In my August (2017) column for the Wednesfield Magazine (In My View) I wrote about Wednesfield being a very ‘go ahead’ part of the City of Wolverhampton.
I wrote that because I believe it. Wednesfield as a district of the City of Wolverhampton is doing some tremendous things, and that is down to the people that live, work, and care about the ancient Village that is driving the pace.
In this current period of time we have rediscovered our past with Gusto. Wednesfield now has a thriving History Society that cajoles and educates us about the great battles that were fought here, the reason for the bloodshed, and its legacies.
Through our History Society we discover and talk of the great discoveries of the Industrial Revolution, and the part Wednesfield played in its effect on the UK and the World. At our history society meetings we pay homage to the great infrastructure that arrived in Wednesfield that helped shape the Village and its importance in the past, and its contribution it makes today.
The Wyrley & Essington Canal that is 220 years old this year, which provided the coalmines of South Staffordshire with the ability to get their coal to the growing Towns of the Black Country. Not forgetting though of the impact of the arrival of the railways, the trams, and the Trolleybus and all the other type of transport that helped shape ‘Our Wednesfield’ in the past, and into the current and future of Wednesfield.
We are a hotbed of history, industry and commerce, and in the remarkable 2,000’s we are still attracting and making headlines. The Steel revolution is still taking place in our Village. For instance Tata Steel at its Wednesfield base, is still revolutionising steel production and steel delivery. Plus Wednesfield provides around 30% of Wolverhampton’s manufacturing capability.
We have a very important retail centre in the High Street and at Bentley Bridge Shopping Park, more than 600 jobs are providing work there. We have an important Leisure Park, at the other end of the Village Bentley Bridge Leisure Park attracts huge footfall from right across the City and the Black Country. Further to that Cineworld that resides there has just announced a new investment for refurbishing its multi-screen cinema.
Wednesfield is a very relevant place, in today’s modern world.
Wednesfield shows through its energy and power, it still has the ability to ‘shock’ and at the same time make people feel proud. It is an independent sort of place, yet at the same time it delivers a great kind of ‘team and community spirit’.
Recently the great Volunteers that do so much to keep the spirit of Wednesfield vibrant have delivered the colour we see in the Village centre.
The Wednesfield in Bloom team planted the Village with scores of flowers!
Business and retail supported the scheme and ’ The Bloomers’. The outcome has been a riot of colour right across the Village High Street and other areas. That hard work by the ‘bloomers’ has been well received by visitors and residents a like. The flowers brighten the place up and it has been great to see so many volunteers still tending ‘their patch’ through out the Summer.
We wait with increasing excitement for September to see if Wednesfield has done enough to get another Britain in Bloom award.
The Wednesfield Canal Festival at Bentley Bridge was also very successful this month. It delivered around 4300 visitors. Who not only enjoyed the music, and stalls, and the 220 year old Wyrley and Essington canal, and the floating market that was moored there.
The visitors also spent their money in Wednesfield over the two days of the festival, adding to the Villages economic development.
We are still gathering results from this great festival, but I am pretty sure we will be doing it again in 2018!
I started by stating that I thought Wednesfield was a go- ahead part of our city, I do hope after reading this you may also have the same feeling!
By the way we are always looking for more volunteers!
The Reverend Sam is to organise a minutes silence outside his shop on the Ashmore Park Shopping Parade on Saturday 26th August 2017.
Wednesfield Canal Festival took place on the 12 & 13 August 2017
As you the community are aware we have come together once again to deliver a brilliant community event – The Wednesfield Canal Festival. This was held on the 12 & 13 August 2017.
This is the fourth year Wednesfield Canal Festival has been held, and each year it has grown bigger and got better than the year before!
When I had first had the idea of the Wednesfield Canal Festival in 2013, it was with the plan already hatched that we needed a Local Nature Reserve in Wednesfield.
The idea was to build public interest and support for a Local Nature Reserve based around the canal in Wednesfield- that I had with colleagues been pressing and promoting with Wolverhampton City Council since 2007.
That strategy which we have employed has been a winner, and each year the Wyrley & Essington Canal in Wednesfield, has gained more attention and become more of a focal point in the community than it had been the year before!
Last year in 2016 two things happened that were very influential, that has taken the Canal Festival onwards and upwards. The first was meeting Mark Welsby the General Manager of Parrs Wood and Bentley Bridge Leisure Park.
Mark Welsby quickly understood what the Wyrley and Essington canal was about, and he was keen that their business (Bentley Bridge Leisure Park) should be supporting the benefits a canal can bring to trading. Mark was encouraging and supportive and I introduced him then to then ‘Hands on Wednesfield’ charity group, and with Creative Black Country and together in partnership we all produced the 2016 event.
It was a itself a very successful arrangement. Our partnership had made a big difference!
