Birstall Post august 2020 (number 445)

Birstall’s relief at release from local lockdown

THE DECISION to release Birstall and Wanlip from the Leicester local lockdown has been welcomed by businesses and residents.

With preparations underway to reopen businesses and relax lockdown restrictions, it came as a disappointment to many when on June 29, Birstall was included in the Leicester local lockdown area due to an increase in cases of Covid-19 infection in the city, Oadby and Wigston.

Pics: Maisie Doyle serving at The White Horse

“We were inundated with questions and complaints from residents, we’ve never seen anything like it," said Birstall Borough Councillor Roy Rollings, who represents Birstall at Charnwood with Councillor Shona Rattray, Councillor Julian Howe and Councillor Iain Bentley.

Working as a group, the councillors began to press for data at a local level and when it was released, they campaigned to have Birstall and Wanlip released as the evidence did not support the lockdown.

Councillor Rollings said: “The data did not justify our inclusion, it isn’t acceptable to make people make such huge sacrifices.”

They contacted Birstall’s MP Edward Argar who in turn, lobbied health secretary Nick Hancock and the leader of the county council, Nick Rushton.

On July 16 Nick Hancock announced in Parliament that while Leicester, Oadby and Wigston would remain in lockdown, Birstall, Wanlip, Thurmaston and Glenfield would be released.

Councillor Shona Rattray said: “I knew how happy that would make so many people, particularly local businesses and people that were shielding.”

Cllr Rollings said: “I was relieved that the right decision had been made as the data did not justify us staying in.”

Minesh Mistry runs Birstall Barbers on Hannah Parade. He said: “The news was fantastic, I was so happy. It’s been very hard for local businesses these past months, coming out of lockdown was definitely a happy moment.”

Pic: celebrating with a pint at The White Horse are (left) Luke Marvell & Sam Harding

Charlotte Foy has been a director of Birstall pub, The White Horse, for 13 years. She said: “It’s been a rollercoaster ride but wonderful to come out the other side. We’ve been busy putting everything in place so that everyone feels safe.

“We were closed for what felt so long, this pub has been open since the 1790s and has never been closed for this amount of time – it’s felt eerie and strange, and I’ve missed people. The uncertainty has been very difficult but now we are gearing up and ready to go.”

The pub reopened on Sunday, July 19 on a warm sunny day and proved popular with visitors.

Charlotte added: “During this crisis, I think the Birstall community have been so helpful, to us and to each other. The community spirit in Birstall has been unusual and quite special.”

‘Pop up’ cycle lanes on A6 in Birstall

THE COUNTY council has constructed ‘pop-up’ cycle lanes on the A6 in Birstall.

The cycle lanes are part of a mix of temporary and permanent schemes in the county which aim to encourage more people to walk and cycle on certain routes rather than taking public transport or using a motor vehicle.

The schemes will be introduced over eight weeks and include:

• Birstall – Creating a temporary ‘pop-up’ cycle lane on the A6 Loughborough Road in both directions by removing central road markings, narrowing existing traffic islands and removing some of the islands. As an additional safety measure, there will also be a right-turn ban from the A6 between the Sibson Road/Greengate Lane junction and Red Hill Way roundabout. Right-turning provision will be retained at the Greengate Lane, Sibson Road, Beechfield Avenue, Johnson Road, Goscote Hall Road and Station Road junctions.

Loughborough Road resident Julie Tinley told the Birstall Post: “I’m all in favour of cycle lanes but not if they are to the detriment of the village and the safety of residents. The removal of the pedestrian refuges means it will no longer be able to cross the road safely without a long detour to the Johnson Road crossing, or the Sibson Road junction. They have been a great bonus since they were put in

“The restrictions on right turns will mean more cars on the side roads, making them less safe for pedestrians, cyclists and children.”

Chair of Birstall Parish Council Ann Marshall said: “This is a ludicrous idea, you can’t remove pedestrian refuges, where are people going to cross? The road is dangerous enough as it is. The no right turns are not a good idea, it will make a lot of the side roads worse.

“Whatever happened to consultation with local people? Why weren’t we consulted?”

Birstall’s County Councillor Iain Bentley said: “I am shocked. I will be pressing for the pedestrian refuges to be reinstated the way they were. I was not informed about this and neither were the parish council - that is completely wrong.”

Bike sales: “it’s madness, it’s never been like this”

A WORLDWIDE bike shortage has put the brakes on a surge in bicycle sales caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pic: Tony Goodman at TJ Cycles repairs a bike

The Bicycle Association, the national trade body for UK cycling, reported in June that sales of bikes between £400 and £1000 more than doubled this April compared to April 2019. Overall, bike sales rose by 60%. Sales of e-bikes did not see a significant increase.

TJ Cycles is Birstall's bicycle shop on Kingsgate Avenue and is run by Tony Goodman. He said: “I sold every bike in the shop, then all the ones I ordered got sold too. Now suppliers are out of stock and I can’t get any more until August or September.

“It’s madness, I’ve been in the cycle trade 29 years now and it’s never been like this.”

Tony’s shop on Kingsgate Avenue has been open for nine years and as well as selling bikes and accessories, Tony does bike repairs and servicing.

He said: “It’s been the same for repairs. People have been getting their bikes serviced and bringing old bikes from their sheds to be done up so they can get some exercise.

“A lot of days I would come in at 6am to try and get through the backlog of repairs, I would make a dent in them but the next day would be the same – it was like that for weeks on end. But I was happy for the customers and happy just to get people out on their bikes keeping fit.”

Bulky waste income

CHARNWOOD BOROUGH Council's introduction of a fee for collecting bulky waste has raised £52,333 in income in its first five months.

