Photograph: Britstock images Ltd/Alamy
Working with Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham Multi-Agency Welfare Reform Committee, the Child Poverty Action Group is hosting a round table discussion to explore the impact of the Welfare Reform programme and Universal Credit on low income families across the Midlands.
The event will take place from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm on Thursday 7th March 2013 in the Banqueting Suite, The Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham B1 1BB.
The programme will include an overview of the plethora of welfare reforms and the timeline for their implementation, as well as an indication of their impacts on low income families, followed by an outline of the approach being taken in Birmingham.
The event will then be opened up to discussion about how the impact of the changes might be managed by local authorities and their partners across the region.
The aim of the event is to both provide the space to look at the cumulative possible impact of these changes as well as exchange ideas about how local authorities can best manage these changes and mitigate their impact on child poverty in their area.
CPAG is hosting four of these events around England, and will provide a write up and toolkit of ideas to all participating local authorities later in 2013.
The event is free and all local authority and partner staff are welcome to attend. Click here to register.
Posted by siouxsiesmith on 20th February 2013
Underrated: Birmingham The Musical is
“a multi-voiced theatrical extravaganza celebrating the best bits of Brum through the eyes of its young people – the next generation who will shape its future.”
The plot goes like this. The Rater of Cities and his entourage visit Birmingham and on arrival they are distinctly unimpressed. But, on hearing songs like “Going Around the Bull”, “For Goodness Sake” and “Birmingham’s A Good Place”, their opinion is gradually changed for the better.
My favourite song in the production was “Diversity”which, according to Women & Theatre’s Janice Connolly, was inspired by the Fairbrum process and Jenny Phillimore’s post on “Super Diversity” on this blog:
It’s a super diversity,
It’s a super diverse city!
Developed by Women & Theatre in partnership with Queensbridge Secondary School, Priestley Smith School for the Visually Impaired and The Children’s Society’s Strong Voices, Strong Lives project for unaccompanied asylum seeking children, Underrated is the result of a development process in which groups of young people from the three settings worked with Women & Theatre to create tunes, lyrics and ideas for scenes.
As well as being part of the development sessions and taking part in the performance, young people went onto Birmingham’s streets and asked people what they thought. One comment captured on video was:
Laughing at Birmingham and people from Birmingham – the last acceptable prejudice?
Another quote from the show’s programme came from a young person during the research process:
Young people are as underrated as Birmingham, especially school children
Underrated was performed on 14 and 15 June in the Foyle Studio at Birmingham’s MAC.
Posted by siouxsiesmith on 18th June 2012
This week we visited “Strictly Not Rehab” with the Bishop of Birmingham. “Strictly …” is a programme run jointly by Gateway Family Services CIC and University Hospitals Birmingham.
We were there to see how the programme works and find out why it’s successful.
The programme has two objectives linked to improving health – to engage more cardiac patients in activity that could prevent a second heart attack and to give unemployed people an opportunity to gain skills and work experience as there is a strong link between unemployment and ill-health.
Using volunteers trained up by Gateway, the programme runs twice weekly dance sessions for patients recovering from heart surgery at Selly Oak Methodist Church Centre. Their partners are welcome to go along too.
The sessions are coordinated by Kate Gee, consultant nurse, from the hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Service.
Here is a short video of Kate talking about the programme
Kate’s point in the video about “de-medicalising” patients’ recovery was definitely evident in the session and the emphasis was on having a good time. The dancing was led by Alistair, a professional dance teacher who took everyone through the steps at a suitable pace to music from the 1930s to the 1950s.
People who are new to the group can choose to sit and watch until they feel confident enough to have a go and the volunteers are there to encourage them to join in when they feel ready.
The Bishop talked with volunteers and patients while we were there and even had a go at learning the jitterbug.
Bishop David said:
“The cardio volunteer programme is an excellent partnership between Gateway Family Services and University Hospitals Birmingham.
“These regular dance sessions are a great way of heart patients getting exercise in a supportive and sociable setting, helping their recovery and having fun at the same time.”
It’s not only the patients that benefit – the volunteers get training and qualifications and several unemployed people who have joined the programme as volunteers have gone on to find paid work as a result of the experience.
Posted by siouxsiesmith on 15th May 2012