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News Index

Local charity champion marks a quarter of a century of dedicated service

“Nature Notes”

Avonmouth & Shirehampton beat report

Baptist Church Easter extravaganza

Shirehampton Evergreens

Shirehampton eco-homes

Bristol Green Capital 2015 Events

. . nothing quite like it for cooling the blood!

St Mary’s News

From The Registers of St. Mary

Botany in the SHIRE

Avon Primary School go caving!

Shirehampton counts the pennies!

How to Create a Cosy Home – Top Tips from Warm Up Bristol

Oasis Brightstowe

S H I R E    @ShireNewspaper    #ShireNewspaper

High tides hit Shirehampton


Photos by Bob Pitchford

* High tides at the Lamplighters, Friday 20th February


Photos by Bob Pitchford

* The Lamplighters the previous week

Thank you to the “Shire” Volunteers


A volunteer's party was held on 24th January in the Tithe Barn by the committee of “Shire” as a way of thanking all who volunteer their time to count, deliver bundles, and distribute the Shire paper. There were around 20 people present and it was a good opportunity for everyone to get together.

Local charity champion marks a quarter of a century of dedicated service


St Peters Hospice volunteer, Maureen Grant, was rewarded with a ceremony at the High Street shop where she has generously given up her time for over 25 years.

Maureen, who celebrates her 85th birthday later this year, has taken on a wide variety of roles from stock preparer to cashier as well as helping out at special events to help raise vital funds for Bristol’s only adult hospice.

Shop Manager, Lin Hayward, told The Shire: “We are extremely grateful to Maureen for her inspiring dedication to St Peters and we would like to thank her for everything that she has contributed over the past 25 years.”

Lin presented Maureen with a long service award and a bouquet of flowers on behalf of the Hospice.

Anyone wishing to find out more about volunteering at the Shirehampton shop should contact Lin on 0117 982 7960 or call into the shop.

SHIRE wishes to thank

Mrs Irene Hall for her generous legacy. Mrs Hall lived for many years in Bradley Avenue and Shire would be delighted to hear from any friends, neighbours or relatives who remember her time in Shirehampton.

The Bristol Shiplovers society

Programme for 2015

Talks take place at: The Wardroom, HMS “Flying Fox”, Royal Navel Headquarters, Winterstoke Road, Bristol BS3 2NS. Talks start at approximately 1930 hours.

Meeting on the following Mondays

Talks and Speaker

  • March 9th, DEMS Gunner talk by David Vergese
  • March 23rd, History and Mystery in the Bristol Channel. Part 2 by Vincent Neave
  • April 13th, Surveying at Sea (Following in Shackleton’s Footsteps) By Anthony Rackham
  • April 27th, The Black Nore Lighthouse by Bill Shier
  • May 11th, Terrible Shipping Disasters by Harry Spong

Membership: Open to all with an interest in ships and the sea. Visitors are very welcome - £3 per head.

Please contact Captain R Francis. Tel: 01761462703 for a security pass to obtain entry to HMS “Flying Fox”.

“Nature Notes”

I’ve been kept busy keeping the feeders and peanut holders in good order. Wet weather meant regular checks to remove compacted or mouldy food. The birds that like peanuts soon stop visiting when newer, freshers ones are needed.

I put the discarded ones on the riverbank for any passing badgers (not the mouldy ones of course!). Fat balls are also the order of the day as the weather has turned much colder.

They disappear so quickly I’m going to start making my own!

The bird song is gradually on the increase and many of our visitors are getting very active – there’s a lot of chasing and interaction going on.

We now have a pair of blackbirds visiting and the female has already used the water feature for a quick bath. A pair of robins have taken a liking to our garden and Jeff built a purpose-built robin nest box a couple of years ago, so we’re really hopeful they might use it. Yet again we are crossing our fingers that, maybe, just maybe, our camera box will have residents this year!

