5000 translations and growing
Maga is celebrating this week as its translation service completes 5000 pieces of work!
The hardworking translators who provide this service for Maga have undertaken translations on a wide variety of subjects from personal milestones, such as births, weddings, congratulations and inscriptions to reports, product names, speeches and house names. The team also have a large number of tattoos to their credit! Many of the most frequent phrases requested can now be found in the “Basic phrasebook” which is one of the most popular pages on the MAGA website.
The demand for new translations continues to grow, with monthly totals higher this year than last. More and more businesses are finding that using Cornish is useful to them and you will now find business cards, signs, products and business names in Cornish, thanks to the translation service.
The MAGA translation team have been hard at work since 2006. The service is free up to forty words while larger translations carry a modest charge. Translations can be ordered on line, but there is always someone at the office who can talk through what is required if that is helpful. If you intend to use your translation in speech then an audio file can be sent to help you get it just right.
If you want to add a bit of Cornish to your day, see MAGA’s basic phrase book, or get a translation, visit the website at www.magakernow.org.
Council's Cabinet confirms changes to music tuition service
Members of Cornwall Council’s Cabinet have confirmed changes to the Music Tuition service which will see music teaching in schools in Cornwall delivered in a different way in the future.
The Music Tuition service, one of three strands of the wider Cornwall Music Service, does not generate enough income to meet its costs, resulting in the Council being forced to provide an annual subsidy of between £200,000 and £300,000. While Members recognise the importance of music to children and schools and want to ensure that there is a sustainable service which provides access to music tuition for children in Cornwall, the need to find savings of £196m over the next four years means that the Council can no longer afford to provide this level of subsidy without cutting other services.
The Cabinet voted in May to set up a brokerage model to deliver music tuition. Under this model music teachers would move from being directly employed by the Council to being self employed and registered with the Council as approved to provide music tuition. Although a number of other models had been considered by the Council at this time, including an improved in house model, these were not financially sustainable or cost neutral.
However, following the decision by the Cabinet to implement the new model by 1 January 2015, Members agreed that any further proposals which came forward during the formal negotiations with staff and unions which were found to be financially and legally sound could be brought back for further consideration.
Members at today’s meeting were given details of two alternative models:1) to make local amendments to the terms and conditions of the teachers to reduce costs and 2) to move staff contracts to a common pay scale.
Members were told that while Model 1 would see the annual deficit initially reduced to around £118,979, this did not take into account local and national pay progressions which would increase costs over time. As a result the model did not resolve the current overspend or provide for a financially viable and sustainable future for the service.
In the case of Model 2 the financial projections relied on significant changes to the terms and conditions of the teachers which were unlikely to be supported by the main teaching unions and could lead to the risk of legal challenges. It was also based on increase in fees to generate income which would be difficult to implement and failed to take on going inflationary pressures into account. As a result the Cabinet was unable to support the proposal.
“We said in May that we would consider alternative proposals if they were both legally sound and financially viable ” said Andrew Wallis. “Unfortunately, despite extensive consultation, neither of the two alternatives which have been put forward today meet this criteria. This means that we will now be going ahead with implementing the brokerage model which is financially sustainable and, if there is sufficient take up from music tutors and schools, will continue to provide access to music tuition cross Cornwall.
However the meeting also heard that positive discussions had been held with a group representing a number of the music teachers currently employed by the Council who were interested in setting up a trust to deliver the service.
“We have held an initial meeting with the group and are happy to hold further discussions to see if there is any other support we can give to them” said Andrew Wallis. “As we said earlier we want to see the provision of a high quality music tuition service in Cornwall but we are unable to continue to subsidise it at a time of budget cuts. “
The remaining two strands – Music Hub and the Music Therapy service - are not affected by this decision.
Cabinet agree changes to Cornwall Homechoice Allocation Scheme
Changes to Cornwall Homechoice, the common housing register for Cornwall and the Council’s housing allocation scheme for letting council and housing association homes in Cornwall, have been agreed by the Council’s Cabinet.
A formal consultation which took place earlier this year with stakeholders including tenants, Registered Providers, Age UK, Disability Cornwall and CAB received more than 2,600 responses.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes and communities Geoff Brown said: “Delivering homes to meet the needs of local people is a key priority for the Council. We have had a great response to the consultation and we have taken on board the views expressed.
