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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Cheshire East Council publishes culture review report


Cheshire East Council has today published the findings of a review of the authority’s culture.

The council has had a real focus on culture and workplace wellbeing over the last 12 months.  As part of this the leader and acting chief executive invited the Local Government Association to undertake an independent review into organisational culture, with particular focus on bullying and harassment. The council has now received a full report following that review. 

The report recognises that the council is taking positive action to minimise inappropriate behaviour and recognises that the majority of staff have neither witnessed nor experienced bullying in the last six months. 

However, it concludes that there is evidence that bullying and harassment does take place at the council. While this affects a minority of employees, it is having a profound effect on those who experience or witness it.

The independent review was undertaken by Sarah Messenger, a workforce consultant from the Local Government Association. Ms Messenger reviewed data from a range of sources and staff, managers, trade union representatives and councillors contributed to focus groups. Individuals also supplied information to the review by email and in response to a culture survey on bullying and harassment.

The report recognises that Cheshire East Council continues to receive excellent feedback and recognition for the quality of the services it delivers and works closely with partners to press ahead with its ambitious agenda. 

The council has a strong foundation of wellbeing policies and initiatives in place, including its employee assistance programme and the ‘Wellbeing in Work’ focus staff forum and contributor groups as well as a monthly wellbeing newsletter.

Staff survey results from 2016 are largely positive and did not in themselves reveal significant issues with organisational culture at the council. There is not a national figure for levels of bullying and harassment in local authorities, so a direct comparison is difficult to make, but those results were not out of kilter with what would be expected in most councils.

Many staff acknowledged that there has been a noticeable improvement over the last year or so. However, this review has shown that experience is mixed across the organisation, with some contributors speaking bravely about what they had experienced or feared, while others said that they had not experienced or heard of any instances of inappropriate behaviour.

Acting chief executive Kath O’Dwyer said: “Bullying and harassment are not acceptable in the workplace. Our staff, quite rightly, should expect to be able to come to work and be treated fairly and with respect.

“We are pleased to hear that most of our staff have never experienced or witnessed either harassment or bullying in the workplace but we will not shy away from the fact that some staff have experienced behaviour from others within the organisation that is not acceptable and, as such, I am saddened by some of the review findings but we are determined to take all necessary action to address the issues of concern identified within the review.

“We have fantastic and talented staff working on behalf of our communities and they have a right to work without fear and in an organisation with a positive culture. We are fully committed to building upon our strengths and addressing any concerns that our staff may have shared. I welcome the frankness and openness of all those staff, members and trade unions representatives who contributed. 

“We want to continue building a supportive and respectful place of work and we have already started to address a number of the issues raised in this report. This includes a programme of work to further improve wellbeing in work for all staff, a review of our grievance, bullying and harassment policy and procedure, a review of whistleblowing policy and a revised constitution. 

“The report is extremely helpful in highlighting what more we can do to ensure our working environment is positive, fair and productive for all our staff.”

The full report has been published today (29 January) and can be found on the Cheshire East Council website at: http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/council_and_democracy/your_council/Local-Government-Association-Culture-Review.aspx

Phantom Debt Fraud Alert


Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

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Phantom Debt Fraud Alert - January 2018


Phantom Debt Fraud

Action Fraud has recently experienced an increase in the number of calls to members of the public by fraudsters requesting payments for a “phantom” debt. The fraud involves being cold-called by someone purporting to be a debt collector, bailiff or other type of enforcement agent. The fraudster may claim to be working under instruction of a court, business or other body and suggest they are recovering funds for a non-existent debt.

The fraudsters are requesting payment, sometimes by bank transfer and if refused, they threaten to visit homes or workplaces in order to recover the supposed debt that is owed. In some cases, the victim is also threatened with arrest. From the reports Action Fraud has received, this type of fraud is presently occurring throughout the UK.

It is important to recognise that there are key differences between the various entities who seek to settle debts or outstanding fees in England and Wales. These differences range from the type of debt they will enforce to the legal powers they possess. To learn more, please take a look at some of the helpful information and links on the Step Change Debt Charity website; https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/debt-collection/bailiffs-and-debt-collectors-differences.aspx

Protect Yourself

  • Make vigorous checks if you ever get a cold call. Bailiffs for example, should always be able to provide you with a case number and warrant number, along with their name and the court they are calling from; make a note of all details provided to you.
  • If you receive a visit from a bailiff, they must always identify themselves as a Court Bailiff at the earliest possible opportunity. Ask to see their identity card which they must carry to prove who they are, this card shows their photograph and identity number. They will also carry the physical warrant showing the debt and endorsed with a court seal.
  • If you work for a business and receive a call or visit, 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 make payment suggesting they can then be reimbursed by their employer when in reality the debt is non-existent.
  • Exercise caution believing someone is genuine because you’ve found something on the internet; fraudsters could easily create fake online profiles to make you believe them.
  • Double check with the court, company or public body they claim to work for 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; never use a number provided by the caller without carrying out your own research.
  • Do not feel rushed or intimidated to make a decision based on a phone call. Take five and listen to your instincts.
  • If you know you have a debt, keep in regular contact with your creditor and be sure to establish the debt type at the earliest opportunity if you are not aware. This will help you to understand who might be in contact with you regarding any repayments or arrears.

You can report suspicious calls like these to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfaud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Crewe rail firm supporting latest high-speed trains


Train builder Hitachi has partnered Crewe-based passenger comfort specialist TBM Rail to ensure its latest fleet of InterCity Express trainsets offers consistently high standards for travelling customers.

The Class 800 high-speed IET units delivered to Great Western Railway entered passenger service in October 2017, but the Hitachi service depots have wasted no time scheduling regular maintenance for seating and passenger toilet systems.

Crewe-based TBM Rail is taking delivery of forty seat bases every night when trains have completed passenger journeys.

TBM Rail removes the seat covers, assesses the foam, tackles surface dirt and stains on the covers, and then dry cleans with railway industry-approved detergents to kill germs.

Consignments of seat bases are returned to Hitachi maintenance depots within 48 hours to ensure regular rotation of seating stock.

Hitachi has invested £160m in a new network of depots for the Great Western route. The intercity fleet will be maintained at newly built depots in Bristol and Swansea, as well as an upgraded existing depot in West London.

Neil Smith, TBM Rail director, said: “The new fleet of IEP trains look amazing and offer passengers on the Great Western route some top-class facilities.

“Rail passengers demand higher carriage standards these days, and Hitachi and GWR have responded by adopting a proactive approach to carriage maintenance.

