A community meeting has seen representatives from the Porthtowan Beach Association, the Porthtowan Dunes Community Group, St Agnes Parish Council and Cornwall Council come together to discuss the way forward to protect the beach and dunes at Porthtowan this winter before a longer term management plan for the area is produced later this year.
The meeting was held to hear the professional advice within an independent report (which assesses changes in flood risk to 13 sites in Cornwall, including Porthtowan, due to the effects of the 2013/2014 winter storms and other interventions), to better understand the statutory responsibilities of Cornwall Council and to hear the views of each group. The independent assessment, which was carried out by Royal HaskoningDHV with help from the Environment Agency and Plymouth Coastal Observatory (PCO), recommends that the dunes at Porthtowan need to be built up and that the ridge height of the dune needs to be raised by up to one metre to reduce the risk of flooding.
At the meeting it was agreed that windblown sand on the green area behind the dune should be moved back to the dunes. It was recognised that there will be a need to stabilise the sand on the dune and reduce the risk of it blowing back onto the green or the road so it was agreed that in the short term, bundles of brush wood or bales of straw should be used as these would naturally decompose. It was agreed that vegetation such as marram grass will be planted and small areas of the dune fenced off as necessary to allow it to establish. It was also agreed that there will be signs put in place to explain what work is being carried out, and why it is necessary to protect the dune system as a means of protecting the village.
It was agreed that before the works take place, the public will have an opportunity to learn about the intended works and see examples of the material that will be used to stabilise the dune system. This early demonstration of materials will consist of a sample of each of the types of soft, decomposable materials that could be used to anchor sand. By carrying out such a demonstration the public will be able to see how they will work and the short term visual impact.
John Barrow from The Porthtowan Beach Association said: “It is very encouraging to see the community coming together, with full back up from Cornwall Council, with the common goal of dune restoration. This is a long term positive endeavour and will not be achieved overnight. However, the result will be a dune system we can all be proud of.”
Cornwall Councillor for Mount Hawke and Portreath and cabinet member for housing and environment Joyce Duffin said: “I’m pleased that the sand off the green can be used as most residents were very keen to have the green cleared. This was in the original agreed plan but did not happen. Now that this immediate action is planned, a long term way forward can be agreed and it is clear that we need to look at the whole of Porthtowan.”
The community groups and Cornwall Council will continue to work together over the coming months to put the funding in place. Cornwall Council is currently working with its service provider to agree a start date, but it is intended that the works will be completed before Easter.
Story posted 26 January 2015
Cornwall Council is taking the opportunity created by the new Bodmin offices to bring more of its services together, with the newly integrated Children and Adult social care teams confirmed as the final service to move into the building when it opens later this year.
The decision to move the integrated Children and Adult staff into the new offices means the three storey building is now full and, and, as a result, BT Cornwall are supporting the Council by continuing to make use of existing space in their own properties. This change will not in any way affect the total number of people BT Cornwall expects to employ in the county.
“The popularity of the new offices demonstrates the importance of Bodmin as a location and their suitability to meet the needs of some of our key services “ said Jeremy Rowe, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Localism. “The flexible space offers more open working environments and meeting rooms which will improve the opportunities for sharing information between teams and help safeguard vulnerable clients”.
“We are very grateful to BT for their willingness to support the Council to meet the demand from our services by finding a solution to accommodate their staff within their own estate”.
Local Cornwall Councillor Ann Kerridge said “I am delighted that the new Bodmin offices are in such demand as a location for services. This vindicates the decision to build the larger rather than the smaller version. I am also pleased that this isn’t a cause of any further reductions in the number of offices in other east Cornwall towns but will mean less of a concentration in Truro where offices are more expensive.”
“'I am delighted to have this prestigious development in Bodmin” added Local Cornwall Councillor Steve Rogerson. “It really is good news for everyone. It will save money for Cornwall Council, improve working conditions for our staff and add to Bodmin's development without adversely affecting any other town. ”
Article posted 27 January 2015
Pondhu Primary School pupils have taken part in the first ever Maths at Work day with Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership and local businesses.
On Wednesday 21 January Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership organised a Maths at Work day for pupils aged 9 to 11 from Pondhu Primary School to raise awareness of the range of number skills needed for different jobs.
The pupils got to try out interesting work tasks associated with a variety of jobs using maths. Activities with local employers included weighing ingredients with Chef Gareth Paget from The Rashleigh Arms in Charlestown, calculating how many items Tesco bakery has to bake every day with Claire-Louise Hunt from Tesco, finding and counting pulses with Kate Teagle from the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust as well as working out finances with Alan Hobbs from NatWest bank.
“Maths at Work provides a great experience for pupils to engage with local business to try out hands on ‘realwork’ maths activities thus embedding the importance and relevance of maths in both the workplace and everyday life.” said Kate Whetter Education Projects Manager at Cornwall Education Business Partnership.
NatWest relationship manager Alan said: “Whether young people choose to go into employment or start their own business, a good grasp of maths is vital. Maths at Work is a great initiative to show pupils at an early age the relevance of maths in everyday life in the workplace and NatWest is delighted to be involved.”
