Archers field ad 25.2.11:Layout 1
ST GEORGE’S DAY PLANS ANNOUNCED!
Laindon High Road SS15 8 x 2 bedroom and 2 x 3 bedroom houses available for shared ownership
020 7089 1315 firstname.lastname@example.org www.familymosaicsales.co.uk
SEE PAGE 10...
SPORTING VILLAGE NEARS COMPLETION Pg11 & back page
THE CENSUS WE NEED YOUR HELP Pg3
BASILDON COUNCIL 2011/12 BUDGET
COUNCIL TAX DOWN COUNCIL TAX REDUCED AND A RANGE OF INVESTMENTS IN LOCAL FACILITIES ANNOUNCED
The Leader of Basildon Council has said challenging cuts in funding will not get the better of the borough’s ambitions, as the Council announces a range of investments. The measures, along with successful efficiencies and a cut in the borough’s Council Tax, were announced as part of the budget for the next financial year at full council on 28 February.
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. Investment totalling more than £300,000 will continue across the borough and Councillor’s propose a reduction in Council Tax of 0.25%
Leader of Basildon Council, Tony Ball, said: “There is something to be said for experience. With years of sound financial management in our back pocket, we have yet again been able to deliver a sustainable budget for now and the future. There is no need to talk about the challenges we face – with massive cuts in Government funding we are all
STORY CONTINUED ON PAGE 7
PETER ANDRE TO WOW BILLERICAY CROWDS! See page 10
Page 3 Census Vital for Borough Finance Page 5 £67m For Our Homes Page 8 What’s On at the Towngate Theatre
Page 10 Big St George’s Day Planned for Basildon Back page Sporting Village Opening
Mayor’s Message from Cllr Mo Larkin It may be March, but may I firstly wish you all a Happy New Year, as this is the first edition of 2011. As promised in December here is the photograph of the official inauguration by Lord Petre. As ever, it has been a very busy three months over the festive and New Year period. Before Christmas I had the pleasure of attending the pantomime gala night at the Towngate Theatre. Yet again, it was a great production enjoyed by young and old alike and I cannot wait until this December’s performance of Dick Whittington. As you will read on page 14, it is never too early to book your tickets so make sure you don’t miss out! I was also asked to officially launch the new town centre development called ‘Axis’ by Barratt Homes, a scheme that will help to attract first-time buyers into the town, something I feel is so important for the area in general. We also remembered the victims of the Holocaust at a special Remembrance Service at the Towngate Theatre where I spoke about the importance of remembering, learning and reflecting on this tragic event. The Council also held a one minute silence and opened a Book or Remembrance. And finally at the end of February we had
the annual charity dinner and dance which was the first hosted by a Basildon Mayor. Here over £9,000 was raised for my four 2011 charities; Age Concern, St Luke’s
Hospice, Crossroads and Northlands Park Community Centre. I wish you all well over the coming months.
EAT WITH CONFIDENCE!
with BBC Essex presenter Ken Crowther This month can also include rain and milder spells that will encourage the growth of plants and maybe your own outdoor activity. Most gardeners, however, will be spending their time looking forward to warmer weather with indoor seed sowing. It’s not too early to sow seeds of tomatoes, especially those for growing in a greenhouse or conservatory. While you will be able to buy seedling plants of common varieties such as Alicante and Moneymaker from your garden centre, it is difficult to find ready-grown plants of varieties such as Incas and Roma, or Beefeater and Brandywine. These are the types to sow yourself, for great results sow in a good Seed & Cutting Compost and keep in warm conditions on a windowsill so that they don’t grow too leggy after germination. Seed sowing on kitchen or bedroom windowsills should be successful as days start to get longer and light levels start to increase. Some seeds are hardy and will germinate quickly and make seedling plants in just a few weeks. Always follow the instructions on each packet and place the tray in a propagator or warm place to maintain an optimum temperature of 70-75F (21-
24C). Provide a steady soil temperature both day and night for best results. A tip from Ken:- Snowdrops will have finished blooming now, so remember to divide any overcrowded clumps immediately after flowering has finished as the bulbs move much better when the plant is in leaf, also called ‘in the green’. Don’t forget for more advice listen to Ken Saturday on BBC Essex 9 till 11, or go to www.GardeningWithKen.com
Cllr Moore (second left) joins South Essex Cllrs to test the new food hygiene scheme.
COUNCILS across South Essex are signing up to a new scheme which aims to help people make informed decisions about where they eat out. Basildon Borough Council are transferring from their current Scores on the Doors scheme to the nationwide Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS). The FHRS will mean customers of restaurants
and takeaways can eat with confidence by enabling them to refer to an easy-tounderstand hygiene-rating system. The new scheme has been developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Food safety officers from local councils conduct
inspections to check food hygiene standards at food outlets and give a rating on a scale from zero (urgent improvement necessary) to the top rating of five (very good). The ratings will be available to view on the FSA website at www. food.gov.uk/ratings and businesses will be given a sticker and certificate to display in their premises.
CENSUS VITAL FOR BOROUGH FINANCE Residents across the Basildon borough are being urged to complete the National Census - or risk losing tens of millions of pounds in funding for their public services. The amount of funding Basildon Council, NHS South West Essex and Essex Police receive from the government depends on the population counted during the census. National Census Day is Sunday 27 March, and a poor response rate could result in the Government thinking fewer people live in the Basildon area than actually do which could drastically reduce the amount of funding made available to Basildon Council over the next decade. Indeed, some councils say a poor response rate to the 2001 census has cost them tens of millions of pounds over the past decade. Cllr Tony Ball, Leader of Basildon Council,
said: “In 2001, 95% of households in the Basildon borough returned their Census form and this helped protect the money we get from central Government for local services. We need to exceed this number this year, ideally with every household completing their form. Otherwise it could have a devastating affect on our government grant for the next decade and consequently the monies available to deliver Council services. One of our neighbouring Essex councils was under counted in 2001 and estimates that this has cost them in the region of £85m over the past 10 years. We don’t want this to happen in Basildon.” Residents should complete and return the census form posted through their door, or complete the online version at: w w w. 2 0 11 . c e n s u s . gov.uk.
SEE THE CENSUS AD ON THE CENTRE PAGES
HALF A MILLION FOR TWO NEW PLAY AREAS TWO cutting-edge adventure playgrounds designed by young people are to be built in Basildon, at a cost of almost half a million pounds. The new play equipment will be located in Langdon Hills and Swan Mead and is designed to challenge children of all ages. Councillor Kevin Blake, Cabinet Member for
Leisure and Arts said: “The funding, which has been made available by the BIG lottery fund, has allowed these two sites to be improved and greatly enhanced.” The work will see great improvements to the existing play areas at both sites, and open with special play events at the beginning of June.
