Birstall Post june 2020 (number 443)

Birstall celebrates with a party

Pic: raising a glass are Sara Mitchell (right) and Diane Neishaboori

THE PEOPLE of Birstall didn’t let a pandemic stop them celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Taking into account social distancing, the village turned out in force to mark the event with parties, their front gardens and houses decorated with home-made flags and bunting.

Pics: Josephine Burgess (right) raising a glass in Hallam Ave with Sarah Borrajo; the party on Hallam Avenue; Jason & Debby Denega with Grant Wright on Firfield Avenue; Sharon Callcott pours tea for Brett Melville; Rachel Roe with cupcakes for the party on Firfield Ave; Pic: DJ Mugsy on Ludgate Close entertained neighbours with his son DJ Kye Mistry; Decked out in Union Jacks is Jack Martin (10); Celebrating on Greengate Lane are Ross and Jennie Childs; Steve & Jane Varnam in uniform on Firfield Avenue; Ann Bartram gives the V for Victory sign; decorations on Elmfield Avenue

Comments on Facebook included: “Great to see so many people out chatting and enjoying themselves and still social distancing. We will definitely organise one for the end of lockdown”

“A big thank you to Carol and Christine on Orchard Road for organising the VE Day party, a lovely time was had by all”

“The bingo and quiz were brilliant, so lovely for everyone to join in. Thank you all for a fantastic afternoon”

“It was a lovely shiny day in a year of dark days. Well done Allington Drive, you were amazing”

Birstall test centre

Pic: the test centre at Birstall Park & Ride

A DRIVE through Covid19 testing centre opened at Birstall Park and Ride on May 1.

It means people who work in the NHS, social care, education, food and drink production, transportation and many other essential services, as well as people in their households, can now be quickly tested to see if they have symptoms. If the test is negative for everyone in the household, workers will be able to get back to carrying out their critical roles as soon as possible.

The test consists of a swab to the mouth and nose, and people are being advised to get tested within the first three days of the onset of symptoms.

Appointments for testing must be made in advance. Some employers will choose to refer their employees for a test using an online portal or they may ask employees to refer themselves by visiting www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Dr Nick Glover, who is the clinical lead for the testing programme for the clinical commissioning groups in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland said: “Essential workers in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland can now use the local test facility. We’d like any essential workers, who are already self-isolating because they, or someone they live with, are in the first three days of developing symptoms, to refer themselves for a test straight away. They can do this either through their employer or by referring themselves.”

Leicestershire County Council and Leicester City Council, who jointly operate the Birstall Park and Ride site, have been working with the three local clinical commissioning groups to get the local facility up and running as part of the Government’s plans announced on April 23 to extend testing to essential workers.

Nick Rushton, Leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “The County Council owns the park and ride site, operated jointly with the City Council. We are pleased to be able to make it available to assist the response to the pandemic and to make it easier for our key frontline workers to get tested.”

The contractor operating the site is Sodexo.

• Anyone aged 5 or above can now ask for a test if they have symptoms of the virus. Go to www.gov.uk to apply, or call 119 (free call).

Birstall man home after virus fight

Pic: Darren Walker recovering at home

A BIRSTALL man who spent 13 days in an induced coma after contracting Covid-19 has thanked the NHS team who looked after him.

Darren Walker (42), of Allington Drive, first noticed symptoms on Monday March 16. Darren, who lives with wife Hayley and their four children, told the Birstall Post: “It began with a slight but regular cough on Monday morning which disappeared by the afternoon and I felt fine until Thursday when I experienced excruciating headaches and high temperatures up to 39.6°C.”

Pic: Darren Walker with his family

Darren sought help from 111 throughout the day as symptoms worsened but on Friday and during the weekend he felt fine and believed he was over it.

“I was walking, talking and doing all my usual activities as I would normally, although a little bit out of breath at times – I thought nothing of it” he said.

Then on Monday Darren’s breathing worsened throughout the day and after being advised by 111, he called 999 for an ambulance at midnight.

Paramedics found his oxygen levels were low and he was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary for assessment, and then moved the next day to Glenfield hospital where he tested positive for Covid-19 and pneumonia. It was March 24, eight days since the onset of symptoms.

On March 26 Darren was moved to the intensive care unit (ICU) where doctors decided he needed to be placed in an induced coma and put on a ventilator.

Darren said: “In the lead up to being sedated, not knowing what would happen, I desperately wanted to see my family and talk to my loved ones.

“I remember texting my daughter and saying, ‘I’m scared’. During this time and being afraid, I still had faith in God that he would be with me, whatever was about to happen.”

Darren was not allowed any visitors during his entire stay in hospital.

“I don’t have any memories of my time in ICU” he said. “Just the knowledge now that over 1000 people across many churches, nations and homes were praying and Jesus heard their prayers.”

After being in an induced coma for 13 days Darren was woken on April 8 by doctors – it took him a few days to come round and realise how long he had been asleep for. He was told he was the first patient at Glenfield hospital to have been admitted and treated in ICU with Covid 19 and survived.

He said: “This, for the healthcare professionals and for me, was a huge success and I cannot thank them enough for their dedication to me and communication with my family.

“Although I do not remember, the staff cheered and clapped as I was taken out of ICU and moved to Ward 20.”

During his time in a coma Darren lost a lot of muscle tone and needed the support of a physio twice a day, initially to help him sit up in bed and then to get back on his feet.

After a week Darren began to feel more like himself. “Working with the physios and the occupational therapist my confidence grew and by April 16 I was able to walk, aided with crutches and a stand” he said.

“I was overjoyed and filled with emotion when they said they were happy for me to be discharged the following day.”

Darren was clapped and cheered by staff as he walked out of the ward to be reunited with his family.

He said: “I can’t thank the staff team enough at Glenfield ICU & ward 20 for their expertise, resilience, hard work and dedication. Thank you to the hundreds of people who prayed and continue to pray for complete healing. Friends, family, work colleagues, people we don’t know across many nations.

“We had support from friends who cooked meals for my family while I was in hospital, financial gifts and support from volunteers in Birstall and Wanlip who did some shopping and collected prescriptions for us.

“As with many people in lockdown, I am more thankful for my family, for being able to spend time with them and for the privileges we have. I am eager to pray more, to read the bible and give thanks to God for healing me.

“I am not sure about full recovery, but we are believing for complete healing. As it stands today, I am able to walk over 10000 steps a day and have been cycling. My lungs feel better than ever and I am progressively becoming stronger and fitter. Mentally, I am recovering. My wife and I still talk about some of the events as we recall them to mind, and still at times get emotional about our journey, but still give thanks.”

THERE HAVE been six COVID-19 deaths in Birstall between March 1 – April 17.

In Thurmaston there were 4 deaths; Thurcaston, Woodhouse and Bradgate 4; Mountsorrel and Rothley 2, Quorn and Mountsorrel Castle 1.

