WBC News - Autumn 2011
Results of the Wokingham Borough photography competition, another award for the Council's Animal Warden service, the soon to be blooming Winnersh Meadows and much, much more!
Wokingham Borough Your magazine from Wokingham Borough Council Autumn 2011 es d u l Inc stmas i Chr aste w tion ec coll endar cal In this issue... Step change at The Bulmershe Schoolâ€Ś page 4 Keeping it weekly Waste collection service â€“ changes from April 2012 www.wokingham.gov.uk Prevention is better than cure page 6 Business Boost in Borough page 28 2 www.wokingham.gov.uk Keeping in touch with us Phone: (0118) 974 6000 Fax: (0118) 978 9078 Email: email@example.com Text/SMS message: 07786 200 974 Website including webchat: www.wokingham.gov.uk Welcome Visit us Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5pm at the Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 IBN. Social networking sites www.facebook.com/ wokinghamboroughcouncil www.twitter.com/wokinghambc Looking Local iPhone and Android app – Report abandoned vehicles, fly-tipping and vandalism, or check out events, job vacancies and the latest travel information. Go to app store and search for the free Looking Local app. Email and text updates – Register at: www.wokingham.gov.uk/online Information kiosks – available at Woodley and Lower Earley libraries and the Civic Offices. Looking Local – Access local information and services using your digital television remote control. We’d like to hear what you think of Wokingham Borough News, and in particular if you would like to contribute to future editions. Please also give your views on our social networking sites and what else you would like to use them for – send us a message on Facebook or an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Communications Team at Wokingham Borough Council. Design and print Whatever Design Ltd Printed on Ability Offset 80gsm FSC. Cost 10p per person/26p per copy. “It’s been another busy summer. Read on for details of changes to our waste collection service in April, schools’ success and community achievements. The summer saw outstanding GCSE and A level results yet again in the Wokingham Borough. The Bulmershe School celebrated the most improved GCSE results of any school in the Borough and I would like to extend my congratulations to them. It can be a stressful time for our students and their families during exam season and I am very pleased that we’ve had another bumper year of results – everyone should be proud. We enjoyed a late burst of summer, but we have been busy preparing in case of extreme weather this winter. Read more about this on page 27 We are continuing to drive the Transformation Programme. The continuing commitment to delivering the programme is the best and only means of securing the Council’s long-term financial sustainability and protecting those vital services that you depend on us for. Transformation is not about cuts and savings, but about better serving you and doing so efficiently. It’s these efficiencies that will provide the savings needed to give us financial security. Transformation is about moving away from being a task orientated organisation and changing working practices to improve joint working both inside the Council and with our community partners. The Green ‘n’ Tidy scheme run by the Volunteer Centre, and funded by the Council, is a really good example of our Transformation Programme. Check out page 29 to find out more about how this scheme is helping older and disabled people in our Borough.” Cllr David Lee Leader Autumn 2011 Mayor’s view In this edition No two days are alike in the role of “ Mayor; one day I’m chairing a Council Raising aspirations at The Bulmershe School.....................................4 meeting, the next welcoming a member of the Royal Family to a special event. I’ve even tried out a new climbing wall and Zumba Fitness for charity. In the last few months I’ve been to the opening of a new school building at Hillside School, Alexandra Place care housing development in Woodley, the launch of a new volunteer gardening scheme and a careers day for our older school children. Keeping healthy and well..................6/7 Lowdown on local loos.......................... 8 Out and about in local parishes.... 10/11 Cllr Dianne King with Chairman of the Children in Care Council Melissa Duncan I have enjoyed musical events by talented local musicians and followed the Wokingham Cultural Partnership’s Arts Trail. I was involved in agreeing a pledge by councillors to our looked after children, as well as presenting their achievement awards. I’m continuing to support Give a Child a Chance this year, run by the Berkshire Community Foundation. Last year we managed to raise £10,500 for our more vulnerable children – I would like to thank all who contributed in any way to achieve this. I continue to be amazed by the amount of good will and community spirit I encounter across our Borough and look forward to meeting many more of you at future events. ” Cllr Dianne King Wokingham Borough Mayor t. (0118) 974 6004 3 e. email@example.com www.bcfoundation.org.uk Capturing the Borough Inspire Wokingham . ........................... 13 Transforming our services....................14 Important changes to waste...... 15/18 Big aims, big campaign.........................19 School admission arrangements....... 20 Community projects............................. 21 Live local, give local.............................. 23 A winter wonderland.......................... 27 Dining at Dinton................................... 30 What’s on............................................... 31 Energy savings There aren’t many things aged 30 that we consider to be old and decrepit. However, some of our street light columns are well past their best. So over the next six months, nearly £800,000 will be spent replacing columns as well as lanterns with white light lamps. This new equipment will provide a significant energy saving and reduce carbon emissions as well as reduce the cost of maintaining old and crumbling columns. We received over 100 photos in our recent photography competition and it was a tough job to judge. Congratulations to Roger McCallum and Harry McGill on their prize-winning shots. Prizes were kindly donated by Snappy Snaps in Wokingham and photos will be on display at the Civic Offices shortly. Over the next six months, street light columns will be replaced in Reading Road (from Holt Lane to Loddon Bridge Road); London Road/Bath Road (from Earley to Charvil) and Shinfield Road A327 (Lower Earley Way to Shinfield Rise), as well as in a number of residential areas. In 2009 we switched off around 1,000 street lights between midnight and 5am in a trial to generate energy and carbon cost savings. It was a successful pilot which we are now extending across the whole Borough. To find out where the scheme is now going, visit our website. Roger McCallum Harry McGill www.wokingham.gov.uk/part-night 4 www.wokingham.gov.uk Raising Aspirations Raising Achievement at The Bulmershe School The Bulmershe School in Woodley has made improvements in GCSE pass rates above national averages in the past couple of years. This September has seen a step change in the appearance of students. New school blazers for all Year 7 to 11 students, together with strict enforcement of a uniform code with regard to footwear, tailored trousers and skirts, has created a smart, professional and confident student body. a calm and orderly community, students looked smart and behaviour in all the lessons I visited was very good.” Academic results at all levels of the school improved in 2011 and, as a result of the 14% improvement, some 75% of students achieved five or more A* to C GCSEs. The Sixth Form is full. Headteacher Peter Lewis said: “These improvements and changes epitomise the drive to raise aspirations and achievement at the school, but are just examples of a wider range of initiatives and changes under way for both current and future students.” Students Ishwari Sharma and Maisy Inston said: “We were suspicious of the fact that many students might not bother to wear the uniform at the start of the new term but it’s improved the image of the school and how we and our friends feel about Bulmershe.” The school has been awarded the International School Award from The British Council. This recognises the school’s success in creating and developing a cohesive and harmonious multi-cultural community and the expertise it’s developing through trialling new teaching materials to support those for whom English is not their first language. Links with China, Nepal and France have featured in this first term. Peter Holdsworth, a recent visitor to the school, said: “The school presents as An ambitious vision over the next five years outlines the school’s plans to create Executive view Executive Member for Education Services Cllr Rob Stanton “The Bulmershe School should be congratulated for receiving the most improved GCSE results of any school in the borough. We’re working very closely with them and I am proud of the support and advice we have given in recent times. We will be considering their business plan shortly and will continue to support them over the coming months and years to come. We want to make them a school of choice locally.” environments which will support high quality learning and teaching. This will build on the success that has already seen the school achieve the borough’s most improved GCSE results this summer. Exciting times lie ahead for The Bulmershe School. t. (0118) 935 3353 e. firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. sch.uk (for primary school transfers only) www.bulmershe.wokingham.sch.uk Autumn 2011 Wagging our tails in delight Our animal warden service has scooped another Gold Footprint Award from the RSPCA for its stray dog service. Judges praised our continued commitment to animal welfare and our approach to tackling stray dogs despite the tough financial times. Sky’s the limit at Hillside Permanent Secretary for the Department