Last Friday I had the privilege of meeting Karen MacGregor who heads up the Kinkids project.
Kinkids operates from a unit hidden away in the depths of Swinton and on the day I visited it was buzzing, something to do with cake I think. The shop carries a wide range of donated goods at really good prices compared with some more well-known Charity Shops.
Kinkids was formed only this year by a passionate and committed team of volunteers offering support and advise to families where a family member has had to take on the responsibility for a child because, normally a daughter, cannot provide proper care and attention to a child.
Many of the families affected by the child care scandal in Rotherham have approached Kinkids for help.
I learnt a lot from the visit of the problems faced by the families both financially and socially. Apparently if a child is not taken into care for a set time then the carer receives no benefits for looking after the child! They also do not get any support from any of the social services.
Kinkids objective is to try and fill some of the support gaps, offering a 24 hour telephone support as well as face to face talk.
Even though Kinkids has been in existence for only seven months they have Volunteers opening new Branches across the UK, which Karen also provides support for.
Kinkids main problem is of course financial, and finding the Volunteer time to do the essential administration that a new Community Organisation has to do. The result is of course that the key personal cannot see the wood from the trees – and because they are so new often get overlooked by the main players when charity funding is being passed out.
RAE are pleased to try and help Kinkids by providing collection opportunities. They will be collecting for their Children’s Christmas Party at a Live At The Trades event this month and December, and those coming I hope will give generously to their cause. At the moment they are about 50% towards their overall target. They will also be a key Charity to be supported by Slamfest4.
You can find more information about the Kinkids HERE
New into their shop is a “justice for the 1400” bracelet, costing £1 all money going to Kinkids work with the families.
It was to have been an amazing star studded weekend of music, despite yet another march by one of the assorted right wing fringe parties, Britain First. But with around 48 hours’ notice we were notified by Queen II, a locally based Band, that they were pulling from the gig because of “safety”. We had of course checked with the venue and the Police over a week ago concerning security issues for this gig and were told we had nothing to worry about – views not shared by the Band in who’s hands we are.
This is a great pity having already lost The Christians Gig for the very real security risk of the EDL march, one that saw all the allied right wing groups turn out in force. However, this demonstration is to be no more than 10% of the EDL day.
It does seem that the “good” people of Rotherham are being punished for the actions of a very small minority.
However, I’m at risk of being hypocritical. Wasn’t it I and the then Board of RAS and RAE that pulled Insurance for the Rotherham Show Diversity Festival for a demonstration by the very same people? Yes. However, the Jay Report was only ten days in at that point and anger was still rife because Shaun Wright and the Head of Children’s Services were still hanging on to their jobs in the face of mass anger. There was also the question of whether or not it was right for the Town to be seen celebrating so soon after the shocking findings of Jay.
We have moved on from there, and while I am sure there is more tree shacking to be done, and more of our Civic Leaders might well fall, the main heads have gone, (with the exception of the Chief Constable who appears to have a Teflon coating), and perhaps the time has come to start putting things right.
I just feel that the pull out by Queen II was inappropriate, and not in proportion with the risk. Obviously a riot outside of the Trades at 6:00pm on Saturday night will have me eating my words.
I did see in a statement from the Police that they helpless to do anything to stop these demonstrations. The spokesman said that they were unable to ban these right wing marches unless there was a risk to public order. Now, I might being thick – but surely a demonstration requiring a police presence costing hundreds of thousands of pounds, must by definition be a risk to public order? I hate to say this but I think it’s all part of South Yorkshire Police’s total incompetence.
I believe that the Arts in which I also include music, have a major role to play in the healing of Rotherham. This is not carrying on as “normal” as I fear some who would like good news stories everyday would have; it is a re-building process, re-knitting communities through the arts in a definite targeted way. Better still serious debate as to the best way we can improve the image of Rotherham as a united Community.
To pretend that nothing of significance has occurred in the Town, to not accept that ordinary people have been affected is to be in a denial, and it is a denial almost as dangerous as the growth of the right wing in Rotherham. In fact the denial actually feeds the right wing, and that will not be solved by “nice” events and good meaning slogans.
It’s “positive” images that we need to be creating. In fact, if possible, creating positive images out of the negative.
Our poets are leading the way, I have read some fantastic stuff. I’ve also heard a song or two penned by home town musicians; I’m sure it will not be long before we have some powerful visual images.
So it was disappointing that a Rotherham Band chose to pull from their show commitment at only 48 hours’ notice.
RAE has launched a Kickstarter appeal, probably the first of a series, to raise money to ensure that we have the funding to support the Foundation Records project.
Foundation Records is the project we started to work on earlier in the year. The idea was to provide local bands, especially young and inexperienced Bands; performance spoken word; and ethnic musicians / oral practitioners to record their material. We have so much original talent in Rotherham and 90% of it is lost for a variety of reasons.
It is also project aimed at giving a “positive image” of the Town, and highlight the cultural talents across the UK and beyond.
Please take a look at the details of the project HERE and please pledge, you don’t pay anything until or unless we reach the target. There is also a Web Page dedicated to the project HERE with extra information.
Also on the Web Site, we’ve put together another “About” page. HERE
A word about the excellent new exhibition at the Old Market Gallery in Rotherham, the Rotherham It’s brilliant – that’s the word - so get yourselves down there to take a look. I think it is open 10 – 3 Wednesday to Saturday inclusive.Masters Show.
And cross the road in the imperial Building we have an Exhibition of the incredible work of Edwin Wraith. Edwin is a prolific artist and if he happens to be around, a really interesting person to talk to about the his method - a completely self taught man, who came to comparatively art late in life. Don't miss out on looking at his work.
So coming up. The next Live at The Trades is on the 18th October when we have Livewire, thought by many to be the best AC/DC tribute Band touring the UK. Tickets for this are running out of the door at the Trades and Online, so a great night is guaranteed. Online advance HERE
Also a guaranteed great night will be the 1st November when Lovehunter will be rocking into Town again performing their Lovehunter Tribute. Get tickets quickly as the show is bound to sell out again. Online Advance HERE
I’d also draw your attention for what will be a super night when Dirty Dylan comes to Live at The Trades in November. Online tickets are on sale for this show HERE This is one of the very best Bob Dylan Tributes in Europe. Last time they were in Rotherham was for the open air night at Clifton Park and we are over the moon that they have found space in their schedule to return.
Other stuff happening this week. Folk Master John will be hosting the First Tuesday Session at The Sheppy in Maltby from around 8:00pm. On Wednesday ROMP Too hosted by Bob will be getting into poetic rhythm at The New York Tavern on Westgate in Rotherham. Also Wednesday is what promises to be a really interesting talk by John Rosen, one of Rotherham's film makers at ROAR Talk in Westgate Chambers. Not sure why I am mentioning this next one as I suspect it will be one of the busiest pubs in Rawmarsh on Friday, but the Horse and Jockey will be entertaining My Perriot Dolls. It’s a free night. If you can get in, it will be a show not to be missed. Saturday is crammed with great music, Searching for Sylvia at The Cutlers, and old chums, and not seen for sometime This is Acoustica will be sharing the stage with String Theory in Clerkheaton.
You can find out all you need to know about these and all the major sessions HERE on the RAE Listings page.
So whatever you are doing this week – have a great time, support the local music scene and keep it live.