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16th February 2011 LOCAL SCHOOLS GIVE HUGE BOOST TO AIR AMBULANCE....

The children of Llangrove CE Primary School and Kings Caple Primary School are celebrating the huge success of their first joint initiative which raised over 1,200 for The Midlands Air Ambulance last week. The two schools form part of the Herefordshire Marches Federation of Schools which is a partnership of four local primary schools and also includes Lord Scudamore Primary School in Hereford and Sutton St Nicholas Primary School.

This year, The Midlands Air Ambulance celebrate their 20th anniversary so the children collected 20 pence pieces for the charity. Llangrove and Kings Caple children raised almost 600 from the 20p's and a further 600 from Big Breakfasts they held at their schools. The Llangrove Big Breakfast has become a popular annual event in the community. Two hundred delicious cooked breakfasts were served on Sunday, 6th February, with most of the food generously donated by local companies including Bartonsham Farm Dairies, Neil Powell Butchers and Spar at Daff-y-Nant Services in Whitchurch.

The Midlands Air Ambulance is a vital emergency service that has helped to save many lives across the Midlands and Welsh border regions. Over 3,500 flying missions are completed every year. The Charity has 3 aircraft and 12 full time operational crew and requires 6 million per year to run the service. They receive no State funding, NHS or lottery money and yet it costs 25 a minute to fly each helicopter and every return flight to hospital costs 2,000.

The children of both schools enjoyed a visit by The Midlands Air Ambulance helicopter pod and had the chance to learn about the operations that the helicopters fly and to try on the crew's expensive uniforms and helmets and sit in the pilot's seat.

Mrs Kelly Steele, Assistant Headteacher at Llangrove CE Primary School said, 'Having the helicopter pod at school was a fantastic experience for the children who learned about the valuable work that the Midlands Air Ambulance do, and we were able to welcome our friends from Kings Caple for the first of many collaborative projects. The visit from the pod and the possibility of winning a trip to RAF Cosford provided a great incentive for the children to do their best with their fund-raising and the 1,200 they raised is fabulous.'

Eight of the children from Llangrove and Kings Caple who contributed most to the fund-raising are now eagerly anticipating a trip to RAF Cosford to visit the Air Ambulance base and meet the crew to see how their money is used.


Llangrove and Kings Caple Primary School children with The Midlands Air Ambulance helicopter pod.

16th February 2011 ROSS YOUTH FORUM PRESENT A BANKSY FILMY.....

The Ross Youth Forum will be holding their first monthly film evening, using equipment purchased through funds raised by young people who live in Ross-on-Wye. The Forum hope to bring high quality, but meaningful films to people of Ross in a cinematic style venue, with the aim of sparking discussion and conversation on current issues that affect young people.

The Film is 'Exit Through the Gift Shop, a Banksy Film. The award winning film is the inside story of Street Art; a brutal and revealing account of what happens when fame, money and vandalism collide. 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' follows an eccentric shopkeeper turned amateur film maker as he attempts to capture many of the world's most infamous vandals on camera, only to have a British stencil artist named Banksy turn the camcorder back on its owner with wildly unexpected results.'

This film is not only a must for all Art / Banksy fans, but also anyone who wishes to learn more about street art or to understand more about graffiti culture in general.

Exit Through the Gift Shop will be shown at Y-Zone, Hill Street, Ross on Wye, on Tuesday, 22nd February. The doors will open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start with an approximate 9.30pm finish. Admission is free, however donations would be appreciated so that the Youth Forum can continue in their work and host future events. If you donate just £1, you will receive a free drink.

If you are worried about where to leave your car, you might like to know that parking is free after 6pm in the car park by Sainsbury's, adjacent to the Y-zone.


16th February 2011 HAPPY BIRTHDAY NICK....

We would like to take this opportunity to publicly wish our good friend, Nick Stephens of Rose Cottage, Symonds Yat East, a belated Happy Birthday. Nick celebrated his ??th birthday on Friday, 11th February having drinks with friends and family at the Kings Head Hotel. Alan was able to join them for a short while before the group headed down to the White House for a game of 'Risk.'

