07/07/2011 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today with Nick Owen and Suzanne Virdee.


The headlines tonight: Our school is beyond repair - desperate


parents take their plea to Downing Street. We were promised it in 2009.


It is now nearly the end of 2011. The care home where plants,


children and animals are helping Alzheimer's patients to ditch the


drugs. Parents appeal after a teenage couple run away together.


It does not matter what has happened. It does not matter what


the circumstances. Just come home. And the best fun you can have on


three wheels, as Morgan cars Good evening and welcome to


Thursday's Midlands Today. This morning, schoolchildren travelled


to Downing Street to try to get a school fit for them to learn in.


They handed in a 3,000-signature petition asking for their leaking


and damp school buildings to be rebuilt. The pupils and parents


from Richard Lee primary in Coventry say it's no longer fit for


purpose. Teachers from the school also met Education Minister Lord


Hill, but they left London Sunshine at seven, and optimism was


in the air as two coach loads of pupils, parents and teachers from


Richard Lee Primary School in the Wyken area of Coventry head for


We're on the front page of the papers again. The ceiling collapsed


a couple of weeks ago. We had a class told in the corridor for


several weeks. The school probably has a shelf-life of three to five


years. We do not have the money to build a new school. We need the


Government to release their funding to the Council Sobhi Council can


rebuild. Eight year olds Georgie and Harvey have been chosen to hand


in a 3,000-signature petition to Prime Minister David Cameron,


demanding a new school. I hope they say they might do it. It would be


really nice. In London, and part of the delegation were joined by their


local MP Bob Ainsworth, who'd arranged for them to meet Education


Minister Lord Hill so they could argue their case. But afterwards,


they were left a little deflated. We were not exactly expecting a big


bag of cash. We have not been given any certainty. We still do not know


when the rebuild will happen. it was time to head for Downing


Street, the weather almost mirroring the mood. After what


seemed like an age waiting for security checks in the pouring rain,


the children finally made it through the world's most famous


door, where they handed over their petition. We want to get a new


school. It is cold. When I was little by dad said I was going to a


fantastic school. It was so popular. Now I have grown up a little bit, I


have discovered that it is not so fantastic. The boiler is break --


is broken. Little kids have to get a taut and the corridors. It is not


fair. The mood has changed since that meeting. They travel back to


Coventry a little less optimistic. This afternoon, the Government


issued a statement. There was no promise of a new school, but they


did say they were looking at the findings of a review into the


country's worst schools - a very small silver lining on a dark cloud


We're joined now by Bob Ainsworth, the Labour MP for Coventry North


East. The school clearly in a terrible state, and it can't have


happened overnight. Why didn't your Government sort this before it got


to this stage? We have rebuilt a lot of schools in Coventry. Richard


Lee was forced to wait while other schools which needed additional


places were built. Some schools had roofs collapse. Richard Lee was


right at the top of the programme. It was the very next to be built.


Clearly recognised as being in the worst condition. The cap as a


programme has been slashed. -- the capital programme. It has been


slashed because there was no money left after your Government? It has


been massively slashed. Coventry has only got �11 million for the


entire city. It will take 10 million to rebuild Richard Lee,


leaving absolutely nothing for the secondary sector in Coventry, or


for the rest of the primary sector. There is no money, is there?


cannot argue that we spend too much money and that we spend too little


money at the same time. We do spend too little and did not repair


schools like Richard Lee, or we spend too much and there was not


enough left. Which is it? Make up your mind. Still to come in


tonight's programme, the ups and downs of the band of UB40 as a row


A medical trial involving Alzheimer's patients has brought


into question the need for mind altering drugs. Almost half the


patients at one home were taking the drugs. But when they were given


close contact with animals, plants and children, the need for those


drugs was virtually eliminated. It's being seen as the way forward


for the treatment of Alzheimer's, as Michele Paduano has been finding


Brownies regularly keep their promise to help people. Not what


you're used to in a care home, but according out pictures of things


they have done helps to stimulate the elderly. I can join in. The


children are lovely. 10 Hepburn was on a range of drugs for Alzheimer's.