In this period 36.2 per 100,000 people in England and Wales had died after testing positive for the virus.

In Charnwood it was 25 people per 100,000; in Leicester 39 and in London 85.7

Source: Office for National Statistics

A total of 310 patients at Leicester’s three hospitals who tested positive for COVID-19 have died between March 14 and May 18

Donated fabric made into NHS scrubs

Pic: First of the scrubs being returned

TWO MILES of material gifted to a Birstall group are being cut and sewn into NHS scrubs by a team of volunteers.

Rosie Rollings from Helping Our Community LE4 Birstall explains: “We asked to help with scrubs for the local hospitals and were fortunate to be gifted 2 miles of material from digital dyers in Thurmaston. The material was perfect for us as it was intended for hospital scrubs. We realised we would need patterns that were easier to work with than 45 sheets of A4. These were ordered, paid for and gifted to us by Shreekant Raivadera. We had over 30 ladies cutting and sewing when we received an amazing offer of help from Queri Alexander and her team at Leicester College. They offered to help cut and make the rolls of material more manageable. Through Leicester College we were given a contact in DFS that laser cut all of the fabric making it much faster for the group to turn them around. We are very pleased that we have received requests for scrubs and the next day have received pictures of them being worn. We aim to produce 300 out of that donated material and are nearly halfway there. In addition to scrubs we have had sewers making scrub caps and head bands. Others have been making scrub bags.”

Pic: Querida & Mia drop off scrub sets, headbands & scrub caps sewn by staff from Leicester College

The group have now received another donation of 2500 m of fabric which has been cut and distributed to volunteers for sewing.

Rosie said: “We have been requested by Rainbows to provide scrubs and are doing uniform patterned scrubs for the team at the Fertility Clinic at the LRI. Without the help support guidance and contacts of Queri Alexander and her team at Leicester college we would not have evolved so fast.

We have provided scrubs caps and head bands directly to the hospital, to LOROS, to our local nurses on the front line, transplant recipient coordinator A&E, EDU and have a list of requests. Holly Van Geffen has made personalised scrubs for local nurses as a thank you for the care she received following a double lung transplant. Some people who don’t feel confident enough for scrubs have made scrub bags, and as we have so many we are making care bags for the homeless for the “Open Hands” charity. These will contain basic essentials such as toothpaste/brush deodorant, nail clippers, combs, sanitary wear, socks shower gel. Anyone that would like to donate can drop off in the boxes at admins’ houses around the village.”

The group also continues to collect prescriptions from local pharmacies and has sold over £1800 of flour, yeast and eggs to Birstall residents.

Rosie said: “The admin team wish to thank all the local residents who have made the group what it is, a community working together.”

Firearms buried in Birstall

A BIRSTALL man who stole firearms in a burglary and buried them in a field in the village has been sent to prison for nine years and six months.

Pics: Matthew Moore (above) & Brian Kemp (below)

At Leicester Crown Court on Monday May 4, Matthew Moore (40) of Wanlip Lane, Birstall, was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison and Brian Kemp (53) of Marwood Road, Leicester was sentenced to two years and five months in prison after pleading guilty in February.

Moore pleaded guilty to burglary dwelling, handling stolen goods and six counts of possession of a firearm. Kemp pleaded guilty to burglary dwelling.

Between July 6 – 9 last year, Kemp and Moore broke into a property in Humble Lane, Cossington while the owners were away on holiday.

A friend, who had been checking the property, found a window had been smashed and after a search found that five shotguns, two rifles and quantity of ammunition had been stolen.

Following a forensic examination carried out at the scene by crime scene investigators, a rubber glove was recovered which had a fingerprint that belonged to Kemp.

In the weeks after, a search of a field in Birstall by officers found two of the shotguns with ammunition stolen during this burglary.

Detective Constable Clare Moore, the investigating officer, said: “Fortunately for us, but not so for Kemp, the glove he left at the scene gave us an excellent starting point by placing him at the scene and featured heavily in building our case against him and linking Moore to the crime.

“As part of the significant detective work which followed we were able to arrest and charge Kemp and Moore and successfully retrieve three of the stolen guns removing them from the hands of criminals and off the streets to be used in potential offending.

“Leicestershire Police takes all firearms offences extremely seriously and will work tirelessly to investigate, gather evidence and put this before the courts as we have done on this occasion.”

Runner completes marathon for LOROS

A MEMBER of Birstall Running Club completed a run of 26 miles on local roads when her dream of running the London Marathon was quashed by the coronavirus.

Pic: Marathon runner Claire Burbidge

Claire Burbidge has dreamt of running the London Marathon since she was a little girl and decided to run it in 2020 through local charity LOROS. She secured her place last October and started fundraising immediately. Training then began with other members of Birstall Running Club who were also training for marathons in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Brighton. They formed a marathon group and once a week ran together on their long runs.

Then the news was announced that the marathon was cancelled due to Covid-19. The Running Club suspended all activities and with no weekly club runs and no social runs with her friends, it was hard to keep motivated, but she kept training.

Claire said: “If I cannot do the London Marathon this year, I will do the next best thing, my own virtual marathon and give something back to my supporters and sponsors.”

LOROS had several runners raising funds through running for them at the London Marathon and all the runners were disappointed with the news. This group decided to mark the occasion with a solo run from their homes to the LOROS Hospice for a socially distanced meet. Everyone would wear their LOROS vests and make their own race number, and after a quick photo they would run back home. This is a distance of 8 miles for Claire, so she decided to round it up to a half marathon - 13.1 miles. Then she thought why not try and do the full 26.2 miles. She only shared the plan with her husband in case the plan did not work out as Claire had never run farther than 20 miles before.

Claire’s route took her to Birstall. “I decided to run from home and then past family and friends’ houses as inspiration to keep going”. She left Birstall and headed towards LOROS via her son’s house in Astill Lodge. “Next I visited Gilroes Cemetery before arriving at LOROS just before 10am.”

By this point Claire had run 10 miles. When the other LOROS London Marathoners arrived, they had a quick catch up and a photo before heading their separate ways. Claire headed on to Anstey to run past more family members’ houses before heading back round past Thurcaston and back to Birstall. “One of my favourite routes is through Watermead Park and then along the canal path to Cossington. I had lots of support along the route from people I know and complete strangers. The first 20 miles were fine and then I hit ‘the wall’ but I had not ran all that way to give up”. Claire was determined to finish what she had started. “I kept ticking the miles off one by one through Rothley and Thurcaston, I kept going for my sponsors and supporters, I was not going to stop until I reached 26.2 miles”.

Claire has been overwhelmed by all the positive comments she has received. “I did not think I had done anything special, I just wanted to deliver what I promised I would do, a marathon on the 26th April 2020, to my sponsors. I am really hoping The Virgin London Marathon goes ahead in October, as it will be an honour to complete it for my chosen charity. Training will resume in June. Until then I am having a little rest.

