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30th June 2010 NEWS FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION.......
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ERIC'S FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL

Eric, the Wyenot Newshound is a very tired dog and is, as I write, fast asleep on my lap after a good work out with 'Dog Whisperer' Matt Fouldes. Herefordshire Council's Community Protection Team recently invited the dog owners of Ross-on-Wye to take the the lead and learn all about responsible dog ownership. Now Eric isn't a bad dog but can be rather wilful, largely my fault, so we decided to take up the invitation and go along to the class by the Bandstand, along with six or seven other people and their dogs to learn the basics of dog handling.

After introductions were made, the first ask was for everybody to walk their pets around the cones. Now, Eric has a tendency to want to sniff at every single blade of grass he comes across and water it, abundantly. However, after a few circuits of keeping him close and telling him to 'Leave,' he soon got the hang of it. Keeping a dog close using an extendable lead is not easy, so a new 'ordinary' lead is in the pipeline for training purposes.

Eric also likes to make friends with every dog he meets, which isn't always a good thing as not all dogs feel the same way. After instructing us to stand at reasonable intervals apart, Matt then got us each in turn to walk a slalom path between the other dogs and their owners. Again, Eric did rather well, but keeping a reign with the lead I had was awkward and uncomfortable.

Telling Eric to stay is very, very easy. Getting him to do it, however is another thing but, after a few tries at saying 'Eric, stay' and taking a couple of paces away from him, he understood what was required of him and looked very happy when I rewarded him with 'Good Boy!' Although I shall take some with me next time, I am pleased to say that Eric managed all of this without the aid of tit bits.

The session lasted for an hour, which went by rather quickly and Eric looked extremely pleased to see that Alan had come along in the Wyenot Mobile so that he didn't have to walk all the way home.

Taking Eric for a short walk later in the afternoon and taking one of the 'poop bags' we had been given on the course, I practised the things we had been taught and he did brilliantly. He even sat and stayed with a dropped lead whilst I opened the front door instead of running through the hedge to say 'Hello' to Ralph. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

I am really looking forward to next week's session.

For further information on the course, please telephone Craig Sandman on 01432 260164 or email csandman@herefordshire.gov.uk


Eric and some of his new found friends by the Bandstand after school.

Trainer, Matt Fouldes taking the class.

GAVIN AND STACEY STAR TO OPEN LLANGARRON FETE

Larry Lamb.

Larry Lamb is opening Llangarron Fête on Saturday 3rd July at 1.30pm. An actor since the 1970's, he is best known for his roles as Gavin's dad in Gavin and Stacey and Walford villain Archie Mitchell in East Enders. More recently, he has played Frank Bryant in Educating Rita, a role made famous by Michael Caine in the 80's film, at the Menier Chocolate Factory theatre.

Larry is a regular visitor to Herefordshire which he enjoys escaping to with his partner Clare and their two daughters. He plans to spend a relaxing afternoon enjoying the entertainment, trying his hand at the various games and searching for bargains on the many stalls. During the afternoon, he will be doing a couple of photograph signing sessions.

The venue is Bernithan Court, a distinguished 17th century house built by William Hoskyns. This gives people the rare opportunity to visit the gardens and enjoy the magnificent setting which is less than 4 miles from Ross. This year's star other attractions include the 10-strong Paws for Thought Dog Display Team at 3pm and children's entertainer Jenny-Any-Dots. She will be doing a Punch & Judy Show at 2.30pm and running balloon modelling and magic sessions throughout the afternoon. Berry Hill Band is providing the music and Whitchurch School Choir is singing a medley of songs.


COUNTDOWN TO JAMSTAND 2010

JAMSTAND is now in it's fourth year and this extremely popular annual Music and Arts Festival has gone from strength to strength. What began as an impromptu free gig performed in 2007 by Jack Baldus and friends has become a two day festival expected to attract well over 5,000 to Ross-on-Wye this year on Friday, 13th and Saturday, 14th August.

Jamstand enters its fourth year as a newly registered charity of which Jack Baldus is Director. In previous years, Jamstand has suffered more than its fair share of local opposition but the voices of the many have thus far overshadowed the objections of the few. Strong and growing local passion for the event has always won through irrepressibly snowballing in success year on year.

