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20th July 2011 YOUNG POET LAUREATES PERFORM AT LEDBURY

The Young Poet Laureates for Herefordshire Hal Husbands and Ben Ray, had their biggest audience yet when they supported the Poet Laureate Carol Anne Duffy at the opening event of the Ledbury poetry festival. The community centre was packed out, all the £10 tickets had sold out completely and the poets performed for five minutes each before the headline act came on.

Ben Ray, aged 16, said, 'Meeting Carol Ann Duffy and being a part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival 2011 is an experience I shall remember and treasure forever. It was wonderful to meet the people who made it all happen and to be able to perform alongside the British Poet Laureate, and I thoroughly look forward to exploring the rest of the festival.'

The young poets won a competition organized by Herefordshire Libraries and supported by The Arts Council England. Herefordshire Council's library service works hard to promote contemporary poetry and give young people the opportunities to write and perform their own work. Anne-Marie Dossett, Reader Development Librarian said, 'We are so lucky in Herefordshire to have such a fine poetry festival at Ledbury. We could not have had a more prestigious event for our young poets to perform at.'

Ben and Harriet will be performing later this summer at Ross Market House at a Pavement Poetry event on Wednesday, 24th August from 10am to 3.30pm.


Young poet laureates Hal Husbands and Ben Ray with Poet Laureate Carol Anne Duffy at Ledbury Poetry Festival.

20th July 2011 WARNING TO PARENTS ON AVOIDING E. COLI INFECTION.

With the summer holidays approaching, Herefordshire Council Environmental Health Team wishes to remind parents and carers how best to avoid infection when children have contact with animals in settings such as farm parks, zoos or even in the home. The bacterial infection E. coli O157 is a particular health risk, especially for children under five, as they are more vulnerable to this infection and more likely to develop serious illness once infected.

Many animals can carry E. coli O157 infection, even when they appear clean and healthy. Cattle, sheep and goats are the main recognised carriers of E. coli O157, and it should be assumed that all of these animals will be carrying the infection. When an animal is infected with E. coli O157 the bacteria will be in the animal's droppings and may be on the animal's body, fences and surfaces around them. Catherine Healy of Herefordshire Council said 'Touching animals, fences and other surfaces can lead to infection, as you may pick up these bacteria and accidentally pass them to your mouth. It only takes a small number of the bacteria to cause infection. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after you have had contact with animals will reduce the risk of infection. Hand gels or wipes are not a substitute for washing your hands with running water.'

Following the simple rules listed below will keep adults and children safe from E. coli O157 and other infections that may be found on animals and their surroundings. Pregnant women need to take particular care.

Do not:
- put hands on faces or fingers in mouths while petting animals or walking round the premises.
- kiss animals nor allow children to put their faces close to them.
- eat or drink while touching animals. This includes not eating sweets, crisps or chewing gum.
- eat anything that has fallen on the floor.
- use gels or wipes instead of washing hands with soap and water. Gels and wipes do not remove E. coli O157 in dirt.

Do:
- wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after you have touched animals, fences or other surfaces in animal areas.
- wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating or drinking.
- remove and clean boots or shoes that might have become soiled and clean pushchair wheels, then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- supervise children closely to ensure that they wash their hands thoroughly.
- eat and drink in allocated areas only e.g. picnic areas or cafes.

Anyone who is sick or has diarrhoea within two weeks of having contact with animals should contact their GP or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 as soon as possible. Children under five should not attend school/nursery/group childcare until they have been free of sickness or diarrhoea for two days. Further information on E. coli O157 is available on the Health Protection Agency website at www.hpa.org.uk or from Herefordshire Council's commercial team duty officer by phone on 01432 261667.


20th July 2011 A BUSY TIME FOR ROSS YOUTH LIONS

It has been a busy time for local Leo Group, Ross Youth Lions. On Friday, 1st July they held their annual strawberries and cream event at the John Kyrle High School Sports Day. By selling strawberries from E.C. Drummund and cream generously donated by Cotswold Dairies the group was able to raise over £80 which will be put towards supporting the local community. Following this event, in the evening the Leos held their first ever quiz evening which was not as well attended as they hoped but never the less raised a good sum of money.

