Category Archives: Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts

Communities Against the Cuts Social Event – Fri 7th December

Communities Against the Cuts fourth social will be on Friday December 7th. If it is anything like the last three, it will be enjoyable and successful.

As in previous socials, space will be found to mention some of our anti-cuts work. We will also be priviliged to have a speaker reporting on the country at the sharp end of European austerity – Greece. The Syriza party were getting a few percentage points in the polls a few years ago, but are now close to government. If elected, they would need solidarity from across Europe to survive and implement their counter-austerity measures. We are doing our bit in giving them space to explain how they are fighting back.

Friday 7th December, from 7:30pm
British Oak pub, Stirchley.

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Merrishaw Is Open Again!

This goes to show that a good campaign can succeed, even when it seems to have failed. We are also proud to have actively supported this campaign, and helped to save a great service for parents and children of West Heath

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At last, Merrishaw has re-opened. Its status has changed, and is also known as the Albert Bradbeer Children’s Centre. It is no longer a nursery, but a place where young children can be brought by their parent(s) and take part in a variety of activities. However, the Merrishaw centre is open ‘for business’, still a council property and it employs its staff to guide activities.
The inside has been re-furbished and looks light, modern and very impressive. There is provision for other children and community use, such as a health room. The lack of nursery provision has been compensated for by expanding provision nearby, such as at the Albert Bradbeer School itself, we are told.
At last the shutters are down and the flags are up. We are proud to have been part of the vibrant parent’s campaign against its closure, and for its re-opening.

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Communities Against the Cuts Social Event – 22nd September

Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts and Communities Against the Cuts have held two very successful and enjoyable socials in the past, and the third one is coming up on Saturday the 22nd September.
It will be held at the “Tower of Song”, just down from Kings Norton station. Entrance £3 and it starts at 8pm. Music, poetry and good company, all to aid the local struggle against austerity. For more details, including the artists, see the attached flyer

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Front Line Services

Latest information on cuts in South Birmingham from Communities Against the Cuts – we’d love to hear from anyone helped by Birmingham CAB.

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Desperate people need a (preferably local) Citizens Advice Bureau, but this essential front line service is threatened once again.  At present in Birmingham we have the Central one, plus three more in Kingstanding, Tyseley and Northfield, and these last three are facing closure once more. Their funding from the Council was slashed under the ConDem administration in March 2011, and only 50% replaced in October. £120,000 is now needed to keep them on the road. Without that, they are living a week-to-week existence, never knowing if it will be the last. You would think that under a Labour Council, that relatively small amount of money could be found quite easily, but there is no sign of it yet. Instead, the Director has appealed for funds from the public to make up the deficit! Here we have Labour echoing Cameron’s “Big Society”
In response to this very worrying situation, Communities Against the…

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Communities against the Cuts Public Meeting

Labour’s Plans for Birmingham and our Alternative

Wednesday 27th June. 7.30pm Cotteridge Church Centre.

Communities Against the Cuts meeting, with a speaker talking about Labour’s plans for Birmingham following the local elections where Labour took control of Birmingham City Council, and to look in detail at what the response should be.

There is the commitment to give wage rises for several thousand Council employees and the right to ask a question at full Council meetings. But there is also the decision to hold the District committees (renamed from Constituency Committees) in the Council House at 10am in the morning. So much for devolution!

Communities against the Cuts stood candidates in the recent local elections who promised to vote against public service cuts if elected.

They will also be discussing our work against academies and benefit cuts.

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Communities Against the Cuts Meeting on Wednesday

Dear Friend,

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 30th May, 7.30pm at the Cotteridge Church Centre, upstairs in the Chiltern Room.

Suggested agenda

1) Apols

2) Campaigning — academies, libraries, walk of shame? etc

3) Membership

4) Banner

5) Finance

6) Next meeting

NOTES

 Post election, the ‘ordinary’ campaigning has begun again, mainly around the forced academy issue in local primary schools. We have been involved in leafleting outside West Heath, Primrose and Northfield Manor Schools, the very successful public meeting in Northfield that made the front pages of the local press, and the great meeting last night in West Heath, called by the NUT and the NASUWT. The follow up meeting of Hands off West Heath School will be next Monday, 6.30pm in Oddingley Hall, complete with refreshments.

 We are still waiting for definite news of the Labour Council’s plans for the leisure centres. We handed in our big petition at a recent Northfield ward meeting, but that was to the Tories…

 Our petitions for the Kings Norton and Stirchley Libraries need to be handed in, and the best opportunities will be at the next Kings Norton and Bournville ward committees. (Kings Norton on 7th June 7pm, and Bournville yet to be organised). If we can get a good delegation to both meetings, we can also raise leisure services, Stirchley regeneration, Weatheroak and possibly quite a bit more. The next meeting of the Northfield Ward committee is on Monday 18th June 7pm.

 A prominent person in Cotteridge has told us said that she had spoken to several local people who had told her that they had read our election literature and were (almost!) inspired to vote for the first time in their lives.

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Communities Against The Cuts, March/Rally and Social on 27th April

Communities Against The Cuts, who are standing candidates in the Kings Norton and Bournville wards for the council elections on May 3rd, are holding a rally and march, followed by a social event on Friday 27th April.

The rally, demonstrating against cuts in the wards concerned and to raise the profile of their candidates, meets at 5:30pm outside Kings Norton Leisure Centre, where speakers will talk about the effect of cuts on local services, before proceeding along the Pershore Road to the Cotteridge Neighbourhood Office, where Stirchley and Cotteridge Against The Cuts began their campaign, and then to the Stirchley Community School to hear about the privatisation of our education services.
The march will finish opposite Stirchley Library, at the group’s campaign offices.

