Saturday, 28 February 2009

Hartington Courts and the 'Super Surgery'

Hartington Courts is a popular local facility in Broadgate among the local youth and elderly alike. There are facilities for basketball, or a kick around, there's a bowling green, and Carl Ingram and the other Community Police Officers have a base there.

A while ago, we managed to prevent this site being taken away and replaced with a Fire Station.
Now however, it seems that there are new plans being pushed to develop the area, by putting up a new 'Super Surgery', based on combining together the Doclands Medical Centre in Ashton, and the Fishergate Hill Surgery.

At first glance it seems strange that when so many of our modern ailments are caused by a sedentary lifestyle, our healthcare providers should be planning to take away one of the few spaces left where people can take healthy exercise. The area is also very low - lieing, and must be close to the boundary of the flood plain.

Local Councillors Jack Davenport and Carl Crompton are quoted in the Lancashire Evening Post as suggesting that local people should go for a 'compromise', by not opposing the development, if the bowling green is turned into a better sports facility.

It's also worth asking, what will happen to the existing surgery buildings? Someone with foresight and energy might justifiably suggest these could be ideal to convert into Youth Clubs or some other form of community facility, such as a 'drop in' for our elderly residents.

There will be another opportunity for local people to discuss this issue on Wednesday, at the PACT meeting which will take place at 6.30pm at the Gujurati Hindu Society on South Meadow Lane. If you have a view to express, make sure you get there!

Friday, 20 February 2009

85 Ways To Build Community

What makes communities like Broadgate work?

People like Robert Putnam have researched the 'social glue' that holds communities together, reduces crime and makes people feel happier, and actually be healthier, and live longer lives.

The good news is, the things that hold communities together can be simple and easy, and don't have to cost a lot of money.

Here are a few suggestions, culled from an even bigger list published here:

How many have you done in the last month?

1. Turn off your TV or PC
2. Go outside
3. Attend a BRAG/PACT meeting
4. Support local shopkeepers
5. Volunteer your special skills to a community organisation
6. Give blood (with a friend)
7. Work in a community garden
8. Surprise a new, or favourite neighbour by taking them food
9. Avoid destructive gossip
10. Help another person, outside your home with something
11. Attend local school or children's athletics, plays and recitals
12. Get involved in Scouts or Guides
13. Sing in a choir
14. Attend a party at someone else's home
15. Get to know your local shopkeepers
16. Audition for community theatre, or to support a production backstage, or volunteer to usher
17. Attend a lecture or concert
18. Give to your local food or clothing bank
19. Play cards or games with neighbours
20. Walk or bike to support a cause, and meet others
21. Participate in a political campaign
22. Attend a local festival or parade
23. Do something for your Trade Union, outside work
24. Find a way to show personal appreciation to someone who builds your local community
25. Coach or help out with local (youth) sport
26. Offer to help a neighbour with garden work, shopping or a lift
27. Start or participate in a discussion group, book, or film club
28. Start or join a car-pool
29. Plan a 'walking tour' of local historic areas and beauty spots
30. Tutor or read to children, and have children read to you
31. Run for public office
32. Invite neighbours over for a meal
33. Host a party
34. Offer to serve on a committee outside of work
35. Form a ramblers group, or a swimming group, with at least one other person, then encourage each other
36. Play a sport
37. Go to church, temple or mosque
38. Ask an older person to teach you something
39. Host a Jacob's Join
40. Take dance lessons with a friend
41. Become a school governor
42. Join a campaign and take action that brings you into contact with others
43. Gather a group together to clean up a local park
44. Bake something for new neighbours or work colleagues
45. Plant trees
46. Volunteer at the library, primary school or a charity shop
47. Call an old friend
48. Sign up for a college course, and meet your classmates
49. Accept or extend an invitation
50. Go for a walk in the park
51. Say hello to strangers
52. Find out more by talking to a neighbour you don't know very well yet
53. Collect oral histories to discover the interesting things people around here have done
54. Join in to help carry something heavy
55. Make gifts of time
56. Greet people
57. If you think someone needs help, ask to find out, and then do what you can
58. Fix it, even if you didn't break it
59. Pick up litter, even if you didn't drop it
60. Attend gallery openings, and art exhibits
61. Organise a neighbourhood car boot sale
62. Read or listen to the local news
63. Write an article for this blog, or for Broadgate News
64. Help deliver the Broadgate News
65. Attend a public meeting, and speak out on local issues
66. When inspired, write a personal note, or send a card to friends
67. Offer to watch a neighbour's flat or home while they are away
68. Bring next doors bins in for them
69. Help out with recycling
70. Start talking to people you see regularly
71. Listen to the children you know, and find out what matters to them
72. Ask to see a friends photos
73. Invite a local politician or official to speak to a group you belong to
74. Plan a reunion of family, friends, or people with whom you have a special connection
75. Hire local young people for odd jobs
76. Write a letter to the editor
77. Join a group that is likely to lead to making new friends of a different ethnicity
78. Sit on your doorstep
79. Fight to keep your essential local services
80. See if your neighbour needs something when you run to the store
81. Be nice when you drive
82. Find out more about another culture, by talking to a neighbour from another culture
83. (Add your own here!)...............................................
84. ....................................................................................
85. ....................................................................................

