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NEWS FROM AROUND THE REGION
THE WYE VALLEY AND SOUTH HEREFORDSHIRE
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REWARD FOR RETURN OF STOLEN OFF-ROAD MOTORCYCLE

The stolen bike.

A reward is being offered for information leading to the recovery of the stolen motorcycle in the photo left, which is believed to be still in Ross-on-Wye.

If you have any information which might help, please contact Alison on 07793 715321.


WHAT CAN YOUR LOCAL POLICING TEAM DO FOR YOU?

If you have any concerns about what is happening in your neighbourhood or in Ross-on-Wye in general, why not voice them at the PACT (Partnership and Communities Together) meeting to be held at the Larruperz Centre on Tuesday, 12th May?

Your Local Policing Team works with partner organisations to address local issues. The meetings enable the public to tell their Local Policing Team about areas of concern and which issues they would like dealt with as a priority. Once the community has agreed on the top prioirities, the partnership will work together to address them.

Tuesday's meeting at the Larruperz Centre will start at 7pm.


FORTHCOMING GUIDED WALK AROUND ROSS IN AID OF MACMILLAN

Mary Sinclair-Powell of Ross Heritage Centre will be leading a guided walk in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support on Bank Holiday Monday, 25th May. The walk will begin at the Heritage Centre, following the path around the riverside, Five Ways and Brookend Street where participants will take in lots of interesting places and information along the way.

The walk is open to all and there booking is not necessary. Simply turn up at Ross Heritage Centre at 1:45pm in readiness to set off at 2pm. The walk is suitable for people of all abilities as the planned route doesn't include steps. The walk will take approximately two hours and those wishing to take part are advised to wear flat shoes and suitable clothing in case of rain.

The cost of joining the walk is 2 per adult and persons over the age of eleven. Younger children are welcome to take part for free, but must be accompanied at all times.

For further information give Mary a call on 01432 260675, ask for details at Ross Heritage Centre or simply just turn up for a fun and informative afternoon raising money for an excellent cause.


VANDALS DAMAGE SCHEDULED MONUMENT

The vandalized monument.

The Overlooking the Wye partnership was hit by disappointment this week when vandals struck at The Alcove near Chepstow. The incident is thought to have happened at some time between the 24th April and the 1st May.

The Alcove is one of the unique viewpoints in the Wye Valley which date from about 1750 and is on the Wye Valley Walk near Chepstow in Alcove Wood. It is a Scheduled Monument and it is therefore a Criminal offence to 'Cause reckless or deliberate damage' to the site.

'We are in the process of carrying out works to conserve the site but this will put the work back by at least a couple of weeks' said Kate Biggs, Project Officers for the Overlooking the Wye Scheme,

'It is upsetting, Ascend, our contractors had done a beautiful job of the stone work and it has been destroyed. The site had been temporarily barricaded off," said Andrew Blake, AONB Officer, 'not only to protect the site while works go on but also for the safety of the public and the contractors, but people have been persistently ripping down warnings and barricades and going through the closed permissive footpath'.

The land belongs to a private owner and access is only through their consent and an agreement with Monmouthshire County Council. The Wye Valley Walk has been diverted through Piercefield Park while this restoration work is carried out.

If anyone knows anything about this incident they can report it to the Chepstow Police on 01663 838111 or to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.


RAISING FUNDS FOR GUIDE DOGS IN WALK TO SCHOOL WEEK

Thousands of Herefordshire school children are getting ready to join in this year's Walk to School Week which takes place from 18th to 22nd May. The theme is Walking Together and Herefordshire Council has joined forces with other authorities in the West Midlands to work with the Guide Dogs for Blind charity, encouraging schools to raise enough cash to sponsor a guide dog puppy.

Resource packs are being provided for schools, which contain lesson plans, activities, DVDs and sponsorship envelopes for those who wish to raise funds. This year's theme aims to encourage children to walk to school with their parents and friends. The partnership with the charity will help children to understand the problems which walking can pose to anyone who uses a guide dog. Schools raising 250 or more can sponsor a guide dog puppy, give it a name and receive regular 'pupdates' showing how their puppy's training is progressing. Forty eight schools are taking part in Walk to School Week, seven of which will be raising money for guide dogs and receiving assembly visits from puppies and their walkers.

Linda Sinker of Herefordshire Council said, 'We're delighted to be working with Guide Dogs for the Blind this year as it brings an extra dimension to the campaign. Walk to School Week is a great opportunity to help children learn about the importance of keeping fit and healthy and highlight the benefits of walking to school wherever possible. The aim is to show children that it can be fun too and encourage them to continue walking to school once the week long campaign is over.'

