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9th September 2009 NEWS FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION
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TEMPORARY CHARITY SHOP WAS A HUGE SUCCESS

A temporary Charity Shop was organized by Iris Price, June Pearce and Joyce Thomas MBE-DL at 44, High Street which was open throughout August and closed last week. The shop resulted in a considerable boost of funds for two local charities as well as the national charity 'Help for Heroes.' £2150 was raised for the Larruperz Centre to improve their sound equipment, £2004 for improvements to the playground at Ross Pre-school Playgroup and, because of many generous cash donations, £2320 was raised for 'Help for Heroes' in just 8 days.

Iris Price said it had been a very rewarding time. She was really pleased with this outcome and extremely grateful to Mr Nigel Lewis, the owner of the property, and everyone who had contributed to this wonderful result. Joyce Thomas said it had been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved with this venture, especially during the 8 days for 'Help for Heroes' when she had heard emotional stories from family members of the armed forces and many people had expressed sincere gratitude for what the shop was doing. The charity shop was hugely successful and the generosity of people was a humbling experience, raising £2320 in just 8 days.

Iris said, 'We are also very grateful to Ross Labels for encouraging us to have a day’s collection there for 'Help for Heroes'. It was fabulous, £554.12 was raised. We greatly admire Charlotte Reynolds, Jess Teague and their team for having the initiative to launch and campaign to raise funds for our heroes. We wish them every success for their coming ball and auction in October.'


Iris Price presents a cheque to Charlotte Reynolds and team watched by Joyce Thomas and Mayor Edwards. Photo by John Buller.

GRANTS AVAILABLE TO HELP WITH MANAGEMENT OF ORCHARDS

With autumn fast approaching, now is the time to start thinking about management of orchards and hedgerows and Herefordshire Council's Countryside Service is offering cash grants towards work and projects that will enhance the landscape, bio diversity and countryside character of rural Herefordshire. Grants can support planting and gapping up of standard orchards and hedgerow management - planting, gapping-up and laying.

James Bisset, principal countryside officer said, 'The Landscape Enhancement Grants are non-statutory and are funded by Herefordshire Council with a maximum claim of £500 per applicant. I am pleased to announce that we have also just successfully secured some additional funding for the next two years which specifically supports the planting of hedgerows with hedgerow trees through the Tree Council's 'Hedge Fund' which is being supported by Stella Artois. This means that we can support even more projects in the county and help to restore and improve these important wildlife corridors.'

A leaflet with full details of the scheme, conditions of grants and an application form is available to download at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/landscapegrants or can be obtained by contacting James Bisset on 01432 260250. Grants are allocated on a first come, first served basis so early application is recommended and all grant offers made must be claimed by 14th February 2010.

Please note that these grants will not cover projects within either the Malvern Hills or Wye Valley Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) as the AONB units are running their own schemes this year.


150,000 MOTORCYCLISTS COULD BE FORCED OFF THE ROAD BY 2013

New restrictive EU regulations could take 150,000 British motorcyclists off the road over the next four years, by preventing learners from riding unless accompanied by an instructor.

So far the UK has had an opt-out from the EU's Third Driving Licence Directive, which has allowed learners to ride smaller motorbikes alone. Now the European Commission has announced that this opt-out will no longer apply from 2013. The likely results will be to prevent many people from learning to ride motorcycles, to increase traffic congestion, to reduce safety and to undermine the motorcycle industry in the UK. The new regulation comes in the same EU legislation that required a crash test at 50 kph, or 31 mph--higher than the urban speed limit of 30 mph in the UK, and reportedly requiring the government to spend as much as £71 million on new test centres.

Local Conservative candidate Jesse Norman met last week in Ross-on-Wye to discuss the position with Councillor Gordon Lucas, owner of Lucas Motorcycles since 1946, and Philip Bradbourn MEP, who has been fighting the new regulation in the European Parliament. Commenting afterwards Philip Bradbourn said, 'This pointless and bureaucratic legislation will cause real problems for motorcycle enthusiasts in the UK,' to which Jesse added, 'I myself am more of a cyclist than a biker. But the point isn't just that this is a bad piece of legislation. It is that the EU should not be legislating in this area at all. The EU should be focussing on improving the common market, opening up agriculture, and getting its own financial house in order after all the recent scandals. Instead we get yet another unnecessary, intrusive and damaging piece of Euro legislation.'


