#MySundayPhoto – Sleepeasy? 

Last night, a number of amazing people slept rough in the Princesshay Shopping Centre in Exeter, with the aim of increasing awareness of youth homeless, and raising money for YMCA Exeter. I was around for some of it taking photos of the event, and felt very thankful for the warm house I got to come home.

Sadly, to many people dont have that as an option.

Click through to my photography Facebook page, for other photos from the event.

OneDad3Girls

Does Devon need school lollipop patrollers?

School lollipop patrollers, the people that annoy some motorists, by ensuring mostly small children can cross the road safely. They have been a staple of a childs walk to school for a number of generations, but does Devon need school lollipop patrollers?  That’s the question that has been asked by Devon County Council a couple of times over the last 12 months or so, and according to the Exeter Express and Echo they are on the verge of not saying no – but that they shouldn’t be funded by tax payers money.

According to “The Echo“:

Despite overwhelming opposition from the public, schools and councillors, a proposal by Devon County Council to cease funding school lollipop patrollers has been approved at its cabinet meeting today.

The fate of the future of the service will now be decided next Thursday at a meeting of its full council.

The reason behind the cost cutting plans is to save £250,000 a year from the county council budget. Instead the cost will transfer to schools, with the patrollers themselves employed by a third party that would deliver the service on a full-cost recovery or commercial basis.

If schools decide not to fund the cost of their patrol, the alternatives are for it to be run by volunteers or to lose the service.

In other words, if a lollipop patroller service disappears, the council will say its the local schools fault for not sorting it out.

Is this David Camerons Big Society being played out? People needing to volunteer, because the state doesn’t want to find the money to help small  kids, and hassled parents to cross the road?

There is a campaign going, to try and save the crossing patrols, if you agree with what they’re trying to do, please sign their petition at change.org.

Finding Stick Man at Haldon Forest

I have to admit, we were late to the Stick Man party. We didn’t see Stick Man on TV over Christmas, instead it was our little one bringing Stick Man home from PreSchool, that introduced us to the character. Long story short, we soon had cries of “I’m Stick Man!” echoing around our house. When we realised there was a Stick Man trail at The Haldon Forest in Devon, we felt we had to go and find him.

As we both had a day off from work, we figured we would take advantage of going up to Haldon Forest on a quieter “school day”.  After a 20 minute drive from Exeter, we found ourselves in Haldon Forest on a damp January Friday. Much to the Little Ones frustration we didn’t run to find Stick Man, but fuelled ourselves up at “The Ridge Cafe”. (While Mummy also ran to pick up the “Activity Pack” from the rangers office.)

After food was eaten, we were off. Armed with a map from the activity pack… and help from the signs pointing us towards Stick Man, we went to find him. There were a number of characters from the book to look for, and challenges to take part in, while walking around the trail, (sadly due to the dampness we figured we should skip the challenges). After 10 minutes or so, we found ourselves with a giant Stick Man!

A giant Stick Man… who wasn’t too far way from a Gruffalo! In an attempt to show that the Gruffalo wasn’t something to be worried about, I ended up giving the children’s monster a giant hug. While our Little One still wasn’t impressed, I found the experience oddly relaxing.

We took her unkeenness at seeing the The Gruffalo (and the incoming storm) as a cue to go home. We’re planning on going back on a nicer day to really take a chance to enjoy it, and the play park equipment they have there.

If you or your Little One enjoys the adventures of Stick Man, I’d strongly recommend the Stick Man Trail at Haldon Forest. For more details of this, and other Stick Man Trails around England check out the Forestry Commission’s website.

The Stick Man DVD is now available from Amazon.co.uk – And its well worth a watch!