Page 20

November 2017





It’s World Adoption Day on November 9. With increased numbers of children needing a new family, we asked a South Bristol mum with adopted children to talk about her experiences


THINK the pros of adoption are very similar to those of birth families. We all love to see growth, improvement, achievement, happiness and determination in children, and this is no different in adopted families. Our targets and goals may be very different, even years behind a child’s expected age, but they are generally similar. But the cons of adoption … having Googled this topic, I am proud to say I disagree with most of the people voicing an opinion. Among the problems they suggest are the length of time it takes to be approved as an adoptive parent; having social services nosing in your home; that the child might not match your appearance; and paperwork issues. None of this bothered me. I think the cons of adoption are more emotional. I feel that I’m not good enough in my

Hidden fears: Some children feel they don’t deserve to be looked after

Adoption: the pain, and the rewards children’s eyes because I’m not their “real mum”. I stand out in the parenting crowd and get frowned upon by the school playground cliques for being stricter than them. I worry the kids won’t ever love me. These fears cause me real anxiety. On a good day when things have gone well, I sit and contemplate my kids in a calm and logical fashion over a cuppa and a biscuit. But on a day where nothing has gone right, where

I’ve been under attack, pre-and post-school, with the most hurtful and unfair comments screamed at me with venomous rage, I berate myself and reaffirm every rubbish thing anyone ever said to me. Only last night, when I was told that I was a rubbish mum who no one loved, I agreed, while sobbing in to my cup of tea, that yes, I must be, because clearly these kids aren’t improving and it must be down to me. However,

POLICE REPORT We’re cracking down on cars blocking paths


T’S HARD to believe that we are already a month or so away from Christmas. Michelle Hibberd, a PCSO for Ashton Vale, recently organised a small operation in response to complaints from businesses about people parking on Ashton Vale Road, where vehicles were being left with all four wheels on the pavement, preventing members of the public from using the footpaths. The team spoke to every business on Ashton Vale Road and later

With PCSO Charlotte Tait Broadbury Road police station

placed warning leaflets on to vehicles. We are now issuing tickets to those people who continue to selfishly block the pavement.

Mondays. However, we could do with more cadet leaders. If you are interested, please email policecadets@avonandsomerset. police.uk for more information.

icensing checks have recently been conducted at local pubs and bars. These checks are part of the work we do to support our establishments in providing a safer working environment as well as highlighting action we take in relation to anyone handling stolen goods.

e are once again opening up our popular Cop Shop in the Galleries this Christmas, to help Christmas shoppers stay safe. Our shop will be on the ground floor, next door to Thorntons and this year we are sharing the space with our partners in Avon Fire and Rescue, as well as with Cycle Republic, Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, and Wessex 4x4 Response. As well as crime prevention advice, we will be running competitions for both younger



re there any adults who would be interested in volunteering with Police Cadets? We have a cadet group for Bristol South that runs on

having thought about it, although my emotions take a battering hourly, I truly believe the cons of adoption all belong to my children. Always feeling slightly different – yes, they do feel that. Worrying about being loved – definitely one of the most frequent comments out of their mouths. Not being able to handle tricky situations. Yes – any time they are challenged with situations that typically make adopted children feel insecure, they panic about how best to handle themselves. More often than not they choose flight mode out of the alternatives – fight, flight or freeze. Their anxiety gets the better of them on an almost hourly basis some days. And finally, there is the fear of never being good enough. This is 100 per cent a fear for my kids. Imagine feeling you are not good enough for your family, these people who have taken you in and tried their best to help. How can you be good enough for the toys and warmth and food they give when no one ever thought you were before? That must be a dark and lonely place to live. Of course my kids are more than good enough for me – they are wonderful, crazy, annoying, frustrating, exciting, happy, loving people who will always be a credit to this family no matter what – because they try their best. And surely that’s all anyone ever wants from their children, isn’t it?”


and older children and will be inviting shoppers to become detectives, following the clues through our mocked-up crime scene. Shoppers can also spread a bit of festive cheer by leaving a present under our tree for young people spending Christmas in hospital, as part of the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal. Last year we had nearly 4,000 visitors to the shop and we hope to see even more people this year. The Cop Shop opens on November 27 and closes on December 23. Opening hours are 9.30am to 6pm. Follow #CopShop on Twitter and post your #PoliceSelfies with officers at the shop. Until next time, PCSO Charlotte Tait

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

November 2017



39 Write to paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk or to 18 Lilymead Avenue, BS4 2BX

Council should call the bluff on developers’ gamble NICOLA Beech, cabinet member for urban design, was quoted in the October issue of South Bristol Voice as saying that people (like myself) who have their own home might want to think about “the thousands of people in this city living in poor accommodation or still living with their parents because they cannot get a foot on the housing ladder”. Has she not read the Community Planning Brief for the Bedminster Green area drawn up with considerable effort and expertise by WHaM, the Windmill Hill and Malago planning group? Believe it or not, we also have children who need somewhere to live. There is nothing we would like better than this area being densely developed with a good variety of different sizes of flats – family homes as well as one and two bedroom flats (she knows perfectly well that a “two-bed flat” in a modern private development means one small double bedroom and a box room – not suitable for families.)