Following this the Leos held a Charter and Presentation evening in celebration of their third anniversary. The evening consisted of a presentation of activities that the Leos had taken part in throughout the year by Leo Sophie Goulding, a presentation by Ryan Green, the Club’s very own Young Ambassador and the presentation of certificates to the winners and runners up of the primary school model competition.

Many Congratulations to Ella Jones who won first place, Imogen Gilbert-Walker who came second, Luke Griffiths who came third and to Tommy Randall, Sasha Ives, Luke Osborne-Ford and Alexander Mason who won ‘Highly Commended’. The formal part of the evening was rounded off by speeches by the District Governor, Lion Colin Duncan, President (at the time) of Ross Lions, Lion Trevor Smith and District Youth Officer and Leo Advisor, Lion Keith Wilding. This was followed by a most sumptuous buffet. All these events were organised by the Leos themselves with little ‘adult’ input.

Lion Clubs sponsor more than 5,700 Leo clubs in 140 countries. While helping others in their community, Leos develop leadership skills and experience teamwork in action.

Ross Youth Lions will be at various events happening in Ross throughout the summer including Cake Sales at the Market House (2nd August) and Skittles at the Carnival on 6th August, once again, raising money to help support the local community. To find out more about what Ross Youth Lions do, please visit the website, www.rossyouthlions.co.uk or visit the Facebook page.


The Leos' strawberries and cream went down very well with students.

Pitting their wits against each other at the quiz.

20th July 2011 WEST MERCIA POLICE AUTHORITY APPOINTS ITS MEMBERS TO THE HEREFORDSHIRE POLICING BOARD.

At the recent West Mercia Police Authority meeting the Police Authority appointed Paul Deneen OBE DL as the Chair of the Herefordshire Policing Board and he is also joined by new member of the Authority, Councillor Sebastian Bowen and current member Peter Dunford. The Board meets regularly with the Herefordshire Territorial Policing Unit Commander Superintendent Charlie Hill to discuss key issues relating to the delivery of the West Mercia Policing Plan, which has been approved by the full Police Authority, and the Board also ensures that local views are taken into account regarding the delivery of the Plan.

At its first Board meeting, Paul Deneen took the opportunity to pay tribute to and to thank the former Chair of the Policing Board, Bernard Hunt and former member Richard Smith for their excellent support and dedication which was much appreciated.

Mr Deneen also took the opportunity to comment on the work of the Territorial Policing Team in Herefordshire. He said 'The Board congratulates Superintendent Charlie Hill, his senior team and all of the Police Officers, Police Staff and volunteers for maintaining the level of outstanding work undertaken in extremely challenging financial times.' He also commented on the excellent partnership working in relation to the Herefordshire Council and other key stakeholders.

On overall performance he said 'It is most encouraging to note that crime levels have remained stable in many categories of crime and detection rates are improving within Herefordshire. It is also very pleasing to note that the Police continue to use a problem-solving approach on any issues affecting local communities as part of the Partners and Communities Together - PACT. Above all Herefordshire remains a safe place to live, study, work and visit - and long may this continue.'

To contact Paul Deneen email police.authority@westmercia.pnn.police.uk or telephone 01743 264690. For further information about the Police Authority visit its website: www.westmerciapoliceauthority.gov.uk


20th July 2011 YEAR 9 STUDENTS CELEBRATE THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS

Year 9 students at John Kyrle High School commemorated the completion of their Key Stage 3 studies with a Celebration of Success ceremony, this week. Speaking to a main hall, packed with students, parents, tutors and governors, Headteacher, Nigel Griffiths welcomed everyone and described how the students had already made a great journey in their lives and how there was much more to come.

All students were presented with their Key Stage 3 results by their tutors and senior members of staff or school governors. Additionally, many students received certificates of commendation for outstanding attendance and contribution in subjects as well as drama achievements. A separate presentation was also made by Herefordshire magistrates, Paul Deneen and Helen Barker, to students who successfully took part in the Young Magistrates' Competition earlier in the year. The competition had seen the students compete against other schools in a mock criminal trial competition at Hereford Magistrates Court, taking on the roles of court staff, lawyers, defendant and witnesses. The team had won a shield for 'Most Improved Team Performance'.

