Friday 27 November 2015

Jacobs Wells Community Hub website


I've been working on a volunteer basis with a local community group to help them set up a website. The Jacobs Wells Community Hub (JWCH) is aiming to get a community space in the Cliftonwood and Hotwells area of Bristol. They're also holding events for local people and generally trying to improve things in the area.

They already had a Facebook page, which meant they could keep people up to date and share events quite easily, but they wanted a website, partly to meet accessibility needs. Some people in the community aren't Facebook users, while the small text and extra clutter around the Facebook page isn't helpful for people with poor eyesight.

The Jacobs Wells Community Hub website
As they wanted to update the website themselves with minutes from meetings and events, I decided to go with Wordpress. From their point of view it would be simple to use, while the wealth of support and plugins would be really ace for me as a developer!

In my previous job at Bristol SU I set up a website for the city's Love Where You Live campaign, also using Wordpress. I used the Pictorico theme because it was very visual and the square boxy layout fit was in line previous Bristol SU projects.I showed this to JWCH and they liked the look of it, so we decided to use the same theme for their site.

The Love Where You Live Bristol website
I did a bit of customisation as the original theme has some slidy effects that aren't the most user-friendly thing in the world. They also wanted the group's main aim to be quite prominent, so I had to make room for it in the header.

Most of the tweaks I made were CSS based, but I had to fiddle about with some of the PHP as well. I've never learnt PHP and when I've used it before it's been with someone holding my hand, so I was little scared that I might break everything. The syntax isn't too awful when you're just dropping the odd statement into some HTML, so I managed to get it to do what I wanted.

I've got a few little changes left to make to the site but it's pretty much complete now. Take a look at the Jacobs Wells Community Hub site and let me know what you think!

It's been a nice change working on this. My day job no longer involves any coding at all, so I'm going to have to work on stuff in my own time so I don't get rusty. Next project will be rehauling this website. It doesn't look anything like what I want it to look like and the colours aren't very user-friendly. So stay tuned for that!

Friday 20 November 2015



I've just uploaded another batch of Digimakers photos to Flickr. Digimakers is a series of workshops in Bristol to teach young people about cool things they can make and do with technology.

I took these photos for my master's project about outreach in Computer Science. You can read a bit more about Digimakers in my previous blog post about it.

Here's a couple of photo highlights:


Raspberry Pi programming with Sonic Pi

Take a look at the full set of Digimakers photos on Flickr.

Sunday 8 November 2015

Cats and food


A long overdue update from me...tackling the photo backlog again.

Last year I volunteered for BBC Radio 4 and photographed an event that was part of Bristol Food Connections. There were lots of happy people trying out tasty food in the beautiful spring weather:

Slow Food 5 April 2014

You can look at the full set of photos from Slow Food on Flickr.

I also met a couple of beautiful cats that day.

One was relaxing in the sun:


The other was very intrigued by something but I couldn't see what it was looking at:


Friday 28 August 2015

Life update


Here is a Shaun sculpture, which is part of the Shaun in the City Bristol trail:

I'll update with more words soon, but here is an overview of what I've been up to over the last couple of months:
  • Started a new job at Bristol City Council - mainly writing and editing content. I now know more about bins and parking than I have ever wanted or needed to know.
  • Did jury service, which involved lots of waiting around and reading, although I did get to sit on two cases.
  • Found lots of Shauns (the one above is just one of 70 in Bristol).
  • Began working on a local community website and learning more Wordpress (it's coming soon, hopefully will make it live this afternoon).

Saturday 20 June 2015

Residents' parking: Clifton traders march in protest

Traders from Clifton Village marched to City Hall in protest of the council’s proposed residents’ parking scheme, which they believe will lead to the “death” of the village.

Protestors are worried that the introduction of parking meters and time limits on parking will result in fewer people visiting the village, leading to Clifton losing its character. Alison Bracey from business group BID Clifton Village, who organised the protest, said: “We don’t feel residents’ parking is going to benefit the businesses.

“There’s a lot of businesses in the village that have a high number of employees. There’s actually no way that those staff can get to work. Some of those businesses have around 90 employees. If they can’t get their staff to work, then they can’t operate and that’s actually really scary.”

Tony Golledge, owner of The Mall Newsagents, echoed these concerns:

Ferguson responds

Mayor George Ferguson has been responding to queries about the scheme on Twitter:
Although campaigners are worried that parking will be limited to an hour, Ferguson has replied saying that there will be three and five hour parking bays available a short walk from businesses:
Proposal maps released by the council show different restrictions on each road, with some roads only catering for residents or traders with permits.

However, people on the streets of Clifton are unhappy about the proposed changes:

The new parking measures will be introduced in Clifton Village on Thursday 1 May. A review of the scheme will take place six months after it is launched, which will give the council the opportunity to change the scheme to make sure it still meets the needs of the community.

