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Saturday, 4 July 2015

Major changes in the Cheshire Police service

Major changes in the Cheshire Police service in what has been termed as a 'Root and Branch' reform, will be introduced on July 6th. The reorganisation is being  introduced to save £34 million over four years. It will see Police officers briefed outside their beat areas and the number of policing units halved..Under the current arrangement, there are 19 Neighbourhood Policing Units across the county.They will be replaced by just eight Local Policing Units,Chester, Ellesmere Port, Northwich, Crewe, Macclesfield, Runcorn, Warrington and Widnes.Police Officers and PCSO's will have to travel to their patches following daily briefings at a central deployment base in one of the eight locations.For example Nantwich Police will have to travel to Crewe and Congleton Police will have to travel all the way to Macclesfield and then back again at the end of the shift.

Police officers will spending far too much time travelling between Police stations instead of catching criminals and stopping speeding motorists in residential areas.Cheshire Police should come into the 21st century and do the briefing via the internet, which would mean that officers would not have to make long trips before they started their beat duties and at the end of their shift.

There are only two Policing Units in Cheshire East to cover 370,000 residents and 450 square miles. There are three in Cheshire West, which is smaller in area and has a smaller population.Under the current arrangement, there are 19 Neighbourhood Policing Units across the county.The number of Policing Units is being cut by a massive 58%.

Nineteen neighbourhood units are being reduced to just eight local policing units which means that there is going to be less of a focus on the already under-policed smaller communities of Cheshire, such as Nantwich, Alsager,Sandbach,Congleton,Middlewich,Holmes Chapel, Alderley Edge,Bollington,Knutsford,Wilmslow and Poynton and the vast rural areas.

I am amazed that local communities,Parish and Town Councils and residents have not been consulted about what is clearly a cost-cutting exercise which could have a very detrimental impact on the policing in Cheshire.In Poynton for example it has been estimated that PCSO's will lose a massive 25% of their time on the beat because of these changes.I am surprised that Cheshire East Council have not raised any concerns about this reduction in the Police Service for their residents.Much concern was expressed at the recent Cheshire Crime Panel about the impact of the reforms and the lack of consultation.

Yours faithfully.

Cllr Brian Silvester

UKIP Councillor

COUNCILLORS CALL FOR ACTION TO REMOVE HGVs FROM THE BUSY A534 CREWE/NANTWICH ROAD

 

A534 De-priming

Following on from the recent speed limit reduction from 40mph to 30mph on the A534 Crewe/Nantwich Road, Cheshire East Councillors representing Wistaston and Willaston & Rope Wards, Margaret Simon, Jacquie Weatherill and Sarah Pochin are now asking for action to be taken to remove HGVs from it. The road is currently a Primary Route which sends strategic through traffic along the Crewe/Nantwich Road and past Crewe Station. The completion of the Crewe Green Link Road will be a real success story for Crewe and they want to capitalise on its benefits.  They want the road to be de-primed.

Over the last few years the number of HGVs using this road has dramatically increased and this, in turn, has badly affected the quality of life of the residents who live along it.  They have continuously lobbied their Councillors asking for their help to reduce the number of HGVs by encouraging them to use the A500 by-pass instead when they travel through the Crewe area.  These heavy vehicles often travel in convoys during the night.

Cllr Margaret Simon said:

"We have a golden opportunity, right now, to make a difference to the lives of our Crewe Road residents.  Now that the Crewe Green Link Road is underway, this is the time to get more signage in place and direct the HGVs off this road and on to the A500.  It would improve things for everyone living along and using the A534 from the Peacock Roundabout right up to Crewe Station."

Cllr Jacquie Weatherill said:

"Our residents are fed up with the noise from these vehicles and the sheer weight of them causes vibration to many of their properties.  When the HGVs are travelling in convoy at night the continuous noise wakes them up.  They shouldn't have to put up with it.  Once the Crewe Green Link Road is open we will be actively encouraging local hauliers to stop using the A534 Crewe/Nantwich Road and to use the new strategic route."

Cllr Sarah Pochin, who was recently elected to represent Willaston and Rope Ward, said:

"The Crewe Green Link Road will be a real bonus for Crewe, we need to make sure that it becomes the chosen route for these heavy lorries.  There have been several campaigns to reduce the weight limit of vehicles using the A534 Crewe/Nantwich Road.  This is the time to take action. If we can make this happen, by encouraging more traffic to use a better strategic alternative route, we will hopefully see a reduction in traffic through Wistaston and Willaston."