Throughout the proceedings, the audience also enjoyed Year 9 student performances, including performances by the student bands, 'Discord', 'Stratospheric Heights' and 'Shopping With My Mum'. Closing the ceremony, Assistant Head of Year, James Morgan, spoke about how impressed he was with the current Year 9, praising their behaviour and work ethic. He went onto add that if the students fantastic attitude continued over the next two years, that they could look forwards to celebrating excellent GCSE results.


The Young Magistrates Award winners.

20th July 2011 JESSE DELIGHTED AT DECISION TO KEEP CHEQUES

South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman has expressed his delight at the decision to keep personal cheques for the indefinite future. The decision was announced today by the Payments Council, which acknowledged huge public concern about the issue, and the specific importance of the inquiry into cheques by the Treasury Select Committee.

Jesse sits on the Treasury Committee and took part in the inquiry. Speaking afterwards, he said 'I am absolutely delighted that the Payments Council has decided to keep cheques. Cheques have been used in this country for almost three hundred years, and they are a vital means of payment for the most vulnerable groups in our society, including the elderly, the disabled, and the least well-off. We have been extremely concerned about this issue and I am delighted that the Payments Council has now changed its mind.'

Details of the Treasury Committee inquiry can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/treasury-committee/inquiries1/cheques/


20th July 2011 BID TO CREATE 6,500 JOBS MOVES A STEP CLOSER

Enterprise Zone status for a major new development site at Rotherwas moved a step closer last week when the Herefordshire Business Board and Herefordshire Council, working with the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), submitted a proposal to government that could create more than 6,500 new jobs.

Focused on a 164 acre site ready for the development of private-sector employment, the Marches Enterprise Zone in Rotherwas, Hereford, would concentrate on supporting key local sectors including defence and security, environmental technologies, and advanced manufacturing. Obtaining Enterprise Zone status for Rotherwas would generate significant private sector investment in the estate - more than £90m over the life of the project - building on the recent site infrastructure improvements constructed to open up new land for development. The bid for Enterprise Zone status is led by the Herefordshire Business Board, a private sector led group responsible for the delivery of Marches LEP projects within the county, with support from Herefordshire Council.

Neil Kerr, Chairman of the Business Board, said 'We believe our submission for an Enterprise Zone in Rotherwas has every chance of success. The majority of the site is cleared for development and ready to be occupied, we have a great plan for future business growth and will be providing additional support and assistance to businesses locating in the zone. Our goal is to bring new business from the rest of the UK and overseas, to help build our vision for a regeneration of Herefordshire's business base.'

Councillor John Jarvis, Leader of bidding partner Herefordshire Council, echoed Mr Kerr's thoughts: 'Our proposal addresses the over-reliance of the Hereford employment base on a small number of large companies and the large level of public sector employment in the area. It will further enable the transition of the local economy from one of traditional industries, such as agriculture, to a modern, high technology based economy, building on strong existing foundations.

The Herefordshire Business Board is a new organisation, that has taken over from the old development agency and we have high ambitions and exciting projects in the pipeline, all designed to create new employment and business growth. All board members are volunteers who give their time and expertise free of charge, and we've had fantastic support from the Council using existing resources, so the value to the taxpayer is maximised.'

Councillor Jarvis added a note of caution when he added 'Be under no illusions that obtaining this status will be an easy task. There is extensive national competition for Enterprise Zone status with 28 other LEPs bidding for only ten new zones.'

The Enterprise Zone, which will benefit businesses through business rate relief and simplified planning regulations, compliments further regeneration work in Hereford including the new livestock market, the Yazor Brook flood alleviation scheme, a major upgrade to the Buttermarket and the regeneration of the old cattle market site for new retail and leisure facilities. The government will provide additional financial support to LEPs with zone status, allowing the Marches LEP to assist businesses throughout Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford - not only those in Hereford.


Neil Kerr, left, with Councillor John Jarvis, at Rotherwas where the proposed enterprise zone will be created.

20th July 2011 EARLY DAYS FOR NEW MUM AND DAD GROUP

New mums and dads are being invited to join a postnatal group which will help them get to grips with being a parent. Early Days, due to be launched on 6th September, will take place every Tuesday morning from 10.30am until 12 noon at Widemarsh Children's Centre, Widemarsh Common in Hereford. It is for parents with babies up to crawling age, usually around 6-8 months old and is specifically to help parents to socialise, meet other mums and dads, chat and have access to some helpful support and information too.