“I have had so much love and support from family and friends and I have already raised over £1400 for LOROS”

Birstall baking in lockdown

BIRSTALL’S BAKERS have been kept supplied with flour, eggs, yeast and sugar thanks to the Helping Our Community LE4 group.

Pop-up shops from group members’ houses have sold over £1800 of ingredients and group admin Shona Rattray thought it would be nice to see what Birstall was baking. She said: “A bakers’ gallery was set up for members of the group to send in photos of their bakes. Three categories were set up, Best Showstopper, Best Savoury/Bread and Best Kids Baker.

“We were really thrilled with all the photos that were sent in and it was a hard job for us as the five admins to choose the winners. It was great to see so many people getting involved.”

The three winners were Erin Flower, Lucy Joyce and Sangita Sicotray. They each won a prize donated by local businesses: The White Horse Pub, Mowbray Foods and Filigree Heart.


My name is Bernadette Gibson and I live on Wanlip Lane.

As I write this on 15 May 2020 Chris and I will be nearly through our 9th week of shielding. We have four more weeks to go and we will have done 13 weeks shielding as we went in a week early. That will be a quarter of a year of our lives spent behind closed doors. All being well we are hoping to emerge into the outside world after that. Last month my letter and poem 'The need' was published in The Birstall Post. I would be grateful if you could publish two of my haiku, 'Watermead Country Park' and 'Birstall canal dance', that I wrote a few years back. Again they are nature poems, and I hope they will bring comfort to whoever reads them, especially those who like ourselves can't go out at present.

Birstall canal dance

Putting on a show -

damselflies mesmerise us

round and round they go

Watermead Country Park

Even adults like

splashing through mucky puddles

when wearing wellies

By Bernadette Gibson

Thank you to all friends and neighbours on Fielding Road who helped me celebrate my 90th birthday recently.

So many cards and gifts, most appreciated.

I loved being included in the VE Day celebrations.

Mavis Phillips

This is to inform readers that my letter titled Draft Local Plan in the May issue was a copy of the letter I wrote to Sir Peter Soulsby on March 7 this year.

To date, May 12, I have not received a reply. This is not surprising as he has failed to respond to previous letters and to my letters published in the Leicester Mercury.

While he is happy to spend millions on some unnecessary projects, particularly in Leicester city centre, he seems to have a couldn’t care less attitude to the illogical (and dangerous for pedestrians) system of footpaths along the city length of Greengate Lane.

Health and safety issues for pedestrians on this city road are obviously being ignored by Leicester City Council and high spending Sir Peter Soulsby.

To go onto another subject I want to state my frustration and annoyance about an event which has happened to me. On May 8, VE Day, it had been arranged for me to have a box of food delivered to my house by a shop. Unfortunately the box did not arrive. On Monday May 11 I managed to contact the shop by phone. I was informed that on VE Day my box of food had been sent out with others to be delivered that day. It seems that the volunteer had delivered my box to another house. The person or family who received it wouldn’t have been expecting it and realised it wasn’t meant for them. The box would have had a piece of paper with my name and address attached to it or inside it so the recipient(s) would have known the box was meant for me.

Surely I could have been contacted in some way so that I could have arranged for the box to be transferred to my house but no, I received no message. I didn’t exactly go hungry for a few days but as an elderly, disabled person isolating myself it would have been nice to have been able to eat some food I wanted and needed. So someone or some people have no doubt enjoyed eating my food for free. This awful crisis we are having to endure obviously brings out the best in most people in that they care for others and try to help them but unfortunately a small minority become selfish and greedy and think only of themselves

Jex Woods


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, 9th June

This meeting has 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


Anxious or feeling low?

Let’s Talk Wellbeing from the NHS can help

Let’s Talk – Wellbeing provides mental health support for people aged 16 and over who are suffering with anxiety, depression and other similar difficulties across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

It offers free talking therapies for common mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, panic, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), trauma and stress all of which can be accessed online.

Support is on offer with one to one sessions via telephone or video conferencing with a therapist, and by accessing online support through our dedicated digital platform Silvercloud which enables patients to access a range of online programmes that can be used at any time on any device, it also allows patients to work at their own pace with regular reviews from a therapist.

Anyone can access the Let’s Talk – Wellbeing service by registering online here: www.letstalkwellbeing.co.uk and selecting the area you live in.

Alternatively you can register by calling the service directly:

If you’re registered with a GP practice in Leicestershire or Rutland call 01509 561100.


Church Services

There are no church services at St James the Great and Our Lady & St Nicholas until further notice


For the 2nd year running on Saturday October 3 at 7.30pm start we are holding a

Last Night Of The Proms

at St James church Birstall

In aid of Birstall Scouts and St James church.

Once again we will be having the Bilton silver rugby band with all the usual last night of the proms music and fun.

Tickets will be £8 in advance or £10 on the door.

The price will include nibbles and light refreshments

If you would like tickets please contact buy phone or email on


0116 2674031 and leave a message terencesamuel@hotmail.co.uk


Cedar Care Circle

Covid-19 means we are still restricted. When Ruth's Lambourne Cafe is given the green light to reopen we will have a clearer idea of what lies ahead. The group was started by myself to support carers of people affected by Alzheimers, Dementia and Parkinsons. My lovely husband Ken had vascular dementia. My sad news is that Ken passed away peacefully 19th April. The meetings will carry on when allowed. It will be affectionately known as KEN'S CLUB in his honour. Take care, keep safe. Barbara. Contact 07905760556

Veteran of World War II dies, aged 99

Pic: Rupert Stant

A NAVAL veteran of the Second World War has died aged 99.

Rupert Stant of Sibson Road had lived in Birstall since 1945, having seen active service in Singapore and in the Mediterranean aboard HMS Newcastle where he narrowly escaped with his life when the ship was badly damaged by a torpedo.

After the war he moved to Birstall, worked at Crowther in Thurmaston and with his first wife raised two sons, Simon and Andrew. After the death of his wife he remarried in 1981.

Pic: Rupert is pictured left with his grandson Lt Cmdr Mark Stant on Remembrance Day in 2018

A keen engineer, Rupert built a 16 foot steamboat and a steam railway in his back garden.

Rupert’s grandson Adam Harrison recounts the story of how his grandfather joined the Navy:

At the age of 19, Rupert had never left the UK and when the war broke out he enlisted in the Royal Navy. He trained for several months in Chatham. A bout of sickness caused him to miss his first assignment, aboard a ship that later sank with its crew, he joined another boat that ended up in Singapore, Britain's main military base in South-East Asia. He spent some time there, working on naval vessels, having what he considered at the time an 'easy war'. He tried, and failed to get into Raffles- the historic hotel and bar, to drink their famous 'Singapore Sling' but was always refused entry... strictly officers only!

