Local Councillor at Six Book Challenge Awards Ceremony

Local Birley Ward Councillor Karen McGowan, Cabinet Assistant for Communities & Inclusion and Service Development Librarian, Wendy Hudson went to London on 28 December 2012 to receive the Silver Six Book Challenge award on behalf of Sheffield Libraries from bestselling author Adele Parks.

The Reading Agency launched the Six Book Challenge in 2008 as a simple but powerful way to encourage less confident readers to develop a new reading habit. Participants in an ever-growing variety of settings – such as workplaces, further education and sixth form colleges, public libraries, army education centres, prison and youth offender institutions – are invited to pick six reads of their choice and record their reading in a diary in order to receive a certificate.

Cllr Karen McGowan said “it was a real honour to accompany Wendy to this celebration in London. Wendy and her colleagues have worked hard to encourage 142 adults to complete the six book challenge which gave Sheffield a ‘Silver Award’. This is a great way to help adults to learn to read opening up many new opportunities for them”.

The Six Book Challenge gave gold awards to organisations who encouraged 150+ adult readers to complete the Challenge; silver awards to organisations who encouraged 100+ adult readers to complete it, and bronze awards to organisations who encouraged 50+ adult readers to complete it.

Work Completed on Frecheville Pond

Celebrating the completion of the works at Frecheville Pond – Dave Taylor from Amey and Cllr Bryan Lodge join Leon Pedryc and Alastair Daniel from the Friends of Frecheville Park and Pond

The Friends of Frecheville Park and Pond are celebrating the completion of works to the pond that will protect this asset for many years to come. Damage to the paths had resulted in large areas of the pond being fenced off, whilst leaking water had weakened the embankment near the community centre.  The works have seen the former ‘hard’ edges of the pond softened to provide a gentle, more natural surround to the pond, with new paths installed to improve access around the perimeter. “I’m really pleased that working with the Friends group, Parks and Countryside and Amey (as the contractor), we’ve managed to get this work done on this hidden gem that means everyone will be able to enjoy the area for many years to come” said Cllr Lodge  “It’s looking so much better and I can’t wait to see the difference next year as the grass grows and nature takes it’s course”

Councillors on Team Building Day with the South East Youth Parliament

On a bleak cold and miserable Novembers day Councillor Karen McGowan joined the South East Youth Parliament for a team building day (24 Nov 2012). This event was held at Parsons House, Near Fox House in the Peak District. Karen said “the young people were great and really threw themselves into the activities such as doing an assault course and a climbing wall. They undertook tasks which brought out the essential skills needed to be a good leader and member of a team such as listening skills, sharing of ideas, trust, respect and supporting each other. It was a good to see our young people developing in this way – we have some great leaders on the horizon”. Thank you to April Ellis for arranging this event and inviting the Councillors (Councillor Chris Rosling-Joseph and Councillor Isobel Bowler also attended as did Community Assembly Officer Mick Fellows) although could we have warmer weather next time!!!!!!


Young Music Sheffield’s most exciting new Social Enterprise visited the South East Community Assembly area in November to engage young people in live music. Young Music worked in collaboration with Birley Community College to introduce the area to Young Music’s Battle of Bands Citywide Schools Programme. Birley Community College opened its doors for the first time on a dark cold wet evening and there was some serious competition between bands performing. This event was the culmination of weeks of work teaching young people how to organise and run music events. A fantastic evening of live music took place with the nine bands battling it out to win the coveted prize of being crowned Birleys Battle of the Bands winner and secure a place into the Young Music Citywide final which will take place in March. After some fantastic performances Trust Within was declared the winner and progresses to next years final. Natalie Beard Young Music’s events manager said “A key part of our work is to provide bands and artists under the age of 18 with a performance space, currently bands under the age of 18 struggle to access music venues as most have age restricted policies only allowing adults to attend”. Birley Councillor Bryan Lodge said “It’s brilliant that we have been able to have such a talented pool of music advisors coming to Birley to engage and work with our young people and the battle night was both innovative and creative. This is exactly the type of positive activities that young people have told us they wanted and we have delivered”

Birley Labour Team’s Latest Roving Surgery

Last week saw the latest roving surgery from your Labour Councillors. Cllr’s Fox Lodge and McGowan were out meeting members of the public in the Silkstone Estate area on Wednesday 14th November. Issues raised included the condition of roads, anti social behaviour and the general finances of the council. “We were able to answer questions about the state of the roads and reassure residents that all the roads, footpaths, verges and streetlighting will be brought up to standard over the next few years now we have started the Streets Ahead project” said Cllr Bryan Lodge, adding ” the first works in our area will start next year as Birley Moor Road is included in the primary routes phase”. Anti social behaviour was raised by one resident who recognised that the problems have reduced.Said Cllr Denise Fox “It’s pleasing to hear that incidents of ASB have reduced in the area but we need to continue to work with our partners in the police and youth service to really drive out the nuisance caused by ASB”   

For more information on the Streets Ahead project, including the map of when works are scheduled in our areas, please see https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/roads/works/schemes/streetsaheadproject.html


School Crossing Warden – Thornbridge Drive

At last we are pleased to be able to inform you that a gentleman has been appointed to the position of school crossing warden at Thornbridge Drive / Thornbridge Avenue. This is something that the Birley Ward Councillors and Birley Primary School have been working hard to resolve.

Councillor McGowan said “our thanks go to this gentleman who has started today (Monday 19th November) especially as he doesn’t live locally so will be have to travel about half an hour to undertake this role we are very grateful to him”.

