Shropshire Council’s public protection team is warning local traders and consumers to be cautious of purchasing Chinese lanterns from car boot sales and Internet sellers in the run up to Christmas.
The products, which are known by a variety of names including sky lanterns, fire lanterns and Chinese flying glowing lanterns, are small hot air balloons made of paper, with an opening at the bottom where a small fire is suspended on a base framework containing an ignition source. They are intended to be launched into free flight, rising by the enclosed hot air.
The products are covered by an industry Code of Practice which is intended as guidance on good practice for those designing, manufacturing, distributing, retailing or using sky lanterns. These products have given rise to a number of safety concerns including the risk of injuries to livestock, animals and humans, and hazards to property and the environment from fire and pollution.
In a recent check on retailers in Shropshire, public protection officers found the products on sale at only three stores, all of whom took advice on the Code and, in one case, removed a product from sale following officers’ advice.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for public protection, said;
“We have had good co-operation from our known retailers, who either have stopped stocking these products or have taken our advice in respect of the Code. The concern would be that with supplies of these products being carefully controlled at these businesses, there could be attempts to sell by mobile or Internet traders where the likelihood of products not complying with the Code could be much higher.”
Traders and consumers who want advice and guidance on purchasing and/or using these products should contact the prevention and early intervention team within public protection via 0345 678 9000.
Shropshire councillors have approved proposals for the development of living accommodation for students at the new University Centre Shrewsbury.
At a meeting of the full Shropshire Council yesterday (Thursday 18 December 2014), councillors agreed to delegate authority to the council’s Chief Executive, in consultation with the council’s lead finance officer, to acquire and fit out student living accommodation by the most economical route – subject to the completion of a satisfactory feasibility study.
A number of options in Shrewsbury town centre have been considered for living accommodation. Negotiations have been taking place with potential suppliers and it is hoped that an agreement on a preferred site will be reached shortly.
In case current proposals for suitable living accommodation can’t be agreed, and in order to identify additional capacity to allow for growth, Council also approved the undertaking of an open market tender for the provision and operation of up to 800 student living units on a call-off basis.
Councillors have also agreed to delegate authority to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the lead finance officer, to enter into negotiations and make an offer to purchase an additional site to house the long-term expansion of University Centre Shrewsbury – though this will be subject to obtaining funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), a recast of the council’s Finance Strategy and the approval by full Council of a business case for purchase.
Meanwhile, an outline Student Accommodation Strategy is currently being developed and will be considered by full Council early in 2015.
As part of this strategy, Shropshire Council is intending to introduce a landlord accreditation scheme. The intention is that under such a scheme all private sector providers of student accommodation will need to demonstrate they have the appropriate accreditations to be a provider.
Used in many other parts of the country, accommodation accreditation schemes are a way landlords can accredit their property as suitable student accommodation, and reassures prospective tenants that a property meets the standards required for student accommodation. Such accreditations are often a requirement for landlords listing their properties on official university student accommodation lists.
Keith Barrow, Leader of Shropshire Council, said:
“This is another really important step in the development of the new University.
“Council’s approval means that we’re now able to crack on with our plans to provide and develop living accommodation, and have it ready for our first undergraduates when they begin their studies at University Centre Shrewsbury next autumn.
“Some concerns have been raised in relation to the private sector provision of student accommodation in Shrewsbury, but I’m confident that these concerns will be addressed by our accommodation strategy, and the proposed landlord accreditation scheme.”
University Centre Shrewsbury is being developed by Shropshire Council in partnership with the University of Chester.
For more information, visit www.ucshrewsbury.ac.uk or follow @ucshrewsbury on twitter.
A Christmas reception was held to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who is contributing to the development of University Centre Shrewsbury and look ahead to 2015.
Representatives from Shropshire and further afield were invited to the event at Rowley’s House, in Shrewsbury town centre, yesterday (Thursday 18 December 2014).
The event also provided an opportunity to share information and show how the ground floor of Rowley’s House has been refurbished, in advance of the opening of the reception area from January 2015.
Work has taken place to transform the rooms sympathetically into spaces for teaching, events, and to provide an information point where people can drop in and find out more about University Centre Shrewsbury. People will soon be able to visit Rowley’s House to learn more about a course, how their organisation or business can work with University Centre Shrewsbury, and to learn about overall developments.
