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Birstall Post may 2020 (number 442)

Birstall's clap for carers

Pic: Deeya & Jush Brahmbatt & Kritveer Jaggi on Wellgate Avenue

PEOPLE ACROSS Birstall have been united in their applause for NHS carers by coming outside for the 8pm ‘clap for our carers’ every Thursday.

Pic: Brenda Todd making some noise for the NHS

Our pictures show the scene on Wellgate Avenue where a NHS banner made by Mrs Joan Folland is carried by Jush and Deeya Brahmbatt while Kritveer Jaggi rings a bell to add to the noise of the clapping and the clatter of pots and pans from neighbours.

Joan said: “I made the banner from a couple of bedsheets. I have family in the NHS and so does my neighbour and I made the banner because I thought they needed our support and 8pm on Thursdays is our way of showing how much we support them.”

Every Thursday Jush, Deeya and Kritveer have been carrying the banner and ringing the bell along Wellgate Avenue and Sandgate Avenue.

Guneet Jaggi of Sandgate Avenue said: “It’s one way we have to thank the NHS staff who do so much for us and it’s great to see the children getting involved.”

Cyclist dies after crash on Wanlip Lane

Pic: the scene of the collision

A CYCLIST has died following a collision with a car on Wanlip Lane, Birstall, on Tuesday April 7.

Police were called to the area at 12.37pm following a report of the incident which involved the cyclist and a silver Vauxhall Astra car.

The collision happened near the Cedars Academy. Both the cyclist and the car were travelling towards Birstall at the time of the collision.

East Midlands Ambulance Service also attended the scene and the cyclist, a man in his 60s, was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. He died in hospital on Saturday April 18.

No other injuries have been reported.

The road was closed while officers carried out enquiries at the scene.

Detective Constable Pete Davies said: “We are appealing to anyone who did happen to be in the area at the time and who has any information to make contact.

“From initial enquiries, we understand there may have been pedestrians in the area when this collision happened. If you were, please make contact with us.

“Similarly, if anyone was driving in the area at the time of the incident, or prior to it, please check any dashcam footage you may have and please make contact with us regarding any information you may have,”

Anyone with any information should contact 101 quoting incident 262 of April 7.

Virus stalls plan

LEICESTER CITY Council’s Draft Local Plan, which included a site for 661 new homes off Greengate Lane, has been stalled by the coronavirus pandemic.

A statement on the Council’s website says: “The Draft Local Plan consultation has been postponed until further notice due to the Coronavirus emergency. Further updates will be available on the council website and Twitter.”

A secondary school is also planned for the 48 hectare site. It would be located near the junction of Greengate Lane and Ashton Green.

A further plot of land, 4.86 hectares next to the 17th tee on Birstall Golf Course has been identified as employment land. It has no highways access and is currently agricultural land. Other parts of this field have been identified for employment land as part of the Ashton Green development.

53 new homes are planned for a 2.78 hectare site behind Park Road, adjacent to the railway. The site is currently a part of Birstall golf course.

The plan also identifies land south of Thurcaston for 412 new homes.

All the documents relating to the draft plan are still available to view on the city council’s website, from its Consultation Hub page.

The Draft Local Plan covers the period 2019-2036 and states that 21,291 homes will be built in Leicester, with 30% affordable housing on greenfield sites.

Birstall: adapting to life under lockdown

THE CORONAVIRUS is having a big impact on all our lives and adapting and coping is a challenge.

The Birstall Post has contacted some of our local services, groups and organisations to give an insight into how life has changed under lockdown, and how they are adapting to serve the community.

Birstall Cedar Mews Care Home

Pic: the Cedar Mews care home in Birstall

Cedar Mews is a 73 bed care home on Hallam Fields Road.

Ben Dalgetty, Home Admissions Adviser, said: “We are doing well with no major concerns and we are still open for admissions – both permanent and respite – although still closed to general visitors.

“We would like to thank all of our staff for their dedication and resilience during these times. We would also like to thank the families of our residents for their unwavering support as well as the local community – we have had letters and pictures from local children for our residents, donations of Hot cross buns and fresh eggs from Waitrose in Mountsorrel and general well wishes from the community.”

Greengate Medical Centre

This GP practice on Greengate Lane has seven GPs and looks after 11,596 patients.

Sara Mitchell, Assistant Practice Manager, said: “We would like to thank all of our patients for their understanding and patience at such an unusual and trying time for us all.

“In order to continue supporting our patients in the most efficient way we can, we have adapted our clinics by holding telephone consultations for our patients in order to drastically reduce the footfall into the surgery. In doing this, we will reduce both patients and staff risk of exposure to Covid-19. Clinicians will advise you directly should they need you to come to the surgery once a telephone consultation has taken place.

Pic: two of the frontline staff - Senior Receptionist Sarah Burton and Medical Receptionist Caroline Hewing-Jones in their PPE.

“We would like to stress that you should not be attending the surgery unless you have been advised to do so. This includes staying at home to make an appointment, as these can be made over the phone. Can we remind everyone of the government advice to STAY AT HOME with only the exception of ESSENTIAL duties and key workers going to and from work. This applies to everyone regardless of symptoms but in particular, those considered more vulnerable such as the elderly or those with chronic conditions, even if you currently feel well with no symptoms. NHS England have sent letters to those who are most at risk – Unfortunately, we do not have any control over who does and does not receive these letters.

“If there are people struggling to collect prescriptions from the surgery, please call 0116 2677901 and nominate a pharmacy which is closer to home if possible. We are aware of a fantastic team of Birstall volunteers helping our community that are prepared to offer assistance to those who are in self isolation. The individuals contact details have been posted through residents doors across the village.

“Everyone here at Greengate Medical Centre is working tirelessly to make adaptations to cope with the huge increase in telephone enquiries and for prescription requests. Please be aware that there may be some delay at times to our usual turnaround. We would like to reassure you that whilst you may have to wait a little longer on the phone at busy times, we WILL answer all calls and you should not just attend the surgery as an alternative option. We have been advised not to supply prescriptions for any more than the usual time period for medications as this could negatively impact supplies and fulfilment by the pharmacies.

“Thank you again to the whole community for your continued support of the surgery, our own fantastic team and to the whole of the NHS, which in turn, is helping us to help our patients.

Birstall Food Hub

Run by volunteers and providing food and essentials on a weekly basis to people on benefits or low wages

Gill Chester writes:

Challenges

Initially procedures needed changing almost on a daily basis! To begin with to maintain social distancing and good hygiene. Subsequently to prevent people coming in to a central point altogether.

Lack of contact with our clients. From being a place where people can have a chat and a drink, can be pointed in the right direction for help and advice, we became a place that discouraged our clients from staying around and we started delivering where we could.

Significant increase in client numbers – from a client base on benefits – many in that no-man’s land of Universal Credit – we now have people who don’t know what their situation is. They used to have a job, but they’ve been put on furlough, they might be on the 80% pay scheme, but they don’t know how that works or when they’ll get money.

Having to maintain the scope of what we can and can’t do, can we/should we deliver outside Birstall and Wanlip? Decided not to, because other food banks cover those areas. Can we help those who don’t have access to cash but can afford food? No, our constitution does not cover us to do this. We are set up to “provide food parcels and a listening ear to people in food poverty and to point them to other help that might be appropriate”.

Thanks

So many people who have donated food – keep it coming!! Money less needed – we have been very lucky to receive some large financial donations.

Huge thank you to Soar Valley Food Project in Rothley for packing up an increasing number of food parcels and creating systems to keep us safe while we fetch them.

Our volunteers – about half of them are in the vulnerable group and are frustrated that they can’t help any more – but we want them to keep healthy! Big thank you to those who are able to help with taking donations to Rothley, fetching and delivering food parcels.

Helping Birstall Facebook Group – for giving information to people who are eligible, and encouraging them to contact us.

Daphne & St Theresa’s for hosting us.

We currently have four pairs of people who can deliver. If our numbers increase or if we get sick we will need some more volunteers who are able to drive. Some people have already offered, but we may need more. Naturally our work involves some vulnerable people, so we do have to go through an ‘approval’ process before we can use people – and we have safeguarding processes that must be adhered to – that’s why we require 2 people to deliver parcels together – but this could be in separate cars with social distancing.

birstallfoodhub@gmail.com

07305 093791 for food parcels and 07848 144169 for anything else.

Helping Birstall LE4

A village wide network of volunteers supporting their neighbours on a street by street basis using facebook, whatsapp and telephone.

The admin team of Rosie, Shona, Kelly, Sharon and Rachel would like to say a huge thank you to each and every volunteer that has reached out to help the community. There have been many requests and as far as we aware we have found a solution to all of them. The group is still growing in numbers and people frequently call or access the facebook page for advice. The community is very responsive.