for Education David Bell dropped into Hillside Primary School in Lower Earley recently to officially open its new £2million buildings. These improvements are part of an £8.4million investment in the Wokingham Borough from the national Primary Capital Programme. Headteacher Kelly Gauld said: “It’s been quite an adventure. The school was reduced in size to one third and functioned using temporary classrooms in the playground; closely resembling shipping containers. Despite this, it was an exciting opportunity for the pupils to witness their old classrooms being knocked down and observe how the entire roof could be held steady with the use of metal stilts! We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have been part of the Primary Capital Programme especially in such challenging times. Now with the build complete, the sky is the limit!” Animal Warden Mandy Dorman said: “It’s great to be recognised again for all the hard work we do to reunite pets with their owners and to re-home the borough’s stray dogs.” Boost to Wokingham Town Centre During the summer, new businesses including Peach Flooring Studio, CT Bell, Dragon Nails, Funtastic Toys, The Dress Circle and the Vfb the Florist opened their doors in the Peach Street Parade in Wokingham – meaning that all the previously vacant units are now open. The shops have all been let by the Council’s own company – Wokingham Enterprises Limited – bringing a real lease of life to the heart of the town centre. Executive view Cllr Matt Deegan, Executive Member for Community Development “Since we acquired Peach Street we have worked tirelessly to fill the vacant units. And we’ve had success - hopefully you will have had a chance to visit Wokingham recently and see the units are full and offering a wide range of different goods and services. It’s great to see this part of the town centre more welcoming and alive. This is just part of the work we are doing to regenerate Wokingham town centre and we’re aiming to submit a planning application for our proposals next year.” Over 1700 people visited the public exhibition on the town centre regeneration proposals during the summer. These will continue to be developed over the coming months, and we hope to submit a planning application next year. 5 6 www.wokingham.gov.uk Keeping healthy and well National Falls In Wokingham Borough, we’ve long held the notion that prevention is better than cure. When it comes to our safety and well-being, a modest investment in advance can save time and money, not to mention distress, in the future. So, whether we’re talking about one-off accidents which can have a significant impact, or longer term health conditions, we’re looking at what we can do to help stop them before they happen. Here are just a few of the things we’re doing to help people stay safe, healthy and well. S.H.I.N.E S.H.I.N.E is a physical activity programme aimed at people over 50 in the Wokingham Borough. It aims to help people keep active, while enjoying a range of sports that help maintain a healthy mind and body and make new friends and have fun. Current activities include Latino dance, line dancing, seated and standing exercise to music, Pilates, T’ai Chi and Zumba Fitness. t: (0118) 974 3726 www.wokingham.gov.uk/shine Awareness Week During this nationwide event in June, the message was maintaining your vision helps with balance and prevents falls. Information sessions in Woodley and Wokingham, in conjunction with Boots the Chemist, Sarah Lenton of WBC Visual Impairment helped remind people about keeping Team, Sarah from Boots Opticians, with Geoff Matthews of Age UK Berkshire their glasses clean and unscratched, giving away cases, cleaning cloths and vouchers, as well as a glasses cleaning service. People were also able to find out about the Council-run exercise programmes S.H.I.N.E (see left) and Steady Steps, as well as take part in a range of balance-improving activities from Nordic Walking at Dinton Pastures to archery at Cantley Park. Health and Home Simple and practical tips to prevent falls and accidents in the home are available through our Prevention Occupational Therapist. She speaks to groups and organisations about positive, effective steps that people can take to keep themselves safe and well. In addition, there’s a booklet for people to take home, reinforcing the message about prevention. The Stay on Your Feet booklet and accompanying Home Safety Checklist are both available on request from Karen Arding, Prevention Occupational Therapist (see right). Autumn 2011 A professional view Prevention Occupational Therapist Karen Arding tells us more about her role and why she’s so passionate about it. Evidence suggests that we are safer on the roads than we are in “ our own homes. When visitors leave our home, we often wish them a safe journey, but maybe we should also be welcoming them by wishing them a safe visit. “Slips, trips and falls in the home can be very upsetting and account for a large proportion of home accidents, but, with a bit of forethought, and a few simple changes, up to half could be avoided. If I can prevent one hip fracture in a year I have saved someone from a great deal of distress! “As a Prevention Occupational Therapist, my work has involved visiting people in their homes to carry out falls risk assessments, providing advice, small pieces of equipment and small adaptations to improve safety. Currently my aim is to reach out to groups of people in the community, wherever they may meet, to discuss positive things that could be done to minimise the risk of accidents in the home. “It is a real privilege to be welcomed at the many groups in the Borough and I have had some very positive feedback. I talk for about 45 minutes on health, well-being, falls risk reduction and home safety. “You will also find me at public events and conferences in the Borough, providing advice and information. “I chair the Wokingham Falls Group which looks at falls services across the area to share best practice and making sure that people who fall have access to the help they may need. We aim to provide good quality information for members of the public and to date have produced two booklets based on the Stay on Your Feet programme from Western Australia. I am very grateful for the generosity and support shown to us by our colleagues from the other side of the world! Views given on Eustace Crescent We recently asked residents in our flats and maisonettes in Eustace Crescent in Wokingham about their views on the future of their homes. For a number of years residents have raised concerns with us about the general condition of communal areas and the state of repair of the properties and surrounding areas. Problems include damp and issues with the drainage systems. We also know that many balconies and walkways will need extensive repairs in the future. Last year, we spent over £100,000 on repairs and a survey carried out by our independent stock condition surveyors has shown that we need to spend another £1million to resolve the problems that exist now, let alone to deal with work needed in the years to come. The properties are uneconomical and, in effect, we would be throwing good money after bad if we continue as we are. In September we consulted with residents about a number of options, including the possibility of demolishing the 76 flats and maisonettes. Residents overwhelmingly gave their support to demolish. So what next? We approved in principle to demolish the flats and maisonettes and we will be carrying out further work to see what the possibilities are for re-housing existing tenants, future use of the site and funding for redevelopment. ” t: (0118) 974 6954 e: firstname.lastname@example.org Executive view Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing Cllr Julian McGhee Sumner “Working to prevent illness and accidents saves an awful lot of time, worry, distress and money. Our investment in the health and well-being of our communities is a key part of helping to support quality of life within the Wokingham Borough.” 7 The Health Support Group outside Eustace Crescent flats 8 www.wokingham.gov.uk Local financial support Local people facing money difficulties or wanting an ethical investment should pay a visit to Community Savings and Loans (CSL) Berkshire. The organisation, formerly the Reading Credit Union, offers loans and savings opportunities to customers in Berkshire and can be of particular benefit to people who are struggling with their finances and are unable to get help from high street banks. CSL shares premises with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau in Denmark Street, Wokingham and is currently open on Friday mornings. It plans to expand to other parts of the Borough but needs more volunteers to make this happen. If you can help, why not get in touch? t: (0118) 958 5803 www.cslberks.org Tina’s story Tina had gone bankrupt and run up additional debts of £10,000. It was difficult for Tina to get money from anyone as she no longer had access to a bank account. CSL was able to help with an affordable loan and agreed repayment terms. Tina said: “It has made a major difference because I have got peace of mind now and it is not like a debt collector – if there are any problems, CSL is there to help.” The lowdown on Local Loos Our towns’ toilets have been much discussed recently, so we thought it might be helpful to highlight where the Local Loos are and how the scheme works. The Local Loo scheme was introduced because public toilets were old, often inconveniently placed and regularly vandalised, leading to long closures and costly repairs. Local Loos are hosted by local businesses and organisations and provide a more pleasant environment than the old public toilets. There are currently Local Loos in: Wokingham • The Red Lion, Denmark Street - Mon to Thurs 11am to 3pm and 5pm to 11pm; Fri and Sat 11am to 1am and Sun noon to 3pm and 5pm to 11pm • The Broad Street Tavern, Broad Street - Mon to Sun noon to 11pm • Civic Offices, Shute End - Mon to Fri from 8.30am to 5pm • Wokingham