University Centre Shrewsbury is being established by the University of Chester and Shropshire Council after research showed there was strong demand and interest in a new institution to serve the needs of the county.
Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, said:
“Yesterday’s event was organised to say ‘thank you’ to everyone for their enthusiasm and ongoing support, as we look forward to a momentous year for University Centre Shrewsbury in 2015.
“While postgraduate courses are already underway, we’ll be welcoming more postgraduates and our first undergraduate students.
“We’re excited to be taking the next steps in our development and will continue to work with councillors, students, residents, businesses, voluntary and community groups, education providers and others to create as many benefits as possible.”
Keith Barrow, Leader of Shropshire Council, added:
“2015 will be a really exciting year for University Centre Shrewsbury as we look forward to welcoming our first undergraduates in the autumn. Last night’s event showed that there’s a huge amount of support and enthusiasm for University Centre Shrewsbury, which really will be fantastic for Shrewsbury and for Shropshire.”
The Mayor of Shrewsbury, the Bishop of Shrewsbury and High Sheriff of Shropshire were among those who attended the Christmas reception. Members of Shrewsbury Civic Society, Shrewsbury Town Council, Shrewsbury Town Centre Residents Association, Shrewsbury Business Chamber, and Shropshire Further and Higher Education Institutions, also joined the festivities.
More information is also available at:
- Facebook – /ucshrewsbury
- Twitter – @ucshrewsbury
Adderley villagers can count on their broadband speeds rocketing
An historic village in north east Shropshire has received an early Christmas present from the Connecting Shropshire fibre broadband partnership, that will put it at the forefront of the digital information age.
Villagers in Adderley, near Market Drayton, can count on their broadband speeds improving significantly following the arrival of faster fibre broadband – with some homes and businesses who opt for an upgrade seeing a 100-fold increase in their broadband download speeds.
The early Christmas present was delivered by Connecting Shropshire partners, Shropshire Council and BT.
The majority of the village’s 100-plus premises will be able to access superfast broadband speeds of 24 megabits per second (Mbps) or above, and the average download speed will increase from 0.45Mbps to nearly 59Mbps.
Marius Coulon, Chairman of Adderley Parish Council, said:
“This is a fantastic advance for the community that will allow both children and businesses faster access to the Internet: thank you Shropshire Council.”
It’s just over 12 months since the first community benefitted from the rollout of fibre broadband by the Connecting Shropshire partnership.
Since then the Connecting Shropshire fibre broadband rollout has continued apace, with more than 28,000 premises across the county now able to access faster fibre broadband as a result of the programme.
In addition to rolling out more than 300 kilometres of fibre optic cable, engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – have installed around 140 new roadside cabinets, which are needed to connect local people onto the new network.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, said:
“Connecting Shropshire has done much already to bring better broadband speeds to rural communities like Adderley, where download speeds previously were under 2mbps. This is one of many cabinets that we have built and will continue to build as part of the first phase of the contract with our partners. The approach being taken is consistent with the Government’s policy to get to as many premises as possible for the money available.
“As part of the Government’s continued commitment to delivering superfast broadband to more premises in Shropshire, we agreed at Shropshire Council’s Cabinet to begin a second phase of procurement using the £11.38m provided by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK). This is very positive news for Shropshire and will mean that fewer people have to struggle to access the Internet and all the benefits that brings. We are continuing to work on finding ‘match funding’ and remain optimistic that this will be achieved early in 2015.”
Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Shropshire and the West Midlands, said:
“Increasingly the Internet is touching our lives in new and exciting ways, which is why our teams are working hard to roll out faster fibre broadband to more communities as quickly as possible.
“The dramatic improvements that people in Adderley will now be able to experience will change the way they communicate forever.
“Whether it’s families needing to connect several devices to the Internet at the same time, or people wanting to work from home or shop online, everything is faster and easier with fibre broadband.”
Paul Wynn, Shropshire Councillor for Prees, said:
“I’m really pleased that fibre broadband is now available to order in Adderley village thanks to Connecting Shropshire: better broadband has been high on local people’s wish list for some time. Whilst this is great news for local businesses and residents who have been struggling to connect to the web, I’d like to remind people that it is an opt-in service and broadband speeds won’t increase automatically. To upgrade to fibre broadband contact your chosen Internet Service Provider.”
Issued by Shropshire Council and BT.
