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15th December 2010 ROSS CHRISTMAS SHOPPING EXTRAVAGANZA.........

Santa was happy to talk to the children.

The association of Ross Traders, (ART) organized a fantastic Christmas Fair on Sunday, 5th December and were rewarded by a beautiful sunny day to bring out the crowds.

Many of the local shops opened up for the day and the market place was filled with stalls selling a wonderful range of products from delicious preserves to hand made wreaths.

The Penyard Singers and Ross Town Band kept shoppers entertained with their range of Carols and favourite Christmas songs and Santa paid a visit to the town and welcomed the children who visited him in his Grotto.

The Christmas Fair was a great success with a lovely festive atmosphere and ART are to be congratulated.


Wreaths for sale at the ART Christmas Shopping Fair.

The Penyard Singers entertain the shoppers.

Ross Town Band and Drybrook Band also performed there.

There were lots of delicious preserves available.

15th December 2010 BOOKS NOW AVAILABLE ON PRESCRIPTIONY.....

People in Herefordshire who are experiencing mental health problems or who are caring for others will be offered a 'Books on Prescription' service as well as the usual treatments.

Beginning this month, the Library Service, working with NHS Herefordshire, will be launching this service, which will encourage people to use self-help books for mild depression, anxiety, panic attacks and other mental health issues. Doctors and other health workers can prescribe books if they feel a patient will benefit more from self-help advice than conventional drug based medication or as an addition to other treatments. The patient would then take the 'prescription' to the library instead of the chemist.

Research shows that the addition of bibliotherapy, or the use of written materials such as leaflets and books, can further help patients to overcome emotional or psychological illness, with the advantage of having no side effects. The books will be available in 10 libraries across the county, and include titles such as Overcoming Depression, Living With Loss, and Living Well With Pain and Illness. The books and some audio books are free to borrow, you just have to join the library. Joining the library could not be easier. People do not need to show any ID and can even join online and have their card posted to them.

The World Health Organization estimates that one in four people will experience some level of emotional or psychological problem during their lives and this new approach of providing additional therapy has been viewed as a positive step by patients and doctors.

Anne-Marie Dossett, Herefordshire Council's reader development librarian said, 'I am delighted that our libraries will now have this scheme that could help to improve the health and well-being of the people of Herefordshire. The books we are recommending have been carefully chosen by librarians and health professionals and offer practical advice that can really make a difference.'

Dr Simon Lennane, a GP at Alton Street Surgery, Ross-on-Wye said, 'This is an excellent scheme which already works well in other parts of the country. These books are an accessible way of addressing mental health, chronic pain and other problems and are a useful addition to current NHS services. You don't even need to see your GP to benefit, as the range of recommended titles will be available through the library service.'

For further information on the scheme, visit your local library or go to www.herefordshire.gov.uk/bop


15th December 2010 BUSY WINTER FOR WALKERS ARE WELCOME GROUPY.....

Fresh from successful 2nd Walking Festival in October, the Ross-on-Wye Walkers are Welcome Group is continuing its work to promote walking in the Ross area and to encourage more walkers to visit and the latest leaflet produced by the Group is now available. Hand-drawn by local cartographer, Geoff Gwatkin this is a large map of the wider Ross area, showing the routes of the major footpaths available to walkers.

Generously sponsored by the Wye Valley Brewery, the map shows the location of the Brewery's outlets in the area as well as the Bus Stops featured in the Group's earlier publication, Bus Walks. The reverse of the map contains useful information about the Wye Valley Walk, the Herefordshire Trail and the Ross Round together with background information about the Wye valley AONB's 'Overlooking the Wye' project and its three sites around Ross. Laminated copies of the map will be provided to all of the Group's sponsors for display. The map is available from the Ross Tourist Information Centre, The Heritage Centre, Escape and Ross Old Books at a price of £1.50.

The Group has recently secured the approval of Amey Herefordshire for the installation of improved yellow way markers on the major footpaths leading into Ross. Many of the local footpath signs merely indicate the presence of a public footpath without giving an indication of where the footpath goes. It is hoped that the new way markers will be the first step in a longer term project to improve signage generally. It is planned to carry out the work during the winter with the work being carried out by members of the Ross Ramblers who have been trained by Amey (or Jarvis) to carry out light maintenance on footpaths.