Despite being soundly beaten at the game by his niece, Rachel and her partner Jay, we believe Nick thoroughly enjoyed his special day.


Alan helps Nick to celebrate his birthday with a drink at the Kings Head.

Nick with brother Greg, Sister-in-law, Pat, Sister Judy and friends on Friday.

16th February 2011 OPENING OF ROSS MARKET HOUSE VISITOR CENTRE...

Ross Market House Heritage Centre close just before Christmas 2010 to undergo some major changes in order to combine Heritage Services with Tourist Information. Lots of work went into turning the upper floor of this lovely old building into a light, airy room with space to accommodate both services to reopen on 31st January. Supervisor, Clare O'Reilly would like to thank the whole team, her boss, her husband and Amey who all strived to get the Market House Visitor Centre open on time.

Clare hopes that the new service will retain the best of both services and says that they will continue to provide local and visitor information, National Express coach tickets, box office facilities, local crafts, exhibitions, children's activities, souvenirs and gifts, walking information and books and much, much more.

The official opening of the Visitor Centre will take place at 12 Noon on Thursday, 17th February where John Kyrle, (aka Brian Jackson), will be cutting the ribbon on the steps. Clare would like to see the local community, community groups, tourism operators, local traders etc. take the opportunity to go along and take a look around and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with the team.

Ross Market House Visitor Centre will be open six days per week and the opening times are Monday to Sunday, 10.30am until 4.30pm (closed on Tuesdays), and will close at 4pm on Sundays from October until the end of March.


16th February 2011 GETTING INTO THE RHYTHM FOR WORLD BOOK DAY...

World Book Day falls on thursday, 3rd March and the staff of Herefordshire Council's children's centres are helping babies and children get off to a flying start by encouraging them to enjoy sharing stories and rhymes in the build up to the day. Bookstart Bear is visiting Hereford's children's centres during half term week, 21st to 25th February, and is inviting children and parents to join in lots of literary fun and helping toddlers develop a love of books.

Children's centres provide activities for families with children aged five and under. The focus on books during half term week begins on Monday, 21st February with a presentation of 'The Selfish Giant' by Sea Legs Puppet Theatre at Withington Village Hall. Organised by the Broadlands Children's Centre, the performance will take place from 11am until 12 Noon.

There will be a bear on the loose in South Wye on Tuesday, 22nd February as South Meadow Children's Centre invites families to go on their very own bear hunt, exploring the gardens, joining a music session and lots of other activities, including a picnic, all with a bear theme. Families are invited to join in the fun from 11am until 2pm and are advised to bring wellies, coats and a picnic lunch.

The bear theme will continue at Green Croft Children's Centre on Wednesday, 23rd from 10am until 1pm. Craft activities, story telling and a teddy bears picnic are just some of the activities on offer - and pyjamas are compulsory!

Families can visit the home of The Three Bears at Springfield Children's Centre on Thursday from 10am until 2pm. In addition there will be crafts in the castle, face painting and clay play with John the Potter. Children are invited to dress up as fairy tale characters and enjoy their packed lunch with Alice at the Mad Hatters Tea Party.

Finishing the week's celebration of books through song, rhythm and rhyme, Widemarsh Children's Centre has organised a special story telling session of 'Little Red Riding Hood' for Friday, 25th from 10am until 12 Noon. Dressing up and mask making will also be on the cards.

Kim Gristy, children's centre manager said, 'We know that babies and children who enjoy books and have the chance to share stories with others are ahead of the game when it comes to learning to read by themselves. Sharing stories can be a magical time and we are hoping that families enjoy coming together and sharing their story telling with others. There are lots of exciting, fun activities organised during half term across the city's children's centres and we hope all children will get to meet Bookstart Bear too.

We are delighted that the council's library service is launching a new junior library card to coincide with half term and World Book Day. The card features Bookstart Bear and will be available from the South Meadow Children's Centre on Tuesday, 22nd February.'


9th February 2011

NEW LIBRARY CARD FOR UNDER FIVES


The Gruffalo and Julie Goodwin.

