Poverty and the Park
Some years ago, a study reported that Tilbury and Purfleet were number one and two respectively for County Court Judgements (CCJ) in the UK. Not Essex, not the South East but the UK.
When you hear that there are children who have never been outside Thurrock, let alone been on a holiday you then get to appreciate how important a facility like Grays Beach Park is and how any threat to its “status” causes consternation.
It also makes you appreciate that there are real deep pockets of poverty in Thurrock.
It looks like the park is one of the battle grounds for the local election campaign. Whether it will be a hot topic in the key seats such as Ockendon or Stanford West is a moot point. Labour may well say it is a cypher for Thurrock issues.
Of course the Tories swept into power on the back of the sands of the Iraq war. The sands of Libya may, ironically, do for them in 2011.
Naturally, the Tories are claiming it is scaremongering. Maybe. Others may see it as the kernel of a fairly good idea but handled in a disastrous fashion and may well see, regardless of the results come May 5th a leadership contest within the Tory group between cllrs Hague, Gledhill and Revell (M).
For many of the Labour old and not so old guard, it just doesn’t sit well with them. Headteachers recoiled with shock when cllr Diana Hale described them as “Grammar schools by stealth” but perhaps Diana was only saying what many think. Or indeed that may be the party line.
It does seem something of an achilles heel for Labour and one which the Tories could do so much more to exploit.
Carl Morris certainly seemed in tune with the ideas of academies and was one of the architects behind the Gateway Academy but the rest do seem to treat the system with suspicion.
If Labour retain power then they may need to get each councillor to sit down with each respective senior school and enter into a dialogue. YourThurrock certainly sees Charlie Curtis at Ormiston Park events but can’t say they see any others at school events whereas the Tories from Tunde Ojetola at Chafford to Phil Anderson at Gable Hall have a much bigger presence. Then again, the Tories walk into the minefield of sending their children out of the borough to be educated.
We would like to think that a new civic year will see a better relationship between the LEA and the schools but with Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle Price asking questions from the floor of the House of Commons about the secretary of state intervening then the cold war may continue for a long time yet.
Sports, Games and Societies
YT passed its millionth view in youtube this week. Sometimes in the midst of all the hurly burly of politics, crime and educational spats, it is good to drop in on the wealth of clubs and societies that predominate the borough. From the Springhouse and Townswomens Guild in Corringham. the Thurrock Coin Club in Grays, the Ockendon Brass, the Belhus boat club and many many more.
We always feel that the borough doesn’t praise itself enough for the number of organisations that are out there. Thurrock doesn’t need the Big Society. Thurrock, it seems, invented it.
YT staff are all doing something to celebrate Mothers Day. For this particular reporter, it is a different Mothers Day. For this will be the first in which instead of dropping in on my mother at home, I will be driving to the care home which she moved to less than a month ago.
It has been a difficult transition from taking my mother from the home in which she resided for nearly fifty years to a residential care home.
I hope none of you are in the situation at 7am in the morning finding your mother has been walking in the pouring rain for two hours.
I would like to say thank you for all those who work in the area of adult social care and do such a fine job.
Happy Mothers Day to Kathleen Casey, Joan Jones, Julie Chipperfield, Sally Casey, Grace Sadler, Lydia Key, Tracy Law, Andrea Ince and to all the other mothers of YourThurrock contributors and indeed all the mothers of Thurrock.