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February 2021 No. 62


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The man who is spreading kindness

'Soul destroying'

Some allotment holders thinking of giving up after vandalism incidents - Turn to Page 3

Local history Pages 16 & 17

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Vaccines at Ashton Gate and pharmacy Pages 6&7

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February 2021


'Allotment vandalism is soul-destroying' By Charley Rogers For many locals, Perrett’s Park Allotments have been a source of comfort and relaxation for years, not least through the last 11 months of repeated lockdowns. But the much-loved space has been compromised, with increasing instances of trespassing and vandalism, leaving allotment-holders with smashed greenhouses, ruined plants, and even a shed burned to the ground. “It all started for me last winter,” says Tony Watkin, who has held an allotment at the site for over 20 years. “I bought myself a small polytunnel, and started to find cigarette butts, joint butts and chairs from other allotments left in there.” At first he “tried to be pragmatic,” explains Tony, but the trespassing has continued, and it has become a cause of anxiety. “I work in a challenging field, and I like to have the allotment as a place to relax – we all know

it’s good for mental health. And it’s not just me, I’ve spoken to a number of other allotmentholders who are having the same kinds of feelings.”

Too afraid to tend plot

One allotment-holder, who chooses to remain anonymous, also noticed the vandalism and damage ramping up around a year ago. They say: “It started off with chairs and sweet wrappers, but it’s slowly gotten more sinister.” The trespassing has developed into “empty drugs bags and vodka bottles” left around, as well as a break-in to their greenhouse, they say. The increase in damaging behaviour means this allotment-holder’s partner, who shares the site, is now afraid to visit. “I’ve reported the issue to the police twice,” they say, “but nothing has happened.” They have also attempted to contact Bristol City Council, which manages the site, with no joy. “There isn’t an email



Becky Day Editorial director news@southbristolvoice.co.uk (Currently on maternity leave) Ruth Drury Sales director 07590 527664 sales@southbristolvoice.co.uk Rich Coulter Editorial director 07775 550607 news@southbristolvoice.co.uk Editorial team: Charley Rogers Next month’s deadline for editorial and advertising is January 15

COMPLAINTS Despite our best efforts, we sometimes get things wrong. We always try to resolve issues informally at first but we also have a formal complaints procedure. If you have a complaint about anything in the South Bristol Voice, contact the Editor using the details below. We aspire to follow the the Code of Conduct of the NUJ (National Union of Journalists), nuj.org.uk/about/nuj-code. Further details of the complaints process can be found on our website (below) or can be obtained by contacting the Editor by email: news@southbristolvoice.co.uk or by post: 111 Broadfield Rd, Knowle, Bristol BS4 2UX or by phone: 0777 555 0607.

address for the allotment office, and when I called them they said they couldn’t tell me anything because of GDPR.” However, allotment-holders are grateful that the council has been able to keep the site open throughout the pandemic, says Tricia Ireland, site rep and fellow allotment-holder. “I want to put on record that we’re very grateful Bristol City Council has been able to keep the site open,” she says. “The allotment office does a lot of good things, and I don’t want that to get lost amidst the negativity.” That being said, security at the site is a bit of a problem, says Tricia. “The railings aren’t very tall, and the trespassers are young and athletic – they have no problem getting over them,” she says, describing their movements as “gazelle-like”. Although it would be great to improve security by making railings higher, etc, Tricia acknowledges that this is “nigh-on impossible”

due to the council having its budget and resources cut. “I’m aware there is a very small team at the allotments office, and they have a tremendous workload,” says Tricia, “so I realise improvements are difficult”. As well as a lack of budget, there is little that realistically could be done to keep people out, Tricia reasons. “If people really want to break in, they’ll find a way.” While acknowledging these restrictions, Tricia is also concerned about the impact of the vandalism on allotmentholders’ mental and physical health. “It’s making people feel

“Things have escalated so much over the past year that I have considered giving up my allotment.”

HOW DO I GET IN TOUCH WITH ... My MP? Karin Smyth MP By email: karin.smyth.mp@ parliament.uk By post: Karin Smyth MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA By phone: 0117 953 3575 In person: Call the above number for an appointment My councillor? Post: (all councillors) City Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR. Celia Phipps Labour, Bedminster By phone: 07469 413312 By email: Cllr.celia.phipps@bristol.gov.uk Mark Bradshaw Labour, Bedminster. By email: Cllr.mark. bradshaw@bristol.gov.uk By phone: 0117 353 3160 USEFUL NUMBERS Bristol City Council www.bristol.gov.uk   0117 922 2000 Waste, roads 0117 922 2100 Pests, dog wardens 0117 922 2500 Council tax 0117 922 2900

Stephen Clarke Green, Southville By email: Cllr.stephen.clarke@ bristol.gov.uk Charlie Bolton Green, Southville By phone: 07884 736111 By email: Cllr.charlie.bolton@bristol.gov.uk Christopher Davies Lib Dem, Knowle Email: Cllr.Christopher. Davies@bristol.gov.uk Phone: 07826917714 Gary Hopkins Lib Dem, Knowle (Lib Dem deputy leader) Email: Cllr.Gary.Hopkins@bristol.gov.uk Phone: 07977 512159 Lucy Whittle Labour, Windmill Hill Phone: 07392 108805 Email: cllr.lucy.whittle@bristol.gov.uk Jon Wellington Labour, Windmill Hill Phone: 07392 108804 Email: Cllr.Jon.Wellington@bristol.gov.uk

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February 2021




Above image, Jane Gunning's beautiful hand-crafted shed, gifted to her by her brother. Right, the remains of Jane's shed after it was destroyed by a fire uncomfortable, and some are even too scared to go to the allotments anymore,” she says. “We get so much out of the space – it’s so important for mental and physical health, and has been especially important throughout the pandemic. “I was talking to someone the other day about the situation, and they commented that it’s such a shame because the allotments are a ‘sanctuary’, and that’s the perfect way to put it.” They are also often a quieter option for socially distanced meetings with friends, says Tricia, while parks are regularly overloaded. “My partner uses the allotment to meet friends, as they’re a safer option – it’s difficult to stay socially distanced in a park when they’re so packed.”

'Flouting the rules'

The steady increase of vandalism has caused some allotmentholders to take more drastic precautionary measures. One such person has installed steel bars on their potting-shed door after a bout of break-ins leaving items stolen or broken. “Things have escalated so much over the past year that I have considered giving up my allotment,” they say. “It all just became too stressful – not knowing what I was going to find on a Saturday morning.” The allotmentholder, who chooses to remain

anonymous, has had seedlings destroyed, chairs ripped from their fixings in the shed, and valuable equipment stolen. “There’s having somewhere to hang out, and then there’s malicious violence. People have had greenhouses smashed and all sorts. It’s soul-destroying.” The trespassers are also flouting Covid rules, the allotment-holder pointed out. “They’re going in and touching people’s stuff. It might sound dramatic, but in the current climate that could be dangerous.” The allotment-holder is also concerned that many elderly people use the space, and that the breaking of these rules could be particularly dangerous for those that are more vulnerable. “It’s also really satisfying to grow your own produce,” they say, “and the allotments have been a really important pastime for many people, especially throughout the pandemic. To just have all that work and peacefulness destroyed is awful.”

says. “He spent a couple of weeks building me this beautiful shed, and then on 12 December I got a phone call from a friend at the allotment to say it was on fire.” The shed was “totally destroyed,” says Jane, which not only was a blow for her relaxing allotment space, but for sentimental reasons, since the shed was a carefully crafted gift. “Youngsters have been using my shed to hang out in for years,” says Jane, “and I like to think the fire wasn’t intentional. They smoke weed in there, so I suppose it’s possible that they left a joint burning or something – I like to think they didn’t do it on purpose, but I don’t know.” Jane says she didn’t lock her shed, because she would let other allotment-holders use it if they wanted a dry place to sit and look over the beautiful views of Bristol the plot afforded, being positioned on top of the hill.

“It had really beautiful views,” Jane says, “and I don’t have green fingers but I used to love going out there for some peace and quiet, for some me-time.” A retired social worker, Jane has found her allotment to be a “lifesaver” during stressful periods through the years. Many allotment-holders are understanding about teenagers wanting somewhere to go, but it is the mindless vandalism and destruction that they’re most concerned about. “Although my kids are grown-up now, I remember when they were teenagers,” says Jane, “and I know they want to have somewhere to go with their friends, but it’s just very, very sad”. Bristol City Council and Somerset and Avon Police have been contacted for comment but no response had been received at the time of printing.

Totally destroyed

One of the most dramatic and devastating acts of vandalism recently has left allotment-holder Jane Gunning’s shed burned to the ground. “My old shed got blown down in a strong wind last year, and so for my 60th birthday this past September my dear brother built me a new one, made out of recycled materials,” she

Correction: On page 8 in last month's edition of the South Bristol Voice, we printed an advertising feature without labelling it as such. It promoted Kinesiology treatment. We would like to make our readers aware that this was a genuine mistake on our part and will take greater care in future to ensure all advertorials are clearly labelled.

