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Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Visitors to the Employment Roadshow which toured Darnall last week

Darnall Forum Team Visits Parliament

Members of the Darnall Forum team are pictured with local MP Clive Betts on a fact finding visit to the Palace of Westminster. They are standing with Portcullis House and the tower of Big Ben behind them.

Mr Betts conducted the team on a lightning tour of the Palace and explained some of its workings. Over lunch on the members' terrace, overlooking the River Thames, he then answered questions about how MPs can work with local people and community forums to strengthen local democracy and make sure that people's wishes are heard.

The first pictures shows, from left, Clive Betts with Michelle Wood, Neil Bishop, Anne Shirling, Shabana Sajer, Sidrah Ahmad and Nazia Fazil. The second picture shows the team posing on the terrace before lunch. The extra member of the group in the second picture is our social work student, Ellen Sellars.

Plan to stop health project in Darnall is discussed at hustings meeting

Local residents held an old fashioned hustings meeting in Darnall last night. The meeting was organised by Darnall Forum and all the local election candidates for Darnall were invited. Two of the candidates attended, Mary Lea from the Labour Party and Julie White from the Greens. The UKIP candidate, Charlotte Arnott, was represented by her husband Jonathan.

Mary Lea told the meeting that the Liberal Democrats intend to sell land in Darnall which has been earmarked for a new intermediate care centre for older people. 'This is in their budget proposals and it will stop the project from going ahead in Darnall,' she said. Although both the Green and UKIP candidates have reservations about the sort of public and private finance initiative which will be needed to pay for the new centre, all three candidates at the meeting agreed that the new centre should be built in Darnall.

It was also alleged at the meeting that the LibDems have pledged to take resources away from more disadvantaged parts of the city to spend in Dore and Totley.

Challenged by local residents to say what they would do if a minority LibDem administration was proposing to take resources away from Darnall Ward, neither Julie White nor Jonathan Arnott would answer what Mr Arnott called 'a hypothetical question'. 'I don't know yet what the Greens will do if there is a hung Council,' Dr White said. Mr Arnott said that UKIP would have 'to look at things on a case by case basis'.

In a remarkably good natured meeting, all of the candidates praised some aspects of each other's policies. 'This sort of meeting is a really good thing and it should happen more often,' said Julie White. The meeting heard that Misbah Chowdhury, the LibDem candidate, was too busy to attend.

The picture shows Mary Lea making a point to the meeting as (left to right) Richard Arnott from UKIP, Marie Gregory from Darnall Forum (who chaired the meeting) and Julie White from the Green Party look on.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Election Meeting in Darnall

Local residents have called for an old fashioned hustings meetings in Darnall to meet the candidates who are standing for election on 1 May. Half of the candidates have already agreed to attend, including Mary Lea, who has held the seat for Labour for the past four years.

The meeting will be held at Darnall Community Forum, which is based in the former Rose and Crown public house on Main Road. It will take place on Tuesday at 7pm.

Residents have already framed a set of questions for the candidates to answer, which are based on the Community Action Plan they have devised. Concerns have been raised about crime and safety, education, employment and training, the environment, local health facilities and activities for children and young people. 'But anyone is welcome to come along and ask their own questions, too,' says Marie Gregory, who will be chairing the meeting.

'I think this is a really great idea and I am delighted to attend,' Mary Lea said. 'It is good to get back to some old fashioned politics and I look forward to answering people's questions.'

The other candidates who have so far agreed to attend are Julie White from the Green party, who says she is always happy to answer questions, and Charlotte Schofield from UKIP who says that she is also happy to be involved. The Liberal Democrat candidate, Misbah Chowdhury, said, 'I will try my best to attend.'

Mary Lea is pictured on a visit to the Darnall Forum employment roadshow, which has been parked in different parts of Darnall this week.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Are You A Wednesday or United Fan?

Dear Darnall Forum,

I've got a favour to ask. I am currently researching the United-Wednesday football rivalry in Sheffield and would like to get a perspective on this from the black and Asian communities. I thought Darnall would be a good place to start.

If you know any ethnic minority United or Wednesday fans, could you please circulate this questionnaire to them, to be returned to your email address and forwarded to me? There are 16 questions in total. Thanks in advance, Joe

1. Name (optional):
2. Male / Female:
3. Ethnic origin:
4. Where in Sheffield do you live?
5. Do you support United or Wednesday?
6. At what age did you go to your first match?
7. Who did you go with?
8. Did you find it an intimidating place? Were there any other non-white faces there?
9. What did your parents think about your interest in football?
10. Did you try to persuade other non-white friends to come to matches as well?
11. Do you think the traditional 'drinking culture' of football fans is a problem for Muslims who might be interested in going?
12. Among ethnic minority kids in your area, would you say there is more support for United & Wednesday or Man United & Liverpool?
13. Among ethnic minority fans, how strong is the United-Wednesday rivalry?
14. Do you think United and Wednesday would attracted more black and Asian support if a local black or Asian lad made it into the first team?
15. Would you say there has traditionally been a strong link between hooliganism and black and Asian fans? Is this changing?
16. Do you think that some parts of the ground are 'safer' than others? Do you feel as though you have to 'blend in' with the white majority?