Porthleven’s Pram and Raft Race makes a big splash

Porthleven’s now combined Pram and Raft Race (now called the Ram Race) took place on Sunday in rather pleasant October weather conditions. This year’s theme was Port-Heaven.

The route for this race is from Out of the Blue, and a dash to the harbour and down the slipway into the water. A mad paddle – some more successful than others – out past the gap. Then returning up the slipway and a last dash to the Ship Inn. It is purely coincidental that this race starts and finishes at licensed premises….

Whilst this event is a lot of fun, it is also used to raise a little bit of money for local organisations. This year over £230 was raised. Thanks must go to Suzie Williams of Four Crows who organises this event, all the race marshals (Karen Richards, Sibby Barnes, Julia Scofield and Abbey Hines) and Jeremy Richards who used his fishing boat as water safety. And of course all those who took part in the event.

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Porthleven delivers a fantastic benefit concert in aid of Syrian refugees

In a short space of time, a benefit concert in aid of the Syrian crisis was thought of, organised and delivered. Residents of both Porthleven and Cornwall, businesses and organisations, including the town council, rallied to make this event happen.

However, two people should be singled out for the most credit in getting this from an idea to reality. The two are, Alec Short and Kelvin Batt. For those who do not know, they are also the people behind the Masked Ball events. These two individuals were the driving force behind the event, and without them, this event really would not have happened.

The refugee benefit concert was held on Saturday on the Moors, Porthleven It all kicked off at midday and finished promptly at 11pm. The event was a sell-out and was very much family event. For £10, you got to see and listen to 14 bands, with entertainment provided by Swamp Circus for the younger audience.

The entrance to the event

The entrance to the event

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The feedback from the event was all positive, and there are even calls for more events like this in Porthleven. Even the weather Gods delivered too, with an almost clear and sunny day and warm evening.

This event was not about having a good time, as the event was about raising money for those in need in Syria. Porthleven has a good record for helping those in need. Not only on its own doorstep, like in the case of the storms of two years ago, but for other causes too.

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So it was again to see Porthleven rise to the challenge and raise nearly £7000 (final total not confirmed) in 11 hours. A truly staggering achievement and amount in anyones book. This money will be donated to Save the Children Syrian appeal. A very worthy cause.

As I said in the opening paragraph, on thanking both Al and Kelvin, a huge thank you should go to all who helped by giving up their time to help during the event, those who donated equipment and services, the bands and entertainers, and lastly, everyone who turned up to make this a day to remember.

Porthleven can be proud it has done its bit in helping those caught-up with the crisis in Syria.

Porthleven doing its bit to help with the Refugee Crisis in Syria

Porthleven has a great community and is a great place to live and visit. Porthleven has many community led events and includes the Porthleven Food and Music Festival – which attracted 20,000 visitors to the event this year. Torchlight Procession, that had over a 1000 people taking part this year, and then there is the old favourite of Porthleven RNLI Day. I should also mention events like the pram and raft races.

In times of need, Porthleven rallies. As was shown when Porthleven was battered by at least 13 storms back in 2013. The storms breached the inner harbour, boats were sunk and damaged. From this devastation various events fund raising event were held resulting in a short space of time the community raised over £10,000 for the fishing community.

With the media coverage it would be hard not to be aware of the current Refugee Crisis that is engulfing so much of Europe. However, the real crisis is not those who have made the difficult journey to Europe, but those millions still stuck on the borders of Syria in make-shift camps and others trapped with little chance of escape from worn-torn Syria.

Porthleven with its great community spirit is the ideal place to hold a fundraiser for those affected. From this, the organisers behind the Masked Ball are putting on a Refugee Benefit Concert this Saturday on 26th September from 12-noon on the Moors playing field (bottom park).

The events official website say:

The Long Road benefit concert is to raise funds for the refugee crisis stemming from Syria. The money raised will go to Save the Children to help the crisis at source.

The idea was brought to life by a local concert promoter after witnessing the harrowing images spread across the global media these last few weeks. We decided to pool our own resources and contacts with the best event contractors in the South West to stage this fantastic concert at very short notice. Tickets are limited and expect to sell out very quick…

Many organisation have rallied to give support, including the town council who gave permission for the Moors to be used. Nearly all the ticket have been sold. However, there are still  a few tickets available and can be accessed HERE on the Longroad website. The cost is £10 with a £1.25 handling/payment fee.

As you can see from the official poster below, the line-up for the day is impressive, and I am told all the bands and Cornish comedian Kernow King are giving their time for free.

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I would urge people to come along, listen to some great bands and do their bit for a great cause all for £11.25.

