Birley Spa Primary School visit to the Town Hall

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 on the lookout for new volunteers

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.

Sheffield Labour Council Slams Tory “Great Train Robbery”

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.”

HELP US HELP

Councillor Karen McGowan with Help Us Help volunteers

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 join picket line of DWP strike for Eastern Avenue Job Centre

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.

Remember When… New Café Opened by Lord Mayor

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:

Website: www.rememberwhen.online
Facebook: Remember When Sheffield
Email: rememberwhensheffield@gmail.com
Tel: 07968784092

Keeping Safe and Well in Birley

On Monday July 3rd, the three Local Councillors for the Birley Ward (Cllr Bryan Lodge, Cllr Denise Fox and Cllr Karen McGowan) will be spending time in the area to talk to local people about keeping safe and well and distributing free information packs for residents.

Over the last few month the councillors have been working with a range of partner organisations, including South Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Fire Service, Trading Standards, the Housing Service and local GP Practices.

On Monday July 3rd the councillors and partners will be at the following local Co-op Stores:

Between 10am and 12 noon – The Birley Moor Road Coop, S12 4WF
Between 2pm and 4pm – The White Lane Coop, S12 3GH

This is your chance to speak to your local councillors, and collect a free pack with information to help you stay safe and well please do come along and talk with them.

Tree Planting on Fox Lane Recreation Ground

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Saturday 21 January at Fox Lane Recreation Ground, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Denise Fox put on her gloves and wellies to join her ward colleagues Councillor Karen McGowan and Bryan Lodge along with Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, forestry staff, members of Hollinsend Methodist Cricket Club and the community to plant over 150 trees.

In partnership with the Trees for Cities organisation, 7,500 trees will be planted in the south-east of the city. Trees being planted include a mix of native woodland species, including English Oak, Hazel, Field Maple, Spindle, Hawthorn and Blackthorn.

This tree planting will encourage wildlife and provide residents with opportunities to connect with nature. Sheffield is the greenest city in Britain where people can do a wide variety of outdoor activities such as walking, jogging and ride their bikes.

Birley Community Primary school children will also be involved in a separate planting session on Wednesday 25 January.

Birley ward councillors would like to thanks all the volunteers for their participation and the Community Forestry Manager at Sheffield City Council for organising the events.

Birley Ward Labour Party Social Event

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On Tuesday 15 November the Birley Ward Labour Party held a social event. This was an an informal evening giving members (new and old) an opportunity to meet over a few drinks and a chat and yes the bar was open!!!. There was also nibbles and home made mince pies thanks to Pat Emmingham our Social Secretary. The invitation was open to family, friends and neighbours and a very pleasant evening was had by all. We were joined by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield our very own Birley Ward Councillor Denise Fox. One new member that had recently joined the ward attended and we had another person joined the Labour Party on the night.

Birley Ward support No to Grammar Schools Campaign

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Spot the Birley Ward Councillor Karen McGowan (centre of picture just peeping out from behind a guy with glasses!)

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Birley Ward member Ken Curran amongst supporters of the campaign

It was great to see such fantastic support at the campaign to say no to Grammar Schools that was held outside the Sheffield Town Hall yesterday. Over 600 signature were collected.

Cycling 100 miles for Lord Mayors Charity

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Lord Mayor of Sheffield Birley Ward Councillor Denise Fox’s son Jordan Fox and family friend Ray Mason will be cycling from Sheffield to Skegness on Saturday 9 October to raise funds for the Lord Mayors charities. Jordan says “I only started cycling at the beginning of the year and I got addicted straight away. I wanted to join a club and thanks to the great set of fellow riders at Sitwell cycle club, I joined. My other goal was to complete a 100 mile bike ride. What better way to do this then to help my mum who is the current Lord Mayor of Sheffield raise as much money as she possibly can for her four chosen charities which are close to her heart. The four charities are:
Army Benevolent Fund – supporting soldiers, former soldiers and immediate family of the British army.
St Luke’s – supporting a hospice which helps people through a difficult journey.
Sparkle – supporting disabled children, young people and their families.
Support Dogs – supporting a Sheffield based national charity helping children with epilepsy, physical disabilities and autism.

I hope you all give generously as I am going to kill myself doing this ride. Thanks to Cllr Karen McGowan for generously putting the accommodation up for me. Thanks to Cllr Terry Fox for being the support on the way down. And thanks to Ray Mason for taking me on the route and looking after me or killing me.”

If you would like to donate please go to Jordan’s just giving page on facebook
https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jordon-fox-1?utm_campaign=projectpage-share-owner&utm_content=jordon-fox-1&utm_medium=Yimbyprojectpage&utm_source=Facebook&utm_term=EdB8W64am