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Your Photos onto Canvas

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May 2011

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ST GEORGE’S DAY SPECTACULAR FOR BASILDON! Local people turned out in force to help Basildon Council and other community groups celebrate St George’s Day 2011. Basildon’s St George’s Day celebrations have been named among the best in the country and this year was no different with the town centre awash with red and white flags, a traditional Farmer’s Market, street entertainers and much more. Local groups also made the most of the council’s offer of a free ‘Party in a Box’ which included bunting, hats, flags and everything else needed to host a great party. Cllr Andrew Baggott, cabinet member for the community said: “We are very proud of our celebrations and the response from residents is always excellent.” The celebrations were rounded off by a parade through the town centre by the Royal British Legion, Essex Marching Corps Band, local scouts and the Land Army Ladies.



The £38m Basildon Sporting Village opened to the community on Saturday 30 April, as thousands of local people were wowed by the incredible facilities on offer. Organisations responsible for helping to fund the project hailed the ‘fantastic achievement’, as the building opened on time and on budget. Those who attended the public opening were treated to a full day of sport and activities headlined by the 2010 winners of Britain’s Got Talent, Spelbound. Many others sporting celebrities were also on show, including British swimming legends and Olympians Mark Foster and Duncan Goodhew.


2 Celebrating our cultures

MAY 2011

Mayor’s Message from Cllr Mo Larkin

Basildon Council’s Pitsea Children’s Centre organised a ‘celebrating cultures’ diversity event with support from Pitsea Leisure Centre, Pitsea Day Centre and First Steps Nursery. The event attended by over 500 people raised awareness and celebrated the diverse society living in the Pitsea area. Morris dancers, chinese lion dancers , an African workshop. Bollywood dancers, face painters and a DJ were just some of the entertainment on the day. Pitsea Leisure Centre is offering a 50% discount on rooms to hire this Summer! The centre is a great venue for parties, family celebrations and more. It has a licensed bar and catering facilities. For more information, call 01268 465420.

What a wonderful spring we have had, not only weather-wise, but with the events we have had going on nationally and within the borough. Of course we had the Royal wedding on 29th April, celebrated so wonderfully by the community – I attended a number of street parties and enjoyed every second of it. And just the day after, the Sporting Village opened to the public after 18 months of construction and a lot of hard work. I was also privileged to invite HRH Duke of Gloucester to unveil a plaque to mark the official opening of the building on 17th May. It really is a wonderful facility, and one I intend to join myself. Yet again we had a wonderful St George’s day celebration (see photo, right) rounded off by a parade by the Royal British Legion, Essex Marching Corps Band, local scouts and the Land Army Ladies. It was also an immense pleasure to hand the Alf Dove award to Hans Wustefeld, Manager of the Eastgate Shopping Centre. Hans was the manager at the popular shopping centre for 16 years and retired at the end of March. The award recognises significant contributions made by individuals to the well-being of the community and Hans was a worthy recipient. Other events that I have attended include the Basildon Young Fire Fighters Pass Out Parade, and the recent launch of SEEVIC College’s revamped Church Walk House – this building will help New Campus Basildon develop further courses and opportunities for the young people of Basildon.

Garden Diary with BBC Essex presenter:

Ken Crowther Spring has done us proud with such masses of blossom all coming out at once, everything from Daffodils, to Tulips, to Crab Apples, to Flowering Cherries to Magnolias. The winter cold has a dramatic effect on plants and induces even better shows of blossom than we would normally get. Nature has a way of feeling threatened and therefore tries to produce flower and extra fruit, thus giving seeds to reproduce. Does this mean that we will have great fruit crops this year? It is now time to think of summer bedding plants, however, do not be too eager as many are very soft and the slightest bit of frost will burn them. For example, French Marigold, Nemetia and Geraniums, to name but a few. When getting beds ready for summer bedding it is well worth adding organic material, either home produced compost or some from your local garden centre.

Dig this well in adding a slow release fertilizer, that way the moisture is held if we have a dry summer and the fertilizer is there for the complete growing season. Don’t forget for more advice listen to Ken Saturday on BBC Essex 9 till 11, or go to

I wish you all a happy and healthy Summer, and hope to see some of you at the Sporting Village over the coming months!

Councillor Mo Larkin, Mayor of Basildon Borough Council

LOCAL BUSINESS THANKS COUNCIL A Basildon Council run business event has helped a local company to land a major £2.2m contract with one of the world’s top construction companies. Morgan Cass, a local mechanical, electrical and renewable company based in the Cranes Enterprise Corridor attended the council’s ‘Meet the Buyers’ at the Wat Tyler Centre in April 2010 where they met Skanska, one of the world’s largest construction companies. Alex Searle of Morgan Cass, said: “I cannot thank the council enough for holding this event which gave me the introduction to Skanska. The event enabled local companies to get in front of big names, and the outcome is that we have landed a £2.2m sub contract and

employed three more managers. That clearly supports local business and the local economy.” Councillor Stephen Horgan, deputy leader of the council, said it was great news and “exactly why we run events like this to help sustain and invigorate the local economy.” ‘Meet the Buyers’ was a free event designed to help local businesses and larger buyers to meet, enabling the local businesses to describe the business services and products they can offer and the buyers to explain their needs and requirements. Please contact business-assist@ for more information on upcoming business events.

