Tom reports on the demonstration that took place on Sunday Jan 30th:
On Sunday 30th January, a visual demonstration against the possible closure of Neighbourhood Offices across Birmingham took place at the Cotteridge Neighbourhood Office.
The demonstration, called by Cotteridge and Stirchley Against The Cuts, and supported by Unison, Right to Work and Birmingham Against the Cuts, was to raise awareness of the consultation currently being undertaken by Birmingham City Council and to gather signatures for a petition calling on the Council to keep the offices open.
Neighbourhood offices give advice to people on council matters, of which the most important is probably to do with housing. Anyone in need of housing, or with a problem with their accomodation can go to a neighbourhood office for advice and support.
Currently there is up to 3 week waiting time for people to see and advisor, and the closure of offices, along with redundandcies will make this worse. With the expected closure of CAB following the withdrawal of funding from Birmingham City Council, the neighbourhood offices expect to take on the caseloads of as many as 56,000 people, who had previously taken advice from CAB.
Although Cotteridge was quiet, even for a Sunday, almost everyone who passed the stall took a leaflet, and many people signed the petition.
The visual effect of the carboarding of the Neighbourhood office was excellent, and drew the attention of many people passing in buses and cars.
If you live in the Cotteridge/Stirchley area (or other nearby areas like Selly Oak or Kings Norton) and would like to get involved with a local anti-cuts group, please contact Birminghamagainstthecuts@gmail.com who will pass your details on (unfortunately I have forgotten the direct email address).