Dear Editor, This week is Diabetes Week (8 - 14 June) and we are writing to tell you about the dramatic rise in the number of people with diabetes expected over the coming years.
Today there are 2.3 million people in the UKwith diabetes and more than half a million who have the condition but do not know it.
By 2025, it is estimated that this will rise to more than four million - a shocking increase of 1.3 million people with diabetes - a near epidemic!
As parents of a child with Type 1 diabetes, we are extremely concerned about this rise.
It will have serious consequences for the general health of the UKas diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to devastating complications such as heart disease, blindness and kidney disease.
Leading charity Diabetes UKis running events throughout Diabetes Week. Try www.diabetes.org. uk/diabetesweek to find out how you can get involved.
Sir Ian Botham and Lady Kathy Botham
What is the BBC's programme for the future of the Midlands?
Dear Editor, The Birmingham Post is right to question the BBC's commitment to the Midlands (Comment, 6th June).
Rumours of the closure of the Drama Village at Selly Oak have been circulating in the city since the end of last year and no firm denial has been forth-coming. This is despite a series of articles and letters in the 'Post and questions asked by local councillors and MPs of all the major parties.
At best we can only hope that the delayed announcement means that the BBC may be re-evaluating their position. At worst, we might suspect they are simply waiting for the fuss to die down and allowing themselves more time to prepare a robust defence of their commitment to the nations and regions.
They will claim that many quality programmes are commissioned from Birmingham, however a lack of facilities means that these programmes are not actually filmed here. There is something slightly ironic in a list of BBC Birmingham programmes that is led by Coast and Countryfile. From the information that the BBC have provided to me I have deduced that in the last year, not one single network programme from the Midlands has been shown on BBC1 during peak time! Over on BBC2 the situation is slightly better, but even that network can only muster about five per cent of its non-news peak time programming from the Midlands. Just what sort of a commitment is this?
They will boast of a £40 million investment in 'state of the art' facilities at The Mailbox (a complex that rather oddly does not contain a television studio) but will neglect to tell us that that over £800 million is being spent on the refurbishment of BBC HQ in London and £450 million is also being spent on building a vast new complex in Manchester.
It's no good the BBC claiming to be "committed to the regions" when it continues to make cutbacks in Bristol, Birmingham and Glasgow. It's a case of robbing one regional hand to finance another. The regions in the plural are not the singular north west.
The Drama Village is a small low cost unit that is underutilised. It has never been exploited to its full potential and only one drama is actually being made there now. This under-utilisation could be given as a reason for its closure (the same excuse which was given for closing Pebble Mill) but with more BBC channels and broadcasting hours then ever to fill, we in the Midlands must ask ourselves why the BBC's increased requirements are not partially being met here in the West Midlands.
What a far cry all of this is from 2005 when Alan Yentob, the BBC Creative Director at the time, opened the Drama Village with a flurry of publicity and a welter of platitudes. We were reminded that Birmingham was a city with a fine reputation as a producer of quality BBC drama with a list that included All Creatures Great and Small, Howard's Way and the edgy Boys from the Blackstuff. We were told that the BBC was apparently "genuinely excited about the future of drama in the city".
Three years must be a very long time in broad-casting. What can have happened to the BBC corporate plan that has led to a situation where the second largest conurbation in the land is begging the state broadcaster to stay? You don't think they make up their objectives as they go along do you?
Forgive the pun, but I am watching the BBC very closely, and I invite all Midland licence payers to do likewise. If they do announce the closure of The Drama Villa ge then I hope they will do the decent thing and change the name of their organisation. A British Broadcasting Corporation they will not be.
On the other hand, if they announce the retention of this facility then let us not breathe a sigh of relief until we see a radical expansion of drama production for all the BBC networks from right here at the heart of the nation.
If Manchester is to be the national home of BBC Sport and BBC Children's' television, then why not make BBC Birmingham the national home for drama?
Thanks for toddlers' meningitis help
Dear Editor, I am writing on behalf of the Meningitis Trust to thank Victoria Skelton from Redditch, for organising a very successful Toddle Waddle event, who raised £727.01 for us!
We would particularly like to thank the children for taking part and their parents, grandparents, family and friends for sponsoring them.
Toddle Waddle is an annual fundraising event for the Trust, aimed specifically at the under 5s. This April was the 9th year for the event and saw hundreds of children walking, waddling, skipping and jumping around parks, playgrounds and gardens across the country, in a bid to raise funds for us.
The Meningitis Trust is reliant on voluntary contributions to continue its work; helping anyone affected by meningitis across the UK. It is very grateful for any help in generating vital funds that will allow it to provide practical and emotional support to individuals and families whose lives have been shattered by meningitis. ,Thanks again to all involved.