Friday, 26 September 2014

Colouring in Redcar

Dear Friends, 

Do you know local artists, mural painters, doodlers in and around Redcar?

We are gathering ideas and planning to sketch out a ​mural to allow Redcar's community to paint the hoardings around the Coatham Bowl and other areas in Redcar to brighten up the much loved seaside town. 

Furthermore as you may already know FRED has requested and gained permission from RCBC to create a seaside postcard mural through a school art competition with the brief, 'to create a welcoming seaside and sunshine picture postcard of the beach with the message  "Welcome to Redcar" and "Please keep our beach tidy"'

Our purpose is to increase tourism and trade, bring awareness to litter and bring the community together to develop a project that encourages local pride. 

The plan is that the design will be the winning entry by a child from one of the secondary schools in Redcar and the unveiling will be the start of an all day beach party.

FRED is currently in negotiations with Topp & Co the wrought iron specialists who created the seaside postcards on Redcar's seafront.

Love Redcar? Let's colour it in!

Contact or 07966 985444 (Carl) for more information.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Redcar - The Difference

Dear all,

Just before I disappear for the weekend I wanted to share with you all a snapshot of the rewards our joint contributions have made to our beach. (FRED volunteers, RCBC and Environment agency)

These two contrasting images (below) have had an online viewing figures upwards of 20,000+

We're looking forward to February when the EA and RCBC rejoin FRED on the beach for another clean up to ensure next Summer, Redcar has one of the cleanest, safest and best kept beaches in the country.

FRED has been given permission by RCBC to bring mural art to the hoardings around the Coatham Bowl enclosure and to the back of the Regent Cinema. Any schools, groups and artists wishing to contribute in anyway should contact me on the details below. Donations of materials or funds are also greatly appreciated.

Thank you all and have a great weekend everyone :)

NB: Our open meeting is on Tuesday 16th September at 6:30pm all are welcome.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

FREDs new bibs shine bright on Redcar beach

I'm proud to call Redcar home. It's days like these that make life so rewarding. This morning (Sunday 7th September) we once again had 30+ volunteers give up their free time to clear up the rubbish that is blown or dropped on the beach.

And how we shone in our new bright yellow bibs. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Quick-A-Stitch who donated their services to us. We are now the proud owners of HiViz jackets with the FRED logo on the back.

FRED is very proud that our group members are so diverse and made up of a cross section of the community in all walks of life and of all ages in Redcar. Our youngest member isn't old enough to walk yet and our eldest was born before the New Pavillion (Redcar Regent) was built in 1928.

And what better way for our children to learn the value of their community and the importance of managing waste than enjoying the sessions on the beach. The kids love helping out and their involvement is very inspiring to all of us.

FRED are looking to take litter awareness and community values right into the schools and are currently seeking support to provide presentations, project work and school outings to the beach. Watch this space.


A great team...

...and a clean beach

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Did you know Mo?

Did you know Mo?

When I came to Redcar in 1987 I lived with my future wife at her parents house for a couple years. Not ideal we both found low paid jobs, planned to marry and were determined to buy our own property. Trouble was mortgage companies wouldn't touch us.

We were on the housing list too but the council couldn't help us. One time, while pushing for help at a glass fronted counter, we were flippantly advised to write to our MP. 

So we did.

I didn't know who Mo Mowlam was but she wrote back to us AND to the mortgage company we were dealing with. 

A few months later we had secured our first mortgage on a one bedroom flat in Redcar. We were thankful and wrote to Mo to express our gratitude. It was our first home and a place for us to grow.

And grow we did. House prices doubled and we suddenly had £18,000 equity. Now a young family, the flat was too small and no place for kids. It was time for me, my pregnant wife and 3 year old daughter to buy our first house. 

We both worked, still not great wages but enough to move on. We could just about afford to make an offer on a two bedroom house. Couldn't wait to get on and move out. 

Then disaster while my wife was considering maternity leave I was made unemployed. The building society would no longer entertain our application. In fact now we would struggle to pay our mortgage and faced defaulting. 

