Archive for December, 2011


THE STRANGE NEWS OF 2011 QUIZ

Never mind the Arab Spring, the economic crisis, the Eurozone meltdown or the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking. This column has brought you the stories that really mattered in 2011. It’s time to test your knowledge in our special Makes you Proud to be British Quiz 2011.

1. Armed police in West Yorkshire raided a residential garage in Bradford on the basis of evidence from a helicopter-mounted heat-seeking camera. They discovered:
a) A cannabis factory.
b) A dozen illegal immigrants.
c) Two guinea pigs, called Simon and Kenny.

2. Labour MPs called for the resignation of Tory MP Sir George Young after he joked that the most popular girl’s name of 2011 was:
a) Salmonella.
b) Chlamydia.
c) Austerity.

3. The NHS invested millions of pounds of ring-fenced taxpayers’ money in:
a) State-of-the-art MRI scanners.
b) The latest cancer drugs from America.
c) Super-strength hoists, heavy duty toilets and reinforced ambulances and hospital beds to handle the increasing number of patients weighing up to 40st.

Supersize me: A new ambulance designed to carry severely overweight patients. Is this what the NHS spent millions on? Supersize me: A new ambulance designed to carry severely overweight patients. Is this what the NHS spent millions on?

4. Publican Mike Sacqui, landlord of the Penny Farthing, in Lyndhurst, Hants, received a visit from the police after he put up a sign reading:
a) No coach parties.
b) No dogs, No blacks, No Irish.
c) Poofters welcome here!

5. Diversity officials spent £5,000 during Romany and Traveller History Month on:
a) Advising travellers on how to obey the planning laws.
b) Explaining that using red diesel in non-agricultural vehicles is illegal.
c) Hip-hop dancing lessons.

6. The former Mayor of Dudley was accused of ‘homophobia’ because he used the word ‘faggots’ in an email. He was referring to:
a) Stonewall.
b) The Terrence Higgins Trust.
c) Meatballs in gravy.

7. As part of the new curriculum introduced under Labour’s ‘education, education, education’ policy, it was revealed that thousands of pupils have been given lessons in:
a) Reading and writing.
b) Arithmetic.
c) How to claim unemployment benefit.

8. In Wisbech, Cambs, police refused to patrol a local park after 8pm because they were afraid of:
a) Drive-by shootings.
b) The Werewolves Of Wisbech.
c) The dark.

9. The Rev Martin Wray, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, surprised his parishioners when he:
a) Said he believed in God.
b) Said he believed marriage should be between a man and a woman.
c) Turned up at a Vicars And Tarts party dressed as a prostitute, in a little black dress, shiny gold tights, pink high heels, a pink necklace and long black wig.

10. New safety advice issued to police officers told them to wear:
a) Hi-viz jackets.
b) Stab-proof vests.
c) Body-hugging cycle underwear with a padded crotch.

11. Ex-Harrods boss and Fulham FC owner Mohamed Fayed erected a bronze statue outside Craven Cottage football ground, honouring:
a) Former Fulham and England captain Johnny Haynes.
b) Former Fulham and England captain Alan Mullery.
c) Former pop star and kiddie fiddler Wacko Jacko.

What was pupil's destructive behaviour blamed on? What was pupil’s destructive behaviour blamed on?

12. Teachers in Darwen, Lancashire, walked out on strike in protest at classroom violence. One school governor, a Lib Dem councillor, blamed pupils’ destructive behaviour on:
a) Broken homes, poverty and deprivation
b) Government spending cuts
c) The wet and windy weather in Lancashire, which puts children ‘on edge’

13. Suffolk Fire Brigade dispatched 22 firemen, including a ‘special heights team’ and back-up crew, in five vehicles — one from 60 miles away — to rescue:
a) A family from a burning tower block in Ipswich.
b) A critically-injured lorry driver trapped in his cab after a multiple pile-up on the A14.
c) A cat on a roof, which had already been brought down by a part-time fireman with a ladder by the time they got there.

14. The NHS in Bolton, Lancs, spent £75,000 on a substance-abuse scheme, which included:
a) A new drying-out clinic.
b) A team of trained early-intervention specialists.
c) Buying mobile phones for alcoholics.

15. A caretaker from Derby married a pre-op Malaysian transsexual and spent £1,200 obtaining a visa for his new bride to be allowed to stay in Britain. She/he repaid him by:
a) Promising to love, honour and obey until death doth them part.
b) Having a nice dinner ready for him every night when he got home from work.
c) Refusing to have the operation and running off to Blackpool to become a showgirl.

16. Beach bar singer Simon Ledger, from the Isle of Wight, was arrested and accused of racially aggravated harassment because he was:
a) Distributing BNP pamphlets.
b) Wearing Black And White Minstrels make-up.
c) Singing the 1974 Number One hit Kung Fu Fighting.