The council had anticipated an increase of £30,000 in the first six months operating the service.

The charge of £20 for up to three items was introduced on October 19.

In the five months following the introduction, the council received more than 2000 requests for collections. This number is considerably lower than the number of requests before the charges were introduced. The council estimates that for the same period the number of requests would be in the area of 5000.

A council report states: “This means that residents may have become more resourceful on how to treat any unwanted bulky items through selling, donation or reuse. Hopefully, some of the unwanted items have been diverted from landfill.”

Loughborough Councillor Mary Draycott blames the charge for bulky waste collection for the increase in fly-tipping in the borough. She told Leicestershire Live: “You have to ask yourself if there are normally 5000 collections and it is down to 2000, where are all those other items?”

Charnwood says that there has been a 10% increase in fly-tipping but that the items dumped were not items normally collected as part of the bulky waste service. Fly-tipping of white goods and electrical items, which are collected through the bulky waste service, reduced slightly from 31 to 29 incidents.

Colourful community quilts taking shape

BIRSTALL’S HELPING Our Community LE4 group has had another busy month.

Co-founder Rosie Rollings writes:

The community group has continued to collect prescriptions and offer a weekly puzzle swop. 500-plus masks have been distributed through Birstall and Wanlip. We have also continued to collect food for the discharge lounge and the homeless.


We have also been promoting the making of memory quilts. Rachel Roe is co-ordinating the children’s quilt. All of the local schools have been involved and there are still a few squares left for children to depict what lockdown has meant for them. We certainly have some very talented children and young people. Kelly Oldcorn is coordinating the community quilt. Kelly still needs local businesses and people that have been key workers to make a memory patch - these can be drawn, sewn, or embellished. The scrub team memory quilt is now complete and we are looking forward to displaying it. If anyone would like to display the Scrubs memory quilt please get in touch.

Local lockdown

The group has been invaluable to many as a resource during the extra lockdown. A lot of the information was confusing. We are very lucky to have Shona Rattray on the admin team. Shona has been available throughout to clarify the coronavirus regulations. Being a Borough Councillor Shona has kept everyone informed and worked very hard to get us released. Thank you, Shona and the other Borough Councillors.

Scrubs, hearts & quilts

The scrubs group has been making scrubs, scrub caps and headbands. We were gifted limited edition rainbow for heroes fabric from Noah Evans. Digital Dyers once again gifted us enough fabric enough for over 160 pairs. These will go across the three Leicester Hospitals that have an established “Above and Beyond” scheme. The lucky recipients will have a tote bag with limited edition scrubs, scrub cap, scrub bag, an ear saver headband and hand cream. Noah fabric was available due to the massive success of Chris Evans' (radio DJ) son Noah doing a sponsored camp out in his garden.

Along with the sewing we have also made over 150 matching crocheted and knitted hearts. The idea is that one is put in the palm of a hospitalised person's hand and the other given to a relative. It’s a gesture to help when they have been unable to visit at the end of life.

Our latest projects are the making of quilts for incubators and sheets for the neonatal intensive care unit. We are also looking into making children’s theatre gowns, and gowns for ladies having mammograms at the breast clinic at Glenfield. We have had some generous donations that have enabled us to purchase elastic, hand creams and wadding for the incubator quilts.

Thank you

A huge thank you to Suki from Digital Dyers who has continued to support us and has enabled the making of over 1275 pairs of scrubs. Without his original donation, we would not have had the opportunity to have the Noah Evans fabric. Suki’s last donation of over 200 meters has made the Noah Limited Edition fabric go twice as far by us making plain trousers with the kind donation.

Massive thanks to Noah Evans for the raising of funds for the fabric and Sunita Shroff for always remembering our group and being so encouraging. Maxilyn Geary for hand cutting each Rainbow top and ensuring the rainbows all go in the right direction!

Thanks to the admin team and the members of both groups who have made this all possible.

We will continue to support those in the community that are shielding or self-isolating or need support. We hope the groups continue to grow and bring our community together and enable us to help each other and work on wider projects to help others.

Birstall Food Hub “amazed” by generosity

BIRSTALL FOOD Hub has been delivering food to people on benefits or on low wages.

Spokeswoman Gill Chester said: “Towards the start of the original lockdown, our numbers doubled. These are now falling again, as those clients reach the end of the three months for which we usually offer support. We anticipate a rise soon as we take over supporting those who have been provided for by John Storer House in Loughborough.”

She added: “At the beginning of lockdown people were sort of shell-shocked – having lost their jobs, having never been in this position before, they simply felt all at sea. The situation about furlough and claiming benefits etc. was unclear so it was a very difficult time for people.”

Birstall Food Hub is run by a team of volunteers with a committee of six. When lockdown began there were several challenges. Gill said: “Firstly, constantly changing procedures to cope with the constantly changing situation! We then very quickly decided that the safest way forward was to deliver food rather than have our clients come to a central point.

“We temporarily lost more than half our volunteers through self-isolation but gained the partners and family members of others who have helped out as deliverers. Delivering needs fewer volunteers so this has worked out very well.

“We usually have the opportunity to chat with our clients over a drink, give them information about other sources of support and guidance, and just to be a listening ear. We obviously can’t do this when socially distancing on the doorstep!

“Some decisions still have to be made by the committee, not all of whom have access to, for instance, Zoom technology, so using email to do this can be challenging to say the least.”

Gill added: “We have been very fortunate to receive two large donations from the Edith Murphy Trust this year, along with generous donations from several local organisations who nominated us as the recipient of donations collected last year. Individuals have also been very generous in regularly donating. We have therefore not needed to apply for any grants yet.

