24/08/2011 Midlands Today


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Welcome to Midlands Today. A big rise in demand for free food,


for people who say they cannot afford to feed themselves or their


children. There is an increasing need.


After the riots, the fund to help shopkeepers who lost business.


A ban on drinking alcohol alfresco for over 55s at this housing


complex. And Shrewsbury Town at celebrate


after knocking at Premier League Swansea City out of the Carling Cup.


Be it was a great result for the club, and it really put Shrewsbury


Welcome to Wednesday's Midlands Today from BBBC. A surge in demand


for free food from parents struggling to feed their children.


A Black Country charity which provides free food to vulnerable


people have seen a 45% increase in demand since last year.


It has fed nearly 3500 people in the last six months of this year,


and that includes 1000 children. The food back is now calling for


government help. Enough food for three days. Carl is


one of a growing number of clients at the Black Country Foodbank in


Stourbridge. In 2010 we fed 5324 people. This year, in the first six


months, we have already fed to 3300, of which 1100 our children. More


and more families are relying on the food back to survive. There is


one lady sat on the sofa with me, and she was crying her eyes out.


She said the problem is the school holidays, they will each be out of


house and home. Staff noticed a seasonal blip in demand of 28%


coinciding with families losing free school meals. More than 40,000


people under 16 are fed up for free during term-time.


Tom is unemployed and living hand to mouth. I was scared, because I


am not a person who normally asks for help, but the food back put


that confidence in to me, because I grew up in care, so I found it hard


to trust people, and the food back put that trust back into it.


You can only have a pack like this on three occasions, because the


ethos behind the food bank is that it is help in times of crisis.


Candy and Matthew were not aware of the three pack limit.


Had how will you manage after that? We will be struggling. Just a


living from day today. It is all you can do.


There are plans for another two distribution centres to be up and


running by Christmas. We are joined now by the


Conservative MP for Stourbridge, Margot James. This really is a sad


state of affairs, isn't it, that things have got so bad? Yes, I


quite agree. It is terrible to think that people are needing help


with food, a basic essential, in this day and age. The food back has


been running for a few years now, as they do a marvellous job, but as


you say, it is very sad that people need the service. The figures are


astonishing. Should the Government be concerned that people are having


to rely on charity for food? quite agree. I think the government


are trying to do everything possible to support people who are


either out of work or on low pay. In what way? We have exempted low-


paid people from the public sector pay freeze, we have increased tax


allowances so that nearly 1 million people have come out of the tax


system altogether. In Stourbridge, we come under Dudley local


authority, as they are helping people stay in their homes, and are


helping homeowners through mortgage arrears helping services. I get the


feeling that thousands of people are falling by the wayside. Who


will rescue them? I agree that there are people on the margins of


society, and we are very fortunate in the Black Country, having a very


strong voluntary sector, as witnessed by the food back. I think


what the government is trying to do through the Big Society is to


support a the local voluntary organisations as much as we


possibly can. There is something very wrong -- wrong somewhere. It


is like the Third World. On another angle, you may be interested to


know that research shows on average across the board, people waste so


much food. Odyssey not the people we are talking about, but in


general. If people stop wasting the food that they purchase, the


average family of four would save a �50 a month. There is a huge amount


of waste in our society, and perhaps we should look to that as


well as supporting the initiatives like the food bank. It is terrible


that people should need food from a charity, but the point of our


social services and support is to remove that need, and I think in


most cases, local government does achieve that aim, but Odyssey as


you say, there are too many people that for by the wayside.


-- obviously. Hundreds of teenagers sign-up for eight 21st century


answer to national service. Does it do the job?


Up to �2 million is being made available to businesses in


Birmingham to help them recover from the riots. It comes as


shopkeepers are being given advice from the city council about the


support on offer. Traders have been invited to a


dropping session at deceiving. -- a drop-in session deceiving.


They were queuing out the door at lunchtime, loyal customers keen to


help their favourite sandwich bar get back on its feet. We were


horrified when we have had -- had heard what had happened. We're all


doing our bit to help. It is quite terrifying what was going on, but


it is great it is back. A this is what went on on the first night of


rioting. The shopfront was smashed to


business, and stock was stolen and destroyed.