“The seating is perhaps the first thing a passenger notices when they walk down the carriage. It says a lot about Hitachi’s commitment to customer satisfaction that they have implemented this maintenance programme from day one.

“The work with Hitachi has also meant that we can expand operations at Crewe. We have already taken on additional contractors, which is a great boost to the local economy.”

TBM Rail is also providing its toilet and tank servicing expertise. Rather than letting pipework and systems build up potentially damaging deposits over time, the passenger facilities are being overhauled regularly.

Toilet tanks are stripped down, flushed through with acid and then blasted clean with a powerful steam cleaner.

Kelly Atkins, Cleaning Standards Manager at Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Our new network of depots ensure trains are clean and running in top condition for passengers using the Great Western route.

“TBM are an essential part of our operation, delivering the cleanliness standards passengers expect.”

For further information about TBM Rail visit www.tbmrail.com.

Cheshire East takes action to help rough sleepers and avoid homelessness


Cheshire East has restated its commitment to tackling the issue of rough sleeping and homelessness in the borough.

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

The announcement follows a range of recent initiatives launched by the council to tackle the problem and the completion, last month, of a nine-week consultation on Cheshire East Council’s draft homelessness strategy.

The council has been working with a number of groups and organisations to develop ways to reduce the problem of homelessness and provide the right services for the homeless and rough sleepers. A four-point action plan has already been drawn up to help tackle the issue.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing planning and regeneration, said: “The increasing number of rough sleepers is a national issue that councils across the country are facing. Cheshire East is not immune to these pressures.

“In Cheshire East, historically, we have seen very low numbers of people sleeping rough, compared to many authorities. However, one person sleeping rough is one too many.

“We have been, and continue to be, very proactive in working with partners to develop an effective strategy to reduce the number of people sleeping on our streets and ensure that the right measures are in place to prevent people from losing a roof over their heads.

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

“The draft strategy outlines our key priorities – one of which is to intervene to ensure no one has to sleep rough in Cheshire East.

“A number of positive ideas and suggestions emerged from the groups we engaged with during a successful homelessness strategy consultation event at Crewe Alexandra FC in November 2017. This enthusiasm is being harnessed by the homelessness strategy steering group and the establishment of ‘task and finish’ groups, which will concentrate on key activities outlined within the draft strategy.

“Some homeless individuals are likely to be known to a range of services, such as the Department for Work and Pensions, housing options team, police and health services. We have therefore decided to establish a ‘hard to house’ panel, to find solutions for those who have seemingly exhausted all housing options.”

Other initiatives proposed include an ‘Upstream’ homeless prevention ‘mentoring scheme, wider monitoring for rough sleeper levels and building on the ‘No second night out’ commitment to ensure no one has to sleep on the streets.

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

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

The council’s current homelessness strategy (2014-17) must be reviewed and a new strategy, from 2018 to 2022, will be put before cabinet for a decision on approval in March 2018. The new draft strategy has four key areas of focus:

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

· To take steps to prevent homelessness;

· Avoid rough sleeping wherever possible; and

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

Cllr Arnold added: “We have received a great many positive ideas from the groups we have engaged with and these suggestions will be incorporated into the feedback from the consultation. I would like, once again, to thank all those organisations and individuals who contributed to this consultation.”

The strategy and consultation coincide with the imminent implementation of the government’s Homelessness Reduction Act, which comes into effect on 3 April 2018.  

● To view the council’s new draft homelessness strategy visit: http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/housing/strategic_housing/new-homelessness-strategy-consultation.aspx

Valentine Tea Dance’

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

A ‘Valentine Tea Dance’ takes place at St Andrew’s Church, Bedford Street, Crewe on Saturday 10th February 2018. Come and dance or just enjoy the music and watch the dancing (sequence, ballroom, Latin, ‘walk throughs’ and spot prizes). Doors open at 2:30pm with dancing until 5pm. Pay on door £4 (includes tea). For further information please contact 07908819848.

Valentine Tea Dance - Crewe - Sat  10-2-18

Cheshire East unveils dedicated service to boost local businesses


Cheshire East Council’s arms-length Skills and Growth Company has launched a dedicated service to help local businesses access finance to boost their growth.

The Access2Finance service is in response to the findings of the latest Cheshire business survey, commissioned by the council, which found that 28 per cent of businesses said not accessing finance was a barrier to their growth. Nearly 40 per cent of them claimed that cash flow problems were also hampering their expansion plans.

The findings echo national research from the Financial Times, which revealed eight out of 10 business loans are provided by the big four banks and only three per cent of small businesses seek alternative finance options if turned down by their bank.

Access2Finance is a bespoke service to ensure businesses are ‘investment ready’ and will help businesses navigate the many types of finance available, including grants, loans and equity finance, to help select the right funding for their business.

This could include alternative finance such as the government-backed Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, which was set up to provide more than £400m of investment to businesses.

Councillor George Hayes, chairman of the Skills and Growth Company, said: “The Access2Finance service will provide a much-needed, impartial and personalised approach to ensuring businesses can source the right investment, at the right time, in order to fund their growth aspirations.”

To access the service contact the Skills and Growth Company visit: business@skillsandgrowth.co.uk or call 0300 123 5001

The full Cheshire business survey results are available online at: http://www.skillsandgrowth.co.uk/about-us/publications/

Cheshire East holds poignant ceremony to mark Holocaust Memorial Day


Cheshire East Council held a poignant service of remembrance to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

Cheshire East Mayor Councillor Arthur Moran, Mayor of Sandbach Councillor Martin Forster and Cheshire East Council’s acting executive director of people Mark Palethorpe led members of the public, local schoolchildren and civic dignitaries, representing communities from across the borough, at a Holocaust Memorial Day Act of Remembrance.

The ceremony at Sandbach Town Hall included personal testaments from two women survivors of the Holocaust, sisters Sonja Sternberg, 91, and Gisela Feldman, 94. As children in 1939, they were both aboard the trans-Atlantic liner SS St Louis, which was carrying nearly 1,000 Jewish refugees from Germany that was rejected by Cuba and then the United States and forced to return to Europe.

More than a quarter of the passengers ultimately perished in Nazi death camps and the plight of the ship’s passengers became a symbol of Western indifference toward the victims of Nazi persecution.

Today’s service also included singing and musical performances by pupils from Knutsford Academy and Sandbach School and prayers were read by the Rev Thomas Shepherd, vicar of St Mary’s Church, Sandbach. The lighting of memorial candles was followed by two minutes’ silence and the tolling of a bell.

