Saturday, 28 January 2012

Meanwhile, Back in the States #3

From Sheffield we turn our attention now to New York City.

If you have heard of Lily Brown before, the chances are that either you live in NYC or that you`ve heard of her in connection with her husband, Lloyd L Brown (Lloyd Louis Brown, Lloyd Dight) who is remembered among other things as author of the novel Iron City and as Paul Robeson`s personal assistant.

Whether Lily shared her husband`s Marxist leanings I do not know, but clearly she was, in her own quiet way,  remarkable in her own right.

A teacher with a particular interest in remedial reading for disturbed children she was a community activist and one of the founders of a group called the Neighbourhood Action Coalition, which united a number of  smaller groups to push for civic improvements.

Her activities were uncontroversial and she herself was known for her self-effacing nature. Nevertheless, she deserves a little recognition.

In the later years she was involved with the upliftement of a local playground, which has been named in her honour.

For more details on her life, see ;

Owlthorpe Community Forum

Some time ago, I noticed an article in the Sheffield Telegraph which I thought might be useful for blog purposes.

At the time it didn`t get used as for a period I put other interests aside to concentrate on work and family matters.

Nevertheless, the article is still interesting.

Although the article was principally about a descision by the Yorkshire in Bloom people to give a discretionary `Community Champion` award to Owlthorpe man Roger Marsh, it is clear that he does not wish to be given sole credit for the work of the Forum in cleaning up the area and launching numerus environmental projects (he comments that the award is "in my name, but it`s for the Forum. I have not done all the work on my own !") , and stresses the need for collaboration, with Clive Betts MP, with public sector bodies such as the Police and City Council, particularly Environmental Planning Officer Sally Pereira, and with Sheffield Landscape Trust.

Nevertheless, it is clear Mr Marsh`s background as a project manager in steelworks and at power plants has given him useful experience.

He stresses that most Forum members are retired ("Peoople who work just don`t have the time during the week."), which makes me feel better as I don`t do a fraction of the work for the community that he does, despite being over 20 years younger !

Anyway, the article, headed Community Champion Who Took the Bull by the Horns, is by journalist Peter Kay and appeared in the Sheffield Telegraph Thursday 29 Sept 2011.  The title refers to the innovative use of Highland cattle to graze derelict farmland. The cattle are moved from field to field, which encourages the growth of wildflowers on fields they have vacated.

The Sheffield Telegraph can be found at . The Owlthorpe Community Forum appear to have no website, but Sheffield Landscape Trust, which is a venture jointly run by North Sheffield Conservation Group, Sheffield Countryside Conservation Trust and Sheffield City Council, can be found at .

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

More Voices for Libraries

Saturday 4 February 2012 will be National Libraries Day.

Targeted at library staff, library users, library support groups etc, the campaign calls for those involved to organise an event, or simply visit their library on 4 Feb or during the week leading up to it. 

For further info, visit .

Tuesday 13 March 2012 is the date set for a lobby of Parliament by a variety of groups calling on politicians to protect vital library services.

Those involved in calling the lobby include UNISON, The National Federation of Women`s Institutes, Voices for the Library, The Library Campaign, Campaign for the Book and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. Further details can be obtained from those organisations.

The rather stylish illustrations accompanying this post are by Phil Bradley, and are free for interested parties to use to publicise National Libraries Day. Phil can be contacted at . I for one am grateful to Phil for his generosity and talent.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Hospital Happenings

As we enter 2012, hospitals are very much in the news.

In Newark, Nottinghamshire, the group formerly known as Save Newark Hospital, which we`ve looked at before, has re-invented itself as Say Yes to Newark Hospital, "a non-party political group providing a voice for the population of Newark and District."

The new group plans a relaunch this month and it`s aims and activities are already being reported in the local newspaper at . The group`s new web address is .

Somewhat further south of the Trent. we find an interesting campaign developing in Teddington, Surrey.

Teddington Memorial Hospital is currently run by Hounslow and Richmond Healthcare NHS Trust. This body is currently applying for Foundation status with effect from 2013, and the proposal is for ownership of the Hospital to pass to the new body.

It must be stressed that there is no immediate threat to the hospital. However, local doctors and community groups fear that such a proposal will diminish local accountability. "We are fighting to make sure that it stays as a local hospital serving local needs" comment the Friends of Teddington Memorial Hospital, a community group mainly given over to fundraising and voluntary work, but which also has an impressive record of campaigning assertively (though very politely) when the need arises. 

Other concerns are that the Hospital and grounds, currently valued at over £12m, could be sold or used as collateral for a loan in the future. There is particular concern that the proposed Foundation Trust might be too small to be viable and might merge with another similar body, thus further diluting local accountability and exacerbating current concerns over possible disposal of the Hospital and it`s site.

I`m sure the various interested parties can express themselves without further help from me, so I shall point you towards a document headed  Community Briefing 2012 at and similar postings at in the and .