Work is also continuing on producing the programme for the 2011 Walking Festival, which is planned. This is planned for Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October with consideration being given to providing two additional walks on Friday, 30th September as an incentive for visitors to stay longer. The book-signing event held in conjunction with the 2010 Festival was a great success and the Group is planning to organize similar linked events for 2011. Details of the Programme will be available on the Group's website early in the New Year.

Nationally, the Walkers are Welcome movement continues to grow, with 57 towns now accredited. This time last year the number was 34. One of the latest, number 56 in fact, is Bromyard. Accreditation was granted by the National Executive Committee at its meeting on 23rd October.

For further information on the Ross Walkers are Welcome Group and its plans, please contact the Chairman, Sam Phillips, on 01989-563874 or visit the Group's web site at www.ross-on-wyewalkersarewelcome.co.uk


15th December 2010 BUSY WINTER FOR WALKERS ARE WELCOME GROUPY.....

Fresh from successful 2nd Walking Festival in October, the Ross-on-Wye Walkers are Welcome Group is continuing its work to promote walking in the Ross area and to encourage more walkers to visit and the latest leaflet produced by the Group is now available. Hand-drawn by local cartographer, Geoff Gwatkin this is a large map of the wider Ross area, showing the routes of the major footpaths available to walkers.

Generously sponsored by the Wye Valley Brewery, the map shows the location of the Brewery's outlets in the area as well as the Bus Stops featured in the Group's earlier publication, Bus Walks. The reverse of the map contains useful information about the Wye Valley Walk, the Herefordshire Trail and the Ross Round together with background information about the Wye valley AONB's 'Overlooking the Wye' project and its three sites around Ross. Laminated copies of the map will be provided to all of the Group's sponsors for display. The map is available from the Ross Tourist Information Centre, The Heritage Centre, Escape and Ross Old Books at a price of £1.50.

The Group has recently secured the approval of Amey Herefordshire for the installation of improved yellow way markers on the major footpaths leading into Ross. Many of the local footpath signs merely indicate the presence of a public footpath without giving an indication of where the footpath goes. It is hoped that the new way markers will be the first step in a longer term project to improve signage generally. It is planned to carry out the work during the winter with the work being carried out by members of the Ross Ramblers who have been trained by Amey (or Jarvis) to carry out light maintenance on footpaths.

Work is also continuing on producing the programme for the 2011 Walking Festival, which is planned. This is planned for Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October with consideration being given to providing two additional walks on Friday, 30th September as an incentive for visitors to stay longer. The book-signing event held in conjunction with the 2010 Festival was a great success and the Group is planning to organize similar linked events for 2011. Details of the Programme will be available on the Group's website early in the New Year.

Nationally, the Walkers are Welcome movement continues to grow, with 57 towns now accredited. This time last year the number was 34. One of the latest, number 56 in fact, is Bromyard. Accreditation was granted by the National Executive Committee at its meeting on 23rd October.

For further information on the Ross Walkers are Welcome Group and its plans, please contact the Chairman, Sam Phillips, on 01989-563874 or visit the Group's web site at www.ross-on-wyewalkersarewelcome.co.uk


15th December 2010 KIRBY VACUUM SELLER TAKEN TO CLEANERSY.....

A Kirby vacuum cleaner sales company and its director were convicted of 11 offences at Hereford Magistrates Court on Friday under Consumer Protection legislation and were fined a total of £15,000, including costs in a prosecution by Herefordshire Council's trading standards department. The company, Premier Systems GB Ltd from Bristol were found to have targeted the elderly by devious means and given them the hard sell in their own homes on vastly overpriced Kirby vacuum cleaners.

An 89 year old widow from Ross-on-Wye was conned into accepting an appointment by a telephone call offering her a free service on her old Kirby, when in fact all they wanted to do was come round and sell her a new Kirby for £1,400 which is exactly what the devious salesman did. As soon as he walked into her house he told her that her home smelled of dirt and immediately started his lengthy high pressure sales routine.

One 75 year old widow had two intimidating salesmen in her home for more than four and a half hours and, despite repeatedly telling them she could not afford it, they persisted until she relented and purchased the cleaner for £1,400, vastly more than it was worth. She was even told if she did not buy the new Kirby she would have respiratory problems.

