Political analyst and community worker, Dr Nkululeko Sibanda, in an interview with Sheffield Live!, has cautioned Zimbabweans abroad not to get too excited about the new government. With the resignation of 93 year old Robert Mugabe after 37 years of rule many are hoping for wider political change, but new president Emmerson Mnangagwa has questions to answer about his role in episodes of political brutality and repression under the previous regime. Baillor Jalloh reports.
Working parents have been reminded they must meet a 31 August deadline to apply for the new 30 hours free childcare offer which comes into effect in September. The new arrangements double the weekly hours of Free Early Learning, the Government-funded childcare programme available to 3 and 4 year olds, and eligible 2 year olds. Nursery bosses however are warning many parents may be unable to get places for their children as the funding available to nurseries will not match the cost of provision. Baillor Jalloh reports for Sheffield Live!
Demonstrators protested outside the Eastern Avenue job centre in Arbourthorne, earmarked for closure as part of government cuts to public services. The Public and Commercial Services Union is opposing the cuts and was joined at the protest by Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East. Sheffield Live! reporter Azz Mohammed spoke to Martin Jones of the PCSU and centre user Jennifer Jones.
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield has been out on the streets campaigning and meeting with residents in Manor Park and Highfield as part of a day of action on the crisis in the NHS. The Labour MP, a fierce critic of Government health policies, has accused Prime Minister Theresa May of cynical disregard of the crisis in mental health services for young people. Simon Thake reports for Sheffield Live!
The 20th July marked the fifth anniversary of the legislation that enabled Sheffield Live and other community radio stations to start broadcasting. Since then more than 200 community radio services have been licensed and around 150 are on air, creating around 400 jobs, involving over 10,000 volunteers, and serving a potential audience of more than 10 million people. Ofcom’s latest Annual Report hailed community radio as “one of the great UK broadcasting success stories of the last few years”, but that success could turn to failure if much needed Government support is not forthcoming, according to community radio groups and their supporters.
The Community Radio Fund is described by Steve Buckley, Director of Sheffield Live! 93.2FM as “.. woefully inadequate”. Steve says the new sector is in a precarious situation: “To put it in context, the money available today through the Community Radio Fund to support the operating costs of 150 community radio stations is less than the annual salary of a BBC Radio 1 breakfast DJ.”
An open letter has been written to the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, signed by 82 community radio leaders, media scholars and experts including representatives of 60 community radio stations, in a bid to raise awareness of the threat to community radio.
Add your support by donating to your local community radio and by writing now to your local MP and the Prime Minister.
You can read and download the letter by following this link