NEWS: Erdington MP survey reveals “worryingly” high number of care home staff refusing Covid-19 vaccine

Words by Adam Smith

A “worrying” amount of care home staff in Erdington and Kingstanding are refusing to have the Covid-19 vaccine, a recent survey has revealed.

Shockingly 67% of 30 care homes in the constituency questioned by Jack Dromey MP had staff who have decided against having the life-saving jab.

One home reported 23 out of 25 staff refused the vaccine, including the manager. In another 75% of staff turned down the chance to be vaccinated.

The reasons for refusal show widespread misinformation about the vaccine’s side effects including fears of fertility problems or the jab being poisonous.

Mr Dromey said: “The results of my latest care home survey reveal worrying levels of vaccine uptake amongst care home staff.

“The fact that so many staff in care homes across Erdington are refusing the vaccine is deeply concerning. There is a significant risk posed to care home residents in particular who, for one reason or another, are unable to be vaccinated.

“What is also concerning is some of the reasons that were given for refusing the vaccines. Myths such as the vaccine is ‘poisonous’ and it ’causes infertility’ were both quoted in the responses, despite these being comprehensively disproven. Those who are responsible for sharing these dangerous myths should be utterly ashamed of themselves.”

The UK’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty believes care home staff have a “professional responsibility” to have the vaccine.

Government ministers are discussing whether to make the vaccine mandatory for NHS and care sector staff but unions including the GMB have warned against the idea.

Three of the UK’s biggest care home owners, Care UK, Barchester and Advina Healthcare, are insisting staff have the jab and from now on will only hire people who have been vaccinated.

Mr Dromey’s survey also revealed problems with PPE equipment not getting through to care homes seem to be solved.

Currently only three local care homes currently have current Covid outbreaks. – two with one member of staff affected, but another has seven staff and 14 residents currently battling the virus.

Mr Dromey also praised local care home staff for their bravery over the last 12 months.

He said: “Throughout the pandemic I have been in regular contact with Erdington’s care homes, including three surveys of all 47 local care homes. I have heard first-hand the extremely difficult challenges that staff and residents have faced.

“What has shone through over the past 12 months is the dedication and commitment of care home staff to the residents they care for. I know how hard they have worked, and they have gone above and beyond to provide the very best care in extremely difficult circumstances.”

He added: “I’d like to pay tribute to all care home staff across Erdington for their heroic work.”

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines direct from the NHS visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination

NEWS: Community shocked over sudden death of Kingstanding singer songwriter

Words by Adam Smith / Pics approved for use by Tina Phillps

The sudden death of a popular Kingstanding singer songwriter has left his community shellshocked and sparked a wave of online tributes.

Family, friends, fellow musicians, and Blues football club fans posted their favourite memories on social media of Darren Phillips who recently took his own life.

The 52-year-old had been a stalwart of the Birmingham music scene for more than 30 years. He started his musical career as a left handed drummer aged just 16 and appeared in numerous bands.

He switched to guitar in 1999 and also penned lyrics as well as singing vocals for bands including The Hungover Stuntmen. He and Robb Swadkiss formed rock outfit Geezer in 2005 and enjoyed success touring across the country and performing at Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club.

In recent years Darren was releasing music and performing as Jack the Biscuit.

Kingstanding club promoter George Hadley was “gutted” by Darren’s sudden death.

He told Erdington Local: “Darren was what made Kingstanding, Kingstanding. He’d always take time for a chat and ask how I was. He was a really nice guy who was talented too, he was a singer songwriter who had success and was always interested how my promotion Sum Cellar was getting on.

“He was a real family guy too and we are all gutted for his family. These lockdowns have been so tough for so many people and seeing the amount of people in Kingstanding and beyond who have posted on social media has shown how loved he was.”

Darren’s wife Tina, whom he had three sons and four grandchildren with, pleaded with those suffering with mental health problems to confide to loved ones.

