Tagged: arts

Petition against Benefits Street being filmed in Stockton gathers pace

A petition against Benefits Street being filmed in Stockton has gained more than a 1000 signatures.

The campaign was started on change.org by two Stockton mums Charlotte Hall and Di Hewitt little over a week ago and has been shared across social media.

In total 1,409 people have signed the petition on the site – which is the world’s largest petition platform – against the show being filmed on Kingston Road at Tilery, Stockton.

They took to Stockton High Street today to collect yet more signatures.

Their Twitter account @StocktonSaysNo also has more than 500 followers – and Twitter users have joined discussion of the topic using #NoBenefitsStreet.

Once the pair have finished collecting signatures they will be delivered to both Channel 4 and the production company Love Productions.

Social worker and mum of two Di, who lives in Eaglescliffe, said:

“Through my work, I’m impressed by the strong community spirit in the North- east and feel that it is important that outsiders see this rather than negative stereotypes.

“I’m not originally from Stockton, I moved up from the East Midlands 22 years ago and think that Stockton is a fantastic place to live and raise children.

“I want my kids to feel that Stockton is a good place to live and work and that there are endless opportunities for them.”

Carer and mum of two Charlotte, from Stockton, said:

“I was born in Stockton and have lived here all my life.

“Only a few weeks ago after enjoying SIRF and attending the 1245 Sunflowers events I was saying how far Stockton has come and how there’s so much to get involved in.

“I don’t want to see that hard work ruined by our town being associated with a stigmatising programme like Benefits Street.”

Chris Flanagan, from Stockton, said on the petition page:

“Sixth best place to live one week…Benefits Street the next!”.

Emma-Bliss Harding, from Norton, said:

“I live in Norton and heard they were filming at the duck pond which is near my house.

“I don’t want the area that I love in displayed in a bad light.

“This programme is nothing but negative.”

Hayley Garland, from Stockton, said:

“We are proud of our town, our heritage, arts, culture and thriving independent shops.

“Take your sensationalist TV somewhere else!”

Christine Thompson, from Stockton, said:

My hometown is starting to get back on its feet and I fear that this will be a big backward step.”

Source –  Middlesbrough Evening Gazette,  04 Sept 2014

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More Cuts For Durham County Council

More jobs will have to go at Durham County Council as civic centre chiefs look again at one of the region’s biggest series of budget cuts.

Over six years Durham will lose some £224m, and the latest plan to find £100m is seeing the council prepare for further service cut backs.

Council leader Simon Henig said the council has already lost more than £113m, and is well into current plans set to make some 2,000 staff redundant by the next financial year.

But even that total is now likely to be passed as the council look to the next three years of cuts.

After a lengthy consultation process in which the public was asked to use a Monopoly board-style game to identify priorities, the council is now ready to go with further cuts to museums, arts, some library support services and grass cutting.

Mr Henig said: “We are looking at the arts, but no one will see their entire contribution cut. We have a number of facilities across the county, the museum, the theatre and so on, but no one will lose out completely. It could lead to changes such as opening hours, but trying to avoid being too dramatic in these areas.”

Other savings confirmed include a reduction in school crossing staff and the switching off or dimming down of some street lights.

The leader said that, of the new savings identified, many would be met by back office cuts and efficiencies. “But you cannot keep cutting this,” Mr Henig said, “Sooner or later all you are left with is front line services to cut.”

He added: “Next year is when we will have to make some incredibly difficult choices about our services. The Government can’t just keep cutting this. You can’t look for efficiencies each year, they run out and then it is front line that goes. All councils will reach this point. We have been in a better position than some as we are the biggest council in the North East and have been able to find more savings, but we will reach that point next year where it is our front line that has to suffer. It’s inevitable.

“What we have asked for from the Government is fairness, for the North East to face the same reduction as all councils, that doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

“But we have instead seen councils in the South East and Home Counties having increases in spending powers, on the Government’s own figures.

“If we had the same reduction all round there would still have to be cuts but at least it would be fair across the country.”

> Is he really suprised ? As I’ve said before, neither Tories or Lib Dems, seperately or in unholy alliance, are likely to win power in the North East, so why should they care ? Well, yeah, plenty of reasons, but none that would occur to them.

More to the point, what we want to know is what Labour will do to rebalance things, should they win the next election. Very little, I suspect, but I’m up for a nice suprise. Not holding my breath though…

Council treasurer Don McLure set out the jobs risk of the Government not listening to those concerns.

He said: “The forecast we did on the first plan said 1,950 job losses, and that is likely to be the same as imagined over four years. That takes us up to 2015. There is another £100m to come, we need to look at them in more detail, but we are predominantly an employer, 70% of our budget is staffing we will have to look at that again.”

Source – Newcastle Journal, 15 Jan 2014