Newsletter Masthead

No. 39 - May 2001 edition

In this Issue:

Oh Yes We Can


A New Withywood Church?

Caught in the Net

The Programme


Who's who


THERE'S AN ELECTION COMING UP - exciting, isn't it? No? Well, whatever you think about the parties, or politicians in general, it remains the case that the electoral system, at local and national level, is a vital mechanism to shape how our society works and develops.

But it's not the only mechanism. I always maintain that Malago Valley Conservation Group is a political body. We're not, of course, party political, which is often what people mean when they talk about a political organisation. (For the record, we have active members of all three main parties, but mostly the party allegiances and voting habits of our members are unknown and irrelevant).

M.V.C.G. is political in the very important sense that we seek to change things in the real world, and we do so by political means - by debate, argument, bringing pressure to bear. Perhaps a better way to put it is to say that we take an active part in civil society - at least, it would be a better way if that phrase was more widely used and understood!

Like the elections, civil society exists at both local and national level. M.V.C.G. operates locally, and it's worth remembering that most of the problems and improvements in our day-to-day life that have anything to do with government at all, have to do with local government.

There may or may not be a change of national government on 7 June. There may or may not be a change of control of Bristol City Council. In one sense, that doesn't matter: the important thing is to be actively engaged in seeking to improve things on the ground. But elections are important, and abstention is tantamount to saying 'don't care'. I hope M.V.C.G. members do care, and I urge you to vote in whatever way you think best.




FOR SOME TIME NOW, Anton Bantock has been telling people we meet on garbage raids that we are 'turning cans into daffodils' - and that's not much of an exaggeration, since the money we earn from selling aluminium cans for recycling matches closely what we have spent (and plan to spend) on bulb and tree planting.

Of course, we don't rely just on cans found on garbage raids. Anton himself is an indefatigable picker-up of cans, and there are many people who kindly supply us on a regular basis with cans they have collected. We also have a can collecting box at the restaurant at the Gatehouse Centre.

Cans are sorted into steel and aluminium. Aluminium ones are bagged up and taken for sale (the current price is 40p/kilo). The steel ones can't be sold, but are put out for recycling with the black box.

A recent trip to the 'scrappie' set an all-time record, with eleven full bags weighing a total of 37 kilos. The dealer also confirmed our feeling that the balance between aluminium and steel has shifted strongly in favour of aluminium. This makes it more valuable than ever to collect and recycle drinks cans.

On one of Anton's walks for the University of Withywood, Dr Charles Ward was so impressed by Anton's 'turning cans into daffodils' slogan that he was moved to verse and an illustration to go with it.

Thank you, Dr Ward. And the moral of the story is clear - Keep Cans Coming!



Any old delphinium

produces chlorophyll

Could one make aluminium

turn into daffodil?

I've heard it from a learnèd man

In Bishopsworth they really CAN.




YOU MAY ALREADY have come across the South Bristol Church and Community Trust. They have been circulating questionnaires to find out the views of local people in Withywood and more widely about ideas for replacing the present Withywood Church Centre in Fouracres.

The existing building would need substantial and expensive refurbishment, so the bold plan is to replace it altogether with a new building which would better meet the requirements of the ecumenical parish and also provide a centre for the community.

The new building wouldn't necessarily be on the current site at Fouracres. Possible sites which are being looked at include Turtlegate Avenue and Queens Road, Withywood, to replace the Youth Club which could be moved elsewhere.

Over the page is a design which Anton Bantock has done for a new church centre on the Turtlegate site. A decision on the site has not yet been taken, and we are a long way from a detailed design, but Anton's drawing shows one possible approach for one possible site.

If you would like to know more about this exciting new development or if you have any views on any aspect of it, the team at the South Bristol Church and Community Trust would like to hear from you. Contact Rachel Schofield at the Withywood Church Centre at Fouracres - telephone 978 4237.


