Providing young people with the right information, advice and guidance to make decisions about their future careers has never been more important. To help ensure that young people in Cornwall have access to the best possible careers advice Cornwall Council is joining with schools, colleges and local employers to support this year’s National Careers Week and National Apprenticeship Week.
The aim of National Careers Week, which runs from Monday 2 March to Friday, 6 March, is to celebrate quality careers guidance and employment opportunities across the UK by encouraging education providers to bring together students, local employers and advisers to provide careers activities. It aims to inspire schools, academies and colleges to offer careers advice and guidance, highlighting the free resources and support available, while at the same time, inspiring employers to connect with young people.
More than 1,700 schools, academies and colleges across England took part in last year’s event, providing over 1.5 million students with careers resources and activities to help them make better informed choices about their first step on the career ladder. This year the organisers want to do even better and the Council is encouraging schools and colleges in Cornwall to take part.
National Careers Week is followed by National Apprenticeship Week, which aims to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
The Week, which runs from Monday, 9 March to Friday, 13 March, is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service which wants to encourage more small businesses to take on apprentices; promote the range and breadth of apprenticeships on offer and celebrate apprenticeships and the level of success that learners can achieve
4,556 young people from Cornwall have taken up an Apprenticeship in the past 12 months. This means there has been a 25% growth in the number of Apprenticeship starts in Cornwall during the period August – December 2014 when compared with the previous year. One of these is Vicky Speirs who is doing an apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media.
Vicky had always enjoyed photography and so started researching possible courses involving her hobby. She was not keen to go back into education, however, and so her father suggested an Apprenticeship. “I was unaware that you could do an Apprenticeship fuelled by creativity, with a balance of learning in college as well as hands on whilst working in a business, so when I saw the Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeship at Truro and Penwith College I was really excited” said Vicky.
“After seeking out an employer and applying for the Apprenticeship I was successful and haven’t looked back since. The freedom to be creative, balanced with real responsibility and all whilst earning a wage is great. The work I do now has real life purpose which is a fantastic feeling”.
“Ensuring all our young people have access to the very best careers education information, advice and guidance and the opportunity to take up apprenticeships is a priority for Cornwall Council and Cornwall’s Raising Aspiration and Achievement Strategic Partnership” said Jane Black, Head of Learning and Achievement. “It is also recognised by the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Employment & Skills Board (ESB) as a key factor in creating great careers in Cornwall.”
The ESB has supported the development of resources to showcase the range of great career opportunities to choose from in Cornwall. Made it in Cornwall provides some ideas of what people are doing in the county – with details of 30 different careers and stories to inspire young people to take their next steps.
The Cornwall Apprenticeship Campaign also has some positive stories from local Apprentices on their career journey.
The Pirate FM Media Bus will also be touring Cornwall during this year’s National Apprenticeship Week to help young people find out more about local Apprenticeship opportunities.
Cornwall Apprenticeship Campaign Media Bus Dates:
- 07 March on Lemon Quay in Truro
- 09 March at Asda in Hayle
- 12 March at Sainsburys in Penzance
- 13 March at Morrisons in Bodmin
- 14 March at Trago Mills, Liskeard
“At Cornwall’s Raising Aspiration and Achievement Strategy Board we see Apprenticeships as a brilliant step between full time learning and the workplace “ said Kim Conchie, Chair of the RAAS Board and Chief Executive of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce. “People – mainly young people - benefit from the continuing input from motivated employers and colleges whilst learning to stand on their own two feet and to become a better citizen. The increased self-esteem and confidence that comes from contributing something that they’re good at stands them in good stead for life and hopefully they are able to share their positive experience with others”.
Story posted 27 February 2015
Cornwall’s Better Care Fund Plan, which sets out how health and social care services will work more closely together to ensure local people receive better care, was approved by NHS England earlier this month.
The aim of the Better Care Fund (BCF), which is due to be introduced across England next April, is to to bring together health and social care services to help reduce the growing pressures on hospitals and help keep people healthier in their own homes. The main focus is on prevention, reducing the demand for services and making the most efficient and effective use of health and social care resources.
Under the programme funding from local authorities is combined with funding from the clinical commissioning groups to create a single pooled budget to be spent on activities which benefits both health and social care. All areas are required to develop a spending plan which sets out how health and social care services will work together to provide better care and support at home and earlier treatment in the community to prevent people needing emergency care in hospital or care homes.
Cornwall’s Fund of £44.5m, focuses on five key themes:
- Increasing the range of community based services
- Extending the range of services available seven days a week
- Working more closely with community and voluntary sector organisations
- Safely sharing information to promote better patient care
- Commissioning several services jointly between NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council
“This is one of the most ambitious programmes in the history of the NHS and local government “ said Jeremy Rowe, Chair of the Cornwall Health and Wellbeing Board. “It is vital that we work together to place people and their wellbeing at the centre of everything we do. We want to ensure that people in Cornwall have joined-up, personalised care closer to home . We want to support them to stay in their own homes, and to receive care and support when and where they want and need it and this Plan will help us to achieve this”.
“Over the past few months the Council has been working closely with NHS Kernow and other health partners to develop our Plan. National Government changed the conditions of the Better Care Fund in Summer 2014. This has reduced the level of support for adult social care in an effort to protect acute health services. This will place additional strain on the Council’s overall budget in 2015/16 and future years. However, the Council recognises that the CCG in Cornwall has worked positively with the Council in trying to come up with a plan that recognises the changed conditions but that minimises the impact on all health bodies in Cornwall and the Council.“
Colin Philip, a GP in St Ives and vice-chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board , said “ In these challenging times it is more important than ever for public services to work together. This bid signals our intention to do that and to improve a range of services for local people”
Story posted 27 February 2015
Cornwall’s under 18 conception rate has continued to fall and, according to data released this week by the Office for National Statistics, it now stands at 21.3 conceptions per 1000 women - well below the UK’s national average of 24.5 conceptions per 1000 women aged under 18.
