Holywells Park

People sometimes say “I’ve never been into Holywells Park” and, because I see it every day, I look with utter surprise that they consider to be the most beautiful park in our town – or indeed in the whole of the UK! Although a lot of money has been pumped into our Park, it still remains that beautiful, peaceful, restful place.

Moreover, it is a very busy Park and has a very active Friends’ Group. I am the secretary and have been for a long time. I first joined the group back in 2000 and we have gone from strength to strength. All of us have a deep love of the Park and have become long-lasting friends.

This year we started with a Wassail event. Very low key but it was held on January 6th (the Twelfth Night) and it took place in the Orchard, which was given to the Friends years ago by the Council. We held hands and walked around the apple trees, singing and giving thanks to health of the trees, in the hope that they will provide a bountiful harvest in the autumn.

The Friends have a full schedule for this year, starting with a Spring Event on 23rd March, which will be a great event with nature trails, an egg roll and other interesting activities – all a little secret at the moment. Come along and see what we have to offer and what fun it can be. The Welcome Spring Event is from midday to 3 pm.

Whilst the Friends’ Group are busy with events, so are the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. By the time you read this article, they will have run weekly Wild Tots sessions in the Park, allowing young children to explore. They also run practical conservation activities for young people aged 11 to 14, including surveying skills and citizen science projects.

So back to how these events are run:
The Friends’ Group make a very minimal charge for refreshments and admission and only ask for donations. Everyone gives up their own time to prepare for these events and behind the scenes it really does take a lot of organisation. At the same time, Ipswich Borough Council run events and the Friends will help with these days by providing refreshments – this includes the Well event which is in April and always very popular.

Do look at our website to see what we are offering in the Park and come along.

FRIENDS OF HOLYWELLS PARK EVENTS:
Saturday 23nd March, 12:00-14:00:             WELCOME SPRING
Sunday 7th April, 12:00-15:00:                      HOLI (FESTIVAL OF COLOURS)
Saturday 22nd June, 14:00-16:00:                SCARECROWS AND BLOSSOM

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Conservative Response to Labour’s Borough Budget

20190301_133725The following speech was made by Cllr Eddy Phillips, Shadow Finance Portfolio Holder & Deputy Group Leader of IBC Conservative Group, on 27 February 2019.

Yet another year and the same story we are seeing from Ipswich Labour and their so-called balanced budget. Much of Cllr Ellesmere’s intro was a copy and paste job from last year and the year before.

So I’m going to again do what I do every year as I highlight some of their failings in certain areas where one might expect income to be improving and closing the gap on expenses. Yet the Regent Theatre income is now £13k down and £90k down on 2 years ago. Sports and leisure cost £1.45m last year, now it has increased to £1.85m.

Income from corporate properties is down £300,000.

Car park income is down by £100,000.

Income from HEARS is down by £50,000.

New homes bonus income from govt is down, hardly surprising when Labour run IBC is not building the homes it promises either by its own target or even for private developers due to its inability to engage with developers in a positive manner .

In the year 2017 to 2018, the private sector delivered 80 homes, housing associations 10 and IBC 7. In 2011-12, private developers delivered 200, housing authorities 90 and council none. Cllr M Cook indicated 221 private sector homes are expected to be delivered this year, and up to 467 in 3 years. How when the numbers are so low? It was this Conservative government that tore up Labour’s restrictions on council house building.

So how does Labour intend to balance their budget this year: they have allocated a challenging £5.3m of savings in their big ticket programme, of which two thirds comes under the rather unclear title of Service Efficiencies and income.

As usual, Labour are increasing their portion of council tax by the maximum they can. OK, so SCC and the PCC are doing so also, but I can’t imagine in their election leaflets, Labour will point out that the SCC has a budget of £519m against IBC of about £19m, 27 times smaller, therefore hardly surprising that your contribution to SCC is bigger.

Nor will Labour tell voters that 75% of SCC funding is spent on adults and children’s services nor will they tell them highways has a budget of £46m.

But back to Labour, always increasing CT by as much as they can get away with. Let’s not forget their 33% increase in SCC CT between 2002 and 2004, and on IBC 23% in the same period.

Thanks to Conservatives being in government since 2010, we have kept CT increases at capped levels to help out hard-working families across the country, which has been 2 or 3% excluding the social care levy.