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February 2021


Julian is spreading kindness through creativity By Charley Rogers Julian Wood, a local teaching assistant, has been interested in art and creativity “for years”. Around five years ago, Julian was cycling through a park in Easton, and noticed a message on a lamppost. “It just said ‘You look lovely today’, and it struck me how nice it was to read – a nice positive message. So that inspired me to start my own project.” Julian called the project ‘The Art of Kindness’ and began making small pieces of art, including fabric shapes embroidered with positive messaging, small flags and animal prints that he leaves in public spaces around south Bristol and beyond. “I attend a Quaker Church,” says Julian, “and one of the ideas I learned there is that everyone is valuable. It’s easy in our society to separate people – some are ‘beautiful’, some are ‘talented’. But that leads us to believe that some people aren’t important. So

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my message is that simply isn’t true - everyone is important, and everyone is valuable.” Creativity also plays a big role in the project. “I don’t have a background in art, but through the process of 12-step recovery, I’ve been exploring my own creativity. Because I believe that everyone is creative in their own way.” The recent lockdown has

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Julian, pictured left. Right, Julian's artwork, which can be found across south Bristol, inscribed with positive and uplifting messages. Photos courtesy of Nicky Takes Photos brought a new significance to The Art of Kindness, and although it’s been a hard time for everyone, Julian has also seen some upsides. “There seems to be a greater sense of community coming out of the pandemic,” he says. People want to connect, but they’re also realising we need to think of others, help each other. The pandemic has obviously been awful, but it’s also been a boon for kindness.” When lockdown began in the spring of 2020, Julian expanded his project to send out ‘kindness packages’ to people who were self-isolating, or “just needed a little bit of kindness”. The packages include various items, such as flags with positive messages on and other art made by Julian, a poem from a local poet, and a Pukka tea bag. “I have been out of work for a lot of the lockdown,” he explains, “so I’ve had more time to commit to The Art of Kindness. One of the things I wanted to do was reach people who may be feeling isolated or lonely during this time. I have asked the community to nominate people who might be in need of a little kindness, and I send out free kindness packages to them.” As well as the nominated kindness packages, throughout lockdown Julian has been sending ‘Local Hero’ packs out to people who have been supporting the community through the Covid-19 pandemic. These include health care workers,

teachers, and public park staff. “I recently sent out a hero pack to the staff of Victoria Park, who keep the park looking amazing year in, year out. In my eyes they’re heroes.” Julian is looking for more nominations all the time. “ I’ve just received funding to be able to send out 200 kindness packs through the BS3 Community Engagement group,” he says, “which will be great.” Julian also plans to expand the project even further, by including family activities in the packs, and collating uplifting messages from the local community in a letter. “It’s nice for people to receive uplifting notes from local people,” he says. “It shows that there are others out there thinking of you, and it’s a nice little reminder that we’re all in this together.” He is also looking for local businesses to collaborate with on the kindness packs. “Whether a business would like to donate something small, like tea bags, or to provide some funding, I’d love to hear from them,” he says. To nominate someone to receive a kindness pack, or to get in touch about collaboration, call Julian on 07977 263011 or email on julwood@gmail.com. More information on The Art of Kindness is available at www. theartkindness.org.uk and on social media @theartkindness A free Art of Kindness window display can also be downloaded at bit.ly/bristolrocks.

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February 2021

Covid news

Bedminster Pharmacy at vanguard of vaccine rollout in South Bristol

A pharmacy in Bedminster is among three across Bristol and South Glos which have begun rolling out Covid vaccinations. More pharmacies in Bristol and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) have joined the national programme to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations to local people on the high street. Clinics led by two pharmacies in Bristol, including Bedminster Pharmacy, and one in South Gloucestershire went live on January 28. They join Superdrug in Broadmead and Locking Pharmacy in Weston-super-Mare which started delivering clinics last week as part of a national drive to see the life-saving vaccination being offered on local high streets, further accelerating the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS.

The new pharmacies to join the programme are: • Bedminster Pharmacy which will be delivering vaccinations at Bedminster Methodist Church, British Road. • Billings Pharmacy, Kingswood • Ellacombe Pharmacy, Longwell Green which will be delivering vaccinations from Longwell Green Community Centre, Shellards Road. The pharmacy clinics support the vaccinations taking place at the local mass vaccination site at Ashton Gate as well as those at the 19 Primary Care Network sites across BNSSG. Pharmacist Ade Williams, pictured, from Bedminster Pharmacy said: “We’re delighted that Bedminster Pharmacy is able to join the national vaccination programme effort and be able to deliver the COVID-19 vaccination to people in the South Bristol area. "We have continued to provide pharmacy services, support and advice to our community throughout the pandemic and we are very glad to be able to join in this vital stage in the fight against Covid-19.” Dr Tim Whittlestone, Clinical Lead for the NHS mass vaccination programme in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire added: “High street pharmacies are playing a vital role in helping to provide the vaccination and

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Bedminster Methodist Church, British Road Picture: Google

I am delighted that three new pharmacies are offering this service from today in the BNSSG area. "This not only helps to ease the pressure on our main vaccination site but it also gives people more options in terms of location and accessing the vaccine. "The option of booking at a pharmacy will be available through the national booking letter, please remember you can still wait to be called by your GP practice to be vaccinated if that is

more convenient – your practice will be in touch when it is your turn.” Everyone who is eligible for a vaccination will be invited to book an appointment via the national booking system. People invited for a vaccination by their GP practice after they have booked via the national booking system are asked to cancel in plenty of time to avoid last minute cancellations. Pharmacist column: Turn to Page 23

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February 2021



Covid news

‘Super vaccination hub’ opens in Ashton Gate Ashton Gate Stadium has been turned into a local centre for jabs, aiming to vaccinate thousands, and Boris pays a visit by Charley Rogers Local Covid-19 vaccinations have ramped up in Bristol as a mass vaccination centre has been opened at Ashton Gate Stadium. Vaccinations are already being carried out at local hospitals and GP practices, but the addition of the Ashton Gate site means that roll-out can be vastly increased. The site was one of the first of seven mass vaccination sites to open, to be joined by London, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Surrey and Stevenage. Dr Tim Whittlestone, clinical lead for the NHS vaccination programme in Bristol, said: “We are delighted to be able to take the next step in our vaccination roll-out by opening the Ashton Gate facility and welcoming people for their jabs. “Once fully operational, staff at the facility will be able to vaccinate thousands of people each day, building on the outstanding work our local GP services and hospitals have been doing over recent weeks to ensure our most vulnerable people receive the vaccine.” Boris Johnson, the prime minister, also visited to officially open the site. Speaking to media at the stadium, he said: “The Government hopes to have 50 of these [sites] by the end of the month. That’s in addition to the 233 hospital sites and the thousand-plus GP sites and the first of about 200 community pharmacies. We will be ramping them all up.” The Ashton Gate site will for the time being continue to focus on vaccinating those over the age of 80, as well as frontline health and care staff. Ashton Gate Stadium managing director Mark Kelly said: “It’s a fantastic day for the stadium. In such a worrying time for the community, numbers of Covid have increased in the last few weeks in South Bristol and nationally. And for us to be able to finally open the super vaccination hub and to get people through the doors, I’m incredibly proud. I keep saying it but it’s very humbling. However, despite the amazing

Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on as a frontline health worker receives her jab

progress made in vaccinations over recent months, this is no time to become complacent, says Christina Gray, director of public health for Bristol: She said: “The new strain of the virus is much more infectious and we must act now to stop transmission and save lives. Bristol’s rate is currently 478 new cases per 100,000 population, showing cases continue to rise across the city, and across age groups. “Please act as if you do have the virus – do not socially mix, remember hands, face, space and if you develop symptoms, get tested.” Volunteers, who also marshal the car parks and register attendees when they arrive, greet those with an appointment at the vaccination centre. Many volunteers at Ashton Gate are managed by RE:ACT, a disaster response charity that was approached to provide urgent capacity to support the site with marshalling and stewarding duties. RE:ACT currently has more than 50 volunteers at the stadium. Hannah Bailey, NHS operations manager at Ashton Gate Vaccination Centre, said: “I am really pleased at how the first week at Bristol

Vaccination Centre has gone. We have had lots and lots of positive feedback about how people have experienced their visit with us. People have described the great teamwork they have witnessed and working with the team from RE:ACT this week has been a real pleasure. They have been kind, caring and a smiley welcoming face to the site for our visitors. The team have also been particularly supportive to elderly and frail patients that have visited the site, supporting them to navigate the large concourse.

