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  • Cornwall supports National Careers and National Apprenticeships Weeks

    Providing young people with the right information, advice and guidance to make decisions about their future careers has never been more important.  To help ensure that young people in Cornwall have access to the best possible careers advice Cornwall Council is joining with schools, colleges and local employers to support this year’s National Careers Week and National Apprenticeship Week.

    The aim of National Careers Week, which runs from Monday 2 March to Friday, 6 March, is to celebrate quality careers guidance and employment opportunities across the UK by encouraging education providers to bring together students, local employers and advisers to provide careers activities.  It aims to inspire schools, academies and colleges to offer careers advice and guidance, highlighting the free resources and support available, while at the same time, inspiring employers to connect with young people.

    More than 1,700 schools, academies and colleges across England took part in last year’s event, providing over 1.5 million students with careers resources and activities to help them make better informed choices about their first step on the career ladder.  This year the organisers want to do even better and the Council is encouraging schools and colleges in Cornwall to take part.

    National Careers Week is followed by National Apprenticeship Week, which aims to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

    The Week, which runs from Monday, 9 March to Friday, 13 March, is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service which wants to encourage more small businesses to take on apprentices; promote the range and breadth of apprenticeships on offer and celebrate apprenticeships and the level of success that learners can achieve

    4,556 young people from Cornwall have taken up an Apprenticeship in the past 12 months.  This means there has been a 25% growth in the number of Apprenticeship starts in Cornwall during the period August – December 2014 when compared with the previous year.  One of these is Vicky Speirs who is doing an apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media. 

    Vicky had always enjoyed photography and so started researching possible courses involving her hobby.  She was not keen to go back into education, however, and so her father suggested an Apprenticeship.  “I was unaware that you could do an Apprenticeship fuelled by creativity, with a balance of learning in college as well as hands on whilst working in a business, so when I saw the Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeship at Truro and Penwith College I was really excited” said Vicky.

    “After seeking out an employer and applying for the Apprenticeship I was successful and haven’t looked back since.  The freedom to be creative, balanced with real responsibility and all whilst earning a wage is great.  The work I do now has real life purpose which is a fantastic feeling”.

    “Ensuring all our young people have access to the very best careers education information, advice and guidance and the opportunity to take up apprenticeships is a priority for Cornwall Council and Cornwall’s Raising Aspiration and Achievement Strategic Partnership” said Jane Black, Head of Learning and Achievement.  “It is also recognised by the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Employment & Skills Board (ESB) as a key factor in creating great careers in Cornwall.”

    The ESB has supported the development of resources to showcase the range of great career opportunities to choose from in Cornwall. Made it in Cornwall provides some ideas of what people are doing in the county – with details of 30 different careers and stories to inspire young people to take their next steps. 

    The Cornwall Apprenticeship Campaign also has some positive stories from local Apprentices on their career journey. 

    The Pirate FM Media Bus will also be touring Cornwall during this year’s National Apprenticeship Week to help young people find out more about local Apprenticeship opportunities.

    Cornwall Apprenticeship Campaign Media Bus Dates:

    • 07 March on Lemon Quay in Truro
    • 09 March at Asda in Hayle
    • 12 March at Sainsburys in Penzance
    • 13 March at Morrisons in Bodmin
    • 14 March at Trago Mills, Liskeard  

    “At Cornwall’s Raising Aspiration and Achievement Strategy Board we see Apprenticeships as a brilliant step between full time learning and the workplace “ said Kim Conchie, Chair of the RAAS Board and Chief Executive of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.  “People – mainly young people - benefit from the continuing input from motivated employers and colleges whilst learning to stand on their own two feet and to become a better citizen. The increased self-esteem and confidence that comes from contributing something that they’re good at stands them in good stead for life and hopefully they are able to share their positive  experience with others”. 

     

    Story posted 27 February 2015

  • Cornwall’s Better Care Fund Plan

    Cornwall’s Better Care Fund Plan, which sets out how health and social care services will work more closely together to ensure local people receive better care, was approved by NHS England earlier this month. 

