Celebrations at Sheldon Practice

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On a rather damp Wednesday evening of this week, I made my way as an invited guest to the opening of the new refurbished Sheldon Practice. I had been invited as a member of the newly formed Patients Participation Group (PPG), I was also going to report on the evenings event for B26. 

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Seventy people had been invited from all areas of the community, the medical profession, PPG, the local Pharmacy, Dr Jheeta’s  staff, the architect and builder of the refurbished Sheldon Practice and more. It was decided by the PPG that Councilor Sue Anderson, a very popular Sheldon Councillor would be invited to cut the ribbon. 

This project had been a long time in the mind of Dr Doctor Jheeta, costing such a project and the implication of doing it whilst still operate as a GP Practice, was a big ask. The practice received £165,878 from the NHS England Primary care Infrastructure Fund. Together with £85,542 investment from the practice. NHS England Primary Care Infrastructure Fund is a national funding programme to support GP practices to make improvements to services for local patients including more modern, expanding facilities and use new technologies. (please see some photos of the practice, click on the photos to see a larger image)

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Now that everyone had been introduced to each other and got their hands on a glass of red or white, it was now time to do the formal part of the evening to begin. Councillor Anderson with Dr Jheeta and his Practice Manager wife Parmjit, Sue with scissors  in hand, officially cut the ribbon to officially open the refurbished practice. 

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             After Sue had done the important bit of the evening, she spent a few minutes talking to the invited guest. She started off her speech by thanking PPG for inviting her to open the practice. She continued by saying how impressed she was about the new facilities when she had been given the grand tour earlier in the evening. Over the many years as a Councillor for Sheldon, she had been very active on local issues such as health, especially the young children, she went on to say. I know that funding is very difficult subject at the moment, however, as you can see from this splendid building, NHS England is prepared to invest in better medical facilities to look after patients, Sue said.

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After Councillor Anderson had completed her speech it was now down to Dr Jheeta to take centre stage. He started his speech by explaining to the guest how the funding for the project was achieved, also how difficult it had been to keep within the budget that had been agreed. He made a special point here of thanking his architect who often stepped in when things got very difficult between him and the builders. He continued his speech by telling us when he first came to work in Sheldon with Dr Jeavons in 1988. After Dr Jeavons moved to the new practice in Common Lane in 1992, Dr Jheeta took over Sheldon Practice on his own. Over the years the practice has grown where there is now 2,500 patients on the books, he has also now got a fully operational Patients Participation Group who meet four times a year. Dr Jheeta finished his speech by taking the time to thank lots of people who have helped in making this practice what it is today.

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To finish off the evening before the guests tucked into an excellent buffet by Wendy from the Sheldon Heath Social Club. Bouquets of flowers were presented to Councillor Sue Anderson and Mrs Jheeta by their two daughters. (click onto the photos to see a lager image)                                                                                    

Photos taken by Lol Thurstan                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Lols Photo for B26 Lol Thurstan. Editor & Publisher of B26       

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The Great British Spring Clean

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There are several Spring Clean events taking place this coming March and we are asking for volunteers. This an opportunity to make a difference to your community. Not only are the friends group getting involved, there is also a clean up at RADLEYS walk at 9am on Friday 3rd March. Please look at the poster below for the clean up at Sheldon Country Park. Come along and make a difference! 

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(click on the poster to read all of the details)

Keep Britain Tidy logo 2                                                                         Keep Britain Tidy logo 2

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B26 Community (2) supporting the Great British Spring Clean

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Events in Sheldon this weekend

St Giles Church, SheldonThe winter always seems to be a bit of a drag and quite boring really. Are you fed up of sitting in the house day after day watching the TV, a hundred channels and nothing to watch. Well… this weekend why not break the habit and pop along to the Jumble Sale at St Giles Church, you might find just what you’re looking for. See the poster below for all the details.  

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B26 Community (2) supporting all of our community groups

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Who dumped 110 old fridges in Kings Norton?