"The Maths at Work event has been very successful. Our upper juniors are very engaged with maths and an opportunity such as this to see practical, real world, applications for maths from visitors with business experience has added to the importance of this subject in the children's eyes. It also raises the aspirations of those children and gets them to think about the wider world of work. A great afternoon that I would recommend to other schools” said Nathan Cooper assistant head at Pondhu School
Other primary schools wishing to take part in similar days can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on 23 January 2015
Local residents and communities in Cornwall are being asked for their views on a new planning document which will provide guidance on how renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, wave, geothermal and biomass, can be deployed without harming Cornwall’s unique environment and heritage.
The draft Renewable Energy Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which has been produced by the Council’s Planning service, contains guidance on a range of renewable energy technologies. It also provides an explanation of community ownership and highlights the importance of effective community engagement before planning applications are submitted and contains detailed guidance on specific issues such as landscape and cumulative impact (in particular for wind turbines and solar farms).
“Cornwall benefits from a range of significant renewable energy resources, including onshore wind, solar, deep geothermal, biomass and marine energy potential “said Edwina Hannaford, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning. “The Council places great importance on the need to manage these valuable resources responsibly while safeguarding our local environment and the lives of residents. We also recognise the great potential for residents and communities to be involved in and benefit from the transition to a low carbon Cornwall – indeed Cornwall Council continues to lead the way in this respect.
“The Renewable Energy SPD is being developed to provide the detailed guidance needed to help the Cornwall Local Plan achieve these goals.“
Once adopted the SPD will become part of the local planning framework for Cornwall and will be taken into account when determining renewable energy planning applications.
Consultation on the SDP, which includes general guidance relating to all renewable energy technologies and specific siting and design guidance, will run from 23 January until Friday 27 March 2014.
The documents will be available on the website via the following link: www.cornwall.gov.uk/renewablespd.
Posted on 23 January
People aged 40 to 74 in Wadebridge and Camelford are now able to visit any one of the pharmacies in those towns to have a free NHS Health Check.
The NHS Health Check is an important step for many people towards improving their health and becoming more aware of what they can do to lead a healthier life. The NHS Health Check can help lower people’s risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of dementia.
Anyone aged between 40 and 74 can pop into one of the three pharmacies at
- Boots, New Courthouse, The Platt, Wadebridge, PL27 7AG - 01208 812505
- Boots, 25 Market Place, Camelford, PL32 9PD - 01840 212233
- Day Lewis Pharmacy, Jubilee Road, Wadebridge PL27 7AT - 01208 812760
Dalia Morgenstern from the Day Lewis Pharmacy in Wadebridge says: "As a pharmacy placed in the heart of the community, we are easily accessible and happy to have the opportunity to be providing this important service. This in the long term will improve patient care and reduce hospital admissions."
The free NHS Health Check will last about 20-30 minutes and you’ll be asked some simple questions, for example, about your family history and choices which may put your health at risk. Your height, weight, age and sex will be recorded and your blood pressure taken. There will also be a simple blood test to check your cholesterol level. These results will be discussed with you and advice given on how you can reduce your risk and stay healthy.
Anyone who needs further tests, advice or treatment is referred immediately, but a key aim is to encourage people at greater risk of poor health to make simple lifestyle adjustments, like stopping smoking or becoming more active.
Gwyn Williams, NHS Health Check Manager said: “The NHS Health Check provides a real opportunity for people to take control of their own health. By working together through partnerships with GPs, pharmacies and community groups, we can help to ensure the check is easily accessible for those that need it and would benefit most from the check. We need to ensure that everyone has access to the information and local services that will support them in making changes that will reduce their risk.”
The NHS Health Check interactive website provides information about what happens at the NHS Health Check, when and how to get one, and how to lower your risk.
Story posted 22 January 2015
A group of people referred by Bude and Launceston Job Centres will be celebrating their achievements in completing an innovative course run by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service’s Phoenix Works team at a presentation event at Launceston Community Fire Station on Friday 23 January.
The course, which was developed by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) and funded by Jobcentre Plus Devon Cornwall and Somerset, aims to provide support and training to increase the employment opportunities of those who take part.
Referred by the local job centres, all participants were given the opportunity to gain an ASDAN level one qualification in Improving Own Learning and Performance together with the HeartStart accreditation in emergency life support techniques. The group also took part in a range of fire service activities to promote teamwork, communication skills, raise confidence and aspirations. Alongside this, the course includes fire and road safety advice, as well as train the trainer and presentation skills.
Throughout the course participants get the opportunity to learn and develop transferable skills through participating in fire and rescue service drills and activities. These skills can then be taken forward and put into practice when the group members meet local employers, support agencies and community groups to help the individuals to identify future employment, training or voluntary opportunities.
CFRS Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker said: “I am encouraged to see how Phoenix Works team has been able to use the work and reputation of the fire and rescue service to help this group of people develop useful new skills.”
Carolyn Webster, District Business Manager for Jobcentre Plus Devon Cornwall and Somerset said: "The great work that the Phoenix team do to build their motivation and confidence really makes a difference to jobseekers prospects of finding work more quickly. We are proud to work alongside them and to fund their delivery through the District Flexible Support Fund"
Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities said: “These courses are an excellent example of how, by working with partners such as Jobcentre Plus, we can really make a difference to the lives of these individuals. I am delighted to celebrate the people who have embraced this opportunity to learn from the best.”