Mark Palethorpe said: “It is important that we continue to remember the Holocaust and subsequent genocides and never forget the devastation visited upon so many innocent lives. I am particularly pleased to see so many young people here today, as it is vital that the lessons learned from the Holocaust are passed from generation to generation.

“This solemn ceremony is an occasion when the people of Cheshire East join together, as a community, to remember, bear witness and say ‘never again’.”

Holocaust Memorial Day has taken place on the same date since it was introduced in 2001. January 27 was chosen as that was the date when the Nazis’ notorious Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by Soviet troops in 1945.

The Holocaust resulted in the annihilation of an estimated six million Jews, two million Gypsies, 15,000 homosexual people and millions of others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

Since 1945 there have been several other attempted genocides across the world – including Rwanda, Cambodia and Bosnia and others – and these are also commemorated on Holocaust Memorial Day.

This is the fifth consecutive year the council has held an annual Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration.

Trees get more Dangerous

I contacted our MP about he trees and sent her details of the evidence her reply was For many reasons I will be not visiting You-tube nor clicking on links/visit websites & blogs through the various mediums.. I then sent it via twitter but apparently she doesn't read her twitter I can email Donald Trump but not out MP

I also contacted local councillors and received this auto response 

CHAPMAN, Clair (Councillor)

22 Jan (6 days ago)

I am currently on holiday and will return on Monday 17th August.

How is she supporting her ward if she is away for so long?

Monday, 22 January 2018

Council to give free tendering training to boost local businesses


Cheshire East Council is to hold another series of free workshops to help business people learn how to win public sector contracts.

The award-winning procurement training events are being provided by the council’s arms-length Skills and Growth Company and are targeted at local businesses in Cheshire East.

The aim is to show small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) how to ‘get started’ in the bid process and how to produce a tender for both local and central government work. The workshops are suitable for businesses new to the tendering process or looking to improve how they tender. 

The latest procurement workshops, which aim to cover the whole process from start to finish, are:

Let’s get started – on Tuesday, February 27; and

The ‘invitation to tender’ process – on Tuesday, March 6.

The first workshop is an introduction to the tendering process, which will show how the framework for public sector tendering operates, how to navigate it and how to prepare for tendering opportunities.

The second workshop will explain the best-practice procedures and structures that you should put in place in your organisation to make sure your bids are as professional as possible and also how working in consortia can provide further opportunities.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East cabinet member for finance and communications, said: “Tendering for a public sector contract can often seem a daunting prospect and these free workshops provide really excellent, practical guidance to help local businesses develop their bids.

“We are always interested in receiving tenders from local businesses and organisations and these free workshops can significantly help to demystify and simplify the process.

“We are keen to support local firms and work to ensure as many of our quality services as possible are provided locally, while continuing to deliver value for money for the people of Cheshire East.

“It is important as Cheshire East spends in the region of £260m of public money annually on contracts, supplies and services with third parties.”

If you book a place, you will be booked on to both sessions. The workshops will take place at: Riverside, Mountbatten Way, Congleton CW12 1DY. Each event starts with refreshments and breakfast at 7.45am for a prompt 8am start. The sessions finish at 11am.

Places are strictly limited and businesses are advised to attend both events in order to get the most benefit and understand the whole process.

To book a place on this two part training workshop, visit: www.skillsandgrowth.co.uk/events Alternatively, email: business@skillsandgrowth.co.uk

Council event celebrates digital creativity and business in the borough


A celebration of digital arts and creative technology will be held in Macclesfield to mark the first year of the Cheshire East Council and Arts Council-funded Shift digital arts programme.

The free-to-attend event, called ‘Convergence’, will be a combined programme of interactive discussions, demonstrations and presentations and will be held at Macclesfield Town Hall on Tuesday 13 February.

Bringing together the worlds of digital arts and creativity in business, the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (Fact) and Abandon Normal Devices will present alongside Cheshire East-based global advertising agency McCann, engineering giants Siemens, and design and digital agency Sigma.

The event will be a celebration of the very successful Shift programme. It will include demonstrations and digital art exhibits, as well as keynote speakers including virtual reality arts curator Catherine Allen and Dr Erinma Ochu, who will talk about using different approaches to create an engaging digital experience.

Councillor Don Stockton, Cheshire East Council cabinet member with responsibility for cultural services, said: “The Shift programme has been a tremendous success with creative events ranging from a borough–wide programme of interactive digital arts workshops, to inspirational speakers from the creative and digital technology business sector and a flagship international art-science residency exploring deep space.”

“I’m sure that this will be another success adding to the already impressive range of events that we have run.”

The event will open at noon when the public will be able to interact with digital art demonstrations before the programme of speakers begins at 1pm.

To book on to this free event visit: https://convergencesymposium.eventbrite.co.uk

In partnership with this programme, creative industries network The Weave, in association with the council’s arms-length Skills and Growth company, will be hosting the latest in their series of Town Talks called ‘Ideas Place’ from 6:30pm.

The talk will be hosted by Sarah Bird of Wild Rumpus, a cultural events company based near Congleton, who will introduce Cynthia Nitikin from New York-based Project for Public Spaces, Roxy Robinson of Bluedot Festival at Jodrell Bank and David Gooda, Chair of the Barnaby Festival.

‘Ideas Place’ will showcase the proactive, community-driven cultural scene and how this can be supported to deliver benefits beyond the arts community, for place-making, regeneration and the wider economy.

Tickets for the Convergence event include access to the evening Town Talk.

Dance to Health sessions start in Cheshire this month…


In partnership with Cheshire Dance and Cheshire East Council, Aesop is delighted to announce that Dance to Health sessions will start in Cheshire this month.

Dance to Health is a pioneering older people’s falls prevention dance programme developed by Aesop, a charity and social enterprise. It combines evidence-based physiotherapy with the creativity and energy of dance. Thanks to a £2.3 million expansion, the programme will run for two years involving over 800 older people and 800 volunteers nationwide. 62 programmes will be delivered across England and Wales in collaboration with regional Health and Dance Partners. 

The expansion programme is being delivered thanks to generous support from the Big Lottery Fund, Nesta and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Peter Sowerby Foundation, Rank Foundation, John Ellerman Foundation and the Aged Veterans Fund funded by HM Treasury.

Cheshire East Council, Aesop’s regional Health Partner, is supporting the roll out of the programme; Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health Liz Wardlaw said -

‘Dance to Health is an exciting addition to Cheshire East’s falls prevention commitment and I am happy to see it rolled out across the borough.
An innovative and diverse delivery of healthy living initiatives is at the core of the borough’s ‘Live Well’ campaign. We, and our health partners, must do all we can to encourage initiatives around falls prevention and help to keep older people out of hospital.
I am delighted to support this fun activity that offers such valuable health benefits.
This programme sits within our ‘One You’ Cheshire East integrated lifestyles service, which aims to help people live well and for longer’.

