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SPRING 2011Getting ready for aRoyal celebrationSEEPAGES8-9


WelcomeYou helped usset our prioritiesBy COUNCILLORMIKE JONESLEADER OFCHESHIRE WESTAND CHESTERCOUNCILSetting the council’s budget for the coming year isalways a challenging time, but I am proud of thedecisions we have made with your help.In June we launched an extensive consultationprogramme to engage you in shaping our capitalbudget for the next ten years and our revenuebudget for next year.This programme of engagement lasted eightmonths and has influenced our whole budgetsetting approach. My congratulations go to Susan,the winner of our challenge, whose story is on pagethree.In previous ‘comments’ I have talked about howwe have been able to buck the trend of other localauthorities that are now having to make difficultdecisions to save money.In contrast, through effective management – overthe last two years we have saved nearly £53million – whilst we still have to make harddecisions we are also able to invest in the boroughfor the benefit or our residents.Importantly we have been able to freeze theCouncil Tax for the authority, safeguard frontlineservices and invest in the things that you have toldus really matter to you from roads to culturalopportunities.Key facts from the capital budget are:● £49 million set aside for culture and recreation● £43.4 million for roads and highway maintenancein the next three years, an increase on previousbudgets● £5 million for extra care and short term provisionfor the elderly.Key areas of investment in the proposed revenuebudget are:● £7.2 million for children’s services to ensure ourvulnerable children are safe● £5.1 million for adult social care and health,looking after our elderly residents with dignity.Plus we are continuing to find further savings.Through a procurement policy that looks for bestvalue but with a strong focus on supporting localbusinesses, we are aiming to save over £2 millionduring the next three years and reduce theenvironmental impact of our purchasing.In addition we are committed to looking at newways to deliver first class services and gainefficiencies. We will do this by working with newand existing partners in the public and privatesectors.Finally, I would also like to offer my best wishesto the Royal couple and to everyone else who willbe marrying this year.Meat matters...that’s why we’rekeeping it localfor our schoolsSUPPORTING localbusiness is an importantcommitment fromCheshire West and ChesterCouncil.And nowhere is that clearer thanwhen it comes to supplying itsschools.It went out to tender to find localbutchers to supply them with meat,meat products and poultry as partof its commitment to support localbusinesses through its BouncingBack campaign.The tender was split into smallcontracts as it wanted to ensurelocal suppliers were not excludedfrom the bidding process.And it asked bidders to provideCompleting your Census formANATIONAL census isbeing staged onMarch 27 andCheshire West and ChesterCouncil is offering people helpto complete their formscorrectly.Census 2011 aims to find outmore about the people living inEngland and Wales and the makeupof local neighbourhoods.Nationwide, the Office forNational Statistics will be sendingout questionnaires to around 25million homes asking about work,health, national identity,citizenship, ethnic background,education, second homes,language, marital status etc.Like all local authorities inEngland and Wales, the councilrelies on census statistics toinformation about distributionchannels with the need to reducefood miles and carbon footprint.Latest to be awarded a contract isthe long established Venablescompany in Chester.Butchers in the city since 1896,the current generation of the familyto be found at the butcher’s block isthe partnership of brothers Peterand Mark Venables.“We’re very pleased to have beenawarded the contract,” says Peter.“It’s the first time we’ve gone for asupply like this although we do offera personal delivery service and havesupplied many different businessesover the years.”Venables, who will supply ChesterNorth and Frodsham, source theiridentify local needs for publicservices.The census needs to includeeveryone, everywhere - and that'swhy we all have to take part.When the time comes all youneed do is answer a few questionsabout yourself and the people whoshare your household with you oncensus day. You can do it online orby post.As well as information providedon the website census.gov.uk youcan get help and advice on Census2011 from council receptions andlibraries across the borough andfrom the council’s website:cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/census.Council reception areas offeringhelp are at Civic Way in EllesmerePort, Wyvern House in Winsford,Forum in Chester, the Info CentrePeter Venables is happy tobe helping Keep it Local.beef from farmers within a fourmile radius of Chester, their porkfrom Cheshire farms, while lamband poultry are selected from UKsources.Another butcher awarded acontract is Birtwisles of Northwichwho will supply Northwich andWinsford.The 77-year-old family business isrun by Nick Birtwisle who said:“The council was very helpful and itarranged a seminar to explain theprocess. Winning the contract hasmade my year.”Dutton’s of Kelsall will supplyschools in Chester South and Ruralwhile a contract for Ellesmere Portand Neston is expected to becompleted soon.in Northwich which is opposite theWatling Street offices, Castle Parkin Frodsham, and Neston TownHall.Libraries where advice is offeredare Neston, Weaverham, Blacon,Wharton, Helsby and Tarporley.You can also get help and adviceat drop-in days being held onMarch 14 at Winsford LifestyleCentre from 1pm to 7pm, onMarch 22 at Northwich MemorialHall and Ellesmere Port Civic Hallfrom 1pm to 7pm, and on March24 in the Assembly Room ChesterTown Hall from 1pm to 7pm.There will be a number of otherplaces to get help and a full list ofthese will be published on thecouncil’s website:cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/census.02 TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 2011


