On Friday 11 May Councillors Karen McGowan and Denise Fox arranged for the School Council from Birley Spa Primary School to visit the Town Hall. They were shown round by the Lord Mayor Councillor Anne Murphy and they visited the Lord Mayors Parlour and the Council Chamber. Councillor Karen McGowan said “the children were so engaged, they asked the Lord Mayor some really good questions” and Councillor Denise Fox added “they were so well behaved they were a real pleasure to meet.” The school thanked the Lord Mayor and the Councillor for arranging the visit and for giving up their time.
Birley Spa lunch club is on the hunt for new volunteers so that it can continue providing twice weekly sessions to 39 local older people at Hackenthorpe Community Centre.
Birley Spa lunch club receives grant funding from the council and provides a hot, two course meal to its members twice a week. Those who attend enjoy the time to chat and meet friends, play bingo and go out on day trips together.
After years of running the lunch club, the current club organiser, who has volunteered their time freely until now, is stepping down at the end of May, welcoming a retirement from the role. The club has made a real difference to the lives of its members and all those that have been involved in the running of the club.
Unfortunately there isn’t a volunteer team to hand over the running of the club to and the last lunch will be on Wednesday 30th May unless new volunteers step forward. It’s an opportunity for the local community to get together and think about what they’d like to enjoy and run in their area.
Sheffield City Council has supported the development of more than 50 lunch clubs for many years, recognising the important role these clubs play in helping to reduce the social isolation that may accompany old age, frailty and bereavement. The majority of the clubs are independent self-help groups run by older people for older people. They offer an opportunity for older people to meet together, to share a meal and socialise.
If anyone would like to volunteer to set up a new club, Adele Hunt, Voluntary Sector Liaison Officer at Sheffield City Council can provide information on what’s involved in running a club and what skills and commitment are needed. She can offer information and contacts on a range of topics such as working out a budget, health and safety laws, membership referrals, fundraising, equipment needed, volunteer inductions, club constitutions, activities and record keeping. Although the current grant fund isn’t open to new applications, a new club in Birley could be supported with an interim grant subject to meeting funding criteria and having volunteers who can be financially accountable for funding.
Adele said: “We would love new volunteers to come forward with some exciting ideas. There is no restriction on which day of the week the club should run or what other activities they could provide to members. Everything is an option if somebody has the idea and commitment to make it happen.”
Jim Steinke, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety said: “Lunch clubs play an important role in our local communities and rely on volunteers to make sure that they continue. Feedback shows that the regular opportunity to meet and chat is one of the most important things members value and for some, the weekly lunch club is their only opportunity to socialise. We hope that Birley Spa lunch club stays open because of the difference it makes to its local community.”
Adele can be contacted on 0114 273 4631 by anyone interested in setting up a new club in Birley.
The Birley Ward Councillors Karen McGowan and Denise Fox invited the Lord Mayor of Sheffield Councillor Ann Murphy to an Award Ceremony held at Birley Fire Station on Tuesday 13th March 2018 at 7 pm. Councillor Karen McGowan said “I’d like to thank the local residents who brought the issues of anti-social behaviour to our attention and for working with us to make a difference and tackle this issue”.
The award ceremony was a follow on to work done previously by Councillors, residents, Fire Service and Police in talking to pupils in assemblies at Birley Academy on the dangers of fire and the consequences of a criminal record and was followed up by a litter pick of the area.
Certificates were handed out to all the young people that helped at the litter pick on 10 February this included the Fire Service Cadets and the local young people. Councillor Denise Fox said “we really appreciate the time and effort these young people gave on the day to help us clear the area in Jaunty Park. It is a beautiful area full of wild life and is right on the doorstep for the local community to enjoy”. The next step will be a meeting for those residents interested in forming a friends group. Councillor Karen McGowan said “It is great that residents have come together and want to now form a friends group to develop the site for the whole community.”
It was a miserable, damp and rainy Saturday morning but that did not deter the local Frecheville residents, Fire Service Cadets and police who joined the Birley Ward Councillors in cleaning up a large area of Jaunty Park. This initiative came about through a couple of residents raising concerns about fires, litter and general anti-social behaviour in park land behind Longstone Crescent. The litter pick is a follow on to work done two weeks previously by Councillors, a resident, Fire Service and Police in talking to pupils in assemblies at Birley Academy on the dangers of fire and the consequences of a criminal record.
Councillor Karen McGowan said “The response from everyone especially the local residents and the fire cadets was fantastic and I can not thank them enough. It was terrible weather but everyone did a great job”.
Councillor Bryan Lodge said “ the enthusiasm was great, residents retained some of the litter pick equipment so they can continue cleaning up the area which we are happy to support”.
Councillor McGowan added “the most encouraging part is the willingness of the local residents to form a Community Group to look after this area and some great ideas where discussed such as working with the wildlife trust to educate people on the different species of trees and animals that can be found here and creating seats areas for people to enjoy the area”.
Councillor Denise Fox said “We could not have done this without support from everyone that attended including the Councils Parks & Countryside Department who provided equipment and collected the waste. Also Ruth from the Remember When Café on Silkstone Crescent who provided warm drinks and buns. It was a real community effort and we look forward to supporting and working with the new community group in the future ”.
Sheffield’s Labour Council has blasted the eye-watering rise in ticket prices, which comes in to force today.
Rail fares will go up by an average of 3.4%, the highest increase in five years. Ticket prices have already risen by 27% since 2010, twice the rate of wages
Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport at Sheffield City Council said:
“This price rise is a total disgrace and will hit hard-working Sheffielders in their pockets hard. For the tens of thousands of Sheffield people who use the trains, this ‘Great Train Robbery’ is an awful way to start 2018.