Not any more. Rico macro here every day. We can still have some quality


of life. Whereas before I thought my life was over. I was down in the


dumps. All of a sudden I jumped out of it. 21 patients used to take


mind-altering drugs. But now there is just one. A another lady we have


here at the moment lungs to take the rap for a walk. -- likes to


take the rap. Dash macro Rabbit. You can see the enjoyment on her


face. It costs nothing. Implementing this alternative has


made such a difference to staff and residents. Academics say it is


obvious. The problem says overworked staff become jaded.


more like real life you can make things, the better it is.


Interaction with animals and children turns what could be an


artificial closed setting into something that is more like


everyday life. It is more than a little birdie that says this


approach is better. We're joined now by David Ash from the


Alzheimer's Society This is an incredible turnaround - how did


this treatment come about? Really simply, the treatment is about


trying to stimulate people in care homes. Often these environments can


be quite sterile. Lots of people on anti-psychotic drugs, which means


they are not as physically mobile as they can be. By stimulating


people, they can have a more fulfilling life. It is not really


expensive things. Could it be more expensive to implement this


treatment? There are 180,000 people in the UK being prescribed anti-


psychotic drugs. Most of those are in appropriate, according to


research. The cost of not prescribing those drugs could be


easily invested in good training for carers. This is not expensive.


It is basic understanding of people with dementia. It is not just


understanding them as a manger. It is understanding the individual. --


dementia. I would like to see this in all care homes. Anti-psychotic


drugs need to go. People need to be stimulated. They would be better


off. The parents of two missing teenagers from the Black Country


have pleaded with them to get in touch. 15-year-old Charlotte Ford


is thought to have run away with her boyfriend, Luke Jarvis, who's


16 today. Sarah Falkland reports. Where were they going and why?


Charlotte Ford and her boyfriend Luke Jarvis caught on CCTV at


Dudley bus station on the evening of Sunday 26 June. It's the last


anyone has seen of them. It does not matter what has happened. It


does not matter what the circumstances are, just come home.


I really miss you. Charlotte's mother says her daughter had split


from Look two months ago. Charlotte then moved from Wordsley near


Stourbridge to live her aunt in Wales. They were together and then


they were not. It is just their age. Luke should have been celebrating


his 16th birthday today. We are all worried about you. Not just us, the


entire family. Think about what you're doing. We will celebrate


your birthday together as a family. I am hopeful about the fact it is


his birthday will provide another opportunity for look to make


contact with some of his friends and that they will be responsible


enough to notify either of the Police or his family where he is,


and help us to get in touch with him. Police say it is unusual for


young teenagers to go missing for such a long time. There are asking


anybody in Tipton, Bilston or Dudley to check their garage as or


out houses. One report police are investigating is that the couple


were seen yesterday in Prestatyn in North Wales. They're asking anyone


with any information about Charlotte or Luke to call police at


Sandwell Hospital has failed standards for dignity and nutrition


in a Care Quality Commission investigation. On one Ward the


system for identifying patients who needed help was not working. It


also found Patients warned that adequately covered for decency and


some areas were not a single sex. am very confident this is not the


situation. The report shows that three out of the four words had


adequate standard of care. -- awards. We're confident... It has


been the last day of the public inquiry into higher than


anticipated deaths at Stafford Hospital. The inquiry is going into


recess for eight weeks because the chairman needs an urgent medical


procedure. The hearings will resume in September. One of the biggest


band Birmingham has ever produced found itself embroiled in a court


case today. Five original members of UB40 were facing a bankruptcy


hearing. It was expected that a judge would make a final decision


surrounding the finances of the record label behind the band, Dep


International. A petition for bankruptcy has been filed by


creditors. Lindsay Doyle reports. They have been portrayed as an icon


for the British working class. UB40 were named after a document issued


to people claiming unemployment benefit at the time they formed in


1978. There have been many highs over the last 30 years, but today


was one of the lows when representatives of five members of


the reggae band appeared before Birmingham County Court for the


bankruptcy hearing. For the sake of clarity, they are not bankrupt and


they are not intending to become bankrupt. The legal action is


focussing on their record label Dep International. Each of the band


members were directors of the company which went into


administration in 2006. The creditors have been trying to get


some money back. When frontman Ali Campbell left the band in 2008, he


claimed the main reason was concerns about the band's finances.


