Active Citizens Group – Year 9
The Active Citizens started their round of meetings again in the autumn of 2015. The Group is a Working Group for Eastleigh Borough and Romsey MENCAP, representing the views of people with learning disabilities.
This year we were pleased to visit the Hindu temple in Northam and to learn about Hinduism. None of the group or support had any experience of this religion and we were fascinated by the rituals but also by the similarity in beliefs held by the main religions.
Learning Disability Issues
The ACTIVE CITIZENS discussed selected parts of the Hampshire Learning Disabilities Partnership Board “LD Plan” for the Review in 2018 and gave their opinions on how various aspects were working for them.
One of our members has joined the Orange Local Implementation Group, attending monthly meetings in Romsey. Although he is not an elected member he is proving very vocal and raising issues at the meetings.
The Group held another SCAMS Meeting with assistance from Hampshire County Council Trading Standards. Friends of the group were invited in for a morning of discussion about how to avoid scams and keep themselves and their property safe.
The group were also asked to comment on some text for online communications and to give feedback on their experience of the public and private work spaces and offices within the Hampshire County Council Queen Elizabeth II building in Winchester.
Community Development Course
One member of the Active Citizens attended a ten week Community Development course in Winchester with support. The content of the course was brought back to the group for learning and discussion. A grant to facilitate access was provided by Hampshire County Council.
This year Brexit has of course been a frequent topic for discussion, also homelessness and we have been grateful to have Eric Hyoms with us to talk about this issue.
The Natural Environment
The group made two visits to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust reserve at Testwood Lakes and we were accompanied by invited friends to enjoy the experience. We went bird watching in the spring and identified wildflowers and grasses.
In the autumn of 2017 we learned how to make willow hurdles, having first cut and prepared the willow. We also lit a fire in the hearth of the replica Bronze Age hut and cooked damper bread on the embers. This was an unforgetable experience and smell! The damper bread made with cheese and tomato was delicious.
We are grateful to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Trust staff (our friend Grace in particular) who always make us so welcome and who provide stimulating and original activities.
This project was funded by The February Foundation, members’ subscriptions and society fundraising.
Safer Places Scheme
The main focus of the work of Active Citizens in the Autumn 2012 was Safer Places again. The Group organised a second launch of the Safer Places Scheme in the Southern Parishes with Pauline Spiers
in November 2012 and Chris Huhne, then our MP, came to open the Launch and to talk about the importance of the scheme.
The whole Safer Places Scheme was handed over to the Community Safety Partnership at Eastleigh Borough Council in December 2012 by Pauline Spiers. The CSP are maintaining the scheme, though the Active Citizens are still taking an interest and promote the scheme whenever the opportunity arises.
The Safer Places scheme provides safe accessible places for people to go to if they become scared, confused, lost or upset while out and about in our communities. Safe places are easily identifiable by the yellow logo displayed as a window sticker.
On December 10, 2013 the Active Citizens were invited by the Mayor of Eastleigh, Councillor Malcolm Cross to his Parlour for a celebration and the launch of the new Safer Places Map of Eastleigh Borough.
Safer Places Map Launch
The map was designed within the Council but was funded by the proceeds of a Coffee Morning that the Active Citizens organised in early 2012. The map shows the 57 shops and businesses within the borough of Eastleigh which have agreed to be part of the Safer Places Scheme.
The Safer Places Scheme in a nutshell:
A “Safe Place” can be a shop or public building which has the Safe Place sticker in its window. Any vulnerable person can join the scheme and will be given a Safe Place Card to carry. The card states clearly “I NEED HELP” and has space for two phone numbers of people that the individual can trust. If the person is distressed, they can look for a Safe Place sticker and give their card to a member of staff in the venue, who then calls one of the numbers on the card, to bring help to the card holder.