The rate continues to drop year on year and 2013 saw the highest percentage drop in conception rates in one year since the national teenage pregnancy strategy began in 1998 with an impressive 18% drop from the year prior.
Since the launch of the National Teenage Pregnancy Strategy in 1998, Cornwall has achieved a 46.5% reduction in the rate of teenage conceptions, though the target reduction for England and Wales, of 50%, has yet to be reached.
Cornwall Council remains committed to reducing the rate of under-18 conceptions and improving outcomes for young parents and their children through the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy and Action plan. Teenage pregnancy is often associated with negative health outcomes for the mother and child and increased likelihood of them both living in long-term poverty. In addition to this, many teenage conceptions are unintended, 48% lead to abortion, an avoidable burden for the young women affected.
Louise Sweeney, from Cornwall Council’s Public Health team said, “It’s fantastic that Cornwall continues to see a decline in its rates of teenage conceptions. It demonstrates that the sustained effort and commitment by dedicated professionals and local organisations is making a difference. In the coming year we intend to continue to focus on teenage pregnancy, ensuring young people are able to receive the information and services they need to make healthy choices around relationships and sexual health and prevent unwanted pregnancy.”
Lex Gainsbury, also from Cornwall Council’s Public Health team added, “Evidence tells us that access to a full range of contraception and sexual health services which are young people- friendly and consistent relationships and sex education (RSE) from an early age are most effective in reducing teenage pregnancy.
“In Cornwall young people can access information and support from a wide range of services including the C-Card condom distribution scheme, pharmacies, their GP, Contraceptive and Sexual Health clinics such as Brook or the Sexual Health Hub in Truro. You can find out about all of these services by visiting the Cornwall SHAC website.”
Just last week MP’s through the Education Select Committee called for improvements to PSHE and SRE (Sex and Relationships Education). One of the recommendations was that the name SRE was changed to RSE, Relationships and Sex Education, a move Cornwall has already taken.
Councillor Andrew Wallis, Lead member for Children’s Services commented, “Good relationships and sex education will include emotions, consent, understanding the law, self-esteem and relationships, which is vital in preparing young people for becoming an adult and supporting good sexual health and wellbeing. That is why in Cornwall we chose to place the emphasis on ‘relationships’ when talking about RSE”
Schools in Cornwall have access to a wide range of support on RSE including Cornwall’s Health Promotion Service, Healthy Schools, Brook Young People and CLEAR’s Healthy Relationships Programme. A new resource available for schools and colleges to use, the Kernow King Sex Tape and Resource, has been shortlisted for a UK Sexual Health Award.
In addition to support for schools, parents and carers can also get support and training on relationships and sex education, to support them to have conversations with their children, through Speakeasy.
Professionals working with young people are guided by the Relationship and Sexual Health Guidance and can access a free sexual health training programme on the Council's website.
Story posted 27 February 2014
A Truro takeaway has had its appeal against the revocation of its late night licence dismissed by magistrates.
On Tuesday 24 February 2015 at Truro Magistrates Court an appeal against the revocation of a licence to supply late night refreshment from 11pm until 2.30am lodged by food take away business One Stop, New Bridge Street, Truro was dismissed.
The Magistrates heard evidence from the police and Cornwall Council in relation to a number of breaches of the premises licensing hours between 2009 and 2014. As a result of these breaches the then proprietor of the business received a caution in July 2013 and was subsequently prosecuted in August 2014.
Following the conviction the Licensing Compliance team submitted an application to review the premises licence and at a hearing in October 2014 the Licensing Sub Committee revoked the premises licence.
Police Licensing Officer Sue Edwards said, “This premises has been something of a thorn in our side for a number of years and we are delighted that the Magistrates have supported the decision of the Licensing Sub Committee to revoke the licence. There are four similar business that operate late night refreshment in Truro and it is only fair on those compliant businesses that suitable action is taken on those that do not comply”.
Bob Mears Cornwall Council Licensing Compliance manager said: ”Over the last five years the police and licensing service have tried to work with this business offering advice and support to comply with their licensing hours. We have taken a transparent and proportionate approach in dealing with them and their breaches of hours. They have chosen to ignore our advice which resulted in a prosecution and licence review. Cornwall has over 3000 licensed premises most of whom comply with their hours and conditions but for those that do not we will endeavour to engage with them to address the breaches but if a business is not willing to work with us we will be forced to take much more stringent action and a prosecution and review are certainly a last resort. I am delighted that the Magistrates have supported the Licensing Sub Committee decision to revoke the premises licence and I hope that this sends out a strong message to business that may persistently breach their licensing hours or conditions on their licence”.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities Geoff Brown said: “Clearly officers are working with businesses to enable them to trade successfully but when someone is found to be repeatedly in breach of reasonable legislation we are equally prepared to take action to protect responsible traders and the community.”
In dismissing the appeal the Magistrates also awarded the Council their legal costs of nearly £2,500. One Stop will be able to operate up until 11pm but not beyond that hour.
Story posted 26 February 2015
Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment, Joyce Duffin, has welcomed an extension of the Repair and Renew grant scheme, enabling Cornwall Council to accept grant applications up to a new deadline of 11 March 2015.
The grant, of up to £5,000, is available to help households and businesses pay for repairs to improve their property's ability to withstand future flooding.
Joyce Duffin said: “Cornwall was hit very hard by the storms and floods last winter and it left many people struggling to cope physically and financially. Cornwall’s communities are incredibly resilient and the extension of this grant will help anyone who hasn’t yet applied for funding to make their homes and business premises more prepared for severe weather and flooding in the future.
Households, businesses - including social enterprises - and charitable organisations whose premises were damaged internally by flooding between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014 can still apply to Cornwall Council for assistance through the one off, grant scheme.
To be able to qualify for a grant, the flooded property will need to meet certain criteria including:
- The interior of the applicant’s home or business premises must have been damaged by flooding between April 2013 and March 2014
- The grants are to help households and businesses pay for measures to improve their property's ability to withstand future flooding.
- The applicant must not have received other sources of public or insurance funding to establish the same resilience measures applied for e.g. from the Property Level Protection scheme.