17. Serial burglar Nathan Cassidy was spared a jail sentence by a judge at Cambridge Crown Court, despite the fact that he had 14 previous convictions and was already serving a suspended sentence, because:
a) He was truly, deeply sorry.
b) He promised to make restitution and go straight in future.
c) He claims to be allergic to prison.

18. As part of its commitment to ‘safeguarding children’, Ash Manor Secondary School in Surrey:
a) Hired security guards to ward off drugs dealers and paedophiles hanging round the school gates.
b) Installed metal detectors to stop weapons being brought on school property.
c) Installed CCTV cameras to spy on children in the toilets.

19. Councillor Lance Kennedy was on the receiving end of hate mail and death threats after he was exposed as:
a) The Birdman of Barlinnie.
b) The Beast of Bodmin.
c) The Tortoise Tyrant of St Austell.

Dream Job: In the current dire state of the UK job market, what job would you queue round the corner for?Dream Job: In the current dire state of the UK job market, what job would you queue round the corner for?

20. A Brighton hairdresser who parked a 3ft-high toy bus outside his salon to drum up business was rewarded with:
a) A 50 per cent increase in customers.
b) An enterprise award from the Chamber of Commerce.
c) A £50 parking ticket.

21. A 51-year-old female police inspector from Manchester failed a fitness test which requires officers to be able to run 500 yards wearing full riot gear and carrying a shield, in less than two minutes 45 seconds. She was:
a) Put on administrative duties.
b) Told to work out in the gym and take the test again.
c) Awarded £30,000 for sex discrimination and the time limit was raised to three minutes.

22. At the height of summer, the Yorkshire seaside resort of Bridlington banned holidaymakers on the beach from:
a) Drinking alcopops.
b) Nude sunbathing.
c) Flying kites, punishable by a £500 fine.

23. With unemployment at its highest level for a quarter of a century, jobseekers in Blackpool queued around the block to apply for a job as a:
a) Tram driver.
b) Toffee apple salesman.
c) Knife-thrower’s assistant.

24. Under a schools exchange programme, Blackburn, Lancashire — constituency of former Home Secretary Jack Straw — has been twinned with:
a) Aberdeen.
b) Abu Dhabi.
c) Abbottabad, last hiding place of Osama Bin Laden.

Jack Straw's Home constituency has been twinned with a most peculiar choice... Jack Straw’s Home constituency has been twinned with a most peculiar choice…

25. National Vocational Qualifications for trainee hairdressers have been scrapped:
a) To save money.
b) There were not enough applicants.
c) Elf ’n’ safety banned them from using scissors, so the NVQ was worthless anyway.

26. A Ugandan woman has been granted indefinite leave to stay in Britain because:
a) She has married a Romanian citizen with an EU passport living in Birmingham.
b) She is working in the NHS as a neurosurgeon.
c) She might be ‘suspected’ of being a lesbian if she went home and could face persecution — even though she isn’t a lesbian.

27. Council officials in Redditch decided to tackle dog fouling by:
a) Sending in fast-response clean-up teams with high-pressure hoses.
b) Handing out free pooper scoopers.
c) Spray painting stray dog poo orange to shame owners into clearing it up.

28. A group of illegal immigrants from Vietnam has been prevented from entering Britain by:
a) New, tougher passport controls agreed with the Vietnamese government.
b) Multi-lateral asylum rules approved by the EU Commission.
c) A sniffer dog called Jake, who found them stowing away in a consignment of wheelie bins on the back of a Polish-registered lorry bound for Britain.

29. Two masked crime fighters called the Dark Spartan and the Black Void took to the streets of Torbay. But there were doubts about their effectiveness because:
a) They have no powers of arrest.
b) The police disapprove of people taking the law into their own hands.
c) The Black Void suffers from stress-related irritable bowel syndrome.

30. A family of asylum seekers from Somalia has been given a £2 million, six-bedroom home in Hampstead, at a cost to taxpayers of £8,000 a month in rent, because:
a) They are high-level defectors with valuable intelligence about al-Qaeda activities in London.
b) They are wealthy members of the Somali business community who will repay British taxpayers just as soon as their Swiss bank accounts have been unfrozen.
c) They didn’t fancy living in Coventry.

31. A man claiming to be a 17-year-old Albanian asylum seeker arrived in Britain without any papers. The authorities:
a) Sent him to a detention centre until he could prove his true age and identity.
b) Sent him back to Albania after he admitted on an internet dating site that he was 24.
c) Sent him for free hair-loss treatment on the NHS to ‘boost his self-esteem’.

What excuse can you give to Boarder Control in order to remain in the UK?What excuse can you give to Boarder Control in order to remain in the UK?

