Walk To School Week 2017

17 years of success for Silsden walking bus

This week is Walk to School Week, a national campaign to get children and their parents active. The added advantage of walking to school is that it cuts down the number of cars near a school at the start and end of day. The reduction in the number of cars reduces the amount of air pollution around a school at this peak times as well as making it safer for children, particularly if they are crossing a road.

James Brass, Environment Officer for Bradford Council, met with Cath Smith, a Teaching Assistant at Aire View Infant School, to find out how their walking bus helps families in Silsden.

  • How long have you been doing the Walking Bus?
    • 17 years
  • Why did you set one up?
    • Reluctantly at first – it was a big responsibility! The Road Safety Team came to give a talk and inspired the school to set one up. I ended up leading the first walks and never looked back.
  • How many children join in and has it grown?
    • We began at Waterside (on the east side of Silsden) with around 12 children with one parent supporting. Later on, we started a Walking Bus on the west side of Silsden. Sadly we have just one Walking Bus after one of our friends, a leader passed away.
  • How do you organise the walk?
    • We set up local ‘bus stops’ picking children up at different points along the route. Parents receive a letter and sign up if they want to join with the times and days they want. When we receive new children to the school they get information about the Walking Bus at induction evenings.
  • How have you managed to keep it going?
    • Dedication and I enjoy it!
  • What do you think are the main benefits?
    • Road safety is the first priority. You’re in touch with different people. It’s quite visible in the community and people respond to you. We have supported a wide range of families. It helps children to gain their independence. including one boy with autism who has got used to the Walking Bus coming everyday. The walking bus also allows mums to get to work and saves parents time.
  • How about the children, do they enjoy it?
    • Yes, they enjoy it and we are getting new recruits. Sometimes we sing songs or do some of the maths problems from class. If the kids are quieter, we just talk. When they get a bit older they start to walk at the front and gain confidence. At one time we were helping to train guide dogs because they needed to learn how to walk with children and adults. So the children got used to walking with dogs too.
  • Have you got any advice for others setting up a walking bus?
    • Get it set up, don’t let the barriers stop you, you will enjoy it. Once it’s set up it runs itself. There’s chance to socialise and the school is open for parents to come have a cup of tea. You need some commitment and it helps being a school employee.
  • Is there anything schools can do to help parents and families set up a walking bus?
    • Contact the road safety team to get help.
  • Have there been any other activities with the Walking Bus?
    • The kids did some running to school events where they raised money for charity. They also got to try a police speed camera and were involved in setting up the 20 mile an hour zone and having a Pelican Crossing built. We did a winter campaign last year giving out bright tabards as part of a ‘be seen’ campaign.
  • Are there any other considerations if you are planning to set up a Walking Bus?
    • It’s a big responsibility, and you need to have paediatric trained.

Gearing up for the general election

There will be a general election on Thursday 8 June 2017. If you live in the Bradford district, here is the information you will need to make sure you can vote.

How to register to vote

If you are already registered to vote, you do not need to register again to vote in the general election. If you are not registered to vote, you will need to register by Monday 22 May to vote at the general election.

The quickest way to register to vote is online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Or you can contact our Electoral Services team on 01274 431360.

How to vote if you will be away on 8 June

If you will be away on 8 June, you can apply for a postal vote or you can appoint another person to vote on your behalf by applying for a proxy vote.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on Tuesday 23 May and the deadline to apply for a proxy vote is 5pm on Wednesday 31 May.

Statement by Kersten England

Kersten England, Bradford Council’s Chief Executive and Acting Returning Officer, said: “Following confirmation by the House of Commons, our elections team are now gearing up for a General Election on Thursday, 8 June.

“I am confident that we will deliver a fair and robust elections process so that the citizens of Bradford District are able to exercise their democratic right to vote.

“We have started the process to identify around 240 polling stations across the district and appoint around 1,200 staff to ensure the 343,690 electors currently registered to vote in a Parliamentary election can cast their vote either in person or by post.

Remembering the Holocaust

Victims and survivors were remembered at a special ceremony in Bradford’s City Hall on 27 January, 2017.

Guest blogger, Nigel Grizzard, Researcher, and Bradford Jewish Historian writes about how his family and community continue to be affected by the Holocaust.

It is 72 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz Death Camp on January 27th, 1945 by the Allied Forces and it is right that we remember those horrendous events of the Nazi era from 1933-1945.

The theme for this year is ‘How can life go on?’ proposed by the Holocaust Survivor and profound thinker the late Elie Wiesel, after the Holocaust and I want to tell you my thoughts.