NEED A TAXI FORUM? Basildon Council is asking whether people who use local taxis want a forum to be set up to help make their voice heard. If the council receives enough interest from taxi users or representatives of passengers, it will set up a forum to take into account views on the availability, punctuality, safety, comfort, accessibility and cost of taxis in the borough.

Regular meetings are already held with representatives of the local taxi trade. If you are a local taxi user and would be interested in attending a Taxi User Forum, please register your interest by emailing or writing to: Environmental Health, The Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon, SS14 1DL.

MAY 2011

2011 Election results BILLERICAY EAST D Dadds (C) - 2626 P Reid (Lab) - 567 N Horn (Lib Dem) - 528 S McCafferty (UKIP) - 346 C hold/Turnout - 44.2% BILLERICAY WEST S Horgan (C) - 2416 G Bores (Lab) - 584 T Gandy (UKIP) - 665 J James (Lib Dem) - 407 C hold/Turnout - 43.5%



BURSTEAD K Blake (C) - 2330 S Bennett (Lab) - 615 S Goshawk (Lib Dem) - 393 C Young (UKIP) - 367 C hold/Turnout - 43.6%/ FRYERNS (two seats) A Davies (Lab) - 1365 D Kirkman (Lab) - 1190 G Ball (C) - 806 J Paton (C) - 588 D Sheppard (UKIP) - 365 L Heather (BNP) - 356 A Lutton (Lib Dem) - 269 Lab hold/Turnout - 30.1% LAINDON PARK J Hyde (C) - 1318 J McCrea (Lab) - 1166 C Grant (Lib Dem) - 201 Con hold/Turnout 32.3% LEE CHAPEL NORTH N Smith (Lab) - 1408 C Hedley (C) - 740 T Beaney (NF) - 244 E Peall (Lib Dem) - 173 Lab hold/Turnout - 29.2% NETHERMAYNE A Gordon (Lab) - 926 P Jenkins (Lib Dem) - 752 S Foster (C) - 709 K Smith (UKIP) - 619 None of the above X - 63 Lab gain/Turnout - 34.9% PITSEA NORTH WEST K Bobbin (Lab) - 1111 D Lawrence (C) - 702 T McBride (UKIP) - 391 M Howard (Lib Dem) - 143 Lab hold/Turnout - 25.5% PITSEA SOUTH EAST M Larkin (C) - 1197 M Walker (Lab) - 1056 I Clancy (UKIP) - 384 V Howard (Lib Dem) - 110 Con hold /Turnout - 32.3% ST MARTIN’S P Rackley (Lab) - 1004 A Schrader (C) - 557 M Dickinson (Lib Dem) 177 Lab hold/Turnout - 29.5% VANGE D Munyambu (Lab) - 1089 A Morris (C) - 554 K Gandy (UKIP) - 338 E Grant (Lib Dem) - 102 Lab hold/Turnout - 30.6%

“I helped the baby and pushed the vehicle away from further danger” WICKFORD CASTLEDON S Buckley (C) - 1434 A Ball (Ind) - 446 S Davies (Lab) - 397 T Morris (Lib Dem) - 127 C hold/Turnout - 38.9%

A council officer took caring for the community to the extreme as he helped to rescue a baby whilst on duty. Kevin Vickers, 24, is employed by Basildon Council as an Environmental Operative Officer and was working at the Fortune of War roundabout when he spotted a car pull over with smoke and flames billowing from the bonnet. Kevin, who lives in Wickford, said: “I saw a lady jump out of the front seat, and I ran straight over to see if I could help. “I was helping the lady escape from the car when I saw that there was a baby in the back seat. “I helped remove the baby and pushed the vehicle away from further danger.


WICKFORD NORTH M Mowe (C) - 1925 D Harrison (Ind) - 890 T Kirkman (Lab) - 590 J Spriggs (Lib Dem) - 155 C hold/Turnout - 37.3% WICKFORD PARK C Jackman (C) - 1528 A Buxton (Lab) - 464 J McGarrigle (Lib Dem) - 229 C hold/Turnout - 32.1%

Election count staff hard at work in the Towngate Theatre.

“Fire can spread fast and I could see there were flames coming out of the bonnet. “One minute we were clearing rubbish and the next minute this happened.” Kevin called the fire brigade who arrived within 10 minutes and put out the fire. Bala Mahendran, the council’s Chief Executive, said that Kevin had done an incredibly brave thing. “I know for a fact that our officers care deeply about the community and are willing to go the extra mile. “This is an extreme example of that but we are no less grateful for this amazing act of heroism.” The lady and baby boy are both safe and well and thanked Kevin for his help.