Thursday May 5 isElection DayDO you want to have your say on howthings are run in your area? On Thursday,May 5, you will have the chance to makeyour voice heard when polls open to decide whorepresents you at borough and parish level.Elections for Cheshire West and Chester Councilas well as town and parish councils throughout theregion will be held – but it is important you knowwhat you have to do ahead of the big day.Steve Robinson, council chief executive andelections returning officer, said: “Local electionsprovide the perfect opportunity for people to getinvolved in local democracy and have a say in whoshould represent their neighbourhood on thecouncil.“I would urge people to make sure they areregistered to vote and to use that vote, either byputting the form in the post if you have a postal vote,or by popping into your allocated polling station onMay 5.“If you would like to vote in the elections but arenot registered to vote, it’s not too late.”You have to register to vote or you will miss out onthis chance to take part in the democratic process.Here’s to The Year oftheRABBITBLUSTERY and wet it may have been, but that did not put a dampener onChinese New Year celebrations in Chester. There was a party atmosphereas the Year of the Rabbit was welcomed in the Town Hall Square.Organised by the Wah Lei Chinese Association with help from CheshireWest and Chester Council, the celebrations were held on February 5.Despite the squally weather, they included a traditional Lion Dance,firecrackers and Tai Chi demonstrations.Get involved andmake YOUR VOTEcount...● The last day to register is Thursday, April 14● You should look out for poll cards which willbe sent out at the end of March, but withnew boundary changes residents are beingasked to check the polling station address assome are different● The last day for new applications to vote bypost is no later than 5pm on April 14● For more details about the election and toobtain registration forms check the council’swebsite:cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/election2011Susan’s a winnerwith her spendingsuggestionsCONGRATULATIONS to Susan Cain onwinning the equivalent of her council taxpayment for a year.Susan, of Northwich, was one of more than 1,000people who took up last year's challenge fromCheshire West and Chester Council to suggestwhere it should spendits money.The gauntlet wasthrown down beforethe governmentannounced itsspending review withthe council seeking tosave £35m over thenext four years.The results of theconsultation areoutlined in the budgetreport and can befound on the council’swebsite:cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/budgetconsultationElectedleader iscouncil’schoiceCHESHIRE West andChester Council has optedfor an elected leader ratherthan an elected mayor.The government askedcouncils to make the choicebetween a directly electedmayor who appointscouncillors to the executiveor a councillor elected asleader for a four year termwho then appointscouncillors to theexecutive.In December the councildecided on the electedleader option with a fouryear term and cabinet.The council’s constitutionwill be modified to reflectthe changes that come intoeffect following the Mayelections and the amendedversion will then beavailable online or fromCheshire West and ChesterCouncil, DemocraticServices, Floor 5, 58Nicholas Street, ChesterCH1 2NP.TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 201103


Why Skills Junction is working well for ChrisWHEN he was 16 Chris Bestall had littleidea what he wanted for a career. Now,10 years on, he runs his ownconstruction company and was awardedCheshire West and Chester Skills JunctionEmployer of the Year 2010.Chris learned his trade through anapprenticeship scheme, achieving the advancedlevel 3 NVQ in bricklaying through the SkillsJunction in Winsford.He worked with another builder throughout histraining, but once qualified he decided to set up hisown business, CBS Construction.And the same programme that he benefitedfrom as an apprentice continues to help him as anemployer.“I want to give people the same chance that I’vehad,” he says. “Communication between us and thecollege is brilliant.“If I feel that our apprentice needs to work onsomething, I’ll get in touch with his tutor and he’llwork on that with him.”Chris is also continuing his own training with acourse in heritage work.Paul Valentine, Skills Junction’s young adultskills coordinator, says it is clear Chris wants togive back what he has got out of the programme.People in learning in the last 12 months included128 apprentices with a success rate of 83.9 per cent,10.1 per cent above the national average.“We have a variety of programmes at the SkillsJunction ranging from bricklaying to businessadministration and retail,” says Paul.“My role is to look at provision across the area,engage employers, schools and colleges inapprentice training, offer advice and guidance andlet people know where they can get the best qualitytraining for themselves.”Building up hisown businessSkills by the barrow-load!Chris and Matt Bestall at work.Get involvedSkills Junction based in Winsfordoffers apprenticeships and NVQtraining to people who areemployed or are volunteers and areaged 16 or over.For information call 01606 867592or email:skillsacademy@cheshirewestandchester.gov.ukPutting our customers firstCheshire West and Chester Council is easy to contact and quick to respond.Its 0300 telephone numbers mean you will only be charged at the local rate,even if you ring from a mobile.■ General Enquiries 0300 123 8 123■ Benefits 0300 123 7 021■ Blue Badges 0300 123 7 040■ Business Rates 0300 123 7 023■ Community Wardens 0300 123 7 033■ Concessionary Travel 0300 123 7 025■ Council and Democracy 0300 123 7 028■ Council Tax 0300 123 7 022■ Environmental Health 0300 123 7 038(including pest control)■ Fraud Hotline 0300 123 7 030■ Highways 0300 123 7 036■ Parking (enquiries and fines) 0300 123 7 024■ Payments 0300 123 7 029■ Registration of births, 0300 123 7 037marriages and deaths■ Schools 0300 123 7 039■ Streetscene 0300 123 7 026■ Waste Permits / Waste Passes 0300 123 7 042and there’seven moreonlineThe councilwebsite lets peopledo lots of thingsonline frommaking paymentsto booking servicesand reportingproblems. Visit:cheshirewestandchester.gov.ukMeet yourrecruitmentexpertsA FREE recruitment servicewill help at least 40businesses in CheshireWest and Chester this year.It is being provided bythe council’s employmentskills and learning teamand paid for via theEuropean RegionalDevelopment Fund.Workability RecruitmentResponse aims to helptackle the recession andcomplements otherbusiness support availableunder the council’sBouncing Back campaign.The free service for smalland medium sizedbusinesses includesadvertisements on theJobCentre Plus and councilwebsites, agreeing jobspecifications, handlingapplication forms andresponses, siftingapplications and arranginginterviews.● If you want to getinvolved in any way theWorkability RecruitmentResponse team can becontacted on 0151 3566774 or 0151 356 6907,mobile 07776 160991, oremail:clive.richards@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk04 TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 2011


