Celebrating National Bookstart Week

Celebrating National Bookstart Week

Bath Central Library

Bath Central Library

Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Libraries are organising free events across the area to celebrate National Bookstart Week, June 8 – 14.

This year’s theme, Jungle Adventures, is based around Giles Andreae’s beloved picture book Rumble in the Jungle, which will be given away to hundreds of families at the events.

On Monday June 8, the Chairman of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Cllr Ian Gilchrist, will be leading celebrations at Radstock Library between 10am and 12 noon, with the help of the big blue Bookstart Bear.

Parents and carers are being encouraged to bring along their under-fives are invited to come and meet the Bear and enjoy jungle-themed stories, rhymes and craft activities.

There will also be an opportunity to hear jungle adventure stories and rhymes at the following events, which are all free and open to all families with children under five (rhymetimes are aimed at 0-3 years and storytimes at 2-5 yrs):

Monday June 8
Radstock Library, 10am – 12 noon (stories, rhymes & crafts with the Bookstart Bear)
Moorland Rd Library, Bath –10.30 – 11am (storytime)
Midsomer Norton Library – 11 – 11.30am (storytime)

Tuesday June 9
Keynsham Library – 10 – 10.30am & 11 – 11.30am (rhymetimes)
Weston Library, Bath – 10.30am – 11.15am (stories, rhymes & crafts with the Bookstart Bear)
Bath Central Library – 11 – 11.30am (storytime)

Bath Central Library

Bath Central Library

Thursday June 11
Keynsham Library – 10am – 10.30am (storytime)
Paulton Library – 1.30 – 2.30pm (storytime)
Saltford Library –2.30 – 3pm (storytime)

Friday June 12
Weston Library, Bath – 10.30 – 11am (rhymetime)

National Bookstart Week is an annual celebration of UK charity Book Trust’s flagship reading programme, Bookstart. It aims to reinforce to families the importance of getting in to the habit of reading every day – even if it’s just for ten minutes.

Councillor Martin Veal, (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “Our libraries are providing a valuable resource to families with more and more under 5s joining their library every year. It’s never too early to start sharing books with your baby and give them a head start in life. National Bookstart Week is a wonderful opportunity to bring together young children and families across Bath and North East Somerset in a celebration of reading.”

If families are unable to make it along to their local event they can join in the fun at home, with plenty of jungle-themed arts and crafts, games and baking recipes all on the Bookstart website http://www.bookstart.org.uk/jungle.

For more information about Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Library Service, visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/libraries.

For your information: 

Book Trust is Britain’s largest reading charity. It has a vision of a society where nobody misses out on the life-changing benefits that reading can bring. Book Trust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books. http://www.booktrust.org.uk

Book Trust’s flagship reading programme Bookstart supports parents and carers to enjoy books with their child from as early as possible with the gift of free books to children in the first year of their life and again when they are 3-4 years old. http://www.bookstart.org.uk
Research has shown that if a parent reads to their infant every day they will be almost 12 months ahead of those who are read to less often, in terms of their reading and language skills. (Kalb, G. & van Ours, J. C. (2013) Reading to Young Children: A Head-Start in Life? Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research).

Throughout the year Book Trust gives free books to 2.5 million parents and carers to read with their children. Inclusive packs are also available for children in care, with hearing or sight impairment, have fine motor delay or whose first language isn’t English.

Regular Bookstart-supported Storytime and Rhymetime sessions are held throughout the year in local libraries, nurseries and children’s centres.

Taking a store guided tour!

Taking a store guided tour!

Open Day and Guided Tours at St John’s Local History Store as part of the Festival of Learning 2015

St John's Local History Store.

St John’s Local History Store.

On Saturday 13 June, Bath & North East Somerset Council is opening the doors to St. John’s Local History Store as part of the Festival of Learning. Entry is free to visitors of all ages to inspire people to find out how learning can change their lives.

Visitors will discover more about Victorian spa treatments in Bath. Bathing equipment and visitor books provide an insight into spa culture in Bath. Also located in the store is furniture made by local craftsmen.