One of the challenges is finding places to signpost people in need of ongoing support. We share links to various groups, Domestic Violence, Mental Health, the Government website as well as where to get a food delivery.

Accessing temporary food and identifying which solution is right for people's needs is ongoing. We can use the Birstall Food Hub and John Storer House. The Open Hands charity has donated food parcels.

The collection of prescriptions was incurring lots of unnecessary journeys and waiting. We now have an arrangement where we email the Well Pharmacy at Greengate Lane, and Boots on Sibson Road, and then we collect and deliver the following evening. We encourage people to use this service which is accessed by texting or calling 0782 334 9658

We have a list of people who are willing to just chat if anyone would like to make use of this. Contact the phone number or the Facebook group.

As part of the 75th celebrations of Victory in Europe (VE day) on 8 May 2020 we are asking people to decorate their windows in red white and blue. The children on #frommywindow Birstall I’m sure won't disappoint.

Pic: donated items

Sharon contacted Tesco Express in Birstall who donated milk, bread and Easter eggs. The Co-op also donated 50 Easter eggs. These were distributed using the street leads. We had lots of lovely messages. One said "it made my day" another said "lots of smiles, a little kindness meant so much.”

Birstall’s schools

How are Birstall schools and children dealing with lockdown?

Chair of Governors at the Cedars Academy Shreek Raivadera writes:

Parents have received information by email but I realised that the wider community may not know what was happening with the schools in Birstall at this unprecedented time.

With just a few days to prepare, the Lionheart Academies trust has moved 11 schools and thousands of students and staff to online learning. The urgency and speed of the lockdown announcement meant that the trust team had to very quickly build a virtual learning environment (VLE) that could be used across all schools. Staff then had to fill that platform with learning materials and resources for students. A project that would normally take months was completed in a matter of days and I cannot praise the staff enough for this massive achievement.

Pics: students at the Cedars Academy have been clearing raised beds, planting seeds and building a new path

Staff across the trust have been absolutely amazing. Senior leaders have had to manage their own emotions and those of staff, parents and pupils and to lead with vision and positivity despite managing the day-to-day learning and preparing for a completely new way of working in a very small timeframe. It has impacted on all areas of school life from catering and cleaning to IT and teaching. Together the schools have so much more capacity and creativity in a crisis than they would have individually, and the work has been hugely impressive.

90% of students have engaged with the online learning, showing real resilience and conscientious care towards their education.

One member of staff at Cedars commented on the provision for key workers and vulnerable pupils, that, “the staff and students have been ridiculously positive, grateful and resilient to the situation and got on with it with zero complaints. The community and public spirit has been overwhelming. Determined, dedicated and passionate staff with the ‘greater good’ at heart.”

Pic: children from Birstall’s primary schools have been decorating their room at the Cedars

Key worker provision

The Lionheart Academies Trust created two ‘hubs’ for all children in the trust (primary and secondary), one at The Cedars Academy and the other at Beauchamp College. Children of key workers have been using this provision, which has also been available to vulnerable families. This approach has allowed the trust to make the best use of available staff while ensuring those children are kept safe.

Staff agreed to continue the provision over the Easter holidays and have been flexible about taking holiday time.

On day 4, a member of staff at Cedars commented that, “Colleagues treated students to dodgeball, bottle rockets, chair drumming, online learning (of course) and a bit of electric guitar. Kids loved it! But what was really strange was the fact the students, yes students, refused to do the fun bits until the online learning was done ... who trained them to be diligent learners? Students are being amazeballs!”

Staff teamworking

Staff have been holding virtual meetings regularly to ensure learning and resource creation is moving forward. One small positive outcome is that the collaboration between subject matter experts across the various schools in the trust has increased massively so information and support is shared across the group. It has been amazing to see how well everyone has stepped up to the challenges raised by the virus.

The trust team is also meeting regularly to update and track the huge amount of change. Their positivity and hard work is very impressive.

Curriculum development

Another small positive outcome from the current situation is the time released for staff to work together in teams across the schools to develop full trust curricula ready for September. This will bring forward the rollout for schools and has allowed staff to have quality time to work together.

Next steps for online learning

The online learning platform will continue to evolve. The first aim was to make sure there was content on there. This is already being revised to create a consistent format across all the departments at secondary.

The next step is to create a more ordered thematic structure to the content, and how to quality assure the learning that’s included.

The trust will develop the VLE further with videos and some live lessons. Research shows that live lectures are a less effective way of learning than wrestling with ideas within an individual written piece of work, but there are clear benefits in terms of inspiring students to engage and pointing them to specific online resources to tackle next. The lectures will also be recorded ready for students to access in the future.

It’s interesting to see that in New Zealand, which went into full lockdown at a day’s notice, the equivalent of the Department for Education provided a bank of resources for the whole country on day one which schools can then supplement, which will have been hugely helpful to schools. We’ve really benefitted from having 10 schools to pull resources from – managing this whole crisis as a standalone school must be overwhelmingly challenging.

Online learning is different

Please do not worry that somehow you or your children are not doing enough. Children are anxious about the pandemic and we need to reassure them as much as possible.

Parents: you are not ‘home schooling.’ Your children are learning from home and they have lots of support available from the school. Staff are responding to emails and the virtual learning environment has an online forum area with staff on a rota to answer questions.

I have seen a post on Facebook about a student and their parent being in tears over some of the work. This should absolutely not be the case.

Students: If you don’t understand something or can’t do a piece of work yet, please contact your teacher and don’t worry.

The work set is to support and educate but it is flexible and so the manner and timing of working at home can be adapted according to family preference.

Donating safety kit and food

We are donating safety resources already in schools which are desperately needed by the NHS such as goggles and masks. We have had several requests from individuals and groups within the NHS for these and are working with the Regional Schools Commissioner, who is raising this with NHS leaders.

Staff at Cedars, Martin High and Beauchamp have also made PPE equipment using laser cutters, with 2000 full face masks made to date and sent to 58 different hospital wards, care homes, care community workers, GPs, prisons, funeral directors, Leicester Air Ambulance, East Midlands Ambulance Service, The Red Cross Ambulance and pharmacies.

Pic: The new two story science block at the Cedars Academy is nearing completion. The building is part of a £5.6 million project, delivered by Interserve, that also includes the refurbishment of the Stonehill building and the demolition of the schools main building, block A.

Building work

So far, building work at various trust schools has continued, including the new science block at Cedars, with some pieces of work being left until later because of social distancing rules. Remarkably, the new City 6th Form is on track for completion on time.

Finally, we would like to thank you for your understanding and continuing support through this period. As a part of the Birstall community, we are very grateful for the way in which individuals have quickly responded and supported their communities during this unprecedented time.

Birstall Pet Supplies

Pic: Grant & Lucy from Birstall Pet Supplies

Lucy and Grant from the popular Sibson Road shop report:

Challenges for us have been trying to maintain our usual good stock levels when suppliers are having a tough time keeping their stock in too. Working longer hours than usual trying to visit suppliers before we open at 10am and I’m working late into the evenings to ensure everybody has their deliveries after a day’s service in the shop. Also as we are a family business trying to keep shop communication going whilst one of us is at home and one of us is in the shop plus juggling the care of our 6 children! All good fun!!

We have changed our business into a free delivery service; we take orders over the phone or through Facebook and then do doorstop deliveries in the afternoon and evenings. We have still kept the shop open 10 till 2 pm daily try to keep your customers happy, we keep customers at the shop door to help stop the spread of the virus and support the government’s 2 meter social distancing rulings.

Our customers have been extremely thankful that they can stay home and safe but still receive the products that they would especially as they are delivered free to their door. We have had so much positive praise on Facebook and hopefully and lots of new lovely customers.

We would like to thank all our regular customers who have continued to support us during this difficult time, and also say a huge thank you to all of the new customers who have supported local and made a conscious effort to help support small businesses like ourselves.

We always offer a totally free delivery service throughout Leicestershire. We are a small family business who strives to provide good customer service as well as excellent prices. Although we are a small shop, there is very little that we can’t get hold on request and we always try to be very competitive compared to other pet shops especially big corporate ones! For more information please see our Facebook page “Birstall Pet Supplies”, calling to see is in the shop or give us a ring on 01162671681 or 07775438036.

Nurse retiring from surgery

Pic: Sister Julie Martindale from Greengate Medical Centre

A POPULAR practice nurse at a Birstall surgery is retiring after 18 years.

Sister Julie Martindale is Greengate Medical Centre’s longest serving practice nurse.

Spokeswoman Sara Mitchell said: “Her expertise, dedication and selfless hard work will be sorely missed by all of her colleagues and patients alike. Julie’s encouraging, wonderful personality, passion and vast medical knowledge has always demanded the utmost respect from all that worked with and alongside her over the years. We are truly grateful for all that she has accomplished at the surgery, the wonderful relationships built with our patients and the endless contribution to providing an outstanding level of care here.”