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"We couldn’t have managed this first week without them.” Those receiving a vaccine have a health status check and pre-vaccination assessment before they receive their jab. Afterwards, they are observed for 15 minutes, and the whole process usually takes well under an hour. The NHS will contact people when it is time for them to receive a vaccine. More information about the Covid-19 vaccine is available at http://bit.ly/SBVCovidvaccines

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February 2021




Tobacco Factory to continue legacy of loved bakery By Charley Rogers Mark and Maria Newman, founders and owners of Mark’s Bread, are hanging up their aprons after 11 years of business. But fear not, the beloved bakery will not cease trading – it will continue to be run by the Tobacco Factory. George Ferguson, owner and ‘resident caretaker’ of the Tobacco Factory, told the South Bristol Voice: “We started talking with Mark and Maria about the succession of Mark’s Bread a year ago, as I was determined that their retirement shouldn't mean the end of what has been such a popular bakery.” Mark and Maria said: “When we decided to sell on, our main objectives were to ensure that the bakery continued in much the same form and to protect the jobs of our talented staff team. We would only sell to a buyer who would understand our business ethos, maintain and build on it and had good local knowledge.”

George fit the bill. He continued: “I had introduced them to their bakery site and have been a very happy customer since.” The bakery will continue to operate with the same staff, under the keen eye of head baker Rosana Sanchez Fernández. Mark and Maria added: “We have worked with Tobacco Factory over the years and understand each other well. The knitting together of Five Acre Farm Shop and Mark’s Bread is a perfect symbiosis. Mark and I have been working with their management staff for some months to ensure a seamless transfer and no observable changes from a customer point of view.” The Tobacco Factory, along with many Bristol businesses, has been “badly hit” by the pandemic, but “will survive,” explained George. “It is by far the worst period any of us have been through in our lifetimes. “So much has changed since

Mark and Maria Newman (left), Sarah Ford (Tobacco Factory MD) and George Ferguson on the right, signing the contract. Photo courtesy of Tobacco Factory Enterprises then and the pandemic has put much of what we do on hold, affecting many of the people we work with and for, as well as sadly forcing us back into debt! However it has opened our eyes to the importance of our own food production.” Maria said they look forward to “appreciating more time with friends and

family when we can, and a couple of morning lie-ins.” They continued: “A huge thank you to all our supporters over the years and we wish Tobacco Factory the best of luck. We will see you in the bread queue now and then for an olive sourdough and a perfect cappuccino!”

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February 2021




Some car owners face £9 charge to enter city by BBC LDRS staff for South Bristol Voice Motorists will be charged from £9 per day to enter a clean air zone (CAZ) in the city centre. City mayor Marvin Rees HAS revealed that drivers will have to pay a fee to enter a zone covering a small area of central Bristol. Older private cars and commercial vehicles that are more polluting will be charged to enter the ‘small CAZ D’. The small charging zone was one of two options Bristol City Council was required to consult on as it worked towards a final plan for cleaning up the city’s air. It has not yet revealed all the details in the final proposal it must submit to the Government next month. But when asked about them, it set out which diesel, petrol and hybrid vehicles are likely to attract a charge, according to its

consultation proposals. It also provided “current estimates” about the fees that would apply 24/7. Vehicles that are not compliant with emissions standards will attract a daily charge of £9 or £100, according to those estimates. Private cars, taxis, vans and minibuses will be charged the lower fee, whereas lorries, buses and coaches will be charged the highest. Proposed CAZ charges for non-compliant vehicles • Private cars – £9 per day • Taxis (hackney carriages and private hire) – £9 per day • LGVs such as pick-up trucks and vans (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) – £9 per day • Heavier vehicles (over 3.5 tonnes) – £100 per day • Buses and coaches – £100 per day

Whitehall has ordered the council to find the fastest way to get Bristol’s air pollution to within legal limits. The council initially proposed a diesel ban but this was rejected by the government, which then required the council to consult on two more options. These were the ‘small CAZ D’ alone, and another option combining the ‘small CAZ D’ with

a larger clean air zone, called a ‘medium CAZ C’, that charges commercial vehicles but not private cars. Mr Rees said: “The evidence suggests we are going to be implementing small area CAZ D.” The council’s business case will go to Cabinet next month. The implementation deadline is March 2021, but that date could shift.

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February 2021




Council tax set to rise by nearly five per cent

by BBC LDRS staff for Filtonvoice Council tax is set to increase by an average £87.74 a year for South Bristol residents from April – taking Band D property bills to £1,846.02 a year. The 4.99 per cent hike comprising a 1.99 per cent general rise plus a three per cent precept to pay for spiralling costs of adult social care is the maximum allowed by the Government without a local referendum. It has been revealed in Bristol City Council’s 2021/22 annual budget papers which were approved by cabinet as a recommendation to full council on February 25. Bills will go up by £58.48 to £1,230.68 for residents in the cheapest Band A homes, by £68.23 to £1,435.79 in Band B and by £77.99 to £1,640.91 in Band C. Band E householders’ council tax will increase by £107.22 to £2,256.24, B and F by £126.73

to £2,666.47, Band G by £146.22 to £3,076.70 and the most expensive Band H by £175.47 to £3,692.04. The rises will give the local authority more than £236 million to spend from council tax on services, such as libraries, waste collection and street lighting, in the next municipal year – £10.1 million more than the current year when reductions to the amount of households expected to pay are taken into account, mostly because of the pandemic’s impact on people’s income. A report to cabinet says: “The overall increase will enable a balance position to be achieved for 2021/22. “During this period of continuous uncertainty, we are conscious of the impact of council tax increases on Bristol residents. “Given the growth in demand for our services and the absence of any new permanent funding being made available

by government, the council is required to take action to ensure the sustainability of social care, therefore proposes to take up the social care precept at three per cent. “If council tax is set below this threshold, it would mean the permanent loss of council tax baseline yield with no opportunity to make up the losses in future years, without triggering a costly local referendum exercise.” The report says the city council continues to offer a council tax reduction scheme (CTRS) for working-age people who would have received council tax benefit before the national scheme was abolished in 2013, while pensioners are also protected from any changes. It says: “Prior to the pandemic, Bristol had seen a relatively low unemployment rate and a decrease in the numbers of working-age adult claimants to the CTRS in recent years.

“However, since the pandemic, there has been a marked increase in the number of claimants of the working age CTRS which has increased the overall cost by £2.3 million in 2020/21. “This is likely to continue into part of the 2021/22.” The report says the recommended rises have taken into consideration the responses to public consultation at the end of last year, although the report outlining the results of this has not yet been published on the cabinet meeting agenda. The new bills represent the local authority’s portion of the council tax, which accounts for the bulk of it. Smaller precepts will be added from the Avon & Somerset police and crime commissioner and Avon Fire Authority. Council tax rose by 3.99 per cent last year. This rise was the maximum allowed at the time.

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February 2021




How you can help shape proposals for Updated improvement plans for local transport network and river revealed the regeneration of commercial hub The area surrounding Whitehouse Street in Bedminster has been earmarked for regeneration. Bristol City Council is working with Apsley House Capital - the developers behind five major regeneration schemes in Birmingham's city centre - and local landowners Hill Residential and Galliard Homes to develop proposals for the area, which is mostly made up of commercial properties and large industrial buildings. During February and March, the council, in conjunction with

Action Greater Bedminster, will be gathering views from the community, which will feed into a community manifesto. The manifesto will contribute towards the development of a 'regeneration framework' which will act as a guide to any development of the area over the next five to 10 years. To find out more, get involved and share your views, visit bristol.gov.uk/ Bedminster or contact Action Greater Bedminster on greaterbedminster@gmail.com. Whitehouse Street, off York Road, in Bedminster

Two consultations are now underway for residents to have their say on detailed plans to improve the River Malago and Bedminster's transport network. An initial public engagement exercise was launched last winter, which saw support for better transport and improvements to the River Malago. Now, detailed proposals have been released and the council is wanting feedback about the designs. The improvements are part of the wider regeneration of Bedminster Green and would see the river restored back to the surface - currently the river is largely underground - plus improved biodiversity and a new ampitheatre seating area on the green space at the heart of Bedminster Green. Proposed transport changes include better routes for public transport, walking and cycling,

and the introduction of a northbound one-way system on Whitehouse Lane between Windmill Hill and Philip Street to prevent rat-running.  The proposed improvements to the river are said to "help to reduce the flood risk to the surrounding area" and will be funded through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) money allocated to support the development of the area. Councillor Nicola Beech, Cabinet Member for City Design and Spatial Planning, said: “This is a great opportunity to work with the community, developers and local businesses to deliver a high-quality local area." For the River Malago consultation, visit: bristol.gov.uk/ bedminstergreenconsultation. For the transport consultation visit: bristol.gov.uk/ bedminstergreenconsultation Both consultations close on Thursday, March 4 2021.

