Is Ipswich a well laid-out town?

On a recent visit to Peterborough, I travelled from their railway station to the (pedestrianised) Cathedral Square without crossing a single road at ground level. The path took me under two narrow bridges (above left)  to Cowgate (right)

with a turning option to the Nene Valley Railway heritage line. At Cowgate, with the Cathedral visibly ahead, there was the usual range of restaurants and a parish church, whilst the Square included shops and banks in either direction. I returned through the Queensgate Centre (left), which included an indoor footbridge over the main road, back to the station.

How could any new features in Ipswich simulate this situation in Peterborough, or indeed Chelmsford? What results could thus be achieved? Whilst we cannot practically move our station or Sailmakers, there is a Local Plan review and a Public Spaces Consultation starting on 16th January, details of which can be found at www.ipswich.gov.uk/currentconsultations.

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Do you remember? …

our campaign to save head and neck cancer services at Ipswich Hospital in 2008, when Labour planned to close them? After Ben‘s petition, the closure was duly cancelled in 2010.
Now be ready for the additional £20 billion per annum that is programmed for the National Health Service. That is more than £18.2 million.

Defibrilator at Ravenswood

A question was raised by a resident about where defibrillators were located in the area. Me being the curious person I am, began to research numbers and I was faced with very limited information on where they are located. I did however,  discover the shocking statistics on how crucial AEDs are.

According to the British Heart Foundation, there are approximately 60,000 cases of sudden cardiac arrest in the UK per year. Sadly, only a small proportion of people survive. A major factor for the low survival rate is the limited access to a defibrillator in time, ideally within the first few minutes and with each minute that goes by the chances of survival are reduced by 7-10%.

Soon after the initial question was raised,  at the beginning of April, tragically a resident experienced a Sudden Cardiac Arrest and passed away. As ever with this community we all wanted to make sure we are not left without the right equipment should we need to act in the future and began to look into how we can get a 24 hour AED on the development. Having already done a little bit of investigation into this I asked to take the lead and was able to co-ordinate the various parties to achieve the objective. The money for the unit was provided by Eastravel Limited who by making such a generous donation made this task possible. I discovered a local charity Heart2Heart who have already supplied 2 defibrillators in Ipswich town center and touched base with them. They offered me all the support and advice needed and were able to order the defibrillator for us. Finally it was the location we needed to secure and was the most time consuming part. I received a few knock backs but persevered and approached the Ravenswood McDonalds who had only recently extended their opening hours so they are open 24 hours. The McDonalds management were on board immediately and after a meeting to thrash out the finer details, they agreed to not only house the machine but to cover it on their insurance and replace the battery and pads every 4 years. The Ravenswood Residents Association also offered some words of wisdom and support to make sure this task was successful. They managed to secure another location, being that of the Co-op and so we were in a great position to choose where best to house this defibrillator.

This lifesaving piece of equipment has now been installed and registered and I am now working on arranging CPR and defibrillator training for the residents. This will empower the community to have the confidence to help neighbour in need and use the defibrillator should a future Sudden Cardiac Arrest take place on the development.   My responsibilities will not end here now that this has been installed. I will be the point of contact if there are any issues and I will check on the machine once a week/once a fortnight to make sure it’s still working. This responsibility I will take on for as long as I live in the area.

This was a massive win for the community and I look forward to the next project to better the area I live in.

defib2

Why the changes to the blue badge scheme is absolutely the right thing to do

On 29th July 2018 the government announced a huge change to Blue Badges, extending the criteria of who will be entitled to one from 2019. The scheme will now see people with invisible disabilities and those with mental illnesses being eligible for the blue badge. This is a change I welcome with open arms. I was diagnosed with Hypermobility Syndrome when I was 21. It’s classed as an invisible disability, it’s very difficult to prove you have due to the fact you can’t see the disability. Some days I am wheelchair bound but a lot of the times I can walk. I always find it difficult to get in and out of a car due to my restricted mobility in my hips, but to look me at me, most of the time you wouldn’t know I was disabled. I first applied for a Blue badge when I lived in Essex and I was not successful. However in Suffolk, I was able to have a blue badge which honestly changed my life. For me the badge doesn’t mean yay I can park right next to a supermarket entrance. It means the spaces are wide enough for me to climb out comfortably. I would park in one if they were on the other side of the car park if it meant I can just get out of the car. Though I already have a blue badge the changes will make me feel more at ease when I renew my badge and I won’t feel like maybe I was just lucky that one time as the criteria will be made clearer.

This announcement will also raise very much needed awareness of what disability actually is. I have had a couple of occasions where someone has seen my blue badge and they have shouted at me. The common assumption is I’m cheating the system somewhere and live off tax payers’ money adding no real benefit to society. It’s a horrible feeling to be shouted at by a stranger and told you are an awful human being because you have a disability they can’t see. I hope with these changes, more discussion will take place about what disability actually looks like.

