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the Birstall post Y O U R


FEBRUARY 2013 Celebrating 20 years of



No. 355

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PICTURED ENJOYING the snow in the School Lane playing field are (top) Joshia Ludham (7) and his sister Hannah (5) with mum Kirsty Spavins; (left) Sophie Hatfield (14) & brother Jack (9) with mum Kelly




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PLANNING APPLICATIONS for two traveller sites on the edge of Birstall are expected this spring, after City Mayor Peter Soulsby announced last month to press ahead with his plans. Campaigners against the City Council proposals, for permanent traveller sites on Greengate Lane and Red Hill Way, say they will continue to vigorously oppose the sites. “We would say to residents that this is not the end of the matter” said Terry McGreal from the LE4 Action Group. “This is not a done deal. We will continue to oppose these sites. We and our legal advisors will monitor the submission of any planning applications and make appropriate representations at the relevant stages.” Peter Soulsby announced on January 7 that two of the three proposed sites will be taken forward. Planning applications will now be prepared for a permanent site of up to 10 pitches at Red Hill Way, and for a permanent site of up to six pitches at Greengate Lane, which is smaller than first proposed. The third site, at Beaumont Way, has now been ruled out as unsuitable. In addition to the two permanent sites, the City Council will also explore the possibility of creating two additional sites at Hoods Close, near Beaumont Leys, and Ratby Lane. More investigations will now be done into the potential feasibility of these two sites. City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This has been a very hard decision which was never going to be popular but the council has for years put off tackling the issue of unauthorised encampments across the city, which have numbered more than 115 between January 2009 and September 2012. "We’ve looked long and hard at the issues people have raised – for example we’ve agreed to limit the size of the Greengate Lane site to minimise the impact on nearby residents. We’re also not planning to allow these sites to expand beyond the planned number of pitches. “It is no longer enough for us to do nothing, and the extra pitches offered by these sites should be a step towards us getting on top of the problem of unauthorised encampments. “Over the next three months I also want to further discussions with the county and district councils to ensure they are playing their part, as well as looking again at the potential offered by privately-owned sites across the city which might be capable of providing small developments.

Pics: the planned locations of the two sites “I also want members of the travelling community to be involved in discussions about how they could help develop and manage sites.” Birstall’s County Councillor Roger Wilson said: “I’m disappointed with the Mayor’s decision, I feel he has done this with a view to protecting his vote and ignored the residents of Birstall as they make no difference to that. “I will continue to fight to keep the green wedge as it is and would like an assurance from Peter Soulsby that there will be no further development in the green wedge.” He added: “I am concerned, given the strength of opposition to these sites, about the difficulties that would be faced integrating the travellers into the community.” The total number of pitches at the sites has reduced from 30 at the start of the consultation, to 16. The Council needs to find 40 pitches in total. The cost of providing the planned sites is £1.5million, with an estimated cost for each pitch of £60,000 to £100,000. The Council’s Planning and Development Control Committee – a separate function from the City Mayor and Executive – will make the final decision on whether to grant planning permission for the sites. Greengate Lane and Red Hill Way

were decided upon after extensive investigations into the suitability of nearly 350 possible sites across the city. The public consultation ran from February to July 2012, during which time more than 1,500 people gave their views online, buy letter or buy email, in addition to the hundreds of people who attended public meetings on the proposals. Details of the consultation and background information can be found at: tes To contact the LE4 Action group go to:

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FEB 2013

Volunteer honoured with award of MBE A DEDICATED volunteer who has devoted her time and energy to community causes will receive an MBE. Jan Gaskell (71) of Roman Road was named on the Queen’s New Year Honours list, for her services to the Caribbean Carnival and the community in Leicestershire. “I was absolutely amazed, it came as a complete shock” said Jan, who has lived in Birstall for 52 years. “When I got my letter I put it in a drawer for three days and didn’t tell anyone, then when I took out it out and re-read it, I noticed it said please reply by return of post!” Jean joined the Leicester Caribbean Carnival team in 1989 and worked with them for 22 years with roles as treasurer, director and fund-raiser. “Most people see it as a wonderful parade winding through the streets of Leicester, but it takes a whole year to build up to the day and so many people come together to learn to dance, write poetry, do photography and make mu-

sic, learning skills they will use throughout the rest of their lives” said Jan. “I met so many giving, kind and loving people within the black community, it was immensely enjoyable to be with them and it enriched my life.” Jan is also Chairman of the Charnwood Branch of Cancer Research for whom she has worked for 35 years, helping to raise more than £200,000. She is also a volunteer with Leicestershire and Rutland Victim Support and has worked as an assessor for Children in Need for 15 years. Jan is married to David – the couple have two children. She said: “I am delighted to be awarded the MBE. Nobody can do anything on their own and what I have done has always been as part of a team. I’ve loved doing it and I hope it has made a difference.” Pic: Jan Gaskell (ctr) with Caribbean Carnival Volunteers

Birstall’s new officer BIRSTALL’S NEW Beacon Officer is PC 688 Des Hearnshaw. “I am happy to be the Beacon Officer for your Birstall beat team” said Des. “I

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The CPA, which helps the public to identify safe reliable contractors to carry out home improvements, awarded its 5 year Membership Achievement Award to CWC. Membership of the CPA means that customers have their deposits and guarantee underwritten by the organisation. Mandy Manning from CWC said: “We put the interests of the customer first and we won’t compromise on our attention to detail or the quality of the materials we use. “Everything is carefully project managed by us personally and we do everything we can to ensure the work we do enhances your home.”

have over 12 years policing experience in a variety of different roles around Leicestershire Police, both in the county and in the city centre. I know the area well having grown up here and from working in the Charnwood area.

Pic: PC Des Hearnshaw

“I am keen to build on the excellent working relationships that are currently in place within the Birstall community, I am also looking for new partners that we can work with in order to tackle the problems that are affecting the people of Birstall and Wanlip. “I am looking to protect the people by targeting the offenders that cause them the most harm. I urge the people of Birstall to come forward and speak to me or my team at the Birstall Office or by calling 101 regarding any of their issues or concerns, so I may tackle them. I look forward to seeing you when I’m walking the beat and helping you when I can.” Leicestershire Police has adopted a new neighbourhood policing model to ensure it’s able to deliver the best, most efficient service in the future. The neighbourhood teams have been expanded to ensure more police officers are dealing with local issues and concerns. Four years of incident and Continued on page 5


Continued from page 4 crime data has been analysed along with other research to provide a highly accurate picture of demand and crime trends. This has enabled the Force to ensure it has the right officers in the right place at the right time, focussing on issues of local concern. Every community in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland has a team dedicated to policing their neighbourhood - now known as Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs), made up of a Sergeant, a Beacon Officer, Police Community Support Officers and other Police Officers and special Constables. The Beacon Officers, many of whom are already well known in their communities, will be a principal named point of contact for the public. They have committed themselves to working on their neighbourhood for a minimum of three years to provide local knowledge and continuity. Response officers continue to be based at every local policing unit in the counties but will be supported by those who start and finish their shift at five hubs in Loughborough, Melton Mowbray, Market Harborough, Braunstone and Coalville. This ensures they are deployed in the most effective way across the counties and work across local authority boundaries. Assistant Chief Constable Steph Morgan, who has led the project for the Force, said: “A great deal of hard work has gone into this review and we are confident that by realigning our staff in this way we will be better able to match demand. This isn’t about cutting costs it’s about delivering the best possible service but with tight financial conditions we are rightly looking at how we can work in the most efficient way. Our duty is to protect communities and that is at the heart of everything we do. “The newly expanded SNTs will take on greater responsibility for crimes and issues on their Neighbourhood while response officers will have more time to proactively patrol and respond to calls for assistance. Technology such as GPS tracking and mobile computing now enables us to intelligently deploy our people to make sure we use the nearest, best resource. “If we are to meet the ever changing needs of a modern society the police service needs to adapt. Modern technology also enables our officers to patrol their neighbourhoods for longer without the need to return to their base station. This keeps local officers in the heart of their communities working alongside local residents and other organisations to tackle issues together.”