Story posted 22 January 2015
A major review of the importance of good mental health and wellbeing is the key focus of the 2014 Director of Public Health Annual Report published this week.
The report describes the benefits that can be gained from taking action throughout life to build good mental health and wellbeing with a clear focus on preventing problems before they occur or intervening early when they happen.
Evidence shows that typically only one in four adults with depression or anxiety are receiving treatment compared to over nine in ten adults receiving help for physical conditions like diabetes or hypertension. In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, there are a number of local challenges, for example, the percentage of adults living with dementia or depressions is higher than the national average. Hospital admissions through unintentional and deliberate injuries among under 18s are higher than the national average. There is also have a higher than average suicide rate.
Acting Director of Public Health, Stuart Bourne, said: “I am pleased that this year’s Annual Report can bring a strong focus on the importance of good mental health and wellbeing. It is a fundamental building block of a long and happy life. For example, feeling secure, loved and stimulated in pre-school years can make a big difference in our ability to make friends, learn well and enjoy life. This pattern can be repeated throughout life with those at the margins of society often coping with poor level of mental wellbeing which impacts on many health behaviours such as alcohol and substance abuse.”
“I look forward to working with local communities and a wide range of colleagues in addressing the issues raise in the report. Reducing the stigma of poor mental health and supporting people in tackling the issues that affect them makes sense for the sense of wellbeing in our homes, schools, workplaces and local communities.”
“We are already taking forward action in a number of key areas such as the Headstart Programme to better equip young people with the skills to deal with mental health issues or continuing to expand the ASIST programme which gives front-line professionals skills in dealing with suicide risk.”
The report sets out a helpful review of current evidence, local data, information on local services and support to improve mental health and wellbeing and suggests how future improvements can be made. It covers nine key mental health topics including common mental health problems, the economic benefits of taking action, supporting children and young people and helping people to cope with dementia.
Elsewhere, other sections in the report focus on:
- An introduction from the Director of Public Health
- An overview - including an update on last year’s report and things to celebrate for public health from the past year
- Public Health Intelligence - looking at how the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment will develop and extending the impact of public involvement in understanding local needs and aspirations
- Supporting local strategies - reviewing how public health action can help to deliver key priorities like the new Cornwall Council strategy
- Commissioning public health services – setting out how essential support is provided around sexual health, drugs and alcohol and new local authority responsibilities for children under 5 years old.
The Director of Public Health is required to publish an independent view on the health of the local population each year. The annual report is published online with a limited number of copies made available to local decision makers and to the public through local libraries.
Innovative plans to create a “shared space” scheme in Bodmin’s Dennison Road and Church Square by improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, removing street clutter and reducing traffic speeds have been formally unveiled this week.
Over the past few months Bodmin residents and organisations have been looking at ways to improve the local environment on Dennison Road and Church Square. These include plans by Better Bodmin to create a food and drink culture along Dennison Road and the vision set out in Bodmin Masterplan’s to create a ‘sense of place’ upon arrival to the town.
To support the delivery of these aspirations, Cornwall Council has been working closely with Bodmin Town Council and Better Bodmin to develop plans to create a ‘shared-space’ scheme along a section of Dennison Road running through to Church Square.
The shared space scheme will involve creating a softer, less segregated approach to traffic management along the street, resulting in steadier traffic flows with improved conditions for pedestrians and cyclists and an improved economic viability of the street. The concept involves removing street clutter, widening pavements, and reducing traffic speeds while improving traffic flows to encourage more active travel.
Shared-space schemes, often seen across Europe, have successfully been deployed elsewhere in the country, and have brought significant improvements to the street scape and public realm for all users.
The scheme has the full support of local Cornwall Councillors Pat and Steve Rogerson who said “ Since 2013 a main focus for our work within the town has been to improve traffic flow and air quality on existing roads and to stimulate trade for our businesses. The result of much work by officers and councillors has now culminated in plans for the development of a cycle route and a shared use route following Dennison Road.
“We are delighted to support the scheme and wish to thank all those concerned for their positivity and resolve. This is major step forward in preserving the health, wealth and safety of our town.'
The Mayor of Bodmin Andy Coppin, is also delighted with the proposals. “I am really excited about the concept of shared space and the improvement that could be achieved in some of the town's more challenging areas such as Church Square and Dennison Road. The principles behind shared space would seem to offer a solution to some of the town's traffic management problems and could result with engaged motorists reducing their speed and taking more care as they drive through our town.”
“This fresh approach to the management and movement of people and traffic could see an increase in shopper / visitor dwell time in the town centre, boosting the town economy.
The Bodmin project is one of a number of initiatives put forward by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Cornwall Council for a slice of the Government's Local Growth Fund.
The scheme, which is being delivered as a Bodmin package in conjunction with a Camel Trail to Lanhydrock cycle link and a new junction at Launceston Road/Priory Road, is scheduled to be delivered by March 2017.
