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
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.
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.
and address withheld
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.
faithfully , Sally A. Stracey
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
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.
Revd Martyn Snow