It’s lovely to sit inside and observe the various birds all making use of the food and water. The other morning I watched sparrows, long-tailed tits, great-tits and a robin all in one visit!!

We have had to break the ice on the water feature in this frosty weather. It’s easy to forget that water can be scarce in cold, dry conditions.

We haven’t seen the lapwings lately, but as regular as clock-work, a favourite winter visitor has arrived – the lovely pied wag-tail. It’s great watching them bobbing about in their own characteristic way.

A quick postscript – this morning on yes, you guessed it, a walk on the river-bank with the dogs, I was luck enough to hear a wood pecker hammering away on an old tree over at Ham Green woods. Love that sound!

Busy times ahead. Happy nature watching.

Avonmouth & Shirehampton beat report

In January 2015 Avonmouth and Shirehampton beat (inc Businesses) had a total of 88 crimes reported to police compared to 91 crimes in January 2014. A selection of crimes from our area :-

Avonmouth Industrial Estate

Burglaries – 0
Vehicle Crime – 3

Avonmouth Village

Burglaries (Dwelling / Non Dwelling) – 2
Shop Theft - 4
Bilking (Theft of Fuel) – 1
Vehicle Crime (Theft from / Theft Of M/V) – 2


Vehicle Crime (Theft from / Theft Of M/V) - 4
Burglaries (Dwelling / Non Dwelling) – 9
Shop Theft - 3
Bilking (Theft of Fuel) – 2
These are garage breaks ins in the Nibley Road area and Cedar Row (off Park Hill).

Discreet tucked away locations that offenders could hide away and go unnoticed,

Please check your security of garages and outbuilding. The harder it is for them the least likely they will target you!

If you need any advice don’t hesitate in getting in contact. Either by phone Non emergency 101 or e mail Phone:


Horses – Flygrazing. As you are aware every year we have a problem with horses that have been abandoned on land between Avonmouth/Hallen and Severn Beach. During winter months when food is sparse these horses will roam looking for food to eat. This is why they end up on the roads. Over the past 3 weeks we have been assisting the RSPCA, World Horse Welfare and Horse World due to concerns raised by members of the public regarding the physical shape some of the horses were in. On 16th January we were called by the RSPCA inspector to assist them in the removal of a young foal that was in urgent need of medical attention. On our arrival we were shown where another young foal had died when it had fallen into the drainage ditch and hadn’t been able to get out – very sad.

We saw the other young foal and he was immediately seized by police under the Animal Welfare Act so he could get the treatment he urgently needed. This foal now named Felix is doing very well but unfortunately wasn’t micro chipped so we are unable to identify the owner so offences can not be dealt with.

The following week we returned to the location with 5 police, 4 RSPCA Inspectors and 3 Horse World staf. The area was searched, 72 horses across this location were checked for welfare issues and were scanned for micro chips. A lot of the horses are feral and don’t have micro chips so owners can’t be identified. We are continuing to work with other agencies to tackle this problem.

Travel house


Photos by Bob Pitchford

The Travel House is one of the largest independent travel agencies in the UK, with 21 branches in total including Portishead as well as its newest addition in Bristol, Shirehampton. Newly opened in January, the team at Shirehampton will strive to provide the best booking and holiday experience for their clients, working closely with operators to bring you all the best deals.

The team would like to welcome you in to the Shirehampton branch for a tea or coffee where they would love to chat about your forthcoming holiday enquiries and share with you their best deals.

Alternatively you can give them a call on 01174 030774 or email

Shirehampton Library

Shirehampton library will be 110 years young on Friday 6th March!

Join us for tea/coffee and cake to celebrate from 3pm until 4pm.