She said: “I have lost my best friend my world my rock. The best husband, dad and grandad in the world. I can’t believe I never had an inkling what was going through his mind. I would like to thank you all for your heartfelt messages I am absolutely heartbroken.

“Darren would be overwhelmed with all the kindness. Good night God bless my darling I will love you forever. Please all remember mental health matters just talk, if only Darren had I wouldn’t be writing this now.”

Darren’s beloved Birmingham City Football Club paid tribute to him during their home match against Swansea City on Friday 2 April.

They projected his picture on the big screen with the message ‘Singer Songwriter, Bluenose and Friend. Keep Right On Darren and Keep Rockin With All the Other Stars in Heaven. RIP.’

Former bandmate Robb Swadkins said: “Massive thank you and well done to Birmingham City FC for doing this at last night’s game. You did yourself and Darren proud.”

A GoFundMe page has been launched to help Darren’s family to pay for the funeral which raised more than £350 within 24 hours.

A memorial party is being held at the Sack of Potatoes Saturday, June 26 at 4pm, everyone is welcome.

To donate to Darren Phillips fundraiser visit www.gofundme.com/f/funds-for-darren-phillips-funeral-and-his-family

If you have been affected by issues surrounding mental health contact Bimringham Mind at www.birminghammind.org or call (0121) 262 3555

NEWS: Plans to Save Short Heath Playing Fields “misinterpreted” during high-level meeting with Birmingham City Council

Words & pics by Ed King (pics taken before current Covid/social distancing restrictions)

Local campaigners were left feeling “misinterpreted” this week, following a high-level meeting with Birmingham City Council to discuss proposed developments on Short Heath Playing Fields.

On Monday 22nd March, members of Short Heath Fields Trust met for the second time with Council Leader Ian Ward – joined by Jack Dromey MP for Erdington, Cllr Penny Holbrook (Stockland Green), and senior officials from Birmingham City Council’s housing and regeneration teams.

The meeting was a chance for proposals from both sides to be heard and discussed, with the local community fighting to save the beloved green space which Birmingham City Council have earmarked for a new housing estate.

But despite being promised “a meaningful discussion” members of Short Heath Fields Trust felt their proposal was all but ignored, with Birmingham City Council pricing their plans for a “basic community hub” and simple sports facilities at a “ridiculous” £6.1million plus running costs – including £2.8m for the land and £1.6m for development contingencies.

Talking to Erdington Local after the meeting, campaigners said: “To be honest it started very well, however that didn`t last – the tone of the conversation became very negative towards us.

“We feel the atmosphere in our first meeting was really positive but felt that some members in this latest meeting were very unengaging. It has been a very hard fight to get our community heard and while the conservation was there with some, we felt others were not listening.

“Some commitments were made for us to meet with the planners and a chance to hash things out. But our community`s proposal was very much misinterpreted – to the extent we could question that it had been read.

“We always knew this was a hard fight, as with any battles there are ups and downs. And whilst we didn`t feel this meeting had the momentum or content we were expecting we still have our ‘seat at the table’.

“However, we do feel that more support could have been offered by those that claim to see the value in our community’s needs and ideas for the green space.”

When asked about the multi-million pound project fee Birmingham City Council gave their proposal, representatives of Short Heath Fields Trust told Erdington Local: “We believe the council’s costings are poles apart from what our community proposal put forward.

“How can Birmingham City Council expect us to find £6.1million – and this when our proposal only talked about painting white lines and erecting goal posts. Even the basic community hub we talked about was costed at £500,000; it’s ridiculous.”

During the meeting, held via Microsoft Teams due to continuing Covid restrictions, assurances did come from Birmingham City Council Leader Ian Ward that no developments would take place on the site until a compromise had been reached.

In a statement made direct to Erdington Local, Cllr Ward said: “I want to thank the community representatives, who are clearly passionate about the future of the Short Heath Playing Fields site.

