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Midnight Walkers have stories to tell
- Published 05/16/2013
of walkers are taking part in this year’s Midnight Walk for St Clare Hospice
which is set to be a fantastic, fun-filled night on Saturday July 6. But behind
the laughter and buzzing atmosphere, many of the walkers have poignant and
personal reasons for being there, and for supporting St Clare.
of this year’s walkers is Sian Cooper, 25, from Church Mill Grange, Harlow, who
will be taking part in the 10k walk with her mum Julie.
Sian has raised £350 in sponsorship and rising.
said: “I’m raising money for St Clare Hospice as it’s a charity very close to
home. After a long battle with cancer my grandad Nigel Cooper was taken to St
Clare for some respite.
there, they took excellent care of him and made such a difference to him,
seeing him healthier and happier than he'd been in a long time.
I lost my Gramps a few weeks later, but myself and my family will forever be
grateful for all their help and support, and helping my Nan care for my
weeks after her grandfather’s death last December, Sian’s grandmother ,June
Cooper, also passed away. “It was a massive shock to us,” said Sian.
my grandparents supported St Clare and their work greatly and I hope to do them
both proud by trying to raise as much money as possible for such a wonderful
charity. In the process I hope it helps me deal with such a sad loss in my
taking part on Saturday July 6 will be Harlow mother Linda Marsham who will be
walking in memory of her son and her parents.
of Aylets Field, Harlow, decided to take part in the event as a thank you to
the charity for the support it gave to her and her family.
will be accompanied by her friend, Barbara for the shorter 5km walk round the
son, Kevin, died in a motorbike accident 15 years ago while her parents both
died from cancer.
said: “St Clare provides a valued service and I would encourage people of any
age to help the hospice, to help raise funds and to help them carry on doing
such good work.”
to the Midnight Walk costs £15 per person and each walker will receive a
special Midnight Walk t-shirt, goody bag, and a medal at the finish.
are encouraged to raise sponsorship for the Hospice: last year each walker on
average raised £110 with the £67,000 sponsorship total enough to pay for 17
days of care in the in-patient unit.
Hospice services to patients and families boosted by £472,000 grant
- Published 04/16/2013
A Space to Breathe project which will see a refurbishment of St Clare Hospice to benefit patients and their families has been given vital funding from the Government.
The Hospice has been awarded £472,098 from a Department of Health capital grant to create revitalising and inspiring spaces and enhance the sensory and therapeutic environment of the Hastingwood site.
The refurbishment, which will begin in April, will include many areas of the Hospice building, modernising and developing spaces for patients and families.
“The Space to Breathe project will in many ways allow patients and their families to be themselves, giving people greater independence,” said chief executive Tanya Curry.
“The refurbishment will give areas of the Hospice a real uplift, injecting light and space, incorporating modern facilities especially in the older parts of the building.
“I’m delighted that the Department of Health has endorsed the changes we are desperate to make: their grant means that more of the money that our fantastic supporters raise for us day in and day out can be spent on providing care in much improved facilities.”
Running the Hospice costs £2.8 million a year and these costs still remain. The NHS only funds 30% of the Hospice’s costs.
The Space to Breathe project was crafted following discussions with patients, families, volunteers, staff, trustees and other stakeholders.
Tanya added: “We recognised that people need room and space, which is open and inviting, yet intimate enough to respond to changing needs. We hope that once complete our clinical services will be modern, inspiring but above all a therapeutic environment finished to the same excellent standard we achieved for our Inpatient Unit bedrooms.”
The work is expected to be completed by March 2014 and all the Hospice’s services will remain open during the refurbishment project.
» Read More
Harlow Town Park to get a make-over
- Published 03/21/2013
Harlow Council has unveiled plans for the major restoration of Harlow Town Park.
In December 2012, the Council secured a 1.83m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund which will pave the way for the £2.8m restoration of the park.
The following improvements are planned to take place over the next two to three years.
· Conservation of Spurriers House including turning the ground floor into a new café.
· Improvements and repairs to Pets’ Corner including a new covered events shelter and a standalone education centre.
· Improvements and upgrades to the Bandstand.
· Restoration and conservation of the park’s Water Gardens.
· Conversion of the Greyhound toilets into a new information and interpretation point.
· Renewed and new pathways, seating, viewing posts and improved signage across the park.
· Horticultural improvements and restoration of various garden and wooded areas across the park.
