Author Archives: karencaine

About karencaine

Chair of the Birmingham City Centre Neighbourhood Forum committee (UK). Teaching Fellow at Aston Business School. Photographer. Gadget freak.

Please complete questionnaire – closing Monday!

Please complete the Ladywood Community First funding questionnaire we described a few days ago! If you are a Ladywood Ward resident or from a Ladywood organisation, we really need to hear your opinions so we can allocate money the way our community would prefer, instead of just according to what our committee thinks. This is your chance to influence which groups and organisations receive support. What should our priorities be?

You can complete the questionnaire here.

Please fill in in straight away as we need to close it on Monday 25th February! It only takes a few minutes.

Thank you very much for your help.

Karen Caine

City Centre Neighbourhood Forum,
and Ladywood Community First Panelist

Quick Questionnaire: what are your priorities? How should funding be allocated to local Ladywood groups?

Ladywood ward was chosen to receive £50,865 from the government’s Community First initiative over four years, from 2011 up to March 2015. The funding is to help communities come together to identify their strengths and local priorities in order to plan for their future and become more resilient. It will fund both new and existing community groups. Continue reading

Night time visit to Broad Street with the Police

John McDermott, a City Centre Neighbourhood Forum committee member, is our resident representative on the Broad Street Business Improvement District (BID) board. 

On Saturday 10th November, I and four other BID Directors took up an invitation from Commander Clive Burgess to join the local police team on their Night Time Economy Policing Operation.  This involved a presentation at Steel House Lane, a visit to the custody suite, the control room and several walks-about and walk-throughs in Southside and on Broad Street over the period 21.30 Saturday evening to 03.30 on the Sunday morning.
The aim of the visit was to help BID Directors to further develop their understanding of the totality of the challenges faced in the BID area by all of us.

There has been a recent increase in front line officers on Broad Street, back to 2010 levels, which is allowing them to return to neighbourhood policing methods and to adopt a more proactive and zero tolerance approach to policing. Examples of proactive policing included:

  • Briefing customers outside clubs on how not to become a victim of crime
  • Using a triage ambulance on Broad Street to avoid tying-up officers in A&E.
  • Issuing section 30 dispersal orders to ban troublemakers from the area
  • Having available a mop and bucket for those taken short!

There were 23 criminal offences reported over the previous weekend, on Broad Street, with Walkabout and Gatecrasher, in particular, targeted for theft of mobile phones.  The vast majority of the victims were young women having iPhones stolen.  One other current city centre issue noted was the “free huggers” who used this technique to pickpocket the ‘hugged’.

Separate from this visit, but obviously related to Broad Street safety and policing issues, is the question of Funding of the Taxi Marshalls. A recent paper on the Taxi Marshal scheme outlined the value of the service and the need to ensure it was funded into the foreseeable future. The funding for next year will be in the hands of the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner. All the Commissioner candidates visited Broad Street before the election, and were shown, first-hand, the importance of the role of the Taxi Marshals. Lets hope funding can somehow be found.

John McDermott

Culture and the Arts – a new future for Birmingham

. . . at least, that’s what the leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore foresees. He said as much as he launched his “Arts and Culture Summit” in mid-October 2012.

Five months after he took over leadership of the council in May, Sir Albert called together this mixed gathering of the cultural great-and-good with professional and amateur arts practitioners, and ordinary residents (including this member of your Neighbourhood Forum committee).

As a bonus, we were amongst the first to experience the new Bramall Music Building on the University of Birmingham campus. This is a splendid venue boasting a range of rooms from a smart 450-seater concert hall on downwards in scale. This building adds to the existing range of performance venues –  Symphony Hall, Town Hall, the renovated REP and its new mid-sized theatre, etc.

Sir Albert’s vision is that the cultural sector should make a major contribution to tackling inequality and deprivation in the city, as well as providing major economic underpinning, over the next 10-20 years. The subsequent speakers, admirably managed by Mary Rhodes of BBC Midlands Today, included Ruth MacKenzie (director of the Cultural Olympiad), senior people from the Arts Council and the British Council, Graham Vick (artistic Director, Birmingham Opera Company, – a true iconoclast, as those who have ever seen any of their productions will testify), and Darren Henley (CEO Classic FM, who has produced two defining reports on cultural education for the Government). There were also speakers from Lyon, Rotterdam and Chicago describing their different approaches to exploiting culture in the development and advancement of their respective cities. The set piece speeches were interspersed with small-scale discussion workshops on a range of topics  (examples “Local Identity”, “Young People’s Skills”, “Access to Finance”).

These two days were very upbeat about Birmingham and its opportunities. Their impact was severely dampened a couple of weeks later by the City Council’s announcement of the serious worsening of its financial predicament. Not that the Council itself promised much during the meeting. An underlying theme was how cultural sector players had to be enterprising in everything, not only in artistic creativity but also in finding resources.

David Foster