The further away we get from the Holocaust, I as a Jew, wonder whether we are getting closer to it, more and more information comes out the Holocaust, and the past which has been closed off now becomes more open as documents are found and research has been done.

I was born in 1952. The generation of Jews after the Holocaust and I had a comfortable childhood in London, but as I’ve grown older I’ve had the chance to research and it has left a profound effect on me. In 1976 I moved North to work for Bradford Council.
My family who bear the name Grizzard came to London in the 1840s and 1850s from Amsterdam in Holland. On my father’s side we were British Jews of Dutch ancestry – but from many years ago. Continue reading Remembering the Holocaust

Cyclocross championships in Peel Park, Bradford

Chief Executive’s blog – January 2017

We are already half way through January 2017. I hope it’s not too late to say Happy New Year! I hope 2017 is a great year for you, your loved ones and for the Bradford District. I intend to do everything I can to make it so!

First of all I want to thank all our staff who worked over the Christmas holiday period. Whether out gritting, refuse collecting, providing services to elderly and disabled people, or being there for individuals and families in crisis, you kept the District running. As an example of the kinds of things staff contend with, I know that we and our partners dealt with a significant spike in domestic violence incidents, which is a depressing aspect of the Christmas holiday period.

The first few weeks back have been full on – from dealing with the ripple effects of the fatal shooting on the M62, to the liquidation of the Bradford Bulls. The meeting of the Council’s Executive last week was one of the most intense and thoughtful I have been involved in. The Council Chamber was packed with residents as elected members considered the potential closure of a residential care home, changes to payments to foster carers, the potential closure of Queensbury swimming pool and the introduction of car parking charges in some of our town centres. This is what local democracy is about – taking responsibility for making difficult judgements about how the interests of the District are best served, and being prepared to be challenged in public about them. We know that there will be more meetings like this, as we work through implementation some of the tough choices that will be required in the coming year.

And in the midst of all of this there are some great things happening.

I spent much of the weekend before last in Peel Park watching the British Cycling National Cyclo-Cross Championships. It was a fantastic event and thrilling to watch as hundreds of cyclists, from teenage to over 70, careered up and down the increasingly muddy banking in the hunt for the coveted national winners’ jerseys.

I discovered that Bradford is the base for some of the brightest stars of the sport, who will undoubtedly be representing Great Britain in world championships. Thanks to our Principal Parks Manager Ian Wood and all Council staff who worked to make this event such a success – those in the know tell me that Peel Park is the best Cyclo-Cross event course in the country.

David Hockney, probably the world’s most famous living artist, and a son of Bradford, turns 80 this year. As part of the celebrations we will open a new Hockney Gallery at Cartwright Hall in July. Before that – again at Cartwright Hall – we will host items from the Royal Collection. This is a collection of extraordinary gifts given to the Prince of Wales in 1875 by over 90 rulers of the Indian sub-continent. This is the first time in 135 years that they will be collectively displayed.

Back to cycling and over the May Day bank holiday weekend the whole District will be caught up in the carnival that is the Tour de Yorkshire. The final day of racing on Sunday, 30 April begins in City Park and a large part of the route snakes its way around the District. We will be working with communities and businesses to decorate the route and get ready for a bumper holiday weekend. So plan your viewing spot and get that bunting out! Continue reading Chief Executive’s blog – January 2017

Why we all should rally round…

The Council’s adult social care service provides a valuable support to older members of our community. Whether it’s through home care, day care, provision of equipment, care home placement or support for carers, the Council plays a critical role in improving the quality of life for some of our most vulnerable neighbours, friends and loved ones.

Funding challenge

There is a substantial cost associated with providing this support, yet in the last few years the funding received by the Council to carry out all of its functions has reduced significantly, with further savings still to be made in the next few years.

By 2020 the Council’s spending power will be half what it was in 2010. These cuts have implications for the district as the Council is having to make tough decisions about what it does less of, what it does differently and what it stops doing altogether.

Increasing cost and demand

In addition to the reduced levels of funding, we face increasing costs and rising demand for services. The number of older people in the district is growing, which adds further to the pressure on services, including adult social care. Earlier this month the Local Government Association published a report on the pressures facing the care system. Population projections from the Office for National Statistics estimate that there will be an extra 16,000 people aged over 65 living in the district in 10 years time with that figure rising to an extra 41,000 over 65s by 2039.

ageing-population-graph
Source: ONS

People can make a difference

There are some inspiring examples of ordinary people across the district rising to the challenge and taking on a greater responsibility for themselves and each other, with simple acts of neighbourliness, kindness, volunteering and community action. One approach which has provided great support to many has been use of the free Rally Round service.