We want to tighten up our allocations policy to try and meet the urgent need of our communities and the changes agreed today will assist Cornwall Council and Cornwall Housing Ltd to better manage the housing waiting list and ensure that homes are allocated fairly to those in greatest need.
The new policy will require a 3 year local connection on all council owned and controlled properties and I am particularly keen to see the local connection criteria extended to at least five years. One of the recommendations passed today asks for further work to be carried out on the Council’s planning policy so that the five year connection can be applied across the board on new homes.”
The main changes to the housing register include
- those who have assets valued at over £50,000, or those who have an income of £60,000 or more will not qualify to join Cornwall Homechoice.
- in a tie break situation an applicant’s household income will come into play and preference will be given to an applicant whose household income is £30,000 or less, for homes owned and managed by the Council;
- other than in exceptional circumstances, a household where anyone has demonstrated anti-social behaviour within the last 2 years will not be able to join the register;
- applicants who have not bid on any property for 12 months are removed from the housing register unless they can demonstrate exceptional circumstances;
- applicants are only able to bid for 1 property per advertising cycle (previously 3) and that, unless there are exceptional circumstances, applicants who turn down 2 properties that are offered to them are removed from the housing register;
- to be allocated a council home or a home managed by one of our partner registered providers to which the Council has nomination rights, applicants must be able to demonstrate a 3 year local connection.
To allow these changes to Cornwall Homechoice to be applied to all existing as well as new applicants, access to the Register will be limited for up to 6 months although applications will still be considered and accepted from certain groups who may be in urgent housing need.
When applicants register with Cornwall Homechoice, their housing need is assessed and they are given details of their priority banding, eligible date, and the type and size of property they can apply for. They can then bid for vacant properties advertised by partner landlords.
St Ives farmer prosecuted
On Tuesday 9 September, following a two day court case, Mr Brian Gray and Mrs Sheila Gray of Venton Vision Farm, Burthallen Lane, St Ives, were prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The couple initially appeared in front of Truro Magistrates in January 2013 to answer summonses relating to the straying of llamas and the dangerous hazards on their farm, for which they pleaded not guilty. Following a two day trial, the Magistrates found them guilty, they were ordered to pay costs and received a conditional discharge for twelve months.
Within days of the above order offences were being reported by residents living close to Venton Vision farm. On 1 April 2013, DEFRA veterinary officer Lorna Stevenson and Local Authority Animal Health Inspector Richard Dack inspected the farm.
On 9 September 2014 at Truro magistrates Court, Mr and Mrs Gray pleaded guilty to three representative charges:
- Failing to protect their Llamas from pain, suffering, injury and disease by failing to stop them straying
- Failure to dispose of a Llama carcase
- Exposed Llamas to potentially dangerous hazards failing to provide them with a suitable environment
The Magistrates after hearing evidence from the prosecution and defence gave their findings.
Using powers contained in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 the Magistrates disqualified the Grays from keeping farm animals including Llamas for 5 years, a penalty of £165 + £20 victim surcharge was recorded against each of the Grays and full cost of £1300 awarded to Cornwall Council.
Portfolio Holder for Homes and Communities, Geof Brown said:
"This is clear evidence that CC take animal welfare very seriously and whilst initially assisting people with suitable advice will not hesitate to take action to protect animals when necessary.
Council sets out draft budget proposals
Cornwall Council has today published its proposals for saving £196 million over the next four years and is asking members of the public, partner organisations and staff to give their views on the draft budget and come forward with any other ideas for saving money.
The Council's aim is to strengthen its partnerships with the rest of the public and community sector in order to make as many savings as possible without cuts to frontline services. The authority has identified services to a value of at least £34 million that could potentially be put up for devolution, and could be considerably more. The Council will also work on integrating services currently run by government departments, the NHS, voluntary and community sectors and Cornwall Council.
The unprecedented scale of the savings required means that all areas of the Council are affected by the draft proposals. However, rather than simply ‘salami slice’ every service, the authority has developed a four year plan which will help protect the three key priority areas identified by the public and Members during last year’s budget consultation. These are services for the most vulnerable in society (including vulnerable adults, children, older people and the poorest), public transport, and road repairs and maintenance.