The group will be run by a community nursery nurse from a health visiting team and there will be regular input from a health visitor on those all important things like teething, sleep patterns, feeding, health and nutrition. The plan is to include different activities every week and sessions booked so far include speech and language development, getting your baby into books through Bookstart, home safety and post-birth exercises from a fitness instructor.

Tina Sleeman, NHS Herefordshire, said 'Becoming a parent for the first time can be quite an isolating experience. It's good to get out of the house, meet other parents, swap ideas and share worries - all new parents worry about something, whether it's sleep patterns, feeding problems or baby development. Once the group starts, we hope to get lots of ideas from parents about the sorts of activities they would like us to provide. In the meantime, we have a varied menu of activities planned to help get things started. We look forward to meeting lots of new parents and their babies.'

Anyone interested in joining the group can contact Natasha Greasley on 01432 342310 or simply turn up at the launch of the group on Tuesday, 6th September.


20th July 2011 COUNCIL TAKES LEAD ON RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP

Herefordshire Council's community protection team has just completed a successful course in Leominster about responsible dog ownership.

More than 20 dog owners attended the weekly sessions at The Grange in Leominster run by dog warden Matt Faulds and they learnt the basics of dog handling and the importance of keeping their dogs under control as well as clearing up after them. All of the people attending the course received free poop bags and Leominster Pet Supplies sponsored treats which were given as rewards to the dogs for improved behaviour.

Shane Hancock, Acting Regulatory Services Manager for Herefordshire Council, said 'These sessions proved extremely popular and everyone was amazed by how much their dog's behaviour had improved and they also better understood their responsibilities as an owner. The problem of dog fouling has often been raised by residents and we feel education is one of the best ways to tackle this so, as part of the six-week course, we also urged people to clear up after their dogs and reminding them of their responsibilities.

We are now holding courses in Hereford and Ross which are already fully booked and hope to run more in the future.'


Dog warden Matt Faulds with some of the owners and dogs that took part in the sessions at The Grange in Leominster.

20th July 2011 £5 MILLION SECURED TO IMPROVE TRANSPORT

Herefordshire Council has successfully bid for £4.97 million to fund transport improvements which include a major upgrade for Hereford's Broad Street.

Under the 'Destination Hereford' banner, the council will use the money over the next four years to fund transport improvements in Hereford, which will bring in more visitors, and also to support rural access improvements through a more responsive community transport service and the new 'park and share' project which will help longer distance travellers to car share.

Some of the money will also be used to help tackle obesity and improve health by working in partnership with GPs and the council's health partners to target support for active travel (walking and cycling) to people and communities where there is greater incidence of obesity and other health related issues.

The bid was submitted in April and was considered as part of the government's new local sustainable transport fund programme. It was one of a minority of bids which secured full funding and is among the ten biggest awards in the country.

It means funding is now in place to pay for improvements to the environment in Broad Street which will connect the recently refurbished Widemarsh Street, High Town and Eign Gate with the upgraded Cathedral Close area, supporting the council's overall programme to regenerate the city and attract more visitors and shoppers.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said 'This is thrilling news and demonstrates the commitment Herefordshire Council has to sustainable transport and regenerating the city. Destination Hereford is an exciting package of measures which will enable us to extend the city centre improvements into Broad Street, one of the city's most important streets in terms of townscape and public realm.

The project will also provide resource for us to ramp up our support for sustainable travel and help ease congestion in the city. I'm particularly happy that the project includes measures to provide support for better access in the rural areas including helping to develop integrated bus and community transport services.'

Further details on the funding will be released by government over the coming months and the Council will be establishing a coordinated publicity campaign to help promote the measures included in the Destination Hereford package.


20th July 2011

EAT AND DRINK YOUR WAY AROUND HEREFORDSHIRE


Cllr Adrian Blackshaw and Andy Dawson.

Twenty five food producers are opening their doors to visitors this August in the first county food tour set in the rolling hills of deepest Herefordshire.

Cider, vodka, wine, chocolates, ice cream and organic produce will all be available to sample while getting a behind the scenes look during the first ever Herefordshire Food Week organised by Herefordshire Council. Many producers are opening for the first time during Food Week, which will run from Saturday, 13th August until Sunday, 21st and some are putting on special events to attract visitors.

