Friday, 22 July 2016

Wapley Bushes wins major environmental award for fourth year running


Wapley Bushes has just won the Green Flag Community Award, the only such award in South Gloucestershire. Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve, Wapley Common and the Orchard for the Future form one of the very best green spaces in the UK – and that’s official. The green space is among a record-breaking 1,686 places that have received the prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality park or green space.


A Green Flag is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities. The Community Award recognises sites that are largely managed by community groups, in this case the volunteers of Wapley Bushes Conservation Group.


The award, now celebrating its 20th year, recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. Wapley's Green Flag was presented yesterday at the regional Green Flag Award event in Cheltenham. This is the fourth year running that Wapley has succeeded in gaining this award.

"Olympic" Themed Sports Days for Years 3 to 6

Dodington Parish Council and Sports 1st Ltd are running Olympic Sports Days at the Playing Field in Kelston Close, next to Abbotswood School, FREE OF CHARGE for pupils in years 3, 4, 5 and 6 - running, long jump, javelin, shot put and many other events. 

The events are on Tuesday 26th July, Thursday 28th July, Tuesday 23rd August and Thursday 25th August. All children will need to be dropped off at 9:45am for registration and parents/carers will need to register them on the day. All children will need trainers, suitable clothing for all weathers and a packed lunch. Please note that parents must return to pick their children up at 4:00pm sharp.

There will be no charge for the children to take part as Dodington Parish Council have very kindly funded the tournament, which includes use of a kit for the teams and medals for the winning teams. The coaches at the tournament have been provided by Sports 1st Ltd, a sports coaching company working in over 80 schools in South Gloucestershire. All coaches are DBS checked, fully qualified and insured.

Full details and registration form are on the Dodington Parish Council website at http://www.dodingtonpc.org.uk/public/Olympic.pdf. Many children have already been pre-registered through the schools, but any remaining spaces will be allocated on a first come, first served basis on the day.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Local councillor Claire Young to stand for Parliament


Liberal Democrats in Thornbury and Yate have announced that their new Parliamentary Candidate is Councillor Claire Young.  A well known local campaigner, she will lead the party's activity across the constituency, replacing Steve Webb who recently announced he would not be continuing in the role. Claire Young was elected following a ballot of local Lib dem members.

Steve Webb said: "I have known and worked closely with Claire for many years and she has been at the centre of all we have been doing with local people. I am delighted to be passing on the baton to someone who is as energetic and committed to the community as Claire Young. I will be giving her my full support in the urgent work to be done to help our country and community."

Claire Young said: "Steve has been a rock for our community and brought improvements in the lives of so many people locally and nationally. I am humbled by the confidence people have placed in me. Over the years I have met so many lovely people working together for our community I am really looking forward to my changed role in that work. There is a lot to be done, giving people control over their lives, helping those who are struggling to keep their heads above water, finding new ways to avoid the effects of the terrible cuts Tories have been imposing on our community. "

She has already launched her first major campaign, asking people to 'Tell Claire' what they most want done to help them - "It may be a local problem, it may be a service that needs improving, or it may be getting some aspect of the state off people's backs. People want control over their own lives, but with access to support when they need it. The new prime minister has promised to give people control, but many people will remember Mrs Thatcher's nice words when she was elected, and she did nothing to provide the support people want in times of trouble. Only Liberal Democrats are fully committed to that balance of giving people control over their own lives, but making sure there is support available when you need it"

Claire added: "The party locally has been going from strength to strength recently, with a massive influx of members, particularly young people determined to use their energy to help build the future for them and their families. The party now has more members than at any time in over a decade"

Claire Young is a very familiar face in our area. She has been the Liberal Democrat Councillor for Westerleigh Ward since 2007, and is Deputy Leader for the Liberal Democrats on South Gloucestershire Council. She lives locally in Coalpit Heath with her family.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Black bin size cut, capacity almost halved

On Wednesday, the Conservatives and Labour voted to go ahead with the new waste strategy for South Glos.

