Gerry asked me to be nice so that is what I am going to try to do with this piece. Focus on Newton No 273 was delivered a few days ago. With the sub headline “working for you year round” I’m reminded of the 3/4 months they had off recently when they never attended council or town committee meetings but I’m being nice, so no more on that.
Recently there have been a couple of stories in our local evening newspaper concerning the closure of Sons of Rest facilities in our Borough. Tory from Wednesbury was one of the leading opponents to this and had some good press over it so it was not surprising that our Liberals thought they would get in on the act. Problem is they messed up just a bit. Headline;- Councillors say they will call in decision for further investigation. The article refers to Great Barr & Yew Tree councillors Joyce Underhill and Sadie Smith. Joyce Underhill represents Newton Ward of course. I have been concerned for some time that her main interests have been outside our ward. It must be that nasty man from the Express & Star getting the facts wrong again. Councillor Mrs. Underhill goes on to claim that the club in Great Barr had a big money revamp less than three years ago. My recollection of this was that it was a face lift low budget paint job with the work carried out by young offenders. I was one of the local big wigs invited to the official opening. She then goes on to claim that as far as Great Barr is concerned we have no leisure centres at all apart from the Sons of Rest and the Tanhouse Centre. Again this is stretching the truth just a tad. We have facilities at St. Bernards, Holy Name community centre and at Allen Memorial Church. Calling in this decision for the scrutiny board may seem to some to embarrass the council but it will only delay the inevitable. We do need facilities for our older people but Sons of Rest is not it these days. If these groups are so vital why are their numbers falling. We need a broader look at what older people need not this knee jerk reaction for a few cheap votes. I remember a couple of years back a council report following a select committee on older people. Time to dust it off and check the evidence again and the recommendations.
Now that was nice for me. If Sons of Rest members want help in organising new groups then contact Bob the Black Country Brummie but it’s no good putting your head in your hands and expecting local councillors to help with this one. We know that if our generation want something doing we better do it ourselves.