MAY 2011

HOMES RETURN 52% say YES to return management back to Council The management of housing services will return to Basildon Council on 4 July, after tenants and leaseholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the move. It is expected that £150,000 will be invested into tenant identified priorities, and £1m of annual savings will also be made. A test of opinion was held between January and March 2011, with over 30% of tenants and leaseholders responding. 52% were in favour of returning the management of housing services to the council, with only 10% against. The remainder did not know or neither agreed or disagreed. Councillor Andrew Baggott, cabinet member for community and ALMO clienting, said: “Not only

can we make major savings, but we can also invest in front line housing services that will help to improve the lives of our tenants and leaseholders “There is no longer a requirements to have an ALMO to access decent homes funding, and with self financing being introduced from next April, we have to have a housing service that is sustainable, efficient and prudent. Our residents also demand that they are getting value for money services. “We recognise the good work that SGCH have done to date; the changes proposed will build on that work.” Last month, the council and SGCH announced that a bid for £67m to complete the decent homes backlog work had been successful.

What happens next? For the time being, things will continue, with SGCH working to ensure a smooth transfer of services over the coming months. From 4 July 2011, council properties will no longer be managed by SGCH. You should not be affected by any changes made and can still contact all housing services and staff in the usual way. The consultation feedback has been given to senior managers to help us make the changes needed to shape future services.

Cllr Andrew Baggott with two prize-winners following the recent consultation.


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Answering tenant questions Will timing of decent homes work continue? Basildon Council has been successful in getting £67m of funding to complete the Decent Homes backlog programme over four years to 2014/15. A works programme has been devised in consultation with the T&L panel and subsequently approved by the SGCH Board and the council. Leaseholders are currently offered payment options to cover their share of the decent homes costs. Will this continue? The council and SGCH have recently agreed new payment options to assist leaseholders with their share of decent homes costs. What will happen to SGCH staff? All SGCH staff employed when the company closes will transfer directly back to Basildon Council. What went wrong with SGCH? Nothing went wrong; SGCH was originally set up to gain access to Government money to achieve the decent

homes programme. Under the new Government, the rules for funding the decent homes programme changed and an ALMO is no longer necessary to access additional funding. How can improved involvement of tenants and leaseholders be sustained? SGCH has made vast improvements in this area and the council is committed to building on this. The council is currently in discussions with Tenant and Leaseholder representatives over proposed decision making arrangements. How will future investment be obtained? The Government is introducing a new system of council housing finance from April 2012. From this date every council will keep all its own rent income and fund its own expenditure. Some improvements made under St Georges – i.e. disabled adaptations are done quickly. Can this be sustained ? SGCH did achieve excellent areas of service delivery and the council fully intend to build on this good work.

1. Make sure there is a Basildon Council Licence Plate on the rear of the vehicle. Similar signs will be on the side doors. 2. Every licensed driver carries an I.D. badge. Ask to see it if you are in any doubt. 3. Don’t be overcharged. Taxis have to keep to maximum fares, private hire fares are to be agreed with driver or operator. 4. Don’t ask the driver to carry more passengers than is allowed. The number permitted is shown on the Licence Plate. 5. Taxis can be hailed down in the street or found at an official rank. Private Hire vehicles must be booked in advance. For more information, call 01268 294280 or email

MAY 2011



Recycling hits new heights

MORE than 500 blocks of flats in the borough can now recycle their food waste as Basildon Council has delivered food waste caddies and communal bins. Extending the food waste recycling scheme means that 98% of households across the borough can be part of the council’s efforts to meet its recycling target of 50% by 2012. Each flat in a block received a caddy before the end of March which is used to collect and empty food waste into a large communal bin to be collected as part of their weekly collections. Councillor Malcolm Buckley, cabinet member for environment, said: “Even if you live on the top floor of a block of flats, Basildon Council is making sure that this is no barrier to doing your bit for a greener future. “I hope to see an improvement on the food waste recycling figures, which will be a direct result of getting flats involved.”


Let us have your letters!

Got a question for Basildon Council? Heard a rumour about the council and you want to know if it is true? Then write to the Borough Diary, and have your letter responded to. We will also print a selected number of letters and responses. Email adam.keating@ or write to Borough Diary, Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square, Essex, SS14 1DL

Some of the participants at the ‘Road to Success’ event.

Over one hundred school pupils attended a Basildon Council run event aimed at helping them learn more about presenting themselves for job/ college and placement interviews and provided motivational advice. The event was a great success and covered all manner of subjects, including how to ‘dress to impress’, and tips on the do’s and dont’s of body language. Two motivational speakers also offered advice on making the right impression, how to focus on your strengths, and tips on confidence and awareness. A ‘dress to impress’ catwalk highlighting ‘what to wear’ and ‘what not to wear’ was also held – with local shop Primark among those providing outfits to be modelled.


MAY 2011

HELP LIGHT UP WICKFORD Basildon Council Leader, Tony Ball is urging local companies and the community to get behind this year’s Light Up Wickford event. The event was started in 2009 and supported by Basildon Council and put together by local volunteers and business people. Councillor Tony Ball, said: “I would call on the businesses of Wickford to get behind the 2011 event in any way they can, be that in monetary support, time or practical help. The previous events have helped to create a community spirit and increase footfall into the town centre, which is good for local traders and local residents.” “The council is committed to increasing the number of visitors into Wickford town

Win tickets to Dick Whittington The award winning Towngate Theatre pantomime returns this winter with Dick Whittington. Running from the 30 November to 2 January the show promises to be an all singing, all dancing extravaganza with plenty of fun for the whole family!


