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 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 www.bristol.gov.uk/parkbyelaws
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 address:firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 01179496788
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.
– 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, email@example.com, telephone 0117 903 6409.