32. Electrician Gareth Durrant was admitted to hospital with life-threatening internal injuries sustained at the caravan factory where he works. He claimed:
a) He had fallen from an overhead gantry.
b) He suffered a severe 5,000-volt electric shock while working on a wiring loom.
c) A high-pressure air hose had detached itself from a ceiling mounting, snaked its way up the leg of his trousers and ‘accidentally lodged itself’ in his bottom, pumping a 300lb-per-square-foot blast up his back passage.

33. Despite imposing £3.1 million budget cuts, Bury Council in Greater Manchester managed to find some money to improve the efficiency of its refuse service by:
a) Re-introducing weekly bin collections.
b) Scrapping complicated recycling rules.
c) Buying iPads for dustmen at £500 a pop.

34. Britain gained a new world record holder in 2011. In August, Andrew Holmes knocked more than six seconds off the previous best time in his event, which was:
a) 1,500 metres freestyle swimming.
b) 56-mile cycling endurance.
c) Bog-snorkelling along a 180ft trench at the World Championships in Wales.

35. It was revealed that in Labour’s last year in power, the Foreign Office spent nearly £40,000 teaching mandarins:
a) Mandarin.
b) Arabic.
c) African bongo drumming.

36. Teacher Benedict Garrett, 31, from Ilford, Essex, was found guilty of unprofessional conduct, but given the go-ahead to carry on teaching. He admitted:
a) Fiddling examination marks to inflate grades.
b) Giving unauthorised private tuition contrary to education department policy.
c) Working as a male stripper and pornographic film star, under the stage name Johnny Anglais, specialising in firemen, policemen and offering a range of personal services, including lap dancing and serving food in the nude at dinner parties.

Poor dear: why was the police woman signed off work with full pay?Poor dear: why was the police woman signed off work with full pay?

37. In October, it was reported that a woman police officer had been off work on full pay for four months. Scotland Yard said she was ‘ suffering from stress related matters’ because:
a) She had confronted a robber wielding a sawn-off Purdey and wrestled him to the ground
b) She had risked life and limb tackling violent looters during the riots
c) She had a broken heart after her married lover went back to his wife

38. Lisa Taplin and her two young sons, aged four and two, were approached by a hi-viz council warden in a park near her home in Hailsham, East Sussex, and warned about their behaviour. Lisa was:
a) Drinking Special Brew from the can while sitting on a swing.
b) Letting her sons smash up the cricket pavilion.
c) Feeding ‘unhealthy’ white bread to ducks.

39. Paulo Franco, who is Portuguese, was forced out of his job as a supervisor at Britain’s biggest banana-packing factory, in Coventry, because:
a) He is allergic to bananas.
b) His work was unsatisfactory.
c) He can’t speak Polish.

40. And this is where we came in. Armed police in Hampshire scrambled a helicopter and sealed off a golf course after reports that a dangerous white tiger had been spotted in a field at Hedge End, near Southampton. They found:
a) A white tiger which had escaped from a nearby zoo.
b) A large, domesticated white cat, which could easily be confused from a distance for a white tiger.
c) A cuddly toy. CUDDLY TOY!

If you answered a) to all the questions: Keep Calm And Carry On.

If you answered b): Mind How You Go.
If you answered c): Well done. One hundred per cent correct. You couldn’t make it up!

I was sent this by Independent Councillor David Suiter who’s Conservative Controlled Council wants to save £14,000 by shutting the toilets.

But Bizarrely the Council admit it wont save anything on employment costs on What is a relatively new building.

 Public toilets, funded by local councils, were introduced principally in the 19th century for the convenience of the public.

There can be few towns of any note in the UK that do not provide these facilities somewhere near their centre.

I consider that the alternative of toilets at The Hub is not convenient. The Hub is not in the immediate town centre and, for visitors and tourists, it is easy to go astray from Southgate or Market Place.

In addition, the Southgate route involves a path over private land (albeit with a permissive access) next to the Barge and Bottle.

The present toilets are in an ideal position, in a car park just off the town’s main street, with easy pedestrian access.

Elderly people and those with children particularly appreciate this situation.

If the toilets were to be closed, there would be capital loss for North Kesteven District Council on what is a relatively new building.

It is also quite possible that they would need to replaced in the future, as The Hub is not well placed or toilets large enough for the developing town envisaged in the Sleaford Masterplan.

I also note, somewhat surprisingly, that there would not be any saving in employee costs.

Surely a town that is proposing redevelopments of millions of pounds along with hundreds of thousands to be spent on its leisure centre (does the council need to be the provider of saunas and steam rooms?) can afford suitable public conveniences – previous generations not as rich as ours thought so!

If others agree that demolishing the toilets is a misguided policy, please write to or email the case officer in the planning department of North Kesteven District Council so that the planning committee might be aware of the strength of feeling in the ton on the issue.