She added: “The timing of the global pandemic may have ultimately slightly delayed her retirement plans somewhat, but once she can hang up her uniform over the coming month or so, we will hopefully be able to show our appreciation and celebrate her inspirational career properly. From everyone at Greengate Medical Centre, we would like to wish Julie a well-deserved, happy and healthy retirement and best wishes for the future.”

Garage half marathon

Pic: Joe running in his garage

A BIRSTALL runner completed a half marathon on a treadmill in his garage.

Joe Boyle, a member of Birstall Running Club, was inspired by finding out how many NHS, front line and key workers were members of Birstall Running Club. He asked them to guess his finish time and the winner would be picked from the key workers that took part.

Joe started his challenge, in his Dalby Avenue garage, just after 10am on a blisteringly hot sunny morning. The running club could see his progress online, as Joe's daughter Lana kept the club up to date with a ‘live stream’ on Facebook at several points during the run.

Joe remembers starting well and felt great at the half-way point but had a rough patch at around 9 miles in, because of the heat and humidity in the garage. He finished his run at 11.37am, completing the challenge in 1hr 33 mins and 53 secs - averaging 7m 10s per mile - and felt ‘cream crackered’. His final thoughts were: “that a little bit of hard work and discomfort was just a drop in the ocean to what the NHS and key workers are doing for us all.”

The winner of a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates was club runner Steve Hickingbottom who is a porter at LRI.

Man charged

A MAN has been charged with attempted murder following an incident in Enderby that left a silver Mitsubishi vehicle riddled with bullet holes.

Christopher Casey (22) of Thurcaston Road was arrested and charged with three counts of attempted murder, and for possessing a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence.

The charges relate to an incident on Sunday February 16, when two people suffered gunshot wounds in Blaby Road, Enderby.

A third person was also shot at and suffered minor injuries. They did not make themselves known to the police until after the incident.

Armed police were deployed to the scene following reports from the public of shots being fired and a group of men involved in an altercation.

Birthday celebrations

LAMBOURNE ROAD residents pulled together to mark two birthdays of young people on their street.

Pic: Cody Bilby (with cake), celebrates his birthday with (l-r) Kerry Berridge, Natalie Gray and Maceyleigh Berridge

16-year-old Cody Bilby thought his birthday would go by without it feeling special as he was unable to share it with his friends.

But Karen Steward and Sharon Clark-Monks posted notes to all residents on the street inviting them out for a rendition of Happy Birthday – Cody was thrilled to see the turnout and there were smiles all round as his neighbours watched as he blew out the candles on his cake, with everyone remaining at a safe distance.

A couple of weeks later Liliana Clark-Monks turned five and was feeling upset that her birthday party had been postponed.

Pics: (above & below) Liliana had a special fifth birthday

FaceTime videos and messages were sent as well as balloons flying across the garden wall from neighbours which brought smiles to her face. Teachers and support staff from Riverside School sent online messages and the manager at Half Pints used her daily exercise to walk to the other side of the village to put up a happy birthday banner for Liliana's birthday. To round off the day, a cake was delivered by Salena Rocks Cakes from Birstall and locals joined together in their front gardens to sing Happy Birthday and help celebrate.

“Presents and cards were left at safe distances and a real community spirit was felt” said her mum Sharon.

She added: “Despite these unprecedented times, the community spirit in Birstall is very much alive and only growing stronger with each day.

“I am completely overwhelmed with the support and kindness I am witnessing in the village. I feel very lucky to be a part of such a lovely community.”

• On Kingsgate Avenue, residents were notified about the 60th wedding anniversary of David and Rita Steward and at 4pm on the day, neighbours came out of their front doors to celebrate with them, all at a safe distance.

Policing the lockdown rules

REPORTS OF a Birstall barber shop opening with six people waiting for haircuts were investigated by police on April 10.

When police arrived at the scene the shop was closed.

Calls to police from the public reporting breaches of the virus regulations have seen a surge in the number of antisocial behaviour incidents across Leicestershire. In the week to Sunday April 5, the force received 613 calls reporting some form of antisocial behaviour, compared to 301 in the same week last year.

In Birstall and Wanlip, the police team received 30 calls regarding people breaching the lockdown rules between March 25 and April 10.

PC David Jaeckels said: “The vast majority of these calls relate to neighbours reporting that people in their street have been ignoring the rules and having friends or family members to visit, who do not live at the address, or reporting that their neighbours have been going out multiple times a day, rather than just for ‘essential’ trips or to go to work etc.

“We have also had a few calls about people climbing into the Parks on School Lane and Harrowgate Drive to play football & basketball etc, as well as calls about people continuing to use the BMX track on Meadow Lane, despite these facilities being closed.

“Other calls relate to some people having BBQ’s in the street and continuing to mix with neighbours, as well as a few calls regarding builders continuing to work on houses for ‘non-essential’ works.”

He added: “At present, the approach we are adopting is to Engage, Explain, Encourage and as a last resort, Enforce.”

Engage – To engage with people and educate them regarding the rules about what they can / can’t do & ask them to comply.

Explain – To explain about the risks the virus poses to all and how staying at home / adhering to the rules can help the NHS in the long run.

Encourage – To encourage people to stay at home in order to allow the NHS to save lives & protect the most vulnerable in society.

Enforce – Where all else fails, to use our powers under the new Health Protection act to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN’s), or arrest / summons to court if no other option is available & a person(s) is refusing to comply with the rules.

PC Jaeckels said: “As yet, no FPN’s have been issued in Birstall & Wanlip – we clearly do not want to take this course of action unless absolutely necessary. We have dealt with the vast majority of breaches so far by visiting the people involved and explaining the rules and reminding them of their duty to abide by these for the benefit of all.”

In Leicestershire as a whole the police issued 20 fixed penalty notices between March 25 and April 9. The fine is £60, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.

The four reasons people can go outside are to:

1) Go to work (if working from home is not an option).

2) To go shopping for basic necessities.

3) Exercise – once a day, as briefly as possible & ideally within the local area.

4) To care for an elderly / vulnerable person.

Parish Council news

BIRSTALL PARISH Council would like to take the opportunity of keeping you all informed about how we are functioning during this very difficult situation we all find ourselves in, due to the Covid 19 Pandemic.

We currently have 16 serving Parish Councillors, a large number of whom are in vulnerable or at risk groups. Some of our staff are also restricted by self isolation due to symptoms of the virus or underlying health conditions. Our office is closed to the public as are our playing fields / play areas, in order to prevent public gatherings.

That said, during the lockdown period normal Parish Council business has continued, albeit in a much different way. Modern technology has enabled those who can to work from home. The office staff are available via the usual email addresses and they have alternated days of working in the office as individuals, practising social distancing. The Estates Team are also operating a rota, allowing them to keep on top of tasks such as mowing, emptying bins on Parish Council land, burial work and attendance when required at the cemetery.

An emergency phone number of 07885 455589 has been widely promoted. This is held by our Clerk who has made herself available to answer it 24/7. In the first two weeks 18 calls were received and happily caller’s issues resolved. Even if the Parish Council cannot help with all requests it can point enquirers in the right direction. Our Clerk is the lynch pin in keeping Councillors and Staff updated , disseminating information and co-ordinating activities. This also involves liaising with larger authorities and other constituted groups in Birstall.

The Chair of Birstall Parish Council has made contact with two groups to offer the Parish Council’s support and assistance wherever possible. Unfortunately, the Parish Council is not legally allowed to give public money to unconstituted groups, however, the Clerk has made members of one group aware of a Government funding stream through Leicestershire County Council and has offered her assistance in the application process should they need it.

Community led groups have played a huge part in reaching residents who need help through their volunteer street co-ordinators and Birstall Food Hub has continued its valuable work. We thank them all and applaud their actions.

The Parish Council are working with officers at Charnwood Borough Council who have been seconded to the Charnwood Community Action (CCA). Parish Councillors and Staff, who are able, have volunteered to get involved in delivering the Government Food Parcels. Similarly, the Parish Council has also been able to offer volunteers to the befriending scheme (by telephone) that CCA will set up and co-ordinate.

You can be reassured that the Parish Councillors and Staff remain ready and willing to help with any requests or concerns that residents may have. Contact details for all Councillors are on the Parish Council website: www.birstallparishcouncil.org.uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/birstallpc or you can contact the Clerk directly by email: admin@birstallpc.org.uk or you can call her by using the dedicated emergency phone number: 07885 455589.

Birstall Parish Council sincerely hopes that you stay safe and manage to cope with the restrictions placed on your daily life during this very difficult time.

