Earlier this month, I helped to launch Birmingham Energy Savers, a new programme designed to help residents save money on their fuel bills.
The official statistics show that more than one in four Birmingham households are classed as being in fuel poverty. These numbers are certainly borne out by my own experience of trying to help residents who are struggling to meet the costs of heating their homes, often in the face of rising costs.
Birmingham Energy Savers will help residents by carrying out a home audit to identify energy efficiency measures and recommending a “Green Deal Plan” of improvements. Crucially, the scheme allows residents to pay for some or all of the improvements by instalments through their electricity bill. Repayments will cost no more than a typical household should save through energy costs.
The programme should reduce residents’ energy bills by up to £300 a year, which would take up to 40,000 Brummies out of fuel poverty by 2015. It will also help to create more jobs for Birmingham residents, providing a direct investment in skills and opportunities for local people.
To find out more, please visit the Birmingham Energy Savers website.
Finding a reputable and reliable tradesperson to do those odd jobs around the home can often be a worry, especially for elderly people or those with specialist needs.
I often get calls from residents asking for advice on these issues, so I was pleased to hear that Age Concern Birmingham have just relaunched their Firstcall Tradesperson service. Firstcall Tradesperson puts people in touch with a qualified and carefully vetted tradesperson who will provide a free, no obligation quote for the work required.
You can find out more about the service by clicking here to download the information leaflet.
I’ve just received the latest newsletter from the Friends Of Kingfisher Country Park, who are doing a sterling job looking after the fantastic green space at the heart of Shard End Ward.
I’ve reproduced the letter below. I know that the Friends are always eager to welcome new recruits, so if you’re interested in getting involved, they’d be delighted to hear from you!
C/o Sheldon Country Park Ranger Service
Old Rectory Farm
0121 303 6023
1st February 2013
At last we have some very good news! Extensive work started last week to address the long-standing problem which has led to the water channel running alongside Yorks Wood and into Babbs Mill Lake being known as ‘the smelly brook’.
This is a community-led project seeking to restore the water quality of Babbs Mill Lake and the River Cole while enhancing the habitat and amenity value of the site.
During the past year the Committee, with Sheldon and Solihull Rangers, have aimed to raise awareness of Kingfisher Country Park and its environmental and recreational value by being present at various events. These have included the Big Bird Watch (Meriden Park), Sheldon Countryside Festival, Chelmund’s Day in Chelmsley Wood, a variety of community activity days in Shard End, Yorks Wood, Tile Cross, and Lea Village. We took part in Oaks and Shires week in Meriden Park and a Mini-Olympics Fun Day in the park, organised by local PCSOs.
More good news! In November we heard that the woodland and lake in Meriden Park had been designated a Chelmsley Wood Local Nature Reserve.
Now that we have an up-to-date mailing list and a clearer picture of the future of the Friends’ Group we hope to be able to give you advance information about events.
Future events include:-
A mid-week Meander starting from the Pavilion at 10:30, towards Cole Hall Lane.
Tree planting at Glebe Farm, details from the Rangers at Sheldon.
A ‘Safer Shard End’ community day in and around the Pavilion.
Thank you for your continued interest and support.
The next meeting of the Ward Committee will be held next Monday, 11 February at The Pump, Kitts Green Road, starting at 7pm.
Items on the agenda include updates from the local police and Environmental Health Officer. There will also be presentations from local youth support organisation Fitcap and the Reawakening Lea Village team.
All residents are very welcome. Hope to see you there!
Work starts next month on measures to restore the water quality of Babbs Mill Lake and the River Cole.
The project is community-led and will help to further improve the environment around Yorkswood and the Kingfisher Country Park. A partnership between the Friends of Kingfisher Country Park, Birmingham and Solihull Councils, the Environment Agency, Severn Trent Water, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and the Community Service Volunteers will be delivering the works.
The scheme includes:
Creating a reed bed system to filter polluted water before it enters the lake from the channel adjacent to Yorks Wood.
The reed bed system will involve creating a large, shallow pond planted with Common Reed (Phragmites) to form a wetland area. This will filter pollutants and silt from the water before it enters the lake.
Removing the concrete channel and “renaturalising” the Yorks Wood stream.
The concrete channel which runs adjacent to Yorks Wood has been a constant problem and a target for fly-tipping, as well as being the main source of pollution to the lake. The plan is to remove the channel and allow the stream to be moved over into the scrubland in a natural meander, improving the habitat value as well as helping to aerate the water. It will also help to reduce the fly-tipping into the water course.
Creating a shallow-water shelf in the lake, allowing a second reed bed to establish naturally.
This will be created by recycling material excavated from the new pond. The shallow area will be colonised naturally by Common Reed and Reedmace (typha) which are already established around the lake edge. This second reed bed will provide a further filter for the water from both the brook and the inlet from the river.
One of the main causes of pollution has been plumbing misconnections further upstream, which have resulted in washing detergents and other waste entering the stream rather than the sewage system. Work will be carried out as part of this project to trace some of these misconnections and put things right.
This is great news for the neighbourhood and should help to further improve the fantastic green spaces we have at the heart of the Ward.
I’ve just received notice that part of Kitts Green Road is set to be resurfaced, in the next phase of upgrades and repairs to our local roads network.
Work on resurfacing the stretch of road that runs from Lea Village roundabout to The Meadway is expected to start during the week ending 1 March 2013 and will take up to ten nights to complete. The team have to work on this road at night because it would cause congestion or access problems if it were to be closed during the day. They will endeavour to keep noise to a minimum but inevitably the work will cause some disruption.
Whilst surfacing operations are being carried out the section of road affected will be entirely closed to ALL traffic. If you require access for medical/personal reasons, please contact 0121 303 6644 (option 2), to discuss how access can be arranged. Pedestrian access will be maintained as well as access for emergency vehicles.
The team also need to ensure that vehicles are not parked on the road during these hours. Any cars left on the road will be removed by the City Council Parking Enforcement Team, which could include a cost to the owner. They will help you with access where possible if you contact them prior to the works starting, by calling 0121 303 6644 (option 2).
Just a quick post to remind residents that our Neighbourhood Police Team have a very useful webpage, which you can access here.
The page includes contact details for the officers covering each of the neighbourhoods within the ward, together with local news and other useful info.
You can also follow the team’s day to day work across the area on Twitter: @ShardEndPolice.
The Meadway is set to be resurfaced at the beginning of February, in the latest phase of the roads maintenance and repair programme.
Resurfacing of the carriageway between the junctions with Kitts Green Road and Garretts Green Lane is due to start in the week ending 8 February 2013. The work will take place at nights, between 7pm and 6am and should take around 15 days to complete.
Whilst surfacing operations are being carried out the section of road affected will be entirely closed to ALL traffic. If you require access for medical/personal reasons, could you please contact 0121 303 6644 (option 2), to discuss how access can be arranged. Pedestrian access will be maintained as well as access for emergency vehicles.
If you live in the Lea Village or Kitts Green areas of the ward, you might like to know about the tremendous range of community activities taking place at St. Richard’s Church, on Hallmoor Road.
Take a look at their weekly programme by clicking here.