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Birmingham City Council’s squad of waste enforcement officers are appealing for witnesses after  more than 100 fridges were dumped on a Kings Norton road.

Officers were alerted yesterday (20 February 2017) that six fridges that had been dumped on Ithon Grove, Kings Norton, but on arrival they found 110 flytipped fridges along the road.

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Abandoning rubbish (flytipping) is illegal and offenders can face an unlimited fine and up to five years’ in jail if convicted at Crown Court.

Jacqui Kennedy, Acting Strategic Director – Place for Birmingham City Council, said: “It’s outrageous that people think dumping rubbish on a road, blighting our city, is acceptable – it is not.  Enforcement officers are currently investigating to try and identify the perpetrators, so if you have any information please contact the council.

“I know the local community will be as horrified by this as I am, so I hope anybody with information will be brave enough to come forward.  This is totally unacceptable and we will prosecute flytippers where evidence is available.

“Keeping Birmingham’s streets clean is everyone’s responsibility – no one wants to live in a dump – so we will continue to clamp down on these criminals, targeting areas where there’s a persistent problem.”

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If you have any information about who flytipped these fridges on Ithon Grove, or wish to report any other similar incidents, please visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/dumpedrubbish or email flytipping@birmingham.gov.uk

The Waste Enforcement Unit investigates dumped rubbish, officers will sift through rubbish bags to identify where it came from, in order to prosecute flytippers.

Officers can also serve legal notice to landowners to clear rubbish that attracts or harbours vermin.

B26 Community (2)Dumping of rubbish and litter is becoming a very serious problem in our community today. B26 is very shocked at the way our society is going today, with cuts to Birmingham City Council budget, this clean up will be expensive. Lol Thurstan, Editor & Publisher of B26

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Traffic pollution once again hitting the headlines

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B26 has recently reported on the traffic pollution that is hitting many of our major towns and cities, with diesel vehicles being the major culprit.                              A recent article by the Medical Correspondent of the Daily Mail, Ben Spencer,  reported that London drivers will be hit with a T-charge (toxit charge) for vehicles prior to 2006 who drive into central London. This new T-charge will be introduced on October 23 and apply to cars, van, minibuses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles.                                                                                                    

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Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London said: ” It’s staggering that we live in a city where the air is so toxic that many of our children are growing up with lung problems. If we don’t make drastic changes now we be protecting the health of our families in the future”.                                                                                                                                                                                               Although London is an extremely busy city, Birmingham is also suffering the same problem and it is expected that other cities will follow London. Many of the older taxis in Birmingham are diesel, these are highly polluting, however, they will cost many thousands of pounds to replace. This could prove a major problem for the owners of these older taxis, without some help.                                                                                        Many of our older readers, such as myself, will remember the smogs of the 1950’s, this was cause by burning coal, this was sorted by bringing in the “Clean Air Act”. The major question is, how do we make our cities healthy and pollution free?

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USA Track and Field confirms Birmingham training camp

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Hot on the heels of Birmingham’s staging of the Müller Indoor Grand Prix, the world’s top indoor athletics meeting, USA Track & Field (USATF), the governing body for athletics in the US, have confirmed that their training camp will be based in the city ahead of this summer’s IAAF World Championships in London.

Visit to Birmingham by USA Athletics team organisational team. Photo credit : Dave Warren

Visit to Birmingham by USA Athletics team organisational team. Photo credit : Dave Warren

Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader for Birmingham City Council said: “I am delighted that USATF are returning to the city and we look forward to supporting their final preparations ahead of the IAAF World Championships in London. At Beijing’s World Championships in 2015, the American team had 130 athletes and won more medals than any other team and we know they will once again be a force to be reckoned with this summer.

“The training camp will provide a valuable economic impact for the city, however what is equally important is that by visiting our city, and making use of our world-class sports facilities, these fantastic athletes will hopefully provide inspiration to young people from across Birmingham and beyond.”