Labour tell you how hard up they are. Yet they keep over-estimating how much they intend to spend and when it comes it at substantial underspends, they squirrel the money away or give it to their arms length companies, where all transparency ceases. And pat themselves on the back for their way of manipulating their spending.

There is scope to improve income but their attitude of protectionism and inadequate co-operation with other local authorities, creates their sense of doom and gloom.

Why have we not presented any alternative budget this year? Well Cllr Abbot came up with a single proposal at SCC’s budget meeting, but our view is that we don’t want to waste officer time on something that will be voted down ! We would simply start afresh from top to bottom if we were running IBC.

I was pleased to hear Cllr Carole Jones thanking the CONSERVATIVE government for granting £10m for infrastructure work at the garden suburb development (Northern Fringe).

Cllr McDonald commented on the delayed development at Ravenswood UVW and blaming us. However the housing WOULD have been delivered years ago if Labour had worked with the Ravenswood Residents Association on coming to an agreed consensus on the tenure mix.

 

Carol Service

Back in the summer, we thought it would be a good idea to hold a Carol Service at Christmas and so myself, Tom Rout – Vicar of the Waterfront Churches which includes St Luke’s in Cliff Lane – and members from the Margaret Catchpole Bowls Club met to discuss the idea, and subsequently on Christmas Eve, on the front of the Bowls Club, we held the very first Rivers Community Carol Service.
The service was conducted by Paul Rout and we were lucky to have the school choir from
Cliff Lane Primary and the Ipswich Hospital Band join us. There were loads of sausage
rolls, mince pies and homemade Christmas biscuits all helped down with a glass of
mulled wine.
There was an amazing turnout in excess of 400 local residents all singing their hearts
out. So we will definitely be doing it again this year.

Votes for women

 

When the first British women gained the right to vote in February 1918 celebrations were very muted because the Great War was still raging. Sylvia Pankhurst in her book The Suffragette Movement said: “the sorrows of the world conflict precluded jubilations”

So a century later we should celebrate the triumph as fully as we can. However women were not given the vote on the same terms as men until a decade after the act was passed – on 2nd July 1928 the Second Representation of the People Act was passed into law.  In a cruel twist of fate, Emmeline Pankhurst the leader of the militant WSPU died on the 14th June 1928 just 18 days before equal suffrage rights were granted.

One victory led to another. The bar to women running for parliament was quickly removed, and the first female MP was elected that year (though, as an Irish republican, Constance Countess Markievicz chose not to join the Commons). The next year, Nancy Lady Astor was the first woman to take her seat in parliament.

Yet progress for women has often felt painfully slow. In 1982 when Harriet Harman was elected there were still only 19 female MPs. The 2017 election was the first time more than 200 women were elected, 208 out of 650 seats. If you speak to female MPs many worry about the murder of Jo Cox, the climate of vitriol on social media, sexual harassment and it is still so hard to balance child caring responsibilities with a political career hence women who have no children are often over-represented at the top.

Here in Ipswich Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices are a group of women’s organisations who have come together to plan a Festival on the 6th October at Suffolk University and are organising  EqualiTeas as part of the events leading up to the festival.  The festival will highlight and provide women with an opportunity to have access to local politics and democracy and to encourage women to get involved and most importantly to register to vote.

So true to the spirit of the suffragettes – who came from all kinds of political traditions – let us celebrate 100 years of the suffragette movement and all that achieved.

 

 

 

 

 

Come rain or shine, we will carry on

Ah the Gainsborough Community Fun Day, an event which was supposed to be plain sailing and fun for all. We had a budget, a date, willing volunteers and summer sun like I have never seen in my lifetime. What could possibly go wrong?

My task was to arrange a Tea Dance. Though I have never arranged a tea dance before, I was full of ideas and enthusiasm so I was confident it would all be fine. I have fantastic friends who loaned or donated china to go with some items I had purchased myself. I even roped in a friend to spend her evening making centrepieces with me so the dance can be truly special. Ipswich School of Dancing agreed to help out and offered great advice along the way.  The small planning team kept in touch on a regular basis and at the centre of it was one superwoman I could only dream to be like. This was all set to be an amazing event…in theory.