There are guided tours at 11am, 12noon, 1pm and 2pm. If you would like to book a place please call 01225 477773 or drop-ins are welcome too.

Visitors have enjoyed exploring their heritage during previous Open Days – making tours of the stores locations popular – so be part of the Festival of Learning and explore your heritage.

Improvement work to Seven Dials reaches final stages?

Improvement work to Seven Dials reaches final stages?

kingsmead sq improvement

It’s a major construction but the end result is not clear. Click on images to enlarge.

Work to improve the Seven Dials area of Bath for cyclists and pedestrians is reaching its final stages. Though you could have fooled me when l went to look at the construction mess that adds up to a £1.2 million pound project.

From this week traffic routes will change whilst the existing carriageway surface is replaced with stone paving.

This is expected to take around five weeks, and the project is planned for completion in early July. Though it’s not at all clear what the finished layout will look like.

kings mead square improvement

Another view of the Seven Dials work.

Vehicles using Cheap Street/Westgate Street will no longer be able to turn up towards Saw Close and will continue on across Seven Dials to Monmouth Street. Access to Saw Close, Upper Borough Walls and adjoining roads will only be possible from Westgate Buildings, entering via James Street West.

Motorists for the Theatre Royal and Bath Mineral Hospital will need to use this alternative route. Any businesses that receive their deliveries via Upper Borough Walls should inform their suppliers accordingly.

Vehicles using Westgate Street for Saw Close will need to continue to the end of Monmouth Street, turn left at the junction with Charles Street, then left again onto James Street West. They will then be able to use the alternative route for Saw Close and Upper Borough Walls.

Traffic controls will be in use where vehicles cross the central area.

The £1.2 million project aims to improve the Seven Dials area of Bath for pedestrians and cyclists. Bath & North East Somerset Council secured the money to pay for the scheme from the Department of Transport’s Cycle City ambition programme.

The aim is to improve the public space with more focus on the needs of people walking and cycling through the delivery of a ‘shared space’. At the moment far more pedestrians than cars use the area around Seven Dials but, because they don’t have sufficient space on the footway, often have to step into the road, putting them at risk.

The improvements are designed to remove the idea that motorists have priority and ensure all users can move around safely. Taking such steps to make the area more walkable and cycle-friendly is also an opportunity to invest in the city’s urban fabric.

Benefits of the scheme will include:

kingsmead sq improvement

Can you make out what’s happening?

•More space and better facilities for pedestrians. Flush surfaces across the area rather than kerbs thereby improving accessibility, particularly for people with disabilities or those using pushchairs.

•Increased access for cyclists allowing them to cross Seven Dials to take advantage of new contraflow routes being created on surrounding streets.

•Investment in high-quality surface materials that will improve the look of the area which, alongside the forthcoming regeneration of Saw Close, will make it a much more pleasant environment for local people, businesses and visitors.

•New street furniture, public seating and cycle parking.

Seven Dials, incorporating Kingsmead Square and Saw Close, is the historic west gate of the city where seven routes meet and lies to the west of the city’s main thoroughfare.

Searching for 1914-1918 films of Bath and North East Somerset

Searching for 1914-1918 films of Bath and North East Somerset

The Arts Development team at Bath & North East Somerset Council is keen to hear from anyone who holds any film footage relating to the district dating from the First World War.

On parade in Great Pulteney Street 1915. © Bath in Time

On parade in Great Pulteney Street 1915. © Bath in Time

So far, 16 films have been located in the collections of Pathé and the British Film Institute.

The subjects filmed include the visit of the King and Queen to Bath in November 1917, a three-day Red Cross Fair held in Sydney Gardens in 1917, the wedding of the Prime Minister’s son, Richard Lloyd George, at Bath Abbey in 1917, and footage of the ‘Roll of Honour’ at Chew Magna – a community where every eligible man signed up to fight.

Military parade on Midland Road in Bath. © Bath in Time

Military parade on Midland Road in Bath. © Bath in Time

Film dating from this period is incredibly rare, but the Council’s Arts Development team is hoping there may be someone out there who knows of other films showing the area or local people in 1914-1918.

