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3rd February 2010 NEWS FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION
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GRAFFITI SPRAYED ON CAR AND HOUSE IN ROSS ON WYE

Police in Ross-on-Wye are appealing for information after a car and a house were sprayed with red paint by a vandal.

On Sunday, 17th January the length of a car in River View was sprayed with what appears to be a graffiti 'tag'. An identical tag was also sprayed on the side of a house nearby in Nursery Road.

Police would like to hear from anybody who saw the damage being done or who may recognize the tag of the offender.

Anybody with any information that can help should contact PC Andrea Morris at Ross Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.


Ross Graffiti tag.

MEETING PLANNED TO SAVE TUDORVILLE YOUTH CENTRE

A campaign to save the Tudorville Youth Centre from closure is being launched by the local community association and a public meeting is to be held at the Centre on Saturday, 13th February, starting at 2 p.m. and local residents will be invited to give their views on proposals to save the Centre and put it on a secure footing for the future.

Colin Gray, chairman of the Tudorville Community Association, warned that if nothing was done the Centre would face closure in March and probably be knocked down. To avoid this happening it is proposed to approach the Herefordshire Council to hand over ownership of the Centre to the Community Association for a nominal sum. In return the association would provide a commitment to use the Centre in a responsible manner for the benefit of the local community. That would require more volunteers to strengthen the Community Association and the adoption of a business plan aimed at running the Centre as a viable business like other community centres and village halls in neighbouring districts.

Antony Lowther, and Councillor John Edwards, of the Ross Sports & Leisure Federation, have volunteered their support for the plan, which they believe will work well provided there is sufficient backing from the local residents. Councillor Edwards said the Federation was worried that there was already a shortfall in the provision of adequate sports and leisure activities in Ross, especially for the younger generation. It would be a disaster if the Tudorville Centre ceased to exist.

Mr Lowther said his experience with the Whitchurch Village Hall provided a model for what could be achieved with hard work from volunteers, committed to helping the local community. Although the Tudorville Centre needed some maintenance and repair work there was already some grant money available and a stable future could be achieved by matching expenditures with income generated by users of the Centre.

Herefordshire Council's Youth Service has decided that the Tudorville Centre is no longer suitable for its purposes and the Council estimates that it would cost over £220,000 in repairs and modernization, which is it not prepared to spend. However, it is believed the Council would not like to see the Centre closed down and would welcome the running costs being taken over by someone else on behalf of the local community.

Colin Gray noted that in order to agree to hand over ownership of the Centre, Herefordshire Council had to be convinced that there was sufficient support from the local community to run it properly. Local residents joining the Association, would be responsible for day to day control of running the Centre for the benefit of the local community. It was vital, therefore, that local residents came to the meeting on 13th February in large numbers to demonstrate their support, strengthen the Association and give their views on the proposed rescue plan. It was a real case of 'use it or lose it' he declared.

For further information, contact Colin Gray on 01989 567995.


WARTIME CHRISTMAS MEMORIES WIN MARGARET FIRST PRIZE

Age Concern Ross-on-Wye and District are pleased to announce the winners of their second 'Seasonal Scribbles' Christmas Writing competition for which competitors were asked to submit a poem or short story on the subject of A Taste of Christmas.

First prize went to Margaret Wilce for her piece, 'Wartime Christmas Memories.' Barbara Burden took second prize for 'A Christmas Poem,' and Stephanie Presee received the third prize for 'Mulled Love.' Colemans stationers, Ross Books, and Field Fayre kindly donated the prizes. All entrants were invited to Ross Heritage Centre on 28th January, where Mayor, Councillor John Edwards presented the winners with their prizes. All entries will be on public display until the end of February.

Two Age Concern projects, the Rural Enabling and Accessing Programme (REAP), funded by Age Concern England, and the Step Across Project, funded by The Big Lottery, worked together to launch the competition. The projects aim to strengthen community links in Ross and the surrounding rural area through a variety of activities. These currently include five exercise groups in the Ross area and the Visage social club.

