10/02/2017 Midlands Today


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Hello, and welcome to Midlands Today.


Concerns over the finances of a company paid to protect


It sounds like somebody hasn't been watching this, and the company


has got into trouble, and a lot of schools have ended up


paying out of their budgets for a service they won't now get.


The Big Community provides services to a third


A father meets the daughter he never knew he had.


And I'm so happy he wants me in his life.


A lorry carrying 28 tonnes of grain crashes into a house next to a level


We are live courtside as the Worcester wolves look to maintain


their great form at the start of 2017.


And we begin the weekend with some wintry showers,


but signs of something a little brighter for next week.


Some of Birmingham's most vulnerable children could be left


Questions are being asked as to whether a company providing


support to children may have run into financial difficulty.


Around a third of the city's 300 primary schools have paid thousands


Much of the money has been paid upfront for therapists


The Big Community helps monitor truancy, they also support


children with emotional and behavioural problems.


Sarah Bishop has this exclusive report.


We filmed her for a documentary about safeguarding


We look at children's emotional resilience, how they cope


with day-to-day life, experience they have had that has


Primarily we look at how the service can assist and work with schools


to break down the barriers to learning and ensure


For the past seven years, the Big Community has sent social


workers into dozens of Birmingham schools to do in part what the local


authority used to do, to monitor children's attendance


It also sends in therapists to support children, dealing


with everything from divorce to domestic violence.


This city centre primary school is one of around 100 in Birmingham


A source has told me how practitioners from the company came


in, in almost a state of shock last week.


They said they had e-mails telling them the company had run


into financial difficulty, and their jobs were no more.


A source from the school tells us they tried to contact the company


but as yet there has been no formal communication that


We tried to contact Big Community but the phone number is dead,


there is no sign up at its registered address


and there is no one in Miss Selvey's home in North Worcestershire.


Companies House records show the Big Community


In August last year, it received notice of a compulsory strike-off.


The Big Community would have been handling big money in addition


to the thousands academies being paid in directly,


Birmingham City Council confirmed in 2015 it paid in over ?140,000


schools which did not have checking accounts.


It has now written to schools advising them


Who is going to be monitoring the children?


Anything that helps towards safeguarding needs to be there.


There are fears what may have happened is down


to the fragmentation of public education.


I have no objection to that providing it is properly


monitored and supervised and there are proper


It sounds like somebody hasn't been watching this and the company


has got into trouble, and a lot of schools


have ended up paying out for a service they won't now get.


Tonight, Birmingham City Council says it will be working with schools


to give support and advice, and help them recoup any money owed.


Sarah Bishop, BBC Midlands Today, Birmingham.


"We're so happy we've found each other."


It's a moment 30 years in the making.


A Staffordshire father has met the daughter he never knew he had.


Fifi Giannitto managed to track down her dad John Duncan


and, after a DNA test, their incredible story


And it's not just genes they have in common.


Incredibly they've spent years going to the same pub.


Many an extraordinary story has been told in pubs.


A 52-year-old psychological coach from Stone, happy married,


This is Fifi who, approaching her 30th birthday last year,


decided now is the time to find her father, a man


Two strangers who were frequenting the same pub.


I went on holiday to a very beautiful place, sat on the edge


of a loch with some writing paper and decided to go for it and do it.


Fifi Giannitto wrote this letter to the man


she believed to be her father, a man who hadn't seen her


grow up because he was unaware she even existed.


And I hope you want to be in touch with me.


Fifi had done her own detective work, finding her father's address.


John Duncan received the letter and struggled to believe


I turned up to kind of explain that I wasn't her dad.


But John did agree to have a DNA test.


The number came up as 99.99% positive, so there is


And I just sat there, I don't know how long I sat


I can't tell you, I just sat looking at that screen.


You have waves of emotion of anger, happiness.


John had a relationship with Fifi's mother in the 1980s,


Why, after 30 years, were you not aware that John was your dad?


She had her reasons, we don't really want to focus on that part.


We are just happy that we've found each other now and we've


I am so happy he wants me in his life.


She is kind, she's intelligent, she's beautiful.


