Downend Voice January 2024

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Cat reunion is quite a tale!

Helping children with cancer Becky Evans and Pat Evans of Raeyah's Hands of Support with Knit and Natter members Karen Jukes, Pat Stinchcombe, Tanya Phillips, Tina Jefferies and Suzzie Belcher, who have made a Snowman-themed post box topper outside Downend Post Office to raise money for the charity. Full story: Page 11

Green space under threat PEOPLE are being urged to have their say over where thousands of new homes in South Gloucestershire should be built over the next 15 years. The council is seeking views on its 'emerging preferred strategy', for its Local Plan, which includes allowing housing on Green Belt sites at Mangotsfield and Shortwood, as well as a huge area

of land between the M4 and Westerleigh Road, north of Lyde Green. It is holding a series of meetings this month to explain why it believes it has to build on greenfield sites and to listen to residents' ideas. It admits residents will find its plans challenging but says affordable homes are needed. Full story: Page 4

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A cat found wandering near the M4 in Bromley Heath had been missing from home in Taunton for more than 10 years and is now back with its owner. PAGE 3

Schools facing budgets crisis Downend headteacher Pippa Osborne says South Glos schools are "hanging by a thread" as their finances hit crisis point. PAGE 8

Mitch's success in martial arts Martial arts expert Mitch Hopes has dedicated recent contest wins to his late mum Wendy, who got him into the sport. PAGE 21


CONTACTS

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NEWS

Passenger, 20, killed in ring road www.downendvoice.co.uk lorry tragedy

Publisher Gary Brindle 0117 907 8585 07799 461169 Journalist Linda Tanner 0777 0700579 Journalist Ken MCormick 07715 770377

Follow us on Twitter @downendvoice ADVERTISING sales@downendvoice.co.uk Tel 0117 907 8585 Tel 07799 461169 EDITORIAL news@downendvoice.co.uk Letters to the publication can be sent to the above e-mail address or by post to Letters, Downend Voice, 6 Elkstone Walk, Bitton, Bristol BS30 6JT. The editor reserves the right to edit your letter. DEADLINE Our February edition deadline is January 10. L O C A L I N F O R M AT I O N South Gloucestershire Council www.southglos.gov.uk 01454 868009 Police www.avonandsomersetpolice.uk general enquiries: 101 Emergency: 999 Fire www.avonfire.gov.uk General enquiries: 0117 926 2061 Emergency: 999 NHS 111 Safer Stronger team sscg@southglos.gov.uk 01454 868009 Anti social behaviour team asbreporting@southglos.gov.uk 01454 868582 Streetcare/litter/vandalism etc streetcare@southglos.gov.uk Environment/trading standards 01454 868001

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Downend Voice January 2024

A YOUNG man died when a scaffolding lorry overturned on the Avon Ring Road. Tyler Carley, who was 20, was killed when the lorry he was a passenger in collided with the central reservation of the A4174 between the Dramway and Siston Hill roundabouts, at around 5.25pm on December 5. An Avon and Somerset police spokesperson said: "Sadly, a passenger of the vehicle died at the scene. "Their next of kin has been informed and our thoughts are with them at this time. "A specially trained officer will provide them with support as we investigate what happened." Police confirmed that the 37-year-old driver of the lorry had been treated in hospital for minor injuries before being arrested in connection with the incident and taken into custody. He was then released under investigation while further enquiries take place. Officers said no other vehicles are believed to have been involved in the incident. Police did not confirm the identity of the passenger. A fundraising campaign in Tyler's memory to help pay the costs of his funeral was launched online and had raised more than £8,700 as the Voice went to print. More than 630 friends and well-wishers donated towards the Gofundme campaign, which was organised by family friend Sammie England, who said: "Our thoughts and prayers are

with his parents, siblings and the rest of the family at this very difficult time. "The unexpected loss of a child is hard at any time but with it being right before Christmas, I'm hoping to raise as much as possible to give this beautiful boy the send off he deserves." The Voice is sharing the details of the fundraiser with the agreement of Sammie and Tyler's family. The page can be found at tinyurl.com/2x46p82h. Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with dashcam footage to contact them by calling 101 and quoting the incident reference number 5223 297 300. The ring road remained closed between the two roundabouts for more than a day after the incident, for investigations and work to repair the carriageway. One lane of the northbound carriageway opened on the afternoon following the crash but the southbound carriageway stayed closed for a second night. A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said "substantial" repairs were needed to the central reservation and a large diesel spill across both southbound lanes meant the road had to be resurfaced. Drivers diverted away from the ring road were using alternative routes through Mangotsfield, Emersons Green, Shortwood and Siston, with residents reporting queues on roads in each area.

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NEWS A CAT that went missing for 10 years has been reunited with its owner after being found wandering near the M4, more than 40 miles from home. Archie was found by Emily Williams and a group of friends from Bromley Heath as they went for a walk. He looked dishevelled and hungry and, acting on instinct, Emily decided he needed help. Emily, a professional photographer, had decided to take a half-hour break from work to have a walk with some friends in late November. As they walked along the old Bromley Heath Road at Moorend, near Hambrook, Emily noticed Archie as they passed through an underpass under the M4. She said: "My friends know I love cats - I've got two at home so they stopped while I gave the cat a little tickle, and it started to follow me. "We started knocking on doors but no one knew who it belonged to." Emily enlisted the help of a local horse owner, who put Archie in the back of their car while she ran home to grab her cat carrier. Emily then took the cat to her friend Sophia Gibbs-Foyle, who runs charity Dogs' Friends and has a scanner which confirmed Archie had been microchipped, with an owner's name and phone number that was no longer in service. From there Archie went to Vets for Pets at Emersons Green, where staff were able to contact the chip company and found the vet's practice he was previously registered to - 41 miles away in Taunton. Emily said: "The vet told me he'd been collected, then they said he's been missing for ten years, and he's from Taunton! He's somehow travelled 40 miles."

After 10 years, missing cat found 40 miles from home

n Archie back home with Suz Gamlin The Somerset vet had up-todate contact details for Claire Gamlin, who lives in the town and registered Archie for her daughter, Suz. Claire told the Voice: "When I first got the phone call from the vet it didn't actually sink in, because it's been ten years. I looked at my daughter and said 'a black and white cat'? "We were both shocked and gobsmacked - we're in Taunton, he's got to Bristol and it's been ten years. "We would like to know the adventure he's been on." Claire said Archie was about three years old when he disappeared - they had taken him on aged around 18 months when his previous owner, in Westonsuper-Mare, had been unable to keep him. The day he vanished he had been fed and let out but didn't come back. The family put up

posters and Suz carried on searching for years. Claire said: "It took my daughter ages to give up looking for him but the years went on and we just thought that sadly something must have happened to him. "To find out he's alive and kicking and get him home, right near Christmas as well - it's good to have some good news." Claire said Archie has been making himself at home and is not perturbed by the four other cats that Suz, who is 31 and has autism, has taken on since he went on his decade-long adventure. She said: "It's like he's never been away - he was straight in the kitchen, eating out of the bowls, then he jumped up on my son's lap.

"He recognised my daughter when she collected him - he came straight over. "Her cats are her babies, and since he's been home he's been very spoiled - he'll get back to his normal size and he will be looking like Garfield in no time. "It's lucky he was microchipped - but it's mad that no-one checked the owner until now. You usually just see this in movies." Emily, who runs her own business, Emily Beer Photography, got in touch with Claire via Facebook. She had shared pictures of Archie with members of the Heathboard Facebook group while she was trying to find out who his owner was. Once Claire and Suz had been found, Emily shared the news of Archie's amazing homecoming in a video, which also appeared on her Instagram page the_ disorganisedmum, sparking a "crazy" reaction. Emily said: "It's just lush what's happened. "The bit I can't get my head around is, where has that cat been for the last ten years? "He was dirty and they like to be clean. He was very hungry and had some sores, but after ten years you'd expect a cat to become feral - he was so friendly, it was like he was asking me for help. "It just shows the importance of getting your cat chipped and making sure all your details are kept up-to-date."

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NEWS

Mangotsfield site is part of homes blueprint A FIELD that was the subject of a major planning battle is included as a potential development site in the new South Gloucestershire Local Plan. The field between Cossham Street and Rodway Hill Road is known locally as the Taylor Wimpey field, after the developers who own it. It is one of several sites that could be earmarked for development, including one off Pomphrey Hill for 65 homes and two on the other side of the Avon Ring Road at Shortwood, which the council says could accommodate 1,430 homes. A public consultation is now under way and the authority is encouraging people to have their say. The council says it has to find new sites for 9,260 new homes to help meet a target of 20,490 homes in the district between 2025 and 2040. Out of the 9,260 new homes, council leaders believe at least 7,813 will need to be built on greenfield land outside the existing urban area and towns, "some of which is currently designated Green Belt". The council says: "We know this will be very challenging for those communities affected by this." A further 8,080 homes already have planning permission and 3,150 will be built on small sites not included in the plan. The council has posted a series of maps and web pages explaining the thinking behind its 'emerging preferred strategy', which includes allowing housing on the designated Green Belt sites at Mangotsfield and Shortwood, as well as a huge area of land between the M4 and Westerleigh Road, north of Lyde Green, which the council thinks could accommodate 800 homes by 2040 and 1,200 after that. The council cabinet member with responsibility for the new Local Plan, Chris Willmore, said it has to "tackle several challenges", including where and how the next generations live while preserving the area's "wonderful environment". She said: “The ideas we are putting forward in this consultation are our emerging preferred strategy. That means the council hasn’t made any

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n The fields off Cossham Street (left) and Pomphrey Hill (right) are marked in blue on the council's consultation map. Mangotsfield School is below the field on the left, with the football club above. decisions yet, but we want to talk with our communities about these ideas and to hear theirs. “When we say it is ‘preferred’, that simply means that we think the approach we’re presenting is a positive way of meeting our collective needs in response to the challenges we are all facing together. "Those include the cost of living crisis, the risk of dramatic changes to our climate and environment, and the need for more homes that people can afford to live in. "But we are still open to hearing more ideas. We want to know where people think this draft plan is right and where it can be improved." The online consultation includes three alternative views, called 'lenses', which show other ways the housing could be planned. One is called 'No Green Belt Loss', and would involve building thousands of homes in the north of the district near Thornbury and Yate. Another is called 'Urban Edge' and would concentrate new development in Green Belt land next to existing built-up areas: it would involve building around 5,500 homes on a swathe of land from Pucklechurch through Shortwood and Siston to Warmley. The third, called 'Transport corridors', would involve building homes on greenfield sites near main roads, including 3,500 near Winterbourne and Frampton Cotterell and around

Downend Voice January 2024

3,000 between Almondsbury and Thornbury.

and councillors called on Taylor Wimpey to take urgent action to maintain the land and fix collapsing fencing which was creating a hazard for people walking past and allowing unauthorised access to the field. Councillors, Mangotsfield Residents Association and Mike Reeves, who chaired the Save Mangotsfield Open Green Spaces Group (SMOG) that successfully fought the previous housing plans, called on the company to make the site a nature reserve. However at the time Taylor Wimpey said it was "working closely with South Gloucestershire Council to promote the Mangotsfield site for development, as part of the wider South Gloucestershire Local Plan".

How to find out more

Past battle over field THE Taylor Wimpey field between Mangotsfield United's Cossham Street ground, Cleve Rugby Club and Mangotsfield School was the subject of an application for 180 new homes in 2009, which was rejected by South Gloucestershire Council the following year, after a huge campaign by residents. Once farmland owned by the Cave family, the field is currently designated as Green Belt land and is part of Mangotsfield but within the boundaries of Emersons Green Town Council. Taylor Wimpey owns the field as part of its 'land bank' of potential housing sites. In 2022 residents' groups

THE council is inviting comments on the Local Plan until February 7. Full details have been published online at www. southglos.gov.uk/newlocalplan. People who are not online can call the council on 01454 868009. It is organising a series of meetings, including one at Mangotsfield Football Club on January 17, from 4-7pm, one at Emersons Green Village Hall on January 19 from noon until 3pm and one at Shortwood Methodist Church on January 25, also from noon until 3pm. Online events on January 10 and 16, from noon to 2pm and 6.30-8.30pm can be accessed via the plan's web page.

n Taylor Wimpey recently renewed the fence around the field after a campaign by residents and councillors. Picture: Michael Bell News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377


NEWS

Cricket club looking for new home GLOUCESTERSHIRE County Cricket Club is looking for a new home - and could move to a site close to Downend. The club has announced that it is "exploring opportunities for a new stadium development in South Gloucestershire" and has told members it is looking for a site close to the M4, somewhere between Almondsbury and Emersons Green. The club has been based at the County Ground in Nevil Road, Bishopston, since 1889, when the site was bought by Downend-born cricketing legend WG Grace. But it announced in December that it was looking at the possibility of relocating to ensure its "competitiveness and long-term sustainability", and was looking to start negotiations over a move to a new stadium development. The club said in a statement: "Following a period of consultation with

South Gloucestershire Council spanning several months, we have identified potential sites that might allow for the required growth of Gloucestershire Cricket, the preferred site being situated in South Gloucestershire, close by to the M4. "Our intention is to develop a stadium that is not only much more accessible to larger parts of the county of Gloucestershire, but is also purpose built to host the highest level of world cricket events." In a series of presentations to club members, club chair David Jones said the board was looking at two or three possible sites in the area between Almondsbury and Emersons Green. Former board member Adie Britton said the club was looking at sites "near the M4 and the ring road" that would be around three times the size of the existing ground, which is in a residential area with no space to expand.

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n GCCC could leave the County Ground for a site close to the M4 Members were told the possibility of a new M4 Junction 18A near Emersons Green and the park & ride at Lyde Green were factors being considered. The aim would be to accommodate a 12,000seat stadium that could be temporarily expanded up to 20,000 for international matches, and would also have space for extra facilities, including training areas, other sports and a hotel. Mr Jones said: "We look forward to engaging with our members, neighbouring residents, stakeholders and the

public as we continue a journey that WG Grace started many years ago.” The club has not responded to a request from the Voice for more details on the site locations. The council also declined to give details of potential sites. A spokesperson said: "We welcome the interest from Gloucestershire County Cricket Club in potentially establishing a new home in South Gloucestershire. Any proposals would need to go through the proper planning processes and local people will be keen to hear more details as they emerge."

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Downend Voice January 2024

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NEWS

Man, 50, charged with Arrest over murder park assault

Boots closure date confirmed

information to call 101 and quote the crime reference number 5223 281919 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

A FRENCHAY man has been charged with murder after another man was stabbed to death in Bradley Stoke. Lee Llewellyn, of Froomshaw Road, appeared in Bristol Magistrates Court n Stabbed: Martin on November 20 Hefferman accused of killing 32-year-old Martin Hefferman two days earlier, at a house in Bradley Stoke. Police were called to Honeysuckle Close at around 3.20am on November 18 after a 999 call reporting that a man had been stabbed and was critically wounded. Mr Hefferman was pronounced dead at the scene, while Llewellyn, 50, was taken to hospital for treatment and was later released into police custody. Police have asked anyone with

A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of assault causing grievous bodily harm after an attack in Downend's King George V playing fields. Last month the Voice reported that a man had needed hospital treatment for facial injuries after he was attacked by another man as he sat on a bench in the park at around 12.15pm on November 17. The police later issued a picture on social media of a man and woman they wanted to trace in connection with the incident, who had been seen walking three dogs in the park. An Avon & Somerset police spokesperson said in December that a man had come forward and, as a result, the force was no longer trying to trace the couple. The spokesperson said a 47-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of inflicting GBH and released on police bail, with a condition not to enter King George V playing fields.

PHARMACY giant Boots has confirmed the date it will close its Staple Hill branch. Signs have gone up in the window of the chemist in the High Street informing customers that the shop will shut for the last time on Wednesday, January 24. News that the pharmacy opposite Staple Hill Post Office was going to close was revealed only after a customer posted it on social media, where it was confirmed by a member of staff, in October. When asked by the Voice, Boots declined to comment on the closure, confirm the date or the number of staff affected. The US-owned retailer has not published a full list of the 300 stores, out of 2,200 across the country, that it plans to close, but in the summer announced plans to close stores that were "in close proximity to each other". After January the nearest Boots branches to Downend and Staple Hill will be at Emersons Green Retail Park, Fishponds Health Centre in Beechwood Road and Kings Chase Shopping Centre in Kingswood.

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NEWS

School finances in crisis, head warns A DOWNEND head teacher says the area's schools are "hanging on by a thread" as their finances hit a crisis point. Pippa Osborne, who is the head of Christ Church Junior School and chairs the South Gloucestershire Schools Forum, said heads "can’t focus on providing the best possible education for our pupils or provide good working conditions for staff because we are constantly worried about money". And the council says children are having to wear coats during lessons at some schools, which cannot afford to turn the heating up in winter. School leaders have teamed up with the council to launch a campaign demanding more money from Whitehall to give youngsters the best start in life. They say the financial situation is so bad because the district is the worst-funded of all 151 education authorities in the country. Drastic cuts they say are being made, in both councilmaintained and academy schools, include recruiting apprentices instead of fullyqualified teaching assistants, cancelling school trips and clubs, breaching legal class size limits and sharing staff across schools. Mrs Osborne said: “Schools across South Gloucestershire are having to cut back on things that teachers, and most parents, would think could be taken for granted if our schools were properly funded. “Schools are doing incredibly well to appear on the surface

Pippa Osborne

Ian Boulton

to be ok, but too many of my colleagues tell me that they are hanging on by a thread. “The things we are having to do to balance budgets will shock and certainly disappoint some parents, but they are all too familiar in our schools. “We are doing the best we can, but we know it’s not the best that’s possible because there just isn’t the funding from Government.” Forum vice-chair Dave Baker, who is the chief executive of Olympus Academy Trust, said: “The picture across South Gloucestershire is the same, whether schools are funded via the council or directly from Government as academies are. “There simply isn’t enough money for us to do our jobs properly." Council co-leader and cabinet member for schools Ian Boulton said: "If South Gloucestershire was funded at the average for similar council areas, we would get an extra £12.3 million a year, and if we were funded at the England average that would be an extra £16.9m. “We are not asking for a share

of some other areas’ schools funding, we are asking for our kids and our schools in South Gloucestershire to be given the money to do the job. "It’s no more than our children deserve. “Our headteachers and school staff work incredibly hard and achieve incredible things, but they are being forced to do it with one hand tied behind their backs.” A council spokesperson said some schools had stopped having lunch supervisors and were using remaining teaching assistants for break duties to save money, as well cutting activities such as singing, art and sport and behaviour and inclusion support for children who need it. Cllr Boulton, who represents Staple Hill & Mangotsfield, added: “Right now, all children in school in South Gloucestershire are at a disadvantage because this Government refuses to fund what education costs. “We are seeing a significant increase in schools at financial risk because despite everything they are doing to balance the books, they are still struggling to

keep their heads above water. “This is not a question of the competence of school leaders – they are doing the very best that they can and we are supporting them in that – but they are being asked to do the impossible." Council-maintained schools receive their money from Government via the council while academies get theirs directly from the Department for Education. But in South Gloucestershire this funding is the lowest per pupil in the country. For 2023/24, there were 37,748 school pupils in South Gloucestershire. The total Schools Block Funding per pupil was just £5,233. A council spokesperson said clubs and activities such as singing, art and sport were being cut, while some schools had stopped having lunch supervisors and used the teaching assistants who remained for those duties. A Department for Education spokesperson said: “School funding is rising by over £3.9 billion this year compared to 2022/23. “Nationally, school funding will reach the highest level in history, in real terms per pupil, by 2024/25. “This includes an extra £4m for mainstream schools in South Gloucestershire for 2024/25, an increase of 2% per pupil compared to 2023/24, and an increase of 13.5% per pupil compared to 2021/22. “This takes the total funding to £206.5m.” By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service

Poppy Appeal raises £60,000 THE recent Poppy Appeal to help Armed Forces veterans and their families raised more than £60,000 - around £15,000 more than in 2022. Staple Hill & District Royal British Legion's volunteer collectors raised £60,835 in the appeal leading up to Remembrance Sunday in November. Poppy Appeal organiser and branch chairman Ian Campbell said the appeal had raised a "fantastic amount", adding: "I want to thank all of the

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amazing volunteers, businesses, supermarkets and schools that took in a tin and helped raise this amount." Anyone who would like to volunteer for next year's appeal should contact Ian on 07950 104450 or email poppyappealbristol@gmail.com. Ian has announced that he is standing down as branch chairman, after a five-year tenure which has seen the branch revitalised, with membership growing from 56 to 142, with events including new events,

Downend Voice January 2024

coach trips and socials to bring veterans, their families and the wider community closer together. He said: "It has been an honour and a privilege to lead the Staple Hill & District branch. "The journey has been challenging, but the support and commitment of my committee and members have been truly inspiring. I am proud of what we have achieved together." The branch will elect a new chairman at its January meeting.

n Ian Campbell at November's Remembrance service in Mangotsfield

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EDUCATION

Song and dance at art fair

n Mangotsfield School pupils and SEND teacher Paul Andrews were helped by council staff to plant the first trees in their orchard n Student performers at the Mangotsfield School Winter Festival and Arts Market. PUPILS from all year groups at Mangotsfield School entertained visitors to the school's Winter Festival and Arts Market. Singers, musicians, actors and dancers form the secondary school took to the stage during the event on December 3, which featured a preview of the upcoming musical production of Roald Dahl classic Matilda. The event also included a primary school art exhibition, Lego displays, activities and a huge range of craft stalls, from prints, card making and resin to woodwork, stained glass and jewellery. A school spokesperson said: "The Winter Fair was a storming success and a fabulous community event. "The day had many creative elements to recognise the wonderful opportunities the creative arts provide for the students, staff and the community." The event was planned and organised by the school's head of art Dawn Beedle and head of music Leah West.