“We had a productive meeting, with plenty of common ground and we’ve agreed that nothing will happen on the site until we’ve worked more closely with the wider community.”

Reaffirming the commitment for compromise from the Council Leader,  Councillor Penny Holbrook (Stockland Green) told Erdington Local: “If the residents want to come up with an alternative plan for the housing developments, that’s fine.

“Cllr Ward (at the meeting) spoke very clearly about how this won’t go forward until there’s an agreement between the community and the council.”

However, campaigners also questioned a seeming U-turn by Cllr Holbrook – who having previously stated her support appeared fully committed to the council’s proposal during Tuesday’s meeting.

When challenged about her stance, Cllr Holbrook told Erdington Local: “I absolutely believe there needs to be housing on the site (Short Heath Playing Fields) because we need to change the housing offering in Stockland Green.

“What I am 100% committed to is making sure all the reinvestment is given back to the community – to the Short Heath Fields Trust, they should be in charge of what funding comes out of this and it should be entirely available to community to decide what happens next.”

Short Heath Fields Trust will now be meeting with Terry Webb, Principal Housing Development Officer for Birmingham City Council, to discuss the development and to challenge the £6.1million+ costing for their proposal.

Jack Dromey MP for Erdington also remains committed to the conversation over plans for Short Heath Playing Fields, having spent months bringing the concerns of his constituents to the highest level of local government.

For more information about the campaign to Save Short Heath Playing Fields, visit the group’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/groups/1007069176404521

For more on Short Heath Fields Trust, visit www.shortheathfieldstrust.godaddysites.com 

To further support the Save Short Heath Playing Fields campaign, you can donate through the official GoFundMe fundraising platform: www.gofundme.com/f/save-short-heath-playing-fields

NEWS: Police ‘need answers’ as community mourns tragic death of Erdington teenager in hit-and-

Words by Adam Smith

The tragic death of an Erdington teenager after a hit-and-run accident has sparked a massive outpouring of grief this week.

Liam Mooney died on Tuesday and within 24 hours more than 150 people raised £3,500 for his devastated family and countless tributes were posted on social media sites by teenagers upset by the tragedy.

Liam suffered head injuries when the moped he was a passenger on was hit by a silver car on Monday night at 7.20pm on Rocky Lane, Perry Barr. West Midlands Police, who confirmed Liam was from Erdington, are searching for the driver who left the scene after the collision.

Liam’s family paid tribute to the 16-year-old, who was a familiar face on the Topcroft estate, in a statement, they said: “Liam was a bit of a joker and had a brilliant sense of humour.

“He was also so caring at times. He had not long became a uncle and loved his niece so much. We are so heartbroken and never thought this would happen to us.”

They added: “Liam was not just loved by his mom, dad, sisters and brothers but his nans, grandads, aunties, uncles and cousins. He will be sadly missed by everyone.

“Fly high our beautiful little angel. We love you so much, sleep tight. We will all be together again one day.”

Liam Llewellyn, from youth outreach charity Urban Devotion, worked with Liam and his friends on the Topcroft estate for six years.

Liam told Erdington Local: “Liam was a big character and his loss will create a big hole which will not be filled.

“He was a full of fun and the life of the party, he was always happy to see us and we loved him for the way he was. He was very faithful to his friends and they will be hurting now. ”

Liam, aged 31, added: “As an organisation we have known him and his family for ten years, our motto is ‘Community Transformation – One Life at a Time’ and getting someone like Liam onside is what we are all about because he was so well known in the area.

“It is no surprise to see so many young people speak out about what a great person he was.”

Family friend Chelsea Kelly launched a GoFundMe page called Liam’s Funeral Fund on Wednesday which raised £3,500 in 24 hours.

She said: “Sadly we lost Liam to a tragic bike accident, he’s leaving behind his mom, dad, brothers and sisters and so many friends that will forever miss him

“Liam, also known as ‘Dennis the Menace’ touched every single heart of every person that ever met him, he was the most polite, pure hearted young boy you could ever meet and anyone that did have the pleasure to meet him is truly blessed.”