Labour Boost City Centre With New Christmas ‘Shopper Rate’ Parking

Sheffield City Centre Shopping
Sheffield City Centre Shopping

There’s good news for Sheffield shoppers and businesses with Sheffield Labour Party’s announcement of a new ‘shopper’ rate for city centre parking over the Christmas period. The new rate is £3 for three hours: compared to the standard price of £9.30, that’s over a two-thirds discount! The concessionary period will commence on Monday 19th November, and will run up to and through Christmas.

When added to the City Deal recently signed to safeguard the continued redevelopment of the city centre, this reduction is a clear demonstration of Labour’s determination to revitalise Sheffield in the midst of tough times. Labour are the only party that can be trusted to support businesses and shoppers while fighting cuts to council services resulting from vicious Conservative/Lib Dem cuts.

Labour Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development, Councillor Leigh Bramall, said:

“It is vital that we support the city centre in the current climate which is why we are introducing this new shopper rate of £3 for 6 hours and we hope that this will bring people into the city centre for Christmas shopping.
“Labour have made it a priority to be a business friendly council which is why we have introduced important schemes such as the Sheffield Apprenticeship Programme which supports local businesses to take on an apprentice and the Keep Sheffield Working Fund.  
“It is vital for our city’s economy to have a vibrant city centre, which is why we are taking action to support businesses and secure its long term future through key projects such as the Moor redevelopment and continuing our work to deliver Sevenstone.”

The city centre car parks offering this promotional rate will be:

  • Carver Street
  • Rockingham Street
  • Rockingham Way
  • Silver Street
  • Stanley Lane
  • Wellington Street
  • Wicker Lane
  • Willey Street

Bonfire Event on Tractor Park (Dyke Vale Road)

Hackenthorpe Bonfire 2012
Hackenthorpe Bonfire 2012

Well done to all those involved in making last nights Bonfire another great event on Tractor Park (Dyke Vale Road). It was good to see so many people of all ages come together from the local community to enjoy this. Councillor Karen McGowan said “I was informed that some of our young peoples aged between 11 and 12 years old helped to dig out the fire pit, it was great to see everyone enjoying the jacket potatoes and soup provided by Snax Shack a local business on Main Street”. The plans for the site were displayed at the venue last night by Living with Nature if you would like to take a look please see http://www.wildsheffield.com/node/3571

Living with Nature is a three year programme, funded by the Big Lottery, focussing on improvements to sites on Sheffield Homes land, which are all currently identified as Play Areas (although many have had old equipment removed in recent years). This is a partnership which involves Wildlife Trust for Sheffield & Rotherham, Sheffield City Council, the University of Sheffield, and Sheffield Homes.

The greenspace at the junction between Dyke Vale Road and Carr Forge Road is a designated play space, managed by Sheffield Homes. It is being re-developed to provide better and more exciting play opportunities, high quality public greenspace for all and improvements for wildlife and nature.

Liberal Democrats Propose Blowing £132,000,000 on Free Parking in Sheffield!

Sheffield Lib Dems Burning Money
What the Sheffield Lib Dems Want to Do With Your Money

Not content with collaborating with Tory cuts that are bleeding our city dry, the Sheffield Liberal Democrats are now coming up with schemes to waste mind-boggling amounts of taxpayers’ money. Their latest one is a proposal to waste £132,000,000 – yes, you read correctly, £132,000,000 – by giving free parking to Sheffield residents during the Streets Ahead project due to revitalise Sheffield’s roads.

After this proposal was put forward by the hapless Lib Dems in October, impartial feedback was given by council officers. This projected that free parking for the amount of cars likely to be affected simply could not be provided by the council without calling in private contractors. Even using conservative estimates of one car per household, with each car charged for parking at £4 per day, the bill would come out at £26,400,000 per year. For the five years the project is due to run that makes a grand total of £132,000,000!

In the present financial climate this is astonishingly irresponsible, and demonstrates that the Liberal Democrats have spent so long pandering to their Tory masters that they’ve lost touch with financial reality.

The Sheffield Labour Party, on the other hand, have proposed the prudent and sensible solution of asking residents to arrange parking alternatives for themselves for the short time their street is being improved. Not only would this avoid spending a ridiculously large amount of money; it would avoid the imposition of a solution when many car owners would prefer to find one for themselves. In addition, it has the benefit of harnessing Sheffielders’ famous self-reliance.

Labour Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene, Councillor Jack Scott, was incredulous when he said:

“I’m not sure if the Lib Dems are on the same planet as everyone else. The council is being absolutely hammered by this Government, which the Lib Dems are propping up, and at the same time they want us to spend over £26 million for the next five years to give free parking to everyone in Sheffield.

“The Lib Dems latest ludicrous idea that we need to give people free parking to everyone for 20 weeks whilst the Streets Ahead project is in their area, but the fact is that most people will only be affected by the Streets Ahead improvements in their street for a few days.”

“I can’t imagine that anyone else in Sheffield would support spending so much money on giving free parking to everyone, especially when we have had such heavy cuts imposed on us by their Government.

“Inevitably this will cause some disruption for some people but we wouldn’t be asking people to do it wasn’t to make such important improvements to transform the roads network, which we all know that people really want to see. The Lib Dems are playing silly games making stupid promises.”

We’ll add to Councillor Scott’s words by asking: with this shocking disregard for taxpayers’ money, could the Sheffield Lib Dems be trusted to run a stall at a jumble sale, never mind council finances? We think you’ll agree with us that the answer is definitely not…