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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Care firm supporting Weston Christmas Lights


A Cheshire care firm is backing the Weston Christmas Light Display this year and will be taking many of its clients and staff to enjoy the dazzling illuminations that help to raise funds for The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice.

Side by Side Care based in Nantwich has joined other local kind-hearted companies who are supporting organiser Graham Witter. He has put together the festive light display at Carters Green Farm, Jack Lane in Weston since 2013.

Each year, beginning in early October, Graham starts the process of checking, testing and arranging thousands of lights to deliver a spectacular show that delights visitors year-on-year.

The festive display, including 3D animated figures, LED lights and inflatables, was originally put together for his late sister, Jessica. Despite having Cardio-facio Cutaneous syndrome, severe epilepsy and many complex health problems, she loved the sight and sound of the Christmas lights.

Sadly, Jessica, aged 18, passed away in December 2015, so Graham decided to continue the festive spectacular in his sister’s memory. Jessica visited the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice each year for respite care, so this local charity seemed a perfect cause for Graham’s fundraising event.

To show his appreciation, Graham continues to raise vital funds for the organisation and this year hopes to top an amazing £30,000 with the help of sponsors, a festive competition and public donations.

Side by Side Care’s Registered Manager, Matthew Proctor, is delighted to be backing the event, and both staff and clients are excited about visiting the Weston light display.

He said: “We offer home-based care services to a range of different people, some in the final months of their life. But seeing an amazing Christmas light show is something to keep everyone smiling.

“The staff and clients have been chatting about the display for weeks and the office has already been dressed with decorations and lights of our own. Everyone has Santa hats and Christmas jumpers at the ready!

“Perhaps more than most, we fully appreciate what incredible support the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice offers to families, so it’s great to be giving something back and offering Graham a little sponsorship.” 

Across weekends during December, and in the days leading up to Christmas, Santa will also be in his Grotto at the farm to greet children and have Sleigh Selfies taken with visitors.

The Christmas light spectacular runs every day from Friday 1 December to Thursday 28 December, from 6.15pm to 9pm every evening.

For more information about the festive display, visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/westonlightdisplay

Council set to boost flexibility and impact of adult social care services


Cheshire East Council is set to improve the way it delivers adult social care.

Cheshire East Council is increasing spending significantly in adult social care – investing £10.9m in 2018/19. However, the council faces a significant financial challenge – via reductions in government grants, increased demand for care services and rising costs.

The aim is to boost the quality, capacity, flexibility, choice, value for money and the positive impact on the lives of people supported by these services – to deliver the right support, in the right place, at the right time.

The cabinet is due to consider proposals to recommission care at home, residential care and respite care when it meets on December 5. This is usual local authority practice.

Respite care

A review of respite care provision, with wide stakeholder consultation, is also proposed, to identify ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness and reduce low occupancy of block-booked beds. 

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for adult social care and integration, said: “The current offer of respite care was intended to enable carers to access respite in a variety of geographical locations.

“However, there are issues with low occupancy and, as the system operates on block provision (where providers get paid a block amount of money even if the beds are not occupied) it means that some of the beds are remaining unoccupied.

“There is, therefore, a need to review the current provision, to ensure it delivers real choice, value for money and the best outcomes for respite care users. Subject to consultation, some beds are proposed to be ‘block purchased’ to be available all year round to continue to provide geographical coverage across the borough – together with additional beds purchased as and when necessary to meet demand and in the appropriate location.

“Carers have told us that they want an alternative respite offer to the bed-based services that are currently available. The council is now carrying out a review and consulting with carers and other stakeholders about how the alternative respite provision should be delivered, in order to more effectively and efficiently provide the right support, in the right place, at the right time.

“Therefore, as part of a review of respite provision, we are looking at different models of respite support to ensure greater choice and flexibility for service users – such as short breaks and supported living, home-based services, Shared Lives support and respite in an extra-care housing setting. The new provision would begin in October 2018.”

Care at home

The council is proposing to change the way it commissions care at home (domiciliary care) for our local residents. This service will be for adults with less complex care and support needs residing in Cheshire East.

There is a need to transform the care and support offer to ensure Cheshire has greater capacity and flexibility – and an improved range of services that deliver value for money for our residents.  The council is working with our local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to explore options to jointly commission care and support services delivered to residents in their home. 

Cllr Liz Wardlaw, cabinet member for health, said: “With our partners, we need to ensure that health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate high-quality care and that, as partners, we encourage care services to improve their care and support.

“We face an ageing population in Cheshire East and the borough needs to increase the capacity and capability of care services to enable people to remain living at home longer, reduce the need for a move to a care home and provide timely and appropriate care.”

Residential care

Cheshire East also proposes to change the way it commissions residential care for residents who receive financial support for their care from the authority. Under the proposed new system, providers of residential homes would be asked to sign up to a ‘framework’, which would ensure they deliver the highest possible quality, care and support.

Residents who receive financial support for their care will be placed in care homes that meet the quality standards required by the authority. Residents who are already placed in care homes will not be expected to move.

Cllr Clowes said: “Cheshire East Council has a duty under the Care Act 2014 to promote the efficient and effective operation and sustainability of the care market for the borough.”

The council is working with South Cheshire and Eastern Cheshire CCGs to ensure the seamless provision of care and support during the transition to new provision which, if agreed, would take place in 2018.

● If you require further information about care at home contact the council’s Danielle Stuart 01625 374207. For accommodation with care, contact Jonathon Evans on 01270 686403. For information about the review of respite care, contact Jane Stanley-McCrave on 01270 375119.

Cheshire East Council among winners at Marketing Cheshire Awards

 

Cheshire East Council has scooped a top tourism award for one of its landmark events at the Marketing Cheshire Awards.

The annual awards, held at Chester Racecourse, celebrated the achievements of Cheshire-based organisations in a glittering ceremony and united some of the most popular tourist attractions in the county.

Cheshire East’s visitor economy was worth £895m in 2016, with 3615 people employed - (full time equivalent 2840).

Cheshire’s Stage Three of the Tour of Britain took place in September 2016 and departed from Congleton, before concluding in Tatton Park, Knutsford. The event generated more than £3.5m for the local economy and 300,000 visitors flocked to towns, villages and local venues in the borough to watch the race.

The organisation of this large-scale event required joint working between many different internal departments at the authority, such as colleagues in highways, public health, communications, and planning, with the cultural economy team taking a lead role to unite the efforts of all stakeholders.

Many other partners including Cheshire police also helped to ensure that the event was a great success. The collaborative efforts of these stakeholders were recognised through this award and displayed the council’s ability to host major public events safely to a high standard.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council’s cabinet member for finance and communications, who accepted the award, said: “This award is testament to the hard work and commitment of everyone who helped to organise the Stage Three Tour. It brought significant financial and economic benefits to the borough, including a lasting legacy of cycling in the area. The race also received fantastic support from town parishes and local communities, who decorated the route throughout Cheshire East and turned out in full force on the day.

“I am delighted that we have been recognised with this award and to have been able to have joined in the shared celebration of Cheshire’s thriving economy on the night.”

Children rebuild Crewe’s heritage and architecture in Minecraft

Christ Church Tower

A group of young people came to Crewe Library to celebrate the completion of a project to build ‘Crewecraft’.

The town has been recreated with the popular video building game Minecraft, as part of an educational project, part-funded by Cheshire East Council.

CreweCraft, has been supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with an award of almost £26,000 from the Young Roots Programme – a funding stream to help young people aged 11 to 25 explore their heritage – made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.

To celebrate the completion of building Crewe in Minecraft, 13 young people from Crewe and their families went to a celebration event on Saturday which was also attended by  Mayor of Cheshire East, Councillor Arthur Moran.

Minecraft has captured the imagination of young people who play the computer game to develop their creative and digital skills.

Youngsters aged 10-15 took part part in a series of workshops to recreate Crewe’s historic buildings in three-dimensional digital formats.

Cheshire East Council’s cultural economy team delivered the project with the support of public libraries, Cheshire Archives, Crewe Town Council and the Crewe History Society.

Using the rich archive about Crewe, through Minecraft, young people learnt about the history of the town as they recreated old buildings and landmarks from old town plans and photographs within a digital world, built to scale.

Cllr Stockton, said: “This has been a terrific project which has truly got young people into the spirit of learning about their heritage in a way that relates to them on an everyday level.

