Volunteering: Join the kindness movement

VolunteersI have always believed that volunteering is a key element in the pursuit of happiness. I recently read a paper, published in October 2017, by Harvard Health that described volunteers as benefiting from something they call the “happiness effect.” They identified that ‘doing good’ is one of three pathways to happiness.

There must be something in that because Frances, a volunteer Panel Member, told me that: “working with young people is inspirational and fulfilling. You start off thinking that you’re going to give something to others but soon come to realise that it’s a two-way street. It’s probably the most enriching, satisfying thing that I’ve ever done.” 

At Dorset Combined Youth Offending Service (YOS) we have a team of 36 volunteers who span the whole of the county. From retired school teachers to ex magistrates and university students to the self employed. All have joined us to help offer encouragement and support to our young people.

Our volunteers work with 10 to 17 year old’s on Referral Orders – a contract agreed between the young person and volunteer panel members to prevent reoffending. In 2017 our volunteers spent 677 hours supporting our service and young people.

People volunteer for a variety of reasons. Many of our university students volunteer for us as part of their course. Last year Charlotte, one of our students, entered and won Bournemouth University’s ‘Faculty of Science and Technology Prize’ for outstanding contribution on placement. The YOS being one of three volunteering roles she took on. We had another volunteer attend the ‘Queen’s Garden Party’ in May last year; I was glad to contribute to his nomination describing all the great work he does for our team.

The volunteering opportunities at the YOS are very unique. As an appropriate adult our volunteers work alone with young people in custody supporting them throughout the whole process. As panel members they help a young person write a contract that forms the basis of what they have to do for their Referral Order. I always love to hear it when our team members describe the shock our young people show when they realise volunteering means our team do it for free. This disbelief then turns to comprehension. By doing it for free means volunteers must really want to help, that they care.

Volunteering is not just about the role, it’s often about the social aspect. Meeting like minded people and making new friends. At the YOS we organise social nights that encourage our team to relax and share experiences of life, volunteering and current affairs. Over the years I have been privileged to get to know these inspirational people and also get to call them my friends.

Volunteering for the Council, charities or other organisations can be incredibly beneficial. Not just by increasing skills, knowledge and confidence but happiness, friendships and self worth.

What’s stopping you? Find out more about volunteering opportunities now.

Posted in General | Comments Off on Volunteering: Join the kindness movement

An outreach worker speaks about the work that takes place to help rough sleepers in Bournemouth

Homeless manDid you know that the Council spends almost £10 million per year on direct services to help people faced with homelessness?

We fund 24/7 support at five hostels providing approximately 150 bed spaces in Bournemouth. We also fund a rough sleeper team – provided by St Mungo’s – to engage with rough sleepers to encourage take up of support services and accommodation to help them to move forward in their lives.

In an average month, the team helps approximately 15 rough sleepers back into accommodation.

We also take extra measures and initiate The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) when we are alerted to freezing weather conditions. When SWEP is initiated we provide people with direct access to accommodation, and every effort is made to contact all rough sleepers and to get them inside. The SWEP also has provision to accommodate people who have a dog.

David Leatherbarrow, an outreach worker for St Mungo’s, recently spoke to us about the work he does on the streets of Bournemouth:

What are the common scenarios for why people are rough sleeping?

There are several reasons – it could happen to anyone. We deal with addiction, alcohol dependency and mental health. There are also situations where a few things just haven’t gone right for someone, they’ve made a few wrong decisions or life has just gone against them. Suddenly, service users find themselves rough sleeping. I think there are some public misconceptions but at the end of the day no one deserves it. Service users are just everyday people and we work with a varied mix of personalities. No one is a million miles away from rough sleeping.

What methods are used for those who don’t engage?

It can be as simple as just speaking to the service users. If we always turn up for them then eventually the cloud will be lifted and they will give you a chance. It’s the same as any relationship, they need to know that you’re doing what you say you’re going to do because you have their best interests at heart. We need to give our service users a reason to trust us. Everyone needs a bit of help sometimes.

