Call that poverty? In my day we had less, and we were all the richer because of it

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REGARDING the article in last week’s Free press concerning severe child poverty in Doncaster.

According to the article, there are around 9,000 children in the borough living in severe squalor and poverty.

Some of the descriptions of their plight include homes without heating, no proper meals, having to share bedrooms, and to cap it all, a family of two adults and two children having to exist on state handouts of only £240 a week, plus one would imagine rent and rates support. You have to ask yourself, how on earth do they manage to survive?

I was raised in the 40s along with six siblings and an aged relative in a three bedroom house in Wheatley.

Although there was never a surfeit of money (even though my father, a tradesman at the local plant works, was never to my knowledge ever off sick or out of work), we would, as a family, have been horrified and insulted to have ever been described as poor or poverty stricken.

In those days no house had central heating, we had an open fire in two downstairs rooms, and that was all. All meals were cooked by mum, and I have to say we never ever went hungry.

My three brothers and I slept in one room, with my sisters and parents in the others, but with never a problem.

In spite of all this we were always well-dressed and went on holiday every year (even though it was camping holidays at Mablethorpe).

Now in my older years I can only look back to those times with the greatest of pleasure, and can find no comparison at all with our life, and our friends and neighbours, and the description of poverty stricken Doncaster children and families today.

Francis Joseph McKone, The Boulevard, Edenthorpe

Get your cat neutered!

I AM writing in the hope that someone will take action to get their cat neutered and stop it making my life very difficult.

The cat in question is in the Sandall Park Drive area and has been hanging around my house for some months. I do not think it is a stray as it is in too good a condition.

I foster for Cats Protection and the presence of this tom cat has been causing distress to the cats in the pens as well as to my own cats. My cats’ efforts to defend their garden and home has so far resulted in vets’ bills of nearly £200. One had an abscess from being bitten and another, who had an encounter half in and half out of the cat flap, got his tail trapped and part of it had to be amputated.

I have recently, in an effort to stop him coming into the house, started putting food down outside in the hope that will satisfy him, but to no avail.

I can hear him calling to any female cats who might be available, and to add insult to injury he is now coming into my house and spraying up the walls in my kitchen and hallway. This is a most unpleasant smell and hard to get rid of.

If you are a responsible owner please get him neutered. If you can’t afford it you may be able to get help with the cost.

If the situation continues I will have no option but to take matters into my own hands, and get him neutered and re-homed to prevent any further harm.

Maureen Young, Wheatley Hills

Is bus service getting better?

YOU will no doubt recall that during the later part of November/December 2010 your paper did a review across Doncaster regarding our poor service which is being provided to us by the First Group.

Whilst a few weeks have elapsed since your going to press, it would be interesting to understand if your paper will be undertaking a further review in order to establish if the general public do experience any improvements

In Finningley we have held two meetings with the various parties e.g. First Group and SYPTE, but we still have serious concerns to the point of seeing vast improvements especially regarding punctuality and communications.

Peter and Mary Weller, Gatesbridge Park, Finningley

Housing projects have gone mad

I AM surprised nobody has commented on the massive housing projects that have recently been approved. The latest is a plan to build 1,600 homes at Woodfield Plantation – on greenfield land no less. This is in addition to the hundreds planned near Doncaster Airport and Wheatley Hall Road.

I was appalled to read that the council has a housing target of 1,230 homes a year for the next 15 years! That makes 18,450 new homes, a minimum of 36,900 more cars on the road and over 55,000 more people using hospitals, dentists, schools, water, electricity and gas. I believe these targets were set by the previous Labour government and should be scrapped immediately.

Why do we need more homes? Who are they for? We still have hundreds of empty properties around the Borough, both private and council owned. The town already becomes grid-locked at peak times and the use of greenfield land sets a precedent for future planning permission.

Enough is enough – stop this insane plan now.

Mrs R K Bacon, Rockcliffe Drive, Wadworth

Save our day centre from axe

IN the year 2001 a new government strategy entitled ‘Valuing People’ placed particular emphasis on improving the lives of the least often heard, and most excluded, within communities, namely those with more complex needs of people within the autistic spectrum and other disabilities by transforming their social care provision.