Guide Dogs for the Blind, in conjunction with Herefordshire Council has provided activity booklets for children, stickers, posters and badges for each participating child. Children who are not able to walk to school because they live too far away are also being encouraged to join in the week by encouraging their parents to park ten minutes walk away and allowing the children to walk the rest of the journey. Children who travel by bus or taxi can also take part by walking around the playground or field at break or lunchtime to earn their sticker.

Schools participating in the guide dog scheme are: Leominster Junior School, Marlbrook Primary School, Hereford, Ashfield Park, Ross on Wye, Weobley Primary School, Ledbury Primary School, Lord Scudamore Primary School, Hereford and St Martin's Primary School, Hereford.


TIME RUNNING OUT FOR NOMINATIONS FOR YOUNG GOOD CITIZEN AWARDS

Teacher, group leaders and members of the public are being asked by West Mercia Police to nominate young people aged 18 years or under who have made an outstanding contribution to their local communities. There are only two weeks left for public-spirited youngsters to be nominated for one of West Mercia Police's 2009 Good Citizen Awards as the closing date for nominations is Friday, 22nd May.

Good Citizen Awards are presented to young people who have carried out acts of outstanding courage or generosity, or who have displayed immense community spirit over the last twelve months. Nomination forms have been sent to head teachers at primary and high schools and to youth groups across the force area. They can also be downloaded by visiting the force website at www.westmercia.police.uk.

If you know a young person who has made a difference to other people's lives through an act of bravery, generosity or because of their community spirit, why not nominate them for this year's awards? Small groups of no more than three young people may also be nominated. Last year's nominees included young people who had raised money for charity despite their own difficult personal circumstances, who had come to the aid of people hurt in accidents, and who contribute to their community by volunteering or setting up and running clubs and associations.

Sergeant Russell Barker, who is organizing this year's awards scheme, says, 'The perception of young people today can sometimes be negative. The annual Good Citizen Awards highlight the exceptional contribution many young people make to local communities across West Mercia. The awards show how generous, brave and community minded many of our young people are.'

Introduced in 1987, Good Citizen Awards are presented by West Mercia Police in partnership with Local Education Authorities in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire. All those selected by the judges are invited to attend local award ceremonies in the summer to receive a Good Citizen certificate and lapel badge. Ten nominees (two from each of the force's five divisions) are then put forward for the force's Good Citizen of the Year Award, which is presented at a gala evening hosted by Chief Constable Paul West at force headquarters, Hindlip Hall, near Worcester in October. All those short-listed will receive a prize and 50 in cash. The young person named as West Mercia's Good Citizen of the Year will receive a trophy and an extra 100 in cash to be shared equally with a charity of their choice.

Anybody interested in nominating a young person can print off an application form from the Force website at www.westmercia.police.uk.


POLICE AUTHORITY ENDORSE NEW STRATEGY ROLL OUT

West Mercia Police Authority has officially endorsed an exciting new strategy for West Mercia Constabulary that makes a major shift in the delivery of policing across Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire. The new three year strategy addresses the changing performance focus of the Home Office to measuring public confidence and satisfaction in local policing services.

Crime is at its lowest level for five years across West Mercia and the force, in partnership with West Mercia Police Authority, is committed to ensuring crime remains low and people living, working and visiting West Mercia are safe and feel safe. As part of the strategy, the force is adopting a new logo as West Mercia Police and a new motto: Serving, Protecting, Making The Difference.

West Mercia Police Authority chairman Paul Deneen said, 'The new three year strategy, including the change of name for the force, is strongly endorsed by the Police Authority. The word 'Police' is an internationally recognized brand and we support the change to the name and logo. We would like to recognize and praise all the hard work that Chief Constable Paul West and his police officers, police staff and volunteers have carried out during the time of West Mercia Constabulary and look forward to exciting times ahead as West Mercia Police. Our area remains one of the safest places in England and Wales in which to live and work.'

The new force name and logo, devised entirely by existing staff and departments at the direction of chief officers and senior police staff managers, will be introduced incrementally to keep costs to a minimum for local Council Tax payers. New vehicle livery, staff uniforms, police station signage and stationery will be phased in as and when it requires replacing. It is expected this process will take at least two years to complete across the force area.

Deputy Chief Constable David Shaw said, 'In common with all large organizations, West Mercia Police works to a three year strategy. The strategy for 2009-12 reflects the significant changes that are affecting policing nationally. In particular, the Policing Pledge and the new national performance measures focusing on the confidence of the public in our policing service have all influenced the way in which we work to serve and protect the communities across West Mercia. We are committed to working in partnership with West Mercia Police Authority to ensure that the service we provide meets the expectations of local communities and to those who need to call on us for assistance.

