Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed has a Cunning Plan

Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed has a Cunning Plan
Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed has a Cunning Plan

As Baldrick to Nick Clegg’s duplicitous Blackadder, Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed has a long history of cunning plans. They’re reliably moronic, but the latest is his worst yet.

He was quoted in last Saturday’s Star as saying this:

These figures show the Labour council is one of the softest when it comes to cracking down on council tax dodgers.While turning to bailiffs should always be a last resort, the vast majority of people who do pay their bills have a right to ask why Sheffield’s Labour councillors are failing to take action.

So there it is. The hapless sidekick of the man partnering Old Etonian David Cameron in the most ferocious assault on the vulnerable in living memory is outraged, which if it wasn’t so serious really would be low comedy masquerading as politics.

First, he cheerleads his master’s government in ruthlessly slashing the money for council services and in implementing the punitive Bedroom Tax, both of which hammer the many honest people already struggling to pay their bills due to the ConDems’ austerity. Then, when those in arrears face legal action due to the difficulties he’s had a hand in creating, he complains that they’re not victimised further!

But what’s the pay-off for this cunning plan of epic proportions? To help his master cosy up further to David Cameron, and for the Sheffield Lib Dems to get votes from those local Tories that think being poor is a crime punishable by flogging. It’s like clockwork!

But unfortunately for him, Cllr. Baldrick’s cunning plan is yet another dud. Why? For the same reason his plans never work: the people of Sheffield are wiser than him. They see the actions of the government, and they see how he supports their vindictive assaults on public services. They see how everything he does is in support of his Tory-loving master, Nick Clegg, and they see their joint contempt for those suffering due to their actions. They see, and they’ll remember, and they’ll remind him at the next election.

Perhaps Cllr. Baldrick should consider that the next time he has the cunning plan of attacking those going through hard times.

Voluntary Action Sheffield Lunch Clubs appeal for new volunteers

Lunch Clubs in Sheffield are appealing for new volunteers to help keep them running, as falling numbers of volunteers has resulted in almost 10 Lunch Clubs closing.

Sheffield usually has a strong and vibrant network of Lunch Clubs with around 90 clubs currently active in the city, serving 77,000 meals per year to local older people, thanks to the time and energies of approximately 750 volunteers. However Voluntary Action Sheffield’s Lunch Clubs Development Worker, Maria Flude, is concerned that a steady decline in club volunteers could jeopardise the future of some of them.

“Sheffield can be really proud of its strong Lunch Club network,” said Maria. “However a recent drop in volunteers has sadly resulted in some clubs having to close over the past 12 months. I know of at least 20 clubs that are in danger of closing in the next 2-3years if new volunteers can’t be found, and the impact of this would be that at least 400 older people in our city would lose this vital community service.

Maria said, “A few hours spent at a Lunch Club can make a real difference to older people’s lives. As well as providing a healthy, homemade meal they also provide informal help and support with health, social care and day-to-day needs. There are social and wellbeing benefits too, as it is often the only social interaction that some of the members may have.”

Lunch Club volunteers are typically required one day a week to help prepare and serve meals, chat with members, help organise social activities, and maybe help with some paperwork too. They can get a lot of benefits themselves from helping out at Lunch Clubs, as they see how they are really enhancing somebody else’s life and are actively supporting members of their local community.

Brian Spychala has been volunteering at St Swithun’s Lunch Club and William Temple Lunch Club for four years. “Anyone who volunteers will experience real benefits for themselves. I get a lot out of volunteering at my clubs – you can see that your help is making a real difference to someone’s life and is making them happy, which makes you happy. I’ve made some good friends here too, and we all look out for each other.

“St Swithun’s has been running for about 10 years. It’s a great place, with about 30 members who really seem to enjoy it, and some brilliant volunteers helping out. I feel very sad that I’m unfortunately not able to run both Lunch Clubs anymore, so consequently we are currently looking for a new organiser and a cook – a Lunch Club can’t do anything without them! The most important quality for a Lunch Club volunteer is someone who genuinely cares about people, with a friendly and welcoming personality.”

There are Lunch Clubs across the city that are currently looking for new volunteers. If you are interested in getting involved and helping with a Lunch Club, contact Maria Flude at Voluntary Action Sheffield on 0114 253 6698, who will put you in touch with a club in your area.

Birley Ward Councillors Hold Roving Surgery on Fox Lane and Jaunty Estate

Councillor Bryan Lodge, Councillor Karen McGowan and PCSO Roger Shalome
Councillor Bryan Lodge, Councillor Karen McGowan and PCSO Roger Shalome

As part of the preparations for the successful Birley Blitz litter-picking event, Birley ward Councillors Bryan Lodge and Karen McGowan held a roving surgery on roads surrounding Jaunty Park. Unlike normal sugeries, where constituents come to the councillors, in a roving surgery the councillors walk round the area, assessing potential problems and talking to residents. This time they had the support of local PCSO Roger Shalome, who was able to give advice to residents on issues concerned with crime and public order.

The roving surgery was very successful, with the team able to meet many residents and deal with the issues that concern them. Further, they noticed an overgrown footpath which they were able to bring to the attention of Amey, with the result that it is now cleared and suitable for public use once more!

Councillor Karen McGowan said: ‘It was good to get out and meet local residents and talk to them about how we can all improve our community. We certainly had many useful discussions today about what can be done.’

Councillor Bryan Lodge added: ‘These roving surgeries are essential as they allow us to get out and see people where they live. Residents of other parts of Birley Ward should look out for us as we’ll be doing more walkabouts very soon. You don’t just see us at election time!’