- Grant claims can be paid retrospectively if work has already been carried out as a result of flooding during the qualifying period.
- Grant approval for work not already commenced will be made subject to the work being completed by 31 May 2015.
Advice on selecting the most appropriate resilience and/or resistance measures is available on the Property Protection Adviser website.
More information about the Repair and Renew grants, and other schemes available on our website to help people affected by flooding.
Story posted 26 February 2015
On Saturday 7 March the Cornish Studies Library will be opening a photographic exhibition, art installation and launching a trail as part of Redruth’s St Piran’s Day celebrations.
The exhibition and installation are both the result of the ‘Brewing Up the Past’ project which has been running in Redruth, led by Cascade Theatre Company. The project was designed to capture memories and stories of the former Redruth Brewery site which will be the home of Kresen Kernow, Cornwall’s new archive centre. Workshops and other events and activities took place in schools, community centres and even the street as part of the project.
The exhibition will feature atmospheric photographs of the site and the project taken by members of Camborne and Redruth Camera Club. The installation has been inspired by the history of the area and the brewery, as well as the memories of participants shared in a number of reminiscence sessions.
Iain Rowe, Kresen Kernow participation officer, says: “One aim of Brewing up the Past was to help raise awareness of and enthusiasm for Kresen Kernow, Cornwall’s new archive centre. Another was to collect memories, stories and visual media in order to put on a permanent display about the history of the area in the new centre. We’re not just interested in the industry but the people who worked, visited, lived – and still live – there. We’re thrilled to be able to share the results of the project on March 07”.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for Economy and Culture Julian German said: “It is great to see how the local community has got on board to support the development of Kresen Kernow which will be a fantastic asset for the area and for Cornwall as a whole”.
Staff will be on hand to provide updates on the archive centre project. The project team would also be delighted if people coming to the event brought along memories, photographs or memorabilia from the Brewery, knitwear factory, fuse manufactory or mills formerly on the site.
The exhibition will run a the Cornish Studies Library until 14 March.
Story posted 26 February 2015
News that the Government is giving London and eight major UK cities the power to decide how to spend their European funding while denying these powers to Cornwall has been condemned by Julian German, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and the Economy.
In a letter to Cornwall Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership earlier this month, Lord Ahmad, Minister for Communities and Local Government, confirmed that decisions on individual projects in all other areas, including Cornwall, would be made by Managing Authorities and not by local bodies.
Blaming the decision on European Commission regulations, Lord Ahmad said that continuing discussions on the issue ran the risk of creating an impasse with the Commission which could further delay the release of funds. As a result the Government was intending to proceed with a model in which LEPs and partners have a key advisory role while decisions remained with the Managing Authorities.
Responding to the letter Julian German said he was angry and disappointed at the Government’s decision. “Last summer the sun was shining on Cornwall and our negotiations with Government on the next European Investment Programme, worth over €600m between 2014-2020” he said. “I was delighted with the way things were going and was reassured by statements from Ministers on both sides of the Coalition that decisions would be made by those who know best; the businesses and communities of Cornwall.”
This included comments from Greg Clark who said "It's obvious if you are based in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly your ability to say what intervention, what investment is appropriate, is far more accurate and well-informed than if you are an official sitting miles away in London"; with Danny Alexander commenting “It would seem odd not to take seriously the request that there should be a degree of autonomy in the management of the European structural funds programme”.
Baroness Stowell also told representatives in the Lords that “We are giving Cornwall more opportunities than before to decide what type of projects to fund and in which areas…the only decisions that will be taken by civil servants will be to ensure that the applications for funding are eligible within EU rules.”
“There were indeed warm words, but as the weather has got colder, so has the promise of greater devolution and decision making” said Julian German. “In fact, it’s now clear following Nick Clegg’s recent announcement that we will only provide ‘advice’ on what to spend the regions money on and decisions will indeed be made by civil servants in London.
Cornwall has kept its part of the bargain as set out in the Governments Growth Deal. We ring fenced nearly £60m of capital investment to match fund the EU millions, set aside resource to set up loans to business,run the programme locally and establish a bottom up community led investment programme despite a very painful budget.
We are one of the poorest Regions in Europe and Cornwall needs brave, bespoke investment decisions to grow our economy and increase wage levels and productivity. Projects dreamt up in London, for big cities, just won’t work here because our challenges and opportunities are our own. Why should cities be given extra powers to make their own decisions whilst Cornwall, despite having larger amounts of funding to invest, has to make do with London calling the shots? “
Criticising the Government for failing to keep its part of the deal, Julian German said this meant that the programme wasn’t up and running yet, well over a year after it was meant to start injecting much needed money into Cornwall’s economy.
“As a result there will be a gap between the current and the new programmes which means that support and grants to businesses, communities and individuals will stop before the next programme is up and running, putting jobs and projects in Cornwall at risk.
Adding that this was not the case in other parts of the UK where the devolved administrations had made smart decisions, engaged with the European Commission and got on with the job in hand, Mr German cited West Wales and the Valleys where the programme was already up and running with regional decision making structures and a sense of urgency about the need to support its people and places.
“Of course the programme is up and running there“ he said. “Anything else just wouldn’t be acceptable for politicians and civil servants working at a much closer proximity to their electorates. While I wish good luck to our Welsh cousins, the delays we are facing mean that they will already be using their EU millions to attract investors to Wales and upskill their workforce whilst we are still waiting for London to fire the starting gun.
However, as we know in Cornwall, there’s always next summer and the next one will coincide with a new Government. I will certainly continue to argue the case for devolution of the European Programme with this Government and the next. “
Story posted 25 February 2015
Cornwall Council has welcomed the decision of the High Court on 19 February 2015 to strike out the claim made by Devon and Cornwall Autistic Community Trust (trading as Spectrum) against the authority.
Spectrum, which provides residential care facilities for adults with learning disabilities, had alleged that since at least 2006 the Council had underpaid for services provided to eight adults that it had placed in the care of Spectrum. Since the start of these proceedings the Council has maintained that it has paid Spectrum the fees agreed for these placements and that no evidence of under payments has ever been provided.