For information about Age Concern and the services they offer, please call 01989 567165.


Margaret is presented with her prize by Ross Mayor, Councillor John Edwards.

Stephanie is presented with her prize by Ross Mayor, Councillor John Edwards.

Members of Age Concern with the Mayor.

RESIDENTS WARNED OF COUNCIL TAX REBATE SCAM

Herefordshire Council are warning residents to be on their guard after receiving reports fraudsters telephoning local residents, informing them they are due for a rebate on their council tax - if they would just let them have their bank details. The warning comes after a local woman received a bogus call saying that her council tax banding was being reduced.

The resident received a call from someone who gave her name as Margaret and told her that there was a one off fee of £39.99 for her council tax to be reduced. She then put the lady through to a man who took her bank details. She did not catch the man's name. When the call was finished she dialed1471 and got the 'caller withheld their number' message. The resident called Herefordshire Council to check and was advised to contact her bank urgently to explain what had happened, and to inform the police. Similar warnings have already been issued from Newcastle to Portsmouth, as variations on the scam are growing across the country.

'No council would ever contact a resident in this manner on such issues,' said Mike Toney, head of the council's benefits and exchequers service, 'and we would never ask for your bank details over the phone to make refunds. Homeowners are asked to please remain alert to scams designed to find out your bank details and if possible, keep a close eye on vulnerable older family members or neighbours.'


MORE TIME SPENT ON CARING FOR PATIENTS

Ward nurses and assistants in the county's community hospitals are now able to spend more time directly caring for patients. The Releasing More Time to Care programme is all part of an initiative led by NHS Herefordshire, which is being rolled out to wards at Leominster, Bromyard and Ross Community Hospitals, Hillside Intermediate Care Centre and Cantilupe Ward at the Stonebow Unit.

The first stage of the programme, which was devised by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, has seen staff observing and recording the work of ward nurses and assistants minute-by-minute over an entire shift of either eight or twelve hours. This information is then analysed to identify where time can be saved through rearranging or changing systems, processes and the working environment.

At Bromyard Community Hospital, more than an hour and 22 minutes has been saved each day by reorganizing filing systems, workstations and store cupboards to make essential, daily processes more efficient. The team believes that it can save more time by making other changes to their environment, which can then be spent with patients. Patient feedback at all five sites included in the programme has been positive about the improvements that have been made. Forty six staff and visitors recently held an event to share their experiences of the programme so far at which matrons, ward staff, programme support team and managers showcased the good work being undertaken around the county to colleagues and NHS West Midlands.

The programme is funded by NHS West Midlands and Herefordshire's good practice is being shared with other primary care trusts in the region. Future work will focus on patient involvement, medicines, meals, admission and discharge processes, hand over and multidisciplinary team working. The new ways of working will become part of everyday business.

Richard Carroll, interim managing director of provider services said, 'This is an innovative and exciting programme that the staff have put a lot of effort into, resulting in real benefits for our patient care. I am delighted that even at a relatively early stage the benefits are already being demonstrated. Such is the success of this programme we are actively looking to see if we can roll it out to our community services. The staff are to be congratulated on the results they have already achieved and I am sure more benefits will follow as the programme continues.'

Anne Harris, programme manager, added, 'The success of the programme so far is down to the enthusiasm and hard work of the staff. They want to be able to spend more time on patient care and one way to do this is by making our essential processes and systems even more efficient. We are already saving hours and minutes and that is just the beginning.'


JESSE BACKS PLANS TO ROLL OUT FAST BROADBAND IN RURAL AREAS

Jesse reviews local broadband trial.

Local parliamentary candidate Jesse Norman has strongly backed a Conservative policy commitment to roll out super-fast broadband services, with a special focus on rural areas, over the next few years. The Conservatives have unveiled plans to help make the UK the first major European country that has super-fast broadband in the majority of homes by 2017.