The illegal sales patter included falsely telling elderly consumers that Kirby cleaners were worth £2,400 but they could have them at a huge discount. The company obtained most of their appointments by knocking door to door, distributing prize draw cards allegedly with the chance of winning a new car.' However, invariably when an elderly person answered the door, they would subsequently receive a telephone call to say they had won a 'free' carpet shampoo.

Having conned them into agreeing an appointment for their 'free gift', salesmen would swoop on the vulnerable and pressure them into buying a new Kirby cleaner they didn't want or need and for an extortionate price. In some cases, the vacuums were even too heavy for the elderly victims to move and were totally unsuitable for their needs.

Although the company has ceased trading under its previous name, it is now trading as Premier Finance GB Ltd., from the same Bristol address. The magistrates stated that 'high pressure selling and aggressive practices against the elderly and vulnerable are not acceptable in our society.'

Herefordshire Council's trading standards manager, Mike Pigrem said, 'The way in which the company operated was appalling and indeed highly illegal. Undertaking business activities such as these and especially targeting the elderly and vulnerable, will not be tolerated by Trading Standards. Rogue traders thinking of targeting our County should beware. We will take the strongest possible action against you.

Our advice is that consumers should not deal with any cold callers as the risk of rogue trading is extremely high. If you need a tradesman then go by personal reputation or select one from the council's trader register at www.traderregister.com/herefordshire uk


15th December 2010

ROADWORKS TO IMPROVE SAFETY AT KERNE BRIDGE

Councillor John Jarvis of Herefordshire Councillor has met with local residents to discuss changes to a busy rural road junction to cut the number of accidents occurring there.

Councillor Jarvis met local couple Sally and Brian Charlton and local parish councillors at the junction of the B4229 with the B4234 at Kerne Bridge, near Ross-on-Wye. They had voiced concerns over safety at the junction citing speeding traffic and poor quality walkways for pedestrians to blame. The junction is popular with walkers, cyclists and canoeists and is also used by Heavy Goods Vehicles travelling between the M50, Ross-on-Wye and the Forest of Dean.

Councillor Jarvis said, 'This is an iconic bridge which is very popular with walkers. Unfortunately, due to the road layout and the speed of traffic, pedestrians are at risk when they have to cross over at the junction. We appreciate the Charlton's concern and we are planning to take action to reduce the speed of traffic at the junction and make it safer for pedestrians.'

Following the meeting, the council is to arrange for hatch markings to be placed in the 'D' lane off the B4234, to deter drivers from using the lane when leaving or entering the junction. This will be undertaken in the spring when the weather improves and the road is clear of salt.

A sign warning motorists of pedestrians crossing the road at the junction is to be installed and highways engineers are to review the double white centre line on the approach to the bridge from Goodrich.

'We are also reviewing speed limits and are looking at the installation of additional signs on the public footway,' added Councillor Jarvis.


Councillor Jarvis with the Charltons at Kerne Bridge.

15th December 2010 LEDBURY DRUG USERS FOUND GUILTY OF MURDERY.....

Following a trial at Worcester Crown Court, the two people charged with the murder of Thomas Holt in Herefordshire last October have been found guilty of his death. Partners Shaun and Petra Stokes from Ledbury killed Mr Holt shortly after he inherited a sum of money from his mother who had died. The drug users befriended 36 year old Mr Holt whose body was found in the River Frome at Avenbury near Bromyard on 11th October 2009.

Tom, who was from May Hill, Longhope, Gloucestershire, received head injuries before being dumped in the river. The Stokes couple attacked Tom in their Volvo car and then weighed his body down with rocks before dumping it in the water. Shaun Stokes told police the victim had suffered a nose bleed in the car. Prosecutor James Burbidge QC told the court it is not known if Mr Holt died from his injuries or from drowning.

The trial, which began on Monday, 1st November, was presided over by His Honour Judge McCreath. Shaun Michael Stokes aged 32 (14/01/1978) formerly of Hasnett Road, Ledbury, was found guilty of murder on 1st December and his partner, Petra Stokes (19/10/1983), a 27 year old Slovakian national of the same address was found guilty of murder the following day. Both defendants took the stand as part of their defence.