What made you want to become an outreach worker?

I was in construction for years and then I went travelling for a month and the whole experience changed me. I looked around and realised I wasn’t doing anything with my life apart from construction and I was determined to make that change. I feel like I’m on a better path now, I just want to help. It’s the best decision I ever made.

I came across the position at St Mungo’s but there was no way I thought I would get it. However, my construction job allowed me to have experience working with HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation), benefits and a similar client group, so I wasn’t completely naïve to the situations out there.

How did you learn to interact and connect with service users?

That was one of my biggest fears when I started, would any of the service users want to connect with me? The rest of my team are fantastic though so I’ve learnt so much. At the end of the day, they’re just like you and me. We must ensure we fight their corner, support and be an advocate for them. Our service users deserve our respect and we must show them compassion and be understanding – those three things are huge in this job.

How important is it that service users develop skills and knowledge to help them move into accommodation?

If they don’t gain those skills, there is a massive risk of our service users returning to the streets. Therefore, our support with paperwork, CV’s, benefits, job centre etc. is crucial. We want to ensure that they can sustain themselves and move on from the rough sleeper lifestyle. Our multi-agency work with the Bournemouth Council, the supported accommodation agencies and the mental health team is a link that is utilised by all parties. We and the Council will continue to coincide to create successes.

What to do to helpWhat is the best thing someone can do if they see a rough sleeper?

Educating people about StreetLink (the organisation that enables members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them) and the work we do at St Mungo’s will ensure that more beneficial forms of help are being provided for rough sleepers. The StreetLink app allows you to provide us and  local authorities with information about someone you see sleeping rough. We can then connect with them and offer support.

Posted in General | Comments Off on An outreach worker speaks about the work that takes place to help rough sleepers in Bournemouth

Parks: our nation’s greatest invention?

Bournemouth parkDid you know that public parks were one of the very first public services, introduced to improve air quality, health and well-being for people in Victorian Britain’s growing cities?

For me, they are our nation’s greatest invention.

I love to join in the Parkrun in Kings Park, do a spot of people watching in the Lower Gardens or spend some time with my family in one of the many fantastic nature reserves we’re lucky enough to have in Bournemouth and beyond.  Preserving our wildlife and heritage is really important, but just as important is to create the heritage of tomorrow and to allow wildlife back into our towns and cities.

Spring really is on the way now; look out and you’ll start to notice purple or yellow crocuses in flower along our verges, and perhaps even some frogspawn in ponds. Just like the birds, insects and flowers, our staff throughout parks, gardens, nature reserves and cemeteries are busy preparing for the peak of parks activity in spring and summer.

Parks team at work

Most of our grass cutters and gardeners start early and finish early in a bid to be out of your way by the time you really want to get out into the park.

Right now, they’re out clearing litter by 7.30am, although come the height of summer many staff will be busy in our parks well before 7am.

Park CafesThinking about the amount of litter we collect every day, we support the global movement to eliminate plastic waste. Park Cafés – our in-house café company – have now moved over to completely recyclable and biodegradable take away packaging. The idea of our Park Cafés is that all the profits get reinvested into our green spaces as, in the current climate of austerity, we need to ensure that we do as much as we can to keep parks open and free for everyone to enjoy.

We’ve also started to install ‘Big Belly Solar Bins’ that automatically compact litter and close up to prevent waste being blown across our green spaces.  Better still, many of our nature reserves have no bins, so that waste can be taken home, sorted and recycled.

The next couple of months are our last chance to complete our tree planting programme for the year.  We have over 500,000 trees to maintain, and whilst our woodlands often generate their own replacements, street and park trees need a great deal of care and attention to establish, with only one in ten planted growing through to maturity.  If you’re thinking about planting at home, our plant nursery at Kings Park opens for 2018 on Good Friday, whilst Cherry Tree Nursery in Northbourne also supply great plants, year-round, as part of a charitable social enterprise project.