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Orchard plan takes root MANGOTSFIELD School has started work to create an orchard and wild flower meadows. Students and teachers were joined by staff from South Gloucestershire Council's Common Connections Project to plant first a variety of wild flowers then five apple trees and a pear tree to start the school's own orchard. Common Connections is a scheme funded by the West of England Combined Authority to restore and join up green spaces, rivers and ponds in 87 sites across the district. The aim is to create wildlife corridors so animals can travel safely, extend their habitat and food sources. A spokesperson for the school said: "It was wonderful for the school to take part in this creative community project. "The long term vision is to support our food curriculum through fruit growth on site. Many thanks to the students who took part."

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NEWS

Metro Mayor defends 'illegal' bus ad METRO Mayor Dan Norris has hit back at an official report claiming a £10,000 advert on a bus was "unlawful". A report to the West of England Combined Authority from the organisation's monitoring officer says spending government money on a bus 'wrap', which included pictures of Mr Norris, amounted to unlawful, political selfpromotion. The report says Mr Norris issued a “direct instruction” to mayoral office staff to commission the bus wrap to promote his Birthday Bus scheme, where residents can travel for free during the month of their birthday, and a recruitment campaign for new bus drivers. It featured three pictures of Mr Norris, one measuring 3m (9ft 10 in) high and the other two 2m and 1m, and two images of his dog Angel, with a message on each side. The double-decker was intended for use at the Birthday Bus launch event and may then have entered service on bus routes. But the report said interim WECA chief executive Richard Ennis pulled it from public view when he found out about the ad and raised concerns.

How the bus would have looked The report said officers under instruction from Mr Norris did not discuss the ad with anyone else from WECA or obtain three quotes, as required by its constitution. The officer added: "The bus wrap is reminiscent of political campaign buses, which exist to serve the explicit purpose of seeking to influence voters." In response, Mr Norris insisted metro mayors are “meant to be visible”. He said: “I was not interviewed by the individual undertaking the internal review over the summer and this autumn, nor was I afforded the opportunity to comment on the

final report, which has just been made public. “The monitoring officer has challenged the use of my image on the bus wrap. “However the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity states: ‘It is acceptable for local authorities to publicise the work done by individual members of the authority, and to present the views of those individuals on local issues. This might be appropriate, for example, when one councillor has been the “face” of a particular campaign’." Mr Norris said the "whole point" of directly-elected mayors was to have "a face that the public could identify as being responsible and accountable for the policies that were being promoted and introduced". He said the advertising would have cost up to £40 per day, over a year, to promote two key messages. When asked by the BBC about the size of the photos of him and his dog Angel, the West of England mayor said: "It’s a big bus. You know, if you put it any smaller, you wouldn’t see it." By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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Downend Voice January 2024

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NEWS

Snowman helps tell Raeyah's story DOWNEND'S latest post box topper is helping to raise funds for a charity inspired by a young girl who lost her life to cancer. The knitted and crocheted celebration of characters from Raymond Briggs' classic Christmas tale The Snowman, outside Downend Post Office, has been created by members of the Knit and Natter group based at nearby shop Fabrics Plus. It is raising money through a QR code and web link for charity Raeyah's Hands of Support, set up by the family of Emersons Green girl Raeyah Evans-Rice. Raeyah was just four years old when she died in March from a rare form of cancer, known as a Wilms tumour. While she was undergoing treatment her parents Becky Evans and Kevin Rice decided to set up a service to help other parents going through a similar experience. Becky and Kevin, who now live in Soundwell, said: "Raeyah was a happy, outgoing little girl who adored her older brothers. "Raeyah managed her intense chemotherapy treatment extremely well and was given the all clear in December 2022, exactly a year after we received the devastating news of her illness. "However, just four weeks later she became unwell and passed away in hospital, surrounded by the love of her family." Now a registered charity, Raeyah's Hands of Support

n Evans-Rice died in March 2023 form a rare form of cancer

provides practical and financial support for families with children undergoing cancer treatment at Bristol Children's Hospital, especially those with an autism diagnosis. It offers food vouchers, entertainment bags with things for children to do, bags with seasonal treats for Christmas and Easter, and overnight bags for parents whose children have to make an unexpected stay in hospital. Becky said: "Quite often you take your child in for an appointment and you think you're going home afterwards but end up having to stay over, so we provide hospitals with bags they can give out on the spot, with things you're unlikely to be able to get at short notice, like tea, coffee and hairbrushes. "When you've got a child who's having cancer treatment, autism is the least of your worries, but they need more support - for example they can get anxious when they have injections." One of Becky and Kevin's sons, Mason, has autism spectrum disorder and from their experience they believe Raeyah, who had a "unique and unbreakable" bond with him, was also autistic. Raeyah's Hands of Support currently operates only in Bristol but there are plans to link up with charities in other areas, with a view to providing a national service one day. Becky and her mum Pat Evans, of Downend, who is also involved with the charity, were there to see the postbox topper unveiled at the beginning of December. Pat said: "It's absolutely amazing - I take my hat off to them, they've done a wonderful thing, a marvellous job." The Knit and Natter group meets at Fabrics Plus on Badminton Road every week. Members started work on the topper in September, doing some of the work in the shop and some at home. It includes the Snowman and the Snowdog, James - the boy from the original Snowman film robins and snowballs. The topper was designed by Suzzie Belcher, who said making it used 10 balls of white wool from Fabrics Plus as well as

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n The knitted and crocheted topper includes characters from Raymond Briggs' The Snowman stories coloured wool from the shop and members' "stashes". Suzzie said: "We hope people like it and it gives the children the charity helps a lift - that's the reason we did it." An information panel with

a QR code for smartphone donations is attached to the topper. Donations can also be made to the charity via its website at Raeyahshandsofsupport.org.uk.

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NEWS

Outdoor Christmas events offer lights and Hundreds of people have braved the winter weather to experience some of the Downend area's outdoor Christmas events, from light displays to carol singing

Downend switch-on CROWDS filled the area in front of the Horseshoe pub for the official switch-on of Downend's Christmas lights. Onlookers also stood on the other sides of Westerleigh Road and Badminton Road to hear carols from the Staple Hill Salvation Army band before the lights went on at the end of November. The lights are funded by Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council, with more than 10,000 computer controlled LEDs on the main tree at the corner of Badminton Road and Westerleigh Road, and a second tree at the North Street/ Downend Road roundabout. The parish council also funds the tree and lights at Cleeve Wood Road shops and, for the first time this year, a tree on Bromley Heath Road.

Christmas on the Hill STAPLE Hill's traditional start to the festive season brought shoppers and performers on to the street despite bitterly cold weather. Christmas on the Hill on December 2 included singing from Tynings Primary School, Mangotsfield Primary School and the Great Day Choir in front of the market at Fountain Square. And while a technical hitch meant the switch-on of the Christmas tree lights was delayed, families who gathered were entertained by carols from the Salvation Army band and an appearance from Mickey and

12

n The crowd at Downend's Christmas lights switch-on

Jake's opening night nets £600 A DOWNEND teenager's big switch-on event has raised £600 for a cancer charity. A crowd of around 100 people saw Jake Skinner flick the switch on the thousands of lights on his home in Sutherland Avenue on December 1. Jake, who is 16 and an apprentice electrician, is collecting donations for Macmillan Cancer Support through a combination of bucket collections and donations, both online and via QR codes mounted on the gateway to the display. His lights were due to stay on every night from 5-8pm until December 29. Minnie Mouse, who were visiting Bunch florist in the square. The all-day event in Broad Street and the High Street also featured fairground rides, crafts, stories and activities, with Staple Hill Library reporting a busy day. It was coordinated by Staple Hill Chamber of Trade, whose secretary Tina Lewis said: "I think everyone involved was very pleased with how it went. "It was busy all day and there was a good buzz everywhere.The idea was to bring people back to the High Street and it definitely did that - there was good support from the community."

Downend Voice January 2024

Visitors at Jake Skinner's display on the switchon night Jake has been raising money for Macmillan over the past six years in memory of his sister Stacie, who died aged 17 of anaphylactic shock on Christmas Day 2015, and his nan, who was supported by the charity before she passed away in 2021. Jake said: "We have a few new additions this year,

including large snowmen figures, new reindeer and a large singing and dancing Santa, which everyone seems to enjoy. I was really pleased with the turnout for the switch-on we raised around £600 on the night." Donations can be made online at justgiving.com/page/ jakeschristmaslights

n Mickey and Minnie Mouse were special guests at Christmas on the Hill

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NEWS

plenty of good cheer Crowds pack Park Road

IT'S usually a busy road but hundreds of people were able to take their time to take in the view, grab something to eat and browse stalls as the residents of Park Road in Staple Hill held their own switch-on event. The road was closed between North View and Salisbury Gardens during the evening of December 2 to allow people to look at some of the 40 houses on the road which have external light displays. There was live music, hot food and drink, and stalls selling a variety of crafts and gifts for visitors taking a break from queuing to see some of the spectacular light displays. The opening night raised just under £1,700 for charity St Peter's Hospice, via collections, QR codes and an online JustGiving donations page, which can be found at tinyurl. com/53ekzbk8. The street has had its own switch-on event for the last four years. Resident Adele Clark said: "Things were a little bit hectic on opening night and we were rushed off our feet. "It went swimmingly, though, and we've raised lots of money for charity - that's the main thing." For more information on the Park Road lights visit the display's Facebook page at facebook.com/BS165LG.

n A big crowd enjoyed the switch-on of Park Road's Christmas lights

n Father Christmas, Elsa and an elf greeted visitors to one of the displays in the front garden of a house in Park Road

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NEWS

Upgrades planned for cycle path UPGRADES are planned to improve the Bristol and Bath Railway Path in Staple Hill and Mangotsfield. South Gloucestershire Council will launch a public consultation early in the coming year to ask people what improvements could be made to persuade them to use the path, particularly during the winter. Council transport policy and project delivery manager Andy Whitehead told a meeting of the Staple Hill, Mangotsfield and New Cheltenham Community Engagement Forum that the project would cover the stretch of path the council is responsible for maintaining, between the Staple Hill tunnel and Bitton. The council will be given money by the West of England Combined Authority to fund the improvement scheme, as part of efforts to make walking and cycling a more attractive way of travelling in the area. A series of anti-social behaviour incidents on the path, dating back for years, have highlighted the need to make people feel safer when using the route. Mr Whitehead told the meeting on November 29 that the council was "right at the start of the project", so the exact area and type of improvements were still to be defined. But one place likely to see improvements is the area around the former Mangotsfield

n Chris Willmore Station, which is the junction of "several strategically important paths" linking Staple Hill, Mangotsfield, Emersons Green and Warmley. A "longlist" of options for improvements includes new lighting, signs and CCTV coverage. There will also be measures to ease "pinch points" where the path narrows, placing cyclists and pedestrians in potential conflict. The council says it needs to make sure any physical improvements don't adversely affect the area's plants and wildlife. Once the council has consulted and drawn up firm plans it then needs to make a planning application and a business case for funding from WECA.

A similar project on the Bristol stretch of the path started in 2019 and finished in 2023, with £1.1 million spent on improvements including widening and creating some segregated lanes on busy, narrow stretches of the path. Council cabinet member for transport Chris Willmore said the "exciting" plans would "encourage year-round active and sustainable travel there, such as walking, cycling and wheeling". She added: "We currently see a big reduction in people using the Railway Path during the darker months, but we want it to be a viable transport option throughout the year, and a place where people feel safe. "Although details of the project are yet to be defined, there are some key junctions which could benefit from improvements such as lighting and CCTV, or potentially widening existing pinch points to enable people to move more freely. "However, no proposals have been agreed at this stage and we'll be asking people for their ideas around how we can make improvements, so I encourage people to get involved." People can register to be notified when the consultation launches online, at consultations.southglos.gov.uk/system/ register.

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Downend Voice January 2024

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NEWS

Tories and Greens pick MP candidates Two of the political parties competing to win the new Bristol North East constituency at the next general election have announced their chosen contenders

TV entrepreneur Rose is Conservatives' choice AN entrepreneur who founded a TV streaming start-up business has been chosen as the Conservative candidate for the newly-formed Bristol North East constituency. The new seat has been created as part of boundary changes, and includes the Staple Hill & Mangotsfield ward. Tory candidate Rose Hulse was born in America, where she started her political career working on presidential campaigns and for former Los Angeles mayor, Richard Riordan. After moving to the UK she founded a tech startup business, ScreenHits TV, which allows users to organise streaming services such as Netflix, Prime and Disney+ in one app and is in use in 59 countries. She says she was inspired to get involved in British politics because of her "challenges and

experiences" launching a startup business in the UK and it is her "main focus to help support the local high street businesses, entrepreneurs and SMEs in the Bristol North East area". Rose said: "I truly believe that at times like these, what matters the most is not always winning, but standing up for what is right and pushing for positive change, especially when it can enrich the lives of so many people and I am honoured to be selected by the members of Bristol North East to represent them in the upcoming election." Married with two daughters, she has lived in Bath & North East Somerset since 2017. The Bristol North East seat is being created from parts of three constituencies: Kingswood, currently held by Conservative Chris Skidmore; Bristol East, which is held by Labour's

Kerry McCarthy and Filton & Bradley Stoke, held by Tory Jack Lopresti. The Kingswood seat, which includes Mangotsfield, is disappearing and Chris Skidmore has already announced he is retiring from Parliament. Staple Hill is the only part of the Filton & Bradley Stoke constituency moving into Bristol North East. As well as Staple Hill & Mangotsfield, three other South Gloucestershire electoral

wards - New Cheltenham, Kingswood and Woodstock - will be part of Bristol North East. All nine councillors elected from the four wards in May's South Gloucestershire elections were Labour. The Bristol wards of Eastville, Frome Vale, Hillfields and Lockleaze, which are moving from Bristol East returned four Labour, three Green and one Conservative councillor at the last elections in 2021.

A BRISTOL city councillor has been chosen to be the Green Party's candidate for the new Bristol North East constituency at the next general election. The new seat has been created as part of boundary changes and includes the Staple Hill & Mangotsfield ward. Green candidate Lorraine Francis has been a city councillor for Eastville since 2021, gaining her party's first seat in a ward which had elected two Labour councillors at the previous election. She stood as the Greens' parliamentary candidate for the Bristol East seat in 2015 and 2017, polling fourth on both occasions. Lorraine, who is a social worker outside her council role, was born in Bristol and attended Baptist Mills Primary School then Lockleaze School. Originally from St Paul's before moving to Easton, she has worked in social care since the age of 24 and is also a qualified therapist. Lorraine is in the Greens' shadow cabinet on the city council and also chairs its human

Greens opt for city councillor Lorraine

without saying: the climate, transport, young people, to name a few. "If I was an MP, there would be no issue that I would not tackle, for the betterment of Bristol North East and Bristol." A manager at Downend takeaway Rajastan Royal is the Greens' candidate for the neighbouring Bristol East constituency. Naseem Talukdar, who manages the restaurant's charity and community relations and lives in Fishponds, is also the founder of charity Feed The Homeless and chief executive of Projects Against Plastic, which campaigns to make the catering industry more sustainable. He said: "I pledge to address critical issues head-on: ensuring access to social housing, unlocking job opportunities for the youth, and fostering a sustainable environment that amplifies British values."

n Rose Hulse

n Lorraine Francis (second left) with fellow Green Parliamentary hopefuls Jai Breitnauer, Carla Denyer, Naseem Talukdar and Mary Page resources committee. She said: "My love of Bristol has led me to stand, to ensure that people who look like me, as well as people who relate to my politics, continue to have hope for a better and equitable political system. "I also see myself as an advocate for health and social

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care, and want to see social care reform. "I am an activist and supportive of other activists wanting to keep our NHS as a public and accessible service, and I am passionate about equality and fairness. "There are so many issues that I care about, that goes

n Earlier in 2023, Labour selected Damien Egan as its candidate for Bristol North East. Damien, the directly elected Mayor of Lewisham in London,

Downend Voice January 2024

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Take care of your eyes in 2024 Better diet, more exercise, saving money, cutting back on alcohol – new year’s resolutions all sound good on paper but the effort involved to actually achieve them can be hard work. But that’s not the case with looking after your eyes. Here are some simple steps to follow that seamlessly slip into your routine and ensure you’re doing everything you can to take the utmost care of your eyesight. 1. Eat well Green leafy vegetables, salmon, tuna, oranges, eggs, nuts, beans – all delicious and all good for your eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc and vitamins C and E are all proven to help battle age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Ginny Allwood Eating a balanced diet also helps of Turners Opticians you to maintain a healthy weight. Type 0117 962 2474 2 diabetes is one of the main causes 0117 965 4434 of blindness in UK adults and you are www.turnersopticians.co.uk more at risk of developing the condition if you are overweight. 2. Step away from the screen Staring too long at our computer screens is something many of us are guilty of. We put off giving our eyes a break for the sake of getting our work done. Bad idea. Intensive screen work without regular breaks causes blurred vision, focus problems, headaches, neck and shoulder issues and dry eyes. At Turners Opticians, we are dry eye specialists and are happy to offer advice on the right treatment for you. We offer Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT), both of which have been transforming the lives of dry eye sufferers. Call our Henleaze team on 0117 962 2474 or Fishponds team on 0117 965 4434, or visit our website www.TurnersOpticians.co.uk for further information. 3. Stub it out Smoking is pretty much the most damaging thing you can do to your eyesight. It increases your chances of developing cataracts and speeds up macular degeneration. Vaping is also proven to increase the risk of visual impairment. Have a look at www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking if you’re trying to quit. There’s lots of help and advice on there and you can also chat to your doctor if you’re struggling to stop. 4. Wear sunglasses Shades keep harmful UV rays out of your eyes, offering you some protection against cataracts and macular degeneration. At Turners, we’ve got lots of pairs of sunglasses from top designers and everyday brands to choose from. We can help you pick the pair that looks best on you. Just go to www.TurnersOpticians.co.uk for more information. 5. Have regular eye checks Undoubtedly the best thing you can do for your eyes in 2024 is to keep up your regular optician appointments. As well as ensuring your vision is optimised, eye exams detect diseases like glaucoma that don’t have any obvious early symptoms. Call our Henleaze team on 0117 962 2474 or Fishponds team on 0117 965 4434 or visit our website www.TurnersOpticians.co.uk to book your next appointment.