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Got a story for South Bristol Voice? Call Rich on 0777 555 0607 or email news@southbristolvoice.co.uk

February 2021



MARVIN REES, Mayor of Bristol


Humbled by the efforts to vaccinate Bristol

his time last year, we were starting to see the first cases in England of a virus that would transform how we live, work, and connect with one another. As the threat that Covid-19 posed to human life became clear, our communities mobilised to protect those most at risk and help people through the restrictions and lockdowns that were needed to get the virus under control. Alongside this, scientists and clinicians – including many at our city’s universities – got to work to try and understand the virus better, and ultimately work out how to stop it. Hope for the success of those efforts has sustained many of us over the last twelve months. And though we are once again experiencing a national lockdown to try to dampen down the spread of the virus, that hope is being realised through the approval and distribution of three different vaccines that can protect those who are most vulnerable to Covid-19 and grant them protection from this disease. As with so many aspects of Bristol’s response to coronavirus, I am humbled by the sheer scale of logistical effort and community

mobilisation to roll out the vaccine across our city - from our hospitals and GP surgeries, contacting local residents who are at the top of the priority groups, to the large vaccination centre at Ashton Gate – one of seven which opened across the country in January. As I write, more than 3.3 million people in England have received the first dose of a vaccine, including almost a quarter of a million in our region. I pay tribute to the NHS staff, volunteers and city partners who have helped so many Bristolians get access to this vaccine, giving vital protection to some of those who are most vulnerable and exposed to Covid-19. The vaccine is being rolled out in stages,

with those over 80 and front-line health and care staff among the first to receive the vaccine. While I understand that people will be keen to get themselves and their loved ones protected, the NHS have asked us all to be patient as it will still take some time before everyone gets an appointment. Please let the NHS concentrate on the huge task at hand, and don’t contact them to find out when you will be getting a vaccination. Be assured that you will be contacted when it is your turn. Sadly, we have received reports of scams in circulation. Bogus text messages are in circulation that claim to be from the NHS, telling people they are eligible for the vaccine and asking people to provide payment details to prove their eligibility. The NHS will never ask anyone for their bank details. Please be alert to scams like this, and speak to your family and friends if you’ve received anything you’re not sure about. In the meantime, it is vital that we all stick to the rules. By staying at home as asked, washing our hands, wearing face coverings and keeping distance from one another, we can save lives, protect the NHS, and ensure many more people are able to get the vaccine so that life can begin to return to normal.


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February 2021


Covid-19 news


Friendships blossom as part of new 'Check in and Chat' phone service

Covid response group sees over 1,000 rally to support those in need

A new companionship service to tackle loneliness has been launched by local charity BS3 Community - and the organisation is pleased to report that genuine friendships are starting to form. Check in and Chat matches volunteers with a member of the community who may be shielding, isolating or feeling lonely. The volunteer rings the community member each week

More than 1,000 volunteers have stepped forward to help others in need following the launch of the BS3 Community Covid-Response Facebook group in March 2020. The group was created in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak by resident Becky Lewis Jones and was set up to offer support to those across BS3 who are shielding, self-isolating or needing a helping hand. Errands have included grocery collections, prescription pick-ups and more. A website has since been established with an online request form and a local rate telephone number for those not online. The group has also formed partnerships with the BS3 Community Larder (the food bank operating from St Paul’s Church in Coronation Road) and local charity BS3 Community Development and Action Greater Bedminster. The Facebook group is still

by phone or by video call, for a ‘check-in and chat’. BS3 Community ensures that the volunteer’s interests match with the community member’s hobbies and pastimes, so conversations are easy to get going. To register yourself or someone you know for a regular Check in and Chat call, or to volunteer to make the calls, contact ruth.green@ bs3community.org.uk

very active and regularly posts updates on new Government guidance and answering queries. The phone helpline is still running and most requests are actioned within 24 hours. Tel: 0117 3812181, Monday to Friday, 10am-6pm. At weekends, Bristol City Council operates a helpline ‘WE ARE BRISTOL’ - 0800 6940184, 10am-2pm n WHAT NEXT? BS3 needs more volunteers so please do get in touch if you have any availability to support. BS3 Community Development secured funding to build on the community energy that has emerged as a result of the pandemic and new groups are being established - for more information, please refer to the Community Resources page on the BS3 Community Development bs3community. org.uk or email ruth.green@ bs3community.org.uk

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Elections likely to go ahead despite Covid Local residents Aileen McLoughlin and Ted Powell are standing as the Labour Party candidates in Windmill Hill ward in this year’s local elections. You may be surprised to hear that the local council elections in Bristol are likely to go ahead in May 2021. Like most people Aileen and Ted are focused on getting through these times as safely as possible. Vaccinations and sticking to guidance are key to returning to normal life in 2021. Ted is a history teacher and National Education Union Representative in Bristol. He has been a key worker through the pandemic, supporting children, teachers and families. Ted joined the Labour Party because he wanted to fight the horrendous cuts that he’s seen to our education system and other public services since 2010. He fell in love with Bristol while studying here in the 1990s and moved to Windmill Hill in 2016. The biggest reason he wants to be a councillor is to stand up for the people who don’t have a voice, be someone they

can turn to for help and advice, and champion better education for everyone in Bristol. Aileen has lived in South Bristol for 34 years, and on the Hill for 12. Her children went to Windmill Hill City Farm Playgroup, and used the adventure playground and local parks. She joined the Labour Party to defend the NHS from privatisation, oppose inequality and to get an economy that works for all. She has worked in the public sector for 35 years, as a midwife, maths teacher and as an analyst for the NHS. Aileen played a key role in promoting the ‘Green New Deal’ in Bristol alongside Mayor Marvin Rees and Labour councillors. She has pressed for responsible development in council and wants to give local people a stronger voice. She has been a council volunteer throughout the pandemic. As councillors, Aileen and Ted would be active and visible in the ward, listening to people through surgeries and online. They would push for improved local air quality especially near schools,

better transport, press for local jobs and skills development and more affordable housing. They helped create the cross-party group that worked on re-opening Jubilee Pool. They will work with our fantastic local organisations and support local business wherever they can.

To contact Aileen or Ted: aileented4windmillhill@gmail. com or FB @WindmillHillLabour Promoted by Mabel Hahner on behalf of Aileen McLoughlin and Ted Powell, candidates for Windmill Hill Labour Party at 74 Chessel Street BS3 3DN

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February 2021



Local History

Return to Bristol, 1943-1946 We continue our serialisation of Memories of a Bristol Boyhood by Knowle resident John Fletcher. This month, John reflects on his successful senior schooling days and how his involvement in a mission choir resulted in an ethereal experience, or so he thought ...


y the summer of 1943, Bristol was considered safe enough for Bristol Central Commercial School to return from the country. It was thought that my sister’s education was at a stage where she needed stability so my mother decided that we should return to Bristol. The local council allocated us a semi-detached house at 52 Ponsford Road, Knowle, only about quarter of a mile from our original house in Kingshill Road which was still a bombed site. I settled down in Ponsford Road and very quickly made friends with a number of boys in the immediate area. The first week of September 1943 saw me enrolled at Wells Road Elementary Boys School. The timetable was restricted to the basic subjects of the 3Rs, history and geography, hoping that repetition on these core subjects would enable the majority of pupils to leave at the end of three years literate enough to find a job. Each yearly intake was split into three streams. The A stream would be expected to be capable of employment in general office work, as salesmen or apprenticed to draughtsmen, the B stream were more likely to seek the trade jobs of plumbing, electrics etc with day release and evening classes to gain trade credentials. The C stream would take up the more manual work in the numerous factories which

expanded in Bristol in the post-war years, particularly in tobacco, chocolate and printing, or with the local council. The school building was very small compared to today’s schools. Although perhaps Wells Road School was not the top academically, it provided strong ethical guidance. Discipline was enforced and a strong sense of self and community respect was encouraged. From what I remember the vast majority of boys that I knew landed very good jobs. The most successful in my year must have been John Young. On leaving school he joined the Mercantile Marines as a Cadet. I did not hear of him for about ten or twelve years when my job took me to Avonmouth as Port Agent for the British India (P&O Group) Vessel Devonia. I was making my way up to the Captain’s day room when I was met by John Young who had risen through the ranks to become “Mate” (Chief Officer). Another 30 years went by and I was talking to an ex-cricket club friend who had just returned from P&O cruise in the West Indies. He told me that one evening he had been invited to have dinner at the Captain’s table. In general conversation my friend and the Captain realised not only were they both from Bristol but also from Knowle. They talked about knowing me and he sent me his regards. I did