The pair were charged on 14th October last year after police discovered they were using the victim's bank cards to access his newly found wealth. Shaun Stokes had used cash points to steal thousands of pounds from the victim.

Detective Chief Inspector, Damian Barratt said, 'The motive for this despicable crime was greed. Shaun and Petra Stokes knew Tom had come into some money and decided they would kill him for it. They used the money to feed their drug habits. We are pleased with the verdicts and hope that it will go some way towards helping Tom's family deal with their grief.

This was a terrible tragedy for them at a time when they were trying to cope with the recent loss of Tom's mother who had died a short time before.'


15th December 2010 SECOND MAN CONVICTED OF DAREN LOADERS DEATHY.....

Lithuanian national, Andrej Mackevic has been found guilty of the manslaughter of Hereford teenager, Daren Loader who died last year.

Mackevic, aged 29 and of no fixed abode, was found guilty at Worcester Crown Court on Monday, 6th December, when the jury returned a manslaughter verdict after a second trial. The jury in the first trial earlier this year failed to reach a verdict. He was also found guilty of GBH without intent on a female who was with Daren at the time he was attacked. Co-defendant Virunas Kalasnikovas already pleaded guilty to murder and GBH at an earlier hearing.

Daren Loader, aged 17 was killed in Hereford in March 2009. Prosecutor Mr Stephen Linehan QC explained that Daren was attacked with a wooden pole by Kalasnikovas as part of a revenge attack after Mackevic was assaulted earlier in the evening by Daren's acquaintances. The female with Daren suffered a broken arm during the fight that broke out.

Detective Chief Inspector, Lee Davenport said, 'We are pleased we have a guilty verdict and would like to thank the victim's family for their patience during these matters. It must have been very frustrating for them to sit through the first trial in April and not get a result. Justice has now been done. I would also like to thank all the various communities of Hereford who helped the police with vital information that helped bring the offenders to justice.

A young man losing his life in this way is a tragedy and our thoughts are with Daren's family and friends at this difficult time.'

It is expected that Mackevic and Kalasnikovas will be sentences later this month.


15th December 2010

REFURB GIVES WIDEMARSH TRADERS A BUZZ

It's all adding up to a bumper Christmas for traders in Hereford's refurbished Widemarsh Street who say the new look, combined with the festive rush, are creating a real buzz in the street. Some of the traders have dubbed it the city's premier shopping street following the official opening earlier this month.

The open vista and new paving is proving popular with local shoppers who have been enjoying the newly created space after nearly a year of having to meander around workmen's fencing. Butcher Dave Jones said it had not been easy when the workmen were there, with a noticeable drop in trade. 'But now it's reopened you can see for yourself how good it looks. It's beautiful. This will be 'the street to work in' in the city centre,' he said.

Nearby shopkeeper, Tracey Morgan, from the Hibiscus Room flower shop, described those carrying out the paving work as a good bunch of workmen. 'They were superb,' she said. 'They helped a lot and were very considerate. They've done a great job and the road looks so much better and cleaner now.'

For Ruth Pearson, from the Maternity and Baby Boutique, this will be her first Christmas in the street. 'It was a lot quieter when the workmen were here, but now there are lots of people coming down the road. It's a really nice place to be,' she commented.

John Jones, one of the associate managers at Philip Morris & Sons, described the street as a grade above other streets in the city. 'I'm a real fan of what's been done. It looks really nice and I know people appreciate it. They've done an excellent job in helping to open up the street and it helps to create a walking loop around the retail heart of the city.'

Widemarsh Street is set to become a prestigious gateway which will eventually link the proposed development on the old cattle market to the heart of the city centre. Jonathan Bretherton, chief executive of Hereford Futures said, 'Widemarsh Street was historically a primary route for the city, and this upgrade restores its importance and helps improve connectivity, and signals Hereford's intention to be the destination of choice for both shoppers and tourists alike.'

Renowned innovative streetscape designer Ben Hamilton-Baillie, who was behind the design for the street, said Hereford was now ahead of the game nationally when it came to high quality designed streetscapes. The refurbishment scheme was delivered on behalf of Herefordshire Council by Amey Herefordshire and Alun Griffiths Construction Ltd. Expert design advice on the scheme was also provided by Hamilton Baillie Associates and Powell Dobson Urbanists.