“What they have achieved since the programme started shows me that with the right tools for learning and a fascinating subject matter, there’s no ceiling to what they can do. These youngsters should be very proud of their achievements.”

The project is part of the council’s Shift programme, which celebrates and promotes digital learning, skills and development across the borough for all ages.

Participants have developed strong team-working abilities and communication skills, while library staff also learnt new digital skills through the Minecraft map.

Pupils and teachers from Beechwood Primary School attended sessions to take part and learn about the heritage of their local area.

A completed Minecraft map will be available for young people to explore alongside photographs, video and archive material, at Crewe Library from January.

Council launches draft housing strategy and seeks residents’ feedback


Cheshire East Council is consulting on a proposed new housing strategy, setting out the authority’s vision and priorities for housing until 2023.

The council is profiling the value and importance of quality housing in people’s lives, wellbeing, communities and the economy. The consultation begins today (Monday) and continues into the New Year.

The borough’s Local Plan includes provision for a housing requirement of at least 36,000 new homes and 380 hectares of land for business, general industrial and storage and distribution uses up until 2030.

This is to reflect a strong anticipated jobs growth rate of around 1,600 jobs per year, or 31,400 by 2030. Nationally, it is estimated the country needs to build more than 250,000 new homes each year.

Cheshire East has a strong ambition for jobs-led economic expansion and housing is seen as essential to support this continuous growth. The council wishes to see that homes built across the borough are of the right type and are built in the right place, offering a range of high-quality housing that is affordable and meets the needs of young people, families and older residents.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “Our proposed new housing strategy contains our ambitions for facilitating the delivery of affordable housing alongside a robust, well-managed rental and sales market. We welcome the opportunity for our residents to engage with us so that we can develop our thinking further on this important topic.

The draft housing strategy consultation continues until Monday, January 8, 2018.

To view and contribute to the consultation visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/housingstrategyconsultation

or email the strategic housing team at: housingpolicy@cheshireeast.gov.uk or contact strategic housing on 0300 123 5500.

Monday, 27 November 2017

The Rotary Club of Crewe Christmas Sleigh

Jonathan White, Wistaston

Rotary Club of Crewe - Santa  Float

The Rotary Club of Crewe Christmas Sleigh with Santa will be making its annual visit to the streets of Crewe, Wistaston and Haslington in the run up to the big day.

Santa’s full schedule is as follows:

Monday 4th December 2017 - 17:30 Start from The Woodside and cover Elm Drive estate Emmerdale and Windermere.

Tues 5th 18:00 Start from New Life Centre and covers Brookhouse, Salisbury, Manor Way, Bedford St., Earnest St. Claighton Ave.

Weds 6th 17:15 Start from Mountbatten Court and covers Alton St, Moreton Rd, Readesdale, Valley Rd, Langley Dr, Stewart St.

Thurs 7th 17:30 Start from The Georges and covers Bilton Way, Sunneybank, Marshfield Lodgefield Snowden Coppenhall Lane.

Fri 8th 17:30 Start from The Elms Covering Coronation St, Springfield Gardens, Lime Tree Ave, Acacia Ash Rd.

Sat 9th 16:00 Start from the New Life Centre covering Fuller Dr, Broadleigh Way, Charlecote, Westbury, Dunhelm, Millrace. Whitlow.

Mon 11th 18:00 Start from School Crescent covering the Coleridge Way Estate, Bentley Close, Stephenson Dr, Lea Ave.

Tues 12th 17:30 Start from Layby covering Primrose Ave Estate.

Wed 13th  17:30 Start from St Stephens Church covering Ruskin Rd Dane Bank Gainsborough Rd.

Thurs 14th 18:00 Start from Sedgmere Ave covering the Sedgmere Ave and Parkers Rd estates.

Fri 15th 17:30 Start from Yew Tree Rd covering Wistaston Poets estate, Princess Dr, Sandringham, Sandilands, Church Lane.

Sat 16th 16:30 Start from Laidon Ave covering Wistaston, Laidon Ave, Merryvale, Edgewood, Ropebank  Glaisdale.

Sun 17th 16:30 Start from Beechmere covering Rolls Ave, Farmleigh Dr and estates.

Mon 18th 18:00 Start from Cosey Club Haslington and covering Haslington.

Tues 19th 17:45 Start The Captain webb and covering Underwood Lane North, Kestrel, Sherringham, Mablins Lane Wareham, Bleasdale.

A tracker is being used again this year so you can check when Santa will be close to you.

Rotary Club of Crewe are also collecting outside local supermarkets:

Sunday 17th December 2017 - ASDA 10:00 - 14:00.

Thursday 21st ALDI (Nantwich Rd) 09:00 - 19:00

Friday 22nd MORRISONS (Crewe) 09:00 - 19:00

Saturday 23rd TESCO (Crewe) 08:00 -14:00.

Organisations and charities will be invited to apply for funds in the new year.

A Rotary Club of Crewe representative said, “It is a pleasure to see the smiling faces of the youngsters and at the same time raise money to support organisations in the town."

The Crewe Christmas lights switch on

Reporter J White

The Crewe Christmas lights switch on took place on Friday 24th November 2017 in the town centre.

Entertainment on the Market Square was from 5pm to 9pm and included music from TheFunkyChoir.com, Ruskin High School Choir, Ruskin High School Dance Team, Jay Adkins – magician and illusionist, a fire performer, singer Thomas Teago and music from a Zoo DJ. Silk 106.9 helped to compere the event.

There were activities for children and families with a Santa’s Grotto, face painting, Christmas characters, and a mini-funfair.

Crewe Cosmopolitan Food Festival 2017 @ Christmas added a festive flavour to Market Street and Queensway with numerous food and speciality stalls.

Several shops in The Market Centre and throughout town stayed open late, many with Black Friday bargains on offer.

Laura Smith, Labour MP for Crewe and Nantwich and Councillor Diane Yates, Mayor of Crewe thanked everyone for attending the event and supporting the town.

Following a countdown the lights were switched on at 7pm by Councillor Diane Yates, Mayor of Crewe and two special guests – Jade and Millie.

The switch on was followed by a spectacular firework display by local company Blitz Fireworks.

DJ Tony from Zoo kept the crowd in an upbeat mood by playing several classic dance music tunes.

The event was organised by Crewe Town Council in partnership with Silk 106.9 and was enjoyed by thousands of people.

For information relating to future events in Crewe visit: www.crewelife.net

Councillor Diane Yates Mayor of  Crewe welcomes the crowdFire performerFirework display by local company  Blitz FireworksLaura Smith Labour MP for Crewe and  Nantwich thanks everyone for attending the eventSinger Thomas Teago performs on the  stageThe Grinch tries to switch on the  lights and launch the fireworks before the countdown

Shopping Online Safely

Subject: Shopping Online Safely


This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. This information has been sent on behalf of Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

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Shopping Online Safely

How To Shop Online Safely
Check the web address

Always check you’re on the correct website. Criminals can set up fake websites that have a similar design and web address to the genuine site.

Is it a secure connection?

Web pages you enter personal or financial details into should display a locked padlock sign and have a web address that starts with https. This means your connection to the website is secure.

Phishing

Don't click on links or attachments within unsolicited emails. The number of online shopping related phishing emails increases significantly during the holiday period.

Bank transfers
65% of Action Fraud reports during the 2016 Christmas period were linked to online auction sites. Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud.

Event showcases new initiatives to tackle domestic abuse


Cheshire East Council staff, service users and partner agencies joined together to inspire and challenge one another to improve the ways domestic abuse and sexual violence are responded to.

The event held at Middlewich Community Church, which was themed around ‘change’, was organised by the Cheshire East Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership (CEDSAP) and marked White Ribbon Day (November 25), otherwise known as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Those who attended the event listened to the experiences of people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence and considered how the services being offered could be changed as a result.

How services can work better together and how people with complex and multiple needs are being supported were discussed, as well as how services are working with those who harm to ‘change the root cause’ of the problem and increase the safety of both adults and children.

Attendees also learned about new tools and resources available to support very young children and those in school and heard from Saskia Ritchie, chief executive of Cheshire Without Abuse.

The charity has been supporting families affected by domestic abuse for 40 years and marked this milestone during a gala dinner earlier this month. During the gala they chose to celebrate the commitment of six individuals, agencies and organisations, who they believe make a significant difference locally in helping to tackle domestic abuse – CEDSAP was one of them.