It’s time to take a fresh look atour librariesCharity’sstolen fundsare back inthe bankLIBRARIES have come a long wayfrom the hushed retreat of daysgone by.They have widened their scope tobecome a focal point for localorganisations and events.Cheshire West and Chester Council isbringing them even closer to the heart ofthe community by providing LocalService Access Points at a number ofpilot branches.Library services manager ShanWilkinson says new access points, partof the council’s vision of putting thecustomer first, have opened atWeaverham, Blacon, Wharton andNeston libraries.“People can go there to get help toapply for Blue Badge Services,concessionary travel passes and lots ofother things,” she says.The access points being rolled out toMeeting datesare now onlineA list of dates and times of full councilmeetings and committee meetingscan be found on our website atcheshirewestandchester.gov.ukin the Your Council sectionother libraries before long bring thecouncil closer to the people it serveswith trained staff on hand to help notonly with guidance, but with form fillingand verification of documents.People are able to discuss all councilservices from benefits to concessionsand bus routes.They can even report potholes in theroad.One of many people pleased touse the new local service accesspoint at Neston library ispensioner Joyce Lythgoe.The 84-year-old suffers fromemphysema and rheumatoidand inflammatory arthritis.She lives in sheltered housingnearby and manages to get aboutwith the help of a walking aid, butuses her Blue Badge when her familytake her shopping and on trips out inIf you would like thispublication in an alternativeformat or in anotherlanguage please emailequalities@cheshirewestandchester.gov.ukor tel: 0300 123 8 123JoyceLythgoe withSusannahHill, Librarianin Charge atNeston.a car. “It’s really useful to be able to cometo the library right on the doorstep toapply to have the Blue Badge renewed,”she enthuses. “The staff here are so veryhelpful.“I’m 84 you know, the same age as theQueen. I really feel looked after when Icome here.”Give us your feedback on this issue ofTalking Togetherby emailing talkingtogether@westcheshiretogether.org.uk or writing to Marketingand Communications, Cheshire West andChester Council, First Floor, HQ, 58 NicholasStreet, Chester, CH1 2NP.FUNDRAISERS are celebratingafter stolen money was returnedto a charity.The £4,000 was presented tothe Chester and DistrictFederation of the Blind afterbeing recovered by CheshireWest and Chester Council.It was among more than£90,000 stolen by formerChester City Council accessofficer Tim Metcalfe, who wasjailed for 20 months in 2007after he admitted theft fromChester Access Group.After Metcalfe was sacked heeventually agreed to £89,000being retained from his CheshirePension Fund to repay thecharities.The cheque for the Federationof the Blind was handed over togroup chairman Anne Rigby,who says it will be spent oncommissioning livecommentaries and audiodescriptions of local landmarksso people with sight problemscan enjoy tourist attractions inthe area.The council’s member foradult health and social care, CllrBrenda Dowling, said: “It isgood that there is a silver liningto such a distressing story.”New cardthat cares forthe carersPROVIDING care for carers isthe aim of an emergency cardscheme operated by CheshireWest and Chester Council.Many carers worry about whatwould happen if they themselveshad an accident or were taken ill.The cards mean if they have aproblem themselves they can besure the person or people theycare for will be looked after.Available for carers of all ages,the brightly coloured cards bringpeace of mind to those lookingafter a friend or relative by givingan emergency telephone numberto contact.To receive a registration packfor a Carers’ Emergency Card callthe freephone helpline on0800 085 0307 or go tocarers.org/cheshireTALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 201105


Paving the way for a healthier futureHelping to MENDyour waysFamilies in Cheshire West and Chester arebeing given a helping hand by a schemewhich is paving the way for a generationof fit and healthy children.MEND, which stands for Mind Exercise NutritionDo-It!, is a free programme which proves that simplechanges can make a world of difference.A series of workshops teach parents how to understandfood labels and make the active play with their child a funexperience.The programme was devised by experts at Great Ormond Street Hospital forChildren and funded by Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust.Gemma McNamara, 27, and six-year-old daughter Chelsie, from EllesmerePort, enrolled on the MEND programme last year.“It’s not that I didn’t know what I was doing,” said Gemma. “I justThe MENDprogramme isavailable forchildren agedtwo to four andfive to sevenneeded reassurance that what I was doing was right.“We would go along every week and try a different fruit and vegetable.We would pass it round in a bowl and smell it, touch it, then eat it.“It was a real interactive and fun way to get the children to taste newfoods. Then the children would do an activity like bowling or dancingwhile the parents learned some theory.”The 10-week workshops may be over, but the mum and daughter saythe information they learned will always stay with them.“Chelsie absolutely loved it,” says Gemma, who also has a two-year-old sonLiam. “She was given a MEND water bottle which she takes everywhere with her.“I was given a calendar which contains some really useful advice. Now we eat ourmeals around the table and the kids help out with the cooking. The scheme has reallyopened my eyes.”Workshopsrun in May, July andOctober and atleast one parent orcarer needs toattend with theirchild each weekHealthy eaters GemmaMcNamara anddaughter Chelsie.If you don’t fancy a group-based programme like MEND then you can sign up for theGreat Swapathon by Change 4 Life.Make a couple of simple swaps to your diet and daily routine like the following:● Swap fizzy drinks for water, unsweetened juice or milk● Swap eating in front of the TV for a chat around the table together● Swap sugar coated cereals for unsweetened wholegrain cereals● Swap fry ups for grill ups. Swap fries for oven chips● Swap full fat spreads for low fat versions● Swap ice cream for low fat yoghurt or fromage frais● Swap eating snacks straight from the bag to eating them from a small bowl● Swap the sweetie jar for a bowl of fruit.See swapathon.co.uk for more informationHave your say onthe great outdoorsIF you like the great outdoors thenCheshire West and Chester Councilwants you to get in touch.The council is inviting you to haveyour say on its draft rights of wayimprovement plan, which is lookingat how the borough’s green spacesand country footpath and accessnetwork satisfy the demands ofresidents and visitors.Among the aims of theimprovements will be encouragingpeople to keep active and healthy.Other goals will be to supportthose who do not necessarily benefitfrom open access includinghorseriders, cyclists and people withmobility problems.The consultation period runs untilApril 15 and you can get a copy ofthe plan from the Greenspace teamon 01606 288543, emailgreenspace@cheshirewestandchester.gov.ukCall theMEND team on01244650 574or seemendprogramme.org formore detailsVolunteer café is a big hitA VOLUNTEER at a new café in EllesmerePort loves every minute she spends there.Andrea is one of a team working at the StarCafé based at The Poole Independent LivingCentre run by Cheshire West and ChesterCouncil.The centre and its counterpart in Hartfordare dedicated to helping people withdisabilities and older people remain selfsufficientin their own homes.And the café, open from 10am to 2pmevery day, has a role to play in achieving thatgoal.She says she loves working there. “I lovecooking and it also gives me the opportunityto get out and meet people,” she said.The café opened last September and as wellas running the kitchen, the volunteer stafflook for new ways to generate funds.“People are really happy with the choiceand the quality of the food on sale,” saysClaire Webb, who oversees the running ofthe café.● People can access the services offered bythe Ellesmere Port and Hartford centres bybeing referred by their GP, health or socialcare professional, by local partnervoluntary agencies, or by making directcontact with the centres. The contactnumber for both is 01606 881980.06 TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 2011


