Protecting community spaces in York

The heritage campaign for West Bank Park has included funding bids, business mentors, public meetings, research and even celebrity endorsements. The Friends of West Bank Park and have worked to restore and preserve many parts of the park, and now the West Bank Heritage Project hopes to revive the heritage of the park and its legacy as a central part of the community.

With government cuts, the council presented residents in York with the lose-lose scenario that either parks, libraries or swimming pools would take cuts first. West Bank Park in Acum lost much of it’s funding and began to be left unlocked at night. Nearby residents conserned about the future of the park began to launch a campaign to build support for it.

One model that inspired the West Bank group is the successful Rowntree Park in York. The park has a library and cafe at its centre that attracts a lot of visitors to use the park as somewhere to meet and socialise.

When I came across Clements Hall they were running a Food and Fun event where older or isolated residents can enjoy a meal and a chat. The hall was renovated several years ago by the council following a campaign by residents and now offers many different community events and a lot of local people volunteer to keep it going. The hall was originally owned by the nearby St Clements Church where Edible York have created a public vegetable garden.

 

Ethical investment – divestment

A cancer research charity would not invest in tobacco, it would be unethical. A peace group would not invest in arms. Where you put your money is where you put power, so if we want to create a healthy future we can’t invest in unhealthy things.

Money is a bit like energy, it’s only doing something when it’s flowing, so organisations and banks are constantly investing, and some of that money is going to fund the expansion of fossil fuel drilling. Even if we spend all day campaigning against climate change, our money may be quietly funding climate change. The process of removing money from unethical investments is called divestment.

The campaign for fossil fuel divestment worldwide is Fossil Free, and there are campaigns all over the UK. I spoke with Al about her work on the Fossil Free Oxfordshire campaign.

In Oxford on the 31st of May will be a rally to call for the City Council, the County Council and the universities to divest.

 

 

As the human walks

I am grateful that I am not a crow. However, it does constrain my route options. The fact is footpaths aren’t always going where you want to go, meaning often you do have to use the roads. Previously I would have been a fan of sustainable transport schemes which separate cyclists, pedestrians, motorists etc, and in some cities I still might be, but the bulk of the country can’t accommodate that policy. What happens when you retreat from the roads is that motorists don’t expect to see you there, so they drive faster. People who have no choice but to use the roads then have a more dangerous place.

I’m not suggesting that you go out and walk along your nearest busy A road alone (it’s not fun and rather scary) but if you look on your OS map you’ll find the roads are colour coded. Yellow seems to be quite narrow so cars go a lot slower, light orange might be a bit busy (a car every few minutes), dark orange will probably be stressful and a bit risky and red they’ll be gunning for you. So I would heartily recommend yellow coded roads, light orange too especially when you’re highly visible, to remind people in cars that other types of transport are used on roads.