Saskia said: “Over the last 40 years we are proud to have forged strong relationships with partners as a core member of Cheshire East Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership.

“Events such as this provide an invaluable opportunity for us to get together, share learning and explore new ways of working, so that together we can help more people open the door to safety and support them through the challenges they face.

“Service users are the experts in what help and support is needed, so it’s also important that they help shape all that we do.”

The partnership’s long-term vision for tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence was launched today (November 24). Attendees also heard about Operation Enhance, an early-intervention initiative being undertaken by Cheshire police and the Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) service.

The initiative runs during weekends and Monday daytimes – often the peak periods for reported domestic abuse incidents – and allows the police and IDVAs to see victims in the immediate aftermath of an incident, when they need support to think through their choices and plans to be safe.

A dedicated police officer and an IDVA jointly assess the domestic abuse incidents reported and carry out face-to-face follow-up visits to each victim, providing specialist information, advice and support.

The initiative builds on the range of services already offered in Cheshire East that support both those who are affected by domestic abuse – victims and their families – and those who need to change abusive behaviours.

Councillor Jos Saunders, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “Domestic abuse can happen to anyone – no matter who you are, your gender, background, what you do or where you live – and tackling it remains a top priority in Cheshire East.

“Events such as today’s inspire new conversations about how we can work with services, users and our partners to help people as early as possible in their experience of an unhealthy relationship – encouraging them to take the first steps to support.”

If you are affected by domestic abuse or you are concerned for someone else, call Cheshire East’s domestic abuse hub on 0300 123 5101 at any time. In an emergency, always call 999.

For more information about White Ribbon Day, visit: www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk

Check your Christmas/New Year bin collections


Cheshire East Council and its environmental services company Ansa are reminding residents to check the dates for their Christmas and New Year waste collections.

Only some households will be affected. For many households, their waste service will continue uninterrupted.

The changes will only affect households whose waste and recycling collection service falls on a Monday or Tuesday.

This year, Christmas Day falls on a Monday, while Tuesday (Boxing Day) and the following Monday (New Year’s Day) are traditional Bank Holidays, meaning there will be no waste collection service on those days.

Residents are asked to watch out for the sticker that will be placed on their bins.

Households affected by the temporary changes will have their collections brought forward or slightly delayed. All waste and recycling collections will return to normal from Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

Councillor Don Stockton, cabinet member for environment, said: “Once again the council has kept the interruption to the festive period household waste collection service to the absolute minimum.

“I would urge residents whose collections would normally take place on a Monday or Tuesday, to make a note of the changes in order to help our refuse teams to work as efficiently as possible.

“The festive period traditionally generates far more domestic refuse than usual and so I would encourage householders to help us by making use of our recycling centres when necessary and where possible.”

The council’s household waste recycling centres are open during the holiday period – with the exception of Christmas Day – and residents are urged to make use of the sites to dispose of recyclable and non-recyclable waste, apart from food waste.

For more information about household waste collections during the festive period visit: http://online.cheshireeast.gov.uk/MyCollectionDay/

To check on the council’s household waste recycling centres go to: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/recycling

Faith and hope brings Cheshire East communities together


Cheshire East Council was proud to host a multi-faith conference that brought together people of all faiths and representatives from many local organisations across the area.

The aim of the event was to enable people with a wide range of views and experiences to have a frank, open and honest conversation about all aspects of community life in Cheshire East, with particular focus on race, religion, diversity and access to services.

Cheshire East Council leader Councillor Rachel Bailey attended the conference (on Saturday, November 18) and the keynote speaker was the Rev Charles Kwaku-Odoi, of Manchester Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Network. He shared valuable lessons and advice from their work in the city, where people have overcome challenges following the terrorist attack in Manchester earlier in the year.

One of the key messages was the importance of connecting organisations so they work together, particularly health services and other vital services supporting people at times of crisis and emergency. The Rev Kwaku-Odoi also stressed the importance of learning from others in the region and sharing expertise.

Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, who spoke at the event, said, “Everyone in Cheshire East has the right to feel safe and to live healthy and peaceful lives. There are now more than 100 languages spoken by residents in our diverse community, so it’s vital that we enable people to share their knowledge and experiences to see where we can work better together.

“I think it’s important to know that we don’t need to be experts to contribute to improving things in our community. Being a mother, carer and retired nurse all help me to bring my unique perspective to supporting local communities and everyone has something to contribute. So, please, do get involved.”

Highlights from the event, held at South Cheshire College, included speakers sharing their experiences of ‘my life in Crewe’.

Elena Cholakova-Pereira is a volunteer ‘Community Connector’, who helps people in her community connect with local services and each other. Elena gave a very powerful talk about the many barriers people can face when trying to access services.

Examples ranged from people struggling with being able to navigate electronic telephone answering services to requiring different forms of registration and documentation before being able to get the help needed – as sometimes this can take many weeks to resolve.

Jubeyar Ahmed, secretary of the Shah Jalal Mosque in Crewe, has lived in Crewe for more than 20 years and spoke of the many nationalities of people who are Muslim and attend the mosque.

Jubeyar encouraged everyone to help improve community relations by celebrating local diversity and enjoying life together in Crewe. Sadly, in recent times, there has been some racial tension and Jubeyar encouraged everyone to try and understand others and build strong, tolerant communities.

The Rev Jennie Wakefield, chair of Crewe Churches Together, shared local experiences of church staff and volunteers helping homeless people in the area and how inspired she was that volunteers always stepped up and supported people who needed help.

All of the conversation and feedback from the faith and hope multi-faith conference will form part of a community cohesion action plan, which is being led by Cheshire East Council.

If you are interested in helping to make things better in your local community, please get in touch in the first instance with Loreen Chikwira, community cohesion manager for Cheshire East Council, at: communities@cheshireeast.gov.uk     or phone 01270 685880.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Employment Fraud Alert

Subject: Employment Fraud Alert


This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. This information has been sent on behalf of Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

(Please do not reply or forward this email directly; please use the Reply, Share buttons at the bottom of this message)

Message sent by

Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has identified a number of reports where job seekers are being targeted by fraudsters trying to obtain personal and banking details from them, or requesting money to secure accommodation.

Individuals registering with job seeking websites or searching for jobs on The Student Room website are being contacted by bogus recruitment companies/businesses asking them to complete application and interview forms which request personal details and banking details, as well as copies of identity documents.
In some instances the applicant is invited along for interview, either in person or over the phone, to make the process look as legitimate as possible. This is impacting on students and graduates looking for work both in the UK and overseas. Some job seekers, as well as divulging personal details, have paid money to the fraudsters in order to secure a bogus rental property alongside the job offer.

How to protect yourself:

  • Check emails and documents from the recruiter for poor spelling and grammar – this is often a sign that fraudsters are at work.
  • If visa fees are mentioned, ask the embassy representing the country where you believe you will be working how to obtain a visa and how much it costs. Check that the answers the potential employer or recruiter gave you are the same – if they’re not, it may be a sign of fraud.
  • Carry out thorough research to confirm that the organisation offering you the job actually exists. If it does exist, contact the organisation directly using contact details obtained through your own research or their website to confirm the job offer is genuine.

What to do if you’re a victim:

  • If you think your bank details have been compromised or if you believe you have been defrauded contact your bank immediately.
  • Stop all communication with the ‘agency’ but make a note of their details and report it to Action Fraud.
  • Warn the operators of the job website you used that their site is being used by fraudsters.
  • 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.

Wistaston Scout Group

Reporter J White

Wistaston Scout Group have produced a fundraising 2018 calendar.

Wistaston Scout Group l-r – Emma Bowkett (Cub) and Gerald Newbrook (Honorary President) with the 2018 Wistaston Calendar

The calendar is the idea of Ellie Newbrook, aged 17 from Nantwich, who is a Young Leader at the Wistaston Scout Group.

Ellie is the granddaughter of Gerald Newbrook who is an original member of the 35th South West Cheshire (Wistaston) Scout Group, a former District Commissioner and is now an Honorary President. Gerald was the first Scout in the South West Cheshire group in 1958 and is still involved in Scouting.

Ellie collated several photographs featuring scenes of Wistaston through the seasons and she has skilfully edited them into a 2018 Wistaston calendar.

The calendar is available from the new Wistaston Co-op Food on Crewe Road in Wistaston, Premier on Kings Drive in Wistaston and A.T. Welch on Hospital Street in Nantwich. Price = £6.50 each or 2 for £10.

