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  • Pondhu Primary School pupils take part in first ever Maths at Work day

    Pondhu Primary School pupils have taken part in the first ever Maths at Work day with Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership and local businesses.

    On Wednesday 21 January  Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership organised a Maths at Work day for pupils aged 9 to 11 from Pondhu Primary School to raise awareness of the range of number skills needed for different jobs.

    The pupils got to try out interesting work tasks associated with a variety of jobs using maths. Activities with local employers included weighing ingredients with Chef Gareth Paget from The Rashleigh Arms in Charlestown, calculating how many items Tesco bakery has to bake every day with Claire-Louise Hunt from Tesco, finding  and counting pulses  with Kate Teagle from the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust as well as working out finances with Alan Hobbs from NatWest bank.

    “Maths at Work provides a great experience for pupils to engage with local business to try out hands on ‘realwork’ maths activities thus embedding the importance and relevance of maths in both the workplace and everyday life.” said Kate Whetter Education Projects Manager at Cornwall Education Business Partnership.

    NatWest relationship manager Alan said: “Whether young people choose to go into employment or start their own business, a good grasp of maths is vital. Maths at Work is a great initiative to show pupils at an early age the relevance of maths in everyday life in the workplace and NatWest is delighted to be involved.”

    "The Maths at Work event has been very successful.  Our upper juniors are very engaged with maths and an opportunity such as this to see practical, real world, applications for maths from visitors with business experience has added to the importance of this subject in the children's eyes.  It also raises the aspirations of those children and gets them to think about the wider world of work.  A great afternoon that I would recommend to other schools” said Nathan Cooper assistant head at Pondhu School

    Other primary schools wishing to take part in similar days can contact kwhetter@cornwall.gov.uk

    Posted on 23 January 2015

  • People in Cornwall asked for their views on new draft Renewable Energy guidance

    Local residents and communities in Cornwall are being asked for their views on a new planning document which will provide guidance on how renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, wave, geothermal and biomass, can be deployed without harming Cornwall’s unique environment and heritage. 

    The draft Renewable Energy Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which has been produced by the Council’s Planning service, contains guidance on a range of renewable energy technologies.  It also provides an explanation of community ownership and highlights the importance of effective community engagement before planning applications are submitted and contains detailed guidance on specific issues such as landscape and cumulative impact (in particular for wind turbines and solar farms).

    “Cornwall benefits from a range of significant renewable energy resources, including onshore wind, solar, deep geothermal, biomass and marine energy potential “said Edwina Hannaford, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning.  “The Council places great importance on the need to manage these valuable resources responsibly while safeguarding our local environment and the lives of residents.  We also recognise the great potential for residents and communities to be involved in and benefit from the transition to a low carbon Cornwall – indeed Cornwall Council continues to lead the way in this respect.

    “The Renewable Energy SPD is being developed to provide the detailed guidance needed to help the Cornwall Local Plan achieve these goals.“

    Once adopted the SPD will become part of the local planning framework for Cornwall and will be taken into account when determining renewable energy planning applications.

    Consultation on the SDP, which includes general guidance relating to all renewable energy technologies and specific siting and design guidance, will run from 23 January until Friday 27 March 2014.

    The documents will be available on the website via the following link: www.cornwall.gov.uk/renewablespd.

    Posted on 23 January 

  • Three pharmacies in Wadebridge and Camelford offer free NHS Health Checks

    People aged 40 to 74 in Wadebridge and Camelford are now able to visit any one of the pharmacies in those towns to have a free NHS Health Check.

    The NHS Health Check is an important step for many people towards improving their health and becoming more aware of what they can do to lead a healthier life. The NHS Health Check can help lower people’s risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of dementia.

    Anyone aged between 40 and 74 can pop into one of the three pharmacies at

    • Boots, New Courthouse, The Platt, Wadebridge, PL27 7AG - 01208 812505
    • Boots, 25 Market Place, Camelford, PL32 9PD - 01840 212233
    • Day Lewis Pharmacy, Jubilee Road, Wadebridge PL27 7AT - 01208 812760

    Dalia Morgenstern from the Day Lewis Pharmacy in Wadebridge says: "As a pharmacy placed in the heart of the community, we are easily accessible and happy to have the opportunity to be providing this important service. This in the long term will improve patient care and reduce hospital admissions."