Even when I got independent accountants to ask for the


information, I still did not get it. When you're getting letters from


the Inland Revenue to say that you were being investigated, that is


frightening. UB 40 -- UB40 played their first concert here in 1979.


They went on to sell 70 million records, the most successful of


reggae act ever. No final decision was made in court this morning, a


decision welcomed by the band's legal team Full details of how the


band have ended up this position are expected to come to light after


the court proceedings are completed. Each of them will continue to


dispute the amounts claimed in these proceedings. If Bancroft


proceedings are issued following this hearing, we will vigorously


oppose them. -- bankruptcy proceedings. But whatever happens


in the courts, UB40 will carry on Still ahead, and you look for a


Birmingham's Alexander Stadium. -- and you look for Birmingham's


Alexander Stadium. And how much longer can the rain and showers


More than 20 vulnerable elderly people face being made homeless,


and the 36 staff who help care for them will become jobless, with the


closure of a residential home. It's been run by a charity for 20 years.


But a series of complex issues is forcing it to shut. The trustees


who give up their time to run the home say the decision has been


difficult and painful. Joanne Writtle takes up the story. They


face moving from a care home they love. These women - here with


family and friends - are among 24 residents of The Chestnuts in Ross-


on-Wye searching for somewhere else to live. Absolutely disgusted, I am.


It is my home. It is terrible. Great grandmother Hazel Childs is


regularly taken out by her daughters. She's been here for nine


years. The staff at are lovely. She loves the staff. She treats them


like her children and grandchildren. It is so upsetting. Volunteer


trustees have run the home for 20 years, ever since the local


authority announced it was to close. But the lease ends in September.


The charity pays a nominal �8,000 rent to Herefordshire Council. The


local authority wants to double that, though the market value would


be far more - an estimated �70,000. Complex changes in policy


nationally on adult care are also among the reasons for closure. The


trustees say this home is a fine example of a community taking


responsibility for services. The situation they are now in makes


them wonder what the so-called big society is all about. With falling


funding and the need for the local authority to make the most of us at


this, the running of the home will have become more commercial. --


make the most of its assets. It is awful. The residents are like


family. Herefordshire Council says it's been in talks with the


trustees for some time. trustees are in a position where


they feel that they cannot continue operating in the way they are


operating. This family and everybody we spoke to said this


home was excellent. But it could close very soon. You can see why


that care home could be seen as an example of the Big Society in


action. So what would its closure say now for the Government's Big


Idea? Patrick Burns is here with us. Patrick, the Big Society seems to


be shrinking before our eyes? there is a textbook answer to that.


It is called the big society by Jessie Norman, the Conservative MP


whose constituency includes Ross- on-Wye. No guarantee that homes


like that will not close. What Jessie Norman would say is that the


threat of closure may trigger local business interests to devise their


own home-grown strategies to find a solution, in a way that top-down


solutions, bureaucratic solutions, demand less on a ship from local


people. -- ownership. But when you see what's happening there in Ross-


on-Wye and elsewhere, people are bound to say the Big Society is no


more than an excuse invented by David Cameron to justify public


sector cuts? To which the Government would say that one of


the first places he came to as leader of the opposition six years


ago was Balsall Heath, where local community activists worked together


to get prostitution off the streets. The fastest man in the world this


year will lead a star-studded field at Birmingham's first ever Diamond


League athletics meeting this weekend. And it's hoped this could


be just the start for the city after a �12 million redevelopment


of the Alexander Stadium. A major summer championships could be next.