Library, Denmark Street - Mon 9.30am to 7pm; Tue 9.30am to 5pm; Weds 9.30am to 1pm, Thurs 9.30am to 8pm, Fri 9.30am to 5pm and Sat 9.30am to 4pm • The Brown Bag, Alexandra Court Mon to Fri 7am to 5pm, Sat 8am to 5pm, Sun 9am to 5pm • The Grande Baguette, Peach Street Mon to Sat 8am to 5pm Disabled users: • The Gig House, The Plaza, Denmark Street - Mon to Sun 8am to midnight • Wokingham Town Hall, Market Place Mon to Fri 10am to 2pm Crohn’s and Colitis sufferers can use the toilets at the Town Hall in Market Place on production of the nationally issued ‘can’t wait’ card. Woodley • Woodley Centre Surgery, Headley Road - Mon to Fri 8am to 6.30pm • The Oakwood Centre, Headley Road - Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm and Sat 9am to 4pm • Woodley Library, Headley Road Mon, Thurs, Fri 9.30am to 7pm, Tues 9.30am to 5pm, Sat 9.30am to 1pm, Sun 1pm to 4pm Wargrave • The Bull Hotel, High Street - Mon to Fri noon to 3pm, 6pm to midnight, Sat and Sun noon to midnight • The St George and Dragon, High Street - Mon to Sun 11am to 10pm Twyford • Sebastian’s Cafe, London Road, Mon to Fri 8am to 4.30pm, Sat 8am to 4pm and Sun 10am to 2pm Autumn 2011 9 School for the future completed Students, staff and the school community are now reaping the benefits of their brand new school following the completion of the final building at Waingels College in Woodley. After more than three years in the planning, improvements at the school include specialist learning spaces that are light and airy, equipped with the latest technology and resources to support students’ progress and an increased range of opportunities tailored more precisely to the needs and interests of individual students. Head boy Declan McLoughlin and head girl Olivia Whittall outside the brand new buildings Enjoying state of the art facilities New ceremony room rings the changes for Register Office Wokingham register office has moved to its new home at Shute End and has a brand new ceremony room. The new room in the Old Rectory has many original or restored features and a beautiful chandelier. It can accommodate up to 30 guests. One of the first couples to use the new ceremony room was Dr Jasmeen Mehta and Dr Vikram Jhajj: “It was an absolute pleasure conducting our civil ceremony at Wokingham Borough Council’s new ceremony room. “The room was bright and comfortable with ample space for our party. The staff were wonderful from start to finish; from helping us prepare our notice to marry, right to the very end of the special day.” t: (0118) 974 6000 e: email@example.com Drs Jhajj and Mehta were one of the first couples to be married in the new ceremony room. Helping with high quality housing We’ve launched a new housing company to make sure there is a local supply of well-designed, sustainable and affordable housing. Wokingham Housing Limited will increase the number of affordable homes built for sale and rent, ensure new homes are high quality, meet the needs of vulnerable residents and speed up building. We’re investing £1.9million as well as land and have agreed in principle to lend more in the future. Get in touch to find out about the rooms available. The company’s first development will be apartments for people with learning disabilities and retirement bungalows at Hillside Park in Shinfield. 10 www.wokingham.gov.uk Winnersh Meadows soon to be blooming In a true partnership scheme, Winnersh Meadows is being improved thanks to the Winnersh Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG). The group successfully bid for lottery funding to develop a community meadow and Winnersh Parish Council, WBC and SEGRO, owners of Winnersh IQ, have also contributed over £109,000 towards the project. The 10-hectare site in Arbor Lane, previously known as Arbor Meadows, already has an outdoor gym and basketball area. Improved pathways throughout M4 Winnersh Meadows FOREST SCHOOL PLAYING FIELDS MEADOWS ENTRANCE AD IN G LAN E HOO D BA TH UR LANE ST RO RO AD AD WINNERSH STATION N RE ARBOR ROB I ARBOR WILLIAMSONS CLOSE the meadows will now mean no more muddy shoes. A community orchard and wildflower meadow will be planted with over 35 fruit trees and 4,000 daffodil bulbs. Great care has been taken to ensure lots of varieties with local connections, including apples such as Black Prince, Langley Pippin and Vicar of Winkfield pears. Plums, damsons, quince and medlars will all be planted too. There will be picnic tables and benches with additional litter bins to keep the area clean and tidy. Pat Rowell, Chairman of the Winnersh NAG, said: “At last, Winnersh has a place it can call its own. I discovered this green site some 25 years ago and it’s been my ambition ever since to see the area enhanced without destroying its natural beauty, peace and charm. “It’s taken the last four years, a lot of paperwork and meetings, but now the time has arrived thanks to the Ground Force Lottery Grant plus other donations. “Friends of Winnersh Meadows’ challenge will be to keep an ever watchful eye on the future wellbeing of the meadows. I hope Winnersh residents can enjoy this lovely green open space to the full for many years to come.” WBC is also looking to apply for a Green Flag award, a national award recognising the best green spaces in the country, for the meadows. Autumn 2011 11 A juicy treat for Twyford families Fruit will be on the menu in Twyford when 40 fruit trees are planted in a new community orchard at Stanlake Meadow this Autumn. Open to all, the community orchard aims to get people involved and learning about fruit growing from planting to picking and eating. Families from Twyford will get the chance to take responsibility for individual trees by adopting a tree free of charge. The Community Council for Berkshire (CCB) recently bid for Big Lottery funding from the Local Food programme to plant 290 fruit trees in the Borough. As well as Twyford, trees will be planted in Swallowfield and Wargrave, as well as Dinton Pastures in Hurst. The scheme involves volunteers from the community, especially families with children, working together with their local parish council to take responsibility for the planting, maintenance and harvesting of the fruit trees. They will be supported by staff from WBC and CCB. Tim Parry from the CCB said: “Berkshire has a rich history of orchards, many of which have disappeared over the years. With this funding, we’re able to reintroduce old apple varieties with local significance as well as providing other fruits such as pears and plums. In Twyford alone, 30 different varieties of apple will be planted. The project reinforces the link between growing food and eating healthily, enhances public spaces in the Borough, gives people access to a free source of healthy food and rekindles interest in a sometimes forgotten part of our heritage.” Lesley Jarvis from Twyford Parish Council said: “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to bring the community together in such a rewarding and worthwhile way and we’re very pleased at the response from so many families in the village. We are all looking forward to planting our trees, watching them grow and enjoying the fruits of our labours.” At the time of Wokingham Borough News going to press, an army of local volunteers was preparing to join Twyford Parish Council at a planting session. Apple pie anyone? Twyford Parish Council t. (0118) 934 2374 e. firstname.lastname@example.org CCB t. (0118) 961 2000 e. email@example.com Time for a game at Charvil MUGA Charvil Parish Council has long wanted a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) for local young people to hone their skills at football and basketball and it’s finally coming true. WBC has provided the land at East Park Farm and helped with some of the funding, although the lion’s share came from the Parish Council. We are overseeing the installation of the MUGA, further enhancing the sporting facilities in Charvil. It’s due to be completed this winter. Nick Ray of the Parish Council said: ‘It’s wonderful to see this project finally become real as we’ve wanted to provide facilities for our young people for many years now. With help from WBC, they will soon have something that’s just for them. Now the MUGA is under way we’ll be looking to go further and install a BMX track.” 12 www.wokingham.gov.uk Almost 800 give views on plans for the future We would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who gave their views on future development in the Wokingham Borough. During a six-week consultation almost 800 people commented on five supplementary planning documents (SPDs) – North and South Wokingham, South of the M4 and Arborfield Garrison – and one overarching document relating to infrastructure. Every comment was carefully considered. Work continues to develop policies to ensure all developments will be built to a high standard of design and sustainability. Recently updated traffic modelling work will provide developers with the data needed for the necessary road improvements required before planning applications can be approved. t.