Karen Hamilton, Dance to Health’s Head of Programme at Aesop says –

‘We are delighted to bring Dance to Health to Cheshire in 2018. We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Cheshire Dance, reaching a larger number of people through our collaboration with Cheshire East Council. We look forward to how the dance sessions will be shaped by older people in the community to give the sessions a genuine local identity’.

Dance to Health in Cheshire is delivered by professional Dance Artists from Cheshire Dance; Adam Holloway, Director says -

Whilst dance is exciting to both watch, train and take part in, it can also tackle some really critical issues in society. As a founding Dance Partner involved in the pilot, everyone at Cheshire Dance is thrilled now to help progress this expansion programme. Together with Aesop and Cheshire East Council, we are bringing some much needed practical support to bear on the problems faced by so many people around falls.  And importantly, we’re all working on Dance to Health as a sustainable model of falls prevention, just the job for a cash strapped Health service’.

Dance to Health sessions will be taking place in Macclesfield, Congleton and Crewe.

If you are an older person who has had a fall or is worried about falling, Dance to Health is a FREE and fun falls prevention session.

No Dance experience necessary!

Why not pop along to a taster session on the following dates and times…

1/ St Andrew’s Parish Hall, Crewe – Wednesday 17th January, 10am-12noon

2/ Congleton United Reformed Church, Congleton - Monday 29th January, 1.30pm - 3.30pm

3/ St Johns Community Centre, Congleton - Wednesday 31st January, 10am – 12 noon

4/ Crewe Lifestyle Centre, Crewe - Thursday 1st February, 2-4pm

5/ CORE (Church of the Resurrection) Community Centre, Macclesfield - Monday 5th February, 10am - 12 noon

6/ St Paul’s Parish Centre, Glegg Street, Macclesfield, Tuesday 8th March

Weekly sessions will continue to run thereafter.

To find out more about the programme and how to sign up for a taster session or the sessions generally call Claire Donaldson, Dance to Health Coordinator in Cheshire on 01993 870150, email clairedonaldson@ae-sop.org or visit www.dancetohealth.org/Cheshire

-ends-

Notes to Editors

For media enquires please contact Gemma Goddon, Head of Public Engagement and Communications, Aesop on 01993 870151 or GemmaGoddon@ae-sop.org

Dance to Health’s Head of Programme, Karen Hamilton, is available for comment and interview. Images available upon request.

Dance to Health
www.dancetohealth.org @Dance_to_Health #DancetoHealth

Dance to Health was created in 2014 by Aesop to help reduce falls amongst the older population, help reduce the cost to the NHS of older people’s falls (£2.3 billion per year) and offer older people the choice of an engaging, sociable dance-based alternative to existing exercise-based programmes. Further to a successful pilot in 2016, the programme will now be rolled out in six regions in England and Wales from November 2017 namely Birmingham, Cheshire, Yorkshire, South Wales, Norfolk and Oxfordshire.

Aesop has appointed as lead evaluator, the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University.

Aesop
www.ae-sop.org

Launched in 2014, Aesop’s mission is to realise the potential of UK’s world-class and wide-reaching arts sector to transform people’s lives. Health is our initial focus: helping health harness the powers of the arts, and helping the arts gear up to deliver health improvement. Uniquely, we start with health challenges, and incubate and support arts enterprises with a social purpose (‘aesops’). These employ high quality artists and, from a health point of view, are evidence-based, cost-effective, sustainable and scalable.

Cheshire East Council
www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Cheshire East is the third largest  council in the Northwest of England, responsible for over 500 services and with a population of over 370,000.
For media enquiries please contact 01270 686577 or email media@cheshireeast.gov.uk.  Our latest news can be found at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/media

Cheshire Dance
www.cheshiredance.org

Cheshire Dance encourages everyone to learn, create and celebrate through dance.

Cheshire Dance leads the artistic provision and support of dance across Cheshire, aiming to ensure everyone has access to dance and can benefit from its transformative power.  We engage participants and audiences of all ages and abilities, employing experienced and nationally renowned artists and partnering with organisations across the arts, voluntary and public sectors.  We support a range of dance groups open for anyone to join. We attract artists from across the country to come and train in Cheshire and we create and promote enticing dance projects and events with everyone involved.

Through our extensive programme of events, training, workshops and classes, Cheshire Dance has become a leader in inclusive dance practice, specialising in involving people who otherwise face inequalities of opportunity in the arts, or social, health, educational or financial barriers.

Council urges ‘get your children vaccinated for measles’


Parents are being urged to get their children vaccinated for measles following a number of outbreaks across the country, including Cheshire and Merseyside.

There are 29 confirmed cases in Cheshire and Liverpool currently, with more cases in the West Midlands, West Yorkshire and the South.

The number of cases in Cheshire has risen since the last count before Christmas.

Although there are no reported cases in Cheshire East, the council’s public health service is urging parents to ensure that children and young people receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, if they have not already been immunised. The vaccine is available to all adults and children who are not up to date. Anyone who is not sure should check with their GP.

Dr Matt Tyrer, health protection lead at Cheshire East Council, said: “I would strongly recommend that anyone who has not yet had two doses of MMR makes an appointment with their GP so that they can be fully protected against measles.

“I would also appeal to any parents whose children have not yet had the MMR vaccine to make arrangements with their GP to get them protected as soon as possible.

“Vaccination not only protects your child but also helps stop measles spreading more widely, including to children who are too young to have the vaccination or adults who may be vulnerable.

“MMR is a safe vaccine and is very effective at protecting against measles.”

Measles spreads from person to person very easily and can be a serious illness, which can lead to long-term problems for some people. Although it can lead to cold-like symptoms – such as a runny nose or sore throat – it can also cause a high fever with sore eyes and white spots inside the mouth.

A few days later it can cause a blotchy red/brown rash and, for some people, it can develop into serious, life-threatening complications such as severe lung and brain infections.

Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “With outbreaks of measles in other parts of Cheshire and Merseyside, we wish to send out the message to all families to make sure they are protected.

“Measles is an extremely serious, highly infectious viral infection with very unpleasant complications. It can spread through communities, where people have not been vaccinated, very quickly and we are strongly recommending that residents who have not been vaccinated make sure that they do so and get their children protected.

“But we do not wish to cause panic as many people will have been vaccinated when infants.”

It is customary for children to have received both MMR doses before the age of three years and four months. This is part of the national immunisation schedule but the council and Public Health England are urging anyone who may be in doubt to check with their GP.