It is really upsetting. I did not know the full extent until I went


through the CCTV, and just to see it is unbelievable. The new class


is in, so too is the insurance claim.


Everyone needs support, especially independent businesses who do not


have lump sums of cash in the bank. Per it is support that this session


at the council house aims to give. The government is offering a lump


sum of �20,000 -- �20 million to high-street businesses across the


country to help them. Birmingham is able to bid for �2 million. Council


leaders have been advising businesses how to make a claim.


Across the city in Handsworth, this trade a puts the cost at about


�20,000. I would ask the city council to support us in any way


they can. Perhaps they could reduce our council tax, or contribute to


the losses we have incurred. Nothing has been heard so far.


the council says it has been proactive, and has visited about


100 businesses so far, and knows there are more to get straight.


Giles is at Birmingham Council House for us now. What have trade


has been telling you? We have heard a lot of sad stories.


It was very busy earlier, and it has slowed down a little now. The


saddest case is those who have been under-insured. This lady found


herself cowering under the counter of her shop as people ransacked it.


She was physically attacked, and I know you are still getting over


that. You have now got to think about your finances. What have you


heard today to give you hope? Actually, I am very surprised,


because we can get some help from the council. We cannot claim


something from the funds, and the council can help us to recover from


the business. Let us talk to a man from the council. This lady was


running short. Are you able to help her? I hope so. I believe she has


said she has received great support. We are here to work with the


council and our partners to help people. How To Make this allocation


of money fair? Will make it fair by using our expertise to distributed


equally. Thank you. If you have not made the session, you can phone the


council. In Wolverhampton, 19 businesses have been contacted by


the council in a similar operation. Dudley Council has announced a �200


million regeneration plan for the town centre, zoo and Castle. It


comes as the Black Country town steps up its efforts to become a


city next year to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee. Just one of 26


towns will be chosen, with Dudley currently lying 5th in the betting


behind favourites, Reading. The Dudley accounts for 9% of the


West Midlands population. It has 195,000 residents. Last year,


650,000 people visited the main tourist attractions, including the


zoo and the Black Country Museum. His city status a realistic dream?


It dates back to Anglo-Saxon times, and is the largest town in the


Black Country. But now Dudley feels it is time to bid for city status.


�26 want to be a city, and you are fair. BBC Radio where there today,


finding out about Dudley and what it has to offer. There is a zoo and


a castle, and a museum. There is an abundance of industrial heritage.


But there is no university, or a mainline railway station. And there


is not a cathedral or a League football club.


The so why should Dudley bit? have had meetings with people from


China up for a long time now, as they struggled to work out where we


are. We are uniquely Dudley, we have our own offer. I think that


profile will benefit the town and attract investment from overseas.


Business leaders are backing the bid, particularly those involved in


tourism. There is an opportunity, and you have to take it. Go


anywhere in the world, and Dudley Zoo is known. That would help us.


little over five miles away is Wolverhampton, one of the youngest


cities in the UK, granted that status by the Queen 10 years ago to


mark the millennium. We have always been an industrial


area for the Midlands, and we raised a lot of wealth for the


country. Now we need the help we can get, and by being a city, that


will help to do that. But what to the good people of Dudley think


about all this? We think we are too small to become a city. I do not


think it is big enough. I think it is great ex back it has always been


a thriving area. Perhaps it is similar to stun, because we are


several small towns are grouped into one. -- similar to stamp.


Dudley has nothing. A final decision will not be made until


later this year. Until then, everyone is keeping their fingers


crossed that Dudley will become We have had plenty of contrasting


views on our Facebook page. Suzanne says, I live in Dudley but do not


support it. The town is a mess and a depressing place to be. I work


there and it was vibrant. I avoided as much as possible now.


Matt Dudley says, I take it is an excellent idea. Dudley deserves to


be recognised as a city because of its heritage and significance in


British history. I am proud to live there ensure its name.


The long-held belief that towns must have a cathedral to become a


city is simply a myth, dating back to the 19th century.