Our very best wishes to you all,

From Councillor Ann Marshall

Chair of Birstall Parish Council

Funding for groups

MORE THAN 160 community and voluntary groups have applied for a share of a £1million fund to support the most vulnerable across the county.

Leicestershire County Council launched the Communities Fund in April to ensure that voluntary organisations can continue to carry out vital work, despite the impact coronavirus is having on their finances.

Nick Rushton, Leader of the county council, said; “I’m delighted by the huge response to the Communities Fund so far and it shows that volunteers and groups want to continue making a difference.

“It’s never been more important for communities to band together and support each other. And it’s crucial that their work not only continues but groups are able to step up activities to support vulnerable people and those isolating.

“This fund enables people to stay safe by staying at home and ultimately, saves lives. I’d like to thank our volunteers and community groups for their fantastic work and I would encourage those who haven’t yet to visit the website to find out more.”

YOUR SAY...

We will beat it

I write this for the Post when, normally, we would all be looking forward to the Easter weekend as a time to spend with friends and family; instead everyone will be staying at home this Easter, following the Government’s instruction to do so, save in very limited specific circumstances.

While my team & I are working hard locally to try to respond to the huge volumes of correspondence I’ve received in recent weeks, nationally, as Minister of State for Health, I have seen how hard everyone is working to beat this disease, and the amazing talent of the scientists and clinicians who are advising us. The message from them, and from the Government, is very clear: as we have seen with our Prime Minister, anyone can catch or spread this disease, so it is hugely important people continue to stay at home and follow the rules. (The most up to date information can be found at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus).

I want to reassure you that while I do understand just how difficult it has been to make these sacrifices - from not visiting loved ones, to handling the great deal of uncertainty these times have caused for people’s livelihoods - we must all remember that, by working together and respecting the rules, it is making a real difference in reducing the spread of the disease, helping protect our NHS, save lives, and ultimately beat coronavirus.

I want to conclude by saying a huge thank you to our amazing NHS, social care, care home, and pharmacy workers for the fantastic job they are doing every day, but also more broadly, to everyone, for the massive efforts they are making to comply with the rules, for the key workers keeping the country going, and people supporting others in need across our Charnwood communities. When our country comes together, as it has done, with a shared sense of purpose, I believe we are unbeatable, and we will beat this disease.

Edward Argar MP

Minister of State for Health

Member of Parliament for Charnwood

Thanks

Thank you to Jerry Jackson for producing the Birstall Post, which is a real voice for the community. And thank you for finding ways of getting it out during this crisis. You’re a star!

Gill Chester

In it together

Gone are family, gone are friends,

The NHS is where our future depends,

Too much strain, too much pressure,

That’s why they take these extreme measures,

The invisible killer isn’t here to play,

Stealing lives, day after day,

Just stay inside don’t go outdoors,

If it’s not essential don’t go to the stores!

To covid, people are losing their fight,

Whilst you have picnics and parties lasting until midnight.

Eight o’clock on a Thursday clap clap clap,

But you don’t seem to understand, do you need a recap?

Yes the rules apply to you too,

Yet you disobey them, how dare you,

You may have a reason but does covid care?

So listen to this plea if you have even a minute to spare,

Stay indoors, we’re in it together,

You’re not the only one at the end of your tether.

Kiri Hobbs (13)

HATS

HATS just wanted to say hello to everyone. Our main message is that we hope you are all managing as well as you can under the very difficult circumstances.

We were sorry to have had to cancel our Spring Play, “Penny Black”, after everyone put so much work and effort into creating another fabulous production for you all to enjoy. However, the good news is that we plan to go ahead with this production for our Spring Play 2021, so watch this space for further details. Clearly this will depend on any guidelines given out by the Government at this time.

In the meantime we are looking at our Panto production, which hopefully will take place in November 2020, again this will be dependent on any guidelines given out by the government. We will keep you updated and hopefully see you soon.

We want to make sure we produce something special for you, and for ourselves. This will be in recognition of HATS celebrating 30 years in October since the group was established. Yes 30 years! We are proud to say that we are the oldest, well established and well respected Amateur Dramatics Society in Birstall, and we will endeavour to ensure that we continue to produce quality enjoyable performances for you all for many more years.

Please take care and look after yourselves and each other.

Sue Withers (HATS)

The Need

My name is Bernadette Gibson and I live on Wanlip Lane. My husband Chris Gibson and I are starting our 5th week of shielding as I write this on April 15. Last month my letter and poem 'Blue Air' was published in The Birstall Post.

I would be grateful if you could publish another one of my poems, it is called 'The need', and it has also been previously published. Again it is a nature poem and I hope it brings comfort to whoever reads it during this time.

The need

Blackbirds’ song is on the breeze

it echoes through the forest trees

where beauty lives desire breathes.

Through shards of light I make my way

though shadows fall and darken day

my instincts guide, I know the way.

I reach the end and feel the sun

slow to a stop, no need to run

this heart of rock the forest won.

By Bernadette Gibson

Draft Local Plan

I have read in February’s community newspaper, The Birstall Post, of the city council’s Draft Local Plan, which recommends a mixture of housing and employment land etc. located off each side of Greengate Lane, west of the GCR railway line.

According to the published plan the proposed development between Greengate Lane and the A46, the western by-pass, covers the whole of that area: the land designated as ‘green wedge.’ This makes a mockery of the term ‘green wedge.’ The area contains a small wood of trees (seemingly neglected), which has probably been there for many years, and is possible regarded as ancient woodland. Is it the intention of the development to destroy that wood to make space for housing or other buildings?

Presumably the plan envisages vehicles leaving and entering the development using Ashton Green Road and Greengate Lane. This would be very bad news for the residents of Greengate Lane as the road is already very heavily used by vehicles. In the morning so-called ‘rush hour’ (it should more accurately be called the ‘rush hour and a half’) the vehicles leaving Birstall form an almost continuous stream and although the vehicles coming into Birstall are somewhat less in number, there is still a very large number of them. During the day (Monday to Friday) and approximately 9am to 4.30pm there is still a very large number going in both directions, before there is a large increase with commuters returning home. During the night, in the early hours, large lorries travel along Greengate Lane at times.

It seems a much better plan would be for any development to take place on just one side of Greengate Lane: between that road and Birstall Golf Club. All traffic leaving and entering that development could use Ashton Green Road, therefore not involving any extra traffic using Greengate Lane directly.

When it was proposed to establish a camp for travellers towards the end of Greengate Lane, it was stated that it would be well managed. That certainly does not seem to be the case, as it looks a really untidy mess. Not all the travellers who reside there for a time own ponies but some of them do own two or three. At those times ponies are seen on fairly short tethers amongst the caravans and vehicles, looking dejected and miserable, very sad to see. What they need is a largish area of pasture to feed off fresh grass and to run around on.

Therefore my proposal for the ‘green wedge’ area is for an area between Ashton Green Road and the wood to be made into pasture for ponies owned by travellers. Also, in view of all the thousands of houses being built on the Ashton Green estate and thousands more on the proposed Broadnook development, there will be a need for extra pitches for sport: football, rugby, hockey etc. Therefore it would seem to be a good plan to provide some artificial pitches along Ashton Green Road going beyond the ‘pastures for ponies’ area. Also, why not provide a leisure centre (including a swimming pool) with a large car park on land alongside the A46?

With the population of the UK estimated to be at least 70 million by 2050, I know there is a need for many extra houses to be built but equally and probably more importantly there is a need, as the government has announced, to plant billions of trees as one way of combating climate change, which is very much with us now as a huge, threatening crisis that we have to face and deal with.

With proposed development of housing etc. only taking place on one side of Greengate Lane between there and Birstall Golf Club, and the proposed facilities I suggest for the ‘green wedge,’ it would leave the rest of that area available for thousands of trees to be planted adjoining the present wood. This would be quite a large area of trees and could, no doubt, be deemed a small forest (perhaps Ashton Green Forest or Greengate Forest?). It would be a haven for birds and wildlife, and a welcome facility for walkers from all the surrounding estates. It would greatly enhance the status of Leicester as “Environment City” and very much help to combat climate change.

Mr J Woods

Noticeboard

Birstall Parish Council Annual Report & Accounts to March 2020

Signs of an abusive relationship

You may be:

• in fear of your partner or family member

• controlled by your partner or family member

• constantly belittled

Where to get help

If you live in the city of Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland and you think you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse or sexual violence, you can contact

United Against Violence and Abuse (UAVA)

Text only support: 07715 994 962

Phone advice line: 0808 802 0028

The advice line is open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday.

It’s free, confidential and hidden from bills.

The police work closely with UAVA to make sure that victims receive the help and support they need

* * *

Birstall Food Hub

Food to last a few days for anyone on benefits or low wages.

During lockdown we are no longer able to open on Tuesdays.