Photograph shows - left to right:

Cheshire East Councillors, Margaret Simon, Sarah Pochin and Jacquie Weatherill

on the A534 Crewe/Nantwich Road close to Willaston War Memorial

Best regards

Margaret

Margaret Simon

Cheshire East Councillor for Wistaston Ward

Telephone: 01270 651582

Mobile: 07894 478768

email: margaret.simon@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Tourism brings £800m boost to Cheshire East economy

 

Tourism spending has hit a new record in Cheshire East thanks to higher visitor numbers and longer hotel stays.

Income generated by the visitor economy rose to £807m in 2014, a rise of 9.4 per cent on the prior year and nearly 50 per cent up on 2009.

The figures, arrived at using the STEAM method for calculating the value of the visitor economy (See Note), were announced at the Marketing Cheshire Visitor Economy Conference by Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for communities.

Councillor Gilbert said: “Tourism growth in Cheshire East has exceeded our targets and is way above industry expectations.

“With the new visitor facilities planned at Jodrell Bank, hotel developments due imminently and the prospect of an HS2 hub station at Crewe, we can anticipate even better to come.”

Cheshire East Council Leader, Councillor Michael Jones, said: “The success of our visitor economy is great for the borough, great for jobs and great for local businesses.

“The Council is doing all it can to support this successful industry and to promote Cheshire East as a destination for leisure and business tourism.”

The number of people employed in tourism in the Borough grew by 3.7 per cent in 2014 to 10,900, which means that the industry has boosted its workforce by 26 per cent since 2009.

The total number of visitors increased 5.2 per cent to 14.62 million last year. They spent 15.8 per cent more on accommodation, and 8.4 per cent more on food, drink and recreational activities.

Cheshire East has also seen an influx in visitors to artisan markets, which is reflected in an 8.5 per cent increase in shopping expenditure since 2013.

There was a slight drop of 1.2 per cent in the numbers staying in hotels, guest houses and holiday cottages in 2014, but those who did stay spent 11.1 per cent more.

And average hotel occupancy is now rising, reaching 72.3 per cent April 2015 compared with 71.2 per cent a year earlier.

Council holds ceremony in memory of Tunisia beach terror victims

 

Cheshire East Council has held a minute’s silence and lowered its flag in remembrance of the victims of the terror attack in Tunisia.

A total of 30 holidaying Britons are confirmed to have died in the gun and grenade attack on a beach near Sousse last Friday, which left 38 people dead.

Following a personal initiative by Council Leader Michael Jones, Cheshire East held a flag-lowering ceremony outside its HQ in Sandbach, followed by a minute’s silence at noon today (July 3).

The ceremony was led by Council Deputy Leader Councillor David Brown and attended by around 200 council staff and Members. The minute’s silence was marked at Council offices across Cheshire East.

Council Chief Executive Mike Suarez led a minute’s silence at the Assembly Room at Macclesfield Town Hall.

Cllr Brown said: “Everyone will have been horrified by the recent atrocity in Tunisia, which saw such an awful loss of life.

“Today’s ceremony was a simple and solemn occasion when the people of Cheshire East, and indeed people across the nation, joined together symbolically as a community to bear witness and remember.”

Mike Suarez said: “The events on what had previously been a tranquil beach in Tunisia were truly shocking and horrific.

“We felt it was important, as a Council, to hold this act of remembrance out of respect for the victims and in support of their grieving families and friends.”

Prime Minister David Cameron announced earlier this week that a national minute’s silence would be held today for the victims of the Tunisia terror attack.

Gunman Seifeddine Rezgui, a 23-year-old student, who had links to the Islamic State jihadist group, was shot dead by police after the killings on the beach at the Port El Kantaoui resort last Friday.

Cheshire East Council Deputy Leader Cllr David Brown leads the lowering of the Union flag and one minute’s silence outside Cheshire East Council’s Westfields HQ, in Sandbach

https://vimeo.com/132527569

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Council acts to deliver respite services more locally

 

Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet has today backed proposals to redirect respite care into the independent sector and deliver services more locally.

A report put before councillors had recommended that current care arrangements at Hollins View and Lincoln House be procured instead via the independent sector to help deliver more personalised care and support for people.

Both sites offer the Borough’s estimated 40,000 carers a well-deserved break from caring for people with conditions such as dementia.

A full consultation exercise was undertaken with carers and their families and many highlighted that greater choice was needed about where they received their help.