The draft budget proposals are based around four key areas:
- Working with staff to reduce the pay bill – including further restructuring and the transfer of staff to new models of delivery and arm’s length companies
- New models of delivery – including integrating health and social care services; devolving further services to town and parish councils and community and voluntary groups (eg libraries); creating trusts and partnerships to deliver services such as culture and tourism, and seeking external partners for services such as parking.
- Management improvements – including delivering more services digitally and through the website; reducing administrative costs in areas such as IT and postage; more effective procurement and contract management and sharing buildings with partners and community groups;
- Increasing income – taking a more commercial approach in areas such as public protection, licensing, planning, and waste.
You can read more detailed information in the following documents:
The Savings plan by service document details the allocation of savings to individual services and respective percentage reductions. It shows the best estimate of how the proposed savings will fall on individual services and the resulting net budget levels projected from this for 2018/19. The document also shows the percentage net budget reduction for each service line arising from the proposed savings. Given the volume of the information, that would need to be provided to show how each reduction is calculated, it is not possible to provide the information on mass.
Have your say
As well as the public meetings in October there is also an online form where people can give their views and make any suggestions. - www.cornwall.gov.uk/cornwallbudget.
This consultation will close on 29 October
All the comments and suggestions made by members of the public and partners will then be used to produce a revised draft which will be discussed by the Cabinet on 5 November and then the full Council on 22 November when the final decision will be made.
John Pollard and Alex Folkes talk about the draft budget
“We are determined to focus on what Cornwall will be like in 2019, rather than what we need to cut” said Cornwall Council Leader John Pollard.
“Budgetary constraints and the changing nature of Local Government require a different approach and, as we said last year, we want to build a resilient and sustainable Cornwall and not simply reduce the services we provide.
“To this end we have worked with Councillors, officers and partners to develop this budget, the Council’s strategy which underpins it, and a Business Plan which will implement it. Our commitment is to create a leaner, more resourceful organisation that delivers essential council services in the most efficient and effective way. This also means having the courage to make some extremely difficult decisions.
“At the same time we have been pressing the Government to change the way local government is funded to give Cornwall a fairer share of the money it allocates to councils to provide services. We currently receive less than half the money per head of population than that given to Hackney and if we were funded in the same way as an average urban council we would receive an additional £48m a year. We are continuing to have discussions with Ministers over the need to recognise the cost of providing services to people in Cornwall and have recently sent a submission to the Independent Commission set up to look at this issue setting out how we think the system should be reformed.”
Alex Folkes, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said “Over the past few months we have looked closely at everything we do to see how we can protect services by becoming more efficient and changing the way the Council is run. We started with the money we spend on ourselves and have already identified more than £30 million of savings through a radical restructure of senior management, reducing the use of consultants and agency staff by 59%, and a local pay agreement with staff. This work is continuing, with further savings due to come from ongoing restructuring and the sale of surplus buildings, but the sheer scale of the savings we need to make means we cannot rely on these actions alone. “
"We are looking to work much more closely with the rest of the public sector and the voluntary and community sector. We will be seeking to integrate our services and to share support functions and buildings wherever possible. But we know that front line services will also be hit and so we have worked with elected members, with partners and with the public to understand where they feel savings can be made and which services should be protected."
“However we are also looking to the future and to developing the skills, jobs and infrastructure that Cornwall needs. We persuaded the Government to allow decisions on spending our European funding to be made in Cornwall, and we have seen significant Government investment in our rail, air and road links. We are also investing £50 million in match funding for the next round of the EU convergence programme."
“The draft budget proposals include some things which we would want to do regardless of the need to make savings. These include further reducing the number of buildings and working more closely with partners to share costs. Others are savings we would prefer not to have to make and which we know will have a significant impact on the people who use these services. But, faced with the need to save £196m from our budget , we have very little choice.
“However even implementing all these proposals will still leave us with a £6 million shortfall and this figure could rise depending on Government funding decisions. We have already ruled out a number of options as unacceptable in the current circumstances and, rather than have to revisit them in the future, are asking people to come forward with any ideas on areas for savings we might have missed or where we could go further than we are currently suggesting.
