Tag Archives: stirchley

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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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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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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Cuts “Consultation” Meeting in Longbridge

Another so-called consultation meeting was held today in Longbridge, for local people to consult on the council’s proposed budget.

The council officer told those in attendance that Birmingham City Council had already decided they need to make £65 million worth of cuts but wanted local people to help them decide which bits they should cut and which bits they should save.

No one from the public supported the platform and many of those in attendance were service users and carers. There was also a sizeable turnout from the Labour Party and Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts and some UNISON members.

Parents from Charles House, a service which offers respite care for disabled children, told the meeting that getting respite care meant the difference between families staying together or their children having to go into care. Most of the parents had to fight an average of 5 years to get a place yet the council have accused the capacity service of being under-used. One of the parents had 18 rejections from foster carers who didn’t have the skills to support their child safely yet the council wants to close Charles House and provide parents with respite from foster carers instead.

A number of local people involved in or supported by services funded by “supporting people” pointed out that the savings made by providing preventative services far outway the short term gain of cutting those services.

Questions were raised by Richard Burden MP as to why councillors were not prepared to be politically accountable and why they wouldn’t question the budgets handed to them by central government, as well as on academies, connexions and putting finance before the rights of children. Councillor Ian Cruise raised the issue of some children’s centres having 20% cuts locked into their budgets for next year.

People also raised the question of how much has been spent on consultants. None of the questions raised were answered, but many individuals were offered private one to ones after the meeting and vague promises of how concerns would be followed up.

Despite resistance from the supposedly independent chair Chris Khamis, who wanted feedback to be taken in focus groups and selectively recorded by scribes, the meeting was able to pass two motions which were both carried with a few abstentions and none against.

Motion 1
This meeting rejects these £65 million of cuts as politically motivated and non-acceptable.

Motion 2
This meeting opposes all the cuts Birmingham City Council is proposing for the 2012/13 budget as politically motivated. We further call for the reinstatement of all jobs and services cut as part of the 2011/12 budget in particular the allowances removed as part of the new contract, which savagely cut the pay of some of the lowest payed council staff.

Report from Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts. Kings Heath and Moseley against the Cuts will be attending the consultation meeting on Wednesday in Kings Heath, and would love you to join them. There are also further meetings around the city – do get along to one to oppose these cuts.

See also a report from B31 Blog with more quotes and information from the meeting

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