Nick Clitheroe reports. This is the crowning glory of the redevelopment


at the Alexander Stadium, a 5.000- seater stand on the back straight


of the Birmingham venue. Why is it so important? Well without it they


wouldn't be staging Sunday's Grand Prix, which is part of the Diamond


League series for the finest athletes in the world. It has to be


the best in the world. That is the whole thing about being in the


Diamond League series. It is the best athletes. In some of the


events it can be stronger than the Olympic final. There is a fantastic


view for the spectators. And that ground level, very impressive. And


it's very popular too with the British athletes who've made this


stadium their home over the years. It is amazing. It is beginning to


look like a proper world-class stadium. It has always been a great


venue. The added bonus of the stand, now we can attract world-class


championships. It was the first place I came to, to watch the


Olympic trials. I became captivated by it. I have been to the Diamond


League in Doha and a New York. This place will have a much better


atmosphere. The redevelopment has also seen the stadium brought up to


international standards for track and field. That leaves the stadium


ready to bid for a European Championships in the future. But


the first treat for a sell-out crowd on Sunday will be to see the


true stars of world athletics in You can hear more about that on BBC


WM tomorrow morning when Phil Upton at Breakfast will be talking live


to the President of the Jamaican athletics team, who'll be based in


Britain's newest car took to the roads today, and with only three


wheels, the new Morgan is something of a throwback. Back in 1909, the


Worcestershire company's founder, Harry Morgan, designed his first


car, a three-wheeled runabout, and many more were to follow. Three


wheelers seem to be linked with this region. It was in Tamworth


that Reliant turned out their cars in big numbers. Fondly recalled by


many owners but the butt of jokes too. Remember Del Boy's Reliant in


Only Fools and Horses? But now Morgan has returned to its heritage


with a three wheeler that will put a smile on your face for all the


right reasons, as our business correspondent Peter Plisner has


been finding out. OK, driving with goggles on doesn't quite do it for


me - but the car certainly does. Despite having fewer wheels than


conventional vehicles the new Morgan 3 drives extremely well. It


represents something of warp back in time for the Malvern-based car


maker. This rare footage shows the original Morgan three wheeler being


put through its paces in a hill climbing competition. This is one


of the originals. It was designed and built in the 1930s. This is the


modern version. The company has stayed true to its tradition. At


the factory the first cars are already being built - they're


expecting to build around 400 each year. It has still got a lot of


charm. It does not take itself too seriously. It is a proper sports


car. You can have a real laugh in it. And that's exactly what members


of the motoring press were doing today at Malvern. By all accounts


they like what they saw. Modern cars are too sanitised. They are


covered in safety and luxury. This strips of --. We are ahead of


Lotus... For Morgan's Chief Executive, the new model has to


potential to deliver a new younger market to the 100-year-old brand,


with 500 pre-orders already on the books. I think where it is quite


interesting is it is like motorbike quarter a little bit. The sales in


motorbikes have actually increased enormously over the past 10 years.


We hope that the three-wheeler is a bit like that. Like previous cars


from Morgan, it should be in great demand. And Peter joins us now. So


when are we going to see these Morgan Threes on the road, Peter?


At the moment they are in the pre- production stage. Full production


starts in September. Only then will you start to see these cars


appearing in the showrooms. Having driven the car today, I can say


that it probably will sell very well. It is pretty efficient. It


does 45-50 miles to the gallon. It will make it popular and good news


for the company. Good news for the West Midlands. The majority of


parts are made here in this region. Good news for the components of


firms who have suffered in the recession. How much will they cost?


And do you get the goggles? It is cheaper than the average Morgan.


Starting price around �25,000. The average Morgan around 30,000 to


40,000. Most of them will be Now the weather. We were definitely


over credit by showers. Plenty of them around. Things are improving


over the weekend. Temperatures will pick up slightly. Currently we are


caught up in the workings of this low-pressure. Once it moves to the


North East by the weekend, the way will be clear for a brighter and


better weather. At the moment we are plodding the same path. Still


some showers out there at the moment. The next sign of activity


will be just after midnight as this next band of rain hit in from the


West. Heavy pulses of rain overnight. By the end of the night


it will reach eastern part of the patch. Temperatures dropping to 20


Celsius. It will feel cooler. Tomorrow morning the rain heads


east words. It will increase in the east. It will be a wet start.


Almost a seamless transition from that rain Clearing to a rush of


showers. Some could be heavy and thundery. There will be sunshine in


between raising the temperature has to 20 Celsius. Once again it will


be a windy day. As for the weekend, we have got some dry weather on a


wave. Showers on Saturday. The sunshine will take the temperatures


A look at tonight's main headlines: The News of the World - the


newspaper at the centre of the phone hacking allegations - is to


close. It will print its last edition this Sunday. And pupils go


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