Birmingham City Council will co-ordinate the camp, with staff working with a variety of partners to ensure that all of USA Track and Field’s training and accommodation needs are met.

Team USATF athletes may also take part in community events with clubs and young athletes. More details about these events will be provided soon.

USATF Chief of Sport Performance, Duffy Mahoney, said: “We are excited to confirm our return to Birmingham ahead of the IAAF World Championships in London. We have great memories of our camp in 2012, and know we’ll receive a warm welcome and will be treated well in Birmingham.”

Some of the American athletes expected to attend the training camp took part in Saturday’s Müller Indoor Grand Prix, at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena. USATF is also expected to send a large team to the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018, which will be held at the same arena next March.

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B26 works hard to try and bring the residents of Sheldon and Yardley and beyond, the latest news on things that may be of interest to the reader. Last week over the seven day period (Mon – Sun) B26 had 1,288 hits which averages out of 185 per day. We must be doing something right.

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West Midlands Police news round up for 19 February

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WMPeople: Katie Hudson – call handler.

Last year, West Midlands Police answered almost two million calls for help from members of the public – that’s more than 5,000 every day.

The force’s Contact Centre staff cover the emergency 999 and non-urgent 101 numbers and are the first port of call for people seeking police support.

No two days – no two calls, even – are the same.

It could be recording the first critical moments of what evolves into a major crime investigation, comforting a caller in distress… or politely reminding someone that 999 should not be used to report an injured pigeon! 

The force has around 200 call handlers but is looking to bolster the team, and improve its service to the public, by taking on 50 new recruits in the coming months.

Katie Hudson is an experienced call handler and Contact Centre trainer…

Katie Hudson Force Contact call handler

Katie Hudson Force Contact call handler

OK Katie… in at the deep end. There has been some criticism at the length of time it’s taking the force to answer calls, especially 101. What’s being done about it?

We recognise some people have been kept waiting too long when trying to reach us on 101. Our aim – in line with national police guidelines – is to answer 90 per cent of all non-emergency calls within 30 seconds and at the moment we’re falling short.

That’s why we’re running an extensive recruitment drive to boost our call handling capacity; we’ve already taken on several new recruits this year and hope to have tens more trained up and ready to hit the ground running soon.

We’re accepting applications now and we’d love to hear from people who are passionate about helping the public. They can make a big difference to people’s lives.

Is it because you’re seeing an increased number of calls from the public?

That’s one of the reasons. Around 64,000 more 101 calls and 45,000 more emergency calls were made to West Midlands Police in 2016 compared to the previous year.

In 2016 we answered 1.3 million 101 calls and 632,000 999 calls… so we’re talking about a large call volume.

101 is still a relatively new way of contacting your local police force – it was introduced in late 2013 – and it’s good that the majority of people are now aware of it.

However, there is a tendency for people to use 101 simply as a directory service – and many of the questions our handlers are asked could be answered by the caller themselves with just a simple internet search.

101 is for non-emergency police calls. For example, if anyone has suspicions that a person, a house, or vehicle is linked to criminality; if their car has been damaged or broken into overnight; or to raise concerns about anti-social behaviour. Things the police need to be aware of but don’t require an immediate ‘blue light’ response.

What makes a good police call handler?

The skills we’re looking for are patience, calmness under pressure, understanding and compassion. But at times you need to be assertive, especially with people who are clearly abusing the 101 or 999 system.

Our recent new recruits include ex-teachers, a pilot, people with retail and customer service backgrounds, graduates, plus former police officers. There’s a real mix.

I joined two years ago from the care industry. I worked in hospitals and care homes but decided it wasn’t for me.

What was the attraction of working in a police contact centre?

I still wanted to work in an area where I could help the public.

Most people call the police when they are in need and sometimes in critical, life-or-death situations. Sometimes the caller might be vulnerable, in shock or worried – and how they are treated and spoken to by the person that picks up the phone is crucial.