“We recognise that many people will be concerned at the impact of some of these proposals but the stark truth is we cannot protect services and save £196m by continuing in the same way” said Alex Folkes. “We have to become more efficient and change the way we run the Council. By doing this we can support key services for vulnerable children and adults, and help people who are struggling to make ends meet by maintaining council tax support. We will also be supporting the bus network and continuing to fix potholes and maintain our roads.
“We now want to hear the views of people in Cornwall on these proposals. We are holding 20 public meetings during October so people can give us their views on the proposals and any new ideas”.
Following the publication of the draft budget, the proposals will be considered in detail by the Council’s Portfolio Advisory Committees during September.
Cornwall Council and Safer Cornwall highlight danger of illegal 'taxis'
Throughout September the Safer Cornwall Partnership in conjunction with Cornwall Council Licensing Compliance and members of the taxi trade are working together to highlight the dangers of using illegal unlicensed ‘taxis’.
The campaign team will be attending student events at Saltash, Falmouth, Newquay, Stoke Climsland and Penryn, handing out leaflets and offering advice to young people.
Cornwall Council Licensing Compliance Manager Bob Mears said: “Through social media such as Twitter and Facebook, car owners are increasingly offering taxi services but without the necessary licence for themselves or Hackney Carriage or Private Hire licences.”
Steve Rowell Community Safety officer for West Cornwall said: “It is very important that we highlight the dangers of using unlicensed vehicles and drivers. The licensed drivers in particular go through very stringent scrutiny before they get their licence in terms of a group 2 medical and full CRB check.
If there is any doubt about their fitness to hold a licence they are required to appear before a Miscellaneous Licensing Committee who will examine the information placed before them to determine whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.
There have been a number of cases in other parts of the country where unlicensed taxi drivers have been involved in nasty incidents including rape, assault and theft, which highlight the importance of ensuring that taxi drivers are suitably vetted through the licensing system.”
Bob Mears, Licensing Compliance Manager added, “All licensed vehicles are subject to serious scrutiny. Apart from an annual MOT, those vehicles over three years old are required to have an interim MOT every 6 months, and are subject to joint agency inspections by the police, licensing and VOSA. Many of the unlicensed vehicles are not fit for purpose; are unroadworthy and are not covered by suitable insurance in the event of an accident.”
Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes and communities Geoff Brown said: “Both the Council and our professional taxi operators take their responsibility to deliver a safe service to the public very seriously and I would encourage everyone to make sure that they use a licensed vehicle when they require a taxi.”
The team will also be promoting alcohol awareness at these events and distributing leaflets and posters through local PubWatch and taxi forums.
If you require any information regarding either licensed taxis or obtaining a drivers or vehicle licence please contact Cornwall Council Licensing Service on 0300 1234.
Story posted 09 September 2014
Saltash singer urges smokers to go smokefree this Stoptober after quitting with the Cornwall stop smoking service
Smokers across the South West are being encouraged to take the Stoptober Challenge and quit smoking for 28 days this October.
The campaign, which runs throughout October is asking smokers to think about stopping now, to sign up to quit for 28 days on October 1st and receive support direct to their inbox or mobile to help them succeed.
Fiona Andrews, Director of Smokefree South West, said: “We know that most smokers – two thirds – want to quit. There are now millions more ex-smokers in the UK than those still smoking, and we also know there are some practical tools that help turn that decision to go smokefree into real success. According to a recent survey, 4 in 10 smokers have taken steps to quit in the last year. Stoptober is a fantastic campaign because it draws in friends, family and work colleagues to get behind smokers, gives them a real focus, and crucially, the support they will need to quit for good.”
Cllr Jim McKenna, Cornwall Council's cabinet member for Health and Adult Care, said: "Quitting smoking isn't easy, but there's a lot of support out there if you're ready to give it a go. By taking the 28 day Stoptober challenge you’re five times more likely to stay smokefree, so please take that important first step - sign up today and get in touch with our Stop Smoking Service who will help you get through it and make a really positive change.”
This is the third year of Stoptober, which is run nationally by Public Health England. The 28-day target is based on research that says that if you can stop smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stay quit. Last year, 18,775 smokers in the South West signed up for Stoptober and nationally 65% of those who took part succeeded in staying quit for the 28 days.