Baptist Church Easter extravaganza

Hello, everybody. Well, what a day! We borrowed a donkey at His request, then our friend Jesus rode into Jerusalem seated on its back while everybody, yes everybody, clamoured to see Him , all calling ‘Hosanna’. They waved tree branches and shouted “King Jesus”

It was amazing. If you want to know what happened next, why not join us at Messy Church on Saturday, March 28th at Shirehampton Baptist Church at 3.00. There will be things to make, games to play, an obstacle course to challenge, pictures to colour, a sandpit to play in, a bible story and songs and of course a yummy tea together. It won’t cost you anything so why not bring your Mum and Dad and brothers and sisters. You may even find an Easter egg as well!! You will certainly find out what happened to King Jesus on His donkey a long time ago . . .Hope to see you there?

For The Sake Of Auld Lang Syne

ON Saturday 24th January Avonmouth Sea Cadets combined two great traditions, A Burns Night Supper and a Dining Out.

A Burns supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. These suppers are normally held on or near the poet’s birthday, 25 January, and are sometimes also known as Burns Night.

A Dining Out is traditionally a mess dinner that is the formal goodbye to a senior officer. As avid readers of the Shire will know, Lieutenant (SCC) Victoria Sidwell RNR stood down as the commanding officer of Avonmouth Sea Cadets at the end of last year.


(left to right): On the Bridge of the TS Enterprise, Lieutennant (SCC) Vicky Sidwell RNR, Captain Douglas Lindsay MN, Commander Sue Passmore RNR formerly Unit Commanding Officer, Unit Chairman, Unit President.

The dinner included the traditional haggis, Selkirk Grace and recitation of Burns’s poem ‘Address to a Haggis’ which he wrote in 1786. The meal was cooked to perfection by the team at the newly reopened The Lamplighters pub and expertly served by Petty Officer (SCC) Dan Ward and his team of cadets on the main deck of Avonmouth Sea Cadet’s HQ, TS Enterprise.


The speeches

Avonmouth Sea Cadets are currently recruiting 10 to 18 year olds who would like to taste the adventure that Sea Cadets can offer. The unit is open every Monday and Thursday between 6:30 and 9:00 pm at TS Enterprise opposite The Lamplighters pub.

Trustees needed to help run Shirehampton Public Hall

Shirehampton Public Hall is run by a board of voluntary trustees.

Our aim is to provide facilities for educational and leisure activities for the people of Shirehampton and the surrounding area.

You may have heard about our hall and you may have enjoyed some of our activities or learned something at the training sessions and classes.

If there are things you would like to do that are not available at the hall we would welcome your ideas.

Shirehampton Community Action Forum has its office based at the hall.

We would like to broaden our range of trustees to represent ALL members of the community.

So if you would like to join us or tell us how we can be more useful to you please get in touch. Janet Thomas Treasurer 01179822941

Milk bottle tops

Further to the article in Februarys “Shire”, I am a dedicated fund raiser for “Brain Tumour Research”. I will happily collect your collection of milk bottle tops to help this very important cause.

Please contact DAPHNE (Mobile 07554642440).

Shirehampton Evergreens

This year has started well. Our visit to the pantomime “Cinderella” at the Strode Theatre in Street on January 3rd was a great success. It was a brilliant pantomime and everyone enjoyed the day out.

We have the following trips planned for 2015 – to book please telephone 0117 9381725





191st Shirehampton Scout Group

ON Saturday 20th December the group held their Christmas collection outside our local Co-op. We would like to thank the Manager and Staff for their co-operation and for the supply of hot drinks and to all their customers who generously donated the total of £428.

This money will enable the group to run for another year.

During the evening the Group were invited to attend Carols in the Park in Avonmouth Park. We ran the hot chestnut stall land all the leaders and scouts had a very enjoyable evening enabling us to raise the profile of Scouting in the area. We would like to thank Councillors Wayne Harvey, Matt Melias and the committee for including us.

Shirehampton eco-homes


Over the past few years buildings such as schools, offices and some homes have sprung up around the country partly constructed out of straw. The houses in St Bernard’s Road, Shirehampton are certainly handsome. The exterior walls are made of compressed straw held in an engineered timber frame, but they are clad in red brick and topped in red tile to match the neighbouring semi-detached houses.

