Communities will fight back

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OUR community serivces are under threat because of funding cuts - and nowhere is this more apparent than in Stocksbridge.

Residents there could feel excused for feeling isolated. They are in the north west of the Sheffield region, stuck out on a bit of a limb.

Everywhere is a bit of a trek if they want to travel anywhere. As a result they will feel more acutely than others any cuts to services.

Already the advice and children’s centres have been hit by funding cuts from national bodies and now the leisure centre is under threat because of the withdrawal of £400,000 from the council.

For some months now this newspaper has been raising the prospect of governance from councils if they continue to cut services yet still demand the same amount of money through the council tax.

And it appears that Stocksbridge is the first community that is raising this issue.

The focus group set up to fight the cuts have written to all 84 councillors to make their feelings known about the cuts. Yet only seven have bothered to reply. “We’re angry at the apathy as much as anything,” says campaigner Fay Howard.

That should sound a warning bell to the council leadership. Councillors must take their responsibilities seriously and not just bury their heads in the sand and hope campaign groups will go away.

If you are taking away their community facilities then at least make yourself visible and go out to explain to residents why you are doing it.

Otherwise be prepared for communities to fight back in other ways such as by withdrawing their financial support for the council.

Stars inheriting a sporting legacy

THIS week more than 2,000 young athletes will take to the region’s best sporting facilities as part of the South Yorkshire Games.

The Olympic-style event will involve 400 schools from across the county, with 200 medals up for grabs.

Primary and secondary school pupils will compete in athletics, gymnastics, cheerleading and basketball to name but a few events.

They are part of the legacy of the Olympics from last year that galvanized a nation.

It is only a pity that they are taking part against a backdrop of the threat of closure to our most prominent stadium, Don Valley - an icon of sporting excellence.