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 ”.
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
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.
On 28 November the newly formed Friends of Jaunty Park were joined by Birley and Richmond Ward Councillors, Sheffield Parks & Countryside staff and pupils from Gleadless Primary School to plant 2300 bulbs. Birley Ward Councillor Karen McGowan said "it is great to work with volunteers to make our communities a nicer and brighter place that everyone can enjoy". Bulbs were planted around the Frith Road Community Centre and the fruits of our labour will be seen in early spring next year. Richmond Ward Councillors Dianne Hurst and Mike Drabble said "the pupils from Gleadaless Primary school were outstanding, they worked hard in both the digging and planting and were a real credit to the school".
On Friday 16 September Councillor Karen McGowan, Cabinet Assistant for Housing and Planning attended the launch of Nightstop in Sheffield. This event was officially launch by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield Birley Ward Councillor Denise Fox.
Nightstop provides overnight accommodation in the homes of trained and vetted volunteers in the area. The Nightstop service is designed to stop young people, aged from 16 to 25, entering the cycle of homelessness and unemployment that can lead to this devastating outcome. Nightstop teams work with homeless young people, in partnership with local agencies, to help them address the issues that caused them to become homeless, providing family mediation and securing long-term settled accommodation.
At the launch attendees heard from a family who had been volunteering for 2 years and from a young person who said he had only been homeless for 11 nights thanks to Nightstop who helped him get his life back on track, but he didn’t know what would have happened if the volunteers hadn’t been there to help him.
The new service, is funded by a £200,000 grant from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. They are aiming to recruit 45 volunteer hosts to provide around 400 nights of accommodation in its first year. Once the service is established in Sheffield they are hoping to expand across South Yorkshire.
If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Nightstop Sheffield, please call 0114 278 7152 or email email@example.com For more details and photo’s see the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NightstopSouthYorkshire/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1127375057346197
On Wednesday 21st September at 7pm there will be a community meeting to discuss the green and open spaces in the Birley Ward. These meetings are a chance for local residents to express any views and share ideas they have on your area. Previous meetings have been successful in raising new points and gives all who attend the chance to put their views forward and help make a positive difference in our community.
The meeting will be held at the Gleadless library on White Lane, S12 3GH. For any more information you can contact Councillor Karen McGowan on Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday 25 June Cllr Karen McGowan and Marie Lodge who are part of the Lord Mayors Fundraising Team attended the Yorkshire Regiment’s Freedom Parade. This year the Lord Mayors Charity is supporting: The Army Benevalent Fund, Sparkle, St Lukes Hospice and Support Dogs
The Lord Mayor and Colonel George Andrew Kilburn MBE DL undertook an inspection of the service personnel and made speeches in Barkers Pool. The Freedom Parade then proceeded up Devonshire Street to Devonshire Green which Karen and Marie joined with collection tins. The Lord Mayor then hosted a Civic Reception in the Town Hall for the Regiment.