The Chairman of Cornwall Council helps raise money for Young Carers in Cornwall.

The first fundraiser took place in Tuesday 28th October for the Chairman of Cornwall Council’s chosen charity, Young Carers. This fundraiser was by means of a car wash at County Hall, Truro.

The car-washers included volunteers from
Children’s Services, Action for Children – who are commissioned to run Kernow Young Carers – Young Carers themselves, staff from a Daycare Centre in Liskeard, firemen from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and of course the Chairman of Cornwall Council, Councillor John Wood.

During the event, the eager car-washers washed 58 cars and raised £657.84 (£526.27 cash and £131.57 gift aid). This is a fantastic amount raised for the first fundraising event.

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Well done to all who gave up their time and to those who gave money to have their car washed to raise money for this very worthwhile cause.

Porthleven Charity Fun Day in aid of Cornwall Air Ambulance

This Saturday why not come and visit Porthleven? Coming to Porthleven is always a good idea, but this Saturday, Porthleven will be holding a charity fund day in aid of Cornwall Air Ambulance.  So you have two good reasons to come and visit Porthleven.

Cornwall Air Ambulance was the first service of its kind in the UK.  Since 1987 we have flown more than 24,000 missions, saving countless lives. Year year the Trust needs to raise £2.5m per year to keep the service running. This is why events like the one of Saturday are important; as it helps keeps this essential services in the air.

You can find out more about the Air Ambulance HERE

The Chairman of Cornwall Council’s Councillors versus Officers Cricket Match 2014

On Friday, the annual Chairman of Cornwall Council’s councillors versus officers cricket match took place. This game was kindly hosted by Truro Cricket Club who bravely let a bunch of rank-amateurs loose on their hallowed wicket. Unlike last year, when the councillors were soundly beaten, this year the councillor’s team lost by two wickets in a 25 overs match. Considering only two of the councillor’s team actually play the game – unlike most of the officers team – I am going to take this as a good result!

There are actually two parts to this event. The first is a bake and sale event in which homemade cakes are brought in, judged and sold. The other is the cricket match. As with all events, there is also a raffle. For this charity event, the Chairman wanted to support the Invictus Trust; a charity supporting teenagers with mental health issues. The event raised a whopping £714.95. This is a staggering amount raised in one day.

The event would not be the success it is without the support of those members of staff who baked cakes, sold raffle tickets and generally helped out. So huge thanks should go to: Jacquie, Sarah, Vicky, Nicky, Wendy, Mandy, Jane, Helen and Elaine (no doubt I will leave a name or two out and get in trouble!) who helped make this event a success.

Cornwall Council Charity Quiz 2014

Last night 37 teams drawn from different departments within the Council took part in the annual council charity quiz. This is a hotly contested event, with department battling it out for departmental honour and of course the all important bragging rights.

For near four hours – with a pasty break at the halfway point – teams battled it out answer a series of questions which were drawn from the very dark corners of the library of useless information, to the most cunning and ridiculous question only a lawyer could know. We had to  listen (I would say endure) to a series of music questions which left you very worried on the musical taste of the quiz master!  And if you hadn’t already guessed it, the quiz master was in fact the chief lawyer at the Council, who also goes by the name of the Monitoring Officer.

Of course the aim of the event was not only to have fun, but to raise money for charity. A whopping £1500 was raised during the event. This is a fantastic achievement.

The winning team came from transportation department; so congratulations to them. I was part of the Leaders Team, and we came – a surprise to us – 7th. Another Member team came two points behind the winners in 2nd. Again well done. The Council’s very own Corporate Leadership Team made up of the CEO and Corporate Directors were mid-field. Which I am sure they would say it was sportsmanship like to come there… (I did say honour and bragging rights were at stake).

Special mention to those who organised the event and those students from the C4L programme who helped during the event. Without those organisers, this even would not be the success it is. Thank you for the hard work.

Citizenship for Life and Habitat for Humanity

The visit after Emmaus, the Citizenship for Life group visited a run down complex of flats in Southwark, London. They were in a very poor state of repair, even though they were owned by the local authority. Habitat for Humanitydecided to act (with the consent of the LA) and do something about this. After all cheap local needs housing is in dire need in London, just as it is in Cornwall.

Chris, the Foreman

The cost of renovating and putting a building back into use is expensive. Sometimes too expensive for a local authority to do single-handedly: My view is there is no excuse for a local authority to allow a building to fall into this state. The way Habitat for Humanity works is using volunteers from CEO’s of international banks, to a person with a little time on their hands carrying out jobs to help bring a building into use by doing a lot of the work, but also using qualified tradesmen for those jobs that cannot be undertaken by volunteers.