Their top floors enjoy views across to the cliffs of the Avon gorge, but according to the developers the other hugely attractive feature is that their fuel bills will be 90% cheaper than an equivalent brick-built house thanks to the insulation the straw provides.


The project has been developed together with the University of Bath’s department of architecture and civil engineering. Prof Pete Walker, who led the work at the university, said: “The construction sector must reduce its energy consumption by 50% and its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, so radical changes are needed to the way we approach house building.

“Straw is a low-cost and widely available food co-product that offers real potential for ultra-low carbon housing throughout the UK.”


As part of the EU-funded project, Walker and his colleagues tested and refined the technology, including examining the structural and weight-bearing properties of straw, and its thermal insulation.

According to the researchers, up to 7m tonnes of straw remains after the production of wheat flour in the UK. They say half is used for animal bedding, but argue the other half could, in theory, be used to build more than 500,000 new homes.

Manjit Kaur, the estate agent in charge of selling the Shirehampton straw houses, said she was being inundated with inquires. “I think the only problem we’re going to have is that we don’t have enough of them,” she said. “The interest is already huge before they are even finished.”


Professor Peter Walker from the University of Bath takes a moisture reading from the straw bales used in the construction of the houses. Photograph: University of Bath/PA.

Bristol Green Capital 2015 Events

Mank Grants have now been presented to a wide variety of community groups around Bristol, including many groups with local connections. More details about local Green events will be available soon.

Details of some free events connected with Green Capital for the month of March -

  • 2nd March 6:30 pm - Sustainable Transport

    Friska 70 Queens Road Contact Bristol Students’ Union Tel 01173318653

  • 4th March Nature – Our Big Green Ally

    @-Bristol, Anchor Road, Free but tickets need to be booked. Panellists will debate how nature can lead to a fairer and more just society.

  • 4th March Bristol Zoo Conservation Lectures

    A series of monthly conservation lectures by national and international conservationists, open to all. Our conservation lectures usually take place on the first Wednesday of each month at 5.30pm in Bristol Zoo Conservation Education Centre (entrance on Guthrie Road open from 5.15pm). They are open to all interested people.

  • 5th March Green Mingle

    5:00 pm “Green Mingle” is on the first Thursday of every month at Bordeaux Quay between 5pm–7pm. It’s happy hour so come and grab a drink (nibbles provided) and join in with like-minded people who are all interested in helping to make Bristol a low carbon city.

  • 5th March Birds and People.

    Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Queens Rd. Author, broadcaster, naturalist and environmental activist Mark Cocker will bring to life his new illustrated book “Birds and People”.

  • 6th March Fairtrade Business Awards 12-2pm

    Free but need to book- The Watershed, 1 Canon’s Rd - Rewards businesses that demonstrate commitment to using and promoting Fairtrade.

  • 10th March 9.00-13.00 West of England Nature Partnership Annual Meeting,

    Paintworks Bath Rd Brislington West Talks & Debates.

  • 11th March 6 pm Past, future, and fantasy climate change

    Reception Room, Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Free Past, future, and fantasy climate change - from the mid-Cretaceous to Middle Earth.

  • 17th March The Politics of Climate Change

    Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road-Lord Giddens, a world-renowned sociologist, will speak on The Politics of Climate Change, his landmark book first published in 2009, a new edition of which he is currently preparing.

  • 26th March The Green Economy

    19.30 Waterside 3, Watershed, 1 Canon’s Road - What is it? Who will take us there? How do we get there? Tel: 0117 328 3201 E-mail:

  • 28th March 5.00pm Design for Good.

    The Fashion Pavilion, The Mall Cribbs Causeway.

    Free to enter, but suggested donation £2.00 for spectators. Upcycled Fashion Show ‘Green is the new Black’. This fantastic event gives young people the opportunity to design and make a new outfit from second hand clothes or recycled materials.