Please phone or text your details (name and how many of you) to 07305 093791 or email birstallfoodhub@gmail.com by Sunday evening. We will then arrange a delivery on the Monday (Birstall or Wanlip only).

If you’d like to support us, there is a trolley at the back door of the Co-op in Birstall for any donations – only non-perishable food items and toiletries please – no fresh produce – or contact us on the above phone no. or email address.

* * *

Birstall & District Art Society

Tuesday, 12th May

Tuesday, 9th June

These meetings have been cancelled

* * *

Birstall Royal British Legion

As we are unable to give an opening date due to the Coronavirus we would just like to reassure all our Members that our Club will still be operating as normal once the Government gives their permission for us to open again.

We want all our members and their families to stay safe and look forward to seeing you all soon, from The Committee, Karen and all the staff

* * *

Receive the latest news, updates and events information direct from the police www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk

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Get the latest crime reduction and community safety advice

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You can unsubscribe at any time if the system is not for you

REGISTER TODAY www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk

Man dies in car crash

Pic: John Jenkins tragically lost his life in a car crash

A 72-year-old man from Birstall has died in a crash on the A47.

John Jenkins of Loughborough Road, Birstall, was pronounced dead at the scene despite the best efforts of paramedics.

Officers were called at about 4pm on April 21 to the three vehicle collision on the A47, Wansford, Lincolnshire which involved a Mazda 3SE driven by Mr Jenkins, a Renault Clio and a Fiat Fullback.

A passenger in the Mazda and the driver of the Renault were both taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital with serious injuries.

Mr Jenkins was a former Birstall Parish Councillor and a President of Birstall Bowling Club.

Anyone who witnessed the vehicles driving prior to the collision, or who has dashcam footage of the collision, is asked to call 101, quoting incident 300 of 21 April. Alternatively, you can report online at www.cambs.police.uk/report.

Phone support for elderly

THE CHARITY Age UK runs a telephone service, Call in Time, to support lonely people aged over 60.

What is Call in Time?

Call in Time is a free telephone friendship service for people 60 and over. They’ll match you up with a likeminded person who's keen to make a new friend, and every week they'll give you a call.

Not having someone to talk to regularly can be lonely, particularly if you're used to sharing your home and time with others. A friendly, 30-minute chat on the phone every week can make all the difference.

How does Call in Time work?

You sign up and register your interest (or refer someone else).

Age UK check you (or the person you're referring) match all the criteria. What's the criteria?

Age UK find a likeminded person who has similar interests and hobbies to you or the person you're referring. Sometimes that can take a few weeks, so while they are waiting to find the right person, Age UK call you for a 5-minute catch-up as often as they can.

Age UK connect the two of you to begin your weekly calls.

Who can sign up for Call in Time?

To sign up for Call in Time, you must be:

• over 60

• have your own landline or mobile phone

• able to hear and be understood over the phone

• able to commit to a regular weekly call at the same time.

• Call in Time may not be suitable for people with memory loss, dementia or mental health issues who require higher level support. These conditions may affect the person's ability to build a telephone friendship with a volunteer. In some instances, people with these conditions may actually find the calls more distressing.

www.ageuk.org.uk

Remembering VE Day in Birstall, 1945

Pic: The victory party held on Firfield Avenue

THIS MAY marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allies of World War II on May 8, 1945.

Those old enough to remember the war are reflecting on that time and what we are going through now in the current virus crisis – the feelings of anxiety, imminent danger and pulling together in a common cause.

Pic: Beechfield Avenue put the street shelter at the heart of their celebrations. These large brick shelters were built in many of Birstall’s avenues and side roads but were little used

When war was declared in September 1939, families were going to bed at night in Birstall expecting the German air force to drop bombs on them, or use poison gas – that year everyone in Britain was provided with a gas mask to protect them from gas bombs.

On November 14, 1940 Birstall’s air raid siren sounded and later two aerial mines exploded by the railway bridge on Greengate Lane and a stick of incendiary bombs fell in a field by the river on Birstall Road.

They were dropped by a German plane, a Dornier 17, which crashed near Burton on the Wolds, killing its four crew.

Pic: Birstall people enjoying VJ Day celebrations outside the Earl of Stamford

A wartime map of the village shows the measures taken to fight invading forces: an anti-tank gun on the A6 near Greengate Lane, Lewis machine-gun pits on Greengate Lane and a bomb store on Birstall golf course, part of which was dug up to grow vegetables.

Pics: The Birstall Home Guard ‘A’ company manning the A6/Greengate Lane barricade

Birstall’s Home Guard platoons manned a barricade on the A6 near Greengate Lane, stopping all cars, buses and cyclists and asking for identity cards.

My thanks to Mike Smith, author of ‘Birstall Recalled’ for the pics and historical details: Editor

NHW news & crime report

Limited Activities at Present

Birstall and Wanlip Neighbourhood Watch has almost two-hundred Coordinators and other volunteers involved in its activities. A significant number of us are in the age group that is advised to stay safely at home as much as possible.

The Watch wants to play an active role in supporting the Community during this crisis but does not want anybody to feel obliged to take unnecessary risks. We know that some of our Coordinators have taken local initiatives of their own and we want to thank and applaud them, as well as all the other neighbourhood support schemes that have arisen to meet the needs of our community.

We have had to close our monthly Advice Shop and postpone our Annual General Meeting but are keeping as active as we can, since criminals are continuing their activities and fraudsters and scammers are taking advantage of the crisis and people’s genuine concerns.

We are working with the Police, and our local Beat Team in particular, to play our part in distributing crime safety information as widely as possible.

We are not distributing our Newsletter for the time being but continue to publish it on our website; together with the latest News, Alerts and Warnings as they occur.

Please visit our website at: www.villagewatch.co.uk

We post daily on our Facebook Group and you can find the link to join the Group on our website.

You can also phone us on: 0756 2422 756.

Many members who have returned their donation envelopes have already received their Membership Cards for 2020. However, a number of envelopes are now held in transit. We shall collect and process them as soon as it is possible and wise to do so.

It is good that so many people are looking after their neighbours at this time. Please remember that many of them are even more vulnerable than normal to heartless scammers and may need reminding of that danger also.

Please stay Safe and Well in these troubled times.

Ed Chambers

Committee Chairman, Birstall & Wanlip NHW

Crime update

The coronavirus outbreak is clearly on everyone's minds at the moment and we are urging all residents to abide by the Government advice regarding social distancing and staying at home in order to help reduce the spread. Your beat team will continue to be out and about however patrolling the streets to help reduce crime and disorder, and to ensure people are adhering to the social distancing rules.

As we move forwards we will continue to concentrate on the following beat priority: Theft from Motor Vehicle

Another 7 of these were reported in March with tools being stolen from vans on Colindale Avenue, Wellgate Avenue, Fieldgate Crescent and Stonehill Avenue. We have also had a catalytic converter stolen from a vehicle on Halfpenny Close. Please see the ‘Crime Prevention Advice’ section for more information and some tips on how to help prevent your vehicle from being targeted.

We have had a total of 31 crimes reported to us in March, which is down on February when we had 39. The main categories are as follows: 7 Thefts from vehicles, 6 reports of assault, 5 reports of criminal damage (including 2 reports of vehicles being damaged), 4 Public Order offences, 3 drugs offences, 2 dwelling burglaries, 2 ‘other thefts’, 1 non-dwelling burglary and 1 report of Fraud.

Consultation

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak we have unfortunately had to cancel all of our planned consultation events until further notice, however as soon as we are able to do so, we will arrange some further events and details of these will be published in forthcoming newsletters.

In the meantime, you can stay in touch with your beat team by contacting us via phone, email or through the Leicestershire Police website. Neighbourhood Link is also a free and easy way of finding out what is happening on the beat and what the Police are doing in your area. It is free, only takes a few minutes to sign up and you can choose what you receive information about. Sign up now at:www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk

Crime Prevention Advice

I am the new Sergeant for the Birstall and Wanlip Beat having recently taken over from Ps Young who has moved to our redesigned response team. I have worked for Leicestershire Police for 12 years, with 10 of these being on the Charnwood Policing area.

I join the team at both an exciting and challenging time with us recently moving to a new Policing model which will see more officers on patrol who then take responsibility in owning the crime and issues within our communities. The recent COVID-19 outbreak also presents us with a massive challenge which none of us

have experienced before, so I ask you all for your support during this difficult time by only travelling when you absolutely have to. If our communities can do this and adhere to the government guidelines it will mean we as the Police will have more time to focus on the local issues you make us aware of and target those people causing the most harm in your communities. Look out for the elderly & vulnerable & support them where you can in these difficult times and please continue to support Dave and Mark in the work they do on the beat. Thank You. PS 2951

As stated in the ‘Priorities’ section above, we have had another 7 thefts from vehicles reported in March, with vans being targeted for tools. This seems to be an ongoing issue, so please follow the below advice to try and help prevent your van from being attacked:

1) Never Leave anything on display in your van and lock it at all times, even if you leave it for just a few seconds.

