Porthleven Town Council responds to Trevor Osborne over the Bickford-Smith Institute

Porthleven Town Council has in a robust and fit and proper way responded to an open letter from Trevor Osborne, owner of the Harbour and Dock Company in Porthleven. The two letters are over the formation of a ‘Friends of the Bickford-Smith Institute’ organisation, and the name for collecting any funds for the preservation and use future of the building.

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The original letter from Mr. Osborne

The response from the Mayor on behalf of Porthleven Town Council

The response from the Mayor on behalf of Porthleven Town Council

Posted on the official Friends of the Bickford-Smith Institute Facebook page, the working group which is made up of town councillors and residents has issued a briefing documentation to bring people up to speed on what has happen so far. The group have always been clear that the process of looking in to its future use will not be done quickly, as it is very important that the people of Porthleven are consulted, and are happy with its future use. The future use has also have to financially sound, especially over any grant funding that will hopefully be awarded.

imageimageimageThe working group has spent a lot of time gathering information and are still working on various ideas. No idea has been ruled in, or out. The pictures below will give some idea of a possible future use of the building.

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So there you have it, the story so far. The progress of the working group will also be discussed at the September meeting of the town council which will take place on the 8th at 7pm.

Porthleven Skate Park has planning permission with the build is set to start in Sept

Porthleven’s new skate park is going to happen. As this afternoon, the final hurdles over issues like drainage and flooding has been resolved and therefore,  I can confirmed that Cornwall Council will approve the plans for the new Skate Park in Porthleven.

Even more exciting the is the build work is scheduled to start on either September the 12th or 19th. It will take approximately 10 weeks to finish.

Massive thanks and credit goes to all who have been involved in the project to raise £125k; the hard-working skate park committee (Mark, Zoe, Naomi and Dai), the various individual and business funders, two of which are the Town Council (£20k) and Sports England (£75k). It has been a real community effort to realise the dream of a new skate park in Porthleven. Well done indeed, it has been a real pleasure to work on this project.

Thanks should go to Chris Strike of DA Design who acted as the planning agent for free, Cornwall Council planners, and the team over at Maverick who at every stage where quick to respond to any questions from either the EA or Cornwall Council.

And wow, what a skate park it will be!

The design of the new skate park

The design of the new skate park

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Porthleven ‘Village’ Show was a massive success.

The Porthleven ‘Village’ Show after a 20 odd year sabbatical was held at the Public Hall on Sunday. There was an amazing 359 entries from 78 people over many categories. A truly brilliant turnout.

The credit for this success must go to the small committee who got together and organised the event. Our thanks to should go to:

  • Jill Blunn (Chairperson)
  • Sue Davis (Sec//Treasurer)
  • Lee Eggle (Show Sec)
  • Marie Magor, Peter Collins and Diane Churchman (members)
  • It was good the community supported this event, with near 200 people turning up and seeing everything on display.

Of course others helped too; thanks should go to the WI and Public Hall Committee who waived their normal hire charge. The various category judges and all who helped set up the event. Lastly, the competitors themselves. I was very happy to give £300 from my community fund too, and was very privileged to be asked as Deputy Mayor to give our the prizes.

Below are just some of the entries.

It would not have been an event without members of Porthleven WI on hand with cups of tea and cake.

Maureen from the WI on hand with the tea

 

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Just some of the prizes up for grabs

And finally, I was very please with the award of a second place for my four-strand plaited loaf.

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Met Office issues Yellow Weather Warning for high winds for the weekend (Aug 19/20/21)

Yes, I know it is meant to be summer, but the Met Office forecasts strong winds and heavy rain due to affect Cornwall over the coming days, Cornwall Council is warning residents and visitors to be prepared and take precautions where necessary after the recent dry spell.

The latest information from the MET Office and the Environment Agency is for rain on Friday, winds gusting up to 55 to affect Cornwall on Saturday with further strong winds and heavy rain expected on Sunday. This could lead to some fallen trees.

As it is the holiday period, many people are camping and therefore damage to temporary structures such as tents, marquees and caravans are at a particular risk 

As a result the Met office has issued a Yellow Weather warning for high winds and the public are advised to look out for any changes to Environment Agency Flood Warnings over the coming weekend.