The following area will be covered by the Clifton Village residents’ parking scheme:

It is clear that traders in Clifton Village are unhappy about the introduction of a residents’ parking scheme, but it remains to be seen whether the changes will actually impact the area negatively.

Objections to the proposals can be made in writing or sent to the council via email until Friday 11 April. Please quote reference CAE/NMT/P/888 and include your name and address.

Related links:

Bristol City Council: Residents’ parking schemes (RPS): how new schemes work for residents

Bristol City Council: Residents’ parking schemes (RPS): how new schemes work for businesses

Story by Rajitha Ratnam

Clifton Residents' Parking


I'm catching up with my backlog again. Last year there were a number of protests around the Residents' Parking Scheme proposed for Clifton Village in Bristol. I went along to one and covered it for my Multimedia Journalism coursework.


Local business owners and residents believed that the changes would be the death of Clifton Village's character and vibrancy as people would no longer be able to get to the area easily without being able to park.

As part of the assignment I also made a video package:

I've just spent the day on a stall for the University of Bristol's open day so my brain is a bit melty and not wanting to write words, so I've uploaded the full article I wrote about the parking protests back in 2014 instead. Enjoy!

Sunday 26 April 2015

Bristol Zoo


It's been a while since my last post as I've had some very busy weekends, including going to my first multiday LAN! (A++ would go again.)

My gloriously cheap student Adobe CC subscription ran out last month so I've bitten the bullet and got a Photographer CC subscription (which comes with Lighroom and Photoshop) so I can continue editing photos. I was tempted to go for the full CC suite but my free time is limited and it was expensiiiiive.

I've got a tiny batch of photos to show you this time, from another trip to Bristol Zoo Gardens. There were baby meerkats but I couldn't get any good photos since they were basically being sat on by larger meerkats. Never mind, have a golden lion tamarin instead:

Check out the full set on Flickr or look at my photostream for photos of other things (both zoo and non-zoo related).

Sunday 22 February 2015

Digimakers: Technology outreach


I'm getting through the photo backlog still - now in 2014! I've actually already processed some of the larger sets from last year because I used the images for my Master's degree, but there's some new stuff to get through as well.

This first set of photos is from a Digimakers event that took place in March 2014. Digimakers is a series of workshops that aims to get more people (particularly children) using technology to make exciting things. To find out a bit more, take a look at this video package I made about the workshops for a piece of coursework.

And now on to the photos! This picture is the one I used as the main image for my final master's project. I took a lot of close up shots at the two Digimakers events I attended, but this one shows a bit more of what is going on. These two boys are being taught to use Raspberry Pi computers. Raspis are small and cheap and you can use them to do all sorts of things, so they work well for computing outreach.

Students from the Bristol chapter of Robogals, an organisation that does STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) outreach mainly aimed at young women, also run workshops as part of Digimakers. They use LEGO Mindstorms robots.

The robots can be programmed in different ways. Robogals run robot dance-off workshops for more advanced participants. A more basic way to program the robots is to get them to follow a track, which is what the child in this photo has done.

You can see the full set of photos from this event on my Flickr page or find out more about computing outreach in Bristol at the online feature I created. The next Digimakers event is on 28 February, so go sign up and have a go at something new! You don't need to be accompanied by a child to take part.

Sunday 15 February 2015

Bristol Zoo in the winter

Hello everyone!

I've been going through my (very large) photo backlog and I've nearly finished 2013...yes, I've got a ways to go.

When I was doing my master's I did a piece on ways people improve their mental wellbeing. As part of that, I interviewed the lovely Sara, who volunteers at Bristol Zoo Gardens. Volunteering is a great way to get back into doing work when you may have had a bit of a break, and if you help out at the zoo you can get in for free, which is quite handy, especially in the summer!

We decided to do the interview at the zoo - managed to find a place with ducks for some nice atmospheric noise - and then wandered around looking at the animals.

It was pretty close to Christmas so they had some reindeer visiting, which was pretty exciting! There were lots of small children getting very excited so it was a bit tricky to get a good shot so I thought I'd frame the picture with the kids.

Sara volunteers in the lemur walkthrough so we spent a bit of time watching them. This little guy was chowing down on a sweet potato, while his buddies had cucumbers and bananas and all sorts of other goodies.

I seem to have quite a few photos of capybaras from this visit to the zoo, so here is one just chilling out.

And finally, we found this rather happy frog. So pleased! It can be quite tricky to get shots of animals in enclosures as there's stuff like glass or netting in the way, so I'm happy with how this turned out.

Check out the rest of the zoo collection or have a look at my Flickr photostream for more pictures.