A Petition has been set up on the Downing Street website.

MONEY’S YARD PUBLIC TOILETS SLEAFORD LINCS

Stop the closure of Money,s Yard public toilets in Sleaford Lincolnshire.

Many people lead restricted lives because they cannot rely on access to a public toilet in the places and at the times required.There are rarely sufficent toilets in our towns anyway. Please dont let the council close these public toilets Thank you

 

They’re flushing ‘Big Society’ down the toilet

(WCVYS) have been given a Grant by the Big Lottery Fund to provide training but are charging £101.00 for (WCVYS) members and non- members will pay £250.00 for it. So why have they been given a grant in the first place. I think it’s wrong that they can be given a grant for a training course and then charge people and other charities £250.00

IF (WCVYS)  ARE GETTING LOTTERY FUNDING WHY ARE THEY CHARGING £250.00  FOR THE TRAINING COURSE ?

Press release from WCVYS

WORCESTERSHIRE Council for Voluntary Youth Services (WCVYS) has secured Big Lottery funding to deliver a new training course to help support young people.

Those completing the course will receive a nationally recognised qualification that will be of relevance to anyone working or aspiring to work in a situation where they will be dealing with young people.

The qualification will build knowledge and understanding as well as focusing on specific issues such as safeguarding and health and safety.

Phil Street, manager of WCVYS, which is based in Ledwych Road, Droitwich, said: “This course is an ideal opportunity for anyone working with young people to gain a qualification and develop a whole range of transferable skills. The course is vital in making sure those working with young people have the appropriate skills, knowledge and understanding of youth development.”

The new course, entitled a Certificate in Youth Work Practice, begins in January and runs until July. Successful applicants will have to be working or volunteering with young people in some capacity at the time of beginning the course.

The fee is £101 for WCVYS members and £250 for non-members and WCVYS is also seeking support from employers who would be willing to sponsor people by contributing to a bursary fund.

For more details contact WCVYS on 07540 031 953.

The Big Lottery fund Said on it’s website

“This is a project by a charity in Droitwich serving beneficiaries across Worcestershire. The group will use the funding to provide training and accredited youth work courses to volunteer youth leaders. This will increase the volunteers’ confidence and knowledge of their work, which will help with their future career development.”

I found this on the Big Lottery Fund website

Distributing Body Big Lottery Fund
Good Cause Health, Education, Environment and Charitable Expenditure
Recipient Name Worcestershire Council for Voluntary Youth Services Limited
Project Name This is a project by a charity in Droitwich serving beneficiaries across Worcestershire. The group will use the funding to provide training and accredited youth work courses to volunteer youth leaders. This will increase the volunteers’ confidence and knowledge of their work, which will help with their future career development.
Grant Date 19/12/2011
Grant Amount £7,689
Local Authority Wychavon
Region West Midlands
UK Constituency Mid Worcestershire The course details

From WCVYS website

Level 2 Award in Youth Work Practice

5 January 2012, 19:30PM – 31 March 2012, 21:00PM

DATES AND UNITS
Details of dates of taught element of the qualification, titles of units, their credit values and outline unit content is attached.

Mandatory Units are:
• Understanding Youth Work – Principles and Practice
• Youth Work – Principles, Knowledge and Skills in work based practice

However, all applicants will be required complete all the units and to attend ALL the taught elements.

APPLICATION PROCESS
Applicants should complete an application form. This can be posted to WCVYS, 39D Ledwych Road, Droitwich, Worcestershire WR9 9LA or completed online and sent tooffice@wcvys.co.uk

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IS – Monday 19th December 2011
• A basic requirement for applicants is that they have at least attained Level 1 Literacy.
• There is a requirement that applicants are currently involved in work with young people on a regular basis (this means working directly with young people on average at least once a week) and that applicants will be working with young people in a paid or voluntary capacity until at least 30th June 2012.
• There is no requirement to possess any youth work related qualifications.
• There is no requirement for this to be paid work. WCVYS especially welcomes applications from volunteers.

The qualification is offering 24 places on the programme commencing 14th January 2012.

DESCRIPTION OF THE QUALIFICATION
• The qualification consists of a taught element and work based learning.
• Participants will be required to attend ALL the taught elements.
• The taught elements will take place at Droitwich Youth House.
• Most taught sessions take place on Saturday’s and Sunday’s as non-residential.
• Most taught sessions will commence at 9.30 a.m. and end at 3.30 p.m.
• There are some variations from this and applicants should look at the attached taught programme.