DON’T LOSE YOUR VOTE Residents are being reminded to register to vote for this year’s council elections taking place on Thursday 5th May, and the referendum regarding the voting system for electing MP’s in the future that will also take place on this day. Council elections are being contested in 14 of the Borough’s 16 wards. Elections are also being held at the same time for Shotgate Parish Council. If you are not on the electoral register you will not be entitled to vote on 5 May or take place in the referendum. Registering to vote only takes a few minutes; Print off a form from www. aboutmyvote.co.uk, or call 01268 294669 for an application form. The deadline for registration is 14 April. The deadline for postal vote applications is 5pm on the same day. Paul Burkinshaw, Manager of Democratic Services said: “Many people don’t realise they need to re-register every year. Registration forms were sent to all households in the Borough last autumn when we undertook the annual canvass, but if you are not sure you returned it, or if you have moved house since then you need to register your new details. “Also, just because you are paying Council tax, doesn’t mean you will automatically be included on the Register of Electors. “Don’t let anything stop you having your say on election day.” Further information regarding registering to vote and the elections taking place on 5 May can be found online at www.basildon.gov.uk
Basildon residents with unwanted furniture, can donate it to the Lighthouse Furniture project, a charity that enables those in need to purchase home items at a discounted cost. Items must be in good condition and upholstered furniture must have the kite mark and be clean. Pictured at Langdon Hills site are Cllr Stephen Hillier (Ward Councillor), Vince Perry (Sutcliffe Play), Cllr Sandra Hillier (Ward Councillor) and Graham Light (Project Officer).
To find out more, 01277 222050 or ghthousefurniture.org
Housing benefit changes announced From April 2011, the Government has introduced some major changes to these Benefits to encourage people back into work; this will affect many of Basildon Council’s customers. The new measures will see the amount of benefit people are entitled to reduce, especially for those in private rented accommodation. However, there is additional support available for those who need overnight care. If you are likely to be affected by these changes you will receive a letter from the Benefits Team. Councillor Phil Turner, Cabinet Member for Resources, explained: “Some customers will see no difference in the
amount of benefit they receive. However, there are changes that will see others receiving less than they had anticipated which may initially come as a shock. “We are doing all we can in preparation for these changes, but we realise that it isn’t going to be easy for customers. “Housing Benefit is for people in genuine need but there comes a time when need turns into dependency, which these measures are designed to change. “Basildon Council will do everything it can to support local residents in making a positive change to their lives.” Residents can find out more about the changes by visiting www.basildon. gov.uk/benefits.
Residents can find out more about the benefit changes at www.basildon.gov.uk/benefits
Tips for Safe Travelling by Taxi in Basildon Borough
5 NEW CHANGES TO YOUR BENEFITS 1. End to £15 excess Under the current Housing Benefit rules if your rent is less than the amount of housing benefit you’re entitled to, you can keep up to £15 of the excess. This will stop from April 2011 and the Housing Benefits team will be writing to those affected. 2. Different LHA rates
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 email@example.com
The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates for South West Essex are worked out by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The VOA look at the average rent for an area and set rates so about half the private rental properties in the area are affordable to people on Housing Benefit. The new changes mean LHA will be worked out so about a third of
properties in the area are affordable, which means rates will go down. We predict the rates will go down by more than £10 per week. Find out more by visiting www. voa.gov.uk. 3. Four bed max Housing benefit is worked out on the number of rooms you need, currently up to a maximum of five bedrooms. The Government is taking away the five bedroom rate. From April 2011 the maximum LHA rate will be four bedrooms. 4. Extra room for carers Customers renting from private landlords, where they or their partner need regular overnight care from a person who does not live with them may be entitled to a higher
rate of Housing Benefit. The extra help is to take into account the additional room needed for the overnight carer. If you think you might be entitled to the extra help, you must get in touch with the Benefits Team immediately on 01268 294575 or email benefitsection@basildon. gov.uk 5. Deductions for non-dependants If you claim benefit and have adults living with you other than your partner, deductions are normally made to your rent or Council Tax depending on their circumstances. From April 2011 the Government will increase these deductions which will affect the level of your benefit.
£67m FOR OUR HOMES The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has agreed to make almost £67m funding available to improve social housing in Basildon. Basildon Council submitted a bid to the HCA for £67m to address the backlog of work under the “Decent Homes” programme. The bid was confirmed in a letter to Basildon Council Chief Executive Bala Mahendran. The letter stated: “Only those authorities which have made a strong case for investment need, proposed an affordable profile, and built in significant savings or excellent value for public expenditure will receive funding close to their bid.” Cllr Andrew Baggott, Cabinet Member for ALMO Clienting, said: “I am absolutely delighted this money
is now being made available to us and that, unlike many other councils, our bid has been accepted in full. This is testament to both our hardworking tenant reps, St. George’s Community Housing staff who manage our stock and Council staff that were involved in putting the bid together. The HCA has obviously recognised both a superb bid and the work that we are undertaking to achieve value for money and a sustainable housing fund.” “We have already started work with the £16m provided in 2009, and can now continue this work more fully. This will make a real, tangible difference to thousands of families across the borough and I am also pleased that we received the full amount that we asked for.”
WHEN AND HOW MUCH? 2011/12 £13,448,617 2012/13 £16,214,995 2013/14 £19,664,003 2014/15 £17,621,002
LOCAL SERVICE DIRECTORY Beauty
YOGA CLASSES Friendly Professional services for all ages
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Wed 10-11.30am & 11.30-1pm Rose Hall, Billericay
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Fri 1 - 2pm Wickford Community Assoc. Fri 6.30- 7.30pm Mayflower Hall, Billericay
Please bring a towel or a mat, limited mats are available to borrow.
www.openheartchakra.com Massage – Reiki – Yoga
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5 Church Road, Vange 01268 524072
* DIVORCE/CHILDREN * ACCIDENT CLAIMS * CONVEYANCING/HOUSING * WILLS & PROBATE
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2 pcs chicken and chips 3 hot wings and chips 1 chicken tortilla wrap 1 pc chicken, 2 wings, chips 1 chicken burger, 2 wings
Southgate House, Town Square BASILDON SS14 1BN
Plus: pizza, kebabs and burgers
Hair by david
YOUR LOCAL MOBILE HAIRDRESSER
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
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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 www.manormissionchurch.org.uk
Wheelie Clean Domestic Have your wheelie bin cleaned, deodorised and disinfected once every four weeks for the equivalent of just 12p per day. All of the mess is kept within our cleaning vehicle. Just leave your bin out after its been emptied and come home to a clean sweet smelling wheelie bin. For more information call Lee on
01268 571259 / 07799 067817 or visit
To advertise here call the Sponsorship Officer on 01268 294201 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. As with all Borough Diary adverts, publication does not imply any guarantee of service or recommendation by the Council.