    The aim of the Better Care Fund (BCF), which is due to be introduced across England next April, is to to bring together health and social care services to help reduce the growing pressures on hospitals and help keep people healthier in their own homes.  The main focus is on prevention, reducing the demand for services and making the most efficient and effective use of health and social care resources.

    Under the programme funding from local authorities is combined with funding from the clinical commissioning groups to create a single pooled budget to be spent on activities which benefits both health and social care. All areas are required to develop a spending plan which sets out how health and social care services will work together to provide better care and support at home and earlier treatment in the community to prevent people needing emergency care in hospital or care homes.  

    Cornwall’s Fund of £44.5m, focuses on five key themes:

    • Increasing the range of community based services
    • Extending the range of services available seven days a week
    • Working more closely with community and voluntary sector organisations
    • Safely sharing information to promote better patient care
    • Commissioning several services jointly between NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council

    “This is one of the most ambitious programmes in the history of the NHS and local government “ said Jeremy Rowe, Chair of the Cornwall Health and Wellbeing Board. “It is vital that we work together to place people and their wellbeing at the centre of everything we do.  We want to ensure that people in Cornwall have joined-up, personalised care closer to home .  We want to support them to stay in their own homes, and to receive care and support when and where they want and need it and this Plan will help us to achieve this”.

    “Over the past few months the Council has been working closely with NHS Kernow and other health partners to develop our Plan.  National Government changed the conditions of the Better Care Fund in Summer 2014.  This has reduced the level of support for adult social care in an effort to protect acute health services.  This will place additional strain on the Council’s overall budget in 2015/16 and future years. However, the Council recognises that the CCG in Cornwall has worked positively with the Council in trying to come up with a plan that recognises the changed conditions but that minimises the impact on all health bodies in Cornwall and the Council.“ 

    Colin Philip, a GP in St Ives and vice-chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board , said “ In these challenging times it is more important than ever for public services to work together.  This bid signals our intention to do that and to improve a range of services for local people” 

     

    Story posted 27 February 2015

     

  • Cornwall’s teenage pregnancy rate falls to record low

    Cornwall’s under 18 conception rate has continued to fall and, according to data released this week by the Office for National Statistics, it now stands at 21.3 conceptions per 1000 women - well below the UK’s national average of 24.5 conceptions per 1000 women aged under 18.

    The rate continues to drop year on year and 2013 saw the highest percentage drop in conception rates in one year since the national teenage pregnancy strategy began in 1998 with an impressive 18% drop from the year prior.

    Since the launch of the National Teenage Pregnancy Strategy in 1998, Cornwall has achieved a 46.5% reduction in the rate of teenage conceptions, though the target reduction for England and Wales, of 50%, has yet to be reached. 

    Cornwall Council remains committed to reducing the rate of under-18 conceptions and improving outcomes for young parents and their children through the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy and Action plan. Teenage pregnancy is often associated with negative health outcomes for the mother and child and increased likelihood of them both living in long-term poverty. In addition to this, many teenage conceptions are unintended, 48% lead to abortion, an avoidable burden for the young women affected.

    Louise Sweeney, from Cornwall Council’s Public Health team said, “It’s fantastic that Cornwall continues to see a decline in its rates of teenage conceptions. It demonstrates that the sustained effort and commitment by dedicated professionals and local organisations is making a difference. In the coming year we intend to continue to focus on teenage pregnancy, ensuring young people are able to receive the information and services they need to make healthy choices around relationships and sexual health and prevent unwanted pregnancy.”

    Lex Gainsbury, also from Cornwall Council’s Public Health team added, “Evidence tells us that access to a full range of contraception and sexual health services which are young people- friendly and consistent relationships and sex education (RSE) from an early age are most effective in reducing teenage pregnancy.

    “In Cornwall young people can access information and support from a wide range of services including the C-Card condom distribution scheme, pharmacies, their GP, Contraceptive and Sexual Health clinics such as Brook or the Sexual Health Hub in Truro. You can find out about all of these services by visiting the Cornwall SHAC website.”

