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7th October 2009 NEWS FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION
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CARDS FOR GOOD CAUSES

Cards for Good Causes will begin its 14th season in Ross-on-Wye when the popular charity Christmas card shop opens in Ross Heritage Centre on Tuesday, 3rd November. Deputy Mayor of Ross, Councillor Jo Lane will be officially opening the shop which sells a fantastic range of Christmas cards from over 25 national and local charities at 10:30am and all are welcome to attend.

The Ross-on-Wye charity Christmas card shop is one of a national network of shops and over the last five years the charities have received £20 million from Cards for Good Causes for their Christmas card sales. Because Cards for Good Causes keeps its operating costs to an absolute minimum, charities receive at least 75p in every £1 from their card sales out of which they have to pay for the production and distribution of their cards and any VAT.

The shop will be staffed by volunteers from Herefordshire Voluntary Action group from Ross and district and will be open from Tuesday, 3rd November to 13th December inclusive from 10:30am to 1pm then 1:30pm until 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday each week.

Why not go along and see what Cards for Good Causes has to offer? They always have a lovely range of cards, gifts, tags and wrapping to tempt you and you will be helping your favourite charity at the same time.


Christmas cards for good causes.

RINGMASTER COMES TO HEREFORDSHIRE

A new community messaging service known as Ringmaster will go live in Herefordshire on Friday 9th, October, which will allow police to pass information quickly, cheaply and efficiently to members of the Neighbourhood Watch schemes, businesses and individual households around the county.

The Ringmaster system is used extensively throughout the UK to circulate local policing team messages to communities as well as to broadcast more urgent witness appeals and safety messages such as flooding or missing persons. By visiting the system website at www.herefordshire-community-messaging.org you can see how the system works and a linked database will allow the visitor to self-register, thus saving police staff much time in administration. The delivery system will send messages by email (with attachments if required), text (SMS) messages, and voice messages to nominated mobile and land line phones. There is no cost to the recipient and the scheme is funded by Herefordshire Neighbourhood Watch Association with grants from the National Lottery.

Acting Chief Inspector Bob Barnett from Hereford Police Station, who is now in charge of local policing issues, says there are many benefits to be had from the system and said, 'This system allows us to reach a large number of people across the county in a very short period of time and, using email, at a very low cost. We can not only circulate regular bulletins and the like, but can get important messages to communities quickly if need be, say in the case of a flood or a serious incident. The system becomes more beneficial as more people sign up to it. Thames Valley Police have over 25,000 signed up on their system. With around 76,000 households in Herefordshire, not to mention businesses, agencies and other groups, we could easily match that target.

Ringmaster complements our recently-introduced Bluetooth messaging service, which sends relevant appeals and campaign messages to those with Bluetooth-enabled phones within 100 metres of the transmitter. It also enforces our commitment to use modern communications technology to best effect for the good of our communities.'

So, if you would like to sign up to Herefordshire Police's community messaging service, please visit the website and follow the links to self-register.


HEREFORD TO GET IMPROVED GP SERVICES BY CHRISTMAS

NHS Herefordshire is now set to provide walk-in GP services in Hereford before Christmas. The primary care trust is to open an interim service at the ASDA Health Centre in Hereford, which will enable local people to walk in without an appointment, or pre-book an appointment at any time between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week, including over the Christmas holiday. A permanent, modern new GP-led, walk in health centre, which is likely to be incorporated with the county hospital's accident and emergency department, will replace the temporary service at ASDA when the new facility is completed in the summer next year.

Negotiations between NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Hospitals NHS Trust to site the new facility at the hospital have been progressing strongly. Patients will be able to use the new services whilst remaining registered with their own GP and it is anticipated that it will reduce the high workload of Hereford County Hospital's accident and emergency department. 'Our consultation found that there was strong public support for a new walk in health centre, so we are pleased to be able to offer the service from December this year,' said Dr. Ian Williams, director of integrated commissioning for Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire. 'We are committed to ensuring that local people have more choice, greater convenience and flexible, responsive and accessible services that fit in with their busy lifestyles and specific needs.'

