Knit & Natter

Knit & Natter

I joined the St. Augustines’ Knit & natter group today for a coffee and a very pleasant chat with some talented and industrious ladies, who get together to knit, sow and generally raise charity funds.
It is a very relaxed and pleasant atmosphere which I would highly recommend to anybody who enjoys knitting, chatting or coffee in good company.
I’ve commissioned a Mayor’s Jumper :) I’ll post pictures when it’s done.

AA Brothers International Party

AA Brothers International Party

It was a great honour to be asked to introduce the Latvian band at the International Music Party hosted by the AA Brothers in the Queen Mary Centre tonight.

The atmosphere was brilliant and there was a really nice mix of people there, from all different places.

The DJ (Dj Gunchs) was great and really got the crowd moving, the act themselves was Rassell, with Sabine Berezina and Edvards Grieze and were excellent.

A nice international party night where everybody seemed to be having a lot of fun.

Just Ballet – New Dance Studio

Just Ballet – New Dance Studio

I paid a visit to Just Ballet, a thriving small business in Wisbech, today.
Just Ballet opened last year on Hill Street, but quickly found they needed to expand and have moved onto the Nene Quay. Their new shop is much bigger and jam-packed with everything somebody interested in ballet could ever need.
It’s always great to see businesses in Wisbech doing well, but the team here have gone a step further and have converted the loft of the old building into an incredible dance studio, where a ballet school is being started.
It was great to meet the people who have worked so hard turning a fairly dilapidated building into such an amazing space. The work done is incredible and the excitement and passion of those involved is palpable.
I expect to see amazing things coming from Just Ballet and their dance school in future years and look forward to watching them go from strength to strength, becoming a champion for young people who want to do ballet into the future.

St Augustine’s Heritage And Poppy Weekend

St Augustine’s Heritage And Poppy Weekend

Today it was my honour to be invited to the St Augustine’s Church 2017 Heritage and Poppy weekend.

Please take the time to go along to St. Augustine’s Church today if you are able.

This is their Heritage and Poppy Weekend and there is an exhibition in the church in commemoration and remembrance of our heroes of World War One.

The exhibition focuses on the Battle of Passchendale along with the history of men from Wisbech who died in the Great War.

It really is an exceptional, poignant and respectful exhibition which is well worth a visit to learn about the town’s heroes and their history and to remember those who have fallen.

The church is open until 4PM.

(The picture are the Army Cadets who were demonstrating WW1 battlefield medical practices in period uniforms. Doing an excellent job, too!)



Just after noon Cllr Samantha Hoy and I attended the first session of the new Bedazzle performing arts group in the Queen Mary Centre and I was pleased to cut the ribbon to announce the team are open and ready to go!

The classes are part of a wider movement that began in Essex and has spread wider as its success has grown. They are aimed at young adults with learning disabilities or additional needs aged 16+ and feature a variety of theatre arts skills including dancing, singing, acting, recording and the potential for group exam work.

We arrived after they had already spent a couple of hours working on a dance routine and I just couldn’t believe how much they had learned in such a short space of time. Very impressed!

What a nice group they are too, from the students to the dance team and organisers, everybody just seemed to be having a world of fun. It sort of reminded me of the old “Fame” show on TV, but I’m probably showing my age there.

Well worth a look if you think you know somebody who might be interested?

WCP On Hiatus

WCP On Hiatus

It was quite sad committee meeting which put a halt on Wisbech Citizens’ Patrol, but I think the right decision was made.

No doubt the various critics will step up and take up the slack in short order.

On the plus side, it has freed up a lot of my time.  But not for long.  No doubt I’ll find something else to fill it in short order :)

North Ward / Waterlees Has Three New Councillors

North Ward / Waterlees Has Three New Councillors

Following the abrupt and expensive resignations of Cllrs Lay, Bucknor and Bucknor from Wisbech Town Council, a by-election has been held to find three replacements.

The political battleground was a straight duel between Labour and the Conservatives.

Labour threw everything and the kitchen sink at it.  Volunteers were drafted in from far and wide and the most comprehensive campaign I’ve seen them run in recent years took place.

I think that letting the Bucknors have a free ride for years has seriously harmed their base in the area, because despite giving it their best and throwing lots of resources at it, they failed to make the mark they hoped.  Nevertheless, they ran a clean campaign and did not get bogged down in the nastiness and vitriol seen from other quarters.  They can be proud of their part in a well-fought and fair by-election.

I am pleased and proud that all three seats were won, comfortably, by the three Conservative candidates; Andy Maul, Laura Cobb and Andrew Lynn.  All three are completely fresh faces to the local political scene and I am looking forwards to working with them for many years to come.

Roma project


Roma project will ease pressure on resident communities and services

A catalyst to integrate one of the most vulnerable and misunderstood migrant communities in the region has been launched thanks to more than £150,000 of government funding.

Fenland District Council has received a grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government’s Controlling Migration Fund (CMF) to deliver a project aimed at the East of England’s Roma community.

The Parallel Lives Project will not only help to ease pressures on local services as a result of Romani migration, but will also tackle chronic discrimination against the community and help to establish a more cohesive and mutually respectful environment.

Working in partnership with the East of England Strategic Migration Partnership (SMP), the Council will deliver the two-year project in two phases.

Firstly it will gather data and local intelligence on Roma communities. Research has shown Roma to be disproportionately affected by poverty and discriminated against in employment, education and health care, and by other local communities – both resident and other migrant. In many instances they live ‘parallel lives’, at a distance from other groups.

The project will also identify the key pressures on local services and the impact that has on resident communities, before developing solutions to the issues in phase two.

The solutions will depend on the outcome of the first phase, although project leaders anticipate that a minimum of six Roma community champions will be identified to work in each part of the region with the highest concentration of Roma people – Fenland, Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Luton, Peterborough and Southend.

Roma cultural competence training will also be developed and rolled out, and workshops held to bring Roma people together with frontline services.

Councillor Mike Cornwell, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “By engaging with Roma people, and bringing them closer to local services and service providers, this project will be a catalyst for Roma integration across the region’s most highly pressurised areas of inward migration.”

“The longer-term gain for the established community is a more cohesive environment where all residents are encouraged and enabled to co-exist harmoniously, rather than living lives which can induce mistrust, exclusion and the socio-economic costs of racial violence.”