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Cubs in all Birstall final ON A cold Saturday afternoon just before Christmas, four teams from Birstall’s two Cub Scout packs moved indoors at Hamilton Community College to contest the North East District 5 a side football competition. With over 70 cubs and 13 teams taking part they all played two games each with the best eight going through to the knockout stage. The Monday Marauders from Birstall’s Monday pack and the Wednesday Wanderers from the Wednesday pack both won through the qualifying rounds to make it an all Birstall final. Scout Leader Ged Sessions said: “During the qualifying stages we were cheering for all the Birstall teams who were playing, but in the final the gloves were off and the volume of support went through the roof. “Not only did the cubs give it their best on the pitch they also managed the team themselves by sorting substitutions out so that they all played an equal and active roll, deciding who would attack and defend and be in goal to give them the best shot at success.” The fast and furious final seemed to be heading for a penalty shot-out as the scores were level, but then Vivek burst through and scored to finish it 2-1 – Monday Marauders had won.

New fire HQ

Pic: the Monday Marauders: Luke, Vivek, Finn, Dan, Barney and Fraser with their 5 a side trophy

BIRSTALL’S NEW £10million fire station and service headquarters will be fully operational from mid-April. Firefighters from Syston are preparing to move into the new building in the Hallam Fields development, next to the Shell service station. The Syston site is up for sale at £250,000. The County’s fire service is also refurbishing stations at Coalville, Melton and Hinckley at a cost of £6-9million. It also plans to locate a

new station at Castle Donington and relocate its Moira firefighters there. The new stations will adopt the service’s new rota system called Day Crewing Plus, which uses half the number of firefighters to man the shifts. Under the proposals, fire crews would work 12 hours shifts followed by another 12-hour ‘standby’ shift, when they would sleep in purpose-built accommodation ready to answer emergency calls.



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Student secures Oxford place Chairman A LONGSLADE student has secured a place at Oxford university.

resigns THE CHAIRMAN of Birstall Parish Council has resigned.

Joe Parry (17) will study chemistry at Worcester College on a four year degree course. Longslade Principal Liz Hall said: “This is a magnificent achievement made even more special as Joe has been offered one of only four places.” Joe said: “It’s been my dream for the past couple of years to go to Oxford and I can’t quite believe I’ve managed it – it’s out of this world. Having the opportunity to study alongside people with the same interests and dedication as I do, will provide me with the ideal environment to achieve my highest aspirations. I have only just scratched the surface of the chemical world and I can say for certain it is a world I want to be a part of.” Longslade’s Head of Science Mike Fossard said: “Joe is an exceptionally bright and talented student who strives for perfection in whatever he does. His curiosity and insatiable appetite for learning sets him aside from most and illustrates his potential to succeed at the highest level.” Ms Hall added: “We would like to congratulate Joe on his success and hope that he enjoys his time at Worcester College.” Pic: Joe Parry

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A NEW Children’s day nursery has opened in Mountsorrel. Caste View Day Nursery is owned and led by Helen Telford and Jayne Butler who are both local residents in the area. They have known each other for ten years, both as friends and colleagues, and have extensive early years backgrounds. Both are experienced managers and Helen has recently achieved her BA Honours in Early Years while Jayne is currently working towards a BA Honours

Day Nursery Now open in Mountsorrel Watling Street, Mountsorrel, LE12 7BD Providing high quality day care for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years. Opening times 7.30am – 6pm, Mon – Fri, all year round (except bank holidays) For more information please contact us by telephone: 0116 3191016 E-mail: or visit our website

in Education. Jayne said: “Promoting the outdoors environment is a key focus for us. The site of Castle View was specifically chosen for its location which offers a wealth of opportunities for the children to learn and explore. Just minutes from the front door there is access to a library, farm, shops, river and wildlife walks which we make use of on a regular basis.” She added: “Bespoke learning opportunities are tailored to each and every child through understanding their uniqueness and individuality, enable us to provide experiences that foster their natural curiosity to discover and learn. “A warm welcoming and secure environment is provided for all children and their families.” Please call Helen or Jayne for more information on 0116 3191016 or pop in for a visit during our opening hours.

Pat Cleere tendered his resignation from the office of Chairman and as a parish councillor at a meeting of the council on January 14. His resignation comes after a complaint was made about him in December 2012. It was investigated by Charnwood Borough Council’s Monitoring Officer who found that Cllr Cleere had not breached the Members Code of Conduct and that the complaint did not merit a full investigation. The Birstall Post has been unable to obtain full details of the complaint and the complainant from the Monitoring Officer and the other parties involved. In his letter of resignation, Pat Pic: Pat Cleere Cleere said: “It has been a privilege and pleasure to have served my community for nearly ten years now. I hope that in that time I have helped in some way to make Birstall a better place in which to live. I know I have obtained great satisfaction from carrying out the role of councillor. “Unfortunately recent events have meant that the trust that should exist between the Chairman and the Parish Officers to enable the smooth running of the council has been lost and in my opinion can never be fully regained. “I believe that the reputation and image of the Parish Council in the eyes of the public is paramount and therefore to swiftly bring these disagreements to an end I have come to this decision. “I apologise to my fellow councillors and to the people of Birstall if they feel I have let them down and I wish the council every success for the future.” After listening to the resignation letter being read out at their meeting on January 14, councillors reacted to the news. Cllr Jim Garner said: “This is very distressing, what has been said about him is diabolical.” Vice Chairman Tony Fowler said: “We have lost Pat due to a misunderstanding on both sides. It is a shame they could not sit down and settle it but Pat doesn’t think he could do that.” Birstall’s County Councillor Roger Wilson told the Birstall Post: “Pat was an excellent chairman and I am disappointed he’s going.”



Museum sparks allotment fears ALLOTMENT HOLDERS on Red Hill are concerned about the future of the site after Leicester City Council and the GCR announced plans for a major railway museum. The museum, located next to the GCR’s Leicester North station, will involve loss of some allotment land on the north east corner of the site. A spokesperson for the allotment site, which is within the Leicester City boundary, said: “I and many Red Hill plot holders appreciate the prestige and benefits the new museum will bring to the city.

“However in view of the lack of consultation with members of the Red Hill allotments one wonders after all the hard work members have put to regenerate the site, how secure is our future tenancy for the rest of the site? “We are very aware of the history of our site and this is the third plan the GCR have put forward for our area, one previous plan being for the

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whole of our allotment site.” The City Council say detailed work on the museum is only just beginning. City Mayor Peter Soulsby told The Birstall Post: “I am committed to retaining the allotments at Red Hill. I have had initial discussions with representatives of the Belgrave Allotment Society and there will be further meetings with them in the future. I have given my absolute commitment that there will be as least as many plots available as there are now – and that it may be possible to increase the number of plots by expanding the site “This scheme also gives us the opportunity to consider whether there are other things we could do to improve facilities for the allotment holders. “I will be meeting with the Great Central Railway and the National Railway Museum again soon, to talk about how we take these proposals for a national railway museum forward, and we will make sure that the allotment society is fully involved in the project’s progress.”