Anyone who has films from this period from places such as Radstock, Midsomer Norton, Bath, the Chew Valley and Keynsham, is urged to get in touch.

Most of the film that was produced during World War One was officially commissioned, and heavily censored by government agencies.

However, some people at the time would have owned cine cameras and taken amateur footage, perhaps of local places or family members. If you know of any such film please contact the Arts Development team on 01225 396138 or email centenary_worldwar1@bathnes.gov.uk.

All of the 1914-1918 films found will be listed on the Council’s World War One Centenary website, www.bathnes.gov.uk/WW1centenary. Where possible, links to online clips will be included.

The centenary website lists World War One commemorative events and projects taking place up until the end of 2018. If you are planning a World War One themed event or project in the area please email details to centenary_worldwar1@bathnes.gov.uk.

Roman Baths Learning Centre plans for former city laundry

Roman Baths Learning Centre plans for former city laundry

Bath & North East Somerset Council has appointed local architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) as lead designers

The illustration shows the proposed Archway Centre.

The illustration shows the proposed Archway Centre.

for the planned ‘Archway Centre’ project in Bath.

The project will create a state-of-the-art Roman Baths Learning Centre above the former city laundry in Swallow Street and a World Heritage Site Visitor Centre in 10 York Street. Visitors will also be able to walk through spaces beneath York Street excavated by City Architect, Major Davies in the 1880s, and see parts of the Roman Baths that have never before been open to regular public access.

The arch in York Street.

The arch in York Street.

The Council submitted a successful round one development grant application* to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for £168,100 in 2014. Council staff will work with the design team over the next nine months to prepare a round two application to the HLF early in 2016 for capital funding for the Archway Centre. The project is expected to cost around £5 million.

The old laundry in Swallow Street

The old laundry in Swallow Street

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This significant project will help bring to life our heritage, improving the quality of experience for schoolchildren and others visiting the Roman Baths and also providing better interpretation of the World Heritage Site for everyone. FCBS has proven in open competition that they have the skills and relevant experience to develop these plans.”

The Great Bath - part of the  Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

The Great Bath – part of the Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

Matt Somerville, Project Associate at FCBS, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in our home city on the most important Roman archaeological site in the country, a defining part of Bath’s World Heritage status. This project will bring back to life a really important group of buildings which have, until now, been sadly overlooked and it’s a daunting but extremely exciting prospect. We’re looking forward to working with Bath & North East Somerset Council to make a visit to the Roman Baths even more enjoyable than it is already.”

Other members of the design team are Bath-based structural and civil engineers Integral Engineering Design and mechanical and electrical engineers Method Consulting from Swindon.

Notes of interest from your Director.

1. * Heritage Grants (HG) applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

2. From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. http://www.hlf.org.uk.

3. For further information about the Archway Centre see http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/archwaycentre

4. For further information about the City of Bath UNESCO World Heritage Site see http://www.bathworldheritage.org.uk/

Rabbit exclusion zone

Rabbit exclusion zone

Meshed area of embankment near Grosvenor Bridge.

Meshed area of embankment near Grosvenor Bridge.

Bath has to get used to seeing its once green-covered railway embankments stripped of vegetation.

It’s part of the price that has to be paid for electrification of the Great Western line between London and Bristol.

The wire mesh has been laid to stop rabbits burrowing. Too big a warren could mean a collapse of the track above and a possible train derailment.

Low lying vegetation will grow through and cover the mesh mesh l am told. Hopefully, no rabbits left in old burrows.

Reform, economies and putting residents first

Reform, economies and putting residents first

The new Conservative leadership of Bath & North East Somerset Council has set out its priorities for the next four years, with a promise to reform the way the local authority works and build a Council which ‘puts the interests of residents first’. That’s according to a statement the Conservative Group – who now control B&NES – have issued.