Wells Road Senior Boys School. It has now been converted into flats

hear (but not confirmed) later that John Young became Commodore of the entire fleet. Not a bad result for an exelementary school boy. Wells Road School educated about 300 boys aged between 11 and 14 years. The hub of the school was the main hall in which morning assemblies were held on all five days of the week. And it was also used for PE lessons. Music was not taught as a subject but after break-time on Friday afternoons the whole school would assemble for choral singing. The repertoire was quite limited and consisted mainly of folk songs, sea shanties and other rousing semi-military marching songs. Because of war- time restrictions there was no metal for metalwork and wood was in such short supply, that in the three years the only end product of woodwork classes was a matchbox holder and a tray everything else was theory. The school catchment area included the Knowle council estate and the area of Totterdown which in the 1940s was dominated by row upon row of terraced houses and considered rather lower class. Discipline at the school was very strict and corporal punishment was still allowed. The use of the cane was the sole prerogative of the headmaster but most of the all-male teaching staff had their own way of instilling control. One I remember had a large ring on a finger and would come up behind a misbehaving boy and clip his ear with the ring and another was an expert shot with a woodenbacked blackboard duster. One of the more popular teachers was ‘Dickie’ Diamond who taught the 3rd year ‘A’ stream class. Although he instilled discipline in the class he did not have to use any form of physical pressure but just the force of his personality. Each morning after assembly we would stand in our desk space and Mr Diamond would fire

mental arithmetic questions, pointing to one pupil to answer. If the answer was correct the boy would sit down, if incorrect the boy would remain standing. Of course Mr Diamond knew the capabilities of all his pupils and would grade the difficulty of the question to the ability of the boy concerned. The headmaster, Mr F.S.C. Burt, was the only person allowed to enforce corporal punishment and on most days during the afternoon break two or three boys could be seen lined up outside the headmaster’s study door awaiting punishment. I felt sorry for Mr Burt as he was a very quiet, church-going man and I’m sure the use of the cane hurt him a lot more than the culprits, but he would carry it out as part of his duty to ensure the school’s reputation. When the 1945 Education Act of Parliament became law the Wells Road Elementary School became Wells Road Secondary Modern School. The main result of this was that the school leaving age was changed from 14 to 15 years of age. The curriculum was enlarged to include such subjects as French, Poetry and Science, although we did not have a laboratory of equipment so it was all theory. In the pre-war years Wells Road School had a high reputation for swimming and sport and was the last school to win the Woodcock Shield for Football prior to WW2, the final being played at the Bristol City ground. Cousin George Bull was a player in this cup winning side. Unfortunately we had no inter-school games until the summer of 1945. In the spring of 1945 Mr Foster returned to teach and

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February 2021



Local History

Wells Road Senior Boys winners of 1939-40 Woodcock Shield. The final was held at Bristol City ground. Headmaster F.S.V. Burt (centre), teachers Mr Neat (left) and Mr Harrison (right). John's cousin George Bull is centre row, extreme left next to Mr Neat being a Yorkshireman had a great interest in cricket. He quickly organised after-school cricket practise sessions played on the school playground tarmac surface using a cork ball. He then approached Knowle Cricket Club who agreed to let us use their ground for home matches. We had one star player, Dennis Mattock, and I followed as second string. The school team must have impressed Knowle Cricket Club as they introduced a scholarship scheme by which two boys were selected each year to receive two years free membership and coaching, and Dennis and I were chosen. On 30th July 1946 my formal education came to an end and I was given my character reference to help with my search for employment. I had had a successful time at Wells Road School and managed to finish top of the school in the final exams along with a scholarship to the Cricket Club. Although the 1945 Education Act decreed that the school leaving age be increased to 15 years this did not come into effect until 6th September 1946. As my birthday was 3rd September I was eligible to leave when I was still 13 although I could not work until I was 14. Apart from schooling, the period July 1943 to November 1946 saw me become more socially aware, mostly connected to the church and youth clubs. The parish church for Knowle is

St Martin’s but in the period of WWII and for several years afterwards a mission church was established to care for the needs of the council estate. At the age of 12, I enrolled as a member of the mission choir which consisted of about 12 boys, controlled as well as possible by an organist called Stan Aubrey. In those days girls did not form part of a church choirs. The mission church was very much the poor relation of the parish church: it was more like a large hut with plain walls and a corrugated asbestos roof. The parish church of St. Martin’s by contrast was the ’high church’, constructed in the early 1900s with good quality stone, wrought ironwork, beautifully carved woodwork and stained glass windows. The choir consisted of more than double the number of boys than that of the mission choir and was boosted by a dozen or

John's glowing school leaving reference when he was still 13years 10 months

more men with bass, tenor etc. trained voices. The boys were expected to learn to read music and the result was a very pleasant sound and a million miles from our simple efforts. There were only two occasions each year that the two choirs got together. The first was the post Christmas visit to the pantomime and the second was the midsummer coach trip to the seaside – Weston-super-Mare. On these trips we were very much second

class citizens and had to endure a fair amount of Mickey taking and light bullying. The only other item of note in connection with my time at the mission church was the day that I thought I had a vision. It happened on a Sunday morning in early spring. I was sitting in the choir stalls at right angles to the altar where the priest was coming to the part in the communion service where he blessed the bread and wine to represent the body and blood of Jesus. The ‘bread’ used in this service was a white wafer about the size of a jam jar lid. On this particular Sunday the priest, as part of the blessing, held the wafer in front of and just above his head and as he held it there a shaft of brilliant sunshine came through a high window illuminating the wafer which was held between me and the window. As I looked at the wafer I was aware of the face of Jesus with the crown of thorns on His head. This vision lasted about 20 seconds before a cloud obscured the sun. At first this incident gave me a great feeling but gradually as I walked home I began to worry that I might have been called to ‘do’ something but I had no idea what. I did not tell my mother or anyone else and as the week went on with all the usual school and play routine the worry faded into the distance. The following Sunday morning I attended church service as usual and was asked to assist in setting up the altar in readiness for the service. This entailed lighting the candles and getting out the chalice, paten and the silver box which contained the host (the wafers); as I did this I took a good look at the wafers and saw, to my relief, that each one had the centre part impressed with the ‘Jesus ‘ face. This was only visible from close inspection but not from a distance: so much for my vision, but a great relief.

We would love to hear similar tales and see photos from the period. Please email news@ southbristolvoice.co.uk or post to South Bristol Voice, 111 Broadfield Rd, Knowle Bristol BS42UX. All items will be safely returned.

Got a story for South Bristol Voice? Call Rich on 0777 555 0607 or email news@southbristolvoice.co.uk


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February 2021



Letters to the Editor

Email your letter to news@southbristolvoice.co.uk or post to 111 Broadfield Rd Knowle Bristol B42UX Please keep letters brief, no more than 250 words - we reserve the right to edit letters n ASHTON VALE has had to put up with a lot of upheaval over the years. Prefabs knocked down and Bovis homes built on the land. The Link Road and the Metro bus route built and the latest being the building of Ashton Rise. This was built on an old allotment site, empty for many years when people have been on waiting lists for allotments for many years. The development doesn’t blend in with the area. Residents have had to put up with roads and pavements damaged due to heavy vehicles using the roads. Having to walk in the road due to vehicles parked on the pavements. Seeing as developments bring a levy into the community, residents don’t seem to see any money coming into Ashton Vale. I do hope that it won’t be taken away and given to another area. For many years residents have been asking for a crossing or a safe way to cross Ashton Drive for children to get to Ashton

Vale Primary School. There are also many elderly, disabled and people in mobile scooters etc. who have to use the road. Alas nothing has happened. When all the residents have moved into Ashton Rise there will be lots more traffic using Silbury Road, many at a faster speed than 20mph trying to get onto Ashton Drive. Vehicles even heavy vehicles race to get to the traffic lights before they change to get under the railway arch. The only traffic calming in Ashton Vale is two 20mph VAS signs, one in Ashton Drive and one on South Liberty Lane and these are more often not working than working. I do hope that something is done before someone gets killed. Chris, Ashton Vale n FOOD INSECURITY is on the rise. We can all see the increased needs in our communities as people lose their livelihoods or cannot get access to their usual

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sources of support. Many local people have volunteered their time, money or donations to help get food supplies to everyone who has needed them during the pandemic – some have been doing this for years, others have come forward during the Covid-19 crisis. Existing food banks in my area like Victoria Park Baptist Church on St Johns Lane and Counterslip on Wells Road have had to scale up to meet extra demand. New food banks have sprung up like the BS3 Community Larder in Southville and the St Martin's Church Food Bank in Knowle. FairShare Southwest saves surplus food and delivers it to people in need. They scaled up operations from their Bristol warehouse by over five times. Between March and August 2020 the charity delivered food for over 2 million meals for those

who were hit hardest. All of this makes me feel proud to share this city with people who want to work together to end food poverty. But every time I donate to a foodbank I feel more and more angry. I can see the need increasing and I ask myself “Why is this necessary?”. I live in a wealthy country. No-one should be without their basic needs, no-one should have to queue up in the cold to get basic food. Last month, for the first time in its history UNICEF announced it would be helping to feed children in the UK. How did we get here? Alongside the great work that food banks do we need to campaign for change. I look forward to a day when food banks are a thing of the past. Aileen McLoughlin, Knowle resident and Labour candidate for Windmill Hill