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Acorn’s Christmas concert ACORN UNDER Fives put on a Christmas Concert for the parent, carers and other family members at the end of term. The children dressed in costumes of their own choice and these included the traditional nativity outfits as well as Batman and a dinosaur! Having practised for a few weeks, the children sang a variety of Christmas songs on the stage in the hall at Highcliffe Primary School. Jack Chadwick delighted the audience

by performing a dance to a musical track entitled ‘Hot Dog’ while dressed in a wonderful Santa costume. Everyone enjoyed the experience and the event finished with festive refreshments and a raffle raising over £250 for the group. If you are interested in starting your child at Acorn Under Fives call 2672795 Pic: Jack Chadwick (Santa Claus), Liam Robertson (Joseph) and Keah Ladwa (Mary)


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White Horse has fresh new look BIRSTALL’S WHITE HORSE pub has been restyled and redecorated to give a “warm, welcoming and cosy” look. mate to reinvest in our business to keep it fresh for our customers. People have less disposable income and so are more discerning about where they choose to spend their hard-earned money. At the White Horse we are committed to improving all aspects of our business and the interior decoration is a key part of this. Why not come and check us out?” “The interior has been restyled with warm wall colours, sumptuous curtains, inviting comfy seating, quirky birdhouse details and stunning new pictures of Watermead by local photographer Andy Stafford” said White Horse Director James Foy. He added: “We are thrilled with our new look, it’s critical during this difficult financial cliFor more information visit or call 0116 2671038

Parish Council Notes A FULL meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held on January 14. The vice-chairman, Cllr Tony Fowler, read out a letter of resignation from the chairman, Cllr Pat Cleere. PC Richard Carruthers was accompanied by Birstall’s new Beacon Officer, PC Des Hearnshaw. He reported on some recent arrests on suspicion of burglary. These individuals were known to police and could mean a sharp reduction in burglaries in the area. A resident has reported that the grass verge on the eastern side of Wanlip Lane near the junction with Windmill Avenue is being degraded by vehicles parking on it and mud is getting on to the pavement. It was agreed to report the problem to Charnwood Borough Council and to suggest bollards as a possible solution. The Council agreed a precept for 2013/14 of £356,800. This amounts to a reduction of the Parish Council component of the Council Tax bill of 5.7%, compared to 2012/13. There are four play areas planned for Hallam Fields. One will be located near to the Harrowgate Drive playing field and developer Jelsons have invited the Parish Council to consult with them, to avoid duplication of the existing play equipment on Harrowgate Drive. Terry McGreal from the LE4 Action Group presented the group’s response to the decision by Leicester City’s mayor Peter Soulsby to propose traveller sites on the edge of Birstall (see the Your Say page for the full text)

NHW news & crime report A Proud Achievement Neighbourhood Watch has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award in recognition of its work. It is one of the largest voluntary and best-known crime prevention movements in the country with a hundredand-seventy thousand co-ordinators covering nearly four million households. Studies have shown that, where there are active schemes in operation, crime has been reduced by up to seventy-nine percent. Birstall and Wanlip have around a hundred-and-fifty co-ordinators covering over three thousand households. Registered members receive the monthly newsletter and access to advice and security devices, either free or at cost price. Some members have been able to negotiate reductions on home insurance on production of their membership card. This month Birstall members will receive the annual subscription envelope with their newsletter. We ask just one pound per household, although we are always pleasantly surprised by those envelopes that contain a little more. Wanlip households have their subscriptions paid by the Village Meeting. The money is spent on producing the newsletter, street signs, our telephone help-line, maintaining the website and email bulletins, the provision of security devices and leaflets, as well as general running expenses such as postage. Our companion Watch in Melton Mowbray has recently announced that it now covers every street in the town. It would be nice if we could say the same. If yours is one of the few households that are still not members, please contact us by telephone or email if you would like to be included. Alternatively, call in and see us at our Advice Shop, open every third Saturday of the month between 10 a.m and noon at the Police Office, opposite the Garden Centre on Sibson Road. The next date is February 16. From Ed Chambers, Birstall &Wanlip NHW More information at: Email: Tel: (0116) 267 6397 Crime Report : Dec 10 – Jan 14 Assaults 4, harassment 1, burglary 7, burglary non-dwelling 9, damage 5, damage to motor vehicle 1, drugs 2, fraud 5, theft 5, theft from motor vehicle 2, vehicle taken without consent 1, theft of motor vehicle 1, theft stores 6 Burglaries have risen but a number of suspects have been arrested following police enquiries. Although there have been a rise in theft from stores we have two suspects to arrest and interview. From PC Des Hearnshaw 688, Birstall, Wanlip & Watermead Local Neighbourhood Policing Team


WI dancers put on show

Join litter pick in the park READERS ARE being asked to join a group of volunteers for a litter pick in Watermead Country Park. Wreake Valley Rotary are organising the event with the cooperation of the park wardens. A club spokesman said: “Having used Watermead Country Park for our organised three and five mile run in July for the past three years we were concerned about excessive amounts of litter that the floods left behind and offered to do this in what is such a greatly utilised facility. If any readers of the Birstall Post would like to join us for a couple of hours we would be very pleased.” The litter pick will take place on Saturday February 23. To volunteer, visit, go to the Contact Us section and send your contact details.

Running club’s open night A LOCAL running club have organised an Open Night event to encourage residents to join them. “If you feel that you would enjoy running but are worried about joining a club, this is an ideal opportunity without any commitment” said Angie Budge from Birstall Running Club. “All are invited but it will obviously be beneficial for anyone new to running to have a certain level of fitness, but rest assured that any newcomers will be invited to walk and run initially, with our volunteer runners guaranteeing that no one will be left behind. Experienced runners will also be very welcome as there are groups for varying levels of ability and out Team Leaders will be

Governor needed THE GOVERNING Body of Riverside Primary School has a vacancy for a Community Governor. Anyone who lives within our local community can become a Community Governor. Chair of Governors Rachael Boyall said: “There are no specific qualifications required just commitment, enthusiasm and a willingness to give up some of your spare time. “We would welcome members of the community with an interest in becoming a governor particularly anyone with legal or business management experience as we currently have a gap in our skills set in these areas. “As governors we work together to ensure that every child at Riverside gets the best education possible to enable them to reach the highest standards of achievement.” If you would like more information about becoming a school governor please write to Rachael Boyall, Chair of Governors, c/o Riverside Primary School or email:

there to assist you in choosing your group” she added. Angie said: “It’s not all about winning prizes, and as well as running, our club has a great social life with a variety of events including quiz nights, club trips etc and a drink and a chat after every training night.” The Open Night will be held on Monday February 4 at the Club’s HQ, the Midland Co-op Sports ground, Birstall Road, LE4 4DE at 6.15pm, with running starting at 6.30pm. For more information about the club visit

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Car damaged WITNESSES TO a vehicle collision in Stonehill Avenue are being sought. At 7.30pm on Wednesday January 9 a motorist collided with a vehicle parked on Stonehill Avenue. The motorist did not stop. The vehicle was badly damaged and the impact of the collision pushed the car onto a neighbouring driveway. The driver of the car is thought to be a woman, driving a small white car. Anyone with any information about this incident can contact Birstall’s Beat Officer PC Des Hearnshaw. Call 101 and when invited to leave a message for an officer, enter his collar number: 0688. the crime reference number is 33-13-1301