As well as making the lives of people like me who have a physical disability which fluctuates and cant be seen, this is also extended to those with disabilities such as Autism or mental health issues. The National Autism Society have spoken out about the positive impact this will have, and I truly believe it will. Since my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the world of Autism has been opened up to me and I have interactions and friendships with fellow parents with children with Autism. Some dread leaving the house and even when we are at the stage where leaving the house isn’t the issue, it’s the fear of the unknown. Change of routines and everywhere being a lot busier on weekends and holidays especially makes for a difficult life for a person with Autism. With all the preparation in the world a family day out can be almost impossible. But with a Blue badge for some this will make their lives easier. Imagine opening a door to a child who has shut down emotionally because they are fearing the unknown. You may not even be able to touch that child and somehow you have to unbuckle their belt, allow them to get out of the car and make sure they are safe when they are climbing out of the car and into a car park. It’s a no brainer that a parking space with extra room either side will make this task easier.

As we develop as a society and we have further understanding of various illnesses our laws and schemes such as this must also develop and change to be fit for purpose. Life can be impacted by a disability even if you aren’t a wheel chair users. Mental health issues can cause physical limitations on a body. Anxiety for example can be debilitating for some. If there is a scheme which makes lives easier for people to get out of their home and live their lives it can only be a good thing and should be encouraged.

The Conservative government’s announcement of these changes is proof that they truly are acting on their promises. They promised they will look into mental health and disability and this is another example of how they are delivering on that promise. To some this is a small change, I mean we are talking about parking here, but to those whose lives this will effect, it will have a huge impact on making a difficult life that little bit easier and for that I am encouraged that this is a small step in the right direction. I also wait with hope of the future changes this government will make to better the lives of those with disabilities.

Sam Murray Blog

BlueBadge source ‘https://www.vocal.org.uk/news/blue-badge-scheme-extended-carers-relatives/’

On 29th July 2018 the government announced a huge change to Blue Badges, extending the criteria of who will be entitled to one from 2019. The scheme will now see people with invisible disabilities and those with mental illnesses being eligible for the blue badge. This is a change I welcome with open arms. I was diagnosed with Hypermobility Syndrome when I was 21. It’s classed as an invisible disability, it’s very difficult to prove you have due to the fact you can’t see the disability. Some days I am wheelchair bound but a lot of the times I can walk. I always find it difficult to get in and out of a car due to my restricted mobility in my hips, but to look me at me, most of the time you wouldn’t know I was disabled. I first applied for a Blue badge when I…

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NHS Week

The NHS was created seventy years ago.
Here is something you may not have heard: an interview with Henry Willink, wartime Secretary of State for Health, in March 1944, about the White Paper that set out his detailed plans for the Service.
For those too young to have watched “Pathe’ News”, it was shown at the cinema in the interval during a film, in the days before people had televisions.

Following this White Paper, the 1945 Conservative Manifesto proposed:

“ The health services of the country will be made available to all citizens. Everyone will contribute to the cost, and no one will be denied the attention, the treatment or the appliances he requires because he cannot afford them.

“ We propose to create a comprehensive health service covering the whole range of medical treatment from the general practitioner to the specialist, and from the hospital to convalescence and rehabilitation; and to introduce legislation for this purpose in the new Parliament.

“ The success of the service will depend on the skill and initiative of doctors, dentists, nurses and other professional people, and in its designing and operation there will be full scope for all the guidance they can give. Wide play must be given to the preferences and enterprise of individuals. Nothing will be done to destroy the close personal relationship between doctor and patient, nor to restrict the patient’s free choice of doctor.

“ The whole service must be so designed that in each area its growth is helped and guided by the influence of a university. Through such a service the medical and allied professions will be enabled to serve the whole nation more effectively than they have yet been able to do. At the same time Medicine will be left free to develop along its own lines, and to achieve preventive as well as curative triumphs. Liberty is an essential condition of scientific progress.

“ The voluntary hospitals which have led the way in the development of hospital technique will remain free. They will play their part in the new service in friendly partnership with local authority hospitals.

“ Motherhood must be our special care. There must be a large increase of maternity beds and convalescent homes, and they must be provided in the right places. Mothers must be relieved of onerous duties which at such times so easily cause lasting injury to their health.

“ The National Insurance Scheme will make financial provision for these needs. All proper arrangements, both voluntary and State-aided, must be made for the care of other young children in the family, in order that the energies of the male breadwinner or the kindness of neighbours and relations, which nevertheless must be the mainspring, should not be unduly burdened.

“ Nursery schools and nurseries such as have grown up during the war should be encouraged. On the birth, the proper feeding and the healthy upbringing of a substantially increased number of childre

n, depends the life of Britain and her enduring glory.”

This model varies very little from what we have today.