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February 2021


KARIN SMYTH, MP for Bristol South

Childcare is vital but the support is lacking


s Government at all levels struggles with the unprecedented challenges of service delivery during a pandemic, it can occasionally be too easy to criticise. Whilst there have undoubtedly been far too many mishaps and mistakes in handling made along the way, it is also true that support for business, workers and parts of our creative industries have made a positive difference to many families. And yet, some of our most vital services truly have been forgotten as the pandemic has raged. So often with this Government, it feels like the level of support a sector receives depends on how well it is represented around the Cabinet table. And with only five female Cabinet Ministers (out of a total of 22), it’s inevitable that those services that disproportionately employ and are utilised by women are those most likely to be forgotten. Perhaps the most stark example of this is childcare. Childcare providers are an essential

part of the social and economic fabric of our country, and millions of families rely on wraparound childcare. But there is a real risk that if providers are left to fend for themselves, rather than being given appropriate financial support, many will face permanent closure as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. Over the past year I’ve heard from providers across Bristol South who have serious concerns about future viability. My Labour colleagues and I have been raising awareness in Parliament of the way nurseries and childminders have been excluded from support throughout the pandemic. The Shadow Education Ministers Tulip Siddiq and Wes Streeting have been in discussion with the sector about the need for bespoke support packages for wraparound and holiday childcare, and will continue to hold the Government to account on this. We are already beginning to see the pernicious effect that a lack of childcare has on working mums. Back in September, research from the TUC found that 1 in 6 working mothers said they have had no choice but to reduce their working hours. The survey also heard that 3 in 10 working mothers said they regularly worked early in

the morning (pre-8am) or late at night (post8pm) to balance work and childcare. These statistics are echoed by the working parents who have contacted me here in Bristol South over the past few months, with many struggling to balance work and childcare, and seriously concerned about how doing so will affect their prospects at work. I have raised a number of questions on this in Parliament, including the issue of the effect of available childcare on the number of mothers taking redundancy. It's clear that childcare providers play a vital role in supporting both children and parents - and particularly women. We cannot afford to lose this crucial provision, not least because it is likely to set women back decades and increase the pay gap between men and women. The Government must step up and provide greater financial support for childcare providers so that they can continue to operate sustainably - both now and in the future. As always, I’m keen to hear from constituents affected by this issue, so please do get in touch with my office if this is something that particularly impacts you. Twitter: @karinsmyth Facebook: KarinSmythMP Website: www.karinsmyth.com

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February 2021


School News

Live lessons boost student engagement at local secondary During the first lockdown, hearing familiar voices through narrated lessons helped our students stay engaged with their education. Now we’re in familiar lockdown territory we’ve gone one step further at Bedminster Down School with live lessons for all students in all subjects. It’s not been easy, especially as the situation was so uncertain during the Christmas holidays, but staff have worked behind the scenes to supply laptops, tablets and wifi access to make sure no student is left out. Taking this step means that teachers can see how well students are learning, answer their questions, tackle misconceptions and importantly engage with and ask individual students questions during the lessons. The response has been overwhelmingly positive from parents and students who enjoy the interaction with their teacher and being able to hear the feedback from their classmates. The best part of

this term so far was hearing one student remark: “It is the next best thing to being back in school.” While most of our students have five hours of unique online lessons, teachers are also supporting up to 90 vulnerable or pupils of critical workers in school every day. I know that families have suffered and are feeling the strain of juggling work while managing teenagers who do not want to be stuck at home all day. We’ve tried to keep up the relationships with students and families through weekly check-in calls so we can pick up any wellbeing or IT issues early. I’m very proud of my teachers and support staff who are working together to keep some semblance of normality and continuity for students, even keeping up the daily reading programme. I’d also like to thank parents who’ve taken the time to feedback on the difference timetabled learning is making to their lives at home. My advice to any parents who are struggling or have questions is to contact their school straight away; we are waiting to help and are looking forward to the day our schools are full of lively teenagers again. Principal at Bedminster Down, Mrs Debbie Gibbs


News Much-loved local pub up for sale The Victoria Park Pub, ‘adored by locals’, has been listed for sale. Owners Ei Publican Partnerships have published an ad ‘seeking an experienced publican who has catering experience and the ability to grow an already hugely successful business’. The pub is currently rated at 4 out of 5 stars on Tripadvisor and is particularly lauded for its ‘great Sunday roast’ and ‘gorgeous views,’ according to reviewers on the site. Ei elaborates: “Known for its fantastic garden that can seat 250 covers, the pub offers casual dining, a seasonal menu, and has year-round pizza ovens.” The pub also includes private accommodation with two bedrooms, a bathroom, lounge and kitchen. Ei cites potential turnover as £544,000 per annum, with a guide rent of £40,000 per annum.

Got a story for South Bristol Voice? Call Rich on 0777 555 0607 or email news@southbristolvoice.co.uk



February 2021


Farrah limbers up for 24-hour charity danceathon A local dance teacher and artist has set herself the gruelling challenge of a 24-hour danceathon to raise money for mental health and food banks. A local dance teacher and artist has set herself the gruelling challenge of a 24-hour danceathon to raise money for mental health and food banks. Farrah Fortnam, a mumof-two from Windmill Hill, will be livestreaming her day-long dancing session from her home, via her Facebook page, and will be encouraging others to join her virtually to help raise thousands for charity. The dance-enthusiast has set herself the ambitious - but by no means unreachable - target of £2,400 - £100 for each hour she dances. The two charities she will be raising money for are Mind and LIVE for Love UK, a campaign in aid of food banks. From Bollywood to classical music, hip-hop to popular dance anthems, Farrah has created a varied playlist to get her through the challenge which takes place on February 20, from 10am. She also plans to team up with several DJs for live sets. The coronavirus pandemic

has impacted many people’s mental health, says Farrah, so she hopes people will find joy by dancing along. Farrah is no stranger to tough dancing challenges, as last May she raised £1,600 for the NHS by dancing 16 hours from ‘dusk till dawn’. Now she hopes to up the ante by dancing for an extra eight hours. Farrah says that this is her ‘toughest challenge yet’. She told the South Bristol Voice: “I’m a bit worried as last time my calves were really burning by the end of it, but I love music so I’m going to push on through. I know so many people who are struggling with depression during these times, so I thought I’ve got to do this for mental health.” Farrah livestreams four fitness sessions a week from her Facebook page, so she hopes that this will help build up her fitness levels for the danceathon. She will be joined by her son and daughter, aged nine and six, who will take over from Farrah when she needs a quick break to refuel.  Outside of national lockdown, Farrah runs her energetic dance classes – including Bollywood Fit and Raving Fit for both adults and children – from the Windmill Hill Community Centre and often teaches Bollywood dancing at festivals. To join Farrah’s 24-hour danceathon, visit ‘Farrah’s Dance Workout’ on Facebook. To donate, visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/ farrahs24hrdanceathon

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VET BLOG with Avon Lodge Cats - If your cat prefers the Protecting outdoors, make sure they have a dry and draft-free place to pets in winter warm, shelter in the garden. Cats love

Elise Cole, head receptionist at Avon Lodge Dogs - Snow compacted between their toes is painful, salt can irritate paws and cause harm if licked. Thoroughly washing and drying your dog’s feet after a walk will help. Keep an eye out for ice; especially for elderly or arthritic dogs who may slip. Weather can affect visibility, make sure they have good recall and your pet’s microchip details are correct.

the taste of antifreeze but it is poisonous. Avoid spilling any and be sure to clean it up. Ingesting antifreeze causes vomiting, seizures, depression, difficulty breathing, a lack of coordination and death – symptoms can appear in 30 minutes. Rabbits & Guinea Pigs - Make sure rabbits and guinea pigs’ hutches are warm, well insulated, in a draft-free position with dry bedding and that there’s no damp. Water bottles can freeze overnight - insulate the bottle with bubble wrap. During really cold periods, think about bringing them indoors where it’s cosy.

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February 2021




with Ade Williams

Covid vaccines - are they safe?


he development and subsequent rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme have created much-needed optimism. However, with unsubstantiated claims of ill intent, pharma-company conspiracies and government deception, what is one to make of COVID-19 vaccine? Questioning ,no matter how unpopular, is part of logical decision-making processes. Is it safe to have the COVID-19 vaccine as it was developed and approved so quickly? The secret of the COVID-19 vaccine sprint is the global collaborative working and focus of world-leading scientists, supported by unprecedented funding levels — lots of money with £6bn spent by the UK government alone. China's sharing of details of the fully sequenced virus gene in January 2020 set off a race to develop testing processes and vaccines. This sort of openness, coupled with the ongoing sharing and scrutiny of the research process by the regulators, has helped to speed things up. Approval is by no means the end of the safety process. Every piece of emerging evidence and experience remains critically important.

