• Wikipedia and Green Flag Awards 07 June 2016 | View comments

  • By David Jolley

    I remember the first time I encountered Wikipedia – 2006 and I was asked to support a submission to an essay competition by one of the trainees.

    I did not much like what he had written and wondered where he had obtained his material – I found he was quoting verbatim large sections of article from Wikipedia. I had the task of explaining I doubted this was a suitable source for an academic paper. Then there was the issue of plagiarism. We left it that he would not submit an essay but that I would not be reporting him to the GMC.

    Things have clearly moved on – I have become aware of a recent entry reviewing the life and works of Barbara Robb – main mover behind AEGIS, Sans Everything and the sequence of revelations and legislative change which did so much to improve the lot of old people with serious mental illness, including dementia, from the late 1960s. Sans Everything was published 1967 – next year is its 50th anniversary – surely time for celebration and sober reappraisal.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Robb

    Reading this has been light relief as we prepare for the assessment of John Leigh Park http://roundhoundcouk.ipage.com/index.html (don’t ask me why we have such a strange web address).

    For the first time in 10 years we are entered for recognition under the Green Flag Award scheme.

    http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk/awards/green-flag-award/

    It is a complicated business which requires effective collaboration between the sponsoring Local Authority – Trafford for us – and a Friends group – we are Friends of John Leigh Park. Extra complication is that all Trafford park work is now undertaken by Amey in an arrangement called One Trafford. So – many opportunities for misunderstandings and crossed wires. But we are getting there.

    Parks are wonderful community resources – open and free – countryside and playgrounds for all ages – often in urban areas. That is John Leigh Park in Altrincham. As health and welfare provision which is acceptable and well used, parks have the potential to improve health – physical and mental – A wonder Drug with little cost, few adverse effects and massive potential to save expenditure which follows the development of ill-health and unhappiness. We aim to be inclusive of people with dementia and others who have disabilities. 

    Never-the-less austerity measures have led to cuts which usually leave parks, along with museums and libraries, labelled as low priority when set against education and direct welfare services for the disabled. Somehow we need to find the right balance within the reduced capacity allowed, using voluntary work alongside professional contributions. 

    We look forward to learning more from the Green Flag exercise.

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