International artists play the same stages as the best unsigned local acts; the primary ethos of Jamstand is to showcase the local talent. This vision growing into a tangible reality is testament to Jack Baldus and the rest of Jamstand's young volunteers' passion and determination to create something the youth of Ross can be proud of. More so, Jamstand is a fantastic excuse for our dispersed rural community to come together and enjoy a free, creative environment. Jamstand has already enabled young local DJ's to share the decks with DJ Yoda and the plan is to grow bigger and better whilst always remaining true to itself, year on year. Jamstand has always been a totally free event for visitors, solely down to kind sponsorship and patronage of local businesses who welcome the influx of trade that Jamstand brings to them and the town.

Laura Melia, Head of Marketing said, 'Sponsors enjoy a variety of on site benefits as well as being able to promote their product or service on a site expected to attract one of the largest and most concentrated projected footfalls in Ross throughout the whole year. This is the perfect chance for local businesses to actively support a fantastic community event and give 'centre stage' to the best upcoming musicians and artists in the region. It also provides the perfect platform to significantly increase brand awareness and thus potentially create multiple new business opportunities; it is a win - win situation as Jamstand remains free for everyone to enjoy, a fantastic event is able to be held and there is a direct benefit for local trade and local culture.'

Jamstand is not just about music, however. As well as the three stages and 'secret disco', you will find Art displays from Hereford Arts College and many more; A Crafts Fair; Stalls; Rides and several Bouncy Castles entertain during the day and keep the fun going well into the night. There are a variety of gourmet food and drinks outlets anisette, including The Posh Picnic Co. which is providing a bespoke picnic service using an exquisite range of locally sourced gourmet products from some of the finest award-winning artisan producers in and around Herefordshire and are available for pre-order from their website for collection from the festival site. There will also be the delectable Chorizo Express, Wye Valley Ale, Broome Farm Cider and many more available on the day.

Jamstand offers all of this in its idyllic location on the crest of the famous Wye horseshoe bend, and with all the shops, pubs and restaurants of beautiful Ross on its doorstep. Jamstand is an open site enabling people to come and go as they please. The BBC will be hosting a stage streaming live on radio and dedicated to showcasing Herefordshire and Worcestershire talent.

Acts this year include: World famous Hip-Hop trio Ugly Duckling, the LEGENDARY Roots Manuva, UK Funk/Soul sensations The Haggis Horns, Cantaloop, Bristol Reggae heavyweights, Laid Blak, Dr. Meeker as well as African world music 5 piece Baraka and 7-piece Ska band First Degree Burns, Ross-on-Wye's very own Dandelion Killers, UK dance act Subsource and Jack's very own Funk/Dance/Groove 7 piece Zang Tang, as well as some other secret acts performing on the main stage.

Warp n Woof DJ collective of Herefordshire are hosting the DJ tent across the two days, with guest DJ's playing a wide mix of Electro, House, Techno, Bassline and much more, as well as The Secret Disco Stage with DJ's from Herefordshire playing out Northern Soul, Acid Jazz, Funk, Soul, Roots and 70's Grooves from the back of a VW Camper Van.

Finally, Jamstand has a very laid back Acoustic Tent where you can hear some of the finest singer-songwriters from across the UK performing Folk, Blues, Acapella, Country and Jazz music. All served with fine cocktails from the bar!.


YOU CAN MAKE A SILK PURSE FROM A SOWS EAR

Pigs Alley in High Street had always been a bit of a problem area in Ross-on-Wye, for being an alley, it was an ideal place for rubbish to be dumped and graffiti to be sprayed on the walls. All in all it was not a pleasant place to walk through. All that has changed now, however, as the Ross in Bloom committee busied themselves arranging a major facelift for this one time eyesore in readiness for the Heart of England in Bloom judges visit which will take place on Thursday, 20th July.

Now, there are attractive planters and pretty, pig themed murals on the walls and Pig Alley is a much brighter and very attractive thoroughfare to the town centre.


Pigs Alley after a major makeover organized by the Ross-in-Bloom committee.

Pigs Alley.

Painting pigs on the wall.

FREE SWIMMING SESSIONS COME TO AN END

Due to the pressures of public sector finance, the Government has announced the withdrawal of funding for free swimming for children aged 16 years and under and people aged 60 years and over. The previous government funded Herefordshire Council to provide free swimming, which was delivered by Halo, but this funding has now been withdrawn. Free swimming will stop in Herefordshire from 31st July, in line with the rest of the country.

