Thursday, 26 July 2012

Torch relay lights my fire

Today I'm watching the last of the torch relay live an event I've been following ever since it's dramatic arrival at Lands End, through to Birmingham and on, finally now, to London.

I've been involved, on behalf of Hall Green Arts, in supporting two major events in parks in our constituency, and attended a handful of the tens of thousands of Torch relay planning meetings across the UK to coordinate certainly the largest single event I've ever been a part of.

Logistically it is truly incredible - to organise a rolling road block across the 8000 miles it journeyed over 2 months.  Then there's the promotion, marketing, coordinating other events around it, bad weather, the sponsors, safety and security issues...

There have been celebrities, there have been dramatic stunts, all around the raw simplicity and symbolsm of a torch relay.  But that's not what I find most exciting,

As Bruce Forsyth, one of the last torch bearers, put it:

      You can't beat a big crowd getting excited

It's the way it has brought so many people together, to celebrate the olympics.  Whatever that means to each of us, it's likely to be the closest many of us get to it.

Useful links

Saturday, 21 July 2012

No Child hurt this time

As I met with local parents, local councillor Martin Straker-Welds and Garry Dalton from BCC responsible for road improvements, this Wednesday at 3:40, a coach reversed up the school drive, onto the pavement, parking neatly blocking the pedestrian access to the school.

There was no way he could have seen behind him, it forced children leaving the school into the road, and demonstrated perfectly why the entrance is so dangerous.  But then this is nothing new (see previous post).  It was a depressing, but familiar sight for all of us - we all fell silent for a moment, watching the coach, while small children played with the temporary road blocks, moving them around to make scootering across the school entrance easier.

Jago's hand, a month after, stitches nearly gone.
I was there because my child has been hit by a bus (the No.11) and survived.  He fell into the road and only had a glancing blow.  He was saved by his bike helmet, but still has the scars across his hand.

I want to see more general improvements in our area to make things safer for children, to prevent tragedies like Hope's death recently.

But this meeting was about a very particular situation, and certainly highlighted for me, what I thought was an important question:

Who is responsible?  What would happen if a child had been hit by this coach, or a car had hit a child forced into the road?  Would it be the parent who had let go of the child's hand?  Would it be the driver who had hit the child?  How's about the council who had not adequately prevented cars reversing up the service road?  Or maybe the school who had not adequately made the entrance to the school safe?  At Wheelers Lane there is also Balfour Beaty who effectively own the strip of no-man's land outside the school - shouldn't htey have done something?  There is also a couple of school neighbours who in consultations seem to see access to the frontage of their houses as more important than safety of the children.

Maybe I had got it wrong.  We should really be looking at who is willing to take responsibility to make things better.  Who is going to keep shining a light on the obvious dangers, and make the changes we need?

Useful Links:

Local campaign for safer roads in Kings Heath started

Kings Heath Neighbourhood forum and Transition Initiative

Wheelers Lane Safe route to school campaign

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Field Exhibition at Evergreen

I brought along a few friends to Evergreen.  Residents enjoyed seeing 'Field for the Olympics' puppets made  by other groups - Freya enjoyed showing residents her puppet.