“Our railways are being run by greedy fat cats on ever higher salaries, when they should be run as a public service, for the public good, with money re-invested in the public interest. Our railway system should be run for the benefit of the many, not to enrich a privileged few.”
“Fares have risen faster wages every year of this clueless government, but the Tories still have the cheek to say there isn’t money to electrify the Midland Mainline, even though it would boost growth by £450 million and help to rebalance our economy.”
“Privatisation has been a disaster for our railways, with higher fares, lower punctuality and a focus on short-term profit rather than long-term investment. Only Labour has the ambition and courage to deliver the railway the public deserves in 2018”
Irina Amelkina of Gleadless, Sheffield works in Nottingham and commutes every day. She said:
“It’s absolutely absurd rail fares are going up yet again. It’s completely unfair that shareholders and executives at the top are making so much whilst the rest of us are being squeezed and losing out. The railways should be nationalised. It’s really galling to have to pay just to see companies make even more money for slow and unreliable services”
The RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said:
“While workers are struggling, the private train companies are raking it in As we enter the 25th anniversary of railway privatisation legislation, the need for public ownership of rail has never been more popular or necessary.”
In response to complaints by local residents on speeding vehicles on Linley Lane Councillors Karen McGowan & Denise Fox held a speed watch session on 6 December with police.
Councillor Karen McGowan said “firstly I’d like to thank the residents for raising their concerns and to the police for supporting us with this activity. In the hour that we were present we recorded vehicles doing up to 55 mph which is way above the 30 mph allowed. This is a danger for anyone trying to cross the road as well as other road users and we urge drivers to slow down. To further support this work we are also moving the Birley Ward Speed Indicator Device (SID) to Linley Lane”.
Councillor Denise Fox added “Thank you to the residents who brought us flasks of coffee out which was very welcome as it was a cold morning”.
Councillor Karen McGowan joined volunteers to promote Help Us Help which is a collaboration between services who support those who find themselves homeless or begging. Many have complex needs and Sheffield services have the experience to address these issues. Councillor McGowan said “I am member of the Safer & Stronger Communities Scrutiny on Sheffield City Council and in November 2017 we had a report on Street Culture. I knew there was support in Sheffield but I was so impressed by the work the charities are doing and how they are all working together with Sheffield City Council. When I heard about the Help Us Help I just wanted to show my support by volunteering to promote the good work being done in partnership”. There is a website www.helpushelp.uk that has been designed to educate and help inform members of the public about:
• What support is available, housing, food, health etc
• Which charities operate in Sheffield
• What commissioned services are available
• How people can help, volunteering, donating items, financial donation to preferred charities
• Improving the help for people on the streets
The reasons behind this are that there are lots of myths about vulnerability in Sheffield, we want to raise awareness and to promote the great work of the locally based charities. You can help by:
1. Give time or donations to charities that provide support – research shows that giving money directly to people who beg can do more harm than good.
2. Have a chat with someone and encourage them to access support services.
3. Give food or a drink rather than money. Some local outlets run pay in advance schemes www.pendingcoffee.co.uk
4. Buy a Big Issue – vendors buy The Big Issue North and then sell it on to their customers. Vendors are working, not begging and need public support.
To find out more and to support Help Us Help see www.helpushelp.uk
Birley councillors joined the picket line in support of DWP striking to save Eastern Avenue Job Centre.
The strike is in opposition to DWP’s decision to close the Eastern Avenue jobcentre. Closing the jobcentre will remove a vital public service from an already deprived area of Sheffield. It will also force the claimants who use the office, many of whom are disabled or have young children, to make a much longer journey to access vital services.
The campaign against the office closure is getting strong backing from Sheffield MPs and other local politicians as well as good media coverage. Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, has asked further questions in parliament to find out from the minister what assessment has been made of the effect of the proposed closure of the jobcentre on the roll-out of universal credit in Sheffield. These follow the numerous questions raised by Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, who has previously tried to press the minister to provide answers around the closure of the site. Meanwhile the leader of Sheffield City Council, Julie Dore, has written to the DWP to make clear her strong opposition to the closure.
On 30 August Birley Ward Councillors Denise Fox and Karen McGowan attended the opening of a new café in Birley Ward called Remember When… The café was opened by Councillor Anne Murphy. The café is based in a building within the Frecheville Cricket Club on Silkstone Road and everyone is welcome.
Ruth the owner is serving healthy food and sweet treats in a happy atmosphere, where everyone can be themselves without judgement, regardless of age, gender, race, culture, background or disability. Food is based around home cooked and locally sourced ingredients where possible.
Ruth’s aim is to provide ambiance, surroundings and activities to stimulate memories and conversation, particularly supporting those experiencing dementia.
Further details can be found at:
Facebook: Remember When Sheffield
On Monday July 3rd, the Birley Ward Councillors (Cllr Bryan Lodge, Cllr Denise Fox and Cllr Karen McGowan) did a morning outside the Co-op on Frecheville with partnerships from Trading Standards, Housing Services, Community Support Workers and Sheffield City Councils Locality Support Officer. Together they handed out free Community Information packs and talked to local people about keeping safe and well.
In the afternoon they had a stall inside the Co-op on White Lane and repeated the activity. Councillor Karen McGowan said “the people we spoke to really appreciated the information they were receiving and thought it was a good idea. I would like to thank our partner organisations for joining with us and supporting this initiative”.
On Friday 23 June Birley Ward Councillors Denise Fox and Karen McGowan joined the Lord Mayor of Sheffield Councillor Anne Murphy to celebrate 60 years of St John Fisher Primary School. The event was very well supported by pupils and there parents. Councillor McGowan said “it was great fun seeing all the teachers dressed up in 60’s style clothing.” Councillor Denise Fox said “even the Headteacher joined in dressing up” he is in the middle with the bright patterned shirt.