Author Archives: Steve Tierney
The Socially Distant Blog Post
Writing this simply because I have some limited free time and thought I should update the blog.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been working with Sam Hoy (and others) covering Wisbech and the surrounding villages (Leverington, Tydd St Giles, Elm, Friday Bridge and others) as volunteers with Fenland District Council. We are running errands, shopping and picking up medication for elderly and/or vulnerable individuals who have no other support and need urgent help during the Covid-19 Crisis.
Initially it was very hard work, as it was just Sam and I covering the entire Wisbech area on behalf of the FDC line. We managed to keep up, but it was a struggle on occasion as calls were literally flooding in. It was quite upsetting as some of these people were very frightened and in panic mode and some were absolutely desperate. The “normal” routes of care struggle when everybody is overwhelmed with fear and you lose huge swathes of your regular volunteers and carers to isolation and illness.
It was disappointing to see a local newspaper invent a completely false story and present a narrative that had little bearing on the truth. But I guess even in a pandemic a leopard doesn’t change its spots. It was also disappointing to see some opposition types looking to invent a story where one did not exist, but luckily that was quickly closed down by clear guidance from the very top in the virus response team at regional level.
Nevertheless, as the situation has progressed things have got better. More volunteers have come on board. The work done by other groups like 50 Backpacks and the Red Cross have been exceptional. County Council has been delivering emergency food packages to many vulnerable people too. All these different streams of help have been coming together and finding the best ways to support one another and work.
During all this i’ve had several jobs. As Portfolio holder for Communication at FDC i’ve been making sure lots of information is pushed out with regular press releases. I’m working directly with senior officers to do everything we can to make sure people have easy access to help when they need it and all the *accurate* information to help them. I’ve also been trying to encourage people to stay calm, The Covid 19 virus is a horrible one and it is certainly dangerous, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable People should follow Government guidance, stay safe and stay calm. Fear is also a killer, and this is obvious by what volunteers are seeing when they are out helping vulnerable people. Caution and care is vital, scaremongering is unhelpful. Getting the balance right is important.
Presently I am spending about 11 hours on most free days going back and forth to shops, chemists etc helping people who have no other support. All of this is done with maximum precautions for those who we are helping – 2m distance at all times. Hands washed before and after every visit. Following the most stringent protocols for every person we visit, exactly as instructed from those running the operations at the highest regional level. It’s a long day and its sad to see how utterly terrified some folks are. I wish there was more that we could do to help them.
Lots of other volunteers have joined the team now. We have FACT working in many areas and regular folks are also helping their own elderly and vulnerable neighbours. It’s a tough time, but I feel we will get through it working together.
I hope all my readers are well and safe. If you need help in Fenland call 01354 654321 for the Fenland Helpline. You are not alone.
No Incinerator says Wisbech Town Council
Very pleased to notify you all that tonight, at the special meeting of Full Council (Wisbech Town Council) my motion opposing the incinerator was passed unanimously.
This means its now been passed at FDC (nearly unanimously) and at WTC (unanimously.)
Just got to get it through County now and we will have a hat trick of local Councils committed to opposing this awful incinerator.
FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL
February 27, 2020
Council agrees motion against plans for Wisbech incinerator
Members of Fenland District Council will be writing to the Energy Secretary making clear its opposition to plans to build an incinerator in Wisbech.
The move comes after councillors almost unanimously backed a motion against the waste facility at a full Council meeting last week.
The motion was put forward by Cllr Steve Tierney, a Wisbech town councillor and Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Waste and Recycling (strategic) and Communications.
The motion states that the Council does not support the construction of an incinerator in Wisbech, and will write to Alok Sharma MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to stress its opposition to the plans.
It also states that the Council “will take any and all legal avenues and processes available to continue to fight on behalf of the residents of Wisbech, the surrounding villages, and Fenland as a whole and to challenge this unwelcome scheme every step of the way”.
Cllr Tierney said: “The district council is not in favour of waste being tackled through incineration and we will do everything within our legal power to fight these toxic plans. We need to raise awareness of these plans so people understand the full implications, and make our voices heard.
“The 50 megawatt plant would be positioned in Algores Way, close to the Thomas Clarkson Academy, and there are fears it could impact air pollution, health and congestion. With a 95-metre high chimney it would also dominate the skyline and be visible for miles.”