CLEANER STREETS CAMPAIGN
Basildon Council is launching a high-profile campaign to help reduce the volume of litter which blights our streets. Councillor Malcolm Buckley says: “Cleaning up litter as a country costs a massive £2 million pounds a day. “Whilst the Basildon area is very clean, it would only take the actions of a few to undermine this. “We are hoping to work in the community to reduce the amount of litter and keep the streets clean so we have an environment we can all be proud of.” More details will be released in future editions of the Diary.
GREEN STREETS OF BASILDON Basildon Council is celebrating a pioneering scheme to reduce waste being sent to landfill – by composting everything which is collected through their mechanical sweepers. The Council has 7 mechanical sweepers, which are deployed across the borough to help keep streets and pedestrian areas clean and tidy. Over 1,500 tonnes has been saved from landfill in the past year by sending the material the sweepers collect to a composting facility, the same weight as 10 blue whales. Councillor Malcolm Buckley, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We found that over 90% of the material collected by the mechanical street sweepers was organic material, mainly branches and leaves – which can be easily composted.
“With so many homes across the borough doing their bit to help boost recycling figures, as a Council, we looked at some less obvious ways to contribute on top of existing efforts. “Sending our street sweepings to be composted is a fantastic way to help.” Green waste and food waste for recycling is collected from householders for composting on a weekly basis, using a green wheeled bin or external caddy. All material collected from the wheeled bins is sent for composting, and will help the Basildon borough reach a 50% recycling rate by 2012. www.basildon.gov.uk/recycling www.basildon.gov.uk/foodwaste
TONNES OF FOOD WASTE COLLECTED With weekly food waste collections operational since October 2010, householders have been quick to start using their collections and making sure that they are recycling as much of their household waste as possible. In the first four months of the collections, 4151 tonnes of food and garden waste were collected to be composted, an increase of 165% against the previous year when 1560 tonnes were collected in the same period. Collections are weekly, and run all year-round. To find out more information, or to start recycling your food waste, visit: w w w. b a s i l d o n . g o v. u k / foodwaste Council’s recycling driver, Gary Low, with food waste kitchen caddies
TOP RECYCLING REACHED OVER FESTIVE PERIOD The festive period saw record levels of recycling being collected by Basildon Council collection staff. With weekly food waste collections and fortnightly glass collections continuing all over the Christmas holidays for the first time, there were many more opportunities to recycle and this was rewarded with a 50% increase compared to the same period last year. As the Council edges closer to its target of a 50% recycling rate by 2012, recent steps to encourage recycling across the borough appear to be paying off. Food waste recycling collections, which were introduced in October, and glass recycling boxes continued to be collected over Christmas. This meant residents had more opportunities than ever to
save their waste going to landfill. Councillor Malcolm Buckley, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “This impressive increase in the amount being recycled proves that residents are just as committed as we are to achieving the borough’s recycling target. “I applaud residents for their efforts as they continue to work with us towards reducing waste that goes to landfill.” Recycling figures from 28 December to 23 January last year (2009/10) were 1,634 tonnes but the figures have shot up this year (2010/11) to 2,438 tonnes. Black waste sacks, green (garden) waste and food waste for recycling are collected every week. Pink recycling sacks and glass bottles and jars boxes are collected fortnightly.
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 - Paul Kirkman 01268 474528. Surgeries on third Wednesday of the month(except December), 7.30pm to 8pm at The Ashleigh Centre, Whitmore Way, Basildon. Alan Davies 01268 525406, Bill Archibald 01268 280593 & 07732 710088. 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, Richard Rackham 01277 624932, 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. Phil Jenkins - 01268 285402 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 - Swatantra Nandanwar 01268 453749. Surgeries on second Sunday of month, 11am to 12noon at the Luncies Meeting Hall, Luncies Road (off Timberlog Lane), Vange. 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.
FREE WEEKEND PARKING TO CONTINUE Investment package announced by Council Basildon Council has announced that free weekend parking in council car parks is set to continue for the third year running. The Council has also announced community investment across the borough totalling more than £300,000. The investment will be used to improve community centres, boost trade in the borough’s shopping areas and preserve local art. The Council has pledged more than £50,000 to support initiatives in Wickford. This includes improvements to the public toilets in Wickford Memorial Park, the launch of a street market and the promotion of the town centre shops and amenities. Plans to boost footfall in the shopping area follow consultation with the local community and businesses, and it is hoped this will support the local economy.
The Council also plans to invest almost £100,000 in Pitsea Leisure Centre and Hannakins Farm Community Centre in Billericay. Funding of £50,000 for Pitsea Leisure Centre follows investment last year of £100,000, which saw refurbishment of the toilets, new carpet and a new conference room. After successfully negotiating a 25 year lease with West Billericay Community Association at Hannakins Farm, the Council’s £45,000 investment will bring in much needed improvements, including a
new roof and boiler. As well as community centres, the Council has earmarked funds for further improvement to Victoria Park and is planning to consult with the community to decide how best to spend the £25,000 investment for 2011/12. Money to protect the borough’s art will see £5,000 being used to insure and maintain local artwork. Local art groups will also be able to bid for money to help support the borough’s first-ever Arts Festival.
COUNCIL TAX DOWN continued from front page
acutely aware of the task ahead. The fact we have made progress on that task whilst keeping our commitment to protect frontline services makes clear our priorities. After all, it’s not just local council’s feeling the force of the current financial climate – residents and businesses are facing challenges of their own. It was important to be able to trim the cost of Council Tax without robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Basildon Council has been preparing for expected cuts in funding for months, ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review in October, according to the Medium Term Financial Strategy, which was considered by Cabinet in September. Councillor Phil Turner, cabinet member for resources, supported the Leader’s emphasis on efficiencies and investment, saying: “I don’t want to dwell on the oft-repeated message of tough times. We faced
up to our challenges along time ago and every year there is something to test the policy of prudence. Yet, time and time again, Basildon Council has met the challenge head on. When we talk about tough decisions, we are talking about the need to temporarily shelve BasFest and certainly wouldn’t dream of burdening taxpayers with stealth taxes. “The move to reduce Council Tax, even by a small amount, hopefully sends a message to businesses and residents in Basildon – a successful history of financial prudence will continue forward. “We don’t make silly, flamboyant gestures. Instead we care about sustainability, value for money and protecting frontline services.” The budget has already been considered by Overview and Scrutiny (8 February) and was approved by Cabinet (10 February).