Public Health England is also advising travellers to seek advice as there are currently large outbreaks of measles in Romania and Italy.

Further advice about measles can be obtained via this weblink: http://bit.ly/2z8eeYj

Monday, 15 January 2018

Improve Your Internet Security For Free


Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

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Improve Your Internet Security For Free


Better internet security in two minutes

Domain Name Systems (DNS) are like public phone books for the web. They’re the reason you only need to remember a website’s name and not its IP address (think of these as phone numbers for computers). When you type “www.youtube.com” into a browser, a DNS service translates that into the associated IP address (199.223.232.0) for you.

Imagine a phone book that automatically filters and removes phone numbers known to be used for fraud. That’s what Quad9 does for websites. Quad9 provides an automated way to protect yourself and your business by blocking access to known malicious websites, like phishing sites designed to steal personal or banking details.

Quad9 checks the website to determine if it’s malicious.

Visit Quad9.net for a step-by-step guide on how to improve your online security in two minutes.

'The Perfecto Allstars'

'The Perfecto Allstars' fund-raising concert takes place at 'The Studio Nightclub & Entertainment Venue', 2 Castle Street, Nantwich on Friday 2nd February 2018 (10pm-3am. Over 18's only). DJ's taking part include Tilt, Nat Monday, Tariq Ahmed, Danny Stubbs, Zed White and Alex Brown. Entry is £5 and all proceeds will go to the Down's Syndrome Association: https://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/ .

On the same evening there is also a 'Perfecto Records Pre Party' with DJ's Romes, Wills and Brero at 'The Talbot', 4 Oatmarket, Nantwich from 8pm to 11pm.

The events have been organised by Perfecto Records in association with SOS (Speed of Sound).

Nigel Woodhouse, Director of Operations at The Studio, said: "We are so pleased to welcome Perfecto Records back for this event again for a great cause. There is a great line up of DJs with some local talent in the line up as well to make this a night not to be missed."

The Perfecto Allstars fund-raising  concert 2-2-18

Women of Haslington

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Hula Hoop class

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

Fitness instructor Claire Wilson has recently started a new Hula Hoop class every Friday morning (9:30am-10:30am) at the Scout & Guide Hall on Cheshire Street in Audlem.

Claire also teaches Hula Hoop classes at Adderley Village Hall every Wednesday (6:30pm-7:30pm) and at Cheshire College - South & West in Crewe every Friday (5:15pm-6pm).

Claire said: “Hooping regularly can help whittle your waist and strengthen stomach muscles — it’s great for blasting fat in problematic areas! My classes focus on having fun whilst you exercise.”

For more information and to reserve your place/hoop, please contact Claire on 07960616162 or by email to hula-hooping@hotmail.com

Claire Wilson - hula hoop  flier

Council’s new digital waste permits save time and money


Cheshire East Council has introduced a new digital service which allows customers to apply online for a digital waste permit – saving time and council resources.

Previously, when waste permit applications were paper based, they would once have been a drain on staff resources but the new delivery method for residents of Cheshire East is changing that.

Once they have applied, residents are immediately sent their permit by email with a barcode. The permit can then be presented on smartphones to household waste and recycling centre staff for them to scan. It’s that simple.

The permit scheme helps Cheshire East to prevent the illegal disposal of commercial waste but still allows residents to use vans or trailers to dispose of their household waste. Each digital permit is valid for six months and can be used for up to six visits.

The old permits which were only issued by post and took three days to arrive, are being phased out.

Councillor Don Stockton, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for waste and environmental services, said: “We have already seen a 22 per cent jump in the number of applications made online since the new system went live two months ago and we have processed more than 1,700 applications in that time.”

Cheshire East Council manages more than 10,000 waste permit applications per year, which previously meant that 60,000 individual waste permits were printed and posted each year.

Cheshire East to mark Holocaust Memorial Day


Cheshire East Council is to hold a service of remembrance to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

Cheshire East Council’s acting executive director of people Mark Palethorpe, Cheshire East Mayor Councillor Arthur Moran and Mayor of Sandbach Councillor Martin Forster will lead members of the public and civic dignitaries, representing communities from across the borough, at a Holocaust Memorial Day Act of Remembrance. It will be held in Sandbach Town Hall at 11am on Friday 26 January 2018.

The ceremony will include readings of testaments from survivors of genocide, musical performances by local pupils, the lighting of memorial candles and the observing of two minutes’ silence.

Mark Palethorpe said: “This ceremony will be a solemn occasion where the people of Cheshire East can join together, as a community, to bear witness, remember and say ‘never again’. I hope that people from across our borough’s communities will come along to take part in this important act of remembrance.”

Holocaust Memorial Day has taken place on the same date since it was introduced in 2001. January 27 was chosen as that was the date when the Nazis’ notorious Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by Soviet troops in 1945.

The Holocaust resulted in the annihilation of an estimated six million Jews, two million Gypsies, 15,000 homosexual people and millions of others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

Since 1945 there have been several other attempted genocides across the world – including Rwanda, Cambodia and Bosnia – and these are also commemorated on Holocaust Memorial Day.

This is the fifth consecutive year the council has held an annual Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration.

'Chemistry with Cabbage'

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

A free family science show - 'Chemistry with Cabbage' - takes place at Manchester Metropolitan University (Seeley Building, Cheshire Campus, Crewe Green Road, Crewe) on Saturday 27th January 2018 (10am-11am, 11:30am-12:30pm, 1:30pm-2:30pm).

In recent months almost 1,000 children and parents/grandparents in Crewe have attended a 'Chemistry with Cabbage' show. It demonstrates how simple kitchen products can be used to undertake chemistry experiments at home.

The event is open to all and has been organised by Rotary Club of Crewe with funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

To book tickets please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chemistry-with-cabbage-tickets-39627467823?

A representative from Rotary Club of Crewe said: “From fighting fires to making lava lamps - find out how fascinating chemistry is used in everyday life."

Chemistry with Cabbage flier

Friday, 12 January 2018

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee to consider Crewe Fire station second pump proposals


Cheshire East Council’s corporate overview and scrutiny committee has invited members of the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Fire Brigades Union to their meeting on Thursday 11 January 2018 to discuss proposed changes to the second fire pump at Crewe Fire Station. The proposals would mean that the second fire pump at Crewe would be downgraded from full-time to on-call only.  The committee first considered these changes at their meeting on 7 September 2017.
The meeting, which is open to the public, begins at 2pm and is at Westfields, Sandbach.

