As part of the #upliftPokesdown and Boscombe campaign there was a natural connection with Mental Health in some form, but one of the things raised by Marianne was that it is best not to discuss locations and methods when it comes to suicides. I won't go into further details on that front then.

This was my first time talking about mental health to any real extent with someone. The desire to do this piece of content also came about from seeing a friend reach rock bottom at the beginning of the year and me not knowing what to do or say. I've learnt from this interview and I hope it helps others too.

The video is just over 6 minutes and easy to watch. I hope you parents that come across this could maybe sit together with your children and watch it again. We need to try and break some of the barriers and taboos surrounding mental health.

What with Covid-19 and the deaths of Caroline Flack and others connected with Love Island, there are many issues that affect everyone.

Within a week of pushing out Simon Fernand's song and video about the Pokesdown Train Station Lifts as part of the #upliftPokesdown campaign, or lack thereof, ITV Meridian News got in contact and dig a slot on it.

Sunflowers in bloom

Right at the start of the Pandemic Lockdown, we all hunkered down as a community, taking care not to be out when we shouldn't or needn't be out.

As restrictions began to ease, people were being very conflicted and Social Media is not a good place to argue out these things. Against this background of negativity, it was the Reverend Peter Southcombe from Immanual Church that suggested the growing of Sunflowers so that we would have a splash of colour as we would, hopefully, finally come out of the bulk of lockdown.

Peter asked me to push that on Social Media, across my channels and onto the SoBo Facebook page (SoBo is a little phrase many use as short for Southbourne).

People loved the idea. I had a bag full of seeds given by Peter Guest of Leges Support. We shared that to people who wanted some. People got cracking.

The results have been great and even ours have bloomed.

BCP Council have reached out and asked for examples of what communities have been doing during the impacts of Covid-19, so I will put together a little video of the many, many local sunflowers I have recorded, and share.

In 2021 we must do this again. With a bit of funding we can get the seeds and pots, to get people going. Everyone can share tips and progress like before, but hopefully this time we will have whole streets full of bright yellow sunflowers arond the same time.

It can be something that Southbourne can be known for. Part of a placemaking identity and to show off to visitors. Ideally should have them line the high street baskets.

The news even made it onto BBC Radio Solent with an interview of a resident that grew a wall of them. There have been great examples shared on Facebook.

My company is involved in deploying a Internet Exchange on Highmoor Farm near Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth.

There were many objections to its planning application. There were much more in support once we got on the social media campaign trail. Two can play that game.

I can understand why some might hold the views they do. In the spirit of a bit more openness I shared the date when we would be expecting to move our half-prepped digital exchange unit. I had said that this was part of my 15 year vision. High speed fibre access across Dorset, in terms of BCP Council and Dorset Council area, will enable the connectivity of the 5G trials happening soon.

I was asked about that vision, and here was my reply.



I’d be glad to give you a quick whirlwind of my personal vision, which can be a bit stark, but unless we are, we can’t take the positive steps to make things better.

In 15 years’ time my vision is to be in a position to retire and retire safely.

By safely I mean I hope the economy and labour force has not been impacted by the effects of an insular Brexit.

The elephant in the room is that birth figures are slowing down and by Dorset LEP’s research for the Industrial Strategy, by 2040 this region will have a dependency ratio of 1. That means for every person of pensionable age, there is one of working age.