    The free NHS Health Check will last about 20-30 minutes and you’ll be asked some simple questions, for example, about your family history and choices which may put your health at risk.  Your height, weight, age and sex will be recorded and your blood pressure taken.  There will also be a simple blood test to check your cholesterol level.  These results will be discussed with you and advice given on how you can reduce your risk and stay healthy.   

    Anyone who needs further tests, advice or treatment is referred immediately, but a key aim is to encourage people at greater risk of poor health to make simple lifestyle adjustments, like stopping smoking or becoming more active.

    Gwyn Williams, NHS Health Check Manager said: “The NHS Health Check provides a real opportunity for people to take control of their own health.  By working together through partnerships with GPs, pharmacies and community groups, we can help to ensure the check is easily accessible for those that need it and would benefit most from the check. We need to ensure that everyone has access to the information and local services that will support them in making changes that will reduce their risk.”

    The NHS Health Check interactive website provides information about what happens at the NHS Health Check, when and how to get one, and how to lower your risk.

    Story posted 22 January 2015

  • Fire course aims to help improve job prospects of Launceston and Bude groups

    A group of people referred by Bude and Launceston Job Centres will be celebrating their achievements in completing an innovative course run by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service’s Phoenix Works team at a presentation event at Launceston Community Fire Station on Friday 23 January.

    The course, which was developed by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) and funded by Jobcentre Plus Devon Cornwall and Somerset, aims to provide support and training to increase the employment opportunities of those who take part.

    Referred by the local job centres, all participants were given the opportunity to gain an ASDAN level one qualification in Improving Own Learning and Performance together with the HeartStart accreditation in emergency life support techniques. The group also took part in a range of fire service activities to promote teamwork, communication skills, raise confidence and aspirations. Alongside this, the course includes fire and road safety advice, as well as train the trainer and presentation skills.

    Throughout the course participants get the opportunity to learn and develop transferable skills through participating in fire and rescue service drills and activities. These skills can then be taken forward and put into practice when the group members meet local employers, support agencies and community groups to help the individuals to identify future employment, training or voluntary opportunities.

    CFRS Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker said: “I am encouraged to see how Phoenix Works team has been able to use the work and reputation of the fire and rescue service to help this group of people develop useful new skills.”

    Carolyn Webster, District Business Manager for Jobcentre Plus Devon Cornwall and Somerset said: "The great work that the Phoenix team do to build their motivation and confidence really makes a difference to jobseekers prospects of finding work more quickly. We are proud to work alongside them and to fund their delivery through the District Flexible Support Fund"

    Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities said:  “These courses are an excellent example of how, by working with partners such as Jobcentre Plus, we can really make a difference to the lives of these individuals. I am delighted to celebrate the people who have embraced this opportunity to learn from the best.”

    Story posted 22 January 2015

  • Good mental wellbeing is central to a long and happy life

    A major review of the importance of good mental health and wellbeing is the key focus of the 2014 Director of Public Health Annual Report published this week.

    The report describes the benefits that can be gained from taking action throughout life to build good mental health and wellbeing with a clear focus on preventing problems before they occur or intervening early when they happen. 

    Evidence shows that typically only one in four adults with depression or anxiety are receiving treatment compared to over nine in ten adults receiving help for physical conditions like diabetes or hypertension. In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, there are a number of local challenges, for example, the percentage of adults living with dementia or depressions is higher than the national average. Hospital admissions through unintentional and deliberate injuries among under 18s are higher than the national average. There is also have a higher than average suicide rate.

    Acting Director of Public Health, Stuart Bourne, said: “I am pleased that this year’s Annual Report can bring a strong focus on the importance of good mental health and wellbeing. It is a fundamental building block of a long and happy life. For example, feeling secure, loved and stimulated in pre-school years can make a big difference in our ability to make friends, learn well and enjoy life. This pattern can be repeated throughout life with those at the margins of society often coping with poor level of mental wellbeing which impacts on many health behaviours such as alcohol and substance abuse.”