Jeremy Hunt, the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport said the UK is 'currently one of the slowest countries in the developed world for broadband,' but with the Conservatives it would become one of the fastest. He said Britain's digital and creative industries must have a proper communications infrastructure if they are to become world beaters. Under the new plans 'high speeds will be available not just in our cities but across the rural areas that have been left behind for too long.'

The Conservatives plan to create a regulatory framework to ensure the roll-out of super-fast broadband at speeds of up to 100mbps to the majority of homes across the UK by 2017. This could involve either mobile or fixed line solutions and will be significantly faster than the Government’s proposed target. It will open up BT's ducts and poles to competition, an approach which Jesse Norman has vigorously led the campaign for better local broadband services in Herefordshire over several years.

He said, 'This policy announcement is terrific news for Herefordshire, because it includes a specific mechanism to ensure that new broadband services reach rural areas. If the market does not deliver access in rural areas, the proposal is to use the proportion of the BBC licence fee dedicated to digital switch over to help finance super-fast broadband roll out after 2012.

Broadband is vital to the long-term development of Herefordshire, but at present coverage is often terrible or non-existent. The current government's plans all but ignore rural areas such as ours. But now we have a real and far more credible alternative.'


WIN FREE TICKETS FOR EVENING OF SCANDALOUS LOCAL STORIES

An evening of some of Herefordshire's most scandalous and surprising stories from the past is being held later this month and those interested in hearing them have the opportunity to win free tickets to this special event.

Herefordshire Council is holding an evening of dramatic readings from its historic documents that will feature John Challis of Only Fools and Horses fame, as well as other actors. 'Tales from the Archives' will be held in the Great Hall, Bishop's Palace, Hereford at 7pm on Saturday, 27th February and will feature crimes, miracles, tokens of love, drunkenness and witchcraft - all taken from the county's written heritage held in the council's archive service.

Chief Archivist, Elizabeth Semper-O'Keefe said, 'We are delighted that Mr Challis and the other actors will be helping us celebrate the people of Herefordshire who are represented in our archives. It will be very exciting to hear them being given a voice and I'm sure it will make for a special evening.'

Tickets cost £8 and will include light refreshments. To enter the competition for two free tickets, all you need to do is send an email to archives@herefordshire.gov.uk with Tales from the Archives Competition in the subject line. Entrants may also take part by sending a postcard marked Tales from the Archives Competition, together with their contact details to Herefordshire Record office, Harold Street, Hereford HR1 2QX.

The closing date for the competition is Friday 19th February. The draw will take place on Monday, 22nd February and the competition winner will be informed on that day.

For further information and bookings, call Herefordshire Council's archive service on 01432 260750.


YOUNG COMPETITION WINNERS DONATE THEIR PRIZE TO THE COMMUNITY

The town of Ross-on-Wye is now the proud recipient of a new bench. Not a wooden bench, nor a metal one. This bench is made up entirely of recycled plastic. Six thousand bottles worth of recycled plastic to be precise.

The bench was donated by British Recycled Products as prize in a competition organized by Junkk.com and The Guardian - 'Here's One I Re-made Earlier.' All entries were judged by Dennis Humble of EnivroAbility and artist Neil Carroll who awarded marks out of 10 for creativity, consumer appeal and eco-impact.

Entries to the competition included a slug deterrent collar, earrings and a bathroom rubbish bin, but the winning item was a cup stack holder, which will not only hold your tea cups in place, it will create much more storage space in your cupboards.

The designers of the cup stack holder was a group of youths, who decided that they would like to donate the bench to the town.

Peter Martin of Junkk.com invited Ross Town Mayor, Councillor John Edwards, Councillor Phil Cutter and Dennis Humble of EnviroAbility to the Market Place, where Steve Morris and Ian Fillingham of British Recycled Products presented the bench, which, it is believed will be sited on Walford Road.


Mayor, Councillor John Edwards, Steve Morris, Ian Fillingham, Councillor Phil Cutter and Peter Martin of Junkk.com.