WORK BASED LEARNING
• Work based learning will take place where the applicant is working with young people.
• Applicants will be required to produce a portfolio of evidence to meet the qualifications requirements.
• All applicants will be allotted an assessor / supervisor to support, guide and assess the portfolio work.
• All applicants will need to receive permission from their line managers or management committee to pursue the qualification.
• All applicants will need a work based supervisor who will ensure time and space is permitted for participants to undertake the work necessary to achieve then qualification and to sign off the work as evidence that it has been completed.
• Participants will need to dedicate time to collect information for their portfolio.
• All portfolios need to be submitted by the end of May 2012.

OTHER INFORMATION
• There will be an introductory session for participants at Droitwich Youth House on Thursday 5th January at 7.30 p.m.
• Successful participants will need to obtain 23 credits for the Certificate in Youth Work Practice.

COST OF THE QUALIFICATION
The fee inclusive of registration and credits are:
• £101 for members of WCVYS
• £250 for non-members.

Fees to be paid by 13th January 2012. Arrangements can be made for payments to be spread over four separate amounts from 1st January to 1st July 2012, but this must be agreed with WCVYS before the qualification commences.

About Us

Worcestershire Council for Voluntary Youth Services (WCVYS) is a charity which supports and represents voluntary organisations and community groups working with children and young people. We have over 90 members including:

  • Uniformed organisations (e.g. Scouts, Girlguiding)
  • Independent youth groups
  • Voluntary youth groups
  • Faith youth groups

We work towards meeting the needs and aspirations of young people by strengthening and supporting the work of our member organisations. This includes support with fundraising, practical help and advice, training and organisation development.

We are committed to enabling young people to have fun, to feel secure and valued, and to learn to take greater control of their lives. Informal education programmes and activities are key to our work and provide a wide range of new experiences for children and young people. These can include:

  • Creative arts
  • Play
  • Sports
  • Health education
  • International opportunities
  • Outdoor activities
  • Residential breaks
  • Involvement in decision making
  • Environmental activities

WCVYS was established in 1998 and draws on the expertise of a range of specialists on a regular basis. We are managed by an Executive Committee which meets on a regular basis to oversee our governance and finance.

Limited Company Details

Executive Committee Members

Funding Opportunities

We provide advice to organisations on accessing grants and funding to support their work with children and young people. This includes:

• signposting to potential sources of funding
• support in writing funding applications and bids
• acting as a reference for funding applications

Please see the highlighted section on the left hand side of your screen for the latest Funding Opportunities.  Also check the News section of this website, as it is regularly updated.

The accounts for year ending 201o http://www.wcvys.co.uk/files/wcvys_report_and_accounts_2009-2010.pdf

WORCESTERSHIRE Council for Voluntary Youth Services (WCVYS) has secured Big Lottery funding to deliver a new training course to help support young people.

Those completing the course will receive a nationally recognised qualification that will be of relevance to anyone working or aspiring to work in a situation where they will be dealing with young people.

The qualification will build knowledge and understanding as well as focusing on specific issues such as safeguarding and health and safety.

Phil Street, manager of WCVYS, which is based in Ledwych Road, Droitwich, said: “This course is an ideal opportunity for anyone working with young people to gain a qualification and develop a whole range of transferable skills. The course is vital in making sure those working with young people have the appropriate skills, knowledge and understanding of youth development.”

The new course, entitled a Certificate in Youth Work Practice, begins in January and runs until July. Successful applicants will have to be working or volunteering with young people in some capacity at the time of beginning the course.

The fee is £101 for WCVYS members and £250 for non-members and WCVYS is also seeking support from employers who would be willing to sponsor people by contributing to a bursary fund.

For more details contact WCVYS on 07540 031 953.

I shall contact the Big Lottery Fund in January for a statement as WCVYS has failed to respond to my questions. 

Cash Strapped Council closes Youth House, Redi Centre and cuts Youth budget  

” I’m Bored Guide ” will be published jointly by Redditch student Council and Worcestershire County Council after cutting youth funding by  £55,000

But wouldn’t it be far cheaper to put this info on the Councils website instead of publishing a booklet.

Worcestershire County Council’s Youth Service is continuing to fight boredom by helping produce the latest edition of the ‘I’m Bored’ guide.  The booklet is being reprinted in the new year and the County Council’s Youth Service together with the Redditch Student Council is calling on all local organisations to come forward and join the guide, which provides activities for 11-19 year olds in Redditch.

Following some very positive feedback about the first edition of the directory, the decision was taken to update the guide. The County Council’s youth service is now calling for any activity providers in the area who are not already in ‘I’m Bored’ to come forward and add their names to the directory.

The guide, which is funded by the Student Council, is also an opportunity for Redditch residents to find out what organisation and services are available for young people in the area.

Richard Lewis, Worcestershire County Council’s supporting youth worker said:  “This is a great opportunity for any organisation that has involvement with Young People to be included in a district wide resource. The original “I’m Bored” booklet reached many young people and their guardians from all over the Redditch district. We would love for as many different organisations to be involved in this project as possible.”