    “I look forward to working with local communities and a wide range of colleagues in addressing the issues raise in the report. Reducing the stigma of poor mental health and supporting people in tackling the issues that affect them makes sense for the sense of wellbeing in our homes, schools, workplaces and local communities.”

    “We are already taking forward action in a number of key areas such as the Headstart Programme to better equip young people with the skills to deal with mental health issues or continuing to expand the ASIST programme which gives front-line professionals skills in dealing with suicide risk.”

    The report sets out a helpful review of current evidence, local data, information on local services and support to improve mental health and wellbeing and suggests how future improvements can be made. It covers nine key mental health topics including common mental health problems, the economic benefits of taking action, supporting children and young people and helping people to cope with dementia. 

    Elsewhere, other sections in the report focus on:

    • An introduction from the Director of Public Health
    • An overview - including an update on last year’s report and things to celebrate for public health from the past year
    • Public Health Intelligence - looking at how the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment will develop and extending the impact of public involvement in understanding local needs and aspirations
    • Supporting local strategies - reviewing how public health action can help to deliver key priorities like the new Cornwall Council strategy
    • Commissioning public health services – setting out how essential support is provided around sexual health, drugs and alcohol and new local authority responsibilities for children under 5 years old.

    The Director of Public Health is required to publish an independent view on the health of the local population each year. The annual report is published online with a limited number of copies made available to local decision makers and to the public through local libraries.

     

  • Bodmin Growth Deal bid

    Innovative plans to create a “shared space” scheme in Bodmin’s Dennison Road and Church Square by improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, removing street clutter and reducing traffic speeds have been formally unveiled this week.

    Over the past few months Bodmin residents and organisations have been looking at ways to improve the local environment on Dennison Road and Church Square. These include plans by Better Bodmin to create a food and drink culture along Dennison Road and the vision set out in Bodmin Masterplan’s to create a ‘sense of place’ upon arrival to the town.

    To support the delivery of these aspirations, Cornwall Council has been working closely with Bodmin Town Council and Better Bodmin to develop plans to create a ‘shared-space’ scheme along a section of Dennison Road running through to Church Square.

    The shared space scheme will involve creating a softer, less segregated approach to traffic management along the street, resulting in steadier traffic flows with improved conditions for pedestrians and cyclists and an improved economic viability of the street. The concept involves removing street clutter, widening pavements, and reducing traffic speeds while improving traffic flows to encourage more active travel.

    Shared-space schemes, often seen across Europe, have successfully been deployed elsewhere in the country, and have brought significant improvements to the street scape and public realm for all users.

    The scheme has the full support of local Cornwall Councillors Pat and Steve Rogerson who said “ Since 2013 a main focus for our work within the town has been to improve traffic flow and air quality on existing roads and to stimulate trade for our businesses. The result of much work by officers and councillors has now culminated in plans for the development of a cycle route and a shared use route following Dennison Road.

    “We are delighted to support the scheme and wish to thank all those concerned for their positivity and resolve. This is major step forward in preserving the health, wealth and safety of our town.'

    The Mayor of Bodmin Andy Coppin, is also delighted with the proposals.  “I am really excited about the concept of shared space and the improvement that could be achieved in some of the town's more challenging areas such as Church Square and Dennison Road.  The principles behind shared space would seem to offer a solution to some of the town's traffic management problems and could result with engaged motorists reducing their speed and taking more care as they drive through our town.”

    “This fresh approach to the management and movement of people and traffic could see an increase in shopper / visitor dwell time in the town centre, boosting the town economy. 

    The Bodmin project is one of a number of initiatives put forward by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Cornwall Council for a slice of the Government's Local Growth Fund.

    The scheme, which is being delivered as a Bodmin package in conjunction with a Camel Trail to Lanhydrock cycle link and a new junction at Launceston Road/Priory Road, is scheduled to be delivered by March 2017.

    Posted on 21 January

  • Council expresses disappointment over Government funding decision

    News that the Government is only providing funding to improve the kitchens of one of the six primary schools put forward by Cornwall Council has been criticised by the authority’s Cabinet Member for Young People Andrew Wallis.