The Library service has launched a new library card which has been specially designed to encourage more under 5s to enjoy the benefits of free library membership.

The card, which features the Bookstart bear, was officially launched at Hereford Library on Wednesday, 2nd February by Cut and Paste nursery from Hereford, together with a special appearance by the much loved children's book character, the Gruffalo.

Emma Stevens, the council's library learning officer said, 'We have launched this card as part of our campaign to get every baby, toddler and young child to enjoy the benefits of free library membership.

Every Child a Talker is a national strategy which highlights how talking to your child can help to develop their speech and communication skills, as well as helping their imagination grow too. Sharing books can play a big part in this and our libraries not only offer a wide range of picture and board books to borrow for free but there are no fines or charges for damaged or lost books for under fives.'

For further information on how to join the library, contact your local library or log onto the website www.herefordshire.gov.uk/libraries


Youngsters from the Cut and Paste nursery with the Gruffalo.

16th February 2011 LIFE SENTENCE FOR HEREFORD STABBINGY.....

A man was given a life sentence on Thursday, 10th February at Worcester Crown Court, for the stabbing of a man in Hereford last year.

At 3:50am on Saturday, 28th August, 22-year-old Jack Hewitt was stabbed in Offa Street and received wounds to the neck that were so serious they left him blind and with reduced mobility for life.

Ashley Preece, aged 21 and from the Hereford area but of no fixed abode, was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence for causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He will need to serve at least four years and eight months before being considered for parole. Anthony Dallow, aged 23 of Ledbury Road, Hereford, was sentenced at the same hearing to a nine month suspended sentence for perverting the course of justice by assisting an offender. At a previous hearing on 1st December, Preece and Dallow both pleaded guilty to their charges.

Detective Sergeant Frank Real of Hereford CID said, 'Jack Hewitt suffered a terrible attack at the hands of Ashley Preece. A bottle was smashed over his head and the sharp edge used to stab him in the neck. He lost so much blood, that he almost died and has suffered life changing injuries. Preece had gone into Hereford drunk and with the intention of having a fight. CCTV evidence shows he had numerous altercations with a number of people that night and unfortunately for Jack Hewitt he crossed Preece's path. If it wasn't him it could easily have been someone else.

They had both been in Manhattan's nightclub together and they left the club at the same time along with two other men. Jack was led around the corner into Offa Street where he was attacked by Preece. Preece stayed at Anthony Dallow's house later that night. When Dallow found out what had happened, he tried to dispose of Preece's shoes and a plaster cast that he was he was wearing at the time he stabbed Jack. He also lent him money to help Preece leave Hereford.

Preece is clearly a risk to the public and there was no doubt in my mind that he was bent on assaulting someone. The judge has recognized that he is a danger by imposing an indeterminate sentence where he will have to prove he is no longer a danger before he can be released from prison.

Jack's family would like to thank those people who administered first aid to him that night. West Mercia Police would also like to thank those witnesses who came forward and helped our investigation. Their evidence was instrumental in getting a guilty plea in this case.'


16th February 2011 EXPECT DELAYS ON ROMAN ROADY.....

Herefordshire Council has started work to upgrade the junction of the A4103 Roman Road, in Hereford with the A4110 Canon Pyon road and motorists are being urged to find alternative routes or avoid rush hour travel while the works are taking place.

Traffic signals are controlling traffic flows but there will be delays during busy commuter times. Amey, working on behalf of Herefordshire Council, are upgrading the traffic signals and dropped crossing areas. Motorists are encouraged to be patient while the works are in progress and Amey apologizes in advance for any inconvenience caused.


16th February 2011

WOMAN WINS ECO KETTLE IN LESS WASTE COMPETITION


Gaye Wiggins, Richard Wood and Councillor Jarvis.

A Hereford woman has won an Eco Kettle in a competition celebrating the launch of Herefordshire Council's and Worcestershire County Council's new Lets Waste Less website. Residents of both counties were able to enter an online competition to answer five simple questions to be in with a chance of winning.