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YOUR

Community NEWS

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN Well Christmas has well and truly arrived in Downend! It was wonderful to see so many people at the switch-on for the Christmas tree lights, with the joyous music from the Salvation Army Band. I think you will agree that the trees at Cleeve Wood and along Bromley Heath Road are also looking magnificent. I am delighted to announce that the winner of the ‘Best Dressed Christmas Window Competition 2023’ has gone to Kip McGrath. The trophy has been passed on to them, having been looked after over the last year by Bride at Home who won the award in 2022. Well done to Jay and all the team at Kip McGrath who have put on a magnificent display this year. Unfortunately, it has come to me as Chairman of the Parish Council to announce the retirement of our wonderful, hardworking Clerk, who wishes to ‘hang up her boots’ next March. Angela has been our Clerk for 20 years and I have worked with her for 16 years. I can truthfully say that we will miss her greatly. An advert for her post is below and featured on our website, in addition to the websites of the National Association of Local Councils and the Avon Local Councils Association.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy 2024. Cllr Janet Biggin, Chairman

CLERK TO THE COUNCIL & RESPONSIBLE FINANCIAL OFFICER Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council is looking to recruit a full time Parish Clerk & Responsible Financial Officer Minimum SCP 31 (if qualified): £39,186 per annum (37 hours/week, Monday-Friday) depending on qualification and experience plus membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council is a large and busy local authority in Bristol, falling within the South Gloucestershire Council area. DBH PC wishes to appoint a proactive and energetic Parish Clerk to support

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DOWNEND & BROMLEY HEATH PARISH COUNCIL

the day to day working of this busy parish. The ideal candidate will have experience of working in local government, and will hold the CiLCA qualification, or be prepared to achieve it within 18 months of appointment. The Clerk’s post is full time but is not a 9 - 5 job. Details to be agreed with the successful candidate with some flexibility for attendance at evening meetings and out of hours duties. The postholder will work from the Parish Office within Downend Library, Buckingham Gardens, Downend or other offices within the parish area, and must be able to travel to locations within the parish easily. Training and support while you develop in these roles will be provided. Good communication skills, both written and oral, are necessary for the successful performance of this role. Full details and an application form are available on the Parish Council website: www.dbhparishcouncil.uk Closing date for applications is Monday 8 January 2024. The Council aims to hold interviews later in January 2024.

POLICE STREETSAFE APP As the nights get darker even earlier, make sure you feel safe everywhere. The purpose of this App is to identify those areas where people feel most uncomfortable / unsafe walking in public. This could be Environmental (streetlights, lack of CCTV etc) or Behavioural (persons loitering / following, unwanted attention etc). You can use the StreetSafe app to make an anonymous report to the Police, helping them understand where there may be issues. The App can be downloaded on most platforms following the link: https:// www.police.uk/pu/notices/streetsafe/street-safe/

VACANCY FOR A PARISH COUNCILLOR A casual vacancy has occurred in the Downend Ward of Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council. The Council may fill the vacancy by co-option. If you feel that you want to work for the good of your local community and are willing to give the time and commitment, put your name forward for consideration. Please send a letter of interest, highlighting why you wish to join the Parish Council and what skills you feel you could bring to the Council. Correspondence should be emailed to the Parish Clerk, clerk@dbhparishcouncil.co.uk. All candidates must live within the parish or within a 3-mile radius.

DOWNEND & BROMLEY HEATH PARISH COUNCILLORS

Downend Ward

Councillor Phillip Abbott phillip.abbott@dbhparishcouncil.co.uk Councillor Janet Biggin janet.biggin@dbhparishcouncil.co.uk Councillor Ben Burton ben.burton@dbhparishcouncil.co.uk Councillor Jacky Dockerty jacky.dockerty@dbhparishcouncil.co.uk

0117 957 0075 0117 957 6987 07870 639 486 07963 841 270

Councillor James Griffiths james.griffiths@dbhparishcouncil.co.uk Councillor Matt Pitts matt.pitts@dbhparishcouncil.co.uk Councillor Mike Richards mike.richards@dbhparishcouncil.co.uk Councillor Raj Kumar Sood raj.sood@dbhparishcouncil.co.uk Staple Hill Ward Councillor Dave Somers dave.somers@dbhparishcouncil.co.uk

07988 775 028 07837 870 039 07846 893 543 07901 621 632 Tel. 07831 239 195

Councillor Stephen Pick stephen.pick@dbhparishcouncil.co.uk

Tel. 07584 425 242

Clerk to the Council Mrs Angela Hocking Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council Parish Office, Downend Library, Buckingham Gardens, Downend, Bristol BS16 5TW Tel: 0117 9567001 Email: clerk@dbhparishcouncil.co.uk

www.dbhparishcouncil.uk


Y S AR NU ON EM JA LE IT SA TED C LE SE


PAGE PARK NEWS

New park loos will open this year PAGE Park's toilet block will reopen with brand new loos in 2024. South Gloucestershire Council is now inviting contractors to bid for the contract to transform the existing block near the park's main Broad Street entrance, and expects to pick a winner early in the year so that work can get underway. The park was one of six places in South Gloucestershire to win a share of £135,000 of government funding under the Changing Places Toilets scheme. The money is earmarked to provide "fully accessible" toilets for people with severe disabilities, which include hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and extra space to accommodate carers. Volunteer group the Friends of Page Park has raised £20,000 towards the scheme and has also persuaded South Gloucestershire Council to revamp the rest of the toilet block to provide two other public toilets, which will be available to all while the park is open. The council has committed £40,000 of money from the Community Infrastructure Levy – funding collected from developers who are building in the area - to help pay for improvements. The rest of the estimated £245,000 cost will come from a mix of other grants and budgets.

n How the new toilets are expected to look

The old public toilet block has been closed for several years, after repeated vandalism, with the only publicly-accessible toilets for the park at the Bean Tree cafe. Friends of Page Park vicechair Steph Purser said: "We desperately need toilets at the park which can be used at times when the cafe isn't open, so people can enjoy the park for longer. "It will not just be good for park users, it will be good for the wider community. "People who are severely disabled and their relatives will be able to visit the High Street shops and other places in Staple Hill knowing that the Changing Places toilet is nearby." "It will also make it easier for everyone from families visiting the park to football teams, cubs and brownies, to bus and lorry drivers who need to find a toilet while they are working." The new loos will lock automatically when the park is closing to keep them secure.

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A fun-packed 2024 to come A PACKED calendar of events for 2024 in Page Park is being drawn up. Among the early attractions is a Chinese New Year celebration,

which will take place in February on a date to be announced. More artisan markets are planned for the spring, while Sunday afternoon concerts will be held at the bandstand in the summer. In the autumn two events which proved popular in 2023 are set to return. The first will be the emergency services fun day, which drew crowds to meet police officers and horses, look inside a fire engine and learn more about lifesaving from the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity in September. The second will be the Page Park Billy Kart Derby, which attracted teams of daredevils who made and raced their footpowered vehicles on a circuit around the park's clock tower. Contact the Bean Tree Cafe or email pageparkbillykarts@gmail. com to get involved with the 2024 event. Volunteers are needed to plan and help out with all events. Email friendsofpageparkbs16@gmail.com to find out more.

n More than 300 people of all ages attended the Bean Tree Cafe's 2023 panto Cinderella, with six performances in December.

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NEWS

Homes approved for removal firm site PLANS to build nine new homes on the site of a former Downend removals business have been approved. The three-storey Ablemove/Wottons warehouse in Dial Lane can be demolished and replaced with six semi-detached and three terraced homes, after South Gloucestershire Council granted planning permission. A next door bungalow and outbuilding containing a swimming pool can also be demolished. Councillors on the development management committee voted unanimously in favour of the proposals on December 7, despite concerns about parking on the narrow residential street and an objection from the parish council. Planning officers recommended approval after concluding the benefits of the new homes – five with two bedrooms, two with three and two with four bedrooms – and their 17 parking spaces “significantly outweigh the harms”. They said it was a “very sustainable location” next to shops and open spaces. Five people objected to the plans, citing potential loss of privacy, overshadowing existing homes, parking and potential traffic problems from an increased flow of cars. Downend & Bromley Heath Parish

n The Ablemove/Wottons warehouse, fenced off since it closed, and next-door bungalow will be demolished. Council objected to the plans on several grounds, including "overdevelopment", poor design and excessive traffic in a "small busy road". The application was referred to a planning committee by Frenchay & Downend ward councillor Raj Sood, who asked members to visit the site and consider the objections as well as whether there was enough "private amenity space", such as gardens, for each home planned. Committee member Tony Williams (Lib Dem, Severn Vale) told the meeting: “The parking in the area is very restrictive.

“I know the parking supplied meets our standards. I don’t think our standards are good enough so I would like this committee to send something forward to look into our parking standards." Cllr Williams also raised concerns that features such as solar panels and heat pumps in the plans could be removed after the scheme was approved. A planning officer told him the council would consider any later application to vary the plans. Carol Strange (Con, Longwell Green) said: “I am a little concerned about the amount of outside space that’s there. “It is an urban area but let’s give people a bit more space. It looks very pushed together.” Michael Bell (Lab, Staple Hill & Mangotsfield) told the meeting the previous use of the site by a removals company had itself caused problems and inconvenience, which the new homes would "alleviate". Cllr Sood called for restrictive covenants to be included to prevent future business use of the site but was told this was not a planning issue. Four of the houses would front on to Dial Lane, with the others to the rear of the site. Meeting report by Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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NEWS

Mitch dedicates medal haul to mum Wendy A DOWNEND martial artist has dedicated a haul of trophies to his late mother, who got him into the sport. Mitch Hopes took part in the World Tang Soo Do Association (WTSDA) Regional Championship in Middlesbrough in November. Mitch, who trains at Christ Church Parish Hall in Downend, went on to win gold, silver and bronze trophies for weapons, patterns and sparring in the black belt adult category. He dedicated his successes to his mum Wendy, who died suddenly three years ago, aged 55. Mitch, 32, said: “My mum was a keen martial arts student and it’s thanks to her I’ve been successful in it. I’d like to think I’ve made her proud.” Mum-of-four Wendy first started training in Tang Soo Do in the late 1990s. She enrolled Mitch when he was aged seven, after he had been bullied. Mitch is now a 1st degree black belt and world champion in the sport, which originated in Korea, is based on karate and includes influences from Korean and Chinese martial arts. He said: “My mum got me into Tang Soo Do as I was quiet and had been bullied. “She was a very loving, caring mother to her children. She was an inspiration to all those who were around her. “I believe I’m much more confident, resilient and happier thanks to my training and I will be forever grateful to my mum.” Mitch, who teaches a class

n Wendy and Mitch Hopes in a Tang Soo Do class together. in Hanham and also trains in Chipping Sodbury, wants to pass on his experience. He said: “I’m really looking forward to training students and seeing them progress so they can better defend themselves, get fit and possibly compete in the future. "While it’s lovely to compete and win medals, I also enjoy the camaraderie of the art and events. It’s a chance to catch up with instructors from across the country and share knowledge and experience." Mitch’s uncle Ian Crook is a 2nd Dan black belt and his instructor at Downend Tang Soo

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Do club. He said: “I’m very proud of Mitch. His hard work has paid

off and I know his mum would be proud too.” Mitch, an outpatient support manager at North Bristol NHS Trust, has run demonstrations and workshops for staff to promote well-being using the martial art, which has an emphasis on self-defence, physical and spiritual health and all-round personal development. He said: “I find Tang Soo Do helps build confidence and resilience, while reducing stress.” After winning two gold medals in his division at the 2022 Tang Soo Do World Championships in North Carolina, Mitch plans to defend his world title in the USA next year. Tang Soo Do is practised by martial arts film star Chuck Norris and is also one of the styles that features in the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai, based on the 1980s Karate Kid films. For more information about Downend Tang Soo Do call Ian on 0781 774 4689.

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Children stay the course CHILDREN at a Downend infant school raised more than £1,200 by tackling a tough indoor assault course. Pupils from every class at the Christ Church C of E Infant School in Christchurch Avenue took on the challenge of bars and beams, and threw bean bags as they completed circuits in return for sponsorship from parents and other supporters. The money raised will go towards new equipment and furniture, and improvements to the school's outdoor learning areas. Head teacher Anna Martin said: "We are so lucky to be a school surrounded by an incredibly generous community and even though many are facing financial pressures at the moment, they always find ways to help us. "The staff at CCI are brilliant at making learning as fun as

n Christ Church Infants pupils tackle their sponsored assault course possible and knew that the children would love challenging themselves by completing the course as many times as they could. "This huge amount raised will mean that every class has over

£100 to spend on resources and, with our big Lego fundraiser in February, we hope to give our outdoor areas a real injection of carefully planned resources." Food donations: Page 29

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NEWS

South Glos potholes emergency A WINTER emergency could be declared in South Gloucestershire as the road network suffers from record high levels of potholes. The council has warned “extreme weather” over the next three months could mean the roads would deteriorate much faster than they can be fixed, with potential restrictions put in place. In a worst case scenario, drivers could be restricted from using certain roads on safety grounds until they can be repaired, according to a report to the council's December cabinet meeting. Officers said: “Over a number of years there has been insufficient investment made into the local highway network nationally, and locally we estimate that our current core spend is approximately a third of what is required to keep steady state. “The impact of climate change and increasingly extreme weather events, combined with the insufficient investment, has meant that it has become impossible to maintain the local network in a steady state condition.” Last winter was a “key turning point in the state of the network”, according to council data, and roads in South Gloucestershire have not recovered since then. About 100 reports of potholes are normally received in October, however this October the council received 900. This year reported defects peaked in South Gloucestershire in April, at over 2,000. A winter emergency would be declared if the council can’t repair a “significant percentage” of potholes fast enough, and would mean extra funding put in to boost the teams on the roads. By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service

POLICE arrested 61 people during the first week of the winter drink and drug-driving enforcement campaign Operation Tonic. Avon and Somerset’s roads policing team promised to be "out in force" until the New Year, carrying out roadside checks and talking to motorists about the dangers of drink and drug driving. and they have called on

Operation Tonic: 61 arrests members of the public to contact them if they suspect someone is driving while intoxicated. Officers can then use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) and CCTV information to look for potential offenders on the roads network. Drink and drug driving was a factor in a third of road traffic

collisions in 2021, leading to the deaths of 12 people. Police are calling on anyone who suspects someone drives under the influence of drink or drugs, to call 101, report it online via the force website or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. Call 999 if the suspect is on the road at the time.

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Downend Voice January 2024

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DOWNEND FOLK & ROOTS PREVIEW NEXT AT DOWNEND FOLK & ROOTS:

KITTY MACFARLANE + DETTA KENZIE

FRIDAY 19 JANUARY 2024, CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND. Downend Folk & Roots’ begin their tenth anniversary year with a rare solo performance from one of the finest singer-songwriters on the folk scene. Kitty Macfarlane is a songwriter and guitarist from Somerset, nominated in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2019 for the Horizon Award, and voted FATEA Female Artist of the Year. Carried by a clear voice "controlled yet wild" (Folk Radio), her lyrics touch on intervention and rewilding, climate change and migration, woman’s age-old relationship with textiles and the land, and the changing face of the natural world. From the starling murmurations on the Somerset Levels to the lowly eel's epic transatlantic migration, the coasts and estuaries of the South West and the small part we ourselves play in a much bigger picture, her songs are bound by the underlying theme of mankind's relationship with the wild. Her debut album Namer Of Clouds was one

of The Guardian's Best Folk Albums of 2018 and nominated for fRoots Album Of The Year, with airplay across BBC Radio 2, 3, 4 and 6 Music. Away from the stage she has written and presented programmes for BBC Radio 3 (The Essay), Radio 4 (Open Country, Tweet of the Day), guested on the Folk on Foot podcast and performed live in session on BBC Radio 2. Opening the evening will be Detta Kenzie, a Devon based folk singer creating original songs alongside reworking ancient Celtic music. A deep connection to the natural world is ever present in Detta's work. References to Teignmouth, Shaldon, Dawlish, Dartmoor and the wider landscape of England’s beautiful Southwest bring a local strength to her creations. Once a Secondary English Teacher, Detta’s

love of language and storytelling underpins her original music..Collaborating with Dawlish based guitarist and producer Gaz Chatterton, Detta is able to create music which explores the diversity of the English landscape and its ability to both mould and reflect human experience. Tickets for the concert, which takes place at Christ Church Downend on Friday 19 January 2023, are available online at downendfolkandroots.com and from Melanie’s Kitchen in Downend (cash only). They are priced at £14 each in advance or £16 on the door. Doors open at 7.00pm and the entertainment starts around 7.45pm. There will be a bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and real ale from locally-based Hop Union Brewery. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own glass/mug/ tankard, as well as reusable bottles for water, as part of the drive to be more environmentally aware; there is a 50p discount for those that do. There will also be sweet treats available at the bar courtesy of the Radstock-based Great Cake Company, as well as a prize draw, which helps to fund the support artists for each concert. For further information, please email info@ downendfolkandroots.com or visit downendfolkandroots.com.

DOWNEND FOLK & ROOTS REVIEW DOWNEND FOLK & ROOTS REVIEW:

WARD KNÚTUR TOWNES + MADDIE MORRIS

FRIDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2023, CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND.

Lockdown did funny things to the music communities. It stopped live music, drove insular people to singing with strangers on Zoom, created unusual alliances. One such was Global Music Match - musicians from around the globe were thrown together to make something new. Derby's Lucy Ward, Canada's Adyn Townes and Svavar Knútur from Northern Iceland met via computer screen and wrote an extraordinary album, Unanswered, together over those two desolate years (Ward describes WARD KNÚTUR TOWNES as a “selfhelp group”). Now the virtual has become real. In fact, it’s so real that, sometimes, it’s almost overpowering. All three are incredible songwriters in their own right, all three are huge personalities and all three sing like gods. Lucy Ward is an explosion of positivity, radiating excitement to everyone in her blast area. She smiles constantly, living every song, every line, every harmony. An unsung, powerful woman in the folk community, her four solo albums are wonderful and tonight, even with a frog in her throat, she is peerless. On Aurora, from Unanswered, she is a folk goddess rising from the sea, it swells and beats against twin acoustic guitars. The three harmonies lifting the song from the waves. Ward's voice is an object lesson in restrained power. On Bigger Than That she is joined by Maddie Morris (who provided a brilliant support slot this evening) for a fiercely political song. It's the sort of thing that folk does so well; intensely angry, railing against unfairness, set to a beautiful tune. These two stunning voices, almost literally, stop Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

the show. As the final notes of their harmonies fill this church they ring off of the rafters. When the audience joins in, Ward chides us “not like you're in a church, this is a rallying cry”. And so it is, a rallying cry to change the world for all of those “like, and unlike” us. If Lucy Ward is the excitable harmony generator of this incredible band, Adyn Townes seems to be the one in charge. A respected songwriter in his native Canada he brings a little bit of Indie-tinged Americana, his voice high, ragged and wind-blown. There are traces of Lambchop or Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, hints of darkness at the edge of town. Churchill tells the story of his grandmother, of love and of changing plans. It is desperately beautiful, folk in its widest sense, it is a story about people. Ward and Knútur adding harmonies, evoking longing and joy, as Townes sketches out an alt-country postcard. On Work it Out, Townes strums his acoustic guitar for all he's worth, a bouncy, upbeat alt-pop gem unexpectedly emerging from the “gentle, romantic melancholia” that surrounds it. Those harmonies are still there though, three voices from different countries joined for love. It is love that is expressed, wonderfully, on Seasons. Another Townes song, this one is about Johnny Cash and his love for his wife, June. It is heavenly and especially affecting when Ward twines her voice with his. If there is one song that could be lifted from this set and held up to the light, then it's this one. A classic.

The last of the trio is Svavar Knútur and he is an absolute riot. Self-deprecating, his wry observations on cultural differences are effortlessly funny and most seem to involve fish. At one stage he says that the people of Iceland are “not romantic, more pragmatic”, he then sings the loveliest love song that you can imagine. While the World Burns is a perfect sliver of indie-folk, it is full of tender yearning and heartfelt emotion. Isn’t It Funny takes the old folk trope of Merfolk and splashes it with a layer of brine and indie grime. It’s unsettling, more old-fashioned Grimm’s fairytale than the sanitised Disney version. More Northern European darkness than English whimsy. With the help of a Ward harmony it soars, the strangeness delightfully undercut. There was never a doubt as to how special this evening was going to be but if you add the support act in it was remarkable. Maddie Morris was voted BBC Young Folk Musician of the year in 2019 and she is fantastic. Inclusive, angry, nostalgic, wide eyed, full of love. Morris is all of these and about a hundred more. It's just her, an incredible voice and an acoustic guitar but the world she creates is all consuming. Easily Bruised is shot through with giddy adolescence - “I can't pretend that I don't miss the 17-year-old girl” - whilst Without Shame gives voice to the voiceless. The influences of Ani DeFranco, Anais Mitchell and Laura Marling hover in the wings but Morris is, unequivocally, her own person and getting more so with every passing performance. Her debut album is out in February and it's going to be a great thing. Lucy Ward, Svavar Knútur and Adyn Townes may have come together in the darkest of days but they have created something breathtaking. A tiny, unexpected delight that feels strangely important. Unanswered feels like an album that should be listened to forever. This evening was a gig that will be remembered for just as long. Words: Gavin McNamara Photos: Barry Savell Downend Voice January 2024

25


NEWS INSPECTORS say a Soundwell school is a "welcoming place" with an ambitious curriculum, high expectations and pupils who are eager to learn. Ofsted visited St Stephen’s C of E Junior School in Lansdown Road in October - its first full inspection for more than eight years. The regulator's report found that the school, which has 346 pupils aged from seven to 11, was 'good' in all areas - quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, leadership and management, and personal development. The school had been rated 'outstanding' at its last full inspection in 2015. Ofsted did not return until a short visit in 2021, when it recommended another full inspection to look in more detail at actions taken to improve the wider curriculum and governance. The latest report, published in November, said: "Pupils enjoy coming to St Stephen’s Junior School. "They describe the school as a welcoming place where there is ‘something for everyone’.