The report, backed in a unanimous vote by Cabinet today (Tuesday), highlights that the Council is currently out of step, as 90 per cent of respite care provision in neighbouring local authorities across the North West is in the independent sector.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council said the decision taken by Cabinet would improve respite care provision because local people would be able to access beds and support in their local community area.

Cllr Jones said: “This is the best solution and right thing to do as it is about putting residents first and local first – and local is best.

“We will guarantee local first care for people accessing respite care. Some campaigners appear obsessed with brick and mortar – but I care about the people and providing the right support and care in the right place and at the right time.

“The majority of service users accessing Cheshire East respite service are already using independent sector providers, either exclusively (56 per cent) or in combination with a stay in Council facilities (10 per cent).  We will now be able to offer better value and a better range of respite for carers.”

The decision will mean the Council can deliver substantially better value for money for local taxpayers – as it can secure quality residential respite care in the independent sector at an average of 48 per cent less than the cost of in-house provision.

Moreover, the projected growth in demand cannot be met by in-house respite provision. More than sufficient capacity is available within the private sector, which currently (17/6/15) has 202 vacancies.

Currently just seven people are accessing respite care at Hollins View and nine at Lincoln House.

Moreover, 70 per cent of bed nights in Hollins View and 54 per cent of bed nights in Lincoln House are for stays of 29 or more consecutive nights which are not respite care.

The Council intends to retain both Hollins View and Lincoln House sites for use to deliver other local services to local residents.

The Council remains committed to putting the interest of residents first and has developed a Carers’ Strategy in conjunction with health partners, which details the collective commitment to carers and helping ensure their access to information, advice and support.

Hollins View and Lincoln House are currently commissioned to provide the Council’s in-house residential care and the report recommended that widening out the service to the independent sector will also help residents in our rural communities, who may need the service.

Both sites were the subject of a high-profile Cabinet meeting in December 2014 when Cabinet agreed to continue respite services until December 2015.

The report back then recommended closure because ‘residential respite support in the independent sector would be at a lower cost than in-house provision’.

The total cost of in-house provision of respite care is £3.13m.

Lincoln House provides 14.19 per cent of Cheshire East’s total respite care, while Hollins View provides just 13.18 per cent of the total.

Across the North West region there is a shift away from in-house provision of adult social care.

Currently, none of Tameside, Wirral, Trafford, Manchester, Knowsley, Stoke-on-Trent, Stockport, Shropshire or Liverpool borough authorities offers any in-house respite care provision.

Across 19 local authorities surveyed in the North West the average is for 90 per cent external provision of all adult social care and 10 per cent internal provision.

One authority, Warrington, is in the process of outsourcing their remaining Council-operated homes to a social enterprise. While Stockport has 100 per cent external provision of adult social care. 

Council issues advice ahead of heatwave

 

A heatwave is expected to engulf parts of England tomorrow and Wednesday – with Cheshire East possibly seeing temperatures of up to 30C.

The Met Office says there is a 60 per cent possibility of ‘heatwave conditions’ between noon on Tuesday, June 30 and 6am on Thursday, July 2 in the North West and an 80 per cent chance for other parts of the country.

Cheshire East Council is urging residents to check in on their friends and neighbours, who may be vulnerable to the heat. People might be able to offer to do their shopping for them, for example, so they don’t have to go out in the hot weather.

The authority also stresses that babies, children or elderly people should not be left alone in stationary cars.

If people are worried about their health during a heatwave they should contact their doctor, a pharmacist or NHS 111, especially if they are taking medication, feel unwell or have any unusual symptoms.

Cheshire East is briefing staff to ensure carers have the information they need to keep vulnerable adults safe and well during this period and is sharing tips on keeping cool and well during a heatwave on its Twitter and Facebook pages.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health has published a Heatwave Plan for England, which is intended to protect people from heat-related harm to health. To find out more, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/heatwave-plan-for-england.

Some key advice from the Government is as follows:

How to keep the heat out:

• Keep curtains on windows exposed to the sun closed while the temperature outside is higher than it is inside;

• Once the temperature outside has dropped lower than it is inside, open the windows – this may require late night visiting and such advice needs to be balanced by any possible security concerns;

• Water external and internal plants and spray the ground outside windows with water (avoid creating slip hazards) to help cool the air (however, check local drought water restrictions before using hosepipes);

• Advise the person to stay out of the sun, especially between the hours of 11am and 3pm;

• Advise them to stay in the shade and to wear hats, sunscreen, thin scarves and light clothing if going outside.