Gutted, I contacted all the building societies and banks I could to see if I could get a better rate over a longer term. Again, no one would touch us.

I desperately looked for work. I wrote letters, made appointments, randomly called in at businesses. I spent days on the phone going down lists in the yellow pages ringing employers and lenders. 

I remember looking at a job so badly paid that when I spoke with the counter staff at the benefit office, she giggled and told me I was better off on the dole!

I can still visualise me now in our flat, sat on the floor in our tiny windowless entrance hall, surrounded by closed doors metaphorically and literally, with the phone hanging off the hook, feeling utterly helpless. One of my lowest points to be honest. 

Out of desperation I wrote to Mo even though I KNEW it was hopeless. At the time I still didn't actually know her, had never met or even spoken to her to say hello. 

While Shadow Secretary of State for National Heritage, Mo wrote back. She remembered helping us 4 years previously and would get back to us as soon as possible.

In days she was negotiating a deal with my existing mortgage company that would see my father-in-law act as guarantor and with her providing a personal reference and recommendation as to my character.

She also put me in touch with local employers and trainers 'Inbiz'. 

In 1993 I had my mortgage on that house and began training to work for Samsung Electronics. I couldn't have done that without the help from this very special lady.

Thank you Mo.

Mo Mowlam was Redcar MP from 1987 to 2001 at her height she had a majority of 44.3% (21,667)

Did you know Mo? Did she help you? Please share your stories and experience of this wonderful woman.

At the end of September until December, Kirkleatham Museum has secured the loan of a portrait of Mo Mowlam from the National Gallery. More details to follow :)

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The Job Centre - Where is the sense of morals over the community you live in?

I wrote a similar blog about this contemptuous and strategic organisation about 2 years ago regarding this very issue (See link).

However, my gripe about the Job Centre (along with other public organisations) is there is a disengage with the community they live in. 

There has always been the air of attitude of being lorded over by the working class over the working class. These slaves to the rhythm, work in an uninspiring office shaped by the faceless environment controllers on high - and comply to make it miserable for themselves and those who go there.

Last week I popped to the Job Centre with my brother-in-law to check out what he goes through there. I've tasted this place a few times over the years so I wasn't expecting much difference.

The removal of the digital units means there is 4 PCs near the entrance serving all our unemployed. It's all online which is good if all the unemployed have online access. 

Over the years the Job Centre has become nothing much more than the benefit office. It was much better when these two were separately run. Subsequently it became this often sterile, colourless place and pot luck what reception you'd receive. 

Although his appointment was for 9:10am and although the person with no customer service training had nobody at her desk and wasn't doing anything in particular, she kept him waiting until 9:28am. Then proceeded to be ritually cold and condescending.

I went to reception to encourage them to be more community minded by highlighting the lack of "personality" the office has. 

Advertising local voluntary work is community spirited and putting up display boards for groups to advertise their work would be advantageous all round. 

Voluntary work is good for the CV when applying for paid work and extra hands helps the groups.

I wasn't able to speak to the manager; the woman I spoke to was more concerned asking 'why' I wanted to speak to him than hearing  'why' I wanted speak to him.

She not only failed to listen to me twice when I explained but then took down her own completely different version of my message.

And he Peter Clarke failed to get back to me (not the first time I'll add). 

Conclusion - locally the Job Centre fails the community and nationally the Job Centre serves only to reduce the unemployment figures by any means - evidently fair or foul.

Monday, 1 September 2014

FRED coming dates and Sept litter pick details

Dear Friends,

Please help us promote our next event for Sunday 7th Sept at 10am -12pm from Zetland Roundabout by distributing our poster (attached) as is relevant or possible. 

Please note below our other relevant dates.

26th September Redcar's MCS "Great British Beach Clean" 
5th Oct FRED litter pick for The Stray.
26th Dec FRED is supporting the Boxing Day dip with a beach clean prior to the event and participation to raise funds.

Next FRED meeting at Roseberry Library is Sept 16th 6;30pm

Our AGM will now be on Oct 14th at 6:30pm details to follow.

Thank you :)