Widemarsh Street traders enjoying the benefits of the refurbishment.

15th December 2010 FREE RECYCLING FOR CHARITIES AND VILLAGE HALLSY.....

Herefordshire Council is to extend its popular free recycling service to charities and village halls early in 2011. The decision to offer this service, which will use the same green bins that domestic properties have, has been made following the success of the kerbside recycling service for domestic properties which is now operating throughout the whole county.

Councillor John Jarvis, of Herefordshire Council said, 'We have already reached a major milestone of 40 per cent recycling through collecting from domestic properties but don't want to stop there. As our partners in the charity sector and village halls do so much for our local communities, I have decided to extend our free recycling service to them as well. This will have the added benefit of increasing the amount we recycle and hence reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. Landfilling waste is not only very costly and increasing in cost all the time but is highly detrimental to the environment and simply wastes resources.'

Herefordshire Council will be writing to charities and village halls to find out who wants to join them in their quest to recycle as much as possible and will be delivering the bins and starting up the new service later in February and March 2011.


15th December 2010 ENJOY CHOCOLATE HAPPY HOUR AT SKATE RINKY.....

Herefordshire Council has announced that Hereford's synthetic ice rink will be offering plenty of festive cheer in the run up to Christmas with special chocolate happy hours being on offer in the week before.

Malcolm Thompson, Managing Director of Burgoynes, who operate the rink said, 'We are delighted to have joined forces with Herefordshire Council to provide a unique, alternative city centre attraction. The rink has a marquee cover to ensure all weather usage and we are hoping even more people will come and enjoy the fun once the schools have broken up for Christmas.

For the early risers, from Saturday, 18th December until Christmas Eve, the rink will be opening for a special 'Chocolate Happy Hour' from 9am to 10am where skaters will be able to get a free warming drink as part of the skating experience. So visit historical Hereford with friends and family this Christmas and discover just how much is on offer locally, with shopping, refreshments and all entertainment needs all catered for. Combine your pre Christmas shopping with a visit to the rink or take some time out from the sales by working off that Christmas excess!'

The rink is situated in High Town by the Old House and is open from 9am until 6pm Mondays to Saturdays and open until 9pm on the Wednesdays prior to Christmas. Sunday opening is 10am to 5pm. The rink will be open every day through to Friday, 31st December with the exceptions of Christmas and Boxing Days.

Special rates can be arranged for groups wishing to make bookings, so why not get your skates on as part of your Christmas party fun? For help with booking and opening times, contact Burgoynes Marquees or telephone 07825 060190. Each session on the skate rink will last an hour and the cost is £6 per hour, £5 under 16s and a family ticket is £15, with concessions for school parties and group bookings. Children under eight must be accompanied by an adult.


15th December 2010 COUNTY FLAG TO FLY ALONGSIDE UNION FLAG....

The flag representing the county of Herefordshire is to be hoisted above the offices of the Department for Communities and Local Government in London. To celebrate the important place counties play in the nation's cultural heritage, Secretary of State Eric Pickles has asked that English county standards be flown alongside the Union Flag outside the Department's Eland House headquarters in Victoria. Flags are being flown for a week at a time in alphabetical order, however, Herefordshire has landed a bumper slot as the county's flag will be flying from Monday, 20th December, over the Christmas / New Year period which means it will be flying for two weeks.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire, The Countess of Darnley said, 'Herefordshire has a rich and diverse heritage of which we are justifiably proud. The county's blend of the traditional and the contemporary gives it a unique character which draws visitors back year after year. Its many traditional businesses are developing new locally sourced products with great success, whilst many new enterprises are delivering niche high end technological products and broadening our employment base.

For these reasons I'm delighted that Herefordshire is being recognized for all it is and stands for at this time of Advent, as its flag flies above the offices of the Department for Communities and Local Government in central London.'

Councillor John Stone, chairman of Herefordshire Council said, 'I'm delighted that Herefordshire's flag will be flown outside the Department for Communities and Local Government. Herefordshire is one of our most rural counties with agriculture still playing a vital role in the local economy. There are increasing numbers of visitors who appreciate Herefordshire's magnificent countryside and tranquillity as well as its history and traditions. Tourism is also important to the local economy as are our plethora of small businesses, which will benefit from the imminent improvement in broadband coverage.