So to launch this year’s show the Towngate are offering the chance for one lucky person to win a family ticket to the show and the opportunity to meet the cast afterwards.

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centre, and along with event like Light up Wickford, we are also looking at bringing in specialist markets to the town at different times of the year.” Alan Ball from the Light up Wickford group, says: “ We have had two successful years of attracting a lot of people to the High Street, but to continue, we need the help of Wickford residents and businesses. If you can help in any small way or have any ideas or contacts, please do get in touch”. For more information on how to get involved in the Light up Wickford event, please Contact the group on 07956 871796 or e-mail:

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Trans Live or Work in Basildon? • Take part in our independent survey • Monthly Meetings & Workshops Visit Text Ansa 07949 348820 01245 250 256 Supported by Basildon Council & ECC Millenium Fund


is an established Private Service set up by Basildon Mind and adheres to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Code of Ethics and Practice. All Counsellors are fully qualified to a minimum of Diploma Level. Counselling appointments can be offered outside of normal office hours. For further confidential information please telephone: Patricia Holdsworth B.Sc. Hons., Counselling Manager, on 01268 289344.

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Church James 4v8 Come near to God and He will come near to you

Come and join us and get a warm welcome Every Sunday 10am and 6.30pm Bible Study Tuesday 7.30pm Midweek Fellowship Wednesday 1.45pm Manor Mission Church, Manor Road, Laindon, Basildon

MAY 2011

COUNCILLOR SURGERIES Billericay East - Tony Archer 01277 657814, David Dadds 01277 829808, Stuart Sullivan 01268 560477. Surgery as Burstead below. Billericay West - Anthony Hedley 01277 626198, Stephen Horgan 01268 449527, Phil Turner 01277 633918. Surgery as Burstead below. Burstead - Kevin Blake 01268 470597, Paul Arnold 07581 285525, Richard Moore ­01277 627266. Surgeries on last Saturday of month(except December), 10.30am to 12.30pm, Billericay Library, 143 High Street. Crouch - Stuart Allen 01268 284225, Terri Sargent 01268 288766. Surgeries on first Saturday of month, 9.30am to 10.30am, Noak Bridge Village Hall, Coppice Lane, Noak Bridge and third Saturday, 9am to 10am, Steeple View Memorial Hall, Willowfields. Fryerns - Alan Davies 01268 525406, Bill Archibald 01268 280593 & 07732 710088. D Kirkman - 01268 458692 Laindon Park - John Dornan 01268 282175, Jilly Hyde 01268 414126, Frank Tomlin 01277 625692. Langdon Hills - Sandra and Stephen Hillier 01268 490201. Lee Chapel North - Lynda Gordon 079673 33536, Nigel Smith - 01268 545483, Alan Bennett 01277 626236. Nethermayne - Geoff Williams 01268 415348, Linda Williams 01268 415348. Surgeries on first Saturday of month at Vange Scout Hut, second Saturday at Kingswood Play Leadership building, third Saturday at Haven Close AP Scheme, fourth Saturday Lee Chapel South Comm. Centre, all 10am to 11am. Andrew Gordon - 07986 530288 Pitsea North West - Andrew Baggott 01277 634375, Ron Livesey 01268 470028. Roving surgery within the ward on the first Saturday of the month. Details on Cllr Baggott’s website. Keith Bobbin 01268 556158. Pitsea South East - David Abrahall 01268 440082, Ann Blake 01268 470597. Surgeries on second Monday of the month (except Bank Holidays), 6.30pm to 7.30pm, outside Pitsea Leisure Centre, Northlands Pavement, Pitsea. Mo Larkin 01268 413936. St Martin’s -Phil Rackley 01268 410700, Pat Rackley 01268 410700 Surgeries on first Monday and third Tuesday of month, 2pm to 3pm at Basildon Community Resource Centre, 1 The Gore, Basildon. Vange - D Munyambu - 01268 459245. Luke Mackenzie 07919 517376. Wickford Castledon Malcolm and Sylvia Buckley 01268 472586. Wickford North - Tony Ball 01268 454564, Carole Morris 01268 457488, Michael Mowe 01268 463564. Wickford Park - Don Morris 01268 457488. First Saturday of month from 9.30am to 11.30am at Noak Bridge, Village Hall, Coppice Lane, Noak Bridge and third Saturday of month, 10-12 noon at Wickford Library. Christopher Jackman 01268 571843.



A programme designed to strengthen parenting skills has been completed by 10 local people at the Northlands Children’s Centre, which is run by Basildon Council.

They are pictured here receiving their certificates for completing the course. The next course starts in September and lasts for 13 weeks and covers gaining family support & advice, preventing

and managing behaviour difficulties and increasing positive family time. For more information, please call the centre on 01268 720090 or 01268 556679.


