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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Council to inject further £5m into borough’s care sector to support elderly and vulnerable adults


Cheshire East Council is to invest a further £5m to pay for domiciliary and residential care services across the borough to help address the growing pressures from the adult social care sector.

The council will begin a new procurement process with independent care providers, including the domiciliary, residential and nursing care sectors, later this month. The council is proposing a six per cent increase in the current contract rate for nursing and residential care.

It is proposed to introduce a maximum contract rate of up to £18 per hour for domiciliary care, from the current rate of £14.20.

The extra funding will take the council’s budget for the adult care sector to around £80m.  The uplift in fees paid for domiciliary care packages and care home beds will apply to all new contracts.

The council recently commissioned an independent review into the cost of care across the borough and the needs of its residents, as well as the challenges faced by the independent care sector.

Cheshire East Council’s cabinet agreed the additional funding at its meeting today (Tuesday). 

The rise in funding is part of the authority’s obligation to ensure a sustainable provider market with sufficient high quality services to meet the borough’s care and support needs.

Currently, the council spends in the order of £49m each year to support residential and nursing care in the independent sector in addition to funding domiciliary care for adults in their home.

Domiciliary services cost the council in the region of £25m, including direct payments, the process that allows a resident to purchase their own care package directly with funding from the local authority.

Councillor Janet Clowes, cabinet member for adult social care and integration, said: “Cheshire East is now one of the highest ranked authorities in the North West in terms of care fees.

“That’s because we value the work that carers and the care sector do and we want to protect our older people and vulnerable adults.

“To do that we must have a sustainable provider market, whether it is an independent service carrying out personal care in the home or a residential care provider from whom we commission beds for the elderly and infirm, or those in need of more intense dementia care.

“The Care Act requires authorities to provide choice that delivers outcomes and improves wellbeing and one of the council’s core outcome strategies is to see our residents living long and healthy lives.”

Mark Palethorpe, acting executive director of people, said: “We want to shift from a ‘time and task’ process in the domiciliary care provision to an outcomes focus, with staff paid a fair wage and see investment in the provider sector.

“It is important too that we have a robust and healthy independent residential and nursing care sector so that residents in Cheshire East, who need to move to a care home, will be confident in the knowledge that the home is of a high professional standard.”

Cheshire East takes action to help rough sleepers and avoid homelessness


Cheshire East has restated its commitment to tackling the issue of rough sleeping and homelessness in the borough by approving a new three-year strategy at cabinet today.

The new draft strategy has four key areas of focus:

· To help secure appropriate, affordable accommodation for the homeless;

· To take steps to prevent homelessness;

· Avoid rough sleeping wherever possible; and

· Ensure appropriate support to help people stay in their accommodation.

The statement came as new figures showed the levels of rough sleeping were increasing across the country. Estimated figures for November 2017 showed the number of people sleeping rough in Cheshire East was 21. This is up from 12 in 2014, the last time the council undertook an estimated count.

The announcement of the new strategy follows a range of recent initiatives launched by the council to tackle the problem and the completion, in December, of a nine-week consultation.

The council has been working with a number of groups and organisations to develop ways to reduce the problem of homelessness and provide the right services for the homeless and rough sleepers.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing planning and regeneration, said: “Rough sleeping is a national issue and Cheshire East is not immune to these pressures.

“Thankfully, we have a very low number of people sleeping rough in the borough. However, one person sleeping rough is still one too many.

“Homelessness is an issue that we are determined to deal with in the most positive and sensitive way. Statutory bodies, the voluntary sector, charities and faith groups, as well as local businesses and local residents, have all been involved in contributing to our homelessness strategy.

“The council is determined to tackle the harmful effects of homelessness, such as the impact on family life and children, an individual’s physical and mental health, including the loss of self-esteem and confidence and the loss of employment.

“While homelessness in the borough has risen, from a very low base, this is put down to a number of factors, including family or tenancy issues, rising rents and benefit cuts. However, the number of cases where homelessness has been prevented, has also risen year on year.”

Cheshire East Council approves five-year housing strategy


Cheshire East Council has approved a new housing strategy – setting out the aims and resident focused outcomes for housing until 2023.

The strategy fulfils the council’s ambition for jobs-led, economic growth across all areas and the acknowledgement that ‘housing is essential’ to support this continuous growth.

Driven by the council’s Local Plan, the housing strategy highlights the provision for a housing requirement of 355 new affordable homes each year of the strategy. By working in partnership, the council will facilitate this requirement, providing homes of the right type and in the right place to continue its ambition for good quality of place and the health, wellbeing and quality of life for our communities.

