FoVE AGM 2018

“I couldn’t believe FoVE hadn’t met since 2013”.
Yep, Friends of Victoria Embankment last held a formal meeting in 2013.
7 attended the AGM.
Despite all, Nicola and I have asked for their delegate to be represented at the Area 8 committee.

We are ambitious for Victoria Embankment and Meadows Recreation Ground.
Renewed roads, new street lighting, commuter car parking on The Embankment stopped, the NHS keep fit equipment, a mini road network for kids to cycle on, a tree trail in the Memorial Gardens, various repairs and improvements to the Bandstand as it is re-instated following the fire, new events.
Most spectacularly a cricket pavilion (ECB standards), that would have cost £650k to build, achieved with £50k of council money.  Opposed by FoVE.
Repeated efforts to bring in investment, despite cuts to the council’s finances.
Cuts in finances that hit at our service provision.

We remain ambitions for the Victoria Embankment & Meadows Recreation Gardens; to increase the level of activity on, and the use of, the park & facilities.

Opportunities –
o1. a centenary war memorial based on showing the names of the WW1 fallen;
o2. the current 16 week project to repair, renew and enhance the bandstand (completion due mid August);
o3. a new relationship with a local football club to allow the pavilion to be used for football during the winter;

Challenges –
c1. a need to refurbish and enhance the Memorial, the undercroft, the fountains and the gardens;
c2. renewing a football pavilion whose design does not comply with modern FA expectations and whose showers are not enjoyed.  Replacement with something much more ambitious, abutting the bund and allowing a cafe to be installed, with public toilets, needs a lot more external investment but make the south west of Victoria Embankment a much more significant attraction;
c3. the paddling pool will at some time need replacement; we want to keep paddling, but we might add water play equipment;
c4. to find more partners for using the site;
c5. there are complaints about the grounds not being good enough; this whilst we only have 2 f.t.e. to look after the site.


So many ways to remember, including the new memorial

Sam Edwards jXMnJhScI’ve been invited to listen to a Radio 4 programme, recently re-broadcast, “How to Remember“.
Contentions include that the significance of the nation-state and the impact of globalisation should change what or how we commemorate.
One of the central tenets – that we remember the sacrifices of those that went before us, by the way we live, politically I kinda live by.
From after WWI – Homes for heroes (and everyone else), votes for all.
From after WWII – free health care, full employment, proper jobs, success for all in education, social security, including those the elderly and the less mobile.
From struggles at home – A representative democracy.
From struggles everywhere – A free society.  An extension of which for me would be freedom from barbarity on social media. The common wealth. Public amenity.
Presumably what we haven’t yet fought a war for is the environment and the climate, but we should campaign for green measures too.
And some change came without so much struggle – clean water supplies and proper sewers came cos the wealthy and powerful could die from cholera as well as the poor and powerless.
I’ve published blog entries and made speeches on a number of these aims and achievements, as well as precis of the history of Nottingham.
(The first working class library in NottinghamThe Chartists campaigning on Mapperley Hills CommonThe Cheese Riots.  One surprise this last year was the photo of the Lord Mayor meeting the International Brigade in 1939 which may see a postcard being produced.)  (I’ll try to add more links to these later.)
The stories are mainly written somewhere, and the local studies library can be very helpful in finding the stuff, and this is now the era when the stories are being published in easily accessible form – video, audio and text.

My contentions on how to commemorate would be –
– get stories published on the internet, so that they are quickly accessible;
– tie stories on the internet to location, so that you don’t need plaques;
– remember all who served (put themselves at risk), and not just those who lost their lives; kinda tricky to do well cos no such lists exist;
– develop the stories behind the names – like Eddie has done from those in the freight railway plaque at Nottingham station, or the pamphlet on the Sherwood Foresters sent to the Easter Rising;
– participate in events such as Remembrance Sunday, but also history walks and recreations (such as the Pentrich Revolution march);
– respect the reality, and pay proper respect to the event and to the visual amenity.

Now given some millions in today’s money was spent on Nottingham’s memorial, I was sceptical of what a £300k addition for the sake of listing all the names of those who lost their lives could achieve. But I think the options developed are worthy and warrant installing in the nearby gardens. I wanted option 1, but it is too expensive given the limits announced.  It’s understood that the large poppy will be better in reality than as portrayed.  And the additional memorial doesn’t stop us from doing the social media publishing.
So I support the additional memorial.

Windrush advice surgery

“Happy to help any constituents who need support.” – Lilian Greenwood MP.

The Pilgrim’s Church in The Meadows offered free consultations with 1stCallUK for 20 or so clients or friends this afternoon.
WP_20180502_16_25_34_Pro (2) IstCllUK advice
Advice is –
1. read up; above is a one-pager from 1stCallUK with some initial advice;
2. write out your situation; the blank form at the top-right hints at the minimum information required;
3. consider getting proper legal advice;
4. contact your local MP to find out what help or advice they can offer; copy your MP with any correspondence sent to Gov’t agencies.
Councillors have no role or special knowledge on immigration matters, but we can help in general ways.

As for the Windrush scandal, the surprise is how this came seemingly from nowhere. Whilst some people have been in trouble for years, MPs seem only to have started hearing about these problems recently.
There are some estimates of there being 57,000 people affected – that’s 88 per MP. Arguably more people are affected in areas like The Meadows, so 20-40 might need advice.
As for the resignation of the Home Secretary, no doubt the changing stories from Amber Rudd contributed, but the final defence – that she was unaware of a memo in her official boxes – cuts away at a fundamental premise in Britain’s governance, that a minister is accountable for her officials and this is underwritten by reading the papers provided.
I believe British governance would be better if committees focussed on versions of the ministerial boxes, rather than the current interrogatory questions and supportive questions model, backed up by scrutiny from select committees and supposedly The Lords

Summer events at Meadows Library

… include –
· Totstime running every Friday between 10:30am-11:00am;
· On-going Gardening event – children can come in and ask for seeds and compost. They can then take the seeds home or put a name tag on their plant and leave it at the Library. We will be looking at planting some of them in the back garden (if space allows);
· Lego for children aged 3 and up. We will be implementing this event staring 5th May and will run on the first Saturday of each month;
· Summer Reading Challenge – running between July up to the beginning of September;
· Conversation Groups for Adults who want to practice and learn more English – we currently have 2 slots, 1 on Monday (10:30am-12pm) and Wednesday (3:30pm-5pm);
· Reading Group (for Adults) – every first Wednesday of each month between 6pm-7pm;
· Piecing together (sewing group) – every Wednesday between 10:30am – 12:30pm;
· Sparks Arts Performance – 28th July in the afternoon (times TBC);

Fight in a car park

Two sets of young men have picked a fight in the south-western car park of Bridgeway shopping centre.
Two men were injured, with knife wounds to the neck and to the hand.
[Somewhat of a contrast to posts on social media that said 2 men had been killed.]
The fight took place just before noon on 4th April, out of sight of the obvious cameras covering the shopping centre – no doubt, no coincidence.
The car park was closed for most of the afternoon.
Police have been visiting the area in the search for witnesses.