Natalia Silver, Herefordshire Council's assistant director for economy and culture said, 'It is disappointing that this opportunity for local people is stopping, but it has been a great kick start to get people of different ages swimming more, and this is something we can build on with Halo.'

A key element of the county's activities is to enable children to learn to swim in the first place, and using swimming to address health and fitness, specifically with young people. This includes opportunities through the School Sport Partnerships locally for those who have not reached the national curriculum standard.


COUNTY PUPILS LIMBER UP FOR HEREFORDSHIRE YOUTH GAMES

More than 1300 school children are limbering up for this year's Herefordshire Youth Games which will take place at the Hereford Leisure Centre this coming Friday and the council are pleased to learn that one of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012 mascots will be making a special guest appearance at the event.

The games are run by Herefordshire Council with assistance from sixth form leaders and supported by volunteers from local clubs, schools and the community. Pupils from primary and secondary schools will be competing in a range of sports which include athletics, boccia, cricket, floor lacrosse, girls' football, hockey, kurling, orienteering, rounders, rugby, tennis and tri-golf. For the first time this year, tchoukball is being introduced to the games.

Although a major international sport tchoukball is relatively new to local schools and is perfect for the Youth Games as it is suitable for all skill levels and ages. It combines elements of handball (it is played with hands, and the balls used are similar), volleyball (as the defending team must prevent the ball from falling) and squash (since there is a bounce).

The event will begin at 9.15am with a guest appearance from one of the Olympic and Paralympic 2012 mascots, Wenlock and Manderville, who will be taking a detour from their busy schedule to visit Herefordshire's own big Games event. The launch will be followed by a huge aerobic warm-up in the leisure centre sports hall courtesy of Halo, followed by a special cheer leading sessions lead by the Whitecross Cheerleaders. As always, teachers, parents and volunteers will be expected to put their best feet forward and join the children in this fun workout.

The Herefordshire Youth Games began nine years ago and has increased in popularity every year as new sports have been added to try and attract as wide a range of children and young people as possible. This year children will be able to see how blind football works as a couple of team members from England's Blind Football team will be putting on a demonstration outside on the playing fields. In addition, the Herefordshire Change4Life team will be at the event promoting a new summer holiday reward scheme which encourages children to get active, collect stamps for activities in a passport, gain small rewards and be given the chance to win a mountain bike.

Amy Jenkins, sports development officer with Herefordshire Council said, 'The number of children participating in these games is growing every year as more and more schools are getting involved and giving their pupils opportunities to try out new sports. We're really excited to be getting a visit from one of the mascots although we're not sure which one we'll be getting yet. It promises to be a great day out with lots of fun, laughter and, of course, medals on offer.'


JESSE ELECTED TO TREASURY SELECT COMMITTEE

Jesse in Parliament.

Jesse Norman, the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, has been elected by his fellow MPs to the Treasury Select Committee, it was announced last week. The Treasury Committee is traditionally regarded as one of the most influential Select Committees in the House of Commons. Its mandate is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of HM Treasury, HM Revenue & Customs, and associated public bodies, including the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority.

Given the recent financial and economic crisis, the new financial regulatory system and the budget deficit, the committee's role is expected to be especially important in the current parliament. Commenting, Jesse said, 'It is an honour to be chosen for the Treasury Select Committee, and all the more so by my fellow backbench MPs in the first ever committee elections. I consulted widely with local people before putting my name forward. The feeling was that it was important for the county to have a representative who is in a position to scrutinize these important long term financial decisions. I certainly hope to use it as a platform to address the serious issue of under funding of rural areas such as our own.'

Jesse has also welcomed several measures in the Emergency Budget last week which should help Herefordians. These include the repeal of the Cider Tax, the lowering of Corporation Tax, the cut in Small Companies tax rate and specific measures to support entrepreneurs. Jesse spoke on the first day of the Budget debate in the House of Commons. Commenting afterwards he said, 'The main goal of this Emergency Budget was to start to take control of the government's finances, and to reduce the budget deficit. But it is excellent news that the Chancellor has also made good his pledge to cancel the planned rise in Cider duty, and to support small businesses.

I am also delighted that the planned closure of Magistrates Courts do not include that in Hereford. Taken with the cancellation of Regional Spatial Strategies, the decision to push more powers over planning down to local communities, new moves towards a more GP-led NHS, and the doubling of the Operational Allowance for our armed forces, the new Government has made a very encouraging start in office.'


