Home Youth service A community update from Penny Gowland, West Bridgford North Union Counselor

A community update from Penny Gowland, West Bridgford North Union Counselor


Penny Gowland, Labor Advisor for West Bridgford North, briefs the community.

Penny writes:

“Many of us were hoping that the lockdown would show us a new way of life.

But the traffic is almost back to the old normal and it seems to bother people more than ever.

I am contacted several times a week about speeding tickets, drivers missing crosswalks and parking around schools.

I’m trying to bring a motion to Nottinghamshire County Council for a 20mph speed limit in residential areas, but we haven’t had time to discuss this in the last two council meetings.

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This has been really frustrating because in my opinion this is the only thing we are discussing that will have an immediate impact on the residents.

My fingers crossed for next month!

In the meantime, I support some local campaigns around school travel, which have really shown me why we need every child to be within walking distance of a great school.

But drivers are also struggling. I’m trying to run an automobile club (it’s paying to briefly borrow a car).

If it can even slightly reduce the number of parked cars, it can help solve the problem of parking on some streets.

Charging electric vehicles is another difficult issue and I am now talking to council officers about some helpful suggestions from residents.

I am on the health review committee. In September, we considered the services of a general practitioner. The data clearly showed that patient satisfaction is often linked to the level of wealth or deprivation around their surgery.

This is not surprising since we know that deprivation leads to poor health which puts more pressure on GPs.

Hopefully, the plan to give money to GPs who offer face-to-face appointments doesn’t inadvertently end up taking money from surgeries that need it most.

I was concerned about the tone of some of the discussions: to be rude to all the receptionists in the NHS is unfair and unnecessary. This month we reviewed the maternity services at NUH. It is clear that there is a problem with the culture of the unit, and so while I cannot endorse the calls for the resignation of some members of the management team, I think it is time to an independent public inquiry.

The CMQ has been part of some of the most important moments of my life so it makes me sad that he has such problems.

I went to visit the West Bridgford Youth Center (next to the library).

It was great to see young people getting back together after the pandemic – they missed so many of these important teenage experiences.

The staff were lovely and obviously very attentive. I would have relished the opportunity to hang out somewhere like this when I was a teenager.

This service actually helps everyone, young and old alike, as residents are often concerned about teenagers gathering in town, so it’s a shame to hear how provisions have been curtailed over the past 10 years.

Nothing is available during the holidays now, when it is arguably the most needed.

Recently I also went to the Shadow Youth Night Event at Sherwood Pines. It was great fun: an advantage of being a municipal councilor! Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who gave their Saturday night to make this happen.

I also visited Framework earlier this month. I was mainly there to understand how we deal with youth in care so it was unfortunate that the staff assumed I was there to talk about residents’ concerns (if you live in the area and have issues , let me know). To be honest, the house seemed a bit impersonal: it’s a shame that young people need to be so independent so young.

As COP26 kicks off, I am happy that almost everyone now agrees on the importance of protecting the environment.

I think that in the end it will make our life better: if you know my house, you will know that I really want to have it insulated just to be more comfortable! But we must do it in a way that reduces inequalities in our society.

Watching national news recently, it was shocking to realize how our society underestimates the people who do absolutely essential jobs.

Brexit is a tragedy of lost opportunities, and I think many leaders of the Leave campaign were hoping Brexit would allow them to cut workers’ rights. But maybe we are using this chaos to reduce wage and asset inequalities, and to make sure we respect and value people in all jobs.

In the meantime, I hope to see you at our office (at the West Bridgford Library or on Central Avenue, depending on the weather, from 11 a.m. to noon on the last Saturday of each month).

Penny Gowland is Councilor for West Bridgford North Nottinghamshire County Council and Abbey Ward on Rushcliffe Borough Council.

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