“We don’t have many expenses. Before lockdown, we provided fresh bread and milk for our clients alongside the food parcels, and this was our main expense on top of publicity. Currently, we are not able to do this. However, due to the donations, we are going to purchase Co-op vouchers so that our clients can buy their own fresh produce.”

Donations of food increased dramatically at the start of lockdown. Gill said: “We were amazed at and very grateful for the generosity of local people. We regularly took more than a car boot-load over to Rothley for redistribution into the food parcels for the Soar Valley Community Food Project’s food banks.”

Clients have welcomed the support Birstall Food Hub provides. Gill said: “We’ve been called a ‘life-line’. They say they don’t know what they would have done if we hadn’t provided extra food. We’ve also received the odd thank you card, and pictures coloured by children.”

Gill says she and the team of volunteers enjoy being part of a team, being there for the clients at a difficult time in their lives and seeing the generosity of local people in their support of the project.

New science block ready this autumn

BIRSTALL’S SCHOOLS have been managing the changes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and preparing for students returning in September.

Pic: staff at the Cedars Academy are handed the keys to the school’s new science block

Chair of Governors at the Cedars Academy Shreekant Raivadera writes:

With the schools closed for the summer, the staff are taking a well-earned break for a couple of weeks. There have been seismic changes to manage within schools and governance since March. We’ve learned a lot, and staff are exhausted, but there are so many positives that have come out of this in terms of bringing the schools together as a family and sharing some excellent practice, it will impact everyone positively going forwards.

Remote learning

We were delighted to receive a thank you letter from Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System. She says: “I am thoroughly impressed by your outstanding efforts in developing and delivering your remote/home learning offer. I was particularly pleased to hear about how you and the trust have been able to put a comprehensive virtual resource in place as well as providing the necessary IT equipment to greatly widen the access to this provision in order to meet the needs of children in your trust.”


Letters have gone out to parents to share that the first week back will be set aside for training. We start back earlier than most of the country and many Leicester and Leicestershire schools are making the same decision. The government will be assuming schools start back after the bank holiday, and our experience is that the Department for Education release updates, some of them very significant, at the last minute and these may still be shared during that first week, changing our approach for the term.

There is a lot for staff to work on that week. The usual training updates need to be in place and staff teams need to work in subject and key stage groups to embed the strategy for the year as they usually would. They also need to consider any adjustments to the curriculum and assessment strategies, to identify where the students are in their learning and to plan to ensure they are all quickly on track. The classrooms will also need to be adjusted and the very large risk assessment will need to be embedded in daily practice.

We cannot give a definitive answer on the start dates because Covid-19 and any potential lockdowns may impact on our draft plans, but we anticipate that students will begin to return on September 1, the day after the bank holiday, and all students will be in full time by September 7.

New Science Block

On July 3, the contractors at The Cedars Academy handed over the new science block, sports and changing areas and new school kitchen. The new Head of Science has been into the school and is very excited about the new academic year.

Laptops provided by school

THE TRUST that runs Birstall’s schools has spent £300,000 on 1200 laptop computers to ensure that all students can access their learning at home.

The Lionheart Academies Trust is now looking to secure sponsorship from local businesses, groups or individuals to help them recover some of the costs.

Chair of governors at the Cedars Academy Shreekant Raivadera said: “With lessons set on a shared digital platform for students to access, watch and complete from home, it became clear that not all of our children could access the work being set as they were lacking the technology to engage - such as a laptop or a Wi-Fi connection.

“The Trust has identified 1500 of the poorest and most disadvantaged children in need of technology support and has subsequently committed to purchasing 1500 Chromebooks to loan to each child for the whole of their time with the Trust.”

The Chromebooks are loaned with a strict usage policy that both the parent and student have to sign. This ensures appropriate monitored usage of the devices.

With 1200 purchased so far, Mr Raivadera says the provision is already having a positive impact on the children.

He added: “If any readers know of any individuals, families or organisations that can help sponsor our Chromebook initiative - £225 per Chromebook - please contact the trust via my email Shreekant.raivadera@lionhearttrust.org.uk and I’ll put you in touch with the right people.

“Every sponsorship will make a positive difference to a poor and disadvantaged child - we will ensure that you receive a personal response from each child that benefits from your sponsorship.”

Local care home group voted one of the best

Pic: staff at Cedar Mews care home celebrating their rating

A BIRSTALL care home has been highly rated by a reviews website.

For the third consecutive year Cinnamon Care Collection, which owns and operates Cedar Mews in Birstall, has been named a Top 20 Mid-Sized Care Home Group by carehome.co.uk, the UK’s leading care home reviews website.

Carehome.co.uk is the Trip Advisor of the care home sector – an industry with around 18,000 care homes across the UK. Its awards, based on over 92,000 independent reviews, rate care homes against a range of criteria including care and support, residents being treated with dignity, staff, facilities, activities and value for money. Cedar Mews scored 9.8/10.

Helen Cooke, general manager at Cedar Mews, said: “The reviews from all Cinnamon Care Collection care homes have contributed to the overall group award win and we are very proud of the role played by all at Cedar Mews. Our team works tirelessly to provide the very best care, support and happiness to the people who live here. Receiving this award based upon reviews made by residents, their families and friends is a fantastic endorsement.”

“There is no doubt that like all care homes nationwide, we have faced very challenging times recently. As part of the Cinnamon Care Collection, we have benefited from the Group’s strong leadership which resulted in us putting in place safety procedures and barrier nursing at an early stage and having sufficient PPE throughout. We have a comprehensive testing process in place and recent resident test results have all been negative. The safety of our residents is our number one priority; working in partnership with the Group’s leadership team ensures that standards at Cedar Mews continually remain exceptionally high.”

