Right-wing graffiti daubed on a shop wall has been turned into peaceful paintings by a Middlesbrough family.
Members of the Amanat family were shocked to discover the letters BNP daubed in yellow paint on the side of the shop they’ve run for about 15 years, Leinster News in Leinster Road, Gresham.
But with a few brush strokes of their own, the family has transformed the crude scrawl into a flower and a butterfly.
And while the British National Party slogan went ignored, shoppers and passers-by have given the new version the thumbs-up.
Student Shaz Amanat and her brother Nav decided to take the artistic stand.
Shaz, 19, said she first saw the graffiti as she headed for Middlesbrough’s Macmillan Sixth Form, where she is studying pyschology, biology, georgraphy and IT.
“It’s difficult to say how I felt, really – disheartened, I suppose. It was such a shock to see it
.“It was up for a couple of days because we didn’t have time to clear it off but then when I was on the Saturday shift with my brother, we decided to do something creative with it.”
Grabbing a pot of white paint, Shaz and Nav, 25, got to work.
Shaz said: “We just wanted to make a statement to show it’s not acceptable. Someone told me it’s happened on another building too, which is sad to hear.”
Shaz’s mum Zoe said:
“They are all really nice around here, we all know each other.
“I was shocked when I saw the latters – I just thought ‘which idiot did that?’ But people like it now – they say we should leave it as it is.”
Nav, an IT analyst, admits he originally just wanted to cover it up so his girlfriend didn’t have to see it.
“I found a tin of white paint we’ve probably had for years, but I didn’t put too much thought into it. I think Shaz was more hurt by it and it was her idea to paint a flower.
“No-one mentioned anything when it just said BNP but since we’ve changed it, we’ve had people taking photos and coming into the shop, even if they’re not buying anything, to say they love it. Facebook has been going crazy too.
“I don’t want people to think it’s a bad area around here because it isn’t – we’ve never had any trouble.
“And it’s my dad’s shop at the end of the day, so it’s his decision what do do with it. But if it’s sending out a good message, maybe we can leave it in place for a while.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 13 May 2015
> There’s still plenty of money out there if you know where to look for it…
A senior Middlesbrough Council officer is to receive a pay rise of up to £18,000 as part of a management shake-up.
Director of Transformation Tony Parkinson is to become executive director of commercial and corporate services.
It is a move which boosts his annual salary from £95,000 to between £102,681 and £113,484.
Mr Parkinson took up the controversial ‘director of transformation‘ position overseeing council cuts in June last year.
> Director of Transformation – isn’t that nice ? You’ve not been sacked, you’ve been transformed into an unemployed person. Your local library has not been closed, its been transformed into an empty building.
And now he’s successfully transforming his bank balance.
That role will now be scrapped and Mr Parkinson’s previous duties will “form the substantive element” of his new job, it has been confirmed.
The change is part of a major overhaul of the council’s senior management structure which has been announced by Mayor Ray Mallon.
The shake-up will also lead to three more councillors receiving special allowances of more than £12,000 by increasing the number of “executive” members from six to nine.
Mr Mallon defended the changes, saying they would create a “leaner and smarter organisation”.
“The council has a workforce of over 4,000 people, and I have always regarded councillors as part of that workforce,” he said.
“We have made huge savings within the management structure over the last two to three years, but I have felt in recent months that we are exposing the organisation to increased risk as a result.
“That is the reason that I have decided that the management of the council should be restructured, as well as strengthening the Executive.”
The three extra Executive members will cost nearly £37,000 in allowances.
But Mr Mallon said the changes were needed due to a significant fall in the number of senior managers, and the need to increase focus on education and caring for vulnerable children.
“An increase to nine Executive councillors, each receiving an allowance of just over £12,000, is as cost-effective, as to employ two officers at that level would cost at least £90,000,” said Mr Mallon.
The changes come as the number of senior managers fell from 22 to 12 in the past four years – cutting almost £1m in staff costs.
It also comes as the authority tackles huge ongoing budget tightening which has seen numerous services cut back or axed and hundreds of jobs gone.
> But luckily they’ve still got all those executives on increased money. Who needs actual workers anyway ?
The new senior management structure follows the appointment of Mike Robinson as chief executive – on a salary of £140,000 – and consists of three executive directors and nine assistant directors.
Mr Parkinson will be joined by Kevin Parkes, executive director of economic development and communities, and an executive director of wellbeing, care and learning, a role yet to be filled.
Under the councillor reshuffle, three new roles will be created.
:: Cllr Jean Sharrocks (Brookfield, Labour) will be responsible for children’s social care;
:: Cllr Brenda Thompson (Nunthorpe, Independent) will oversee supporting communities;
:: New portfolios of education/skills and commercial assets/income will be taken on by Cllrs Jan Brunton (Coulby Newham, Labour) and Steve Bloundele (Linthorpe, Labour) respectively.
:: Cllrs Tracy Harvey (Gresham, Labour) and Jean Sharrocks (Brookfield, Labour) have moved up to become executive members responsible for environment and children’s social care respectively – each receiving double their previous allowances.
Executive members receive an allowance of £12,260 – while assistant executives get £6,130.
Cllrs Brunton and Bloundele have moved into the Executive while Cllr Nicky Walker – who was Executive member for environment – has taken on Cllr Brunton’s former role as chairwoman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette 08 May 2014