There were more people attending the 2016 event, than in 2015 and the visitors liked the live music that Creative Black Country and HOW had introduced.
It was this 2016 partnership working and the improvements that the partnership had made, that led to the plans forming for the 2017 Wednesfield Canal Festival taking place.
Looking back – What a great decision that was!
Moving On to 2017
The Partnership which now included Hands on Wednesfield plus Creative Black Country with Bentley Bridge Leisure Park, have between them found the resources to fund more live music and singers. This created a lively and energetic feel to the whole event. Music and Singing was scheduled to perform over a full two day period, building on the live music success in 2016.
The partnership crafted together a broader, wider variety of events. They did this by harnessing the local community. Craft stalls, children’s face painting , Bouncy Castles, Fun Fair rides.
With all this taking place we still found room and we still made the canal the focus by encouraging four canal Narrowboats to trade in a ‘Pop Up Market’, we welcomed also support boats, and there were other boats that turned up and moored for the week end, because they had been drawn to the event by the publicity.
All this once again created the focus on the canal- and all it provides us with.
Great Nature, a green environment, quiet walks, bike rides, quick links to shopping and schools ,and local Hospitals. It also provides water based transport, tourist links, and more visitors!
Our 2017 Wednesfield Canal Festival also delivered ‘canal crafts’ to young people. Free trips on a Narrow Boat for local people, Provided fun stalls for local community based business.
On top of all that, the 2017 event created better trading for the Bentley Bridge Leisure Park. Our canal festival helped to enhance the business that is located there. All together the band of volunteers created an event that makes the world of difference to our Greater Wednesfield Community.
Results So what are the results of all this hard work and partnership. Was the 2017 Wednesfield Canal Festival a success? In fact what were the outcomes- I asked Bentley Bridge Leisure Park what they felt had been achieved? This is what they have told us.
• Did the festival make a material difference?
Yes, there was an uplift in sales at the centre from customers attending the canal festival.
• Can you give an estimate at the numbers that attended
Footfall on the centre was up 9.38% vs the same week in 2016, we already forecasted a 3% increase vs last year due to the current trend so can attribute approximately 4,300 visited the site for the canal festival with Saturday being the busier day.
I think that the electronic counters that have been employed in helping to assist this result makes the fact that Wednesfield Canal Festival 2017 a huge success. I am sure we will all be doing it again next year!
There is more information yet to be extracted from the event, but I thought you the readers would like to see the initial statistics that are now being extracted. I want to thank Bentley Bridge Leisure Park, Hands on Wednesfield, Creative Black Country, Wolverhampton City Council, Canal and River Trust, with Jim Duncan, for all the hard work they all put in as Groups and individuals to make this event the success it is…role on next year!
Raj Kumar was Ashmore Park’s very own hardware hero! He was without a doubt a legend locally that was up there with Ronnie Barkers own cult shop keeper Arkwright!
It was only recently when we were discussing the WIRE awards with Raj, that he told me he had been working on the estate for 32 years.
He was a very proud man, a nice man, he put his customers first.
There are so many residents who can tell you of his personal kindness, and his cheerful demeanour. What Raj had done for them, how he had gone out of his way to give customer service. Raj Kumar was a great man, a kind man, a lovely man, in his shop and outside his shop.
His customers were from right across Wolverhampton and further.
Raj’s shop was an ‘emporium of delight’! It was full of goods and widgets! Raj knew where everything was, he believed serving his customers was important, and he told me he had worked hard over the years to win his customers respect.
I told him then that he was a most popular man, I took his photo, and he fell about laughing!
I know he was very moved that so many people had nominated him for the Wire Award. He didn’t win it, but really he didn’t need a trophy to underline the fabulous relationship he had with his customers.
Mary and I were in Wales on Saturday on holiday, when the news started to filter through on that something serious had happened to Raj Kumar. I was as Mary was, stunned and shocked at the outcome, as is and still is, Ashmore Park.
I know that there are many who would like to see something being, made or erected that would signify what a special man Raj was for Ashmore Parkers. My advice is to look and discuss and give a little time to think about what everyone can do.
In the meantime perhaps as Reverend Sam has indicated to me, we could hold a gathering outside his shop on Saturday? to remember Raj, and his own very unique style he had developed. I will speak to Rev Sam about this idea which I think is a real good one, and I will let people know via social media, if it is too happen.
I know Raj Kumar was a special man to his family. We also will miss him, the Ashmore Park Shopping Parade will never be quite the same again with the passing of Raj Kumar our own and now legendary hardware shop owner.
Raj will be long remembered here on Ashmore Park, and Mary and I want to offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to his immediate family and his friends. Rest in Peace Raj Kumar we are all far richer from knowing you, and you will never ever be forgotten by your friends, family and customers.