  • 28th March All day Wild Outdoors Windmill Hill City Farm,

    Philip Street, Bedminster- A day for families to participate in nature activities and outdoor play.

Further details these events and many others, most of them involving a small charge are available at –

City and Port of Bristol Bowling club

THE club indoor bowling week at the Carlton Hotel in Torquay was a great success and very enjoyable. Thirty two bowlers and three supporters took part in the annual winter event, organised for the club by Fixtures Secretary Jane Geater. Apart from the very enjoyable bowling there was plenty of time to use the excellent facilities provided by the hotel and also to explore Torbay and the surrounding area.

The pre season meeting will be on Thursday March 19th at 7:30pm in the ballroom of the City and Port of Bristol Club. Bowling will re-commence in the middle of April and continue until the end of September.

Anyone wishing to find out more about bowling or the bowls club can contact David Hinksman on 0117 9082713.

There will be Tuesday evening sessions for new bowlers once again in season 2015.

. . nothing quite like it for cooling the blood!


On Tuesday 7th and Wednessday 18th Febrary Bristol artist Liz Crow held her clay digging event (Figures) down on the clipway of Shirehampton Sailing Club.

Spread over two days, the Figures team dug mud by hand, carted it up the bank and prepared it for transportation. The mud was then taken to Ibstock Brick at Cattybrook, Bristol ready to be prepared for the making phase.


You can see a record of the dig on their engage page. You can also interact with them on Twiter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine using he hashtag WeAreFigures.

the Figures team are grateful to Shirehampton Sailing Club for their extensive support with the digging phase as well as to all the volunteers who joined us across both days.

Red Maids’ students are welcome guests every week


The reading partnership between Oasis Academy Brightstowe and Red Maids’ School, Bristol has become firmly established, with our Year 7 students working weekly with visiting Year 12 students.

The Sixth Form visitors from the country’s oldest girls’ independent school are welcome guests every Friday lunchtime when up to 14 pair up with Brightstowe students in the library.

Red Maids and Brightstowe students together at the end of the session.

St Mary’s News

Hi Folks!

The month of March I always consider to be early Spring, particularly as the evenings become lighter, so here we go with the news for this month.

Sunday 15th March is Mothering Sunday, when posies of flowers will once again be available for children attending Kids Klub at 8.30 am and the 10.00 am Holy Communion Service to give to their Mothers in grateful thanks for all they do for us.

At 3.30 pm on Thursday 19th March there will be a Special Messy Church session for Easter for all accompanied children. Please come along and bring your children with you and join in the fun.

The next day, Friday, 20th March at 7.30 pm we will be holding our next Social Event in Church with the usual Supper & Entertainment. Tickets are £8.00 and available from the Church Office.

The form of entertainment is yet to be decided, so keep your eye open on the Notice Board at the back of the church.

From 10.00 am to 4.00 pm on Saturday, 21st March a Quiet Day for Lent is being held at Trinity College, Stoke Bishop, led by the Rev Dr Ian Bailey. The subject will be - Spirituality for the two halves of life. If you will be attending please sign up on the list at the back of the church.

Saturday, 28th March is our Spring Fayre which will be held in the church from 10.00am until 12.00 noon which will feature Crafts, Gifts, Cakes & Preserves. This will be followed in the afternoon from 2.30 pm until 4.30 pm with Cream Teas - all at very reasonable prices, so please come.

Sunday, 29th March is Palm Sunday when we have a procession of Palms at our 10.00 am Holy Communion service, which recalls Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Monday, 30th March is the beginning of Holy Week and Compline will be said at 8.00 pm. On Tuesday. 31st Compline will be said at 8.30 pm - these are short services of evening prayer. Wednesday, 1st April, is the time for Tenebrae - a quiet reflective service of light into darkness which commences at 8.00 pm.