DAY CENTRE’S GIFT TO HOSPICE
Members of the Laindon Day Centre got together to build a rocker with a difference for the Little Havens Hospice. The centre runs woodwork classes and this group took a modern slant on the rocking horse to produce a ‘rocking motor bike’ for the children to use.
For tickets and information, call the Box Office on 01268 465465 or visit www.essex-live.co.uk
THREE BIG NIGHTS IN MARCH NOT TO BE MISSED Real Diamond
John Hylton returns to the Towngate following previous sell out performances for a special performance of Neil Diamond’s ‘The Jazz Singer’.
It is now five decades since the Searchers hit the UK charts but with over 40 million record sales to their name the band continue to tour the world.
One of the Towngate’s most popular acts returns for one night only for a show not to be missed.
As Europe’s foremost Neil Diamond tribute, John has performed all over the world bringing to the life the hits one of the most iconic and popular singers of the past 50 years.
Their current tour will see the group travel as far as Australia before they return to Britain for the European leg, which sees them reach the Towngate Theatre on the 25th March.
In 1980, Neil Diamond famously wrote the musical score for the ‘Jazz Singer’. He starred in the film alongside Sir Laurence Olivier, before releasing what became one his greatest ever albums. Now John performs a special tribute to the album performing all the song from the ‘Jazz Singer’ alongside some of Neil’s best known hits.
Thurs 24 March 7.30pm £16.85
With such classic hits as ‘Sweets For My Sweet’, ‘Needles and Pins’, ‘Don’t Throw Your Love Away’ and ‘When You Walk In The Room’ in the repertoire the band are one of the biggest selling and most influential groups to come our of the 1960’s. With fewer and fewer bands remaining from the decade they continue to play to packed audiences. Their specially devised ‘special’ solo concert will see the group performing all their famous hits, plus many of their original album recordings, B-sides and a selection of other collector and well known favourites.
Fri 25 March 7.30pm £18.38
C BEEBIES favourites return to the Towngate Theatre
Kids are in for a treat as Chris Jarvis and Pui Fan Lee return to the Towngate with their ‘Show me Show me’ tour on Monday 11th April at 11am and 2pm.
The hottest double act on Children’s TV, Chris and Pui have starred in BBC and ITV children’s programmes for over 16 years and are well known to children and their parents across the UK. Shown daily ‘Show me Show me’ is currently one of the highest rated programmes on the cbeebies channel. Set in a magical playroom on the top floor of a tower block, the show encourages young children to learn about the magic of the every day as Chris and Pui go on adventures exploring their surroundings. The live show promises to be great fun as over the course of the show, Chris and Pui discover musical instruments, play joining-in games, sing songs and bring some of their on-screen antics to the stage.
Dominic Kirwan is undoubtedly one of the Ireland’s biggest stars. With 14 albums and 6 live DVD’s to his name he has a fan base spanning all ages and returns to Basildon following the sell our success of his 2009 show. His latest album, ‘My Kinda Country’ reflects his love of the music he’s had all his life. It’s 14 songs reflect a wide variety of influences within the genre ranging from Garth Brooks to Kenny Rogers via Tom Jones and the album has received acclaim from critics and fans alike. His live shows have a reputation for their incredible energy and excitement and with his rich voice and wide repertoire, there is always something to please even the most ardent music critic.
Sat 26 March 7.30pm £17.36
RAT PACK IS BACK The Kings of Cool with the hits of Sinatra, Martin and Davis Jnr are back. ‘The Rat Pack is Back’ stars have amazed royalty and audiences alike by recreating the famous music of Sinatra, Martin and Davis Jnr. Don’t miss out on their incredible live performances as you wallow in the famous hits including ‘My Way’, ‘New York New York’, and ‘Amore’. The Rat Pack is Back is at the Towngate Theatre on 22nd May. Tickets are £18.38 and are available from the Towngate Box Office on 01268 465465 or at www. essex-live.co.uk.
Borough Partners Working together for a better Basildon
GP OUT OF HOURS SERVICE AND WHAT TO EXPECT The out-of-hours GP service provides urgent medical care from 6.30pm to 8.00am on weekdays and round the clock at weekends and bank holidays. The service is run by the East of England Ambulance Service and South Essex Emergency Doctors Service (SEEDS) in Basildon. When you telephone a GP out-of-hours, your call will be diverted to a dedicated line at the ambulance service’s control centre. The call is sorted into clinical priority groups so that patients get the right response for their needs. Most patients need advice over the phone or a face-to-face medical assessment at one of the out-of-hours primary care centres. Only some patients need a home visit, because of their medical condition.
NEED A GP OUT OF HOURS? 1. Call your usual GP practice. 2. You will be diverted to the out of hours GP service or given its contact details. 3. Specialist staff will speak to you about your symptoms over the phone. 4. They will give you advice or ask you to come and see them at a primary care centre to be seen by someone who is either a doctor, a nurse practitioner or an emergency care practitioner. 5. You will only be visited at home if you are housebound, very elderly or too sick to leave home. These visits are undertaken by a team of mobile GPs and emergency care practitioners. Home visits are only carried out when moving you would be detrimental to your condition.
Be prepared and support your local NHS With several bank holidays on the horizon, the health service is urging you to think as carefully as possible about how you use local services. Some common-sense tips can help you to help yourself, and keep the NHS moving when it is at its busiest: • Ensure you have enough medicine for a long-term condition • Make a note of opening times of local pharmacies • Check on elderly or vulnerable relatives and neighbours to make sure they’re comfortable and managing any conditions properly • Only use 999 in an emergency (life-threatening or serious injuries or incidents)
Lyn Reynolds, Associate Director of the East of England Ambulance NHS Trust’s non-emergency services said: “We saw an absolute surge in out of hours calls over the bad weather and festive period. We can cope really well under that kind of pressure, but of course people can help support us by using services wisely and doing what they can to keep safe and healthy to avoid the need for medical help.
Healthcare over Bank holidays Self-care A well-stocked first aid kit could help you deal with minor illnesses and injuries at home. Pharmacy On every high street, in many supermarkets and often open in the evenings or at weekends, your pharmacist does more than dispensing medicines. If you need advice about common complaints such as coughs, colds, aches and pains or if you need emergency contraception speak to your pharmacist. Find your nearest pharmacist at: www.nhs.uk Text: ‘pharmacy’ to 64746 to find your nearest pharmacy. NHS Direct NHS Direct provides expert information at all times of Call 0845 46 47 and speak to a health enquiry or use the www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
health advice and the day and night. an advisor or submit symptom checker at
NHS doctors and nurses are here to help when you really need them. The GP out-of hours service, Thurrock Health Centre, Minor Injuries Unit at Orsett Hospital and A&E are all open over the bank holiday. We are asking you to use them responsibly and help us to help you get the right care in the right place at the right time.