UNFORTUNATELY OUR meeting on January 14 was cancelled due to the snow and so we weren't able to hear Bill Wells talk about 'Fire Safety with a Smile'. However some members continued to pursue their other interests. Maxilyn Geary, Val Deacon and Beverly Blackburn are keen tap dancers and are pictured (l-r) at their recent charity fund raising show. If anyone is interested in learning adult tap for pleasure then they can contact Lynne West on 0116 2211024 for further details. We had an excellent evening on December 10 when we went to see Hello Dolly at the Curve. Everyone agreed it was a wonderful production. The Committee are hopefully planning future trips to the Curve as they prove so popular with our ladies. Birstall and Wanlip WI was founded in 1918 so we are also organising a 95th Birthday meal and entertainment for June. It is amazing that our little group has been in existence for almost a century! Although no original members still remain! Weather permitting our next meeting at Highcliffe School will be on February 4 at 7.15pm when Adrian Lane will be talking to us about 'Leicester and the Riverside" and our competition will be 'Something from the Riverbank'. Why not brighten up winter. Pop along and sample an evening with us. You may even want to become a member. Visit the Leicestershire and Rutland WI website for more details about the Federation. From Birstall & Wanlip WI

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The Birstall Post welcomes your views and opinions on any subject. Letters, which must include your name and address, (though not necessarily for publication) can be posted to: The Birstall Post, Longslade College, Wanlip Lane, Birstall, Leicester LE4 4GH, or handed in at Birstall library or email:

Thanks Maurice O’Key passed away. Betty, Martin & Julie would like to thank family friends and neighbours for the beautiful cards, letters, flowers and gifts given to them at this sad time. Your love and support is very much appreciated. Betty, Martin & Julie

Thanks Carole and Tony Burton and David and Pat Simons would like to thank all relatives, friends and neighbours for their kind messages of sympathy and donations to the British Heart Foundation and LOROS on the sad loss of their mum Doris. It is very much appreciated, thank you. Carole Burton

Thanks Big thanks to the residents of Birstall for contributing to our Santa sleigh run in December. This year our club, Wreake Valley Rotary raised nearly £4,000 through the sleigh and collections at Tesco Syston and the Thurmaston Asda store, These monies will be distributed to local, national and international causes and appeals. If you are a member of a group or you know of one needing a bit of financial help please contact us at, fill in the Contact Us page box and we will contact you. Nigel Coleman, President, Wreake Valley Rotary

Knitting smiles Please may I use the letters page to thank the knitting guerrillas for making me smile during the hectic Christmas days. The sheer silliness and surprise of coming upon a familiar tree looking so unfamiliar and festive was uplifting. It is a lovely tree anyway, to see it transformed from winter nakedness to warm textured purples overnight was great. I would like the secret knitters know the pleasure they gave, and hope they will continue planning and delivering their bit of local artistic anarchy for years to come. Helena Edwards

More smiles A Smile A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor but that he can be made rich by it. A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business and

is the countersign of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and it is nature’s best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are to tired to give you a smile, give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give. Anon Sent to us by Roy Ewens

Growth fund I want to let you and your readers know that, from today, businesses across England will be able to apply for a share of £350 million of Government support to help create jobs and grow their business. The fourth round of the successful Regional Growth Fund will be open until the 20th March and I encourage local businesses to apply for the fund. It is a competitive fund, so your bids will be competing against others, but we want to support the highest quality, “shovelready” projects which can start by the end of 2013. The first three rounds are expected to deliver over £13 billion of private sector investment and create or safeguard over 500,000 jobs across the country, and I don’t want your readers to miss out. More information on how to apply is available at Good luck! Rt. Hon. Michael Fallon MP Minister of State for Business and Enterprise

Dog fouling I read with interest the article on the reduction in dog fouling of pavements in various targeted villagers in the Charn-

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wood area. When is something going to be done about this problem in Birstall? I live on the corner of Denegate Ave and Harrowgate Drive and the problem here is horrendous. Due to our house being a corner property, there is a large frontage which almost daily has these deposits. On a walk to the Kingsgate shops the other day, I also encountered 4 heaps on Denegate and another couple coming back up Harrowgate. It is a disgrace. I am keeping a constant look out now to see if I can spot these people but of course I’m sure these dog walks are undertaken in the cover of darkness! Beverley Hallett

Traveller sites So after months of waiting we finally get to know where the City Mayor plans to put his new Gypsy and Traveller Sites. Back in November under the banner headline “Leicester Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby signals rethink over travellers’ sites” he told the Leicester Mercury that he “understood the weight of residents” concern but was frustrated by campaigners from outside the city and councillors from Charnwood Borough Council complaining about his plans. Did he really understand the concerns of residents from outside of the City and Charnwood Borough Councillors who were faced with a solution to a City Council problem which proposed sites slap bang on their doorstep and tight up against the boundary with Charnwood? Did he really understand the overwhelming concerns of the 600 residents who swamped the public meeting at the Tudor Centre which the Council arranged in a room restricted to 80 people because of fire regulations? Did he really understand the overwhelming concerns of the hundreds of residents who attended the public meetings at the Leicester Leys Leisure Centre and the Birstall Social Club? Did he really understand the concerns and the frustrations of the hundreds more residents who were turned away because even these venues were far too small? Did he really understand the overwhelming concerns of the thousands of residents who signed the petitions submitted by the LE4 Action Group? Did he really understand the concerns of the very people which these sites were intended to accommodate when they told him that the new sites would bring more gypsies to the area, there wouldn’t be enough work, that local crime rates would increase and that the no horse rule on the proposed sites would be an absolute deal-breaker and would stop them from using any of the sites? Apparently, it seems, he didn’t. What he did apparently understand was the concerns of Sue Waddington and her Economic Development, Culture and Tourism Scrutiny Commission who recommended that the Beaumont Way site should not go forward because it would be visible to swimmers using the flume at the nearby Leisure Centre. Or maybe he understood the concerns that a site at this location would undoubtedly have implications for the Beaumont Shopping Centre and its attractiveness to new occupiers, investors and shoppers with far reaching consequences for its vitality and viability? The process for the allocation of sites is set clearly out in the Council’s Adopted Core Strategy which forms part of the Local Plan and which says that sites for


transit and residential pitches will be identified in the Site Allocations Development Plan Document. Notwithstanding this the Mayor and Executive have embarked upon their own entirely separate path of identifying gypsy and traveller sites outside of this process. The difference here is that the Local Plan process will be subject to statutory public consultation and, unlike the Council’s tick-box exercise, will ultimately be decided in a Public Inquiry by an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State. The Council, in correspondence with our legal representatives, has said that the site selection process will not even be a material consideration in the determination of any planning applications that may come forward. If this is indeed the case then it calls into question the whole purpose behind this recent lengthy and costly exercise, during which time the Council could easily have instead embarked upon the preparation of a site allocations development plan document as promised in the Core Strategy. As it is, side stepping the development plan process in this manner has deprived the public of their right to be meaningfully engaged in site selection and to help shape their communities through that process, including not least the right to be heard at independent examination. This is what localism is all about. The creation of a climate that empowers local people and communities, building a "big society" that will take power away from politicians and give it to people. Instead we have a situation in which development is to be imposed upon them by a Council who is both landowner and local planning authority and therefore holds all of the relevant cards in the decision making process. So, in answer to the question, where do we go from here? We would say to residents that this is not the end of the matter. This is not a done deal. The LE4 Action Group will continue to oppose these sites. We and our legal advisors will monitor the submission of any planning applications and make appropriate representations at the relevant stages.