Cheshire East’s ‘guarantee’ to residents is to have a place to live which supports their health and wellbeing and contributes to a better quality of life. The council recognises that good quality, safe and affordable housing is essential to meet this goal.

The strategy aims to stimulate the housing market, support regeneration to support quality of place, improve the housing offer for an ageing population, support jobs-led growth and support the council’s medium-term financial growth strategy.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “Our new housing strategy contains our ambitions for facilitating the delivery of affordable housing alongside a robust, well-managed rental and sales market.

“We have made the decisions with feedback and engagement from residents to ensure the best possible outcome for housing that meets the needs of Cheshire East.”

Council expecting to launch New Homes Bonus scheme this summer


Cheshire East Council is progressing the final framework for the New Homes Bonus scheme, which will determine the way in which a new community fund will be shared among qualifying areas within the borough.

Introduced this financial year, the scheme will see up to £2m distributed for local projects and community needs, linked to the number of new homes built in the borough and the empty homes brought back into use.

A council task group is drawing up a final design for the New Homes Bonus Community Fund and a report is expected to go before the council’s cabinet in June. Allocations will be apportioned in line with the recognised highways areas of Congleton, Crewe, Knutsford, Macclesfield, Nantwich, Poynton and Wilmslow.

Communities, supported by elected ward members, will have the chance to bid for funding for projects that address local priorities. Funding is based on an acceptable submission of ideas through the bidding process.

The recommended minimum allocation is £10,000 but bids must meet a specific set of criteria, including the need to meet one or more of the council’s six strategic outcomes. Some examples discussed by the task group and the council’s overview and scrutiny committee were:

· Community sport schemes;

· Community transport schemes;

· Community library provision;

· Allotments;

· Homelessness prevention;

· Road safety.

All bids would be scored for their community value, volunteering, outcomes and value for money. Bids are not required until the scheme is formally launched in the summer and more information will be published nearer the time.

Councillor Paul Bates, cabinet member for finance and communication, said: “The New Homes Bonus Community Fund is designed to ensure that all parts of the borough benefit from the significant housing growth we have seen in recent years.

“We will be inviting communities, with the help of elected ward members, to engage with how services are delivered at a local level and put forward their ideas for how they would like to see the money spent.

“This funding is not in any way connected with local developer contributions for highways schemes or other infrastructure needs. 

“There is a national and local demand for new homes and the New Homes Bonus Scheme is an incentive to councils and communities to help meet that demand.”   

More than 5,600 homes have been built in Cheshire East since 2011and the funding allocations will be weighted to reflect those areas of the borough where large scale house building has taken place.

Tea at the Tower’

Reporter Jonathan White

‘Tea at the Tower’ takes place at St Mary’s Church, on Monks Lane in Acton near Nantwich, every Sunday afternoon (2:30-4:30pm) throughout the year. Hot drinks and cakes are available and are payable by donation. Visitors also have an opportunity to have a guided tour up the church tower as far as the ringing chamber. ‘Tea at the Tower’ began in March 2017 and raises valuable funds for St Mary’s Church. For further information please visit: http://www.stmarysacton.com

This Sunday 22nd April 2018 ‘Tea at the Tower’ have also organised a guided circular walk. The walk will leave St Mary’s Church at 1pm and will last between one and two hours, so walkers can be back in time for tea! All are welcome. To reserve your place please contact Stephan on 01270 624135.

Tea at the Tower guided circular  walk - Sunday 22nd April 2018

Monday, 16 April 2018

Fraudulent Cryptocurrency Investments and Fake Endorsements

Action Fraud (NFIB)

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Fraudulent Cryptocurrency Investments and Fake Endorsements


Fraudulent websites alleging to offer cryptocurrency investments are dishonestly using the image of Martin Lewis, the founder and editor for moneysavingexpert.com, as an endorsement for their companies.

The adverts using Martin Lewis to promote illicit schemes can be found on social media and other websites. Clicking on the advert takes you to the full article where Martin Lewis image is presented along with fake quotes recommending investments in bitcoin and other digital currencies with the fraudulent “company”. Alternatively clicking on the advert will take you to a page where you are required to input your contact details, the suspect company then phones you and encourages you to invest.

Martin Lewis has published a warning to the public saying “I don’t do adverts. If you ever see one with my face or name on it, it is without my permission, and usually a scam”. The full article can be found here; https://blog.moneysavingexpert.com/2018/03/13/martin-lewis-spread-word-dont-believe-scam-bitcoin-code-bitcoin-trading-ads/?_.

Similarly these fraudulent websites are also misusing images and fabricating recommendations from the investors on Dragons Den. These adverts also claim the investors on the panel trade in cryptocurrencies using their services to try and legitimise their company.