(0118) 974 6819 e. firstname.lastname@example.org www.wokingham.gov.uk/planning And last month (October) we adopted the SPDs, which are significant documents that inform developers and residents on how these major developments, providing 10,000 homes within the next 15 years, will incorporate good design and a high level of infrastructure. Executive view Cllr Angus Ross, Executive Member for Strategic Highways and Planning Keeping pupils safe on their way to school As pupils at Whiteknights Primary School in Earley make their way to school over the busy Elm Road, School Crossing Patroller Maxine Holley is on hand to make sure every step is safe. Maxine’s story “It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this job for 20 years – I’m one of the longest serving patrollers! I love meeting the children and their parents and it’s good to chat. There’s a real sense of community spirit. However, their safety is the most important part of my job. “It’s the best job in the world and I would thoroughly recommend it. If you are thinking about this role, you will need to be prepared to work in all weathers – come rain, snow and sunshine! You’ll need eyes in the back of your head and must be patient. All this said, the benefits outweigh the pouring rain any day of the week!” Interested in becoming a school crossing patroller? We have a few vacancies available. The role would suit a reliable and fit adult looking for a valuable and important role in the community. Please get in touch! t. (0118) 974 6288 “It was good to see so many people maintaining their interest in how the Borough will develop. More policies are being prepared for consultation, including car parking, minimum room sizes, allocation of small development sites and settlement boundaries to name but a few.” Autumn March 2011 13 Inspire Wokingham – Living the Legacy N I JO P U Many people are being inspired by London 2012 to take up a sporting activity. Inspire Wokingham is making sure everyone in the Borough can enjoy sport, including those with disabilities. A new dedicated sports disability group is proving a real hit. Charley Walker from Winnersh tells us more: I moved back home after a spell at “ boarding school and it was quite a difficult time for me as my friends live all over the country. Whilst at school I was really involved in sport and there wasn’t a local group I could join. You can imagine how excited I was when I heard about this new group. I knew it would be a great chance to socialise, meet new people as well as try new sports. It‘s brought me out of my shell. group and I can’t wait get to get qualified and train others. ” The group meets every Thursday at the FBC Centre in Finchampstead between 6.30pm and 8pm. t. Sports and Leisure on (0118) 974 6000 e. email@example.com www.wokingham.gov.uk/sports Charley Walker “There are many different sports on offer. Recently we’ve enjoyed playing indoor golf and kayaking was a real highlight. I like to try new sports as well as continuing with the ones I really love like Boccia. It’s a fun group and has certainly helped my confidence. “It’s also led to other great opportunities. I helped Inspire Wokingham organise the One Year To Go event including writing the disability sports section in the programme. I’ll soon be a Boccia instructor thanks to the All play together! There’s a chance to enjoy sports activities as a family in a relaxed atmosphere at the FBC Centre in Finchampstead. Why not try out games to improve children’s basic development such as climbing, throwing, jumping and balancing? The sessions run every Saturday from 10am to 10.50am and 11am to 11.50am. It’s a bargain at only £1 per person, and under threes go free. Book your place now! t. (0118) 908 8155 Executive view Executive Member for Internal Services Cllr UllaKarin Clark “Inspire Wokingham is part of our drive for inclusive sports for everyone within the Borough. We’re committed to providing disabled people with a wide range of opportunities to take part in sport and exercise. There’s a great atmosphere at the club with support and training available for anyone who may not have tried activities before. This is a real legacy story for London 2012.” 14 www.wokingham.gov.uk Autumn 2011 14 Transformation Your Borough News Blueprint for success You’ll have noticed a very different Borough News recently. We know we won’t please everyone, but we hope we’ve improved over the last year. When we asked, the majority of you told us that you still wanted to receive a hard copy newsletter through your door. And most of you seem to like the changes we’ve made. We’ve been talking to you for some time about transforming our organisation; but what does it mean and how are we going to do it? We’ve also had external recognition, with Wokingham Borough News shortlisted in the government Good Communication Awards and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) PRide Awards. It was also a winner at the CIPR Local Public Service Awards. So keep in touch and let us know what you would like see in future issues of your newsletter. A blueprint outlining how the Council will look from 2013 and the means by which we’ll meet our communities’ needs has been published for staff. It details how our focus will shift from the traditional way of delivering services to one where each community’s needs will be identified and services delivered specifically to meet those needs. An executive summary is available for everyone to read online. www.wokingham.gov.uk/transformationblueprint Shared legal success In the last issue of Wokingham Borough News, we told you about the new joint legal service between Wokingham Borough and The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Councils. Shared Legal Solutions, as the team is called, has been operating successfully since June and has had a number of successes including legal work for the new adult social care company Optalis, protecting land in Arborfield from unauthorised occupation and several prosecutions for benefit fraud (see page 29). The shared team saves money for residents in both boroughs, as well as providing an efficient service across the boundary. Executive view Executive Member for Finance Cllr Anthony Pollock “Transformation is about making sure we deliver the right services to you in the most efficient way. An important part of this process is making regular checks on how we are performing, to make sure that our journey is taking us in the right direction, and that’s what we’re showcasing on this page.” Wokingham Direct tops email poll To make sure we offer the best possible service to you, our front line customer service team in Wokingham Direct takes part in the Top 50 Call Centres programme each year. This year, the view of mystery shoppers, who sent 100 emails over a period of three months to Wokingham Direct, is that we are the best at responding. We beat off stiff competition from the likes of Coca Cola and Royal Mail to reach that top spot. And for the second year running, we were named number one council for both telephone and email contact, based on 200 mystery shopper calls. We’re now looking at the feedback to see how we can continue to improve. For a full list of the different ways to get in touch, see page 2. Keeping it weekly Waste collection service – changing from April 2012 SPE FEA CIAL TUR E es s d lu ma c in rist ion t Ch llec dar co len ca In April 2012, our waste collection service will change, saving nearly a million pounds every year and encouraging more residents to recycle. Recycling c ollection Increases to a weekly olds h e s u Ho emain r y l k e we waste Executive view Cllr Gary Cowan, Executive Member for Environment “The new scheme improves the service to our community. Keeping changes to a minimum, it will increase our recycling rates and reduce the amount going to landfill. Although many of you are keen recyclers, we know many more want to increase the amount they recycle. We all have a responsibility to reuse and recycle more, as continuing to send waste to landfill is unacceptable for the environment and will ultimately impact on your pocket.” service e Garden wast htly Fortanbig service charge le extended to gh whole borou We all need to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste. This four page pull-out gives you more information about changes to your collection in April and details about Christmas collections 2011/12. t. (0118) 974 6000 e. firstname.lastname@example.org www.wokingham.gov.uk/recycling New service d l o h e ains Hous Your household rubbish will continue to be collected every week. To encourage you to put more waste in the recycling boxes and less in the rubbish bag, we’ll provide you with 80 official blue bags every year. Only these official bags, approximately 75 litres and large enough to line a dustbin, will be collected each week. em r waste y l k e we Arrangements will be made for large households Recycling c (more than four residents) to apply for more bags. For example, a family of five can get 100 and a family of six and above 120. We will automatically deliver to your house your free 80 official bags in March 2012. Extra bags can be bought in rolls of 10 but we’ll try to discourage this, as we need to reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill. Details of where you can buy extra bags and the cost will be on our website shortly. ollection There’ll be weekly collections of recycling using the existing black boxes. Increases to a weekly All your food and drink cans, mixed paper and card, plastic bottles and aerosols can be recycled and there’s no limit on the amount as long as only these items are put in the black boxes. service e t s a w n e d r a G y l t h g i n t r o F service e l b a e g r a h c o t d e d n e t x e h g whole borou Anyone will be able to opt into the garden waste scheme. For an annual charge of £60, residents will be able to have a 240-litrewheeled bin for their garden waste which will be collected every fortnight. Alternatively you’ll be able to buy 75-litre compostable sacks for about £1 each, which will also be collected every fortnight. You can compost at home or take garden rubbish to the household waste recycling centres in Bracknell or Reading for free. If you choose to have a wheeled bin, it will be delivered once you have paid the annual charge. The compostable sacks will Don’t wait – join for free now You don’t have to wait until April 2012 to join our recycling scheme. If you sign up, black boxes will be delivered to you so you can store newspapers, cardboard, cans, aerosols and plastic bottles separately from your normal household waste. Don’t delay, sign up today! Email your name and address plus the number of boxes you require to: wokinghamdirect@ wokingham.gov.uk be on sale from where you get the green bags now – other locations will be introduced to make it even more convenient for you. Watch out for more details on our website very soon. You will be able to buy and put out as many or as few sacks as you require on the appropriate day. Get a home