Contact us: 01268 705 000 Website: www.swessex.nhs.uk
Working together for a better Basildon
NEW LEADERSHIP FOR YOUR LOCAL NHS “The two primary care trusts will continue to be separate organisations, each responsible for their own budget” Changes ahead Over the coming years the way that the NHS is managed will change significantly, giving GPs across the country greater control over the NHS budget. For the past few years primary care trusts have managed the health budget for people living in their area. The budget has been used to commission – plan, develop and buy - health services. There are currently five primary care trusts in Essex. For now Basildon residents have their healthcare paid for with money held by the primary care trust called NHS South West Essex.
Working in a cluster Chief Executive Andrew Pike
“By clustering we will be able to eliminate duplication and cut out some of the costs associated with running two primary care trusts.”
NHS South West Essex will start working more closely with its neighbour NHS South East Essex in a ‘cluster’. The two primary care trusts already share a chief executive, and by April they will share an executive team. The executive team is a group of directors who represent different parts of the primary care trusts on each of their Boards. In the months that follow, the directors’ teams will also start working together, so that one group of staff provides support to two primary care trusts. Andrew Pike, who will lead the cluster as chief executive of both NHS South West Essex and NHS South East Essex says: “The two primary care trusts will continue to be separate organisations, each responsible for their own budget and expenditure. This is really important as the money given to them is calculated on the size and needs of the population in their areas.
Working together and sharing management costs Mr Pike also said: “Both trusts will have their own Chair and a different group of non-executive directors, independent directors appointed to monitor the way that the primary care trusts run. “But because we will be working more closely in a cluster, we will be able to eliminate duplication, learn from each other and cut out some of the costs associated with administering and running two primary care trusts.”
Reducing management costs Over the coming months, local NHS management arrangements will change. This will help to prepare the way for closing down primary care trusts in 2013 and handing the budget to GPs. It will also reduce management costs immediately, so that less money is spent on running the local health service and more is available for providing healthcare to our patients.
Contact us: 01268 705 000 Website: www.swessex.nhs.uk
Please take the time to complete the form that is posted to you, or complete it online at www.2011.census.gov.uk
Basildon Borough Council, The Basildon Centre, St Martinâ€™s Square, Basildon, Essex, SS14 1DL 01268 533333
Working together for a better Basildon
FEAR OF CRIME FALLS The fear of crime amongst Basildon residents has been reduced for the fifth year in a row. The Basildon Community Safety Partnership’s (BCSP) Fear of Crime survey identified that the fear of crime in Basildon is at 13% compared to 16.7% for the previous year. The fear of crime in 2004 was 23.1%. The majority of respondents (91%) stated that they felt safe outside during the day and 90% stated that they felt safe in their home. Councillor Frank Tomlin, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Community Safety, said: “It is vital that our residents are safe, and feel safe too. I am pleased to see that the work of the
Partnership is contributing towards this. “The results will be used to gauge what our residents feel the current issues are, and what they want to see in the future. This helps us to channel our resources.” The BCSP, which include more than 20 organisations including Basildon Council and Essex Police, run and support a number of initiatives to help reduce crime in the Basildon borough. These include activities for young people through Positive Futures, Community Safety Action Zones, hate crime workshops and support to the Basildon SOS Bus. You can search for the Basildon Community Safety Partnership on Facebook and become a ‘fan’.
NEWS IN BRIEF Fighting car crime
The partnership has been working together to reduce the fear of crime.
COMMUNITY ACTION WEEK
Seeking your views through Facebook
A new leaflet on preventing car crime is to be delivered to residents in the Great Knightleys area to help drive down car crime. Tackling motor vehicle crime was identified as a priority for the Great Knightleys area at a recent Community Safety Action Zone (CSAZ), a group under the Basildon Community Safety Partnership. 3000 leaflets offering residents advice on how to prevent their car from being damaged or stolen have now been produced and will be delivered to every household in the ward in the coming weeks.
Activity day scheme The BCSP has funded a new project which will allow 10 youngsters who have been affected by crime to take part in a series of activity days to help rebuild their confidence. The Essex Police led scheme which will aim to increase confidence and self esteem amongst children affected by crime. The 10 local students will take part in 16 different activities at an activity centre including archery, a high ropes course, kayaking, sailing and climbing/ abseiling. The children will attend the activity centre one day a month for four months between March and June.
Young people enjoy a DJ workshop
A community action day kicked off a week of activities in the Great Knightley’s area. Around 100 residents took part in activities and were able to access services and crime prevention advice and support. Residents could get their dogs microchipped by the Council’s animal control team and St George’s
mobile office was on hand to offer help and advice to local residents. Activities also ran through the week, including football sessions with a Chelsea FC coach, nail art and various music workshops. To find out more about the BCSP, please visit: w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / BASILDONCSP.
Residents are being asked for their views on how to tackle crime in the borough, through social networking site ‘Facebook’. The BCSP is looking to involve residents in how the Partnership can reduce crime in the future. A ‘discussion’ has been added to the BCSP’s Facebook page and
residents are invited to join the group and submit their ideas on how crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour can be tackled in the borough. ‘Fans’ of the page receive regular updates on events, news and community safety. To join visit the BCSP Facebook page and get involved in the debate!
BASILDON CELEBRATES FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT
The ‘cook-off’ judges tuck into some of the final entries.
A student ‘cook-off’, poster competition and exhibitions all took place through this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight which finishes on Sunday 13th March. A number of workshops took place prior to the fortnight with local primary schools to raise awareness of Fairtrade products and encourage the young schoolchildren to design a poster, which is being displayed in the Eastgate Centre. A Fairtrade recipe book incorporating the meals from last year’s competition has also been
produced and is available from the Basildon Centre. The 2011 cook off saw pupils from Bromfords, Beauchamps, Woodlands, Barstable Lower Academy, James Hornsby and Billericay School cooking against the clock to design their own ‘Fairtrade’ dishes by coming up with one from scratch or borrowing from proven recipes. Judged by owner and head chef of the renowned Magic Mushroom restaurant, Darren Bennett, the prizes included a day in the kitchen with Darren Bennett, a meal for two at
the Magic Mushroom, and a Fairtrade Apron. Cllr Andrew Baggott, Cabinet Member for Community, said: “This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight has been bigger and better than ever and follows on from the success we achieved last year with Fairtrade status. “By using Fairtrade products we can help to ensure that farmers from around the world get paid a fair price for their produce. I would encourage everyone to choose Fairtrade products whenever possible.”
