17th Nov, 2018

LETTERS: Libraries, 'a vote for change', check breasts and more

Volunteers are key

Councillor Kevin Maton in stating that all Coventry libraries remain open, knows full well that this is only due to the sterling

work carried out by unpaid volunteers. He also states that students should come forward and volunteer. He avoids mentioning the huge costs that will ultimately have to be raised to keep them open. I understand that Finham and Earlsdon libraries will eventually have to raise a combined annual figure exceeding £30,000 for on-going costs. Does he believe that students should also attempt to raise thousands of pounds? He has in the past mentioned that organisations have come together to attempt

to keep libraries open. This was untrue. The only people that came forward were volunteers, many of pensionable age, most of which are not fund-raisers. The council has saved huge amounts in staff costs, and, at the very least, should reconsider the payment of on-going costs.

Bob Bannister, Oxley Drive

Vote for change

As this year’s local elections fast approach, I suppose it was only a matter of time before our local political leaders began waxing lyrical over the achievements of the local Labour Party in a cynical attempt to boost their electoral chances. True to form, Coun Jim O’Boyle doesn’t disappoint in his letter to your paper, extolling the virtues of this Labour-led council but of course not before using the tired old excuse of “Tory austerity” which all of our Labour councillors refer to when attempting to justify every single bad decision they make and vote for. While our jobs guru Coun O’Boyle is keen to provide a list of his and his colleagues’ achievements, let me provide a less propagandist, albeit slightly more realistic alternative snapshot of what Labour is really doing in our city.

– More money being thrown at Friargate despite the fact that tenants can’t be found after years of trying. Now even bailing out the developer. When RICS withdrew from the project, Coun O’Boyle described the loss of over 250 city jobs as small fry.

– Bought Coombe Abbey for millions (true cost undisclosed). Coun O’Boyle claims it “will bring in 7-digit profits”. When?

– City Centre South. More millions being ‘invested’ to make Coventry one of the region’s largest shopping destinations. Meanwhile, scores of existing city centre commercial properties remain empty.

– Mass student accommodation prioritised over affordable housing. Meanwhile, Labour councillors voted through the flawed Local Plan which could see vast swathes of green belt land lost forever.

– Libraries offloaded by the council to community volunteers. Evidence shows that volunteer-led libraries are very likely to fail and all of our local libraries remain under threat.

– School transport services cut for hundreds of disabled pupils.

– Bin collections reduced when fly-tipping is rife (almost £200,000 spent on unnecessary miniature food waste buckets)

– Countless city roads scarred by potholes but over £21,000 spent on a few metres of “flash-crossing” outside Friargate.

– Millions pledged to the City of Culture programme as city homelessness continues to rise and streets are left filthy and littered.

The complete list is far too depressing and long to publish in full, but I hope it at least gives a flavour of the despair that many of us feel at Labour’s mismanagement of our city when the most basic of local services that the most vulnerable rely on are being destroyed. Labour clearly isn’t working hard for local people, the city desperately needs change and to borrow from Coun O’Boyle’s very own nauseating self-proclamation, “that’s what drives me and will continue to do so”. Let’s hope it also drives the many to vote for change in the May elections.

Matthew Batson

Byfield Road, Coundon

Thanks for support

On behalf of pet wellbeing charity, PDSA, which has a busy Pet Hospital in Barkers Butts Lane, Coventry, I’d like to say a huge

thank you to all local players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We have received fantastic support from players this year, which has helped to secure a better future for thousands of pets in the city, as well as providing emergency care and life-saving equipment.

In 2017, the funding has helped us to:

– See 71,000 prets brought to us with emergency conditions requiring immediate veterinary help. This included those treated at our Coventry Pet Hospital

– Purchase 34 items through a National Emergency Equipment Fund to repair or replace old clinical equipment, including a new ultrasound machine at Coventry PDSA Pet Hospital

– Host 52 Pet first aid classes across the UK, which have equipped hundreds of people with potentially life-saving skills

– Promote PDSAs online symptom checker, which has been used over 128,000 times.

The free tool has helped owners with queries about their pets’ health. Just like people, pets can suddenly fall ill, or sustain an unexpected injury. Whatever the cause, the emergency care we provide is vital. For some pets, immediate assessment and diagnosis can be the difference between life and death. PDSA is home to the UK’s busiest pet A&E service, so this funding helps us provide a vital lifeline for pets in need. A total of £255million has been raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery for good causes across Great Britain since the lottery launched – an incredible achievement. On behalf of us here at PDSA, and all the pets we treat, well done and thank you.

Rebecca Ashman,

PDSA Senior Vet

Check your breasts

In the second week of a New Year, many of us are busy setting resolutions for ourselves to live healthy lives in 2018. How about asking your readers to make a resolution to check their breasts regularly? It’s simple, easy to keep and could save your life. There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts. It’s about looking and feeling regularly, so any unusual changes can

be spotted quickly. Knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer can save lives. It’s not just a lump – other symptoms can include a nipple becoming inverted or a change in texture of the skin. Breast Cancer Care is the only specialist breast cancer support charity working throughout the UK. If you’re worried about breast health or breast cancer you can call us free on 0808 800 6000.

Samia al Qadhi, Chief Executive,

Breast Cancer Care

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