Monday, 29 June 2009

24% of people in Breckland think they can influence how things are run

I found the last statistic given in this article on the EDP website very interesting. "On the outskirts of Norwich, 82pc of people under Breckland Council, were happy with their area as a place to live; half were satisfied with the way the council runs things; 42pc felt the council provided value for money and less than a quarter, 24pc felt they could influence the way things were run". Indeed, I think we have a democratic defecit in Breckland.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Abbey Barns - success!

Have just heard, the Abbey Barns issue WILL be called in by the Secretary of State. Fantastic news.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

KAVO Membership Form

My new role at Keystone is supporting voluntary and community groups in the Keystone area, called K.A.V.O - Keystone Area Voluntary Organisations. It provides advice to groups, help with funding applications, training services, networking opportunities etc. Click the link above to download and complete the KAVO Membership Form if you are put of a group and would like to join.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Community Football Project going very well!

Here is a picture from what I think is probably one of my favourite projects at the moment. Last year, a funding application submitted to the Football Foundation was approved and the Thetford Community Association was awarded £8,000 plus £2,000 from Norfolk Community Foundation to run football coaching sessions at the Ballpark on the Redcastle Estate for two years. We launched the project in March of this year, having first recruited three coaches - all of which live local. We worked through risk assessments, produced session registers, membership forms and we registered as an 'employer' for payroll and everything that goes with that. The sessions now take place every Tuesday and Thursday. There are regularly 25-30 youngsters aged 10-15 years attending - mainly boys. Tonight, there were 36 youngsters - too many in fact! This project has been achieved by a committee of about 5 people, absolutely amazing. Credit also to the three coaches, who are working hard to make this project a success. £10,000 for this project is peanuts in the world of funding, but look how far it can go - 180 sessions, 25-30 youngsters engaged for 2 hours at every session, new skills taught, addressing behaviour, providing suitable role models, improving confidence and self esteem, encouraging healthier lifestyles etc etc etc, this sort of activity is not rocket science, it should be happening all the time in a community like Thetford where 25% of the population is under 16. Let's hope for more successes in the future

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Monday, 8 June 2009

Thetford-West Result

Well, I was unsuccesful in my attempt to become the next Norfolk County Councillor for Thetford-West. Initially I was very disappointed, it is afterall something I have put a lot of time and effort into for a long while, but then given the national situation, and loss of 19 Labour seats in Norfolk, in hindsight it was rather inevitable! I may sound very anti-Conservative when I say this, but I was delighted that the seat was at least won by the Liberal Democrats. I do not think councils work well when they are hugely controlled by one political party, there is no room for debate or discussion, refining policy or ideas, just look at Breckland Council - 48 Tories out of 54 councillors. And now, Norfolk has 60 tories out of 84 councillors. However, I polled a respectable 706 votes on a turnout of 28% - I suspect out of the 72% of people that didn't vote there would be a large number of labour voters there sitting on their hands refusing to go and support the Government, and numerous voters around my age (18-30) who are just oblivious to the democratic process. I lost count in this campaign how many people I had to sit down and explain how to vote, i.e. simply how to walk into a polling station, what to do etc. As with the by-election last year, and again this year, I am very pleased to have managed to motivate people to vote who do not normally, or have never voted! I think at least 30 people voted for me last Thursday who rarely, or more realistically, never vote. I was pleased that I seemed to do far better on the Saxon Ward half of the Thetford-West seat. I assume anyway, can't know for sure. But the Labour vote was particularly poor for the Abbey Ward by-election, just 256 votes, so if people voted the same for the county election, it meant I got roughly 450 votes for the Saxon Ward half of Thetford-West and 256 on the Abbey half (Mike Brindle, Lib Dem, also won that seat so is now on the Town Council and Norfolk Council all in one go!). I live to fight another day, I'm still on Thetford Town Council, I am still employed as a community worker in Thetford, and I am as determined as ever to work to improve Thetford, and this will probably mean standing in future elections! It goes without saying, but I wish the two new Thetford County Councillors all the best, and our two new town councillors! Interesting times ahead :) All results here -