Councillor Tony Duncan, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Regeneration & Enterprise, said: “The Town Park and its facilities are widely recognised as the town’s jewel in the crown and Harlow Council is committed to conserving, resorting and enhancing this wonderful 20th Century park. Residents have been involved in developing these plans from the start and with this funding we can now bring the plans to life.”
The remaining £1m for the Town Park restoration project will come from various sources including Harlow Council, Growth Areas Funding, Section 106 Planning contributions and match funding through volunteer time.» Read More
News from Harlow Council: Major changes on the way to how Council housing is allocated
- Published 02/9/2013
Harlow Council has outlined a number of changes to how Council housing will be allocated and prioritised in future.
The town’s social housing shortage, together with changes in Government legislation under the Localism Act, meant the Council had to review who can join the Housing Register and how Council housing is allocated.
Following a three-month public consultation period last year the Council has agreed a new policy* for allocating housing that comes into force from September 2013.
The main changes are:
- The local connection eligibility** has been revised. A key change is that applicants must have continually lived in Harlow for five years.
- Members of the armed forces who have a local connection will receive greater priority than previously.
- Increased priority will be given to Council tenants wishing to move to a smaller property.
- Adopters and foster carers will be given higher priority.
- The Housing Register will be re-launched as the “Housing Needs Register” to reflect the fact that Council housing is allocated based on need not the length of time applicants have been waiting.
The following people will not be eligible to join the Housing Needs Register:
- Single or joint applicants with more than £50,000 in savings, equity or income.
- Anyone who owes a housing debt either for social or private housing.
- Applicants or households involved in committing anti-social behaviour or criminal activity including people with domestic abuse or hate crime convictions.
The demands on Council housing in Harlow continue to increase due to the rise in the number of applicants registered for housing together with the acute shortage of Council properties which become available for rent. There are currently over 5,000 applicants registered for social housing in Harlow whether that is people looking for their first home or Council tenants looking for alternative Council accommodation. Every year around 1,000 new applicants join the Housing Register and only about 570 Council homes become available for allocation. The majority of these homes are allocated to people who are in urgent need, often because of serious health and welfare concerns for example people with disabilities, people with serious illnesses or people who are homeless.
Councillor Rod Truan, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “With the demand for social housing not easing we have to look at how we allocate housing and who should get priority on the register. It’s a difficult situation but these changes give priority to local people who are in genuine need of a Council home. We also need to be honest with people with less priority about their chances of ever getting a home. We would love to give a home to everyone who wants one but that just isn’t possible at the moment. Clearly some local people are in a position to buy their own home or rent privately and we need put criteria in place so these people cannot join the register.
“This review will not address the shortage of housing in Harlow but ensures that those who get housing in future are those that need it most. Building more housing in Harlow is a priority for the Council and we are going to be looking at how we can provide more housing choices in future but this is not something which will happen overnight.”
The Council has also
agreed a draft tenancy strategy which will ensure
that Council tenants
will continue to receive life-time tenancies not fixed-term tenancies.
*The policy was agreed at the last Cabinet meeting on 31 January 2013. The Council will now be carrying out consultation with existing Council tenants, housing register applicants and local organisations before the changes are finalised. To view the policy please follow this link: Housing Allocations Policy and Draft Tenancy Strategy report
**The local connection criteria has been updated to:
- Reside continually in Harlow for 5 years up to date of application. Previously this was that applicants must have lived in Harlow for six out of 12 months.
- Parent/s, siblings and non dependant children who reside in Harlow for a minimum of 5 years
- Permanently employed in Harlow for a minimum of 12 months working at least 24 hours per week.
- Special reason (i.e. no safe connection in another area due to violence or need to be near special medical or support services)
» Read More
News from Harlow Council: Small Council Tax increase proposed to protect services
- Published 01/24/2013
Harlow Council’s Administration has outlined proposals to increase Council Tax by just 1.5% or 6p per week for a Band C property*.
Plans for the increase on Harlow Council’s share of Council Tax for 2013/14 will be recommended to Cabinet** on 31 January 2013. The increase is part of the Administration’s budget proposals for 2013/14, which aim to tackle significant reductions in the Council’s grant funding from central government while protecting services residents’ value.
Although Harlow Council collects Council Tax on behalf of Essex County Council, Essex Police and Essex Fire & Rescue Harlow Council only keeps just over £16 of every £100 collected. The rest goes to the other organisations.