School is a 'welcoming place' for all, says Ofsted "The school has high expectations for pupils’ behaviour. "Pupils are polite and well mannered. They hold doors open for visitors and show high levels of respect towards one another. "Pupils understand the school’s rules and follow them well. They listen carefully and are eager to learn. "There is a calm and purposeful environment in classrooms and around the school." The three Ofsted inspectors said pupils valued the "warm and trusting relationships" they have with staff, particularly children who have difficulties managing their emotions.

They said children enjoyed a range of clubs, including chess, baking and tag rugby, and felt proud to take responsibilities in roles including house captains, which help them "set a positive example to others". The inspectors said reading was prioritised in the curriculum, with staff trained to teach it effectively, spot any pupils falling behind and help them catch up, matching books to the sounds children are learning. Their report said the maths curriculum is "designed and sequenced well", with teachers explaining new concepts clearly to ensure younger pupils develop a "secure understanding" and older pupils build on this knowledge well to explain their thinking when solving more complex problems. The inspectors said pupils "learn well in most

wider curriculum subjects", highlighting strengths in history. But they said the implementation of the curriculum is at an early stage in some subjects, where pupils had "not yet gained the depth of knowledge that they need". The inspectors said the school has "clear systems" to support pupils with special educational needs or disabilities but said some parents and carers had raised concerns over communication, and plans are in place to ensure they are better informed. To improve further the inspectors said : "The school needs to ensure that the curriculum for foundation subjects is fully and effectively implemented so that pupils gain the knowledge they need." The Voice has offered the school the chance to comment on the inspectors' report.

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NEWS

Homes plan for former bakery A BAKERY which closed almost a year ago could be turned into new homes. The Cottage Bakery, on the row of shops in Downend Road next to the Downend and Fishponds boundary, had been open for many years but closed last January, with owner Tracy Phillpott blaming the covid lockdown, n The Cottage Bakery pictured before its closure spiralling costs and low customer numbers. Now an application has been made to Bristol City Council for permission to change the use of the building so it can be converted into two homes. Applicant Anthony Milton, of Downend, has already been granted permission to demolish part of the building and change its distinctive facade with a Gothic arched doorway and panelled windows. The application is to divide the single-storey building into two homes, one with two bedrooms and intended for three people, accessed from Downend Road, and the other with one bedroom and intended for one occupant, with access via a "private gated lane" to the rear of the building. Both would have courtyards with recycling and bin and bike storage facilities. The application can be viewed on the planning section of Bristol City Council's website by searching for reference number 23/04320/COU.

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' Serious concerns' over fire service AVON Fire & Rescue Service is “inadequate” at responding to emergencies – the worst possible rating - according to a damning report. His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services says it has “serious concerns” about how the service keeps people safe from fire and other risks. A report said its mobilisation system, which records information and dispatches firefighters to n Chief Fire Officer Simon Shilton incidents, “isn’t reliable and crashes during 999 calls, which results in the public receiving a slower response to emergencies”. On one occasion it crashed during a request for help from the ambulance service following a serious road traffic collision. Crashes had been reported 20 times in a year but had "happened many more times", with some workers no longer formally reporting them. In her report inspector Wendy Williams said the service does not have an effective system to record up-to-date risk information, including details of tower blocks. She raised concerns about fire prevention work after finding that residents at greater risk were not prioritised for home safety visits, which were decided instead on location and convenience. Ms Williams also raised concerns about service culture and said staff in some teams demonstrated “unacceptable behaviours, such as using sexist or inappropriate language and disguising this as banter”, adding: "Worryingly, some staff don’t have the confidence to report these issues." The report was published days before an employment tribunal found a female firefighter based at Avonmouth fire station had been subjected to sex discrimination, harassment and unfair dismissal. The government watchdog assessed how well AFRS performed in 11 areas and rated it as inadequate in four – understanding fire and risk, preventing fire and risk, responding to fires and emergencies, and promoting values and culture. Five others "require improvement" and two were rated "adequate", with none “good” or "outstanding". The inspectorate has placed the service in an enhanced level of monitoring to help it address “causes of concern”. Chief Fire Officer Simon Shilton admitted that the report "makes for uncomfortable reading". He said: "I’m sorry if local people feel let down. "I accept these are the Inspectorate’s findings, and I want to reassure our local communities we have already put plans in place to address some of the concerns raised. “However, I feel strongly that the findings do not represent who we are as a service.” Avon Fire Authority chair Brenda Massey said: “It is regrettable that these are the Inspectorate’s findings, despite how much work staff have put into making continual improvements across the service since the last inspection." The inspection took place in the summer; the service is now due to be reinspected to review progress. In respect to the employment tribunal, Mr Shilton said it was "deeply regrettable" that the female firefighter had experienced "inappropriate and unwanted behaviour". He added: "The individual who displayed much of these inappropriate behaviours...no longer works for the service and hasn’t for a period of time, after robust action was taken to dismiss him following an internal investigation." By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service Downend Voice January 2024

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CHURCH NEWS

New year, new me? GYM membership, a new hobby, a special purchase, a dream holiday, a healthier diet? I wonder what your aspirations are for 2024, and how much effort will you put in to turn these things into reality? Perhaps you’re entering the New Year with lots of questions, or a sense of longing, wondering what life is all about? Would you be willing to give up a few Monday evenings to meet with like minded people and explore some big life questions? Alpha is an internationallyacclaimed course, helping people explore the Christian faith, in a relaxed non-threatening environment, where every question is a good one. We’ll be running Alpha courses at Christ Church Downend this spring. Why not book in for the introductory supper on Monday January 22 to find out more? There’s food, a video presentation and lively discussion

n Members of Badminton Road Methodist Church Wednesday morning café with some of their donations each week, and for many who’ve attended in the past, it has proved life-changing. Curious? Get in touch with Paul on 07939 125375 or email paulpeterson@ christchurchdownend.com.

Church's lifeline for families in need BARNABAS Aid is a vital lifeline for desperate families around the world. The organisation provides and delivers food goods to Christian communities suffering from drought, persecution, and terrorism in countries such as Jordan, Sudan, Nigeria, the Ukraine and Palestine. That’s where the people of Badminton Road Methodist Church Wednesday morning café came in, by responding to a challenge to each fill a box with dried goods. People attending the cafe have filled boxes with goods such as rice, salt, sugar, lentils and dried beans. The boxes were then delivered to Barnabas Aid warehouse in Swindon, where they were processed for onward delivery to the Christian communities. Badminton Road Methodist Church is a centre for reception of goods for the charity on Wednesdays from 9am to 12.30pm. Nicky Budd

Dementia-friendly café IT'S good to know that you’re not alone. Those caring for a loved one with dementia can feel isolated and lacking support. The new dementia-friendly café at Christ Church Downend’s Warm Space provides a warm welcome and led activities, designed to stimulate mental and motor skills as well as lifting the spirits of carers and their loved ones together. The free café happens at Christ Church Downend on Downend Road on the third Tuesday of the month from 11am-1.30pm. It's an accessible building, with accessible loos. The car park is behind Christ Church Medical Centre, off North Street. Anita Dobson

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Downend Voice January 2024

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CHURCH NEWS

Celebrating Uganda

Keep warm this every winter

n A Ugandan Methodist church celebrating its Sunday morning service outdoors. BADMINTON Road Methodist Church is inviting people to an event to celebrate Uganda and its neighbours in January. You can discover the groundbreaking eVitabu app, by the African Pastors Fellowship, which offers a comprehensive library of text, audio, and video resources for African pastors on their phones or tablets. You can learn about Methodist Mission Partners Daniel and Grace, based in Jinja Town, Eastern Uganda. They're translating the Bible and educational materials into the local Lusoga language, serving the Busoga people under challenging conditions. You can also meet members of our community with ties to Uganda and neighbouring regions, hearing inspiring stories from volunteers, representatives of Bristol/Uganda Friendship Link and Francis, Ugandan Director of Hope for Life Katanga, working to improve the lives of slum residents. The event will also explore Resound Church's partnership with Zambia through the Mutende Project in Lulamba, Chingola. All We Can (Methodist) will showcase their collaborative initiatives with charities in Uganda. Local artists will showcase their work, and there'll be time for socialising over tea and cake, as well as a session of prayer, praise, and the rhythmic beats of African drums. There are many links between Downend and East Africa. The minister of Badminton Road Baptist Church, Rev Samuel Uwimana, originates from Rwanda. Please consider bringing unwanted tools, sewing machines and materials to donate to Tools with a Mission, a charity empowering individuals in Africa and transforming lives. Julia Lettey

Schools thank church BOTH Christ Church Infant and Junior schools would like to thank Grace Church in Downend for the wonderful Christmas gift bags that they have donated to the schools. They have been given to families who may need a little financial support at Christmas and contain vouchers and Christmas treats that families may not always be able to buy themselves. These have been funded by members’ donations over the year and the church has then very kindly decided to support families from our schools. Both schools feel incredibly lucky to be part of such a caring community and the families who have received these gift bags are so very grateful. Headteachers, Pippa Osbourne and Anna Martin would like to thank everyone at Grace Church for their generosity and for showing compassion and kindness to our families. Anna Martin Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

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January 2024 WILL AND PROBATE ADVICE

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WILL & PROBATE ADVICE

New Year – New Power of Attorney This January make a new year’s resolution to make sure you have up-to-date Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in place. “Lasting Powers of Attorney are now even more important than Wills” according to Martin Lewis on his recent ITV show. He also said however young you feel ,“The right time to put them in place is NOW!” Our local legal experts – Simpson Solicitors – offer all our readers a genuine FREE review meeting. There are no long complicated forms for you to fill in as they do all the work for you. You will not feel rushed, as they will take as long as you need. Michelle at Simpson Solicitors says “An LPA is how you appoint those you trust to support you if you became ill and need assistance. They can make sure

your bills are paid, your finances are looked after and that you receive the medical treatment you would want.” Having an old and out of date Enduring Power of Attorney can cause your family huge, as they could have to wait over 3 months registering them before they can be used. Also it is limited and it may now have the wrong people appointed. • Having up-to-date Lasting Powers of Attorney means they can be set up and registered by the Court now – so they are ready to use if needed. • John at Simpsons says “Our LPA service is different. It comes with free aftercare to your Attorneys to help them activate the LPAs and

support for them in using them. It is all about us making it easy for you.“ Simpson Solicitors offer a friendly service to guide you through every step. They aim to make their clients all feel welcome, wanted and cared for.

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30 32

Got News? Contact us via email: news@kingswoodvoice.co.uk News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377

Downend Voice January 2024


THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH WITH BARNABAS PAGE - RESIDENT ASSISTANT PRIEST ST AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY CHURCH

January for good or bad For some January can be the worst month. Christmas has been put back in the loft. Not until January and February are over can we look to Spring. Light deprivation, cold, Christmas bills can all add to the gloom. If any of this is you then you are not alone. However, for me there are some glimmers of hope. I love looking out for the first snowdrops. Nature still coping with even the worst of the weather. Before Christmas some of the pavements were tarmacked in Downend and again we saw the power of nature – weeds somehow pushing through the new tarmac!

Most of the encouragement I get is from other people. I like it when you tell others your trouble and they say “I’ll say a prayer for you”. Are we the kind of people that are able to admit we may be struggling? Not always easy. Often you choose who you tell and who you don’t. In the Catholic tradition we seek the intercession of the Saints in heaven. They cannot answer our prayer, only God can, but it’s an extension of me asking you to say a prayer for me. We believe all those who have died and gone before us are still very close to us and are watching over us. We speak

about belonging to the Body of Christ, which includes those here on earth and those in heaven. The one family of God. May name is Barnabas which means Son of encouragement. This is my birth name and with a name like that sometimes I feel I was fated to be a Priest. My Catholic Secondary school was St Brendan’s before it became a Sixth Form college. Each pupil saw a Careers Advisor in year 10, the 4th year in old money. As I went in he said to me “What’s your name?”, “Barnabas”. “Right” he said, “you can be a Priest. Next!”

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ADVERTISING FEATURE

Slimming World team welcomes NEW consultant Claire LOCAL Slimming World consultants Anna-Marie & Lesley welcome new consultant Claire with open arms. The trio have over 23 years of experience and have lost 14st between them! Now that's amazing! Between them they have won many awards over their years as members and consultants. Such as Miss Slinky, Woman of the Year and Man of the Year semi finalists. Ruby, Pearl and Gold consultant. If you would like to know more about how they achieved their dreams then drop into one of their groups and join them. Groups are full of like minded people who want to eat healthily, have an active lifestyle and be able to lose weight to achieve their dreams and be Slim for Life. These things are all very achievable by following Slimming World’s Food Optimising, Body Magic and Image Therapy. Slimming World’s Food Optimising is backed by more than 50

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Downend Voice January 2024

PLANS to turn a former insurance office on a prominent corner of Staple Hill High Street into five flats have been submitted. Developer Yellow Giraffe wants to extend the former Mark Richard insurance office, on the corner of Staple Hill High Street and Victoria Street next to Jason's Trading Post. Agents Cryer & Coe Architects say the existing building would be converted into two one-bedroom flats, while an extension along Victoria Street would accommodate three more flats, two with two bedrooms and the other with one bedroom. If approved, the new development would be three storeys tall. In a statement supporting the plans, the architects say the many examples of three-storey buildings nearby mean that the addition of an extra storey "would not be out of keeping for the area", adding: "The site occupies a prominent corner plot which creates opportunity to design a distinctive architectural development to enhance the streetscape." One objection had been lodged as the Voice went to print, over access to neighbouring properties. The plans can be viewed on the planning section of South Gloucestershire council's website, by searching for application P23/03260/F.

Got a story? Contact us at news@downendvoice.co.uk News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377


NEWS

Jackie marks 50 years' service to Guides No to cafe A STALWART leader has retired after celebrating 50 years of service to the Girlguiding movement. The meeting of 11th Kingswood Rangers at Badminton Road Methodist Church on November 27 was "gatecrashed" by Jackie Meech's daughter and granddaughter, church members, guide and brownie leaders to mark the milestone. She was presented with a card from the church and gifts including a crystal vase engraved with the Girlguiding emblem. Jackie has been involved with the church since she was just three years old, when she joined the Sunday School. She joined the brownies at the age of seven and the Guides when she was 10. As a leader, she has served in many different roles, including running two Rainbow units, for girls aged between five and seven, when they were first established in 1987. As a ranger leader Jackie was the county ranger advisor

canopy

OWNERS of a Staple Hill cafe have been refused planning permission for a conservatory built on its outdoor seating area. The canopy and glazing was added to the wall in front of Dream Cafe in Broad Street in May, to "enhance and maximise the existing seating area, to create a more pleasant experience for customers, and to provide protection and shelter from the rain". But South Gloucestershire Council's planning department refused a retrospective application made in October, despite six comments in support and no objections being raised by the council's highways department or Staple Hill & Mangotsfield Parish Council. The decision was made by officers using delegated powers who said it "would appear incongruous within the street scene." Previous plans for a front extension were refused in 2019.

n Jackie Meech with relatives, church members and guide leaders at her celebration at Badminton Road Methodist Church for seven years, then district commander and district advisor for the Kingswood area for five years. When the guide unit at nearby St Augustine of Canterbury church faced closure, she stepped in and ran it for more than seven years, only leaving when she had recruited new leaders from her ranger group.

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Badminton Road Methodist Church steward Nicky Budd said: "Always energetic, kind, and helpful, members of Badminton Road Methodist are very grateful to Jackie for all she has done over the years for the benefit of the many youngsters involved. "We know that it has led to many lasting friendships and we wish Jackie every blessing in her well-deserved retirement."

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NEWS FROM YOUR LOCAL MP JACK LOPRESTI

Our fight to defend democracy goes on THE past year has been a very busy one. Last month, I was honoured to be able to host several children in Parliament who are the sons and daughters of Ukrainian soldiers, some of whom have fallen in the Ukrainian people’s fight to liberate their country. My team and I showed them around the Palace of Westminster, highlighting the historic importance of democracy in our United Kingdom – something many of their own parents are trying desperately to defend back home in Ukraine. They watched Prime Minister’s Questions from the gallery of the House of Commons, in which I asked the Prime Minister to reassure the House that we in Britain stand with Ukraine “in their fight for their independence, their freedom, and their nation’s survival”. The Prime Minister agreed and

paid tribute to these children and their parents. I then hosted them for lunch and we were visited by Education Secretary Gillian Keegan MP, Labour’s Baroness Blower, and the SNP’s Chris Law MP. As Chairman of Conservative Friends of Ukraine, I led a delegation of Conservative parliamentarians from the UK to meet with counterparts in the Republican Party in the United States Congress to discuss Western support for the Ukrainian people in their fight to eject Russian forces from their country. I was supported by Lord Michael Howard, Liz Truss MP, Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, and Mark Francois MP. It is so important that we in the UK work with our allies around the world to defend democracy and freedom, in Ukraine, Israel and elsewhere. Our area is making a significant contribution to the war

effort in Ukraine with our fantastic defence and aerospace industries, which are globally renowned, in addition to the great team at DE&S Abbey Wood. I recently welcomed members of the Ghana Community Bristol to Parliament and my team showed them around. Many thanks to my colleague and friend, Cllr Franklin Owusu-Antwi, for his help in organising this fantastic event. I met with Peter Brown from Estrans Limited in my Bradley Stoke office and heard about the great plans for new homes being built in Swanmoor Stoke, with fantastic infrastructure investment including a by-pass for Easter Compton and the upgrading of Pilning Station. Building new homes, especially social and affordable housing, is the only way of solving the housing crisis and increasing equality of opportunity, especially for our

young people. Finally, it was lovely to have attended so many wonderful Christmas events locally, such as the turning on of the Christmas lights at the Willow Brook Centre, the BRACE Alzheimer’s Research charity Christmas Fair at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Filton, and carols at Winterbourne Barn. As always, should you need my help with anything, my office is open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm. Please telephone me on 01454 617783 or email me at jack. lopresti.mp@parliament.uk if I can be of any assistance, or to book a surgery. May I also take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy and successful 2024.

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MANGOTSFIELD RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION

n MRA volunteers bulb planting

Help us improve our area in 2024 THE Christmas lights are on at St James Church and the Nativity scene is at the Dame School, as we end 2023 and move on to 2024. We must thank St James Church for the loan of the tree and power for the lights, especially as we were allowed to leave them up from last year, saving us money not having to pay to have them put up and taken down every year, and lots of time untangling them on a cold day in the scout hall in preparation. We must also say thanks to Panoramic Windows, who have kindly provided us with mains power for the Dame School Nativity saving us having to change over and recharge large, heavy leisure batteries every couple of days. On that, thanks to Martin Lapham, a local resident, for the loan of a battery over the past few years. I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped us over the past year, whether that’s through giving up their time, donating stuff, lending us stuff, offering thanks and encouragement for the work we do you know who you are, and we are very grateful. Many groups have struggled post-pandemic, but we have a small core of volunteers who have carried on doing their bit to make this part of the world a little bit brighter: a new wall at the Dame School, new planters at the 'Welcome to Mangotsfield' signs, planting bulbs on the common ready for next spring, planting at the Dame School, a talk on the Dramway Path, litter picking, graffiti removal - none of this happens without them. First on the list of jobs for 2024 is to erect a flagpole in the Alec Large Memorial Park by the war memorial, once we’ve obtained planning permission of course. We are also planning a visit to the National Composites Centre in Emersons Green - more on that in the coming days. We’ll carry on doing all the things we do now, but it would be great if the community could suggest things to do. We have access to some funding, which we’ll lose if we don’t grab it quite quickly, so please let us have your ideas for how to improve the area, particularly the green spaces. If you want to get in touch then please do so by email at MangotsfieldRA@gmail.com, via the ever popular Mangotsfield Matters Facebook page or by phone, either to our chair, Clive Heath, on 07507 168700 or me on 07918 701881. I’ll sign off by wishing you all a very happy New Year. Chris Amos

News: contact us at: news@downendvoice.co.uk Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

Downend Voice January 2024

35


NEWS FROM THE METRO MAYOR

Credit where credit’s due MANY of us enjoy a bit of television at this time of year. Indeed, during the festive break, you might have seen one of the BBC’s headline offerings: Attenborough and the Giant Sea Monster. Like so many shows about animals and plants, David Attenborough’s was made right here in the West of England - to be precise, at Bristol’s worldrenowned Natural History Unit. Unlike in years past, today it has become difficult to know which are Bristol’s fantastic TV and radio productions from actually watching or listening to the programmes themselves. Only those “in the know” are aware. Why? Because, sadly, the BBC has erased its mention of Bristol from the end credits of such shows. Remember when they used to proudly state “BBC Bristol”? Not anymore. I think that needs to change. It’s time to credit Bristol again.