Log onand join thebig conversationJOIN the conversation and get involved. That’s the invitation fromCheshire West and Chester Council and there are plenty of ways youcan do it.Sign up for Talking Together DirectREGISTER to receive the council’s monthly enewsletter and discover awealth of information about councilservices, activities and events in yourarea.The online publication also gives quicklinks to social media sites where thecouncil has a presence.In every issue you can watch a short video news round-up and readthe thoughts of lead members on projects and directions.There are features and information on the latest campaigns fromacross the council’s services.You can also get direct links to view the latest webcasts of councilmeetings and diary dates for broadcasted meetings for the next fewweeks. There are more dates to note with a list of the coming month’scommunity forums where you are invited to get involved and talkabout what’s happening in your local area.Register at: talkingwestcheshire.org/signupLog on to Cheshire West TVCHESHIRE West TV is a community channel and hub for hostingvideos, the ideal place for local groups, hobby and sports clubs,schools, colleges and local community projects to tell their stories,talk about their work andpromote any events.Local businesses can alsoshare their news and promotetheir services, and touristattractions can show everyone just why they should visit.Whether you live, work or learn in the borough, or even if you’replanning a visit, this online video sharing hub is here for everyone touse.If you’ve got something to say about where you live, you want toencourage volunteers to support your community project or you havea story to tell, we want your films for Cheshire West TV.Visit: cheshirewest.tvFollow the council on Facebook, Twitter and FlickrALL the latest media releases, activities and events are promoted onour social media channels.To receive the latest council news go tofacebook.com/cheshirewest, sign in and like the page. Get our latesttweets by visiting twitter.com/go_cheshirewest and follow us and goto flickr.com/cheshirewest for snapshots of the fun and activities inour borough.Get local with Talking West CheshireTO find out what is going on in your area you can log onto the TalkingWest Cheshire website which brings you the latest localdevelopments in an easy-to-use format.The site has been launched with news from the Northwich andRural North area and four more areas will soon be added for newsfrom Winsford and Rural East, Ellesmere Port, Rural West and Chester.Visit: talkingwestcheshire.orgLet’s all make it aDay to remember● The front coverpicture shows pupils atDee Point School, Blacon,getting ready for theRoyal celebration. WithAlisha Ebbs, MarcelAziamale, Liam Shell, andLacey Graham is PCSOMatthew Browell.ABOVE: PCSOs Caroline Stevens and Stuart Goff with pupils Carl King,Oscar Henry, Rebecca Forster and Rosie McIntosh at ComberbachSchool in Northwich are also looking forward to the big day.IT'S time to dust down thered, white and blue bunting.William and Kate are gettingmarried and we have a royalwedding on the way.We will have just celebratedEaster when Prince Williammarries Kate Middleton atWestminster Abbey on Friday,April 29.It has been declared a bankholiday so communities acrossCheshire West and Chester canmake sure it will be a day toremember.Preparations are underway forstreet parties and among the first toshow their hand are royal revellersat Winsford Community ActionProject.Based at The Edge in Winsford,the group is gearing up to host ahuge party for the neighbourhood.Director Jill McQuaid says theyare so excited about the weddingthat they have already had severalmeetings to discuss ideas.“We want tohold a street partywith lots of food and drink,”she says. “There will bestorytelling and Sumowrestling for the childrenbecause they absolutelylove it.“We will have tables andchairs outside and will bemaking food throughoutthe day such as pizza andsandwiches.”Partygoers will alsohave the chance tocatch the weddingaction on television.“We have a television in thecommunity hall where theparents can watch the livefootage from the weddingthroughout the day,” says Jill.All are welcome to the partyheld by The Winsford CommunityAction Project. For moreinformation call volunteercoordinator Mark Baker on01606 551766.SPOT THE DIFFERENCESWin a familyticket toChester Zooworth £50!TRY your luck in ourspot the differencecompetition and youcould win a family ticketworth £50 for Chester Zoo.For the chance to winsimply ring the fivedifferences between thecartoons, cut out cartoonshowing how they differ, andsend it to Spot the DifferenceCompetition, Marketing andCommunications, CheshireWest and Chester, First Floor,HQ, 58 Nicholas Street,Chester CH1 2NP.Don’t forget to include yourname, address and a daytimenumber where you can becontacted.The closing date for entriesis Friday, April 22 and the firstentry drawn out of the hatwill win the Chester Zoo prize.The editor’s decision is finaland the prize will not beexchanged for a cashequivalent.• Cartoons by Chris Woodchriswoodillustration.com...and we’llhelp get theparty startedTO get the party started the council is givingpeople the chance to hold their own celebrationfree of the usual administration fee andadvertising costs. But those who want to host astreet party must follow guidelines to ensure itruns smoothly.Cllr Richard Short, executive member for cultureand recreation, says it has been decided to waivethe normal admin and advertising charges.“This entails the closure of a road and all thestreet closures will be published in oneadvertisement, paid for by the council,” he said.“We ask organisers to have public liabilityinsurance and request that signs used to close theroad meet the Signage Act.”If you want to host a street party call CheshireWest and Chester Council on 01244 976741 oremail: artswest@cheshirewestandchester.gov.ukBack to back bankholiday weekendsTHE timing of thewedding means there willbe two four-day publicholidays two weekends insuccession.The Monday after thewedding, May 2, is already adesignated bank holiday andthe previous weekend isEaster.Emergency services will beout in force as people packbars and pubs to toast thenewlyweds.Cheshire’s assistant chiefconstable JanetteMcCormick says it is aunique celebration, butsafety remains top priority.“It’s unrealistic to suggestwe can separate alcohol andcelebration,” she says. “Butwe will not accept poorbehaviour associated withexcess drinking.“We want people to enjoythemselves so we plan toextend the licensing hours inthe pubs and bars.“We will also liaise withlicensees to see what eventsthey have planned on theday and work out where wewill allocate our staff.“People need to actresponsibly to ensure theydo not become a victim ofcrime.”● OH how we partied when Charles and Diana got married. That was in1981 and for many of us it’s a distant memory. Now 30 years on we’reready to get in the swing and do it again.Our flashback photograph shows some of the 1981 street partycelebrations in Pyecroft Street in Handbridge.08 TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 2011 TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 2011 09