Anyone interested in being included in ‘I’m Bored’ should contact Richard Lewis, Worcestershire County Council Youth Support Worker, on 01527 63821 or email rlewis@worcestershire.gov

But wouldn’t it be cheaper to put this info on the Councils website instead

Below is a couple of local newspaper articles of closures recently announced by Redditch Borough Council and Worcestershire County Council.

COUNCIL CLOSURE OF REDDITCH YOUTH HOUSE 

From Redditch Standard

CLOSING Redditch Youth House and slashing funding for youth services could spark a rise in crime and anti-social behaviour it has been warned.

Councillors agreed at a cabinet meeting of Worcestershire County Council yesterday (Thursday) to sell off the Ipsley Street building, potentially raising up to £200,000, as part of efforts to cut £1.4million from the youth services budget.

Funding for youth services in Redditch will also be cut by almost £55,000 and responsibility for spending the money transferred to a new commissioning group made up of councillors and young people with the focus on the most disadvantaged children. Another £100,000 will also be available to support voluntary and community sector organisations working with young people. The changes will be imposed by 2014.

But Charlotte Toomer, chair of Redditch Student Council, said the decision was wrong and would force young people with nowhere else to go out onto the streets.
“We haven’t been listened to. They are forever moaning about young people on the streets but by doing this the situation is going to get worse. Taking the youth house away will lead to more kids on the streets and more crime,” she said.

In a statement read to councillors on his behalf, County Councillor Terry Spencer, who represents the ward the youth house is based in, said it was another blow to the area following the closure of the REDI Centre and he was concerned about its impact, particularly as there had been past difficulties in finding alternative accommodation for community groups which used the building.

“As seems to be usual these days it is those that are most vulnerable that will be affected,” he said.

But Coun Liz Eyre, responsible for children and young people’s social care, said she made no apologies for moving in a direction that would see the limited resources they had, spent on youth services rather than on buildings and overheads. Redditch Youth House costs more than £51,000 a year to run, without staff costs, and would cost £137,500 in maintenance over the next ten years.

Coun Jane Potter, who represents Arrow Valley West and is responsible for education on the county council, said there were other youth centres in the town which were better used and discussions were taking place with nearby Trinity High School about accommodating some of the activities and groups Redditch Youth House currently catered for.

“I welcome the fact we are planning to spend our limited resources more effectively by focusing on services for young people rather than buildings to achieve better outcomes.”

Youth centres based at Arrow Vale and Kingsley College will be handed over to the schools to run on the basis they are still available for use by the community.

REDI CENTRE CLOSURE

Article From Redditch Advertiser

THE final nail in the coffin of a Redditch training centre, which has supported thousands of people over almost quarter of a century, has been hammered home.

At a council meeting on Monday night, it was voted to move the Learndirect scheme from the Redi Centre and close the building in South Street, Smallwood.

The centre provides a whole range of services to anyone living in Redditch who is unemployed or low waged and includes a creche and a cafe.

Almost 75 per cent of the courses currently run, and not funded, will be scrapped, with more than 20 staff members’ jobs hanging in the balance.

Labour councillors tried to move an amendment which would see the extension of the Learndirect contract at the centre until 2011, after which time officers could look at its sustainability, but this was voted out by members of the ruling Conservative group.

Campaigner Justine Bailey read a statement from Redi Centre staff which said: “If you continue closing centres like the Redi, you are excluding parts of the community which will never return to education.

“You say we cannot afford to keep the Redi Centre open, but can we really afford not to?”

In a 1,250-strong signature petition, the Redi Centre Action Group asked the council to continue to fund the centre until further funding was found.

It also stated the council had a “duty of care” to the adult population of Redditch to provide opportunities to gain further skills and qualifications to give better employment prospects.

But council leader Carole Gandy said: “There has been no investment in the centre for years, even though there was an ideal opportunity to do so from 2003-07 when there was money around. This simply didn’t happen.

“We looked at all options for alternative funding, but there is simply no money.

“If we keep this open we will have to make more cuts elsewhere, and there is no guarantee that we will not find ourselves back in this exact same situation in the future. I don’t want to put everyone involved through this again.”

Labour councillor Greg Chance said: “What about the non-Learndirect students? How are they going to be provided for?

“The whole point of the Redi Centre is the unique service it provides – it has never turned people away. That will never be replaced.”

And fellow Labour councillor Bill Hartnett added: “In the 23 years it has been open, thousands upon thousands of people have passed through the Redi’s door, and it has changed their lives.

“We are here to serve the people when there is the need.”

Conservative councillors voted to move Learndirect, Labour voted for the amendment, as did Liberal Democrat councillor Diane Thomas, but the two remaining Lib Dem councillors, Nigel Hicks and Malcolm Hall, abstained from the vote, as they could not support the recommendation or the amendment.