The Cinnamon Care Collection has 13 care homes throughout the country. Cedar Mews has 72 en-suite rooms and offers residential care, dementia care, daycare and respite care. As a result of COVID-19, Cedar Mews currently has rigorous processes in place regarding new admissions.

For further information, please call 01164 735749 or visit www.cinnamoncc.com

Virtual consultations the new normal

TELEPHONE AND video consultations with GPs have become the norm during the Covid-19 pandemic and are expected to continue and be developed further when things return to normal.

Christopher Lyons, a member of the Alpine House patient participation group in Mountsorrel, writes:

Nobody can have failed to notice the changes that have swept through our country these last few weeks and months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that has been affecting countries and communities across the world. The NHS, both locally and in the big hospitals, has had to rapidly adapt and change to be ready for the expected surge in cases. This has meant that GP surgeries and hospitals have had to change the way they work and how they assess and treat their patients.

You will be aware that many hospital appointments have been either cancelled or undertaken over the phone.

Similarly, local GPs and their staff are having to adapt very quickly to new ways of working.

Surgeries now have 'telephone triage' in place where the most appropriate form of patient contact is decided by the practice staff after talking to the patient. This is resulting in a call from the GP or one of the clinical staff who can assess, diagnose and prescribe treatment either over the phone or via a video call.

Only where absolutely necessary are patients invited into the surgery. This has protected patients and staff alike from the new virus and helped slow the spread of Covid-19 within the community.

GPs and practice staff tell me that there is no desire to return to how things were but want to be sure that any new system meets the needs of all patients. Sir Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of the NHS in England, wrote to all GP practices, NHS Trusts and Primary Care Networks at the end of April and stated that a return to how things were before the lockdown is not how the NHS sees its services being delivered in the future.

This could affect all services after the Covid-19 restrictions are finally lifted.

So, how will this affect patients of local GP surgeries? The rapid changes in the use of technology (telephone triage, video and telephone consultations, etc.) that we have seen recently will continue and be developed further. In the future, all patients will continue to be assessed through a telephone triage service with the aim that only those that need to be physically seen and examined will attend the surgery whilst those that can be safely assessed, diagnosed and treated through other means will be. The NHS also wants the system to work for patients who do not have access to technology and are assessing how the service can be developed for these patients, ensuring safety for all concerned.

For many patients, this will save journeys to the practice and for those waiting for a hospital appointment, it may mean a trip into Leicester is no longer required. Some GP consultations will need to remain face to face and blood tests, immunisations and clinical procedures like minor surgery can only be done in the surgery building. GPs and Primary Care Networks are working now to develop these new ways of working further to make them more suited to staff and patients alike.

Practices and Practice Participation Groups (PPGs) will be working together to ensure that patients know and understand how to use the new systems as and when they come about. If you would like to contact your local PPG their contact details will be available from your practice.

The author is a member of the Alpine House PPG in Mountsorrel and works with GPs in the south of the county.


Bowls has always been a great game and with a few minor changes, it is easily adapted to comply with social distancing.

This is what we are doing at St Margaret's Bowls Club and I can tell you that returning to the relaxed social environment is just what we need after the endless weeks of lockdown.

We hear from Bowls England that an increasing number of young people are taking up the game and many clubs have seen a real surge in membership since the lifting of lockdown.

Now could be a great opportunity to give bowls a try, whatever your age or level of fitness. For further information, please contact me on 0116 2677232

Sam Dobson

St Margaret's Co-operative BC


My name is Bernadette Gibson and I live on Wanlip Lane. Last month my letter and poem 'Cats' Tales' was published in The Birstall Post. I would be grateful if you could publish another two of my haiku, 'Follow the Leader' and 'The Cuckoo Flower', that I wrote a few years back inspired by nature on my many walks through Watermead Country Park.

Follow The Leader

Hidden by the ditch

Long-tailed Tits flit between trees -

one, two, three, now six

The Silent Flower

The Cuckoo flower

only tells us the season -

but not the hour

By Bernadette Gibson

Fundraising children cheered on their ride

CHILDREN ON Hallam Avenue have raised over £300 for the NHS with a sponsored bike ride.

Jack Martin, Zara Gilliver, Olive Foy, Maple Foy and Arian Gilliver, aged between 11 and 7 (pictured above), arranged the ride themselves, raising £305 for the NHS. Most of the money was donated by residents of Hallam Avenue and through gift aid.

The children cycled up and down Hallam Avenue for over an hour, with Maple doing two hours. They were cheered on by many residents of the cul-de-sac who they had invited to watch.

It was a very hot day so there was a pit stop for ice cream and lollies when the ice cream van visited.

The children have several other activities in the pipeline, including a cake sale and car washing, to keep them busy during the summer holidays and raise more money for the NHS.

Covid-19 deaths

DEATHS INVOLVING Covid-19 in Birstall & Wanlip between March 1 and June 30.

March: 2

April: 6

May: 4

June: 3

Total: 15

The total Covid-19 deaths in neighbouring areas in the same period were:

Mountsorrel & Rothley: 6

Syston: 6

Thurmaston: 10

Rushey Mead: 21

Belgrave: 27Stocking Farm & Mowmacre: 9

Beaumont Leys: 4

Thurcaston, Woodhouse & Bradgate: 4

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Charnwood up to July 25, 2020 was 813. The population of Charnwood is 166,000.

