This independent website, founded in January 2012, aims to bring you a comprehensive round up of stories from the police, local councils and community groups in Stoke Gifford.

Retirement village shows gratitude to volunteers

Posted on Tuesday 13th August 2019 at 11:17 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of volunteer award winners at Stoke Gifford Retirement Village

Staff and residents at Stoke Gifford Retirement Village (SGRV) have been ‘ringing the praises’ of the people who regularly volunteer there during a week of special celebrations.

Volunteers Week, which ran from 3rd – 7th June, gave staff the opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who works tirelessly to keep leisure activities at the village running smoothly.

The week kicked off with an awards ceremony. This involved afternoon tea for those who volunteer on a regular basis and the presentation of three awards to people who were deemed to have ‘gone the extra mile’ when it came to their volunteering. Laura Jones, volunteer organiser at SGRV said:

“All of our volunteers play a fundamental part in each area of the village and as a means of showing our appreciation and gratitude I have introduced this recognition programme to share and celebrate the efforts of those volunteers who reflect the core values of excellence, teamwork and integrity through their volunteering activities.”

The first award, for Excellence, went to Vince who is a local artist and visits the village once a week to teach an oil painting class. The second was the Teamwork award and this went to Vickie and Barbara who run the Acorns ‘n’ Oaks inter-generational playgroup every week and, finally, the Integrity award went to Laura-Jane, a student volunteer who continues to help at the village even though she has completed her required volunteering hours.

Laura-Jane said

“I was not expecting to even have been nominated for a volunteer award at the village, let alone win the award for Integrity in Volunteering. I thoroughly enjoy my role at the Village and have learnt so much from the residents themselves.”

The theme for this year’s Volunteers Week was ‘ringing the praises’ of all of the committed volunteers who work at the village. Throughout the rest of Volunteers Week, Laura, as well as other members of staff, went along to a variety of activities that were taking place and literally rang a bell as a way of expressing their gratitude to the volunteers.

More: Interested in volunteering? Please get in touch. »

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Brodi’s story in focus on Wrong Trousers Day

Posted on Thursday 8th August 2019 at 9:10 pm by Laura Mortimore

Photo of Brodi (2nd from left) with dad Ryan, sister Taylor and mum Maria.

Children at Abacus Pre-School, based in the Poplar Rooms on North Road, Stoke Gifford, have been wearing their ‘wrong trousers’ in order to raise money for the ‘Grand Appeal’, the Bristol Children’s Hospital charity.

During the week beginning Monday 10th June, the children made a donation in order to wear some wacky trousers to their pre-school sessions. Throughout the week, the children, as well as the staff, turned up wearing pyjama bottoms, brightly coloured leggings and trousers with a multitude of patterns on them. The donations given, added to money raised at a cake sale at the recent Stoke Gifford Fête, totalled £142.

The Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity is a charity that is very close to the hearts of those at Abacus as one of their own children, Brodi, has unfortunately had to spend a lot of time at the hospital in recent months. Here is Brodi’s story, recounted by his mum, Maria:

“In March 2018 Brodi underwent a full body MRI scan to get answers to a growth in his skull. Results showed Brodi has a condition called a Chiari Malformation; this is where the base of the brain (cerebellum) is descending into the spinal canal reducing the flow of CSF fluid to the brain.”

“Some adults and children can live with this condition and never experience any symptoms or need for intervention, however, on 10th November 2018 Brodi woke in the night crying with head pain and being sick, he had also lost all feeling in his legs. After numerous tests and scans at the wonderful Bristol Children’s hospital it was apparent Brodi had a large build-up of fluid within his brain. The doctors were quick to react and Brodi had a shunt insertion to reduce the pressure of the build-up. After a 2 week stay in hospital Brodi was allowed home to continue his recovery.”

More: Events at all Abacus settings raised a total of £256 »

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Abbeywood sixth formers reach final of Community Apprentice challenge

Posted on Friday 2nd August 2019 at 9:10 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of team SOS pitching to a panel of judges.

A group of six Year 12 students who attend Abbeywood Community School have reached the final of the Envision Project which they have been working towards for the last eight months. The final took place on Wednesday 12th June at the Wills Memorial building in Bristol city centre, where the group were up against four other Bristol schools.

Envision is an organisation, mainly run by volunteers, whose aim is to develop young people’s employability by empowering them to tackle real-life social problems. They have been working with secondary schools in Bristol, Birmingham and London for the last 15 years, seeking to instil character and values in young people. They run a programme called ‘Community Apprentice’ which is loosely based on the TV series ‘The Apprentice’. It is an inter-school competition between five schools which requires students to develop and demonstrate the competencies most valued by employers.

At Abbeywood, two groups of students decided that they wanted to take part in the Community Apprentice challenge and so created two teams; Team SOS (Stop Occupational Sexism) and Team Islam No Phobia. Their first task was the film challenge where they had to work as a team to communicate why the issue they had chosen matters. This had to be done in under two minutes and in a single take. Then they had to prepare a project plan and pitch it to a panel of judges at school – this included the headteacher, Mr Howe and their Envision mentors. After a successful pitch and with a score of 43/45, Team SOS won their place at the final.

Team SOS consists of Chris Yalamov, Bianca Gornea, Galin Zhelyazkov, Lara Dalton, Adnan Evans and Denisa Racaceanu. They decided that their passion lay with tackling occupational sexism in Bristol. They have spent the last eight months developing their ideas by delivering workshops to Year 7 and Year 8 students, as well by creating a board game that is aimed at people over 12 years old that has been put up in two boardgame cafés in Bristol; Playground Café and Chance & Counters.

More: "This has really developed my skills in teamwork & leadership" »

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Author’s pirate tales enthrall Reception pupils

Posted on Tuesday 30th July 2019 at 6:28 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of author Ali Smith with some of the Reception class children.

Monday 10th June saw the children in Reception at St Michael’s Primary School, Stoke Gifford receive a visit from a children’s author as part of their topic: Just Keep Swimming.

Self-published author, Ali Smith, is a teacher in the South of England who has always loved children’s picture books and wanted to write her own. She has now written 20 books about a pirate named Captain O, who is inspired by her nephew, Owain. She has also used the names of her own children and nearly all of her nieces and nephews as characters in the series.

Photo of Ali Smith reading one of her stories to some of the Reception class children.

As part of her visit to St Michael’s, Ali went to each of the Reception classes, reading some of her stories and answering questions about being an author. The children were enthralled as Ali read four of her Captain O stories, using props and actions to engage her audience. They then had an opportunity to ask Ali a number of questions including “How did you become an author?” and “Who draws the pictures?”

One of the stories, Captain O and the Rainbow, included the dilemma of choosing a pot of gold or your friend, and as this question was put to the children, they were able to discuss the pros and cons of each option. One child claimed they would choose the gold because “then I would be rich” whereas another chose their friend because “I would have someone to play with”.

As part of her visit, Ali had signed copies of her books that had been ordered, which were gratefully received by the children. Upon leaving, Ali said: “It’s a real joy to inspire children to read and write their own stories. Everybody loves a pirate!”

If you would like to read any of Ali Smith’s Pirate O books, they are available to purchase on Amazon.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on page 20). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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