Brochures for the event include a map so people can plan their visits in advance and many of the producers are also putting on events for the whole family. British Cassis will be hosting a visit from the Great British Food Cyclist, Tim Keates. Tim is cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats on a butcher's bike, delivering food as he goes, and plans to stop by at the award winning cassis producer.

'This is a chance for foodies and families to visit some of the best food makers in the UK, at home,' said organiser Andy Dawson, creative industries co-ordinator for Herefordshire Council. 'You get to see how they grow and make food and drink, sample the delicious results and all set in one of the most unspoilt rural havens in the UK.'

Visitors will use a free brochure to plan their own itinerary around as many food locations as they like. Big yellow Food Week signs in hedgerows and on farm gates will help them find their way to some of the remote producers.

For further details and to download the brochure, log onto www.herefordshire.gov.uk/foodweek


20th July 2011 KEEP YOUR HOME SECURE DURING THE HOLIDAYS

With local schools breaking up for the summer holidays and thousands of Herefordshire residents looking forward to going away, West Mercia Police is passing on security tips that will help them travel with peace of mind that their homes are safe and secure.

Travel agents in the county are helping the police put across security tips to holidaymakers while they are away from home. Along with the Post Office in St Peter's Street, Hereford, the agents are giving out eye-catching 'Beach' leaflets produced by West Mercia Police as part of their Safe & Secure summer campaign to further reduce domestic burglaries.

The advice flyers point the way to the beach one side and on a more serious note, give a series of security tips on the other on how to protect your home while away on holiday. When customers call at local travel agents to book their summer breaks, they will be given a 'Beach' flyer as reminder that home security is a top priority. The leaflets are also available from police station front counters and from Local Policing Teams.

Police Constable Charles Weaver, Herefordshire's Crime Risk Manager, said 'No-one wants to come home from their summer holidays to find they've been broken into and their possessions stolen. Fortunately, the number of domestic burglaries in Herefordshire is relatively low, but they are still extremely distressing crimes for those who fall victim. We want to remind people to take whatever security measures possible before going away - even remembering some simple, basic precautions - and it will greatly reduce the risk of a burglary. A house which is obviously unoccupied can be a tempting target for would-be burglars but there are simple steps that people can take to protect their property.'

The 'Beach' leaflets contain six simple tips for helping keeping the home safe and secure while giving reassurance that burglary figures remain low. Top tips for holidaymakers are:
- Let a neighbour or friend know you're going away.
- Arrange for them to check on your house - collect mail, open/close curtains.
-
Remember to cancel milk and newspapers.
- Encourage a neighbour to park on your drive.
- Use timer switches to turn lights on during the evenings.
- Don't forget your garden! Effective garden security will help keep your home secure.

West Mercia Police runs its Safe & Secure crime prevention campaign all year round, offering advice to the public on how to keep themselves, their homes, gardens and vehicles protected. More information is available on the Force website, www.westmercia.police.uk


20th July 2011 JESSE HONOURED TO OPEN BEER ON THE WYE 2011

Jesse Norman MP was honoured to open the Beer on the Wye Festival 2011 on Friday, 8th July, organised by Herefordshire CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. The Festival, now in its seventh year, was held at the Hereford Rowing Club, and featured 140 beers, plus a further 99 ciders and perries. It also saw the launch of the latest edition of Herefordshire CAMRA's authoritative Guide to the Pubs of Herefordshire. Seven bands kept visitors entertained throughout the weekend.

Jesse was also on the judging team for the best beer award. Seen here with Mark Haslam of CAMRA, Jesse said 'What a great honour and a great joy this has been - one of the nicest parts of being an MP. Many congratulations to CAMRA and all their volunteers for another superb festival.'


Mark Haslam of CAMRA with Jesse Norman at the opening of 'Beer on the Wye' 2011.

20th July 2011 HEREFORDSHIRE CHILDREN HAVE THEIR SAY ON NATIONWIDE CHILD PROTECTION REVIEW

Children looked after by Herefordshire Council have had their views published in a nationwide independent review which is set to change the way child protection works across the UK. The review concludes that local areas should have more freedom to develop their own effective child protection services rather than focusing on meeting central government targets.