Councillor Margaret Simon, chairman of the committee and councillor for Wistaston said: “We first discussed Crewe’s second pump at corporate scrutiny’s September 2017 meeting and, because of its importance to the South Cheshire East area, the committee agreed to return the issue in the New Year before any decision was taken at Cheshire Fire Authority. 

“We also made a commitment to invite representatives from both Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Fire Brigades Union to come and address our meeting. This is an important issue for Crewe and the surrounding area. We need to fully understand the proposals and the potential impact that any changes might have on community safety.  This is not a party political matter. The committee has cross-party representation and members are determined to support the interests of residents.”

Councillor Mo Grant, vice-chairman and councillor for Crewe North said: “There are clearly local concerns about these proposals. This committee and Cheshire East residents need to be reassured that safety will not be compromised. We are keen to work with and support the fire authority, while ensuring that residents continue to have the required level of service.”

Councillor Janet Clowes, cabinet member for community safety, said: “The pressures on public sector funding across all local services are well known.  All agencies are having to look into potential savings and clearly the fire and rescue service is no exception. However, this council, through this committee, has a role to play in scrutinising decisions that may affect services to the public that they represent.”

Fostering couple‘s years of devotion recognised with New Year Honour


A Cheshire East couple who have been ‘mum and dad’ to more than 20 children have been awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours.

Ann and Arthur Frost, from Alsager, began fostering children after spotting a newspaper advertisement appealing for couples to come forward.

They are among 12 Cheshire East residents to receive honours..

The couple have four grown up children – two sons of their own Darren and Warren, who has special needs, a daughter Wendy and a son Peter who they have adopted.  They fostered twin boys both with Down Syndrome from the age of six until they were 19 years old.

A year ago, the couple received a long-service award from Cheshire East Council.

Arthur said: “We could not have done this without the support we have had from Cheshire East Council and the former Cheshire County Council. The social workers we have had have been marvellous. We cannot praise them enough.”

Ann said: “Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.  It has been extremely hard work but very rewarding.”

The couple, who celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 2017, said their message to other couples who might be thinking about fostering was to give it very serious thought and to think about the pleasures they can bring to young children who may never have known what Christmas can really mean.

“It was a shock at first,” said Arthur about the letter from the Cabinet Office informing them of the award. “We thought it was a bit of a joke as you read about these things happening.  We are just ordinary people doing a job we love.

Ann said: “We are really looking forward to going to the Palace. It is an honour that we have been recognised.”

Councillor Jos Saunders, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “I would like to congratulate Ann and Arthur on their MBE and thank them for all the hard work they have put in and the enormous contribution they have made to fostering and adoption in Cheshire East.”

Arthur and Ann join 11 other people from Cheshire East to be recognised in the New Year Honours. They include Mike Rance, former chairman of Macclesfield Town Football Club and present chairman of Make it Macclesfield, former Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson, Jackie Davies, from Nantwich who receives an BEM for services to young people and Mike Finney of Cheshire College.

2018 brings further road improvement scheme for Crewe


CGR Schematic

Work is about to begin on another major highways improvement scheme for Crewe.

The £7m Crewe Green Roundabout scheme, by Cheshire East Council, will start later this month and residents, businesses and anyone wanting to find out more about the project and the work involved, can meet the contractors at an event in Crewe on 18 January.

Reshaping the roundabout and removing traffic lights – together with other highway improvement features – will make a significant impact on one of the town’s most frustrating travel pinch-points, increasing traffic flow, while injecting a further boost to the local economy ahead of the arrival of HS2 nine years from now.

It will also ease the journey for people travelling in and out of Crewe at a time when the council is pressing ahead with ambitious plans to transform the town centre, with an ambitious regeneration scheme based around the Royal Arcade.

Councillor Don Stockton, cabinet member for environment, said: “This is a scheme that will have an enormous beneficial impact on the local economy and which will significantly improve journey times for motorists and commercial traffic.

“We have long recognised that the existing road layout did not meet today’s demands and we are confident that the new scheme we have designed will contribute to the enhanced M6-Crewe corridor.

“The council has invested considerably in securing investment in highways schemes in Crewe – the £26.5m Crewe Green Link Road (David Whitby Way) and the £7m Basford Spine Road (Jack Mills Way) have been completed recently as well as improvements to the A500 at Junction 16. In addition, funding has been obtained to work up proposals for the ‘dualing’  of the A500 between Crewe and the M6, estimated to cost £57m. 

“I would like to thank those residents, motorists and other organisations who responded to the public engagement process and who helped the council to achieve a design that satisfied the planning board and which will create a fresh and pleasing approach to the town, rather than the bottleneck we are faced with today.

“I would also like to thank our residents in advance for their patience and appeal to them to bear with us during what is going to be a period of disruption.

“This is an extremely important project for Crewe but we know there can be no gain without pain and so we hope to minimise disruption and deliver a new road scheme that will help to drive forward the economic growth of the Crewe sub-region and contribute towards the business case for a major high-speed rail hub station to receive HS2 trains by 2027.”

The new road layout will see the existing roundabout become more oval shaped. Traffic lights will be removed and wider junctions created so that traffic can merge from different directions. Shared cycleways/footways, with crossing points for cyclists and pedestrians, form some of the features to be included in the scheme.

Funding will come from the Local Growth Fund, the National Productivity Investment Fund and developer contributions.

Philip Cox, chief executive of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is an important step forward to deliver vital road improvements in Crewe that will make a real difference for local residents and businesses and ensure that Crewe has the right infrastructure as plans for HS2 progress.”

The work is scheduled to take approximately 10 months, after which the council intends to press on with the long-awaited Sydney Road Bridge improvement scheme, which will remove another bottleneck and improve journeys to the north of Crewe, including Leighton Hospital.

Contractors Balfour Beatty intend to stage a public event so that anyone wishing to learn more about the programme of works and the overall project can meet with them and discuss any concerns and ask questions. This will take place on 18 January at The Hunters Lodge, Sydney Road, Crewe, from 2pm-8pm. 

All information about the works can be viewed by visiting: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/crewegreenroundabout

Also by emailing crewegreenroundabout@cheshireeast.gov.uk

FiRELiNK eNewsletter - January 2018


Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service

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FiRELiNK eNewsletter - January 2018


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


Review of 2017

Bryn and Steve Buckley

2017 was a busy year for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, not only for incidents but for the wealth of work in our communities and businesses our crews, advocates and support staff carried out.  Watch the work we do with younger people in the county, along with awards the Service has won.

Watch our video review of 2017


Cold weather - home fire safety tips

Walking in the snow
During the current cold weather, please keep yourself warm but stay safe by following our safety advice:

Are your elderly friends and relatives safe?

