Archive for April, 2009

Congratulations Birmingham & Solihull

April 27th, 2009


Birmingham & Solihull have finished top of National League 2. They had a convincing campaign, playing awesome rugby; affirmed by the fact they were the only team to score more than 1,000 points.

The bad news is that due to poor local support, the club now face financial ruin, and no place to play. Their current ground (Sharmans Cross Road) is not fit for purpose, and due to the greed of some councillors won’t be expanded (as it makes much more financial sense to them to put houses up on the land).

This is a press release from Bees Rugby:

With Birmingham & Solihull’s application for the change of land use at Sharmans Cross Road back with the planning authorities now is the time to voice your support for the club’s future.

Sharmans Cross Road has long been recognised as not fit for purpose for a club playing at a national league level and what’s worse is that the site has no capacity to be brought up to standard. A lack of space, difficult access, inadequate parking and floodlighting are the principal problems but a proposed ground-share scheme with Solihull Moors FC at Damson Park wouldn’t just provide a solution to the Bees’ and Club’s immediate requirements but establish the following in conjunction with the launch of a Solihull Sporting Partnership:

• the funding and creation of a sustainable Community Foundation

• the creation of a sporting hub to facilitate participation from the surrounding community and schools in the north of the Borough

• expansion of the community/sports development work of both B&SRFC and SMFC

• creation of a 3G all weather pitch for use by both clubs and the community

• development of a showcase sporting facility in the Borough promoted for and available for club, community and school use

To lend your support to the development and future of Birmingham & Solihull RFC choose from the following options:

1) Sign our petition this Saturday at the Redruth game (25.04.09) *


2) Sign our online petition – click here *


3) Write to or email your local Councillors expressing support for the application (please reference Application No. 2009/339 in all correspondence) **

4) Write to or email Solihull Council’s Planning Authorities expressing your support (please reference Application No. 2009/339 in all correspondence) ***

All we ask is that you take immediate action and together we can turn what is a fantastic opportunity into a reality for everybody. 

* Please either hard copy or electronically sign our petitions, (not both, to avoid duplication) – thank you.

** Councillors’ addresses:

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Council House


B91 3QS


Councillor Ken Meeson, Leader of the Conservatives:

Councillor Norman Davies, Leader of the Liberal Democrats:

Councillor Mick Corser, Leader of Labour:

If you live in the St Alphege ward please also correspond with:

Councillor Joe Tildesley:

Councillor Kate Wild:

*** Planning Authority address:

FAO Carol Stephens

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Planning Services

PO Box 11652


B91 9YA


Knowledge and Wisdom

April 25th, 2009

I really haven’t written as much as I’d intended over the last few weeks, but bear with me please.  I think there’ll be plenty of blogs coming out in the future which will reflect on the experiences that  I’ve been having out here.

I don’t think it’s possible to regurgitate the actual events happening out here, as  every day different things happen – and in order to respectfully cover each of the events as stand-alone entities, I’d probably need to be writing all the time.  What I can do instead is reflect on where I find myself now.

Being in a different culture for a length of time has been a new experience for me, especially one so different back home – sometimes in subtle, but very profound ways.  I’m really enjoying my time out here, but the variety of emotions seems to be much higher than back home – both good and bad.

One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed, is that I feel as though I’m using my full self to do the work.  If you were to imagine my skillset as a pie chart, in the past I’ve felt that only certain slices were being used to function.  When these slices had been eaten, I still had more slices to  give – but as they weren’t relevant to the task I faced, I’d have to wait until the slices were recharged before continuing.  Out here I feel as though all the slices are being eaten, though whilst some are recharging, I am able to use the others to help fulfil the overall aim.

The last camp we did was for a group of children who we’ve yet to see for medical assessments; all the other camps we’ve done the medicals had been done in that area before holding the camp.  As a result, we were faced with many undiagnosed medical issues – one being a broken arm which had been treated by the ayravedic doctor by being rubbed in herbs and then bandaged up.  It was  clearly set in the wrong position, and would now require further operations to fix.

Here, Ayravedic medicine is seen as an equal alternative to western medicine, yet for things like broken bones, using it ahead of Western Medicine is clearly not a sensible method – however, some people are forced into using Ayravedic Doctors, as the western methods are more expensive.

So much has been happening that it’s sometimes hard to sit down and reflect, and there’s also issues of patient confidentiality that I have to keep to.  However, there are lots of children in need so your help would be appreciated.  I’ll soon write an article on ‘Kidz Haven’  – so that you can see what the plan is for the next few years in India.