Talks with the hospital were restarted after NHS Herefordshire secured £1.5 million in Government money to build a state of the art, fully equipped health centre. If successful, the new hospital site will supersede a planning application to place the centre within the grounds of the Stonebow Unit, which is situated very close to the county hospital.


LOCAL PEOPLE WANT BUTTER MARKET REVAMPED IN VICTORIAN STYLE

Hereford's iconic Buttermarket should be refurbished in traditional Victorian style and promote more of the food and drink produced in the county. This is the view of the majority of local people who took part in the council survey on the future of the landmark building.

Nearly 1000 people made their views known by completing questionnaires distributed to shops and businesses, libraries and information centres, and taking part in an online survey. Nearly two thirds favoured a traditional Victorian interior, while 17 per cent preferred a more modern style. Almost all the responses, 95 per cent, were from people who live in Herefordshire, half of which visit the market about once a week. Most people spend £5 or less each visit. Herefordshire Council wants to increase the numbers of visitors, the frequency of visits and the amount they spend in the Butter Market and surrounding businesses in High Town and the City centre.

The council sees the improvement of the interior of the Butter Market as key to its plans to support the historic core of the city as a destination for shoppers, visitors and tourists. An upgrading of the interior market, which started trading in the city in 1860 in butter, cheese and other dairy products, would help underpin the future of independent shops in the city centre, along with other markets. The survey found that shoppers are more likely to buy fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and game, bread, cakes and dairy products in a refurbished Butter Market.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw said, 'People love the Butter Market but feel it could be improved and made more attractive, particularly as a focal point for the sale of locally produced products and services in a traditional Victorian setting. The council agrees strongly that this landmark building needs to be safeguarded, promoted and polished as 'the jewel in the crown' for High Town. This is an integral part of the council's overall vision for enhancing Hereford as a shopping experience and we are looking forward to discussing with traders and other groups how we might move forward to act on the results of the consultation.'

The council is also developing a new look to adjacent Widemarsh Street in the city centre, which is a key gateway to the Butter Market. The pedestrian friendly route will encourage visitors to the city to move between the historic core and the new retail and leisure development.


An artist's impression of how the Butter Market would have looked in Victorian times.

PART TIME 20MPH SPEED LIMIT COMING TO WALFORD

Following the success of a part time 20mph speed limit outside Sutton St. Nicholas Primary School, the Department of Transport have endorsed Herefordshire Council's plans to adopt a scheme for Walford and Madley primary schools. The part-time limits, which will be indicated by signs with flashing lights will be in place for an experimental 18-month period, during which people are asked to comment on how successful they are. Herefordshire Council monitors the effectiveness of speed limits before seeking to make them permanent.

Councillor Brian Wilcox said, 'These part time signs will only operate at school opening and closing times. Flashing lights will warn motorists they need to slow down but, outside of school times, the limit will rise to the existing speed limits, helping to ensure traffic can keep flowing and prevent motorists from getting frustrated. We also want to encourage as many pupils as possible to walk and cycle to school. This 20mph limit will allow them to do this more safely as it will slow traffic when pupils are travelling to and from school.

Walford and Madley were chosen for the scheme following consultation with the schools through the council's Safer Routes to Schools' Initiative. It is planned to make the schemes operational by 6th November.


PARENTS INVITED TO APPLY FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL PLACES

The county's high schools are busy organizing open evenings and events as Herefordshire Council invites parents of year six children to apply for secondary school places for September 2010. Those due to start at secondary school, amounting to approximately 1900 children, will be looking around schools, meeting some of the staff and finding out what sort of facilities are available, before listing their three top schools in order of preference.