YOUNG PEOPLE BATTLE FOR LOWER FARES
LOCK UP OR LOSE IT
A new Youth Transport Forum has been created with the objective of lowering public transport fares for young people. The group was formed as a result of discussions held during the Youth Conference hosted by Basildon Council during October’s Local Democracy Week. So far, the Forum has managed to attract 700 members on their Facebook group which is called ‘Youth Transport Forum (YTF)’
The Basildon Rail Forum, which is run by Basildon Council, are urging commuters that cycle to train stations to be vigilant, after a rise in cycle thefts from the borough’s train stations. Those that take the healthy option to ride to the station are being encouraged to use heavy duty locks to
and are working on a local media campaign to attract more attention. Sophie Lorenz, who represents the Youth Transport Forum on both the Basildon Bus and Rail Forums, facilitated by Basildon Council, says: “We believe reduced fares on public transport would be of benefit not just to young people, but also to the borough as a whole. Making travel easier for young people enables
them to participate in education and take up employment opportunities that may otherwise be out of reach to them”. The group are planning a host of summer activities once exams are finished. If you are interested in joining the Forum, join their Facebook group to become a supporter of the campaign so you get updates about news and events.
deter would be thieves. Inspector Ian Smart of the British Transport Police said: “Most thefts are by opportunists or people who carry small bolt croppers on them. Most heavy duty chains are excellent and it takes very heavy equipment to break them, thus reducing the chance of thefts.”
Cllr Tony Ball has spoken about his role as Council Leader to members of the Basildon Pensioners Association. The group meets at the Basildon Centre on the first Friday of the month and has a guest speaker at each meeting. If you are interested in joining the group contact chairperson Gina Andrews on 01268 287977.
BIG ST GEORGE’S DAY PLANNED FOR BASILDON Plans for the 2011 St George’s Day celebrations in Basildon are well under way and this year looks all set to be the best yet. The 2010 event was named as one of the best celebrations in the country, and this year the day will be celebrated in style with a special St George’s Day Fashion Show in the Eastgate Shopping Centre.
The show, run several times during the day will see students from South Essex College presenting a range of traditional English clothing from some of Basildon’s biggest fashion retailers and a range they have created themselves based on the St George’s flag. The town centre will be a hive of activity with a host of street entertainment on hand to entertain shoppers,
a St George’s Day Parade and a special farmers’ market providing a host of traditional English foods and produce. The event will also see the return of the highly popular ‘Party in a Box’ More details will be announced in the lead up to the event which takes place on Saturday 23rd April. To find out more visit: www.basildon.gov.uk.
The council’s renowned free ‘Party in a Box’ will also be returning for this year’s celebrations! If you are a local community group and want to apply for a box to help you run a party, then complete the letter that you have received and return it by Friday 25th March. If you have not received a letter, then please call Danny Simpson on 01268 533333 and ask for an application form or visit www. basildon.gov.uk. There are 50 boxes up for grabs that contain hats, flags and bunting for approximately 25 party guests. Applying does not guarantee a box, and it will be on a first come, first served basis. Groups can only apply for one box.
NEW SEASON PETER ANDRE TO WOW LAKE OF SHOWS AT MEADOWS FOR SUMMER GIG WAT TYLER
A Twist of Folk with The Ric Sanders Band
Fairport convention star Ric Sanders heads up an exciting new season of live shows at Wat Tyler Country Park as Wat Tyler Arts returns this Spring. The series of concerts, each of which follows a different theme will cover folk, blues and concludes in May with a flamenco show. Folk legend Ric performs at the park with his group on the 2nd April and will be performing a mixture of traditional and contemporary music alongside a few Fairport
Convention classics. The season concludes with a performance by Sumaya on the 7th May. The UK’s finest exponents of Flamenco, the band and trained dancers will be demonstrating all the high emotion and superb music that Flamenco has to offer. All shows start at 7.30pm and tickets at £10 in advance or £12.50 on the door. Tickets are available from the Towngate Theatre Box Office on 01268 465465 or online at www.essex-live. co.uk
Singing superstar Peter Andre will be bringing his ‘Up Close & Personal’ concert to Billericay’s Lake Meadows on Sunday 7th August 2011. Peter Andre first rose to prominence in 1995 with his hit ‘Mysterious Girl’ which later reached the number one spot in the charts. Other hits include ‘Flava’ and ‘I Feel You’. With his many TV shows and book releases, Peter is one of the most enduring stars of the past two decades, ending 2010 on a massive high with his ‘Accelerate’ tour. Councillor Kevin Blake, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Arts said: “We are delighted to have such a big name coming to perform at Lake Meadows at what is a great venue for live music and I am sure the park will be packed out for this one off concert.” “Following the success of the Will Young concert last year which was jointly organised by the Council and Envy Productions, we have been in talks with them about funding and hosting an event, and I am pleased they have been able to step in to put on such a high profile concert.” The concert will take place at Lake Meadows, Billericay, on Sunday 7th August. Tickets go on sale on Monday 7th February at 9am and are available from www.ticketeast.co.uk on 0871 224 1113 or via the Towngate Theatre.
YOUNG PEOPLE YOUTH GIGS BACK TURN POLITICIANS WITH A BOOM! Over 100 young people took part in a ‘Young People’s Parliament’ project to encourage first time voters to participate in elections – double the number anticipated. Students from six local schools formed fifteen ‘election parties’ who consulted with their peers to create an election manifesto outlining how their party would benefit the wider community and included their “election promises” of what they would deliver if given the chance. The winners called ‘The Zeus Party’ from the
Mayflower School won £5,000 in order to carry out their idea for the community. This is to create a ‘start-up’ fund for school councils to organise charity events. Over 2560 young people voted in the elections. Participants received training on writing and recording their own Party Political Broadcasts, which were uploaded to You Tube to spread their message. A large scale election debate took place in what was dubbed a ‘Big Debate’ at the Towngate Theatre in early January.
PUPILS PRODUCE PODCASTS A unique project run by Basildon Borough Council’s community development team has seen young people of the Borough create their own podcasts. A number of Year 10 students from Billericay School wrote, recorded, edited and presented two podcasts which have now been uploaded online. The Council is now hoping to expand the project with other schools and colleges throughout the Borough. Councillor Andrew Baggott, Cabinet Member for Community, says: “Along with doing something fun, innovative and relevant, the project has enabled the young people to learn a new skill, and earn an OCN accredited qualification. “The project has also been used as a new way of getting vital messages
out about young people’s health and well being that can be delivered directly to their friends and peers using an engaging format.” These podcasts were written, recorded, presented, produced and edited by local Basildon Borough young people for local Basildon Borough young people. The ‘CrunchCast’ podcasts were named by the young people involved and can be listened to at: http://crunchcast. podbean.com/2010/11/22/ crunchcast-episode-1/ The podcasts are being promoted virally by the students and through posters designed and printed by the Council. Other schools interested in the project should contact Grant Taylor at Basildon Council on 01268 294513 or grant.taylor@basildon. gov.uk
Cabinet Member for Community, Cllr Andrew Baggott said: “Democracy is a vital tool for improving our communities and getting hard to reach groups, like young people, to register to vote.” The Basildon Youth Council has also played a key role in implementing the project, and additional funding of £2,500 was received from the Fowler, Smith and Jones Trust, which was also matched by Basildon Council, to help turn the participants’ manifesto promises into reality at the end of the project.