    Last year, following the Government’s requirement to provide free hot school meals to all Key Stage One pupils, Cornwall Council had to carry out works at 112 of its 236 primary schools.  While the majority of these works only involved providing new cooking and serving equipment (fixed and portable), food storage items, e.g. freezers / fridges and eating and cooking utensils, major works were required at four schools, with complete new build kitchens provided at Dobwalls and Tregadillet Schools and the conversions of existing servery units to full functioning kitchens carried out at two others.

    The Council received £846,000 from the Department of Education towards the £1.4m costs of carrying out these works, with the £555,000 shortfall having to be met locally from the previously unassigned Dedicated Schools Grant, as agreed by the Schools Forum.

    At the end of last year the Department for Education announced it was providing a second tranche of funding for its universal infant free school meals policy and invited local councils to submit bids to fund works to improve school kitchens.

    The Council submitted bids on behalf of six local maintained primary schools – Menheniot, Pencoys, Stithians, Pensans, St Agnes and St Francis CE Primary School, with the total costs of the works estimated at £360,615.

    Today the Council was told that the Government had only accepted the bid for Stithians Primary School, leaving the five remaining schools with no funding.

    “We are incredibly disappointed by this decision by the Department for Education” said Andrew Wallis.  “This is the second time the Council and the people of Cornwall have been let down by a lack of Government funding for universal infant free school meals.

    “Last year we had to find £550,000 to ensure that primary schools in Cornwall could meet the new Government policy to provide free school meals to all infant children.  Now, yet again, we are faced with another shortfall in funding and no clear options to fund the shortfall.

    “We will now have to look at what, if anything, we can do to deliver the improvements at the five remaining schools.“

    Posted on 21 January 2015

  • Members of Cornwall Council back draft Case for Cornwall

    Members of Cornwall Council have today given their backing to the draft  “Case for Cornwall” which sets out the increased powers and freedoms the Council wants to secure from the Government to enable Cornwall to take greater control over its own affairs. 

    Presenting the Case for Cornwall at today’s meeting of the full Council Leader John Pollard said Cornwall needed to have more local accountability, more local control, more local direction and more local democracy.

    “Seeking more powers for Cornwall is not new – we have been striving for more autonomy for years” he said. “We have gained greater powers, skills and confidence over many years and I believe that now is the moment to lay our case before the people of Cornwall and then to Government. 

    “The Case for Cornwall being presented to the Council today is not an abstract “wish list” or a distant hope  - it is a clear, calculated case that can and will be achieved.  These are proposals which will enable us to deliver a better service to our communities and create a more flexible and sustainable Cornwall.”

    Outlining the changes which had been made to the draft document which was launched for debate at the beginning of December, Mr Pollard said that the priorities set out in the updated Case for Cornwall document reflected the feedback which had been received from Members and partners.

    The revised priorities include:

    • Public transport and connectivity – including additional powers to decentralise bus regulation and retaining a fraction of fuel duty to maintain Cornwall’s roads
    • Housing – including devolution of powers and land holdings from the Homes and Communities Agency, working with the Government to identify ways of managing the number of second homes and retaining Stamp Duty to build affordable housing
    • Health and social care – including working with the Government to integrate health and social care
    • Energy  - including greater control over large scale energy infrastructure and Government investment in geothermal technology
    • Public sector efficiency – including devolved delivery of funding and investment streams

    “I said in December we needed to create a document which would speak for the whole of Cornwall, for all sections of society and all interests, including businesses, local communities, and politicians. I believe that this document is the right starting point for achieving this aim “ said Mr Pollard.

    “The Case for Cornwall presented to the Council today is both realistic and achievable.  It sets the agenda for a different approach, a determined approach, a Cornwall approach.  While it may not be ambitious enough for everyone, and will be too extreme for others, I believe that this is a case that is practical, sensible and beneficial to all and will be supported by the vast majority of people across Cornwall. “

    Following today’s decision by Members to provide a mandate for the Council to make a Case for Cornwall, the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive will now engage with the Government, national political parties, MPs and the public over the proposals set out in the document.  This will include initial discussions taking place with main political parties before 26 March, with a more detailed document being submitted to the new Government following the election.

    During this period further work will be carried out to develop the proposals, with a cross party working group set up to oversee the progress of this work and strengthen the Case for Cornwall so the revised document can be submitted ahead of the Parliamentary summer recess.  

    Posted on 21 January 2015

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