After many months he felt relaxed but this was all about to dramatically change. In late 1941 the Japanese swept down the Malaya peninsula and by Valentine’s Day, 1942, had reached Singapore. Rupert thought the allied forces had superior numbers and that they could hold them off for weeks or even repel the advancing Japanese but this wasn't to be- The Japanese army struck with such ferocity that the city fell within days rather than weeks, causing absolute chaos. Amidst massacres and bombing, panic set in.

Rupert made his way onto a small navy boat but after leaving shore it was bombed, sinking the ship and killing many aboard. With a handful of survivors, he made his way to an uninhabited island, with no fresh water or food to be found. After a night on the island hope came in the form of a small civilian boat fleeing the carnage but the boat was small had engine problems. Rupert boarded the boat as the best and only option to keep it working and save those already on board, leaving survivors on the island behind to an unknown fate involving starvation or capture by the Japanese.

Later the same day, with the engine just about working, the small craft came across yet another sunken ship, this time with survivors in the water. Despite being over capacity, they decided to take aboard 2 badly injured nurses. As the boat continued its escape, both died. Through the night they made their way across the ocean and the following day found themselves approaching Sumatra.

Not knowing quite where he was, or the local language, with no possessions or identification, Rupert spent the next few weeks 'surviving'- he slept in the closed food markets at night and was fed handouts from the traders during the day. One day, out of the blue, someone approached him and relayed to him in English news of a British naval boat docked on the other side of the island. He spent the next days hitch hiking his way across to this ship. Upon 'reporting for duty', officers would not believe that he was who he said he was. Sunburnt, with long hair, a straggly beard and no proof of identity, his welcome back involved hours of interviews to establish his credentials!

A few years back I got the chance to travel to Singapore and it came with one request from my Granddad- to have the Singapore Sling that he could never have in Raffles. I made sure I did it in his honour, toasting him and marvelling at our fortunately different circumstances.

• Rupert died on April 15 and his funeral was held at Loughborough crematorium on April 22. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Birstall’s schools adapting to Covid-19

BIRSTALL’S SCHOOLS are all part of the Lionheart Academies Trust – they have been developing and enhancing their online learning and making preparations for a staged reopening.

Shreekant Raivadera, Chair of Governor’s at the Cedars Academy, reports:

The schools of the Lionheart Academies Trust, including the four in Birstall, have been developing the online learning for students with more ‘live’ video lessons, more resources available online and a more structured approach to the curriculum. Over 90% of secondary students have engaged with online learning in some way and 54% with all of English, Maths and Science, which is much higher than the national average.

A new approach is being piloted where students engage in shared reading. An article is posted by the teacher and students are invited to comment on the article or to respond to each others’ comments. This is sometimes done live and sometimes over several days. Research suggests that student engagement is enhanced when they work collectively with their peers and this is a safe and straightforward way of encouraging shared learning.

Primary levels of engagement are also high with measurements based on students having accessed the virtual learning environment and work is now being done to introduce quizzes at the end of pieces of work as a way of measuring how many students have engaged fully.

Laptop provision

We are acutely aware of the impact covid-19 is having on students who don’t have access to the internet. The trust is expecting to receive a small number of laptops from the government in late June for passing onto students but this is a small proportion in relation to the number of students unable to access the internet. We are looking at creative ways of extending this to include some additional families.

The Board has agreed to invest in additional support, basic laptops and wireless broadband routers, for some of those most affected. As a trust we have always said that we are committed to equity and this is a concrete way in which our vision can be realised to support students who may otherwise be left behind.

Key Worker School

There have been 30-50 students each day at Cedars Academy as the local key worker school. Students are having a good time, accessing online learning and having opportunities for sports, arts, music, etc. including primary students at Cedars celebrating VE Day.

Reopening of schools

The situation around lockdown measures in the UK is changing very quickly, so this update is based on the best information available at the time of writing. With that disclaimer made, the government’s position is that primary schools should begin to open from June 1 to foundation/reception, and years 1 and 6 – not simply open to all students in Year 1 & 6 on that date. This is still dependent on the 5 checks which would need to be in place linked to the country’s capacity to manage covid-19 and the emerging signs of reduced risk.

Clearly opening to all students in Year 1 & 6 on June 1, immediately after half term, without the opportunity for training and ensuring safe working is in place, isn’t possible so we’re looking at how best to manage a staged return. We’re very mindful of the challenge of staffing a large number of small classes when we have staff needing to stay at home for health reasons. There’s also a challenge in having enough rooms to split classes into.

We are engaging with the government, several school trust forums and the unions to discuss how and when a return to school can happen. We also need to factor in the continuing provision for children of key workers, who will be across all ages and will need additional space. The safety of our pupils and staff has to be of paramount importance.

When our children do return to school it will not mean a return to the normal school life they left in March. It is important that you read the Government’s Guide for Parents to enable you to see what measures they are asking us to put in place to try to reduce risk. It will also enable you to see what the experience of your child could be like when they return. These measures may include: smaller classes, children in different classrooms to their usual room and remaining in the same room all day, staggered starts and finishes, part time timetables, teachers who are not their usual teachers and staggered breaks and lunches which won’t be based on friendship groups.

Meanwhile, the trust’s estates team are doing amazing work in partnership with the heads to prepare the buildings on the assumption we’ll be returning in some form with some students before the end of the year.

We’re taking advice from a wide range of experienced sources to make sure we have robust systems in place. We are, for instance, buying in portable hand washing systems to install in the primary playgrounds and planning one-way routes and new signage through the schools. These are just examples of the measures being discussed.

Pic: artwork created by Birstall primary school children

Primary heads are planning the curriculum offer to include as much outdoor learning as possible and are working through the practicalities of running the schools in a very different way.

All the support teams, including IT and finance are looking at how their functions need to prepare for this different way of running schools.

Yet again, the benefit of being in a trust where a highly experienced team can carry much of the burden by sharing skills, tasks and planning together is paying dividends for everyone.

However, we do understand that even with these additional measures being put in place you may have concerns about sending your child back to school. If you feel that sending your child back to school is not in their best interests we will work with you to reach an informed decision regarding the best solution for your son/daughter. There will be no prosecutions for non-attendance during the remainder of the Summer Term.

We have sent questionnaires to staff and students, and a focus group of parents, to ask a range of questions linked to their experience during the lockdown, their feelings about returning to school and well being issues.

The new build science block at Cedars is slipping behind but we hope this will still be completed by the end of term and definitely ready for the new academic year. Block A is planned for demolition in December.

On behalf of the Trust, I thank you for your support, patience and positivity. We appreciate all the hard work from parents and carers juggling supporting online learning and normal home life in these unpredictable times.

• All parents will be contacted by their school about the staged re opening. Details can also be found on the school’s website and social media pages.

Transport investment

LEICESTER City Council is due to approve investment of almost £7million as part of a major programme of improvements to public transport, cycling and walking across the city.