Some of the country’s day centres were described as offering no more than ‘warehousing’.

Doncaster Council, through its CALDT (Community Adult Learning Disability) addressed some of the social education needs of the learning disabled within our community in a council owned integrated building at Travis Gardens, Hexthorpe. One half provides very high quality resource day care for the learning disabled who would be otherwise socially isolated.

Thankfully, the respite centre is to remain open but inexplicably the front line resource day centre is due to close as part of a new strategy by the CALDT, which will devastate the learning disabled clients removing all the hard work achieved but the truly excellent staff employed there.

Please please Mr Mayor and your colleagues, don’t try to mend it if it ain’t broken.

Don Wood, Gleneagles Drive, Bessacarr

Am I only one to agree with cuts?

AM I the only person in Doncaster that agrees with what the current government has to do to sort out the country’s financial problems?

Being a housewife and mother I am well aware of how we have to budget in these difficult times and in the last 12 months we ourselves have become victims of the economic downturn. We can no longer afford membership to our favourite health club and the holiday this year will have to be one week outside school term, and we have had to take out and use a bank overdraft for that, Hopefully, this will be a short term solution.

My point being that whatever one’s standards are in life we have to make choices and ours is one of not running to the ‘state’ whenever we hit on hard times.

Tina Marlowe, Lakeside

Adieu Sir David, welcome Diary

I AM sure that I am not alone in wishing to thank the writer of ‘A toff’s take on Doncaster’ for the pleasure he has given readers during the time of his writing for the paper. When the Free Press arrived it was always the first page I turned to and I shall miss his particular sense of humour and winkling out of interesting titbits about our town. However, Donny Diary seems to be making a good start and hopefully will make for as enjoyable reading as its predecessor.

Valerie Bishop, Armthorpe

Sad to see two columnists go

WE look forward to reading the Doncaster Free Press every week but we are really sorry to read the ‘Sir David Danum” and the “Mum about Town’ columns are no longer going to be featured.

We know you have made changes to the format of the paper recently (well done), but we are sad the aforementioned articles are not going to remain.

We are sure many readers will feel the same.

Mrs & Mrs Fox, Nutwell Lane, Armthorpe

Glad Conisbrough library saved

I AM in full support of the save the Doncaster libraries group – as the libraries are a mine of information for local research groups and historians alike.

As a member of the Conisbrough and Denaby Main Heritage Group, also a former miner of Cadeby main colliery, I am especially happy with the news that Conisbrough and Denaby libraries have been spared the axe (for now at least). I found Conisbrough library to be very useful recently while doing a little research for information relating to the 1912 Conisbrough Royal visit and the Cadedy Main Colliery disaster.

I found that in the aftermath of the disaster the king and queen actually came back to visit the scene.

The king wore an expression of deep concern as though some personal calamity had occurred. The queen emerged with bowed head and tears filled her eyes.

Lastly, may I add that the Conisbrough and Denaby Main Heritage Group has set up a committee to commemorate the centenary of the Cadeby Main Colliery disaster in 1912. The committee is collecting information on those who died in the disaster and are asking descendants of the victims for photographs and information they may have to help mark the anniversary.

Events being considered include an exhibition of mining memorabilia, a series of concerts, and an open air service at the Denaby Cricket Ground.

The next committee meeting is to be held at the Denaby and Cadeby Main Miners Welfare on March 22, at 7pm.

Anyone wanting more information or offering their help in anyway should contact Mr Jeff Lovell on (01709) 865522 or Mr James Beachill on 07886 718719.

Stephen C Hamilton, Adwick Road, Mexborough

Your articles just wind me up

I AM going to stop reading the Free Press as the articles it contains just wind me up, especially two articles I read concerning the finances of Doncaster Council.

With the exception of government and council departments it is not normal to have average sicknesses absenteeism of between 10 and 20 days. This is a very poorly managed sick scheme allowed to be abused (apologies for the few genuine cases of illnesses). The majority of people funding this abused system have no sick scheme of their own to fall back on.

The cost of renting a council house should not make a profit but it should cover the repair costs and future modernisation programmes. It is unfair to expect families paying far more by having to rent in the private sector to subsidise council housing.

K Murray, Howden Ave, Skellow