This is a great concept, as it keeps the cost of renovating down, and therefore the cost of selling down, or keeping the rent low via a registered social landlord. No one is forced to work, so the organisation has no problem with motivating someone who might have been sent there as some sort of community payback.

Like the previous visit to Emmaus the students got a lot out of the visit, and saw when people are willing to give a few hours of their time, something great can be accomplished. With so many empty and derelict houses in Cornwall, maybe something like the program Habitat for Humanity would bring a few more houses back into use?

The Citizenship for Life Students and mentors having the project explained

Citizenship for Life Students visit Emmaus

The Helston based Citizenship for Life program is now in its second year. Building on the success of last years program, 12 more young people are taking part. This year it includes schools from the Lizard and Falmouth/Penryn area. Like last year the aim of the program is to inspire, motivate and allow the participants to experience different aspects of life and work in and outside of Cornwall. Each participant has a one-to-one mentor drawn from business, local government, military, public sector and volunteers.

During the twelve month period the program runs, the participants in the program visit various places. The recent visit was to the homeless charity, Emmaus.  The motto of Emmaus is certainly thought-provoking, and makes it clear the charity is not about handouts. The often easily solution, but does not really solve the issues of homelessness. That motto is proudly displayed on the wall in the centre:

The UK patron of this charity is Terry Waite. Terry made himself available throughout the visit and was on hand to answer any question the young people (and adults) asked. The informal, but very powerful way he spoke of Emmaus and his past experiences certainly made a huge impact on everyone due to the responses everyone gave post the visit. It really made them think about homeless, and how they could easily find themselves in the same situation during their lifetime.

We were shown around the centre, by a few of the Companions, who had come to the centre when life was at rock bottom. They all said how much it had changed their lives, and how now they are standing on their own, in their own place and feeling part of society again. This was a very important message, as if you want someone to be part of society, they have to feel they are.

Emmaus is not about handouts, as when you become a Companion you have to stop claiming the dole. You also have to work, in either the shop which sells new and second-hand items; or doing something in the community. The work you do is also paid; with some of this pay put aside for you for when you have got your life heading in the right direction and helping to you get started again.

The young people when asked about the visit gave some truly remarkable answers from what they had learnt at Emmaus. Here are some of their responses:

Jennie – “I know of a homeless man in Helston and I used to think it was his own fault that he was in that situation, like a drug or drink problem, but I now actually wonder why he is homeless and if he is okay. I have learned not to stereotype anymore.

Hayd’n – “In the media and on the streets you only hear or see the bad things about homelessness. Homeless people have a hard time and its easy to see why they would choose a life of crime, it’s easier! Emmaus made me see the good things and how they can help homeless people change and do some good with their lives.”

Rhys – “Before this trip I knew that making fun of homeless people was wrong but before today I did not know how much homeless people do within Emmaus and how much they want to get back into ‘normal’ life.”

I have to say, the visit to Emmaus is one of the most thought-provoking I have ever done. The visit and listening to Terry Waite and the Companion’s made you sit up and take notice of just some of the problems in our society.  The model of the organisation is different, but from what I saw it really works. I summed it up when asked about the visit:

“Emmaus gives self-esteem and respectability back to homeless people; soup and a roll are great, but you need more than that to integrate people back into society”

If you can take a little time to have a look at the Emmaus website, and see if you can help in anyway

Terry Waite, Companions, Staff, and the Citizen for Life young people and mentors

 

Cornwall Council Has Talent (or not) Competition 2011

For the last three years Cornwall Council has been running a talent competition along the lines of X-factor. This take place during the lunch period, so no one takes any official time off. This fun and games is to raise a little money for Children in Need.

This year there were seven acts ranging from singers, musicians, duets, comedians and performers. I again was part of the Democratic Services team along with my fellow Councillor Andrew Long. Previously other Councillors had been part of the team, but this year they wimped out.

Our title for this year was Democratic Divas vs Men in Black. Our performance was truly remarkable, but we faced strong competition from others. Considering we felt we had been robed of the winning title on previous years by those who could actually sing, play instruments, or dance; our chances were going to be slim.

However, through an act of God, or some other non-religious type event we actually won! Yes, we really did win (of course we knew we would be winners in our own deluded minds). Well done to everyone taking part, judging (yes we got you again this year!!), watching and donating to this great cause.

For those not of the faint disposition below are two pictures of the winning (and rightly so) act!

Democratic Divas and The Men in Black

The Men in Black