TOP STORIES FROM JANUARY
COUNCILS PULL OUT ALL THE STOPS FOR CHRISTMAS
NEW PARISH OFFICE
THE Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, officially opened the WILLINGDON AND JEVINGTON Parish Council Office. He was thanked by the council’s chairman, Cllr John Pritchett BEM, who said that the project demonstrated partnership working at its very best between district, county and parish councils. The new building in Jubilee Gardens is the parish’s first dedicated council office, and is part of a project that has also seen two public conveniences retained. A resident commented: “So many public conveniences are being shut all over the country and we are very grateful we still have ours open.”
LAUNCH PARTY FOR
BLUNTISHAM Parish Council in Cambridgeshire celebrated the opening of its new play park and outdoor gym at an event attended by parish councillors, Helen Sephton-Pike of equipment supplier HAGS SMP and local families. The play park was funded by a grant from WREN’S FCC Community Action Fund. The new equipment includes a basket swing, tango swing, cone climber, uniplay climbing unit, infant slide and a pirouette spinner. The outdoor gym was funded by an £8,000 grant from Tesco’s “Bags of Help” scheme and offers a ski stepper, lat pull and chest press, trinity cycle and sit-up bench.
NEW PLAY SURFACE
NECTON Parish Council in Norfolk recently upgraded the surface of its play area from grass to a bonded rubber mulch. Using Section 106 funds, it commissioned local company Fenland Leisure to lay the mulch, which provides a safe, bouncy surface to minimise injury, conforms to British and European safety standards and allows the area to be used all through the winter. The facility caters for all age groups and is adjacent to an outdoor gym, basketball court and five-a-side football pitch. Other items of equipment have also been repaired or upgraded, and the area received a clean bill of health in its annual RoSPA inspection.
THE future of an evening bus service between York and STAMFORD BRIDGE has been secured through a joint funding agreement. Evening services linking Nether Poppleton, York city centre and Stamford Bridge have been subsidised by the city council in recent years. Following a consultation, it asked East Riding for a financial contribution towards the cost of the service, which led to a local funding agreement with Stamford Bridge Parish Council and Rosti Automotive Stamford Bridge Ltd, some of whose employees depend on the evening service.
FORMAL OPENING FOR
The mayor and mayoress of DUNSTABLE, Cllrs Peter Hollick and Ann Sparrow, formally opened a new set of gates leading into the Bedfordshire town’s Priory Gardens marking the completion of a two-year restoration project.Work to repair archway masonry and stone walls, part of the gatehouse to an Augustinian priory, was completed in November 2015. The full-height solid oak gates were designed by a local historian, Tony Woodhouse, and half of the funding was raised by the Friends of Priory House and Gardens.
NALC ANNOUNCES ITS STAR COUNCILS AWARD WINNERS
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL COUNCILS (NALC) announced the winners of its Star Councils awards at its annual conference in Birmingham. The awards recognise the hard work done year-round by local councils and councillors, council officers and workers and county associations. Oswestry Town Council in Shropshire won the coveted title of Council of Year. Cllr Helen Ogden of Westerham Town Council, Kent was named Councillor of the Year; Young Councillor of Year was Cllr Sarah Cursons of Leighton-Linslade Town Council, Bedfordshire; Clerk of the Year was Susan Wilthew of Chippenham Town Council, Wiltshire.
HELEN IS STAR COUNCILLOR
CLLR Helen Ogden of WESTERHAM Town Council in Kent was named Councillor of the Year at the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) Star Councils Awards. The judges said: “Helen has been a town councillor since 2010 and has packed a lot into this time. She has worked closely with fellow councillors and officers to raise the profile, achievements and competence of the council.” In particular, she put consultation, communication and engagement with the community at the heart of her activities.
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Welcome pack for newcomers
DENHOLME Town Council in West Yorkshire has produced a “Welcome Pack” for new residents. The idea for the pack came from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s “Neighbourhood Approaches to Loneliness” project and the council has paid for the packs using funding remaining from that. Local organisations and businesses have donated leaflets to put in the packs which also contains the council’s quarterly newsletter. The packs will be given to residents moving into new homes and are also available from the town council office for residents to pass on to new neighbours.