Flowerbed in bloomThis coming year our town has been invited to compete nationally at Britain In Bloom. The Parks Service will be supporting our local ‘In Bloom’ groups and the Bournemouth ‘In Bloom’ volunteers as they aim to win gold again.  We’ll be putting forward Muscliff Park for a Green Flag Award, to add to our existing eighteen Green Flag sites.  We’re making plans to replace the ageing art exhibition within the Lower Gardens to encourage more local produce, arts and crafts being sold in this space and help regenerate Westover Road.  In late spring we’ll be re-opening Redhill Bowls Pavilion as Redhill Fox café; and the old bowling green will become a tranquil nature garden.

Bournemouth Parks FoundationA couple of years ago, we worked with the Heritage Lottery Fund to create the Bournemouth Parks Foundation to help us meet the demands of funding beautiful parks, gardens and open spaces.  The Foundation is a charity and independent from the Council, with a board of local trustees. It collects donations and legacies towards park improvement projects and applies for grants towards them too – often acquiring funding not accessible to the Council.

Spend three minutes watching this short video from the Foundation:

Immense Night of ComedyIf you’d like to support the Foundation a little more – and have fun doing it – we’d love you to come along to ‘Another Immense Night of Comedy’ at the Shelley Theatre on Saturday 17 February in association with Coastal Comedy and with canapes provided by Urban Reef.

We hope to see you there!


Michael Rowland

Parks Development Manager

Posted in General | Comments Off on Parks: our nation’s greatest invention?

Bournemouth’s first neighbourhood plan is unveiled!

The government is always tinkering with the planning system, but for me, neighbourhood planning is easily the most positive and exciting change to be introduced since I started work as a town planner in 2000.

Neighbourhood illustration

Neighbourhood planning gives communities the chance to come together and decide proactively how they want their neighbourhoods to look and function in the future. It’s been a long and challenging process for residents in Boscombe and Pokesdown to get this far, but after more than two years of hard work and with the help of planning consultant, Martha Covell of local company ECA, the Draft Plan is out!

Boscombe & Pokesdown

The plan is particularly ambitious as it covers a huge area – Boscombe East and West, with a population of some 22,000 residents.  It’s also very wide ranging.  Draft proposals include protecting the area’s built heritage, better walking and cycling links, promoting green buildings and bold policies relating to housing.  If adopted, the plan would set minimum internal space standards for new housing and require at least 50% of new homes built in the area to be three bed or more.


We’re keen to hear your views on the plan, especially if you live or work in Boscombe East or West.  It’s important for people from all ages and backgrounds to input into neighbourhood planning, to make sure the proposals reflect the needs of the diverse community.  You can view the plan and complete the questionnaire now. The deadline for responses is 2 March 2018.

word cloud - love

Although the process is led by the community, the Council’s planning department has a legal duty to support them. Our first task was consulting on and designating the boundary which proved tricky! I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no such thing as a perfect boundary but by and large the community managed to iron things out and we finally approved the boundary they proposed.

As things progressed myself and colleagues from planning, highways, regeneration, housing and economy have been to numerous meetings, provided evidence and made suggestions on all sorts of issues.

My biggest task was responding to the Forum’s ‘call for sites’.  They have been keen to embrace proposals for development that they feel would enhance the area.  I put together details of a series of sites around the heart of Boscombe which if developed could not only provide housing and other uses but also create better links to the high street, especially for those travelling by foot or bike.  The Draft Plan identifies a total of 18 sites for a wide range of community and commercial uses as well as housing.

BoscombeI live just outside Boscombe, but I’m in the area most days, on the school run, visiting the shops or cycling though on my way to work.  Boscombe is close to my heart so I’m looking forward to the plan getting through the final hurdles – which include a referendum where residents of the two wards will get to decide if the plan should come into force.