Mr Hall said he did not agree with simply throwing money at the ailing centre and council officers should have looked at working with the third sector a long time ago to keep essential services going and the centre open.

The council currently has no timescale for the relocation of Learndirect.

Worcestershire County Council’s Youth Service is continuing to fight boredom by helping produce the latest edition of the ‘I’m Bored’ guide.  The booklet is being reprinted in the new year and the County Council’s Youth Service together with the Redditch Student Council is calling on all local organisations to come forward and join the guide, which provides activities for 11-19 year olds in Redditch.

Following some very positive feedback about the first edition of the directory, the decision was taken to update the guide. The County Council’s youth service is now calling for any activity providers in the area who are not already in ‘I’m Bored’ to come forward and add their names to the directory.

The guide, which is funded by the Student Council, is also an opportunity for Redditch residents to find out what organisation and services are available for young people in the area.

Richard Lewis, Worcestershire County Council’s supporting youth worker said:  “This is a great opportunity for any organisation that has involvement with Young People to be included in a district wide resource. The original “I’m Bored” booklet reached many young people and their guardians from all over the Redditch district. We would love for as many different organisations to be involved in this project as possible.”

Anyone interested in being included in ‘I’m Bored’ should contact Richard Lewis, Worcestershire County Council Youth Support Worker, on 01527 63821 or email rlewis@worcestershire.gov.uk.

Congratulations to Dennis and Val Carter, winners of The Health Lottery’s first ever double top prize draw. A whopping £200K! Dennis and Val were “blown away” when staff at their local Tesco (where the lucky couple bought the winning ticket)  

got in touch with the good news

The level headed winners are going to splash out on a lovely new car, but the rest will make a healthy nest egg for their retirement. Will you be as sensible if you’re this week’s £200K Christmas winner?

The winners show off the£200,000 ticket.

Companies will be banned from applying “hidden” credit and debit card surcharges to push up the price of flights, concert tickets and other goods.

The Government has signalled it will put a stop to the controversial practice by the end of 2012 following a call by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The OFT had said the fees, often added in the final stages of a transaction, should be blocked for debit cards – but the ban will also extend to credit cards.

Most retail sectors will be covered and businesses will still be able to add a small but not excessive charge to cover the cost of a payment method.

 

Credit cardsIt was estimated debit card surcharges were adding £265,000 a day to the cost of flights

Treasury minister Mark Hoban said consumers should be able to see “up front” how much they will have to pay.

“We want consumers to be able to shop around,” he said.

“They have a right to understand the charges they may incur up front and not be hit through a hidden last-minute payment surcharge.”

 

A European Union ban on businesses including airlines from imposing above-cost surcharges was due to come into force in mid-2014.

But Mr Hoban said the Government was keen to act sooner, saying it was “leading the way in Europe by stopping this practice”.

Consumer champion Which? submitted a ‘super-complaint’ backed by tens of thousands of supporters to the OFT earlier this year.

It claimed debit card surcharges were adding £265,000 a day to the cost of flights.

The OFT found considerable evidence of companies using “drip pricing” practices for surcharges online – adding payment charges to the total price only after consumers have filled in a number of web pages to make their purchase.

 

Debit Card Surcharges

:: EasyJet – £8 per person

:: Ryanair – £6 per person

:: DVLA – £2.50 per person

:: Actual cost to retailer – 20p

 

Source: Which?

eRetail Growth

Which? finance editor James Daley, who sits on the Sky News Money Panel and has repeatedly called for the changes, welcomed the news but added a note of caution.

“Given that the new regulations won’t come into force for a year, we’d like to see airlines doing the right thing and scrapping charges for paying by debit card immediately,” he told Sky News Online.

“Our fear, however, is that some airlines will wait until the very last minute to make these changes – and some may even increase their charges further in the meantime.

“Since we launched our super-complaint last year, a handful of airlines have already increased their fees for paying by card – or even introduced these charges for the first time.

“We hope that doesn’t happen again now. It’s time for airlines to realise that the game is up for these kind of charges, and they now need to be ready to move to a more transparent pricing system.”

HOST families are needed in Redditch, Bromsgrove and Droitwich by Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline (CCLL) to help children suffering as a result of the devastating Chernobyl disaster in April 1986.

The people of Belarus are suffering more than ever before from the legacy of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

CCLL was formed to help the children of Belarus. There are now around 165 links throughout the UK who raise funds to bring groups of children to the UK for respite care.

There is a network of support for host families – they are not on their own – the children are encouraged to participate in the range of activities organised by CCLL on their behalf.

The children are selected because they have had cancer and are now in remission after treatment, they live in one of the contaminated parts of the country, or they have been evacuated from a heavily contaminated area. Just six per cent of children in Belarus are healthy.

