Annual report from your Parklands Ward Councillors – Part 3 - Health and well-being

May 4, 2015 5:31 PM

David Down, Pauline Allen & Robin Ashby, your Parklands Ward Councillros, care deeply about health and well-being issues in Parklands Ward. And they realise that health & well-being covers a wide spectrum of activities and concerns. This is an overview of some of them that have cropped up during 2014-15.

Gosforth Nature Reserve

We know that many Parklands residents share our concerns that the Nature Reserve should be protected for the well-being not only of the wildlife and plants but also as an area that provides a green lung for the area. Also it provides a place of calm for those visiting and spending time there. This is why we have always resisted any attempts to disturb this important area. We have just submitted our response to the plans submitted to North Tyneside Council for the area to the east of the Nature Reserve.

Find our response at: http://tinyurl.com/wildlife-threat

David submitted comments on behalf of the three of us when Newcastle City Council's Core Strategy was being examined; he also attended the meetings held by the Inspector in Gateshead Civic Centre.

We have always worked with the Save Gosforth Wildlife Campaign and will continue to campaign against housing being built in this very sensitive area.

As a Ward Committee we have given The Natural History Society grants to help them run the Reserve. Recently after the three of us were shown around the site by James Littlewood we gave money to enable the purchase of timber to build a new wildlife watching hide and boardwalk. This ensures that more children and adults are able to observe the wildlife without disturbance, and the new hide is to be opened shortly.

We have also given a grant to help purchase equipment for volunteers to use on the site. The Natural History Society relies on volunteers to help with their important work so we were pleased to be able to help support them in this way too.

Leisure Activities

Among those receiving grants for leisure activities from the Parkland Ward Committee are:

Allotments -Local residents keep themselves fit and healthy in a variety of ways and we have been supportive of both Three Mile Allotments and Salters Road Allotments. We gave grants to both to enable them to repair their access roads. We are now working with Three Mile Allotments to see if we can have some floral arrangements within the ward now that the City council has scrapped the plant nursery.

Friends of Gosforth Central Park - This group have taken over the running of the park now that the City Council have given up looking after parks and we have given them several small grants to enable them to recruit more volunteers, and as part of the ongoing maintenance of the park.

Gosforth Bohemians - The tennis club were given a grant to resurface their carpark and the under 16s football club were given a grant to buy equipment. Pauline also wrote in support of their applications made to national sporting bodies for other grants.

Gosforth Central Bowling Club - Although not sited in Parklands ward we have supported this group as some of their members do live in Parklands Ward. We gave a grant to enable the group to buy their own mower so that the greens could be kept up to standard.

Brunton Park Indoor Bowling Club - The club meets at St. Aidan's Community Centre and the Parklands Ward Committee gave them a grant to replace their bowling mat to allow the club to continue its activities as it has for the last 27 years.

Sport for Girls in the Great Park Community Centre - We were asked to support an initiative for girls aged 12 - 16 years that would encourage them to take up sporting activities and keep fit, and were happy to approve the application.

Daft as a Brush - This charity sited in Parklands Ward helps people suffering from cancer by providing transport. We have given grants to help with running costs of the ambulance and to provide vehicle emergency packs to safeguard the health and well being of the volunteers, many of whom live in Gosforth.

Gosforth Mini-bus - We have given grants to this organisation, with which former Cllr Diane Packham was associated so closely, to enable it to provide lifts to those Gosforth residents who need some assistance to get out and about.

Brunton Park Scout Group - This group have been recently given a grant by the ward committee to help them make much needed improvements to secure the overall fabric of their building in Brunton Park. We hope that by improving and upgrading their building they will be able to able to continue to offer activities to youngsters for many years to come, and expect to get a further application from them next year.

Playing fields north of Broadway West and Kingston Park Road - As the Labour administration slashes leisure and maintenance budgets, we have been approached by clubs currently covering cricket, rugby and football about our views on their securing long leases on pitches which would enable them to apply for large improvement grants from various bodies like Sport England. We are very supportive of proposals that safeguard community interests, including casual access, and which also aim to extend participation by young people, especially girls. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that other sports clubs may get involved too, something we would welcome.

Ward Councillors Activities

As the ward councillors, we continue to put pressure on the Labour administration that now runs the Council, to maintain the grassed areas within the ward and to keep the area clean and tidy. We are supportive of responsible dog walkers (of which Pauline is one)

We also are supporting local people who wish to maintain the attractiveness of Parklands in a number of ways including help to keep our neighbourhoods clean and tidy by purchasing litter picking equipment; setting up residents groups; asking local businesses to work with us to support local initiatives; working with sporting groups who wish to use the local green areas; advocating brownfield development rather than greenbelt and speaking out on planning issues that could adversely affect our area.

We are also working with council officers to hopefully introduce a 'measured mile' walk within the ward. Our intention is to encourage local people to introduce a little gentle exercise into their daily routine and so improve their fitness and health. If the first 'measured mile' is a success we would be looking to have others within the ward.

Over the past few months we have worked with local GP surgeries and health charities to send informative leaflets to residents across Parklands Ward. These are meant to give residents information that can help keep themselves and their families safe and well.

As part of our own fitness and well-being residents probably see the three of us out and about delivering our Focus leaflets and talking to local residents. Over the course of a year we must walk many miles, in all weathers. We do sometimes get about by car but mostly David and Robin ride their bikes and Pauline uses public transport.

Volunteering

We believe that volunteering can help to promote well-being, so if you wish to volunteer to help any group that we have mentioned, or you would like to start your own group to help others, why not contact us and see if we can help you to help others?

Parklands Ward Councillors

David Down, Pauline Allen and Robin Ashby