You can still play your part. Contact us through our web-site and we will let you know about our meetings. Just Google LE4 Action Group or e-mail us at From Terry McGreal

Noticeboard all details printed free

Another planet? I have read so many letters of late complaining about our village – it makes me wonder whether I live on another planet. We are so lucky, three yes three, centrally located car parks all free – remember not all villages are so fortunate. The ever popular Annual Gala two days no less with Proms in the Park, plus a firework display, always well attended by thousands. Christmas light switch on with brass band fairground attractions, village hall stalls, with free mince pies and mulled wine, well attended. So many clubs, cricket, bowls, football, running, Carl’s Gym etc, all add to enhancing Birstall’s reputation far and wide. The Youth Club/Café on the Park – well attended and successful with local youngsters used on a weekly basis. An established Neighbourhood Watch, working in partnership with the local police beat team to reduce crime. Excellent monthly community paper ‘The Birstall Post’ now in glorious colour, keeping us fully informed on forthcoming events etc. Watermead Park, on our doorstep – free, ‘a jewel in the crown’. On a personal note both I and friends are proud we have an erected and centrally positioned Union Flag – we believe it enhances the area concerned and adds pride. Yes there are many more improvements to be made, so why not volunteer your services to help improve further our local community, making it a better place to live in. May our community spirit thrive even further with your help and support, I’m sure it will. Happy 2013 to all residents. Resident in Village 44 yrs

Birstall Royal British Legion February 2: TBC February 9: Rocking Mick (M/V) February 16: Chris Robin (M/V) February 23: Lesley (F/V) Dancing every Sat night with live entertainment Bingo, free beer raffle and not forgetting Open the Box Every Tuesday night Bingo starting at 9.15pm Quiz nights: Sunday Feb 10 & 24 starting at 9pm Acoustic night Sunday February 17 at 8pm Rock & Roll nights Wednesday February 6 & 20 Food available every Saturday 12-2pm Wakes catered for

Women’s World Day of Prayer Service on March 1 Birstall Methodist Church, Wanlip Lane at 7.30pm Speaker Hilary Cox Mountsorrel Methodist Church Presents the 2nd in the 12th Series of Sunday Night @ Eight

Organ Recitals on Sunday February 17 at 8pm by John Keys Director of Music at St Mary’s Nottingham Admission free Donations for Development Fund Buffet from 7.30pm Birstall Methodist Thursday Group

Coffee Morning on Saturday February 23, 10am to 12noon

I. Wardle Maintenance Services (Birstall DIY) Do you need any of the following work carrying out? If so, please phone or email me. FENCING: Erection & Repairs GARDEN MAINTENANCE: Turf Laid, Mowed & Hedges Cut etc BUILDING REPAIRS/WORK: New Guttering & Repairs INTERIOR WORK: Curtain Rails Fitted, Mirrors Hung & Painting LANDSCAPING: Gravel Drives & Paths Laid FLOORS: Concrete & Laminate Laid


at the Coffee Shop, Wanlip Lane in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and Birstall BAGS Usual stalls: cakes, books and puzzles and tombola A Talk on

Extrasensory Perception will be given at the next meeting of Leicestershire & Rutland Dowsers on Saturday February 9 Speakers will be Norma Blakey and Stuart Hague As usual the meeting will be held at St James’ Day Centre, Birstall Village Hall, starting at 10am After the talk the AGM will take place. Everyone will be welcome to stay for the annual meeting but only those who have paid the annual subscription will be entitled to vote Further details from John Rippin on 07770291484 Get Fit and Have Fun! New members wanted for over 30s

Basketball Club Playing every Tuesday evening 6pm in the Stonehill School Gym £3.50 per session Come along and find out more or tel: Paul 0116 2672840 Barrow Panto Group

Annual Family Panto ‘Babes in the Wood & Robin Hood’ March 1 at 7pm and March 2 at 2pm & 7pm Humphrey Perkins Community Centre, Cotes Rd, Barrow LE12 8JU We expect each performance to run for approx 2¼ hrs Tickets £7 and £5 (concessions) available from The Paper Shop, High St, Barrow, from the Box Office 07718153117 or or on the door Group tickets must be arranged via the Box Office The panto tells the traditional tale of the two Babes who are kidnapped by the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham and his pathetic henchmen Beastly Boris and Crafty Ken, all desperate to get their miserable hands on the vast fortune of the two little heirs. Of course, Robin saves the day and wins his Marian Expect all the usual slapstick of a lively panto Birstall Methodist Men’s Pantomime

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at 7.30pm Saturday Matinee 2.30pm Tickets available from Deborah 0116 2122513, £5.00 BIRSTALL BAGS Annual

Live Band Night Birstall Social Club Saturday, Feb 23, doors open 7.30pm till late Introducing: Midnight Wire with support from Leaving Party Tickets £7.50 each All proceeds to Birstall BAGS Over 18s only Tickets available from any of the Birstall BAGS, email Birstall & District Local History Society The next meeting will take place on Thursday February 14 at 7.30pm in Birstall Village Hall, Birstall Road, Birstall The talk will be about

‘Women in the Great War’ speaker Nick Marshall New members and visitors are very welcome St James Day Centre 200 club Winners of January draw: 1st Mr Harold Morris 2nd Mrs Margaret Young 3rd Mrs Doreen Bloxam 4th Mrs Betty Howard Birstall Methodist Monday Women’s Group

Coffee Morning at Wanlip Lane Methodist Church Saturday March 2nd 10am to 12noon Stalls include raffle, tombola, cakes and books Proceeds to our project Motor Neurone Disease Association


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Film Presentations

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From Thurcaston & Cropston Parish Council ‘Anna Karenina’ Friday February 8 (130 mins) In 19th century Russia, leaving one’s husband was morally reprehensible. The aristocrat, Anna Karenina, played by Keira Knightley, embarked on an illicit love affair with Count Vronsky and found herself trapped by the conventions of high society. This is Leo Tolstoy’s take of love and betrayal. ‘Hope Springs’ Friday March 8 (100 mins) This joyful romantic comedy drama is about Kay, played by Meryl Streep, and her plodding husband, striving to re-ignite their relationship with greater imagination and connection to one another. How does their therapy in the village of Great Hope Springs work out? Thurcaston and Cropston Parish Council will be showing these films at Thurcaston Memorial Hall. Starting at 7.30pm, tickets cost £4.50 and concessions are £4. The price includes refreshments and a lucky prize draw. Advance tickets can be purchased via the parish office, 0116 2367626 or at the door

Fun for all Ages Grapes and Grains, 9.30am-12.30pm Shrove Tuesday February 12 Wanlip Village Hall Free entry Making food and drink to share a ‘Communion Style Meal’ and how Jesus used food and drink to talk about the kingdom Check out our website


Coffee Morning Tuesday February 12 From 10-11.30am Coffee & biscuits Funds in aid of Abbeyfield Grove House, 35 Church Hill, Birstall 2671523 All welcome

Cheeky Monkeys Tea Party Friday February 15 Birstall Village Hall, 10.30am-1pm Pennies raised going to the NCT Taster sessions as well as stalls and craft activities for children and lots of cake and raffle