What you need to do

  • Don’t assume it’s authentic: Professional-looking websites, adverts or social media posts don’t indicate that an investment opportunity is genuine. Criminals can exploit the names of well-known brands or individuals to make their scams appear legitimate.
  • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision: A genuine bank or financial organisation won’t force you to make a financial transaction on the spot. Always be wary if you’re pressured to invest quickly or promised returns that sound too good to be true.
  • Stay in control: Avoid unsolicited investment offers, especially those over cold calls. If you’re thinking about making an investment, get impartial advice from an independent financial adviser – never use an adviser from the company that contacted you, as this may be part of the scam.
  • Visit Take Five (takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/) and Cyber Aware (cyberaware.gov.uk) for more information about how to protect yourself online.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Crewe firm scoops national rail award


Crewe-based TBM Rail beat off stiff competition to win a Product Innovation Award at a prestigious national railway awards night in London.

The firm, headquartered at Marshfield Bank Business Park, invested three years developing a slimline power socket with USB slots to help rail operators improve services for passengers.

The devices have been fitted to fleets of trains operating between Humberside and London, and most recently on the TransPennine route.

The UK Railway Industry Awards (UKRIA), organised by the Railway Technology Magazine, was held at the purpose-built event venue Battersea Evolution.

The awards evening pitched TBM Rail alongside established industry giants like Siemens and Network Rail in their category.

Neil Smith, TBM Director, said: “It was a fabulous gala showcase for the rail sector and a great reward for everyone at TBM Rail.

“Much of our work goes unnoticed, such as seat cover cleaning, toilet tank services and nylon coatings applied to the hand rails that aid safety in carriages.

“The power sockets we developed have grabbed the public’s attention. They fit into most carriage walls, so even some of the older train stock has been upgraded to give passengers the power they need for mobile phones and laptops.”

TBM Rail is already working on other products and technologies to improve journeys and enable the UK’s train operators to give more value to travelling customers.

A range of high-quality washroom appliances and advanced door sensor switches will soon feature on routes across the country.

Find out more about TBM Rail at www.tbmrail.com

Online Marketplace Fraud Advice For Sellers

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Action Fraud (NFIB)

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Action Fraud has received several reports indicating that sellers of items on online marketplace websites are falling victim to fraud by bogus buyers. Typically, the bogus buyers contact the seller wanting to purchase the item for sale and advise they will be sending the requested amount via PayPal or other electronic payment method. The seller then receives a fake, but official looking email stating they have been paid more than the asking price and to send the difference back to the buyer’s bank account. In reality, no money has ever been sent to the seller; the bogus buyer has spoofed an email and purported to be an online payment company. All contact is then severed with the seller.

It is important to remember that selling anything could make you a target to these fraudsters however the NFIB has identified that those offering sofas, large furniture and homeware are particularly vulnerable.

Protection Advice

Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic. Remember criminals can imitate any email address. Stay in control. Always use a trusted payment method online, such as Paypal, and have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for payment like bank transfers.

Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision.  Always verify that you have received payment from the buyer before completing a sale.

Listen to your instincts.  Criminals will try and make unusual behaviour, like overpaying, seem like a genuine mistake.

Visit Take Five (takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/) and Cyber Aware (cyberaware.gov.uk) for more information about how to protect yourself online.

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Message Sent By
Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Magazine Advertise Debt Alert

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Action Fraud (NFIB)

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Victims receive a telephone call from someone purporting to be a bailiff enforcing a court judgement, attempting to recover funds for a non-existent debt. The fraudsters state the debt originates from the victim not paying a magazine advertisement subscription.

A variety of magazine names and publishers are being used by the fraudsters, who also commonly use the names of certified Bailiff Enforcement Agents such “Scott Davis”, “Stephen King” and “Mark Taylor”. These are names of certified Bailiff Enforcement Agents employed by debt enforcement companies.

The fraudsters request that the debt be repaid by bank transfer. If the victim refuses, they threaten to visit the victim’s home or place of work to recover the debt that is owed.

Once the money has been transferred, victims are not provided with receipt details of the payment or contact details. Later when victims make enquiries, they’ll discover that the debt did not exist, and often that no advertisement was placed.

This type of fraud is nationwide. Since 2017, there have been 52 Action Fraud Reports relating to this fraud. From the reports received, there are a range of different businesses and individuals being targeted.

Protection Advice:

1. Listen to your instinct: just because someone knows your basic details, such as your name and address, it doesn’t mean they are genuine.

2. Stay in control: always question cold callers: always contact the companies directly using a known email or phone number.

3. Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision: a legitimate company will be prepared to wait whilst you verify information.