2) Fit additional door locks and an audible alarm. Also, consider marking valuable tools & making a note of any serial numbers so they can be traced if they should be stolen.

3) If possible, remove your tools at night, or if this isn’t feasible, consider installing a ‘strong box’ in your van and locking your tools in this to offer an additional level of security.

4) Reverse your van up against a wall, garage door or another vehicle so the doors cannot be opened easily.

A message from Sergeant Chris Boylin

Social Distancing & Police Powers

Under the new Public Health regulations designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, no person may leave the place where they are living without a ‘reasonable excuse’. Police officers & Community support officers can also instruct groups of 3 or more persons (if not of the same household) to disperse or remove any person from that group to their home. Individuals who refuse to comply may be arrested if this is deemed proportionate.

‘Reasonable excuse’ includes the following:

1) To go shopping for basic necessities.

2) To exercise (once a day, local to home).

3) To seek medical assistance.

4) To care for an elderly (over 70) or vulnerable person.

Please abide by these rules for the health & benefit of all

For further crime information please visit: www.police.uk/leicestershire/NL60/

Sgt 2951 Boylin PC 1759 Jaeckels PCSO 6611 Butler

Garden waste collected

CHARNWOOD BOROUGH Council have resumed collecting garden waste.

The service restarted in Birstall on April 27.

Collections will now be on a monthly basis, instead of the usual once a fortnight.

A council spokesperson said: “We are reviewing the service regularly and will restore a full service as soon as we can.

“We apologise for any continued inconvenience but would like to assure you that, with our waste partner Serco, we are working hard to get our services back to normal as soon as we can.

“We have been delighted with the support you have shown for our refuse collectors who are on the frontline during this crisis. Thank you for all your kind messages to them, they do appreciate it and we look forward to that continuing.”

Bulky waste collections are still suspended.

Birstall Post

THE DELIVERY of the Birstall Post door-to-door is now in the hands of a commercial delivery company.

This is unlikely to be as thorough as the job done by the 134 volunteers that normally deliver the paper, so I apologise to all those who have not had a delivery.

If you are aware of people that have not had the paper delivered, please let me know their address by email editor@birstallpost.co.uk or on 0116 4422067.

You can collect a copy of the paper from Birstall Post Office on Hannah Parade or Wanlip Avenue stores (on the corner of Wanlip Avenue and Wanlip Lane).

You can also read the paper in full on your mobile phone if you go to the website www.birstallpost.co.uk

Please continue to send me your news items and photos: life under lockdown in Birstall.

Many thanks to all our advertisers; without their support the paper could not be published.

Jerry Jackson (Editor, Birstall Post)

Girls have ‘camping’ adventures at home

Pic: Eeshani Mistry from 1st Birstall Guides built a den decorated with fairy lights

EASTER IS usually the time when members of Girlguiding Birstall dust off their tents, shake out their sleeping bags and check the equipment stores as this is when the residential season starts.

“This year however, we have been staying safe at home for Easter but nothing stops a determined Brownie, Guide, Rainbow, Ranger or an excited Leader from an adventure!” said District Commissioner Gemma Jeffs.

Over the ‘Easter Holidays’ hundreds of girls and adults from across Leicestershire, Rutland and even further afield joined in Leicestershire’s Easter Adventure Party, LEAPover, organised by Girlguiding Leicestershire.

Pic: Jack and Esmay Michael with their ‘campfire’- Esmay is a Rainbow at 2ndBirstall Rainbows

Gemma said: “We tried to keep to activities that would traditionally happen at a camp or residential, so the first task was to pack your bag for an overnight stay then find somewhere to sleep that is not your bed. Our members were challenged to set up a tent, build a den, make a blanket fort or convert the dining room table and join with everyone for our first ever virtual camp.

Pic: Maya Mistry, a Brownie at 3rd Birstall Brownies, with her tepee

“Next they had to help to cook a meal, and wash up, that’s very important, then build a real or pretend campfire and sing songs with their family before snuggling down in their den for the night. They have also been engaging in some social action by making a card or doing a drawing for someone who is alone or vulnerable at this time. Everyone who has taken part will receive a certificate and most importantly a badge.”

Pic: Eshani Naran of 1st Birstall Guides

Esmay, Rainbow aged 6, said: “Jack (my brother) and I enjoyed making the tents. The best bit was building the campfire. We had a great time, it was so much fun. We will do it again soon!”

Maya, aged 7, had only recently started Brownies before we went into lock-down but she said her favourite part was “sleeping in her tepee and learning to make a fire.” She said she is “missing Brownies a lot but it (LEAPover) made her feel like she could still do all the fun stuff.”

Guide Eeshani, aged 13, built a blanket fort and decorated it with fairy lights for added sparkle! She said: “The most emotional part was writing a letter to my auntie and grandparents who I am missing dearly.”

Pic: Emily and Sarah Sheppard from 1st Birstall Rangers

“Since Girlguiding is such a big part of my life normally, it’s nice to be able to continue guiding activities even if it’s just at home” said Ranger Emily, aged 17. “Our guiding family is staying strong!”

Pic: Helen Sibson, Barn Owl (Leader) at 3rd Birstall Brownies

Brownie Leader Helen said: “In Girlguiding we don’t let obstacles get in our way, we just adapt and carry on. I love camping anyway so enjoyed a night away in my garden. The best bit was seeing the girls enjoying themselves and getting their families involved. One of our younger Brownies said that it had been the best day of her entire Easter!”

Throughout isolation Girlguiding Birstall’s dedicated leaders have found alternate ways of keeping the guiding spirit going with their girls. Whether it be an email of activities, a weekly challenge on Facebook or a video meeting, Brownies, Guides, Rainbows and Rangers have been continuing to have fun despite the ‘lock down’.

Gemma said: “We have already seen many girls take action and express themselves by choosing an interest badge to work towards such as Photography, Blogging, Mindfulness and Drawing and have had adventures whether it is inside the house or outside in the garden.

District Commissioner Hollie Davison said: “Although we are no longer able to have our weekly meetings, we are determined to carry on as usual bringing fun and adventure to our girls. Lots of our leaders have embraced technology to continue meetings virtually and others are sending out and organising activities the girls can do at home.

“We hope in some small way we are helping to keep our guiding spirit going!”

Guide Parent, Hina Patel-Naran, said: “Continuing guiding over this lock down has been amazing for my daughter. Girls have been able to keep in touch and given the opportunity to be creative with the different challenges set. It’s something to look forward to each week, taking away the feeling of being bored and alone. We’re very grateful for the leaders for making so much effort during this difficult time for our children.”

Packs for cancer patients & staff

WELLBEING PACKS for Leicester hospital staff and patients have been provided thanks to a donation from a local cancer charity.

The £2,200 donation from Birstall BAGs is being used by Leicester Hospitals Charity to purchase wellbeing packs for patients and staff in cancer departments.

Pic: Wellbeing packs for patients and staff

The money will be used to buy:

• Toiletries, hand cream, snacks, shampoo etc for patients while they cannot receive visitors to bring these things.

• Single use (to avoid cross contamination) activities such as craft kits, colouring books for patients

• Relief kits for doctors and nurses working long shifts which include hand cream, shower gel, snacks etc

• Items for wellbeing rooms such as hot drinks, snacks, kettles, microwaves etc

Rachael Boyall from Birstall BAGs said: “While we can’t hold our usual fundraisers right now, we can still support local cancer services by donating the funds our wonderful supporters raise. We’re very happy to help Leicester Hospitals Charity in any way we can.

“We hope these small but important items help the patients and staff on the cancer wards at this very difficult time.”

Louise Jones, Major Giving Manager for Leicester Hospitals Charity added: “It’s wonderful news that Birstall BAGS is able to donate £2,200 to help staff and patients on our cancer wards during the challenging time we are facing at our hospitals in Leicester. This is very much appreciated and will make such a difference to both patients and the staff who care for them.

“Thank you to Birstall BAGs for showing your support for our hospitals and the NHS at this time. It really does mean the world to us.”

Birstall BAGs operates in and around Birstall and Leicestershire and seeks to bring people together to raise funds to support cancer services used by the local community. The charity also takes every opportunity to raise the profile of cancer, particularly with regard to the signs and symptoms, recognising that early diagnosis of cancer really can save lives. Birstall BAGs works with other local charities to provide services that support members of the local community who are living with a diagnosis of cancer.

Recycling sites

LEICESTERSHIRE COUNTY Council has taken the decision to close all of its recycling and household waste sites until further notice.