From the start, the credits showed Bristol back in 1957 when the unit was set up. Its roots were formed in radio. Because the BBC’s West Region in Bristol produced a popular radio series for the Home Service called The Naturalist, the city was wellplaced to produce nature TV too. Bristol therefore became the obvious place to set up the Natural History Unit. The rest, as they say, is history. I certainly felt proud seeing Bristol mentioned in the credits of some classic programmes. Think of shows like Animal Magic, which ran from the 60s through to the 80s. Natural history has always been an important part of children’s TV, sparking the imagination of so many. Chris Packham, who I know through my animal welfare work, saw his career launched in Bristol on The Really Wild Show, which ran for

two decades. David Attenborough is today a national, and global, treasure. But back in the 50s, it was the Natural History Unit that allowed him to innovate to become that world pioneer in television. The natural history made in the West has entertained, engaged, and enthralled audiences. We’re globally successful and multi-awardwinning in this area. Nowadays it’s not just the BBC but Channel 4 and even Disney who call the West of England home. In fact, 35% of all natural history content globally is made in our part of the world. I have written to the BBC Director General to ask why the BBC decided to sever links with a region which was the birthplace of the Unit. We’re more creative than ever but we’ve been erased! Why, when places like Cardiff and Salford are mentioned by the BBC so often, do they

seemingly appear ashamed of Bristol when running their credits? I want our great region to be recognised nationally and across the planet. The Natural History Unit is responsible for some of the most globally successful factual content of the past 60 years. That’s something to be proud of. So, if you agree, please get in touch. Visit my website www.votedan.uk/ creditbristolagain and tweet to @bbc #creditbristolagain to call for ‘Made in Bristol’ credits to be reinstated to all the BBC’s programmes made here.

NEWS

Smokers offered free vape kits to help them quit ALMOST half of all smokers in the Bristol region will be offered free vape starter kits on the NHS as part of a “world-first” drive to help people kick the habit. The local health partnership has successfully bid for £2.2 million from the Government to pay for 60,000 devices. The aim is to help smokers switch from cigarettes to vapes, which are considered much safer, the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) Integrated Care Partnership board heard. There are an estimated 144,320 tobacco users across the area, with 60 per cent of these in the city. BNSSG has set itself a target to be “Smokefree” - which it defines as smoking rates of under 5% of the adult population - by the year 2031. But this requires about 24,000 smokers to quit every year until then, the BNSSG board meeting was told on November 29. The pioneering free e-cigarettes initiative, called Swap to Stop, was announced by the Government in April and the partnership's

36

n Reusable vapes like the one pictured will be offered to current smokers under the NHS plan. Picture: LDRS/ Pixabay bid has just been approved. Public health consultant Samuel Hayward told board members that Bristol had the highest smoking rate in the South West, caused partly by the legacy of the tobacco industry. He said: “The evidence is clear that, for smokers, nicotine vaping is a far less risky option and poses a small fraction of the risks of smoking in the short and medium term. "Vaping should be offered as an alternative for smoking but not as an activity which is appealing to the wider non-smoking population. "Vaping is not for children – we need to

Downend Voice January 2024

reduce the uptake of vaping and the number of young people accessing vape products." Mr Hayward said the vapes would be given out by existing specialist stop-smoking services. Director of public health Matt Lenny said: "This is a significant opportunity for us. We really welcome the change in policy and investment in services." Board chairman Jeff Farrar said: "This is excellent and is really about what we have been trying to do." By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377


DOWNEND IN BLOOM

Choosing summer blooms brightens winter days AS I write it has just stopped raining, after days of constant deluge. We’ve also seen the first snow, even if it was only on the television, so perhaps we can now have a bit of sunshine! It is funny how we seem to be so obsessed with weather in this country – I think it must be because it is so inclement (gosh, that’s a word I haven’t heard for a long time). Anyway, enough of the weather, as I’m sure you want to hear about In Bloom and what we are up to. Unfortunately we have had to cancel our tidy ups in the High Street as it has been so wet, but hopefully we will be able to resume normal service in January. We have ordered our summer flowers - it is always a pleasure looking at flower catalogues and seeing what an array of types and colours are available. Unfortunately our choice of plants doesn’t vary hugely, as we do sort of know what colours and types of plants work and give the best displays. For 2024 the displays outside of the shops will be a variety of petunia, in a mix of pink, blue, yellow and white. In the tiered and barrier displays we have the same colour petunias, but also adding some rose and

n An In Bloom snowman decoration

blue-veined surfina, which will cascade over the top of the planters. In the large floor planters we have blue salvia in the centre with either petunia or yellow begonias for the main part of the

display and, around the outside, a blue calibrachoa (similar to surfina but smaller). We then, in a couple of planters, have a mix colour of impatiens (busy Lizzie). Hopefully that all sounds good. and will look stunning once again. We also hope that you, as residents, will like our choices. Back to now and as it is Christmas time, I thought I would include a picture of one of the items we have sold for In Bloom in past years (I have been looking at him in my kitchen!). Hopefully, when we are up and running with our container site in the coming year, we will be able to get back to making more items for sale. A trip to a Christmas market in Germany was a good place to pick up lots of new ideas! Wishing everyone a happy New Year and looking forward to bringing you some beautiful displays for 2024. You can find out more and contact us on Facebook - search for Downend & Bromley Heath In Bloom. Jackie Baker 07504244361 jabaker32@outlook.com

Mangos artificial pitch plans approved MANGOTSFIELD United's plans to replace the grass pitch at its stadium with an all-weather artificial surface have been approved. South Gloucestershire Council officers approved the club's planning application using delegated powers on December 1, just over two months after they were submitted. It means the club can press on with plans to start work on the project after the end of the current football season. The club believes it can increase accessibility and use of the Cossham Street ground by schools and other organisations, as well as its partner sides, with the 3G all-weather surface. The plans also include new LED floodlighting and widening the margins around the sides of the pitch to meet new safety guidelines aimed at preventing head injuries to players. This will involve expanding the ground on one side, moving the boundary 5m (about 16ft) into the neighbouring Hut Field, which is used by the community as well as for some club training

n Mangotsfield United chairman Steve Brown and manager Glyn Ashton with some of the artificial turf that would replace the grass at Mangotsfield United's Cossham Street ground. sessions. A total of 95 comments were received from the public on the plans, with 89 of them in support and just three objecting, with the other comments neutral. The planning conditions include provisions for noise monitoring and usage restricted to between 8am and 10pm on most weekdays, and 8am to 9pm on weekends, with late-night

Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

usage extended to 11pm for ten days per year to allow for latefinishing cup ties. First team manager and Mangotsfield & Blackhorse Sports and Community Association chair Glyn Ashton said: "We were delighted to receive planning permission for the project, and just as pleasing was the overwhelming support from the local community

on the planning application, which makes it clear to us how important this project is. "We now enter the final phase of fundraising and, all being well, we’ll be able to announce the timescales for the installation of the new playing surface early in the New Year. "With the work involved, Mangotsfield United will need to play some games at the start of the 2024/2025 season at a temporary home and we are currently in advanced talks with a venue that will hopefully host us for that period. "In the meantime we would like to thank everyone who has offered their support for this project, both in writing and verbally - it really means a lot, and now we would ask everyone to help us in our final push to get the final funds in place so that we can bring this project to life." The club has an online donation page aimed at raising £20,000 towards the cost of the £1.2 million project, which can be found at justgiving.com/ campaign/project24.

Downend Voice January 2024

37


STYLE ADVICE - GAIL PAINTER'S FASHION TIPS

What to wear when working from home TIME has moved on from the mandate to work from home. However, many people still do, and I’m often asked by clients how to avoid feeling scruffy when they don’t have to get dressed for the office. New ways of working, whether fully

Dark grey wide-leg stretch culottes. Picture: Roman Originals

remote or hybrid (splitting your time between the office and home) have involved an adjustment. The classic workwear wardrobe has changed. And while many are enjoying the less formal way of dressing at a desk, it has resulted in a few challenges. I’m often asked: "How do I avoid wearing sweatshirts and leggings daily?" Another common question is: "How do I go from feeling comfy to looking smart when I need to go out?" Here are some of the key items I would suggest wearing: A knitted co-ord jogger set – soft to the touch, it still offers a relaxed approach to working from home, but will be way smarter than opting for a grey marl sweatshirt and pair or joggers. Relaxed tailored trousers – these can be straight, wide leg trousers or tapered, but look for styles that have some stretch and/or an elasticated waist, for more comfort. Easily the comfiest to work in with a T-shirt, blouse, or jumper. Simply add a blazer when you want to head out. Dark blue wash or black denim jeans – if you’re splitting time between the office and home and can wear jeans to work these are the colours to choose. Giving you a smarter

appearance. Classic blazer – in black, navy or beige is the quickest way to smarten any outfit. Perfect for a smart-casual dress code and chic with jeans. Choose layers – versatile pieces you’ll wear again and again include T-shirts, white blouses, striped or patterned shirts, and longline cardigans. Wear colour – nothing lifts the spirits like adding a pop of colour to an outfit. Whatever your favourites are, or, if you’ve had your colours analysed and know which suits you best, wear them. Key accessories – include plain white trainers (they go with everything) and statement jewellery. Have a great necklace or pair of earrings in your desk drawer. Putting them on will quickly elevate your look and complete your outfit. Not sure what to wear or how to wear it? Email your fashion and style questions to info@ notgivinin.com and look out for the answers in future issues of the Voice. www.notgivinin.com

DOWNEND MEN IN SHEDS

Making presents from upcycled offcuts YOU may be reading this during the holiday festivities or it may already be 2024, so all of us at Downend Men in Sheds wish you a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year. Since our last article in the Voice, we have been hard at work creating articles to sell at two Christmas events. The first one was at Lincombe Barn, and the following week at St Augustine’s Primary School, both of which were very successful for us: members were kept very busy either selling or answering queries about our organisation. For the first time we used our new card reader, which proved invaluable. Once again we are indebted to several local companies who supply us with their “offcuts” that enable us to produce our products at much-reduced prices - Heritage Fencing, Kingswood Canvas and Crest Timber - your help is greatly appreciated. We have recently completed nine quite large snowmen as the focal point for a Christmas trail

38

n The Men in Sheds stall selling items made by the group hunt at Page Park organised by the Bean Tree Cafe. Many thanks to Stuart Mulcahy for supplying us with the large tree trunk slices that were used. Looking forward, we are about to embark on an improvement on our facilities at Bromley Park - more information in the coming months. Our contact email, should you need it, is Downendmensshed@ gmail.com. John Lockwood

Downend Voice January 2024

n A snowman made from tree trunk slices for the Page Park Christmas trail News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377


COMMUNITY NEWS DOWNEND WI

WE will be celebrating our 10th birthday in January! The celebrations are just part of what we have coming up in 2024, when we have the following meetings planned: January 30: Our 10th birthday party. February 27: Make-up demo from one of our lovely members Carol D, who has worked behind the scenes, creating all sorts. March 28: Self-defence & self care with Tasha from Chakra Bella. April 30: Talk by ex-model and one of our founder members, Clare Barrington Chappell. May 28: Talk by Claudia Fragapane, Commonwealth Games gold medallist June 25: TBC. July 30: Talk from Heather Norman, local milliner August 27: Annual Quiz & Fizz September 24: Talk by Liz Ferguson, Frenchay Museum October 29: AGM & charity speaker November 26: Christmas crafts Some of the items on the programme may be subject to change, but we sincerely hope not, as we are really looking forward to them all!

If you wish to come and see what we are all about, we meet at Christ Church Hall in North Street, Downend, on the last Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm. Guests are welcome for a small charge of £4, which includes tea or coffee. As a member, you can participate in as much or as little as you wish within our varied programme throughout the year. It’s a chance to meet new people and experience new things, so if you would like to know more about joining us, please contact us via our email address downendwi@ yahoo.co.uk. Happy New Year to you all! Shelley, President

BROMLEY HEATH WI

OUR last meeting of 2023 was an American-style supper, where our members enjoy the opportunity to bring something to the table food wise. Responsibility for providing 'liquid Christmas spirit', aka Prosecco, was in the safe hands of our hard-working committee ladies Sue, Sharon, Mary Karen Kim & Julie. These six unpaid heroines worked tirelessly throughout the year to help ensure BHWI

BROMLEY HEATH NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH THERE has been concern at the number and ever-growing sophistication of scams perpetrated by phone, online or even on the doorstep. Continuous vigilance is needed and we will continue to warn people of them. The unkempt state of some front gardens is also of concern with, in some cases, overgrowing shrubs that can add to other pavement blockages by ill-placed skips and parked vehicles. Concern was also expressed that they may be a target for rogue traders. We're encouraging residents to do what they can to remedy the situation or ask for help, if needed. Our early stages consultation on traffic calming initiatives for Oakdale Road drew a little interest and feedback. Four options were debated and a new one offered, where certain roads be considered for permanent closing off - not necessarily at their ends, but stopping through traffic. A solution in isolation would be inappropriate; we will suggest to the parish, South Gloucestershire Council and the police that we discuss why the majority in Bromley Heath voted in favour of the 20mph limit, identifying the best method(s) of achieving it. We have an agreed list of recommended locations for the electric scooter parking in Bromley Heath, which was presented to the parish council before going to the supplying company and the WECA mayor. South Glos are now consulting on reduced levels of late night street lighting. We concluded this needs careful investigation and feedback. A new litter from vehicles initiative, backed by legislation, allows footage to be submitted to the council's website - the registered keeper will receive a fine of £100. At our annual meeting, the committee kindly said they’d volunteer to continue for another year. We welcomed a handful of watch members and celebrated the service of three sector co-ordinators, who have put in substantial years of service. What didn’t happen was any new volunteers coming forward - as a result we have ended the distribution of our watch newsletter on paper. Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

will successfully continue into its second decade – a huge thank you to them all. As a result of their hard-work we have enjoyed the opportunity to take part in many fun activities at our own monthly meetings, plus theatre trips and a variety of other events organised by the WI at regional level. Some people wonder what members of the WI actually do and even question its relevance in the modern world but we women are independent, resourceful human beings who still enjoy the opportunity to meet women locally, in person and virtually, to make friends and make a difference in their community. Personally, when I attend our eleven monthly meetings I enjoy some of the most relaxing and care-free hours that I spend all year, and I'm confident most WI members would agree. Everyone at Bromley Heath Women's Institute would like to wish you all the best for the coming year - onward and upward, as they say! Please feel free to contact us at bromleyheathwi@gmail.com if you would like any further information. Margaret Hanwell

STAPLE HILL WI

AS you read this we will be starting a new year and wondering what joys and troubles it will bring. But we can look back at the last month and remember all the good times that we had over the Christmas season. Our preparations started with making Christmas decorations in our November meeting. Our next function was having two stalls at Christmas on the Hill in the Staple Hill Methodist church. One of our traditional stalls is our popular tombola. We start a few weeks before by filling glass jars of any size with anything, so no one winning a prize has any idea what is in their jar until they open it. It may be anything from sweets to socks or toiletries. When all the jars have their festive paper tops it makes for a very attractive display. A couple of weeks later it was time for our Christmas American supper, with dancing and some lovely home-made food, followed days later by our Christmas meal together at the Green Dragon. Now we are looking forward to an interesting programme in 2024. We are starting off our new season with a presentation by Mike Hooper, called "Broadmead before the Shops". It's hard to imagine this now! Contact us at our website,

staplehillwi.weebly.com, if you would like to know more about us or, better still, come and join us on the third Tuesday evening of the month at 7.30pm, at Christchurch Parish Hall, North Street, Downend. There is plenty of parking available. May we wish all of our friends and readers a very happy, prosperous and peaceful New Year. Maureen Wood

SHORTWOOD VILLAGE WI

I'M not sure where the last year has gone, but we have had a fantastic one, with brilliant speakers at our monthly meetings and visits to places of interest. Going forward into 2024, we have a packed programme to include felting with Amy, Hedgehog Rescue and Christmas decorations with Dotty Herberts. The group events this year were hosted by Wick WI, who held a barn dance on one of the hottest days of the year and a glitzy Las Vegas evening with 'Elvis' - aka Dick from Wick. The evening rounded off with songs from musicals and dancing to other popular songs as we raised the roof with a rendition of 'Sweet Caroline'. We will be joining the skittles league again in 2024 and hope to get past the first round with some intensive pre-match training. Opponents beware! As there was no official meeting in December we had a Christmas party instead, when we showed our very own silent film production from the archives, called 'Shortwood - The Movie'. We had party games, including pass the parcel, with forfeits in each layer, so no one wants the music to stop on them. We finished with an American supper and secret Santa. At our first meeting of 2024 in January, we will partake in armchair Zumba with Philomena to help us lose the 'little' bit of weight gain over Xmas. We are a friendly bunch and will give a warm welcome to new visitors, so just turn up for a complimentary visit to see what the WI has to offer. If you think this may be of interest to you, we meet on the second Thursday evening of the month in the vestry of the chapel in Main Road, Shortwood. Our next meeting is on January 11 at 7.30pm. For more information or a chat, email us at millhousejoinery@aol. com with the heading Shortwood Village WI. A happy New Year from us all. Lynne Miller

Downend Voice January 2024

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WHAT'S ON LOCALLY January 9 n DEMENTIA SINGING MEMORY CAFE at the Bean Tree Cafe, Page Park, 2pm. Safe and accessible music session for people living with dementia, carers and loved ones. Tea, coffee, and biscuits afterwards. For more details visit fb.me/e/4DUO9Nv74 online, call 07910 668258 or email ben@ ukulelewithben.com. January 15 n DOWNEND SENIOR FILM CLUB at 2pm - Keeping Mum (15). A pastor preoccupied with writing the perfect sermon fails to notice that his wife is having an affair, and his children are up to no good. British comedy at its best, starring Maggie Smith & Rowan Atkinson. Tickets: £4.00 including refreshments. Carers welcome, easy access. For more information please call 0117 435 0063/4. Christ Church Hall, 57 North Street, Downend BS16 5SG January 15 and 19 n ST JAMES CRAFT AND CHAT GROUP meets at St James Church, Mangotsfield, 10.30am. Make new friends while crafting and sharing skills. All welcome to come along for a coffee and a chat. No charge but donations for refreshments welcome. More details from Ruth on 0782 631 2630. January 27 n CELEBRATE UGANDA & NEIGHBOURS at Badminton Road Methodist Church, Downend, 2-6pm. Learn about Methodist Mission Partners work in Eastern Uganda and hear inspiring stories from volunteers with Mission Direct and Bristol/Uganda Friendship Link.

