The directory of community and business organisations in Broadstone Dorset


Residents Association MagazinearrowSummer 2001 - 19

FRANK MEATON

Warden for part Higher Blandford Road, Fairview Crescent & Brookdale Farm

Checking on the records to write this report proved surprising. The task as Warden becomes almost routine, with no reason to consider how long it's been happening. Reference to my subs. books shows that it was 11 years ago when Colin Kendall asked me to take over his 2 areas because he was becoming a Borough Councillor.

My personal attachment to Broadstone, as I have written about in earlier magazines, began in 1939 as an evacuee from London. The Stockwell Road School were allowed the use of the old wooden building, which stood between Broadstone School and the Dunyeats Road shops. Fortunately for me one of the similarly evacuated teachers pressed for me to be transferred to Poole Grammar School, because I had already passed my Grammar School entrance exams in London.
Consequently my return to London was thankfully delayed until 1944, but that was basically a return in bodily form, my heart remained in Broadstone.

My girlfriend had to be vetted by my Broadstone "parents" before I married her. Our eldest son was within a month of being born in Broadstone, and our family were brought up with the awareness that school holidays would incorporate time in Broadstone. Many of their childhood memories include adventures in our village, which at that time enabled children to venture out, have secret camps, have rope swings from trees etc.

Eventually our dream was able to be realised in 1979 when my wife and I bought 41 Higher Blandford Road, three houses from where I was evacuated.

The story has now moved to the next generation, because my son is now a dentist in the Broadway. In 1979 we were promptly visited by the Street Warden, paid our pound and became members. Life as a member of the Residents' Association would probably have then settled into the same routine as most of you folks now reading this report. Pay the pound Association Subscription, say hello to the Street Warden, read the Magazines and leave it to others to concern themselves about Broadstone, but this was not to be my lot.

My next door neighbour, Sally Banford, volunteered my name atone of the Executive meetings, and I became Vice Chairman of the Residents' Association, under the Chairmanship of Peter Coles. At various stages they have asked me to represent our R.A. on the Post Office Advisory Committee, the Telecoms Advisory Committee and the Dorset Federation of Residents' Associations.

These appointments opened up all sorts of areas for me, totally new to any experience in my previous occupations.

As a direct result of becoming a Street Warden, which led to the roles listed above, I have been able to meet a vast number of public bodies. In now listing these areas I am certain to omit some and would ask to be excused any such omission on my part.

These past few years have given me detailed involvement and discussion with Dorset County Council, particularly to question their Annual Budgets. I am a member of their Waste Forum. Similar discussions to question Dorset Police budgets and to suggest and implement citizen involvement.

Invitations to attend Poole Harbour Commissioners Annual meetings have included a visit around their harbour buildings. Dorset Health Authority would have liked us to have more involvement, but time did not permit. I feel that I have attended so many meetings by invitation of Poole Borough Council that! could almost be a Councillor. There have also been interesting visits to Post Offices, Telephone Exchanges, including chances to see Directory Enquiry and the 999 systems in operation.

It has become apparent that these various Public Authorities are only too willing to have Resident Associations involved in their plans and targets. When members of the public say that they have no faith in these bodies, because they are not allowed to know what is being determined, this is not true. I believe that such public reaction is really a cover-up for their apathy and desire not to be involved.

So come on volunteer yourself to our Chief Warden, Frank Wood. He will agree an area with you. This can vary in number, one patch I know has 14 houses, whereas I know a few Wardens allow themselves to be responsible for about 70 houses. You can limit yourself to simply collecting the three magazines from the library, putting the Spring and Winter issues through the letter boxes and walking away. The Summer magazine is more time consuming because it requires you to call at the houses to collect the Annual Sub. and pay them into the bank.

It can be as little as that, but it can open up many new areas of interest if you choose, you will not be pressurised.

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Last Updated: 20th February 2004