Tag Archives: cotteridge

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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Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts, March Activities

Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts work on local issues around the south and south west of Birmingham. They have been involved in the campaigns that stopped the closure of Charles House, and saw Bournville School reject academy status. Never content to rest on their laurels, the group have a busy March planned:

1) Protest outside Kings Norton Library. (against cutting opening hours from 5 days to 4) Meet at 5pm, Thursday March 8th. Pershore Road South (near the Green).
We will go on to the ward committee at 7pm.

2) Protest at Ward Committee of Bartley Green about closure of Millmeads Childrens home. (details later)

3) Protest outside Northfield Sports and Leisure Centre over its proposed privatisation. Saturday 10th March. 11am outside the baths.

4) Protest outside Stirchley Library 15th March.

5) Weoley Castle Circle protest over Millmeads. Sat 17th March

We will update this post as full details of some of the activities are finalised, but please note the dates in your diaries now. You can get involved with this group by emailing them at StirchleyAntiCuts@Gmail.com, or by turning up to one of their events.

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Victory for Charles House!

The reply from the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families (Councillor Les Lawrence) to a question from Cllr Eddie Freeman (Weoley) says it all;

A significant number of comments, representations and consultation responses were received with regard to the provision of respite services to those young people, such as attending Charles House, indicating the value and importance of the service to their well-being, personal development and families.
The commitment shown by parents, staff and young people as expressed at the Northfield Ward Committee Meeting and at the meeting, as you detail in your question, was an important factor in the consideration of the future for Charles House.
I can therefore confirm that Charles House will continue to be a vital component in the overall provision of respite services. Already changes to the process by which places are provided have occurred, staffing profiles assessed, to enable improvements in the access to and provision of placements.
Therefore Charles House, which has on three separate occasions been judged by OfSTED as outstanding, will continue to provide high quality respite care for young people together with supporting their families underpinned by staff who are highly respected.

There is not much wriggle room in that. So, congratulations to the staff and children of Charles House, their parents who campaigned so effectively and to everyone else who lent their active support. The latter includes a few Labour Councillors in the South West of the City and our own Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts group. (SACAC)

This victory was achieved by high-profile, effective and militant campaigning, led by the parents themselves. It was all organised at regular mass parent meetings; they planned the press campaigning, the lobbying, the letters to be written and the relevant meetings to be attended. These meetings also invited in Council officials such as Eleanor Brazil, legal experts and Les Lawrence himself. Some Labour Councillors turned up at times of their own volition, others had to be dragged. SACAC members were proud to have been invited in for every meeting, to give support and advice on campaigning strategy.
But it was SACAC that pioneered the two most public demonstrations, a street corner Saturday morning stall in Cotteridge on Saturday 5th November and on the Kings Norton Green on Saturday 10th December. This latter event was preceded by parents, children and SACAC members filling up Councillor Steve Bedser’s surgery to bursting point and winning Steve’s active support for Charles House. At both stalls the public support received was overwhelming.

It was also SACAC that accompanied the parents to a memorable Northfield Ward Committee meeting on Monday 21st November. To say that the campaign made its point forcibly would be an understatement. It was probably the turning point – as acknowledged in the letter above. Councillor Lawrence was reminded in no uncertain terms of the promise he had made to keep Merrishaw Community Day Nursery open, only for the shutters to go up soon after. When we all trooped out having made our point, Cllr Lawrence followed, and spoke to us in a very different tone of voice. It was probably at this point that it was realised a big mistake had been made.

So, the articles in the press, the coverage in the B31 blog, the lobbying of Councillors, the street demonstrations, the letters written and the solidarity achieved by keeping all parents together, plus the support of the local anti-cuts group, made a victory possible.

We, of course, hope that the survival of Charles House is not at the expense of any other such house or Council services. But if anywhere else does feel threatened, the service users concerned can take a leaf out of the Charles House parents’ campaign to see how to defend themselves.

If and when the Council cutters come for any other vital services in this part of the city, be rest assured that SACAC will be there once more. And while we think about it, is it not time to consider re-opening Merrishaw Community Day nursery?

