Catch up, it's next week already

Last week was a fairly busy one for a number of reasons. Firstly it was a week of trying to catch up as I wasn't in Birmingham the week before. Thankfully I have some excellent colleagues who picked a large amount of issues up for me whilst I was away, but there were still a large number of emails waiting for me on my return.

Monday and Tuesday daytimes were speant almost solidly trying to catch up on emails and calls, but that wasn't all there was to deal with. On Monday evening, I attended a meeting at the Bournville Village Trust offices to discuss some ways in which we can improve the visibility of the great work done by local residents association, Bournville Village Council. There will be more about the Village Council over the coming weeks I'm sure, but it was a very productive meeting. 

On Wednesday afternoon I attended a meeting at Dame Elizabeth Hall regarding the future use of the hall and looking at ways to improve the use of the hall for community groups, individuals and companies. There were some excellent ideas, some of which are already starting to happen. Later on Wednesday was the Masefield and Ingoldsby Housing Liaison Board meeting where we discussed a number of housing and other issues relating to the local area and there were also discussions about contractor performance in terms of job completion for tenants. Following on from that, I had a meeting at the Constituency office where we had a number of discussions about what's going on in the wards that make up the Selly Oak Constituency. 

Thursday evening was spent delivering leaflets in the pouring rain. It just shows that it doesn't matter what the weather, if there's something that we need to let you know about, we're out there working hard to represent you. Our team delivered over a thousand leaflets, so please accept my apologies if you had a soggy leaflet from us, we did try to keep them as dry as possible.

Friday ended up being a sad day. As many of you will have heard or seen in the media, at around 7:45pm a man from Bromsgrove was stabbed before having his car stolen from Knighton Road opposite Manor Vets on Bunbury Road. This was a shocking incident and whilst thankfully the victim has been released from hospital it has still raised a lot of local concern. Following the incident, I arranged to meet police to discuss the incident. I've now had that meeting, and the police investigation is progressing well. The police have also said that this incident does not appear to be part of any pattern of similar incidents and is for the moment being treated as a one-off incident. I hope the victim recovers quickly, and that the police are able to apprehend and charge the attacker very soon.    

A Rare Occurrence

There's not a lot to report for last week as it was one of those rare times where I wasn't in or around Bournville. Not having had a holiday this year, I took a well earned break last week. Since I got back on Sunday, I've been working through various emails and messages to get back up to date and the majority of last weeks' messages seemed to be that despite a supposed return to "normal collections on the correct day", it seems that recycling and general waste were still being combined in the same vehicle, and in other areas recycling just wasn't collected. All residents really want (and deserve) is a return to regular weekly waste collections. Lets hope that this happens sooner rather than later, but with a pending High Court hearing and unions planning for a possible 3 month strike, we really could return to a winter of discontent.

Until the end of the week, take care.

 

Rob.

