Saturday, 26 May 2012

One Coast for All ; Campaign for the English Coastal Path

Natural England has announced it`s intentions regarding the proposed English Coastal Path.

I`ve covered the background to this some time ago (see `Don`t Cut the Coastal Path - Claim the Coast`, this blog, Sat 2 Oct 2010), which is handy as it means I don`t have to go over it again !

The current plan aims to ensure that you can walk the coastline from Hull to Dorset via Hadrian`s Wall Path and the Welsh Coast (Does this make sense ? Geography was never my strong point.) by 2017.

Public consultations are underway in Cumbria, Durham Sunderland and Hartlepool concerning proposals for the path in those areas.

The first stretch of the path (near Weymouth) is expected to open during July.

This progress has led an emboldened Ramblers to relaunch it`s Coastal Path campaign under a new name ; `One Coast for All - the Campaign for the English Coastal Path`, with an accompanying petition in support of the path. 

For more information, visit and/or . Requests for more information can be e-mailed to the Ramblers Campaign Team on .

Friday, 25 May 2012

Action Mesothelioma Day 6 July 2012

Regular readers of this blog will know that I regularly plug Action Mesothelioma Day and other  events/activities aimed at raising awareness of issues connected with asbestos.

Action Mesothelioma Day (AMD) takes place on the first Friday in July each year, so pretty obviously this year`s event will take place on Friday 6 July 2012. The day is aimed at "raising awareness and supporting and remembering those who have lived or have been affected by mesothelioma.". For me personally my motivation is connected with "remembering those who have lived" and with "raising awareness".

Each year the theme for the day is set by the British Lung Foundation (, and the theme this year is to call for a Global Ban on Asbestos.

I`m sure the many organisations involved with this issues can make their case more effectively than I could, so here are some links which may prove helful ;

If everyone who reads this posting could take a couple of minutes to check out one or two of these sites and learn more about the issues, then that would be great.

As an afterthought, perhaps I could also mention that Mesothelioma UK are asking anyone organising a local event for AMD, or anyone who knows of an event in thir own area, to inform them so they can update their site accordingly. Cheers.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The People`s Pledge

The People`s Pledge is a cross-party campaign for a referendum on membership of the European Union.

It takes no position on the kind of outcome it would like to see from such a referendum, but simply believes that this kind of decision needs to be made by "the people, not the politicians".

When I last checked, 65 MPs had signed up to the pledge, including Mike Hancock (Lib Dem), Natascha Engel (Labour), Nigel Mills (Conservative), Caroline Lucas (Green) and  Sammy Wilson (DUP).

Just for good measure, the campaign`s Advisory Council also includes representatives of The Liberal Party and the Scots Nats.

The Pledge campaign is neither Europhile or Eurosceptic.  Labour`s Keith Vaz has made it clear he would campaign for a `yes` vote, whereas Conservative  Andrew `Potato Man` Bridgen  opposes further Europen integration and was involved in a campaign against the euro even before he became an MP. Nevertheless, both have signed up to this campaign.

One of the more telling points the People`s Pledge team make is that no-one under 55 has had any chance to express their view over Europe. I personally would add that with both the two main parties containing both pro- and anti- wings, there is simply no dependable way to know how those party`s voters feel on the subject.

More information on the People`s Pledge can be found at .

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Save the Women`s Library

Founded in 1926 as the Fawcett Library, the Women`s Library at London Metropolitan University houses artefacts charting the Women`s Movement from it`s earliest days, with a wealth of material on the Suffragette movement but much more than that, including the archive of the National Women`s Register and, bizarrely, a book of Recipes for Lovers by Barbara Cartland !

Now the LMU is seeking "a new home, owner or sponsor" for the library and in the interim is looking to cut opening hours, allegedly from five days a week to one. The decision has provoked an outcry and  a spirited campaign to save the collection is underway, endorsed by Sandi Toksvig and others.

Sadly this interesting campaign obliges me to draw attention to two things I particularly dislike in life, one being The Guardian newspaper and the other being campaigns which feature celebrity endorsements !

It has to be said that the campaign itself assumes it is preaching to the converted and therefore makes little attempt to detail the contents of the collection. Whether I like it or not, the best source I can find for this is Caroline Davies` article Women`s Library Campaign Boosted by Celebrity Support, Monday 30 April 2012 at

There are numerous other sources of info online. Here are just a few ;

Alan Gibbons - Importance of Women`s Archive - 5 May 2012 at

Alan Gibbons - Campaign and Petition : The Women`s Library - 6 May 2012 at

National Women`s Register - .

Unison -

Save the Women`s Library -

I understand that the LMU is also looking to dispose of the TUC Library but as yet I can find no equivalent campaign in respect of that - all I can suggest there is to use the Unison branch link provided above.

Clearly, the LMU is looking to either dispose of the collection or get some sort of sponsorship to help with the cost of mantaining it. There is no particular reason why it has to be in London as far as I can see. The chief issues here would seem to be preservation of the collection, sensible arrangements for public access and the future of the staff. I must be remembered that the collection`s assets are not only documents and artefacts but also the staff, some of whom have years of experience in dealing with the collection and building up familiarity with the stock.

The future, as they say, is unwritten.

Small Charities Week 2012

The grandly-named Foundation for Social Improvement is a small charity that exists to support small charities, for instance by providing free training and advice, and by helping with the costs of accessing these services.

One of the highlights of their year is Small Charities Week, which takes place during June.

This year they will be holding an SCW online sale in  conjunction with E-Bay, to take place 11 - 15 June 2012. I understand that participating groups are on the look-out for items to sell as part of this, particularly items with a celebrity connection.

To find out more, visit the group`s site at , or to learn more about one of the small charities concerned, see my article Return of the Equine Quadrupeds*, posted a few days ago at

*An equine quadruped (pic courtesy of the Fforest Uchaf Pit Pony Sanctuary, Pontypridd)