Come on, what are you waiting for! If you don't do it, who else will?

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Angela Brazil - A Ripping and Blossomy Broadgate Author

Can you imagine the fuss if the author of the Harry Potter books, JK Rowling, had been born in Preston. There would be a blue plaque and, perhaps, the house would be open to the public. Well, in the first half of the 20th century an author was equally as successful in writing children’s boarding school books although they were about and for girls.
Angela Brazil ( for some reason pronounced Brazzle ) was born at 1, West Cliff here in Broadgate, the youngest of a family of four with two brothers and a sister, on the 30th November 1868. Her father Clarence worked in the Lancashire cotton trade and moved around this area as a result. Her mother, Angelica, was determined that her daughter would not be sent away to boarding school so she attended the Miss Knowle's Select Ladies School here in Preston.before moving to Wallasey.
Angela was over 30 before she began to publish with The Fortunes of Phillipa based on her mother’s experiences of boarding school. She went on to write 47 other school stories which brought her wealth and fame. She is credited with inventing the girls’ school genre although that is not strictly true. What she had though was determination and a prolific output.
Her best works are considered to be ‘ A Fourth Form Friendship’, A Pair of Schoolgirls’, ‘The Youngest Girl in the Fifth’ and ‘For the Sake of the School’. A typical synopsis of her work can be summed by ‘The Head Girl at the Gables’ published in 1919.
"Lorraine wasn’t head girl material – at least that’s how all the girls at The Gables felt. She was too quiet and withdrawn. But Miss Kingsley, the headmistress thought differently. So Lorraine was appointed and her hard struggle to win over the girls begins. She organizes a School Show, finds a new ally in the artistic Claudia and takes command in a surprisingly effective way. And woven into her school life is her newly discovered talent for painting – which leads to her the unmasking of a dangerous spy ring!"
Another original aspect of her publications are the covers which are colour and striking in their perception of girls having a life other than the stereotypical limp heroines of previous books for children. They are camping, trekking, adventurous, playing sport – not at all what the 1900’s had been used to being seen. No wonder they were such a spectacular hit with the young girls of the day. I’m not certain but I think that a copy of these early editions in good condition can fetch a decent price in the collector’s market.
One of the oddest things about Angela Brazil’s books is that at one time they were considered dangerous for young girls by Headmistresses with their slangy words like ‘ripping’ and ‘blossomy’. Unbelievably they were burnt to prevent them being read.
Other writers of childrens stories of the time nowadays attract adult enthusiasts but, it seems, that Brazil does not, possibly because she did not create stylish plots and characters ( according to Hilary Clare ) but when Brazil died in 1947 she had had an enormously successful career.
So that’s a brief summary of the books and life of Angela Brazil born in Broadgate.