Frances Carey praised Liam’s kind nature, she said: “Such a wonderful boy who looked after my grandson who had just moved into the area.”

Detective Inspector Adam Jobson appealed for information about the driver who rammed the moped Liam was a passenger on.

He said: “Liam was a teenager and should have had his life in front him.

“This is a devastating time for his family and they need answers about what happened on Monday night.

“We really need to speak to the car driver so they can tell us what went on and help us piece together the full circumstances. It’s imperative we hear their side of the story.”

A police spokesman said: “If you were in the area at the time and saw what happened, or perhaps have dash-cam or cycle-cam footage, we’re keen to hear from you and would urge you to get in touch.

“You can send us a message via live chat at www.west-midlands.police.uk 8am – midnight or call 101 anytime. To remain 100% anonymous please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“Tell them what you know, not who you are. Please quote log number 3771 of 22/03/21.”

To donate to Liam’s Funeral Fund on the GoFund me platform visit www.gofundme.com/f/xhb7d-liams-funeral-fund 

NEWS: Excitement as new FIFA gaming advert filmed in Erdington

Words by Adam Smith / Pics by Ed King

Erdingon is going to be the star of a brand new FIFA computer game advert after Brookvale was chosen for a filming location.

Set against the imposing backdrop of the M6 motorway, the advert was filmed on the football pitch in front of the Magnet Centre earlier this week – overlooked by flats in Dunlin Close.

FIFA computer game campaigns are seen across the world and can cost large amounts of money to make.

In a previous advert for the global sporting brand, producers Pulse Films have enlisted Hollywood director Yann Mounir Demange and footballing superstars Eden Hazard, Jadon Sancho, and Raheem Sterling.

During the filming, which saw the production crew on site between 10am on Wednesday until 2am on Thursday, some Brookvale residents were offered £20 to keep their lights on at home – adding to the urban skyline of the advert.

Susan Bicknell, who has lived on the estate for 17 years, told Erdington Local: “There were six huge lorries and a massive crane with a spotlight pointed at the pitch where players kept on replaying one move, so it was a bit of excitement on the Brookvale.

“They paid five of us £20 to keep our lights on throughout filming and I was told they were filming an advert for a FIFA computer game, they liked the location because of the Magnet Centre.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the advert when it is on television.”

Panikos Panayiotou, who runs a foodbank from the Magnet Centre, saw the advert being filmed.

He said: “They rented the whole centre out for a day and it was great to see them filming.

“This is not the first time the centre has been used for a location, Steven Spielberg was here filming Ready Player One a few years ago.

“It’s funny the whole world gets to see the Magnet Centre but a lot of people who live near by do not know what goes on here.”

The Midlands Greek and Cypriot Association purchased the Magnet Centre from the G.E.C in 1984 and it now boasts St Lukes Orthodox Church, a Greek shop and café, and a community school.

Pulse Films location manager Alistair Vlok was tight-lipped about the advert, although it is believed it will be seen on television in a matter of months.

In a letter displayed on the flats in Dunlin Close, the production team explained: ‘the scenes we are filming involve a foot team playing a football match at night.’

The notice went on to offer a point of contact for any concerned residents, reassuring Erdington locals all activity ‘complies with the government’s guidelines on managing the risks of COVID-19.’

SPORT: Erdington UFC star Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards back in the Octagon – looking at a win to clinch the title shot

Words by Adam Smith

Erdington MMA star Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards is headlining the UFC Fight Night at the UFC Apex in Vegas on Saturday 13th March (GMT) night, after being promised a spectacular performance will give him a world title shot.

Edwards had four fights cancelled in the last 20 months due to COVID-19 so is raring to get into the Octagon against Belal Muhammad.

With a total of six fights on the card, the UFC Fight Night will be live streamed on BT Sport 1 from 10:30pm (GMT) on Saturday 13th March. Edwards is expected to enter the Octagon at around 4:30am (GMT) on Sunday 14th March.