The case was scheduled to go to trial on 18 February however the Council made an application immediately prior to this date that Spectrum’s claim should be dismissed. The grounds for this application were that the application had no reasonable prospect of success and Spectrum had failed to provide details of the sums allegedly owed and comply with Court orders.
After considering the facts the judge has granted the Council’s application to strike out the claim. In dismissing the claim Mr Justice Davis noted that the witness statements produced by Spectrum “provides no evidence to show that [it] was not being provided with reasonable recompense, rather the reverse”.
Spectrum has been ordered to pay the Council’s costs for the whole proceedings on an indemnity basis to reflect the way in which they have conducted this litigation.
Commenting after the judgement was passed a spokesperson for the Council said “We are extremely pleased with this decision which recognises that the Council has paid Spectrum a reasonable amount for the services it has provided”.
The Council will ensure that the eight individuals will continue to receive the appropriate services and support.
Story posted 24 February 2015
Cornwall first Local Authority in the South West to achieve Bronze grading for tackling homelessness
Cornwall Council is the first local authority in the South West to achieve Bronze grading under the Government’s Gold Standard Challenge for the way in which, through the work of Cornwall Housing Ltd, it is tackling homelessness.
Cornwall Housing was formally presented with their certificate of achievement by the National Practitioner Support Service team at a good practice event earlier this month.
The government launched its national improvement framework for Local Authority Housing Options Services in April 2013 following the work of a homelessness ministerial working group.
This led to the launch of the Gold Standard and the 10 local challenges for service improvement, part of a package of services to support local authorities to achieve a clear standard in offering effective and efficient homelessness prevention services.
Cornwall Council made the pledge to work towards this standard in May 2013 and, through Cornwall Housing Ltd, has been working to improve services and reach the national best practice benchmark over the past year. Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment, Joyce Duffin, commented: “I would like to congratulate the team on an excellent performance. Achieving the Bronze standard in the first of the three assessments and demonstrates that Cornwall Housing is committed to tackling homelessness effectively and that this is a key priority for Cornwall and the Council. I look forward to the next stage as we work together to ensure that Cornwall maintains a strategic focus on housing and the prevention of homelessness.”
NPSS spokesperson commented: "The National Practitioner Support Service is delighted that Cornwall Council has achieved Bronze status in the Gold Standard Programme for their achievements in preventing and tackling homelessness. Cornwall has been recognised for achieving challenge 1 “To adopt a corporate commitment to prevent homelessness which has buy in across all local authority services”, challenge 3 “To offer a Housing Options prevention service to all clients including written advice” and challenge 4 “To adopt a No Second Night Out model or an effective local alternative”. Cornwall is among the first five authorities in the country and the only council in the South West to achieve Bronze status. NPSS is delighted to welcome Cornwall Council to the Advisory Committee as an Associate Member where they will use their expertise to support other local authorities.”
Cornwall will now continue on their improvement journey and will identify the next challenges to focus upon to work towards Silver status. Cornwall Council’s forthcoming Homelessness Strategy will have a strong focus on the 10 challenges to maintain a focus on effective prevention services and a coordinated approach to tackling homelessness.
Story posted 23 February 2015
A film starring comedian Kernow King, created to teach young people in Cornwall about relationships and sex issues, has been shortlisted for a national award.
The 20-minute long Kernow King’s Sex Tape, used in schools and colleges across Cornwall, has been picked as a finalist for the Pamela Sheridan Award, which recognises pioneering approaches to relationships, sex and wellbeing education.
The winner of the award will be announced at the UK Sexual Health Awards on 6 March in central London.
The awards shortlisting panel said the film was shortlisted because of its innovative approach to exploring issues with young people, and use of humour to make the resource more accessible.
Celebrating being picked as a finalist, Cornwall Council’s Lead Member for Young People, Andrew Wallis, said: “It’s excellent that the Kernow King’s sex tape and resource has been shortlisted against tough competition.
“This resource is so strong because of the involvement of Cornwall’s young people, strong partnership, commitment and drive from Health Promotion Service, Cornwall College and Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust Sexual Health Hub, of course, the involvement of the Kernow King himself.”
“Relationships and Sex Education is incredibly important and this resource is another step in ensuring young people are getting the information they need to stay safe and healthy, in a fun, innovative and engaging way.”
A record number of nominations were yet again submitted for the awards, which are organised by sexual health charities Brook and FPA.
Also shortlisted for awards are storylines from soaps Eastenders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks, as well as inspirational campaigns, teams, volunteers and from right across the UK.
Story posted 23 February 2015
Cornwall Council Trading Standards has issued an urgent warning for people to be on their guard against mobile sellers offering bargain priced generators, compressors and kitchen knives.
Travelling gangs are back in Cornwall a year after they plagued the area with offers of cut-priced power tools and generators, some of which were found to be unsafe, some were poor quality imitations of branded tools and none of which were covered by any valid guarantee.
Nigel Strick, Trading Standards Team Manager, is urging the public not to be tempted into buying any of these so called bargains: “This gang operates out of hire cars and vans, stopping people in the street or calling at units on industrial estates and offering them very cheap power tools, generators and even kitchen knives. Last year the sellers were very pushy and we received several calls from people who even had items forced upon them.
“Some of the brand names sound similar to well-known brands and the prices may sound really cheap but all of these items are bad news.
“We have already received calls from people in the Liskeard area but we know that the gang is likely to visit every town in Cornwall over the next few days before disappearing again without a trace. If everyone in Cornwall refuses to be bullied or conned into buying from this gang perhaps they won’t bother coming back again next year.”
Trading Standards advice is clear:
- Never deal with anyone who approaches you in the street or who knocks at your door without an appointment.
- Power tools and other high value items are best purchased from a reputable, local shop.
- Unknown brands and unknown sellers could mean the item is unsafe.
- Items bought from someone in the street will not be covered by any guarantee and the chances of getting hold of the seller if anything does go wrong are probably nil.
