Critics slam Walsall Council plans to save £86m as ‘shameful’ to the borough

CRITICS have accused Walsall Council of producing a “slash and burn budget”, with others describing plans to save millions of pounds as “shameful” to the borough.

Hundreds of jobs will be axed and 12 children’s centres, eight libraries and a museum will close under plans described as the most horrific cuts to ever hit Walsall Council.

Brutal budget proposals have been announced as the authority must save £86 million over the next four years – including £29 million in the next year alone.

“This is a really difficult day for Walsall,” said Cllr Coughlan, announcing the plans at a press conference at Walsall Council House on Monday (October 20).

More than £2 million is to be slashed from youth services. Officials say that this will not affect vulnerable children.

Eight out of Walsall’s 16 libraries will be culled to save £500,000. Beechdale, Pheasey, South Walsall, Streetly and Walsall Wood libraries face closure in the next year, with Blakenall, New Invention and Rushall libraries set to shut their doors in 2016/17.

And Walsall Musuem is back on the chopping block, with plans to close the Lichfield Street building to save £70,000. The museum faced the same fate last year but was eventually saved from closure.

Other cost-cutting plans include the closure of the Outdoor Adventure Service, which delivered outdoor activities to 300 young people with disabilities per month last year.

From April 2016, residents could see bin collections reduced to fortnightly, and garden waste collection could be collected for six months instead of eight months between April and September. A £28 annual charge for garden waste collection could be imposed from April 2016.

Blakenall ward councillor Pete Smith – who voted for Labour to take control of the authority at the meeting in August – said he now regretted his decision and further blasted the proposals as “shameful” and a “let down” to voters.

“These new Labour proposals will probably mean that they will break the record of being in control of Walsall Council for the shortest time ever as the 2015 local elections approach,” he added.

“I call on Labour to get off their knees by fighting these cuts and refusing to implement them, even if it means that the Government send in their own axe wielders to do their own dirty work.”

Public consultation on the budget proposals will commence next Thursday (October 30).

WE WOULD STRESS FOR ANYONE WHO IS CONCERNED TO TAKE PART IN THE CONSULTATION

Read full story here – Walsall Advertiser

Step inside the Mayor’s Parlour

Walsall’s Mayor and some of the former First Citizens will be opening the doors of the Mayor’s Parlour and other historical buildings with a series of guided tours.
Doors open to the public next month for the first of four guided tours of Walsall’s Council House, Town Hall and Mayor’s Parlour.
The tour concept is the brainstorm of the Walsall Guild of Former Mayors and Consorts which gives the public the chance to see the magnificent Mayoral Regalia and the many historical items throughout the Town Hall and Council House.
For a small charge of £2 per person, people can join the Mayor and a former Mayor on Monday 3 November at 2pm for the hour and a half tour. Proceeds will be divided between the Mayor’s Charity Appeal and the Walsall Guild.
Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Pete Smith, said, “As president of the Walsall Guild of Former Mayors and Consorts, I feel it my duty to open up our doors and share Walsall’s rich heritage of 600 years of civic traditions.
“Walsall’s mayoralty is steeped in history dating as far back as 1377 so there’ll be plenty to see throughout the visit.”
The tour starts in the town hall which still retains a feeling of grandeur with its high ceiling and elaborate décor. The organ which was put in to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee has 98 stops, 5 keyboards and thousands of pipes. There are bronze plaques listing all those who died in the First and Second World Wars and murals of the South Staffordshire Regiments’ battle scenes during the First World War. .
Visitors will move on to the Council House where they’ll see the Great War Roll of Honour which lists 55 council employees who lost their lives in the 1914-18 conflict, a plaque which commemorates Mayoress Slater who died of a shrapnel injury during the 1916 Zeppelin bombings, and much more.
From there, the tour leads through to the Council Chamber where the Mayor presides over the monthly council meetings and then sweeps up the grand staircase to the second floor where photographs of many past Mayors are displayed and ends up in the Mayor’s Parlour.
The parlour houses many interesting items from Sister Dora artefacts to silverware and the Mayoral Regalia of which the Mayor’s Mace and Stand date from 1627.
Author of Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome, bequeathed his writing bureau to the people of Walsall after he was given the Freedom of the Borough. It now stands in the Mayor’s Parlour.

Tours will be conducted between 2pm and 3.30pm on Monday 3 November and Monday 1 December 2014, then Monday 16 February and Monday 2 March 2015.

To book your place on the tour, contact the Mayor’s office on 01922 652072 or email the Mayor’s personal assistant, Verity Edwards at edwardsv@walsall.gov.uk

Let Willenhall Entertain YOU!!

Willenhall Christmas Town Event - Live Stage

Willenhall Christmas Town Event – Live Stage

Willenhall’s Christmas Town Event has a great line up of live entertainment for you on Saturday 6th December!