RESIDENTS ENCOURAGED TO WASTE LESS FOOD TO HELP THE ENVIRONMENT

Herefordshire Council is encouraging residents to make a late resolution this year and make 2010 the year they start saving money and playing their part in helping the environment by wasting less food.

Research has shown that the average family in the UK throws away around £50 worth of perfectly edible food every month, but by following the simple advice on offer people can keep more money in their pockets. Some of the top tips include:

Why not start writing a shopping list? - Did you know that half of us make a shopping list all or some of the time, but half don't stick to it in the store? Try making 2010 the year of the shopping list and sticking to it.

Try planning weekly menus - Take the effort out of thinking what you are going to cook each night, and wondering if you have the ingredients to make it, by planning weekly menus. By buying ingredients for the delicious meals we've planned at the supermarket, we will be less likely to buy foods we won't get round to using up.

There really is such a thing as a free lunch - Simply by using what's already in the fridge, or last night's leftovers for a packed lunch at work, we can save between £3.00 and £5.00 a day.

Get friendly with your freezer - There's not much that can't be frozen for later. Double up on family favourites - When you're cooking dishes such as Bolognese, chilli, soups and casseroles, cook one for now and freeze one for later. That way you will have a ready-made meal when you get in on these cold winter nights.

Store cupboard essentials - Keeping essentials such as oils, sauces, beans, pasta and rice means that there will always be something to add to odds and ends in the fridge to create a quick meal

Perfect Portions - One of the reasons we throw away food is because we cook too much! Its easy to cook too much of foods such as pasta, rice and potatoes, so use the Love Food Hate Waste portion calculator to help you buy and cook just the right amount of food for yourself, your family and your friends.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing said, 'This is the time of year when we all look forward and make promises to ourselves about a number of things that can make things better. I'd like to encourage people to make 2010 the year where we all try to reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in our bins. By following these handy hints, residents can really reduce food waste and save money, protecting those pennies, as well as preventing waste ending up in the landfill site.'

A host of information and advice on reducing food waste is available at www.lovefoodhatewaste.com and www.wastemissionimpossible.com. Residents can also call the County Council's Waste Prevention team on 01905 766883.


HEALTH AND WELL BEING DAY A GREAT SUCCESS

This year's health and well-being day for people with learning disabilities has been heralded a big success as more than 160 people braved the weather to find out how to keep healthy and well earlier this month. Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire organized the event at the Kindle Centre with contributions and support from Tesco and many other local organizations and businesses.

Those attending were undaunted by the snow and ice and thoroughly enjoyed the interactive sessions such as making smoothies on the smoothie bike and getting their fitness levels tested. They enjoyed tasting a wide range of foods and fruits, including freshly made bread with healthy home made soup and were treated to a bag of free fresh fruit to take away with them, courtesy of Tesco Keeping happy and managing stress is as important as eating well and the Yam Jams music provided the delegates with a wonderful interactive music session which rocked the Kindle Centre.

Jayne Davies of the learning disabilities team said, 'The evaluations completed at the end of the day show that those who attended increased their knowledge around health issues as a result which is good news. The atmosphere during the day was fantastic. By providing clear information and encouraging people to talk and learn, we felt many barriers that people with learning disabilities face were challenged and broken down. We want people with learning disabilities to enjoy as much independence as possible, and this means understanding basic health issues and knowing how to access services.

Some of the key messages of the day were about keeping active, eating well and enjoying safe, positive relationships. Stand holders and carers also enjoyed the event, finding the information available helpful and the networking an added bonus. Being someone's carer can be a challenging and sometimes isolating experience.'

Herefordshire has around 700 adults registered across the county who have learning disabilities. Following the success of this event, the learning disability service is planning to hold future, similar events to continue to improve the access for people with learning disabilities to local health services.


Jayne Davies of NHS Herefordshire with Crystal Macangus of Tesco.

SARAH SLAMS GOVERNMENT PLANS TO MAKE FARMERS PAY FOR
DISEASE OUTBREAKS

Sarah Carr, the Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire has hit out against Government plans to make livestock farmers pay half the cost of preparing for animal disease outbreaks.