Story published 20 February 2015
FBU Executive Council has announced a further 24 hour period of continuous strike action in England (excluding control members) as follows:
- Commencing 25 February 2015 at 07.00 hours until 26 February 2015 at 07.00 hrs
Members of the Fire Brigades Union within Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service are expected to join the planned strike action.
Now is a good time to be mindful of these fire safety tips:
- In the event of fire, you should get out, stay out and call 999 – you will get an emergency response.
- Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home
- Smoke alarms save lives, but only if they’re working. Test them regularly
- Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully
- Plan your escape route and make sure everyone knows how to get out in a fire
- Take extra care in the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended
- Do not overload electrical sockets. Watch out for faulty and over-heating electrical equipment, and wiring/cables
- Drinking alcohol? Plan how to get home safely without driving.
Cornwall Councillor and Cabinet Member for Communities, Geoff Brown said “I would urge people in Cornwall to be prepared and consider their own safety and that of their family and friends during this period of strike action. Whilst the fire service will be making arrangements to ensure people receive an emergency response, there are plenty of ways people can prevent having to call the service out in the first place. During this time of strike action we can all follow the safety advice of the service and take steps to ensure we are safe at home, on the roads and in the workplace.”
Acting Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker says “This is a national dispute between members of the Fire Brigades Union and the Government over proposed changes to pensions and is not directed against Cornwall Council or Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service. We have well practised contingency arrangements that maintains a response to 999 emergency calls when required. During this challenging period our priorities remain the same….1. Public and firefighter safety. 2.Providing the best emergency response service to the people of Cornwall with the reduced resources available to us. 3. Ensuring a quick return to normal working and the high standard of service delivery we provide on a 24/7 basis to communities, businesses and visitors to Cornwall.”
Posted on 20 February 2015
Cornwall Council has welcomed today’s visit by the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin who has spent the day visiting key road, rail, air and maritime projects across Cornwall.
The Secretary of State flew into Newquay Cornwall Airport on the early morning Flybe flight from Gatwick where he was met by Bert Biscoe, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport; Chris Pomfret, the Chair of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership; Al Titterington, Managing Director of Newquay Cornwall Airport; Cornwall Councillor John Fitter, the local Member for St Mawgan and Colan; Kim Conchie, Chief Executive of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce; Ann Vandermeulen, Cornwall Development Manager of the Federation of Small Businesses and Adrian Penter, Regional Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.
Welcoming the Secretary of State’s visit, Bert Biscoe said “With these investments and the forward thinking of Cornwall Council and its partners, we are seeing real progress in developing sustainable links to the Isles of Scilly and London which will improve connections to and from Cornwall for the future. With the re signalling of the mainline and a refurbished sleeper and strengthened maintenance capacity, we are linking into the future rail network as well as being ahead of the game in digital connectivity” said Bert Biscoe.
“This all represents an innovative, creative and can-do culture founded on the partnerships between Cornwall, transport operators and Central Government. I look forward to welcoming the first half hour rail shuttle to arrive in Cornwall in 2018”.
The Secretary of State was given a briefing on the development of the Airport, which has seen a 20% increase in passenger numbers in 2014, including details on how passenger numbers on the London Gatwick service have increased since the introduction of the Department for Transport supported Public Service Obligation at the end of October last year. The PSO has provided security and confidence to passengers which has helped the airport secure new services to Dublin and Stansted as well as the expansion of other services to Manchester, Birmingham and Isles of Scilly. The Airport is also the site of Cornwall’s Aerohub Enterprise Zone, which has created over 140 jobs and attracted 7 new investors since its inception in 2012.
Following the Airport briefing the Secretary of State travelled to Penzance where he was greeted by Andrew May and Rob Goldsmith, the Chair and Chief Executive of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company. He was then taken on a tour of the Scillonian passenger vessel and Penzance harbour where he met David Nebesnuick, Mayor of Penzance Town Council and representatives of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, and local Cornwall Councillors Cornelius Olivier and Jim McKenna.
The £12.8m scheme to improve the harbours at St Mary’s and Penzance harbours is being delivered by Cornwall Council as the Local Transport Authority in partnership with the Council of the Isles of Scilly, Penzance Town Council; Duchy of Cornwall, Isles of Scilly Steamship Company and supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Company. Funding for the scheme is coming from the Department of Transport and the European Regional Growth Fund.
After leaving Penzance the Secretary of State then travelled to Camborne, Pool and Redruth where he met local MP George Eustice; Ty Nelson, Project Manager for Carillion; Julian Urbans, Principal Engineer for CORMAC, and local Cornwall Councillor Malcolm Moyle at the site of the East-West link road, before driving along the new stretch of road.
The East West Link road is a familiar project for the Secretary of State who cut the first turf to formally mark the start of work on the £27m road on 16 May 2013. As well as the new East West link road, the scheme, which has been funded by the Department of Transport, with financial support towards the development costs from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) includes new junctions and cycle facilities on Dudnance Lane and Station Road, and a new link from Station Road to Wilson Way.
The road will provide access to proposed development areas and remove traffic from the A3047 and the East Hill junction. This will reduce congestion and the associated noise and air quality impacts, whilst allowing regeneration projects in the area to proceed over the coming years, supporting economic growth.
After leaving Camborne, the group drove to the Truro Park and Ride site at Langarth where the Secretary of State met local MP Sarah Newton and Arron Kelly, Park and Ride Manager before transferring to a Park and Ride bus for a journey to Truro Railway station.
Truro’s Western Park and Ride was opened in August 2008 and with stops at Truro College, the Royal Cornwall Hospital, New County Hall, and Truro City centre, has been highly successful in encouraging commuters and shoppers to swap their cars for the bus. The site provides capacity for 1209 cars to park, with the latest figures showing between 1300-1400 passengers using the service each day.
After being greeted by representatives from First Great Western, the Secretary of State had a tour of the rail station and was given an update on the proposals to upgrade the station, with a new lounge area for sleeper passengers and improved car parking.
