carvings by Andy O’Neill.  This is right at the top of the map.  More details here.

Thursday 11th May – 10am – St George Storywalk – an ideal walk for early years children and their carers, starting from St George Library on Church Rd.  More information here.  The library and St George Park are important features on the Discover East Bristol map.

Thursday 11th May 10.30amMultifaith Trail 2 – visits the Coptic Church on Blackswarth Rd (formerly St Leonards), a Sikh temple and Crofts End Church.  Start point is St Marina’s Coptic Orthodox Church on Blackswarth Rd.  More details here.

Tuesday 16th May – 6.30pm – Wild Plant Walk – Wild Food and Natural Dyes.  The charge for this walk in Eastville Park is £20.  Read more here.

2017_0425_113607Tuesday 16th May – 6.30pm – Troopers Hill and Conham Vale with the Bristol Ramblers, meeting at the Maypole Tavern  just off the map to the east but covering the iconic Troopers Hill whose chimney features prominently on the Discover East Bristol map.  The 45 bus will take you to your meeting point.  More details about the walk here.

Friday 19th May – 10am – Wander the Waterways – Starting near Temple Meads Railway Station this walk explores times past and discovers a wealth of wildlife along the waterways of St Philips, Brislington and Crews Hole.  Suitable for adults and older children.  Click here for more information.

Saturday 20th May – 10am – Yoga for Healthy WalkingSuggested donation £3.   The walk will finish at St George Park.  The meeting point will be revealed when you book.  Details here.

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Sunday 21st May – 10.30am – Avon Valley Walk – A 5-mile circular walk from Troopers Hill through St George and Brislington. Discover Avon Valley’s industrial past and its current importance as a wildlife habitat. Suitable for people of all ages. Lunch can either be a packed lunch or bought at Beese’s. Booking essential.  More information here.

 

 

Tuesday 23rd May – 3.30pm – Walk ping, talk ping, play ping.  Walk between Owen Square Park and St. George. Play ping pong, meet others, find out about opportunities to play near you. Everyone welcome. Under 16’s with an adult. Bats and balls provided.  Read more here.

water to windmillThursday 25th May – 10am – From Water to Windmill – A walk given by St George’s own Walking for Health group, the St George Strollers.  You will need a bus fare or bus pass.  More details here.

While their walks are not listed in the Bristol Walking Festival don’t forget there is a walk every Tuesday from the Beehive Centre on Stretford Rd, BS5 7AW (next to St Ambrose Church) at 10.30am.  These walks last 30 minutes, making use of the nearby St George Park and are very suitable for those recovering from illness or injury or wishing to improve their fitness.

Bristol Charities to leave the Summerhill Centre

Bristol Charities is to end its lease of the Summerhill Centre on Summerhill Rd, BS5 HJ.  We understand the handover of the building back to Bristol City Council (BCC) will be at the end of April.

Summerhill Centre 1The Summerhill Centre is just across the road from Cherry Orchard Lane, you can its exact location on this map.  It was built in the late 1960s and extended in 1980.

It was originally used by the Bristol Association of Senior Citizens Clubs, as part of a portfolio of 7 other Bristol City Council-owned properties; the Association ran into financial difficulties between 2002-2005 and eventually disbanded.  In 2006, Bristol Charities were granted a lease for the Summerhill property; the other 6 clubs have since closed.

Over the past 10 years, Bristol Charities have managed the building as a day centre for older people (with a service contract from Bristol City Council). The building has also been let out to the wider community for a range of different social and community activities.

Bristol Charities has informed Bristol City Council of their intention to hand the property back at the end of their notice period (believed to be 3 months); they are unable to make the day centre financially sustainable and have decided not to re-tender for the Bristol City Council Day Services contract.  Bristol Charities have already informed the members of the Summerhill Club and other regular users of the impending closure at the end of April.

The Summerhill Club is a social club for older people, with approx 70 members and 30-40 regular attendees; they use the building for their social activities on 3 evenings and one afternoon each week; many of the Club’s members have used the building for more than 20 years and are concerned about its loss.

Bristol City Council have already received several enquiries from interested parties in taking over the management of the property.  There are likely to be competing interests, including social housing, sheltered housing, private housing, Bristol City Council day centre, community-managed day centre, social club, community centre, place of worship, etc.  BCC now needs to determine what the building should be used for after April 2017.

Bristol City Council are liaising with Bristol Charities to ensure an orderly hand-over, but at this stage it seems likely that the building will close at the end of April, unless an interim solution can be found.

The Council will give us more information when they have it but if you can share any suggestions or information that could help the Council achieve a good outcome please contact:

John Bos
Property Partner (Neighbourhoods & Communities)
Asset Strategy Team
Property Division, Place Directorate
Bristol City Council

Tel: 0117 90 36440
Mobile: 07584 407 753
Email: john.bos@bristol.gov.uk

The future of Neighbourhood Partnerships

StGNP-logoAs described in our post about the Council Budget and the Corporate Strategy the funding for Neighbourhood Partnerships across Bristol is going to be drastically reduced.

