Delivering Results – by Sam Murray, Priory Heath Candidate

During a run up to an election, you will probably see a number of leaflets hitting your doorstep containing promises of what the candidate WILL do if elected. You will have to go on blind trust some of the time as you may not have even heard of the candidate. This where someone like me is different. Most of the residents will have seen my in touch leaflet introducing me as the Priory Heath Candidate. Details of who I am and what I am about, and most importantly what I have delivered so far before even being a candidate. As the leaflet is only small I cant go into too much detail, so thought I would write this blog as a further breakdown of some of what I have already delivered as a community activist.

The Car Clean Up

Back in early 2018, Ravenswood was gifted another burned out car sitting next to the Primary School. I had reported it to the council and the police and then the council and it remained sitting there where the community play bus parks. I felt it was a safety concern. This was the first time I had properly encountered Cllr Liz Harsant who though this wasn’t her ward arranged for the car to be removed for me. Finally someone listened and helped me! Unfortunately this still left debris laying around which I raised at a few public meetings. Sick and tired of being ignored I roped a friend into helping and we swept up the entire area, bagged up the melted car and debris and I personally delivered it to the Councillors at a south east area committee meeting. Some may say this was an extreme measure but I simply did this in order to make sure children weren’t at risk of being injured. Its amazing what impact a boot full of car pieces could make on a meeting and the following day the area was professionally swept up and my boot was cleared of the debris.

Gainsborough Community Fun Day 2018

Ah the fun day which should have been oh so straight forward. Plans made, suppliers arranged, date agreed by IBC what could possibly go wrong?! Well IBC have a way of not being able to work with communities and decided to cancel the day after the tragic murder that happened. Their reasons being that the clash of dates with a Donald Trump visit to London meant that appropriate safety measures couldn’t be provided. The handling of this decision was poor to put it politely so I personally challenged this, first by using my blog, then by raising it at a public meeting and then speaking on radio Suffolk and to the Ipswich Star. All we wanted was to be able to work with IBC, our fractured community needed some relief from the pain and tragedy. IBC eventually agreed to allow the show to go on, but at a different date and a compromise was agreed.

Heating issues in Social Housing

IBC are constantly pushing for more social housing and would love to have a large cluster of social housing on the UVW site of Ravenswood. However, there has been a failure to keep the already existing tenants at a good standard of living. I was made aware of a row of homes on Fen Bight Circle having heating and hot water problems which were at their worst over the peak of winter in 2017. To try and get a solution and support I contacted our MP Sandy Martin. For almost a year I brought this up continuously with Mr Martin and our local councillors. I worked with the Ravenswood Residents Association who also became involved as concerns raised on the impact of the residents health who lived in this row of homes. A year later, I was so pleased to find out that new heating systems were installed in all of these homes and I was proud that I never gave up until my neighbours had a warm home to live in.

Public Meetings

Because of how engaged I am and my high level of attendance at local meeting such as the South East Area Committee Meeting (which shockingly a paid councillor doesn’t have the same attendance rate) I am now generally recognised by the councillors and certainly by our MP. I read the majority of public papers including the Full council papers that are released. I have raised the issue with the bus services in the area and the disproportionate funding for the South East vs the South West, and though I have not managed to get direct results of this, councillors have become aware that when I do ask a question for the community I have done so after extensive research. Some may at times call me a difficult woman just like our dear PM has been referred to at times, but I will say I am simply driven and determined to make sure this town is the best town it can be, and in particular Priory Heath sees the results it deserves.

When you go out and vote on 2nd May, consider this. Do you want someone who has demonstrated they can deliver results and has the determination to never give up? If so then I am the candidate for you because I have already demonstrated I have what it takes to be a councillor for Priory Heath.

For more details about me visit my site http://www.sammurrayipswich.com

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Bulb Planting at Queensway Park

Bulb planting at Queensway Park

On Friday 26th October and Saturday 3rd November, Nacton make a change and the Nacton Community Garden arranged the big bulb plant on Queensway Park to turn the park into a spring delight of colour. I attended both days with my children and got my hands dirty planting the bulbs with my fellow Priory Heath Residents. Cllr Stephen Ion also joined in on the fun Sunday.

Well done to Ipswich Borough Council for providing the bulbs and to the residents who organised the events, I am a strong believer that an appealing environment has huge benefits on our wellbeing and mental health. Activities such as this are extremely important to bring communities together, and this one in particular will have a long lasting impact on this community.

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.

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