Your chance to Brief the Chief onPOLICINGWHEN it comes to policing, what matters most to you? Isit a visible police presence, tackling violent crime orarresting offenders? After a major consultationexercise by Cheshire Police and Cheshire Police Authority youcan rest assured you can have your say.“Brief the Chief” roadshows were held in Cheshire asking howthe force should spend its money and what its priorities shouldbe.But if you missed it, you can still have your say online.Cheshire’s chief constable Dave Whatton said: “Listening to whatour communities want and seeking their views on how we can changewhile maintaining frontline services is important to us.“This is an excellent way of getting the public involved and will helpus to make the right operational decisions within a much reducedbudget.”Tough decisions need to be made with the force budget set to beslashed by £35 million over the next four years and with 83 per centspent on people, jobs are at stake.So the question is, if you want to see officers out and about in yourarea where do the cuts fall?You might think it is as simple as taking out the people ‘behind thescenes’, but then who is going to do that work?The only people available will be police officers you want ‘out on thestreets’ and then they will end up exactly where you don’t want them -sitting at a desk.The results of the Police Authority’s consultation on performanceand priorities have already been collected.More than 1,330 people - 69 per cent - said they thought CheshireConstabulary does an excellent or good job.While in Cheshire West and Chester, 43 per cent of people felt theycan influence decisions in the local area and 53 per cent agreed thatthe police and council are dealing with anti-social behaviour andcrime.● If you have not had the chance to have your say through theroadshows you can still make your voice heard online at:supportcheshirepolice.comCrime Reduction Officer Dave Owenswith PCSO Emily Benson.THE TOP FIVE PRIORITIES FOR POLICING WERE:● Responding to emergency calls● Tackling violent crime● Detecting crime and arresting offenders● Tackling organised crime and terrorism● Tackling domestic and child abuse.AND THE AUTHORITY’S PROPOSED OBJECTIVES ARE:● Respond as an emergency service to protect and care for individuals and the public● Understand and strive to meet the expectations of the people of Cheshire● Maintain the trust and confidence of the public● Work with the public and our partners to reduce those crimes and acts ofanti-social behaviour which the public are concerned about● Bring offenders to justice, provide the best care for victims and witnesses andprevent reoffending● Make the best possible use of resources and prevent waste and duplication.Escape route from domestic abuseA MAN hitting a woman. That's the imageusually associated with domesticviolence. But attacks can also includewomen abusing men and violence insame sex relationships.Domestic violence includes not onlyphysical abuse, but verbal attacks andcontrol of finances.Across Cheshire West and Chesterthere are a whole range of agencies set tooffer advice and support to thosesuffering from any kind of domesticabuse.Det Insp Simon Lonsdale is chairman ofMARAC – Multi Agency Risk AssessmentConference – an umbrella group bringingtogether dozens of organisations workingtogether to tackle domestic abuse acrossCheshire.He advises anyone suffering fromdomestic abuse to call the police if theyare at immediate risk of harm.But DI Lonsdale says he understandsthere are cases where people don't feelcomfortable calling the police.“Normally abuse goes on for a whilebefore people look for help,” he says. “Interms of long-standing issues wherepeople don’t have confidence to come tothe police, there are a multitude ofagencies and organisations people cancome to for support.“There is a whole list of supportmeasures that can be implemented interms of help such as financial advice andsupport with rehousing.”● Det Insp Lonsdale advises anyonelooking for help with dealing with adomestic relationship to contact thecouncil or call the 24-hour nationaldomestic violence helpline on 0808 2000247. The websitecheshirewestandchester.gov.uk has apage dedicated to escaping domesticviolence and includes a section on how toerase your steps online for those worriedtheir visit to the website will be tracked.10TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 2011


Help is at handTEENAGER Daniel Choy isone of the many hard hitby the recession who hasbeen given help by a new centre inEllesmere Port.Daniel, 19, was struggling tofind a job but has now startedwork as an administrativeassistant at the HHEETCentre.Its openingmarks a milestone for the wayservices are delivered acrossCheshire West and Chester.Standing for housing, health,education, enterprise and training,it houses a range of servicesworking together to help peopleovercome their barriers to work.“They’ve employed me which hashelped me a lot,” says Daniel. “Iwish I’d known about the centrewhen I started job hunting.“There are so many differentaspects we can help people withsuch as debt problems, rehousingor looking for a job.”Based in the Westminster area ofEllesmere Port, agencies operatingfrom the the drop-in centre includeJobCentre Plus, West CheshireCollege and housing associations.“You don’t have to keep going todifferent places when you’relooking for a job,” says Daniel.“The HHEET Centre will handCVs around which helps if, forexample, you’re a single mumtrying to find a job and don’t havemuch time.”Recently an open day was held toraise awareness of the supportoffered by HHEET and childrenenjoyed activities such as facepainting and crafts whilst parentstook the opportunity to learn abouthow the service could offer help.● You can contact theHHEET Centre on0151 356 6667 or call intothe HHEET Centre, 2-6Church Parade, Westminster,Ellesmere Port CH65 2ER.Mums with your health at heartMEET Siobhan, Tricia andKaren – three mums outto improve health acrossEllesmere Port.They will be working atthree centres in the townto help people accessadvice on health issuessuch as stopping smoking,eating healthily andcoping with mental healthissues.All three haveexperienced forthemselves the challengesof juggling motherhoodwith working, running ahouse and keepinghealthy so are perfectlyplaced to offer a nonjudgmentalservice.