Despite the disappointment of missing out on headlining UFC London against Tyron Woodley last March, and seeing three fights against Khamzat Chimaev cancelled, Edwards believes he is now stronger than ever.

He said: “It was disappointing when Woodley it got cancelled but I thought ‘you know what, let’s use this time to improve my skills and my mindset’.

“I’ve had a year and a half in the gym, out of training camps, and my overall game is so much better – my grappling, my wrestling, my striking.”

Edwards contracted coronavirus in December but insists he has had no long-lasting effects.

He said: “I lost a lot of weight, 6kg. I lost my appetite for food; my smell and my taste went.

“I had two weeks off and went back to training, but I struggled with my lungs, I didn’t feel myself. My coach said: ‘you’re operating at 50% of the fighter you can be’.

“I’m back to normal now, my strength is back and my weight is back up.”

‘Rocky’ is on an eight fight winning streak and is ranked third in the world in the highly competitive welterweight division.

UFC supremo Dana White this week said Edwards will be “100% next in line” to fight champion Kamaru Usman if he wins spectacularly.

Edwards said: “If I put in a great performance, I can’t see where else I can go other than a title shot, I’m looking forward to showing fans I’m the best in the world.

“It would be proof to all the kids out there in Britain that you can do it. I spent all my time in Birmingham so it would be nice to show the kids you can reach the top by staying in England.”

Leon Edwards faces off against Belal Muhammad

For more information about Leon Edwards visit www.ufc.com/athlete/leon-edwards

For more on UFC from BT Sport, visit www.bt.com/sport/ufc 

NEWS: Erdington mourns Vic Watson – Marsh Hill’s ‘inspirational’ former headteacher

Words by Adam Smith / Pics supplied by Alan Roberts – on behalf of Vic Watson’s family

Tributes have poured in after the death of an “inspirational” former headteacher of Marsh Hill Infant and Junior School who passed away last week aged 90.

Vic Watson was mourned by family, friends, former colleagues, pupils, and the worlds of sports and amateur dramatics. 

Vic grew up in Kingstanding and attended Central Grammar School before completing his National Service with the Royal Mechanical and Electrical Engineers.

He then trained as a teacher at St Peter’s Training College, Saltley, where he met his future wife Helen.

They married in 1953 and went on to have two children, Tim and Liz, and the pair lived happily until Helen’s death in 2014.

Vic carved out a successful career in education, first as a teacher in Winson Green and Hockley. He later became a headteacher at Nechells Primary School and Marsh Hill Junior and Infant School – now called March Hill Primary.

He was headteacher at Marsh Hill from 1969 until 1989 and hundreds of his former pupils fondly remembered him on social media this week.

Dennis Mitchell said: “I was a pupil at Marsh Hill between 1979 and 1986. In my experience Mr Watson was a wonderful head and a wonderful man, and the school was absolutely brilliant as a consequence.”

Christopher Bradley said: “He was one of my all time favourite teachers and deepest sympathies to the Watson family. Vic most certainly helped point me in the right direction on my life journey, he was hard, fair and human.

“I loved the dedication he gave to the football team and still look at my medals with pride of those happy youthful days at Marsh Hill under Mr Watson’s stewardship.”

David Fitzpatrick said: “My two daughters were pupils there in the 1980s and I am sure their success was somewhat due to his tutelage.

“I would like to think that his influence has benefits far beyond Erdington and the UK as I know ex Marsh Hill pupils are worldwide.”

Richard Timmis added: “I have a vivid memory of him running into morning assembly dressed as a cowboy firing his six shooters. He was always full of energy and life.”

Throughout the 1970s Vic ran summer camps in Wales for Birmingham children at Tal-y-Bont.

Friend Alan Roberts said: “Vic was a larger than life character, I had great respect for him as the headteacher and later as a personal friend.