Herefordshire is proud of its past but is also looking forward to the future, with high standards in its schools and colleges and wants our young people to stay and live and work in the county. Herefordshire has a sense of identity which has served it well in the past and will do so in the future and it is fitting that the county flag will be flying outside the Department in London.'

Secretary of State, Eric Pickles said, 'The Union Flag rightly has pride of place outside the Department but I'm delighted it will now be flown alongside our traditional and ceremonial county flags. England's counties continue to form an important part of our cultural and local identity in this country and many people remain deeply attached to their home county - both the traditional 'cricket' counties and in some case their more modern administrative successors.

This sense of pride and shared identity is one of the things that bind communities together and it's right that the Government department responsible for communities and local government should be actively recognizing the important role they play.'


Chairman, Councillor John Stone and Leader of the Council, Councillor Roger Phillips with the county flag which will be flying over the Department for Communities and Local Government this Christmas and New Year.

15th December 2010 ASDA WALK IN CENTRE HERE TO STAYY.....

NHS Herefordshire has made a commitment to retain the Walk in Centre, at ASDA, in Hereford. The centre was originally opened as a temporary measure to help ease the growing number of attendances to the county's Accident and Emergency unit until a more permanent solution could be found to expand the A&E facilities at the County Hospital.

Located south of the river on the same site as the ASDA supermarket in South Wye, the centre has proved to be hugely popular with over 500 patients now attending the centre every week. The site also offers a 100 hour pharmacy enabling residents to access pharmaceutical services at the same site. As a result, local health chiefs are keen to retain the centre, although details of the exact shape of the services that will be delivered are still under discussion.

A local GP, Dr Andy Watts, is leading a consortium of clinicians who are looking at the current demand for primary care type services at the ASDA site and equally at the County Hospital's A&E unit and leading discussions in the local health community to make sure that future services best meet the clinical needs of the patients presenting at both sites.

Sue Doheny, unscheduled care lead for NHS Herefordshire said, 'The temporary site at ASDA has proved to be very popular with members of the public and provides easy access, particularly for people from South Wye, which is one of the county's most densely populated areas. We have listened to the local community and are keen to work with the NHS contractors Primecare, to continue providing a service on this site, although the details of what this service will be and how it will operate to best meet the demand are still under discussion.

We thought it important, however, to reassure residents that NHS services will be retained on the ASDA site since NHS Herefordshire is aware of the local public support for the centre and the concerns being expressed that it may have only been a temporary solution.'

A fuller report on the next steps will be presented to both the NHS Herefordshire Board and the Hereford County Hospital Board in the New Year.


15th December 2010 IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS TODAY . . .Y.....

West Mercia Police are warning residents of Herefordshire to take precautions with their valuables when visiting local beauty spots after a car was broken into at a woodland near Hereford.

At 7am on Saturday, 27th November a woman went jogging in Haugh Woods, near Mordiford. When she returned to the car park off the Mordiford to Woolhope Road at 8.45am, she found her white CitroŽn Berlingo van window smashed and personal items stolen. Among the items taken were her handbag, purse, some jewellery and her clothes.

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said, 'This is the second such incident at Haugh Woods in a month, so we would like to warn those visiting the woods to take care with their valuables. It is quite an isolated site, so if you must leave things in your vehicle, make sure they are out of sight; better still, take them with you if you can, or leave them at home.

We would also like to hear from anyone who has seen any suspicious activity around Haugh Woods in recent weeks. If you have, please contact the Herefordshire Public Service Desk on 0300 333 3000, quoting reference 211S of 27/11/10.

You can also pass on information anonymously via the Crimestoppers number, 0800 555 111.'


15th December 2010

ENVIROABILITY BOOK SHOP

The EnviroAbility Bookshop recently took delivery of extra book shelves, courtesy of Monmouth Boys School, so that reorganization to maximize potential income can take place.

This valuable book swap shop has proved to be very popular with local residents, who regularly use the service free of charge. However, the team would welcome any donations that will help them to be able to keep up with the running costs of the facility, i.e. rent, lighting and heating etc.