COOKING MADE EASY PEASY AT THIS YEARS HEREFORDSHIRE FOOD FESTIVAL

The dates have now been set for the 2010 Herefordshire Food Festival and this great annual event will be taking place on October 23 and 24. Now widely recognized as one of the biggest and best annual food festivals in the UK, the event as a whole will feature the welcome return of popular TV cooks The Hairy Bikers, as well as a talk on cheese production by former Coronation Street star Sean Wilson, better known, perhaps, as Martin Platt.

A major element of this, the 5th annual Herefordshire Food Festival however, will be about the family, with a strong emphasis on introducing youngsters, as much as grown-ups, to the benefits of using great quality produce with as few food-miles on the clock as possible. There will be two food demonstration areas where The Hairy Bikers will engage with the public in lively cookery shows three times a day, a 'slow food' section with exhibitions and a busy schedule of talks, and a pavilion packed with local food and drink producers promise to turn Hereford Racecourse into a weekend Mecca for 'foodies.'

One of the factors that will make this year's food festival one of the most inclusive in the UK is that there will be a secure children's area where they can have fun with food, and there will be an Easy Peasy Cookery Kitchen for them to enjoy. As well as knowing that the younger members of the family are having fun, the 'grown ups' will have plenty of opportunities to try and buy some of the region's finest local produce over one mouth-watering weekend. Wine, olives, locally produced cheeses, fresh breads, local beer and cider, and even that most famous of French liqueurs, cassis, are just some of the tempting flavours which will be on offer again this year.

Other highlights of the occasion will include a bustling Farmers Market, cookery demonstrations by some of the brightest young chefs in Herefordshire, and exhibitions by both the Marcher Apple Network and the Herefordshire Beekeepers Association. There will also be a show of images from this year's Herefordshire Photography Festival, of Hereford cattle.

The Food Festival will mark the conclusion of the 12th annual 'Flavours of Herefordshire' awards scheme, which recognizes and rewards the use and promotion of local produce. The scheme itself celebrates the close links which exist between Herefordshire's rural landscape and the food and drink which is on offer to its residents and visitors alike. The winners will be presented with their awards on the night before the Food Festival gets under way by The Hairy Bikers.

Further information can be found at www.visitherefordshire.co.uk


HEREFORDSHIRE SCHOOLS TO RECEIVE AWARDS

Herefordshire schools are once again coming together to receive their annual awards for developing travel plans, gaining healthy schools status and becoming an Eco School. The ceremony, which is taking place today, will celebrate the success of the county's schools in their efforts to protect and improve the environment and promote a healthier, safer and more sustainable lifestyle.

School Travel Plans aim to reduce car traffic, cut congestion and improve safety outside the school gate using government grants of between £3,000 and £5,000 for primary schools and between £9,000 and £11,000 for secondary schools who develop travel plans. In Herefordshire 98 per cent of schools now have a plan in place.

Eco-Schools is an international award programme that guides schools on their sustainable journey, providing a framework to help embed these principles into the heart of school life. To date, 105 Herefordshire schools are now registered Eco Schools.

Healthy Schools is a government initiative in which schools have to address the issues of personal, social and healthy education, healthy eating, physical activity and emotional health and well-being in order to gain Healthy schools status. Almost all Herefordshire Schools are signed up to the Healthy Schools process and 15 schools are embarking on the enhanced module.

School Travel Achievement Awards are made to schools who have made significant efforts to implement their travel plans. One hundred and fifty children and adults from 30 schools will gather in the Town Hall for this joint Award Ceremony and presentations will be made by the following schools: Trinity Primary - a short play about cutting car use; Weobley High School on their work to gain a second Eco Schools Green Flag Riverside on healthy schools status; Aconbury on their third School Travel Achievement Award and Shobdon on their work as a sustainable school.

The guest speaker will be Howard Bentham from BBC Hereford and Worcester. Other speakers will be Ray Hughes, the East and West Midlands Regional School Travel Adviser, and Mary Burton, the West Midlands Sustainable Schools Co-ordinator. The ceremony will be hosted for the fourth year running by Jamie Elliott, now a student at Durham University but formerly of Weobley High School and Hereford Sixth Form College. There will be displays from road safety, Eco Schools, healthy schools, school travel plans, Change4Life and recycling. Councillor Jenny Hyde will be on hand to open the proceedings and Councillor Brian Wilcox will make the closing speech. Another special guest will be Spike the Hedgehog who will be handing out goody bags to the children.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for highways and transportation said, 'It has been a pleasure to be involved in this award ceremony over the past few years. It is an inspiration to see how schools are making a real contribution to protecting their environment and to improving their health and their safety by their work on all the aspects of sustainable schools.'