August Bank Holiday Opening for Urgent Primary Care Services
August Bank Holiday
Monday 28th August 2017
Services for patients registered at specified practices-
Pennfields Health Centre 8am– 2pm
Upper Zoar Street, Wolverhampton, WV3 0JH
Patients registered at the surgeries listed be-low can book an appointment if referred by NHS 111 or by calling the practice directly
Ashmore Park Surgery,
Probert Road Surgery, Oxley Surgery, Poplars Medical Centre, Primrose Lane Practice, Dr Bilas- Ashmore Road, Bilston Urban Village Medical, IH Medical (Dr Pahwa), Mayfield Medical Centre, Penn Surgery, Pennfields Medical Centre, The Surgery (Dr Whitehouse), Bilston Health Centre (Dr Sharma)
I am sure the people of Wednesfield North will join with your Councillors today to condemn the terrorism and the death and injury that has taken place to innocents in Barcelona yesterday. It is a horrendous incident that needs our strongest condemnation.
Wednesfield North Councillors wish to offer their Deepest Sympathy & Condolences to the Citizens of Barcelona. Barcelona is a place that will be well known to hundreds of our residents that have enjoyed and received a warm welcome on their visits to this great city over the years.
This is a despicable incident with no gain for anyone except the devil.
Back in July I wrote to the Leader of the Wolverhampton City Council and The Police and Crime Commissioner, setting out in very strong detail, the concerns I have for Neighbourhood Policing in Wednesfield North and within the City of Wolverhampton.
They were very strong and forthright views I sent. That is why I am pleased to receive the following briefing note from the PCC just a few days ago. On the 14th August 2017 – The Police and Crime Commissioner distributed his briefing note to Councillors.
It was headed –
Taking the fight for funds to Westminster – He says in this note that – “Here in the West Midlands we have watched as our policing budget has been slashed by central government to the tune of £145 million over the last 7 years. It means we’ve lost nearly 2000 officers. Many, including me, say enough is enough.
That’s why I decided to use the Annual General meeting of Police and Crime Commissioners in London to press Government Minister Nick Hurd over funding for policing in our region. This was a question and answer session with the newly appointed Minister of Policing and Fire and I had plenty to ask.
It’s a well-known fact urban forces, with bigger populations, suffer from higher crime rates. That’s why I pressed him on ensuring money for police forces is distributed more fairly.
Demands on West Midlands Police have been particularly high in recent months after an increase in terror threats, cyber and knife crime nationally. During the Manchester terror attacks our officers were deployed to assist local efforts in maintaining security in the North West.
We didn’t hesitate in helping our friends. But co-operation of this sort, whilst vital, stretches policing around the country.
That’s why I also called on Mr Hurd to reassure all of us that funding will be available to enable this to continue. I am not alone in my calls for increased funding. Other Police and Crime Commissioners share equal concerns.
Was he listening to us? I hope so.
Mr Hurd appeared to hear the concerns raised on the day. He talked about an increased strain and worry amongst the public regarding the changing nature of crimes. What’s more, he asked all the Commissioners to submit evidence backing up their calls for more money and promised it was something the government was looking closely at. I will be making the case for the West Midlands very strongly indeed.”
Councillor Phil Bateman added…The Minister asked for evidence to back up the call for more resources for West Midlands Police. I believe you the public have that evidence tell me on this page what your real thoughts are on the police? No Swearing! I want to send him your views in a cut and paste….so let’s make your comments trend!
Today I have received a briefing note that informs me that Wolverhampton City Council which has been over seeing the Councils FutureSpace programme, has continued to progress rapidly.
The second phase of the re – building programme is now nearly complete. I am told that in the next few weeks the new café will be up and running and the second part of the customer service centre will be opening, which will include self-serve functionality, paying-in kiosks and telephones.
City Council workers will be moving to the new modern working space and other colleagues including the City Councillors and the Mayor, will be moving to temporary accommodation to allow the final stage of works to be completed.
The making safe of the Civic Centre and the upgrade in safety with a modernisation programme has always been a little controversial. But it is good to see the pace being maintained!
Top City Officers were recently briefed on the big changes to the way some working age people will receive benefits.
The Government has created Universal Credit as a new type of benefit designed to support people who are on a low income or out of work. Since 8 February 2016, a small number of people have been able to apply for Universal Credit.
It will eventually be available to those who claim benefits and are of working age by December 2017.
The Managing Director of The City of Wolverhampton Council has written to Councillors telling them “Universal Credit will eventually replace: Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit.”
Cllr Phil Bateman said “These changes are already causing real concerns in households that currently receive these benefits, the changes to the way they will be designed and in the way that people claim them, will not be without pain for many of our constituents. I am pleased that the Chief Officers team are getting briefed now”.