Report from Bob Whitehead of Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts

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Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts Newsletter

· At our last meeting we all agreed that the November 30th strikes, the city centre demonstration and rally at the NIA had been very successful. Congratulations to all concerned! You can read our report from the day and see more photos here

· We were very pleased to have two parents from Charles House at our last meeting. They have a pledge from Councillor Les Lawrence that he will attend to meet parents next Friday at 12.30pm. The press will most likely be there. The next day, 10th December, there will be a street stall on Kings Norton Green, meet at 10.30am, where they also plan to visit the local Councillor’s surgery.

· We had a first discussion about the problem of having three pro-cuts council candidates in Bournville and other local wards at the May elections. A representative from the Green Party attended and confirmed the offer of a no-cuts collaborative approach. Various views were put forward on this and it was agreed to re-discuss the issue at our next meeting and come to a decision. Despite being invited, a representative from the Labour Party did not attend.

· We agreed to make a special free offer to Charles House parents for our upcoming social on December 15th. The updated flyer is attached. You will see that bar food will be available.

· Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 14th December, venue to be confirmed.

You can contact Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts by emailing

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Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts N30 Report

Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts did a tour of the main picket lines in our area this morning; Lifford Refuse Depot, Lifford House, The Blood Service and the Cotteridge Church Centre, before joing the main march in town. At each location, there was a constant honking of horns to show support. There was barely any negativity from passers-by. There was a good, confident and determined mood on the picket lines. We got the feeling that although the government is not crumbling just yet, our side is beginning to get its act together. The ConDems had better watch out.
We will continue trying to unite workplace/union struggles with local public service and community issues; unity of service providers and consumers in struggle is the best way to end divisions fostered by the government, and is also the best way to win. Our current focus is ensuring that Charles House stays open, but when any further union action comes up in future, we will be there as well.

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Tomorrow: All Out! Strike for Pensions Justice!

Tomorrow is set to be a historic day, with one of the largest strikes in the history of the UK, as millions of public sector workers strike to defend their pensions, rejecting an offer by the government which would see them pay more, work longer and get less in order to pay off the deficit.

Almost every public sector union is taking part in this co-ordinated action, and there are plenty of things happening in Birmingham. This strike is not just about pensions, it is also about cuts, and defending the whole idea of a public sector providing services on the basis of need.

From 4am there will be pickets at refuse collection depots around the city, with other workplace pickets running from 7am. Some confirmations of pickets have been received, and are listed here, but you should expect them at almost every council and government workplace.
Parents should have heard from schools as to whether they will close, but with almost every teaching union, including the NAHT head teachers union, on strike we expect to see all schools closed.

At 9am the first local demo, organised by Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts, gathers in Cotteridge. It will proceed to join the Selly Oak rally, and then the main TUC demo.

10am sees 4 local rallies around Birmingham:
Selly Oak – at the University South Gates, by the New Bristol Road (the newly opened bypass)
Handsworth – By Handsworth Library, Soho Road
Erdington – Six Ways
East Birmingham Heartlands Hospital

These rallies will feed to the main TUC march which assembles from 11:30am at Lionel Street Car Park, and should proceed through the city centre. We have had uncomfirmed reports that Birmingham City Council want to charge us £10,000 to walk through our city! We hope that the TUC do not bow to pressure and pay up, and that we march through the city in defiance of this blatant attempt to prevent us expressing our democratic rights.
The march proceeds to a rally at the NIA which beings at 1:30pm – doors to the NIA open at 12:30pm. The rally has many speakers from the union movement:
CHAIR: Lee Barron, CWU Midlands Regional Secretary & Midlands TUC Chair
Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary
Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary
Janice Godrich, PCS President
Karen Jennings, Unison Assistant General Secretary
Martin Johnson, ATL Deputy General Secretary
Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary
Barry Lovejoy, UCU Head of Further Education
Joe Morgan, GMB West Midlands Regional Secretary
Tony Woodley, UNITE Executive Officer

Tomorrow is set up to be a great day – all it needs now is you!
Remember that you can sign up to a union on the day and still strike, so at work today, or on the picket lines tomorrow, make sure anyone who isn’t unionised knows this, joins up and comes out tomorrow.