composter for just £15 see back page for details. Your questions answered Residents recently put their questions to us about the new scheme… athy Peck Twyford resident K collect more Kathy: Why can’t you d tetrapaks in materials such as glass an the kerbside collection? add WBC: Every material we sorting costs increases collection and ycling rate without adding to our rec ert the glass overall as we’d only div nks. we already put in the ba yer. Can I Kathy: I’m a keen recycl ? have more black boxes xes you it on how many black bo WBC: Yes, there is no lim u recycle every week. have, or the amount yo ir p residents fly tipping the Kathy: How will you sto green waste? ce of t this isn’t the experien WBC: There’s a risk bu . We’ll tem sys introduced this other councils who have ion act t en and take enforcem continue to be vigilant where appropriate. Resident Ann Keenan from Woodley Ann: Are there any concessions for the green waste scheme? WBC: No. However, people can share bins to keep the cost down or buy compostable sacks as and when needed. Les Anstead from Finchampstead Les: Are the black recycling boxes staying? WBC: Yes and they will be emptied weekly. Les: As the recycling collection is weekly, what shall I do with my surplus black box? WBC: You can use it to take your glass and tetrapaks to the recycling banks or alternatively we can collect and dispose of it for you. Les: Why can’t I recycle more plastic? WBC: At the moment there are no reprocessing plants in the UK for other types of plastics and we do not consider it sustainable to send non-bottle plastics to China or the Far East. Les: Can the blue bags be sealed? WBC: Yes, they will have handles for you to tie ahead of collection. Earley resident Joh n Armstrong John: Why are you ma king these changes? WBC: We simply have to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. If we don’t, we face big financial penalties (poten tially £150 per tonne) from central Governmen t, which ultimately will cost the tax payer and im pact on vital council services. Any penalties are on top of the £64 pe r tonne landfill tax we’ll be paying in 2012/13. John: How much mone y do you aim to save? WBC: We’re aiming to slash the amount of wa ste sent to landfill by between 5% and 11 % and increase our rec ycl ing rates to 45% - saving almost £1 millio n every year. John: Why are you su pplying free refuse bags if you are trying to save money? WBC: The only way we can reduce household waste by the amounts given above is to introduce containm ent. Other councils have done thi s by introducing wheeled bins but we have agreed not to do this. John: Older people can find it difficult to carry heavy boxes and bags, so will assisted collections continue? WBC: Yes. You can ap ply if you are frail or ha ve a disability that makes it difficult for yo u to put out your rubbis h. from Celia Adams Swallowfield e? een waste schem be part of the gr ld fie w lo al Sw ill e to Celia: W d will be availabl opt-in service an an is is th s, Ye : WBC Borough everyone in the n for green ea of a wheelie bi id e th e lik I : lia Ce ied? n will it be empt waste. How ofte night WBC: Every fort in food scraps? Celia: Can I put , weeds, n only put leaves ca u yo o, N : BC W bins / bags. s cuttings in the as gr d an g in un pr gh. composted thou Food waste can be Meet the new contractor Last month (October) we selected Veolia Environmental Services to deal with all waste and recycling collections. They will take over the new service on Monday April 2, 2012. The seven-year contract will cost less money and make improvements to the service. We will be working with Veolia Environmental Services over the next few months to keep you fully informed about the changes and how they will affect you. You’ll receive an information leaflet soon and we’ll be holding roadshows to tell you more. Visit www.wokingham. gov.uk for more details. For more answers to your questions, please vist the website at: www.wokingham.gov.uk/recycling Christmas and New Year Collections for 2011/2012 Your collection day may change over the Christmas holiday period. We’ll collect as normal up to and including Friday December 23. Please check the chart below for any changes. This year, black box recycling will NOT miss a week during the Christmas and New Year period. Household waste collection Normal collection day Will be collected on Delay Monday December 26 Monday January 2 One week Tuesday December 27 Tuesday January 3 One week Please note collections will be as normal on Wednesday December 28, Thursday December 29 and Friday December 30. Black box recycling collections There will be minor changes from the normal collection day in Week B and C - see table below. Week A collections will be on the normal day. Normal collection day Will be collected on Delay Monday December 26 Wednesday December 28 Two days Tuesday December 27 Thursday December 29 Two days Please note all collections will be as normal on Wednesday December 28, Thursday December 29 and Friday December 30. There will be NO GREEN WASTE COLLECTIONS during weeks starting December 26 and January 2. All collections will return to normal on week beginning January 9 Remember to recycle jars and bottles at the bottle banks this Christmas as well as cans and tins (including sweet and biscuit tins), newspapers and magazines in your black boxes. You can also recycle old Christmas cards and wrapping paper (except the shiny stuff). Christmas trees can be cut up and put out with your green bags on the appropriate week after Christmas. If you’re not on the green waste scheme there will be drop off points as usual on Saturday January 14 or alternatively they can be taken to December B either household waste recycling centre at Smallmead, Reading or Longshot Lane, Bracknell. For details of location drop-off points check our website. We will be collecting normally on all bank holidays throughout the year but please put your rubbish and recycling out the night before as our crews start their rounds earlier as the tips shut early. Kerbside Recycling 2012 • If you’re in recycling week A, please put your recycling boxes out on the week marked A below. A • If you’re in recycling week B, please put your recycling boxes out on the week marked B below. • If you’re in recycling week C, please put your recycling boxes out every week. • If you’re unsure of which week you are, visit www.wokingham.gov.uk/ recycling or call (0118) 974 6000. From April, the weekly recycling service will start and you will be notified which fortnight your area is in for the green waste collections should you sign up. A B A B February B A B A Monday 5 12 19 26 Monday 6 13 20 27 Tuesday 6 13 20 27 Tuesday 7 14 21 28 Wednesday 7 14 21 28 Wednesday 1 8 15 22 29 Thursday 1 8 15 22 29 Thursday 2 9 16 23 Friday 2 9 16 23 30 Friday 3 10 17 24 Saturday 3 10 17 24 31 Saturday 4 11 18 25 Sunday 4 11 18 25 Sunday 5 12 19 26 January B A A B A B A March B A B A Monday 2 9 16 23 30 Monday 5 12 19 26 Tuesday 3 10 17 24 31 Tuesday 6 13 20 27 Wednesday 4 11 18 25 Wednesday 7 14 21 28 Thursday 5 12 19 26 Thursday 1 8 15 22 29 Friday 6 13 20 27 Friday 2 9 16 23 30 Saturday 7 14 21 28 Saturday 3 10 17 24 31 8 15 22 29 Sunday 4 11 18 25 Sunday 1 Autumn 2011 19 Big aims, big campaign IN GET VO LV ED Supporting people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) and making sure they have access to the same rights, choices and opportunities as the rest of their community are the aims of the Big Campaign. • Training people to meet the needs of people with PMLD In July, Bonnie and her mum, who is her family carer, attended a training session for health professionals. Bonnie’s mum said: “Bonnie and I felt by talking to the students about our experiences and feelings, by letting them meet Bonnie and by answering questions openly and honestly, that they would go away with a better understanding of the value and worth of people with PMLD. Maybe in time there will be less prejudice towards these very vulnerable members of our society.” • Accessing communities A Changing Place facility is set to open in Wokingham town centre. This offers the equipment, space and safe clean environment needed to allow people with PMLD to confidently access the town centre. A lack of suitable toilet and personal care facilities is often a barrier to accessing their local communities. • Securing activities SPLAT! was set up by the Partnership Board with Maiden Erlegh Community Arts to provide an inclusive arts and craft project. Activities included sculpture, portraiture, printing, painting and plaster casts. One family carer who supported her son Jonathan to take part in the project said: “We both really enjoyed the course. Jonathan was overwhelmingly excited on arrival to see familiar faces! He was only able to tackle the art projects in short bursts, but he did amazingly well.” • Providing employment opportunities The Campaign is also providing employment opportunities for people with PMLD. Four people have been recruited to help deliver training and feature in promotional material. It clearly demonstrates how people with PMLD can take on employment if the right support is in place. The campaign is looking for more people to get involved. Why not get in touch? t: Jodie Reichelt on 05600 766 114 e: email@example.com What is PMLD? People with profound and multiple learning disabilities have more than one disability. They have great difficulty communicating and need high levels of support in their daily lives. Their learning disability is often compounded with a physical disability, sensory loss and health problems. Ch a Wokingham’s Learning Disability Partnership Board is running the campaign with a number of key aims: nn e faces of the Big C of th am e n pa ,o ign ah 20 www.wokingham.gov.uk Maiden Erlegh School – new admission arrangements You may have heard recently about a change to Maiden Erlegh School’s admission arrangements for 2012/13. There’s been some confusion about what the new arrangements are and what they mean for Earley and Lower Earley