Bournemouth is lucky to have many neighbourhoods with their own identities and facilities and I hope this will be the first of many neighbourhood plans.  What would you plan for your area?


Sophie Leon

Planning Officer (Urban Design)

Posted in General | Comments Off on Bournemouth’s first neighbourhood plan is unveiled!

Customer services: varied, never quiet and sometimes a challenge!

Contact centreMost people think of customer services as a call centre and, although most of our contact is via telephone, we also have customers that like to come in and talk to us in the Customer Contact Centre.

The types of enquiry or requests for help range from providing permits to hand out leaflets in the borough, to dealing with people who have concerns about their parents or elderly neighbours.

Believe it or not, we’ve even been asked questions such as: “why is there sand on the beach?” and “can I speak to the person in charge of the zombie invasion action plan?!” 

In a year we:

  • receive over 300,000 telephone enquiries;
  • interact with over 65,000 customers in the contact centre at the Town Hall;
  • handle over 100,000 emails;
  • issue over 2,000 parking permits;
  • welcome over 13,000 to the Town Hall main reception;
  • process over 13,000 applications for adult bus passes;
  • process over 3,000 Blue Badge applications;
  • manage 1,200 applications for free school meals;
  • attend 27 schools to brief parents on the process for children moving from year 6 to year 7;
  • and host outreach sessions at children’s centres each month and much, much more!

Customer services team

Each day, our team takes calls from residents who just don’t know who to call to ask about things so they call the Council, regardless of whether it’s to do with a service that the Council delivers or not. We always try our best to help wherever we can and it’s clear that people do trust us.

We realise however that we cannot please everyone all of the time. So, we just deal with each call, email or visit as it happens. One call we receive could be a complaint, and then we’ll put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and recognise that the issue has been important enough for them to take the time to contact us about it. Then the next call that comes in could be a hilariously funny and engaging customer, like the lady who told us that she was registering for the garden waste scheme “because I have a huge rear”!

Every day brings something new and challenging. This month it has been people wanting to register for the garden waste collection service. Since 2 January we have been receiving upward of 200 contacts each day and in total over 14,000 households have now registered (87% via our website).

In today’s digital world, we are seeing a subtle shift away from walk ins and telephone contact with customers choosing to use the online services available. It is clear that more and more people are wanting to interact with the Council at times of their choice and through their preferred channel. As the population of Bournemouth changes, (the average age is now 34), people are used to doing more for themselves.

Social mediaThis does throw us some challenges too! Customers expect answers more quickly nowadays, which means that waiting for a response for up to 10 days is no longer always acceptable. For us this means we need to change the way we work and how we think about future engagement, like becoming more active on social media for example.

Simply put, Customer Services is varied, never quiet, sometimes challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There goes the phone again…!


Stuart Walters

Customer Contact Manager

Posted in General | Comments Off on Customer services: varied, never quiet and sometimes a challenge!

2017: The year in review by the Managing Director

Early Years Sector AwardsJanuary: 

The Early Years Sector Awards was held at the Life Centre in Winton. The event highlighted the work that happens every day to provide outstanding care and education and the best possible outcomes for local children and their families.



Bournemouth was awarded £8.5million to create a world class business district at the Lansdowne. The Lansdowne area will be completely revolutionised to become one of the South West’s leading commercial districts.

The funding has been secured via the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, and will see investment in improving the access from the train station up to what will eventually be the major new business district.


Tech NationMarch:

Bournemouth came out as top for high growth digital businesses in the UK Tech Nation 2017 Report, which identifies the top five cities for high growth digital businesses. Out of the 30 clusters profiled in the Tech Nation Report Bournemouth and Poole were listed at number one in the report’s findings ahead of London, Glasgow, Brighton and Newcastle.