According to Dennis Humble of EnviroAbility, users of the shop fall into the following categories;

There are the regular partners (customers) who are the heart of the scheme and are part of the motivation to maintain this project as a stand alone viable 'Town owned' resource. Then, there are the people who like the idea of a book swap, and who do just that, without it occurring to them how the running costs of the shop are met. A small donation from each of these people would really help.

Some users are simply on the look out for cheap books to sell at a boot sale for personal profit. EnviroAbility can and do work with some of these people on a profit share basis, however, some just drop a few coppers into the kitty. Sometimes the shop can get really busy, finding just over £5 in the tin at the end of the day.

For several years now, EnviroAbility has worked with other book shops in town to encourage more people to value the opportunities open to readers. They recognize the need to encourage the view that books are productive complements to a quiet evening; that reading does not have to replace the electronic age but can enhance and enrich life.

The book shop closed for reorganization last Thursday and Dennis and the team look forward to serving you in the near future. As always, EnviroAbility are looking for people who have an interest in books to get involved in the scheme. Involvement could be anything from one hour per week to help sort the books to working a full day in the shop.

If you have past Retail or Management experience and are willing to give some time to help steer or manage the project, please call 01989-763388. They will be very pleased to hear from you.


15th December 2010 COUNCIL RECEIVES GOVERMENT FINANCE SETTLEMENTY.....

Herefordshire Council has received a financial settlement from Central Government which is broadly in line with what was expected. The settlement accounts for around 70 per cent of what the council spends, including schools' funding.

The authority has been preparing for the announcement and the inevitable reductions through a number of rigorous reviews to become more efficient. It has also vowed to continue to support services to vulnerable people.

While this year's announcement gives the council an indication of the funding it will receive for the next two years, the figures are more complicated than usual and will need to be analysed in detail before the authority can comment in detail on them.


15th December 2010 GETTING OVERWEIGHT CHILDREN ON THE MENDY.....

NHS Herefordshire is looking for children who are above their ideal weight to participate in a new scheme which will help them and their families become healthier and fitter in the New Year.

MEND, (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it), is a 10 week programme designed to prevent and treat obesity in children aged seven to 13 years. In Herefordshire, six schemes have been run to date, with almost 100 young people completing the programme, losing weight, getting out and about more and developing greater confidence as a result. The programme works by helping youngsters and their families improve their eating and exercise habits, equipping the children and their families to live a healthier life. Families take part in fun, two hour sessions, twice a week and places on the courses are completely free of charge.

Caroline Forster, healthy lifestyle co-ordinator said, 'We've had a lot of success with the MEND programme and many of the children and young people who participate keep in touch with each other afterwards. Losing weight is only part of the scheme. What is more important is to provide children and families with information so that they can make informed choices. Sometimes, it's just a case of making a few small changes like switching to a brand lower in sugar, salt and fat that can make a big difference. Moving about more is important too, and we help our participants try out new things. Many of them discover activities that they enjoy and carry on with after the programme.'

Childhood obesity is becoming an increasingly important issue in our local communities. In the UK alone, three million children are currently overweight and as a result, facing a threat to their health. If these trends continue, one fifth of boys and one third of girls will be obese by 2020.

Herefordshire's new MEND programme will begin on 17th January and meetings will take place at Hinton Community Centre in South Wye, Hereford. Anybody interested in participating can obtain further information by calling the programme manager on 01432 344344.


15th December 2010 PAY ON FOOT CAR PARK NOW OPEN IN HEREFORD....

Herefordshire Council's first Pay on Foot car park at the Maylord Orchards, Hereford is now open to the public.

Pay on foot systems require motorists to take a ticket on entering the car park and then pay for the amount of time they have used when they return. Entry and exit to the car park is controlled by barriers. Pay on foot has three main benefits, say Herefordshire Council, in that shoppers can spend as long as they like in the city without worrying about getting a Penalty Charge Notice; motorists will only pay for the time they are in the car park and they won't have to overpay in advance.

Councillor Brian Wilcox said, 'The vibrancy of Hereford relies on its ability to attract shoppers and visitors and I am pleased we can now offer this pay on foot facility which will ensure people who come to the city spend more time here. The payment machines situated next to the entrance to the atrium of the Maylord Orchards car park will also be more convenient to use as they will be able to take coins, notes, debit and credit cards as well as giving change.'