Posted on 21 January
News that the Government is only providing funding to improve the kitchens of one of the six primary schools put forward by Cornwall Council has been criticised by the authority’s Cabinet Member for Young People Andrew Wallis.
Last year, following the Government’s requirement to provide free hot school meals to all Key Stage One pupils, Cornwall Council had to carry out works at 112 of its 236 primary schools. While the majority of these works only involved providing new cooking and serving equipment (fixed and portable), food storage items, e.g. freezers / fridges and eating and cooking utensils, major works were required at four schools, with complete new build kitchens provided at Dobwalls and Tregadillet Schools and the conversions of existing servery units to full functioning kitchens carried out at two others.
The Council received £846,000 from the Department of Education towards the £1.4m costs of carrying out these works, with the £555,000 shortfall having to be met locally from the previously unassigned Dedicated Schools Grant, as agreed by the Schools Forum.
At the end of last year the Department for Education announced it was providing a second tranche of funding for its universal infant free school meals policy and invited local councils to submit bids to fund works to improve school kitchens.
The Council submitted bids on behalf of six local maintained primary schools – Menheniot, Pencoys, Stithians, Pensans, St Agnes and St Francis CE Primary School, with the total costs of the works estimated at £360,615.
Today the Council was told that the Government had only accepted the bid for Stithians Primary School, leaving the five remaining schools with no funding.
“We are incredibly disappointed by this decision by the Department for Education” said Andrew Wallis. “This is the second time the Council and the people of Cornwall have been let down by a lack of Government funding for universal infant free school meals.
“Last year we had to find £550,000 to ensure that primary schools in Cornwall could meet the new Government policy to provide free school meals to all infant children. Now, yet again, we are faced with another shortfall in funding and no clear options to fund the shortfall.
“We will now have to look at what, if anything, we can do to deliver the improvements at the five remaining schools.“
Posted on 21 January 2015
Members of Cornwall Council have today given their backing to the draft “Case for Cornwall” which sets out the increased powers and freedoms the Council wants to secure from the Government to enable Cornwall to take greater control over its own affairs.
Presenting the Case for Cornwall at today’s meeting of the full Council Leader John Pollard said Cornwall needed to have more local accountability, more local control, more local direction and more local democracy.
“Seeking more powers for Cornwall is not new – we have been striving for more autonomy for years” he said. “We have gained greater powers, skills and confidence over many years and I believe that now is the moment to lay our case before the people of Cornwall and then to Government.
“The Case for Cornwall being presented to the Council today is not an abstract “wish list” or a distant hope - it is a clear, calculated case that can and will be achieved. These are proposals which will enable us to deliver a better service to our communities and create a more flexible and sustainable Cornwall.”
Outlining the changes which had been made to the draft document which was launched for debate at the beginning of December, Mr Pollard said that the priorities set out in the updated Case for Cornwall document reflected the feedback which had been received from Members and partners.
The revised priorities include:
- Public transport and connectivity – including additional powers to decentralise bus regulation and retaining a fraction of fuel duty to maintain Cornwall’s roads
- Housing – including devolution of powers and land holdings from the Homes and Communities Agency, working with the Government to identify ways of managing the number of second homes and retaining Stamp Duty to build affordable housing
- Health and social care – including working with the Government to integrate health and social care
- Energy - including greater control over large scale energy infrastructure and Government investment in geothermal technology
- Public sector efficiency – including devolved delivery of funding and investment streams
“I said in December we needed to create a document which would speak for the whole of Cornwall, for all sections of society and all interests, including businesses, local communities, and politicians. I believe that this document is the right starting point for achieving this aim “ said Mr Pollard.
“The Case for Cornwall presented to the Council today is both realistic and achievable. It sets the agenda for a different approach, a determined approach, a Cornwall approach. While it may not be ambitious enough for everyone, and will be too extreme for others, I believe that this is a case that is practical, sensible and beneficial to all and will be supported by the vast majority of people across Cornwall. “
Following today’s decision by Members to provide a mandate for the Council to make a Case for Cornwall, the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive will now engage with the Government, national political parties, MPs and the public over the proposals set out in the document. This will include initial discussions taking place with main political parties before 26 March, with a more detailed document being submitted to the new Government following the election.
During this period further work will be carried out to develop the proposals, with a cross party working group set up to oversee the progress of this work and strengthen the Case for Cornwall so the revised document can be submitted ahead of the Parliamentary summer recess.
Posted on 21 January 2015
Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Hogg, will be at the next St Blaise, Lostwithiel and Fowey Community Network meeting to explain the current and future challenges that the Police face.
The St Blaise, Lostwithiel and Fowey Community Network meeting will take place on Monday 26 January at Lostwithiel Community Centre, starting at 7pm. The public are welcome to attend and ask questions in the public section at the start of the meeting.
Police funding is set to reduce by 5% year on year over the next four years. He said “It means we must make lots of difficult choices to protect as much front line service as possible but these continued Government cuts leave us no choice but to explore issues such as reducing officer numbers, closing police stations and finding new ways for the public to deal with the police, including more automated systems.”