If parents put as their preference the school that serves their catchment area, then they usually get offered this school, but sometimes parents wish to send their children to a school outside this area. This academic year (2009-10) nearly 95 percent were allocated their first choice of school, with a further 4.3 percent getting a place at their second or third choice. These are some of the highest percentages in the country and are indicative of the current reduction in pupil numbers. Parents have received a pack through their child's primary school, which contains an information booklet telling them about admissions and transfers to schools in Herefordshire. The pack also contains an application form and dates for school open evenings, although applications may be made online via the council's web site.

Councillor Philip Price, cabinet member for ICT, education and performance, said, 'We understand that choosing the right high school is a major event in a child's life. Herefordshire is fortunate to have some of the best schools in the country - all our schools are good and an increasing amount of children are being allocated their first choice of school. It is important that parents and carers take time to visit schools, preferably with their child to find out whether the school and its ethos is right for them. They also need to consider other factors such as transporting their children to and from school and dealing with after school clubs and facilities, particularly if they choose a school out of catchment.'

The closing date for Herefordshire secondary school applications is Friday, 6th November. Herefordshire Council employs a choice adviser who can help families discuss options and go through the procedures for applying for places. They can be contacted on 01432 260999.


JESSE HIGHLIGHTS DECADE OF NEGLECT OF FARMING

Local campaigner and prospective MP Jesse Norman has highlighted a 'decade of neglect' of farming at the first full hustings for the next General Election. The hustings, which were hosted by the National Farmers Union at the Harewood End Inn, featured Jesse alongside Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP candidates and a speaker for the Greens. All five candidates discussed issues such as the spread of bovine TB, the economic recession, GM foods, rural housing and the impact of supermarkets. The event was deftly chaired by former county NFU Chairman David Morgan.

Commenting afterwards, Jesse said, 'This excellent event really highlighted what a decade of neglect our farmers have been through. We have had the rural payments fiasco, the release of foot and mouth disease from the government's own labs, and a huge failure to drive through reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, to name just three things. Bovine TB has gone through the roof, the major supermarkets have ever more control over the food chain, and rural incomes and housing remain low.

The government has been chasing votes in the cities, not governing the country as a whole. All in all, Labour has been a terrible blight on the agricultural economy, and on Herefordshire.'


Conservative candidate, Jesse with Felicity Norman, (Greens) Valentine Smith, (UKIP) Sarah Carr, (Lib-Dem) David Morgan, (NFU) and Philippa Roberts, (Labour).

SEE GINO D'ACAMPO AT HEREFORDSHIRE FOOD FESTIVAL 2009

A Herefordshire Food Festival is now widely recognized as one of the biggest and best food festivals in the UK and this year will take place at Hereford Racecourse from Saturday 24th to Sunday, 25th October. The two-day programme of events is aimed at everyone, from 'gastro tourists' through to family groups, and will feature popular TV chef Gino D'Acampo. There will be two food demonstration areas, a slow food section, a secure children's area where they can have fun with food, and plenty of opportunities for grown-ups to 'try and buy' some of the region's finest local produce over one mouth-watering weekend. To reduce food miles, free transport is being offered from Hereford Railway station to the racecourse.

Born in Napoli, D'Acampo inherited his grandfather's love of cooking and entered the Luigi de Medici Catering College at the age of thirteen. He graduated with masters and continued to develop his skills through the kitchens of restaurants in Europe, including Perignon in Nice and as Head Chef at Sylvester Stallone's Mambo King in Marbella. He arrived in England in 1995 where he worked at The Orchard Restaurant in Hampstead and the Cambio Restaurant in Guildford. Gino is now the owner of a leading supplier of Italian ingredients to the UK food industry (Bontà Italia Ltd); and has appeared on UK TV Food, as a guest on Great Food Live, Saturday Kitchen, and Ready Steady Cook. Visitors to the Herefordshire Food Festival will be able to see Gino in action in The Celebrity Food Theatre, preparing some exquisite dishes using local produce. Tickets for this can be booked in advance, on-line.