families. After new admission arrangements were adopted by the Council for most of our secondary schools in March 2011, a number of objections were made against the arrangements for Maiden Erlegh. As a result of this, the independent schools adjudicator, on behalf of the Secretary of State, reviewed our arrangements and decided to amend the tie-breaker rule. The previous tie-breaker was based on distance a pupil would have to travel to Maiden Erlegh or to Bulmershe, aiming to reduce journey times for children, and it gave a high degree of priority to those families living in the streets around and to the south-west of Maiden Erlegh, where access to other schools was more difficult. The new tie-breaker will now give priority to those families living closest to the school, within the designated area. The designated area for Maiden Erlegh is now bigger meaning even more parents will have the chance to apply for the number of places available. We are disappointed by the Secretary of State’s decision. We sought to correct what we believed, and still believe, was a significant historic unfairness in how the old admissions arrangements operated. We hoped to create greater overall fairness, and we feel that the adjudicator’s decision, in accepting some of the objections, undermines some efforts to achieve this. t. (0118) 974 6143 / 6111 / 6225 e. schooladmissions@wokingham. gov.uk www.wokingham.gov.uk/ admissions Safe Drive Stay Alive safe drive Every year in the Thames Valley dozens of teenagers and young people are killed or seriously injured on the road. As Wokingham Borough News went to print, 1,329 young people from schools in the Borough were booked on Safe Drive Stay Alive, a hardhitting event held annually to warn young people of the dangers involved in speeding, not wearing seatbelts, using mobile phones, drinking, taking drugs and driving recklessly, with the ultimate aim of reducing those involved in road traffic collisions. The event revolves around a film about a group of friends involved in a traffic collision interspersed with real life stories from the emergency services, victims and bereaved parents. After attending the event last year, one student said: “I would just like to say how truly and completely touched I was by it. It must have taken so much courage for those people to stand there and tell their stories. It had a deep emotional impact on me and I know I, and a lot of my peers, are now more aware and will drive slower in the future.” Watch videos and find out more at: www.safedrive.org.uk Autumn 2011 21 Reaping the rewards of good work £1.5million of central government funding is being pumped into community projects, thanks to Wokingham Borough Strategic Partnership (which brings together the public, private, voluntary and community sectors) successfully meeting national targets. Katy Anne Perugia and job coach Moira Taylor Benefitting from the money are: Wokingham Volunteer Centre • the Family Intervention Project, which works with families to improve relationships and parenting Katy Anne Perugia, from Purley-on-Thames, and her job coach Moira Taylor have been volunteering at the Wokingham Volunteer Centre for more than four years, as well as helping out at other local charities. • Cockayne Court Sheltered Housing and Pinehaven Day Centre in Finchampstead which are to get a redesign and refurbishment • Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service community safety work • a project to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve recovery rates • the volunteer centre in Wokingham • community development work in the Hornbeam area of Lower Earley • community safety projects including a hi-tech security marking system to trace stolen goods and Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras. Executive view Cllr Liz Siggery, Executive Member for External Services “These grants show what can be achieved when local organisations come together with shared aims for the community. Prioritising and meeting agreed targets has resulted in tangible benefits for our community. A big thank you to everyone in the Strategic Partnership for securing this money for the Borough.” Katy Anne, who has learning difficulties, and Moira help with general administration at the Centre once a week. Moira said: “Volunteering has helped Katy Anne’s social skills and ability to cope in a work environment – but she also brings tremendous fun to wherever she volunteers and, with me helping out as well, the places we go get two for the price of none.” Hornbeam Community Development Work Community Development Worker Carolyn Szewczyk works to engage, encourage, motivate and involve people from the Hornbeam Drive area of Lower Earley. Carolyn has been instrumental in launching community and youth associations. Young people are now involved in local art projects and safety work at the nearby BMX track. Shopkeepers at Maiden Place get involved in activities for young people. For instance, one hair salon has used young people as models and a convenience store acted as a collection point for disposable cameras that young people used to record their perception of their area. Supported by the Cultural Partnership, an exhibition in empty shops in the precinct showed the photos taken. 22 www.wokingham.gov.uk Community Budgets Projects ranging from healthy living to community gardens in the Norreys area of Wokingham have won funding from Wokingham Borough Council’s inaugural Community Budget. Residents in Norreys came up with projects to benefit the community and then voted on which projects should be funded. The Community Budget is part of the Norreys Neighbourhood Project, which aims to improve how residents, groups and organisations living in and working with the community link up with each other. Three groups making use of the community budget are: • Transition Wokingham • Community Health Support Group • Open door coffee morning e: firstname.lastname@example.org Also receiving funding are: • Wokingham (North) Community First Responders: Received £250 towards running costs. ded r a Aw 00 £8 • Transition Wokingham: Funding to create a community garden behind Eustace Crescent. Aw ar £40 ded 0 • Community Health Support Group: Funding for exercise at a local leisure centre and basic equipment for the group. • Eustace Community Association: Received £1,000 to subsidise day trips to Bournemouth and Cotswold Wildlife Park aiming to give low income families a chance to have a least one break from their usual surroundings. • Sunbeams Parent and Toddler Group: Received £500 to provide a trip to Beale Park. • Norreys Community News: Received £610 to buy a photocopier and paper for the community newsletter. • Neighbourhood Speedwatch: Received £450 for publicity material. • Open door coffee morning: Funding for toys, crafts equipment and refreshments. Awar ded £500 Live local, give local Autumn 2011 23 Charity may begin at home, but few people in Berkshire are aware that an estimated £9 in every £10 donated locally leaves the county. Marcelle Speller, co-founder of Localgiving.com and one of Channel 4’s “Secret Millionaires”, wants to help redress this imbalance. In association with the network of Community Foundations, Marcelle fronts and promotes Localgiving.com which enables local people to find and give to local charities and community groups, whilst enabling local groups, who are often too small to be registered, to have a web presence, receive donations online and raise their profile. Marcelle wants the site to be a tool that communities can use to find out what work is being done in their area and ‘match-make’ the donor to the group. Marcelle recently visited the Wokingham Borough with Andrew Middleton from the Berkshire Community Foundation to promote the website and charity at an event held by the Wokingham Giving Partnership, one of the local charities that localgiving.com supports. Speaking about her appearance on the Channel 4 show, Marcelle said: “Taking part didn’t change my life but it did affirm that local giving does work and that it would do a lot of good.” To date, there are over 700 charities registered with localgiving.com and over £100,000 has been raised. In Berkshire alone, there are over 100 charities on the site. Marcelle admits that affluent areas find it more difficult to secure donations: “Berkshire is seen as a rich home county but the trouble with averages is that it hides areas of deprivation. If you have your head in the oven and your feet in the freezer, are you ok overall?” www.localgiving.com or www.berkshirecf.org Keeping children safe Keeping children safe is everyone’s business – including yours. If you are concerned about a child or young person, we need to know. If you are worried about a child’s physical or emotional safety or health, please get in touch. Children and their parents may need help urgently. If you do not feel comfortable about telling us, or are unsure, speak to a police officer, teacher, health visitor, doctor or the NSPCC. The most important thing is to tell someone who can help. t: Referral and assessment on (0118) 908 8002 or out of hours (01344) 786 543 e: email@example.com Other contacts: Police non-emergency 0845 850 5505 NSPCC 24-hr helpline 0808 800 5000 If you believe a child is in immediate danger, dial 999. 