COUNCIL FACES UP TO CHALLENGE The Leader of Basildon Council has reiterated how the organisation is dealing with challenging Government cuts and maintaining frontline services. The Council has already identified £4.6million in efficiencies for 2011/12 and is well on the way to finding a further £2.4million, meaning a total of £7million in savings without cuts to frontline services. Leader of Basildon Council, Tony Ball, said: “We have always been well prepared and we have years of sound financial management behind us, and have therefore been able to plan effectively for the challenging times ahead. “So whilst officers and members have been working hard to find efficiencies, savings and new ways of working, we have

also been able to keep our commitment to protect frontline services.” “We know that it is not just the Council that is facing challenges, but our local resident’s and businesses too. But we feel that because of our prudency over the years and foresight, we can continue to invest in key areas, deliver major projects like the Sporting Village and remain ambitious with a can-do attitude.” Councillor Phil Turner, cabinet member for resources, emphasised the internal work going on to maximise savings and look at new ways of working: “We are undergoing a major transformation programme, with all levels of the organisation reviewing the way it does things to ensure that we can save

money where we can, but maintain frontline services. “Basildon Council is meeting the challenge head on, and I repeat the message that we don’t make silly, flamboyant gestures. Instead we care about sustainability, value for money and protecting frontline services. There will be no large scale cuts that have been seen across other authorities, but there are areas where we will have to save money.” A report is being presented to the Council’s cabinet on 15th June where the transformation programme will be discussed and more announcements made – visit for more information.


MAY 2011


Mark Foster and local schoolchildren take the first plunge into the 50 metre pool

MAY 2011


“This is absolutely for the benefit of our community” Cllr Stephen Horgan Funders who helped to make the Sporting Village a reality hailed the ‘fantastic achievement’ as it opened its doors to the public. Councillor Tony Ball, Leader of Basildon Council, said: “I am absolutely delighted that after 18 months of construction, the building has opened. It is a fantastic achievement from everyone involved to deliver it on time and on budget.” Councillor Stephen Horgan, deputy leader of the council, said: “This is absolutely for the benefit of our community and will transform the sporting chances of so many people throughout the borough, whether they aspire to be an elite athlete or just want to exercise more.” Councillor Kevin Blake, cabinet member for leisure and arts said: “The recent news that the Japanese swimming team will be using the Sporting Village to train before the 2012 Games and allowing our residents to swim and train besides them, emphasises how this is truly a world class facility for everyone.” Essex County Council provided over £8m in funding for the scheme and have been fully behind the project from the outset. Their cabinet member for education and the 2012 Games, Councillor Stephen Castle

said: “It is clear that Olympic fever has now really gripped the country and I’m proud that we can build on this by having an Olympic standard venue right here in Essex, ready for our future generation of Olympians to play, train and compete in.” The Basildon Sporting Village project is being delivered through a 25-year agreement between Community Solutions for Leisure (CSL) and Basildon Council. CSL’s construction partner Morgan Sindall built the new centre and Morgan Professional Services carried out civil and structural engineering design and mechanical and electrical design. All are part of leading construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall. The centre is being run by Sports and Leisure Management who trade under the name, ‘Everyone Active’. Nigel Franks, general manager of Community Solutions for Leisure (CSL) says: “This has been a real partnership effort between the public and private sector. We are very proud to have been involved in such an important public project.” Funding grants for the project came from Essex County Council, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), Sport England and Veolia ES Cleanaway Pitsea Marshes Trust.

Spelbound wow the crowds with their amazing routine



MAY 2011

For tickets and information, call the Box Office on 01268 465465 or visit

Touch of classical to Towngate BRIT WINNERS IN BASILDON WITH over half a million albums sold worldwide, Blake are building a reputation as one of the most eclectic and exciting classical-pop groups in the world. Their current tour sees the Brit Award winners travelling across the UK, reaching the Towngate on 4 June. Described as the ‘classical Take That’ the band have been wowing audiences since they launched their first album, after famously all reuniting as friends through Facebook. Following their success the band have gone on to collect a legion of celebrity fans, including Keira Knightly, Will Smith, Ewan Mcgregor, Kevin Spacey and even Dame Shirley Bassey, who celebrated her $1 million, 70th birthday party, with the Blake boys giving a very special performance. And one very special couple have followed the group since the start, with band member Ollie Baines going to school with

Is this the way to Basildon!