Officers from Cornwall Council’s  Environment, Fire and Rescue and Emergency Management services and CORMAC teams will be monitoring the situation closely and are on standby to deal with any problems.

Agencies are asking people living in areas which are prone to flooding to make sure they take the necessary precautions. They are also advising people to take care when driving, particularly those driving high sided vehicles or towing caravans as the roads will inevitably be busy.

The advice is to put away any garden furniture and ensure that tents, bouncy castles, gazebos or marquees are secure. People organising community events over the weekend are advised to undertake their own risk assessment.

Members of the public are also being asked to take care when walking along the coast path or along piers and promenades, and by cliff edges during the strong winds, with surfers and small boat owners advised to check advice from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on whether to go into the water.

Be safe out there people…

 

The Furry Youth Café, Helston set to reopen in September

Furrylogo

The good news is Furry Youth Café which is located above Warren’s Bakery in Helston is set to reopen on the 6th of September. This venue will at first open on Tuesday’s and Friday’s from 7pm to 9pm each week.

Anyone between the ages of 11-18 can attend, no matter if you live in Helston, Porthleven, the Lizard area, or the wider villages. The catchment area is really for those who attend either Helston College, or Mullion School.

The café is free to attend, and there will be a series of structured activities taking place, plus plenty of time to just relax.

As one of the directors of the Furry Youth Café, I am really pleased we are able to reopen after what seemed like ages of being closed. We are also excited to be working with PCDT to deliver the youth service in side the café. Penwith Community Development Trust is a  Cornish charity with the aim of reducing poverty, social isolation and support healthy living.

However, before the reopening, there will be a fun day at Helston AFC on Wednesday 24th August between 1pm and 4pm. This fun day enables those attending to meet the team, and see what the Youth Café have to offer. This fun day is not just for young people, but parents and carers are very much welcomed too. That way those parents and carers will see what is on offer at the café.

The launch poster

The launch poster

For anyone reading from Porthleven, and wondering what is happening in Porthleven, I am putting a proposal to Porthleven TC in Sept.

Furthermore, I know for some transport is an issue for those in Porthleven and I am again working on something that could enable young people from Porthleven get to and from the café for free.

Government Welfare Cap to be imposed this Autumn in Cornwall

The Government is has been rather quiet on its next phase of the Welfare Reforms which involves the introduction of a benefit cap. This cap will come into effect from autumn this year. It will affect residents who live in our communities in Cornwall.

As part of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, the current benefit cap levels are being reduced nationally in autumn 2016.  An exact date is still to be confirmed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), although it is expected to be implemented nationally from November this year.

The new benefit cap levels will be:

  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for a family or couple
  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for a single person with children living with them
  • £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) for a single person

The Benefits included in the new cap limits are:

  • Housing Benefit (HB)
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Incapacity Benefit, severe disability allowance, maternity allowance, bereavement benefit and widows benefit
  • Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support and Employment Support Allowance (assessment phase and work related activity   group)

Anyone in receipt of the following benefits and allowances will be exempt from the cap:

  • Working tax credit (receipt of or meeting the qualifying conditions for)
  • Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments, Attendance Allowance, Industrial Injuries Benefit
  • Employment Support Allowance Support Component
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • War Pension Scheme
  • Carers Allowance*
  • Guardian’s Allowance*

*Carers Allowance and Guardians Allowance are currently counted as part of the benefit cap, however the DWP has stated there will be a change of legislation to make both of these benefits exempt.

The DWP has written to all customers nationally who are likely to be affected by the new benefit cap levels.  In Cornwall, based on current data, 625 customers are likely to be impacted, with 84 of those affect reside in Cornwall Housing properties. This figure includes those customers whose Housing Benefit is currently capped.

A leaflet has been made available: leaflet/bite size guide.  Information is available on Cornwall Council’s website: www.cornwall.gov.uk/benefitcap, and will also be available in libraries, one stop shops, and GP surgeries in the form of a leaflet with key information and contact details.

If you feel you be affected by these chances, Cornwall Council has advisors ready to discuss options with residents on 0300 1234 121 option 5.