She is everything you could want in a daughter.


As if this story couldn't be any more extraordinary,


Fifi and John's paths have probably crossed before.


So, we could have been standing at the bar next to each other,


Proving that some surprises are worth the wait.


Ben Godfrey, BBC Midlands Today, Stone.


A lorry full with grain ploughed into a house near a railway


line in Herefordshire early this morning.


Miraculously, no-one was injured, but the accident near Leominster


caused chaos for train services, and the road was closed


The lorry crashed into the house next to a level crossing


in Leominster in freezing conditions just before 6am.


It was stuck on its side, embedded into the brickwork


The man who lives there, who does not want to be named,


spoke to BBC Hereford and Worcester earlier.


I guessed something had gone into the house.


I knew it wouldn't be a train because it wouldn't be


I jumped out of bed, put on some trainers and came


As you can see, the lorry won't go anywhere.


The lorry was carrying 28 tonnes of grain.


The recovery operation took all morning as a structural engineer


advised crews on the ground, and power lines were taken down.


We first wanted to make sure everyone was all right and not


injured which I am happy to confirm is the case.


Next, it was about how do we recover the situation as safely as possible.


Unfortunately it has had a big effect on the railway network


and roads, inconveniencing people quite a bit.


Slowly, steadily, the lorry was winched away revealing damaged


A friend of the owner gave his reaction.


I was delighted to see it was standing.


It doesn't seem to be too badly damaged.


You must be worried about your friend?


Oh, yes, very worried, quite a shock.


As you can see, after several hours, the lorry has now been moved,


the clear-up operation is going on, and the bricks that were damaged


Trains between Shrewsbury and Hereford were


By early afternoon, things were getting back to normal.


Joanne Writtle, BBC Midlands Today, Leominster.


Police investigating the death of a teenager shot dead


in Birmingham last year have charged a 24-year-old woman


Shaeleana Samuels from Dudley will appear in court next month.


Kenichi Phillips died after being shot


Disham Downie is currently serving life in prison for his murder.


A motorist from Stoke-on-Trent has alleged the police stopped


and searched his car 17 times last year for no legitimate reason.


Adeel Rehman was last stopped just after Christmas by armed officers


The police watchdog, the IPCC, is now beginning an investigation,


after being told that nothing was found and no action taken


A 75-year-old man has died following a serious


house fire in Edgbaston, Birmingham, just after


Police say nothing could be done to save the man.


His death is not being treated as suspicious.


A society has been set up in memory of Bert Bissell,


Mr Bissell led regular trips to Ben Nevis, after he first climbed


He constructed a Peace Cairn at the summit, and raised thousands


The society is calling for a blue plaque to be put up in Buffery Park


Since December, poultry farmers have been forced by the Government


to keep all their animals inside because of an


After such a long period, it meant many were becoming


concerned about losing their free-range status.


But now the Government has said it's prepared to make some exceptions.


Our rural affairs correspondent David Gregory-Kumar


So, David, is there any risk to people from this


There's no risk to us from either the virus or from meat or eggs.


But, as you can see, this form of bird flu is very bad news


80% of the turkeys on this Lincolnshire farm were killed


Stopping this spreading is why the Government says birds


And that's a problem for farmers with free-range flocks.


Normally, because they are free-range eggs,


you would be seeing these birds out in the fields.


Since the beginning of December, because of the risk of bird flu,


we have been told by the Government to keep them inside.


Now the Government is updating its rules


This is the area covering Staffordshire and Mr


So now he will be able to release his birds.


But inside these blue zones, there's a higher risk of bird flu


Zoom out, and you can see how many farmers might be affected.


Keeping their birds inside, losing their free range status


They will not any more be able to label their eggs as free-range.


The Government won't be able to give them any help.


But I am hopeful people will recognise that these


are free-range flocks, they are being housed for good


reason for disease control, and understand that these


are still eggs produced from flocks intended to be free range.


This is Mr Warrington disinfecting our


Typical of the precautions farmers are taking to keep bird flu


But even here in a low-risk zone there's still some risk.