Local chefs and 'Young Chef' competition winners will be demonstrating their culinary skills in The Food Theatre, whilst more than 100 local producers will be on hand to talk to people who are passionate about food in the nearby Food Pavilion. Other highlights for 'foodies' will include Passionate About Fish - aimed at tempting the crowds with everything from fish filleting to preparing mouth-watering dishes. There will also be a bustling farmers' market and displays by both the Marcher Apple Network and Beekeepers Association, which are local groups of enthusiasts who are keen to share their knowledge of the history of the old variety of apple and pear orchards in the county as well as the role of the bees in pollinating the orchards.

Family groups meanwhile, will be kept busy by numerous food craft activities for children and by a food adventure trail. The organizers have also booked The Panic Circus to entertain the younger visitors to this year's Food Festival. Offering entertainment for all ages in The Big Top, The Panic Circus will let youngsters try their hands at circus skills, without the animals!

The Food Festival will also mark the conclusion of the 11th annual Flavours of Herefordshire awards scheme, which recognizes and rewards the use and promotion of local produce. Further details can be found at www.visitherefordshire.co.uk.


GET FREE ADVICE ON CUTTING YOUR HOUSEHOLD FUEL BILLS

Herefordshire Council is holding a special event in Hereford's High Town on Wednesday, 21st October, to offer county residents advice on how to reduce their fuel bills. Members of the council's sustainability unit and private sector housing team will be working with local lighting distributor, City Electrics, to offer advice on reducing bills as well as giving out free low energy light bulbs and selling them at discounted prices.

Councillor Phil Cutter, Herefordshire Council's Energy Champion said, 'With fuel prices forecast to keep on rising, changing over to low energy light bulbs before the clocks go back makes perfect sense. These bulbs last up to 15,000 hours or 15 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs and also use 80 per cent less energy than traditional bulbs with savings of up to £60 over the lifetime of an energy saving bulb.

We are holding this event as part of Energy Efficiency Week, which starts on 19th October and will also provide advice to residents on other areas of energy efficiency in the home and a range of grants that are available to carry out measures such as loft insulation. Our libraries also have energy display monitors available which can be loaned for free and these really help people see where energy is being wasted in their homes through leaving appliances on standby or lights on in empty rooms.

I would urge everyone who struggles to pay their fuel bills to come along to this event and get tips on simple measures which will not only save them money but also help to reduce their impact on the environment and tackle climate change.'


BENEFITS CHEAT GIVEN 12 MONTH COMMUNITY ORDER

A Hereford woman who admitted falsely claiming £14,500 in benefits was given a 12-month community order when she appeared at Hereford Crown Court. His Honour, Judge Richard Rundell told Selina Forsyth, 26, of 9 Oak Road, Credenhill, 'Your children need you more than the system requires you to serve a short prison sentence.'

Alex Greenwood, prosecuting on behalf of Herefordshire Council said that Forsyth failed to mention that a Neil Aspey lived with her at two separate addresses, one in Burghill and one in Almeley, with a view to obtaining benefit under the Social Security legislation. Four other matters, relating to a further £37,500 claimed while at an address in Hereford were left to lie on the file.


SARAH CONSULTS YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE FUTURE OF HEREFORDSHIRE

Sarah Carr, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire has published the results of a ballot of what facilities young people want in Herefordshire.

Three hundred and eighty two students from Hereford Sixth Form, Herefordshire College of Technology and Hereford College of Arts took part in the vote at the 'Stuff for Students Freshers Fair' held in September at Hereford Sixth Form College. Two thirds of those asked highlighted the need for improved leisure facilities; such as a live music venue, multiplex cinema or an ice rink.

Sarah said, 'Young people are our future and they must also be consulted on plans for the future of Herefordshire. It is interesting that whilst talking to the students at the Freshers Fair, all preferred better leisure facilities rather than a shopping centre on the Edgar Street Grid Area in Hereford. Many people are concerned that so many young people choose to move away from Herefordshire after education. The Edgar Street Grid space could offer facilities that young people want for them to choose to live in Herefordshire. On Thursday, 8th October the Edgar Street Grid will be the subject of Hereford Sixth Form's Debate Society and I am delighted to be one of the panellists, taking questions and listening to the views of young people.'