Your Focus Team welcomed the weekly recycling collections and the flexibility that residents will be given to choose boxes or bags for keeping their recycling in. When the draft strategy proposed switching everyone to boxes we raised concerns about people who have limited space and local people made the same point in the consultation. We also welcomed the reintroduction of a reusable nappy incentive scheme, which we hope will help more parents switch from disposable nappies.

The strategy also includes replacing the current 240 litre black bins with 140 litre ones, despite other local authorities having opted for 180 litres. North Somerset for example has managed to achieve a better recycling rate with 180 litre black bins. We are worried that 140 litres may be a step too far.

We are also very concerned about the new disposable nappy service, that will mean parents who can't fit used nappies in their new smaller bin will have to leave them in special bags out on the street. We are worried that animals will be able to get in, the smell will get out and if the waste teams find they contain anything other than nappies they will refuse to take them, leaving them for the following fortnight's collection.

We proposed an amendment that instead of creating a new service, with all the costs of providing the bags, would have let families with small children keep their 240 litre bins until their children were 3 years old. This would have been simpler for residents and the waste crews and would have meant used nappies were still in a solid bin. Unfortunately this was voted down. We hope that having heard our concerns council officials will keep a close eye on how this service works in practice.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Steve Webb decides not to stand again as MP

Flashback: Steve Webb and team celebrating the go-ahead for Yate cinema

Our popular former long-serving MP Steve Webb, who was narrowly defeated at the 2015 General Election, has announced he will not be seeking re-selection. Instead he will continue his local work as part of a new candidate’s team.

Thornbury and Yate Liberal Democrats have just announced that they will select Steve's successor as Parliamentary Candidate on 15th July. 

With speculation mounting about a possible snap election, Steve said “It has been a huge privilege to serve the people of this area for eighteen years.  In that time, I have met so many committed campaigners and selfless individuals who give so much to their local community.  I also owe a huge debt to my team in the constituency office and to our active local campaigners who have taught me so much.  Our strong team of local councillors and campaigners and our new candidate for Parliament will continue to have my wholehearted support”

South Glos Council leader, Ruth Davis, said "It is impossible to put into words our gratitude to Steve on behalf of our community and the countless people he and the team have helped. He has built a really strong team of people committed to the needs of our residents. That team is carrying on the work, with him as part of it. Since the Referendum we have been staggered by the large number of  people coming forward to join the party locally. We had a massive growth in membership just after the general election and that has happened again this year.  So we are in a stronger position than ever and ready for the challenges the country faces"

Steve Webb was MP for Northavon and then for Thornbury & Yate from 1997 to 2015 and Minister for Pensions from 2010 to 2015. As well as his highly-regarded work on pensions, Steve has been a passionate local campaigner, working alongside local people to deliver a cinema for Yate and improved bus services to Southmead Hospital, fighting cuts to local services and raising local issues in the House of Commons. He still lives with his family near Thornbury.

At the last General Election the Lib Dems were defeated in this constituency by just 1495 votes, making this seat the closest fought between Lib Dems and Conservatives in the whole South West.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Safer Stronger meeting coming up

The next Yate and Chipping Sodbury Community Engagement Forum - formerly known as the Safer Stronger Community Group - will be held on Monday 4th July at 7pm in the St Nicholas Family Centre, Chargrove, Yate BS37 4LG.

Please come along and meet local councillors and council staff, the police, Avon Fire and Rescue and others to discuss local matters of concern and to try to come up with solutions.

Before the meeting - from 6pm - there will be a “Have a Safer Summer” event with advice from such agencies as the Police, Fire Brigade and Crime Prevention.

Monday, 27 June 2016

What next after the referendum?

South Gloucestershire, like the country as a whole, has voted narrowly to leave the European Union. The official result in our area was:

Remain: 74,928 (47.3%)
Leave: 83,405 (52.7%)
Turnout: 76.2%

Your Focus Team campaigned positively with people of other parties and none for the UK to remain in the European Union, so of course we are disappointed. Now the momentous decision has been made to leave, we will continue to work to get the best for local people as our country takes the next steps. Now we need to work together to reconcile the divisions this referendum has highlighted.

If you would like to help, please consider joining the Liberal Democrats- more than 7000 new members have already joined since the referendum.

Membership may cost less than you think - check out our Frequently Asked Questions here.