Kate Middleton and Jules Knight studying at St Andrews University with both Kate and William To celebrate the royal wedding the band have released a special song ‘All of me’ written by Ivor Novello Award winner Simon May, composer of some of the most popular television theme tunes including Eastenders and Howards Way. And following the success of the song and their royal link the band have now performed on over 80 television shows across Europe. But it is performing live that the band love most and the 26 date ‘Evening with’ show looks set to sell out in many towns before the band then travel to the US, Canada, and Australia. Blake perform at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon on 4 June. Tickets are £21.50 and are available from the Box Office on 01268 465465 or via

Singing legend Tony Christie celebrates his 50th anniversary in music this Summer with a new album and a 50 date tour, reaching Basildon on the 17 June. With hits ranging from ‘Las Vegas’ Walk Like a Panther and ‘Is this the way to Amarillo’, he has sold over 1.5 million records in a career that has seen venues sold out across the world. His new album ‘Now’s the Time’ has been praised for both its

incredible song writing and delivery. His tour featuring backing singers and live band showcases his new work along with some of his well know classics and his first visit to Basildon promises a spectacular not to be missed! Tony Christie performs at the Towngate Theatre on Friday 17 June. Tickets are £20.50 and are available from the box office on 01268 465465 or online at:

We are currently recruiting volunteers who can offer their time to help out at the Theatre. As well as many professional shows the theatre houses many amateur groups throughout the year and we are always looking for local people to help out. Whether its ushering, helping out local groups, or assisting the front of house team, the Friends of the Towngate is a great way of meeting other people and finding out more about how the theatre works. To find out more please email us your name and contact details to or call 01268 465465.

Programme out The new Towngate season programme is now available. The programme features information on all the shows coming up from May to November and also gives times and prices for our annual pantomime. Hightlights this season include Blake on 4 June, Tony Christie on 17 June, Lee Hurst on 18 September, and

Paul Daniels on 30 September.

You can pick up a copy at various locations around the Borough or call the box office on 01268 465465 and request to be sent a copy.

MAY 2011




Yum! Pupils from a local school and a special VIP guest tuck into Fairtrade products as part of a special visit during ‘Fairtrade Fortnight’. John Kabyetsiza, from Uganda, Africa, who works for Fruits of the Nile Dried Fruits Company, spoke to local schools during a reception at Woodlands School. Councillor Tony Ball, Basildon Council’s Leader, said: “It was a great honour and very interesting to meet John, whose company promote skills and income for producers and farmers all along the supply chain, and in return they get a fair price.” Fruits of the Nile buy fruit from more than 100 Fairtrade

registered primary producers, who are trained in organic farming, hygiene, fruit drying and business management. The primary producers buy the fresh fruit used in drying from more than 800 approved farmers, who are also trained by Fruits of the Nile. As part of the reception, a two-course Fairtrade lunch, using the top two recipes judged in the school’s ‘cook off’ were cooked by students from Woodlands School. A poster competiton was also held, with Rodalyn Barce from St Anne Line junior school coming up with the winning design (right). She won a Fairtrade Easter egg.


Basildon Council has increased the amount of materials recycled via the Crunch service – as textiles are now able to be separated for recycling. Councillor Malcolm Buckley, cabinet member for environment, said: “The mobile Crunch service is very popular with our community. “By adding textile

recycling to this, residents will find it even more helpful. “We already recycle all wood, metal and electrical items from the Crunch and now residents will be able to recycle their unwanted textiles. “There are now even more opportunities than ever for Basildon’s residents to recycle as

much as possible and save waste from going to landfill.” Residents can also use one of the many textiles recycling banks across the borough, or put their textiles in a pink bag, attach a label with ‘textiles’ on it and leave it out on your pink sack recycling day to make sure their textiles are recycled.

Basildon Council is offering its halls for hire to community groups at a discounted hourly rate during the major school holidays. The special community rate is £5.90 per hour between 8.30am to 4pm with a special commercial rate and

children’s party rate of £15 per hour. There are 12 community halls across the borough, many of which have been recently refurbished. They offer ideal facilities for parties, exercise classes, and activity groups. For more information, please contact Ian Cody at Basildon Council on 01268 294525 or email:


MAY 2011

£59K for Lake Meadows


“We are investing in key parks across the Borough” Cllr Kevin Blake

Work at Swan Mead play area takes shape

Play facilities at Lake Meadows are being improved following a partnership between Basildon Council, Billericay Round Table and the Town Council. The investment is another part of a considered strategy to improve key commnity assets and facilities throughout the whole borough. The two stage project has already seen new play equipment installed into the current playground as part of £49,000 of funding from the Playbuilder Scheme. The second stage will see improvements and refurbishments made to existing play facilities thanks to £10,000 of investment from Billericay Round Table and £10,000 of section 106 planning contributions. Councillor Kevin Blake, cabinet member for leisure and arts said: “We are currently investing in key parks across the borough and as well as Lake Meadows, the likes of Swanmead, Langdon Hills and Victoria Park are all set for new play equipment over the coming months.” Councillor Phil Turner, cabinet member for resources said: “Through working with partners like Billericay Round Table we can continue to make real improvements to the Park that residents can be proud of.” Kevin Mesnard from Billericay Round Table added: “We have been associated with Lake Meadows for 42 years since our first Charity Fireworks Display. Many of us have young children so it’s a real pleasure for us to be able to donate this money and put something back into the park.”