A music project run by young people encouraging local live acts to perform is back this Spring. The Boom Room is being held on Thursday 17 March at the SPACE Youth Centre in Roundacre, Basildon at 7pm. There will be performances from a number of different local young musical acts on the night. Organised by Basildon Borough Council, in conjunction with Essex County Council and the Basildon Arts Association, to enable young people to showcase their musical talents to their peers, the Boom Room is open to people aged between 13 and 19, (or up to 25 years of age for those with additional needs). The Boom Room offers young people, whether musically gifted or otherwise, the very real opportunity of having
ownership of a project. The project was started after consultation with local young people who said they wanted events that focussed solely on youth culture, rather than just involved them in ‘boring’ activities that they, or their peers, would not find engaging. Cllr Andrew Baggott, Cabinet Member for Community said: “The Boom Room offers the opportunity for young people to express themselves musically, while engaging them in positive activities.” Tickets cost £1 on the door and all proceeds for the night will be going to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. Check out ‘the Boom Room Basildon’ page on Facebook or visit the myspace page - www.myspace.com/ theboomroombasildon
SPORTING VILLAGE SET FOR OPENING
Basildon’s new 50 metre pool takes shape.
Construction workers scale the heights of the new climbing wall and (inset) how it will look.
DON’T COMMIT ‘LIVE TOGETHER’ BENEFIT FRAUD Residents claiming housing benefit are being urged to think twice about letting their partner move in without informing the Council. The warning comes after the council announced that there had been nearly 40 successful prosecutions for ‘living together’ benefit fraud in the last five years – all against women. Cllr Phil Turner, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “In these cases, we are more likely to take action against an individual rather than a couple. And so if a woman continues to claim benefits and doesn’t tell the Council her boyfriend has moved in then, in the eyes of the law, she is the one committing benefit fraud.” A person found guilty of benefit fraud will have to pay back all the money they wrongly claimed, and may also face court costs and fines which could result in bankruptcy. They might also face community service orders and possibly even prison, while their partner could escape the consequences. Cllr Turner continued: “By not telling us about a change in circumstances they are knowingly committing benefit fraud. My message to any woman in this situation is to think long and hard if it is worth the risk. Our prosecution figures show that your other half probably won’t end up in court but you could and you’ll be on your own.”
Most recently, a woman benefit cheat narrowly escaped jail after pleading guilty to 16 charges of benefit fraud amounting to more than £92,000. Mrs Jane Wyatt, aged 46 of Markhams Chase previously of Great Knightleys, Basildon, pleaded guilty to 16 offences in that she failed to tell Basildon Council another person was living with her, failing to declare his employment and his earnings. Mrs Wyatt was sentenced to ten months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to a three month curfew between 8pm and 7am, which will be monitored through an electronic tag. Mrs Wyatt falsely claimed £52,754.49 in Housing Benefit, £7,908.10 in Council Tax Benefit and £31,750.34 in Income Support over a period of seven years.
Anyone claiming Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit who wishes to advise Basildon Council of a change in their circumstances should contact the Council’s housing benefit team on 01268 294566.
Community Panels. Find your local meeting. St Georges Community Housing’s Resident Involvement Team, along with community representatives across the Basildon Borough, hold regular panel meetings. Below are a list of the community panel meetings up to July 2011. Meeting dates after July will be in the next edition. Please feel free to come along and support the work in your local area. The meetings are a great way for you to find out about what’s going on, and to make your views heard. For more information, call the Resident Involvement Team on 0800 121 45 45. Community Panel Fryerns and Craylands Billericay, Burstead and Crouch Nethermayne and Vange Lee Chapel North Pitsea SE and NW Wickford Laindon Park and Langdon Hills St Martins Nethermayne and Vange Wickford Billericay, Burstead and Crouch Lee Chapel North Pitsea SE and NW Laindon Park and Langdon Hills
Date Tuesday, 1 March Tuesday, 8 March Thursday, 10 March Wednesday, 16 March Monday, 21 March Tuesday, 22 March Thursday, 24 March Tuesday, 10 May Thursday, 12 May Tuesday, 24 May Wednesday, 1 June Thursday, 2 June Tuesday, 28 June Thursday, 21 July
Time 7pm - 9pm 2pm - 4pm 2pm - 5pm 1pm - 3pm 7pm - 10pm 6.30pm - 9pm 7pm - 9pm 6.30pm - 9pm 6.30pm - 9pm 6.30pm - 9pm 2pm - 4pm 1pm - 4pm 7pm - 10pm 7pm - 9pm
Venue Craylands Community Hall Noak Bridge Village Hall Luncies Meeting Hall Lee Chapel North, Community Centre Pitsea Leisure Centre, Main Hall Wickford Community Centre The British Legion, The Triangle Barstable Community Centre Ingaway Church Hall Wickford Community Centre South Green Memorial Hall, Billericay Elizabeth Way, Five Links Pitsea Leisure Centre. Main Hall The British Legion, The Triangle
Company registered in England and Wales: 6012151. Registered Office - PO Box 6365, The Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square SS14 1DL
HOUSING SERVICES UNDER DISCUSSION A review has been undertaken on the future of St George’s Community Housing (SGCH), with the results expected to be announced soon. It has been over six years since Basildon Council asked for resident’s opinions on setting up SGCH to manage homes on behalf of the Council. Creating an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) helped Basildon secure £15m of additional funding from the Government to improve your homes. Basildon Council is now proposing to bring housing management services back to the Council, which would save around £1m every year which could be spent on providing better
services to tenants and leaseholders. All tenants and leaseholders were asked for their thoughts on this proposal through a ‘test of opinion.’ The Council is keen to build on the current level of involvement of tenants and leaseholders and look to enhance this further. SGCH was originally set up to get Government money to achieve the decent homes programme and access up to £142m of funding. The process for funding the decent homes programme has changed and an ALMO is no longer required to access additional money. The Council can use the savings from bringing housing management
back into the Council to fund even more service improvements. Cllr Andrew Baggott, Cabinet Member for Community and ALMO clienting said: “By returning housing management to the
Council, we can cut duplicated costs and instead use the money to improve housing services. SGCH has done a good job but we must now look to the future. The Council is currently improving all its services and I want our tenants and leaseholders to benefit from these changes.” For tenants and leaseholders there would be no change in ownership, with the Council remaining as landlord, setting the rents, arranging repairs and consulting about housing services. The results of the review and a formal decision will be announced in the local press and on the Council’s website: www.basildon.gov.uk
FREE BUSINESS EVENTS PLANNED FOR SPRING
A host of free business events are being run this Spring, aimed at local business across the Borough. On 16th March, a free business advice clinic is being run at the Essex Enterprise Centre where business experts will be on hand to talk through business problems and opportunities. Forty-five minute slots are available from 8.30am. The first business breakfast of the year will be held a week later, on 23rd March at the
Wat Tyler Centre from 7.45am. The topic is ‘Strategies for Growing Your Busines and Making a Profit’. And on 5th April, a set of free beginner and intermediate procurement workshops are being hosted at the Basildon Centre for local companies to learn more about the tendering process and required documents. For more information on the events, please email business-assist@ basildon.gov.uk
FOSTERING CHANGES LIVES - HAVE YOU GOT WHAT iT TAKES
TO MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE? TALKING. IT’S WHAT FOSTER RELATIONSHIPS ARE BUILT ON. Foster carers come from all age groups and backgrounds, living in all kinds of homes. What they have in common is empathy and the ability to build good relationships with children and a commitment to making a difference to a child’s life. Thurrock Fostering work with carers from both inside & outside of Thurrock. We welcome, and are currently looking for enquiries from the Basildon, Wickford & Billericay areas.