Proceeds will all go 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 will be 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 very proud of Ellie who has produced such a lovely calendar which is proving very popular and is raising much needed funds for the Group’s New Scout Centre. We are also very grateful to local photographers Jonathan White and Simon J. Newbury who have generously allowed us to use their photographs and to the local businesses who have sold them on our behalf.”

Cheshire East Council launches consultation on draft Crewe HS2 Masterplan Vision


Cheshire East Council has today launched a public consultation on its draft Crewe HS2 Masterplan Vision.

The questionnaire is available via the council’s website (see link below).

The masterplan vision document aims to provide a strategic framework for the town, showing how current regeneration plans for Crewe could be built upon through future development, investment and infrastructure to maximise the transformative economic benefits of an enhanced HS2 hub rail station at Crewe.

The draft masterplan vision is based on government deciding to deliver both enhanced rail infrastructure and a hub station at Crewe capable of serving up to seven stopping high-speed HS2 trains per hour, with direct services to Manchester, Birmingham and London.

Together with a programme of investments in the town centre, hub station surrounding area and local highways network, the vision shows how Crewe could be truly transformed for the benefit of communities across the borough – creating potential diverse employment, housing, retail, leisure, cultural and educational opportunities.

The masterplan vision would support the creation of almost 40,000 new jobs over the next 30 years in Crewe alone and facilitate additional economic growth across the surrounding towns in Cheshire East and its Constellation partners in neighbouring authorities.

It would also look to create a new commercial hub around the station housing more than 350,000sq metres of new commercial floor space and deliver an additional 7,000 homes, above existing plans, by 2043.

The public consultation is open until 5pm on Friday January 12, 2018, and you can respond with your feedback on the masterplan vision either by:

● Completing the online survey, which should take 15 minutes, via the link: https://surveys.cheshireeast.gov.uk/s/HS2VisionConsultation/

● Emailing Hayley.Kirkham@cheshireeast.gov.uk ; or

● Writing to Hayley Kirkham, Head of HS2 Growth, Cheshire East Council, 6th Floor, Delamere House, Delamere Street, Crewe, CW1 2JZ.

For any queries about this consultation, contact customer services on 0300 123 50 32.

The six-week consultation follows unanimous approval by Cheshire East Council’s cabinet on November 7 and will be the first phase of the consultation process. The draft masterplan vision will also be shared with key stakeholder groups for their feedback and comments.

FiRELiNK Enewsletter For November 2017

Subject: FiRELiNK Enewsletter For November 2017 From Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service


This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. This information has been sent on behalf of Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service

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Ashley Lawton (Cheshire Fire , Administrator, Cheshire Fire)

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


Have your say on our draft plan for 2018/19

The consultation on our draft Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) for 2018/19 is underway and will last until Tuesday 2nd January 2018. During this time we will consult with the public, key partners and stakeholders and members of staff.

The draft plan follows on from the Service’s second Emergency Response Review, which was initially consulted upon last year and is underway at the moment. Work to examine several options as part of that review continues and are explained in further detail in the draft Plan and summary document, which can be found on our website.

Find out more - Have your say on our draft plan for 2018/19


Emergency Services Christmas Carol Concert 2017

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cheshire Constabulary and North West Ambulance Service are coming together once again for a annual Joint Emergency Services Christmas Carol Concert.

This a FREE event with all welcome, so please bring your family and friends along to Chester Cathedral to join us for the Carol Concert on Tuesday 28th November 2017.

Find out more - Emergency Services Christmas Carol Concert 2017


Brake Road Safety Week

We're supporting Brake Road Safety Week from 20th to 26th November 2017 and the theme this year is Speed Down Save Lives.

In the UK speeding is still a major problem. It causes needless crashes, untold suffering and stops people living safe and healthy lives. That is why we are encouraging everyone to Speed Down Save Lives for Road Safety Week 2017.

Driving is unpredictable and if something unexpected happens on the road ahead – such as a child stepping out from between parked cars - it is a driver’s speed that will determine whether they can stop in time and, if they can’t stop, how hard they will hit.

Find out more - Brake Road Safety Week


Electrical Fire Safety

Electrical appliances have become a staple of modern life - from fridges and phones to toasters or the TV, it's hard to think of how we would get by without a few electrically-powered essentials.

Find out more - Electrical fire safety

Black Friday electrical safety advice

Firefighters are warning consumers to shop carefully on Black Friday (24th November) and avoid fake electrical products as they present a serious fire risk.

Find out more - Black Friday electrical safety advice

SEAHORSE SUPPORT PUDSEY


Members of Seahorse Swimming Club in Crewe dressed up in yellow clothing and chipped in money to support Children in Need at their swimming session on 16th November 2017. Some swimmers wore yellow swimwear, t-shirts or socks and one swimmer wore a Pudsey onesie. The swimmers had fun with a ‘best splash’ competition and a 'survival’ taster by removing some of their clothing in deep water. Over £50 was collected on the night with a view to raise more at the Christmas Party. Everyone had a great time with lots of fun and it was pleasing to support a great cause.

Picture attached - Seahorse swimmers and helpers

DSCN3805

Winter Wellbeing – be a good winter neighbour


Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.

This week, we urge residents to be good winter neighbours.

As the weather turns colder, neighbours who are older or have health problems may need your help and support.

They may not be able to go to the shops, attend hospital appointments or pick up prescriptions when the weather is particularly bad, so please think about what you could do to help them.

Here are a few tips on how to be a good winter neighbour:

● Check on elderly or vulnerable members of the community to make sure they are safe and well;

● Make sure they have enough food and medicines to prevent them having to go out in very cold or icy weather;

● Give them your telephone number so they can contact you for help;

● Check their home is warm enough – living rooms should be heated to 21°C and bedrooms to 18°C; and

● Keep drives and footpaths clear of snow and ice for your neighbours.

Councillor Liz Wardlaw, cabinet member for health, said: “Checking in on friends, family members and neighbours this winter can make all the difference to them. A quick phone call or a knock at the door can prevent people from feeling lonely and helps to ease pressure on urgent and emergency health services at a critical time of the year.

“Cheshire East Council and its partners are also here to help throughout the year and there is a wealth of information and support available.”

Residents are also urged to always be on the lookout for signs that something might be wrong with a neighbour, friend or vulnerable member of the community.

Warning signs include:

Milk still out on the doorstep late in the day;

● Newspapers and post stuck in the letterbox;

● Curtains drawn during the day;

● Lights on during the day;

● A home in darkness when there should be someone at home;

● A dog barking all day or the cat scratching to be let in; and

● Bins not put out on collection days.

More information and advice about the care and support available for adults in Cheshire East can be found by visiting: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell and clicking on the associated tab. The resource directory will also help you find support in your local area.

For concerns about the welfare or safety of an adult, call 0300 123 5010
(8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Fridays) or call 0300 123 5022 at all other times, including bank holidays.

If you have concerns about the welfare or safety of a child, call 0300 123 5012 (option three) and you will be directed to the appropriate team. If it is an emergency and you need to contact someone out of hours, call our emergency duty team on 0300 123 5022.

This time of the year can sometimes lead to greater family tensions. If you are affected by domestic abuse and need assistance, or have concerns about someone else, you can call 0300 123 5101 – available 24 hours a day – email: cedap@cheshireeast.gov.uk or text on 07771 941 464.

For further winter-related advice, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell and scroll down to the winter wellbeing section. Advice can also be found on the council’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/cheshireeastcouncil and on Twitter at: @CheshireEast

Residents can help friends and neighbours, who do not have internet access, by downloading and printing off information from the website and giving it to them.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Council unveils its Pre-Budget Consultation Report 2018-21


Cheshire East Council has published a budget report that starts a conversation with residents and other stakeholders about its financial plans for the next three years.

Its Pre-Budget Consultation 2018-21 sets out initial proposals for how the council could target resources more effectively and save money – while achieving a balanced budget. 

It includes a proposal to earmark £2m from the New Homes Bonus scheme which communities would decide how to spend, according to their own priorities.

Cheshire East will now invite feedback from residents, businesses, councillors, staff, town and parish councils and other stakeholders to inform decisions. This consultation will be an ongoing process over the next three years.

The consultation takes place against a challenging national background of an overall public sector deficit – which is being partly met by big reductions in government grants to councils – and rising demand for both adult social care and children in care.

