Words by Ed King
Organisers of a community meeting to address ‘issues of common concern’ across the Erdington constituency are encouraging people to book their free place quickly if they want to attend – as only the last few free tickets are available, following a “huge response” from local residents.
To secure your free ticket, simply email your name and contact information to the organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Organisers are hoping the 20 June meeting will also be a chance to ”show the positive side” of local governance and encourage “a better understanding” of issues that affect many in the community.
Three key topics will be on the agenda: understanding the HMOs and exempt accommodation model, what steps the local police are taking to tackle low-level crime and anti-social behaviour, and how the long running Neighbourhood Watch scheme can be an effective support for local resoidents and communities.
With a focus on positive discussions and strengthening links between the local community and authorities, the message from the meeting organisers is simple: ‘strong community breeds safe neighbourhoods’.
The first speakers will be from Birmingham City Council (BCC) addressing concerns over HMOs and exempt accommodation. They will include BCC’s Senior Enforcement Officer, James Fox, and Veronica Cowley and Deborah Moseley from the BCC housing team.
Talking about crime in the constituency will be West Midlands Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner, Tom McNeil, and Erdington’s Police Inspector Shameem Ahmed.
There will also be an address from Reg Banks from Neighbourhood Watch West Midlands, explaining how the long established national network can be an effective way to support communities on a local level.
Chaired by Reverend Goshawk, from Six ways Baptist Church, there will also be a chance for a Q&A session after each section – giving members of the public the chance to ask questions directly to the speakers in attendance.
Although a non-political meeting, there will also be local councillors attending including Cllr Mick Brown (Gravelly Hill, Labour) and Cllr Robert Alden (Erdington, Conservative) – however they will not be asked to address the audience directly.
There will also be a designated time for ‘free discussion with officials’ from 9:05-9:30pm after the main meeting – allowing time for members of the public to engage with the local representatives in attendance.
Organisers have asked Erdington Local to extend a thank you to both councillors for their support, and to Cllr Mick Brown specifically for arranging the council officers who will be presenting to the public and fielding questions.
Further thanks go to local resident Naziah Rasheed, who helped plan and publicise the event and through her network engaged the speakers from the police, and Gravelly Hill resident Karen Hannah for her input on the topics of discussion and for helping to promote the meeting.
Roger O’Kelly, coordinator of the meeting and an extensive local Neighbourhood Watch group, told Erdington Local: “We have had a huge response to this initiative and look forward to meeting the many local residents who wish to gain a better understanding of how our authorities are facing the challenges presented by the twin issues of HMOs and tackling crime.
“We have places left. To book, please drop us a line at email@example.com.”
Anyone wishing to attend the 20 June meeting can register for their free place by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org