Two lucky winners have been selected from all of the correct entries and they were Gaye Wiggins from Hereford, who won an Eco Kettle and Rod Harris from Worcester, who won a DAB radio. Five runners-up each received a Love Food Hate Waste jute bag containing a recycled mug, a spaghetti measurer, food bag clips and recipe cards.

Councillor John Jarvis, of Herefordshire Council said, 'I would like to congratulate the winners and thank all of the other residents who took part. The website is a great resource for discovering how to reduce your household waste and save time and money. It's full of information such as how to buy a cheap compost bin, where to take your unwanted items or even where to find your nearest household recycling centre, their opening times and what materials they accept.'

Gaye, from the Putson area of Hereford said, 'The new recycling scheme in the county is absolutely brilliant as it is so easy to use and I am always looking for ways to save money and help the environment, and found there were loads of excellent tips on the Lets Waste Less website. I am also delighted to have won this kettle which will ensure I only use the amount of water needed when I am brewing up.'

The new website allows people to learn more about how they can make their own household waste work for them and covers all aspects of waste prevention, offering easy to follow tips along with simple, and often quirky, ideas like how to organize a Swap Shop, where communities can come together to trade unwanted items.

For further information on waste prevention visit www.letswasteless.com or call 01905 766883.


16th February 2011 EIGHT PRIMARY SCHOOLS TO GET CASH BOOSTY.....

Eight of the county's primary schools have been awarded grants totalling £447,000 by Herefordshire Council. The cash, which is being match funded by the schools will help them to improve their buildings.

The council succeeded in bidding for 8.3m in 2009 under the government's Primary Strategy for Change programme. The programme was designed to rebuild, remodel or refurbish primary schools across the country. In Herefordshire most of the funding will be used to create a new primary school building in Leominster by merging the existing infant and junior schools. Draft plans are currently under discussion with the school community and governing body. A small fund was also made available to support small schemes which all primary schools were invited to submit bids for.

The successful bids are as follows: St. Mary's CE school at Credenhill was awarded 50,000 to extend a classroom. Walford will receive 69,700 for work to the school entrance and reception; Almeley, 130,000 to replace a temporary classroom, secure the entrance and relocate the head's office and Ashperton will get 100,000 to replace a temporary classroom and secure the entrance.

Clifford Primary can expect 20,000 to create a sheltered outdoor learning classroom, whilst St. Michael's CE at Bodenham will be able to create access ramps with the help of £11,000. £31,000 will go to Lugwardine for a classroom extension and Goodrich will receive 35,000 to create a teaching space for small group work and free up space in the school hall for PE.

Councillor Phillip Price, cabinet member for ICT, education and achievement said, 'The council's children's services directorate worked hard to draw this funding down from the previous administration, so it is gratifying to see that it will be spent well. Offering grants as match funding to schools has meant that we can maximize this investment to help our children have access to buildings that are fit for purpose.'


16th February 2011 CARERS PREFER TO FOSTER THROUGH COUNCILY.....

Herefordshire has seen a steady growth in the number of people making enquiries about becoming foster carers in the county since Herefordshire Council launched a campaign last year, to increase the number of foster carers in a bid to meet growing demand. The response has been good; two training programmes are about to start for new carers, and both are full. In Herefordshire, a number of private fostering agencies are involved in recruiting foster carers, but as the responsibility for finding a child a placement lies with the council, many prefer to apply to be carers with the council's own fostering team.

All foster carers recruited by the council receive comprehensive training, including opportunities to undertake a level three NVQ. Once a child is placed with them, they receive a fostering fee together with a allowances for clothing, holidays and reimbursements for travel expenses. Support and help is available through direct contact with a supervising social worker and carers have access to a range of supporting events through a network of around 120 other Herefordshire carers.

Julia Walwin, foster care team manager for Herefordshire Council said, 'Fostering has changed significantly over the years with many carers boosting their professional development, embarking on training and receiving higher rates of pay as a result. The training Herefordshire Council provides means there's a much better opportunity for personal development, so our carers can develop their skills and grow.

We are always happy to talk to people who are interested in fostering, particularly those who think they might be able to work with older children, many of whom have experienced trauma in their lives and need more help, understanding and patience. Anyone interested in fostering can ring the team on 01432 383240 for further information.'