For Cheshire East, this means expected reductions of central government grants, inflationary costs and rising demand totalling more than £70m over the next three years.

The council proposes to meet this financial challenge via a mix of tax increases and changing our service offer. The aim is to make the council financially self-sufficient – by reducing its reliance on central government revenue support grant from £40m in 2015/16 to nil in 2020.

It is proposed to increase Council Tax by 4.99 per cent to invest in essential frontline services. This would add up to £1 per week to the average household Council Tax bill.

Importantly, three per cent of the proposed tax rise will boost services for the vulnerable elderly. It follows a similar 4.99 per cent increase in 2017 and a 3.75 per cent increase in 2016, after five years of Council Tax freeze.

Once again, tough choices will have to be made to ensure Cheshire East can target services to people who need them most. Locally funding services puts control back with local people but also comes with the responsibility to fund them in a sustainable way.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for finance and communications, said: “Funding local services is a huge challenge for councils across the UK as revenue budgets continue to come under severe pressure. This is due to the combined effects of rising inflation, increased demand for services – especially those for adult social care and children in care – and reductions in government funding.

“In Cheshire East the number of residents receiving care and support from adult social care is increasing by four per cent a year and the number of children in social care placements has increased by 17 per cent in the last year, in line with other councils.

“This council will always prioritise services for vulnerable people, despite the financial challenges. This means other services will have to deliver savings. Robust action is being taken across the authority to reduce budgetary pressures and ensure balanced finances – as we have successfully done in previous years. And we will be lobbying the government to ensure future financial settlements will continue to allow us to achieve this, while protecting essential frontline services.

“Against this extremely challenging financial climate, however, it is pleasing to report that the council has continued to perform strongly, delivering positive results in each of the six priority areas identified in our Corporate Plan and continuing to provide value for money – delivering more than 500 services for residents.

“Cheshire East is a high-performing authority and a great place to live, work, visit and do business. Our residents enjoy good living standards and, when they need help from the council, we are consistently recognised as providing excellent services.

“We are aware, however, that local areas have differing priorities and, to support this, the pre-budget report contains a proposal to set aside £2m of income from the New Homes Bonus over the next two years. This proposal would allow local communities to determine how this money should be spent and will be very interested to hear the views of local people on whether this proposal should be set in to the final budget.”

Jan Willis, council director of finance and procurement, said: “This council continues to look for innovative ways to make every pound deliver the best outcome for local people.

“We have a responsibility to work with councillors and other key stakeholders to balance the council’s budgets. There is, however, a fine balance between making efficiencies and still enabling quality services to meet residents’ needs.

“This consultation process presents a good opportunity to develop a resilient set of proposals that strike an appropriate balance between service offer and affordability. I encourage everyone to have their say on these proposals and the executive would welcome any new ideas that would help with the financial challenge and achieve the best outcomes for our local residents.”

To view the council’s pre-budget consultation report, visit the council’s website at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Alternatively, pick up a copy from your local council customer service point or library.

If you have any comments or queries please e-mail: shapingourservices@cheshireeast.gov.uk

The deadline for comments to be included in the consultation report is January 12, 2018, although comments submitted after that date will still inform the ongoing consultation.

Cheshire East tops Vibrant Economy Index for the North West


A new report has placed Cheshire East as the top performing area in the North West for ‘economic wellbeing’.

The Vibrant Economy Index also placed Cheshire East highly in the overall national picture as one of the best performing areas outside the South East.

The index has been developed by consultants Grant Thornton as a new way of measuring economic wellbeing, against a backdrop of growing economic and social uncertainty following the Brexit referendum.

The Vibrant Economy Index is based on a ‘basket’ of national statistics broken down into six broad categories of: prosperity; dynamism and opportunity; inclusion and equality; health, wellbeing and happiness; resilience and sustainability; and community, trust and belonging.

Across all but one of the categories, Cheshire East scored either first or second, to gain the top place across the North West and provide fresh insight into a broad range of factors, including skills, educational attainment, health and earnings – alongside more traditional factors such as economic growth and employment rates.

Councillor Don Stockton, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment, said: “I am delighted that Cheshire East has been rated as the most vibrant economy in the North West. It is further recognition of our many strengths and comes hot on the heels of other successes, such as the Halifax Quality of Life survey, which previously also ranked us as the best in the North West.”

Councillor George Hayes, chairman of the council’s arms-length Skills and Growth Company, said: “This is great news on many counts – but especially from the perspective of attracting further inward investment, by providing independent assessment of the many benefits we can offer new businesses moving into the borough.”

Rob Turner, director insights and analytics for Grant Thornton, said: “We believe a vibrant economy is one that goes beyond financial returns and takes into account the wellbeing of society and everybody’s ability to thrive.

“With this purpose – and input from the Vibrant Economy Commission – we sought a new way to measure the success of the economy. Our Vibrant Economy Index not only considers prosperity but also dynamism and opportunity; inclusion and equality; health, wellbeing and happiness; resilience and sustainability; and community, trust and belonging.”

The council’s inward investment service is managed by the arms-length Skills and Growth Company. For more facts about Cheshire East see the Skills and Growth website: http://www.skillsandgrowth.co.uk/about-us/publications/

Courage and carers are key themes at the 2017 Local Hero Awards


Acts of courage, outstanding achievements and inspiring individuals were all recognised during last night’s Cheshire Local Hero Awards.

Hosted by Cheshire radio station Silk 106.9 and sponsored by Cheshire East Council, the awards were held at Crewe Hall Hotel, in Crewe, yesterday (Thursday). Local heroes were awarded in 12 categories, with three-year old carer Maxx Whitham receiving the overarching ‘Pride of Cheshire’ award. 

The infant carer from Crewe was recognised for his outstanding life-saving actions when phoning for help on two occasions after his disabled mother had fallen and injured herself in the family home. This is alongside his astonishing commitment to caring for his mother every day, despite his young age.

Maxx’s mother, Kerri-Louise Whitham, said: “I am so proud of Maxx and he continues to amaze and impress me every day. He is a truly inspirational little boy, who has had to grow up so quickly and I just don’t know what I’d do without him.”

Further life-saving actions were recognised during the ceremony with the ‘Act of Courage’ award, which was presented to forty four Norman Belfield. Norman bravely confronted a man who held a woman at gunpoint at Nabb’s Quarry, in Macclesfield, deterring the attacker and risking his own life to save another. 

Alongside life-saving actions, other recurring themes on the night included the selfless motivations of Cheshire East residents, whose fundraising, determination and resilience helped to make 2017 a year with some unforgettable winners.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Once again The Local Hero Awards have highlighted how many fantastic and inspirational people there are within Cheshire East.

“The stories we’ve listened to tonight have been incredible and it was an honour to have met some of the nominees and winners this evening.”

Also in attendance on the night was the Mayor of Cheshire East, Councillor Arthur Moran, and Cheshire East Council’s acting deputy chief executive, Frank Jordan, alongside representatives from the selected charity for the awards, the Leighton Hospital Prostate Cancer Support Group. A total of £460 was raised on the night and will go towards supporting those who are suffering with prostate cancer.

David Flavell, station manager at Silk 106.9, said: “We are immensely proud to host the Local Hero Awards, which, due to its success and great investment from the general public, has enabled it to continue into its 20th year. It’s important to be able to pay tribute to some of the thousands of people across Cheshire that are doing such brilliant work in our communities.

“I’d like to thank all our sponsors, not least Cheshire East Council, our overall sponsor, for their continued support in recognising and celebrating Cheshire’s unsung heroes.”

Winter Wellbeing – stay active during the colder months


Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.

This week, we urge people to keep active during the winter months.

The dark nights and cold weather can leave us feeling low but regular exercise is great for your physical health and fitness and has also been proven to help your mental wellbeing.

If you can stay active, even moderate exercise can bring health benefits.

Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “As the colder weather sets in, it can be tempting to stay wrapped up indoors. But staying physically active during winter will help you to stay warm and has numerous health benefits.

“Regular, moderate exercise helps to reduce tiredness, anxiety and depression, improves your mood and quality of life, strengthens your muscles, joints and bones and reduces the risk of health problems.

“Another important benefit is that it can help you to make new friends and prevent you from becoming lonely, as there are many groups and classes available across Cheshire East that you can join. Please remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plan.”

If possible, you should try and get up and move around at least once an hour. If walking is difficult, chair-based exercises and simply moving your arms and legs are helpful.