Cornwall Councillor Benedicte Bay will be chairing the Community Network meeting in Lostwithiel. She said “I look forward to hearing what Tony Hogg has to say. We have been well supported by the Police in Lostwithiel. Our Community Network Panel consists of the four Cornwall Councillors in this area and all the Town and Parish Councils. Our meetings are open to the public and people are encouraged to take part. I would encourage anyone interested in the future of local policing to attend.”
Community Network meetings are a place for local council to discuss current issues affecting the CNA and agreeing ways to progress these by working together.
Martin Eddy, Community Network Manager, said “At this meeting we will discuss local priorities, with a view to influencing Cornwall-wide strategies, local service delivery and local projects. We know that by working together we can use our collective experience to find solutions to community issues.”
Story posted 20 January 2015
Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership organised a ‘Have a Go’ day for Callington Community College on Friday 16 January where local employers provided ‘tasters’ – bite sized opportunities to try out work-based skills. Year 9 students found out about careers and the pathways to a dream job – including further education and apprenticeships.
Have a Go activities included how to windsurf with a simulator with the Cornwall Marine Network and South West Lakes Trust, taking blood pressures with Royal Cornwall Hospital and a bed making competition with Premier Inn. Also offering ‘Have a Go’ activities were: Transport Bombardier, Cornwall College Hair and Beauty, Superfast Cornwall, the Army, Nurturing Excellence project, and Bluefruit Software.
The whole day was kick-started by an inspirational Key Note speech from Phil Johns, an IT entrepreneur from Ivybridge. He spoke to the students about how he has managed to achieve so much at such a young age and about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.
“The ‘Have a Go’ day at Callington Community College raised the profile of skills, vocational training and apprenticeships for young people” said Kate Whetter, Education Projects Manager at Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership.
“The ‘Have A Go’ day is a fantastic opportunity for our students to learn about the world of work” said Sean Morris Principal of Callington Community College.
“For Springboard, it is extremely important for our hospitality partners to take part in ‘Have a Go’ days, to ensure students are made aware of the industry and the fantastic range of employment options within it” said Ele Porritt Cornwall Programme manager for Springboard South West.
Matthew Dodkins Team Lead at Bluefruit Software said “These ‘Have a Go’ days are absolutely vital if we are going to have any chance of recruiting young people from this country. We are desperate for programmers and all the students today seemed to really enjoy trying it out”.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge and experiences and to help students make informed choices about their future” said Clare Prout Learning Facilitator at Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust.
Story posted 19 January 2015
This February, Cornwall Record Office in Truro is launching an exciting new series of creative ArTchive workshops inspired by their wonderful archive collections.
These free events will each last a day and participants will enjoy a guided tour of the Office’s secure strongrooms – home to more than half a million documents related to Cornwall – before taking part in a workshop led by a professional practitioner.
There are three workshops on offer.
The first on Tuesday 3 February is led by well-known artist and illustrator, Sue Lewington, and is entitled ‘The Lost Art of Correspondence’. Participants will make a book inspired by the volumes and letters held within the strongrooms, and their own correspondence and memories.
On Friday 6 February, ‘Poetry from the Archive’ will be led by poet Annabel Banks, who is currently finishing a PhD related to the letters of leading lights of the industrial revolution, Matthew Boulton and James Watt, which are held at the Office. Participants will be introduced to these fascinating letters and hear more about Annabel’s practice, before writing their own poetry.
‘Putting Pen to Paper: Stories Inspired by the Archive’, on Monday 09 February, is led by local author and historian, Steph Haxton. Steph is well-known to teachers around Cornwall as ‘The History Lady’ and has recently completed her first novel, inspired by civil war documents held at the Office. Those taking part in the workshop will hear about Steph’s inspirations before taking part in a range of creative writing exercises.
All the workshops take place from 10am-4pm at the Record Office, Old County Hall, Truro.
Please note that pre-booking is essential as places are very limited. A £10 refundable deposit – payable by cheque - is also required in advance of the workshop. Please note that lunch is not provided; participants are welcome to bring a packed lunch.
Chloe Phillips, Learning Officer at Cornwall Record Office, said “We’re really excited to be working with such interesting and creative people and are looking forward to seeing our collections interpreted in new and different ways both by the workshop leaders and their participants. These workshops are pilot events for a programme of creative activities we are hoping to run in future.”
For more information, or to book a place on one of the workshops, please call the Record Office on 01872 323127.
Story posted 16 January 2015
Cornwall Council, along with other local authorities across the South West, has introduced a process whereby the validity of a pass can be made by the ticket machine on the bus.
The process, called Hotlisting, is where the Bus Pass, an electronic smartcard issued under the National Bus Concession Scheme, is turned off making it invalid for use. The use of Concessionary Bus Passes is subject to auditing.
There are three main reasons why a very small number of passes will be Hotlisted
- the pass has been reported either lost or stolen and has already been replaced;
- the Council has written to a pass-holder and the letter has been returned indicating that the pass-holder may have moved;
- the Council has written to a pass-holder asking for up to date proof of eligibility or to return the pass and has not received a response.
As the majority of re-issued passes are to replace ones either out of date or reported lost by the pass-holder, there may still be some pass-holders who currently use more than one pass when they are not supposed to, for example where the original ‘lost’ pass has subsequently been found.