How to keep body temperatures down:

• Ensure that the person reduces their levels of physical exertion;

• Suggest they take regular cool showers or baths, or at least an overall body wash;

• Advise them to wear light, loose cotton clothes to absorb sweat and prevent skin irritation;

• Suggest that they sprinkle their clothes with water regularly, and splash cool water on their face and the back of their neck. A damp cloth on the back of the neck helps temperature regulation;

• Recommend cold food, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content;

• Advise them to drink regularly, preferably water or fruit juice, but avoid alcohol and caffeine (tea, coffee, colas);

• Monitor their daily fluid intake, particularly if they have several carers or are not always able to drink unaided.

Provide extra care:

• Keep in regular contact throughout the heatwave, and try to arrange for someone to visit at least once a day;

• Keep giving advice on what to do to help keep cool;

• During extended periods of raised temperatures ensure that persons over the age of 65 are advised to increase their fluid intake to reduce the risk of blood-stream infections.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Diabetes Garden Party

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

Sheena & Ken Sambrook of the Crewe and South Cheshire Voluntary Group of Diabetes UK - http://crewe-and-south-cheshire.diabetesukgroup.org - are once again opening up their garden for a fund-raising Garden Party. The event will take place on Wednesday 8th July 2015, from 7pm, at their house at 6 Westfield Drive, Wistaston. Entrance is 50p and includes tea and biscuits. Strawberries & cream, cakes and jam will be available for sale. There will also be a prize draw. Please contact Ken for further information: Tel. 01270 662455.

Diabetes UK Garden Party 2015 - Ken Sambrook

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The ‘36th World Worm Charming Championship’

Reporter J White

The ‘36th World Worm Charming Championship’ - http://www.wormcharming.com/ - took place on the afternoon of Saturday 27th June 2015 within the grounds of Willaston Primary School http://www.willastonprimary.co.uk/ , Willaston, near Nantwich, Cheshire.

The Championship started shortly after 2pm and participants in each of the 144 plots had 30 minutes to collect as many worms as possible from their 3x3 metre plot. There were 'traditional' plots for teams of two and 'tag-team' plots for teams who wished to change their pairings throughout the charming period. Techniques included vibrating a garden fork, whacking a tennis racquet and jumping up and down.

The Chief Wormer's trophy is usually given to the youngest wormer. However, this year it was given to Pam, Pat and Anne-Marie – who have a combined age of 216 - for the great effort they put into their charming in collecting 11 worms from plot 7.

Most Promising Newcomer Award with 137 worms in plot 108 was won by the Smith and Williams families.

The Heaviest Worm trophy was won by Alana Healy in plot 42 with 4.23g.

The Championship trophy for Most Worms was won by The Caravan Club tag-team containing the Low, Tricketts, Bell and Shaw families in plot 14 with 227 worms. A tag-team from The Caravan Club also won in 2012.

The championships also included representatives from Holland, Switzerland, Hong Kong and India.

Event organiser Mike Forster gave his sincere thanks to all the volunteers and visitors for their continued support of the event.

Events in the playground and arena included a performance by the Willaston School Percussion band, dancing by the X Academy of Performing Arts, the Willaston Scouts Ninja Poi Display Team, and singing by the Willaston Primary School Junior Choir. The arena and adjacent areas were surrounded by charity stalls, an inflatable slide and food and drink outlets.

The event took place in hot and dry weather and was enjoyed by several hundred people.

I’ve uploaded all my photos to a Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanawhite/sets/72157655123587052

Panorama of the worming eventWorm count

Cheshire East selects new Director of Children’s Services and Deputy Chief Executive

 

Cheshire East Council is set to appoint Kath O’Dwyer as its new Director of Children’s Services and Deputy Chief Executive.

Kath is currently National Director, Social Care at Ofsted and previously headed up children’s services at Warrington Borough Council.

The Council’s staffing committee has unanimously recommended the appointment and it has the support of political group leaders, who have already consulted their members about it. Full council will be asked for its formal endorsement in a vote on July 23.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Kath has an exceptional track record both at Ofsted and in local authorities.

“She improves performance while giving her colleagues real confidence in the quality of the services they provide.

“Kath believes in putting the child at the centre of everything the service does and her appointment is a testament to our determination to make Cheshire East the very best place to grow up.

“We aim to do the very best for our children by tackling the root causes of problems rather than just the symptoms.”

Mike Suarez, Chief Executive, said: “The Director of Children’s Services is a critical role within the Council.