The Bath Guildhall

The Bath Guildhall

At the authority’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday, 21st May, the Council’s new  leader, Cllr Tim Warren, said that improving transport, investing in the local economy and getting finances back on track would all be at the top of the agenda for his new administration. He also reaffirmed his commitment to delivering on the promises made within the party’s local election manifesto, which included plans to improve local leisure facilities, deliver more affordable homes, and invest in the area’s transport infrastructure, all under a theme of ‘putting residents first’. Council Leader Tim Warren said: “We’ve got a big task ahead of us and we’re very humbled by the trust residents have put in us, but we’ve got a good team in place of talented individuals with fresh ideas and a clear vision for making our area an even better place to live. “With the Council’s new administration now officially appointed, we’re ready to roll-up our sleeves and get on with the job of delivering on the commitments made during the election – such as sorting out our area’s transport system and getting the Council’s finances in order. “There will be difficult decisions ahead, especially when it comes to finding the necessary budget savings within the Council, but B&NES is a great area with huge potential and I’m optimistic about what we can achieve in the next few years.” Explaining the approach the Conservatives will take to running the Council over the next four years, Councillor Warren added: “There’s one overriding theme running through everything we plan to do – and that’s ensuring the interests of residents always come first. Does this proposal truly serve the interests of local residents? That will be the litmus test we will apply to all decisions in the Council. “‘Residents first’ was on the front-page of our manifesto, and that is the approach we will take to running the Council over the next four years.” The Conservatives took control of B&NES Council at the local elections earlier this month, becoming the first political party since B&NES was created to gain an outright majority on the Council, with a total of 37 Councillors against the Lib Dems’ 15 seats and Labour’s 6 Councillors. A further 5 Councillors were also elected as independents. · The six key priorities set out by the new Conservative Cabinet: – Tackle wasteful spending – launching a ‘root and branch’ review of all Council spending to put the Council on a sure financial footing for the long-term; – Improve local transport – bringing forward plans for an East of Bath Park & Ride and developing long-term Transport Strategies for the Somer Valley and Keynsham; – Deliver more homes and jobs – investing in brownfield regeneration projects to deliver more affordable homes and good local jobs; – Invest in young people – delivering more primary school places and investing in facilities for children and young people; – Create cleaner, greener, healthier local communities – with investment in local leisure facilities and improvements to street cleaning and recycling; – Ensure greater choice and independence for older people – with investment in home adaptations for elderly and disabled residents and ensuring integrated health and social care services. Here’s the full list of appointments made at the annual meeting. The new Chairman of Council is Councillor Ian Gilchrist. The Vice-Chairman of Council is Councillor Alan Hale. There are 7 further Cabinet Members taking responsibility for specific service areas. These are: · Councillor Charles Gerrish (Conservative, Keynsham North) – Cabinet Member for Finance & Efficiency · Councillor Tony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown) – Cabinet Member for Transport · Councillor Michael Evans (Conservative, Midsomer Norton North) Cabinet Member for Children’s Services · Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North) – Cabinet Member for Community Services · Councillor Vic Pritchard (Conservative, Chew Valley South) – Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Health · Councillor Marie Longstaff (Conservative, Keynsham East) – Cabinet Member for Homes & Planning · Councillor Patrick Anketell Jones (Conservative, Lansdown) – Cabinet Member for Economic Development. In addition, there are 7 new roles of Cabinet Assistant. These Cabinet Assistants will not be full members of the Cabinet, but will be aligned to each Cabinet portfolio and will assist the Cabinet Members in their roles – taking on specific responsibilities and helping to ensure delivery within that portfolio. The Cabinet Assistants are: · Finance & Efficiency: Councillor Paul May (Conservative, Publow and Whitchurch) · Transport: Councillor Matt Cochrane (Conservative, Bathwick) · Children’s Services: Councillor Emma Dixon (Conservative, Saltford) · Community Services: Councillor Chris Pearce (Conservative, Kingsmead) · Adult Social Care & Health: Councillor Lisa O’Brien (Conservative, Keynsham South) · Homes & Planning: Councillor Bob Goodman (Conservative, Combe Down) · Economic Development: Councillor Mark Shelford (Conservative, Lyncombe). Note from VMB Director:  OK so Bath’s heritage comes under economic development but it amazes me that – despite so much income from the city’s World Heritage site ‘attractions’ – there is no Cabinet member appointed solely to look after all the  archaeological, architectural  and cultural money-spinners.