Philip Bradbourn MEP with Jesse Norman and Gordon Lucas.

COUNTY COMPANIES OFFERED A BOOST

At a time when the credit crunch is nibbling away at companies' potential to grow, Herefordshire Council is offering grants to help local businesses ride the recession. The council has secured funding which means it can offer grants to help local businesses diversify and develop their staff with new skills.

'The council is acutely aware of the important role the many small and medium sized businesses in Herefordshire play in the county's economy,' said Councillor Adrian Blackshaw. ' "During this current economic climate, news of these grants will come as a welcome boost to help local firms fight the downturn, seek new markets as they diversify and invest in the training of staff to give them new skills and qualifications.'

There are two types of grants on offer: The 'business booster' grant scheme supports the growth or diversification of existing micro, small and medium sized businesses. Grants will be available to support a range of initiatives including research and development, marketing, product development and diversification. Successful applications will be offered a grant of between £250 and £5,000, which will have to be match-funded by the applicant. Natalia Silver from Herefordshire Council explains, 'This scheme is designed to help develop a diverse and dynamic business base in Herefordshire by contributing to the creation of new market opportunities, helping businesses, to make a significant change in their development and encouraging innovation, diversification and workforce development.

The second grant is the 'training voucher' which provides financial support for businesses to send employees on training that will make a difference to the viability or diversification of the business. This can include support for new starters, personal development, vocational / specialist training or enabling employees to move to a new role. This is particularly suitable for training a group of staff or for more innovative training approaches.'

Successful businesses applying to the scheme will be offered a training voucher up to a maximum of £750, which will have to be match-funded by the applicant. Councillor Blackshaw said, 'These are difficult times for local businesses and I hope that as many as possible get in touch with the council to discuss these grants. The county's economy relies so much on the success of these small to medium sized companies and we want to see them succeed and flourish. These grants will go some way to help them beat the recession and come out the other side with new markets to explore and trained staff to help them be innovative and adaptable.'

Anybody who is interested in exploring the grants for their business should contact the council's economic development team on 01432 383633.


SARAH SUPPORTS CALL FOR £6,000 PAY RISE FOR LOWEST PAID TROOPS

Sarah Carr, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire, is strongly supporting Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg's proposals to increase the pay of the lowest-paid troops by £6,000 a year. The proposals, which would mean that no service personnel in the Army, Navy or RAF would receive less basic annual pay than a new Entrant police constable or development level fire-fighter, would be funded within the MoD's existing budget.

Sarah said, 'Every day, the news is full of stories of brave service men and women who consistently risk life and limb in Afghanistan. The duty that our service personnel do, including many from Herefordshire, is one that they do in the face of huge risk and uncertainty. Yet despite putting their lives on the line every day, our troops are paid a pittance. This is why I wholeheartedly support Nick Clegg's call for a £6000 pay increase for our lowest paid soldiers, sailors and airmen. I have no doubt that the people of Herefordshire will agree with me when I say that our service men and women deserve a greater reward for what they do. Those dedicated to serving in our armed forces should not have to bear the low wages they are paid in addition to the dangers they face on the front line.'


Sarah Carr at the Help for Heroes stand at Ross Market House on Saturday.

GOODRICH SCHOOL TO GET INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL AWARD

Goodrich Primary School is welcoming seventeen new four year olds through its doors this term, who will, no doubt soon learn what a special school they will belong to. In the last academic year, Goodrich school received an outstanding report from OFSTED and the school's achievements under the leadership of Head Teacher, Tony Griffiths do not stop there.

