Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Save the Look In Cafe!

I hear that the wonderful
Look In cafe is to be closed ! Disaster!

This peaceful, dignified and friendly place is a real oasis for us Seniors who make it into town.

I am distraught to find that the Bracknell Forest Borough Council has listed it to close and given notice to the staff.

I attended a meeting last Friday, 22nd Jan. at the Easthampstead Baptist hall. It was well attended, crowded. More and more chairs had to be found. There was a lot of strong feeling to keep the Bracknell Look In cafe.

The petition already has 1000 signatures, and many more are hoped for. If you have not yet signed the petition please do so now! Sign on the paper copy circulating in Bracknell, or you can sign the online petition linked here, but please do not sign both. Thank you!

If you are blessed with the experience of many years, then sign! You are probably using the Look In already.
If you are blessed with youth, please sign!! Years pass quickly and before you know it you will enjoy the Look In. If it is still there. Also, your ageing friends and relatives are using it now. Help to preserve the Look In, for their sakes, and your own.

At the meeting, I sat next to a young man in a hoody who was there because his grandad used the Look In. He said he uses Facebook, and I really hope a Facebook page can be created for this cause.

March for the Bracknell Look In!
The meeting produced many good ideas and these are being acted upon. One was to show our determination and feeling by marching in Bracknell (thanks Christine).

A March has been organised to take place on
Saturday 13th February
(to be confirmed, details to follow
) To date, confirmed,
starting at 10.30am outside the Look In cafe.
Please bring your own placards?
Please be there to support us?

News Coverage:
Campaign launched to save The Look In cafe

Information from the Save the Look In Committee:

Following our successful public meeting of over 100 people on 22/01/10 we have made the following plans.

Step up collecting names on the petition, which is now in excess of 1,000 names.

Ask people to write, phone, email or call on their local councillors expressing their concern at the threat of closure of the Look In and calling on the Council to reverse their decision.

A march through Bracknell Town Centre will take place on
Saturday 13th February, details as follows.
10.30am - Assemble outside Look In Cafe.
March to Bandstand for a few brief speeches and obtaining more signatures for the petition.
March from Bandstand to Easthampstead House ( Council Offices ).
12 noon disperse.
Please bring your own posters to the march.
Present our petition to Councillors Bettison and Birch at Easthampstead House, we have requested that we do this following our march, so far they have not replied.
If they cannot make this date we have suggested they give us another date, so far they have not replied.

We will be contacting them again on this matter.

We wish to submit our petition before the Council Executive meeting on 16th February and if possible talk to the two Councillors.

If there are any major new developments regarding the Look In Cafe we intend to call another public meeting so that users and concerned members of the public can express their opinions.

If no satisfactory solution is found we intend to organise a lobby of the Council Meeting on
Wednesday 3rd March at Easthampstead House
where the final decision will be made.

Clare and Bill Heffill.Terry Pearce. On behalf of the Save the Look In Committee.


More news on Thursday February 4th 2010, from
Bracknell Forest STANDARD
Plea to reduce councillor's allowances and use the money to save the cafe:
Labour leader Councillor Anne Shillcock tabled a proposal that Council members take a 5 per cent cut in their 'pay' with the money saved going to help save the Look In Cafe.
Cllr Alan Ward, executive member for council finance said that the allowances were not excessively high.

Comment: The alowances do not seem excessively low either.

More news from STANDARD:
A meeting has been organised by Bracknell Forest Voluntary ACtion designed for interested parties to discuss possible plans to take over the running of the cafe.
Martin Gilman is organising the meeting on Tuesday next week (9th Feb) at around 10am.
Call Martin on 01344 383518 if you can help.

News coverage:

Cut councillors' allowances to save The Look In

Ray Earwicker, Prospective Liberal Democrat MP, (extract from) Press release dated 15/02/10
Cllr Thompson should stand down over 'Look In' closure, says PPC.

Users of the 'Look-In' have campaigned vigorously against the proposal since it was announced and over 2,500 people have already signed a petition against the closure, which will be presented to the Council at its meeting in March, Over 100 people gathered in the town centre on 13 February to protest against the closure but neither the council's pensioners' champion, Cllr Cliff Thompson, nor any other members of the ruling Conservative group were present.

One of Cllr Thompson's key tasks is to act as an advocate for the needs of local pensioners and ensure that their views are fully taken into account by the council. There is precious little evidence that Cllr Thompson has succeeded in this task during the ten years that he has held this post and his failure to attend the protest meeting has only confirmed that it is time for him to stand down.

Commenting on Cllr Thompson's absence, Ray Earwicker, Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bracknell, said 'Cllr Thompson should have been present to listen to the views expressed and explain the council's action. There was a growing feeling that community champions existed only to serve the interests of the council and to give the impression it was doing something to address the concerns of residents

Annual reports were required from each of the five community champions that had been appointed (each with an additional special responsibility allowance) but these were rarely debated or even examined in any depth.

In the case of Cllr Thompson, the views of older residents had been consistently rejected or ignored and the closure of the 'Look In' was the last straw. He had been the pensioners' so-called champion for far too long and it was time for him to go.'

(end of extract of Press Relelease)

More News:
Hands off our 'club' say Look In users'
(video, article, picture)

More news:
A youtube video is currently shown on the front of

Youtube link:


There is news that The Look In is to be handed over to a charity based organisation.

A regular Look In user, J. Shute, says

"I don't like the way the council now claims to have "saved" the Look In.
This is hardly true when they have:
1. withdrawn the funding
2. sacked the staff (they say they have not been offered transfers)
3. proposed voluntary control with over 50s losing afternoon access
4. proposed multiple community and youth club use."

More information is awaited


This has come from the save the look in committee:

We will be presenting our petition calling for the Council to keep the
Look In Cafe open, on Wednesday 3rd March at Easthampstead House. It is
important to be there by 6.45pm so that we can catch the councillors as
the go in for the meeting which starts a 7.30pm.

We will have the piper with us and we need everyone to bring a banner,
we will have song sheets.

There is limited space in the public part of the Council Chamber, we
have asked for 25 seats for our people.

The main thing is to collar your councillor and make sure he/she
understands how strongly we feel about keeping the Look In open in its
present form. We do not accept that for less than £60,000 they should
be quite prepared to see it close. Even if an alternative option is
found it doe not let the Council off the hook, the Council have washed
their hands of a vital facility for the over 50`s in our Town.


Terry Pearce
Email from Clara and Bill:

Please forward to anyone you know who may be interested. If you are available you can lobby the councilors to let them know what you
think of their actions to wash their hands of The Look In Cafe.

Meeting at
6.45pm on Wed 3rd March,
with banners & voices at Council Offices Easthampstead House.

The Bagpiper will be there!

[Blog last edited 13.09 hrs Mon 2nd Mar 2010]


  1. Nice work, I have linked to your blog on my post today