Source: Office for National statistics

Pub reopens its doors

AFTER EXACTLY four months of closure due to the lockdown, The White Horse re-opened on July 19.

There was a great deal of media coverage, including BBC Radio Leicester, ITV Central and BBC East Midlands television news which all covered the reopening as the pub was one of the first to do so following the extended lockdown.

Pics: Charlotte & James Foy

“We are thrilled to be able to open our business, we have missed all our customers so much,” said Charlotte Foy, one of the directors of the business.

“During the lockdown, there has been a great deal going on behind the scenes with maintenance work taking place, gardening and keeping up to date with the latest Covid-19 guidelines,” she added.

Manager, Paul Clements, said: “We have aimed to make people feel confident and we have put in measures to ensure customers feel safe and comfortable.”

The following measures have been put in place:

Track and trace system on entry

Greater distances between the tables inside and outside

A one-way queuing system to aid social distancing

Hand sanitiser stations throughout the pub

Extensive screening around the bar

Face shields are worn by staff delivering food

Reduced contact systems in the kitchen and bar

Temperature checks for all staff when starting a shift

A menu which can be viewed online at www.thewhitehorse.co.uk in place of paper copies

Charlotte said: “We hope that these measures have been put in place in such a way as to ensure that the enjoyment of coming to the pub has been retained.”

Food service times have been amended slightly to 12-2.30pm and 5.30-8.30pm Monday to Thursday. 12-9pm on a Friday and Saturday, and 12-4pm Sunday.

Guide to old Birstall

A NEW book by a local author will be your guide around the oldest parts of the village.

Pic: John Kilby

‘A Walk Around Old Birstall’ is by historian John Kilby (pictured above). He said: “This book refers to the older part of our village. It gives details of the folk who lived in the village many years ago. As I am now 88 I am no longer able to escort 25 or 30 people around this part of the village. Hence the reason I have detailed these notes, where your journey can begin in the School Lane car park and follows my notes around the streets.”

He added: “Under this period of lockdown, Birstall & District Local History Society can’t easily sell these new books. However, Andrew Tebbutt, the butcher on Sibson Road, is willing to sell it for us.”

The book costs £5 (plus postage £1.60), with postal requests being obtained from Mrs L Dunk, Treasurer, Birstall & District Local History Society, 37 Acacia Avenue Birstall, Leicester LE4 4HB. Tel: 0116 267 3870. The profit after expenses will be donated to the County Air Ambulance Charity. Purchases can also be obtained from Mrs L Dunk and Richard Kilby, from his milk van delivery.

This is the fifth book John has written about Birstall Village.

Fund for swans

A CROWDFUNDING website has been set up to raise funds for sick and injured swans at Watermead Country Park.

Julie at Watermead Swans says that without funding to pay vets' bills, sick and injured swans will be euthanised.

She said: “This is something I have done off my own back in desperation to try and help. There is very little funding left to help the swans. I am going to be left in a horrible situation where I am called out on a rescue and there is no money to help the swans in front of me or any swan.

“Any money will be used to save the lives of swans that would otherwise be put to sleep.”

To donate, go to justgiving.com and search for Watermead Swans.

NHW news & crime report

Coping with Change

Back in March, when the world suddenly changed and we all went into lockdown, we had to suspend the distribution of our newsletter.

It is still unclear about when and how we can get back to normal. We have continued to publish it online but know that it has been viewed by only a fraction of its usual readership.

Thanks to the Birstall Post, we can get the August edition of Village Watch News to many more of our members and we hope that you will find it useful and a hint of normality.

Some members have inquired about their subscriptions and membership cards.

When the lockdown began, we had received and processed quite a number of envelopes and issued the cards to the relevant coordinators. Those envelopes still on their way to us were held safely in transit but we have now received many of them and know that others are on their way. These are being processed and the cards prepared but it may still be a while before they get to individual members. Please bear with us.

The lockdown is easing but the virus is still a very real danger. The wonderful community spirit that came to the fore back in March is still very much in evidence but everybody is anxious to get their lives back to as near-normal as possible. This is understandable but it will be easier for some than for others. Please do not forget that there are many of our neighbours who will remain more vulnerable than the rest of us for some time to come.

Please Keep Safe and Well.

From Ed Chambers, Committee Chairman, Birstall & Wanlip NHW

July Priorities

During July we will continue to focus on targeting Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) as we typically see a rise in the number of ASB incidents during July and August.

Can you please ensure that you are adhering to the current Covid-19 guidance (full details are available on the gov.uk website) so that we can all try to get back to some kind of normality as soon as possible.

We have seen a rise in reported crime in June, with a total of 58 crimes being reported to us, up from 46 in May. A large number of these were reports of assault (15 in total) however six of these were as a result of one incident, where a single male assaulted several Police Officers whilst being arrested. This male was later charged with several offences including assault, Public Order and damage, and is currently in prison awaiting trial.

We have had a total of 15 thefts reported to us in June. Five of these related to thefts from vehicles and a further three related to thefts of vehicles. We appear to be seeing a rise in catalytic converter thefts again (see the Crime Prevention section for more details) and we had a total of seven ‘other thefts’ reported.

There have been 11 reports of Criminal Damage, seven Public Order offences, four drugs offences and three reports of a burglary.

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

Crime Prevention Advice

As mentioned in the ‘Crime Update’ section, we have seen a rise in catalytic converter thefts across the Charnwood Area and there have been a couple of incidents in Birstall this month, on Roman Road and Curzon Avenue. Japanese vehicles, and especially Hondas, appear to be most at risk, however, it is not just these makes.