The £146.6m package of improvements to Cornwall’s rail network was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron during a visit to Cornwall last July. As well as the improvements to the sleeper service, the funding will also be used to expand the Long Rock train maintenance site at Penzance to maintain Cornwall’s sleeper trains, safeguarding jobs and creating new training opportunities; and to bring forward a major programme of signalling improvements which will provide faster journeys between Penzance and Totnes and paving the way for the potential introduction of half-hourly services on the Cornish mainline.
The Secretary of State then travelled to Bodmin Town Council offices where he met local Cornwall Councillors Steve Rogerson, Pat Rogerson, Ann Kerridge and Chris Batters and representatives from Bodmin Town Council and the Better Bodmin group for a briefing on the Bodmin Cycling Town proposals.
The aim of the £3.4m scheme is to increase growth in the local economy by building upon a unique cycle offer and encouraging new housing and employment to maximise the benefits of an extensive walking and cycling network. The scheme includes innovative plans to create a “shared space” scheme in Bodmin’s Dennison Road and Church Square by improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, removing street clutter and reducing traffic speeds.
Speaking at the end of his visit Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "Cornwall is seeing the benefits of the government's investment in transport. Better road, air, rail and sea links will make the county an even more attractive destination for businesses and visitors. Our transport infrastructure funding is supporting economic growth and creating jobs in Cornwall as part of this government's long-term economic plan."
The photo above shows the Secretary of State arriving at Newquay Cornwall Airport where he was greeted by Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport; Nigel Blackler, the Council’s Head of Strategy for the Economy, Enterprise and Environment Directorate and Al Titterington, Managing Director of Newquay Cornwall Airport.
Posted on 20 February 2015
Members of Cornwall Council have today formally approved a budget of £498.136 million for 2015 / 2016. The revenue budget, which was recommended by the Cabinet last month, is based on a 1.97 % increase in Council Tax – equating to a 48p per week increase (£25 a year) for a Band D property.
The Council voted in November 2014 to set an early budget, which has resulted in savings of around £7m to £9m. This budget, which was endorsed at today’s meeting by 63 votes to 19 with 19 abstentions, is based on making savings of £58.08m over the next twelve months.
Since 2010 the Council has been forced to find savings of £170m in its budget as a result of additional pressures and cuts in Government funding; we now need to save a further £196m, almost a third of our revenue budget, in the period 2014 -2019.
Calling on members to support the budget, Council Leader John Pollard said “I put this proposal forward to the Council in November with some pride in what we have achieved in very difficult circumstances, but with little pleasure. The context of this budget is not of our making and, faced with exceptional and unprecedented demands, I believe this is the best budget for Cornwall that we could produce under the difficult financial position forced upon us by the Government.”
“I said at the start of this process that we must not simply cut away at every service and live on a year by year basis. Instead we needed to develop a four year plan which would help protect the key priorities identified by the public - protecting services for vulnerable adults, children, older people and the poorest in society; protecting public transport, including the rural bus network and repairing and maintaining our roads - at the same time as delivering the savings in a more planned manner.
“By aligning this Budget to a Business Plan and a long term Strategy we have achieved this.“
Posted 17th February 2015
Cornwall’s newly formed Park Home Residents’ Forum continues to go from strength to strength with around 90 park home residents gathering at St Erme Community Centre for the group’s second meeting.
Giving residents’ an opportunity to have their say on matters important to them, the meeting featured guest speakers Andrew George MP, Wendy Threlfall, Chair of the National Association of Park Home Residents (NAPHR) and Tim Selley, a specialist in Park Home law.
Some of the key issues discussed included the new arrangements for park rules, which aim to strengthen the safety and security of tenure for residents and the new park licence fee which the site owner will be able to charge residents for as a one off payment.
During the meeting Mr George expressed his strong support for the work of the Forum. He discussed the 10% fee on the sale of a home, which is payable to the Park owner, expressing a view that he cannot see a justification for that level of charge now that the Mobile Homes Act 2013 was in place. This view was very much welcomed by all in attendance.
Mr George said; “It’s important that all sites consider setting themselves up with a Residents Association as a collective voice is the best way to tackle local issues.”
Derek Cordier, Chair of the Cornwall Park Residents’ Forum, said; “We can help guide residents through the process of setting up a residents’ association and also offer advice to help residents find the information and support they may need. All of our committee members live in park homes on sites in Cornwall and we are here to help.”
Cornwall Council has been developing relations with park home residents for the last few years and some of this work has been recognised as national best practice with praise even being given by Lord Graham of Edmonton in one of his speeches at the House of Lords.
The Forum has recently been set up with the support of Cornwall Council’s Communities and Devolution Team.
“We are pleased that the Forum is going from strength to strength with more residents joining up as members. It offers the Council and other services providers with an effective way to engage with park home residents from across Cornwall so we can ensure their needs are being better understood,” said Councillor Joyce Duffin, Cornwall Council Portfolio Holder for Housing and Environment.
More meetings are being planned later this year and it is hoped that more residents will come along and also sign up to become Forum members.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and the Prince’s Trust are asking local businesses to get involved with a TEAM programme currently underway in St Austell.
A group of eleven young people aged between 16 and 25 years old who are not in employment, education or training (NEETS) are taking part in a 12 week Prince’s Trust TEAM programme personal development course which aims to help young people develop the skills and confidence to move into employment, education, training, volunteering or apprenticeships. The courses are run in partnership with and funded by Cornwall Council’s Adult Education service.
An important part of the course is two weeks work experience and that is where local businesses come in.
Group leader Samantha Spooner said: “The participants will take on and learn a lot in just 12 weeks. We want local businesses to offer them the opportunity to learn new skills and help raise their levels of confidence and motivation to ensure they enter further education, training or employment.”
The group will also take part in team building activities and challenges, a week-long action packed residential trip as well as receive advice on how to write a CV and gain nationally recognised qualifications.
The TEAM will also undertake a community project and this is another area where local businesses can get involved.
Sam says: “We have worked with local businesses in the past who have kindly donated materials so we hope we can rely on them for their help and support.”