Host Denise Buggins, from Bromsgrove, said: “A decade ago, a friend of mine read a request in a newspaper from a group who were looking for a Belarussian speaking Father Christmas for a party being hosted for children from Belarus.

“He agreed to go along and I went along with him. He had often spoken to me about the effects people had suffered from the disaster and how he sends parcels etc to his family.

“I spoke to the group leader at the party who told me how difficult it is to find host families to commit and by the end of the evening after spending time with the children my mind was made up.

“I have been to Belarus and visited the children and the families and the parents have told me how much healthier the children are after returning from a stay in the UK.

“Most of the children come from loving and hardworking families who have very little but put the children on a long waiting list in the hopes that they will get the recuperation which can add up to two years on their life.”

For more details about how to get involved, call Denise Buggins on 07754963505 or e-mail denise.buggins@talktalk.net.

 five members of UB40, who notched up more than 50 chart hits in Britain, have been declared bankrupt.

 MIDLAND chart star Terrence ‘Astro’ Wilson from reggae pop giants UB40 has been forced to put his £1 million pound house up for sale after being declared bankrupt.

Tanglewood

The Sunday Mercury revealed in October how the 54-year-old musician was one of four band members made bankrupt, and now he and his wife are looking to ‘downsize’.

Astro, one of the founding members of UB40 back in 1978, is selling the family’s former Victorian schoolhouse in affluent Barnt Green, near Bromsgrove, in Worcestershire.

It boasts an acre of land, a billiards room and a music studio. And, as our pictures reveal, no expense has been spared converting the property into a mansion fit for reggae royalty.

The six-bedroom house, named Tanglewood, has been valued at £1,150,000 and also boasts a luxury kitchen, bathroom and five bedrooms. It is approached through electronic gates.

Estate agents Judith Hitchin say the house includes “welcoming reception hall, sumptuous drawing room, sitting room, superb breakfast kitchen, master bedroom suite with dressing room and wet room, guest bedroom with wet room, four further bedrooms, detached garaging, detached studio and cellars.”

An impressive reception hall apparently boasts a period fire surround and polished wood floor. The drawing room, described as “sumptuous”, has an ornate carved chimney piece, wood flooring and views across the gardens.

There is a smaller sitting room and a formal dining room with an open fireplace.

The kitchen breakfast room has a central island and range cooker, plus breakfast area with ample space for table and chairs. A cellar, guest cloaks and laundry complete the ground floor list.

First floor bedrooms are said to be “beautifully presented”. There is a “fabulous” master bedroom suite with its own dressing and sitting room, five further bedrooms, a wet room and family bathroom.

Astro

Astro’s wife, Dawn Wilson, revealed that the family are moving because they are downsizing, but hope to stay in Barnt Green.

“I think we’d like somewhere with a little less land,” she said. “This has got an acre. We have made it as manageable as possible as it is mostly lawns, but there are still borders that have to be tended.

“My late mum used to be my main gardener, she was a real Trojan.”

In total, five members of UB40, who notched up more than 50 chart hits in Britain, have been declared bankrupt.

Trumpeter Astro, sax player Brian Travers, drummer Jimmy Brown and percussionist Norman Hassan were declared bankrupt at a Birmingham County Court hearing. Frontman Ali Campbell had earlier been made bankrupt at Bournemouth County Court.

A fifth original member of UB40, Robin Campbell, was also involved in the Birmingham County Court hearing although is not listed as bankrupt. A sixth member – keyboard player Mickey Virtue, 54, – has never been part of the bankruptcy case.

It remains unclear why the band suffered a financial meltdown but it is believed to be the result of a bitter bust-up over band finances which split the group following the collapse of their management company DEP International.

Despite being declared bankrupt, UB40 are understood to be recording a new album at a studio in Redditch, Worcestershire and plan tour dates in the new year. Mr Wilson was unavailable for comment last night.

Attempted Robbery In Redditch

Attempted Robbery In Redditch

Police are appealing for information about an attempted robbery in Redditch.

It happened at around 8.50pm on Tuesday 20 December at Church Hill News, Parkfield Close, Church Hill.

A man wearing a balaclava entered the shop, and demanded the assistant behind the counter hand over money, threatening her with what is described as a short samurai sword.

She called for help, and the owner, who had been in a back room, and another man chased the offender out of the shop.

Nothing was stolen, and the assistant was shaken but unhurt.

The offender is described as a white male, approx 5ft 5ins tall, of stocky build and wearing a khaki coloured balaclava. He also wore a navy, zip-up sports jacket, light denim jeans and white trainers.

Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to contact PC Sophie Gaffney at West Mercia Police on 0300 333 3000 quoting incident 679-s-201211 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

West Mercia Police Press Office website