Though the agenda was a little shorter than some recent meetings, this weeks meeting of Acocks Green Ward Committee had several important issues to discuss:
1) Community Chest Grants: The following grants were made for the new financial year:
- Fox Hollies Football: FITCAP CIC. £6,000 granted (a further £3,500 deferred to the following meeting) to engage with young people in a wide range of positive activities including football and a summer multi sports programme and at community days (for more information see www.fit cap.co.uk or follow @FITCAP on Twitter)
- Fox Hollies Community Association Easter Play Scheme: £1,500 granted (with £3,000 for a summer pay scheme deferred to the next meeting). This grant will provide a week of activities at Easter for children aged 3-11. Average attendance is 75 children per day.
- House Of Play & Education: Community & Family Worker. £3,972 (a further £3,528 deferred to the next meeting). This grant will employ a worker for 15 hours a week to lead on their stay and play groups and after school clubs. The worker will also give 15 hours per week voluntarily carrying out admin tasks and working in the community.
- Acocks Green Carnival Committee: £4,000 towards the costs of this year’s Carnival – the 41st.
- Sports4Life: Stockfield Estate Youth Programme. £1,080 for a weekly programme of positive community activities for around 50 children and young people aged 8-16 on the Stockfield Estate (jointly funded with the Stockfield Community Association)
- West Midlands Police: Youth4Em. £500 to work with young people aged 11-19, promoting positive skills, community activities and to divert them from Crime and ASB.
- West Midlands Police: Burglary Lock Fitting Project. £1,500 to fit improved security measures such as door chains and locks to homes which have been burgled or are identified as being at risk of burglary.
- Acocks Green Gardening Scheme: £2,400 to help those no longer able to look after their gardens
- Gospel Oak Community Centre: £5,040 for the Gospel Oak Project Worker & Youth Group. To provide regular youth nights and volunteer opportunities for young people on the Gospel Estate (jointly funded by Hall Green Ward Committee)
- Millennium Green Trust: £300 for public liability insurance costs. I may have identified a way for this vital insurance cover to be provided free of charge (through membership of the Birmingham Open Spaces Forum). If this turns out to be applicable for the Millennium Green Trust, the money will be recycled back into Community Chest for other projects.
- TUC Centre: £2,500 for Local Neighbourhood Advice on issues such as benefits claims, social security tribunals, debt and housing issues.
- Acocks Green Carers: Christmas for Carers, £1,208. This will fund a Christmas buffet and and coach trip to a restaurant for a Christmas Meal and entertainment for those caring for others.
2) Environmental Health Update: Kate Careford our Environmental Health Officer reported on work she has being doing including work to clear up the Yardley Road.
3) We had a visit from Andy Knight the Crew Commander at Hay Mills Fire Station. He showed us one of the West Midlands Fire Service’s new rapid response vehicles which can get to a fire quickly and deal with less severe incidents.
4) Acocks Green Conservation Area: We had great news from Julia Larden of the Acocks Green Focus Group, with the public vote result being declared as an overwhelming endorsement for the Area with (figures corrected since the meeting) 96 saying yes to 3 saying no (inside the area) and 18 yes and 0 no (outside the area, but within Acocks Green). This represents a turnout of around 20% from the proposed Conservation Area, a level not far short of that seen in local elections. The Conservation Area will now progress towards formal approval from the Council.
5) Acocks Green Tree Removals: My previous blogpost (see below) caused quite an impact, thanks to great work by the Acocks Green Focus Group, the Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum and the Arden Road Residents Association in checking up on the proposed tree removals. It turns out that some of the justifications are very dubious. What’s more the notices on the trees don’t always tally with the email from Amey and the email address on the notices isn’t a live address. As a result the trees are being double checked and several may be spared. A small victory for the importance of open government and my thanks go to Cllr Iain Bowen for passing on the details about the trees so that I could publish them on this blog.
6) Future meeting dates: The following dates were put forward for the coming year’s meetings of the Acocks Green Ward Committee:
- 18th June
- 10th September
- 29th October
- 17th December
- 18th February
- 8th April (this may need to be altered)
7th) Finally a farewell was said to Cllr Iain Bowen who is standing down at the coming elections after 8 years of tremendous service to Acocks Green ward. Being a good local Councillor – and Cllr Bowen has been a very good Councillor – is hard work and Cllr Bowen fully deserves a rest. I do hope it is just a rest and he comes back at some point in the future.