The county council has also announced that it is closing its children and family well-being centres, again until further notice, as well as locality offices used by adult social care staff.

Weddings which are booked at the council’s registration offices across the county have also been cancelled and will be re-arranged at a later date. People will still be able to register deaths.

In March all country parks across the county were closed until further notice. Watermead Country Park is open to local people who walk or cycle to the park, with the council encouraging people to follow social distancing rules.

All museums and libraries are also closed.

Riverside pupils sing on last day

PUPILS AT Riverside School gathered in the playground for a song on their last day at school on Friday, March 20.

As the country went into lockdown, the children were joined by staff and sang and signed to ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri.

A video of the performance, captioned ‘if we’re going out, we’re going out singing’ was posted on the school’s Twitter page, Riversideps1

Air quality improves

AIR QUALITY in Leicester has improved dramatically in the last two weeks due to the huge reduction in the amount of traffic during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

The drastic fall in the number of cars on the city’s streets has seen levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) – one of the chief pollutants from traffic fumes – plummet to over half its previous levels.

Air quality monitoring stations throughout the city have recorded big reductions in pollution levels since the Government’s coronavirus lockdown came into effect on March 23.

Figures comparing the same weeks in March 2019 and March 2020 show how NO2 levels began to fall drastically from the third week of the month, when more people began working from home, and fell further during the last week of March 2020 when the full lockdown began, with schools, offices and many other businesses closing.

At Vaughan Way – one of the city’s busiest roads and an air quality hotspot – NO2 levels in the third week of March fell to 34 microgrammes per cubic metre of air – compared to 62 during the same week in 2019. By the end of March, after the first full week of the lockdown – levels had fallen to just 24 microgrammes – less than half of the 58 level recorded during the same week the year before.

Last week, NO2 levels fell further to 22 microgrammes – the lowest level ever recorded at Vaughan Way. Other testing stations have recorded a similar pattern of improvement across the city.

Nationally many large cities across the UK have seen dramatic falls in levels of both nitrogen dioxide and other small particulate matter – called PM10 particles – linked to traffic fumes.

Leicester deputy city mayor for the environment, Cllr Adam Clarke, said: “Obviously this improvement in air quality is really good news for everyone living in Leicester, and is a welcome ray of sunshine in what is otherwise a worrying global pandemic.

“Having cleaner, fresher air to breathe in the city couldn’t come at a more important time, as we are faced with the risk of potentially severe respiratory illness caused by coronavirus.

“Obviously we don’t expect pollution levels to remain this low once the lockdown is eased and life eventually returns to normal – but the improvements to air quality do offer a tantalising glimpse of how things could be if we all thought a bit more carefully about whether or not our daily car journeys are essential, and if more people used cleaner, healthier forms of transport such as cycling and walking more often.”

Oven fire

FIRE CREWS were called out to deal with a kitchen fire at a home on Freehold Road on March 31.

Firefighters from Birstall and the city’s Western Fire Station in New Parks attended the incident at 3:50 pm.

The fire was located in the kitchen and two sets of breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a covering jet were used to extinguish it.

The property was ventilated and a stop message was received by fire control at 4:49 pm.

No one was injured in the incident. The cause of the blaze was recorded as “accidental, due to an electrical fault in a cooker.”

The damage was limited to the gas hob and an extractor fan hood.

Planning

P/20/0728/2: 24 Walker Road Birstall LE4 3BN Erection of one dwelling

P/20/0716/2: 44 Fielding Road Birstall LE4 3AL Two and single storey rear extension

P/20/0709/2: 4 Woodgate Drive Birstall LE4 3JU Proposed single storey side and rear extension (revised scheme)

P/20/0627/2: 54 Elmfield Avenue Birstall LE4 3DE Partial garage conversion to create wet room for disabled person

P/20/0675/2: 4 Dale Close Birstall LE4 3LE Single storey extension to front and rear of existing garage and erection of a single storey porch to front of dwelling.

P/20/0648/2: 35 The Crossways Birstall LE4 4ED Single storey side extension to dwelling for replacement garage, following the demolition of existing garage.

P/20/0656/2: 72 Blenheim Road Birstall Leicestershire LE4 4FL The erection of a single storey rear extension extending beyond the rear wall of the original house by 6m, with a maximum height of 3m, and height to the eaves of 3m.

P/20/0635/2: 282 Birstall Road Birstall LE4 4DH Erection of one new dwelling to rear of existing dwelling including demolition of detached garage.

P/20/0617/2: 51 Castlegate Avenue Birstall Leicestershire LE4 3FD The erection of a single storey rear extension extending beyond the rear wall of the original house by 5.55m, with a maximum height of 3m, and height to the eaves of 3m

WI news

EVEN THOUGH Birstall and Wanlip WI are not meeting at present we are keeping in touch by virtual means.

Vonnie Butterworth set up a WhatsApp group where we can share messages, chat, photographs, helpful hints and humour to keep our spirits up. It proved a useful way to disperse excess plants grown for our now cancelled Coffee Morning with lots of collecting and delivering of plant pots and seedlings.

As many of us have been forced to join the virtual world in order to keep in touch with our families and friends some members are starting to have Zoom chats.

We are also linking up with other local Facebook groups including “Helping our Community LE4 Birstall” to help with sewing projects such as face mask headbands and scrub bags.

Hopefully we can meet again in a few months but more importantly we are trying to keep in virtual touch, learning new skills, enjoying our gardens and keeping safe.

From Birstall & Wanlip WI

Track danger

THE GREAT Central Railway is urging people not to walk along the railway track.

Michael Gough from the GCR said: “There will still be the need to run essential engineering trains from time to time and, in this regard, we have been worried by a number of reported incidents of trespass on the railway which is still highly dangerous. We are asking everyone to report any such incidents that they see to us.”

He added: “All events up to the end of June have, inevitably, been postponed or cancelled. Hopefully one or two of them will reappear in the calendar later in the year, although that will very much depend on the amount of time that it takes to lift the current restrictions on social contact. During March we suspended all passenger train services, including dining and closed all of our cafés. I am sure that it will come as no surprise to anyone, that these closures and suspensions will remain in place at the GCR and probably every other heritage railway in the UK until government guidance is relaxed.”

GCR 01509 632323

News from the churches

EVEN THOUGH our church buildings are closed we are the church, and we are still here!

Easter was still celebrated, but in our own homes with congregations of one, two or three respectively.

Keep safe everyone. To quote her Majesty “we will meet again” To which I am looking forward.

Perhaps when life resumes, we shall go back to church to welcome a shiny brand-new Rector!

Until that day, my thoughts and prayers are with you all.

From Leigh Reid, Birstall parish churches

Zoom to worship

Alas, for the time being, none of us can zoom (walk or ride) to the Methodist Church on Wanlip Lane. Like all places of worship in both the UK and most of Europe, it is closed during the Pandemic. However, worship has been taking place via the internet, using ‘Zoom’. Our Minister, Rev Paula Hunt, has set up a simple link which has enabled many of the Birstall & Rothley congregation to share in an act of worship at 10.30 each Sunday. It has been well worth doing, highly recommended and a slightly different form of worship.

One thing that cannot be done, on ‘Zoom’, is the offertory, passing the collection plate round the congregation. Whilst many friends no longer give via the collection plate (having set up a standing order in favour of Birstall Methodist Church) others give either loose money or money into a dated weekly envelope.

Birstall Methodist Church still has wages to pay, particularly to our Circuit Ministers. Whilst the cleaning team have been ‘furloughed’, the church still hopes to be able to able to pay the extra amount that the Government Scheme does not cover. If possible please contribute via internet banking to the bank account of Birstall Methodist Church (account number 34060553, sort code 56 00 55). If there are difficulties, do please contact Tony Moore (01162676207) or Andrew, the treasurer. The church accepts that there may be some folk who are unable to give due to reduced financial circumstances as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic.

From Birstall Methodist Church

“UNPRECEDENTED” IS a word we are hearing a great deal of in these ‘unprecedented’ times and the situation results in a variety of emotions – perhaps anxiety, fear and loneliness, as well as gratitude for all those who are working so hard to care for us and continue to provide essential services.

In these perplexing circumstances, you might like to view the situation through the window of Scripture - see as God sees and learn of the loving kindness, grace and mercy to be found in the Gospel (good news) of the Lord Jesus Christ. C.S. Lewis (the author of the Narnia books) said, ‘God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.’ We encourage you to read the Bible and if you would like guidance as to where to start or help in understanding what you read, then please contact us on the number below.