One day we may have to accept that even free-range chickens


could sometimes have to be kept in barns to protect them


Thanks for joining us on Midlands Today.


Concerns over the finances of a company paid to protect


Your detailed weekend weather forecast to come shortly.


The night the super troupers came to Birmingham Odeon.


40 years on from Abba's first UK gig.


And forget the Six Nations, playing rugby the Hartpury way.


The Gloucestershre club with 21 wins out of 21.


They've shown no compassion or grace towards our community.


The words of a resident from one of Herefordshire's


most remote towns where the last bank shut


Kington has had a bank for more than two centuries


and customers say they'll now be forced to travel at least 14 miles


Robert Jones' farming family has been coming


to Kington to do their banking for two centuries.


To make that point, he chose to ride his horse


to deposit his last cheque as the last bank closed.


My great grandfathers came here to bank on horseback.


And I thought to mark this occasion, I would come down as my


I wasn't brought up in the computer age, and I don't do computers,


As farmer to farmer, we have always dealt with a cheque book.


Barclays closed in Kington in September.


With HSBC shutting too, the post office is now the only


They'll take longer to reach accounts.


At the end of the street in Wales, they are coming over


This traditional market town is steeped in rural tradition.


But it's not just the farming community that'll lose out.


John Richardson bought the local hotel 30 years ago with a loan


How can dreams becomes realities now with no banks in the town?


and ask for a half-a- million-pound loan


HSBC is advising customers it has an alternative branch 17


The bank says that 93% of client contact at this branch is now done


But this customer is so angry, he came to close his account today.


The people living in glass houses in London and raking in a lot of money.


But the one thing they forget, money is associated with people


and I'm afraid they are not thinking of the people's side of it.


HSBC, soon to have its HQ in Birmingham, is closing


Bob Hockenhull BBC Midlands Today, Herefordshire


A busy weekend of sport to look forward to.


And in Worcester, the action gets underway shortly,


with top-flight basketball being played in front


And Dan Pallett's there right now, likely to attract


They have had a great start to 2017, welcome, top-flight basketball. We


will speak to the coach Paul James. First, Rugby Union.


This weekend has the second round of matches in the Six Nations,


But any team would be envious of the record


They've played 21 won 21 and are 28 points clear at the top


Promotion to the Championship is a certainty.


So this morning, I went along to see them train.


It's 8am, freezing cold and training has started.


They've won every game this season and are heading for the second


We finished second last year which was a great achievement.


We knew we'd be near the top flight again, we had hoped that.


I didn't expect to be so many points clear at this stage of the season.


Hartpury is very different from a traditional rugby club.


The heart of the team is made up from their university students.


Take winger Jonas Milkalcius from Lithuania.


The early start allows him and many players to then attend lectures.


He's studying for a degree in strength and conditioning.


Last summer, he was signed by Premiership Harlequins and loaned


back so he can complete his degree and play a final season at Hartpury


I can confirm it is brilliant for your future career,


As these shirts show, they have an excellent record


COMMENTATOR: Glorious from England, from Brown to Jonny May,


They include the England and Gloucester winger Jonny May


Hartpury have dominated National One this season.


But can they make the step up to The Championship where the top


Next year I think it will be a huge challenge,


a different challenge, certainly with a semi-professional


I think, we will see how we cope, with the development


To consolidate in that league, and test ourselves


For now, though, Hartpury are enjoying the ride


It's a matter of when, not if, they gain promotion.


Dan Pallett, BBC Midlands Today, Hartpury.


Victory for Hartpury would be another big step towards promotion.


Now, someone who knows all about growing a club


through the divisions is Paul James, the coach of the Worcester Wolves.


It does sound good, I wish I had it sooner in the season. We had a tough


start but we are getting things together. We had a great January,


the guys have worked hard in practice, we are looking to continue


the wings for the next of the season.


Tonight, you're hosting the bottom side, Manchester.


We can't be complacent. Last time, we were up by seven with a minute to


go and we threw it away. We don't want a repeat.


What can you achieve this season now?


There is still plenty to play for, the play-offs is a great finale, we


still need to win enough to ensure we are in the play-offs. We have a


chance to get through in the trophy for the final.


