Rob's Blog

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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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