16th February 2011 SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS SIGN UP FOR REAL WORK....

Youngsters at Westfield Special School in Leominster are looking forward to the world of work, thanks to a multi agency project spearheaded by Herefordshire Council. The project has been listed in a good practice guide issued by the Department of Health Valuing People Now: Summary Report, March 2009-September 2010.

Only about seven per cent of people with disabilities in the UK go into full employment, yet 65 per cent say they would like to work. The Getting a Life Project is a national scheme that aims to raise the expectations and aspirations of young people with special needs so that they can make meaningful choices about their future and work towards a career of their choice.

Historically, children with special needs have had their futures mapped out for them. A typical route would be college, then voluntary work or a series of work experience placements. In Herefordshire, the Getting a Life Project brings together support and help from adult and children's services locally and nationally to help students choose for themselves.

A range of work experience opportunities are provided for students in year six so that they can try out different types of jobs, determine what they enjoy and decide what sort of work they'd like to embark on when they leave formal education. School staff then help the students prepare for their chosen career by making sure they have the skills they need to perform the tasks required of the job with as much independence as possible. Mencap Pathway provides support to students throughout the first weeks of employment as well as helping prepare them for interviews and learn about budgeting.

Emrys Roberts used to be a student at Westfield Special School and after a couple of work experiences, decided to apply for the job of cleaner at the school. He succeeded and has been working there now for nine months.

Nicki Gilbert, head teacher at Westfield School said, 'Emrys is doing a great job. It's a real job with a real wage and the expectations are the same as they would be for any other employee. We have other students who have gone on to full time employment and some who aspire to work in the building industry, or grounds maintenance sector.

The whole school ethos is around easing students into proper paid work, helping with budgeting, curriculum helps to achieve this. Working closely with local employers and providing work experience opportunities gives our students the opportunities to try things out so that they can decide what sort of things they want to do in the future. The scheme helps us work with them to translate this in to reality for them.

There was no work pathway before but this has now changed. Young people with special needs can make real meaningful choices.'


Emrys Roberts getting ready for another days work.

16th February 2011 AUSTRALIANS TO MAKE DVD OF PARENTING PROGRAMME.

A film crew from Australia flew into the county this week to make a DVD about a dynamic parenting programme run by Herefordshire Council that has made big differences to the lives of local families. The DVD will be shared with parents around the world.

Herefordshire Council bought into Triple P, (Positive Parenting Programme), after the government gave funding to local authorities to help struggling parents manage their children's behaviour. Temper tantrums, poor school attendance, antisocial behaviour and challenging behaviour at home are just some of the typical issues parents can have difficulty managing and the aim of Triple P was to provide them with tools to understand and manage their children's behaviour.

Developed by clinical psychologist, Professor Matt Sanders and his colleagues at Australia's University of Queensland, the programme has been tested on thousands of families over the past 30 years and international trials and studies show it works across cultures, socio-economic groups and in many different family structures.

Triple P is a programme of support consisting of eight to ten sessions which are designed to give parents the skills they need to raise confident, healthy children and teenagers and to build stronger family relationships. It doesn't tell people how to parent, but gives parents and carers simple and practical strategies they can adapt to suit their own values, beliefs and needs.

The benefits have proved to be dramatic. Since the Herefordshire programme began in January 2010, 141 families have signed up to Triple P and have seen significant changes in their children as a result. Here's what some of the parents have to say about the programme:

'I hated being a parent before. There was nothing nice about it. I hated going to bed at night as I did not want to wake up. I could not cope with another day. Now I wake up, feeling good. Occasionally I will have to give myself a kick up the backside, but I feel good. I know that if I am not performing then it affects all.'

'I feel so much calmer in myself and less stressed. I now have the strategies to help me to cope in tricky situations and have confidence in myself to deal with them. I feel that my son is also a lot calmer and happier in himself. He always apologizes for his behaviour now and he calms down so much quicker. We are able to enjoy ourselves as a family more than we used to do.'