“He set an excellent example as to how to live life with respect, determination, fun, hard work and commitment.”

He added: “Not only was he inspirational but his wife was also of the same mould, she in turn contributed to the education and development of so many, many young people.

“They were a couple who lived for teaching and gave their all.”

Vic played for Old Centrals Rugby Club for 20 years and went on to become the club president in 1971.

Fellow rugby player Nigel Williams said: “Vic was a stalwart Old Central who made a tremendous contribution as rugby and cricket player, Bryntailler, and event organiser over a long period.

“His competitive spirit will be long remembered by all who played alongside him, his combative nature by all who played against him.”

After retiring Vic continued to help children by organising trips for children with special needs from Wilson Stuart School, he also was a supporter of the local theatre company The Players Erdington.

Vic’s funeral will be on Wednesday, March 3 but will be subject to Covid restrictions.

To connect with alumni from Central Grammar School (Gressel Lane or Cherrywood Road), visit www.facebook.com/groups/cgs1965.1972

For more from The  PlayersErdington, visit www.facebook.com/urcplayers

For more information on March Hill Primary School, visit www.marshill.bham.sch.uk

NEWS: Team Cat Rescue and Emre – Erdington’s amazing ‘cyborg cat’

Words by Jobe Baker Sullivan / Pics supplied by Jo Baldwin

Erdington’s very own “cyborg cat” is the new poster boy of a local charity which rehomes abandoned moggies.

Emre, aged four, was adopted by musician Jo Baldwin in 2016 after he was left for dead on the side of a road in Marmais, Turkey.

Prior to this he experienced neutering, the loss of his right eye, and was rapidly using up his nine lives.

Currently recovering well from his latest operation to his humerus, which was restored with a metal rod, Emre is now a marvel of modern science and due to amount of metal in his head has been dubbed a “cyborg cat”.

Jo said: “Although I may have saved his life, it’s fair to say he saved mine; he is boisterous cat, and very popular with the female cats of his neighbourhood.”

Emre has also found a new best friend in Josie, Jo’s black Labrador. Lockdown has been a pleasure for the two.

Jo said: “They both receive lots of attention from their mum, as she’s not out gigging as much anymore – Covid’s meant I’ve had to stay at home.”

You don’t need to go to Turkey to adopt a cat like Emre, however. Team Cat Rescue (TCR) is a Birmingham-based charity that works on “neutering, rescuing, and re-homing abandoned and needy cats and kittens.”

Coordinator, Lynne Buffery, told Erdington Local: “We work closely with local vets to ensure that all the cats in our care are given the best possible start.

“The charity has rehomed around 140 cats since April 2019. The TCR van, or the ‘catmobile’, has clocked-up hundreds of miles more in 2020 than in 2019. No wonder I’m appealing for more support with driving.”

Lynne added: “Covid-19 lockdowns have meant more people had time on their hands and more were working from home.

“But this has been a real positive for TCR, resulting in new volunteers coming on board – joining the various arms of the already 20 plus strong team – fostering, fundraising, publicity, and admin.”

For the purr-fect way to support Team Cat Rescue, or if you would like to rehome a cat yourself, contact: 0121 373 4596 or visit www.teamcatrescue-bham.weebly.com

BACK TO WORK: Free online employment training courses for Falcon Lodge and Castle Vale residents

Words and pics from Compass Support

Compass Support has launched a free seven-week course starting in February to improve job prospects for Falcon Lodge and Castle Vale residents who are currently unemployed or looking for work.

With two places left on the next course at Falcon Lodge, if you are interested, apply quickly, though registering now will also place you on a waiting list for courses and opportunities in both Falcon Lodge and Castle Vale.

The organisers are inviting any unemployed person, especially those in Falcon Lodge, who is looking for work and would like help to apply by calling Rob Harris, Employability Advisor at Compass Support on 07841 067662.

The course follows on from the successful training that has already taken place both in person and since the lockdown online. Now due to Lockdown 3.0, the training is taking place fully online, and is open to more people with mobility issues.