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Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts Nov/Dec activities

Activities agreed at last night’s planning meeting. Please help out where you can.

Charles House;

Mon 21st Nov; 7pm – Lobby of Cllr Les Lawrence. Ward Committee, Hamstead House

Sat 26th Nov; 10-2pm Cotteridge Church Centre Xmas Fair (check time we turn up)

Sat 10th Dec; 11 – 1 – Street stall at Kings Norton Green

Thur 19th Jan; 7pm – Kings Norton Ward Committee, St.Pauls JI School, Pool Farm
Also, please fill in the petitions which you can find at the end of this post

Birmingham against the cuts Public Meeting 24th Nov at the Council House 7pm

Sat 19th Nov; 12-2pm – Leafleting in town centre, outside Waterstones, near the Bull, alongside TUC day of action.

Mon 21st Nov; 2.45pm – leafleting Cotteridge JI school parents

4.30pm – leafleting at Kings Norton Station – car park entrance

Tue 22nd Nov; 2.45pm – leafleting Bournville JI school
4.30pm – leafleting Bournville Station

Wed Nov 30th; most of the day! Huge public sector strikes over pension attacks
7am – probable picket at Lifford House, maybe picket at Lifford Refuse depot even earlier, probable pickets at Connexions – Northfield and other places.

9am – protest at Cotteridge Church Centre. Be there with our banner!

10am – Trade Union rally outside University main gates, opposite Fire Station.

11am – Demo assembly Lionel St, town Centre

1.30pm – Rally at the NIA

(Sat 26th Nov; Waterstones, further Trade Union leafleting 12-2pm)

Lifford House lobbying

Fri 18th Nov; 5pm – lobby of Councillor Dawkins. Woodlands Park Rd.
Monday 5th Dec; 7pm – lobby of Cllr Dow, Selly Park Tech College for Girls.

Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts next meetings

Wed 23rd Nov; 7.30pm – Special meeting of SACAC. One item on agenda – Nov 30th! Cotteridge Church Centre.
Thur 1st Dec; 7.30pm, Stirchley Community Centre. Elm room. There will be a proposal put to the meeting; “This group agrees to have joint campaign/candidate with the Green Party, on a no-cuts basis, in the May 2012 local elections. This is to be in the Bournville, and possibly Kings Norton and Northfield, wards”

Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts Social!

Thur 15th or Fri 16th Dec; at the British Oak, Stirchley, with Naomi Paul (Comedienne) and “No More Numbers” (GreenDay) band – to be confirmed. Any more talent amongst our supporters?
(We need to raise £££ to pay for printing and other expenses)

Cotteridge Church Elderly Day Centre
No news is good news? Some money seems to be coming in for the next few months


Academy News

KNHS voted to go with ARK. Maybe delay till next September. Debts paid off by BCC before conversion? No news of Hawkesley JI. West Heath JI?

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Cotteridge anti-cuts stall report

This morning, a tremendously successful street stall was held at the Cotteridge island by the “Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts” group, in alliance with the parents from Charles House. We distributed a leaflet demanding the home stays open and filled up our petition boards to overflowing with signatures from passers-by. We were also distributing the “Birmingham against the Cuts” leaflet, which calls for support for the November 30th strike and advertises the public meeting at the Council house on November 24th.
This local group is simultaneously campaigning on; the Cotteridge day centre for the elderly, the moves to academy status in three local schools, re-opening Merrishaw Community Day Nursery, the pension strikes, the local NHS, the Council “consultation” exercise on the cuts, and now Charles House! It is all getting a bit much and we need some new people to help out. Anyone who lives in the Stirchley, Cotteridge, Kings Norton, or Northfield area, please get in touch!
stirchleyanticuts@gmail.com

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