Campaigners against the high-speed rail link in the West Midlands say


they are having to start their petition over again because the


Government has relaunched its website. Petitions will be


considered for parliamentary debate if they attract 100,000 signatures.


This petition did not go through the government website so does not


qualify. Traders in Tunstall are backing an


appeal for an alcohol ban. The town's Chamber of Trade says people


are drinking in the street from early as 9 am, and shoppers don't


like it. Traders signed petitions calling on the council to enforce


an alcohol restriction zone. They say they are losing business


because people feel intimidated. There are people drinking and


swearing, some of them have got dogs. It is just not a pleasant


experience coming into town when people like that are around every


day of the week. Residents of a housing complex for


those over 55 are being banned from drinking alcohol in communal


gardens outside their homes. They say the move imposed by a housing


association imposes upon civil rights. This happened after a row


between two neighbours. Residents at Bishop Court meet


inside to discuss the drinking ban imposed outside. When we got the


letter I wanted to go and sit outside and drink. It follows a


decision last year after -- stopping them from gathering after


10pm in their flats. We are being treated like children, patronising


and demeaning, very much so. It is not on. You cannot talk to people


like that. You cannot say, there is a communal area but do not commune.


You have to be in 10 o'clock, it's not on! If we cannot sit at their


on a summer's day and have a drink, there is something wrong.


alcohol ban came after a dispute between two neighbours. Residents


said that had been resolved amicably. Nevertheless, the


landlord, Staffordshire Housing Association, is investigating.


There is due to be a meeting between residents and the housing


association in a fortnight. The tenants what the meeting brought


forward and the alcohol ban lifted immediately. -- want the meeting.


For the meantime, be gardens will stay alcohol on three. The only


thing we do not want people to do is gather in groups and drink in


the scheme, because of the way that is perceived by residents. We have


to have it in the interests of every resident. Some people may


think it is acceptable, but some of it is not, and that is what we have


to deal West. Until an agreement can be reached, for these tenants,


the only drinks they will enjoy outside our non alcoholic.


Still to come... It is marvelous Marvin as Shrewsbury town pull off


a Carling Cup shock. Will it be worthy of a morning? --


warming? Find out later. Hundreds of youngsters from the


region have signed up for National Citizen Service, which the Prime


Minister is hoping to offer to all 16 year olds in the wake of the


rights. The summer camp, which Mr Cameron says is in the same spirit


of national service, is playing here in Birmingham. What is it like


for those taking part? Getting young people working


together and communicating is something at the forefront of the


Government's agenda, and that is what the national Citizen Service


scheme aims to do. Remain in his two -- are the main aim is to plant


seeds to allow people to work in their communities after they have


left the programme, and to get more involved with their society in


general. These youngsters are at the Cumbria Outdoors Education


Centre. 500 teenagers from Birmingham have signed up for the


three-week course. Across the country in total, there were 11,000


places available. Next year, that is being extended to 30,000. David


Cameron has announced he wants the scheme available to all teenagers


when they finish their GCSEs. It is something these youngsters approve


of. It is a good idea. It gives you something to do, positive.


Hopefully it will look good on my CV. It means we are not bored at


home and hanging about on the streets. In Birmingham, The


Challenge Network is one charity delivering the Citizen Service. It


was actually responsible for devising a government scheme.


truly believe in the Challenge, it actually works and matters. We are


working with 3,000 young people across the UK and it is amazing to


have an impact on so many young people. It made a difference to


this girl. She did the scheme last year and now wants to make a


difference in her area. I never thought that it was important to go


and ask people on the street in their own city what you can do to


help. In the second and third week, the teenagers do charity work and


create community projects. It is hoped it will give them a focus for


future success. You can find out more information


about the scheme and the reaction to it on our Facebook page.


Shrewsbury Town are celebrating a famous victory after knocking


Swansea City out of the Carling Cup. It is the first time in 18 years


they have reached the third round. Introducing MM and JJ, two of the


Shrewsbury town's summer signings, who woke up this morning to find


the giant-killing was not just a sweet dream after all, it really


happened. Marvin Morgan loves the latest gear and he has just started


trading in trendy T-shirts and caps with attitude. He has never scored


a hat-trick himself but he did get the Shrews: First goal in their


famous 3-1 victory over Swansea City. I am from Manchester, so any


Manchester club would be a dream. To get a goal against Man City


would be a dream. I'm hoping we can get a big club. With 20 minutes


left, Mark Wright put Shrewsbury in front. The home fans sensed a shock


result was possible. A free-kick sealed the win. It is a great


result, said the manager. What was the feeling in the dressing room?