INVESTMENT FOR WICKFORD, LAINDON AND VANGE TOO Other vital community areas across the borough are set to receive further investment, as Basildon Council continues its investment strategy into its parks, and community buildings and assets. In the last edition of the Borough Diary, £500,000 of investment into new play equipment at Langdon Hills and Swan Mead was announced. This has now been followed by the Lake Meadows improvements, and it can also now be revealed that investment is set to be made in the Wickford War Memorial, thanks to a partnership between the

Council and the Veolia Pitsea Marshes Trust. Funding from the Trust will allow the Council to carry out restoration to the memorial and design, produce and install interpretation boards explaining the history behind the memorial. The council is also looking into potential investment in the Ghyllgrove estate, and has been working with the newly formed community association and residents in and around Pound Lane, Laindon. The group have put a business case together to run the hall and are seeking to reopen the hall in September.

Councillor Phil Turner, the council’s cabinet member for resources said: “We are committed to investing in our well used and treasured community facilities across the whole borough. “We have a track record of making improvements across the entire area, from play area investment in Swan Mead, Lake Meadows and now potentially Ghyllgrove, to working with local groups to ensure that community halls are used and well managed. This has been aided by our investment across a number of our 12 community halls.”

MAY 2011


EVENT TO BE BIGGER THAN EVER Local dance and music acts will be given the opportunity to showcase their skills at this year’s ‘Together Against Crime’ event taking place on Thursday 28 July in Basildon town centre. The Basildon Community Safety Partnership’s (CSP) annual ‘Together Against Crime’ event will feature a ‘community stage’ for the first time, where local acts can perform to crowds of shoppers in Basildon town centre. Local acts which include members up to the age of 19-years-old can apply to perform at the event which takes place from 10am – 4pm. Members of the CSP, which includes Basildon Council, Essex Police and Essex Fire and Rescue

Services, will also hold displays and attractions throughout the day to help promote community safety and raise awareness of crime prevention. Residents will also be able to find out more about the work of the CSP in reducing crime and anti social behaviour in the borough and talk to senior members of the CSP to ask questions. Council representatives, senior police officers, as well as staff from many other statutory agencies will also be on hand to offer advice and support. Bala Mahendran, Chair of the Basildon CSP and Chief Executive of Basildon Council, said: “Last year’s event was very impressive, but this year we want to make it bigger and better for our residents.

Activity week continues

Having a community stage in the town centre will be a great platform for local acts which we hope will engage more young people in similar activities. “It’s also an opportunity for the public to tell us what we are doing right, and what we could do better, so the issues most important to residents are being addressed.” If you are part of a local dance/music act and would like to perform as part of the event, please contact Lisa Hopcroft, CSP Support Officer at Basildon Council on 01268 294804 or via email at lisa.hopcroft@ To keep up to date on CSP news and updates, find us on Facebook at

New plan in place A new plan has been put in place by the CSP setting out how it will work together in an effort to further reduce crime and anti social behaviour over the coming year. The 2011 Partnership Plan provides information on how the CSP will deliver its strategic priorities over the year through action plans that aim to reduce anti-social behaviour, engage the community to tackle crime, reduce crime and re-offending and reduce the negative effects on the night time economy. The plan also outlines successes of the last year, including Community Safety Action Zones, Sanctuary Schemes for victims of domestic abuse, Hate Crime Awareness Lessons, activities to engage young people and community

Hundreds of local children in the Great Knightleys area enjoyed the Easter holidays after local residents set up a week of activities. The CSP originally ran the ‘activities week’ back in February, as part of the Great Knightley’s community safety action zone (CSAZ). Residents were so impressed that they applied to the Council for funding to continue the programme during the Easter holidays and were awarded £500. This funded a week of activities at the Lee Chapel North Community Centre, including Bollywood dance, arts and crafts, a bouncy castle, football sessions with a Chelsea FC coach (pictured) and

X-box gaming sessions on a big screen. Over 100 children of all ages turned up each day to take part. Resident John McKay, who set up the week, said: “We are very grateful for the help and support of Basildon Council. We have had hundreds of young people enjoying the activities on offer and it is a great way to engage with them and promote positive behaviour.” Last month the CSP selected the Moss Close/Ryedene Estate for the next CSAZ. Representatives from the CSP will meet fortnightly in the area to listen to residents views and explore how to engage with the local community to tackle crime and improve the local area.

awareness days. Bala Mahendran, Chair of the CSP and Chief Executive of Basildon Council, said: “CSP’s are facing extremely challenging times, but in Basildon we have still achieved a remarkable 3.8% reduction in all crime and a 15.6% reduction in antisocial behaviour. “The new plan sets out our priorities and although we have had a 56% reduction in funding, we are ambitious and focussed on reducing crime and anti social behaviour in the borough.” The Partnership Plan 2011 can be downloaded at csp. For a hard copy of the document, please contact Lisa Hopcroft, CSP Support Officer on 01268 294804.


MAY 2011


Resident’s have been praised for saving over 2,500 tonnes of food waste from landfill. Since Basildon Council started food waste collections in October 2010, the amount of waste to landfill has dropped by 2,859 tonnes, compared to the same period in the previous year. Cllr Malcolm Buckley,

cabinet member for environment, said: “These figures are great news. They show that most households have been using their weekly food and garden waste collections. “I hope this will be a rallying cry to residents and assure them their efforts to recycle more and reduce waste going to landfill have been

worth it. “Residents have shown they can recycle over half their waste - we need to keep this up to make sure the Borough meets our challenging recycling targets of 50% by 2012.” For more information on recycling services please visit:

Don’t forget benefit changes Basildon Council is reminding people who claim Housing Benefit under the Local Housing Allowance scheme that changes to how their benefit is worked have now come into force. The changes will take immediate effect for new claims and on the

anniversary of some existing claims, which means many people may see their benefit entitlement reduce. There is some protection from the lower Local Housing Allowance rates for a maximum nine months after the anniversary for existing claims.