What is Rally Round?

Rally Round is an online service which allows friends, family, neighbours and care staff to work together more effectively when looking after a loved one or service user.

rally-round-pic
Rally Round – small tasks, big impact

The new online service has been launched in Bradford to help people stay in their homes for longer, improve health and wellbeing and reduce isolation. This is also linked to our People Can campaign.

Rally Round allows a network to be created around a person with care needs. Anything that the person needs help with can be listed as a task. Then, trusted friends, family members, neighbours or staff involved in their care can see this, discuss it, agree to take the task on and let everyone know when it has been done.

It is a voluntary-based neighbourhood support service and is free to use.

Rally Round works on desktop computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones and a daily or weekly email provides a useful reminder of what people have agreed to do.

Lyn Sowray, Assistant Director of Adult and Community Services – Operational Services, said:

“Rally Round is an exciting new service which has been designed to support people to maintain independence and improve their health. The online system is easy to use and can be securely accessed at any time to make life easier and safer.”

Visit Bradford’s Rally Round website to find out more or register.

Further information

If you are a person receiving or giving care, or an organisation with clients or service users and would like to know more about Rally Round, for more information please contact Mike Halliday, Commissioning Officer in Adult and Community Services: email mike.halliday@bradford.gov.uk or phone 01274 431931.

Join us in the ‘Make One Change’ challenge to improve your health and wellbeing

self-care-icon

We’re asking people across the district to ‘make one change’ as part of this year’s Self Care Week which runs from 14 – 20 November. We’re all being challenged to make a change which we can stick to throughout the year which will make us feel good about ourselves and improve our health and wellbeing. Sounds easy? It really is…honest!

So what sort of changes can we make?

Let’s have a go at changes that are simple and realistic (often the best place to start) because they’re achievable and really do make a difference. Here are some suggestions to think about:

  • Cutting down the amount of sugar in tea and coffee
  • Taking a brisk walk for 10 minutes a day
  • Keeping a day alcohol free each week
  • Having an extra portion of fruit and vegetables

We find that making changes can be easier when done with others, so making pledges with family, friends or work colleagues is a good place to start. For those wanting to overcome a greater challenge, such as reducing or stopping smoking, there is support available online or by calling the Bradford District Stop Smoking Service on 01274 437700.

Events, information and advice

This year for Self Care Week there are events taking place across the district designed to help us understand how a simple lifestyle choice can make such a big difference to our long-term health and wellbeing. Some of the many things on offer at the events include home energy checks, blood pressure and BMI checks, dental health, winter home safety, flu prevention, diabetes screening and treating minor ailments – and a chance to meet Billy Bantam!

Cllr Val Slater, Deputy Leader of Bradford Council, and portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing said:

“It’s great to see so many organisations getting together and supporting Self Care Week. Whether you are eight or eighty, anyone can make one small change to their lifestyle to improve their own life and it’s never too late to make a difference. It’s not just about being healthy; it’s about feeling good about yourself and improving your mental health.”

As well as using self care to maintain a healthy lifestyle, there are some great resources available to support people with existing conditions. Information is available and booklets have been produced to support anyone with asthma, dementia, heart failure, stroke and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The packs are designed to support and empower people to feel more confident about self care, maintaining independence, control and responsibility. The booklets can also be used by carers.

self-care-guides
Some of the useful information guides available online

Why self care?

Self care enables us to look after our own health better when it comes to self-treatable conditions such as coughs and colds, how to manage more serious conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and how to maintain good health and wellbeing to help prevent illness. Self care is important and it’s about people doing more for themselves, either with support or individually. People will feel more confident to manage their health and wellbeing because they understand their own needs and know where to access help and support when it’s needed.

Health and social care pressures

The Local Government Association has produced a report this week which highlights the benefits of self care in reducing pressures on health and social care services. The report ‘Helping People to Look After Themselves‘ calls for a culture of care to help reduce pressures on health and care services, and highlights the high number of visits to GP surgeries by people with minor ailments such as colds, sprains, headaches and insect bites. Professor Ian Banks, self care forum trustee and former A&E doctor, said:

“Most people are entirely capable of looking after themselves most of the time, self-treating when it’s safe and knowing where and when to seek help when they need it. Self care is not no care; far from it, for example you will find the local pharmacist an excellent source of health advice and information. There are also reputable health information websites such as NHS Choices or the Self Care forum website.”