“A lot of people think ifthey ask for help they willFeeling the HHEET● It is the council’s Our Place initiative that led to HHEET - housing, health, education, enterprise and training● Launched in the autumn of 2009, it initially targeted child poverty in Ellesmere Port● Tackling priorities identified by 10 panels of residents across the town, it has since successfully dealt with wideranging issues● These include environmental improvements, community safety, debt, employment, support for vulnerable mums,teenage pregnancy, domestic violence and health● A blueprint for services being rolled out across the borough, Our Place is being monitored by the government.be reported to socialservices,” said SiobhanCharles, 37.“But we’re all fromsimilar backgrounds andwon’t judge people as wehave experienced thingssuch as being single mumsor domestic violenceourselves. People can lookat us as role models.”The health advocateswork to signpost thehealth services availablein the area which manypeople don’t know areavailable.“Even if you just wantsomeone to talk to, we’rehere,” said Karen Grant-Pye, 42. “It’s better thanbeing rushed from pillarto post as people oftenare.”Karen will be working asa health advocate at theLinks Healthy LivingCentre on Civic Way; TriciaMcElhinney, 33, will bebased at Ellesmere PortCottage Hospital onChester Road and Siobhancan be found at theHHEET Centre on ChurchParade.TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 201111


Award-winning website will help keep families...SAFEfromFIRESatisfied users of the websiteinclude Arthur Matthews, 88,ofNewton, Chester. “It’s interesting,informative and so easy to use,” hesays. “No wonder it’s won awards.”A warning fromCheshire Fire andRescue ServiceAN award-winning websitehas been relaunched withnew features aimed atmaking it even easier for familiesand businesses to keep themselvessafe from fire.Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’swebsite - cheshirefire.gov.uk - hastwice been highlighted as one of thebest in the country in an annualsurvey of more than 470 publicsector websites.Now the service has completelyrevamped its online site so visitorscan develop their own personal firesafety home page giving them justthe information and services theywant to see.As well as being able to adapt andpersonalise the website to suit theirneeds, visitors can also use a new MyArea ‘app’ or online module. By justtyping in their postcode people willinstantly receive links to:● Recent incidents attended by firecrews in their area● Details about upcoming localevents● Press releases about work by theService in their neighbourhood● Contact details for their localstation, community and businesssafety centre and local FireAuthority members.“The internet is now critical to theway we communicate and provideour community safety services tolocal communities,” said chief fireofficer Paul Hancock.“This radical new overhaul of ourwebsite uses some of the latest onlinedevelopments to allow people tochoose and personalise the servicesand information they want from us.“Obviously we will be continuingto visit people in their own homes togive face to face advice and fit freesmoke alarms. But for people andbusinesses who are online and wantto both stay safe and keep up to dateLook after your little onesThe majority of children are not safelysecured when they are passengers in cars.A survey by Road Safety GB found in someareas nine out of 10 child seats wereincorrectly fitted.The Good Egg safety campaign to checkbabies and young children are properlyrestrained when travelling in a car held carseat clinics across England.Cheshire West and Chester senior road safetyofficer Sarah Collins checks a child car seat.with our work, we think this a majorstep forward.”Other key features of the website,which also meets top levelaccessibility and plain Englishstandards, include:● An online home safety assessmentapplication● A text alert system which tellspeople about major incidents intheir area● Dedicated service Facebook,Twitter, YouTube and Flickrchannels● Live station performance statisticsand maps● Online access to details of allmajor incidents and news stories● A fully interactive ‘Kidzone’● A special facility to read out pagesfor people with visualimpairments.Cheshire West and Chester road safety unithosted three of them, checking 164 childseats and finding 46 per cent were wronglyfitted.Get involvedParents and carers can find out wheretheir nearest clinic is by visiting theRoad Safety GB Good Egg website at:protectchildgb.org.ukA SPATE of fires involving cookersand tumble dryers has brought awarning from Cheshire Fire andRescue Service.It urges people to take extra carearound their homes to preventhouse fires.John Salt, the service’sperformance manager for CheshireWest and Chester, says they havehad to deal with a number of firesrecently involving unattendedcookers and tumble dryers.“These fires could be avoided bypeople taking some simpleprecautions,” he advises.To improve tumble dryer safetyhe says householders should ensurefilters are cleaned regularly, avoidkinking of the ventilation hose,ensure electrical cables are nottrapped or frayed in any way, makesure the correct fuse is used in anyplugs or extension cables, and avoidleaving the house while the dryer isin use as an appliance fire can soonbecome a house fire.On cooker safety John says youshould not leave cookingunattended, keep electrical leadsaway from the cooker, do not hangtea-towels or cloths over thecooker, and keep your oven, hob andgrill clean as any build up of food orfat can start a fire.For more advice or to book afree home safety assessmentgo to cheshirefire.gov.uk orcontact your local fire station12 TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 2011


I’velife got my backWorkskills course enabled through a Through the programme Mag was putpartnership established between Forum in touch with the Star projectHousing and West Cheshire College. coordinator Craig Donaldson. CraigPointing to the confidence she gains helped Mag face her new challenge onefrom looking after her one-year-old step at a time beginning with one-toonesessions in Mag’s home.daughter Madeline, she said: “I had noGCSEs and needed certain grades to do As her self-esteem grew she was ableteaching.to take part in group sessions. “At firstYOUNG mum Mag Evans hasbeen through far more thanmost.Two years ago when she was 37 weekspregnant, she collapsed and startedfitting uncontrollably.The next she remembers is waking upin hospital surrounded by worried faces.Mag, now 22, of Ellesmere Port, hadsuffered a massive brain aneurisym,which could have killed her.Although she recovered full physicalfitness, she was plagued by short termmemory loss and a serious dent in herconfidence.But with the help ofCheshire West andChester Council’sSupporting Peopleprogramme, she isnow on the wayto becoming ateachingassistant.Mag, helpedby projectcoordinatorCraigDonaldson,was able toenrol on aBTECLIVING alone or coping with a disabilitycan be tough.But a pioneering new website byCheshire West and Chester Council ismaking life easier for people who relyon social care.My life My choice is an easy-to-navigatewebsite which tells you about a range ofavailable services, from help with yourHow the Supporting People programmehelped Mag after her brush with death“The BTEC will help me achievethat and it’s given me the drive toget out and about.”Supporting People, aprogramme which helpsvulnerable people liveindependently, togetherwith Forum Housing,helped Mag and herdaughter find a home.weekly shopping to finding a job.People living alone can get advice onkeeping warm, preparing meals andspecialist equipment to help them getaround.Care home residents can discover moreabout a day service where they canmake new friends and take up a hobby.Get advice on keeping safe in yourI’d come to Mag’s house and the curtainswould be drawn,” says Craig.