Pic: an electric bus

The new programme of work will focus on major sustainable transport improvements to provide attractive choices for people to get to work, supporting the city’s growth and delivering on the council’s climate emergency, air quality and healthy living commitments.

The council has entered into a contract with Leeds-based provider Pelican Yutong to provide electric buses for the Park and Ride. Five buses are already on order for the Birstall service at a cost of £1.9million, and eight more are due to be ordered. The 13-strong fleet of electric buses is expected to be in operation by early 2021.

New bus lanes and safer cycling and walking routes are planned for a number of key routes including St Margaret’s Bus Station to the Park and Ride hub at Birstall; Anstey Lane; Highcross Street to Groby Road adjacent to the Waterside regeneration area and Aylestone Road to Saffron Lane, where a temporary cycle lane has recently been installed to support key workers travelling to and from Leicester Royal Infirmary.

New park and ride services for Glenfield Hospital and Beaumont Leys will also be developed as part of the Transforming Cities programme.

A city centre electric link bus service will also be developed to connect the railway and bus stations with the city centre shopping and other key employment areas.

Faces Arts’ annual show

FACES ARTS, the well-established Performing Arts Company for children, are looking ahead to re-opening of their classes, but only when it is safe to do so.

Faces Arts Director Jody Tinbergen and her team have been running free virtual classes for their students.

Jody said: “It has been an incredibly challenging time for everyone in recent months and we are desperate to re-open, but safety remains our number one priority and we will only reopen fully when it is safe to do so.

“The messages of support from parents and students has been amazing - we can’t wait to teach the children again”

Prior to the onset of Covid-19, Faces Arts students performed their annual productions in February and March.

Jody said: “The Commercial Street dance show was an upbeat, high energy and fast-paced performance to sell-out crowds, whilst the Birstall Theatre School performed ‘A Night at the Musicals’ an all singing, dancing, acting production which combined snippets from a variety of famous musicals.”

Unfortunately, the Rothley Theatre School show was postponed at the last minute due to COVID19, however Faces Arts are hopeful this will be performed in the near future.

“Faces Arts is all about providing opportunities for local children to discover their performing talents. The development in their ability and self-confidence has been outstanding” Jody added.

For more information on future classes, please contact Jody@facesarts.co.uk, 07971423201 or visit the website www.facesarts.co.uk for further information.

Business safety advice

A QUALIFIED safety advisor from Birstall is providing advice to local businesses about restarting their business safely now that lockdown restrictions are being slowly lifted.

The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible – there are currently 8 guides available which cover a range of different types of work.

Andrew Powdrill (Tech IOSH, DGSA) said: “In Birstall there are many small business and shop owners and workers who, after reading through the government guidance, may find some of the guidance either difficult to work through or unclear as to what exactly is needed to be done and how.

“As some businesses may also operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles then more than one of these guides may be required to be used as you think through what you need to do to keep yourself safe.

“Using professionally qualified advice to help navigate through the guidance and suit what is best for your business will help further reduce risks.”

For further information contact Andrew Powdrill at Annotech on 07917 590083 or e-mail annotechservice@gmail.com to arrange an initial free telephone consultation.

The current official guidance can be found by following the link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Cut free from car

ONE PERSON was trapped in their vehicle after a two car collision on the northbound A6 near Birstall.

Emergency services had to cut them free following the accident which was reported at 8:18 pm on May 14. The casualty was taken to Leicester Royal infirmary and the road was reopened at 10:30pm.

Getting Back to Normal

After all these weeks, the lockdown is being eased and we can do more things without breaking the regulations and being fined. In general, people have behaved well and been considerate to others but, unfortunately, the usual minority have decided that the rules do not apply to them.

Of course, most of that behaviour can be put down to selfishness or simple stupidity but there are those who refuse to comply with the law even in normal times. They, it is no surprise to say, have continued to commit crime for their own gain or convenience.

Because of the lockdown, many houses that would have been empty during the day have been occupied. As a consequence, the number of burglaries has dropped but those that have occurred have often affected people working on the front line. We have been asking those of you who are at home to keep an eye on your neighbours’ houses and report any suspicious behaviour. We know of situations where strangers have made a hasty departure when they realised that people were watching them.

As more people are returning to work, it is important that they get back into the habit of checking that their homes are secure. The odd routine of being locked down has meant that it seemed less important to check that doors, windows and especially garden gates were closed and locked.

Vehicles have continued to be targets for thieves and a number have been broken into overnight. The usual advice applies: make sure you lock them and do not leave any valuable items, especially tools, in them when unattended.

The criminal industry that is flourishing at this time of crisis is cybercrime. Scam and phishing emails and telephone calls are rife. Action Fraud estimates that well over two million pounds were lost in this way during the first few weeks of the crisis.

Again, the usual advice applies: be very wary of any unexpected contact from strangers urging you to transfer money or give your bank details. It is almost certainly someone trying to steal from you. Elderly and vulnerable people are most at risk, so please warn your relatives, friends and neighbours of the risk. Some people can be forgetful and you may have to repeat the warning on a regular basis.

You can look on our website and join our Facebook Group for the latest news and information.

Visit our website: www.villagewatch.co.uk

Please keep safe and well and continue to be good neighbours.

Ed Chambers

Committee Chairman, Birstall & Wanlip NHW

Crime Update

The Coronavirus outbreak is unfortunately still the main topic of conversation at the moment and we are still reminding residents that the Government guidelines remain in place. People should only be leaving home to attend work (if they cannot work from home) for exercise, to shop or to care for an elderly or vulnerable person. We are still receiving regular calls about people ignoring these guidelines and having friends or family to visit, so I urge all residents to stick to the rules to help prevent the virus spread.

As we move forward into May, our priority will be to tackle drug dealing in various locations around the village, as we have had a few calls recently informing us that this activity appears to have increased over the last few weeks. It is possible that this is partly due to areas being less busy than usual, meaning that the activity has become more noticeable, however clearly this has a detrimental effect on the local area and so we are keen to target those who are involved in this.

We have seen a fall in crime in April which is in line with the rest of the UK and is clearly related to the guidelines regarding staying at home. In April we have had a total of 27 crimes reported to us, details as follows: we have had 8 reports of assault, 6 reports of Public Order (mainly due to neighbours arguing with one another), 4 reports of criminal damage (including 2 reports of vehicles being damaged), 3 reports of burglary (all of which were attempted burglaries with no actual entry gained), 3 reports of theft, 2 reports of theft from vehicles and 1 actual theft of a vehicle.

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


As detailed in last month’s newsletter, 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

You can also follow us on twitter at @CharnwoodPolice

Crime Prevention Advice

I’d just like to thank all of you for the efforts you have made to adhere to the stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives message we have been working on for a large part of this month and being respectful of social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 so we can move towards a return to normality as soon as possible.