Russell CotesApril: 

The Russell Cotes Museum was a finalist in the “Best Small Visitor Attraction” category of the “Visit England Awards for Excellence 2017” which took place at the Hilton Waldorf in London.


Bournemouth beachMay: 

This year marked the 30th Anniversary of the exclusive Blue Flag awards and we were delighted to host the milestone event at Chineside at Durley Chine, a prime location which has held Blue Flag status for 30 years. Keep Britain Tidy announced that four Bournemouth beaches had once again been awarded Blue Flag status for 2017 – Alum Chine, Durley Chine, Fisherman’s Walk and Southbourne Beach; alongside this, Bournemouth and Boscombe Beaches gained Seaside Awards.



The General Election 2017, which was called with very little notice, took place and required significant urgent organisation. Team Bournemouth rose to the challenge and delivered it in a safe and accurate way – an excellent example of Team Bournemouth at its very, very best.


Adoption agencyJuly: 

Aspire Adoption was the first Regional Adoption Agency in England to be fully implemented to enable better targeting for the recruitment of prospective adopters, speed up the matching and placement of children, improve adoption support services and potentially create efficiency savings.

Aspire Adoption brings together fifty staff from the three local authority adoption services in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole. This is another great example of partnership working with the aim of improving vital services to our residents.


Red Arrows at the Bournemouth AirshowAugust: 

This year we welcomed an estimated 710,000 festival goers over three days to the Air Festival, alongside senior representatives from the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and the British Army. Every year the festival seems to just get bigger and better and it is testament to everyone’s talent and hard work that the Bournemouth Air Festival now has an international reputation for excellence.


Metropole MarketSeptember: 

The first Lansdowne Metropole market was held on Sunday 24th September.  The market is named in honour of the grand Bournemouth Metropole Hotel which was situated on Lansdowne Roundabout before it was destroyed in an air raid during the Second World War.

The market forms part of the investment and focus on Lansdowne which the Council is working on with local businesses and the University.  An additional Christmas extravaganza to end the market will be held on the 17 December.



October saw the Arts by the Sea festival and Hydromania saw the reimagining of the Town Hall with a multi-sensory display of light and sound. Our arts and cultural offer is one of the many reasons our region is thriving and growing and is such a great place to live, work and play.


Future DorsetNovember: 

After a nine month wait, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced that he is “minded to” implement the Future Dorset proposal for improving local government in Dorset, by replacing the existing nine councils with two new unitary authorities.

Before the Secretary of state takes his final decision, there is a period until 8 January 2018 for any representations to be made.


Bournemouth GardensDecember: 

This year we introduced a brand new market and lodge to the town centre as part of our Christmas celebrations.  With its fresh look, new stalls and addition of a Santa’s Grotto the Town is looking wonderful this year.

2017 has been a fantastic year for our town and our council. Many thanks to everyone for your contributions in ensuring we continue to build a better Bournemouth.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.


Jane Portman, Managing Director

Posted in General | Comments Off on 2017: The year in review by the Managing Director

Raising awareness of domestic and sexual violence

Domestic violence

In the UK, an estimated 2.1 million people experience some form of domestic abuse each year – around 1.4 million women (8.5% of the population) and 700,000 men (4.5% of the population).

In my role as Domestic and Sexual Violence Coordinator for Bournemouth Borough Council it is evident to me that we, as a society, have a long road to travel to eradicate domestic abuse and violence. The facts speak for themselves.

In England and Wales:

  • The police receive a domestic violence-related call every 30 seconds; yet it is estimated that less than 24% of domestic violence crime is reported to the police
  • The overwhelming majority of domestic abuse cases are not prosecuted; and fewer than 10% of incidents reported to police will end in conviction
  • Women experience domestic violence with much more intensity – 89% of people who experience four or more incidents of domestic violence are women
  • Two women are killed each week by a current or former partner
  • It is estimated that around three women a week commit suicide as a result of domestic violence
  • 62% of children in households where domestic violence is happening are also directly harmed
  • One in two young women have experienced controlling behaviour in an intimate relationship

We recently took part in a series of events to mark The United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) on 25 November – a day for governments, international organisations and non-governmental organisations to raise public awareness of violence against women.