“I am looking forward to working with Kath to transform our children’s services in line with the ambitious, innovation-led programme that the Council has set out.

“I am very pleased that she will be supporting me in a wider corporate role with her national experience.”

Kath, who has 32 years’ experience in the strategic leadership, operational management and delivery of services to vulnerable residents, said: “I am passionate about ensuring the best possible outcomes for children.

“Cheshire East and its partner organisations share that passion and I am very excited about the opportunity to lead their plans within the context of wider public sector transformation in children’s services.”

Council Leader, Councillor Michael Jones, said: “This is further proof of Cheshire East Council’s excellence and flexibility. I say thanks to all my colleagues and I fully endorse this outstanding candidate.”

Free wifi gets Cheshire East commuters back on the buses

 

Free wifi and charging sockets are turning Cheshire East’s mobile and tablet generation into bus travellers.

That’s the claim from Transport Service Solutions, Cheshire East Council’s wholly-owned company that manages public transport.

TSS is working with bus companies, schools and local organisations to provide more opportunities for bus travel. It is also backing Catch the Bus Week 2015 – which starts on Monday (June 29) – a nationwide campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the benefits of taking the bus.

TSS recently helped launch bus company GHA’s upgraded Gold 88 and 42 services and their new Congleton ‘Beartown’ buses which serve the 90, 91 and 92 circular routes. 

Arriva has also introduced its new ‘Sapphire’ service on the 38 route between Crewe and Macclesfield.

Councillor Gail Wait, chair of TSS, said: “It is great to see standards improving to help more people feel comfortable using buses as a greener alternative to cars.

“We hope the investment being made to vehicles and the introduction of new services such as free on-board wifi and power sockets for charging laptops, tablets and mobile phones will see more people catching the bus.”

TSS manages the provision of home-to-school transport for more than 4,500 children, supports 20 school crossing patrols, issues more than 64,000 concessionary passes per year, maintains 1,483 bus stops and shelters across Cheshire East, updates 1,170 bus timetable displays and manages 602 transport contracts yearly to help people get to work and education.

In the UK, more people travel to work by bus than all other forms of public transport combined. There are 2.5 million bus commuters, and another one million people use buses as a back up.

Work to begin on £1.3m revamp of Crewe Crematorium to boost facilities

 

Work is to begin on a major revamp of Crewe Crematorium to improve facilities for the bereaved.

The £1.3m scheme, which starts on Monday July 6, includes extending the building, boosting seating capacity, improving toilet facilities and increasing parking for people with disabilities.

The work will be done outside crematorium opening hours and services will take place as normal. Every effort will be made to keep any impact of the work to a minimum.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is a major investment by the Council to greatly enhance and expand facilities for bereaved families and shows our commitment to deliver improved, quality services for our residents.

“Improving this facility is something that has needed to happen for a long time.”

Crewe Crematorium, in Crewe Cemetery, will get a single-storey extension to the front of the existing building. The extension will include an arrival area, a book of remembrance alcove and an area where bereaved families can wait more comfortably. 

External walls of remembrance will be built to both the front and side of the existing building to replace the ‘carriage porch’ (porte cochere). Some memorial plaques will be temporarily moved and stored during this work.

The interior will get an extra 38 seats – increasing capacity by more than 50 per cent from the current total of 68 seats. There will also be an extension of the ‘hearing loop’ to help the hard of hearing access the service.

Toilet facilities will be improved as the existing chapel of rest will be converted into male, female and disabled toilets. Two additional disabled parking spaces will also be created.

Councillor David Marren, chairman of Orbitas – Cheshire East Council’s arms-length company which runs Cheshire East’s cemeteries and bereavement services, said: “This much-needed improvements investment will enable us to provide an even better quality of service for people at what is an emotional and difficult time for them.

“The extension of the crematorium will allow family members and friends to more comfortably attend services for loved ones. Moreover, a cover will be included to shelter mourners before a service, where at present they have to stand exposed to the elements. 

“A new corridor system will also prevent the bereaved from a previous service from walking directly past mourners attending the next service – reducing potential further distress by giving mourning friends and family a greater sense of privacy and dignity.

“I would like to thank members of the public in advance for their patience and understanding while the necessary works are carried out.”

To facilitate the works, the Crematorium will close at 1pm on Fridays and reopen for services at 11am on Mondays. The work is due to be completed by late autumn.

For information about Crewe Crematorium and Cemetery, visit the Council’s website at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Alternatively, ring the cemetery office on 01270 685545.

Welcome to this, MP’s 163rd news bulletin.