STAR PUPIL PRESENTED WITH AWARD BY PRINCE MICHAEL

Fifteen year old Herefordshire school pupil John Day has been selected from nearly 70,000 students to be awarded runner up in the IMI Student of the Year awards. John was nominated for the award by Dave Finn and John Vickers from Motov8 and Lydia Dyer, of Herefordshire Council. Following an invitation to a big award ceremony in London earlier this month, John was presented with his runner-up award by Prince Michael of Kent.

John, a student at Aylestone Business and Enterprise College, has been part of Herefordshire Council's Live and Learn Programme which is now in its second year. The programme is an applied vocational training scheme for students who are struggling with school life and often end up dropping out of traditional education. Reasons vary but can include difficulties at home, problems with peers at school or challenges about relating the school environment to future careers and work.

Last year 250 pupils were involved in the programme which involves pupils spending one day a week out of school working on practical work-based activities to encourage them back into learning. A number of organizations are involved in the scheme including Keith St Peters hairdressers, the Wye Wood project, Taste for Adventure and Herefordshire College of Technology. In September 2009, the Live and Learn team referred John to Motov8, a motor vehicle training centre in Hereford, in order to build his self esteem and confidence. Since joining the scheme, he has spent a day a week at Motov8, his confidence has grown and his attendance at school has improved dramatically.

Lydia Dyer, Live and Learn senior co-ordinator said, 'John really is a pleasant young man and well mannered. I have visited John on a regular basis and the change in him has been immense. Every time I see him he has grown in confidence and he shows great enthusiasm for what he is doing. He has shown a positive and helpful attitude whilst working in a group and has a real keen interest in motor vehicles. He'd eventually like to enter the mechanical profession and he's well on the way to achieving this already. In the practical suspension systems test he gained 92% and he achieved 100% on the IMI online test.

John is set to complete all the units on the Fast Fit qualification with several more weeks to go on the course and will therefore achieve a full level one qualification while in Year 10. This shows real commitment and enthusiasm.'


John Day being presented with his award by Prince Michael of Kent.

NHS HEREFORDSHIRE AGM AND EXHIBITION

NHS Herefordshire, the Primary Care Trust (PCT), is inviting all members of the public and local organization to its annual general meeting and exhibition at the Three Counties Hotel, Hereford on Thursday, 15th July. This year's exhibition, which opens at 4.30pm, has a theme of 'partnership working' and will showcase the work that NHS Herefordshire and its partners are doing to improve outcomes for patients, and information about planning for future services.

Joanna Newton, Chairman of NHS Herefordshire said, 'I would really encourage people to visit the AGM to find more out about health in Herefordshire, the work we are doing on patient pathways and on health and social care services throughout the year. While we know that there is still work to be done to achieve our vision, strong progress is being made.'

The annual general meeting will begin at 5.30pm and will include an overview of the year's work and ongoing work to achieve better outcomes, care experience and value for money. There will be a brief talk from the Chief Executive who will present the annual report, followed by an opportunity for the public to put questions to members of the primary care trust board.


COUNCIL REWARDED FOR BEING A GOOD EGG

Herefordshire Council has been officially declared a 'good egg' for its commitment to the welfare of egg-laying hens and leadership in buying ethical products.

The Good Egg Award 2010 has been awarded to the council by Compassion in World Farming in recognition of its catering policy which means free range or organic eggs are used at all council events catered by Amey Herefordshire. Councillor Roger Phillips, Leader of Herefordshire Council, will be collecting the award at the Local Government Conference on Tuesday, 6th July, when the guest speaker will be celebrated poet Pam Ayres.

Councillor Phillips said, 'I am delighted that we have received this award which shows our commitment to using cage free eggs and allowing hens to live more natural lives in barns or free range systems. In Herefordshire, we pride ourselves on the quality of our local produce and by buying free range or organic eggs, we can offer support to many of the county's wonderful producers who put great emphasis on improving the welfare of hens.'


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