Spare a thought for elderly relatives, friends and neighbours too. Are they as safe from fire as they could be?

Visit the Age Concern website for more information on winter safety: Age Concern website


Refresh your biker skills in 2018

Biker down

We are encouraging motorcyclists to refresh their riding skills and attend a Biker Down course in 2018.

Biker Down is a free training course for motorcyclists of all ages and experience - and is run by bikers for bikers.

It offers motorcyclists the chance to learn practical skills to help avoid being involved in a crash, as well as essential first-aid training and advice on what to do should they find themselves first on the scene of a crash where someone is injured.

For more information - Refresh your biker skills in 2018


Young people wanted for Prince's Trust Programmes

Prince's trust team during residential week

We're recruiting for Prince's Trust team members in Chester, Ellesmere Port, Halton, Winsford, Crewe and Macclesfield.

Aged 16 to 25? Unemployed? Want to gain new skills and develop existing ones, to help you get back into employment, or education?

For more information - Young people wanted for Prince's Trust Programmes


Crewe hotel fined £80,000 for breaching fire safety rules

Fire engine

A hotel in Crewe has been fined £80,000 for breaching fire safety regulations. Hospitality First Two Ltd, which runs the Crewe Arms Hotel, on Nantwich Road, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrates Court to five breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service took the company to court after an inspection in December 2015 led to the Service issuing an immediate prohibition notice which shut the hotel down for a period of two and a half months while they carried out emergency works.

For more information - Crewe hotel fined £80,000 for breaching fire safety rules


Business engagement event in Chester

Business safety visit

We are teaming up with Cheshire West and Chester Council for a Joint Business Engagement Event on 15th January.

Many businesses located in the City Centre play a vital role in keeping this thriving area together which is why we are working alongside partner agencies to highlight the role local businesses and landlords have to play in preserving the city for this and generations to come.

For more information - Business Engagement Event in Chester

Police warn residents following Courier Fraud incidents across Cheshire

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Cheshire Police is warning residents across the county not to fall foul of Courier Fraud following reports in Crewe, Nantwich and Chester.
Courier fraud is when the offender cold calls the victim posing as an official such as a police officer or a member of a banks fraud team.
They will instruct the victim to go to their bank and withdraw money. The offender will claim that they are investigating staff at the bank that they need the victim's help in some kind of undercover operation, for example they may claim that bank staff are handing out counterfeit bank notes and they need the victim to withdraw money so that it can be examined.
The offender will then send a courier to collect the money from the victim.
There are many variations of this scam, which may involve the victim handing over bank cards or high value items.
In one recent incident, a Crewe elderly couple were contacted by an offender posing as a Greater Manchester Police Officer. He told the victims that people had been accessing their bank account using blank cards and instructed them to withdraw money which was to be handed to a courier using a password system.
DC Liz Rankin said: "Over 5,000 pounds sterling and 2,000 euros was handed over to a man who called at their home. The victims described the offender as about 5'2"-5'3" with dark skin and straight black hair. He was of slim build and aged around 20-years-old."
If you have any information please contact DC Liz Rankin from Crewe CID on 101 quoting incident number 516 of 4 January 2018. Alternatively information can be given anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Here's some advice on how to avoid the scam:
- The police will never ask you to become part of an undercover investigation or for you to withdraw cash and hand it to them for safe-keeping.
- Be wary of any calls, texts or emails purporting to be from the police asking for your personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money
- If you are approached, or feel something is suspicious, hang up the phone and don't reply.
- Then report it to police on 101, Action Fraud and your bank on their advertised number.
Visit www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk for more advice on how to stay safe from scams.

Message Sent By
Daniel Millington (Police, Media Officer, HQ Digital Communications)

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Deadly branch's fall at the Queens Park

The council are still saying the branch’s are safe well here is proof they are not. So they are either lying or misinformed


Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Andrews Panto & Plays Society

The Andrews Panto & Plays Society (TAPPS) are performing ‘Aladdin’ at St Andrew's Church Hall, Bedford Street, Crewe on Friday 12th & Saturday 13th January 2018 - 7pm each day with a matinee on Saturday at 2pm.

Tickets: Adults = £5, Children =£2.50. Family ticket (2 adults/2 children) = £12. Please note: no tickets will be available on the door.

TAPPS was formed in 2014 and this is their fourth pantomime. Their 2017 pantomime (‘Cinderella’) raised £900 with a donation made to St Luke's (Cheshire) Hospice and towards new carpeting in the children's area at St Andrews Church.

Money from this year’s pantomime will go to the St Andrew's Church restoration fund and charities.

Pantomime organiser Fred Allman said, "The cast and crew have put a lot of effort into this production over the past several months. We hope that people enjoy our annual pantomime."

For more information and to book tickets please phone 07908819848.

The Andrews Panto and Plays Society  - Aladdin 2018

Five makes a forever family for Marie and Neil


New year, new start? Adopt a sibling group of two or more and complete your family in 2018 with Adoption Counts – the new regional adoption agency for Manchester, Stockport, Salford, Trafford and Cheshire East.

Marie and Neil adopted their three children – a two year old girl and her two brothers aged four and five in 2009. They are now blossoming as 14, 12 and 11 year olds.

“Neil and I wanted to adopt siblings from the start, as we wanted a ready-made family. We also wanted our children to have each other. My brother was adopted and he and I are very close, so it was important for me to see that special bond with my own children” says Marie.

“We were a little nervous at first, but were reassured by our brilliant social worker on how long the process would take. She was very clear about what would happen at each stage and beyond. We were also very impressed that they put us in touch with other adopters who had adopted siblings, so we had a ‘buddy’ to lean on. When we were finally matched with our children we felt elated, relieved and scared all at the same time!

Family life has its ups and downs but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our children are now older and becoming more independent, but we always try and find time to spend together as a family, such as watching our favourite films, ticking off places we’ve been on our family map and enjoying family meals. We enjoy going to our local climbing wall, although I’ll leave the actual climbing to the kids!

We always do something special on the anniversary of when they were placed with us, like a day out or weekend away. It’s the little things that make me smile and feel so proud to have adopted a sibling group that are growing up to be amazing individuals.

My advice to anyone considering adopting is don’t sit and wait, talk to someone about it and the support you have from Adoption Counts is invaluable. You never feel you’re alone”.

Adoption Counts is the second regional adoption agency to be established in the UK. This incorporates local authority adoption services for Stockport, Manchester, Trafford, Salford, Stockport and Cheshire East as a new integrated service.