 

You may have read the exciting news recently that Cheshire East Council has bought part of Crewe Town Centre for redevelopment, including the bus station, at a price that represents fantastic value to the council tax payers of Crewe and Nantwich.
Much has already been said about the opportunity this presents for our town centre in terms of retail, but also for the leisure and food and drink venues that will be able to be introduced.
But it’s important that the Council looks after the existing tenants, and last week the Council Leader held a meeting to provide those all-important assurances. Those shops now have the security of knowing that they are not going to have to move on soon, and that their rents won’t increase, so they will still be able to provide their valued services to local people up until the point of development.
Creative plans are being looked at for the bus station, which may be sited elsewhere in the town centre, and I for one am delighted that the Council - now that they own the bus station - are finally in a position to provide the public with the quality transport hub that they have been waiting for.
As the tenant of 30 Victoria Street - one of the affected properties - I'm very much looking forward to hearing more about the developers’ plans this autumn, and am pleased that the Council have committed to proper consultation with Crewe’s retailers before coming to final decisions.
All the evidence so far points to the Council thinking ‘outside the box’ for this exercise and that is definitely what is required. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to address the way Crewe town centre works, and nothing should be off the table - including how traffic flows through the area.
If you have any thoughts about Crewe town centre, please let me know and I will ensure they are passed on!


Edward Timpson MP
Member of Parliament for Crewe and Nantwich
Please remember, you can always contact me directly if you have any questions for me, or if there is anything I can do to assist you.

Since my last e-mail, I have...

  • Met with the new Leader of Crewe Town Council, Cllr Simon Yates, to talk about the Council's plans for the new municipal year and to resolve the ongoing issue between the Town Council and some of our town's allotment holders. You can read more about it here.
  • Held my regular constituency advice surgeries in Crewe and in Shavington.
  • Rolled the opening pie at the annual Wybunbury Pie Wakes.
  • Supported the Royal Life Saving Society's pledge to reduce the rate of drownings in the UK. This week is Drowning Prevention Week and you can read more about the RLSS on their website, www.rlss.org.uk
  • Welcomed a report from British Gas that 3,438 homes in Crewe & Nantwich are now benefiting from smart meters, helping residents to monitor and better control their energy bills.
  • Met with Paul Coleman at South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce to talk about progress on the Crewe Pledge.
  • Signed up to Twitter! You can now follow me @edwardtimpson

Photo: Wybunbury Fig Pie Wakes 2015
I was delighted to attend the annual Fig Pie Wake organised by the Wybunbury Tower Preservation Trust. Congratulations to Mark, John and all those who helped organise another hugely successful event, but most of all thank you to Melanie Booth at The Swan for baking my pie.  I am pictured with Jo and Lucas, the Head Girl and Head Boy at Wybunbury Delves Primary School.

Crewe: Gateway to the Northern Powerhouse
Export giants Bentley Motors and Mornflake lead the way in what has been referred to as Crewe’s ‘second industrial revolution’ they are joined by 17,000 businesses in Cheshire East – more than Manchester.

Edward Timpson

Edward Timpson paves the way on children and families
The Chronicle interviewed Edward Timpson MP about his new promotion to Minister of State for Children and Families.

Work on Crewe UTC to start in January
The new Crewe Engineering and Design University Technical College (UTC) will provide training for up to 800 students, aged 14 and 19, who want to pursue careers in automotive, rail and manufacturing industries.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Cheshire East organisations named on charity ‘honours list’

 

Two Cheshire East organisations have won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service –  the MBE for local groups.

Cre8, which provides services for young people in Macclesfield, and Chelford Tenants and Residents Association each received the award to recognise the work done by their dedicated volunteers.

Rob Wardle, Cre8’s director, said: “It is just hugely encouraging for all of us involved with Cre8 to receive this award.

“A lot of our work is with young people which can be exciting and fun, as well as disappointing and very draining at times.

“Volunteers and workers at Cre8 experience lots of ups and downs with what we’re trying to do, but when we take time to step back and look at our achievements, then it makes us smile.”

Chelford Tenants and Residents Association has also been honoured with the Queen’s Award for its work to combat social isolation among older people.

Michael Jehan, who chairs the association, said the award made him feel ‘very proud and privileged’.

He added: “It is a testament to the hard working volunteers who have made such a difference to our local people, and to our supporters without whom we would not exist.

“As well as providing a wide range of activities including a community garden project, social events, coach trips and computer classes we also support our mainly older tenants to improve their housing, local communities and lives generally.