For more information please contact ip&e Communications (re Shropshire Council’s news) on email@example.com or ring 01743 252826. or
Emma Tennant at the BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Connecting Shropshire
Connecting Shropshire is the name given to the programme bringing fibre-based broadband to areas where it isn’t economically viable for commercial companies to provide it. It is a partnership between Shropshire Council, BT and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) that will enable more than 62,000 homes and businesses in Shropshire (excluding Telford and Wrekin) to access faster broadband by the end of 2016.
Connecting Shropshire programme website: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/
Photos showing the rollout of Connecting Shropshire can be downloaded for free from: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk1gij7M
BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and Internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.
For the year ended 31 March 2014, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,287m with reported profit before taxation of £2,312m.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.
For more information, visit www.btplc.com.
All news releases can be accessed at our website: http://www.bt.com/newscentre.
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:
- £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017
- £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
- £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services.
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life. For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk.
To help people stay safe during this festive season, Shropshire Council’s public protection team will be supporting the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on National Defrost Your Turkey Day on Monday 22 December 2014.
This day will prompt Christmas cooks to start thinking of the defrosting process in plenty of time and avoid getting caught out. A typical large turkey can take two days to defrost.
Only one in four people get it right by defrosting their turkey in the fridge. The FSA is concerned that many risk getting an unwelcome gift of food poisoning this Christmas.
Incorrect thawing provides a platform for bacteria such as campylobacter to spread, leaving you with a turkey dinner that looks and tastes delicious, but contains a hidden risk that can’t be seen, tasted or smelled, but can ruin your New Year.
From late December 2013 to the start of January 2014 more than 3,000 cases of campylobacter were confirmed in England and Wales – an indication that more care needs to be given to the preparation, storage and consumption of turkey in the home during the festive period.
Kevin Hargin, Head of Foodborne Disease at the Food Standards Agency, said:
“We all love our turkey dinner at Christmas, and this year should be no exception. It’s the little things you do that can make a real difference. So if you make sure that your turkey is defrosted safely and in good time, you can enjoy your meal happily and safely.”
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for public protection, said:
“It is really important to remind everyone to take plenty of time to cook your Christmas dinner and make sure you don’t get any unpleasant surprises like food poisoning over the festive season.
Our public protection team urges everybody to think ahead and follow simple steps to have a safe and happy Christmas.”
The FSA advises that, when preparing your turkey from frozen, you should:
- Follow the retailer’s recommended defrosting time. The size of your turkey will determine how long it needs to be defrosted for. A large 11kg turkey can take up to two days to defrost.
- Defrost your turkey in the fridge if possible, or somewhere cool. Cold temperature slows the growth of germs on food and will keep it safe and fresh.
- Cover the turkey whilst defrosting, leave in the packaging or put it in a container to hold any thawing juices, and place it at the bottom of the fridge to avoid cross-contamination.
- Defrost thoroughly, as otherwise your turkey may not cook evenly and harmful bacteria could survive the cooking process.
- Raw turkey should always be put in the bottom of the fridge until ready to use. Leaving on the kitchen counter at room temperature could increase your risk of food poisoning.
What is campylobacter?
Campylobacter is the generic name for a number of species of bacteria that can cause food poisoning in people. They cause more cases of food poisoning in the UK than salmonella, E. coli and listeria combined.
Campylobacter bacteria are commonly found on poultry meat. Between 50% and 80% of cases of campylobacter food poisoning in the UK and other EU countries can be attributed to poultry sources, mostly to raw poultry meat.
Why it’s important?
50% to 80% of confirmed cases of campylobacter poisoning in the UK come from contaminated poultry. Campylobacter poisoning can lead to sickness including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, disability and even worse. Those most at risk are children and older people.
If you want your Christmas dinner to be remembered for the right reasons, follow the FSA’s advice on the recommended safe practices when preparing, cooking and storing turkey.
Find out more about the FSA’s top tips at: www.food.gov.uk/christmas2014.
For more on what’s going on in our area this Christmas go to http://shropshire.gov.uk/environmental-health/food-safety/
Shropshire Council’s public health team is encouraging people to take up next year’s “Dry January” challenge, to stay alcohol-free for the whole of January 2015.
Organised by national charity Alcohol Concern, the Dry January campaign aims to highlight the benefits of cutting down on drink by challenging people to cut out alcohol for 31 days.
The charity is aiming to encourage people to sign up for the 2015 challenge; and, as part of the campaign, the partnership is encouraging as many people to sign up, and get family and friends to sponsor them, to raise money for the national charity.