Being a Church of England School, Goodrich underwent a National Society Statutory Inspection Of Anglican Schools and everybody is delighted and proud of the inspector's findings, the main conclusions drawn being that the distinctiveness and effectiveness of Goodrich as a Church of England School are outstanding. The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is outstanding at meeting the needs of all learners. The impact of collective worship in the school community is outstanding, as is the effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school.

The staff are also delighted to hear that they are to be awarded the British Council Full International School Award 2009, which recognizes all the work that the staff and students are involved in, both in the UK and overseas. The award accredited for three years from 1st September 2009 to 31st August 2012. The trophy is to be presented to the school at a national presentation event in London by TV presenter, George Alagiah, on 16th October.


LIONS DUCK RACE 2009

Compared to Ross Carnival Day, the River Wye was like a duck pond on Saturday, 26th August and Ross Lions made the most of it by releasing over 1500 plastic ducks onto the water for their annual duck race. The ducks were launched from the bank opposite the Hope and Anchor Public House, and the few onlookers who were there watched them slowly move downstream towards the finishing rope.

In the meantime, as it was such a lovely day, it seemed hundreds of canoes were launched from the ramp in the middle of the race course. Some thoughtless canoeists paddled right through the ducks but it made no difference to the race. Helpers from PGL picked up the winning duck which belonged to Mrs P Marshall of Gorsley who won £150, second placed was Mr G Andrews of Ross-on-Wye who won £100 and in third place was Mr D Cross-Bates of Ross-on-Wye who received £50. The prizes have been presented.

The Ross Lions would like to thank PGL and the Ross Rowing Club for the assistance they provided on the day.


Undaunted by the oncoming canoeist, the ducks head downstream to the finishing line. Photo supplied by Ross Lions.

ARCHIVE CHART TOPPERS TO GO ON DISPLAY

Herefordshire Council's archive service is 50 years old this year and to help mark the celebrations, staff at the record office have put on a display of their own personal 'chart toppers' from a catalogue comprising nearly two miles of records. Favourites include a beautifully illustrated letter from John Arkwright of Hampton Court, the watercolour sketches of James Wathen showing Hereford in the eighteenth century and an account of a saucy case heard at the Bishop's court.

The record office in Harold Street, Hereford is responsible for a host of microfilm, books, parchment, maps and electronic databases and indexes in a secure environment. This large slice of county heritage is available for use by local people interested in local or family history or to support schools or higher education in following the national curriculum or specific research.

The council's chief archivist, Elizabeth Semper O'Keefe said, 'We are usually so busy helping researchers find documents that we rarely get a chance to reflect on our own favourites. Our selection reflects the wide diversity of tastes among the staff and the varied richness of the archives in our care.'

The display at the record office will continue until the end of September. Visitors will be encouraged to explore the archives and discover their own favourites. For further information, contact the service on 01432 260 750.


GOODRICH SCHOOL TO GET INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL AWARD

Goodrich Primary School is welcoming seventeen new four year olds through its doors this term, who will, no doubt soon learn what a special school they will belong to. In the last academic year, Goodrich school received an outstanding report from OFSTED and the school's achievements under the leadership of Head Teacher, Tony Griffiths do not stop there.

Being a Church of England School, Goodrich underwent a National Society Statutory Inspection Of Anglican Schools and everybody is delighted and proud of the inspector's findings, the main conclusions drawn being that the distinctiveness and effectiveness of Goodrich as a Church of England School are outstanding. The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is outstanding at meeting the needs of all learners. The impact of collective worship in the school community is outstanding, as is the effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school.

The staff are also delighted to hear that they are to be awarded the British Council Full International School Award 2009, which recognizes all the work that the staff and students are involved in, both in the UK and overseas. The award accredited for three years from 1st September 2009 to 31st August 2012. The trophy is to be presented to the school at a national presentation event in London by TV presenter, George Alagiah, on 16th October.


ROSS-ON-WYE - KEEPING TRADE FAIR

Members of the Fairtrade town steering group were delighted to hear at their meeting on Monday, 7th September that Ross-on-Wye's fairtrade town status has been granted by the FairTrade Foundation and that the certificate had been received that morning.