The scale of the proposed development is such that the planning application will be decided by the Secretary of State, rather than by Cambridgeshire County Council.
“It is essential for local people and local councils to make their views known,” added Cllr Tierney. “It is also important that local people see that Fenland District Council understands the strength of public opinion against the incinerator and that it is willing to stand up and be counted in the campaign to try and prevent it ever happening.”
- A public meeting about the incinerator, organised by Wisbech Town Council, is being held at the Queen Mary Centre in Wisbech on Friday, March 13, at 6pm. The meeting will provide more information about the proposals and seeks to unite those opposing its development. There will also be speakers, including Steve Barclay MP.
- A copy of the motion agreed by Fenland District Council can be viewed at: https://www.fenland.gov.uk/localgov/documents/s5684/Motion.pdf
FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL
February 24, 2020
Golden Age Fair a hit with older residents
Fenland District Council’s first Golden Age Fair of 2020 was a huge success, showcasing the various services available to over 60’s in Fenland.
On Tuesday, February 11, residents from across the district braved the cold to visit the event at Walsoken Village Hall with 22 partner organisations also in attendance to provide advice, help and assistance to the older generations in Fenland.
A vast selection of services were available at the event with Freedom Leisure offering health checks and service information, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership providing scam avoidance advice and Careline offering a range of guidance including financial safety advice.
Elsewhere at the event, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service were exchanging electric blankets and offering fire safety advice, Everyone Health provided fitness MOTs, Peterborough Environment City Trust gave energy information while the Alzheimer’s Society offered benefits guidance and referrals.
Cllr Susan Wallwork, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “The feedback we received from visitors on the day was once again fantastic; everyone who completed a feedback form felt that the event was either good or very good and all respondents indicated they would recommend the fair to others.”
She added: “The Golden Age events have long been a popular staple in our yearly calendar and the advice, support and sense of community at these events is invaluable to the older generations. I encourage everyone to look out for an upcoming Golden Age event near you.”
The event was the first of four Golden Age Fairs that will be held across Fenland this year and preparation for the next event is currently underway. More information on the next Golden Age Fair will be announced later in the month.
On Blogging in 2020
You’ve probably noticed I rarely blog now. This is due to the fact that I’ve moved my communications with the times.
When I started blogging over a decade ago it was all the rage. I won a bunch of national awards, and had huge readership (which I probably should have capitalised on, but never really did.)
Since then the blogging community has thinned out and blogs have become outmoded. Consequently, I’ve shifted to YouTube Channel stuff and a podcast.
In order to communicate with local people I still put out a (near) monthly newsletter, hold (near) monthly Councillor surgeries and use Facebook extensively. But to share opinions and ideas I switched over to the [unapologetic.] podcast with some friends. The channel is really growing well and viewers / subs are expanding at a steady rate. We’ve actually reached the size where we could consider monetising the channel, but we aren’t going to do that yet.
In regards to my personal business and hobbies I have two further YouTube channels with podcasts to cater to those. All this takes time and scratches my itch for such things and so the need to explore ideas / vent in this blog is no longer there.
That said – there are times when this blog is the “right” outlet and so I will keep occasionally posting here.
In the same way that blogs and old social media was the beginning of the death of old media, podcasts and video is the death of blogs. Not completely, people will always use many methods. But I want to move with the times because if you don’t, the times leave you behind.
But I never say never. So maybe I’ll get the urge to write a regular blog again sometimes? We shall see.
Father Christmas Comes to Wisbech Castle
Well, we thought it might be busy, but we had no idea quite HOW busy!
If the queue, which stretched out onto the road for much of the day, was anything to go by the people of Wisbech were rather excited by our Christmas adventure and grotto.
As is normal with Wisbech Castle events, we try to never do the “obvious” thing. We throw in a curveball or two, to keep people guessing – and excited!
Our cast of characters included two Christmas elves, Mr Fluffy the Magic Bear, Ebeneezer Scrooge and of course the big beardy guy himself, Santa!
We made snow despite the mild weather and kept the kids and families laughing and smiling throughout.
The Castle Cafe did brisk business, offering refreshments from delicious cake to spicy Chilli n’ Cheese.
We did everything at very fair prices, aware that not everybody has a lot of extra cash at this time of year and wanting all families to be able to enjoy a lovely time.
Well done volunteers. Everybody seemed very happy. Roll on 2020 as we move the Wisbech Castle Project onwards and upwards.