“An example of the inspiring work undertaken is our most recent initiative ‘Ageing Well in Chelford’, which includes a digital discovery project and a new Little Free Library, one of only 15 currently in the UK.”

The two organisations will receive their awards later this summer from the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs MBE, KStJ.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for communities, said: “We fund both of these organisations because their volunteers do a lot to improve people’s lives and their work is of immense benefit to communities in Cheshire East.

“Cheshire East Council is pioneering new ways to tackle the root causes of problems in society and we regard active and dedicated voluntary groups as important allies.

“By helping young people to play an active role in their neighbourhoods, or helping older people to live independently and get the most out of life, they are doing a vital job.

“It is great to see their work being recognised at the highest level.”

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities.

The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on June 2 – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

‘Pretend’ single mum faces £9,500 bill for benefits fraud

 

A woman faces a bill for £9,500 after she claimed benefits while keeping it secret that her live-in partner was supporting the family financially.

Ruth Evans, 37, claimed housing benefit and income support but failed to disclose that her partner had joined the household.

By falsely claiming that she was a lone parent on a low income, she received £8,932 before her lies were discovered by Cheshire East Council’s benefit investigations team.

Evans, of Platt Avenue, Sandbach, admitted one charge of failing to advise Cheshire East Council and the Department for Work and Pensions that she had a resident partner when she appeared at South and East Cheshire Magistrates Court (on June 15, 2015).

Magistrates sentenced Evans to a 12-month community penalty with 80 hours’ unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay £520 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

In addition, Evans will have to repay in full all the monies she fraudulently obtained.

The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for communities, said:  “We are an enforcing Council and we are determined to stop fraudsters from helping themselves to money that belongs to law-abiding members of the public.

“So far this year, our benefit investigations team has identified £625,789 in fraudulently claimed housing benefit, Council Tax benefit, jobseekers’ allowance, income support and employment support allowance paid by Cheshire East Council and the Department for Work and Pensions. All of these monies are repayable.

“During the period 33 people have been prosecuted, 18 issued with administrative penalties or fines and 16 more cautioned for benefits offences and Blue Badge misuse.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy towards benefit fraud because we are determined to ensure that the benefits system works for people who really need help.

“Anyone who thinks they can get away with claiming benefits they are not entitled to is making a big mistake.

“They risk ending up with a criminal conviction for a serious offence of dishonesty and a big bill to repay the money they have falsely claimed.”

Residents can report people they suspect of benefit fraud by calling free on the confidential fraud hotline number 0800 389 2787. There is no need to give a name and calls are treated in strictest confidence.

Alternatively, suspected fraud can be reported through the Council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Cheshire East flies the flag to salute Armed Forces Week

 

Cheshire East Council today held a ceremony to mark Armed Forces Week.

The Armed Forces Day flag was raised outside the authority’s Westfields HQ in Sandbach at 10am today (June 22), by Council Leader Michael Jones and the authority’s armed forces champion and former mayor Councillor Gordon Baxendale.

The occasion was in support of efforts to get hundreds of armed forces flags flown at significant, strategic and eye-catching sites across the UK.

Armed Forces Week provides an opportunity for communities to show their support for the men and women who make up the forces community, from serving members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force to service families, veterans and cadets.

Events are being held across the nation in coming days to mark Armed Forces Week. These range from major set-piece events including military personnel to smaller scale, community-based events. Among the events planned locally is a ‘picnic in the park’ being held on Sunday (June 28) at Queens Park, in Victoria Avenue Crewe.

Cllr Jones said: “Cheshire has a long and distinguished history of military forces being based within the county and Cheshire East Council is proud to be a signatory to the Armed Forces Community Covenant.

“We raise this flag today to honour that ongoing commitment and to emphasize the strong ties of respect, gratitude and affinity we cherish with all our servicemen and women for the tremendous work they do for the nation.”

The Community Covenant is a voluntary statement of support between communities and the armed forces. The aims of the community covenant are to:

● Encourage local communities to support the armed forces community in their areas;

● Nurture public understanding and awareness of issues affecting the armed forces community;

● Recognise and remember the sacrifices made by the armed forces community;

● Encourage activities which help to integrate the armed forces community into local life.

The Government has published a national Armed Forces Covenant which sets the tone for Government policy aimed at improving the support available for the armed forces community.

The core principles are that members of the armed forces community do not suffer disadvantage as a result of their service and that they receive special treatment where appropriate. For further information visit the Armed Forces Covenant pages on the GOV.UK website.