This year’s Stoptober campaign is using comedy to engage smokers and help them through their 28 day smokefree challenge, and stay quit for good. Smoking may be deadly serious but stopping can give a powerful sense of achievement and personal success.
By signing up to Stoptober, smokers are provided with a detailed 28-day step-by-step programme to support them in their smokefree attempt. To find out more, and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, search ‘Stoptober’ online.
The benefits of quitting are well known, but smokers who have quit the habit know that while it can be hard to overcome the cravings, the pay-off is certainly worth it and after just 28 days smokers will start to feel the financial, physical and health benefits, including better sense of taste and smell and a reduced risk of lung cancer and heart disease.
With the launch of Stoptober, the 28 day quit challenge just around the corner, 66 year old Geoff, a singer from Saltash is urging other smokers to follow his success, and quit for good.
Geoff Taylor, a singer, first tried smoking when he was 13 years old and was smoking up to 30 cigarettes a day from the age of 16. He stopped in his thirties but relapsed, so this time he asked Cornwall Stop Smoking Service to help him quit for good.
“I went to see Sharon, the Stop Smoking Adviser. At first we tried nicotine replacement patches but I just smoked with them. Sharon was very supportive and we tried different nicotine replacement options until we found what worked for me.”
Geoff decided to quit when he realised he wanted to see his grandson turn 21.
“I knew the way I was smoking I wouldn’t stay fit for another ten years. I was so addicted to roll-ups I was waking at 3am to roll a cigarette. I had friends suffering from smoking-related diseases which affected their breathing.”
He had also been offered a new job and was concerned smoking would affect his ability to work.
“I am a singer so I need power in my lungs; smoking was reducing my lung capacity and making me out of breath. If I hadn’t stopped smoking I wouldn’t have this job.”
Geoff would encourage anyone thinking of quitting this Stoptober to take that next step and use the free help available.
“In the end it was the inhalator that helped me, being able to use the white stick got me through the first few weeks. I used it with the nicotine capsules and then cut down on those and after a month didn’t need it at all. Sharon helped me identify my triggers and come up with ways round these difficult situations without a cigarette. I couldn’t have done it without Sharon counselling and encouraging me.”
“For those thinking of stopping smoking I would say to take all the help you can get.”
If you want to quit this Stoptober, sign up online to the 28 day quit challenge. For advice and support along the way contact the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Stop Smoking Service on 01209 215666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story posted 09 September 2014
Plain, standardised tobacco packs could reduce sales by £5.5million in Cornwall
Public Health England has announced compelling new estimates for how standardised packaging could bring strong public health and economic benefits.
The Government consultation on introducing plain, standardised packaging for tobacco products ended on 07 August. However, evidence from Australia already shows what can be achieved. They have seen an impressive 15 per cent decline in the rate of smoking between 2010 and 2013, with a 3.4 per cent fall in tobacco sales by volume in the first year.
If that fall in sales were to be mirrored in Cornwall, Public Health England predicts that total savings would be approximately £5.5 million (£5,566,976). These statistics estimate the potential savings to smokers through spending less on cigarettes, with a potential knock-on benefit for local businesses, as people would have more money to spend elsewhere. Smoking also impacts directly on adult social care, with recent estimates by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) suggesting this costs Cornwall Council £8.2million each year in care costs.
The introduction of standard packs would also be likely to decrease the number of children in the South West starting to smoke. Attractive packaging is a key reason why young people are tempted to try smoking, which can lead to a lifetime addiction.
Stuart Bourne, Cornwall’s Acting Director of Public Health, said: ‘It is widely known that smoking costs lives - in fact one in every two smokers will lose their life to this lethal habit. Tobacco remains the only consumer product which kills when used as intended. The figures for lives lost are startling and hopefully, in addition to the clear health risks, this will both encourage existing smokers to quit and prevent new people starting to smoke.’
Jim McKenna, Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care, added: ‘We are pleased that the possibility of standard tobacco packaging is a step closer. Anything which helps people in Cornwall to think again about the risks and makes smoking less attractive will help them to be better off – not just with their health, but financially too.’
Find out more about how to kick the habit in Cornwall from the Stop Smoking Service. They offer FREE help and support to anyone who wants to stop smoking. You can call them on 01209 215666 or email email@example.com.
Story posted 08 September 2014