Well as you know the date was changed by the council, and then the volunteers reduced, and then once we thought we were in the clear the sun went away. On the morning of the event, high winds and heavy rain greeted the few remaining volunteers and on a personal level I felt a build up of tears forming. As I arrived at the scout hut, refusing to be defeated by the last remaining hurdle by the gods, superwoman, formally known as Mandy was already there with a plan of action. She clearly hadn’t slept and was only functioning because her focus was getting through this fun day. There will be no cancellation, no children in the community let down, the fun day will happen and it happened purely because of her. We decided to use the scout hut and a local church and put everything indoors. It worked a treat and all the stall holders who came seemed impressed by the plan.

The tea dance went ahead with great success and the area was then used for 2 amazing performers, one of which was impressed by the acoustics of the scout hut. I managed to take a moment between the tea making and co-ordinating to look around and take it all in. There were kids (and some adults) with their faces painted making bug boxes with Councillor Harsant and the Friends of Holywells Park.  Ipswich Museum engaging with young future historians and a local hedgehog group educating locals about how to look after their environment. We also had Councillors playing bubble football during a small break in the rain, and residents enjoying tea, cakes and a spot of dancing. It was a real mix and that was only in the scout hut.

We estimated approx 200 people attended the day in spite of the weather and last minute changes to the date. The hard work and stress was worth it and in a flash it was over and people were asking us when the next event will be…we were at the time too exhausted to comprehend organising anything else, but now the dust has settled I am more than willing to help out at a community event again…which by the looks of it will be the fun palaces on the 6th and 7th October 2018.

Sam Murray Blog

Ah the Gainsborough Community Fun Day, an event which was supposed to be plain sailing and fun for all. We had a budget, a date, willing volunteers and summer sun like I have never seen in my lifetime. What could possibly go wrong?

My task was to arrange a Tea Dance. Though I have never arranged a tea dance before, I was full of ideas and enthusiasm so I was confident it would all be fine. I have fantastic friends who loaned or donated china to go with some items I had purchased myself. I even roped in a friend to spend her evening making centerpieces with me so the dance can be truly special. Ipswich School of Dancing agreed to help out and offered great advice along the way.  The small planning team kept in touch on a regular basis and at the center of it was one superwoman I…

View original post 439 more words

Inspiring Community Projects

On Saturday 7th July Cllrs Fisher, Goldsmith & Xhaferaj accepted an invitation to visit the exciting Emmaus project in Dales Road.

Emmaus Suffolk is a new and different way of increasing the chances for the homeless and long term unemployed in Suffolk, entering back into work and have a more fulfilling life. The facilities centre around a thriving second-hand store with the recent addition of a little coffee shop selling a range of drinks and cake (I can recommend the Coffee & Walnut). There is a Workshop where people can upcycle used products, some of which were displayed in the Garden. A vital service are the washing machines which will soon be upgraded to industrial machines with extra work being undertaken to install shower facilities.

After a great tour we were treated to tea and cake in the wonderful garden you can see in the picture. All the work is done by volunteers and it provides benefits on so many levels.

A lot of this work is possible due to funding from the North-West Area Committee. Did you know that each year we have £15,000 to spend on community projects in the North West, which is Castle Hill, Whitton & Whitehouse? Each year we sponsor lots of great causes, some a few hundred pounds and some a few thousand.

This is your money, if you have any ideas, or projects that you working on but need extra help with get in touch. Local Conservative Councillors value the communities that we all share, let us help you make them better.

emmaus-gardendavid-claire office@ipswichconservatives.com

 

Supporting the Samaritans

Rushmere Councillor Stephen Ion took time out when visiting the Ipswich Mela in Christchurch Park to speak to Ipswich & East Suffolk Samaritans about the important work they do for local people.
Stephen said: “It was great to talk to the local volunteers and find out more about the work they do. The Samaritans provide a vital service for people when things are getting to them and they need someone to talk to, they don’t have to be suicidal as many people think.
People may also not know that all their local people are volunteers and that they have to raise all their funding locally.
That’s why they are always on the look out for more people to help. You can help in a number of ways, so it’s not just about being a listening volunteer, they need people to help fundraise, to help with admin and IT and many other things.
If you think you could help in some way, or even just donate why not visit their website at www.samaritans.org/branches/samaritans-ipswich-and-east-suffolk or contact jo@samaritans.org
No of us knows when we may need a friendly voice to talk to and as a representative of people in Rushmere Ward I want to say thank you to the volunteers for the work that they do on behalf of local people.”