At the moment it costs the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (Defra), £44 million every year to prevent animal disease and prepare for outbreaks. However, a new consultation suggests farmers pay half through a new tax on livestock. The £22m would be raised by putting a levy on different animals, including £4.80 for a dairy cow.

Mrs. Carr has condemned the Government's decision to 'pass the buck' on to farmers as reckless and has warned that further attempts to increase industry contributions for disease prevention will only cause further damage to the industry. Commenting, Sarah said, 'Farmers have been hit as hard by the recession as anyone. It is simply unfair to expect them to pay for disease outbreaks, when the 2007 Foot and Mouth outbreak started on Government-licensed premises.

We all accept that in the current climate cuts need to be made, but to punish those who are already struggling to get by is unforgivable.'


PETERCHURCH FAMILIES ENJOY NEW CHILDRENS CENTRE ACTIVITIES

Families with young children in Peterchurch and surrounding areas can now enjoy a range of children's centre activities and events in their local church following the completion of a unique building project.

With funding from a number of sources, including Herefordshire Council and Advantage West Midlands, St Peter's Church in Peterchurch has been lovingly renovated and adapted so that community services can be delivered from the building which lies at the heart of the community. Working with the St Peter's Church committee, Herefordshire Council's children's services contributed £315,000 towards the building project which brings 12th and 21st Century architecture together.

A wooden pod has been installed at the end of the nave which opens up to become a fantastic modern kitchen on one side with storage, disabled toilet, shelving and a lift on the other side. Special cupboards have been built along the wall of the nave which operate on a push and pull system preventing little fingers from getting unauthorized access or getting trapped. Stairs to the side of the pod lead to a mezzanine floor from which access can be gained to a public library, which is stocked and managed by the council and run by volunteers.

The Golden Valley is one of the county's most rural areas, making it difficult for families with very young children to access support services and activities. As a result, the Golden Valley Children's Centre needs to run services and events from a number of locations. St Peter's Church makes a great base for families from the Golden Valley and neighbouring villages and children's centre services are available at this new facility on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9am until 4pm.

The range of activities is set to grow, but there are already a number of regular sessions organized, including: 'Time for Play' where parents and children meet and play, regular visits by the healthy visiting team, Sign and Rhyme events, cakes at the community café and free family music making sessions. There will also be plenty of opportunities to learn something new, such as first aid for parents with young children, basic childcare courses, or learning how babies communicate with their carers before they begin to talk.

Councillor Jenny Hyde, cabinet member for children's services said, 'This is a fantastic facility in the heart of the Golden Valley, providing much needed support to many of our rural families. As Herefordshire is so rural in nature, we have had to think creatively about how we deliver services for young families. We don't have enough money to build centres everywhere and this unique partnership with the church shows what can be done when organizations come together and think creatively.'

Details of regular weekly events are available on the church notice board and via the council's web site: www.herefordshire.gov.uk.


The library - one of the new facilities at St. Peter's Church, Peterchurch.

WITNESSES TO DISORDER INCIDENT AT ST. MARTINS STREET SOUGHT

Hereford Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward following a disorder incident in the city which occurred at approximately 10.45pm on Saturday, 23rd January. Between a point outside Majestic Wines in Ross Road, Hereford and the lower end of St. Martins Street, an altercation occurred between two men and a woman who were walking into town. As a result, one man received a 3cm stab wound to his left shoulder blade. He was treated at Hereford County Hospital and later released.

A 23 year old Hereford woman has been arrested in connection with the incident and charged with causing grievous bodily harm. She appeared before Herefordshire Magistrates Court on Monday, 25th January and was remanded in custody by the Court to appear before Crown Court at a later date.

Police are anxious to trace further witnesses to the incident as the area was busy with pedestrians and passing vehicles at the time. Officers also need to locate the weapon used in the incident, believed to be a knife of about 7" in length with a 4" blade.

A search by police in the area has failed to locate any discarded weapon.

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