REGULAR EVENTS n BRISTOL U3A: Have you reached a point in your life where you have fewer responsibilities and more time for yourself? Would

you like to take part in activities where you can share skills, abilities or hobbies whilst having fun and making new friends? Go to www. bristolu3a.org.uk for details. Monday n MEDITATION SESSIONS IN FRENCHAY Just come along to the sessions that run from 3rd Monday each month at 7pm Frenchay Unitarian Chapel BS16 1ND from 20Sept for the Personcentred Group Meditation and 1st Wednesday at 7pm from 6th Oct for the Kundalini movement meditation. Contact Andrea on 07791119658 homewards.ma@ btinternet.com. n SINGALONG 4 ALL - Mondays 10.30/11.30, Grace court, Dial Lane, Downend BS16 5UP. £4 ...£1 tea n bikkies Tel: Barbara 07816839141. n SOCIAL BADMINTON every Monday at Kingswood Leisure Centre from 2-4pm. Intermediate level, all welcome. n STAPLE HILL JOB SEEKER SUPPORT GROUP, Staple Hill Community Hub, Berkeley House, Berkeley Road, every Monday, 2-4pm. Laptops and Wi-Fi available for job searches, free tea and coffee, welcoming environment. Call Julie 01454 868374 to say you are coming. n PUCKLECHURCH SHORT MAT BOWLS CLUB are looking for new players. We meet every Monday evenings and Sunday & Wednesday afternoons at Pucklechurch Community Centre. Refreshments available. For more information contact John 0117 9372873. n SILK PAINTING at Downend Baptist Church. Come along to an enjoyable afternoon, every alternate Monday 2pm-4pm. Make cards, tuition given, tea and biscuits provided, cost includes all materials. One large card £2 or 3 for £5, small cards £1 each. Please contact 0117 9608935 for more details. n COFFEE MORNING at Percy Walker Court, Lincombe Road,

Downend, every Monday, 10.30am12.20pm. All welcome. n LUNCH CLUB AT STAPLE HILL COMMUNITY HUB, Berkeley House, Berkeley Road, every Monday, 12.15pm. More details from the hub on 01454 868374. Tuesday n DOWNEND GARDENING IN RETIREMENT CLUB Meetings on the third Tuesday of each month. Venue as usual: Assembly Hall, Salisbury Road, Downend. Time 10.15am. New members and Visitors welcomed. Varied speakers. n BOARD GAMES NIGHT every Tuesday from 7pm. All Welcome The Wooden Walls Micropub, 30 Broad Street, Staple Hill, BS16 5NU n LINCOMBE BARN CAMERA CLUB meets every second, fourth and fifth Tuesday of the month at Lincombe Barn, Overndale Road. New members always welcome. For information see website at www. lincombebarncameraclub.co.uk or email lincombe.barn@gmail.com. n BROMLEY HEATH GARDENING CLUB Meets at Christ Church Centre, Quakers Road, every third Tuesday of the month at 2.30pm. Talks, day trips and short holidays - everyone welcome. Call May on 0117 957 3695 for details. n PUCKLECHURCH FOLK DANCING CLUB Pucklechurch Community Hall.Abson Road every other Tuesday from 7.30 to 10.15p.m All welcome either with a partner or solo. Enjoy an evening with us. Call Sue on 07742114566 or Linda on 0784324014. n MESSY SPACE, Badminton Road Methodist Church Downend. Term-time group for toddlers and their carers, 10-11.45am. Toys, books, play dough, paint & craft, singing and refreshments. First visit free, then £3 per child or £5 per family. More information at www. badmintonroadmethodist.org.uk or 0117 956 1106. n FRIENDSHIP & EXERCISE

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GROUP, Salvation Army, Broad Street, Staple Hill, every Tuesday 10-11.30am. n MOVE-IT CLUB for children aged 7-11, Staple Hill Community Hub, Berkeley House, Berkeley Road, every Tuesday 3.30pm. More details from hub on 01454 868374. n TEA AND TOAST after school drop-in for primary aged children and families, Christ Church Parish Hall, North Street, Downend, term-time Tuesdays, 3.15-4.30pm. All welcome for tea, squash, toast, board games, colouring and play in a friendly atmosphere. n RIDGEWAY BADMINTON CLUB meets every Tuesday evening from 8-10pm at Downend Sports Centre for informal badminton doubles/ singles matches between adults of all ages. First visit free. For more information contact Graham on 07968 050 320" Wednesday n DOWNEND FLOWER ARRANGING CLUB We are a friendly group, we meet at 7.30pm LOW on 1st & 3rd Wednesday each

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WHAT'S ON LOCALLY month from September to June at Lincombe Barn, Overndale Road, BS16 2RW. Ring Genise on 0777 2451217 for more information. n DOWNEND BRIDGE CLUB NEW MEMBERS ARE WANTED Come and join us and play duplicate Bridge at Lincombe Barn Downend on Wednesday afternoons 2pm. All levels welcome. Please contact eveforbes77@gmail. com or 0117 9836886 or Yvonne Scoulding rscoulding@googlemail. com or 0117 9568944 n CLEEVESINGERS OF DOWNEND Enjoy singing, then come and join this four part choir who meet on Wednesday evenings at Lincombe Barn, Overndale Road 7.30 p.m. from September until July. For more information contact the Secretary on 0117 9561881. n DOWNEND SENIOR CITIZENS CLUB Musical entertainment from 2-4pm every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month at North Street Church Hall. All are welcome. n ROYAL BRITISH LEGION WOMEN'S SECTION meets once a month on the first Wednesday from 1pm to 3pm. New members welcome - come and spend an afternoon with us before you join. We meet at the Youth Building by the long stay car park and Page Hall. Telephone 0117 956 0805. n DOWNEND TANG SOO DO meets at Christchurch Parish Hall, North Street on Wednesday evenings from 7.30-9pm. Suitable for beginners and ages 10+. First class free. More details from Ian on 07817 744689 or at the Downend Tang Soo Do Facebook page. n FRENCHAY PROBUS CLUB We meet at Frenchay Village Hall on the first Wednesday of each month between 10.00 and 12.00 hrs. For further details contact: frenchayprobus@outlook.com n WARMLEY JAZZ CLUB, every Wednesday £5 on the door. Cadbury Heath Social Club. Doors open 7.30pm. More details at warmleyjazz.co.uk. n BRISTOL SCRABBLE CLUB meets every Wednesday evening at 7pm until 10pm at Filton Community Centre, Elm Park, Filton BS34 7PS. New members welcomefirst visit free so come along and give us a try. For further information contact Tania by email at tanialake@ yahoo.co.uk n MANGOTSFIELD AND CASTLE GREEN UNITED REFORM CHURCH invite you to their regular twice monthly sessions of Friendly Voices. These are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 10.30 a.m. to 12 noon. Come along for a sing-along (and coffee) Carers very welcome. For further information contact

June Watts on 0117 9566625. n CROSS STITCH Like to learn this absorbing relaxing hobby and have fun at the same time? Why not join the Club at Lincombe Barn. Beginners and those with all abilities welcome. New term commences beginning of September on Wednesday mornings 10.00 am until noon. Contact Lincombe Barn 9562367. n THE FRENCHAY FOLK DANCE CLUB meet fortnightly at Frenchay Village Hall from 7:45 until 10:15pm. All standards of dancer are welcome to enjoy live Bands and experienced Callers. Visit frenchayfdc.co.uk or call 0117 3021543 for more information. n FRIENDLY VOICES is a dementia friendly singing group. There is no cost and the sessions are led by a qualified music therapist, Sharon, who brings a lot of experience and plenty of instruments to have fun with. The sessions are open to all and if you think that you ,or someone you love, would benefit by them come along or contact June Watts on 0117 9566625 n WEDNESDAY CAFE FOR SENIORS, at Badminton Road Methodist Church (BS16 6NU) every Wednesday 10am to 12 noon. All Welcome – just come along – make new friends over a cuppa and cake. Information: 0117 239 5984 n DOWNEND FLOWER ARRANGING CLUB We are a friendly group, we meet at 7.30pm on 1st & 3rd Wednesday each month from September to June at Lincolne Barn, Overndale Road, BS16 2RW. Ring Genise on 0777 2451217 for more information. n STAPLE HILL METHODIST CHURCH Fellowship group 3rd Wednesday of the month, 2.153.45pm Coffee/tea, homemade cake and a chat! n CREATIVE WRITING at Downend Folk House. Wednesdays 7.30-9pm. Suitable for beginners as well as more experienced writers, and for those looking to explore writing as a tool for wellbeing. Come and learn how to find inspiration for your writing and develop your craft! Please contact k.aldridgemorris@live. co.uk or call 07906 158689 for details. n LADIES ENTERPRISE CLUB every 1st and 3rd Wednesday afternoon at the Assembly Hall, Salisbury Road, Downend, 2.30pm4pm. If you would like to belong to a warm, friendly group we would love to see you. Contact Ruth on

Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

07733413823 for more details n WELCOME WEDNESDAY Friendly and free coffee afternoon on the 2nd Wednesday of the month (14th December), 2-3.30pm at The Grapevine Brasserie, St James Place, Mangotsfield, BS16 9JB. Meet new people, have fun, and find out what’s happening in your local area. Call 0117 435 0063. n MOTHERS UNION - worship, friendship, supporting charities, refreshments: First Wednesday of the month, 2.15pm at Christ Church Parish Hall, North Street. Non-members welcome. More details from 0117 908 9867. n FRENCHAY & HAMBROOK HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY meets at Friends Meeting House, Frenchay, 7.30pm first Wednesday of the month from September to March. Talks on garden-related topics, meet other gardeners, trips in April & May. Phone 0117 967 2390 for more information. n COFFEE MORNING, Staple Hill Community Hub, Berkeley House, Berkeley Road, every Wednesday 10.30am. More details from the hub on 01454 868374. n KEEP FIT, God's House International Centre, The Sanctuary, 55 High Street, Staple Hill, every Wednesday 10-11am, followed by cup of tea and a chat. For adults 50+. More information from Lin on 0770 707 6281 or email Lincornish@hotmail.co.uk. Thursday n BARN BELLS handbell ringers meet at Lincombe Barn, Downend, from 2-4pm weekly. Anyone who can read music is welcome to join. n IGNITE YOUTH GROUP. Thursdays, term time only, at the Youth Hub & Parish Hall , 57 North Street, Downend. Year 6-8, 6.307.45pm. Year 9-11s, 8-9.15pm. A place to relax and have fun with friends. Free entry. Tuck available. Visit www.igniteyouthchristchurchdownend.co.uk to sign up and see the full programme. n DEWDROP INN CAFE, Resound church, Blackhorse Road, Mangotsfield. Every fourth Thursday of the month, 2-4pm. A place for the community to relax and unwind with old & new friends. Tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits £2. n MANGOTSFIELD AND CASTLE GREEN UNITED REFORMED CHURCH regular coffee mornings, held on the first Thursday of the month, 10.30am-noon n SCRABBLE Downend Folk House Thursdays 10-12noon Info: 0117 9562367 Maureen Walker. n WARM SPACE CAFE at Christ Church, Downend, free every

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Thursday 11-2pm. Soup and roll lunch from noon. Live music, including Music Train on 1st and 3rd Thursdays. Dementia-friendly cafe on 3rd Thursday of the month, 11am-1.30pm. n HAMBROOK MEN’S PROBUS CLUB meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, 10am-noon at Whiteshill Chapel, Hambrook, with a speaker at each meeting. Friendly group, new members welcome. For details call the secretary on 01454 778250. n SOCIAL WALKING GROUP meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month, Badminton Road Downend. For more details contact Janet Pearce on 0799 058 4008. n FRIENDSHIP AND EXERCISE GROUP, Staple Hill Methodist Church, High Street, Staple Hill, every Thursday - first session 9.30am, second session 11am. Friday n TAI CHI FOR PARKINSON’S. Weekly beginners Tai Chi & Qi Gong class for people with Parkinson’s disease, their families and carers. Lincombe Barn, Downend. BS16 2RW. Fridays (term times) 10.15 – 12.15 including tea / coffee break. Contact: Claire - Claire@ Taichibodyandmind.co.uk (07769 857672) or Sarah - buqiworks@ gmail.com (07815 662844) n PAGE PARK UKULELE CLUB, Bean Tree café, Fridays at 1pm. All abilities welcomed. Places £4 each. For further details call or text 'Ukulele' to Ben on 07910 668258. n MANGO JAMS PARENT/ CARER AND TODDLER GROUP meets every Friday at St James Church Hall, Richmond Road, Mangotsfield, 9.15am to 11.15am. n JIGSAW TODDLER GROUP, Fridays in term time at Christ Continued on next page

Downend Voice January 2024

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WHAT'S ON LOCALLY Church Parish Hall, North Street, from 9.45-11.15am. n LATER LIVE MUSIC, Resound church, Blackhorse Road, Mangotsfield. Every second Friday monthly, except August & December, 8-10pm, £2.50. facebook.com/lateratresound. n ARTWINGS, Resound church, Blackhorse Road, Mangotsfield. Every fourth Friday, except August & December, 7.30pm. Explore new ways of creating and making, natter over refreshments. £5, includes materials. n RAINBOW TOTS PARENT AND TODDLER GROUP meets at Emersons Green Village Hall every Friday morning in term time, from 10-11.30am. For more info email church.egbc@outlook.com n IN-THE-PINK We are a group of mature ladies who meet for sensible exercise to music every Friday 9am - 10am followed by chat & coffee time. Pay sessionby-session basis. Get yourself fit & make new friends at Hillfields Park

Baptist Church, Thicket Avenue. For details call Julie 07903123793. n MESSY VINTAGE Come and Share God-Centred Fun & Fellowship for the Older Generation at Badminton Road Methodist Downend, 2nd Friday monthly 10.30am to 12 noon. Contact Information 0117 2395984. n TUTTIFLUTTI, an inclusive ensemble welcoming flautists of all ages from Grade 3 up, rehearses at Lincombe Barn on Fridays in term time, from 6.30-7.30pm. New members always welcome. Details from Fiona on 07817 629 691. n LUNCH CLUB, Staple Hill Community Hub, Berkeley House, Berkeley Road, every Friday from 12.15pm. For details 01454 868374. Saturday n BRISTOL SUGARCRAFT GUILD We are a small friendly group who meet every third Saturday of the month 2pm to 4pm at St Andrews Hall, Elm Park, Filton. If you would like to make

sugar flowers and models we hold workshops with instruction. Beginners very welcome. call Jean Kington on 01454 314178. n STAPLE HILL METHODIST CHURCH Coffee mornings in our beautiful building every Saturday 10.00-12.00 in aid of church funds or charities. Enjoy Fairtrade coffee, tea and cake, and stalls. Sunday n EMERSONS GREEN BAPTIST CHURCH services are held every Sunday morning from 10.30am11.30am at Emersons Green Village Hall, Emersons Way. We also hold regular craft services - please check our Facebook page for dates contact Simon on 07765 201435, e-mail church.egbc@outlook.com or visit www.emersonsgreenchurch.org n BADMINTON ROAD METHODIST CHURCH BS16 6NU. All are welcome to worship each Sunday, 10.30am. First Sunday of the month is usually a service of Holy Communion. Information: 0117 239 5984 n MANGOTSFIELD AND CASTLE GREEN UNITED REFORMED CHURCH hold regular weekly Sunday morning worship at Cossham Street. Services start at 10.30 a.m.with different speakers each

week. New members welcome. For details contact Peter Redding (Ch. Sec.) on 0117 9657075. n SPROUTS GARDENING CLUB for children aged 7-11, Staple Hill Community Hub, Berkeley House, Berkeley Road, every Sunday from 2-4pm. More details from the hub on 01454 868374. n STAPLE HILL METHODIST CHURCH, High Street BS16 5HQ Sunday services 10.30am + Sunday Club for ages 5-17. Holy Communion 2nd Sunday of the month – all invited. Taizé worship 6.00pm 3rd Sunday of the month. Contact Rev Dr Aboseh Ngwana 07482 550888, Philippa Church Liaison at staplehillmethodist@ hotmail.co.uk or www. staplehillmethodist.com n CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND: 9.15 am Traditional morning worship (Holy Communion on 2nd & 4th Sundays) at Church Centre, Quakers Road BS16 6NH. 10.30 Morning worship with youth and children's groups at Christ Church Downend, Downend Rd BS16 5UF n COMMUNITY GARDEN WORKING PARTY, Percy Walker Court, Lincombe Road, Downend, every Sunday 10am-noon. All welcome.

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Downend Voice January 2024

News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377


LOCAL HISTORY with CHAP

Memories of Downend shopping centre DOWNEND today has a lively mix of shops and businesses, and readers have been sharing their memories of days gone by with local history group CHAP. Mr Reice remembers Lambs Garage with "number one mechanic Sid Jury" and an old car on display which would probably be worth a fortune nowadays. It had a sign outside, "All Days and Onions", which he never could make sense of! There was a wide range of businesses, including hairdresser Hunters, stationer Hoons, greengrocer Brittons, gents' outfitters Dunn and Hopton, the post office run by Mrs Biggs, in the building on its own at the roundabout, and Hardy's timber yard. There was an ironmonger, a paint and wallpaper store, a drapery, an electrical goods shop, a shoe shop, a butcher's and a fish shop. Mr Harris, who is 87 years old and has lived in Downend all his life, corrects an earlier CHAP article in which we claimed that Don Burland ran the shoe shop. In fact, this famous England rugby player was landlord of the Horseshoe pub (the shoe shop was run by Mr Hinckley). John Palmer recalls a nursery owned by Albert Parsons, who grew produce for his greengrocer’s shop at 131 Staple Hill Road (on the corner, now a residential

n Downend shops today. Picture: Helen Rana property), and probably lived above the shop. The only access to the nursery was by the lane which now leads to 59 Cleeve Park Road, and runs alongside the lane at the back of Oakdale Road towards the Cleeve Hill Farm buildings. Mr Palmer remembers regularly being sent to the tobacconist (next to the garage opposite the dentist’s), to buy "A two-ounce tin of Player's Whiskey, Ready Rubbed, and a box of Swan Matches, please". Downend Community History and Art Project (CHAP) is a voluntary organisation that aims to create a coherent identity

for Downend and Emersons Green, built around interesting or significant places, people and events from the past. Our goal is to build a sense of belonging and commitment to our area and understanding of its character, produce a community

history resource and encourage the local community to take part in activities. You can contact CHAP by email at big.gin@talktalk.net or by letter at CHAP, 49 Overnhill Road, Downend, Bristol, BS16 5DS.

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School bus changes BUS timetables for Winterbourne Academy are being changed. Controversial 'stacking' of services, which meant some children were arriving at school an hour before the start of lessons and others were arriving late, are being reversed. South Gloucestershire Council, which is responsible for subsidising services, says it has been liaising with the school, bus operators and West of England Combined Authority to make changes which will be in place for the beginning of the new term in January. The 427 from Frenchay will revert to last year's timetable, arriving at the school at 8.15am and leaving at 2.50pm. The 459 from Lyde Green, via Emersons Green and Bromley Heath, will also revert to last year's timings, arriving at school at 8.15am and leaving at 2.50pm. There was no return for the 458 route from Fishponds and Downend, which the school diverted its post-16 students' bus to cover. The latest changes are possible because the 427 and 459 no longer have to share buses with the 460 Coalpit Heath to Winterbourne route. The 460 is being withdrawn because a scheduled bus service, the Y6, is being diverted to cover its route at school run times. Council cabinet member Chris Willmore told a meeting in December that the new services would be "better for parents". The buses are needed because of delays in building a new secondary school at Lyde Green. The council has announced that it is moving forward and hopes to open the school in September 2026. Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

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COMMUNITY NATURE RESERVE Come and join us for

Our Anniversary Celebration THURSDAY 18TH JAN 2023 7.30PM EMERSONS GREEN VILLAGE HALL For everyone who has registered their garden and any others who are interested in the nature reserve. Expect inspiration, a chance to talk to others and a birthday cake!

www.emersonsgreen-tc.gov.uk.