How should Cornwall Council be governed – Mayor, Leader or do you care?

Cornwall Council is undertaking two reviews on how it is governed. The first is working with the Boundary Commission to look at the numbers of Councillors, which will need to be in place for the 2021 Council election. The other review is how the Council is structured, ie with the strong leader model, Mayor, hybrid system or committee. The reason for both reviews is because we said we would undertake them as part of our devolution deal.

A series of public meeting has been taking place around Cornwall to gather those views. There is also a series of ‘evidence gathering sessions’ who are asking different agencies, partners and members for their views. The questions asked are:

  • Is the current Cabinet and Leader system the best way for Cornwall to be governed;
  • What should Cornwall Council responsibilities be and what should the Towns and Parish Councils responsibilities be;
  • How should decisions about public services in Cornwall be made in the future.

The events outlined the options open to Cornwall and were an opportunity for people to discuss how they think decisions about public services in Cornwall should be made in the future. That feedback and suggestions will be used to help inform the full Governance Review.

The Council has also set-up an online poll. This can be accessed HERE. Please take the time to see the short films and other related information. But importantly, take the survey.

One of the questions is should Cornwall have a directly elected Mayor? much like you see in London and other metropolitan areas. Why is the review asking the question about having a Mayor? The Government has said, powers can be transferred to areas that have a directly elected Mayor. For instance, a Council can lower business rates, but cannot raise them about 2% unless you have a Mayor.

I am not sold on, in fact, I do not believe Cornwall should have a Mayor. Yes, the Mayor is democratically elected by residents one of the true if only plus point on why you should have a Mayor. Whereas A Leader is elected by the members of the Council – the same as town and parish Mayors and Chairpersons. At Cornwall Council the Leader is voted into position every 12 months. This gives the safeguards to make sure the wider membership are engaged and the Leader is not off on his own agenda.  Mayors are for a set election period and unless no-confidence motions are tabled, and other legal reasons, you cannot remove a Mayor. I also believe too much power is in the hands of one person, and lacks accountability.

The Leader and Cabinet system works. I say this as both a former back-bencher, and in the Cabinet now. The biggest challenge is how those not in the Cabinet are engaged. This comes down to culture from both the Cabinet and back-benchers. It is also understanding what you can and cannot do.

I look forward to the outcome of people’s views, and how we can make a governance system that delivers good services in Cornwall.

Congestion on the Harbour Head Road.

Over the last few weeks, the Harbour Head Road – an adopted highway – has been getting congested. The most congested day seems to be Thursday when Shearings Coaches park in areas they should not. This brings chaos to the area. I have contacted enforcement to deal with this, and will be writing to the management of the company to highlight the congestion being caused by their coaches.

Another issue has arisen is those with and without Blue Badge permits have started park all along this road. Holders of Blue Badges are allowed to park on double yellow up to three hours as long as they do not cause obstructions. But now other cars are now parking along this stretch of road which adds to the congestions and as a consequences of this people cannot pass those parked cars, this in turn backs-up to Fore Street causing even more congestion -much to the annoyance and anger of those trying to navigate this street.

From this I have been speaking to highways and enforcement to address those issues. Firstly, I have requested more enforcement. Secondly I have been given permission by highways to place the ‘no-waiting’ cones along this stretch of the highway on both sides of the road, apart from the bus stop to see if this limits the parking along this stretch of road over the August period. I plan to place these cones this week.

We have two large car parks in Porthleven. Sadly though, people seem to think they can park anywhere they like no matter the problems it causes.

Cones now in place

Cones now in place

Cornwall’s HeadStart Kernow programme is set to receive £8.9 million to help with mental health and wellbeing for 10-16 year olds

Following on from the huge success of a Good Ofsted judgement, today, I can officially announce further fantastic news for Cornwall’s young people. This news is Cornwall has been awarded nearly £9 million (£8.9m) to continue its work in supporting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people over the next five years.thROYPQJ23

Cornwall is one of just six areas across the country to receive a Big Lottery Fund grant this year which will be used to support the delivery of the HeadStart Kernow Strategy from 2016 to 2021.