What about these new mutations? Analysis of the new UK mutated variant has identified changes to the spike protein –the building blocks of our vaccines. At the moment, no evidence suggests that any of the three leading vaccines will be made ineffective by this mutation, although this will continue to be monitored.

Ade Williams of Bedminster Pharmacy discusses how pharmacies can help people with a variety of health conditions, and ease pressure on the NHS Is it true that the vaccine will modify my DNA? This is entirely false. The licensed Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and other vaccine candidates use modified RNA (mRNA) technology. The part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) coded to develop the vaccine is the recognisable spike proteins covering its surface. The mRNA cannot mix with your DNA. It does not alter our genetic code, and it does not cause unusual allergic reactions.

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The Covid-19 mass vaccination programme in Bristol is now ongoing. Seeking answers from reputable sources and having open discussions without boxing anyone into binary choices is the only way we respect each other’s choices. Covid-19 vaccination: your choice directly affects your loved ones and community. Let’s get it right and save lives. Bedminster Pharmacy. part of the NHS. is here to help.



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How long after the vaccination are you protected, and do you really need the multiple jab doses? It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. It is, therefore, possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and gets sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. It is not unusual for vaccines to require multiple doses – like the Meningitis B vaccines we provide.

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Got a story for South Bristol Voice? Call Rich on 0777 555 0607 or email news@southbristolvoice.co.uk


February 2021



In witch I swim on the wild side

I have a writer friend, a proper published one. Her latest play was about to be shown at Bristol Old Vic until Corona scuppered the plans. I am in awe of her. Mrs Writer is also a tiny bit crazy. She is in the process of completing a wild swim challenge (21 swims in open water), raising money for Misfits Theatre Company. “Come with me,” she dared. So I did. It was a cold, dark evening in December, I borrowed Himself’s extra-large wetsuit and was dismayed when it fit me snugly. I pulled it on halfway and waddled to the car. I blackmailed my teenager and the dog to come with me and made the journey to Clevedon. I don’t like that route, it’s dark and winding, but we made it and pulled alongside Mrs Writer’s car. “Is it just you and me?” I asked peering around the deserted car park. I had no idea what to expect but thought there might be an organised group with a lifeguard, pop-up

changing rooms and the ambiance by THE WICKED floodlights. “Oh yes, screeching as the WITCH OF just us,” she cackled water trickled into KNOWLE merrily whilst my wetsuit, but it heaving her stuff was fabulous to into a huge plastic stretch out and bucket which was swim after such a almost bigger than long time. her. With the light Mrs Writer from my phone, we chatted whilst gingerly navigated powering through the steps down to the Marine the water as I floated on my Lake. back, with my freezing hands There were ghostly shadows and feet pushed out into the of others lurking by the water’s slightly warmer night air. Lights edge, one was dangling a piece twinkled from across the Bristol of string into the water. Bit channel, the lake hugged me in dark to be crabbing? This was an icy embrace and I tried not to where I took the kids when think about what lurked beneath they were small. If I’m honest me. I’d always looked at the green Mrs Writer stopped suddenly tinged water and thought 'you’d and called: “Can you see the never get me jumping in that'. pontoon?”. We both spun in a Yet here I was, zipped up tight badly synchronised circle, eyes and tiptoeing barefoot down the straining. steps into water which was now a For a mad moment it felt as if forbidding black. we were in a scene from a horror Turns out Mr Crabby film, caught in a vortex, trapped was measuring the water in that lake for eternity. temperature; it was a balmy 4.9 We never did find the degrees. I must admit I did ruin pontoon, which was weird, but

we did get back to the blissful and relative warmth of dry land. As we clumsily dressed, almost impossible with numb fingers, another couple were getting in. They were hardcore, just in swimsuits towing colourfully lit floats. “We must do it again,” I lied to Mrs Writer as she threw the huge bucket of gear into her car. She laughed through the steamed up window, giving me a couple of jaunty toots in response. She’s one of life’s happy people. I sat for a while with the heater blowing hot on my icy face and wondered if that was the craziest thing I had ever done.

"Yet here I was, zipped up tight and tiptoeing barefoot down the steps into water which was now a forbidding black."


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February 2021


Support groups to improve mental wellbeing launch in south Bristol Community mental health charity, Changes Bristol, has launched five in-person peer support groups in south Bristol in partnership with Knowle West Health Park and BS3 Community. Changes Bristol - which provides free peer support groups to help improve people’s mental wellbeing - currently runs online support groups and a befriending phone service, but following feedback from members, a return to physical groups has been arranged. Since the first lockdown, Changes Bristol has seen three times as many new members accessing their services. The charity says that it has witnessed first-hand the rise of anxiety and isolation in people throughout the city. A spokesperson from the charity said: "With this in mind, looking after our mental health is more important than ever in this difficult time, and new government guidelines state that charities are able to continue running support groups in person. "Changes Bristol have put various security measures in place to ensure the health and

safety of everyone involved." The peer support groups are free to attend and available to anyone - there is no need for a diagnosis or referral. There is also no obligation to attend a number of groups, you can attend as many or as few as you wish. The Changes Bristol virtual groups will also continue for those who don’t feel ready to be in a room with others yet. The free peer support groups meet at the following places and times across BS3 and BS4: n Monday, 1-3pm Where: Ashton Vale Community Centre, Ashton Vale n Wednesday, 1.30-3.30pm Where: Redcatch Centre, Knowle n Wednesday, 7-9pm Where: United Reformed Church, Bedminster n Thursday, 1-3pm Where: St Cuthbert’s Church, Brislington For more details about these groups, visit: changesbristol.org. uk/alert-south-bristol-groupsopening-in-january. If you have any questions or concerns, get in touch with Jess at jessb@ changesbristol.org.uk.

n A NEW Liveable Neighbourhood group has formed across BS3. They want to hear from people who like to get involved and come up with ideas to improve their streets. Get involved at rebrand.ly/LNSurvey or via the Facebook groups Liveable Neighbourhoods for Southville and Bedminster or Liveable Neighbourhoods for Windmill Hill and Totterdown. BS3's Liveable Neighbourhoods group also wants to hear what local residents love about their street. Between February 6-14, people are being encouraged to make ‘love heart’ window displays and/or use chalk to write love heart messages on pavements telling everyone what you love about your street. Use the hashtag #liveableneighbourhoods to post pictures of your creative messages on Facebook and Twitter.


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February 2021



BS4 Wildlife Group

Bristol Animal Rescue Centre

Group to celebrate all things nature

Low-cost cat neutering service

S4 has a new wildlife group! Found on Facebook under ‘BS4 Wildlife’, the group was set up by a Brislington resident in October, and had already attracted its 200th member by early December. Its purpose is to celebrate and promote the wildlife and green spaces in the BS4 area – its parks, allotments, nature reserves and gardens. Members share photos of wildlife spotted, recommend walks and green places to visit, and local nature groups to get involved with. The group even inspired one member to set up a new Friends Group for beautiful, Victorian Arnos Court Park. The group is busy planning future projects. One we want to pursue as a priority is helping our hedgehogs. BS4’s numerous back alleys, nature reserves and parks mean we are in a good position to help our spiny-butvulnerable friends. The Greater Brislington Together website has advice and BS4 Wildlife will soon set up a spin-off BS4 Hedgehog Task Force to identify Hedgehog Champions and Hedgehog Streets in our area. Details will be published soon. Access to green space is essential for our health and wellbeing, and the ecological emergency declared by Bristol City Council calls on us to maintain these spaces for wildlife too. The BS4 Wildlife group aims to celebrate the biodiversity on our doorstep and inspire action to protect it. We hope to keep growing the numbers using our site across the whole of BS4. Please do like and follow us! Caroline Bolhoven, BS4 Wildlife Group Steering Group member