Health and wellbeing manager Donna Williamson, of Everybody Sport and Recreation, the trust that manages the council’s leisure centres, said: “To feel the benefits, it’s really important to exercise regularly and an ideal way to start increasing your physical activity is a daily 20-30 minute walk. We also have qualified Nordic walking instructors to lead you on exciting trails as part of a group.

“If the weather won’t allow you to spend too long outside, there are plenty of indoor activities available and numerous classes running at our leisure centres and swimming pools across the borough.

“We have great fitness activities for all ages and abilities. For the over 50s there are aerobics classes and walking football and walking netball sessions, which take place at leisure centres and are a great way to get back into the game.”

For more information about Everybody Sport and Recreation facilities and classes, visit: everybody.org.uk or email: enquiries@everybody.org.uk

Exploring Cheshire East’s landscape and attractions on foot is a great way to keep active and have fun during winter.

Throughout the year, the council’s ranger service team runs a variety of activities and events in the borough’s parks and greenspace. You can find out more by visiting: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk and searching for ‘ranger service’.

If you want to get out and explore on your bike, make sure you wrap up warm and take your bike for a health check to test that the tyres are in good condition. You should always wear reflective clothing and use bike lights and reflectors.

If you need support to live a healthier lifestyle, the One You Cheshire East service is available. This includes information, advice and free services to help residents to eat well, drink less alcohol, move more, lose weight and be smoke free. More information can be found by visiting: www.oneyoucheshireeast.org or calling 0808 1643 202.

For further winter-related advice, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell and scroll down to the winter wellbeing section. Advice can also be found on the council’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/cheshireeastcouncil and on Twitter: @CheshireEast

Details of events taking place near you, which can help you to keep active, can also be found via www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell and by clicking on the community activities tab.

Residents can help friends and neighbours, who do not have internet access, by downloading and printing off information from the website and giving it to them.

Macclesfield food operator convicted


A Macclesfield food operator has been prosecuted on two charges relating to food hygiene offences.

Abdul Sami Nazari, 37, of Sefton Road, Sale, a food business operator who runs Chicken@Gios and Gio’s Pizza, two neighbouring food business on Sunderland Street, in Macclesfield, was convicted at Crewe Magistrates Court for the offences.

Nazari was fined £670 on each charge for hygiene failures after Cheshire East Council’s environmental health team uncovered a number of breaches during visits made last year.

Nazari pleaded guilty to both charges and was fined £1,340 in total. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,526 and a victim surcharge of £67.

Cheshire East officers found that Nazari had failed to keep the food premises clean and that the structure was in a bad state of repair. They also observed poor food preparation and storage conditions.

During the inspections, it was also found that equipment that came into contact with food was not being effectively cleaned and that hand wash basins were not used regularly.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member with responsibility for regulatory services, said: “Pursuing the conviction of Mr Nazari will send out an important message to anyone who thinks it is acceptable to take short cuts, when it comes to food hygiene.

“Residents and visitors to our borough should never be exposed to unnecessary health risks and I strongly urge all our food operators to take this opportunity to review their procedures and policies.

“I know that this example of poor food hygiene standards is a very rare incident in our borough but rest assured we will never allow unhygienic practices to go unpunished.”

Cheshire East ‘Emotionally Healthy Schools’ project shortlisted for national award


A multi-agency project aimed at improving the mental health of children and young people across Cheshire East has been shortlisted for a top national award.

The ‘Emotionally Healthy Schools’ project has been running for nearly 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 is an innovative response to address the mental health needs of children and young people across the borough. It focuses on improving resilience across all schools and training teaching staff to ensure they meet the mental health and wellbeing needs of the most vulnerable children and young people.

The Local Government Chronicle (LGC) award recognises the success of councils that adopt a strategic approach to meeting the needs of children and young people who need help and protection, including providing early intervention. 

In Cheshire East, nearly 12,500 children and young people (which is 13 per cent of the population aged 0-24) are estimated to have a mental health disorder. It is also estimated that 20 young people injure themselves every day and that five have suicidal thoughts.

An independent evaluation of the first phase of the project – which took place in six schools: Middlewich High School; Ruskin High and Oakfield Lodge in Crewe; Eaton Bank Academy in Congleton; The Macclesfield Academy and Poynton High – was undertaken by Salford University.

It demonstrated that there was a reduction in referrals to specialist mental health services by participating schools.

Councillor Jos Saunders, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “The mental health and wellbeing of children and young people is vitally important to a good experience of childhood and determining long-term health into adulthood.

“The scale of our ambition in this area knows no bounds and I am so proud of the strength of our relationship with schools, the health service and other key agencies. 

“I am delighted that, through an innovative and collaborative approach with schools, the project has shown tangible improvements in the mental wellbeing of children and young people across the borough.”

Keith Simpson, the strategic lead for the project and headteacher of Middlewich High School, said: “Middlewich High School is proud to be the lead school for this innovative and exciting project. Since its launch, we have already had an excellent impact on transforming the way the education, health and voluntary sectors work collaboratively together. Our vision is for all Cheshire East’s young people to thrive in our increasingly complex society.

“By 2020, the overall aim of the Emotionally Healthy Schools programme is that educational settings from 0-21 are equipped to build character and support the emotional heath of their populations, thereby reducing the number of young people who need help from other services. This work is already receiving national interest and the model is being viewed by other local authorities to replicate its vision.”

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.” 

The LGC awards will be held in London on March 21, 2018.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Phantom Debt Collectors and Bailiffs Fraud Alert

Subject: Phantom Debt Collectors and Bailiffs Fraud Alert


This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. This information has been sent on behalf of Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

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Phantom Debt Collectors and Bailiffs Fraud Alert

Action Fraud has recently experienced an increase in the number of calls to members of the public by bogus bailiffs requesting payments for a “phantom” debt. The fraud involves being cold-called by someone purporting to be a bailiff working on behalf of a court, attempting to recover funds for a non-existent debt.

The caller will request payment by means of bank transfer and if this is refused, will threaten to visit the premises to recover the debt that is owed. A range of different businesses and individuals are being targeted.

Though this type of fraud can occur throughout the UK, Action Fraud has noted that a significant level of reports are being made from those in the Yorkshire area.

Tips for staying safe:

  • Confirm what the debt is regarding; bailiffs are only used to recover certain debts such as council tax, child support and compensation orders. Bailiffs are not used to recover debts relating to private advertisement; these would be collected by debt collectors. Debt collectors do not have the same legal powers as bailiffs and will not have special court authorisation to act. For more details regarding this, please look at the Citizens Advice website.
  • If you work for a business and receive a call or visit from bailiffs or debt collectors, be sure to speak with your manager or business owner first. Never pay the debts yourself on behalf of the business you work for; some fraudsters have suggested employees do this whilst talking with them, suggesting they can then be reimbursed by their employer, when in reality the debt is non-existent.
  • Double check with the court or originating company to confirm whether the call is legitimate; if you use a landline make sure you hear the dialling tone prior to dialling as the caller could still be on the line and you could potentially speak to the fraudster(s) to confirm the non-existent debt. Also be sure to independently search for a telephone number to call and clarify; never use a number provided by the caller without carrying out your own research.
  • Request details of the debt in writing to confirm its legitimacy.
  • Do not feel rushed or intimidated to make a decision based on a phone call.
  • You can report suspicious calls like these to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfaud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Judge backs council’s prosecution of litter lout ordered to pay out £1,000


A judge has backed Cheshire East Council’s ‘get tough’ approach to littering and fly-tipping and thrown out a litter lout’s appeal against conviction.

Dr James Carey, 63, of Goulden Street, Crewe, was fined £80 with costs of £930 in June for dropping a cigarette in Earle Street in Crewe. He was also ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge.

Carey had admitted dropping the cigarette but denied leaving it. He pleaded not guilty to the offence of littering but was convicted after a two-hour trial.

A judge sitting at Chester Crown Court has now rejected his appeal against conviction and Cheshire East Council has been awarded a further £120 court costs – taking the total amount Carey has been ordered to pay out to £1,160.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for adult social care and integration said, “Whilst this may seem like a large fine for dropping a cigarette, the council takes a zero tolerance approach against environmental crimes and we do not accept any level of littering in our towns and countryside.

“There is no financial incentive for the council to prosecute, given that any fine awarded in court goes to central government. The council only keeps the costs awarded and a victim surcharge, which are relatively small amounts compared to the fine. Money from fixed penalty notices (FPNs) is kept locally by the council and is used to help fund environmental services.