SBCCT logo

Anton's Proposal for new Church Centre



Computer cartoonCAUGHT IN THE NET

YOU MAY HAVE HAD TROUBLE LATELY if you tried to visit the M.V.C.G. website at our address. Apologies if you have been unable to find us, or - worse - you have suffered from annoying pop-up windows when you accessed the TSX address.

The TSX address is what is known as a 'redirection site' - it meant we could have a 'memorable' web address, rather than the actual, rather long one - and anyone typing in the TSX address would be 'redirected' to our actual web pages. This was a free service, but TSX obviously decided that they wanted to earn advertising revenue and inserted new windows, some of which were in dubious taste.

The advantage of a redirection site is that the published address can stay constant even if the actual location of the web pages changes - you just change what the address points to. Unfortunately, at the same time that TSX were being difficult, Digital Bristol, where our site really lives, also changed their URL.

If you have been visiting our website via Digital Bristol - through the public information terminal at Bishopsworth Library, for instance - then there was only a short interruption to the service when Digital Bristol changed their own addresses. You will always be able to find us by visiting and then following the menus for Environment - Environmental Organisations.

We have now cancelled the TSX address and registered with a different redirection site. Our new address is, and if you type this in you will be automatically sent to our pages on Digital Bristol (the full official URL is If you are accessing us from your own computer, you can then bookmark the M.V.C.G. site and it will be recorded as the actual URL.

Similarly, the address for the Malago Society is now; Dundry Hill Group is; the University of Withywood is and Bristol Civic Society is

(If none of the above made the slightest sense, then it's a fairly safe bet that you don't need to worry about it!)




AS USUAL, the symbol indicates an event organised by M.V.C.G. There are also walks arranged by the University of Withywood (UW) in central Bristol.



NORMALLY the Summer Programme borrows heavily from the Dundry Hill Group walks. Not only has Foot and Mouth curtailed all activity on the Hill, but the funding situation for the Group is still rather uncertain (but see the information about Greenworks on the back page of the May 2001 Newsletter).

A new programme may become available in the next few weeks. Keep an eye on the Dundry Hill Group website at for up-to-date information.




GREENWORKS (formally known as 'Envirolinks') is a project funded by SRB5. Managed by CSV Environment, it employs two people; one is the Environmental Enhancement Project Officer, and the other the Volunteer & Training Officer. The idea is to provide opportunities for people in Hartcliffe and Withywood to improve the local environment while at the same time acquiring skills and qualifications which can help them into paid work.

Being funded by SRB5, the work has to be in the defined SRB area, but this includes the lower Dundry Slopes which are within the City of Bristol, and a part of the work represents a continuation of Barbra Wharton's previous role as Dundry Hill Group Project Officer. Barbra is one half of the Environment Enhancement Officer, which she job-shares with Ben Rosedale. The Volunteer & Training Officer post has recently been filled, also on a job-share basis. Our good friend Chris McFarling is one half, and the other half is a person new to CSV and south Bristol, Michelle Farr. We look forward to meeting Michelle and working with all of them.

Malago Valley Conservation Group


André Coutanche

964 3106


Lola Hardingham

964 1116

Hon. Secretary

Lis Pibworth

987 0825

Hon. Treasurer Beryl Heaton

964 5780

Committee Members

Anton Bantock, Don Bartlett, Brenda Docherty, Royston Griffey, Mavis Palmer

Co-opted Members

Tania Case, Eleanor Davis,Valerie Gay, Peter Hall, Audrey Milton, Ben Rosedale, Ted Thomas, Sue Walker, Barbra Wharton, Cllrs Bernard Chalmers, Peter Crispin, Richard Eddy, Ron Hodges, Dave Johson, Mary Sykes (All the City councillors for Bishopsworth, Hartcliffe and Whitchurch Park wards are invited to become co-opted Committee members).

Newsletter edited by André Coutanche, 14 Queens Road, Bishopsworth, Bristol, BS13 8LB; telephone 964 3106; e-mail; web address Letters, articles and suggestions from readers are welcome. The opinions expressed in this Newsletter do not necessarily represent those of M.V.C.G.


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