Sunday, 2 March 2008

New in at number 9

Adult Education, and Culture.
Sandwell Council seem to me to have a perverse idea of what culture actually is and their attitude to further education leaves me thinking they are still in the dark ages. But let me explain. Recently, Sandwell Council’s Cultural Services Dept published a smart handbook called Culture & Leisure Services Access Guide. I suppose it does what is says on the tin, lists community centres, leisure centres libraries and museums. It must have cost a fortune. But there does not seem to be any policy to increase or improve cultural activities in Sandwell or support the few that there are. THE pUBLIC which we are told is opening shortly should have given us a splendid opportunity to do just that and become the centre for culture. We are now getting to understand what it is going to mean to West brom residents with £5 entrance fee and exorbitant room hire costs. I have always supported this project but not anymore. Do they think that only the well off are cultured? Sandwell residents have already contributed £15 million towards the cost of this, now they expect us to pay up again. I think not. So I will support any candidate if they want to have a swipe at this. In Newton we have no real cultural activities except for the occasional concert that is put on by a local group. I would like to see our council candidates actively helping to organise cultural activities and blatantly plugging them in their leaflets. It’s good for the community. Adult education in our ward is perhaps the real Cinderella with virtually no FE offered and if it is there is little choice. Even afternoon keep fit classes are being out priced for most local people. There are groups available but they are all outside of Newton. Newton is home to some very cultured and talented people and I want to see them recognised and catered for. Could our candidates start to campaign for more FE and cultural activities and mean it?
I thought I ought to mention swimming because GRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr we don’t have a pool and as far as I can see never will. Campaigning for a pool at Dartmouth is a vote winner but lets be honest do we have a snowballs chance in hell of getting it?.
In Sandwell we have a wonderful Library service which is empathetic and accommodating to the needs of all community users including older people. Let’s have some of this thinking applied to other cultural activities and campaign to improve the service. No sneaky changes that will add charges for the service to older residents which seems to be the way our council operates these days.
The headline might read Culture Culture Culture

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