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Don’t be daft – we don’t need to ban fireworks

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Some of your happiest memories when I was a child were at family or school fireworks displays. Freezing cold, eating jacket potatoes, sparklers in hands and ‘oo-ing’ and ‘ah-ing’ over the pretty explosions which lit up the inky, night sky.

Whether you called it Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night, November 5 was one of the few times each year we got together with family and friends.

Now you are older, with a rescue dog, cat or a child who has always been sensitive to loud noises, you are less keen on the night.

Especially as it no longer lasts just one evening but fireworks can generally be heard from now until January. But an outright ban, or even allowing them only at official events is nonsense.

At the moment, thosands of people have signed a petition to ban fireworks in public – which means the government will have to respond.

I won’t call these people fun police or killjoys as some people have, I can see why they want to put restrictions on fireworks displays.

As they say themselves, they ’cause alarm, distress and anxiety to many people and animals’.

What is needed instead though is better education on the danger of fireworks, tougher penalties for those misusing them and police cracking down on those who flout the rules, particularly those who give/sell them to under 18s.

If organising a garden display, just be a considerate human being.

Make sure your neighbours are aware, perhaps even invite them over.

It’s easy to let people know – most of us are on social media and there are plenty of local noticeboards you can post on to let people know if you plan to let fireworks off for a lengthy amount of time.

If not, knock a few doors, particularly if you have elderly neighbours and those with children or pets.

Choose low noise or quiet fireworks (yes, they do exist) as well as follow safety advice and take precautions before setting them off.

And don’t be a git and let them off past 11pm.

If we all followed these general rules it would probably help a lot.

Banning things rarely has the desired effect and will only mean that a ‘black market’ will open up which will make it even more dangerous and fireworks more likely to fall into the hands of youngsters and those who would act irresponsibly.

People point to the environmental damage caused by fireworks – perhaps then a green tax should be introduced to pay towards offsetting the damage caused?

And there are plenty of things which are more dangerous and/or cause more environmental damage than fireworks such as cars, dairy farming – should we also ban them?

We all have to live with things which annoy or upset us but we can’t go around and ban everything that upsets someone.

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Battle Library Reopens next week!

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Battle Library reopens next week! The library is due to reopen next Tue 6 April, initially for 9 hours per week (Tuesday 1-5, Friday 10-12, Saturday 10-1).

Working in line with current national safety guidance, from 6 April, Battle Library will offer:

📚 Returns – to entrance when the library is open, book drop when closed.
📗 Order and collect (book online at https://www.reading.gov.uk/leisure/libraries/libraries-reopening/ or via 0118 937 5950) – you can order specific or a general collection of items
💻 Limited computer bookings (via 0118 937 5950)

Visitors to the library will be reminded to follow safety precautions, including the wearing of masks inside the building and for the use of computers, test and trace registration will be required.

They will look to continue the planned phase of reopening of wider library services where possible and with safety at the forefront of all our plans. The Library Service hopes to confirm the reopening details for its other branch libraries at Whitley, Southcote and Palmer Park shortly.

Book drops are currently available at Central, Caversham – and shortly at Battle library – and no fines are being charged.

The Library Service’s popular e-service continues to be available. Over the past year, we have had 2,623 people join the service and They’ve issued a staggering 65,000 eResources!

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Banksy’s artwork appears on side of former Reading Prison

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A piece of graffiti painted by Banksy has appeared overnight on the side of Reading Prison.

In the early hours of Monday (1 March) morning, the artwork was spotted on the side of the now-closed institution.

It shows a man dressed in a striped prisoner’s uniform scaling the side of the building on a knotted rope.

Beneath the man, the chain is shown to be made of paper and coming out of a typewriter.

Banksy has named the piece ‘The Create Escape’.

In a video featuring TV artist Bob Ross, the Bristol-based artist – whose identity is a closely guarded secret – shows how he created the painting.
please see below.

Some have speculated that the man is meant to represent Irish poet Oscar Wilde, who was imprisoned at the jail from 1895 to 1897 on charges of gross indecency with other men.

A campaign was recently launched to save the Grade II listed building after it was closed in 2014.

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RBC highest agency manager has a day rate of £975

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Revealed by the “The Reading Chronicle“, concerns have been raised about the money spent on agency & temporary staff.

The highest agency manager at the RBC has a day rate of £975, one temporary manager at the children’s services company Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) has been working for 24 months, this are two examples among others.

One former RBC contractor who want to remain anonymous said the headline fees skew the reality. “Overall, contractors cost a similar amount to permanent employees as there are no benefits like pensions and paid holidays. On top of that many live far away from Reading, as it was my case, and have to pay for travel and sometime accommodation out of their rate,” he said.

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