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Visit Take Five (takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/) and Cyber Aware (cyberaware.gov.uk) for more information about how to protect yourself online.

Message Sent By
Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Outbuildings thefts



Around the hours of midnight of Tuesday 3rd and 4th April 2018 there have been a number of burglaries in and around the Audlem, Bridgemere area. Entry has been gained into remote outbuildings where items such as power tools have been taken.
If you have seen any suspicious vehicles in the area please call 101 ( Cheshire Police)
Make it difficult for them lock gates, secure doors on outbuildings and sheds and consider other forms of security.

Message Sent By
Sarah Marson (Police, PC, Crewe LPU Nantwich Beat Mgmt)

FiRELiNK eNewsletter - April 2018

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Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service

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Welcome to the April edition of the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service e-Newsletter.


Apprentice firefighters return after helping school children in Nepal

Apprentices and leaders outside the school

Children’s education in a remote village in Nepal has been changed for generations thanks to a group of Firefighter and Community Safety Apprentices from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS).

11 apprentices and three leaders flew out to Kathmandu from Manchester on March 10th and spent 16 days in Nepal trekking to, and working on, the project to provide a new school for children who previously had little or no chance of an education.

Find out more - Apprentice firefighters return after helping school children in Nepal


Drowning prevention - be water aware

Water rescue by firefighters

Around 400 people drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences.

Many people that drown just happen to be near water - such as runners, walkers and fisherman.

Find out more - Drowning prevention


Bikers urged to spring into action for a safe year on the roads

Biker down
With the weather getting warmer and the days getting longer, bikers all over Cheshire are getting in gear to hit the open roads again.

For many motorcyclists the onset of spring signals the start of another year of two-wheeled delight and has them eagerly dusting off their leathers following the frosty frustrations of winter.

But Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service are urging them to make sure they are up to speed on safety advice before returning to revving up their bikes on Cheshire’s roads.

Find out more - Bikers urged to spring into action for a safe year on the roads


Hoping to raise bucketloads for charity

Charity car wash in Runcorn

Our firefighters will be splashing out with car washes throughout April in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity.

Crews will be rolling up their sleeves and taking to buckets and hoses to shine up the county’s cars along with providing drivers with vital road safety advice. Firmly established on the fire and rescue service calendar, the National Car Wash is the charity's largest national fundraising event of the year.

All funds raised go to The Fire Fighters Charity, the UK’s leading provider of life-enhancing services for serving and retired fire service pe

Sunday, 1 April 2018

'We love 90s House Live'

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

A 'We love 90s House Live' concert takes place at The Studio Nightclub & Entertainment Venue - http://www.facebook.com/studionantwich - on Castle Street in Nantwich on Friday 27th April 2018. Admission is free with donations to Mid Cheshire Hospitals Charity http://www.mchcharity.org/

The event will feature live dance music band 'House Jammerz' http://www.housejammerz.com/ , making a return to the venue, on stage at 9:30pm and performing the biggest and best House tracks ever.

The gig will be followed by an ‘I love the 90s’ club night from N-Trance original member ‘DJ Kuta’ until 3am.

Nigel Woodhouse, Director of Operations at The Studio said, "The House Jammerz are an incredible act that takes you right back to the biggest decade of dance music the UK has ever seen - I was lucky enough to be a Customer and a Club Manager through this iconic decade. We also have the pleasure of DJ Kuta doing our 90s only after-party - he was an N-Trance original. We are free entry with any donations going to Leighton’s Dementia appeal a worthy cause.”

House Jammerz will perform at The  Studio

2018 Wistaston calendar

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

A 2018 Wistaston calendar raised £712.97 for the Wistaston Scout Group. The calendar was the idea of Ellie Newbrook, who is a Young Leader at the Wistaston Scout Group. Ellie collated several photographs from Jonathan White and Simon J Newbury featuring scenes of Wistaston through the seasons. Ellie skilfully edited them into the 2018 Wistaston calendar.

Further funds were raised at St Mary’s Church Hall in Wistaston via a fashion show and ‘An evening with Steve Leonard’ from Leonard Brothers Veterinary Centre event.

All proceeds have gone towards completing Wistaston Scout Group's new Scout Centre off Elm Close in Wistaston, so that the next and future generations can experience everything that scouting has to offer. The facility is used by 35th South West Cheshire (Wistaston) Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, along with an Explorers (14-18 year olds) group.

Jo Bowkett, Secretary, Wistaston Scout Group said: “We are so proud of Ellie Newbrook and what she has achieved in producing such a lovely calendar of Wistaston and raising money for the Group. We have been very fortunate to have the support of our local community and businesses both for the calendar and for our fundraising events. We look forward to being able to celebrate the Group’s 60th anniversary this year in our brand new Scout Centre.”