From now until 02 February 2015, if a customer tries to use a pass which is flagged up as being Hotlisted, the bus driver will tell the customer that the pass is no longer valid for travel and must not be used again – but it will not be withdrawn and the user will be able to continue with their journey.
The customer will then have time to contact the Council to arrange for a new pass to be issued where appropriate, and to return the old pass to the Council.
From 02 February 2015, if a ticket machine on the bus confirms that a pass is Hotlisted, it will be withdrawn from use and retained by the bus driver. Where a pass is withdrawn, and the driver is satisfied that the customer is the person on the pass, the customer will still be allowed to make that journey – although all future journeys will need to be paid for until either the correct pass is used or a new pass issued.
More information and FAQs for bus pass users can be found on the Council's website or call 0300 1234 222.
Story posted 16 January 2015
Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership with Springboard Southwest organised a “World of Work” day for Penair School on Tuesday the 13 January at The Carlyon Bay Hotel.
Working in small groups with skilled Carlyon Bay Hotel staff, students had the chance to get ‘hands on’ through a programme of practical ‘have a go’ challenges in both housekeeping and catering. They also had a tour of the hotel and were able to witness first hand some of the work that goes on behind the scenes.
The students found out about the benefits of a career in hospitality from and got some top tips on how to get ahead in the business as well as having the opportunity to take part in individual mock interviews.
“The World of Work Day really helped to raise the profile of skills, vocational training, careers and apprenticeships in the hospitality industry for the Penair students” said Kate Whetter, Education Projects Manager at Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership.
“We were delighted to take the opportunity to give young people an insight into a career in the hospitality industry” said Max Brend Training and Development at The Carlyon Bay Hotel. He continued” It’s so important the next generation is invested in”.
Debbie Killingback Director of Learning at Penair School said -“This has proved to be an invaluable experience for the students, both from a perspective of seeing the workings of a four star hotel to actually being interviewed for a job. The staff at the Carlyon Bay Hotel are to be congratulated for the effort and detail in putting this programme together and making the students so welcome. The students will remember this day for many years to come”
Story posted 14 January 2015
Consultation begins on proposal to charge all disabled car park users for parking in Council car parks
Cornwall Council is seeking views on proposals which would see disabled car park users who are currently entitled to park for free in Council run car parks, pay for the service.
Vehicles displaying both a blue badge and a nil tax/disabled tax disc have been able to park for free in Council car parks since 2010, while the drivers of vehicles displaying a blue badge on its own have had to pay. Those who have to pay are, however, also entitled to an hour’s additional free parking.
The proposals only affect blue badge holders who also have the nil tax/disabled tax disc. As part of the plans, holders of these cards will have to pay to park but will also be entitled to an additional hour’s free parking.
Anyone who would like to take part in the consultation can download a questionnaire from the Council’s website www.cornwall.gov.uk/parkingconsultations or pick up a paper copy from any Council One Stop Shop. Feedback from the consultation, which runs from Friday 16 January to Friday 17 April, will be considered by the Council’s Cabinet.
Councillor Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Transport, said: “The reason we gave this concession in the first place was because our equipment was not helpful to some disabled people. As we are now able to replace that equipment and have the RingGo service, we feel that this is a moment to consider re-introducing charging.
“We are keen to hear what people think. Needless to say the Council is in straightened financial circumstances and every penny counts.”
Free parking for blue badge holders who also have a nil tax/disabled tax disc was brought in at a time when the Council did not have accessible pay and display machines in all of its car parks. However accessible pay and display machines are being brought in at most car parks and drivers can also pay for parking online or through their mobile phone by using RingGo.
And as paper tax discs were abolished in October 2014, parking enforcement officers can no longer check that a vehicle is eligible for free parking.
People affected by the proposals will be able to continue to park for free without being penalised in the following restricted ‘on street’ areas (as long as they don’t cause an obstruction):
- Limited parking areas – for an unlimited time
- Yellow lines – for three hours or less
- Resident’s parking zones – for an unlimited time
- Disabled bays – for an unlimited time unless roadside signs show time limits.
Drivers with vehicles displaying a blue badge should always consider others when parking on roads marked with yellow lines, and not park where it would endanger, inconvenience or obstruct pedestrians or other road users.
To download a copy of the questionnaire visit www.cornwall.gov.uk/parkingconsultations. You can also pick up a paper copy from any Council One Stop Shop or request one by calling 0300 1234 222; email your comments to email@example.com; or, write to Disabled Parking Consultation, Parking Services, PO Box 664, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 9DH.
For more information on RingGo visit www.myringgo.co.uk
The high quality of Cornwall Adult Education Service, part of Cornwall Council, has been praised in a positive report from Ofsted which highlights the good teaching and learning provided by tutors; the high numbers of learners gaining recognised qualifications and the wide range of courses on offer.
A team of eight inspectors spent five days in Cornwall in November inspecting the range of courses delivered in five main centres across Cornwall, including 110 community venues and 19 ‘link into learning’ centres. More than 6,500 adults took courses run by Cornwall Adult Education Service last year, including both those leading to qualifications and those taken for personal development.