Triple P International has been very impressed with the excellent results achieved in Herefordshire which have been captured in numerous case studies. As a result, the organization asked if they could send a film crew half way around the world to capture the county's success in a DVD to share with other families globally.

Lynnette Haas of Triple P International in Queensland said, 'Parents are always inspired when they hear other mums and dads tell how they've struggled with their kids, but still been able to solve their problems. For many, it's also a relief to see they're not alone. So when we heard about the great success Herefordshire Council is having helping local parents with Triple P, we knew it would be a shame not to share those stories with other parents around the world.

We're also taking the opportunity to film some of the practitioners who are working with the families. They're doing a great job and are so committed and will definitely inspire other practitioners around the world. And we're talking to community members too; people like teachers and police support officers, who are seeing real, positive changes in some of the children's behaviour.'

The film crew arrived in Herefordshire on Monday, 14th February and will spend three days filming families, schools and staff who have participated in the scheme.'


16th February 2011 NEW SHOW CASE OF WORK OF COUNTY ARTISTS....

A series of new artists' images will be on display at Franklin House (on the corner of Commercial Road / Blueschool Street), Hereford from this month as part of Herefordshire Council's arts team's 'Windows on Art' scheme supported by the Communities & Local Government Fund.

The images will create a vibrant, colourful, visual impact, enhancing this busy junction and will showcase the work of Herefordshire artists. The aim of the scheme is to ensure that the retail experience continues to be positive for customers during the economic downturn, and that residents and visitors are encouraged to support business in Herefordshire's shopping areas.

For those who haven't already seen them, there is a final opportunity to take a look at the photographs currently on show at Franklin House. These are by the 'Herefordshire Through a Lens' photography exhibition winners, with images reflecting the beauty and interest present throughout the county.

Other projects in the scheme are running in partnership with art360, including an empty shop space at 38, Bridge Street, which will be featuring exhibitions and interactive workshops. The current exhibition features the thought-provoking work of young people which explores the human cost of war and conflict, showcasing the creativity and talent of students from local schools and colleges, commissioned by The British Red Cross.

For further information on activities at 38, Bridge Street and exhibits in shop windows, visit www.art360hereford.com


The 'Herefordshire Through a Lens' exhibition at Franklin House.

16th February 2011 CONCERT AT CREMATORIUM RAISES OVER £1,000Y.....

Back in December, a concert featuring Hereford Police Male Voice Choir was held in the Chapel at Hereford Crematorium and a fantastic £1,444 was raised for charity. The money raised will be going to Action Duchenne, a charity fighting for a cure for Muscular Dystrophy.

John Gibbon, Herefordshire Council's bereavement services manager said, 'This Christmas concert again proved a memorable occasion for everyone who attended with the added bonus of raising a wonderful sum for charity. We will be planning to use the chapel for another concert later this year, again with all proceeds going to charity, and it is really uplifting to see the chapel used for such a joyous occasion.

I would also like to thank Tesco, who provided refreshments on the evening and funeral directors for donating the draw prizes.'


16th February 2011 TWO TRACTORS STOLEN FROM CLEHONGERY.....

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after two tractors were stolen in Clehonger on the same night last week. Overnight on Thursday, 10th to Friday, 11th February a 40 year old red Massey Ferguson 135 tractor was stolen from the barn of a smallholding off the B4349 in the village and driven to the road cross two fields. A small sit-on Kubota tractor was also stolen from another property off the B4349, just to the west of Clehonger.

PC Steven Blake, who is investigating the thefts said, 'We are keeping an open mind as to whether these crimes are linked, but they occurred 500 metres apart and on the same night. We would like to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious activity or vehicles around Clehonger on Thursday night or Friday morning.

We have been told of a sighting at 6:10am of two white vans, one with a car transporter trailer, driving with a red tractor through Clehonger at speed. A dark green car, possibly a Peugeot was also seen parked up near to where the burglaries took place. If anyone saw these vehicles or anything else they thought was out of the ordinary, then please contact me on the West Mercia Police non-emergency line, 0300 333 3000. Alternatively, please remember that Crimestoppers can also be called anonymously on 0800 555 111 if you'd prefer to pass on information without identifying yourself.'

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