Birstall BAGS We are looking for a volunteer to help maintain our website and social network sites. This should take no more than an hour a week, anyone interested please email the BAGS at Birstall United U16s

Family Race Night Stonehill High School, Birstall Saturday February 9 Doors open 7pm till Late Tickets: Adults £2, Children £1 Licensed Bar, Cakes If you would like tickets or would like to sponsor any of the races or the event please ring or text Kev Jordan 07788694335 or Gail – 07962147916 CLASH

Arthritis Support Group Contact 0796 3221 570 Are you interested in learning basic computer skills and how to safely use the internet? If so come along and join us at Palmer Tomkinson Centre, Longslade College, Birstall Sessions are held Thursdays, 3.304.30pm during term time Beginning February 7 Drop in Sessions, every week Monday 10am-12noon at Peepul Centre, Orchadson Ave,


Rothley Ladies Circle

Coffee Morning Methodist Church Howe Lane, Rothley March 9 from 10-11.30am Proceeds in aid of Menphys and Methodist Church Funds Raffle, tombola, cake stall, white elephant Entrance Fee £1 including tea and coffee/biscuits The Rotary Club of the Soar Valley invite you to a

Country & Western Cabaret night Starring Country and Western duo ‘Double Barrel’ March 15 at the Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley 7.30 for 8pm Tickets (inc a light supper) £10 – available from any member Proceeds to Rotary Charities (The Rotary Club of the Soar Valley Charitable Trust – registered charity number 1047245)

Vacancy for a Councillor Birstall Parish Council Apply in writing to Birstall Parish Council Deadline : Feb 27, 2013 Eligibility : 18 years plus, live or work in the Parish For fuller details of eligibility and the work a Parish Councillor does, go to



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have spaces for new members with any level of craft experience. Scrapbooking is the practice of combining photos, memorabilia and stories in a scrapbook style album and we aim to complete 2-3 pages during each meeting. We meet on the 1st Saturday of each month at Birstall Social Club, Wanlip Lane, Birstall LE4 4JS (opposite the Co-op) from 10am to 3pm to scrap and chat. We have a monthly kit, samples to follow and there is always plenty of help and advice available, so just bring along your photos! For more info or to book a place please contact Becca

Charity Bridge Drive Loughborough Lions Club Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley Wednesday April 24 at 1.30pm with afternoon tea provided at a cost of £6 per person To book a table please contact Jackie on 0116 2303317 or email:

Wednesday Evening Talks Mountsorrel Library 2013 Talks begin at 7.30pm £3.50 (£3 conc) inc refreshments Feb 13 Nick Marshall: Life in a Medieval Manor Mar 13 John Levison (SOFA): Rooms in Strange Places Apr 10 John Florance: John Betjeman – The People’s Poet May 15 Nick Marshall: The first Crusade June 12 John Florance: Philip Larkin July 17 Nick Marshall: Medieval Agriculture Aug 14 John Florance: Thomas HardyThe Poet To book tel: 0116 3055892 during library opening hours or email

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Money advice ST JAMES’ Church in Birstall is one of 400 congregations across the UK set to offer free courses to help people get their New Year finances in order. Following training from the debt charity Christians Against Poverty it ran its first successful CAP Money Course last autumn. It is now planning another to start on the morning of Wednesday February 27. CAP Money coach, and member of the congregation, Lesley Walton, said: “We are putting on this course because we know how financial worry can mess up relationships and cause havoc with health and wellbeing. “The CAP Money Course is there to debt-proof families against this kind of stress and with something like a third of having relied on credit to get us through Christmas, it might be the best resolution we can make going into 2013. “The three confidential, one and a half hour sessions, are spread over three weeks, and help people to create a household budget, prioritise spending, begin saving and re-organise banking.” “It is designed to be helpful to anyone whether unemployed, receiving benefits, working, self-employed, retired, newly married or recently divorced.” “More than 20,000 people have enjoyed these debt prevention sessions across the UK in the past few years and it’s helped bring them real peace of mind – which we think is a good way to start 2013.” To book onto the course, call Lesley on 0116 2674995 and to find out more visit


Family fun at lively charity night BOXING CHAMPION Rendall Munroe was a special guest at a family charity night at Birstall Social Club. Organised by Paula Clifford, the event raised £1700 for two charities: Camp Charnwood for young people with type 1 diabetes and Carl Gunns boxing gym. Paula said: “It was a fun filled evening and everyone enjoyed it. There was kids’ entertainment followed by a boxing raffle and a disco until late. “A huge thank you to our guest Rendall Munroe, who drew the winners of the raffle, and to everyone who bought a ticket, the Social Club, all the sponsors and my friends and family for their help and support”, She added: “In the past 18 months we have raised £4900 for various charities, including Carl Gunns’ gym. He does an amazing job for the kids and is

a credit to Birstall.” Pic: (l-r) Rendall Munroe, Carl Gunns & Paula Clifford

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Church news Keeping up our traditions In spite of such fun events as Pancake Day (on Tuesday February 12) and St. Valentine’s Day on the February 14 is still a month which most people are glad to get through without too many coughs, colds or more virulent bugs! Valentine’s Day has been celebrated since at least the 13th Century, although noone is quite sure whether there was ever a saint called Valentine with particular associations with love and marriage. On Shrove Tuesday pancakes have been tossed for centuries too, traditionally using up all the good things, which were not allowed to be eaten during the fasting weeks of Lent – not a popular idea nowadays. One tradition that does survive in the Church of England is that of Candlemas, which is celebrated here on Sunday February 3 at Wanlip with Holy Communion at 6pm. The festival was very popular in the Middle Ages when lighted candles symbolised the idea of Jesus shedding light on the world, so the beautiful old church of Our Lady and St. Nicholas will be illuminated with candles on this day. Social events After cancellation because of the bad weather in January, the Monday Group are holding their first meeting of the year on February 11 at 7.30pm in the Day Centre, when Roy Page will be giving an illustrated talk on a visit to Cuba entitled “Havana and beyond”. Visitors will be welcome to this and any other Monday Group meeting. The Men’s Group will also be having the first of this year’s bi-monthly meetings at the British Legion at 7.45pm on Sun February 3, when the speaker will be David Bodicoat from the Middle and Great Northern Circle, speaking and showing film of the railway journey between Leicester and Cromer in the 1950s – nostalgia for some and history for others! Again visitors are welcome to come and share chat and a pint. On Saturday March 2 the social committee are organising a “High Society” evening, with costume display and buffet supper, at Wanlip Church and Village Centre. Guests are invited to dress up in their best finery – vintage or modern – with no other objective than to enjoy themselves in good company. Tickets cost £5 for this extravaganza, and can be obtained from Jane on 2673761 or Mary on 2673568.