“This case was very much about the council saying that we know that the majority of residents want our beautiful borough to be kept as clean as possible and that we take very seriously all levels of environmental crime. There are many unsung heroes helping to keep their own communities clean and tidy and it is only right that we take tough action on those who choose to litter, fly-tip or let their dogs foul our communities.”

Cheshire East Council began its ‘Keep Crewe Clean’ campaign in September 2016, employing a team of enforcement officers to prosecute incidents of fly-tipping, littering and dog fouling.

Fly-tipping, dropping litter and dog fouling are all environmental crimes which can be reported online at: cheshireeast.gov.uk/environment or by ringing 0300 123 5011. The website also contains lots of information to help residents with their waste and recycling.

Council to launch consultation on draft Crewe HS2 Masterplan Vision


Cheshire East Council is to launch a public consultation on its draft Crewe HS2 Masterplan Vision.

The document provides a strategic framework for the town, showing how current regeneration plans for Crewe could be built upon through future development, investment and infrastructure to maximise the transformative economic benefits of an enhanced HS2 hub rail station at Crewe.

If approved, the vision will be used to develop detailed plans and policies for key areas for investment, including from the town centre to the areas around the existing station.

The draft masterplan vision is based on government deciding to deliver both enhanced rail infrastructure and a hub station at Crewe capable of serving up to seven stopping high-speed HS2 trains per hour, with direct services to Manchester, Birmingham and London.

Together with a programme of investments in the town centre, hub station surrounding area and local highways network, the vision shows how Crewe could be truly transformed for the benefit of communities across the borough – creating potential diverse employment, housing, retail, leisure, cultural and educational opportunities.

The draft masterplan vision would support the creation of almost 40,000 new jobs over the next 30 years in Crewe alone and facilitate additional economic growth across the surrounding towns in Cheshire East and its Constellation partners in neighbouring authorities.

It would also look to create a new commercial hub around the station housing more than 350,000sq metres of new commercial floor space and deliver an additional 7,000 homes, above existing plans, by 2043.

Cheshire East Council Leader Rachel Bailey said: “The arrival of HS2 at Crewe by 2027 provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver nationally significant transformational economic growth and regeneration – not only to Crewe, but the whole of the sub-region.

“An enhanced Crewe hub station would be the catalyst to deliver this growth, jobs and investment opportunities for Crewe and our partner councils and LEPs in the Constellation Partnership and the wider Midlands and North Wales regions.

“A fully-connected HS2 Crewe hub is a key aim of this council in order to maximise the enormous economic benefits this project will deliver to the whole sub-region and beyond. It reflects a plan-led approach to growth for Cheshire East and our partners.

“But Crewe needs to be HS2 ready. These huge potential benefits can only be delivered with the right masterplan framework in place for Crewe before the arrival of HS2. That is why we have produced this draft masterplan vision document which will undergo full public consultation.

“I would also reiterate that we wish to see the highest standards of mitigation and compensation for those people and businesses affected by the HS2 route.

“We will continue to press for a strategic hub station at Crewe, served by increased HS2 services to and from London, Birmingham and Manchester, that will benefit from the station’s unrivalled 360-degree connectivity. In this way the economic benefits could then reach far beyond the traditional political and regional boundaries.”

The draft masterplan vision seeks to develop two complementary and linked centres, with development around the HS2 hub station focused on employment and Crewe town centre regenerated as the cultural, retail and leisure focus for Crewe and the wider area.

The vision stresses the importance of investing now and in coming years to maximise the positive impact of HS2 on Crewe. This approach has already seen the council decide, in September 2017, to invest in the Royal Arcade project, public realm and Crewe market in the town centre. These investments and others, such as proposals for a state-of-the-art Crewe History Centre, are examples of moves to make Crewe ‘HS2 ready’.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “The draft masterplan vision presents the prospect of a very exciting future for Crewe and builds on the successful town centre regeneration already in action. As a town built on the back of the Victorian investment in the railway, a successful framework for growth through a masterplan vision will ensure the town equally benefits from this next high-speed rail revolution.”

Frank Jordan, executive director for place at Cheshire East Council said: “The draft masterplan vision builds on the council’s extensive track record of delivering significant infrastructure development in Crewe and set the conditions for future growth via a framework that is agile and responsive and that delivers more-integrated connectivity.

“The Crewe hub station needs to have a high-quality design that would set the standard for development in Crewe in the future and promote ‘quality of place’ in the towns and rural areas right across south Cheshire.”

The six-week consultation will be launched later this month, following unanimous approval by Cheshire East Council’s cabinet today (November 7) and will be the first phase of the consultation process. The draft masterplan vision will also be shared with key stakeholder groups for their feedback and comments.

Council cushions impact of bus review after listening to residents’ feedback


More of the borough’s subsidised buses will stay on the road than initially proposed following residents’ feedback to Cheshire East Council’s public consultation.

The council’s cabinet today (Tuesday) approved a proposal to reduce the amount of money it intended to save by around £500,000.

The council has responded to the consultation feedback by retaining bus access to some 99 per cent of residents who currently have access to a bus.

The council had intended to seek savings of £1.57m but has agreed to propose a reduction in savings to just over £1m, meaning more services will be subsidised than originally planned, keeping some essential routes operating.

The council went out to public consultation earlier this year to seek the views of residents on the possible withdrawal of evening and weekend services and the reorganisation of daytime services. 

In total, 3,959 responses to the consultation were received.  The council took into account a number of factors before arriving at its final network of supported services.

The assessment process considered the coverage of services throughout the borough, the needs of the elderly and other concessionary users.

Councillor Paul Bates, cabinet member for finance and communication, said: “We face challenging financial constraints and we recognise that some of our residents will be affected by a reduction in services.

“We have had to make some tough decisions but we feel that we have met many of the concerns expressed in the consultation feedback by re-configuring some routes and retaining the subsidy on routes where the removal of services would have resulted in hardship.

“I want to thank all those people who took the trouble to contribute to the consultation and we would like to see residents making greater use of our buses, where practicable, so that car dependency across the borough is reduced.”

Operators are to be invited to provide costs for evening services on some key routes and the council will award tenders, which offer best value, taking in duration of route-working through the day and evening.

Unfortunately the council will not be able to support Sunday bus services unless they are totally self-sustaining. Withdrawing these services would have less social impact than withdrawing other services.

Also in response to residents’ feedback, the council is to secure additional Monday-to-Friday daytime services connecting Congleton, Leighton Hospital, Alsager, Rode Heath, Scholar Green, Sandbach and Goostrey.

Proposed changes to the borough’s ‘Little Bus’ service will be delayed to ensure that the service is not over-subscribed.

Although savings are estimated at more than £1m – rather than the £1.57m originally planned – an accurate financial position will not be known until the tendering and procurement process has completed.

Full details of routes and adapted services can be found at http://bit.ly/2znQ91j

Winter Wellbeing – stay warm this winter


Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.

This week, we remind people of the importance of staying warm.

Staying warm can help to prevent you from becoming ill, especially if you are already vulnerable due to your age, poor health or disability.

That’s why it’s important to ensure you keep up to date with the weather and the forecasted temperatures this winter, as well as keep your home at the correct temperature and wear enough clothes to stay warm.

If you can’t heat all the rooms you use at home, heat your living room during the day and your bedroom just before you go to sleep. If it is very cold, set your heating to come on earlier and turn off later rather than turning the thermostat up.

If you have reduced mobility, are aged 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, the advice from Public Health England is that you should heat your home to at least 18C. It's a good idea to keep your living room at 21C and your bedroom at 18C temperature all night if you can.

If you’re not sure how your heating controls work, ask a friend or neighbour for help. To keep warm while you’re in bed, you can also use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but not both at the same time.

Other advice includes wearing lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and help to maintain body heat – and wearing shoes with a good grip to help prevent slips and falls when outside.

Before winter sets in, it’s also important to think about how you can cut down on your energy costs.

Of all the things you can do to save energy, improving your home’s insulation will have by far the greatest impact. Here are some easy, quick fixes:

● Fitting cavity wall insulation can cut around £135 off your heating bill each year and loft insulation can save you up to £175 per year;

● Get draught excluders for external doors, windows and letterboxes. It’s also worth tackling gaps between skirting boards and floorboards;

● Double-glazing keeps the heat in and also reduces noise and condensation; and

● Close your curtains as soon as it starts to get dark, to lock in the heat.