    Just last week MP’s through the Education Select Committee called for improvements to PSHE and SRE (Sex and Relationships Education). One of the recommendations was that the name SRE was changed to RSE, Relationships and Sex Education, a move Cornwall has already taken.

    Councillor Andrew Wallis, Lead member for Children’s Services commented, “Good relationships and sex education will include emotions, consent, understanding the law, self-esteem and relationships, which is vital in preparing young people for becoming an adult and supporting good sexual health and wellbeing. That is why in Cornwall we chose to place the emphasis on ‘relationships’ when talking about RSE”

    Schools in Cornwall have access to a wide range of support on RSE including Cornwall’s Health Promotion Service, Healthy Schools, Brook Young People and CLEAR’s Healthy Relationships Programme. A new resource available for schools and colleges to use, the Kernow King Sex Tape and Resource, has been shortlisted for a UK Sexual Health Award.

    In addition to support for schools, parents and carers can also get support and training on relationships and sex education, to support them to have conversations with their children, through Speakeasy.

    Professionals working with young people are guided by the Relationship and Sexual Health Guidance and can access a free sexual health training programme on the Council's website.  

     

    Story posted 27 February 2014

  • Appeal by Truro food takeaway dismissed by magistrates

    A Truro takeaway has had its appeal against the revocation of its late night licence dismissed by magistrates.

    On Tuesday 24 February 2015 at Truro Magistrates Court an appeal against the revocation of a licence to supply late night refreshment from 11pm until 2.30am lodged by food take away business One Stop, New Bridge Street, Truro was dismissed.

    The Magistrates heard evidence from the police and Cornwall Council in relation to a number of breaches of the premises licensing hours between 2009 and 2014. As a result of these breaches the then proprietor of the business received a caution in July 2013 and was subsequently prosecuted in August 2014.

    Following the conviction the Licensing Compliance team submitted an application to review the premises licence and at a hearing in October 2014 the Licensing Sub Committee revoked the premises licence.

    Police Licensing Officer Sue Edwards said, “This premises has been something of a thorn in our side for a number of years and we are delighted that the Magistrates have supported the decision of the Licensing Sub Committee to revoke the licence. There are four similar business that operate late night refreshment in Truro and it is only fair on those compliant businesses that suitable action is taken on those that do not comply”.

    Bob Mears Cornwall Council Licensing Compliance manager said: ”Over the last five years the police and licensing service have tried to work with this business offering advice and support to comply with their licensing hours. We have taken a transparent and proportionate approach in dealing with them and their breaches of hours. They have chosen to ignore our advice which resulted in a prosecution and licence review. Cornwall has over 3000 licensed premises most of whom comply with their hours and conditions but for those that do not we will endeavour to engage with them to address the breaches but if a business is not willing to work with us we will be forced to take much more stringent action and a prosecution and review are certainly a last resort. I am delighted that the Magistrates have supported the Licensing Sub Committee decision to revoke the premises licence and I hope that this sends out a strong message to business that may persistently breach their licensing hours or conditions on their licence”.

    Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities Geoff Brown said: “Clearly officers are working with businesses to enable them to trade successfully but when someone is found to be repeatedly in breach of reasonable legislation we are equally prepared to take action to protect responsible traders and the community.”

    In dismissing the appeal the Magistrates also awarded the Council their legal costs of nearly £2,500. One Stop will be able to operate up until 11pm but not beyond that hour.

     

    Story posted 26 February 2015

  • Repair and Renew flood grant deadline extended

    Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment, Joyce Duffin, has welcomed an extension of the Repair and Renew grant scheme, enabling Cornwall Council to accept grant applications up to a new deadline of 11 March 2015.

    The grant, of up to £5,000, is available to help households and businesses pay for repairs to improve their property's ability to withstand future flooding.

    Joyce Duffin said: “Cornwall was hit very hard by the storms and floods last winter and it left many people struggling to cope physically and financially. Cornwall’s communities are incredibly resilient and the extension of this grant will help anyone who hasn’t yet applied for funding to make their homes and business premises more prepared for severe weather and flooding in the future.