Station Manager Dave Pilling from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are delighted to be able to work with The Prince’s Trust to deliver this very worthwhile programme. Too many young people feel they don’t have any skills and talents, and feel they’ll never amount to anything. The Team programme really does help them to turn their lives around; helping them into work, education or training, furthermore taking part in Team does not affect their benefits”.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities Geoff Brown said: “Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service has been extremely successful in helping young people from many areas and backgrounds. This initiative in partnership with The Prince’s Trust is to be applauded. It’s great to see how our fire service can help these young people learn how to become better communicators and leaders as they grow in confidence and, in some cases, turn their lives around.”
If any local businesses are interested in work experience placements or being involved in the community project then please contact Samantha Spooner on 07779334386.
Photograph shows the St Austell Team
Posted on 13 February
Two weeks of intensive campaigning for 18 young people in Cornwall came to an end on Saturday 07 February when the results of the elections for the national Youth Parliament were declared at a special ceremony at County Hall.
More than 5,597 young people from 27 schools, 2 colleges and a number of youth projects across Cornwall took part in this year’s election to choose three new Members of Youth Parliament and three Deputy Members of Youth Parliament to represent their views and champion youth issues locally, regionally and nationally.
Following a welcome to the candidates and their family, friends and supporters from Andrew Wallis, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Young People, the results of the voting were formally announced by Geoff Waxman, from the Council’s elections service.
The six young people elected were:
- North and East Cornwall – Member of the Youth Parliament - Owen Winter from Wadebridge who attends Wadebridge School; Deputy Member of the Youth Parliament – Tabitha Wethers from Torpoint who attends St Austell College.
Also standing for election was Josh Yates.
- Mid Cornwall –Member of the Youth Parliament - Cameron Sykes from Perranporth who attends Richard Lander School; Deputy Member of the Youth Parliament - Saffron Carol Blake from St Day who attends Richard Lander School.
Also standing for election were Steven James Wills, Emma Donovan, Joshua Boughton and Keziah Bunyan.
- West Cornwall – Member of the Youth Parliament - Owen Davies from Penzance who attends Cape Cornwall School; Deputy Member of the Youth Parliament – Joseph Michael Thomas Lander from Helston who attends Helston Community College
Also standing for election were Charlie Oliver, Ki Loveday Edwards, Sunny George Donaldson, Amber Seddon, Olivia Ireland, Mollie Martin and Abigail Lilly
This year all the voting took place online for the first time in the history of the Youth Parliament elections in Cornwall, with a special voting site set up where young people could see information on the candidates and the issues they want to work on. Moving to an online approach meant that candidates were also able to make a video about the issues they represented and put it on the site and social media was used using the hashtag #HaveYourVoice to campaign and encourage schools and young people to engage with the voting process and raise awareness of young people having a voice.
The number of votes cast were monitored daily and published on the Young People’s Reference Group Cornwall Facebook page and across the council’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. To help encourage schools and colleges to get involved in the elections process this year there has also been a Democracy Award Scheme with schools and colleges taking part receiving a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award based on their level of participation.
Cape Cornwall recorded the highest level of pupils taking part in the election, with 74% of pupils casting their vote. Other schools with a high voter turnout included Brannel School, where 61% of pupils voted; Liskeard School where 63% of pupils voted; Richard Lander School where 52% of pupils voted and Wadebridge where 58% of pupils took part. All five schools received Bronze Democracy Awards for their efforts.
Andrew Wallis, the Council’s Lead Member for Young People was delighted with the level of turnout from young people in Cornwall. “There are almost 120,000 children and young people up to the age of 18 in Cornwall and these elections have been a real opportunity for them to help shape their own future . “ he said. “It is vital that decision makers locally and nationally listen to and act on the concerns and issues facing young people and taking part in these elections has been a good start in making this happen”.
“I would like to thank the staff and young people at all the schools and colleges who have been involved and look forward to working with the MYPs and the Deputy MYPs in the coming months to ensure that the voice of young people in Cornwall is heard”.
Posted - 10 February 2015
Cornwall Council and Royal Cornwall Museum are working together to bring great art to Cornish schools
Students in schools across Cornwall are being offered a unique opportunity to learn from and enjoy original artworks in their own classrooms.
The paintings and prints are part of Cornwall Council’s Schools Art Collection and are on loan from the Royal Cornwall Museum. Each artwork comes with a learning resource pack to inspire and engage pupils at key stages 1 and 2. Many of the works are by prestigious artists associated with Cornwall and the St Ives School and include pieces by Kate Nicholson, Alfred Wallis and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham.
The Schools Art Collection is an exceptional resource that was put together with the aim of offering school children the opportunity to engage with artwork by influential artists, with many of the works donated or purchased for minimal amounts in the 1960s and 70s. Further information about the history of the collection can be found on our art collections at Cornwall Council page.
Alongside the loans programme a selection of other works from the collection can be viewed in the ‘From Great Beginnings to the 21st Century’ exhibition at The Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro. Plus there are also online learning resources for five selected works available via The Royal Cornwall Museum website.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for economy and culture Julian German said “It is delightful to see these wonderful artworks being shared with school pupils across Cornwall. I hope that they will inspire both further creativity and debate. This reflects the vision that Barbara Hepworth had when the collection was established over 50 years ago.”
The photograph above is of a painting called ‘Untitled’ by Michael Finn which currently hangs in the ‘From Great Beginnings to the 21st Century’ exhibition of Schools Art pieces in the Link Gallery at the Royal Cornwall Museum.
Posted on 13 February 2015
With a couple of weeks still to go until the end of a key amnesty which gives people who are illegally subletting or not living in their council homes the opportunity to hand back their keys, dozens of calls have been made to a dedicated fraud hotline and two properties recovered.
69 calls have been received and two properties have been surrendered by tenants following the introduction of a two month key amnesty which runs until 28 February 2015. The amnesty allows anyone not living in their council home or illegally subletting it to hand back their keys rather than face possible criminal investigation and potential legal action which could ultimately result in a criminal conviction.