Sharing your Make One Change successes

We’re keen to see what’s being done across the district as people rise to the ‘Make One Change’ challenge. You can share your successes on twitter @HealthyBrad4d #mk1change #SelfCare4life.

You can find out more about the challenge and what’s on during Self Care Week by visiting the website, or contacting self.care@bradford.gov.uk

Good luck with the challenge!

Celebrating the district’s passionate people and amazing volunteers

You won’t be surprised to hear that researchers have found that the people of Bradford are more likely to give to charity than anywhere else in Yorkshire. The Cabinet Office Place Survey found that volunteers in Bradford are more likely to volunteer than those from anywhere else in Yorkshire. What’s more we are the fourth most generous city in Britain and the sixth kindest!

Volunteering

The district’s volunteers do some amazing things that you might not know about:

The Bradford Police Museum at City Hall is run entirely by volunteers. If you’d like to volunteer in one of our museums, you can contact Janet Bruce on janet.bruce@bradford.gov.uk

A team of committed volunteers provide dedicated support for male victims of domestic abuse in Bradford, one of very few in the UK.

Local people volunteer through the British Red Cross, with some on standby to drive a camper-van to homes which have been affected by fire. As well as providing emergency accommodation the volunteers also provide a welcome cup of tea and place of safety for families who may have lost everything. If you’d like to get involved you can visit the Red Cross emergency volunteering site.

Our community campaign ‘People Can Make a Difference‘ is actively promoting all the good things that people are already doing in their communities as well as encouraging more people to volunteer and get involved in community life.

Foster Park community clean-up

A community clean-up took place in Denholme village centre. People came together on 29th September in Foster Park to take part in a litter-pick.

The clean-up was led by Denholme Town Council. Staff from Bradford Council’s Neighbourhood Service helped out, with the Council Warden for Bingley Rural joining in and giving gloves and litter-pickers to the volunteers, with the Clean Team taking away the rubbish afterwards. Children from the village primary school also joined in on the day.

denholme-cleanup
Children at a community clean-up in Denholme village

The clean-up supported two recent initiatives in the village – Bradford Council has recently installed two dog-bag dispensers, purchased by Denholme Town Council, and the formation of a Friends of Foster Park group is being considered. Continue reading Celebrating the district’s passionate people and amazing volunteers

School children at the Love Bradford World Record Attempt

Chief Executive’s blog – October 2016

Our chief executive Kersten England has been writing a regular blog for staff. We thought you might like to read it too, so here is Kersten’s October blog.

This month’s blog takes a closer look at the workings of a Full Council meeting, celebrates some inspiring successes and shares a few things on the agenda for the coming weeks.

Full Council meeting, 18 October

Last week’s Full Council, on Tuesday, 18 October, was hectic! There was a huge breadth of topics covered and thoughtful debates about much of our work and what matters to people in the district.

There were petitions from residents about speeding cars in busy neighbourhoods, the proposed closure of a library and the introduction of parking charges at the St Ives estate. Councillors asked executive members questions about mental health services, parent governorship, care services, flooding, alternate week bin collections, and high speed rail services – to name but a few of the topics covered.

Motions were debated about unaccompanied asylum seeking children, smoking cessation, safer driving, proposed changes to parliamentary constituency boundaries and education priorities.

Bradford Council plan front pageCouncil also approved its priorities for the next four years, as described in the Bradford Council Plan. This is a must read! This plan will be the starting point for individual staff work plans, service delivery plans and crucially for development of our budget proposals for the next four years. The plan will direct our work.

The final item of the night saw Council approve the implementation of the changes to senior management. An elected member panel will be set up to appoint to the posts of Strategic Director – Corporate Services and Strategic Director – Place. Officer panels will be set up to appoint to the Assistant Director (AD) posts. I want to reiterate my appreciation for the sustained commitment and professionalism of staff who are directly affected by the changes we are making.

There’s been some great news since my last blog

Bingley Music Live scooped an award at the Yorkshire Gig Guide Grassroots Awards for outstanding established music festival. Congratulations team BML!

On Thursday, 15 September thousands of people, young and old, from across all the communities and organisations of the district stood in the sweltering late summer sun – and smashed the world record for the longest continuous chain of people making a heart shaped hand gesture (picture above). We are world record holders and that’s official!