The council’s care and repair service provides support to older, disabled and vulnerable people to improve their homes. The service includes accessing urgent works grants for home repairs, such as heating and insulation, and helping to organise the works. For more information, phone 0300 123 5017 (select option four).

To keep up to date with the weather, tune in to the Met Office’s weather forecasts on radio and TV. Severe weather warnings are also issued on the Met Office website, through their Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/metoffice) or you can ring their 24-hour weather desk on 0370 900 0100.

For further winter-related advice, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell and scroll down to the winter wellbeing section. Advice can also be found on the council’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/cheshireeastcouncil and on Twitter: @CheshireEast

Residents can help friends and neighbours, who do not have internet access, by downloading and printing off information from the website and giving it to them.

Prizes handed out to youngsters for ‘Chalk It Up’ efforts


Youngsters who tried their hands at pavement art during Crewe’s Chalk It Up event have been rewarded for their creative efforts.

Chalk It Up, an international pavement art festival, took place over the August bank holiday weekend and saw award-winning artists transforming Crewe’s Market Square into a riot of colour.

It was organised by Cheshire East Council, in collaboration with Liverpool-based Urban Canvas, with the authority also funding the event in partnership with Crewe Town Council and Whitby Morrison, renowned ice cream van manufacturers.

As part of the festival, youngsters were invited to enter a competition held on Lyceum Square, in which they were given free rein to create their own chalk drawings.

This week, Teigan Bailey, from Crewe, Hester Molyneux, from Worleston, and Kathryn Steele, from Church Lawton, each received prizes for their efforts after being selected as the overall winners of three age categories.

Six-year-old Teigan, a pupil at St Michael’s Community Academy, was named winner of the six years and under category for her mermaid drawing. In the ages 7-11 category, nine-year-old Hester, a St Oswald’s Primary School pupil, won with her picture of a sea turtle.

Finally, 13-year-old Kathryn, who attends Alsager High School, won the ages 12-18 category with her ‘silhouette skyline’ drawing.

In total, 86 youngsters entered the competition, with their artwork judged on composition, use of colour and overall design.

During a prize-giving ceremony held at Crewe’s Municipal Buildings, Cheshire East mayor Councillor Arthur Moran and Crewe mayor Councillor Diane Yates presented each of the winners with a certificate, desk easel, art pad and box of pastels.

Cllr Moran said: “Chalk It Up was a brilliant event for Crewe and one which really captured people’s imaginations.

“Well done to all the youngsters who entered the children’s competition – there were so many excellent entries and the standards were very high. It was a pleasure to meet the competition winners and I hope they’ve been inspired by Chalk It Up.”

Artists travelled from across the globe to take part in Chalk It Up, including from the United States, Mexico, the Netherlands, Italy, France and the UK.

More than 8,000 visitors attended the two-day festival to watch them in action and thousands more visited in the days that followed.

Cllr Diane Yates said: “Chalk It Up was fantastic and we are delighted to have worked with Cheshire East on this flagship event.

“People travelled from far and wide to attend the festival and it was great to see many of them having a go at pavement art themselves, especially all the youngsters who produced some brilliant artwork.”

Friday, 3 November 2017

New council fund to support the borough’s unpaid carers


Residents who act as a carer for a loved one can now access a special fund set up to help them enjoy a reasonable quality of life themselves, including a break from their unpaid caring role.

Cheshire East Council, in partnership with NHS Eastern Cheshire and NHS South Cheshire clinical commissioning groups, is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the many people with caring responsibilities.

Some can be very young children caring for a parent or sibling in need of additional support, or a spouse caring for their partner. Those cared for may have mental health needs, elderly care needs or physical health and mobility needs. 

The new Carers’ Living Well Fund will be launched on Wednesday, November 1, and will be available until March 31, 2018.  It will enable people who care for others to access financial help for a range of activities, including a break from their caring role to improve their health and wellbeing. 

There will be exclusions for a number of activities and more personal financial commitments or where social care or health service funding applies.

Councillor Liz Wardlaw, cabinet member for health, said: “Many of us will become carers within our families over our lifetime, perhaps caring for our parents or our spouse. There are many young carers who think nothing of looking after a parent or sibling as part of their family life. 

“These unpaid carers – often referred to as hidden carers – can spend up to 20 hours a week looking after a loved one, sometimes with personal care, shopping, dressing and household chores.

“The Carers’ Living Well Fund is about helping carers to enjoy a good ‘work and home life balance’, avoiding the risk of jeopardising their own health and wellbeing. Supporting carers to enable them to meet their own needs is a key focus for health and social care partners, including Cheshire East Council.

“Often their support goes unpaid and, without help and support for themselves, they can feel a sense of isolation – that life can be a struggle with physical and emotional demands.”

A grant from the Carers’ Living Well Fund is a one-off payment, limited to one payment per household, where the eligibility criteria have been met. It can be made at two levels - £250 or £500.

Families and organisations working with carers – hidden carers especially – are asked to identify them and signpost them towards the financial and help services available to them. This includes carers who have never accessed statutory or voluntary support, in particular carers who are new to their caring role.

As well as agreeing to an informal review, carers will need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

· That they are an unpaid carer or manage a budget for the person they care for;

· That they live in the geographical boundary of Cheshire East Council or are registered with a GP practice in the NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG or NHS South Cheshire CCG areas.

There is a maximum of one grant per household or cared-for person and young carers, under the age of 18, should have a bank or building society account or agree to the grant being held by a parent or guardian.

For more information about the Carers’ Living Well Fund and how to apply visit: carearrangersteameast@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Council beefs up powers to tackle dog fouling and anti-social owners


Cheshire East Council is beefing up its powers to crack down on dog fouling and dog control.

It follows overwhelming public support for tougher controls put forward by the council during its recent borough-wide consultation.

The four-week public consultation, which ended on October 10, was held to seek residents’ views around the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) specifically to tackle dog fouling and dog control across Cheshire East.

The authority received more than 1,400 responses and more than 90 per cent of respondents backed the creation of a PSPO to cover all public places and fines for owners who fail to clean up after their dog. 

The creation of a PSPO will help the council identify and enforce against anti-social dog owners and promote the safe and enjoyable use of all our open public spaces – including land previously not covered by enforceable dog control byelaws.

The PSPO came into effect from today, November 1, and will enable the council to more-effectively combat dog fouling and introduce certain dog control requirements. The council recognises that most dog owners are responsible and would like to thank them for their continued support in helping to keep public areas clean.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for finance and communication, said: “This consultation got a tremendous response from the public and, as we are a listening authority, we have responded to what they told us.

“It became apparent, from very early on in the process, that our proposals really struck a chord – and residents overwhelmingly supported plans to beef up enforcement and promote responsible dog ownership.

“It is clear from the responses that this is an important issue for residents and the council wanted to give the whole community the opportunity to have their say in shaping policies that help make Cheshire East such an attractive place to live, work, build a business and visit.”

The main features of the PSPO allow the council to:

● Tackle those that fail to pick up after their dog in all public places within Cheshire East

borough;

● Allow authorised officers to tell a dog owner/walker to put and keep their dog on a lead if

necessary, for example, if their dog was showing aggressive behaviour; and

● Issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £100. A failure to pay the FPN may lead to prosecution and a potential maximum fine of £1,000, as would more serious breaches of the PSPO.

Why introduce this new PSPO for dog fouling and control?

Cheshire East Council has a statutory duty to keep land clear of litter and refuse (including dog fouling) and a duty of care for dealing with waste.

The authority also has a duty to take action against irresponsible individuals who fail to clear up after their dogs on land which is open to the public. Not only is dog mess highly unpleasant, it is also a hazard to health – particularly to young children. Roundworm eggs found in dog mess (toxocara canis) can easily be picked up by children. This causes stomach upsets, sore throats, asthma and, in some cases, blindness. 

Introducing the PSPO allows the council to replace and extend the existing dog controls and byelaws. This will give a consistent approach across the borough to dog fouling and introduce dog control requirements to encourage responsible dog ownership and ensure that everyone is able to enjoy our publicly-accessible open areas, woodland, heath land, country parks and public spaces safely.

A national survey found 95 per cent of Britons are worried about the amount of dog fouling. The council recognises that most dog owners are responsible and clean up after their pets but a small minority continue to cause problems.