NEWS

Detectorist's find makes £12,000 A METAL detectorist who uncovered a cache of gold and silver jewellery has sold his find - for £12,000. David Upton, from Staple Hill, discovered the jewellery buried in a field at Hambrook in September, in two silver-plated pots. Some of the jewellery appeared to be recent and the Voice contacted Avon & Somerset police on Mr Upton's behalf, sending pictures of the jewellery so that an officer investigating a recent burglary in the area could check them with the victims. He was not informed of any link to the crime and has now sold the buried items to a jeweller, who paid him £12,000. Mr Upton searches local fields with permission from landowners. Often the items he finds do not have a great value but he shares the money from any that are sold equally

with the landowner. He found the jewellery around 18 inches underground, at a spot that was overgrown with grass and did not appear to have been recently disturbed. The two pots contained around 50 items in total, including rings, pendants, bracelets, necklaces and an antique brooch with a lock of hair. They were divided into gold and silver items, including three 18 carat gold link chain necklaces, 13 women's gold rings, a 14ct gold pendant with yellow and white diamonds and a gold signet ring with a cross design.

n David Upton with the two pots the jewellery had been buried in and, above left, some of the gold necklaces found

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45


MESSAGE FROM AVON & SOMERSET PCC MARK SHELFORD

Have a say on your policing bill I HOPE you have been having a wonderful festive period. I would like to start the New Year by thanking all the officers and emergency services staff who have worked tirelessly to keep our communities safe over this time. The Police Funding Survey is now live online. I encourage every resident to give their thoughts on my proposal to increase the policing part of the council tax, known as the precept, by £10 a year (that’s the equivalent of 83p per month) for the average Band D household. The survey will close on January 22. Local policing is funded by a combination of people’s council tax (the precept), Home Office funding, and other grants. The precept makes up 41% of police funding and I, as your PCC, am responsible for setting

the amount of money residents contribute to local policing through the precept. You can access the link to the precept survey on the OPCC website, www.avonandsomersetpcc.gov.uk. Last month, my office launched a new volunteer recruitment campaign, looking for members of the public from all backgrounds and walks of life to visit people in one of three custody centres we have in Avon and Somerset, in Keynsham, Patchway and Bridgwater. These volunteer roles are called independent custody visitors, and they perform a vital role in ensuring people who are detained in custody following arrest are aware of their rights and are receiving what they are entitled to. If you can spare two hours per month, at a time to suit you,

to partner with another custody volunteer and undertake a visit, please apply before 18 January. No experience is necessary, just a commitment to seeing fair, efficient and effective policing in our communities. Visit our website and go to the ‘Get Involved’ section to sign up. I urge people to be extra careful when shopping online at any time, but particularly this time of year, as we see online shopping increase in the annual January sales. Many people are looking for bargains after the Christmas period and I warn shoppers: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. To protect yourself from fraud and cyber crime, I advise everyone to follow advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign: Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting

with your money or information could keep you safe. Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you. Protect: If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online, at actionfraud.police.uk, or by calling 0300 123 2040.

NEWS

Care provider changes hands A CARE company which helps people to keep living at home in Downend, Frenchay and Mangotsfield is looking to expand its services after being taken over. Home Instead Bristol North has changed hands, with Bristol resident Andrew Wood taking over from original owner John Moore in December. John had been running Home Instead Bristol North for eight years and it has been rated Outstanding by the CQC since 2018. It is also in the top 20 home care providers in the South West in a list by homecare. co.uk, which is known as "the TripAdvisor for home care". The company provides care across North Bristol and parts of South Gloucestershire, including help with dressing and

46

bathing, companionship and specialist care for people with conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s. Andrew owns of Home Instead Hereford and says he was keen to take up the opportunity to bring his experience to his own community. He said: "Having lived in Bristol for over 40 years, I understand the pressures local families can find themselves under and I want to take the opportunity to work with the team and build on the success of Home Instead Bristol North. "We will be supporting more older people in the area who want to stay living in their beloved homes while receiving the care crucial to their health and well-being. "I also want to look at adding services such as live-in care, in which a care professional moves in with a client; healthcare at home, which sees care professionals perform clinical tasks such as wound dressing and catheter care; and posthospital discharge care." John said: "I can’t think of anyone better to hand the

Downend Voice January 2024

John Moore and Andrew Wood outside one of Home Instead North Bristol's offices. business over to than Andrew. "He will provide a fresh pair of eyes, utilise his local insight, and apply his years of experience

running a Home Instead office. "I’m certain that the company will only go from strength to strength.”

News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377


NEWS

Care home could almost double in size A CARE home operator wants to knock down and rebuild one of its homes, to almost double its capacity. Barchester Healthcare closed Begbrook House in Frenchay in July last year. It said the 32-bedroom care home in Sterncourt Road, which was built in the 1980s, needed "significant repairs and refurbishment" and would be closed for at least a year. However the company has now submitted plans to demolish the existing single-storey building and replace it with a brand new, two-storey home with 60 en suite bedrooms. In a statement accompanying a planning application to the city council, agents Walsingham Planning said: "Barchester Healthcare, having undertaken a comprehensive review of the existing care home at Begbrook, have determined that the building is at the end of its useful life and is not capable of accommodating the current and future high-quality care needs of

n How the new care home would look from the north. Picture: Harris Irwin residents." The agents said the new home would have a "similar footprint" to the existing building but would have an extra floor, which would "make more effective and efficient use" of the brownfield site. As the Voice went to print, six neighbours had objected to the plans. One said the plans were "totally unacceptable" to residents of neighbouring Stanshaw Close, Bradeston Grove and Sterncourt Road, as the taller building would ruin views in the conservation area and involved felling trees. They also said the plans did

not include enough parking for the extra staff and visitors at a bigger home, as staff would not be able to rely on Frenchay's "laughable" bus service. Another said building a two-storey building on the site would "degrade the privacy of the existing homeowners", adding that rooms in the proposed building would have a "direct view into bedrooms and gardens". The plans can be viewed on the planning section of Bristol City Council's website, by searching for application 23/03723/F. Barchester's decision to close the home last year came two

months after regulator the Care Quality Commission visited Begbrook House, following a report of "safeguarding concerns" from the city council. At the time the home was providing personal and nursing care for 23 residents. The CQC said there were enough staff and effective quality assurance systems at the home, and residents felt safe and positive about the management of the home. Barchester said the subsequent closure of the home was unrelated to the CQC visit and report.

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47



NEWS

Doctor's book examines Cossham Hospital history A NEW work published by a retired Bristol doctor lifts the lid on the history of Cossham Hospital, from its foundation to the present day. Dr Michael Whitfield, a former senior lecturer in general practice at Bristol University, has written several books about the history of medicine, and has now turned his attention to the muchloved hospital in Kingswood which has treated generations of people from the surrounding area. His new 42-page booklet, called Cossham Memorial Hospital, Bristol: Development & Loss, has been published by Avon Local History And Archaeology (ALHA), a group which brings together more than 90 historical societies in the region. The booklet starts with the establishment of the hospital in 1907 as a memorial to mining magnate and East Bristol MP Handel Cossham, who had owned local collieries including Parkfield, Shortwood, Speedwell and Kingswood, and died in 1890. From choosing the site and designing the building - the clock in the tower cost £450, a small fortune at the time - to early staffing problems and smallpox outbreaks, the book details the hospital's early years before moving on to the First World War, when up to 50 soldiers at a time were treated. Crowds turned out to welcome a group of Belgian soldiers wounded in the opening

months of the conflict. The booklet also details the hospital's continuing financial problems in the years before the NHS, when inpatients had to pay towards the cost of maintenance as well as for treatment, and the hospital was constantly in debt. Staff working conditions and some of the commonly treated ailments, from heart disease and pneumonia to an increasing number of road accident injuries, are examined, along with staff pay and working conditions. After the Second World War - when Cossham treated some of the victims of the Bristol Blitz, including a man injured in a raid on Eastville Park - the hospital entered a new chapter with the birth of the NHS in 1948. Dr Whitfield examines Cossham's interaction with nearby Frenchay Hospital, its role as a training school for nurses and the opening

of new departments such as physiotherapy. The booklet also records the founding of the Cossham League of Friends, who provided many of the pictures used, and the ongoing struggles to save services from being transferred elsewhere, starting with the loss of the casualty department in 1971, surgical services in the 1980s and mental health services in the 2000s. The transfer of all of Cossham's nurses to Frenchay at the start of the 1991 Gulf War, temporarily closing it, came at the start of a decade when the hospital's whole future was called into question, with then Kingswood MP Roger Berry fighting its corner. In 2004 a plan to close the hospital and to transfer its services to two local health centres led to the formation of the Save Cossham Hospital

'The booklet cover, right. Below, Cossham Hospital Group, with the hospital eventually undergoing a £19 million refurbishment and opening new facilities including a dialysis unit in 2012 and midwife-led birth centre in 2013. The booklet concludes with the ongoing and so far unsuccessful campaign to open a minor injuries unit at Cossham and the current "temporary suspension" of services at the birth centre due to staffing problems. ALHA membership secretary William Evans said: "ALHA hopes that the booklet will be of interest to many people in East Bristol and Kingswood who will have been born in the hospital, have been treated there, have visited patients there, have worked there, have supported it, or have had other dealings with the hospital. "Cossham Hospital is part of the life of the area, and part of the lives of many people in Kingswood and Fishponds." ALHA is organising a conference in Thornbury in April 2024 to mark the 200th anniversary of Handel Cossham's birth. Dr Whitfield’s booklet is a result of his research for a talk on the hospital at the conference. Copies can be ordered from the ALHA website at www.alha. org.uk, from GenFair at genfair. co.uk or from ALHA, 5 Parrys Grove, Bristol BS9 1TT, for £3.50 plus £1.10 towards postage and packaging.

NHS unit welcomed A TEN-BED hospital unit for patients with learning disabilities and autism is set to be built in Bristol. The NHS has announced plans for the facility at Blackberry Hill, to be run by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. It will be designed specifically to care for people with a learning disability or autism who need hospital treatment but whose needs cannot be met in a mainstream mental health hospital. NHS England says the unit "will help bring an end to long-distance placements, making life better both for individuals who need hospital treatment, and for their families, friends, and carers". Director of nursing at NHS England South West Jill Crook said: "This is fantastic news for the South West and represents years in the making of hard work to drastically transform the health services available for individuals with a learning disability and autistic people." Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

Downend Voice January 2024

49


Supporting you in 2024

Downend calendar new year 2022.indd 2

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NEWS A PENSIONER says she was pursued by British Gas for bills owed by a business which previously had her address. Rosemary Shakespeare moved in to a new park home at Riverside Drive, next to the River Frome between Frenchay, Downend and Oldbury Court, in April. She says that when she first moved in several bills from British Gas addressed to Riverside Drive (Holdings)Ltd, a company which previously had the same address but no longer exists. Rosemary, who had already set up an account with another supplier, Utility Warehouse, was advised to pass the bills to the park's site manager but continued to receive them monthly. She said: "In October British Gas got my mobile phone number and began sending texts threatening me with debt collectors. "I had telephoned them to explain I had never been their

British Gas chases pensioner for business bills

Rosemary Shakespeare customer. "The company they name no longer exists and they know this. "Then I received a few texts telling me it had all been sorted out and not to worry anymore.

Tributes to former council leader FORMER South Gloucestershire Council leader Ruth Davis has died, following a short illness. Politicians from all parties on the council have paid tribute to the former Yate Central ward councillor, who stepped down at May's local elections and was made an honorary Alderman in July in recognition of her 32 years of service. She passed away on December 2. First elected to the predecessor Northavon District Council in 1991, Ruth was a founder member of South Gloucestershire Council in 1996 and went on to be the council's leader between 2005 and 2007.

"The in November I received a letter from British Gas saying 'You’ve told us you want to come back to us. We’re working with your new gas supplier to move your account asap'." Rosemary said the when she phoned Utility Warehouse to tell them she didn't want to switch, she was told the same British Gas representative who had contacted her to say the problem was sorted had asked them to transfer her account. British Gas told the Voice that the issue stemmed from it not being told a new resident now had the previous customer's old address until October, when it was given her mobile phone number by the park home owner Wyldecrest. A spokesperson said: “We

She served as chair - the council's equivalent of a mayor - from 2021 to 2022. Ruth led the council's Liberal Democrat Group for 13 years and is said to have "supported a strong theme of partnership working" during her time as a councillor. Current council leader and fellow Lib Dem Claire Young said: "Ruth made a huge contribution to our communities over the 32 years she served as a Councillor, including as Leader and as Chair. "She was always incredibly generous when it came to helping others and I know many of us will greatly miss her friendship and wise counsel." Council co-leader and Labour councillor Ian Boulton said: “Ruth epitomised the way we have long tried to work in South Gloucestershire, as someone who worked for the benefit of our community regardless of any political differences.

were given Ms Shakespeare’s details by the property owner and were not informed that a new gas supply had been installed. "We’re sorry for any upset that our text messages may have caused and have reached out to Ms Shakespeare to reassure her that no further reminders will be received and that the account is now closed." Earlier in the year Rosemary also had problems with installing a broadband connection after being told it was too difficult to add her home to Virgin's cable network - despite her neighbours a few feet away being online with the same supplier. She says Utility Warehouse is now planning to install broadband.

Ruth Davis "She encouraged, supported and provided respected advice to many of us and, while we have lost a political opponent, we have also lost a friend." Conservative group leader Sam Bromiley said: "Ruth was a very able and hard-working councillor and former leader of the council, and was respected by colleagues from all parties and by members of the wider community."

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NEWS FROM THE LIBRARIES

Mini Reading Challenge Spark a love of reading even in the most reluctant reader with the challenge that tackles the holiday reading ‘dip’. Children will be able to take part on wintermini.org.uk, where they will find fun activities and earn rewards for reading. Encourage children to borrow books from Downend library and read three or more between 1 December 2023 and 19 February 2024. Adding them to their online profile and reaching their reading goal will unlock a limited-edition digital badge and Winter Mini Challenge certificate to print off and keep. Challenge runs 1 December 2023 to 19 February 2024

January activities Lego Club (Staple Hill Library) : Saturday 6th January 10.30am – 11.30am – Join us for theme-based creative building fun for primary school aged children Lego Club (Downend Library) : Saturday 13th January 10.30am – 11.30am – Join us for theme-based creative building fun for primary school aged children Have your say in the consultation on how to implement spending reductions on Library Services in South Gloucestershire.

Have your say Please fill in this consultation form at https://librarysavings. commonplace.is/ or ask for a paper copy at Downend Library. Consultation closes 10 January. The main proposed reductions in staffed opening hours for Downend Library are : Closing for one hour over lunchtimes in EIGHT libraries (including Downend & Staple Hill) Closing at 5pm staffed weekdays (currently 5.30pm at Downend, Emersons Green & Staple Hill) Closing on one additional afternoon a week in FIVE libraries (including Downend & Staple Hill) Reducing Saturday hours to 3 (currently all 3 open for 3.5 hrs). The mitigation for these proposed reductions in staffed hours would be to make Open Access (unstaffed) hours available for longer, but for full details follow the link above or ask library staff.

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NEWS

Thanks for helping BLOC help homeless

n A scene from BLOC's production of A Christmas Carol at the Hippodrome BLOC Productions' recent musical A Christmas Carol, performed at the Bristol Hippodrome, raised over £7,000 for Caring in Bristol, a local charity dedicated to addressing the city's homelessness crisis as part of their Christmas campaign. Following every performance, Sid Vidarkis (Ebenezer Scrooge) asked audience members to give generously, hoping they would have been inspired by the "generosity of spirit found in Dickens' classic tale". After a successful week-long run of audiences certainly rose to the challenge, donating a total of £7,390 in cash over just seven theatre performances. Digital ‘tap’ donations were also available and will have pushed the total amount raised even higher, along with additional support via Gift Aid. This fantastic show of support from Bristol audiences has given a substantial boost to the start of Caring in Bristol’s critical winter fundraising efforts. BLOC Productions is itself a charity that produces one performance per year at the Bristol Hippodrome, enabling home-grown South-West talent to perform on one of the largest stages in the country. It’s always a huge undertaking to put a show together for the Bristol Hippodrome, and this year we are delighted to have celebrated our 90th anniversary with another successful and critically acclaimed production that has also made a big impact in the wider community through our partnership with Caring in Bristol. We would like to thank the 9,000+ audience members who came to support us and also gave so generously to such an important cause. Emma Griffiths BLOC Community Liaison Officer Downend

Downend Voice January 2024

Be a custody volunteer Being arrested and taken into custody can be a time of stress and when people are at their lowest ebb. That's why we have custody visitor volunteers, members of the public who can ensure the police are providing the level of care and respect that we expect. These roles are vital in maintaining high standards of treatment and care for people who have been arrested and taken into custody. I've launched a new campaign to recruit members of the public to be Independent Custody Visitors. Each Independent Custody Visitor will do one visit per month in pairs at times to suit them. They turn up, effectively unannounced, at any time and ask to view the custody records which show who is in custody awaiting a charging decision, court visit or to be released. They then go and speak to detainees at random and ensure their welfare needs are being met. We rely heavily on our volunteers to scrutinise the police and to provide an independent viewpoint. If you have a sense of social justice and feel strongly about ensuring policing is fair for everyone please get in touch. I encourage people from all backgrounds and ages to apply. You don’t need specific qualifications and we provide all the training you need. For more information visit tinyurl.com/muvrdeps. Mark Shelford, Police and Crime Commissioner Avon and Somerset

Sign our petition on buses OUR bus services are in crisis many bus routes have been cut, leaving people stranded. Buses are a public good and should be designed and run in the interest of public need. Bus franchising is a regulatory system that allows for more public control of how are the buses are run, meaning we can maintain essential routes and regulate prices. You can help by signing the petition to put pressure on West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris, to investigate public control of

buses as a solution to the current bus crisis. You can find it online at qrs.ly/5yf10nb. You can also get involved in the campaign, which is made up of a broad coalition of people from across the West of England - get in touch at reclaimourbuses.woe@ gmail.com to find out how! Terry Stevens Reclaim Our Buses West of England Downend

Get help with energy bills ANYONE in South Gloucestershire needing help with problems related to energy bills should seek advice at the earliest opportunity. Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire is offering help specifically for issues related to energy bills, as we expect higher energy bills this winter than last. This is because despite the Ofgem price cap falling to £1,923 a year - there is no sign of an Energy Bills Support Scheme as was put in place last winter. It’s important you come forward because there’s a lot we can do to help you. We are able to contact the energy companies and improve things for you. We also look at where you can save on energy usage, what domestic appliances are really expensive and inefficient to run. We look at whether there’s things you can do to maximise your income - we look at the whole picture rather than just energy and often improve people’s income by several hundred pounds or even a thousand pounds per year. Anyone in South Gloucestershire seeking free, independent, impartial and confidential advice from Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire can call 0808 278 7947. Give us a call - we do come back to you, and we can help. More details are available at www.southgloscab.org.uk Marion Straker Energy expert Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire

Let us know your views email us at: news@downendvoice.co.uk

News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377


PHOTOGRAPHY WITH DOWNEND CAMERA CLUB

CHRISTINE'S COLUMN WITH CHRISTINE BROADWAY

My nose job

n Duelling Coots by Ben Newby

Annual picture competition winners LAST year saw another fine crop of photographs entered in Downend Camera Club's regular competitions. Those placed in the top six in each of these club competitions go forward to the annual competition, held last month and judged by a respected outside photographer. This is not an easy job - with so many fine images to consider, it comes down to fine details and personal choice. The print competition was of a particularly high standard, although shown here are those who came top in the digital photographic image section. First place went to ‘Duelling Coots’, a wildlife picture that has action and drama, perhaps heightened because it is in black and white. Caught by a fast shutter speed, with water droplets flying, it catches an aspect of wildlife behaviour that sets it apart from a normal static shot of the birds. Just what can they be fighting over? Second place went to ‘No Sale’, which is unusual in that it falls under the heading of street photography, not an aspect of popular photography that features much in club competition entries. The strength of the image lies in the expressions of both the Big Issue seller and the passer-by; the picture tells a story without the need for words. Third place went to ‘Jolie Vue’, the outstanding winner of the last regular competition. This is a strong image. Ferris wheels are a not unusual photographic subject, but what makes this one special is the lighting: the fading sun gives that gradation of warm colour, the wheel anchored by a darkened base, the silhouetted people looking like figures in a Lowry painting. Downend Camera Club is a friendly informal group meeting on Tuesdays at 7.30pm at the Assembly Hall, Salisbury Road, Downend, with photographic Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

n No Sale by Ed Shorney

n Jolie Vue by Russell Smith

presentations, events and competitions. The club is on both Facebook

Ed Shorney

AT the end of November I actually had a nose job! Those who know me well know that when I have to face surgery I do not run away but, on the whole, quite enjoy the attention. My biggest op was my left knee replacement, but of course you don't want to hear all about that again. What I'm going to write about isn't for the faint-hearted! I had been told by the consultant a few weeks before that it would be a local anaesthetic to remove a papilloma, a wart that had grown just inside my right nostril. I can hear some of you going "ugh"! I did tell you it was not for the faint hearted, didn't I? I arrived at the hospital with half an hour to spare, kindly brought there by my daughter, Kirsty. Family, relatives and friends were not allowed to wait since covid. Still, I didn't mind. I was admitted onto the ward where there were four other female patients, all undergoing general anaesthetic. At one point I thought I was also going to have it done under general anaesthetic but a dashing handsome young doctor came and assured me he was going to do it under local anaesthetic. The other four patients were sent up to theatre one by one, until at last it was my turn. I was escorted up by a young female nurse. Was I nervous? Not when I saw the young handsome surgeon again! A nurse made me comfortable on the bed and the surgeon held up a very long needle. "This will sting and then go numb," he said. It did, and I endured it three times. I did not close my eyes. I wanted to see what was going on after all, I had a birds-eye view! I watched as the surgeon took out the wart from my nose to be sent off for biopsy. Then he sealed the wound with electrolysis. And that was it - all over. The nurse who had been holding my hand throughout the op said she was more nervous than me, especially when I had the injections. I would like to thank all the staff of St Michael's Hospital. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year.

