Letters, Wednesday, July 17, 2013

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Whose fault is it for all this mess?

OVER the last few months, I’ve noticed some of the eyesores around Sunderland.

 I wonder if the council would like to leave its ivory tower – i.e. the civic centre – and cross the road into Mowbray Park to admire the bird droppings splattered all over the walkways and windows of the Winter Gardens.

 They could maybe sit on a bench (droppings permitting)and have a sandwich while surrounded by a dozen seagulls, waiting to swoop on a crumb or two.

 They could then walk along Fawcett Street and look up from the empty shop fronts at the weeds and bushes growing on the buildings.

 On the subject of weeds, they could go and look at the weeds growing on top of the old Seaburn Fountain, or go to any housing estate to see them growing on the roads and garden walls.

 They will then see the real Sunderland that we have to live in. They are responsible for our city so it’s their fault for this mess.

Thomas Wright,

Redhouse.

Council is doing its best in hard times

IT was with a wry smile that I read the letter ‘Stop embarrassing city with gimmicks’ (Echo, July 8). Perhaps Jim, SAFC cardholder, attends the Mick Brown school of people baiting?

 However, I find it totally incredible that anyone could compare Sunderland with Liverpool, let alone Newcastle.  

 But then again, he is just another of the long line of faceless people who queue up to bash the city, in particular, and the council in general.

 Yes, the city is going through a rough period at the moment, much like most cities in the UK – in the present political climate who isn’t? I work for the City Council at the moment, trying to stem the rising tide of rubbish and the dumping that is now engulfing the city streets.

 I think Jim would be surprised to learn of the actual number of men left to do this job and that number is about to diminish even further.

 However, when you come up against the personal abuse that is directed at you on an almost daily basis, you wonder if there will be any council workers left in the future at all.

 The Council is doing its hardest to provide a public service under the most difficult of circumstances, and to organise public events – airshows, concerts, fairs – and be publicly criticized makes you wonder whether they should pack it in entirely.

 Perhaps when there’s no public services left to complain about, people might find a new villain to attack .

 I am Sunderland born and bred and am proud of the fact.

 Maybe if Liverpool and Newcastle are so wonderful, perhaps moving there would solve your problem, but I’m almost sure that you would encounter just the same problems there as here.

Karin Ibinson,

Sunderland.

Charity seeking help with new gym

CAN anyone help us find premises to rent in or near Sunderland city centre for use as a small gym?

 The Sunderland Cardiac Support Group, a registered charity, has used a gym at Crowtree as its base for delivering our NHS-approved Phase iv Cardiac Rehabilitation in the Community project for many years, until we were abruptly told of Crowtree’s closure and given just two weeks to accept a move to thoroughly unsuitable alternative premises at the Seaburn Centre.

 This has also seriously impacted on our Active at 60 project, where older people who could benefit from general exercise could be referred by their GP or practice nurse, or could self-refer, for physical exercise in a safe, fun, work-at-your-own-pace social environment with people of a similar age. The Seaburn Centre is far from ideal, being located miles away from where most of our members live – some need to get two buses to get there.

 We really need to be back in the city centre. There are many empty shops and other suitable premises in the city centre which would suit our purpose.

 Ideally, the premises should be reasonably central, near a bus stop, and could be a vacant shop, office or anywhere else we could utilise as a small gym.

 As a non-statutory-funded voluntary registered charity, we could only offer a rent of around £60 a week, £3,000 a year.

 Anyone who is able to help can call me on 0191 565 6892, or our chairman, Jim Baker, on 0191 522 6750. You can also visit our website at www.sunderlandcardiac.org.

 Thank you very much!

Barry Cook,

Secretary.

How to save without closing our libraries

I WAS surprised at the amount of space given to Denise Robertson’s opinions on the library proposals. She doesn’t even live in Sunderland, she lives in South Tyneside and is not affected by the proposals!

 The distinct impression is – Denise says it’s OK, so go ahead.

 No more than two miles from a library? That’s a marathon distance for a lot of older people.

 Bunny Hill as a hub? It’s on the outskirts of the city and possibly one of the least used libraries.

 Fulwell is the third most popular and the new proposed catchment area is four times that of Bunny Hill. Access is much easier, at least four bus services available. I understand literacy is at a low level, possibly 50 per cent of that population have never used the library, and it’s unlikely to change.

 A much heavier density of population resides in the Fulwell, Monkwearmouth and Southwick areas.

 Savings can be achieved without affecting the library service, for example:

1: Stop buying bottled water.

2: Eliminate payments to unions.

3: Reduce expenditure on hired cars. 4: Two councillors per ward instead of three, give the two councillors an increase of 15 per cent to cover extra duties.

5: Clamp down harder on council tax arrears.

 These measures would more than cover the quoted shortfall. Leave the libraries alone, they do a great job. Not everyone wants extra IT facilities, nor is capable of using them.

Name and address supplied.

Will fines be void?

JUST as a matter of interest, if all of Sunderland’s libraries end up closed, will all fines be declared null and void? I hope so.

Former library user,

Silksworth.

Thanks for a great Armed Forces Day

I WOULD like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended the Seaham Armed Forces Day on June 29, especially Mr Grahame Morris, our local Labour MP, who has worked tirelessly helping us.

 I would also like to say a big thank you to my dear friend Dave McKenna for all his hard work, and Shona and Craig from the Mill Inn at Seaham.

 We were at the park from 6.30am erecting the beer tent.

 It was great to see the bands on the stage, the cadets who were very smart and people I have not seen in years.

 I was so proud to have been part of this event. I hope it is bigger next year and God bless our forces, may you all keep safe.

Paul Garrett,

Seaham.