At the Cabinet meeting on Monday (30th Jan) it was confirmed the the cuts had been ‘re-profiled’ so that while the cut of £500k in 2017/18 still goes ahead; the cut to the second half of the budget (£562k) will now be delayed until 2019/20.

St George Neighbourhood Partnership members have already started discussions about how we can ensure that some of the good the work that the St George Neighbourhood Partnership has done over the last few years can be continued. The delay to the second part of the cuts will give us more support from the Council to make this happen, but it still means that the Partnership will effectively cease to function in its current form over the next few months.

We have received the following information about the next steps in the city wide review.

The future of Neighbourhood Partnerships – next steps

Neighbourhood partnerships have given a focal point for decision making, leadership and getting positive things done in neighbourhoods all over the city. This has been made possible because of the dedication of hundreds of Bristol people who care about where they live.

bcc-corporate-strategy-2The City Council is facing significant financial pressures and cannot sustain the level of support we provide to neighbourhood partnerships. We have to find significant savings in the coming years with a £500k (appx 50%) saving in 17/18 (subject to full council approval). We face a real challenge. The City Council wants to be able to continue working with communities across Bristol but we need to do it in a way which requires significantly less city council resources. The Executive Summary of the Corporate Plan describes the challenge we face as a city. Executive Summary Corporate Strategy

Moving forward

Over the coming months we would like to work with you to see if there’s a way of sustaining and may be even building on the experience, knowledge and community action that is so valued by all of us but with less resource from the city council. We understand this is a big-ask and support will be needed.

Our proposal is as follows:

Over the next three months the Neighbourhoods team work with you to explore what could happen in your area. This could include:

a) Using the scheduled NP or forum meetings to explore ideas, make links with groups and activists who may not be involved at present and learn from others about what they do.
b) Developing a full picture of the assets and resources locally and working out if there’s scope to make better use of them.
c) Agreeing the things that are most important for your area.
d) Understanding the risks.
e) Networking event/s to exchange ideas & learn from each other.
f) Advice about organisational governance – do you need a constitution? What sort of organisation would work for you?
g) Drawing up a plan for what needs to happen to get you to where you want to be.
h) Identifying what help and support you need to get there (this might be help with room hire costs for a given period, access to fundraising advice or having the right connection with the city council).

We will use this information to deploy the resources we have as a team but also talk to partners about what help and support they may be able to offer. Our commitment is then to work with you to help you realise that plan as far as we can within the available resources.

As a council we value the connection we have with people right across Bristol. Our aim will be to continue engaging with neighbourhoods or localities. We do not want to dictate how this might work – we are keen to hear your ideas and suggestions. In some areas the existing Neighbourhood Partnership may provide the best foundation for the future. In other areas something different may be needed. We know many of you have already started discussions about what could happen in your area. We understand that this will be easier in some areas than in others and we are committed to providing support to those who most need it.

Devolved budgets

We have some further work to do on CIL, S106 and the neighbourhood budget (wellbeing fund & clean and green) which we will be discussing with councillors in the first instance. The budget for minor highways schemes is proposed as a saving. It is more likely that any available neighbourhood budget is used to tackle inequality (rather than each area having a budget).

There is an even greater need for people to get involved with community life. We want to find a way for communities to be able to get on with the things that matter most. When working with the council we know it takes too long to get things done and to find the right person to talk to. We recognise that in asking citizens to do more we have a responsibility to address this so we can use our collective resources more wisely. As a council we have to get better at listening, collaborating and where appropriate – getting out of the way.

Going forward we are keen to hear your ideas about how we can continue to get things done and continue to have neighbourhood services that work for the area but with far less council resources. The ‘Locality’ event on the 4th February is about this bigger question. This will be followed by an open meeting specifically about the change for neighbourhood partnerships later in February.

Thank you for your continued commitment.

With best wishes,

Penny

Penny Germon

Interim Head of Neighbourhood Management Service

Council Budget

bcc-corporate-strategy-2Bristol City Council has been consulting the public and its partners on proposed savings to help it close a £92m budget gap over the coming five years.

Yesterday (12th January) the council published updated proposals which include unchanged, changed and brand new savings proposals.

The full proposals can be seen at www.bristol.gov.uk/coprstrategy

The proposals will be considered by Cabinet on 24 January before the Mayor’s recommendation to Full Council on 21 February.

If approved the proposals will have a significant impact on Neighbourhood Partnerships across the City, including St George Neighbourhood Partnership.

The proposals state:

“We recognise the value of engaging with communities on issues that affect them, but believe there are more efficient ways to do this than current Neighbourhood Partnership structure. We will work with councillors and communities to change the focus and scope of this in the future by looking at what individual communities need.”

The proposed savings are £500k in 2017/18 & £562k in 2018/19. In effect this means that there will be no further funding for Neighbourhood Partnerships after April 2018.

In addition the proposals are for a £100k reduction in the wellbeing grant available across the City, this is approximately 30% – we don’t yet know how much of the remaining pot (if any) will be allocated to St George. The £350k allocated across the City for small traffic schemes is also proposed to be withdrawn. These two proposals together effectively remove the vast majority of the budget available to Neighbourhood Partnerships.

There will be further consultation on the details of these proposals and we will publish details when it starts.