Professor Eileen Munro was commissioned by the government to conduct a wide ranging independent review into frontline child protection practice. The views of seven children and young people in Hereford who are looked after by Herefordshire Council, were submitted to Professor Munro following a consultation session in March at Centre 18 organised by Herefordshire Council's participation team. Their views have been included in Munro's final report which was published last month. Herefordshire youngsters felt quite strongly that all agencies should work together to try and prevent children from coming into care in the first place. The children and young people said that social workers should do this by giving them skills to keep themselves safe and that teachers should keep a close eye on children and help them to catch up if they fall behind at school because they are stressed.

A major part of their contribution was about things that people can do to help keep children safe. They had suggestions for parents, police, doctors, nursery staff, teachers, health visitors, friends and family and social workers. They felt that all parents should have to do a parenting course and there should be parenting lessons in school for everyone. They also suggested that social workers need to do more home visits to see children are okay and keep an eye out for dangers but don't 'namby pamby' kids. They also thought school counsellor could give children advice on how to deal with things, including leaflets and phone numbers of helplines. They think teachers should check children are eating at school and look for children who are withdrawn or who start bullying others. Friends and other family members were also listed as key people who can help keep children safe by calling in 'out of the blue' and looking around the house and being there for the child.

Councillor Patricia Morgan, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said 'Safeguarding children is everyone's concern and, following a number of high profile cases nationally, reforms to make agencies more accountable have lead to a time consuming tick-box culture where the focus can be on process rather than children. The Munro review concludes that a one-size-fits-all approach to child protection is preventing local areas from focusing on the child - a view echoed in the Herefordshire children's report. We are proud of the way our youngsters got involved in this very important piece of work and expressed their opinions with maturity and consideration for each other. Their report has contributed significantly to this review which will have a huge impact on the way the government directs child protection in the future.'


20th July 2011 STUDENTS HELP TO EXCAVATE HILLTOP SITES

Herefordshire Council's archaeology team has been working with students and staff of Manchester University and Kyushu University, Japan to explore 5,000-year-old hilltop sites in Dorstone and Bredwardine parishes. The excavations have focused upon three sites, at two of which worked flints and pottery from the Early Neolithic period indicate activity in the centuries either side of 5500 BC.

Herefordshire's county archaeologist, Dr Keith Ray, said 'There is a truly international flavour to the team carrying out test excavations at these sites, with student participants from Spain, Germany and Sweden also taking part. This was the time that the great chambered tombs like Arthur's Stone were also built - the period witnessed a remarkable first flourishing of farming groups who herded cattle in clearings and open country hereabouts, and who gathered at specially adapted hilltops to exchange goods and hold tribal meetings.'

An open day on Sunday, 24th July will feature visits to one or more of the sites under investigation. Meet at the Red Lion, Bredwardine, for site tours at noon, 2pm and 4pm. There will also be a talk on Monday, 25th July by Keith Ray and Professor Julian Thomas who are co-directing this season's work, and this will summarise the results. The talk is at Bredwardine village hall at 7.30pm and enquiries should be made to Moira Cassidy on 01432 260470.


A photograph of Arthur's Stone, Dorstone, taken by Alan Wood in 2009.

20th July 2011 ADOPTION INSPECTION PRAISES SERVICE FOR PUTTING CHILDREN FIRST

Herefordshire Council's adoption service has been rated by Ofsted as good in all areas, with some outstanding features. Ofsted inspectors undertook an announced inspection of the council's adoption service last month. The report praised the work that had been done to improve the service since it was last inspected in 2008, describing it as a well managed agency that strives to improve and develop practice. The inspectors reported a real strength of the service is that young people's needs dictate the adoption process and their views are taken into account in planning for their care, and in the development of services.

The inspectors also noted that careful matching and placement processes ensure that children settle very well and thrive in their adoptive placements. This is achieved by robust family finding and strong matching and placement processes that ensure adopters are able to meet the needs of their child. Prospective adopters are well prepared with the focus on parenting a child who may have additional needs relating to adverse early experiences.