Every property being used fraudulently stops another household in housing need from accessing that affordable housing. A new home costs on average well over £150,000 to build and there are almost 28,000 households registered on Cornwall Homechoice seeking an affordable home, making it even more important that those committing tenancy fraud do not get away with depriving other households out of the homes they need.
Illegal subletting happens when a council home is let to a tenant and that tenant then moves out and illegally lets the property to someone else – usually at a higher rent.
Not only is this illegal, it prevents much needed homes from being made available to families in genuine need and in addition costs every household in Cornwall money.
Cornwall Council’s Corporate Fraud Team and Cornwall Housing Ltd have been working in partnership since August 2014 to tackle tenancy fraud and, in what is believed to be the first such prosecution in Cornwall under new Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act legislation, a former tenant was convicted of tenancy fraud in December for illegally moving out of and then subletting a council house. The former tenant was given a 12 month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay Cornwall Council’s full investigation and legal after admitting moving out of the property and subletting it.
Jane Barlow, Managing Director of Cornwall Housing said: “This prosecution shows that this type of activity will not be tolerated by Cornwall Housing Ltd. We have been working in partnership with Cornwall Council’s experienced Corporate Fraud Team and two homes have already been surrendered.
We have seen evidence of how introducing a key amnesty has worked well in other parts of the country. By bringing the issue to the public’s attention, other authorities saw an increase in referrals to its tenancy fraud hotline and we are seeing the same results here. We know that the overwhelming majority of residents live in their homes legally and that they share our commitment to tackling tenancy fraud and I would encourage anyone who suspects someone of committing tenancy fraud to get in touch.”
Joyce Duffin, Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment said: “It costs on average £18,000 a year to house a family in temporary accommodation. There is huge pressure on the supply of social housing making it imperative that the housing we do have available goes to people in genuine need of help. It’s totally wrong for people not to be living in housing intended for them and to be potentially illegally profiting from it at the same time.”
The initiative has been launched in the wake of a change in the law.
The introduction of the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 in October 2013 means people illegally subletting their property can now face a prison sentence of up to two years, a criminal record, or a fine of up to £5,000.
Joyce adds: “I would urge anyone either not living in or illegally sub-letting their council home to get in touch right away.
Once the amnesty ends anyone found not to be living in their home or illegally subletting will face the full force of the new powers.”
Anyone who is illegally subletting or is not living in their council home should hand back their keys to the Council’s Corporate Fraud Team, local housing officer or housing office.
Residents wishing to report somebody who may be illegally subletting or is not living in their home can do so in complete confidence by calling the Council’s dedicated fraud hotline on 0800 7316125 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information can be found at www.cornwall.gov.uk/keyamnesty.
Story posted 13 February 2015
Works to improve the Union Corner road junction adjacent to Falmouth School are set to start on Monday, 16 February.
The £2.3m project, which is due to be completed in July 2015, will see significant improvements carried out to increase the capacity at the junction and improve safety.
The Union Corner junction links the four key roads in Falmouth (Union Road, Trescobeas Road, Bickland Hill, and Kergilliack Road) with two adjacent mini roundabouts. This arrangement will be replaced by a single new roundabout, together with a new link road to Trecobeas Road. The initial stages of the project will include site clearance and temporary works to facilitate the project, followed by the creation of new carriageway routes, islands and pedestrian routes.
Funding for the works, which will be carried out by CORMAC Contracting and managed by Ward Williams Associates, is coming from a range of partners, including £1,559m from the Government’s Local Pinch Point Fund, with the balance from Cornwall’s Local Transport Plan.
Welcoming the improvements, Bert Biscoe, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport said “This upgrade is a much needed improvement for Falmouth which will enhance the pedestrian experience as well as improving traffic flow. With the need to keep things moving as much as possible it's a complex scheme.”
“CORMAC is an experienced contractor and will work well with the surrounding community to ensure safety, ease of access and as clean an environment as possible during the works. The funding is also a complex mix and we owe all those who have helped to stitch the package together a warm round of applause for their commitment and creativity.
Also supporting the scheme, David Saunby, the local ward member said “Having attended several meetings on this issue, I am happy to support this project, now that alterations have been made to the original plans regarding traffic flows, which I sincerely hope will ease the very long tailbacks at peak periods along Bickland Water Road towards Union Corner”..
The works include:
- Replacing the existing double mini roundabout with a single roundabout and new link road
- Closure of the existing Trescobeas Road and Union Hill junction
- Upgrading existing footways and providing new to create improved shared use footways for pedestrian and cyclists
- Alterations to existing drainage to accommodate the new scheme
- Amendments to existing signing and lining and providing new
- Amendments to street lighting and the provision of new, energy efficient lighting
As these junctions are among the busiest in Falmouth, CORMAC will be working with partners to keep disruption to a minimum and ensure that local residents, businesses and schools are kept fully informed during the construction period. Traffic management plans are being developed to minimise potential nuisance from deliveries, traffic and parking during the construction period.
“We recognise that the scale of these works will inevitably cause some disruption at peak periods and we will working hard to minimise the impact on local people and businesses “ said Cormac site manager Ian Newby. “We would like to thank everyone for their patience during this time”.
Brett Miners, Headmaster of Falmouth School and Sarah Newton MP are supportive of the new scheme, which is a key step towards the wider improvement of Falmouth School aiming at providing high quality sports facilities for pupils and the local community.
“I am delighted that the school has been able to work in partnership with Cornwall Council regarding the acquisition of the land required to facilitate the road development” said Brett Miners. “Although the road initially will encroach on school fields, this will only occur during the construction phase as the new road is integral to the wider sports community project and development on the Budock Hospital site, which will enhance the school facilities in longer term.”
Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton said “ I pay tribute to Brett Miners and the governors of Falmouth School for their vision and determination to unlock the land at Union Corner to develop new community sports facilities. Also to the support of the local community, Cornwall Council and the NHS to enable the project to go ahead. The road scheme is a key part of enabling the new community sports facilities.”
Posted on 13 February 2015