Sarah is also currently conducting a survey of the thousands of young people aged 18-25 who currently live in Herefordshire. If you have not received a survey and would like a copy please email Sarah on info@sarahcarr.org.uk.


Sarah with some of Hereford's sixth form students.

COUNCIL INVITES NEW MARKET TRADERS

Herefordshire Council is calling on local entrepreneurs to trade on the county's outdoor retail markets that operate in Hereford, Leominster and Ross-on-Wye and indoor venues at Hereford Butter Market and Kington Market Hall.

'There are opportunities for local people to become market traders and be an integral part of this exciting retail experience,' said Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, cabinet member for markets, fairs and street trading. The Council will provide the venue, the entrepreneur the stock. The council's market team can provide the stall where applicable and can give advice on how to become a market trader, but it will be up to the entrepreneur to ascertain the type of stock they want to sell, in agreement with the council, and the personal commitment to trade on a regular basis. Many local market traders have gone on to create a successful thriving business from such grass roots beginnings.

'The council is committed to promoting this initiative to Herefordshire people as it will give an opportunity for the county to benefit from increased local economic and local employment opportunities,' added Councillor Blackshaw. 'There must be local people out there who have innovative ideas, can commit to long hours and be their own boss.'

For further information about this opportunity, please contact Richard Ross on 01432 261934.


LOCAL SERVICES BOOSTED BY SUCCESSFUL FUNDING BID

Herefordshire's migrant and seasonal workers are to benefit from a boost in local support services thanks to a successful bid made by Herefordshire Council. Working with colleagues in neighbouring Worcestershire, the council has been awarded £258,600 from the Migration Impact Fund, with promises of further funding next year.

The government introduced the Migration Impact Fund earlier this year alongside an announcement about the significant long term benefits migration brought to the UK economy which will be vital to ensuring the UK's economic recovery. The fund was developed in recognition that migration can place short term pressures on local public services including councils, schools, NHS and the police. As a result, economic migrants and students coming to the UK from outside the EU are now charged a levy in addition to their normal visa application fee which forms the Migration Impact Fund. The fund will mean that migrants are being asked to pay an additional contribution to that which they already make through taxes, to support the communities in which they live.

Gaining access to services has proved difficult for many people who are new to the county. Research indicates that many migrant workers do not know how to register with a GP or who to contact with housing concerns. Access to English language courses can be difficult and with more than 500 children in the county not having English as their first language, some schools struggle to provide the support needed.

To help migrant workers integrate into the local community, sources of help and support need to be accessible: some need assistance with form filling, getting their child a place at school or nursery, accessing medical services or understanding their rights and how to assert them in relation to housing and other issues. The local funding will pay for projects which will focus on helping schools support the needs of children who need language assistance, providing emergency support for those who become unemployed and need to return home, and exploring alternative ways of delivering basic education in order to address gaps. Translators are becoming increasingly essential to newcomers who are trying to access services and settle in to new communities. To improve local translation and interpreting services in Herefordshire, the fund will also pay for a number of bespoke courses to allow local people to train as interpreters. More follows In addition, there will be some money to spend on a project worker to pull all the projects together and monitor effectiveness, and some money earmarked for groups in the voluntary sector working on community integration projects.

Carol Trachonitis, equality and diversity manager said, 'We are delighted to have been awarded this money. It came in recognition of the work Herefordshire Council has already done in managing the transitional impacts of migration. The grant has come from a migrant worker levy collected nationally and is not funded by local or national taxation. It is imperative that people working in our county have access to key services such as health, education and housing. We also want to make sure that they become part of the local communities they live in and enjoy rich social and cultural experiences. Thanks to the success of our bid, we will be able to deliver some significant projects which will build the county's capacity to provide help and support for migrant workers both now and in the future.'


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