Please continue to let us know if things are happening which cause you concern as your knowledge of your own area’s and who is in them assists us greatly in our patrols. This will ensure we are continuing to tackle the issues that cause most harm in our communities.

PS 2951 Chris Boylin

With an increased number of people staying at home at the present time and using social media or spending more time on-line, there has unfortunately been a dramatic rise in the number of fraud scams being reported both locally and nationally. One particular scam going round at the moment involves sending an e-mail advising that your TV licence payment has been declined and asking you to follow a link to set up a new payment method. This will then ask for bank account / credit card details allowing the fraudsters access to your personal information. If you should receive such an email, DO NOT open it or follow the link, simply delete it. Other scams that have been reported involve fraudsters contacting people by phone, email or text advising them that they are entitled to a refund of some sort. Again, by replying to the email, text or contacting the number you will be asked for bank details so that the ‘refund’ can be processed. Again, DO NOT reply to these and delete them.

You can report frauds and scams to Action Fraud at: www.actionfraud.police.uk

A message from Sgt Boylin & Pc Jaeckels.

Whilst out and about on the beat I have been impressed by how people have been sticking to the guidelines regarding social distancing and only travelling for essential

reasons. The A6 through Birstall has been very quiet as indeed most roads have been. As already stated, we have had some reports of people ignoring the rules & having friends and family to visit, but in the main these have been few and far between. Please keep it up!

From Sgt 2951 Boylin PC 1759 Jaeckels PCSO 6611 Butler

Car crash

A WOMAN was taken to hospital with serious injuries following a three vehicle collision.

The incident happened around 5.30pm on May 1 in Cropston Road, between the villages of Cropston and Anstey – near to the junction with Waterfield Road.

The three vehicles involved were a red Skoda Fabia, a black Range Rover and a Royal Mail van.

The driver of the Fabia, a woman in her 50s, was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre. She remains in hospital in a serious condition.

The drivers of the other two vehicles did not require hospital treatment.

Detective Constable Louise McMahon from the force’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “I would like to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident or has dash cam footage of the vehicles either before the collision or of the collision itself.”

Witnesses can contact police on 101, quoting incident 429 of 1 May.

Garden run raises charity cash

NINE YEAR old Olivia Johnson from Birstall ran 50 laps around her garden raising £330 for the brain injury charity, Headway Leicester.

Pic: Olivia Johnson ran laps of her garden

Olivia, who attends Highcliffe School, completed her run in less than 26 minutes, even receiving a donation and a message of support from her teacher.

She was taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon 2.6 challenge, which was organised after the London Marathon was cancelled.

Headway Leicester’s Fundraising and Events Officer Ruth Johnson, says the charity has been overwhelmed with the support they received over the weekend.

She said: “As a small charity we cannot thank our supporters enough for being so active and creative with their 2.6 challenges. We had people cycling 26km, running as many laps as they could around their garden in 26 minutes, walking their dogs (and ponies!) for 2.6 miles as well as families taking part in 26 minutes of yoga.”

If you would like to donate £10 to Headway Leicester’s COVID-19 Emergency Appeal then please text HEADWAY HERO to 70490. Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £10 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text HEADWAYHERONOINFO to 70490.

If you need advice following a brain injury either for yourself or a loved one, you can self-refer by calling 0116 2739763 or email headway@headwayleicester.org.uk or visit the website for more information www.headwayleicester.org.uk

Mental health support

ONE TO one support for people aged 16 and over who are suffering with anxiety, depression and other similar difficulties across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland is now available from the NHS.

Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, many more people are now experiencing mental health difficulties and the Let’s Talk - Wellbeing service is available to help people across the City and Counties to manage their conditions.

The Let’s Talk - Wellbeing service offers free talking therapies for common mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, panic, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), trauma and stress all of which can be accessed online.

Support is on offer with one to one sessions via telephone or video conferencing with a therapist, and by accessing online support through a dedicated digital platform Silvercloud which enables patients to access a range of online programmes that can be used at any time on any device. It also allows patients to work at their own pace with regular reviews from a therapist.

Dr Avinashi Prasad, Mental Health Lead and Co-Chair at Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “During times of change and uncertainty it is important that we look after our mental health especially when many people are isolating alone or away from friends and family. The Let’s Talk – Wellbeing service is a vital source for mental health support for anyone who needs help across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and we encourage people to register for help when they need it.”

The service has also produced online videos to supplement care, covering different topics such as stress control, anxiety management and self-care. People will also be offered the opportunity to take part in interactive webinars on similar topics and special modules that have been developed to deal with anxiety and stress caused by Coronavirus. These sessions will be delivered online by a therapist so that people can engage with the therapist and ask questions.

Anyone can access the Let’s Talk – Wellbeing service by registering online here: www.letstalkwellbeing.co.uk and selecting the area you live in.

Alternatively you can register by calling the service directly:

If you’re registered with a GP practice in Leicestershire or Rutland call 01509 561100.

Recycling site reopens

ONE OF Leicester’s two waste recycling sites has re opened to the public as part of moves to lift coronavirus lockdown conditions.

Pic: the Gypsum Close site

The city council-run site at Gypsum Close, off Troon Way, opened its doors on Wednesday, May 20, with reduced opening hours of Wednesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm only.

Freemen’s Common waste and recycling site will remain closed for the time being.

The opening is in line with Government guidance which says people can visit household waste recycling centres to dispose of waste which can not be stored safely at home or disposed of through other methods, such as a dedicated collection.

The site at Gypsum Close does not accept asbestos or chemicals, and is also currently unable to recycle any clothing or other textiles.

The reopening comes in the same week as waste sites elsewhere run by Leicestershire County Council prepare to open. Seven of the county’s 14 recycling sites were due to open on Monday, May 18.

Residents are being encouraged to continue storing waste at home if it is safe to do so, and to expect delays at recycling sites.

Before visiting the Mountsorrel recycling site you have to book an appointment on the County Council’s website. You do not need an appointment when visiting Gypsum Close.

Plans for narrowboat mooring

PLANS HAVE been submitted for a mooring for a narrowboat on a privately owned piece of land near Birstall Lock.

Pic: (top) red arrow shows location of site

The applicant, who does not own the land, wants to build a 15m floating plastic pontoon connected to poles piled into the riverbed.

The site has historically been unfenced and accessible to the public. There is evidence of drug misuse and sexual activity at the site, says the applicant.

Pic: how the floating pontoon will look

A temporary fence has now been placed around the site and some trees have been felled.

Some residents are objecting to the plans. They are concerned about damage to wildlife habitat as otters have been seen at the site, and issues regarding parking and access along White Horse Lane.

Birstall’s lock keeper is Peter Price, employed by the Canal & River Trust. He has submitted an objection to the plans. He is concerned that the site is in a flood risk area and that the plans will harm the wildlife habitat, that there is no access to fresh water or facilities for disposing of effluent.