Outstanding elements identified by the inspectors include ensuring children's views are sought and used in practice and that staff work with children to help them understand what adoption will mean for them. This links into the matching and placement processes that foster carers are involved in - the inspectors highlighted the good practice of inviting the child's foster carers to attend the adoption panel - this helps gain a first hand view about what the child is like to care for and puts the focus of the proceedings firmly on the child. Birth families are supported to take an active part in the care planning for their child and are encouraged to provide information for the child. Adult adoptees are assisted to find out about their adoption in a sensitive way.

There was also praise for the way the service is run. Comments about the social workers and administrative staff on the adoption team show that the calibre of staff is excellent. The inspectors reported that the adoption team is well managed by a qualified, experienced and skilled manager who is fully committed to ensuring safe, stable and secure placements for children are made and maintained.

Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said 'Meeting the needs of vulnerable children remains a priority for the council, so I was delighted to receive this report from Ofsted which shows we are achieving this well and continuing to improve. Putting children's needs at the core of what we do and supporting adopters throughout the matching process and beyond has resulted in children finding permanent homes with loving families who are able to meet their individual needs. Well done to all the staff who have worked so hard to implement the recommendations from the previous inspection and remain committed to providing the best service they can for the county's children.'


20th July 2011

LOTTERY FUNDING SECURES HERITAGE OF GRANGE COURT


Grange Court and its knot garden.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has confirmed that Herefordshire Council and the LARC Development Trust have been awarded a development grant of £25,300 to further develop their project to secure the history of grade II listed Grange Court in Leominster for current and future generations.

Currently undergoing a programme of restoration, Grange Court was originally built by John Abel, the King's Carpenter in 1633. The building was located in the centre of Leominster, as the Market House for the town.

During the life of the building it has been used as a market house, a town hall, a court house, a guild headquarters, a school and community meeting place, with market stalls set out underneath.

In 1859 the structure was dismantled and re-erected on its present site in the Priory Grange, converted into a gentleman's residence and renamed Grange Court. Since 1935 it has been used as Council offices.

The restoration work will convert Grange Court into a multi-use community and heritage centre that will be owned and operated by the LARC Development Trust. The HLF grant means that Herefordshire Council and the LARC Development Trust can now work up their plans to progress the second stage of the HLF application process for a full grant of £287,400 to create heritage displays, audio visual equipment, publications, employ a heritage officer as well as provide community learning and volunteering opportunities at the site.

Anne Jenkins, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the West Midlands said 'We're extremely pleased to give initial support to the project, which aims to complement the restoration taking place at Grange Court with an exciting education programme so that its fascinating history can enjoyed by future generations. We shall watch the developing plans with interest.'

Bill Jackson, Chair of LARC said 'This is great news for Grange Court and the people of Leominster, as not only will it enable the history of this amazing building to be recorded and accessed by the local community, it will also help us to put Grange Court on the map as a valuable and accessible heritage site.'


20th July 2011 HEALTH BODIES JOIN UP FOR ANNUAL PUBLIC MEETING

Following a milestone year in health and adult social care in Herefordshire, NHS Herefordshire, and the newly created Wye Valley NHS Trust, will be holding a joint annual public meeting on Tuesday, 26th July 2011. This is the first time the two organisations have come together to hold a public meeting to offer local people and organisations the opportunity to find out about the changes and achievements during the last year. There will be exhibition stands setting out priorities for health, adult social care, and public health initiatives.

NHS Herefordshire Chair, Joanna Newton, says 'There have been major changes to how we deliver health and social care services during the last year as part of our drive to create a more sustainable healthcare community for local people.'

Chairman of Wye Valley NHS Trust, Mark Curtis added 'This year has seen us create Wye Valley NHS Trust - one of the first organisations in England to bring together health and adult social care services. Herefordshire is at the forefront of national NHS reforms and this is a real chance for local people to find out about the work behind the scenes and what it means for services locally.'

The meeting will be held at the Courtyard Centre for the Arts, Edgar Street, Hereford, on Tuesday, 26th July 2011. It will open at 6pm with the opportunity for people to visit the display stands, meet with local health and adult social care staff, and board members from both organisations. If you would like to find out more and attend the Annual Public Meeting please contact Fiona Gurney, Communications Assistant, Wye Valley NHS Trust - by phone on 01432 355444 ext 5105, email fiona.gurney@hhtr.nhs.uk or write to Trust Headquarters, The County Hospital, Hereford. HR1 2ER by Tuesday, 19th July.

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