ristol Animal Rescue Centre are offering a low cost cat neutering scheme to help prevent thousands of unwanted and abandoned felines. The charity says that the restricted access to neutering due to COVID-19 is likely to result in an increased number of owned, stray and feral cats giving birth. With every female cat capable of two or more litters per year, many thousands of extra kittens could sadly lead to unwanted and abandoned felines further down the line. Bristol A.R.C.’s in-house vet team is therefore stepping in to help with a new cat neutering initiative. During the first lockdown, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) asked vets across the UK to provide emergency and essential treatment only, and practices were not able to offer routine services such as neutering. This has led to a backlog in cats needing to be spayed and castrated. Even now, many owners are struggling to access appointments for neutering, as Covid safety measures mean vets are still concentrating their resources on more urgent cases. Low-cost neutering is even more difficult to access at the moment. Dr Damian Pacini, Senior Vet at Bristol A.R.C., said, “Vets and animal welfare charities are advising owners to keep unneutered cats indoors to prevent unplanned litters, and we would agree with this advice. However, over an extended period that can be very hard on both the cat and the owner. We wanted to find a solution to get cats enjoying the great outdoors and living their best lives as soon as possible, rather than annoying home-workers by insisting on lying on the laptop! Neutering has significant health benefits as well, in both female and tom cats.” Bristol Animal Rescue Centre have been helping animals in need in Bristol and the surrounding areas since 1887, from taking in and finding homes for strays and unwanted pets, to rescuing injured and unwell wildlife and running outreach clinics throughout Bristol. In response to Covid-19, they are now delighted to be able to launch this new low-cost cat neutering service to eligible cat owners on low-incomes, further details are on their website www.bristolarc.org.uk including information about accessing these services in a Covid-safe way. Cat spays will be £45 and castrations £35 for cat owners in receipt of a variety of means-tested benefits. A free microchip is also included. Dr Pacini said “We know there are lots of people out there struggling both financially and mentally at the moment and their pets are incredibly important to them, possibly more so now than ever. We all know our feline friends never fail to make us smile, even when times are hard. We’re hoping these reduced fees for neutering will take at least some of the worries away.” He added: “We’re also partnering with other local charities such as Bristol Branch Cats Protection and Bristol and Wales Cat Rescue to make sure there is access to neutering for all owners, and for stray and feral rescue cats as well. Simply contact the team on 0117 9724567 Mon – Fri between 9 – 4pm to find out if you are eligible, make an appointment or request further details. Do please note though that our capacity is limited so there may be a waiting list, and given the rapidly changing situation we may have to suspend the scheme at short notice if further Covid-19 restrictions come into force locally, we would encourage cat owners to call us and talk to our team to find out more.”


BS4 Wildlife Group: www.facebook.com/groups/bs4wildlife www.facebook.com/groups/bs4wildlife/about Friends of Arnos Court Park FB page: www.facebook.com/groups/718708475350789 GBT hedgehog page: www.greaterbrislington.org/get-involved/hedgehog-streets/


l 2020 was an incredibly difficult year, and the new year has continued to be challenging. However, Bristol A.R.C. wants everyone to know that they are still here to help Bristol’s pets and pet owners. No matter the circumstance, they will do everything they can to help. To find out more about Bristol A.R.C. and the work they do to support local animals in need please visit www.bristolarc.org.uk or join them on their social media channels. • Facebook: www.facebook.com/Bristolanimalrescuecentre • Instagram: www.instagram.com/bristol_arc • Twitter: https://twitter.com/Bristol_ARC

To advertise, contact sales@southbristolvoice.co.uk or Ruth on 07590 527664

February 2021



PUZZLES for all


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Down 2. 26262 3. 24378688 5. 32669 7. 2926 8. 7829



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Easier suduko Solution Y


Each row, column and square (4 spaces each) needs to be filled out with the numbers 1-4, without repeating any numbers within the row, column or square.


Theme: Colours

Use the phone keypad to decode the clues. For example: 2 could be A, B or C ... and 5678 could be LOST





3 2 4 8 3 2 9 1 1 6


9 6 5 9



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For younger readers

Each row, column and square (9 spaces each) needs to be filled out with the numbers 1-9, without repeating any numbers within the row, column or square.



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Got a story for South Bristol Voice? Call Rich on 0777 555 0607 or email news@southbristolvoice.co.uk

February 2021



Views from your local councillors Stephen Clarke Green Party Southville


t’s a big year politically in Bristol with lots of elections planned for May. Bristol’s Mayor, WECA’s Mayor, the Police and Crime Commissioner, plus all the local councillors. This means that all the politicians will be listening extra hard for the next few months as they chase your vote. So what are the important issues for us to be talking to them about? Clean Air - The situation seems to be coming clearer (rather like the air we hope) in that the city has put forward plans for a ‘small’ charging zone in central Bristol (including Coronation Rd) for more polluting vehicles. We don’t yet know the details of the charges or any exemptions but the scheme is likely to come into force later this year. Even then, there will remain

problems; ‘legal-air’ is not the same as clean air and some of the problem hot-spots, such as near Parsons Street railway station and the primary school will be outside the zone. Bedminster Green - More plans are coming forward from the developers in Bedminster Green. The original St Catherine’s proposals, which were turned down mainly because they were considered too tall and dominant, are now going to a public planning inquiry at the end of January (we are told). Confusingly; the same developers also have a (less tall) scheme for the same site going through the planning system. We understand that the rejected Pring St Hill plans, which are largely for tall student blocks, are also being appealed. The airport - the council has said the planned airport expansion must not go ahead. The airport has appealed the refusal of their plans and a public inquiry will happen in July. Consultation is open; make comments by Feb 22 to leanne. palmer@planninginspectorate. gov.uk. Ref 3259234.

Mark Bradshaw Labour Bedminster


ehicle crime escalation: Bedminster, together with neighbouring areas, has been experiencing a spate of car crime, mainly damage to vehicles and theft of items. The police have taken action to tackle this and we have had a briefing with the local policing team about the rise in this crime. It is important that anyone who has experienced damage to their vehicle should report this to the police. Useful advice on protecting your vehicle can be found at: securedbydesign.com/guidance/ crime-prevention-advice/ vehicle-crime/car-security and crimestoppers-uk.org/keepingsafe/vehicle-safety Working all the time for Bedminster: Although we cannot hold our regular surgeries during the Covid pandemic, we are active in

addressing casework and fixing problems residents are raising and ones that we are spotting across the ward. There is not space in this column to catalogue everything we do, but getting repairs done to highways, street furniture and dealing with flytipping are examples. These can also be reported using various forms on the council website. We are contactable via email, phone or through Facebook: @MarkandCeliaforBedminster Problem junctions: We have been highlighting with the council several problem junctions across Bedminster, most notably the one on Winterstoke Road near Luckwell Road. We have asked officers to get contractors to repaint the yellow box and filter lane markings at this complicated junction. Longer term, we have asked for the junction to be re-designed and for a pedestrian crossing to be added. Covid vaccines: latest information and advice in our local area can be found at: bridgeviewmedical.nhs.uk/ patient-information/covid-19vaccination

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February 2021



Views from your local councillors Gary Hopkins Lib Dem Knowle


owards the end of February Bristol councillors will debate its future budget. The meeting has the legal duty to fix the rate of council tax but as that has gone up by the legal limit every year since the mayor system came in, we can guess which way that is going. Over the last few years Liberal Democrats have put in amendment proposals that have been derided by Labour and then for the most part quietly accepted later in the year.This year we will be proposing more spending on outdoor play facilities for children, a rescue plan for the failing special educational needs service and investment into swimming. The money would quite simply come from reducing the staggeringly expensive mayor’s office which has eaten up millions of pounds of much-needed

council revenue. Of course there is a lot of cash that is just not there. Huge daily rates paid for consultants, pay-offs to ex staff who should never have been employed at all, are part of a long list. The mayor constantly blames central government and more recently Covid for his cuts and failures but both of these issues are dwarfed by his failed gamble on Bristol Energy company. Not only has the mayor wasted over £50m+ on this wholly owned company launched by himself in 2016 but he has consistently attempted to mislead the public about what actually happened and who is responsible. Every Labour councillor voted to block an independent enquiry that we called for but now the council’s independent auditors have published a damning judgement not only on the bad decisions taken but the poor governance and cover up. We recommend a search on the council website if you want to know why you cannot get the services you expect.

Lucy Whittle Labour Windmill Hill


ubilee Pool: Following weeks of meetings and discussions, the council has finally confirmed that Jubilee Pool in Knowle will be reopening as soon as Covid restrictions allow. This is a massive relief for the community of users, for which it provides an easily accessible facility that benefits physical and mental health. When the lockdown measures eventually ease and we are able to return to normal lives, local facilities like this will be essential and with more people working from home, local facilities will become ever more valuable. Unfortunately, the contract on the pool only runs until 2022 at which point the likelihood is that there will be a need for a private provider to take on the pool or a community asset transfer to take place. We will continue working with other councillors, the mayor

and the community over the next yet to secure the longer term future of the pool. Air Pollution: In response to the many messages and emails we receive about concerns about air quality, Jon submitted a motion to full council this month about the urgent need for stronger measures in the light of the legal ruling around the death of Ella Kissah-Debrah, a nine year old from London, the first death of a child to be explicitly attributed to poor air quality. Unfortunately there was not time to hear the motion but this is an issue that we take very seriously and we continue to meet with officials and the mayor's office to ensure that people in Windmill Hill’s health is not compromised. The proposed Clean Air Zone is a good start but does not cover our area. We believe that this needs to be the beginning of work to make our city’s health the number one priority and to do this we need money from central government to allow us to make it happen.

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South Bristol Voice February 2021  

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South Bristol Voice February 2021