Monthly Archives: July 2008


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Councillor fury at Sion Simon Commons speech

 <Councillor Rudge  <Sion Simon MP

A row between Birmingham Council and Sion Simon MP is brewing as a result of a statement made in the House of Commons by the Erdington MP on 10th July about the Council’s handling of the single status pay dispute. Councillor Alan Rudge, Cabinet member for Equalities and Human Resources has written to Sion Simon demanding in very strong terms that he makes an apology to Birmingham Council in the House of Commons.

Call ‘em up

A letter to the editor, from Mike Doyle. This is to be published in Vale Mail’s August edition. Letters to the editor can be emailed to:

Dear Editor
As a local 70 year old who served in the LDF in Ireland, which is similar to the TA,  (Territorial Army) here in England, I believe that the best way to reduce crime would be to bring back National Service.  This would take the thugs of all ages out of the inner city gang culture and put them into a new environment. They could then make friends with other youths from different backgrounds.  Most importantly they would come under strict discipline and learn self respect and respect for others.

Mike Doyle
Castle Vale Resident


Petrol prices coming down

Asda and Sainsburys, providers of the cheapest petrol in the area (currently diesel is 130.9 pence per litre at Sainsbury’s in Castle Vale and Asda in Minworth) are both set to bring their prices down by between 3 pence and 5 pence per litre next week.


Ridings Care Home – happy with ‘robust’ procedures

Jackie Brayford, Operations Manager for The Ridings Residential Care Home in Farnborough Road, has played down the concerns highlighted in the Birmingham Mail (click for website article) today.

In response to the newspaper article which draws attention to a complaint from relatives of a resident Ms Brayford says: “We are a heavily regulated industry. The Commission for Social Care Inspection have visited us recently. We have a good relationship with them and they have not raised any concerns with us. Birmingham City Council also have robust procedures for ensuring standards in care homes. Their Safeguarding Adults Team have rigid structures that they can apply, and if they thought that there was anything wrong with us, they could have suspended our contract. But we are not in that situation.

“The case here is that a relative of a resident has made a complaint to a local councillor, who has quite properly referred it to the Council. Their monitoring team will investigate it. Recently the Council’s Contracts Monitoring Team have visited us, and have given us positive feedback.

“Along with all this, we have our own internal complaints procedure. So I am happy that standards at The Ridings are high, and are under constant review by a number of organisations. That is the way it should be because so many of our residents are very vulnerable people.”

The Ridings is able to accommodate 82 elderly people, many of whom are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

The latest CSCI (Commission for Social Care Inspection) report on the Ridings is available by clicking here.

It is a report following an ‘unannounced visit’, in November 2007, which includes comments from residents and their relatives. The Ridings had two CSCI inspections within six months, the November report indicating that a number of improvements had been made following recommendations from the earlier (May 2007) report. The latest report indicates that CSCI are satisfied with most features of care and services at the The Ridings, though it emphasised a need to improve staffing levels and staff recruitment procedures.

The Ridings is owned by Dukeries Healthcare who also own Berwood Court, a Care Home for 39 elderly people in Cadbury Drive. Berwood Court had its most recent unannounced CSC Inspection visit in June 2007 and received a generally favourable report.


A good year for Chivenor’s Melisa

The end of the school year means the end of a first year as headteacher for Melisa Louca, at Chivenor School.

“It’s been absolutely brilliant, I’ve really enjoyed it,” says Melisa. ” The highpoints for me have been seeing the children sing with Aled Jones and the CBSO at the International Convention Centre, singing at the secondary school’s production of “E’State of the Arts”, having one of our students, Tyrone Channer, win the Big Brum Poetry competition, and having the local MP, Sion Simon, come and talk to our school council about how councils work. He was very good.”

Sion Simon with Chivenor School Council

“Oh, and having Lord Corbett come in and talk to our children about being a Lord. He brought in his baronetcy medal to show them.”

Melisa Louca adds this one as an afterthought, but it’s clear that there’s no shortage of good memories in what has been a busy year since she was promoted from being deputy head at Yenton School.


Stalwarts and regulars brave Vale’o’thon showers


Blustery showers didn’t diminish the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the few participants in Vale’o’thon 2008, the sponsored walk around the estate organised for charity by CVCHA, the Sanctuary and the Police.

Numbers were disappointingly low. There were probably more organisers and stewards than walkers. Early morning showers and blustery winds may have put many off. The hundreds of hoped-for participants did not appear. Duvets and late breakfasts may have seemed more inviting at 11a.m. on such a morning.

It may have been the enthusiasm of those  walkers who did take part that caused the conversations among the ever-willing police officers, the RAF cadets, the wardens, the CVCHA workers, the PHAB volunteers, and the Sanctuary Staff not to sink into despair, but to focus on how they could get more people to take part next year.