Dry January 2015 builds on this year’s campaign which was a great success, with 17,312 people taking part and over 80% saying they’d cut down on the amount they’d drink for the rest of the year.
Nearly 1,500 people have already signed up to the campaign for next month, and the money raised will help Alcohol Concern make a real difference to the lives of those harmed through alcohol misuse.
Karen Calder, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health, and member of the Health and Well-Being Board, said:
“With Christmas and New Year fast approaching, I’m sure many people will be busy making plans to celebrate the festive season with family and friends.
“Dry January 2015 encourages people to ‘take a holiday from booze’ after the Christmas period, as it is beneficial for their wallet, waistline and general health. So why not get involved, either as an individual or as a group, and set yourself the challenge of giving up drink for a month. As well as supporting a very worthy cause, taking up the challenge will also help you save money, help you sleep better, give you more energy and could help you lose weight.”
For more information about signing up to the Dry January campaign, visit www.dryjanuary.org.uk. You can ask family and friends to sponsor your big challenge through Just Giving.
Once signed up, you’ll receive a range of information and top tips to keep you motivated and help you cut down. You will also be able to share your experience through twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Dry January follows on from Alcohol Awareness Week (17–23 November 2014), whereby people were asked to start thinking about alcohol consumption and how it affects us as individuals, families, communities and society. The awareness week also encouraged people to take part in the Dry January challenge.
Aquarius, the organisation that provides local services for people in Shropshire affected by alcohol misuse, is fully behind the campaign, and raised issues related to alcohol misuse during Alcohol Awareness Week.
Dry January is not a medical detox programme, and should not be undertaken by people with alcohol dependency issues. If you are worried about your, or someone else’s, alcohol use, please speak to your GP or contact Aquarius on 0300 45 64 299.
News from our partners Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing
On Friday 12 December 2014, Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing welcomed the first new tenants into their ‘new build’ affordable properties.
The tenants were given the keys to their new homes in Woodberry Close, Bridgnorth, and this exciting news marks the first time tenants have moved into council-built homes in Shropshire since the early 1990s.
It has been our intention to build new affordable homes since we took up management of Shropshire Council-owned homes in April 2013. After consultation with tenants, this was included within our business plan.
We are building 68 new affordable homes in the Oswestry and Bridgnorth areas where we manage Shropshire Council housing stock, with 25 being sold under the shared ownership scheme and the remaining 43 available for rent. The hope is that this will be the beginning of a rolling programme of new council homes in Shropshire.
Sue Adams, Managing Director of Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing, said:
“We are delighted to be welcoming our first tenants into our new build properties. It is a significant milestone, as a council has not built new homes in Shropshire since the early 1990s and everyone is very excited.
It was always our intention to build new affordable homes when the company was established in 2013, and we have worked hard, along with partners, to make this reality.”
Jason O’Donoghue, Development Manager at Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing, said:
“We’ve worked hard, along with our design and build contractor Speller Metcalfe, to build these 68 new affordable homes. It’s really exciting that we have our first new tenants moving in.
All other new builds are scheduled to be completed by March 2015, so next year has plenty for us to look forward to.”
Also click here for more on this news, and what Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing has to offer.
Shropshire’s Health and Well-Being Board were today (Thursday 18 December 2014) given the green light to lobby the Government to consult with residents in England to determine their views on an opt-out system for organ donation.
The recommendations, which were approved by full Council, follows extensive consultation across the county as part of research undertaken by the council’s public health team.
Shropshire’s full Council agreed the following recommendations by the Health and Well-Being Board:-
- To accept the results of the organ donation survey as indicative of the views of the population of Shropshire
- To send the organ donation report to the county’s Members of Parliament, the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, and to the Health and Well-being Board Regional Network. It is hoped that this process will spark national debate around the topic of organ donation
- Following the evidence received, that Council lobbies central government to consult all English residents to determine their views on adopting an opt-out system for organ donation
- That Council continues to monitor the changes to the scheme in Wales (due to commence from 1 December 2015).
The research came as a result of a debate by Shropshire Councillors at a full Council meeting in late 2013 around the current ‘opt-in’ policy in England – whereby an individual signs up to register and specify which organs they would like to donate after they die.
Following the debate, Shropshire’s Health and Well-being Board was asked to conduct a piece of research to gather the views of Shropshire residents on the topic of organ donation.