The aim of the national HeadStart programme is to equip young people to be able to cope better with difficult circumstances in their lives so as to prevent them experiencing common mental health problems before they become serious issues. Previous to today’s announcement, Cornwall Council was awarded £500k which was used to set-up the programme which importantly, have been developed in partnership with young people.

HeadStart Kernow is not just the Council, as this is a partnership which includes Devon and Cornwall Police, NHS Kernow, Cornwall Foundation Trust, Cornwall Association of Secondary Head Teachers CASH), Cornwall Association of Primary Head Teachers (CAPH) and the voluntary and community sector.

HeadStart Kernow focuses on four key areas:

  • A child’s time and experiences at school
  • Their ability to access the services they need
  • Their home life and relationships with family members
  • their interaction with family members

Over the past two years the programme has worked with 61 primary schools, 10 secondary schools and one special school across Cornwall, helping to support around 10,00 young people aged between 10 and 16 years.

20 July 2016, roll out beginning in September 2016. Activity will be phased, based upon need, assets and capacity and will be iterative in its nature – we will learn and adapt.

HeadStart Kernow young people's board and those involved with the programme

HeadStart Kernow young people’s board and those involved with the programme

With the £8.9m pot of funding, HeadStart will engage All Primary (235) and Secondary Schools (32), seven Alternative Provision Academies in Cornwall, and all of the five Special Schools by working in partnership to maximise the impact of the HeadStart funding along with voluntary sector providers and the wider community.

This is a fantastic achievement which will help us to continue to deliver pro-active and preventive emotional health support for young people across Cornwall.

This funding will be used to support a range of activities in schools and in local communities, help develop the workforce and improve support systems to ensure that all children and young people in Cornwall can access the right support when they need it.

I would like to thank the HeadStart team, let by Richard Head, and all those involved for their hard-work over the last two years and for convincing The Big Lottery HeadStart programme our project here in Cornwall will help young people deal with emotional and mental health issues. As the portfolio holder, I am very proud of all their work. This money will make a difference.

 

Cornwall Council supports The Royal British Legion’s campaign ‘Count them in’

At today’s full council, I submitted a motion that would lend Cornwall Council support to The Royal British Legion ‘Count them in’ campaign which calls the Government to include a new topic in the 2021 census. The motion is as:

This Council notes

  1. The obligations it owes to the Armed Forces community within Cornwall as enshrined in the Armed Forces Covenant; that the Armed Forces community should not face disadvantage in the provision of services and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most;
  2. The absence of the definitive and comprehensive statistics on the size or demographics of the Armed Forces community within Cornwall Council. This includes serving Regular and Reserve personnel, veterans and their families;
  3. That the availability of such data would greatly assist the Council, local partner agencies, the voluntary sector and national Government in the planning a provision of services to address the unique needs of the Armed Forces community within Cornwall Council.

In light of the above, this Council moves to support and promote The Royal British Legion’s call to include a new topic in the 2021 census that concerns military service and membership of the Armed Forces community. The motion further calls on the Government to approve the final census questionnaire through legislation in 2019.

Why is there need to have a question on the census? It is quite simple, the lack of clear data about the size and location of the Armed Forces community , including regular and reserve personnel, veterans and their families, makes it difficult for service providers to fully meet their needs.

The British Legion estimates that the Armed Forces community makes up around one in ten of the general population, with around 2.8m veterans living in the UK, along with 2.1m dependent adults, 1m dependent children and up to 290,000 “hidden” members of the ex serving community who are living in care homes etc.

Despite this large population however, the 2011 UK census only contained two questions related to the Armed Forces – one asking whether a member of the armed Forces usually lived at that address and the second whether the respondent usually lived at an Armed Forces base for over 30 days a year. This failed to collect detailed information on veterans or their dependents, and only provided limited information about reservists and dependents of those serving.

The Armed Forces Covenant, introduced by the Government, sets out how members of the Armed Forces and their families should be treated and yet we do not have the information to help achieve this. At Cornwall Council, we have updated our own version to reflect we need to do more.

I am pleased to say the vote was unanimous with no Councillor voting against this motion.

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