Thursday, 2nd April is Maundy Thursday. THERE WILL BE NO SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION AT ST MARY’S AT 11.00 am as we will be attending a service - The Blessing of the Oils - at 10.30 am at Bristol Cathedral. This service is open to all.

Friday, 3rd April is Good Friday which begins at 10.00am with a Family Service during which Kids Klub will give a presentation - “The Message of the Cross”. This will be followed by Hot Cross Buns and Tea and Coffee. At 1.00 pm there will be a Meditation - “Walk with me”. At 2.00 pm the Shirehampton Area Choir will lead a service when they sing Faure’s Requiem.

Now, a reminder, we are still collecting plastic milk bottle tops, which we are now giving to a person who is collecting them to raise money for The Brain Tumour Trust. So keep ‘em coming in.

Finally, seen outside a church - You are not too bad to come in. You are not good enough to stay out!

Make a New Year’s resolution which could save your life

Firefighters across Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) are asking you to make a New Year’s resolution which could save your life. Crews are reminding you to make a pledge to install smoke alarms on every level of your home and to check the batteries are working regularly.

Smoke alarms provide an early warning that a fire has broken out and can provide vital extra minutes to escape the property, especially at night. Just two or three breaths of toxic smoke from a fire is enough to render you unconscious, so a working smoke alarm could save your life, but only if it is working.

AF&RS Group Manager for Community Safety, Matt Peskett, said: “A working smoke alarm could be the difference between life and death. Between April 2012 and March 2013 nearly a third of fire deaths in the UK occurred in properties where no smoke alarm was installed. The devices cost less than £10 and will activate at the first sign of fire. They can make all the difference if a fire breaks out at night giving everyone in the property the chance to escape. We would also ask people to ensure they plan and practice how they get out of the house in the event of a fire. Make sure your escape route is clear and that everyone knows where keys to doors and windows are kept. We would like everyone to start the New Year on a positive note and this is an ideal way to protect your family from the devastating consequences of fire.”

Firefighters visit the homes of the most vulnerable members of the community to provide fire safety advice and fit free smoke alarms if required. To find out more about Home Fire Safety Visits or for more fire safety advice visit

From The Registers of St. Mary

Baptism ‘we welcome you’

25th Dylan Robert Bushell

Funerals ‘at rest and at peace’

14th Gwendoline Rocznik St. Mary’s

19th Muriel Pater St. Mary’s

20th Betty Roberts Canford

30th Thelma Packer St. Mary’s

30th Jill Gillard St. Mary’s

30th Peter Briley Canford

Sea Mills Junior School Reunion

Classes of 1978, 79 & 80

to be held at Bristol Manor Farm Social Club, Sea Mills From 7.00pm until late

More details from Lisa telephone 07415061765 or e mail

Botany in the SHIRE

The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton area

Many of us know the Lamplighters Marsh Nature Reserve down by the river, but how many of us know that almost under the shadow of the motorway bridge grow some rather rare plants? Unfortunately, as someone once remarked, “such a pity they can’t be beautiful as well as rare”.

This time last year I found the Early Meadow-grass (Poa infirma to give it its Latin name) at the north end of the reserve, on the warmer south-facing side of one of the BMX bike mounds, on the edges of the grassy area there, and on the riverside. If you see a paler green and more delicate version of the Annual Meadow-grass – the one you might pull up as a weed in the flower bed – that is probably it. 30 years ago it only used to be found on the Lizard and the Scillies but it has spread well since. I had found it in the Gordano Services but this was only the second record for Gloucestershire.

Another good plant is the Long-stalked Orache (Atriplex longipes or a hybrid) which differs from the Spear-leaved Orache (which is very common by the river and nowadays by salted roads and as a weed of disturbed soil) by having a stalked leafy arrangement wrapping up the inconspicuous flowers. There are scattered records around the coast and it isn’t often recorded although it has been known beside the Bristol Avon for 40 years. It is also an annual but growing where it does, it is prone to shift with the tides.