The Benefits Team have already been writing directly to those affected as well as training staff and advice agencies on the changes so they can respond to enquiries. More details about some of the changes can be found on the Council’s website: www.basildon.

MAY 2011


REMOVING OBSTACLES BASILDON Council has spent £40,000 converting two bungalows to provide specialist temporary accommodation for people with mobility issues at Arne Court, in Laindon. The two units were opened by Councillor Frank Tomlin and members of the council’s housing team (pictured here) and feature all modcons, including level access showers and electronic adjustable kitchen units. The work has been done in partnership with Family Mosaic to provide specialist temporary accommodation to people in cases of homelessness often caused by an emergency, like a flood or fire.

“Wonderful partnership approach to deal with real issues” Cllr Frank Tomlin

COUNCIL GIVES FOUNTAIN Be AWARE of food safety CHANGE TO CHARITY Loose change collected in the Mother and Child fountain has been given to a good cause. Every two weeks Basildon Council’s street cleansing crew give the Mother and Child fountain in Basildon town centre a good clean and remove any litter, or leaves. Over the year the team have removed a lot of loose change, adding up to £180 which they decided to donate to Basildon University Hospital’s ForgetMe-Not suite. Lee Summerfield from the Street Cleansing team said: “The Mother and Child fountain isn’t a wishing well but

we do collect quite a lot of loose change over the course of a year when cleaning it. “We thought it would be a good idea to make sure this money went to a good cause, especially one so appropriate for the Mother and Child fountain.” The Forget-Me-Not suite at Basildon University Hospital Maternity Unit is a comfortable suite where families who have lost their baby can be cared for in a safe and homely environment. For more information on the Forget-Me-Not suite, please visit

Left - the Mother and Child fountain at night, where the loose change was collected and donated to the Forget-Me-Not suite.

Council backs food safety week

NEXT month Basildon Council will be backing Food Safety Week in an attempt to lower cases of food poisoning in the borough. This year Food Safety Week (June 6 – 12) will be exploring what goes on behind closed doors to see what people really do in their own homes when preparing and cooking food. Common myths about food hygiene will be

exposed for example why you shouldn’t wash poultry and why you shouldn’t eat food past its “use by” date. Preventing food poisoning is simple these are just some of the steps which everyone can take to help prevent food poisoning. Further messages will be promoted as part of Food Safety Week. For further information or advice, contact Environmental Health on 01268 294280.

Half term fun with Play Rangers

THE Play Rangers scheme is back in borough parks this half term. Run by Basildon Council, the scheme is free to attend and open to children between the ages of five and 12. Paul Brace, manager of leisure services at Basildon Council, said: “The play ranger’s scheme enables children to engage and interact with each other, learn social skills and have fun with various activities. We saw a huge rise in the number of children taking part last year.” The outdoor sessions are supervised by experienced play workers who will encourage children to enjoy free play using outdoor equipment, explore their surroundings and get to know their local park. The Play Rangers Half Term sessions will run from the 28 May – 5 June from 11am – 3pm. Sessions are available at Wat Tyler Country Park, Northlands Park, Gloucester Park, Lake Meadows and Wickford Memorial Park. For more information and a full timetable visit: or call 01268 550088.

Howzat!? Partners bring cricket to Basildon CRICKET has hit borough streets as part of a new three-year partnership aiming to get more children involved in the game. Cricket charities, The Lord’s Taverners and Cricket for Change, arrived in Basildon on March 29 for the launch of the new partnership at Northlands Park MUSA (Multi Use Sports Area). Run through Basildon Council and Everyone Active, and supported by Essex County Cricket Club, the scheme will give children from deprived areas the chance to play a super-short form of the game known as Street20 that is inexpensive, easy to learn and can be played almost anywhere. Paul Brace, manager of leisure services at Basildon Council, said: “Street20 is fast Printed on 75% recycled paper. Please recycle your Borough Diary after reading.

paced and a great way to get fit and meet others in the local community. Following the launch we will be setting up street20 sessions across Basildon and we look forward to some great games.” Matthew Patten, CEO of The Lord’s Taverners added: “Cricket is currently riding a wave and participation in schools and clubs is on the up. But many young people don’t have access to the social and health benefits that regular involvement in competitive team sports like cricket can bring.” Based in or around housing estates the programme, which is free of charge, will also train and mentor local youngsters to help them become coaches.






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Basildon Borough Council, The Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon, Essex, SS14 1DL. Website: Switchboard: 01268 533333 Email: Chief Executive: Bala Mahendran Leader: Councillor Tony Ball

Borough Diary - May 2011