The objective of the survey was to ascertain whether residents wish to remain with the current ‘opt-in’ policy, or would prefer the ‘opt-out’ policy – meaning that everyone is automatically considered to be a potential donor unless they ‘opt out’ of doing so.
1,179 responses were received, with a large majority – 76% – of respondents in favour of an opt-out scheme.
Karen Calder, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health, and member of Shropshire’s Health and Well-Being Board, said:
“I am delighted that Council has approved our recommendations. We welcome any debate that raises the value and importance of transplantation and increases the general public’s knowledge of the importance of organ and tissue donation.
“I think it was so important for people in Shropshire to have taken part in this survey, and it’s very promising to see the number of responses and positive feedback we have received.”
To view the organ donation report click here.
News from our partners University Centre Shrewsbury
An insight into the role of universities in boosting entrepreneurship was shared by an internationally-renowned academic at University Centre Shrewsbury’s first Research Seminar on Tuesday 16 December 2014.
Professor John Mahon, Chair of International Business Policy and Strategy, and Professor of Management at the Maine Business School, University of Maine, presented a talk on “Raising Entrepreneurs; the Role of the University” to the audience of Shropshire business and community representatives.
University of Chester Visiting Professor, Peter Starbuck, and Professor Phil Harris, Executive Director of the University of Chester Business Research Institute, co-hosted the event, which is the first in a series of Research Seminars to be held at the University Centre.
Professor Mahon talked about providing students, faculties, staff and alumni with the knowledge, tools and inspiration to become an innovator and entrepreneur, and the importance of community involvement.
Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, said:
“This research seminar was another first for University Centre Shrewsbury, after recently welcoming our pioneering postgraduates.
“We were delighted that Professor Mahon was able to present research and answer questions today, drawing on his considerable experience in business ethics, strategy and corporate social responsibility.
“This marks the start of a series of seminars supporting the work of our four research areas, and bringing leading academics together to consider opportunities and challenges facing Shropshire, with a national and global significance.
“We hope these will be of interest to a range of local organisations, and will help in thinking about and developing the role of the University Centre in the life of Shropshire.”
Keith Barrow, Leader of Shropshire Council, said:
“University Centre Shrewsbury will enhance the region’s economic prospects, particularly in encouraging and supporting entrepreneurial activity. Professor Mahon’s seminar got right to the heart of the opportunities universities can offer.”
Professor Mahon said:
“I was very honoured to be asked to present University Centre Shrewsbury’s first research seminar. I hope that the seminar helped to stimulate ideas and get people involved.”
Marian Tidswell, who was in the audience, added:
“I found the seminar interesting and stimulating. The project has been well thought out and I wish the University Centre every success.”
In January 2014, Professor Mahon was appointed as a Visiting Professor to the University of Chester, for a second three-year term. He is the author or co-author of more than 140 papers and book chapters, published in a range of internationally-respected journals.
For further information about Professor John Mahon go to www.chester.ac.uk/node/9744
The four curriculum and research areas at University Centre Shrewsbury are:
- Bioscience, health and the environment
- Sustainable business and community development
- Societal innovation
- Design, heritage and the built environment.
For more details on University Centre Shrewsbury go to www.ucshrewsbury.co.uk.
More information is also available at:
- Facebook – /ucshrewsbury
- Twitter – @ucshrewsbury
Applications for the new grant scheme, Community Activity Fund, will begin January 2015.
The fund has been set up to assist with ideas which are for the sole purpose of benefitting children and/or young people during a school holiday period, and who live in Shropshire.
Applications are welcomed from voluntary and community sector (not for profit) organisations.
These groups will be able to apply for one off project costs of up to £250.
The Community Activity Fund aims to promote or improve activity programmes, specifically during the school holidays, which offer children and young people who live in Shropshire opportunities to engage in positive development activities. Activities can range from arts and crafts, environmental projects, sport and recreation, and community cohesion projects.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member, said:
“This is a great fund to assist community groups with either a current scheme they run, or to give a boost for an activity they know local children and young people would enjoy. The aim is for schemes to be run during the school holidays, and it will offer children and young people the opportunity to take part in something positive during these times.”
For more information about the application process and fund, please click here.
Alternatively, if you would like to speak to one of the Leisure Services team about this, please ring 01743 255071 or email email@example.com.
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