The planning application reference is P/20/0647/2

Dance academy movesonline

A THURCASTON based dance school has kept going by providing classes to children using Zoom, the online meeting app.

Gemma Evans from the dance academy said: “At times it's been tricky, but overall has worked great! The children have shown determination, perseverance and commitment to this new way of dance and I'm so proud of all of them! It's not the same, heartbreaking at times, but together we know we can get through this and we will return to a 'new normal' soon.”

The academy normally holds its annual show in November. Gemma said: “We still have our fingers crossed for this! In preparation, the students have continued to learn their show routines via online classes and the teachers are pleased to say it will be a fantastic show, as always!”


Birstall’s new PCSO

A NEW Police Community Support Officer has joined the Birstall beat team.

Pic: PCSO Cody Taylor

PCSO Cody Taylor (6128) said: “I am looking forward to engaging with the community even though it’s a difficult time at the moment given this current situation. I am sure that you will see me patrolling around the area. Feel free to stop me for a chat, but please remember the social distancing rule.”

Parish Council Zoom meetings

BIRSTALL PARISH Council has resumed its schedule of meetings using the app Zoom and members of the public can watch and participate.

Councillors have received training and undertaken some practice sessions and held their first virtual meeting on May 18, a Management and Policy committee meeting followed by a Planning Committee meeting.

The links, meeting ID and telephone numbers that the public need to join a meeting are on the agendas which are published on the Parish Council website.

In public participation, members of the public using Zoom will be able to ask questions and raise issues in the usual way. Participation is also possible using a telephone.

News from the churches

WRITING THIS in early May, the future still seems very uncertain and the pandemic is causing much heartache for so many people, whether in health, financial security or loss of normal social interaction.

We will all welcome the time when we can meet up with family and friends once again, not just on a screen or a phone. Christians also look forward to the day when they will meet the Lord Jesus Christ face-to-face and meantime, we know that we can rejoice whatever our circumstances – rejoicing in our Lord’s free grace, rich mercy, omnipotent power, faithful promises, special providence and unchangeable love.

As the apostle Peter wrote in his first letter, recorded in the Bible, we are told to “humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5 : 6-7)

Last month we invited you to read your Bible to see the situation from a different perspective and would encourage you to do this. 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. You may also like to read the short piece written by Dr. Peter Masters, the Pastor at The Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, entitled: ‘God’s Love in a Pandemic’, which we have reproduced on the home page of our website (http://www.birstallbaptistchurch.org.uk). There you will also find some recommendations as to where to find ministry on the internet and a Thought for the Day on the ‘God’s Word’ page.

Until we can meet again for public worship, remember that you are in our prayers and with grateful thanks to all who are working so hard to maintain essential services and care.

Enquiries about BIBC: please ring 0116 221 4883

From Birstall Independent Baptist Church

Zoomed Off

Weekly services continue using the ‘Zoom’ network on the internet. On May 17 our minister Rev Paula Hunt was unable to lead the worship and delegated that mornings worship to Peter Tinley one of our Local Lay Preachers .

Charles Hilton also prepares the ‘technology’ for the service in advance so that the music to the two hymns is played and also additional material to support the worship. His work is a very valuable addition to this act of worship.

Alas on May 17 Charles was unable to play the music from the recording he had prepared and put on the Zoom platform. We discover later that the platform that supports the additional pieces had collapsed because there were so many people up and down the country using Zoom.

Christine Hall from Rothley, who has a beautiful singing voice came to the rescue.

Despite the minor hic-cup Richards service was much appreciated by the 35 or so participants. It is a shame that many older worshipers who do not have access to the technology cannot join in.

From Birstall Methodist Church

AS YOU may know, Trinity Life Church is a campus church and Birstall is one of several locations around Leicester where we operate, as well as running central ministries for youth, children, young adults, seniors, compassion, pastoral care etc.

This means that we have a full and part-time staff of almost 30 people, many of whom are working harder and smarter than ever, finding new ways to do their jobs.

In order to keep everyone connected, we have been holding brilliant staff meetings via Zoom each weekday lunchtime and it's been so good to ‘meet’, pray and learn together.

On the day I wrote this, David and I stopped and thought about the people on the screen each lunchtime, how precious they are to us and how many life stories we've lived together over these past weeks:

Two couples on our team have had babies, several people have said goodbye to relatives and been unable to attend funerals, some have been joined on the screen at times by children being homeschooled, others have had to shield due to health conditions or age, some have been ill -and that is just a snapshot! Each of us has been on a unique and personal journey and I don't believe we will ever forget this period in our lives as we've drawn closer to God and to each other.

You too will have a story of the past few months - no doubt full of ups and downs, like ours. And just as we all have our own story, so we are all unique and all loved by our creator God.

This season is making people think about some of the big questions of life. A recent Guardian article said ‘A quarter of adults in the UK have listened to or watched a church service since the coronavirus lockdown, and one in twenty have said they have started praying during the crisis, according to a new survey’.

Do you have questions?

Why not go to our website www.trinitylifechurch.org.uk - let the banner on the screen scroll round and click on the link you require. You can find out:

• How to watch a short unique and contemporary service each Sunday and catch up in the week

• How to download resources to help you and your family grow

• How to request prayer

• How to find out more about Jesus

Well, that's all for this month, but let me leave you with a few of my favourite encouraging Bible verses:

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4 verses 6 and 7

Leicester city: cost of the pandemic

THE LOCAL response to the coronavirus pandemic could cost Leicester City Council over £40million, according to a new report to the council’s Overview Select Committee.

The report details the council’s extraordinary costs related to the coronavirus crisis, along with the amount it has spent supporting people who are experiencing hardship and its loss of income as a result of the lockdown.

Leicester City Council is forecasting a financial hit of £35million to £40million this year, with just £21million of Government funding so far available to help meet additional costs and loss of income.

One-off costs incurred by Leicester City Council include £1.2million provided to local social care providers to support them with cash needs.

The council provided £100,000 to increase the provision of food both directly and through the charity FareShare to support community foodbanks in the city.

Up to £100,000 was also earmarked to establish a new community mobilisation fund. This allows local councillors to award grants of up to £5,000 to support community groups that are helping vulnerable people in their wards.

The city council is also spending an additional £1million per month on support for people in independent social care, and around £100,000 per month on additional care accommodation for people leaving hospital.

An extra £100,000 per month is being spent on providing additional temporary accommodation to help ensure that no-one has to sleep rough in Leicester.

The council’s emergency food hub – which is helping thousands of people in urgent need of assistance during the coronavirus lockdown – is costing around £200,000 per month.

The impact on local tax and additional demand for council tax support could cost up to £10million by the end of the year.

Leicester City Council is also set to see a reduction estimated at £14.5million in this year’s income due to the lockdown.

The temporary closure of De Montfort Hall and council-run leisure centres is resulting in a monthly loss of around £900,000.