We have had great joy in helping & sourcing live acts and performers for Willenhall Traders & Community Support Group for this years town event!

Starting at 10am, the stage will open with a new folk band Ma Brown’s Boyz!
The group consists of 4 men and 1 girl, all playing acoustic guitars, who will play a selection of music from folk, to easy listening rock and pop from all decades!

There will performances from Willenhalls Classic Academy of Dance & Theatre, Willenhalls Got Talent contestants inc Meg Bancroft and winners Alesi Summer and local lad Tom Edis…… we have the brilliant Yam Yam Elvis and introducing Keith Nicholls, self containted vocalist to Willenhall Town.

Introducing also local young lad Reece McConnell, who has previously performed in the West End and over in Europe in Thriller Live as young MJ!!

Please come along and the support the town event as Willenhall Entertains YOU!!!

‘Most horrific cuts’ at Walsall Council as authority must save £86m

HUNDREDS of jobs will be lost and 12 children’s centres, eight libraries and a museum will close over the next four years, under plans described as the most horrific cuts to ever hit Walsall Council.
It comes as the authority has to save £86 million by March 2019 – including £29.2 million in the next year alone.
Councillor Sean Coughlan, leader of the council, said it was a “difficult day for Walsall” and that the cuts were “the most horrific” Walsall Council had ever faced.
Draft four-year plans revealed in a press conference today (Monday) stated that 482 potential redundancies are being proposed between April 2015 and March 2017. Of those posts, 112 are vacant.

Twelve children’s centres will also close over the next two years, saving £1.8 million. Details on which children’s centres could close have not been confirmed or included in the proposals.

There will also be a reduction in youth services to save £2 million. Bosses have assured that vulnerable children will not be affected.

Plans were also announced to cull eight libraries.

Read full story here Walsall Advertiser

The Mayoress of Walsall ‘At Home’

It was a privilege to have been invited to the Mayoress of Walsall ‘At Home’Event which took place on Friday 17th October 2014.

Traditionally the event was to introduce the Mayoress to the citizens of the Borough

It still is an event where the Mayoress plays a prominent role with an opportunity to thank some of the borough’s citizens for their individual and collective contributions to their local communities.

It is an opportunity to recognize those who ‘give’ to their community rather than ‘take from’ their community.

The event is also used to raise some money for the Mayor’s 2014-15 Charity Appeal – as we left the total was over £1000.

We had a great time, a small selection of photos.

Historic moment as Willenhall gets its own flagpole!

Footings for permanent flagpole underway

Footings for permanent flagpole underway

We are pleased to announce work has started on the permanent flagpole, where the Willenhall Flag will fly outside Willenhall Library!

Proud to be from Willenhall!

#loudandproud
#flyingtheflagforwillenhall
#willenhallaywe

Flying the Flag for Willenhall – We got a flagpole!

Finally, after todays meeting we can now confirm that Willenhall will be flying its flag high with a permanent flag pole which will be situated outside Willenhall Library.

Flag Pole to be erected within a week, with the launch of the flag to coincide with our final event to promote Willenhall and its flag!!

Further information to follow soon!!

Would you like to perform on stage – Willenhall Town Xmas Event?

Willenhall Town Christmas Event – Saturday 6th Dec 10am – 4pm

Market Place, WILLENHALL

We are looking for artists ie Dancers, Singers, Bands & Display Teams for this Live Stage at this years Christmas Town Event provided by Willenhall Traders and Community Support Group, Walsall Council.

See poster for more info!!

Perform Live on Stage!!

Perform Live on Stage!!

Please either contact us through our Facebook Page or email us on info@willenhallaywe.co.uk or you can contact Willenhall Traders and Community Support Group via –

Diane Mansell,
Regeneration Officer for Aldridge, Darlaston and Willenhall Town Centres
on Manselld@walsall.gov.uk

Look forward to hearing from you soon :-)

Developing drivers for the future

Willenhall-based Blakemore Logistics has opened the door to a career in LGV driving for several young people by hosting a driver apprenticeship scheme.

Willenhall-based Blakemore Logistics has opened the door to a career in LGV driving for several young people by hosting a driver apprenticeship scheme.

Working in partnership with the Logistics Apprenticeship Training Academy (LATA), Blakemore Logistics has provided a series of work placements that have helped apprentices to gain the qualifications and experience required for a career in professional LGV driving.

In August the company celebrated its first apprenticeship success when one of the candidates on its programme, 22-year-old Ben Hilton, gained full-time employment at AF Blakemore & Son Ltd after qualifying as an LGV Class 2 driver.

Blakemore Logistics’ transport manager, Dave Higgs, said: “The driver apprenticeship scheme provides trainees with the opportunity to earn while they learn as well as acquire vital experience in the logistics sector, hands-on training and nationally recognised qualifications. Meanwhile the company is developing potential future employees who have been provided with training tailored to suit the individual needs of the business.”

Full Express and Star story here