For reflection On Tuesday February 19, the first meeting of the five week Joint Churches Lent course will be held at 7.30pm at St.James Church. The venues will be at a different one of the four churches each week and it is hoped that this will encourage people from all congregations or from the community to join in group discussion. From Beryl McHugh, St James’ Church

Tickets For Cinderella The Annual Pantomime this year, performed by the all-male cast is the favourite of many, Cinderella. With a large cast including a few new, and talented faces, they take to the stage on Tuesday February 12, and nightly at 7.30 until the final performance on Saturday 16th February. Tickets are £5 and can be obtained by ringing 2122513. There is a Matinee performance on Saturday afternoon. Messy Church This usually fortnightly gathering of families on a Saturday afternoon at 4pm will meet only once in February (on 2nd) and then not until 2nd March (when “Messy Lent” is the title for the afternoon). On the 16th the matinee of the Men’s Pantomime as detailed above, takes place and Messy Church families – along with anyone else is welcome to book tickets. Churches Together For Lent There will be a Lent course, run along Table Talk lines. It starts on February 19 at St James, on 26th at St Theresa’s, March 5 at Methodist Church, March 12 at St Theresas and finally at Wanlip on March 20. All take place in the evening. Safe Space After quite a long training session, this Christian-based counselling service is now up and running. For more information see the website For an appointment phone 07938779477. The counsellors are all volunteers and expertly trained, you do not need to be part of the Methodist Church to avail yourself of this service. Service at Rothley Regular worshippers are reminded that there is no service at Birstall on Sunday February 17. There is a Circuit Service at Rothley at 10.30am (as part of their 195 year celebrations). Parking at Rothley could be a problem, so you could use the 10.15am 126 Service and alight immediately after crossing

Rothley Brook. The Church is situated in Howe Lane, 150 yards from the bus stop. Collecting at a Railway Station The Action for Children Charity, which is strongly connected to The Methodist Church, has been adopted by National Rail as its charity for the year. All stations on the network will have collectors out on Friday 1st March to collect donations from train passengers If you would like to help to collect do contact Peter on 2929670. From Tony Moore, Birstall Methodist Church

It was lovely meeting those of you who joined with us for our Carol Service in December. The collection from this service allowed us to send a donation to an organisation which gives aid to people in the Middle East and North Africa. While not meeting at Highcliffe School over the holiday period, we were able to enjoy fellowship with churches in Evington, East Leake, Shepshed and Melbourne Hall (Leicester). New Course The day-light hours are slowly beginning to get longer as we move into February and an old saying was that ‘six weeks after Christmas, you can have your tea at five o’clock without lighting up’! However, it is still a time of year when evening meetings do not clash with gardening and other outdoor activities, so you might be interested in joining one of our free six-week courses, which examines basic Christian teachings and is suitable for individuals of any denomination or religion (or none). Please contact the number given below to register an interest and preference for day(s). We will then seek to arrange the most commonly convenient time and contact you with details. If you would like to participate, but prefer a daytime meeting, then still get in touch and we will see what can be organised. February’s Sunday services Our services are held in the Community Room at Highcliffe Primary School (LE4 3DL) from 10.45am and last about an hour. You will be most welcome to join with us at any of these services. We have two visiting speakers in February: John Todd (Loughborough) on 10th and Roger Hitchings (East Leake) on 17th. There is some doubt about whether we can use Highcliffe on 17th, so please ring for venue. Further information Please ring 0116 2214883. From Anne Taylor, Birstall Independent Baptist Church

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ASB rates falling ANTI-SOCIAL behaviour in Charnwood has fallen by almost 24% in the last year following a crackdown on offenders, according to new figures. The statistics, released by the Charnwood Community Safety Partnership (CSP), reveal that between April, 1, 2012, and November, 30, 2012, incidents fell from 3,006 in 2011/12 to 2,292 so far this financial year - a 23.8% drop. The reduction has been achieved thanks to the work of a Joint Action Group (JAG), which is made up of Charnwood Borough Council, Leicestershire Police and 20 other partner organisations including local charities, support and voluntary groups and landlords. As well as working with victims, the various agencies have intervened early with young offenders to ensure they access services which can help steer them away from a life of anti-social behaviour and crime. Councillor David Snartt, Charnwood Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services and Chairman of the CSP, said: “These figures are extraordinary. They demonstrate that by working together, we can help the community by reducing anti-social behaviour, which can blight the lives of residents. “As well as working with the victims of these incidents, we also ensure those who commit them are better understood and have access to services which can help reduce re-offending. “By understanding why someone commits anti-social behaviour, we are helping reduce the number of incidents in the borough.” A series of roadshows were delivered across the borough last summer to raise awareness of how to report anti-social behaviour to the Council and police. Inspector Johnny Monks, Commander of Loughborough local policing unit, said; “There is no doubt that a Joint Action Group, which is dedicated to tackling anti-social behaviour, has made a difference. It means we are working together to effectively target offenders and hot spot locations. “We’d continue to encourage people to report incidents to us, or the council, because if we don’t know about it we can’t tackle it.” Residents can report incidents to the police or Charnwood Borough Council, who share a case management system to ensure all cases can be tracked and dealt with. For more information on how Charnwood Borough Council is tackling antisocial behaviour visit ehaviour1. To report an incident of anti-social behaviour contact the Anti-Social Behaviour Team on 01509 634533 or email

Planning P/13/0075/2: 10 Cliffe Road – retention of pergola at top of garden with addition of screening and retention of wooden structure attached to rear of dwelling P/12/2650/2: 2 Mill Close – erection of a car port to front of dwelling



How long can we expect to live? An article from John Appleby, Chief Economist at the Kings Fund, published on in January brings attention to the rising amount of those expected to live to 100 and asks where it will end. According to the Office of National Statistics there seems to be “no end in sight” as far as the number of UK citizens reaching 100 years old is concerned. Approximately 13% of girls born in 1951 are expected to reach this milestone, increasing to 40% for girls born this year and a predicted 60% of those born in 2060. Appleby attributes similar worldwide trends to the fact that people are dying at older ages. Deaths in children under five have fallen by 60% since 1970, and surviving early childhood makes it easier to live a much longer life. Variations between men and women, social groups and countries have, however, remained significant with one UK study finding a difference of 11.4 years (80 years compared with 68.6 years) between women in the poorest and most affluent social classes. And although “living longer is a good thing”, research suggests that gains in life expectancy have more to do with reductions in deaths than reductions in years lived in disability. While life expect-

ancy for women has risen 4.6% since 1990, healthy life expectancy has risen by only 3%. A third of grandparents in the Midlands don’t see their grandchildren regularly, says new research According to new research which highlights the extent of loneliness amongst older people, over a third (34%) of grandparents aged 65+ in the Midlands only see their grandchildren once a month or less. The figure is released today by joint official Virgin London Marathon charities Age UK and YouthNet, which have joined forces to tackle isolation and loneliness across generations. Key findings show that almost a third (31%) of older people in the Midlands only see their children fortnightly or less and over a quarter (26%) see close friends just as infrequently, although feelings of isolation were eased by having regular contact with young people. One in five older people aged 65+ in Great Britain who always feel lonely admitted that loneliness is more difficult to admit to than other issues such as health, money and relationships. A separate study shows that younger generations are also affected, with (19%) of young people in the UK ranking loneliness as a top fear for the future alongside debt and money worries. The charities are setting up a digital service which aims to offer isolated older people the chance to learn how to use the internet and take advantage of ways to stay in touch such as email and online chat, as well as saving money and finding