The final report praises the improvements which have been made since the inspection in 2013 with inspectors concluding that the service has now moved from the previous judgement of “requiring improvement“ to “good”.
Particular praise is given to the good progress made by learners, the quality of learning support and the strong leadership and management of the service.
Welcoming the outcome of the inspection Councillor Julian German, the Chair of Governors for Cornwall Adult Education Service, said “This judgement is testament to the hard work of all involved in adult education in Cornwall and our desire to provide the best possible learning and outcomes for learners.
“I would like to congratulate everyone who has worked so hard over the past two years to help deliver these improvements to Cornwall Adult Education Service.”
The report praises the good quality outcomes for learners. “Learners have access to a comprehensive programme offered over most of Cornwall. The programmes on offer are carefully aligned with the needs of employers across Cornwall, of priority groups, and of those in isolated areas or living in difficult circumstances.
“Around half of the learners with Cornwall Adult Education Service are on courses leading to qualifications. The remainder are taking courses for personal and social development, which have particular importance in isolated areas of the county.
“Learners in virtually all courses make good progress developing skills and knowledge. Good teaching and learning, delivered by enthusiastic and knowledgeable teachers, result in thought provoking and interesting lessons that fully engage learners.”
The inspectors also highlight the quality of teaching, learning and assessment. “Good teaching, learning and assessment enable learners on community learning, family learning and vocational courses to successfully achieve their qualifications. Tutors have high expectations of their learners, but almost all tutors effectively combine challenge with a friendly and supportive learning environment. Learning support is good, particularly in developing learners’ mathematics and English skills”.
The report also praises the effectiveness of leadership and management. “Leadership and management are good. Strong leadership. effective and supportive managers at all levels, and revised quality improvement systems have, in a short period, led to significant improvements in teaching and learning, and outcomes.
The report identifies a small number of areas where further work is needed for the service to become an “outstanding” provider, including improving the success rate for formal qualifications in a small proportion of courses; using feedback more effectively in some areas to help learners understand how to improve and updating safeguarding policies to reflect good practice.
Head of Cornwall Learning and Achievement Jane Black is delighted at the swift and excellent progress made since the last inspection. "It is always a joy to see professionals who are passionately dedicated to achieving the very best outcomes for their learners and that dedication is nowhere more evident than in the Cornwall Adult Education team. A wonderful result for tutors and learners with so much to celebrate on the road to outstanding."
Rob Sweetzer-Sturt, Principal of Cornwall Adult Education Service, said “I am particularly pleased about this because we made a big improvement at the same time as maintaining our county-wide local presence and adjusting to reductions in funding. None of us wanted to compromise on our mission for Cornwall and I think that gave us great unity in moving forwards.”
The five major hubs are Helston; Falmouth; Bude/Camelford/Launceston; Liskeard; Newquay/Bodmin. There are also Link into Learning (English and maths) centres in Helston; Falmouth; Bude/Camelford/Launceston; Liskeard; Newquay/Bodmin , Callington, Saltash, Torpoint, St Austell, St Dennis, Truro, Penryn, Hayle, Redruth/Illogan, Penzance.
Information on courses can be found on www.cornwall.gov.uk/adultlearning or by telephoning 0300 123 1117.
Story posted 19 January 2014
In Cornwall there are over 270 families who foster and more are urgently needed. Cornwall currently has 440 children in care, with many of these older children and some in sibling groups. At present there is a specific need for foster carers to care for these children and young people. Many of them need permanent homes, living with foster carers who can offer them stability until adulthood.
Foster carers help some of the most vulnerable children and young people by providing guidance, security and love.
Jenny and Gordon have been fostering for over thirty-six years, the majority of which has been here in Cornwall. “The bottom line is we enjoy it” they said. “We enjoy the challenge, being able to provide a space where children feel safe, secure and loved, without any strings attached”.
The couple only foster teenagers. “They need us the most. We enjoy all ages but with older children you can really see where you are going. There is huge satisfaction in allowing them to just be themselves, to stop and look at their lives without criticism. We help them to discover what is going wrong for them and maybe give them ideas for change or strategies for coping”.
Rebecca Sargent is the Council’s Service Manager for the Fostering Service. ”Not many people realise that we need many different types of foster carers” she said. “At present, we specifically need foster carers who can look after the same child or young person on a permanent basis. We also need foster carers for older children and sibling groups – both on a short term fostering and permanent.”
Cornwall Council’s Fostering Service offers ongoing support and training for all of its foster carers. Rebecca explains “Our training programme for all foster carers is extensive, covers a range of areas and all new carers get a mentor who is an existing carer.”
“Foster carers have a vital role in giving children in care the best possible start in life” said Andrew Wallis, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People. “Our foster carers are doing a great job in making a truly positive difference to the lives of hundreds of children in Cornwall every year but we need more people to come forward “
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, call the Fostering Team on 01872 323 638 or visit www.cornwall.gov.uk/fostering
People of all ages and all levels of musical ability in Cornwall are being encouraged to join the exciting Family Orchestra and Chorus project which will see them working with the BBC Concert Orchestra to create and then perform a brand new piece of music.