The Foundation has congratulated the group on their achievement and thanked all the local people who have been involved in this initiative. They were particularly impressed at the number of independent retailers in the town who are selling products with the fairtrade logo and with our excellent media coverage. Ross people are definitely concerned that workers and producers of the goods we buy are not treated unfairly and are able to have a decent standard of living. A booklet, entitled 'Goods for the Future' is available from the council offices and lists the town's retailers who stock local, organic and ethical products as well as fairtrade ones.

The group is delighted that Ross now has this status, but this is not the end of the story. They plan to meet again on Tuesday, 29th September at 7pm at the Quaker Meeting House when they will be planning a programme of celebratory events. They are inviting anyone to the meeting who is interested in joining them, especially if you have good ideas for unusual events to interest those who do not yet know about Fairtrade.

If you would like further information about this or you have any questions you wish to raise, please contact Jane Roberts at janedoroberts@tiscali.co.uk or telephone her on 01989 563299.


Members of Ross-on-Wye Fairtrade steering group, delighted that the town has been awarded Fairtrade Town status.

A MOVE TO IMPROVE SERVICES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Herefordshire Council's cabinet will consider proposed improvements to the way services for young people are provided across the county when it meets this coming Thursday. Cabinet members will be asked to build on the council's progress in supporting young people who are not in employment, education or training by bringing together its services with those delivered by the independently run Herefordshire and Worcestershire Connexions company. If approved, staff and services provided by Connexions in Herefordshire will transfer to the council in April 2010.

Connexions provides information, advice and guidance for young people aged 13-19 on a range of issues. Careers advice, managing money and relationships, health and well being and making the right exam choices are just some of the issues Connexions advisers help young people with. The role is a statutory one and at the moment, the council commissions Connexions to deliver the service on its behalf. It is proposed that the Herefordshire elements of the Connexions service are brought into the local authority and integrated within the reorganized children and young people's directorate. The new service will need to extend to cover the 11-19 age range.

Similar arrangements are being made across the country in response to a national decision made by central government to cease the current Connexions establishments from April 2010. The council is exploring the possibility of acquiring the Connexions drop-in facility in the centre of Hereford, which has proved to be a popular resource. Consultees, including young people, have said they wish to see the drop-in facility retained.

Kathy Roberts, Assistant Director said, 'Herefordshire is making good progress in delivering services to young people: our numbers of young people not in employment, education or training is low, participation in post-17 education is high, targeted youth work is helping more vulnerable young people and we have successful arrangements in place for those who drop out of the education system. The council already provides many services for this age group and by bringing the Connexions service into the council we will be able to integrate our work further, reducing duplication and providing high quality, seamless services for our young people.'

The transfer is planned to work alongside changes of duties and resources of the Learning and Skills Council, which supports and funds education and work-based learning for young people aged 16 plus, to the local authority from April 2010. Staff and users of the service were consulted in June this year. If approved by cabinet, the Connexions staff will transfer to the council, retaining existing working relationships between schools and personal advisers and providing continuity for young people. Eventually, the services provided will be delivered from three new locality based areas of the county which will provide integrated multi-agency services for children, young people and families. Cabinet members will receive feedback from the consultation process and discuss the alternative option of tendering the service before they make their decision on Thursday, 10th September.


THEFT OF PURSE IN CHARITY SHOP

Ross on Wye Police are appealing for witnesses after an elderly woman had her purse stolen from her handbag in a charity shop in the town. The incident happened between 11.30am and noon on Tuesday, 1st September when the 81-year old victim from Gloucester was shopping for some pottery in the Westlea Animal Rescue shop in Brookend Street.

Whilst browsing, she felt someone behind her push or brush past her. She removed her bag from her shoulder and held it in her hand. When she went to pay for her goods, her purse was found to be missing from the bag. The purse contained various cards and about £110 in cash.

Police would like to hear from anyone who was in the shop at the time or saw any suspicious activity in the vicinity of the shop. If you have any information which can help, please contact PC Chris Smith of Ross Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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