Anyone interested in finding out more about becoming adopters in and around Stockport, Manchester, Salford, Trafford and Cheshire East should contact Adoption Counts on 0300 123 2676 or visit www.adoptioncounts.org.uk.

Names have been changed.

For Britain Party

The Tory government has announced that all non-urgent NHS operations are to be cancelled until February. There are currently 4,000,000 patients on the NHS waiting lists and this will only make matters worse. The For Britain Party says they would slash foreign aid by £12,000,000,000 a year and use some of the money saved to cut waiting lists and stop operations being cancelled. Why won't the other parties do the same? It is the common sense thing to do.

Foreign aid is being lavished on some of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Foreign aid is being given to countries with nuclear weapons and/or a space programme.

Foreign aid is being given to some of the biggest economic powers in the world, like China and India.

Why send £13,000,000,000 a year abroad when it is desperately needed at home? The vast majority of people want charity to begin at home but all the parties,except For Britain, are ignoring them.

Yours faithfully,

Cllr Brian Silvester

For Britain Party

Act now to protect yourself from flu – urges council


It’s not too late to get your flu jab – that’s the message from Cheshire East Council.

While some people might think influenza is a bad cold, ‘flu’ can actually be a severe illness that can lead to serious complications – particularly in winter – for the very young, elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

Cheshire East Council and NHS England are encouraging everyone who is eligible for a free flu vaccination to make sure that they have it, as we are now seeing more cases.

Parents of children aged two and three are also strongly recommended to make sure that their children have had their free flu vaccination. Flu vaccination for children aged two to eight is quickly done with a simple nasal spray instead of a jab.

Flu is a serious illness, so it is very important for those in ‘at risk’ groups, including young children, to be vaccinated with the free vaccine so they can stay well. Each winter many people become seriously ill and children under the age of five are more likely to be admitted to hospital with flu than any other age group.

Without the flu vaccination children are more likely to catch flu at nursery or school and then spread it to others very quickly. The vaccine works best for children so, when they are vaccinated, the rest of the family, especially older people, are better protected.

Not as many people have had the flu vaccine so far this year, compared to last year. This means that those who are particularly vulnerable are at more risk.

There is still time for you or your child to be vaccinated so that you can be protected against flu this season.

Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “Flu can be a horrible illness, not only for older people and those with other medical problems but also for young children.

“Children have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat. Some children develop a very high fever or more severe complications of flu, such as bronchitis or pneumonia and can need hospital treatment.

“As we start to see more people getting flu across the North West, I urge those who are eligible to get the free vaccination if they haven’t already done so. It’s not too late.”

Those eligible to receive a free flu jab on the NHS are:

● People aged 65 or over;  

● All pregnant women;

● People living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility;

● Those in receipt of a carer’s allowance or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person, whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill;

● People aged from six months to less than 65 years of age, who have certain medical conditions (including diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, heart problems, chronic neurological diseases and conditions such as Parkinson’s, chronic respiratory disease and those with a weakened immune system);

● All two and three-year-olds (nasal spray vaccine); and

● All children in school years from reception, through to Year 4 (nasal spray vaccine).

To get the vaccine or find out if you are eligible, contact your GP, practice nurse or pharmacy for more information. Visit nhs.uk/staywell for more details on how to help you and your family to stay well this winter.

Council salutes catering supervisor after 34 years service


A top Catering Supervisor has been saluted by colleagues and students after retiring following 34 years of service.

Pam Brooks, 65, has managed the catering team at Ruskin High School in Crewe, for 34 years, delivering high-quality meals to students daily. During her career, Pam and the catering team received a ‘team of the year’ accolade, at an annual internal school catering awards event.

Pam said: “It was a difficult decision to choose to retire in December 2017 and I’ll really miss the girls I work with but most of all I’ll miss the children. Every day brings with it something new and you can never overstate the difference a hearty school meal can make to the childrens’ concentration levels. Good nutrition is everything.”

Cheshire East’s catering service, which operates under the name ‘Fresh Catering’, has a team of around 350 staff and serves 14,500 school meals every day to more than 100 schools in Cheshire East, using only fresh ingredients.

Each school which adopts the council’s catering services has its own operations manager, who oversees the delivery of meals. This role includes assessing each team member’s skills and identifying any training needs. This is in conjunction with ensuring all kitchen assistants have the required NVQs and up-to-date hygiene, health and safety and other relevant training qualifications.

Councillor Jos Saunders, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “Pam’s commitment to our catering services over the past 34 years is inspiring, as is her dedication to ensuring students within our schools receive a balanced diet with a variety of healthy options each lunchtime.

“Eating nutritious food is vital for improving concentration levels and without optimum nutrition our children will fail to thrive or reach their full potential, when learning in the classroom.”

Pam, who lives near the school, will continue to visit the children and staff even in her well-earned retirement. She is looking forward to spending her time volunteering and spending more time with her family.

Pam Brooks with schools catering team

Experience Christmas

Parishioners and visitors of all ages were treated to a free two-day ‘Experience Christmas’ event on Friday 29th & Saturday 30th December 2017 at St Andrew's Church on Bedford Street in Crewe. Activities for children included lantern-making, a lantern parade, a pizza party and a screening of ‘The Muppets Christmas Carol’ movie. There was also a live telling of the Christmas Story with the audience guided around the church by a friendly innkeeper.

Other Christmas events at St Andrew's Church commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ included a carol service, a community carol singalong in the church garden, a Christmas Eve sung parish communion, a Christingle and crib service, Midnight Mass, and a Christmas Day communion.

Reader-in-training at St Andrew’s Church, Becky Hurst, said: “It has been wonderful to welcome so many people to our church over the Christmas period, to share in the Christmas story as well as enjoying food, fun and friendship. Thanks to our great team of enthusiastic volunteers who are always on hand to make these events happen and thanks too to all who visited us. We are excited to be planning more events, Services and community activities for 2018.”

Weekly services at St Andrew's Church are: Sundays (Said Communion, 8am; Worship and Communion - coffee is served after this service - 9:30am; Evensong or Sung Eucharist, 4pm), Tuesdays (Said Communion, 9am; Open informal worship with coffee and cakes, 6:30pm), and Thursdays (Said Communion - coffee and cakes afterwards, 10am).

Saturday Café takes place every week 12noon to 1:30pm with soup, sandwiches & cakes in a relaxed atmosphere.

If you would like to learn more about the work of St Andrew's Church, join the choir or volunteer for any of their community projects please contact Revd. Lynne Cullens on 01270 569000 or lynne.cullens@gmail.com

Experience Christmas - live telling   of the Christmas Story (1)