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Weekly surgery

I was at Formby swimming pool as usual on Wednesday. It was an opportunity to meet with representatives of the Formby Rotary club.

"One of the most wonderful things about Rotary is that it allows you to be part of something so much larger than yourself."

Glenn E. Estess Snr., RI President 2005

We were joined by the Parish Council Chairman, Cllr Roland  Cawley. We had a very wide ranging and useful talk. Items discussed included the question of signage advertising the Rotary Club, the Parish Council community fund, closer ties between the Parish Council and the club, perhaps by means of an ex-officio membership for the Council Chair. Finally we spent a long time discussing 'social capital' and volunteer activity and how to support and develop it in Formby.

The notion of social capital is a useful way of entering into debates about civil society – and is central to the arguments of Robert Putnam and others who want to ‘reclaim public life’. It is also used by the World Bank with regard to economic and societal development and by management experts as a way of thinking about organizational development.

I'm sure that the local branch of Formby Rotary would welcome applications from new members. If you are looking for ways to become involved in the life of Formby Community, there are many opportunities, I'd be happy to try to help you find any to suit your interests.

A salutary reminder

The last few days have seemed very busy. Partially because I was away in Taunton for 3 days. I was a guest of 40 Commando, where my son is serving as a Royal Marine. The event was a 'Dads and Lads' weekend, very much like the same type of event the scouting movement has held here in Formby, when my son was a scout. I'd like to congratulate the 1st Formby Scout troop as featured in the Formby Times who celebrated their 100th year anniversary this weekend.

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Speak up for Formby?

Once again my blog has received a mention on the influential blog Ultra Local Voice: communities, communicating the author is announcing the start of a very exciting,

proposal to help active citizens create ultra or hyperlocal sites about their neighbourhood/community/locality

I would welcome volunteers from the residents of Formby, who would be interested in following up this idea locally, the project is described in the following way,

Talk About Local is about giving people skills and empowering communities. The project will empower active citizens who already have a burning need to communicate as they campaign for cleaner streets, better schools, activities for young people or put on local arts or organise a village fete. Talk About Local will give these citizens the basic skills to communicate online more effectively and at less cost than using traditional means.

If you feel you would like to find out more then write to me, 'sbrady@formbyfirst.org'.

The Parish Council already has a scheme which shares some of these ideas, but it's confined to the members of the Council and we call it our 'stewardship report'. Every month, members of the Council patrol designated areas of Formby and note issues that need attention, for example, unlit street lamps, or potholes and so on. These are reported to the Council and acted on every month. If necessary we take the matter up with Sefton MBC, who welcome this advice.  If you think this is worth developing in the way the 'Talk About Local' project describes then let me know.

Formby First on the Internet

I was very pleased earlier this week when my blog was featured on 'Ultra Local Voice: Communities, Communicating'. This prestigious web site writes about and reviews blogs and web sites that are strengthening local communities. The author notes the following about my blog:

Sean Brady has a great Typepad based site in Formby, Lancashire/Sefton that is rather better than mainstream blogs by elected representatives. The content really nails what ultralocal or hyperlocal should be about. I liked a lot. ....... where Sean uses embedded video to make a point about a dangerous spot for cyclists - the video adds something that a simple written paragraph just can’t get across.... This sort of reporting adds an extra dimension to the role of the elected representative at Britain’s most local tier - the parish council.

Update on recent activities

This is a brief report on my recent and on-going activities as a Councillor in Formby. I was unable to attend the normal monthly meeting for January due to illness but I have managed to hold my normal surgeries in Formby swimming pool cafe for the last two weeks. Other actions include:

  • Attending the normal monthly meeting of the Finance sub-committee, this was held in the Bier Hall at St. Peter's Church, Freshfield.
  • I attended the inaugural meeting of the Business to Business Forum, held in 'The Gallery' on Wednesday 14th January. This was very informative and looks like an exciting and welcome initiative and likely to help local businesses. I will also continue to attend a similar meeting with the same members that is focused on wider issues that affect all of the businesses.

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Inauguration of Barack Obama

In common with many blogs I've added a flickr slideshow to stream pictures uploaded to their site and tagged with the words Inauguration and Obama. I have no way of reviewing these images in advance so please accept my apologies if any inappropriate images are added. Although not directly linked to Formby the event is so significant and important  on a world-wide basis, I wanted to mark this on the blog.

Heritage Boards

The Parish Council has for some time been considering the installation of heritage boards. I visited Frodsham in 2006 and took a series of photographs to illustrate my suggestion. After a series of conversations with various people including Councillor Sid Whitby lately of Sefton MBC, the Parish Council embarked on it's 'Village Project'' which has led to a number of changes. Formby Civic Society have been approached about the idea of a 'Heritage Scheme' and I hope they support the Frodsham model. In the slides that follow I have included photographs that illustrate the potential of a scheme.

Continue reading "Heritage Boards" »