Welcome to my world

Week ending 6th October 2017

Over the coming weeks, I'm going to be posting a series of blogs to let you know what I'm up to across the ward to help and serve the residents of Bournville Ward. Sometimes, there may be things that I can't post publically on the website, but even if there's not a great deal that I can say on any particular week, it doesn't mean that I'm not working hard in the background.
This week has been a fairly quiet week in terms of meetings which means there's been more time to get stuck into the day-to-day case-work and responding to resident's queries. It's also the week of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, but I've had far too much to do in and around the ward so I've had to make do with catching up with the conference online and via the news and social media updates. Those of you know know me personally will already know that I didn't become a Councillor in Bournville because I'm a member of the Conservative party, but because I was born and brought up in Bournville, it's where I live and I wanted to give something back to the community by representing everyone who lives in the ward as a member of Birmingham City Council. That's why I thought it was more important for me to spend this week in the ward, rather than being in Manchester.
The first of this week's meetings on Monday was a meeting with the Chair of Bournville Village Council. As a co-opted member of the Bournville Village Council and as a member of the Hall Management Committee, I had to discuss a number of issues relating to the Dame Elizabeth Hall which the Village Council manages on behalf of Bournville Village Trust. Some good ideas came out of the meeting and need to be explored further to make sure that the hall continues to be a focal point for local community groups in the future.
Later on Monday was a Full Governors meeting at Selly Oak Trust School. Full governors meetings at the school tend to start at around 6:30pm, so it's normal for me to not get home until around 9pm after these meetings. The first full governors meeting of the academic year always has a packed agenda and it's also an opportunity to discuss exam results. As elected members of Birmingham City Council we all share a 'corporate parenting responsibility'. When a child goes into care in Birmingham, the council becomes their corporate parent. That means that we’re all responsible for making sure they have the best possible care and that they’re safe, in the same way that a good parent would. In addition, it's important that we make sure that children in care or 'looked after children' also have the best chance to succeed in life. That's why one of my personal challenges is to make sure that the school monitors the progress of looked after children so that they can make sure that the outcomes of those children are in line with others. It was really pleasing to see that Selly Oak Trust school already have a very good grasp of this issue.
No meetings on Tuesday for me this week, so home at a fairly respectable 7pm.
On Wednesday evening, I was at a meeting at the local Conservative office discussing things for 2018. More on that in the coming weeks.
Thursday Morning was a really nice change from the normal day-to-day work. I was invited by the organisers of the Bournville Ball to go to Acorns Childrens Hospice in Selly Oak to draw some of the winning raffle tickets from their raffle. Even though the Bournville Ball itself didn't take place this year, the raffle still went ahead and both Acorns and St. Marys will benefit from the proceeds. There were some fantastic prizes, all donated by local businesses, so a massive thank you to everyone who donated prizes or bought tickets. I've don'e lots of work with Acorns over the years and attended many of their functions and events, but in 2018 Acorns will be 30 years young so I've also decided to volunteer some of my time to helping them with the fantastic work that Chief Exec. Chris Reed and all of the staff and volunteers do. I'll be writing updates on this soon.
An unexpected emergency visit to the dentist in the afternoon knocked a bit of a hole in the day, but as anyone who's ever suffered with an abscess will know, it's not something that you can just take painkillers for.
On Thursday evening, I attended the Neighbourhood Tasking meeting at Rowheath Pavilion. Meetings take place every couple of months and are organised by the local police team. Attendance varies and you can always tell if there's an issue in the ward by the number of people attending. Whilst this week's meeting didn't have a massive turnout but it was good to see a few new faces alongside the regulars. We're going to work harder with the police to publicise dates of future meetings but we're also aware that sometimes people don't want to raise issues in public so I'm looking at a number of other ways to make sure that residents can get in touch when they have things they need to raise. Tasking meetings generally also take place in the evenings and I'm always conscious that some residents don't like coming out to meetings when it gets dark, so it really is important that those people can still get in touch.
Today I chaired the Friends of Masefield User's Group Meeting. Unfortunately due to illness, there were only a few members of the public, but the meeting had a very good representation from the Local Police, Birmingham City Council Place Directorate, Birmingham Community Matters, Health and Wellbeing Service, Department for Work and Pensions, Neighbourhood Caretaker and Martin Griffin who single handedly does more for the Masefield community than anyone else I know. The meeting was extremely positive, and it was especially nice to hear from 'Birmingham Community Matters' who are a newly formed group who had put in a successful bid for funding as part of the Local Innovation Fund. The group is holding a series of surgeries across the ward to help and signpost other small groups of individuals who want to do things differently within their communities but don't know how to go about it. The group are also looking for surgeons as well as patients, so if you think the group might be able to help you or if you could spare an hour or hour and a half to help others, then let me know and I'll put you in touch with them.
So that's about it for this week's meeting update, and combined with hundreds of emails and phone calls, that's what I've been up to this week. As we go on, I'll try to add some photos of what I get up to.
 
Have a great weekend.
 

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