'Live Book' session at Bournemouth Library

‘Live Book’ session at Bournemouth Library

At Bournemouth Library we held a special ‘live book’ session, attended by practitioners, professionals, students, elected members and dignitaries, where visitors could speak to those with personal and professional experience. It was an engaging way to learn about the support available and to understand the dynamics of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

A drop-in event, hosted by Addaction and with the support of a drug and alcohol social worker, enabled the newly appointed Specialist Domestic Abuse Practitioner to introduce themselves and the work they do supporting people experiencing domestic abuse who are also managing potential challenges, such as mental health or substance use.

A visit to Royal Bournemouth Hospital also provided the opportunity for staff and members of the public to talk about any concerns, find out what services are available and learn about the impact and rates of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

White Ribbon Pledge

Andy Williams, Community Safety Manager, signs the pledge

Danielle Hetherington-Parker signs the pledge

I signed the White Ribbon pledge

Finally, we supported the White Ribbon campaign and invited people to make a pledge to ‘never commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.’ (Although it is clear that men also suffer from domestic violence, this campaign explicitly acknowledges that domestic abuse and sexual violence is, predominately, committed by men.)

It will take all of us to make a change and end domestic abuse and sexual violence. However, working alongside many experienced, passionate and committed individuals through training, education, direct work and by consciousness raising, I hope that we can start to make a difference. We are working together with our partners to reduce the harm caused by domestic abuse, increase the safety of those experiencing abuse and provide appropriate intervention to reduce reoffending.

Thank you for reading and for spending your time thinking about this crucial need within our community. A special thank you to everyone who has, and will, contribute to ending violence and abuse. If you would like further information, advice or support our website is a good starting point BUT if you are at immediate risk please call 999.


Danielle Hetherington-Parker

Domestic and Sexual Violence Coordinator for Bournemouth Borough Council

Posted in General | Comments Off on Raising awareness of domestic and sexual violence

Brrrrrrr! Keeping you safe in extreme weather

As Bournemouth’s long hot summer becomes but a distant memory please spare a thought for the dedicated team of gritter drivers who are on standby throughout the winter months, ready at a moment’s notice to keep Bournemouth moving.

Gritting operationThere are 300 miles of roads in Bournemouth and thousands of journeys being made so we have a team of people working, sometimes through the night while you are sleeping, to grit the main routes and help you get where you need to be when temperatures drop.

Gritting is the spreading of rock salt on the road surface to prevent it from freezing in cold weather. We grit roads so that normal journeys to school and work are not disrupted. We decide to grit the roads based upon the latest weather forecast, not from BBC South Today, but from a bespoke weather forecasting system. If we are alerted that, for example, the road surface temperature is due to drop below freezing at 10pm, we’ll go out beforehand to pre-treat the priority roads to prevent them from freezing.

Snow plough

We also use an ‘Ice Prediction and Management System’. Did you know that throughout the county, we have several road sensors which give us accurate and ‘real-time’ road surface and air temperatures?  We continually monitor this system and if there are any significant changes to the forecast and predicted weather patterns we will be alerted and can take the appropriate action.

Here are 10 other things you may not know about our gritting operations:

  1. We have four priority routes that we treat each time we go out
  2. We use approximately 20 tonnes of rock salt each time we go out
  3. We have four gritters – (currently unnamed!)
  4. Our rock salt is treated to aid performance and mitigate the corrosive effects of chloride on the road surfaces
  5. Our covered barn at Southcote Road depot holds around 1600 tonnes of rock salt – that’s about the same weight as 200 elephants!
  6. At times of heavy snow-fall we can fit ploughs to our gritters
  7. It takes two hours to treat our priority network
  8. Our gritters are fitted with GPS technology so they can be monitored remotely
  9. The cabs have an audible direction system to keep the driver on the right route
  10. We actively use Twitter and Facebook to notify you when we are out gritting

Aside from gritting the main routes, we have over 110 salt bins throughout the town. Please use them when you need to treat icy areas, and look out for your vulnerable neighbours during the winter, and offer help to the less able or elderly if needed.