The third of our rare plants is a moss, Scarce Redshank (Ceratodon conicus), which was found by the Gloucestershire recorder Peter Martin in 2011. His illustrated account is online, in the moss-hunter’s magazine, Field Bryology, for May 2014. Ideally it should be in fruit to name it, but its leaf shape and DNA differed from its common relative so the naming is fairly certain. It occurs at the edge of crumbling tarmac – “a remarkable plant in an unremarkable habitat”, as the finder wrote. Lamplighters Marsh seems to be the only site currently known in Britain.

Avon Primary School go caving!


Two year 3 classes visited Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean as part of their project about Rocks and magnets. The children also learnt about stalactites and stalagmites, columns and curtains and much more!

Shirehampton counts the pennies!

Just recently, Shirehampton Primary have been busy collecting coppers, rattling tins and putting our creative brains to the test. Money and Finance week is an annual occasion in our calendar and is a wonderful opportunity for children to learn more about business, enterprise and fund-raising.

The highlight of the week has to be the house challenge, where children are placed in mixed-age classes and work together as a house team to make something to sell at the school fayre. Cakes were iced, sewing ensued and ‘splat the rat’ type games were organised.

The children did themselves proud and produced some beautiful things which parents and peers were more than happy to pay for. Our wonderful School Council, led by Mrs Cooper, chose four locally run charities to whom we would donate the money. We raised a fantastic total of £266, which was a great achievement!

As well as the the fayre, teachers were busy organising activities to do with money and finance for children in lessons. Year 5 and 6 took part in the International Trading game which taught our mathematicians about what it’s like in the stock exchange! Below is a photo of the winning team, who worked seamlessly together to make paper shapes at a profit. What has also really impressed me this week, has been the aspirations of our children for what they hope to be in the future, from physio-therapists to pilots! Not many, however, said they wanted to be teachers! Edward Powe Assistant Head

How to Create a Cosy Home – Top Tips from Warm Up Bristol

EACH year in Bristol around £108M is spent on heating homes, a third of which could be saved if all houses were insulated in line with current building standards. That’s the equivalent of the UK average annual heating bill of 140,000 houses.

Bristol City Council’s new Warm Up Bristol initiative is designed to address this issue by helping people to access home improvement measures to make their homes cosier and cheaper to heat.

Poorly insulated houses are often cold and draughty so with the weather set to get colder, Sarah Sims programme manager for Warm Up Bristol, has some expert tips about how to keep your home toasty:

  1. Mind the gap: Next time you’re cleaning your home, look out for any small gaps around windows, skirting boards and doors which might be letting in cold air from outside. It’s easy to block little holes and you can buy special strips for sealing gaps around windows.
  2. Get a rug: If you live in a home with exposed floorboards, heat can escape through your floor. This is especially true in older houses which are less likely to have insulation under the floorboards. A big rug will trap heat in the room, preventing heat loss and making it feel much cosier.
  3. Use the sun’s heat: Open your curtains during the day to let the sun heat up your home, but make sure you close them at night to lock the heat in. Thick curtains are a good choice for maximum insulation.
  4. Move furniture: the position of your furniture makes a big difference on how warm your home feels. If your sofa is blocking the radiator then it’ll absorb all the heat. Move furniture to make sure the radiators aren’t covered and are able to heat the room freely. You should also check for air trapped in the radiators as this can prevent them from getting as hot as they should.
  5. Block your chimney flue: Many fireplaces are just for decoration purposes, but still have a chimney which can let cold air in, and hot air out. You can buy special chimney balloons to neatly seal the gap and prevent heat escaping from the room.
  6. Timers: Keep your house at a constant temperature by setting your thermostats to turn the heating on when it drops below a certain level. If it’s especially cold then set your heating to come on earlier to make sure your house is cosy when you get home, or get out of bed.
  7. Close doors: Keep the heat where you want it by closing doors to rooms that you’re not using. This will maximise the impact you feel from your heating.
  8. Draught excluders – DIY draught excluders sit under doors and can be an easy solution to prevent draughts. Simple draught excluders can be easily made by stuffing an old pair of tights with socks. In Warm Up Bristol’s new show home, Easton Energy Group will be running evening classes to help people make their own draught excluders this winter. Details of where the show home is located and upcoming events can be found on the calendar on the Warm Up Bristol website.
  9. Insulation: Making sure your home is properly insulated is the most important thing you can do to create a warm and cosy home. Whether it’s solid or cavity wall insulation, loft insulation or double glazing, there are lots of ways you can effectively trap heat in your home to make it cheaper to heat and stay warm for longer.
  10. Know what’s on offer: Warm Up Bristol can help you access the best grants available to make your home warmer, cosier and cheaper to heat. The government have reopened its Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, which allows people across the city to apply for money off energy efficiency home improvements.