For further information relating to the Wistaston Scout Group, please email John Bennett (Group Scout Leader): Gsl@wistastonscoutgroup.org.uk or visit: http://wistastonscoutgroup.org.uk/

Wistaston Scout Group - new Scout  Centre

Crewe Passion Play

Reporter J White

Crewe Passion Play took place in Crewe town centre on Good Friday (30th March 2018).

The play was organised by Love Crewe - http://www.lovecrewe.co.uk/ - which is composed of several churches serving the Crewe area.

The re-enactment recreated the sequence of events from the entry to Jerusalem, the Passover Meal, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Crucifixion to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The event lasted two hours and began with a gathering prayer at St Mary’s Church, then weaved around Crewe town centre, including Victoria Street, the Square and Market Street, before concluding at Victoria Square.

Each sequence was narrated, contained hymns and was accompanied by guitarists. Hundreds of people attended the event.

The event was supported by Crewe Town Council and WHSmith along with volunteers and on-lookers.

Celebrations will take place in local churches over the Easter weekend.

I have uploaded all my photos to a Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanawhite/albums/72157667261553718

Crewe Passion Play at Victoria  Square - the crucifixionCrewe Passion Play proceeds along  Market Street

Cheshire East ‘Emotionally Healthy Schools’ project receives high praise at national awards


A multi-agency project aimed at improving the mental health of children and young people across Cheshire East was highly commended in the national Local Government Chronicle awards at a ceremony held in London last week.

The ‘Emotionally Healthy Schools’ project has been running for two years and is supported by a number of agencies, including Cheshire East Council, local schools, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership, NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, NHS South Cheshire CCG and the charities Visyon and Just Drop In.

The project focuses on improving resilience across schools and aims to develop teaching staff to ensure they meet the mental health and wellbeing needs of their students.

At the ceremony, more than 1,000 of the most senior figures in British local government celebrated the sector’s greatest innovators. The event was hosted by journalist and Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow, with 20 award categories presented to councils who are doing the most to innovate to ensure they best serve their residents.

Councillor Jos Saunders, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “We are pleased and proud to have received a special commendation in the LGC awards for our work in promoting emotionally healthy schools.  The project is an innovative and direct response to address the mental health needs of the children and young people of Cheshire East. This special commendation would not have been received without the hard work and determination of our partners in schools, health and the third sector.

“Special mention and thanks needs to be given to Keith Simpson of Middlewich High School whose passion and drive resulted in over 75% of our schools engaged in the project and it is anticipated that by December 100% of our schools will be on board.”

Keith Simpson, the strategic lead for the project and head teacher of Middlewich High School said: “Today is not a rehearsal for our young people.  The ‘Emotionally Healthy Schools’ project aims to allow every young person to thrive in our ever complex, ever changing world. This strategic coordinated approach has united the local authority, education, health and the voluntary sector in providing our young people access to appropriate and timely responses ranging from maintaining a healthy mind to dealing with acute crisis.

“By working in partnership and training adults on the front line the impact has been that they are now better equipped and more confident in providing suitable advice and support.  This has streamlined the access to health services meaning they are more able to function with high risk young people, while early help and prevention is being taught through schools and other learning organisations.”

One young person, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “More than anything else in the world, every teenager just wants to feel ‘normal’ so that they can fit in. The ‘Emotionally Healthy Schools’ project has taught us that there is no such thing as ‘normal’ as everyone is different and we all think and feel in different ways.” 

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Bogus callers



Please be aware of a bogus caller asking to do building/roof repairs in the Nantwich area.
If you have no work planned do not allow any work to be completed. Please only use reputable builders or people you know and trust.
Please be neighbourly and check with elderly residents, make them aware of this alert. Remember if you are unsure don't answer the door.
Please report suspicious activity to 101 Cheshire police.

Message Sent By
Sarah Marson (Police, PC, Crewe LPU Nantwich Beat Mgmt)

Bus changes reminder


Cheshire East Council is reminding residents that changes to bus services will take place from next week.

The new timetables and routes are part of the council’s bus service review. Operators are also making changes to their commercial (not subsidised) bus routes.

All changes take effect from Sunday 1 April, although due to the Easter holiday period, the services will operate from Tuesday 3 April.

The full list of all changes and new timetables can be viewed at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/bustimetables and maps can be found at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/busmaps

Printed timetables of the services can be found in libraries or the council’s Crewe and Macclesfield customer service centres. 

Changes to the Little Bus flexible transport (dial-a-ride) service have been delayed until later this year.