Saturday, February 23, 2013

Are you missing out on crucial FB messages from old friends?

Just a quick blog for my readers.

Today I discovered that along with the regular messages you will see on FB from your friends, there is another section called "Other" which you will also find if you click on the white square message icon.

I noticed mine today for the first time; there were about 30 messages spanning over 3 years, 25 of them either spam or now irrelevant, but in the midst were five important messages from old friends or people trying to reach me about important ward issues - such as the descendant of someone buried in Deane Road Jewish Cemetery for instance.

I have written and apologised for not realising, and for missing their messages, and asking them to understand that I was not deliberately ignoring them.

I then wrote about this on FB and learned that nobody else seems to know about it either. So please will you check your own account now and share this message with your friends.

That's co-operation, thanks very much

PS My FB account is not a public place, I share it only with my friends, so please don't send a request unless we are actually mates, but do feel free to follow me on twitter @louisebaldock if you would like.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Heritage Conference in Liverpool for aspiring conservationists

Deane Road Jewish Cemetery is holding a conference at METAL, Edge Hill Station, Liverpool about our recent heritage lottery funded restoration.

We're aiming it at people/groups who are either thinking of applying for heritage lottery grants or are maybe in the initial stages already, it'll be useful to see where we went right and wrong and hopefully make it a bit easier for future applicants. It should be of interest to anyone who is interested in local history, heritage restoration in general or have followed the cemetery project maybe just wanting to find out how we got on.

Tickets are £30 full price (or £15 if you are part of a registered charity)

The programme for February 27th 2012 will be:

9.30am Arrival
9.45am  Welcome and Introduction and Stage One Heritage Lottery Bid – Cllr Louise Baldock,
 Labour Councillor for Liverpool Kensington and Fairfield Ward
10.00am  Stage 2 Bid Process and Plans - Peter Hamilton, Cass Associates (our original architect) and Kate Dickson, Creative Heritage Consultants Ltd
10.45am Tea Break
11.00am Delivery of the HLF Project - Annette Birch, Project Manager Deane Rd Cemetery and Neil Hutchinson, Owen Ellis Architects.
11.45am  Managing a Restored Asset – Cllr Louise Baldock
12.00pm The Heritage Lottery Fund Application Process - HLF Speaker
12.30pm Lunch
1.30pm METAL - Edge Hill’s own heritage site and project (METAL provide innovative, multi-disciplinary residency space for artists from the UK and overseas in Liverpool and Southend on Sea. Ideas are showcased and disseminated on a regular basis through residencies, exhibitions, events, performance, discussion and publications.)
2pm Heritage Skills on Merseyside - Kay Leech, (NW Heritage Skills Hub drive the demand for heritage skills across the region and  work to coordinate the establishment of a heritage training infrastructure for the North West)
2.30pm  depart METAL
3.00pm Tour of Deane Road Cemetery
4.30pm End

People can reserve a place via email to and pay via cheque payable to LOHC Deane Road A/C and sent to :
Deane Road Cemetery
℅ LOHC Synagogue Chambers
Princes Road
L8 1TG
(Be sure to let Carol know when a cheque is sent though so she can make sure the ticket is processed.)

Or via Paypal, we can send a paypal invoice if people wish to pay this way. We have a Paypal facility on the website too.

For more details please see our website

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My award from the Merseyside Polish Community

Louise Baldock receiving award from Polish Consul General and Lord Mayor
I was very proud last month to be awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Sharon Sullivan and the Consul General of the Republic of Poland, Mr Lukasz Lutostanski "in recognition of your valued contribution in supporting the Polish Community in Merseyside". 
And even more proud that the award came through a nomination from the lovely Gosia McKane and everyone at Merseyside Polonia.

They both made a big fuss of me, linking arms, and the Consul gave me a big thumbs up, while Sharon told the civic gathering "She is a good woman, this one". To say I was blushing and beaming from ear to ear would be an understatement. And I am not prone to shyness as a rule.
The award was given at an event in Liverpool Town Hall where a variety of people and organisations were recognised by the Polish Community for their endeavours. We were also given the wonderful opportunity to listen to live music from Katy Carr who is an English/Polish singer song-writer with a passion for the 1940s (and a qualified pilot too by the way, what a hugely talented woman!)
Katy Carr and Louise Baldock at Liverpool Town Hall
I recorded as much of her performances as I could on my phone, and have loaded them on to You Tube here, here, here and here (this latter one had the Polish audience cheering and whooping)
Do forgive any film shots where I was sitting behind people and you have to peep between their heads.
It was a very special evening and one I will cherish.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Racism in Football

I am reminded by a story in the Liverpool Echo this week of a session I spoke at as part of the United Against Fascism North West Regional Conference in December 2012.

