Valuable volunteers

As the manager of the Walcot Community Shop I would like to correct the references Sherry Waldon made about the shop and library.

The library, as everyone knows, was to be closed in 2009 because of under use and high staffing costs. This was avoided by moving the charity shop into the library building and manning it with local volunteers. The lending rate in 2012 was the same as that quoted in this newspaper in 2009, low but with the costs of staffing virtually zero compared to £30,000 in 2009.

To say that the volunteers are transient and lacking in knowledge is totally incorrect and insulting.

We have ten volunteers, four of whom are trained to help users, and have full access to all the library facilities. To claim that paid staff can in any way give a better service is ridiculous. The job is neither difficult nor too demanding and the one thing they do bring along that paid staff cannot is local people talking to local people.

Using paid staff is also a very expensive way of lending a few books to local people. It is not necessary or cost effective. We must not forget that our council tax pays for these employees.

If Sherry Waldon took the trouble to visit the library she would see that it consists of 95 per cent of novels and 5 per cent of what she calls knowledge books. We are not talking about the Alexandria Library of historical fame; this is Walcot, Swindon.

If anyone is seeking knowledge as Sherry Waldon puts it, then a trip to the Central Library is a must.

The computers in the library are in frequent use. Today, Saturday, they are all in use but very few people have been in to borrow books.

The volunteers are always at hand to give advice and help on the computers. In fact we have two members of staff whose knowledge of computers is second to none.

So could I ask Sherry Waldon to get her facts right before rubbishing something that has proved a real asset to the area.

Debbie Estarbrook, manager, Walcot Community Shop Swindon


Waste still muddled

A few weeks ago at a council scrutiny meeting, the lead member responsible for the proposals for the new fortnightly collections of waste and green waste, was asked several questions on the matter, as the brief that was given wasn’t very clear at the time.

Despite the assistance of the support officers from the council, he failed to convince the committee that all was right with the proposals and so the matter was passed back to the full cabinet to agree on. This was completed and the matter was passed at the full council meeting. He was asked about the fact that the town of this size had only one road sweeper and one drain cleaner, and is the current situation caused by flooding, helping the matter with blocked drains. Also did the council plan to purchase extra vehicles to help the problem. He replied that he didn’t know the current vehicle numbers and would endeavour to find out.

He was then asked about the proposals for the new green waste and fortnightly collections, and if households found they couldn't manage with the present number of receptacles, would they have to purchase extra boxes to meet the need? He replied that households who found that they couldn't manage, would be able to obtain extra boxes at no cost, but it would be on a restricted issue basis. On 24 January, while reading the budget proposals for 2014/15, on page 39 it clearly states that households who have a need for extra receptacles will have the option to purchase additional boxes from the council.

Can the Council Leader explain just what is going on, and does he have the full confidence of this member to do his job?

T Reynolds, Wheeler Avenue, Swindon


Foetuses feel pain

“A foetus can feel pain before birth.” Through ultrasound techniques, it is a contribution that recognizes how the foetus reacts to particular stimulus, according to a study of the University of Siena. The uterus is a preserved place, but not locked. The touch is the first sense that the foetus develops.

Likewise, babies have working memory; they retain flavours received in the uterus of the pregnant woman. Anand, educator at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, expressed to the New York Times, that foetuses can feel pain from 20 weeks of gestation.

However, the abortionists do not accept that a foetus perceives pain. It shows how wrong they are in opposing the unborn and deny the opportunity to exist.

The foetus should be assisted as a human being from conception; the baby must be protected until natural death.

Gabriel Rosello, Independent Forum of Opinion Madrid


A biblical landmine

Looking at our newspapers and listening to the news is akin to reading the Bible these days. Barely does one war cease, or seems to cease, than another one starts.

Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, conflicts and famine in many parts of Africa, not to mention the bubbling pot soon to come to the boil involving Iran and Israel, as well as the daily slaughter of Christians all over the Middle East, a little reported fact in the media today, must lead one to think, “what in the world is happening?”

Amazingly, all these events are foretold in the Bible, and foretold to occur shortly after the re-establishment of Israel into her ancient homeland. Which happened in 1948.

However, most churches ignore these prophetic verses, scattered throughout the Scriptures. Christians of today march happily and ignorantly forward, unaware that they are about to step onto the greatest and factual theological land-mine, ever!

This land-mine is known as the harpazo, or snatching away, or the rapture, and is a belief that is scorned at and denigrated by mainstream Christianity, but there are a few churches and fellowships that teach it, one of which is here in Wiltshire, in Swindon, and we are having our next meeting on Tuesday, February 4 at 7.30pm. The speaker is Pastor Jon Ikin. Our full address is, The Storehouse Christian Fellowship, 150 Cricklade Road, Gorse Hill Swindon, SN2 8AG, and everybody is welcome, non believers too.

To find out more, and perhaps ask some questions, please come on the 4th, after all, if this is true, isn't it best to be prepared?

Tony McLellan, Colchester Close, Toothill, Swindon


Burns was right on

Last Saturday was the 255th anniversary of the birth of one of Scotland's finest sons, the world renowned poet and staunch Freemason Robert Burns.

Here are his words spoken by a Miss Fontenelle, an actress in Dumfries, ‘on her Benefit Night, 26th November 1792, long before the suffragettes and women's equal rights were thought of. How true these words, written over two centuries ago, are now.

Robert Burns loved the lassies, but he respected them.

The rights of women...

While Europe’s eye is fixed on mighty things, The fate of Empires and the fall of kings, While quacks of State must each produce his plan, And even children lisp the Rights of Man, Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention, The Rights of Women merit some attention.

Bill Williams, Merlin Way, Swindon