Happy is our new lodger. He’s also the Vicar’s new apprentice (aka the ministry trainee). Yesterday he went to a training event about our area. It was laid on by diocesan missioners with input from speakers from the local council and other taxpayer funded bodies.
We live in Sandwell, one of the most deprived boroughs in the country. Happy came back with lots of bumf and today I thought I’d just share a few choice statistics on our area:
- 8% of people in our borough are on Jobseekers Allowance – twice the national average.
- House prices round here are below the national average by 35%.
- There is not a single bookshop in the borough (though this does not include the W H Smith in our high street – I guess they mean independent booksellers or Waterstones and the like).
- There is no cinema in the borough.
- Most of the famous people from the area appear to be comedians (although the folk at the session kept on talking about Bishop Asbury, who neither Happy nor we had heard of before, but Wikipedia has enlightened me).
Happy came back with a lovely poster with photos of all the local councillors, including the three who represent the ward we live in. Sadly, when I contacted them by email more than a fortnight ago to ask about an issue that has been bugging me for a while, I received no acknowledgement and no reply. And not a single councillor showed up to a controversial meeting about a new local housing development last night. So I don’t think I’ll be putting the poster up any time soon.
But if you would like to start a business with an eager workforce, or commute to Birmingham City Centre in 15 minutes, you like to laugh a lot, you’re happy to use a library or The Book Depository for reading matter, you don’t mind watching your films on dvd a little after release, you want to buy a cheap house and get involved a local church which wants to make a difference, this is the place to be.