City centre car parks are free to use, on-street car parking is free, planning applications have slowed down and bus lane and parking enforcement have been temporarily suspended, with fines issued only for dangerous and obstructive parking. This is all resulting in a loss of income of about £700,000 per month.

Loss of income from school meals amounts to about £300,000 per month.

The Government has so far made available emergency funding of £20.8million to Leicester City Council to help cover extraordinary costs relating to the coronavirus crisis.

In addition, it has provided hardship funding of £3.7million. The Government expects this to be used to pay £150 to every working age claimant of council tax support. The city council anticipates that its costs to administer this additional payment will be more than this.

Alison Greenhill, Leicester City Council director of finance, said: “We are now beginning to get a clearer picture of the financial impact of our response to the coronavirus crisis, although much depends on how we begin to emerge from lockdown and the economic recovery afterwards.

“The final costs won’t be clear for some time yet, but we do know that – like many councils – we will be facing a tremendous challenge to fund our lost income and additional costs without more Government support.”

The city council has received £44.5million of Government cash to meet the costs of new rate reliefs for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses and for nurseries. All reliefs have been awarded and are fully funded.

It is also in the process of administering the Government’s business grant scheme, for which Leicester received £85million. So far, over 4,900 claims have been processed. This amounts to over 80% of eligible businesses and £57million of grant support awarded.

Why not try putting this into practice? I dare you!

And we are still here for you and for any practical help or for prayer

• Email admin@trinitylifechurch.org.uk

• Ring 0116 2558672

From Pastor Susan Hind, Trinity Life Church

Shelagh Key

MRS SHELAGH KEY, who was 92 yrs old and a long time resident in Birstall, sadly passed away on Saturday morning May 23.

Pic: Shelagh Key

Born in Leicester, Shelagh moved to Firfield Avenue in 1955 and then to the Greengate Estate where she lived alone since husband Frank died in 1986.

Over the years she was a member of the Birstall Drama Society, faithful arranger of flowers at Wanlip Church, member of the Birstall Church Monday Group, and Birstall History Society. She attended various classes in the village including Art and French.

Until recently Shelagh was a regular sight in the village, slowly but resolutely pushing her shopping trolley along Sibson Road and negotiating the busy Greengate Lane / Loughborough Road crossing without fear.

Always cheerful, she will be sadly missed by all who knew her.

Running club’s relay race

MEMBERS OF Birstall Running Club are used to doing 3 training runs a week and races at weekends.

These events have all been cancelled so Club Coach, Dan Burns, devised a virtual relay race challenge on Saturday April 25.

75 runners from the club took part. Each runner was to run solo for 30 minutes from their own homes and they would submit the distance they covered with a photo of themselves in their club kit. There were three teams of 25 runners and each runner had a starting time slot between 8am and 8pm. The teams were named Team Welford, Team Hotshot and Team Filbert.

As the day warmed up, so did the competition with organiser, Dan Burns, keeping a live tally of results. By 12pm Team Welford were in the lead with an extremely slim margin of just 0.33miles. “It was looking incredibly close at this point and I knew any team had a chance of winning".

Throughout the day there was plenty of discussion, encouragement and photos on the club’s Facebook page - with members’ children drawing signs to boost their mums’ team. The Facebook page had 865 comments and almost 100 pictures on it by the end.

At 8pm the last runners for each team set off and just after 8.30pm these three runners submitted their distances and the overall distance calculated.

In third place was Team Hotshot with 81.11 miles. In second place was Team Welford with 83.14 miles and in first place was Team Filbert with 84.38 miles. A collective total of 248.63 miles ran in solo relay.

Martin Boyce (first runner of the day for Team Welford) had been downloading the pictures that had been uploaded and by the end of the race had created a photo montage of all the participants with the tag line Birstall running club - running alone but together.

The fastest male was 17 year old Zach Spence (Team Filbert) who ran 4.94 miles in 30 mins and the fastest female was the club’s Ladies Captain, Elisa Whittlestone (Team Welford) who ran 4.37 miles.

Club coach Dan's final words were: “I was blown away by the participation and as always our team spirit has been absolutely amazing. Although we were out running alone it felt great knowing that other club members were out too. To have members comment saying it's been their highlight during lockdown and that they've had so much fun means the world to me, and we all need that at this point.” Asked if he would do it again, he replied “in a heartbeat”

Birstall BAG’s cancer corner

Are you worried about cancer – what to do?

BIRSTALL BAGs are keen to encourage people not to delay in seeking medical attentions if they are concerned about cancer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of people seeking medical attention for all sorts of ill health including cancer. Cancer teams and diagnostic services are up and running and available should you need them.

You should still contact your doctor if you notice a change that isn't normal for you or if you have any possible signs and symptoms of cancer.

Even if you're worried about what the symptom might be, or about getting coronavirus don't delay contacting them. Your worry is unlikely to go away if you don't make an appointment. The symptom might not be due to cancer. But if it is, the earlier it's picked up the higher the chance of successful treatment. You won't be wasting your doctor's time.

Contacting Your GP

The coronavirus outbreak means that GPs are now more often talking to people on the phone or online. This is to reduce the risk of coronavirus to them and their patients. When you speak to them, they will ask about your symptoms and tell you if you need to go into the surgery to see a GP.

When you speak to the doctor, it can be difficult to remember everything you want to say especially on the phone. These tips will help you get the most out of your appointment.

Find a quiet part of the house to take the call – your doctor will hopefully give you an idea of what time of day they will call you.

Ask someone to listen in for support - they could also ask questions and help you remember what the doctor says

Before the call write down your symptoms including when they started, when they happen and how often you have them.

Write down if anything makes them worse or better.

Tell them if you are worried about cancer in particular.

Tell them if you have any family history of cancer.

Ask them to explain anything you don’t understand.

Seeing a Specialist & Having Cancer Tests

GPs can still make urgent referrals to specialists or for tests if they’re worried you might have cancer. The hospital should contact you to tell you more about your appointment. Your first appointment might be a telephone appointment with the specialist doctor.

Hospital teams might need to prioritise tests and appointments so they can see those most in need. They will base any decisions on the symptoms people have and the risk of them being cancer. They will talk to you about the possible risks of delaying a test until the risks of COVID-19 are over. If you need to wait to have tests your team will put you on a list to make sure you do have the test when it is possible. All hospitals have introduced a range of measures to protect people as much as possible from the risks of COVID-19.

Once again we would like to acknowledge and express our gratitude for the amazing COVID-19 community effort in Birstall. Please stay safe and well, help others to do the same by adhering to social distancing and shielding advice and please keep yourself fit and active. Let’s all look forward to more normal times in the future and perhaps a very special post-COVID Birstall on the Park event to celebrate our community.

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

Cancer Research UK


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.

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

Birstall BAGS counsellor Nikki Carling is still available to help via email or phone her number is 07544 765091.

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