'Through the Partners and Communities Together [PACT] process managed by the 145 Local Policing Teams across West Mercia, local people can have more influence than ever before on the way their policing services are delivered and what priorities the force tackles. Our new strategy shows how we plan to develop this close relationship with the communities we serve even further. Changing the name of the force from West Mercia Constabulary to West Mercia Police is a small part of our strategy, designed to bring the force in line with most people's perception of it. It is already widely referred to as West Mercia Police by both the media and the public so this change is common sense. This is the start of an exciting three years for West Mercia Police and I am delighted that the Police Authority are so supportive of our plans for the future.'

For further information about the Joint Policing Plan 2009-12 visit the force website at www.westmercia.police.uk.


PRIDE OF HEREFORDSHIRE AWARDS 2009

Planning is now well under way for the 2009 Pride of Herefordshire Awards and county residents are being invited to nominate people whose efforts in making the community a better place to live should be rewarded. Last year's overall award winner was Elizabeth Francis, aged 79 from Dorstone, who said, 'I was overwhelmed to receive the award and would really encourage other people to nominate people who they think deserve to be rewarded as it really does make a big difference to them.' Elizabeth won the award for being a real village stalwart who runs a warm, open house for her neighbours.

Two new categories have been added to this year's awards, run by the Herefordshire Partnership, of which Herefordshire Council is a member, in conjunction with the Hereford Journal. These are both Community Group Awards for community organizations that have made a difference locally, one for groups with fewer than 10 members and one for groups with more than 10 members. The other categories are:

Herefordshire Entrepreneur Award: Someone who is successful in business, with an innovative approach.
Herefordshire Learner Award: Someone who has learnt new skills or knowledge and uses them in their everyday life or an achiever who may have overcome obstacles to progress.
Herefordshire Courage Award: Someone who in a personal or community capacity has overcome adversity or made the community a safer place by their actions.
Herefordshire Environmental Champion: Someone who has made a difference to the environment in his or her local community.
Herefordshire Adult Carer Award: Someone who looks after or helps others, whether family at home, or in their community.
Herefordshire Young Carer Award: Someone up to 18 years old who looks after or helps others, whether family at home, or in their community.
Herefordshire Health Champion: Someone who has improved people's health and quality of life.

A special awards ceremony will be held in October. Trophies for each of the categories have been designed by artist blacksmith Ambrose Burne for the winners, who will each receive 100. All finalists receive certificates to mark their achievements.

For further details about the awards scheme and how to nominate someone please contact the Herefordshire Partnership on 01432 261751 or log onto the website www.prideofherefordshire.co.uk


IT MIGHT BE PANTS BUT IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE

NHS Herefordshire is stepping up its campaign to encourage women aged between 25 and 39 to get their cervical screening undertaken every three years. Everyone knows that cervical screening (a smear test) is not particularly nice, but cervical screening saves one life in our region every day.

Cervical cancer affects women of all ages but is most common in women aged 30 to 45. Women aged between 25 and 49 are invited for cervical screening every three years and women aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years. The invitation comes to their home in the form of a letter and they are given the choice of where they go for the test. Results are then posted back to their home address.

Janey Lyons, NHS Herefordshire, said, 'The test is very simple and only takes about five minutes. It's done in private at your doctors surgery or local health clinic, and you can ask to see a female doctor or nurse. It's so quick and easy, yet if anything is found in the test, it can usually be treated quickly and painlessly before it develops into something potentially life threatening.'

Prior to the events surrounding Jade Goodie, the number of women taking up their cervical screening offer in Herefordshire was below target, but since Jade's well publicized illness and subsequent death, the number has risen. The primary care trust in Herefordshire is eager to build on this surge of activity and has joined forces with other health providers in the midlands to run an eye-catching poster campaign What's pants, but could save your life? The poster encourages women to contact their doctor or Gaol Street health clinic and make sure their tests are up to date.


CRACK DOWN ON COUNTERFEIT IDENTITY CARDS

Herefordshire Council's licensing unit has been helping to highlight the problem of counterfeit identity cards in the county. Fred Spriggs, one of the council's licensing officers, has been touring pubs and clubs in Hereford with Herefordshire's MP Paul Keetch to raise awareness of the problem.

The issue was initially highlighted by Paul Neades, manager of the The Littern Tree Public House in Commercial Road. Councillor John Jarvis said, 'We received good feedback from landlords who were pleased to see the interest we are showing over the problem of youngsters using counterfeit identity cards. We are now looking at running a training programme for security staff so they are aware of the counterfeit ID cards and know what to look out for. We know a lot of youngsters are downloading these cards from the Internet to get into night clubs and pubs but it is our duty to prevent underage drinking, so we will be working with landlords to stamp out the use of these illegal cards.'