Blue badge holders and concessionary disc holders will be pleased to know that they still get their parking concession by going into the Shopmobility Centre which is located in the car park.

The Pay on Foot system works like this. On arrival, stop at the barrier, take a ticket and park your car. On leaving, insert your ticket in a payment machine and pay. Take back your ticket and drive to the exit barrier. Once there, insert your ticket and the barrier will lift for you to exit.

This pay on foot facility is a pilot scheme and its operation will be fully assessed before deciding on whether or not to roll it out to other suitable car parks in the city.


Helen Power, Manager of the Maylord Shopping Centre with Councillor Wilcox and Shane Hancok next to the payment machine.

Helen Power with Councillor Wilcox and Shane Hancok at the entry barrier.

15th December 2010 PLEASE ONLY ORDER MEDICINES YOU NEEDY.....

NHS Herefordshire is stepping up a campaign to reduce the amount of wasted medicines across the county as patients stock up for the festive season. An illness or visit to the GP may result in a prescription being issued and many people with long term conditions rely on regular repeat prescriptions, but the medicines prescribed are not always used. More than £1m worth of medicines are estimated to be wasted a year in Herefordshire.

A campaign was launched in May this year where posters and leaflets were displayed in GP surgeries, pharmacies and information shops alongside adverts on buses and on plasma screens in libraries. At the same time, a survey was undertaken in pharmacies, surgeries and hospital out patient departments during a countywide information road show.

Alison Rogers of NHS Herefordshire said, 'We received a large number of comments from patients on why medicines seem to be wasted or unused which have been very helpful. These are already informing the way that we design systems involving medicines locally. As a primary care trust, we are focussing on supporting patients make better use of the medicines they are prescribed, which is especially important when medicines are prescribed for the first time.

It is also important for patients to know that they are still able to order repeat medicines even if they don't order them every time. Unused medicines returned to pharmacies cannot be recycled since there is no way of knowing how the medication has been stored or whether it's been tampered with. The main messages for patients are to only order the medicines that are really needed, have regular discussions with a pharmacist or GP about medicines and if you have to go into hospital take all your medicines in with you.'

NHS Herefordshire is appealing to medicine users to think about their needs over the festive season and make sure they order just what they need to take them into the New Year. The advice is to keep a simple well stocked medicines cabinet at home and talk to a community pharmacist for any medicines queries or minor ailments over Xmas and New Year.

Details of pharmacy opening hours over Christmas can be found at www.herefordshire.gov.uk


15th December 2010 NEW APPROACH TO PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICESY.....

Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire have welcomed Government moves to make councils responsible for promoting public health. The local authority and the Primary Care Trust already work together as one organization to encourage healthier lifestyles in the county, where people generally enjoy better health than average and can expect to live longer.

A new Department of Health White Paper called 'Healthy Lives, Healthy People' was released on 30th November 2010 and sets out how funding from the overall NHS budget will be ring fenced for spending on public health; a recognition that prevention is better than cure.

'Here in Herefordshire, the council and the primary care trust are working in an integrated way to challenge the links between social deprivation and poor health,' said Dr Sarah Aitken, director of public health, 'and we are used to focusing together on promoting healthy lifestyles. Our unique and close partnership means that we do not have to go through the shake up that will affect most parts of the UK. This is because we are already used to working in this way to tackle early on the deep rooted causes of ill health, including poverty, education, housing, upbringing and the choices people make about smoking, alcohol, diet, sexual behaviour and exercise. By taking a preventative approach we reduce people's risk of developing serious and long-term illnesses such as stroke, heart attack, diabetes and cancer.'

The government has announced that a ring fenced pot of NHS money will be set aside to help local authorities in the task and details on how the government intends to tackle individual problems, such as obesity, smoking and drinking, will announced in the New Year. The public health White Paper aims to encourage healthier behaviour by creating the right environment and then nudging people into making better lifestyle choices.

For the first time in a generation, Central Government will not hold all the purse strings. The majority of public health services will be commissioned by local authorities all funded from a new Public Health England budget.

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