After the rally, they will go across the road to the British Oak for a social event with music and comedy from No More Numbers, The Inebriati and Barbara Nice.
The social event begins at 7:30pm and you are welcome to come to that whether you can make the rally or not. Entrance to the event is £5 / £3 concessions.

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Communities Against The Cuts Launches Election Bid

On Saturday, Communities Against The Cuts launched it’s election bid, standing candidates in Kings Norton and Bournville wards on an anti-cuts, pro-nhs stance.
The group has formed out of Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts, following their multiple successes in the area over the past year to prevent the closure of vital services.

Amongst Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts’ successful high profile campaigns have been:

Communities Against The Cuts are a local party that offer an alternative for those who feel that the ConDem government and opposition parties do not represent them.
As you can see from their home-made shopfront, they are not a party of millionnaires and don’t have kitchen suppers with wealthy donors.
What they do have is a passion for our communities, belief in a better alternative to austerity, and a willingness to take action and do something about it.

Chris Hughes, candidate for Kings Norton said:

Birmingham City Council has been all too eager to impose vicious cuts on the most vulnerable people in our communities, instead of going back to its pay masters and saying, the people who are hurting because of these cuts are not the ones who created this financial crisis and should not be the ones made to pay the price.

What the Council should be demanding from Government is that all austerity measures are reversed and a growth plan implemented with the introduction of an alternative budget, which includes a bankers tax, scraping of trident and withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan, and investing in green jobs, housing, schools and a future for our youth

You can find out more about Communities Against The Cuts on their websitevia twitter, or by visiting them at 1 Bournville Lane, Stirchley.

If you want to get involved with the election campaign, and help to get committed grass roots candidates to fight for local services in the council chambers, then pop into their shop office and have a chat – whether you have 5 minutes or an hour to spare, there will be something you can do.

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Stirchley Library Protest Report

The Coalition that runs Birmingham City Council (or rather, is running it into the ground), has decided to slash the library service opening hours. One of the libraries affected is in Stirchley. It is now proposed to close it on Fridays as well as on Wednesdays.
So, Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts turned up on Thursday evening to let the staff, library users and local people know that there are people around who do not think that nothing can be done to stop such “cultural vandalism” (to use Councillor Dawkin’s description of the decision to move the Bournville School of Art out of Bournville).
As usual, people were keen to sign the petition and passing motorists were keen to honk in support.

Then, lo and behold, who should turn up but Councillor Dawkins himself! He announced that the decision to close it for an extra day was his, and that he had done it to the library in order to save it! Now, there is not much you can say to chop-logic like that, but, put it this way, there was an exchange of views. He was then at pains to say that with coming investment it would re-open for five days several years into the future. Jam tomorrow, eh!
But he did not seem too keen to talk about other massive cuts imposed on the people of Birmingham by his ConDem coalition. That it seems, was nothing to do with him.

It is about time that there was an effective challenge to the Bournville Tory Councillors at the ballot box as well as on the streets. That is something that Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts has considered most attentively in recent months

Bob Whitehead

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Navitas Not Welcome In Bournville!

At lunchtime today there was a stall and petitioning session outside the Bournville School of Art, which is leased by the Birmingham City University from the Bournville Village Trust.

This was to protest against the privatisation of the education service there, and the extra course costs that are being imposed on top of tuition fees for students. The stall was supported by Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts.
The plan, that is being carried out without consultation, is to transfer the BA (Hons) Art and Design course to a new location in Margaret Street and the Edexcel foundation course to a new building in Eastside in 2013, and the two buildings on the Bournville Green would be used as a training base for foreign students, as a precursor to taking degree courses at Birmingham University. This lease is being handed over to Navitas, an Australian-based, for-profit education company, and they expect to move into two of the rooms by May and begin operations. The university will hope to benefit from all of this by having a greater uptake from foreign students, which would increase its revenue.

There is no objection to foreign students coming here, that is not the issue. It is an issue of privatisation and cost-cutting. The university could do the pre-course training in-house. And if they really wanted a special location, there is a very suitable building that has become available recently. The Gemeindehaus student residence nearby is desperate to find a buyer, and if it could go to someone wanting to invest in student accommodation it could be the ideal solution. Also, Bournville Village Trust must be fully aware of the situation and it is surprising that they have not forwarded this information in order for the Change of Use to be effected on Ruskin Hall. Has the Bournville Village Trust agreed to it all in principle already?

Already, there has been a running down of provision at the Bournville School of Art. The canteen has been closed for two years and now extra fees are being demanded of students, for example for materials and for the final year show. If Navitas get their hands on it, we can expect more cost-cutting, attacks on wages and conditions and a two-tier workforce, as they start employing their own staff.

Whether the move to Margaret Street is a good idea as far as art teaching is concerned is another matter. However, the Bournville buildings are part of the Cadbury legacy, and when you consider that the adjacent Bournville J.I. School is considering academy status, we see a pattern of privatisation in the area and a full frontal attack on the ethos of Cadburyism.

The three local Tory councillors have intervened into this issue, highlighting the loss of an important local resource, and combining their statements with racist dog-whistles about the influx of foreign students. They have drawn up their own petition and presented it. Could these three Councillors be the same ones who voted for £212 million cuts to the Birmingham City Council budget last year and £100 million cuts for next, and are part of the ruling coalition which is trying to privatise all of its leisure services, close children’s homes and decimate the Connexions service for young people?

All the students that passed the stall agreed to sign, as did all the local passers-by. The campaign is beginning.

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