Downend Voice January 2024

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PHOTOGRAPHY WITH LINCOMBE BARN CAMERA CLUB

Photographing animals: birds LAST month I looked at photographing mammals. This month I’m getting airborne with the birds. On the face of it, they are much more difficult than mammals. Many are quite small, moving quickly and changing direction without warning and, unless you are photographing penguins or emus, they can fly. If you’ve got expensive equipment - cameras and lenses that can cost in excess of £1,000 that shouldn’t be a problem. Most of us don’t, however, have access to equipment like that and have to find other methods. The obvious solution is to find a bird that is, for whatever reason, stationary. Set your camera up so that it’s focussed on a bird feeder, for example, or pay a visit to somewhere like WWT Slimbridge, where there are hides as well as a multitude of birds. You will, however, need a lot of patience – the birds won’t simply appear because you want them to. Alternatively, you can find birds which are usually fairly static and a good size: few fit the bill better than herons. They are also not usually terribly difficult to find, liking places like weirs. Mary Osborn’s photo 'Heron', as well as having the virtue of a precisely descriptive

n Heron by Mary Osborn

title, shows a heron’s head in precise detail. Kingfishers are one of the great delights. I always feel privileged to see their bright blue and orange plumage flash as they dive into the Avon for a quick meal, but they are quick. Owen Richards’ photo 'Fish Supper' has caught one on its return from a fishing n Murmuration by Bruce Gibbs trip, its catch in beak awaiting consumption. A way of photographing moving birds was used by Bruce Gibbs who took an early evening visit to the Somerset levels to see the swarms of starlings as they whirled in ever changing formations before settling for the night. These events have the delightful name of murmurations, which supplies the title of Bruce’s photo, 'Murmuration'. If you want to see the very best of wildlife photography, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, of the best from an international contest run by the Natural History Museum, will be at the M Shed until April 21. Are you interested in photography and want to find n Fish Supper by Owen Richards out more? Why not join us for the coming year? Take a look at our website at www. We have a full programme of activities: lincombebarncameraclub.co.uk or contact us on competitions, presentations from guest speakers lincombebarn.cameraclub@gmail.com. and learning exercises for members. Have a safe and enjoyable New Year. Visitors and guests are always made welcome Sid Stace (£3 if you just want to try us out).

Bristol u3a IT'S been another year of success stories for u3a in East & North East Bristol. Local membership continues to grow and we now have over 280 members and 23 interest groups in our area. To put that into perspective, we’ve got 40% more members than last year and are the fastest-growing region of Bristol u3a. Our social group has been particularly active, with four or five scheduled events each month, supplemented by “pop-up” events advertised by members on our members-only WhatsApp group. Bringing members together for informal social events has helped us forge new friendships and spawn several new interest groups over the year, including the Daytime Disco in Staple Hill, a writing group in Warmley,

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a genealogy group in Staple Hill and (from January), a new “Ukulele for Fun” group in Fishponds. Social group highlights in 2023 included a series of cultural visits local faith groups in East Bristol, where we were made most welcome at the Madani Masjid in Fishponds, the Sikh Temple in Easton, Amitabha Kadampa Meditation (Buddhist) Centre on Gloucester Road, the Hindu Temple in Redfield and the Bristol and West Progressive Jewish Congregation in Easton. We also went on several local walks, enjoyed a taster session at Greenbank Bowls Club, visited the cinema a few times and enjoyed lots of “cuppa and cake” meetings in cafés across the region. We’re fiercely proud that everything we do is by members for members. We have no staff, so

Downend Voice January 2024

everyone chips in with ideas for one-off social activities or brand new interest groups. The latest idea is for a new “Singing for Pleasure” group which will run in the Downend area and hopefully get off the ground early in the New Year. Bristol u3a (You in your Third Age) is for anyone with some free time for themselves. There’s no lower age limit, but most members are retired or semi-retired. In addition to local interest groups, there are a further 130 running across Bristol that members are free to join. To find out more email learnlaughlive@ bristolu3a.org.uk. Lindsay Gough News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377


COMMUNITY NEWS

Cleeve Singers spread Christmas cheer THE Cleeve Singers annual Christmas concert took place on Saturday December 2 at Lincombe Barn. Having changed from evenings to an afternoon it would seem there is a significant number of people who prefer that time of day. The cold, very wet weather didn’t dampen people's spirit to turn out and join in singing some carols. Some former members of the choir were again in the audience, which really is heartening to see. Last year it was noted how many adverts there were appealing for singers in all areas of the city. There has been a noticeable shortage of people wishing to sing since Covid first arrived on the scene, and Cleeve have experienced the same and are still

n The TuttiFlutti group also performed at the Cleeve Singers concert.

trying to increase the membership. Being a four-part choir doesn’t make it any easier, as the male populace seem to be even more reluctant to exercise their vocal cords. This year we were joined by five flautists, which some people seemed to find a revelation, particularly as it is an instrument deemed to belong in an orchestra. The five pieces they played were beautiful, and during the

EMERSONS TAXIS

interval members of the audience were speaking to them. The new TuttiFlutti group rehearse at Lincombe Barn on Friday nights and are particularly keen to increase their numbers. Freewheelers EVS, who courier blood, X-rays, breast milk and urgent specimens to hospitals by bike, were this year's charity choice. David Maddern, one of the charity's couriers, gave a very interesting talk about their work.

There are in the order of 100 bikers who give their own time and are on call round the clock on 365 days a year so that hospital calls can be answered immediately. The Cleeve Singers rehearse weekly at Lincombe Barn, at 7.30pm on Wednesdays and welcome new members. For more information email cleevesingers@gmail.com or visit our Facebook or web pages. Patricia Holmes

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SPORT

Cleve edged out by Clifton CLEVE'S home game against Clifton was always going to be a tough one. Clifton are a development team and as a consequence can be very good or mediocre. Unfortunately for Cleve, they were playing against a very good team. In the first five minutes Clifton moved the ball well, and undoubtedly the lavender and blacks were on top. However after defending hard for the first 15 minutes, Cleve struck out against the run of play due to some really good lineout work. A great break by Will Warman took Cleve into Clifton’s 22. This led to a penalty which Liam Clode slotted over, to make it 3-0 to Cleve. Cleve continued to press Clifton, and a penalty took them near Clifton’s try line. This,

however, quickly turned to panic as Clifton attacked. Some really good scramble defence kept them out but, in the end, Clifton broke through and scored under the posts, with the try converted to make the score 7-3 to Clifton. In the 10 minutes before half-time, Clifton showed some class and ran the ball well. They went from their 22 to score in the corner, to make the score 12-3 at half-time. Cleve started the second half with some determination. They dominated possession, with good drives and control of the ball. Matt Lynch and Will Callaghan were especially prevalent. They got their hands on the ball and drove tenaciously at Clifton’s defence. But Cleve continually missed out on scoring by making

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n Action from Cleve RFC's defeat to Clifton mistakes at critical times. Their pressure put Clifton on the back foot, but the visitors kicked well and this got them out of trouble. In the last ten minutes Cleve continued to pressurise and, after a lineout near the line, they got a penalty. This was again

slotted over to make the score 12 to 6 and bring Cleve within a converted try of victory. The last few minutes were frantic, but Clifton kept Cleve out to hold on for a win. Steve Bateman

Weather frustrates Flyers THE foul weather has continued to frustrate Downend Flyers' three women's teams and 20 youth teams alike. With so many games cancelled due to wet weather in the last few weeks, everyone is hoping that the New Year will bring a bit of sun with it! In the meantime, we are all busily planning for the second half of our season across the club, and celebrating our successes so far this campaign, with a great FA Cup run from the first team and three youth teams gaining silverware in the Autumn Cups, so very well done to our U8 Falcons, U9 Swifts and U11 Rooks teams! In our women’s set up we are also currently looking to expand our coaching team. We are seeking an enthusiastic football coach with something to offer to the world of women’s football. We’re looking for someone with passion for empowering, inspiring and motivating female footballers, and expertise in football coaching at various levels, who is prepared to embrace diversity and contribute to an inclusive team culture. Downend Flyers FC are the largest female-only football club in the South West, with over 350 players. Anyone who joins us will be part of a developing and ambitious women’s football programme, and have access to professional development opportunities funded by the club. We're really excited about the potential within our amazing football club, and we’d love to grow our team with people who are passionate about turning this potential into a reality. If you are interested, feel free to get in touch (in confidence) for an informal chat - we’d love to hear from you. Contact info@downendflyers.com. Duncan Gardner

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Downend Voice January 2024

News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377


ON THE TREATMENT TABLE - WITH TIM BUTTON CLEVE CHIROPRACTIC MANGOTSFIELD

Revitalise your health:

A 5-pillar approach with Cleve Chiropractic for a thriving new year It’s that time of year again! Many of us may have enjoyed the festivities just that little bit too much and now thoughts are turning to the dreaded New Year resolutions – such as getting fit… losing weight… or maybe you just want to feel better. As 2024 starts to unfold, many people are embarking on a journey to enhance general well-being and embrace healthier lifestyles. In the pursuit of optimal health, it's essential to adopt an integrated approach that focuses on what I call the five pillars of well-being. At Cleve Chiropractic and Physiotherapy Clinic, we believe in a holistic methodology that combines the care provided by multiple healthcare professionals care with advice on sleep, nutrition, exercise and mental well-being to produce a comprehensive and sustainable wellness plan.

Pillar 1: Sleep Quality sleep is often overlooked in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. However, evidence-based chiropractic care recognizes the profound impact of sleep on spinal health and overall wellbeing. Research suggests a relationship between sleep and musculoskeletal pain that travels in both directions. Poor sleep can exacerbate existing conditions, while chronic pain often disrupts sleep patterns. Our practitioners work with patients to address sleep hygiene, offering guidance on optimal positions and providing adjustments that alleviate tension and discomfort, promoting restful sleep.

Pillar 2: Nutrition that fuels your body for success A healthy diet is the cornerstone of well-being, influencing everything from energy levels to the way our immune system functions. At Cleve, our integrated healthcare approach includes nutritional guidance to

complement your chiropractic and/or physio care. Our team of experts collaborate to create individualized nutrition plans that align with your health goals. Research consistently demonstrates the significant impact of nutrition on musculoskeletal health, inflammation, and overall vitality. By combining care with a wellbalanced diet, we empower people to fuel their bodies with the nutrients needed for optimal function and recovery.

Pillar 3: Exercise that builds strength and resilience Physical activity is vital for maintaining a healthy body and mind. We can help you by designing exercise programmes that complement our care, addressing specific needs and promoting overall fitness. Whether you're recovering from an injury or merely aiming to enhance your strength and flexibility, our approach integrates exercise as a key component of your wellness programme. Research consistently supports the role of exercise in improving musculoskeletal health, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, as well as promoting mental well-being. By incorporating tailored exercise routines into your plan, we strive to help you achieve lasting results and build resilience for the challenges ahead.

importance of a holistic approach to wellness. By prioritizing your mental health alongside chiropractic care, nutrition, and exercise, we strive to provide a comprehensive solution for achieving a thriving and balanced life.

Pillar 5: Chiropractic and physiotherapy care – a strong foundation Our experienced chiropractors don’t just specialize in spinal adjustments. Evidence-based research consistently supports the efficacy of chiropractic care in alleviating pain, improving mobility and enhancing overall well-being. Through personalized treatment plans, our chiropractors and physiotherapists work closely with patients to address specific concerns and optimize

all aspects of their health and well-being. Whether you're seeking relief from chronic pain or looking to enhance your athletic performance, we can provide a solid foundation for your journey to better health. As you step into the new year, consider embracing this five-pillar approach to health. Our team of chiropractors, physiotherapists, sports therapists, nutritionist, acupuncturist, pain specialists, exercise specialists and mental health support is dedicated to guiding you on a transformative journey towards optimal wellbeing. We can help you lay a strong foundation for a healthier and more vibrant life in the year ahead.

Pillar 4: Mental well-being nurtures a healthy mindset A positive mindset is crucial for overall health, influencing everything from stress levels to immune function. At the clinic, we recognize the strong connection between mental and physical well-being. Our team includes professionals who specialize in mental health, offering strategies to manage stress, anxiety, and other psychological factors that impact the way you live your life. Research consistently highlights the link between mental well-being and physical health, emphasizing the

Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

Downend Voice January 2024

57


SPORT

Mangos lose their grip on League Cup MANGOTSFIELD United's reign as Hellenic League Cup holders is over after they were knocked out by local rivals Roman Glass St George. The home defeat was typical of a very inconsistent month for the Mangos since the last edition of the Voice was published. They began with a 3-0 away win at Tuffley Rovers. James White put the visitors ahead after just 5 minutes, but it became a niggly game after that, with various bookings occurring along with a red card for Tuffley’s Yeshaya Lomote. James Nunn and Jaydn Crosbie then added two stoppage time goals to make the win more comfortable for the Mangos. Following the postponement of the midweek trip to Cinderford, the Mangos then slipped up 1-2 at Cossham Street against Pershore Town, the side they beat in the Hellenic League Cup Final last season. The visitors were 2-0 ahead at the break against an out-of-sorts Mangotsfield and, although the hosts did get one back after

58

the break through Jaydn Crosbie on 52 minutes, the visitors stood firm to clinch their “revenge” win. Next up was the Marsh UHL Challenge Cup tie at home to Stonehouse Town, which ended with a comfortable 5-1 win for the Mangos on a bitterly cold night, with just 55 hardy souls in attendance. Jaydn Crosbie (13), Isaac Flynn (33) and Marcus Kelly (41) put the hosts 3-0 up at the break. Further goals by Luke Smith (67) & Will Ashton (88) completed the rout, although a consolation effort by Lewis Bainbridge spoiled the home side's hopes of keeping a clean sheet. Awful wet weather caused the inevitable cancellation of the next game, at home to Lydney Town, before the Mangos’ inconsistencies returned three days later with the 2-1 home defeat to Roman Glass St George that saw the holders exit the Hellenic League Cup. Charlie Saunders put the visitors ahead on 36 minutes, and although Mangotsfield battled hard and finally levelled the scores with eight minutes to go, Rhys Sarson netted what proved to be the winning goal on 87 minutes. The league match at Longlevens in Gloucester on December 8 will have to replayed, even though it was played beyond 90 minutes. The Mangos were winning 1-0 but in the second minute of added time a serious injury to Longlevens player Bradley Martin saw the referee abandon the game - even at that late stage.

Downend Voice January 2024

While results have been inconsistent, the main news for the club has come off the pitch, with South Gloucestershire Council granting planning permission for a new 3G all-weather Pitch at Cossham Street. The proposal is a result of Mangotsfield United’s partnership with MUFC Juniors, MUFC Women, AFC Mangotsfield and Mangotsfield & Blackhorse Sports and Community Association, and part of work to improve the facilities and widen the use of the pitch at Cossham Street. With the work expected to be completed during the 2024/25 season, further details as to how and when the changes will be completed, and where home games will take place, will be announced in due course. Dave Smale

Upcoming fixtures: December 26 Corsham Town (away) December 30 Cinderford Town (home) January 1 Worcester Raiders (A) January 6 Worcester City (H) January 9 Worcester City (A, re-arranged fixture) January 13 Westfields (A) January 20 Tuffley Rovers (H) January 24 Roman Glass St George (A) (Marsh Challenge Cup) January 26 Pershore Town (A)

News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377


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TEL: 07765 250816 62

56746

Downend Voice January 2024

News? Call Ken 0n 07715 770 377


LOCAL SERVICES PLUMBING & HEATING

SHOWER REPAIRS

WASTE DISPOSAL

B R O K E N S H O W E R ? A p r i c o t S h o w e r s www.csplumbingheating.co.uk 07936 591540 admin@csplumbingheating.co.uk @csplumbingheating For all your plumbing & heating needs

A p p r o v e d C o n t r a c t o r

S h o w e r i n s t a l l a t i o n s F R E E A l l m a k e s s u p p l i e d E S T I M A T E S I n s t a l l e d , r e p a i r e d R e p l a c e m e n t u n i t s F R I E N D L Y P R O M P T S E R V I C E , A L L W O R K G U A R A N T E E D

A p r i c o t E l e c t r i c a l

J AND J CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE SERVICES Providing general building, factory facilities work, gardening, pest control

Tel 07779242184 PROPERTY MAINTENANCE

Registered upper tier waste carrier licence no CBDU225074

We load and clear rubbish/junk from houses Flats, Sheds, Attics, Gardens etc etc No job too small - we even clear single items Cheaper than a skip and we load no VAT Contact Stuart or Sue

Wigs B

2 0 0 O v e r n d a l e R o a d , D o w n e n d B r i s t o l B S 1 6 2 R H Mobile

Mobile 07770944727

TREE SURGEONS

WIGS

0117 956 3285 07976 665448 PROPERTY MAINTENANCE

RUBBISH CLEARED

anytime including weekends

J.A. Cole & Sons Wigs Bristol Tree Surgeons

LOCATED IN DOWNEND

• Tree Surgery • Hedge & Shrub work • Precision Felling • Size Reduction • Fully insured • Domestic & Commercial .

We have been supplying all types of wigs and hairpieces for fashion and medical purposes for 45 years. Wigs can be purchased off the peg or made to measure in hair or synthetic fibre.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERT SERVICE - 40 YEARS EXPERIENCE OF TREE WORK Free Quotations & Advice

We stock many styles and makes.

Please book an appointment on:

0117 9567298 07768 973291

www.bristol-tree-surgeons.co.uk

TREE SURGEONS

0117 956 0805 www.wigsbristol.com

WINDOW & DOOR SOLUTIONS

HOME & PROPERTY MAINTENANCE • Bathroom & Kitchen Installation • Plumbing • Wall & Floor Tiling • Interior & Exterior Painting & Decorating • Guttering & Fascias • Plastering • Patios, Paving & Timber Decking • Fencing & Walls • Total Refurbishments NO JOB TOO SMALL - CONTACT US FOR A FREE NO OBLIGATION ESTIMATE

www.treadwellwindows.co.uk

tel: 07974 222656 email: williamtlc@hotmail.co.uk

ROOFING

N . BROWN

ROOFIN G LIMITED

SLATING • TILING • REPAIRS GUTTERS • FASCIAS FREE NO OBLIGATION QUOTES

Give Nigel a call he’s local and has a wealth of experience

✆ 07779 786072 Sales? Call Gary on 07799 461 169

Local business based in Downend

ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS

ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS From as little as

£20

.00 +VAT

Per month

• We replace & install Windows, Doors, Bi-Folding doors, Conservatories + much more • uPVC, Aluminium and Timber Windows & Doors • Service & repairs of all types of uPVC, misted double glazing, lock repairs & hinge replacements • Internorm UK specialist for the South West Call us today for a FREE no-obligation quotation

Windows

Doors

07786730804

E-Mail: sales@downendvoice.co.uk

Conservatories 0117 279 9409

sales@treadwellwindows.co.uk

Downend Voice January 2024

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Webber & Spencer CURTAINS • BLINDS • SHUTTERS • CARPETS • FLOORING

Curtains We specialise in stunning made to measure curtains that will add a touch of class to your home. Choose from a range of fabulous fabrics, tracks and poles that will enhance your interior design. We offer a free measuring service and can advise on the best window dressings to match your budget. To arrange an appointment please contact us. BAY WINDOW TRACK SPECIALIST

Blinds We supply and fit a wide range of top-quality blinds from leading manufacturers including Louvolite, Eclipse, Decora, Arena. Available options include Roller, Venetian, Roman, Perfect Fit, Pleated, Blackout, Cellular and Vertical Blinds. To arrange a free measuring appointment, please contact us.

YOUR NEW LOCAL LUXAFLEX DEALER EXCLUSIVE STYLES FOR EVERY WINDOW AND DÉCOR

Shutters Shutters are the epitome of elegance. Webber and Spencer design, supply and fit beautiful shutters in Bristol that will add the wow factor to your home. Our plantation shutters are perfect for both contemporary and modern homes and are available in a range of colours and finishes. To book a free appointment for a designer to measure up and provide an estimate, please contact us today.

Carpets & Flooring now available 21 Cleeve Wood Road, Downend BS16 2SF

enquiries@webberand spencer.co.uk

01172 870285


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