    Households, businesses - including social enterprises - and charitable organisations whose premises were damaged internally by flooding between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014 can still apply to Cornwall Council for assistance through the one off, grant scheme.

    To be able to qualify for a grant, the flooded property will need to meet certain criteria including:

    • The interior of the applicant’s home or business premises must have been damaged by flooding between April 2013 and March 2014
    • The grants are to help households and businesses pay for measures to improve their property's ability to withstand future flooding.
    • The applicant must not have received other sources of public or insurance funding to establish the same resilience measures applied for e.g. from the Property Level Protection scheme.
    • Grant claims can be paid retrospectively if work has already been carried out as a result of flooding during the qualifying period.
    • Grant approval for work not already commenced will be made subject to the work being completed by 31 May 2015.

    Advice on selecting the most appropriate resilience and/or resistance measures is available on the Property Protection Adviser website.

    More information about the Repair and Renew grants, and other schemes available on our website to help people affected by flooding.

     

    Story posted 26 February 2015

  • Brewing up the Past in Redruth to celebrate St Piran’s Day

    Brewery

    On Saturday 7 March the Cornish Studies Library will be opening a photographic exhibition, art installation and launching a trail as part of Redruth’s St Piran’s Day celebrations.

    The exhibition and installation are both the result of the ‘Brewing Up the Past’ project which has been running in Redruth, led by Cascade Theatre Company. The project was designed to capture memories and stories of the former Redruth Brewery site which will be the home of Kresen Kernow, Cornwall’s new archive centre. Workshops and other events and activities took place in schools, community centres and even the street as part of the project.

    The exhibition will feature atmospheric photographs of the site and the project taken by members of Camborne and Redruth Camera Club. The installation has been inspired by the history of the area and the brewery, as well as the memories of participants shared in a number of reminiscence sessions.

    Iain Rowe, Kresen Kernow participation officer, says: “One aim of Brewing up the Past was to help raise awareness of and enthusiasm for Kresen Kernow, Cornwall’s new archive centre. Another was to collect memories, stories and visual media in order to put on a permanent display about the history of the area in the new centre. We’re not just interested in the industry but the people who worked, visited, lived – and still live – there. We’re thrilled to be able to share the results of the project on March 07”.

    Cornwall Council cabinet member for Economy and Culture Julian German said: “It is great to see how the local community has got on board to support the development of Kresen Kernow which will be a fantastic asset for the area and for Cornwall as a whole”. 

    Staff will be on hand to provide updates on the archive centre project.  The project team would also be delighted if people coming to the event brought along memories, photographs or memorabilia from the Brewery, knitwear factory, fuse manufactory or mills formerly on the site.

    The exhibition will run a the Cornish Studies Library until 14 March.

    Story posted 26 February 2015

  • Council condemns Government decision on European funding powers

    News that the Government is giving London and eight major UK cities the power to decide how to spend their European funding while denying these powers to Cornwall has been condemned by Julian German, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and the Economy.

    In a letter to Cornwall Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership earlier this month, Lord Ahmad, Minister for Communities and Local Government, confirmed that decisions on individual projects in all other areas, including Cornwall, would be made by Managing Authorities and not by local bodies.

    Blaming the decision on European Commission regulations, Lord Ahmad said that continuing discussions on the issue ran the risk of creating an impasse with the Commission which could further delay the release of funds.  As a result the Government was intending to proceed with a model in which LEPs and partners have a key advisory role while decisions remained with the Managing Authorities.

    Responding to the letter Julian German said he was angry and disappointed at the Government’s decision.  “Last summer the sun was shining on Cornwall and our negotiations with Government on the next European Investment Programme, worth over €600m between 2014-2020”  he said.  “I was delighted with the way things were going and was reassured by statements from Ministers on both sides of the Coalition that decisions would be made by those who know best; the businesses and communities of Cornwall.”