News from India

April 10th, 2009

I really need to apologize. When I was planing on coming out to India, it was my intent to try and ‘blog daily so that people could keep up to date with what is going on. Unfortunately there is just so much going on, so much that I’m having to do, and the joys of being without the internet for days at a time, which have made blogging pretty difficult. I need to get used to offline blogging, to the update the blog when I get the net connection back. However, there’s something about my wordpress blog entry page that just allows my fingers to dance, whereas writing a blog in StarOffice writer or vi just doesn’t feel right!

I’ve been in India now since the 25th March, and I’ve yet to really have a rest. I hit the ground running with preparations for the first of two summer parties that Compassion Care (the charity I’m with) and Mercy Homes (an Indian Charity we’re partnered with) are running.

Mercy Homes

Mercy Homes is a charity which promotes the concept of allowing orphans to be brought up it a family environment, rather than a impersonal orphanage. The Mercy Homes project is really taking off here in India, with new homes opening every month and more and more children getting the benefits of a loving family environment.

Summer Parties

After the success of the Christmas Party, (the first time I came out to India,) Compassion Care decided to use a similar format as a platforrm for teaching their new ‘Parenting and Health’ course to the Mercy Home parents.  It’s based on a WHO course, and provides basic teaching on medical care and good parenting. On completion of the course, the parents were given a medical box which contained basic medicines which would allow them to treat simple medical ailments at home, without the costs of having to visit a private doctor.  In a lovely twist of fate, it was my old secondary school, St. Peter’s, Solihull, that raised the money to pay for these medical boxes.  Thanks so much guys!

As for the camp, we had an absolutely awesome time with the children.  They were a bit more reserved than the Christmas camp to begin with, yetafter a couple of icebreakers it felt like we were peeling them off the walls and ceilings – they had so much energy.  Everything we did they really enjoyed and their enthusiasm was infectious.

Unfortunately, during a bit of a mini-disco on the second night, I noticed that one of the boys was not joining in.  He complained initally about ear ache, and when I moved him to a quiet room to check him out he appeared to be limping.  I spotted that his right foot was a little swollen around the ankle, so got Josh Kay, one of the team from Nottingham, for his opinion.  Josh was a trained physiotherapist, so an invaulable member of the team – and within minutes we were taking the boy to the local hospital to check out this injury.

I was pleasantly suprised by the India hospital we went to.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the place was super efficient.  When we arrived, Dr. Mary went to register the lad, whilst I waited with him.  Thirty seconds later I was in casualty with the boy and getting him checked out, whilst Dr. Mary was still at the reception desk.  We were able to get him an X-ray (for about 150Rs.) and after a little confirmation with the orthopedic doctor, decided that it didn’t appear to be a fracture, but possibly just a tiny chip.

Having taken this lad to the hospital and drawn attention to the ankle, we also noticed that there appeared to be an infected cut on the same ankle.  He told us that he’d done this when he’d been back at home with his mother (the majority of people in the Mercy Homes are semi-orphaned) and was working with a machete and had cut himself.  Being only 12 years old, it was quite a shocking story – but that is the way of the fishing community he belonged to.  The Doctor was then able to apply some iodine solution to the leg, and when we returned the day after, the swelling had reduced, indicating the problem was the infecton, rather than the chipped bone (which could have been caused by the machete cut).

On our way back to the camp, we collected medication for three other people who’d reported medical problems to Dr. Cat whilst we’d been at the hospital.  Since the Mercy Home parents were now not just aware, but had seen for themselves that Compassion Care were able to provide the medical care and advice that was necessary, they started to trust us with their own medical problems.  Lots of Indians still goto traditional herbal remedies and ayurvedic medicines.  It was great to have people not just learn about the methods we were promoting, but new bonds of trust were being formed, which was immensely satisfying.

The camp ended on Saturday, and we had a 8 hour journey back home, interrupted for an hour by a lovely swim in the Indian Sea at Cottam.  The water temparature was beautiful, and we caught some good waves.  It was a nice relaxing end to what had been a pretty tough few days. (I’ve not mentioned the basic accomodation, the ‘half’-a- cockroach in my bed, the cockroaches and ants over my bed whilst I was sleeping, and the strong smel of sulphur from the dam – aswell as it’s corroding effects on the sink and the tiles in the bathroom).  It was a humbling and challenging experience.

For the few days following the camp, we visited a few of the local people who needed Josh’s physiotherapy expertise, and have designed a course of exercies for a local boy suffering from cerebral palsy.  He was one of the main reasons why I came back out, and it’s great to see that despite the severity of his illness, Josh believes that he will, with time and exercise, be able to walk again.  It is purely the lack of exercise than a severe symptoms that has thus far prevented improvement in his condition.  I’ll hopefully be able to begin the construction of a ramp from his house down to the road over the next two weeks.  It’s great that something so simple is going to make such a difference – one child at a time.