The inspiration of participants on our future leaders programme, and billed as #LoveBradford, it was moving to hear the whole crowd chanting ‘we love Bradford’. For the thousand young people who took part and received a world record medal I hope it will become an ‘I was there’ moment. Our future leaders did a cracking job and learnt a huge amount about project management. Result!

The next day Bradford trended once more on social media – this time in support of our bid to host the Great Exhibition of the North. Each Friday the government department of culture media and sport (DCMS) threw the spotlight on one of the bidders to host the exhibition. The range and diversity of voices from within and outside Bradford speaking of their love of and support of Bradford was fantastic and humbling. We know we topped the popular poll! Of course we now know that Newcastle-Gateshead will be the host for the main events of the exhibition. We wish them well. We will take the energy, creativity and confidence of our bid and people’s support for it to deliver a great programme of events in Bradford in 2018.

We have just heard the fantastic news that in April 2017 Bradford will be one of the key hosts for the Tour de Yorkshire. It’s very exciting to know that we will be either a start or finish city for this prestigious three-day cycle race. The full route will be announced in December. After the warm welcome our district gave to the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014, and the superb backdrop our Cow and Calf Rocks provided for the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire, 2017 looks set to be another vintage year for cycling in the Bradford District. I can’t wait! Continue reading Chief Executive’s blog – October 2016

Canvassers are visiting some homes to check registered voter details

We have currently got canvassers knocking on doors across the district to confirm the details of people on the electoral register. Our canvassers are out until 7 November working during the daytime, in the evening and at weekends until 8pm.

If you get a visit from one of our canvassers, to confirm the details of who is living in the property, they may ask for your date of birth and National Insurance number. This is the only information they need. This is to confirm your identity and ensure that your details are correct on the electoral register.

You will receive a visit from one of our canvassers if you have not responded to one of the following forms sent in the post:

  • Household enquiry form
  • Invitation to register form

If you have not responded to the forms you received, legally, we have to visit your address to confirm voter details. If you have responded to the forms you received, you should not receive a visit from one of our canvassers.

If you still have the form, but haven’t responded to it yet, please respond to it as soon as possible and we may not need to visit your property. It is quicker and cheaper for you to respond online or by phone rather than us visiting your home.

If anybody in your house needs to register to vote, the quickest and easiest way to do so is on the GOV.UK website.

The video below has more information about why our canvassers are visiting homes and why it is important for you to respond accurately.

Back to school: new hopes, new fears

Is your child going to a new school next year?

The deadline for applying for a place for your child at secondary school is Monday, 31 October 2016 which is fast approaching!

If your child was born between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2013, you will need to apply for a Primary School from Monday, 14 November 2016 up to the closing date of Sunday, 15 January 2017 for the school year that starts in September 2017.

Read this blog to find out how to apply and read one parent’s experience of their child starting school.

Fiona Binns, from the Council’s Education Communications Team and Editor of Bradford Parents on the Go Blog, talks about her experience of children starting school and how life-changing moving from primary to secondary school can be!  Her eldest son, Joshua is eight and has started his journey in Year 4 this term and her youngest son, Finley is five and moves into Year 1.

Starting primary school is one of the most exciting milestones in a child’s young life; but on the other hand it can also be an anxious time too.

In the summer before Finley started Reception I’d be hearing the same question on a daily basis “Mummy, when do I start big school?”

Preparation and organisation is key and I recall highlighting many paragraphs in the school’s prospectus and making endless lists of what we needed in order to be ready for Day One.

In reality I was more anxious than Finley was!

Maybe it’s the fact that we, as mummies, or daddies or carers, have done everything in our power to protect our babies since they were born.  Like when they fall over we are there to pick them up, give them a cuddle and try to make them feel better, we have always done everything for them and then the time comes for that role to be given to teachers and teaching assistants.

As a family we prepared both our boys for ‘big school’ by talking to them about the start of school, making new friends and entering the world of education and learning about something wonderful every single day.  We made a big deal about buying their  school uniforms, new shoes and deciding whether or not they would be staying for school dinners or taking a packed lunch.

I need not have worried; Finley embraced his first year at school as a ‘Roaring Rocket’ (the name of his class!).  His class teacher and teaching assistants at school played a very important part in this and I know Finley will always remember his first year at “big school”.

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Me and the boys

Transition time

The transition from primary school to secondary school is one of those life events that most people can recall in some way or other. In the main, it’s a fairly manageable period and one that parents often get more emotional about than their children. Continue reading Back to school: new hopes, new fears