I joined Howard Gayle, Liverpool's first black professional football player on a platform to discuss the problems of racism in football. Readers with a very long memory will remember that we first met in 2007. I talked about racism, anti-semitism, homophobia and sexism within football and Howard talked about his personal experiences as a footballer and his long association with Kick it Out and Show Racism The Red Card. He was extremely moving and eloquent.

I concluded my contribution by saying that the best and most effective way in which ordinary fans could combat racism (or any other hate based abuse) in the stands would be to report, to "dob in", any fans sitting nearby who were engaging in racist language and abuse.

So I was very pleased to read a story in the papers this week which reads

AN EVERTON fan who racially abused two Premier League footballers in front of his wife, children and grandson was banned from football matches for three years and banned from Goodison Park indefinitely.
William Blything hurled the abuse at Everton’s Victor Anichebe and Queens Park Rangers’ Korean captain Park Ji-Sung as the teams drew 1-1 at Loftus Road on October 21.
Blything, of Moss Pits Lane, Wavertree, was found guilty of a single count of racially- aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress at West London Magistrates’ Court.
He was fined £2,500, plus £600 costs with a victim surcharge of £120,and handed a football banning order for three years.
Everton FC today confirmed the club would ban Blything from Goodison Park indefinitely.
The 42-year-old was arrested after he was reported to stewards by two fellow Evertonians.

(I wouldn't call him a "fan" myself, that is too dignified, I would call him a criminal who was joy riding as a sport enthusiastic. No-one who was truly a fan of a multi-cultural team could reasonably accept this man's description as a "fan" in the same vein as themselves). 
(And I note that he lives about 200 yards from my house, which is not a good feeling. I am sure the vast majority of my neighbours would join me in abhorring such behaviour).

This is exactly the kind of action I was talking about during my speech. If every right-minded football supporter was to seek out fans with the same views, and agree to oppose racism (and other hate based abuse) in the ground and report people who they hear being racist (or anti-Semitic, or homophobic etc) then we will soon stamp it out. I would love to see someone with money pay out for lapel badges and banners for every single ordinary decent fan to wear and carry at every game so that they feel empowered to report wrong-doers during matches.

(And yes I think there is plenty enough money in football to provide amply for this).

I want to generate circumstances where racists and fascists are too scared to shout racist chants or abuse players because they know for certain that others nearby will definitely report them.

I have thought for a long time that we need a REPORT THE RACISTS culture in football, this week's news suggests, very happily, that Everton FC is up there in the Premier  League for Combatting Racism for encouraging this sort of challenging behaviour!

Well done to those two true Evertonians!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Fighting Crime: Police and partners week of action Kensington and Fairfield

A Thompson sub machine gun like the one found in Fairfield
Operation Relentless

Because the police in Kensington and Fairfield have excellent links with local residents and work hard at ensuring they come to all our community meetings and problem solving groups, they are able to take advantage of a huge number of tip-offs and intelligence directly from residents who feel comfortable passing it over to officers they trust.

This means that periodically the police officers who work in our ward are able to carry out special operations to follow up on all the report they receive. I was delighted to hear back from our Sergeant, Simon Joyce today on their latest efforts, and he has particularly asked me to share this information with my readers and thank you for your help in supporting our work to reduce Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour in our area. 

"Between Monday 28th January and 2nd February 2013, police officers and partners working in Kensington, Fairfield and Tuebrook, undertook a week of action addressing the concerns of the community.

As a result of this initiative I am pleased to provide you with an update of the outcomes which can be read on the attached Liverpool Echo link. This initiative is now being 'rolled out' in other areas of Liverpool North.

Of particular note, was the execution of a Drugs warrant in Fairfield at which a sub machine gun and ammunition were recovered in working order.

Forensic tests are being completed to ascertain if it has been discharged in Merseyside. Drugs and a large amount of money were also seized. A female and her son were arrested.

Further to the above a drugs warrant was executed at a house in Anglezark Close this week after several reports of Drugs Dealing - 2 people were arrested for personal possession of a small amount of Heroin and Crack Cocaine. There was no evidence to substantiate claims of drug dealing from the premises.

I would like to thank those of you who participated and supported us during this initiative."

Sergeant Simon Joyce, Tuebrook Police Station, Liverpool

Thursday, February 07, 2013

High praise for St Hilda's CE High School: Free School Meals pupils attainment

I am a very proud governor tonight; My school has received a letter from Rt Hon David Laws MP, Minister of State for Schools which says St Hilda's CE High School is amongst the top 100 performing schools in one particular category which for me is of the utmost importance.

