Monthly Archives: September 2018

Blewbury’s social media app

September 3, 2018

Blewbury has just become the first village in the UK to launch its own social network! It allows all the village’s interest groups to interact with the community through a single, easy-to-use, smartphone app.

Selected local groups, such as the Blewbury Bulletin, Parish Council, BVS, Blewbury Players, Blewbury School, Sustainable Blewbury and others can now publish pictures, videos, articles and links into a news feed.

There’s also a community feed open for anyone to post into – e.g. items for freecycling, babysitter requests, etc  – and anyone can comment, share or like posts as you might on Facebook.

Other features include an events list, a local businesses directory, with more to come. The app can also be used for other things in future – such as local promotions, fundraising and campaigning.

Simply search for ‘Blewbury’ in the Apple/Android app store, download the app, create a profile, and you’re ready to go.

In answer to the question ‘why do this when we have Facebook?’, the app’s administrator, Matt Phillips, says “many people have stopped using Facebook altogether, while recent changes to its algorithm mean unpaid posts on pages (such as the BVS) will typically reach just 5-10% of people who ‘like’ that page”.

“There are house rules”, says Matt. “The app needs to be a safe public space, so be civil. No anonymous profiles: please sign up using your real names. Respect others’ privacy when posting photos (as you would on any social network). Note the app is rated 17+ but kids won’t be blocked and I hope parents will sign them up. Finally, please, no commercial services posts – I hope more businesses will join the directory.

“I’d appreciate it if you could download the app, play around with it, and encourage others to do so. It will only become properly useful when it has a good number of people using it. Any feedback, questions or suggestions for how it could be improved, I’d love to hear from you.”

Matt can be contacted at blewburycommunity@gmail.com or on 07972 219515

App download links

For iPhone:
https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1426438362

For Android:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.co.disciplemedia.blewbury

[Please note: Exciting as this new venture sounds, it is not in any way connected with the Blewbury Bulletin. Please direct all comments and enquiries to Matt Phillips, using the contact details above.]

Village Hall Refurbishment

September 24, 2018

I reported in the summer Bulletin that we were working with a builder to see if we could achieve our preferred scheme at a cost we could afford. The answer is we can’t.

It has proved impossible to build a small extension to provide us with a bigger kitchen and post office, while restoring the storage adjacent to the Main Hall, within our budget. We were able to reduce the costs to close to our target but we were left with too many uncertainties and risks to be confident that the scheme could be delivered to time and cost. A survey of the flat roofs has also confirmed that there is nothing we can reasonably defer to contain the costs of the scheme.

We will therefore refurbish the hall within its current footprint by:

  • Rewiring and installing new heating, lighting and ventilation in all areas
  • Refurbishing the toilets, kitchen and post office
  • Replacing fixtures, fittings and signage throughout
  • Replacing ceilings and floors, doors and windows
  • Replacing and insulating the flat roofs and insulating the Main Hall loft
  • Renewing the internal and external décor

Although we will lose additional capacity, the hall will be brought up to modern standards and be more pleasant, comfortable and efficient to use. The aim still is to make it fit for another generation. This revised approach will remove a lot of the risks from the project and give us confidence that it can be delivered. The price will still not be cheap and we still need to raise more money but we would expect to reach the target quicker. We are in the process of appointing a project manager and the work which, given the availability of funds, we will phase, will then be re-tendered. We’ll give you details of the revised scheme, price and timing as they become firm.

Thanks again for your patience. If you have any comments or questions about this revised approach please let me know.

Steve White