A formal report of notes recorded on flip charts will hopefully be published in the near future but below are some important points noted by City Centre Neighbourhood Forum committee member David Foster.
Ladywood Health and Community Centre on St. Vincent Street West is getting a make-over. A small pot of money, found from some remaining Section 106 money, is being used to conduct the necessary preliminary research on the state of the building (e.g. asbestos), so that the larger Section 106 funds from the Icknield Port Loop development can be well used. A new group is being established to advise on this work and may become a management group for the future use of the facility.
The City Council’s website www.birmingham.gov.uk/ is being completely redesigned, to make it visitor-friendly rather than convenient for officers. There is a ‘Birmingham what’s on’ smartphone app, in beta form.
Digbeth street cleanliness was the subject of a strong case by representatives. They emphasised the importance of ‘kerb appeal’ for attracting and retaining knowledge-based businesses. If staff and/or business owners feel that an area is unpleasant for walking to work, they will move to more pleasant alternatives, probably in a different city.
Attracting SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) to the city centre is greatly successful. But other parts of Ladywood Ward are much less successful.
‘Whole-career’ guidance in schools was, it was emphasised, inadequate.
Social media is now much in evidence by groups for broadcasting information and making contacts. An example of this is Ladywood online (www.ladywood-online.org.uk) which is produced by local people for local people.
Ladywood District Profile 2014/15 compiled by Richard Browne, Community Intelligence Manager, contains a wide range of illuminating information collated from different official statistics combining material from the 2011 census with more recent local information.
- Ladywood District has a relatively younger and less elderly population compared with the rest of the city.
- A much higher proportion (40%) of Ladywood’s population was born overseas than for the city as whole (22%).
- Around 18% of residents do not have English as their first language; also higher than the city as a whole (7.5%).
Community Governance in Birmingham: The Next Decade.
The second paper in a series of six being issued by the City Council as part of the Community Governance consultation, is titled ‘The Future of Community Governance in Birmingham’ and was issued in February.
It poses questions about numbers of councillors and ward boundaries, future of ward committees, how to manage neighbourhood groups including forums, amongst very many others, mostly deriving from the boundary commission review.
The Council’s website has more details and states that there will be a public discussion covering our area at the Newtown Community Centre on 18th March from 6 to 8 pm.