“But after a few weeks she told me shewanted to be a teaching assistant and weknew we’d turned a corner.”Mag is grateful for the support she hasbeen given in creating a brighter future.“Craig and the council have shown me abetter way forward and I couldn’t havegot this far without them,” she said.● Supporting People aims to enablevulnerable people to live independentlythrough the provision of housingrelatedsupport services. To learnmore call 0800 169 1574 or email:spteamwest@cheshirewestandchester.gov.ukGet involvedYou can contactSupporting People on0800 1691574 andForum Housing on0151 649 9718Mag and daughterMadeline: a brightfuture with help from theSupporting Peopleprogramme.Making life easier when things get toughhome and special transport to get fromA to B.There is also a section for those whocare for others which tells them whereto turn for emotional support.See cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/adults_and_social_care/my_life_my_choice/tell_me_about.aspxfor more information.Meet thechoir witha differenceDEE SIGN is certainly achoir with a difference. Itperforms to music inBritish sign language, or BSL as itis known, the official language ofdeaf people in the UK.Its members based in andaround Chester translate thewords of popular songs into BSLand perform them at local events.The choir is made up of parentsof deaf children, students of signlanguage, volunteers andmembers of the local deafcommunity.Choir director Anne Hesketh isa retired member of staff ofDeafness Support Network andsecretary of Chester and DistrictVolunteers in Partnership Group.“Being in the choir is lots offun,” she says.The aims of the choir are to:● Promote Deaf Awareness andthe beauty of BSL● Add to the sign vocabulary ofBSL students● Raise money to improve thequality of life of deaf and thehard of hearing● Encourage deaf people toappreciate and perform tomusic in their own “beautifullanguage”.All the members are volunteerssupporting Chester and DistrictCommittee for Deaf People.Funds also support The DeafCentre in Chester, a meeting placefor not only the deaf but also thewider community and localbusinesses.Anne says a warm welcomeawaits all new members and DeeSign Choir is encouraging morepeople to learn BSL.● The choir meets to rehearse atChester Deaf Centre, South ViewRoad, Chester CH1 4JG from10.15am to 12.15pm everySaturday.The choir can be contacted onvoice phone 01244 371372,textphone 01244 375347 or fax01244 378215.Action ProjectA PICTURE on page 5 of thewinter edition of TalkingTogether was incorrectlycaptioned.The lady in the photographwho we said was WinsfordCommunity Action Project’svolunteer and training managerRachel Rathbone was in fact theproject’s receptionist JulieWilkinson.We apologise to Rachel andJulie for our error.TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 201113


Your chanceto helpimproveservicesCOMMUNITY forums giveresidents in Cheshire West andChester an opportunity tocontribute to local decision makingto create better services andimprovements for their areas.There are 15 across the boroughbased on current ward boundariesand they meet at least four times ayear, with additional meetingsconvened when necessary toconsider emerging importantissues.Each community forumcomprises the respective wardmembers, representatives fromtown and parish councils,community groups and partnersfrom the public, private,community, voluntary and faithsectors.● To find your nearestcommunity forum visit:WestCheshireTogether.org.ukFosteringcampaign’ssimplemessageCOULD you foster a child?If the answer is yes Cheshire Westand Chester Council wants to hearfrom you.It has linked up with othercouncils for the biggest everregional fostering campaign.Called You Can Foster, thecampaign message is that thereisn’t a typical foster carer.It urges people to make 2011 theyear they make a difference to achild’s life.The council encouragesapplications from people regardlessof ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality,marital or job status.To find out more visit theYouCanFoster website or call 0800634 7052.More information is alsoavailable from the council on01244 972222 or from thefostering pages on:cheshirewestandchester.gov.ukPicture 8,700 buses and thenimagine how much theyweigh.Give up? Well the answer is 87,000tonnes. And believe it or not, that is howmuch domestic waste is sent to landfillfrom Cheshire West and Chester everyyear.The council wants to do somethingabout it and has issued a 100 day wastereduction challenge to you all.Its message is that little actions have bigimpacts. It says that the average householdin the borough throws away 50kg of wasteevery month.All it wants people to do is reduce this byjust 1kg a month. That’s the equivalent of abag of sugar.Do this and 1,700 tonnes of avoidablewaste – that’s the weight of 340 elephants –will no longer go to landfill.If further incentive is needed, this wouldA HISTORIC salt works is undergoing animage overhaul and Cheshire West andChester Council wants your thoughts.The Lion Salt Works in Marston,Northwich, is being transformed into aunique heritage attraction where visitorscan discover more about the salt-makingprocess.They will also be able to take in theTake up the wastealso save more than £150,000 of the £7.5million the council spends every yeargetting rid of household waste.The council says historically most of thewaste produced in England has been sentto landfill because this was a cheap andeasy way of getting rid of it.But now space for landfill is fast runningout and the waste disposal sites are bigcontributors to climate change becausemuch of the material thrown away releasesgreenhouse gases methane and carbondioxide.The council urges everyone to reuse andrecycle, seeking out enterprises that repairand redistribute items such as clothes andfurniture to those who need them themost.Urging you to support the 100 Day WasteReduction Challenge, it asks if you’ve triedhome composting or linking with friendsand neighbours to run a ‘clothes swap’ event.Waste not, want not ...why not try your handat home composting?challengewaterways and attractions of the adjacentNorthwich Woodlands and the widerWeaver Valley.Lion Salt Works was established in 1894by the Thompson family and remained intheir ownership through five generations.The works produced salt by evaporatingbrine over an open fire in large lead pansand the different salts they producedHow you canget involved● The best place to start planning yourlocal activities is with a visit to thecampaign websitecheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/wastechallenge Here you will find anideas bank with lots of ways you canmake a difference● You can keep up-to-date with thecampaign and share what events youare running through the our Twitter andFacebook feedsfacebook.com/wastechallenge,twitter.com/wastechallenge● You can also call 0300 1237026.Have your say on salt works transformationwould be used in the fishing, dairy andcosmetic industries.The works finally stopped productionand closed in 1986. Restoration work onthe site is starting this spring and thevenue is expected to open by summer2013.Get involved and go to lionsaltworks.orgto submit your ideas for change.14 TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 2011