Especially with emergency 999 calls we might need to calm the person down and get them to focus on what’s happened – we need to take down detailed, accurate information so we can get officers to the scene as soon as possible.

It’s a hugely rewarding job and there is a good camaraderie among the team… we have to support each other.

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Are there calls that stick in your head?

It’s hard to pinpoint individual calls as we deal with such a wide range every day – but one particular call does stick out.

A man clearly in distress came through on the 101 number… he said he wanted to end his life. I chatted to him, built a rapport and directed officers, and later ambulance staff, to help him.

The next day, by coincidence, I picked up a call from the same man; he wanted to say thanks to me and the police officers for their help as he was now getting the support he needed. It was a proud moment and our collective efforts may well have saved his life.

Last year, our team spent 131,000 hours talking to, supporting and helping people in need – but those minutes spent chatting to that man were undoubtedly among the most valuable.

Is it a stressful job?

I guess it’s the same as many jobs, there can be stressful moments where a cool head is needed. You can certainly experience a full range of emotions in one day: emotional calls, angry calls, amusing calls and nuisance calls.

It’s what makes it such an interesting role, no two days are ever the same… you never know who’ll be on the line when you next pick up the phone.

Police forces regularly remind people not to abuse the police call system with trivial issues or non-police matters. But do we still get some bizarre calls?

Absolutely. In recent weeks we’ve had a woman dialling 999 for a lift home from a party with her teenage son; a woman wanting to complain she’d been on hold for 30 minutes to her GP’s surgery, and another woman asking us to alert her employer she was sick and wouldn’t be in for work. She couldn’t get through so asked us to pass on the message!

We’ve even had someone reporting an injured pigeon. They may have been a bird lover and were concerned – but it certainly doesn’t warrant a call to the police.

Every minute is precious and could be used helping callers in genuine need… we can’t afford to be wasting time on non-police matters.

What training do new recruits receive?

New starters undergo a seven-week training programme. We coach them through the process of taking calls, the IT side of things, they shadow experienced call handlers, and take part in role plays where they field ‘dummy’ calls to see how they respond.

There’s lots of expertise in the team and help at hand and by the end of the seven weeks the new recruits are ready to take live calls on their own.

If you could give just one piece of advice to new starters, what would it be?

It would be that, no matter what their background, people who’ve made it through the process bring lots of very valuable life and work experience to the team. Use those skills and remember we’re here to help the public however we can.

*West Midlands Police is hosting a careers fair on Monday 27 February at its Lloyd House HQ for anyone interested in joining the force’s contact centre.

There will be three sessions – 9-11am, 12-2pm and 3-5pm – where people can learn more about the roles available, get a flavour for some of the calls, and receive application form and interview tips.*

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Boy (16) charged with drug and gun offences

A teenager has been remanded into custody on firearms and drugs offences after police found a revolver and crack cocaine in a car in Castle Vale.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested in Watton Green on Wednesday (Feb 15) – and the following day charged by West Midlands Police detectives with possessing a firearm and possessing drugs with intent to supply.

He appeared at Birmingham Youth Court on Thursday – where he also faced a charge of assaulting a police officer – and was remanded into a youth offenders institute.

The boy, from Harborne, is next due to appear at the city’s crown court on 17 March.

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Investigation launched following assault in Aston

Police have launched an investigation after a man was seriously assaulted in Aston last night (16 February).

Officers were called to a Chester Road Industrial Estate at around 7.50pm last night after reports a man had been attacked.

It is believed that the 20-year-old was assaulted with a baseball bat.

The area is currently cordoned off while officers search the scene for any clues.

The man is currently in a critical condition in hospital.

Sergeant Jacqueline Morrin from force CID, said: “Our enquires are continuing to identify who the attackers were but this is being treated as an isolated incident.

“Officers are trawling CCTV in the area and speaking to witnesses. I would urge anyone with information to call my team on 101.”

Alternatively people can leave information by contacting Crimestoppers the independent charity on 0800 555 111.

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