For more information about local events to mark Armed Forces Week and Armed Forces Day, on Saturday, June 27, visit the Royal British Legion website at: www.armedforcesday.org.uk/find-events/

Wistaston Village Fete

. Reporter  Jonathan White, Wistaston

The Wistaston Village Fete took place on the afternoon of Saturday 20th June 2015. This annual event is organised by the Wistaston Community Council and took place at Wistaston Church Lane Academy, Church Lane, Wistaston for the first time, by the kind permission of the Head and the governors.

The event began with a procession from Wistaston Memorial Hall led by a Scottish Piper Reg Flower, followed by the 35th South West Cheshire Scout group with Union Jack flag, St Mary’s Guides, Brownies & Rainbows, and a dance troupe. The procession also included the retiring Wistaston Rose Queen (Lucy Rowland) and her Attendant (Charlotte Shaw) in an open-top sports car and this year’s Wistaston Rose Queen (Rachel Astbury) and her Attendant (Chelsea Horne) in an open-top vintage car.

Once the procession had arrived within the Arena at the Academy the retiring Rose Queen (Lucy Rowland) thanked Wistonian's for their support and stated that over £5,000 had been raised to be shared between two organisations - 35th South West Cheshire Scout group and Cancer Research UK - during her year of office. St. Mary's Wistaston Rector Mike Turnbull then passed the crown from Lucy to this year's Rose Queen (Rachel). Rachel stated that her chosen charity this year is Macmillan Cancer Support. This year’s Wistonian of the year, Gwyneth Brown, then officially opened the Fete.

Ken Sambrook and John White were the Master of Ceremonies and introduced each event in the Arena and school hall respectively.

Gwyneth Brown, presented prizes to the winners in the Laurie Twiss Award for Journalism. The winner was Emilymay Stockton, with second prize awarded to Daisy Williams and third prize awarded to Antonia Monks. They are all pupils of Wistaston Church Lane Academy.

Several children took part in the fancy dress competition and entries included a policeman, a burglar, a bear, a pirate and several princesses. The winner was 5 year old Poppy with her Hawaiian girl costume, with 3 year old Samuel getting second prize for his Robot costume. They collected their prizes from judges Gwyneth Brown and Eileen Bamber. All of the children who entered received a bag of sweets.

The Arena also had displays by the 35th South West Cheshire Scout group, Hartford Gymnastics Display Team, The Alison Gallagher School of Dance, and Liberty Morris Dance Group. In the school hall there was entertainment from Wistaston Church Lane Academy Choir, Scottish Dancers, Irish Dancers and TheFunkyChoir.com.

There were over 30 stalls representing local organisations and charities, plus refreshments stands. Refreshments were also available in the school hall.

After early showers, the event took place in mainly sunny weather and was enjoyed by several hundred people.

Dane Chaplow (Chairman, Wistaston Community Council) said, "The move from the Rectory gardens to the Academy went better than we could have expected. We are very grateful to Headteacher Mr Prince and the Governors for allowing us to use the premises. The procession and crowning ceremony were a success and there was excellent entertainment both outdoors and indoors with a splendid range of stalls. So many people attended to show their support. We hope that lots of money was raised for local charities and the Wistaston Community Council.”

Admission to the Fete was by donation and proceeds from the gate receipts and Wistaston Community Council stalls will go towards other Wistaston village events, such as the Flower and Produce Show, Spring and Christmas Concerts, and the November Fireworks Display. The Wistaston Community Council desperately requires new members to help organise next year’s Fete, as well as the other Wistaston-based events. Please visit http://www.wistastoncommunity.co.uk for further information if you would like to join.

Rose Queen Rachel Astbury on her chosen charity Macmillan  Cancer Support stall

St Marys Wistaston Rector Mike Turnbull with retiring and  new Rose Queens

I’ve uploaded all my photos to Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanawhite/sets/72157654859520916

Music Night

reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

A fund-raising music night takes place on Saturday 4th July 2015 (8-10pm) at St Mary’s Church Hall, Church Lane, Wistaston CW2 8ER. Doors open 7.30pm. Tickets = £5 and are available from St Mary’s Church Office, Malbank School office & Brine Leas School office. Music will include the ‘Muckers’ ukulele band and an acoustic set by ‘Lost in Space’. Soft drinks and hot dogs will be available for purchase. The event is to raise money for Camps International in Cambodia.

Fund-raising music night – Wistaston – Sat 4 July  2015