Ministry

While we are unable to meet for public worship, we recommend the live services (and recorded sermons) from the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London (https://www.metropolitantabernacle.org), Dudley Baptist Church (https://www.dudleybaptist.org.uk), Stonepark Baptist Church, County Fermanagh (https://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp), and from Pastors Stuart Olyott (http://www.knowyourbiblerecordings.org/sermons.php) and Alun McNabb (http://www.sermonsfortoday.org ). Our own website (http://www.birstallbaptistchurch.org.uk) continues to have a Thought for the Day on the ‘God’s Word’ page.

The Lodge Trust

This Christian charity (at Market Overton, Rutland) which makes provision for adults with learning difficulties normally holds its main fund-raising event in May, with its Family Fun Day. Perhaps you can remember them in prayer and even financially. Their website is: https://www.lodgetrust.org.uk.

Psalm 94

‘For the LORD will not cast off His people, [v.14] … Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.’ [vv.18-19]

Enquiries about BIBC: please ring 0116 221 4883.

From Birstall Independent Baptist Church

HELLO EVERYONE, as we write this, the world seems a very strange and shifting place, and we are very grateful for the fact that:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever…Hebrews 13:8

We pray that at this time you will look up and ask for Him to be with you and to give you his peace.

As a campus, we also want to be there for you…

We are praying for you all at this time, but please be in touch if we can help you, pray for you, or if you need support or food… simply email… admin@trinitylifechurch.org.uk or ring our church office 0116 2558672.

Every Sunday, TLC are livestreaming a 1hour service online at 9am and 11am. This will be broadcast live on our new dedicated live streaming site, and we hope you can join us. - https://trinitylifechurch.online.church. You can also view the same live feed on YouTube at 9am or 11am. This is ideal for viewing on a Smart TV or streaming device through the YouTube app – search for Trinity Life Church, or visit our channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf8b61-u1dcBkM7700fOOWw.

Here are some things we would also like to offer you – all of these are freely accessible on our website www.trinitylifechurch.org.uk

On Sunday Evenings we post a short daily devotional for that week, a link to some inspirational worship songs, links to helpful resources, ways to pray and some stories of what God is doing.

On Mondays we also release a weekly devotional video from Pastor David with songs from different TLC worship leaders. On Fridays, we release a resource to all our families and children called “TLC Family Fridays!” …it’s action packed and fun.

We have also put things in place to facilitate live, interactive streams for youth and young adults.

Recently we celebrated TLC’s oldest member Jessie (pictured above) on her 100th birthday – to see our simple celebration, follow this link…https://youtube/qDYWGoxVbmk at 7.30 minutes in

God is good, may his peace fill your hearts…

As our Queen said recently…’We will meet again!’

From Susan Hind, Trinity Life Church Birstall

Grants support businesses

MORE THAN £5 million of government funding is on its way to Charnwood businesses as part of a £50 million package to help local firms.

Charnwood Borough Council has acted quickly to get the first set of government business grants to local companies who are struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic. More firms will receive millions of pounds of support in the coming weeks.

On the day the council launched its online registration form (Wednesday, April 1), 539 businesses registered for grants and 222 payments worth a total of £5.5 million were processed that day. Some applications require further checks or information and are being carried out as a priority.

The Council estimates 2,700 businesses in the borough will be eligible for the grants worth a combined total of £32million.

It comes as the Council also informs 850 businesses in the borough this week that they qualify for a business rates relief holiday and therefore will not pay rates for a year. That will save the 850 businesses over £18 million in business rates.

Combined with the grants, the available support to borough businesses is worth around £50 million.

Cllr Tom Barkley, deputy leader of the council and lead member for finance, said: “After being in business myself for many years, I understand how heart-breaking it must be to be told to shut the door to your customers. The Council wants to make sure that every Charnwood business gets the help it needs during these times of upheaval.

“We have worked really hard and redeployed staff to start getting this funding to local companies because we know how much businesses are struggling and soon as we received the funding from government, we started moving it on to businesses.

“In total, between the grants and the business rates holidays, we estimate that package of support will be around £50 million in Charnwood alone”.

Grants of either £10,000 or £25,000 are available to businesses that already get rate relief or are in sectors most affected by the national lockdown – such as shops, restaurants, gyms, beauticians and estate agents.

In order to claim the grant payment, a business needs to fill in an online registration form on the Council website:

www.charnwood.gov.uk/cvbusiness or email business.rates@charnwood.gov.uk. Alternatively, call 01509 634831.

The government website businessupport.gov.uk is also full of information for businesses.

Birstall BAG’s cancer corner

Cancer Concerns in Light of COVID-19 (part II)

Following on from last month’s article Birstall BAGs would like to talk a little more about the impact the COVID-19 Pandemic has had on NHS Cancer services.

Firstly many cancer patients have seen their treatment schedules interrupted. This is not due to capacity in the hospitals but because NHS cancer teams have assessed each patient individually to assess the risks and benefits of continuing treatment alongside the risk of COVID-19. If you have been affected by this and are concerned, or if you have assumed your treatment will stop please talk to your keyworker or a member of you cancer team at the hospital.

Where it has been considered safe and in the patients best interest to commence or continue with their treatment, new treatment appointments, times and patterns have been established to minimise risks. Patients are asked to have their pre-treatment consultations by phone, bloods are being taken remotely, sometimes even in the carpark! Patients are being asked to arrive alone where possible, just in time for their appointments and being telephoned in their car when the team are ready to treat them. Where possible medication is being couriered to patients home. Of course the cancer team are now wearing personal protective equipment and all patients are being asked questions about signs and symptoms of COVID.

Cancer Screening

Another effect of COVID has been the cessation of all cancer screening programs. The UK has three cancer screening programmes for breast, bowel and cervical cancer. Because of COVID-19, invitations and follow-up appointments for all these programmes are being delayed. The NHS has had to make difficult decisions. Delaying screening invitations and follow-up appointments mean the NHS staff that run screening programmes can be there to support critical services needed at this time. It’s also to protect you from unnecessary risk.

It’s important to remember that screening is for healthy people with no symptoms. If you notice any unusual changes to your body that don’t go away, talk to your doctor. In most cases it won’t be cancer, but it’s best to get it checked out. Services for suspected cancer referrals at the hospital are not affected by COVID-19. Patients referred by their GP, with concerns about cancer, through what is known as the two week-wait referral system, are still being dealt with in the usual manner. The hospitals having taking unprecedented steps to ensure patients are protected as much as possible whilst attending for investigations and outpatient appointments.

A healthy routine

As with last month for all people whether you have cancer or not for prevention and generally maintaining a healthy lifestyle during this enforced period of social distancing, isolation or shielding please try to establish a healthy routine. It’s easy to sink into the sofa and worry the weeks away, having a routine, daily goals or a to do list that includes exercise are more important than ever, particularly for people living with cancer, or any ill health for that matter. Dust down your old gym equipment, think of novel ways to exercise, dig out those old fitness DVD's or join online fitness sessions/groups. It is SO important to keep your physical activity and fitness at all times even whilst restricted.

Supporting the NHS

Birstall BAGs have been delighted to be able to support local COVID-19 efforts. Thanks to your support we were able to donate money to the University Hospitals of Leicester to fund refreshments and equipment for staff in the cancer hospital. If you can think of any other ways we can help our local community or cancer services through this difficult time, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thanks

We would like to take this opportunity thank the Birstall COVID Community Group for all they have done to meet the needs of those needing support, in particular the founders and co-ordinators of the group Sharon Bingham, Rosie Rollings and Shreek Raivadera. Your commitment to the community is very much appreciated by everyone, sincerely we would like to say thank you.

Please can we ask you all to dig deep to support our local businesses, pubs and clubs. These are all at the heart of our community and once we are able to get out and about we must do all we can to BUY LOCAL, to support them so they can hopefully recover financially. And finally, the Birstall Post. Our local paper is a wonderful resource for our village that depends on support from our local businesses and community. Please do all you can to support Jerry and the Birstall Post.

Stay safe and well everyone from all the Birstall BAGs team.

Recommended Websites

Here are a few recommended websites for you if you would like further information.

Macmillan Cancer Support

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/coronavirus/cancer-and-coronavirus

Support and information telephone number 0808 808 00 00

Mon-Fri 09.00-17.00

Marie Curie

https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/help/support/coronavirus#visiting

Support and information telephone number 0800 090 2309

Mon-Fri 08.00-18.00 Sat & Sun 11.00-17.00

NHS

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Support and information telephone number 111

Open 24 hours a day.

Or contact:- University Hospitals of Leicester Cancer Information Centre on 0116 258 6189

For more information on the funds we have raised, projects we support and forthcoming events see www.birstallbags.co.uk or look us up on facebook - Birstall BAGsContact the BAGs by email birstallbags@hotmail.co.uk

The June issue of

THE BIRSTALL POST

will be published on May 30.

The copy deadline is May 16.

Created By
Jerry Jackson
Appreciate