Applications are invited for the post of PRESCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR Birstall Methodist Preschool is seeking to appoint an Administrator from the beginning of the Summer Term 2013 The Group is a busy and lively, well established organisation. It started as a playgroup over 40 years ago and is now registered with OFSTED as a provider of Early Years education. The Preschool meets daily on Mondays and Fridays 12.15pm3.15pm and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9.00am-12.00noon Applicants are required to be computer literate and confident using databases and Microsoft software. The post involves receiving money from fee-paying families. A qualification or experience in childcare is not a requirement however an understanding of safeguarding of children is essential. Terms of employment are initially set at 13 hours per week term time only and a 6 week holiday retention fee is also paid. Closing date: Tuesday 19th February 2013 For further details and application form please contact: David Bark, Birstall Methodist Church, 40 Wanlip Lane, Birstall, Leicester LE4 4JS Telephone: 01162 677576 or email:


out about new hobbies. Younger people will be given the opportunity to develop their confidence and learn new skills to share their digital experience with older people in their local communities. If older people are suffering from loneliness or feeling isolated, help is available from Age UK’s free advice line on 0800 169 6565. Lines are open from 8am to 7pm, seven days a week, where people can also find out how to contact their local Age UK. Alternatively visit People aged 16-25 who need support around any issue can get anonymous, expert advice online through YouthNet’s guide to life, Cars for Cash Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland is asking the public to crunch their old cars for cash as part of a novel fundraising scheme run by the Giveacar social enterprise. Tony Donovan, Executive Director of Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland said; “This is a simple and effective way of attracting a new source of donations as well as reducing the amount of unwanted or unused cars lying around. It’s a winwin.” Unwanted cars are collected free-ofcharge by Giveacar and either sold through an online auction, or disposed of in an environmentally friendly way at an Authorised Treatment Facility. Proceeds from the sale are donated to the charity, with ‘bangers’ that are scrapped still netting an average of £100. Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland which offers a wide range of services to support the needs of local older people is the latest of hundreds of charities who have recognised the potential of the car donation service. The scheme gives those owners who may consider abandoning their cars – spoiling the appearance of the local environment and also costing local taxpayers’ money to remove and dispose of them – an easy “feel-good” way of helping needy local older people with no hassle. Alex Harvey, Manager of Giveacar, welcomed the partnership. He said: “We are so happy to be able to support Age UK like this. The idea of vehicles which have served faithfully for 10, maybe 20 years going towards a cause that supports the local community makes it all the more worthwhile – come on Leicester, clear out those garages!’ To find out how old, unwanted and unused cars can benefit the charity, go to: • Giveacar was established in January 2010 as a social enterprise. • To date, Giveacar has processed more than 4000 cars for salvage or scrap and raised over £950,000 for UK

COMMUNITY SUPPORT WORKERS URGENTLY REQUIRED For work in and around the Birstall area of Leicestershire Full & Part Time Hours Available Experience preferred but not essential as we provide full free training with the opportunity of gaining a Diploma in Health & Social Care. Must have own transport £7.50-£8.54 per hour. Immediate starts. If this sounds like the position for you then please call Debra Matthews on 01162 696247


charities. For further information about Giveacar, please email, ring 0207 736 4242 or visit Winter deaths Cold weather can seriously affect the health of older people; cold temperatures not only raise blood pressure which puts people at greater risk of heart attacks and strokes, they also increase the likelihood and severity of flu, chest infections and other respiratory problems. Even in relatively mild winters, there are around 8,000 extra deaths for every one degree drop in average temperature.

Michelle Mitchell, Age UK’s Charity Director General, advised: “Simple steps such as closing the bedroom window at night, keeping room temperature at 70°F (21°c) if at home during the day, and wrapping up well when outside, can literally save lives.” Anyone who needs help or advice in the coming days or weeks should call Age UK Advice free of charge on 0800 169 65 65 or download our 'Winter wrapped up' guide (PDF, 733kb). Visit the Spread the Warmth website for more information: Action you can take Age UK has issued the following advice for older people this winter: • It’s harder to judge temperatures as you get older. Use a thermometer to detect changes and act quickly. Keep your living room at 70°F (21°c) if possible. • It’s a common misconception that sleeping with the window open all year round is healthy. Keeping windows open on a winter night puts you at greater risk of a heart attack or a stroke. Close your windows at night and keep your bedroom at 65°F (18°c). • Protect your fingers, mouth and head – these parts of your body are more sensitive to changes in temperature. Breathing in cold air can increase your chances of becoming seriously ill. Wrap up well when you go outside. • Stay ‘flu-free’. A bout of winter flu can be dangerous as well as unpleasant. If you can, visit your GP for a flu jab – free to over 65s – and keep warm and eat well to help ward off infection.

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is still required if you are selling or renting out your house. Call David Jackson on 0781 5519490 to arrange your EPC



Birstall BAG’s cancer corner FINDINGS FROM the most recent studies comparing cancer survival across Europe show that one and five-year survival rates in England remain significantly lower than the European average. It is estimated that up to 10,000 cancer deaths each year could be avoided through earlier diagnosis and access to optimal treatment, yet we know from routes to diagnosis work conducted in England that 24% of all cancer patients present to hospital as emergencies. They have not recognised signs or symptoms and looked to their GP to assess and refer them. In a comprehensive review of the factors associated with increased time to diagnosis across several types of cancer nonrecognition of the seriousness of a symptom was the main patient related factor, followed by fear of cancer and treatment. Other barriers include not wanting to waste the GP’s time and difficulty getting an appointment. Overcoming some of these issues is vital in our national effort to achieve earlier diagnosis and save lives. A new national awareness and early diagnosis initiative has been launched through the Department of Healths Be Clear on Cancer Campaign. Following

several tumour-specific cancer awareness campaigns, Be Clear on Cancer has become a well-recognised brand.With more than 200 types of cancer, the Department of Health can’t continue to produce individual campaigns. So, for the first time, this campaign will focus on four key symptoms that are indicators for a number of cancers, including less common ones. The initial campaign is not likely to be ran in the Midlands area but Birstall BAG's wanted you to hear the key message. The message for the public is: Know 4 sure When it comes to cancer, there are 4 key signs to look out for: 1. Unexplained blood that doesn’t come from an obvious injury. 2. An unexplained lump. 3. Unexplained weight loss, which feels significant to you. 4. Any type of unexplained pain that doesn’t go away. Chances are it’s nothing serious, but finding it early makes it more treatable. So if you notice any of these signs, tell your doctor. Birstall BAG’s continue to fund the Birstall Time Out Group held the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at the Village Hall and are delighted to confirm that thanks to your generosity and sup-

port we recently presented the University Hospitals of Leicester with £8231 to help with the new Cancer Information Centre at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. For more information: cerinfo/spotcancerearly/naedi/beclearoncan cer/know4sure/earlydiagnosisofcancer/ 01/n2s/full/6605399a.html Macmillan Cancer Support free phone help line 0808 808 000 Monday – Friday 9am-8pm. University Hospitals of Leicester Cancer Information Centre on 0116 258 6189. To reflect the interest and support of the local community Birstall BAG's seeks to be inclusive of all cancers and the group welcome villagers to support the many events they organise each year within the local community. For more information on the funds we have raised, projects we support and forthcoming events see

TELEPHONE EXTENSION Sockets fitted by ex-BT engineer. Cable, BT and digital TV. Over 25 yrs experience. John 2675132 AMLI DESIGN Architectural Consultancy. Plans drawn and submitted. Extensions, conversions, new build. David Ives B.Sc.(Hons) FBEng MCIOB 0116 2674395 / 07974807111 GREENGATE CLEANING Service. For all your domestic needs. Friendly and reliable. Call Julia 2209412/07954425628 The March issue of

THE BIRSTALL POST will be published on Mar 1. The copy deadline is Feb 15.

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Birstall Post (355) Feb 2013  

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Birstall Post (355) Feb 2013  

Birstall Post Feb 2013