It was unbelievable. To win a game like that against a Premier League


team, everyone deserved it. Villa Park, Hereford United fans


had their own dreams. Their mascot might confident but sadly, it was


all a load of bull. It is a tall order tonight? We will do our best.


5-2, 2 Aston Villa or something. Miller did not score until 10


minutes from time. Eric Lichaj's had his first senior goal for the


club. Alex McLeish thanked the Villa fans for their patience.


Jimmy Page Bain said, my lads did me proud. -- a Jamie Pitman. Marc-


Antoine Fortune scored two goals. World's sealed into round three


with a win at Northampton. Tonight's star billing goes to


Shrewsbury Town. Morgan and Joe Jacobson will never forget the


night they got into the Premier League.


More reaction on the BBC Sport website.


The country's smallest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is


looking to its rich military history as a way of boosting


tourism. Cannock Chase is already popular with cyclists and walkers.


It's hidden heritage is bringing different visitors...


Cannock Chase gets hundreds of thousands of visitors, looking for


peace and quiet amongst its vast acreage of trees. In the First and


Second World Wars, but Chase had visitors of a different kind.


Thousands of soldiers were stationed here and you do not have


to look far to uncover the military history. Evidence is all across the


Chase today, not least at this cemetery, where nearly 5,000


soldiers, mostly German, are buried. All died on British territory. Many


died not in battle but from an outbreak of Spanish flu while there


were titters of war in 1918. -- why it they were prisoners of war.


Local councils have started organising tours. This hot was one


of hundreds on Vic Chase in 1915 to house Allied soldiers in military


camps. -- Chase. Since then it has been a village hall but has been


brought back to become a tourist attraction. This was a centre of


the Northern Command were perhaps 40,000 men, at any one time, could


be on the camp. In the First World War, perhaps half a million men may


have trained here. If you think that this CAB has 40,000, on the


first day of the Somme, there were 60,000 casualties, of which 20,000


died. It is important not to forget. Today, and volunteers who help with


the maintenance of the Chase have been invited to try out the tour.


It is our heritage, to remember what things were like and how they


lived. I have learned so much in the last hour about the military


than in the 40 years I have lived here. There was an American


military hospital here in the Second World War. It was also a


training ground for the Home Guard. Bringing this rich heritage alive


is also a money spinner for the local economy. Visit England have


identified heritage as a growth sector. As an attraction run by a


Staffordshire County Council and Cannock Chase, we are looking at


how we can maximise this to reinvest into our own properties.


War history may not be on the minds of people who come here, but it is


a rich heritage helping to give the area a beast in tough economic


times. -- a boost. Some of that history is very


surprising. And it looks so sunny and lovely!


Lots of uncertainty this week, particularly on Friday. Rain


tonight, with a yellow warning. It is not as serious as orange or red


but it is urging you to be aware of the likelihood of heavy outbreaks


of rain tonight. We have had showers crossing the region. You


can see later tonight, the cloud thickens up and the rain starts to


head on in from midnight. You can see where the heaviest outbreaks


will be. Coventry, into Staffordshire, Stoke, which is,


just clipping past Birmingham as well. -- Lichfield. It may miss the


north-west of Shropshire. The wind is picking up and it will be a born


night. Rain is still around in the rush-hour tomorrow morning, still


in the eastern half of the patch. It will clear eastwards from 9


o'clock and we will see some brief spells of dry weather and sunshine,


followed by a scattering of showers. Some of those could be heavy. As


the wind eases they will be slow moving and there could be some rain.


Temperatures similar to today. Tomorrow night, it clears up.


Friday is on because of rain and showers, so there could be wet


weather. -- on the cusp.


The hunt is on for Colonel Gaddafi. Libyan rebels launched a massive


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