Jamie Wake 2014 Independent Candidate for Whitley ward in the Reading Local Elections
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    Jamie Wake Pledging Support to Lorna McArdle from Reading Pride - eliminating discrimination

    Jamie Wake pledging support to Reading Pride

    I was privileged to attend the Reading Pride Burlesque Fundraiser last night which took place at the Granby.  The club transformed itself for the night allowing the Reading Pride organisers to literally take the club over for an evening!  Even though I got outfit suggestions on Facebook and Twitter, the heat finally prevented me dressing up in a tail coat and I opted for the garish trousers I could find and yet I still seemed under-dressed!

    For me, whenever I think of Reading Pride, I can’t help but reminisce over the years I spent on it’s committee.  Not many people know that I one of the founders of the festival with Lorna, Selwyn and Laurence.  I guess that’s because as the face of Reading Pride for the first two years, my alter ego’s name was used to promote the festival throughout the town.  With that history, you can’t help but feel that their is an invisible attachment that keeps you attached!  Even now, I can still recall walking out on to the main stage to host it for the whole day on September 4th 2004 where I was gobsmacked by the number of people including families with children there to greet me and the acts we had booked.  It’s a WOW feeling that I don’t think will ever go.  Running a pride festival is not about receiving an award (although all but one of the founders have – wink wink lol) it’s about seeing the way people attending are relaxing and being able to be themselves.

    One of the things any Pride goer is normally asked is ‘why do we still need pride festivals?’ I’m sorry to say that homophobia, like many other forms of discrimination, is still not eliminated from society.  Events such as the Reading Pride Festival work towards educating the general public and what is great to see, is the number of heterosexual people that come to Reading Pride that want to see an end to discrimination too.  Even now, many people would not feel comfortable holding their partners hand in the street and I see it regularly in social care where older people worry about being disciminated against for not being a husband or wife. 

    Last night I pledged my support to Reading Pride to stamp out discrimination and chatted to the chair of pride, Lorna McArdle, about ways in which I can support.  We taked about discrimination in all it’s forms and I’m reminded that only recently, I have faced discrimination myself.

    Homophobia is a hate crime and should be reported to the police and Thames Valley Police is committed to tacking homophobia and Sexual Orientation is one of their ‘six strands of diversity’.  In our ‘Six to Fix’ in Reading we’re working on cutting crime in Reading

    • We will work with local Police teams, Neighbourhood Action Groups and residents to keep cutting crime in our neighbourhoods.
    • We will invest in the voluntary and community sector to build capable communities.
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    April 22nd, 2011jamiewakerdgcycling, kennet island, kira, local candidate, six to fix, whitley

    For those of us who don’t always explore our backyard, I was almost dismissive when the Chair of Reading Pride suggested a bike ride through Whitley.  Knowing that she rides a bike, I sent her an innocent text to ask where to go for a bike ride.  Having brought a bike recently in an attempt to start a keep fit regime without the costly expense of a joining a gym, I thought today would be the perfect day to ride it.  Within seconds of sending a text message, I received a call describing a route that she and her partner had cycled last week and I had not expected her to suggest a route within the ward of Whitley.

    Cycling in WhitleyRather nervously I set off via the Piazza on Kennet Island and I was rather pleased to see the buzz that the new cafe has created on there.  Members of the Kennet Island Residents Association greeted me as I cycled through and told me more about the May Day Celebrations that are coming up.  As a resident I will be of course be going and whilst I understand that other parties may be distributing ‘non political’ literature, I personally would not use this community event to seek voters.  Mainly as KIRA can not be compromised politcally and as the previous chair, I helped write the constitution to ensure that the association always remains impartial.

    Listening to what the new Vice Chair, Gavin Turner has achieved for the event so far, I also put them in touch with someone that might be able to help with gazebos for them too. 

    It was also nice to bump into the person behind KIRA kids club who has been campaigning for the Kids Play Area on the island.  She said she was disappointed to read in recent literature that had arrived through her door that others were taking credit for the play area and I assured her that residents of Kennet Island knew it was KIRA that pushed for the play area.  She’s not the first person to tell me that they were a little annoyed at the literature and I have blogged about my disappointment previously.  Once everyone had had a laugh at the idea of me with helmit going on a bike ride, I set off in search of adventure!

    Within minutes of Crossing the A33 and following the pathway running alongside the canal, I found myself in a beautiful natural surroundings viewing boats, swans and locks – how comes I had never discovered this before?  I’m rather cross with myself that having lived in Whitley for a number of years that I had never realised how close I was to this and I would recommend this little trip to any other resident – either walking or on a bike.  I guess we all miss what’s beyond our backyards and unless you live in an area, you don’t always have the opportunity to discover more.  This is the same with local issues.  Thankfully, living in Whitley, Im aware of many of the issues that residents face and I have made a promise that I will Continue to Listen to Residents and be accessible at all times.  This is a promise that lasts all year around – not just at election time.

    I could tell a porky and state that the cycling was a deliberate act of mine as part of my launch in Whitley of one our ‘Six to Fix’ – ‘A Cleaner and Greener Reading’.  It wasn’t but it does tie in rather nicely!

    • This year 12 local centres will receive a deep clean after years of neglect. Going forward we will ensure that local shopping areas are not overlooked in favour of the town centre.
    • Reducing fly-tipping, litter and graffiti remains a priority for the Lib Dems and we will use the tools and powers available to the Council to keep local areas clean and green.
    • We will look to increase the range of materials residents can recycle on the doorstep wherever possible.
    • We will promote schemes and initiatives that help residents cut carbon emissions and fuel bills in their own homes.
    • We will actively promote walking and cycling to reduce carbon emissions and ease congestion.
    • We will work and improve rail transport, including Reading Station upgrade.
    • We will fix pot-holes and continue to invest in improving roads and pavements in Reading after years of underinvestment.

    Well, having only cycled to Burghfield and back (right up to the Cunning Man but I forgot my wallet!) my body is starting to ache.  I have just called Lorna of Reading Pride to thank her for the route and to confirm that I will be there tonight at the Fundraiser held at the Granby.  In the meantime, I think I deserve a nice soak in the bath!