1) If possible, try to park your car in a garage, or if you are not able to do this, consider reversing it onto the driveway or backing it up against another vehicle so that the catalytic converter is not easily accessible.

2) Consider fitting a security light or CCTV camera to your property so that any potential thief will be illuminated and caught on camera. Thieves like to work under the cover of darkness so anything that makes them easily seen will help to act as a deterrent.

3) Report any suspicious activity to the Police on 101 or 999 if a crime is actually in progress.


We are obviously monitoring the situation with regards to Coronavirus and as a result, we are still reluctant to arrange any formal consultation events at present. In the meantime, you can stay in touch with your beat team by contacting us via phone, email or through the Leicestershire Police website. You can also follow us on twitter at @CharnwoodPolice

I would like to remind everyone to adhere to the current Government guidance and be respectful of the social distancing rules so that we can try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible.

We are in unprecedented times at present and I would like to thank everyone for their continued efforts. Hopefully, we will be able to return to normality as soon as possible.

In the meantime, your Beat Team will continue to patrol the local area to ensure that you are kept safe and to tackle the issues that are causing harm in your communities.

This month the beat team have been out and about patrolling the areas where you have told us anti-social behaviour has been occurring. We have been focusing on Meadow Lane, Wanlip village and School Lane park as we have had complaints about drugs being used on Meadow Lane and Church Road in Wanlip during the evenings and complaints about large groups gathering on School Lane park ignoring social distancing rules.

We will continue to patrol these areas as much as possible during the coming weeks to ensure that people are behaving responsibly and to make sure that these areas are safe for everyone to use.

PC 1759 David Jaeckels.

From Birstall Beat Team:

Sgt 2951 Boylin PC 1759 Jaeckels PCSO 6611 Butler PCSO 6128 Taylor

Freddie ready for school

IT WAS an exciting day for four-year-old Freddie at Birstall's Half Pints when it held a bubble graduation celebration.

Pic: Freddie graduates from Half Pints

A spokesperson said: “Celebrating children’s achievements is excellent for their self-esteem. Completing different milestones in life teaches them about transitions, especially important in this current climate, so they are ready for the new normal in school.

“Half Pints would like to wish him and all Half Pints’ graduates the very best at big school and take this opportunity to thank all those parents that supported them during these unprecedented times.”

Birstall bake-off back in September

THE WHITE Horse eighth Great Birstall Bake Off in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support will take place over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, September 19/20.

“One of the more positive aspects of the Covid crisis is that so many of us have baked and baked - buns, bread and cake galore,” said Beccy Kay, founder of the event.

“Could you put your new ‘signature’ bake forward for this fun competition and great cause? All entries are extremely welcome, no matter your experience level, sweet or savoury from the young or less young,” she added.

The entries need to be at the White Horse for judging on Saturday, September 19 between 9am and 12noon.

The ‘Star Bakers’ will be celebrated at the coffee morning on Sunday, September 20 from 11am, hosted by the White Horse.

There will be entertainment for all the family and an abundance of baked treats for all to enjoy.

Given the current situation, a delivery service or collection option is also being explored.

All the funds raised will go to Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning which raised £27.5 million in 2019 to help people facing cancer.

“We would love you all to get baking and get involved for this worthwhile cause, we do not even mind a soggy bottom or two either!” said Beccy.

Application forms can be found on the White Horse website or from the pub and further details are on their Facebook page.

Belgrave cemetery, search for families

SEVERAL YEARS ago, the Friends of Belgrave Cemetery published ‘Living Memories’, containing stories and the genealogical details of the lives of some of the resting residents in the cemetery.

The publication of the book was such a success, work has started on the second edition and editor Sandra Moore would like your help.

As part of her research, Sandra would like to get in touch with relatives of people who are buried in Belgrave Cemetery. Sandra is especially keen to get in touch with you if any of these names are members of your family:

Charles BOWLES (died1898)

Edwin CARR (d.1915)

Joseph CAVE (d. 1921)

Barry DEACON (d. 2012)

Cornelius FINN (d.1891)

Elizabeth GOODWIN (d. 1922)

Rolland Vincent Sylvester GRIMSTON (d. 1889)

Albert John HUNT (d. 1913)

Martin LEADER (d. 1923)

John Thomas RIDDLE (d. 1936)

Harry VEALL (d.1931)

George WARD (d. 1924)

Walter John WALKER (d. 1907)

Thomas WARNER (d. 1902)

Thomas Lovell WARNER (d. 1917)

Sandra said: “We would like to include these names in the next edition of ‘Living Memories’, but we need your help and permission before we can do this – have we got the facts right? Do you have any photos we could use? Are there any family stories which you would like to add?”

If you can help Sandra with more information about any of these names, or if you have a family member you would like to be considered for inclusion, contact Sandra Moore at sandraemoore@sky.com or 0116 236 3739.


GCR runs trains

THE GREAT Central Railway began running passenger trains again on Saturday, July 25.

Tickets for trips must be booked in advance, with trains departing from Quorn and Woodhouse station to Leicester North and back, using compartment coaches.

The Ellis Tea Room at Rothley station (pictured right) is now open daily from 10am to 4pm, with indoor and outdoor seating. Visitors are asked to leave their contact details to comply with requirements for NHS track and trace.

News from the churches

Can we, can’t we? Should we, shouldn’t we?

1 metre or 2 metres? How about weddings and funerals?

At the time of writing, with the guidelines regularly changing, these are all questions that are occupying our minds. We are without a rector, and the process of appointing a successor is on hold.

