logo Burngreave Messenger Issue 25 October 2002.





Letters Page

Female genital mutilation

I was concerned to read your coverage of our letter to Somali families regarding female genital mutilation and would like to clear up some misunderstandings.

We sent the letter out to Somali families, knowing that it would inevitably reach many people who have no part in this practice, and we acknowledged and apologised for this.  We had to use this method because there is no other way for us to contact the families about whom we are most concerned.

We genuinely believe that there are Somali families living in Sheffield who are visiting Somalia this summer placing their daughters at high risk of this procedure being carried out.  It is our legal responsibility to protect young women from this, and we used the letter to point out some of the legal
and medical implications of female genital mutilation.

It is not the case that we “threatened action”, nor that we sent out the letters without careful consideration.  We believe families have a right to know the position within that law and that is why we included information in the letter.  We consulted widely with partner agencies and talked to some members of the Somali community before writing the letter, and took legal advice on its content.

We are confident that staff would not have “aggressively interrogated” families.  If any family feels they have a basis for complaint, we would be happy to consider it.  I absolutely refute the allegation that we are“attacking...basic human rights”.

I am surprised that the “concerned mother” who wrote to you feels she has to request a dialogue with the Area Child Protection Committee through your pages.  We have made ourselves available to talk to people receiving this letter by giving out the numbers of both the Social Services Child Protection Team and the Agency for Culture Change Management.  Both of these organisations have people available to talk through any concerns your readers may have on this issue.  The ACPC has also been constant in its offer to meet with community representatives.

Alan Jones, Chair,
Sheffield Area Child Protection Committee

The burngreave messenger wants residents to take pride in the area where we live, but how can we when drug dealing is so rife in the area.  The Maxwell Street/Maxwell Way junction and Ellesmere Park has dealers watching the approaches to this area from all angles making the some residents feel prisoners in their own homes. When crimestoppers and the drugsline are contacted all they want is names and addresses of the dealers, when all police have to do is drive past at any time of the day and see them with their own eyes. Putting cameras in and around Ellesmere Road has done nothing to deter them, but changed the geography of the contacts to a more populated area with a high percentage of children being exposed to this heinous criminal activity. 

Name and address withheld

Dear Burngreave Messenger

I read the article regarding the new road with incredulity. The council planners state that Brunswick Road will be made pleasant for cyclists and pedestrians. Has it escaped their attention that Brunswick Road is a one in three hill? I have lived here for twelve years and have never seen anyone cycling up Brunswick Road. I have only ever seen three pedestrians and they were not so much walking up it as hanging on to the handrail, gasping for breath! I have cycled down it and it is so steep, it is damned dangerous.

Why cannot the council just admit that it wants to stop traffic access to the city centre? The main reason for the existing traffic flow on Brunswick Road is that the council, by reducing the Wicker to one lane, has created a tail back on Spital Hill. When that happened it took less than a week for a notice to go up on our office wall, advising people to use Brunswick Road instead. The council must have realised that would happen.

I gave up cycling to work because Nursery Street was in such an appalling state of repair, the journey was rendered unnecessarily dangerous. Surely it would be more sensible for the council to properly maintain routes that cyclists actually can use i.e. flat roads to industrial estates.

As for considering pedestrians, have the council planners tried crossing five ways roundabout or Burngreave Road in the rush hour on foot? The proof of the pudding is in the eating and the state of the roads and the lack of crossing points show the council’s true attitude towards cyclists and pedestrians.

It is when the council says that Corporation Street will be changed back to a two way street, that it reveals it’s real motives. Change, in fact constant change, is the name of the game. It achieves nothing, costs huge amounts of money, makes our lives worse but keeps the traffic planning department in a job and that is all that counts.

It is precisely why, despite being the fourth largest city in England, Sheffield is a laughing stock.

Yours faithfully , Sally A. Stracey

Support for the Rock

The Rock is my local.  So you’ll understand my shock at reading the leading article of your August edition. Such irresponsible (and even malicious) journalism by the News of the World must be challenged.  Perhaps this is the reminder that we all need – if we want Burngreave to be fairly represented in the press, all of us will need to work hard to make our voices heard.
Thank you to the Messenger for sticking up for my local.  Thank you to Donnie and Carol for making the Rock such a great place to hang out.  Anyone interested in a drink – I’m there every Thursday night.

Yours, Revd Martyn Snow


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