The Compass Support Employability & Wellbeing team will be delivering the training, which includes CV and job application support and life coaching.

The timetable (see below) is packed with a combination of preparing for employment training and wellbeing sessions from Compass Support team members and guest speakers. There are also one to one sessions for participants and a weekly action plan so that each trainee gets the most out of the course.

Former trainees have used the skills gained during the course to secure voluntary work with the likes of Upcycle and the Environmental Trust, often going on to secure paid employment.

Interested participants can also work towards qualifications in food hygiene, first aid and computer training to improve their job prospects or route to voluntary work. A young lady who attended the last course, for example, gained her first aid and hygiene qualifications to help her to secure work in childcare.

People taking part in the course get to know each other and offer mutual support by connecting through the Get Healthy Get Working WhatsApp group, with many going on to form lasting friendships.

As well as training, the Compass Support team is providing tablet loan scheme to access course work online, apply for jobs and learn new digital skills.

As part of the course, trainees also have access to Zoom and Facebook Live fitness and wellbeing sessions, from yoga to circuit training.

An especially popular session is learning to cook with Rob Harris, with delicious dishes such as vegetable curry, leek and potato soup, bean and pasta stew on the menu. After the sessions, the ingredients are delivered to the participants to cook themselves.

Rob Harris, Employability Advisor at Compass Support, said:

“We used to run a job club at Falcon Lodge so we recognise that there is a need to help residents to improve their chances to find employment.

“Sadly, the coronavirus has left many more unemployed in our area and we are working tirelessly to ensure that we can help as many people into employment as possible. If this new course helps just a handful of residents to get a job, we have done our job.”

Project funding was secured through The Henry Smith Charity, founded in 1628, as part of its Improving Lives funding stream.

For more information, call the Education & Employment team on 07841 067662

For more from Compass Support, visit www.compass-support.org.uk

NEWS: Council and NHS to hold Covid Vaccine Webinar/Q&A

Words by Ed King

On Thursday 4th February, Birmingham City Council will be hosting an online Covid Vaccine Webinar/Q&A session to address questions and concerns about the Covid-19 vaccine roll outs.

People can register for a free place via the popular event ticket outlet Eventbrite: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/138628992047

Running from between 6pm and 7:30pm this Thursday, the first in the series of five citywide sessions will be focussing on North Birmingham – with local residents across Erdington invited to attend.

Hosted by Councillor Paulette Hamilton, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Health, Birmingham City Council will be joined by NHS staff who have been fighting coronavirus since March last year.

The online events will be a chance to hear direct from Council and NHS staff who have the latest information about the Covid-19 vaccines and the roll out process – with organisers wanting ‘local residents to ask questions, discuss and highlight their own thoughts or concerns.’

At the time of writing, there have been over 100,000 deaths in the UK from coronavirus – with the office of National Statistics counting a death toll of 178 in Erdington alone by last November.

Listed on the NHS website there are currently four GP surgeries administering Covid vaccines across Erdington, with people directly invited to get the jab in the priority order set by Government. There is also a walk-up Covid testing facility on Orphanage Road which is open to all.

Yet as vaccines are rolled out across the county, with a triage system to prioritise the millions to be treated, many people are expressing concerns about the inoculation – or are still unclear as to when, where, and how they will receive the jab.

In a recent interview, Dr Dave Sangha, Executive Chairman of the Midlands Medical Partnership, told Erdington Local: “Please be aware that the current Covid workload pressure in the local hospitals is extreme. Covid is real, please take it seriously.

“The Vaccine is safe, please have it. A lot of the social media misinformation is sad to see, it is putting people off and there’s a huge risk to that. It is safe.”

To register for a place on the Covid Vaccine Webinar/Q&A, visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/138628992047

For more information about the Covid vaccines, direct from the NHS, visit www.birminghamandsolihullcovidvaccine.nhs.uk