Neighbourhood Partnership members have been aware for some time that significant cuts are likely and is holding a series of meetings to consider whether it is possible to form a new organisation to continue to carry out some of the tasks currently undertaken by the Partnership, including promoting St George and the community groups that do such good work in our area.

There is also a one day workshop with practitioners from the city and across the country which will allow participants to build on current good practice and explore community-led models for the delivery of neighbourhood support and related services, such as parks and libraries.

The workshop is especially for community activists, community organisations, as well as Councillors and local authority workers. It will be held on Saturday 4th February 2017 Time from 9:30am to 4pm.

Representatives of community groups can book a place on the workshop here.

Council Spending Freeze

bcc-tough-choices

Bristol City Council has extended its freeze on non-essential spending as it works to balance its annual budget and prepare for a five-year £92m financial gap from next April.

The spending freeze is expected to remain in place until the council has firm plans for a balanced budget this year and next, along with a more developed five-year plan.

Amongst the elements of the ‘freeze’ the Council has announced that all maintenance of buildings, roads and parks will stop unless there is a risk to people’s health or safety.

The council will continue to operate as normal for most services, particularly where funded by external grants or when generating income. It will also continue to meet all of its statutory obligations.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said: “This temporary spending freeze is about focusing everyone on the challenge we face whilst also making more immediate savings. The current process is painful but necessary. The cost of not balancing our budget would be far higher and I do not just want to store up problems. We must be financially responsible and challenge our spending.”

You can read the council’s existing savings proposals, have a say and submit new ideas at www.bristol.gov.uk/corpstrategy   The public consultation on the draft Corporate Strategy is open until Thursday 5 January 2017. Information and paper copies are available in local libraries and at Citizen Service Points across the city.

Clean Streets Campaign

bristol-clean-streets-finalThe Bristol Clean Streets campaign was launched on Monday.

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, is asking individuals, community groups, schools and businesses to take collective responsibility for keeping the streets clean and tidy, and encouraging everyone to reuse, repair and recycle more. The aim is to make Bristol measurably cleaner by 2020.

St George in Bloom were represented at the launch and will be helping to promote and take this initiative forward in our area. You can see their facebook post about the launch here.

residential_street-jpg__1140x0_q85_crop-scale_subsampling-2_upscaleThere were 3,700 metric tonnes of litter removed from the streets of Bristol last year – the image shows what that looks like in one pile.

The campaign will include some flagship projects such as Graffiti removal in St Pauls, Stokes Croft and the Bearpit. But they also promise operations in hotspot areas geographically spread around the city. It will run enforcement campaigns including dog fouling, fly tipping and fly posting operations. There are also plans to improve the cleansing service delivered by the Bristol Waste Companyto deliver a responsive waste and cleansing service across all public land.

Everyone in St George can do their bit by reporting fly-tipping via the Council’s website, once reported Bristol Waste usually clear it very quickly, use the link below:

Report fly-tipping on the Council’s website >>

You can also join the many residents who already do their bit by picking up litter in their local area – just picking up one piece of rubbish a day will make a difference if everybody did it. There is an article on the Bristol Waste website about Bristol’s Captain Tidy who leads the Street Scene group in the Bishopston, Cotham and Redland Neighbourhood Partnership.

If there is an area that you know of in St George where there is a persistant problem; a hotspot that is in need of a particular clean up or if you would like to organise a community clean-up event, then please contact us to let us know.

mayor-marvin-rees-launches-the-clean-streets-campaign-with-parson-street

Council Budget Consultations

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Bristol City Council is consulting on their “Corporate Strategy” for 2017 to 2022.  The draft document includes information on a lot of proposed budget implications for the provision of Council services.

The 126 page consultation document and an online response form is available on the Council website

A series of meetings are being held around Bristol “where you can share your ideas on the strategy”.  Our nearest event is on Wednesday 16 November, 7.00pm at Bristol Brunel Academy – you can book a (free) place here

The Corporate Strategy will also be discussed at the St George Neighbourhood Forum on Tuesday 15 November, 7.00pm at Summerhill Methodist Church – www.stgeorgenp.org.uk/forum

The proposals include:
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Housing Newsletter

The Private Housing Team of Bristol City Council has published a ‘Special Edition Newsletter’ for Landlord and Letting Agents in the Eastville and St George Property Licensing Area.

The Newsletter includes information on how landlords can apply for a licence for their property(ies), and how the scheme has worked elsewhere.

You can read the Newsletter here.
housing-newsletter-summer16

does-property-licensing-work

Library News

What is happening at your local libraries?  Read the latest library newsletter here.

Please note that St George Library will be closed from Tuesday 6th to Wednesday 14th September to enable preparatory work to be done for the installation of the swipe card pilot scheme.

Regular activities in St George Library include:

  • Reading Group 7pm 3rd Thursday of month – Meet with other readers to discuss and debate
  • Councillors Surgeries 11.30-12.30 1st Saturday and 6.30-7.30 3rd Tuesday of month
  • Baby Bounce and Rhyme 10.15 Tuesday (term time only)
  • Pre-school children’s Storytime 10.15-10.45 Thursday (term time only)

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