24 www.wokingham.gov.uk Tackling Domestic Abuse Mel’s story Mel witnessed domestic abuse as a child. After a difficult childhood, she became involved with Jon and became pregnant. Their relationship soon became abusive and their child was going to be taken into care. Mel has worked with Berkshire Women’s Aid to keep herself and her baby safe and is now in a position where she is able to care for her son. Don’t miss the deadline Parents have until January 16, 2012 to apply for their child’s primary or junior school place for September 2012. To help parents, we’ve produced two guides – one for starting school and one for those pupils transferring to year 3 at a junior school in September 2012. Wokingham Borough parents need to apply to the Borough Council, even if they are expressing preferences for schools in other boroughs. Community Safety Officer Stephanie Meyrick, BWA’s Carol Bell and Louise Barker and Home Refuge Officer Lorraine Booth. The victims of domestic abuse sometimes don’t speak out, either through a fear of the consequences of reporting the abuse or because they don’t understand that there is help available for them. In Wokingham Borough we’ve made it a priority to reduce the number of people suffering domestic abuse. On behalf of the Community Safety Partnership, we’ve commissioned Berkshire Women’s Aid (BWA) to train staff and volunteers in the best ways to help victims and perpetrators. BWA is a charity which supports victims of domestic abuse by offering both refuge and an outreach service. It will be offering training to any organisation whose staff or volunteers may come into contact with potential domestic abuse victims. The training will cover how to recognise somebody who may be a victim, how best to help them and where victims can get help. We hope the training offered by BWA will combat the barriers faced by domestic abuse victims in reporting their abuse and asking for help. BWA’s Carol Bell said: “We are delighted to be able to build on the good work, which has already taken place in the Borough. We want to enable more people to step forward and access support.” Helpline: (0118) 950 4003 www.berkshirewomenaids.org.uk To find out about training: t: Stephanie Meyrick on (0118) 974 6032 e: firstname.lastname@example.org At least 1 in 4 women in the UK will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime (British Crime Survey 2009/10). Parents can apply online from November 21, 2011. Application packs, including an admission guide and application form, will be sent to parents who have registered their child’s details with the team below from mid November. t. (0118) 974 6245 / 6146 / 6225 e. schooladmissions@wokingham. gov.uk www.wokingham.gov.uk/ admissions Autumn March 2011 25 Independence and confidence at Alexandra Place The first residents in Wokingham Borough’s flagship Alexandra Place are already enjoying the high-quality of life it has to offer. The development of modern homes in South Lake Crescent, Woodley is suitable for older people with a range of needs – from those who are active and have few or no care needs, to those requiring 24hour care and support. The on-site care is adaptable to meet the residents’ changing needs within their own homes, preventing the upheaval of having to move. Alexandra Place has 46 one-bedroom apartments and 18 two-bedroom apartments, including 10 one-bedroom apartments especially for people living with dementia. These provide real, comfortable homes for older people with additional care for those who need it. It also has an exercise room, hair salon, restaurant, IT café, spa bath, shop, therapy suite, guest room and activity areas. Local people can become members to use the facilities and mix with residents, building a real community. With some funding and land provided by the Borough Council, Alexandra Place has been developed by Catalyst Communities Housing Association and is managed by Central and Cecil. Onsite care and support service is provided by Housing 21. t: (0118) 974 6760 e: email@example.com. Home sweet home for Barbara Barbara Rutherford moved in to Alexandra Place in the summer and, already, it has made a huge impact on her life. Barbara said she used to sit all day in a chair with a hot water bottle and blanket for comfort. She now spends much of her time in the communal lounge laughing with the new friends she has made. She says her new confidence is because she has been given her independence back and she makes regular use of the shop and restaurant and even hosted a birthday party for her grandson. Barbara also finds the wet room shower facility much easier than her old bathroom. She is particularly enjoying the restaurant and has put on a little weight. She loves all the company and says the staff are great, always willing to help. Independent living An exciting new housing scheme specially designed for older people with dementia and adults with learning disabilities is well underway in Wokingham. The Beeches Manor development on Reading Road, due to open in spring 2012 by Housing 21, has communal facilities including lounge, kitchens and activity rooms as well as 24-hour care and support available to those with dementia. All residents will enjoy apartments that are both spacious and comfortable. t. (0118) 974 6760 e. firstname.lastname@example.org 26 www.wokingham.gov.uk Help is at hand to switch to digital TV In February, the Hannington transmitter and analogue television will be switched off across the Wokingham Borough. If you don’t have digital TV by this time, you’ll lose your TV channels. If you are still watching analogue TV on any of your sets, you need to convert them to digital. Virtually any existing TV can be converted using a Freeview box, a digital satellite service or digital cable. Almost everyone will be able to watch Freeview after switchover – even homes currently out of coverage. For older and disabled viewers who may find making the switch difficult, the BBC-run Switchover Help Scheme is at hand to provide everything you need to switch one TV set to digital. Most eligible people will be asked to pay £40 towards the standard option of help. For eligible people on income related benefits, it’s free. This includes easy to use equipment, an approved installer to supply and install the equipment, and a 12-month aftercare service including a free helpline. If you’re 75 or over or eligible disabled, the Help Scheme will write to you directly and in plenty of time to ask if you want help. t. 08456 50 50 50 / 0800 40 85 900 www.digitaluk.co.uk www.helpscheme.co.uk Housing benefit changes From January 2012, if you are a single person under 35 and renting from a private landlord, the maximum housing benefit you can get will be the same as the rate you would get for renting a single room in a shared house. This amount is known as the shared accommodation rate and will start from the anniversary of your claim. This means that after this date, we will not pay more than the shared accommodation rate, even if you live in a larger property and your actual rent is higher. Instead, you will have to make up the shortfall yourself or move to lower priced accommodation. Last April, the rates for Local Housing Allowance were reduced across the country. Owing to this, some of you will see the end of protection to your Local Housing Allowance from January. This means that your housing benefit may be restricted, and the amount of benefit you receive may reduce. If you are intending to stay in your property you will have to make up the difference. If either of these changes affect you, we will write to you nearer the time. t. (0118) 974 6631 e. email@example.com www.wokingham.gov.uk/counciltax/benefits Autumn March 2011 27 A winter wonderland? With winter fast approaching, we’re getting ready for whatever weather is coming our way! With snow expected, we’ll be working hard to make sure Wokingham Borough doesn’t come to a standstill. Steve Potts, Highway Network Works Manager, tells us more. How soon in advance do you know that snow is coming? We get daily weather forecasts from the Meteogroup Weather Centre as well as data from our own monitoring stations. When you get an alert, what’s the process? When snow or ice is predicted, we pre-salt the agreed routes as set out in our Winter Service Plan. How many gritters do you have? We have five gritters (with snowploughs), a device for smaller areas and access to a quad bike. How often do gritters go out and how much salt do they lay? Our road network is approximately 435 miles long. The ‘primary’ network (the roads that are routinely gritted when it freezes) is 156 miles making up some 36% of the total network. It can take up to 40 tonnes of salt and about three hours to do a full round of these roads. We start work on the ‘secondary’ network as soon as we’re sure the primary routes are as clear as possible. Last winter, in one 24-hour period we ploughed and gritted our primary network five times. Executive view Cllr Keith Baker, Executive Member for Transport “We are well equipped to deal with adverse weather conditions this winter. We have 1,500 tonnes of rock salt for treating priority routes. There are steps that residents can also take to make sure they are fully prepared. Check out our website for more information on the Snow Code.” What are some of the obstacles to gritting? Timing is important! If applied too early, salt on a dry road can be blown away by strong winds or passing cars. If it rains between gritting and the formation of ice or snowfall, the salt can be washed away. Do you clear pavements as well? Yes, we try to clear some paths in town centres and outside schools where we can. The Government has issued a ‘Snow Code’ which includes a guide to residents on clearing snow. (www.direct.gov.uk) For updates when we are gritting, see our Borough Alert webpage. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for SMS messages by selecting our SMS/email alert on the website or texting 07786 200 974. t. (0118) 974 6000 e. firstname.lastname@example.org www.wokingham.gov.uk/boroughalert www.wokingham.gov.uk/snow Everybody needs good neighbours Why not be your vulnerable neighbours’ In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact this winter? Help: • pick up essential prescriptions and groceries • contact utility companies if they have problems with heating or water • help arrange transport to vital hospital or doctor’s appointments • contact family members Alternatively you could clear footpaths outside their home and regularly check to see that they are safe and well. t. Thames Valley Police on 08458 505 505 or WBC on (0118) 974 6000 28 www.wokingham.gov.uk Business boost for Wokingham Borough Located in the Wokingham Borough, Reading Enterprise Centre opened this summer as a purpose-built business based on the University of Reading’s Whiteknights campus. It provides innovative and growth-orientated businesses with space to develop and grow with direct access to the University’s research and enterprise expertise, staff, students and graduates. Through the new Enterprise Centre and other business hubs, the University is now home to around 50 innovative businesses, including Lein Applied Diagnostics (see right). The new centre will significantly grow the University’s ability to develop a cluster of businesses on campus and will be the bridge for small start-up businesses while they grow, before ultimately moving onto larger premises in the University’s proposed Science and Innovation Park in Shinfield. Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk MP said: “This facility brings together high-growth businesses with University research and talent, providing a huge boost to the local business community and helping these companies to grow and expand.” www.readingenterprisecentre.com Dr Dan Daly of Lein Applied Diagnostics tells us about his company based at the Enterprise Centre “We’re an innovative research company pioneering pain free measurements for the healthcare market. We’re currently developing a non-invasive meter with which people with diabetes can measure their glucose levels. To use this meter, which will have the look and feel of a mobile phone, the patient simply looks into it and presses a button. The main benefit is that it will eliminate the need for the more painful and cumbersome ‘finger sticks’ that are currently used. “We started life as a prototype on a kitchen table in Barkham and have grown to a business employing 12 staff. Lein is a rapidly growing technology company that needs flexible accommodation to suit its specific needs. Since moving into the Enterprise Centre three years ago we have doubled our space requirements twice. Conventional, commercial property tends to provide a fixed space and a long tie-in period – typically for many years. This is completely unsuitable for Lein. “The Enterprise Centre, on the other hand, has enabled us to grow without having to move premises. The second benefit, and it is one that should not be underestimated for a technology company, is the convenient access to the University’s academics and support infrastructure. We make extensive use of their Statistical Services Centre to undertake data processing, have taken on three highly skilled university interns and are now collaborating with the University’s Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences to run a clinical trial testing people with Type 1 diabetes. We’re hopeful that our product will be available in the next few years, once the detailed clinical trials are complete and regulatory approval is obtained.” Autumn 2011 29 Help get Borough Green ‘n’ Tidy Both old hands and new shoots are needed for a new scheme to provide a basic, low-cost gardening service for older and disabled residents. Get Involved HE L IG P A HB OU R NE The ‘Green ‘n’ Tidy’ scheme is funded by Wokingham Borough Council and is being set up by the Volunteer Centre in Wokingham to help tidy overgrown gardens that are no longer manageable. Volunteers are needed to visit gardens every four weeks for general maintenance and provide some much needed contact for residents with the outside world. Not sure that you have the skills? Don’t worry; you don’t need to be a gardener! If you enjoy being outdoors and are sympathetic to disabled or older people, you are just what we are looking for! All general gardening will be offered and volunteers can opt to do the jobs they prefer. Volunteers will need to attend a short session at the Volunteer Centre to find out how the scheme works and all travelling expenses will be covered. t: Maxine on (0118) 979 1340 or Christine on (0118) 977 0749 e: email@example.com www.volunteercentrewokingham.org.uk Fighting fraud Benefits are there to help people whose circumstances mean they genuinely need support. If, however, someone is found to be falsely claiming benefit, we can, and do, prosecute. Benefit fraud is a criminal offence and anyone who knowingly fails to declare their true circumstances when receiving benefit is committing fraud. Common types of fraud include failing to tell us about: • Bank or building society accounts • Working • Other people living with you, even if it is only temporary • Other income including private pensions • Other benefits, such as tax credits • Properties you own or have an interest in Fraud costs us money that could be used to fund other vital services. You can help reduce this by reporting fraud. We have recently worked with The Department for Work and Pensions on two cases of benefit fraud. In both cases, defendants pleaded guilty after failing to tell us about income they were receiving from work. One was self-employed, the other worked for an employer. In the first case, the court ordered an 18-month conditional discharge and £100 costs. In the second, the court awarded a nine-month custodial sentence, suspended for two years. Both had to repay the benefits they had falsely claimed. t: 0800 454 240 www.wokingham.gov.uk/fraud 30 www.wokingham.gov.uk Fancy dining at Dinton? Choice of Starters: Homemade Cream of Leek & Potato Soup Homemade Chicken Liver & Brandy Paté Smoked Haddock Goujons served on a bed of lettuce Choice of Main Course: Whole Roasted Free Range Chicken Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb Choice of Dessert: Homemade Bread & Butter Pudding Homemade Banoffee Pie Cheese selection served with Crackers and Grapes And to finish: A cup of freshly brewed fair trade tea or coffee Sunday roasts have arrived at your local country park. As the days get shorter and colder, why not finish off an afternoon’s stroll with a cosy and warming meal in the Dragonfly Café at Dinton? A choice of roasts is available every Sunday, along with satisfying starters and delicious desserts. And why not bring your own bottle and glasses to complete the Sunday dinner experience? Dinner starts at 5pm and booking is essential as seating is limited. Check out the sample menu on the left for a sneak peek of what you could be trying on your next Sunday visit to Dinton Pastures. Vegetarian options are available. At just £16.45 for two courses or £19.95 for three, it’s great value. There are discounts for senior citizens and children under 12. Children under four can come for free. The room is also available for private hire for Christmas functions. Result for ramblers Wokingham Borough public rights of way have been rated in the top third of the whole country after a survey by Britain’s walking charity The Ramblers. The Borough’s path network was rated 33rd out of 126 local authorities after a series of ‘mystery walkers’ inspected the paths. Looking at surface condition, way marking, undergrowth and overgrowth, obstructions and level of welcome, the volunteer walkers were asked to score their walk between 1 (for poor) and 5 (for excellent). The average score for a local authority was 23.9 out of 30. Wokingham’s paths beat this with a score of 25.7. In Berkshire, only the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead beat Wokingham Borough’s score, coming in 22nd place with a score of 26.3. (No paths were surveyed in Reading). Wokingham’s 143 mile network of public rights of way, which includes a part of the Thames Trail, can be viewed online at: www.wokingham.gov.uk/countryside You can report any problems you find at: www.wokingham.gov.uk/rights-of-way t: (0118) 932 1071 e: firstname.lastname@example.org www.baking-waves.com Autumn 2011 31 What’s on? Winter in Wokingham Borough is a busy time Check out your local countryside November 27, 2011 Willow Christmas Decorations – make your own stars, chains, angels and Christmas trees for a natural willow Christmas. Booking essential. 10am to 1pm at Dinton Pastures. Cost £20 (25% discount for MAC members) December 3, 2011, January 7, 2012, February 4, 2012 A Date with Nature – Join the Wokingham and Bracknell branch of the RSPB on a walk around Dinton Pastures, suitable for beginners and experienced bird watchers. 9am to 12.30pm. Costs £1, accompanied children free December 12 to 18, 2011 Santa’s Grotto at California. Visit the natural woodland wildlife grotto and receive a small gift. 1pm to 3pm. Cost £4 per child February 13 to 17, 2012 Hanging Decorations – Create stunning, stained glass-effect decorations. Kit contains six assorted Egyptian designs. Suitable for supervised children. 10am to 4pm at California. Cost £2.50 March 31, 2012 Closing date for Wildscapes of Wokingham. Do you have a prize-winning shot of woodland, flowers or wildlife? Try for a chance to win £50 voucher and feature in the Garden Room Gallery at Dinton Pastures. Look up your local library November 27, 2011 Wokingham Winter Carnival – Santa’s Grotto, music played by the Berkshire Maestros, Imprint Silver Jewellery, special visit from the Bookstart Bear. 11am to 4pm at Wokingham Library. November 29, 2011 Family History Drop-in – get expert advice from the Berkshire Family History Society. 2pm to 5pm at Wokingham Library. December 4, 2011 Woodley Winter Extravaganza – Music form Reading Symphony Orchestra and family craft activities. 1.30pm to 3.30pm at Woodley Library. December 6, 12 and 20 UK Online – help and support with computers. 2pm to 4.30pm at Wokingham Library. December 7, 2011 Crafts and Laughs – Drop in for chat and crafts. 1.30pm to 3.30pm at Wargrave Library. Cost £2. Various dates Next steps – sessions to help with career planning, CVs and interviews. Appointments must be booked on 0800 1954 700. Various times at Lower Earley, Wokingham and Woodley libraries. Other events December 10, 2011 Indoor Family Fun at Loddon – brush off the winter weather with a day of fun for all at Loddon Valley Leisure Centre. Contact details For details of these events and more, see: www.wokingham.gov.uk www.facebook.com/wokinghamboroughcouncil www.facebook.com/wokinghamboroughlibraries www.twitter.com/wokinghambc