Find out more about how we keep our streets safe in extreme weather. 

Tyre tracks in ice

In addition to keeping the roads safe it’s also vital to make sure to drive appropriately for the conditions and ensure your car is winter-ready. I recently chatted to our Road Safety Manager, Richard Pearson, who had this advice to give on how to ensure your vehicle is prepped for winter:

  • Make sure your windows are clear before you start your journey
  • Get a scraper and add low temperature screen wash to your cars system and check your windscreen wipers are effective
  • Use your headlights if light levels or visibility are low
  • If temperatures are below freezing or if the road is wet, be aware that there could be black ice and keep your speed down
  • Give space to vehicles in front as braking distances may be longer
  • Have some warm clothes and soft drink in your car in case you get stuck
  • If your battery seems low now it could fail completely in the winter so get it checked and replaced if necessary
  • Check your tyre tread meets minimum legal standards and check tyre pressures

GrittersStay safe everyone, wrap up warm and if you see our gritters out and about please give them a wave!


Stuart Best

Street Services Manager





Posted in General | Comments Off on Brrrrrrr! Keeping you safe in extreme weather

Rough Sleeping: how you can help

FACT: People sleeping rough are more likely to die young. A report from the charity Crisis indicates that the average age of death of someone sleeping rough is just 47 years.

Rough sleeper

Nationally, there has been an increase in rough sleeping, and unfortunately Bournemouth is no exception.

Rough sleeping is the most severe and most visible form of homelessness –  however, it might not always be the people you think. It is worth remembering that not all people who beg are homeless, and not all homeless people beg.

However, there are people sleeping rough in Bournemouth and this remains a high priority for the Council. We deliver and fund a wide range of services for homeless people (and those at risk of homelessness), including services for rough sleepers. Every day we work with partner services, charities and community groups to tackle this complex issue and support individuals whose lives have been devastated by homelessness.

One of the services we commission (together with the Borough of Poole) is the Bournemouth and Poole Rough Sleeper Team, delivered by St Mungo’s. These are the people who are out there each morning, in all weathers, making contact with people sleeping rough, assisting with their needs and providing them with the support to move off the streets.

Did you know we provide approximately 150 bed spaces with specialist support for homeless people? Or that we jointly commission a dedicated mental health worker? Or that our Housing Options Team sees about 1,000 people face to face every month seeking help with housing issues? Possibly not, and I think we could be better about telling people about what’s happening and how they can help.

As a Council, we want to make sure that all efforts are focussed on helping people to make positive change, to move off the streets and lead healthier and happier lives. That’s why we’re careful not to undertake actions which can sustain a street lifestyle, such as handing out food or money directly on the street. Although undoubtedly well intended, these activities can deter people from engaging with the support on offer.

To start the process of ‘coming inside’ can be tough. It’s particularly difficult if you have been sleeping out for a while, or you have other issues such as alcohol or drug misuse or mental health problems, because when you come inside you start to also look at these issues. And that is hard. If you know you can be sustained on the street with direct hand outs, then some prefer not to look at these issues and choose to continue as they are, facing a high-risk situation and the increased likelihood of an early death.

Make Change Count

So, you’ve seen a person sleeping rough and you want to help. What is the most effective thing can you do?

Tell the Rough Sleeper Team. Call 0300 5000 914 or notify the team online.

Make your change count. Your money can best help people rough sleeping if you donate to a local charity working directly with people sleeping rough in Bournemouth.