We have to give it the best we can. Plenty to play for, let's hope there


is a big crowd tonight. If you can't make it here tonight


the game is on the BBC's red button. The weekend football gets


underway tonight too. And a real test for Gianfranco


Zola's Birmimngham City. Last weekend, their first win,


beating Fulham in the championship. Yes, they're away


to promotion-chasing Sheffield Wednesday


in the Championship. Zola finally won his first game last


weekend at the 11th attempt. This will be much more difficult


and anything less than a win and you'd have to say that any faint


hopes of reaching the play-offs What were you doing


40 years ago today? There's a chance you might have been


part of a bit of musical history, as Abba took to the stage


of the Birmingham Odeon to play their first


live concert in the UK. Demand for tickets was huge,


with more than 50,000 fans clamouring for just over


two thousand seats. We were sat in the cinema watching


Abba live, which was amazing. # I've been cheated


by you since I don't know when. And Abba, one of the greatest pop


groups in music history, played their first ever live show


in the UK at the Birmingham Odeon. If you come this way,


this used to be the stage. I will take you to the spot


where Agnetha and Frida warbled. Tony Warner was the manager


of the Odeon that night. It was just the atmosphere,


it was unique. I didn't know it wasn't


going to be repeated. # Money, money, money, must be


funny, in a rich man's world. It's not thought there's any


footage of the actual concert in Birmingham,


but Abba The Movie, filmed less than a month later in Australia,


shows the first glimpse the 2,397 fans inside the Odeon would have


got of Benny, Bjorn, More than 52,000 people applied


for tickets for the Birmingham show. Kaarin Goodburn was


one of the lucky few Just 13 years old, she was taken


to the concert by her dad. And this massive sound filled


the whole auditorium. We were at the cinema


in Birmingham with Abba, live, which is still a mind-blowing


thing for me. Abba only toured the UK twice,


so most people never The closest we have now is to see


one of the many Abba tribute bands, like UK Bjorn who are based in north


Staffordshire. The shows that they put


on are out of this world, it would be great to do that,


to that scale. But we try and replicate


it as best we can. To see them live in their heyday, it


must have been amazing. For those who were at the Odeon 40


years ago, it was an evening The only time Abba ever performed


live in the second city. Ben Sidwell, BBC Midlands


Today, Birmingham. If you were that little girl with


the bunches, we would love to hear from you, many happy memories I am


sure. The potential for more snow flurries


even to lower levels. Actually, in the west of the country today, we


fared better than anywhere else, we saw the sun bursting through. That


didn't mean this evening we had a stunning end with this sunset. The


sky looked like it was on fire in our church.


But we are starting to see the first signs of spring.


This is a dusting of snow drops. This is a dusting of snow. More of


this to come through this weekend, particularly over higher ground like


the Staffordshire Moorlands and Peak District.


It will be called this weekend, the risk of wintry showers.


We are still feeling the wintry breeze.


It is coming from the north-east and will start to bring in a few showers


tonight. It will be very cold. A few clear spells. Temperatures will fall


away. As low as minus three. We will see a frost, a very cold night. The


showers will turn to something wintry, temperatures down to minus


three. A cold start tomorrow, the showers being blown in on that


breeze, falling as sleet or snow. Then it turned to rain, a miserable


afternoon, cold, grey and wet with temperatures just for Celsius. That


continues at the end of the day. The wind direction changes to an


easterly, getting colder, with showers turning to wintry showers


predicted over the Staffordshire Moorlands, temperatures holding up a


little better. Sunday, more rain to come, still


cold, the wind direction changing to a south easterly. Monday, a touch


brighter and the sunshine is back, still cold.


The battle to succeed Tristram Hunt as MP


With just under two weeks to go until polling,


the five main candidates are getting ready for the campaign's


only live televised debate this weekend.


specially-extended edition of Sunday Politics Midlands


with Patrick Burns, from 11 o'clock here on BBC One.


Join us again after the Ten O'Clock News.


when farmers leave their daily routines behind...


Right, here we come, Dorset! ..for a show day.