Residents can access this funding via Warm Up Bristol, which will help people get the best possible deal available, so now is the perfect time to consider insulating your home.

There are special schemes running for private landlords whose properties have an F or G energy rating. A separate programme is available for social housing tenants and occupants are encouraged to contact their landlord to find out more.

For more information visit or phone 0800 107 4100 / 0117 379 0203

Oasis Brightstowe

Oasis Academy Brightstowe has again been rated Good by Ofted Inspectors whose report reflects sustained progress since the academy’s last Ofsted in 2011.

One of the key findings is that expectations have been raised throughout the academy, enable students to achieve well in all year groups and across a wide range of subjects.

Students’ attitudes to learning are overwhelmingly positive, says the Ofsted report. They take a pride in their work, respond well to teachers’ enthusiasm, high expectations and established routines. Strong relationships between staff and students have a positive impact on learning and in general teachers provide work with challenges and engage all students.

During the two-day inspection on January 14th-15th. Ofsted Inspectors observed learning in 34 lessons taught by 32 different teachers. They met with three groups of students and spoke to many others informally, particularly in class. “The academy complements its formal curriculum with a wide range of clubs” says the Ofsted report. “After-school extension and booster classes are popular.

Welcoming the latest Ofsted report, Mark Butler, Principal of Oasis Academy Brightstowe said “It reads very well and reflects all the hard work and care that staff, students, parents, Academy Council, Oasis Learning Trust and the wider community put into making Brightstowe a strong and impressive school. It is important to us that Oasis Brightstowe is a course of pride within our community and it is excellent to see out reputation and influence now spreading into surrounding neighbourhoods as well.”


• Pictured above: Members of the Senior Student Leadership Team, the ‘Nay Blues’, gathered in the library for a briefing by the Principal Matt Butler on the academy’s “Good” Ofsted report.

Brightstowe’s generosity gives fresh impetus to community cafe


Plans for a new community cafe in Lawrence Weston, have gained fresh impetus as a result of the generosity of Oasis Brightstowe. Year 11 students Molly Perks and Pragalva Khanal presented a cheque for £1302.31 to Lawrence Weston Baptist Church to help fund the cafe to be built within the church.

The money was raised at the Brightstowe Christmas Fair. John Woolnough and Julie Mines, both members of the church’s cafe project team were on hand to receive the cheque. John Woolnough said: “We are planning this as a ‘pop-up’ cafe that can be brought into use any time, and this money from Oasis Brightstowe is so important in funding equipment. We are very grateful to all concerned at the academy and we look forward to entertaining Brightstowe students here when we open in the summer.”

The money raised by students will be used to buy chairs, tables, a coffee machine or other equipment needed for this exciting new community facility.


Photo by Dick Helme

* This view of Christchurch, Clifton, seen from Pembroke Road, would not have been visible since the building of the National School in late Victorian times. When development of the now demolished school site takes place, it will not be seen again, so here it is for posterity.