Praise fromGarry forcouncil’srehab teamThey havegiven mea new lease of lifeIT was the physical nature of thework that Garry Wilday enjoyedwhen he was in the constructionindustry.But debilitating health problemsforced him to leave his home and lefthim as a wheelchair user.Now he praises the medical teamfrom Cheshire West and Chester’s rehablink team who helped him.Garry, 52, suffered severe asthmaabout five years ago and this developedinto emphysema.Soon after came the onset of a rarecondition called Bilateral ParsonageTurner Syndrome, which left him withcrippling pain and weakening limbs.“I was fine one day but woke the nextwith really bad pain in one arm, thenthe other,” Garry recalls.His problems worsened when hedeveloped lower back problems and bythe beginning of 2010 he was no longerable to climb the stairs to his secondfloor flat in Blacon.After months of hospital stays hopecame when he wasoffered a short stayin May at SuttonBeeches, thecommunitysupportcentre inGreat Sutton.There a teamof socialworkers, carestaff, occupationalGet involvedReferrals are acceptedfrom all health andsocial care professionals.To find out more call01244 364818.“They have given me back myindependence. I can even goto the pub on a Saturday now”therapists and physiotherapistsworked hard to help himregain the strength in his legs.Last August he wasdischarged to his new flat inSaughall with homecare andtherapy support from thecouncil’s rehab team.“I want to pay a little bitback to those who helped me,”says Garry. “They have given memy independence back. I can even go tothe pub on a Saturday now!”The rehab link team provides a rangeof rehabilitation services to supportpeople who have been discharged fromhospital or would benefit fromrehabilitation at home.It is made up of nurses, socialworkers, occupational therapists,physiotherapists, therapy assistants anda clinical psychologist.Extra £3m to repair roadsALREADY much praised for its roadmaintenance, Cheshire West and ChesterCouncil is investing an extra £3 million inits repairs programme.The money will be used to resurfacestretches of highway in the boroughidentified as having defects, includingpotholes.Cllr Lynn Riley, executive member forcommunity and environment, says the lasttwo freezing winters took their toll on theborough’s 1,400 mile road network.“Last winter saw us invest an extra £1million and this winter we have allocated£3 million on top of the regular £10million of highway maintenance we carryout,” she said.● To report potholes go to the highwayfaults page at:cheshirewestandchester.gov.ukor call the contact centre on 03001237036. The council is regularly top ofthe UK National Cyclists OrganisationCTC website –fillthathole.org.uk – forfilling in reported potholes as quickly aspossible.TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 201115


GET LOCAL with our up-to-the-minute WHAT’S ON GUIDEFood and drink festivaland so much more...THERE’S so much happening inCheshire West and Chester sothe sensible message must be ‘getlocal’.Among the coming events is theChester Food, Drink & Lifestyle Festivalrunning from Saturday, April 23 to EasterMonday, April 25.And it’s a little bit special this year asthe festival, centred on the city’sRacecourse, celebrates its 10thanniversary.The event sees food producers, farmersand chefs descend on the Roodee fordelicious days of all things food, drinkand lifestyle.Tickets cost from £5 and the number tocall is 01244 304610.Also on April 23 is a medieval paradeto celebrate St George’s Day. Starting inthe Town Hall Square in Chester at 11am,children from across the borough dressedas knights, kings, princesses, heralds andminstrels will parade through the city.There will be sword fighting, archery andjousting to add to the spectacle.Looking further ahead to Sunday, June19, be sure to catch the MidsummerWatch Giants Parade through the citycentre. The parade dates back to 1498 andtraditional components include a dragon,a camel, an elephant and castle, a unicornand a pirate ship.Other events to makea note of include:● March 31/April 28: Poetryworkshop run by a team of postgraduateEnglish literature students at ChesterLibrary, 5.30-6.30pm. Call 01244 977380to book your place● April 6: Spring 5 – five-mile roadrace starting and finishing at CheshireCounty Sports Club playing fields. Seewestcheshireac.co.uk● April 21: Children’s Easter egg huntand crafts session at Bishops HighLibrary from 2-3.30pm. Suitable forchildren under 10, tickets £1 per child.Call 01244 353048 to book your place.● April 27: Challenge 66 charity runthrough Chester for ABF The Soldiers’Charity, call Barry Groves on07896916113.● May 4-6, 21, June 11, 24/25, July 8/9,31, August 20: Chester Races at theRoodee Racecourse, unforgettableexperience. Call box officeon 01244 304 610.● May 7: Manchester bluesband Junkhousedog atUpton Village Hall. Call01244 380 068.● May 7/8:Thundersprint Bike Showoutside NorthwichMemorial Hall, more than100 classic and modern bikes ondisplay 10am-4pm. Seethundersprint.com● May 15: More than 2,800runners take part in Shell ChesterHalf Marathon run between9.30am-12.30pm on rural roads,starts below the castle on CastleDrive and finishes on RoodeeRacecourse. Also one-mile familyfun run on the inside of theracecourse at 9.45am.● May 21: Ladies’ StarlightWalk from University of Chesterat midnight, registration fee forthe six-mile sponsored walk £10including a special pink t-shirt,medal and refreshments.Proceeds to Hospice of the GoodShepherd. Seehospiceofthegoodshepherd.comMay 21: New PerspectivesTheatre Company presents LarkRise to Candleford at KelsallCommunity Centre. Call JohnGray on 01829 752 833● May 27-30: Chester FolkFestival, family friendly eventthat houses live performances,craftshows and ceilidhs inKelsall. See chesterfolk.org.ukDatesfor yourDiaryThe Thundersprint Bike show takesplace at Northwich on May 7/8.For more on localevents go to:cheshirewestandchester.gov.ukChef Michael Caines will be appearing at Chester Food,Drink & Lifestyle Festival, which runs from April 23-25.For more on local events go to: cheshirewestandchester.gov.ukTalking Together is published by West Cheshire Together, apartnership of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire Police,Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cheshire Police Authority andNHS Western Cheshire.16 TALKING TOGETHER ■ Spring 2011

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