And there should be a variety of tenures available – social housing, affordable both to rent and buy (though we all know what “affordable” means.) If the council does not get a grip on this area it will become a barren estate of transient professionals with no desire or possibility of putting down roots.       Cllr Beech, of all people, as cabinet member for urban design, should know this. Urban design can be so much more intelligent, varied and inclusive, and still provide for high numbers of units. And history tells us that high-rise only works if it is built to a very high standard and maintained as such, at considerable expense to the tenants. Who are these poor people you say you care about so much who will be able to afford to live there, Cllr Beech?       In the long run, these uncontrolled private developments, not built to the highest standard, will be soulless and sterile. Those who stay, and those of us who live on Windmill

Hill and in the flats on Malago Road, will not thank the council in 10 years time for caving in to developers now. Make them show their calculations – why only 10-plus storeys can be profitable here, when 4/5/6 storeys have been enough on other sites in Bedminster. They are exploiting the council’s admirable declared policy to build lots of houses, and the very real social misery of a housing crisis, to obscenely maximise their profits.   The council should call the bluff of these developers. They have gambled. But gamblers have to accept that sometimes they lose. They must have overpaid to get their hands on these plots; now they expect us to bail them out. Believe it or not, this is a well-loved area. If the council wants to hit its housing target in one go, surely it would be better to erect tall tower blocks on part of the Downs – a much larger area of open space. A few acres could be spared. The local inhabitants have other parks and generally much larger gardens

than we do. But perhaps they and the developers have more influence than we inhabitants of Bedminster do, even with a left Labour council. Finally, a comment on the energy centre proposed for the site. At the consultation meeting on October 19 it was stated that on a still day the nitrogen dioxide emissions plume from the chimney, cleaned up as much as possible of course, will fall over an area of about one square kilometre. That means about half a mile in all directions from the chimney, having been ejected to a good height. We all know what happens in the summer when high pressure settles over the city. Bristol is down in a hole (and the proposed site is as low as you can go). A lid gets put on the pollution. It doesn’t get dispersed and levels rise alarmingly. From Windmill Hill the dirty soup of pollution is visible on sunny summer days. Do we have to pray for permanent low pressure and wind? Gareth Jones, Windmill Hill

Drugs policy isn’t working

regularly see piles of laughing gas canisters enjoyed by youths the previous evening. I thought they were banned as well? M Arkee, Knowle

any qualification at Level 4 and above ... Most courses are taught in universities, but plenty are taught at colleges and specialist course providers …” This important issue aside, I fully support any effort to create equality of opportunity for our children, but it is condescending to automatically conclude from the low university entrant figures alone that there remains a lack of opportunity. There are plenty of families, including my own, who know university might be an option for their children but do not regard it as an opportunity too good to pass up. Karin Smyth’s hand-wringing reinforces the decades old two-tiered view – that university is better, and those who could go, should go, to better themselves. It is high time we start to recognise equality in post-school choices, view the options as lanes of equal value rather than tiers, and applaud and encourage those who do not go to university as much as those who do. If our low figures can be shown to be due to a lack of access then we should certainly attempt a fix, but we must respect people’s

choices, and in our language we must avoid the damaging connotation that university is always the superior path. Ed Pitt Resident, Bristol South parliamentary constituency

I NOTE your article about the impact of drug dealing in our neighbourhood in the last issue. You make the point, or rather the police do, that so-called soft drugs can have very severe consequences, both in terms of dangerous side-effects and the criminality that results. Since your piece was published, I see that no fewer than four homeless people have died in the city centre after taking spice. The police made the point in your article that you never know what you are buying with spice – its ingredients and its strength are a lottery. This, surely, makes the case for legalising the drugs trade. Then we might get some quality control, and future tragedies could be avoided. That the current policy is useless is shown by the fact that though spice was supposedly banned last year it is still readily available. And on the streets round me in Knowle I still

Not everyone has to go to uni IN YOUR most recent edition Karin Smyth laments that we “send” the fewest schoolleavers to university of any UK parliamentary constituency. She intimates that the proportion of “white working class” families in Bristol South is a significant factor. She states that “huge sums have been spent … to improve access to higher education from groups that are traditionally under-represented” and then that “things still haven’t shifted as they should”. Higher education and university are not synonymous. UCAS defines higher education thus: “UK higher education offers a diverse range of courses and qualifications, such as first degrees, Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), and foundation degrees. It includes

Your stamps can save sight RETINITIS pigmentosa (RP) is a group of hereditary disorders that affect the retina, situated at the back of the eye. RP leads to a gradual loss of vision, and it can affect any age group, from children to adults. RP Fighting Blindness and the Macular Society have a new collaboration to fund talented young PhD students to carry out research in the field of genetic macular diseases. You can help us by sending us your used postage stamps. Stamps cut outside the perforations will earn the charity more. We are also grateful for any unwanted stamp collections, old and foreign coins. Ron & Gina Pritchard 22 Huckford Road Bristol BS36 1EA

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk

Profile for South Bristol Voice

South Bristol Voice Bedminster November 2017  

South Bristol Voice Bedminster November 2017