Caroline Roundhill

Housing Strategy & Policy Manager

Posted in General | Comments Off on Rough Sleeping: how you can help

Behind the scenes in the Christmas workshop!

Christmas events team

Meet the team responsible for Christmas in Bournemouth (and we don’t mean the ‘big guy’ and his elves)!

Traditionally, Christmas is a time to wind down, take stock and enjoy the company of friends and family without the pressures of daily life… it’s not like that in Events & Marketing! It’s high energy, frenetic and at times, quite anti-social. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. As I see it, if we’re working hard so that people who live, work and holiday in Bournemouth can have a great time, then it’s worth it.

We start working on Christmas at least a year in advance – we’re already preparing for 2018 because we’ve got plans for something really big (watch this space)!

By the summer, when everyone else is in holiday mode and soaking up the sun, we’re well into meetings with our contractors. For the size of the events that we put on, we’re a relatively small team, organising and administrating over 500 outdoor events across Bournemouth’s Parks, Gardens and Seafront. We have good relationships with companies who’ve worked with us for years so we know we can trust them to bring our visions to life. But we also must listen to our residents and businesses.

Alpine Market

In recent years, there were calls to revitalise the Christmas market. When the contract came up for renewal, we cast the net wider and offered competitors the chance to pitch. As a result, this year we welcome a brand-new market and lodge to the town centre. We’ve seen the plans, so naturally we’re excited about it and we think you’ll like the fresh look, new stalls and addition of a Santa’s Grotto.

Of course, people who visit Bournemouth at Christmas want to let their hair down. So, someone needs to look out for them and check that boring but critical stuff, like health and safety, is under control. That’s where we come in. We spend months working with council colleagues in planning, transport and licensing, as well as the emergency services, to make sure that all boxes are ticked. We also go out on site visits to make sure that our dreams will work in reality and not just on paper.

Christmas TreeWhen the build phase starts in November, you’ll often see members of the Events team out in their now famous pink t-shirts armed with trundle wheels, tape measures and tool boxes, ready to muck in and help ‘decorate’ the town ready for the big day. And just like any other family, one of our favourite jobs is choosing the tree! We’re responsible for the real one in the Square but this year, we’re also adding 5m cone tree in Beale Place in addition to other Christmas tree themed features in Lansdowne and the Triangle.

We’re all familiar with ongoing funding challenges and it’s only right that we continue to question and review how public money is spent. It means that our base budget is limited and so we start with a bare minimum. We’re able to improve the Christmas illuminations in the gardens and the town thanks to Bournemouth’s Town Centre BID and Coastal BID (Business Improvement Districts).  These collectives of local businesses spend months in talks, agreeing on the activity that’s likely to be of greatest benefit to the town. If they decide to invest in Christmas attractions, then we’re on hand to help deliver the most for their money.

It’d all be for nothing though, if we didn’t tell people what’s happening in Bournemouth at Christmas and encourage them to spend a day, long weekend or seasonal holiday here. Our Marketing and PR team starts working with printers, advertising agencies and national media about six months in advance to make sure that leaflets are delivered, festive editions are targeted and that the resort is included in the ‘best winter break’ features or ‘top ten ice rinks’.

Bournemouth GardensUltimately, the team has to pitch the destination against its UK competitors and to do so, need to sell in Bournemouth’s USP (unique selling point). A lot of towns offer a market and ice rink these days but not many places can boast an unspoilt coastline within walking distance of the shops, as well as illuminated grade II listed Victorian gardens, glistening with fairy lights.

We hope to see you for our Christmas Celebration this Friday 17 November. There’ll be family entertainment in the Triangle and the chance to see everything up and running around the town. As I mentioned, we’ve got big plans for 2018 so this year is just a taste of what’s to come…

Find out more at christmasinbournemouth.co.uk


Jon Weaver

Head of Resort Marketing & Events

Posted in General | Comments Off on Behind the scenes in the Christmas workshop!