    This included comments from Greg Clark who said "It's obvious if you are based in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly your ability to say what intervention, what investment is appropriate, is far more accurate and well-informed than if you are an official sitting miles away in London"; with Danny Alexander commenting “It would seem odd not to take seriously the request that there should be a degree of autonomy in the management of the European structural funds programme”.

    Baroness Stowell also told representatives in the Lords that “We are giving Cornwall more opportunities than before to decide what type of projects to fund and in which areas…the only decisions that will be taken by civil servants will be to ensure that the applications for funding are eligible within EU rules.”

    “There were indeed warm words, but as the weather has got colder, so has the promise of greater devolution and decision making” said Julian German.  “In fact, it’s now clear following Nick Clegg’s recent announcement that we will only provide ‘advice’ on what to spend the regions money on and decisions will indeed be made by civil servants in London.

    Cornwall has kept its part of the bargain as set out in the Governments Growth Deal. We ring fenced nearly £60m of capital investment to match fund the EU millions, set aside resource to set up loans to business,run the programme locally and establish a bottom up community led investment programme despite a very painful budget.

    We are one of the poorest Regions in Europe and Cornwall needs brave, bespoke investment decisions to grow our economy and increase wage levels and productivity. Projects dreamt up in London, for big cities, just won’t work here because our challenges and opportunities are our own. Why should cities be given extra powers to make their own decisions whilst Cornwall, despite having larger amounts of funding to invest, has to make do with London calling the shots? “

    Criticising the Government for failing to keep its part of the deal, Julian German said this meant that the programme wasn’t up and running yet, well over a year after it was meant to start injecting much needed money into Cornwall’s economy.

    “As a result there will be a gap between the current and the new programmes which means that support and grants to businesses, communities and individuals will stop before the next programme is up and running, putting jobs and projects in Cornwall at risk. 

    Adding that this was not the case in other parts of the UK where the devolved administrations had made smart decisions, engaged with the European Commission and got on with the job in hand, Mr German cited West Wales and the Valleys where the programme was already up and running with regional decision making structures and a sense of urgency about the need to support its people and places.

    “Of course the programme is up and running there“ he said.  “Anything else just wouldn’t be acceptable for politicians and civil servants working at a much closer proximity to their electorates. While I wish good luck to our Welsh cousins, the delays we are facing mean that they will already be using their EU millions to attract investors to Wales and upskill their workforce whilst we are still waiting for London to fire the starting gun.

    However, as we know in Cornwall, there’s always next summer and the next one will coincide with a new Government.  I will certainly continue to argue the case for devolution of the European Programme with this Government and the next. “

     

    Story posted 25 February 2015

  • Council welcomes High Court decision to strike out Spectrum claim

    Cornwall Council has welcomed the decision of the High Court on 19 February 2015 to strike out the claim made by Devon and Cornwall Autistic Community Trust (trading as Spectrum) against the authority.

    Spectrum, which provides residential care facilities for adults with learning disabilities, had alleged that since at least 2006 the Council had underpaid for services provided to eight adults that it had placed in the care of Spectrum.  Since the start of these proceedings the Council has maintained that it has paid Spectrum the fees agreed for these placements and that no evidence of under payments has ever been provided. 

    The case was scheduled to go to trial on 18 February however the Council made an application immediately prior to this date that Spectrum’s claim should be dismissed.  The grounds for this application were that the application had no reasonable prospect of success and Spectrum had failed to provide details of the sums allegedly owed and comply with Court orders.

    After considering the facts the judge has granted the Council’s application to strike out the claim.  In dismissing the claim Mr Justice Davis noted that the witness statements produced by Spectrum “provides no evidence to show that [it] was not being provided with reasonable recompense, rather the reverse”. 

    Spectrum has been ordered to pay the Council’s costs for the whole proceedings on an indemnity basis to reflect the way in which they have conducted this litigation. 

    Commenting after the judgement was passed a spokesperson for the Council said “We are extremely pleased with this decision which recognises that the Council has paid Spectrum a reasonable amount for the services it has provided”. 

    The Council will ensure that the eight individuals will continue to receive the appropriate services and support.

     

    Story posted 24 February 2015

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