“The Family Orchestra and Chorus is an ensemble for all ages, all instruments, and all levels of ability” said Tanya Moore, Cornwall Music Education Hub Manager which is supporting the project. “It's a chance for families to make music together, joining members of the BBC Concert Orchestra in a fun family-friendly workshop to compose new music from scratch together.
“The people taking part will work with BBC Concert Orchestra musicians over the course of two weekends in February and March to create the new piece of music inspired by the BBC Ten Pieces project. They will then perform their new composition in front of family and friends on the final afternoon of Sunday, 1 March, before getting together again in April to perform at Truro Cathedral”.
Taking part in the project is free and is open to anyone over the age of 7 years. Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian aged 18 or above.
“All abilities are welcome” saidTanya. “Whether you're a virtuoso violinist, budding trumpet player, or if you're completely new to music, you can come along and sing in the chorus or join the percussion section. You also don't need to be able to read music.”
Anyone wishing to take part in the project will need to commit to the following dates:
- Saturday 21 February, 10.30-16.00 Workshop
- Sunday 22 February, 10.30-16.00 Workshop
- Saturday 28 February, 10.30-16.00 Workshop
- Sunday 1 March, 10.30-16.00 Workshop and performance
- Saturday 11 April, 10.30-16.00 Rehearsal
- Saturday 18 April, times tbc Performance at Truro Cathedral
The rehearsals will take place at Truro High School.
For further information about the Cornwall Family Orchestra and Chorus project please contact Nicola Cawrse at Cornwall Music Education Hub on 01872 327807 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on 16 January 2015
Householders across Cornwall are being encouraged to join forces to cut their energy bills through a new initiative called Community Energy Switch.
The collective switching service has been launched by the Cornwall-based charity Community Energy Plus, which provides services to help householders reduce their energy use and ensure that they can afford to heat their homes. The charity is working with the national switching organisation energyhelpline to co-ordinate their collective switch and link into the group buying power of several other collectives taking place across the country at the same time.
Householders have until 1 March to register, after which UK energy suppliers will compete to offer the cheapest exclusive tariffs. Community Energy Plus is confident that with average savings of £221 a year, based on energyhelpline’s last collective switch, bill payers will snap up the opportunity to switch to a better deal.
Registration is free, quick and simple with no obligation to switch. Register online at www.communityenergyswitch.org.uk or call Freephone 0800 804 7247.
For many people living in Cornwall, household incomes have failed to keep up with rising energy and living costs. Community Energy Plus has seen a steady increase in the number of people contacting them because they are struggling to keep warm and pay their energy bills.
Dr Tim Jones, Chief Executive at Community Energy Plus, explained the need for Community Energy Switch: “While many people are aware that changing tariff or supplier could save them money, it’s something that many of us keep putting off because we think it’s too difficult. We’ve set up Community Energy Switch to overcome the barriers people meet when thinking about switching and to help householders in Cornwall take control of their energy bills. The more people that register, the more power we have to negotiate a special deal with energy suppliers and the more money we save.”
The initiative is being endorsed and promoted by Cornwall Council, NHS Kernow and the Winter Wellbeing Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Julian German, Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture said: “A similar initiative was launched in 2012 which proved hugely successful. ‘Cornwall Together’ saved hundreds of people hundreds of pounds. By joining forces with our partners again, and launching a similar scheme, we hope we will achieve the same positive results. Many people struggle to pay their fuel bills let’s hope we can help the residents of Cornwall save money again this year. This is people power in action, by joining in a collective switch, individuals can make real savings.”
Anthony Ball, Winter Wellbeing and Tackling Inequalities Lead at Public Health Cornwall Council said: “Cold homes and fuel poverty cause around 350 deaths a year locally, however there’s a much larger number of people who experience poor health and wellbeing as a consequence of living in cold homes. Community Energy Switch provides the opportunity for everyone taking part to reduce their energy bills, but for some of the lowest income households in Cornwall it could mean the difference between living in a warm rather than cold home.”
Community Energy Switch is open to everyone – whether they live in or outside Cornwall. This includes people who own their own homes, rent from a private landlord or social housing provider, as well as if they pay their energy bills by direct debit, cheque, cash or pre-payment meter.
Householders who register their details will be contacted with details of the winning energy deal from 2 March. As well as being offered the exclusive winning tariff they will also see all other tariffs in the market, so if another tariff suits an individual’s energy needs more, they can sign up for that instead; there will also be green tariffs on offer.
Once a householder has agreed to switch, the necessary arrangements will be made on their behalf with their old and new suppliers. Switching is a seamless process – there isn’t a physical change to the energy supply but householders can feel the financial benefit of getting a better deal on your energy bills.
Community Energy Plus runs an oil buying club (communityenergyclub.org.uk) with over 2,000 members and was previously a lead partner in Cornwall Together alongside Cornwall Council, NHS Cornwall and The Eden Project which carried out two collective switches in 2012 and 2013. The charity’s Community Energy Switch initiative seeks to build on the achievements of Community Energy Club and Cornwall Together and help many more householders to save money on their energy bills.
Posted on 15 January 2015
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