This may sound very negative, but as a church, we continue to be buoyant, and in good heart. We are maintaining contact with our church members through phone calls and the weekly news sheet is still produced and emailed to all who are on the internet, and also available on our website. Evening prayer is streamed every Sunday, and Zoom meetings for the Churchwardens, always a test of “tech” ability. Our quarterly magazine “Keep in Touch” has been published, but unfortunately, we are unable to distribute it yet.

The church also continues to support the local food hub.

So, as you see, we are not in church, but we continue to “be church”, and hold everyone in prayer during this worrying time.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to hold our annual Church Fete this year, but we are hopeful that “Last Night of the Proms”, organised by Birstall Scouts, will take place on October 3 at St James.

To contact a churchwarden: 07570 198810.

Website: www.birstall.org

Email: stjames.birstall@btconnect.com.

We look forward to whatever the “new normal” will be.

From the Parish churches, St James the Great, Birstall, and Our Lady and St Nicolas, Wanlip

. . .

Our Minister Moves into Birstall

Rev Paula Hunt, our Minister & Circuit Superintendent, has moved into Birstall. It will save her a lot of travelling time and she will be just a little nearer to the other churches in the circuit. Many of the Methodist congregation welcomed Paula to her new home with flowers, cards and cake, but Paula still has quite a lot of sorting out to do. Having moved eight times throughout her working life, Paula has had some considerable practice with moving home. I am sure that the readers of the Post welcome her to Birstall too. The property is owned by the Circuit and much of it was indirectly paid for from the sale of the previous Birstall Manse on Birstall Road.Local Lockdown Imposed & Released

When the local Leicester lockdown was imposed, our District Chairman, Rev Helen Cameron, wrote a letter assuring us of her love and prayers. Also, the prayers at the Methodist Conference led by the President (Rev Richard Teal) were for us all: our communities, hospitals, schools, businesses, care homes and churches in Leicester.

Methodist Conference

The annual Methodist Conference should have been held at Telford at the beginning of July. Like so many other gatherings, the date remained, but it was all done ‘online’. Our own Minister, Rev Paula Hunt, in her weekly letter, wrote the following to all the Methodists in Rothley & Birstall.

The theme chosen by the President for his year of office is: “Best of all is God is with us”, which were John Wesley’s final words. If you know anything about John Wesley’s life, you will know that these were not empty words, or an attempt to comfort the people around him. After a long life, well-lived, he was fulfilled and content. But he also knew heartbreak and disappointment, the frustration of failure, and the pain of being physically attacked and injured. As he looked back, he knew that God had been with him in it all, working to bring some good from even the worst of circumstances.

“God is with us” is the English translation of “Emmanuel”, one of the names given to Jesus when he was born. Our faith is built solidly on the knowledge that whatever happens, God is with us, sharing it with us, and giving us the strength to endure - and even to flourish, despite our circumstances.

When Rev Richard Teal chose the theme, he didn’t know that his Presidency would begin in such uncertain and frightening circumstances, but he’s picked a phrase that can help us to remember God’s presence and blessing. I wonder - what words would you choose to give us encouragement during this time of uncertainty, when things can change overnight, and we all have to learn new ways of doing things? Perhaps you could let us know, through the notice sheet. Whatever is happening in your life at the moment, may you know God’s richest blessing.

From Birstall Methodist Church

. . .

WHILE WRITING this, it is still not clear when/how we will be able to recommence worship services.

We will resume when we are allowed by government advice and with the consent of The Cedars Academy. We will, of course, take all recommended safety measures. Please check with our website (http://www.birstallbaptistchurch.org.uk) or contact the number below for up-to-date information.


For Christians, this enforced absence from services can give us the chance to examine our motives for attending. Do we go to church because it is ‘normal’, because it is a habit with us … or perhaps we simply enjoy meeting our friends there or feel that church-going provides some kind of spiritual insurance? God knows our motives better than we do and Jesus told a parable about two church-goers in Luke’s gospel (chapter 18, verses 9-14) and the different ways in which God viewed them – something also seen in the letters to the churches, recorded at the beginning of the Book of Revelation. We know that our prime motive should be to give praise and thanks to Him who is worthy of worship, to “receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing.” (Revelation 5:12) Secondly, we go to learn from the faithful preaching of God’s Word, the Bible, so we can “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) – and our website gives some recommendations for ministry during this lockdown period.

Perhaps you have never entered a church or did in the past and have lapsed so that you are unsure of how you will be received. If this is the case, we can reassure you that we offer a warm welcome to anyone joining with us and the Lord Jesus Christ offers more: He says “the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37) and gives a vivid picture of the returner in the Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15). If you would like to know more about the Gospel (Good News) or have any Christian concerns or questions, then please contact us on 0116 221 4883.

From Birstall Independent Baptist Church

. . .

WE ARE now out of lockdown and headed in the right direction towards re-engaging in some level of ‘normal’ life.

We do need to face the facts that this has been a hard time for many people. It has already caused some of us to ask big questions and seek to understand the meaning of life.

Where is hope?

The Church carries a message of hope. Hope is a lovely word. It turns our eyes upwards and forwards. As Christians, our ultimate hope is in Jesus. Here is what Jesus said to a woman fetching water at a well, who was asking lots of questions:

“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:13-14

Jesus still offers ‘living water’. Other sources of hope run dry, but He gives lasting hope for this life, whatever we face, and eternal hope once our earthly life is over.

As a church, we have been preparing our central building in Upper Tichborne Street for trialling face-to-face services, closely following all the government guidelines, and alongside this, we will be continuing an online presence with a service at 10.30am each Sunday. To watch simply type ‘trinity life church’ into YouTube and subscribe to our channel.