He says "Your school is exceptionally effective in educating pupils on free school meals and I commend you for everything you are doing in this area."

The school is a consistently high performer anyway, in the top ten in Liverpool on any measure, and top five for some. And of course it is easy to be in the top half a dozen schools if you draw your pupils only from certain family backgrounds, or are selective in your intake according to academic achievement at primary school for instance but that is not what St Hilda's is about. 

There is something special about a school that excels in teaching pupils whose parents have a daily financial struggle and many distractions. Generally all our pupils do really well, I see that at speech day every year in the Anglican Cathedral; several go off to Oxbridge and the red brick universities to our delight each time. But because the Head Teacher and the Chair of Governors are so committed to every single girl in the school, because development and progression is valued for each pupil, some of those high achievers will have much better life chances than they might have done at a different school with a different ethos.

I sometimes ask myself why I am a governor at a school that is not in my ward, that is Anglican where I am non-conformist and that is single sex where I prefer children to attend mixed schools (although I would support a school that taught boys and girls in separate classrooms if you want to have a discussion about it), but on days like today I remind myself anew why it is a great school to be involved with; because at St Hilda's the development of the pupils is central to everything the school is about, no child is written off, every child is encouraged and nurtured and the results speak for themselves.

Well done St Hilda's!

Praise for St Hilda's CE High School from Schools Minister

Friday, February 01, 2013

How the "Bedroom tax" is already hurting (Liverpool) residents

I was horrified to read in the Liverpool Echo about the case of the Wade family for whom the bedroom tax is already causing grief and upset, and it has not even been put into practice yet.

Lindsey and  Barry Wade are seeing insult piled onto injury, injustice piled onto thoughtlessness and must feel like the worst-served family in the country.

In June of 2011, their son Kane, one of four children,  choked to death on a sweet while the ambulance his parents called failed to arrive because it had not been updated with postcode details about their new estate (despite them having lived there for at least three months) and couldn't find them.

They were let down by the ambulance service. Then they were let down through the Government's changes to Legal Aid which made it difficult for them to take legal action against the trust.

Kane's father Barry suffered a nervous breakdown which he has still not recovered from.

And now they are being asked to pay towards their rent because his bedroom is empty. They are having their housing benefit cut which pays for that rent ordinarily, because they have a spare bedroom - Kane's bedroom. A bedroom within which they wish to keep their memories.

Stephen Twigg MP who has taken up their case (and has supported them throughout), has called this a "cruel tax", and indeed it is. He has called for an exemption to be applied in their case, and of course it should be, that goes without saying. And I am sure the Housing Association, Cobalt, will do everything they can. Indeed I know Alan Rogers, who was quoted in the Echo story to be a very principled  man who will do anything possible for the family.

But behind very many front doors are similar stories. This unthinking, unfeeling Tory/ Liberal Democrat Government has unleashed a monster that will devastate huge numbers of families and individuals living across the country, and at least 11000 of those live in Liverpool.

I know full well why this policy has been introduced - we all do. It is an answer to the myriad Daily Mail headlines about families apparently living in mansions in downtown Chelsea on benefits while "decent hard working people" are struggling in slums. Headlines which the Tories have always run scared of and which the poorly named Liberal Democrats are now kowtowing to in their pathetic attempts to hold on to their 25 ministerial limousines. (To paraphrase the Red Rock adverts, It's not  Liberal and there are no Democrats in it.)

But that isn't the reality.

The reality is that the Wade family do not have the enviable luxury of an extra bedroom that they should be letting more worthy families occupy, they are not living a high life on benefits, lying in bed with the curtains closed while their more industrious neighbours go to work as Chancellor George Osborne suggests. No, they are a family in crisis, in mourning, suffering serious illness and struggling to get through every single day.

Exemptions are important and I hope are successfully applied for the Wade family; but I suspect that we could find very good, genuine reasons why we should make an exception for huge numbers of those who will be affected by this pernicious tax. The bedroom tax seeks to set simple financial rules for the most complex of situations. Families are not rigid and inflexible, many things happen which alter the ebb and flow of accommodation, simple rules are not appropriate. Family members move in, move out and move on, and sometimes, very sadly, they die.

A policy built on stereotype is a bad policy, and the bedroom tax should be scrapped now!

(Edit: I was using a logo I found on the internet and the website didn't like me using it so I have deleted it - even though we are of course all fighting the same cause!)