GIVE US A CALL ON 0800
WORTH TALKING ABOUT
INVESTMENT IN PITSEA FOCUS ON: PITSEA LEISURE CENTRE Pitsea Leisure Centre has been undergoing something of a renaissance in recent times. Buoyed by winning a free function room makeover from ‘The Sun’ newspaper after topping a national poll in May 2009, the Council has been determined to make the most of this community spirit and interest by investing in further improvements. Over £100,000 has been committed by the Council to fully decorate and refurbish the rest of the facility, bringing it up to the same high standard that was achieved after The Sun’s ‘Paint Bus’ had rollered out of town. And a further £50,000 has recently been announced in this year’s budget to continue work. Councillor Baggott, Cabinet Member for Community explains the importance of the facility: “The Centre continues to be heavily used and is at the heart of the local community, with an array of facilities, clubs and rooms for people to socialise, learn new skills or just meet up with friends
The centre has a host of function and conference rooms for meetings and classses.
for a tea or coffee. There are a number of conference rooms available, and a children’s party area (see photos), function rooms with seating for over 200 people and a licensed bar. The venue has hosted a variety of events, from weddings, Christmas parties and corporate meetings to a
Valentine’s singles disco this year. The centre is also now open on a Sunday and children’s parties are also available in the fun factory. But this is more than just the Council committing money and time, as the local community is also getting involved as part of the ‘Challenge Angela’
campaign that is geared at encouraging local people and businesses to support the Council’s investment. Basildon Council’s Sponsorship Officer, Angela Christall, is on a search for individuals and local firms to contribute materials, furniture and/ or their time to help with the centre’s refurbishment
To speak to a member of staff about the facilities available to hire, please call 01268 465420
to help make the £100,000 investment go even further. The campaign is also looking for residents to have their say on what activities they would like to see at the centre. Brenda Williams of Pitsea, is a regular member of the centre using it to socialise, keep fit and have a value lunch. She said: “The investment is great, as the centre needs new toilets and modernisation. “The money will help to improve what is an excellent facility for local people. People used to
come from outside of the area to use the club because they did not have these types of facilities in their area, so we hope that will restart.” With the combined resources and effort being put in by both the Council and the local community, the Pitsea Leisure Centre has a bright future to look forward to. For more information on the Challenge Angela campaign or to get involved, email: sponsorship@basildon. gov.uk
Join us for a free family day of activities to help raise awareness and celebrate the diverse society living in the pitsea area. · Dance including bollywood, morris, chinese lion and belly dancing · Music FroM arounD The WorlD WiTh party man dJ marky mark · arTiFicial henna Face PainTinG FroM ParTy Man · Fun FacTory · aFrican/caribbean hair braiDinG · FooD TasTinG FroM DiFFerenT counTries · WorkshoPs anD craFT acTiviTies (for children under 7) this event is being hosted by pitsea children’s centres and is supported by pitsea leisure centre, pitsea day care centre and first steps nursery. *all children must be accompanied by an adult.
For more information on the Sporting Village, visit www.basildon-sport.co.uk
COUNTDOWN STARTS TO PUBLIC LAUNCH
Cllr Castle (far left), Cllr Ball and Cllr Blake view the impressive new 50 metre pool
Resident’s will be treated to a weekend of sport at the end of April, as the Basildon Sporting Village opens its doors for the first time. A host of activities will be run as the best public sport facility in Essex launches after an 18 month construction programme. Local sports clubs and performers will mix with sporting celebrities and the gymnastic sensation ‘Spelbound’ winners of Britain’s Got Talent 2010 who will perform twice during the opening day on Saturday 30th April. Fitness fanatics and sports fans will be able to sign up for free activities over the weekend, including swimming, badminton and fitness classes or try a new sports such as climbing on the giant 10 metre climbing wall. The Sporting Village will include the county’s only 50 metre swimming pool, learner pool, a regional gymnastics centre, 8-court sports hall, 100-station fitness suite, meeting rooms, creche, climbing wall, 5-a-side football pitches, and a new athletics grandstand. These amazing facilities will complement what is already in place, including 12 national standard netball courts, athletics track, outdoor football pitches and astro-turf multi-use pitch. Cllr Kevin Blake, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Arts, said: “This really will be the best public sports facility in Essex and will benefit the whole community. It will enable all parts of the Borough to enjoy more active and healthy lifestyles and I cannot wait for it to open.” Cllr Stephen Castle, from Essex County Council, said: “The Sporting Village, combined with the other first class facilities we have developed in the county, will put Essex on the sporting map.”
JOIN THE SPORTING VILLAGE
‘Spelbound’ are set to impress
Printed on 75% recycled paper. Please recycle your Borough Diary after reading.
The 8-court sports hall nears completion
Residents can now sign up for an Everyone Active card that will allow them access into the new Sporting Village. Users of the facility will be able to decide whether they want to ‘pay and play’ every time they visit, or sign up for a monthly membership with no contract. To find out more about the memberships available, please contact Everyone Active on 08450 708928 or visit: www.basildon-sport.co.uk
Basildon Borough Council, The Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon, Essex, SS14 1DL. Website: www.basildon.gov.uk Switchboard: 01268 533333 Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: Bala Mahendran Leader: Councillor Tony Ball