We are also running an online kids club called School’s Out World Tour for all children up to Year 6 from Monday to Friday, August 10 – 14. Just search ‘School’s Out Holiday Clubs’ on YouTube or Facebook.

We are here for you…

Would you like a visit or a call from our lovely Birstall campus Pastors Wes and Laura? Email on wesley.bond@trinitylifechurch.org.uk

Would you like to find out more? Visit www.trinitylifechurch.org.uk

May you have hope that is lasting.

From Pastor Susan Hind, Trinity Life Church

Birstall BAG’s cancer corner

Cancer screening and coronavirus (Covid-19)

It is no surprise that because of Covid-19, there are delays to invitations for cancer screening services and screening follow-up appointments.

Birstall BAGs would like to bring you up to speed with what measures are in place and what we can each do to minimise the impact of these delays.

Screening is an essential cancer service, helping to ensure early diagnosis and improved outcomes for those affected. The UK has three cancer screening programmes for breast, bowel and cervical cancer. The NHS has had to make difficult decisions. Screening was delayed to protect people from Covid-19 and allow the NHS staff who run screening programmes to support critical services. Some screening programmes are beginning to restart, but there are now a lot of people waiting for screening appointments. The NHS will try to reach everyone as soon as possible.

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.

If you have had an abnormal screening result, but your follow-up appointment has been delayed

You may have received an abnormal result from your screening test or be told you need further tests. Your follow-up appointment may be delayed. This is to make sure staff can see people most in need at this time. The teams running the screening programmes are putting measures in place to make sure that everyone with an abnormal result is followed up. You may feel quite worried about your result and that is completely normal. Most people who get an abnormal screening result don’t have cancer. But it’s still important you go to your follow-up appointment when it's rearranged.

In the meantime, if you notice anything that’s not normal for you contact your doctor. Don’t put something new or different about your body down to getting older or another health condition you might have. In most cases, it won’t be cancer, but it’s best to get it checked out.

If you have questions, contact your doctor or call the phone number listed on your NHS letter.

Is it safe to attend my screening appointment?

If you have a screening appointment, staff will be following strict guidance on infection control to protect you and themselves. They might wear extra protective clothing or ask you to wear a mask and gloves. You also won’t be able to take someone with you to your appointment unless you need a carer for assistance. Talk to your doctor or the screening service about what to expect or any concerns you might have. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 do not attend your appointment. Talk to your doctor or the screening service to rearrange it. Your results might be delayed, so ask at your appointment how long it might take and who to contact if you haven’t heard in that time.

My screening appointment has been delayed

Screening appointments were cancelled because of Covid-19. Some screening programmes are now beginning to restart, but you may have to wait a long time for an appointment. It may be worrying to have your appointment cancelled or delayed. But it’s important to remember that screening is for healthy people who have no symptoms at all. If your screening appointment was cancelled and you don’t hear anything, contact your doctor or the screening service.

I am due for screening, but I haven’t received an invitation

It’s important to remember that screening is for healthy people who have no symptoms at all. Once all screening programmes are back up and running, people should start receiving invitations again. But it may take longer than usual before you are invited. This is because screening programmes need to follow-up everyone who couldn’t attend screening over the last few months. The NHS will try to reach everyone as soon as possible. Make sure you are registered with a GP to receive an invitation.

If you are worried about anything to do with Cancer Screening please discuss it with your doctor or feel free to contact Cancer Research UK’s nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040 from 9am-5pm, Macmillan Cancer Support Information service on 0800 808 0000 Monday to Friday 8am-6pm or the University hospitals of Leicester cancer information centre on 0116 2586189.

Covid-19 and Cancer:

Cancer Research UK



[tel://0808%20800]Telephone:- 0808 800 4040

Macmillan Cancer Support


Support and information telephone number 0808 808 00 00

Mon-Fri 09.00-17.00

Marie Curie


Support and information telephone number 0800 090 2309

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



Support and information telephone number 111

Open 24 hours a day.

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 BAGs

Contact the BAGs by email birstallbags@hotmail.co.uk

Planning applications

P/20/1302/2: 29 Greengate Lane Birstall LE4 3JF Erection of single-storey extensions to side and rear and two-storey extension to rear, roof extensions including the provision of rear dormer and rendering and fenestration alterations to dwelling.

P/20/1257/2: 67 Greengate Lane Birstall Leicestershire LE4 3JG The erection of a single-storey rear extension extending beyond the rear wall of the original house by 8m, with a maximum height of 3m, and height to the eaves of 2m.

P/20/1208/2: 120 Birstall Meadow Road Birstall Leicestershire LE4 3NF Single-storey front extension

P/20/1197/2: 11 The Crossways Birstall LE4 4ED Two-storey side extension, single-storey rear extension and loft conversion including the installation of a roof dormer to rear and rooflight to front.

P/20/1178/2: 97A Wanlip Lane Birstall LE4 4GJ Addition of pitched roof to existing dwelling including the installation of a rooflight to front and roof dormer to rear of dwelling.

P/20/1217/2: 287 Birstall Road Birstall Leicestershire LE4 4DJ To undertake multiple tree works as detailed in the submitted plan.

P/20/1156/2: 77 Moorgate Avenue Birstall LE4 3HJ Proposed two & single-storey side extensions and single-storey front porch extension (revised scheme, P/20/0753/2 refers).

P/20/1115/2: 41 The Crossways Birstall LE4 4ED Two-storey side and rear extension to dwelling

P/20/1085/2: 16 Station Road Birstall LE4 3BA Non-material amendment to application P/19/0861/2 to alter the ground floor external materials, door size, roof pitch, skylight arrangements and clarify corners on side elevation.