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Park Home residents invited to attend inaugural meeting of new Forum

Corwall Council News - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 13:12

People living in park homes across Cornwall are being invited to attend the inaugural meeting of the Cornwall Park Home Resident Forum at the end of June.

The aim of the meeting, which is being held at St Erme Community Centre on 30 June 2014, is to set up a resident led Park Home forum in Cornwall. 

Cornwall Council’s Localism Team has been working with residents on a steering group to develop the idea of a forum, which was first supported as a way forward during two meetings held last September. Since then the steering group has been developing a draft constitution, and ideas on how the forum could operate.

Park home residents are now invited to attend a meeting to formally consider agreeing to set up the forum and who will be members of the first committee.

“New government legislation for residential park homes was passed in May 2013” said Derek Cordier, member of Cornwall Park Homes Forum steering group.  “The proposed formation of the 'Cornwall Park Homes Forum provides us with the opportunity to deliver this message to all 74 residential parks in Cornwall.  By helping individual residential parks to set up their own Associations, with some of the smaller ones possibly joining together, we can ensure that everyone knows about the changes and what they mean to them”.

“We want as many people as possible to join us in setting up the Cornwall Park Homes Forum” he added.  “The aim of the Forum is to help ensure that information is shared among all residential parks but we need everyone’s support to implement it.  Please come along to this very important first AGM meeting to help us to help you.”

Anyone who wishes to be considered to be a member is asked to complete and send back a nomination form by Friday 20 June.  Nomination forms will also be available on the day and attendees will be able to complete these and submit them to the Chair of the meeting prior to the start of the meeting.

“While all park home residents are invited to attend the meeting, the St Erme Community Centre only has capacity for 120 people” said Mark O’Brien, Community Network Manager. “It would, therefore, be helpful if park home sites, where possible, could identify a small number of representatives to attend the meeting.  These people can then report back to their neighbours.”

The creation of the new Forum has been welcomed by Geoff Brown, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities.  “This is a great opportunity to have a real say in the improvement of Park Homes,” he said.  “Many are already very well run but by sharing ideas it may help to raise standards further and add to public safety and I would encourage all park home residents to get involved.”

Copies of all the documents and forms including the agenda, draft constitution, expression of interest form and role description for committee members are all available on the News and Events section of the Park Homes webpage.

Nomination forms can be returned via email to mobrien@Cornwall.gov.uk and by post to Mark O’Brien, Community Network Manager, Localism Team, Cornwall Council, Room 4S, New County Hall, Treyew Road, Truro, TR1 3AY

 

Story posted 03 June 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Trading Standards and Police tackle investment fraudsters

Corwall Council News - Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:33

Cornwall Council Trading Standards Service and Devon and Cornwall Police are joining forces to tackle the problems of investment scams.

Also known as commodities fraud, investment scams involve fraudsters cold calling potential victims offering them the ‘opportunity’ to invest in unusual products such as plots of land (land banking), diamonds and other rare elements, wine or carbon credits.  The customer is given misleading information about saleability and future value of these products which are then offered to them at greatly inflated prices.

By the time suspicions are roused, the trading company has disappeared and, with it, the victims’ hard-earned savings.  Julia Groves, Trading Standards Authorised Officer, points out: “The quantities of money we are talking about with these scams is not just £20 or £30, but more like £10s of thousands, and can even reach the £100s of thousands, with victims losing their entire life savings.   We work closely with our colleagues in the police and Scambusters teams to target these fraudsters but the advice is not to respond to approaches made via the telephone.  Even asking for more information from these fraudsters can be dangerous, as they are likely to produce glossy looking sales brochures which may make you believe them to be genuine.“

DC Mark Heffer of Cornwall Financial Investigation Unit adds: “Over the last 12 months we have seen a number of victims being conned out of hundreds of thousands of pounds in bogus investment schemes including carbon credits, rare earth metals and share schemes. Before you enter into such schemes be wary and do a little bit of internet research. It may tip you off to the scam before you fall victim.”

Even when it is possible to locate the perpetrators of scams, this can take months and years of work. Julia says: “It’s obviously devastating to be conned out of such large sums of money in this way, but the effect on elderly victims can be particularly harmful as they may suffer ill health as a result and can lose the confidence to continue to live independently.

If anyone is thinking of making an investment, we would encourage them to seek independent financial advice from a company who is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.  More information such as checking the firm’s registration number can be obtained from them on telephone number 0800 111 6768 or via their website on consumer.queries@fca.org.uk.  Always remember that when an offer seems too good to be true, then it generally is!” 

Some £3.5 billion is lost to scammers each year and recent information tells us that this figure is likely to be underestimated.  Unfortunately the funds that are lost often go into financing illegal activities such as prostitution and child trafficking.  

If anyone thinks they have been the victim of a scam, be it for a small or large amount, please report it via the Citizens Advice Consumer Centre on 08454 04 05 06, or report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the Action Fraud website.

Julia adds: “And remember, if you have been caught by a fraudster once, be particularly vigilant not to fall for approaches offering to recover the money for you – this could again be a con!”

Story posted 02 June 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Council launches new scheme to give local councils the chance to get greater return on their money

Corwall Council News - Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:28

Alex Folkes, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources with Brian Palmer, St Austell’s Deputy Mayor  

Cornwall Council is offering town and parish councils in Cornwall the chance to gain a higher return on their money by depositing it with the unitary authority rather than putting into a high street bank.  

Over the past few months the Council has been working with local councils to draw up a scheme which will enable them to deposit cash with the authority and gain a higher rate of interest than they would get by depositing it with mainstream banks.

So far two town councils - St Austell and Launceston – have signed up to the new scheme, with more expected to follow suit in the coming weeks and months.

Welcoming the new scheme Alex Folkes, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said “Cornwall Council can attract a better rate of return from financial institutions due to its size and high credit rating.   This scheme means that town and parish councils will now be able to benefit from this opportunity.  This is another example of Cornwall Council doing what we can to help town and parish councils."

Under the scheme local councils can deposit between £25,000 and £1m with the Council.  There is no time limit and the councils will be able to access their money at any time.  An interest rate equivalent to Cornwall Council’s average return will then be added to their monthly balance.  

“Currently local councils receive their precept payment in two instalments, with the money then being used by them over the coming months” said Alex Folkes.  “This scheme will enable them to put their precept or any other monies that are not immediately needed with us and earn better interest rates.”

The new scheme was officially launched at the offices of St Austell Town Council, the first council to join the scheme.

“Parish and Town Councils do not have a lot of money so it is really important that we make the most of it for our council taxpayers” said St Austell’s Deputy Mayor Brian Palmer.  “By working together and with Cornwall Council we can earn a better rate of interest and still safeguard our funds. This has got to be good news for local taxpayers.”

Story posted 02 June 2014

Categories: Cornwall

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