SHOPMOBILITY OPEN DAY IN HEREFORD

Hereford Shopmobility is a great scheme which helps hundreds of shoppers with mobility problems each year to get around the city. On Friday, 15th and Saturday, 16th May an open day is being held at their premises in the Maylord Orchard car park to show what they have to offer.

'The main aim of these days is to help people with a temporary or permanent physical disability, their families, friends and carers to see for themselves what Shopmobility can do to help people with improved access to shopping and other leisure experiences,' said Councillor Glenda Powell, Chairman of the Hereford Shopmobility liaison committee.

'Hereford's Shopmobility scheme has been running since July 1990. We have 20 scooters, nine powered wheelchairs and 12 manual wheelchairs that we loan out free of charge. As well as having regular customers from across the county, we also cater for many visitors to the city, who are extremely grateful for the service which allows them to enjoy what we have on offer. Shopmobility staff and I are proud of the service we provide and we simply want more people to know about us, and how we can help them.'

Jim Lawes, from Herefordshire Access for All, said, 'We're proud to have been in partnership with Hereford City and Herefordshire Council since the beginning of Hereford Shopmobility service. Over the years our fund-raising efforts have fulfilled our commitment to provide, maintain and insure all the vehicles in use and to make certain that a good, reliable fleet has always been available.'

Booking is not necessary for visitors on the open days - just turn up between 9am and 4.45pm. The open days are part of a national awareness event organized by the National Federation of Shopmobility which brings together a network of around 350 Shopmobility schemes. It is estimated that nationally 1.5 million people benefit from Shopmobility schemes on about 3.5 million trips when they spend around 260 million, boosting local economies.


SHOPMOBILITY OPEN DAY IN HEREFORD

Hereford Shopmobility is a great scheme which helps hundreds of shoppers with mobility problems each year to get around the city. On Friday, 15th and Saturday, 16th May an open day is being held at their premises in the Maylord Orchard car park to show what they have to offer.

'The main aim of these days is to help people with a temporary or permanent physical disability, their families, friends and carers to see for themselves what Shopmobility can do to help people with improved access to shopping and other leisure experiences,' said Councillor Glenda Powell, Chairman of the Hereford Shopmobility liaison committee.

'Hereford's Shopmobility scheme has been running since July 1990. We have 20 scooters, nine powered wheelchairs and 12 manual wheelchairs that we loan out free of charge. As well as having regular customers from across the county, we also cater for many visitors to the city, who are extremely grateful for the service which allows them to enjoy what we have on offer. Shopmobility staff and I are proud of the service we provide and we simply want more people to know about us, and how we can help them.'

Jim Lawes, from Herefordshire Access for All, said, 'We're proud to have been in partnership with Hereford City and Herefordshire Council since the beginning of Hereford Shopmobility service. Over the years our fund-raising efforts have fulfilled our commitment to provide, maintain and insure all the vehicles in use and to make certain that a good, reliable fleet has always been available.'

Booking is not necessary for visitors on the open days - just turn up between 9am and 4.45pm. The open days are part of a national awareness event organized by the National Federation of Shopmobility which brings together a network of around 350 Shopmobility schemes. It is estimated that nationally 1.5 million people benefit from Shopmobility schemes on about 3.5 million trips when they spend around 260 million, boosting local economies.


RECORDS OFFICE WILL CLOSE TO THE PUBLIC ON MONDAYS FROM JUNE

From 1st June the county's Records Office in Harold Street will be closed to the public on Mondays, giving staff more time to focus on cataloguing and indexing the wealth of archives at the office. The decision came after consultation with the Friends of the Record Office. However, although the public search room will be closed, researchers will still be able to contact the office by telephone or email. Bookings will be dealt with immediately and requests for information or research will be dealt with on the next day that the office is open.

Councillor June French of Herefordshire Council said, 'The county archives are a wonderful resource not only for the present generation but also for generations to come and we need to ensure the wealth of archive material that we receive every year is properly catalogued and indexed. With the office open to the public five days a week, it has been difficult for staff to devote time to these essential archival works so, after consulting with the Friends of the Record Office, we have decided to close on Mondays for a trial period of six months.

We have chosen Mondays because it is one of the quietest days for visitors and also brings the Record Office's opening hours into line with Hereford Library and museum services together with other counties. The closure will allow staff to use Mondays to focus on background tasks and we will be monitoring the amount of time they are then able to devote to cataloguing, indexing and updating the website.'

The closure on Mondays will be for a six month trial period and will be reviewed following consultation with users.



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