Look to National Trust

I recently wrote advocating the Council, in their town centre rejuvenation plans, include the canal as a central feature. I find I am not alone.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands,pointed out in the national media,at the weekend; 83% of our population reside in urban areas.He was defending the National Trust in their efforts to support these people in their need for access to green spaces, by focusing more on urban areas. In doing so, he says, “ city dwellers do care greatly about beauty and heritage. You can see it in their support for conservation areas, their widespread advocacy of the protection of listed buildings and their strong attachment to the surrounding green belt."

The examples he cites in his own area; the old workers houses known as the “ back to backs” and the Roundhouse stable building on the canal, now to form an historic hub from which people can explore by boat and bike; These so echo Swindon’s history and current infrastructure around the model village. We even have Cambrian Wharf,right in the centre as potential moorings , needing to revert to it’s proper purpose.

I can only hope our councillors are in regular dialogue with the National Trust and are aware of what is happening elsewhere.

Nicholas Bailey

Coronation Rd


Vote was a disgrace

Swindon’s MPs have both excelled themselves in Parliament today (19 Jan 21)!

Firstly, they both voted against an amendment to the Trade Bill, tabled to safeguard the NHS and ensure that it is excluded from future trade deals and this on the deadliest day of the pandemic (for deaths), so far! They then both abstained on the vote to cancel cuts to Universal Credit. In fact, neither bothered to turn up for the debate!

The staggering contempt that Buckland and Tomlinson show for both the NHS and their many constituents (especially those dependent on Universal Credit) is disgraceful, utterly wrong and they both need to be held accountable!

Steve Cowdry.

Saddleback Road


A friendly ear

Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced a third national lockdown. Although necessary, these measures mean many of our veterans will be facing the next several weeks or months completely alone.

And while the vaccine rollout out across the country provides some hope, social isolation and loneliness poses a real threat to our elderly this winter, among them many former RAF personnel and their partners.

To help combat this, last year the RAF Benevolent Fund introduced a weekly Check and Chat service to support members of the RAF Family experiencing loneliness. I speak to one gentleman every Tuesday. He lives alone and spent much of 2020 totally isolated, and for him, this service truly is a lifeline. We chat about what he’s been up to, what he’s cooking for tea, to his time in the RAF and often I’m the only person he will speak to for days.

The Fund also facilitates weekly Telephone Friendship Groups, provides access to a Listening and Counselling Service, relationship counselling support, and an online wellbeing portal to help support emotional wellbeing amongst the veteran community.

Throughout the pandemic, many of us have learnt more about our neighbours and local community. That’s why we are calling on people to consider whether they know any RAF veterans, or their spouses or widows, who may be experiencing loneliness. To refer someone to the RAF Benevolent Fund, please visit rafbf.org or call 0300 102 1919.

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot

Chief Executive, RAF Benevolent Fund