Councillor Mark Wilkinson, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “In putting together this budget this Administration had to make tough choices. Government spending cuts compounded by rising costs, reduced income and rising demand for services meant that the Council has had to budget to save a total of £1.75 million in 2013/14.
“In proposing this budget the Administration has sought to protect services by focusing on priority activities and services whilst increasing efficiency. We have sought to minimise the impact on Harlow residents.
“Increasing the Council’s share of Council Tax is something that we are very reluctant to do but we know that the services we can protect as a result are important to local people. The proposed increase is very small at just 1.5% which is an extra 6p a week for the average Council Tax payer in Harlow. We believe it is the right thing to do as it will protect residents from steep Council Tax increases in future.”
Councillor Mike Danvers, Portfolio Holder for Resources, added: “By working extremely hard to look at every area of the Council’s budgets, making savings at the Civic Centre and looking at how things can be done differently we have managed to protect as many of the services as possible that are important to local people. We are also very aware that the Government’s on-going significant cuts in the funding of the Council means that difficult decisions will have to be taken in the coming years.”
The proposals will plug a £1.75 million funding gap with a minimum impact on services. This will be achieved through improving contract prices, re-structuring services (including senior management), increased income, review of cost sharing between the Housing Revenue Account and General Fund, use of the New Home Bonus and further service efficiencies across the Council.
The budget also proposes:
· Direct Council funding for the Playhouse for a further three years.
· Extending Council funding for the town’s paddling pools for another year.
· More funding for Harlow Youth Council.
· Living Wage for low-paid Council staff – this means that permanent or casual staff will be paid above the national minimum wage.
The budget proposals will go to Cabinet on 31 January 2013 before
going to Full Council on 7 February 2013.
News from Harlow Council: Harlow Town Park secures Lottery investment
- Published 12/18/2012
Harlow Council has received a grant of £1.83m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) which will pave the way for the £2.8m restoration of Harlow Town Park, it was announced today.
The money will help fund the following improvements to restore and renew Harlow Town Park:
- Conservation of Spurriers House including turning the ground floor into a new café.
- Improvements and repairs to Pets' Corner including a new covered events shelter and a stand alone education centre.
- Improvements and upgrades to the Bandstand.
- Restoration and conservation of the park's Water Gardens.
- Conversion of the Greyhound Toilets into a new information and interpretation point.
- Renewed and new pathways, seating, viewing points and improved signage across the park.
- Horticultural improvements and restoration of various garden and wooded areas across the park.
Councillor Tony Durcan, Harlow Council's Portfolio Holder for Regeneration & Enterprise said: "We're delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund have given us this grant. The Town Park and its facilities are widely recognised as the town's jewel in the crown and Harlow Council is committed to conserving, restoring and enhancing this wonderful 20th Century park. This grant enables us to restore and renew the park to its former glory so that it meets the needs of the 21st Century residents of Harlow and beyond. Residents have been involved in developing these plans from the start and with this funding we can now bring the plans to life. I would like to thank our partners and supporters who backed our funding bid."
Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF, said on behalf of HLF and BIG:
"We're delighted to be bringing a bit of seasonal cheer to a number of popular parks, including Harlow Town Park, especially as demand for funding continues to be very high. It's been a tough year for those caring for our public parks but HLF and BIG's commitment to this important part of the UK's heritage is unwavering.
"Parks enrich millions of people's lives on a daily basis – providing room to relax and reflect – and it's vital that we continue to value and protect them not just for ourselves but for the next generation too."
The remaining £1m for the Town Park restoration project will come from various sources including Harlow Council, Growth Areas Funding, Section 106 planning contributions and match funding through volunteer time.» Read More
Santa Run has already raised £3,000 for St Clare Hospice
- Published 12/11/2012
Two hundred Santas - and a couple of Snowmen and an Elf - gathered at the Secret Nuclear Bunker at Kelvedon Hatch, near Ongar, on Sunday for the fourth St Clare Hospice Santa Run.
Entrants, wearing Santa outfits and Santa hats, were set on their way by Brentwood and Ongar MP Eric Pickles.
The first child Santa to finish was Olivia Curtis in 35 minutes.
The event has already raised £3,000 and organisers expect the total to double in the next couple of weeks as sponsorship money is sent through.
Life-saving scheme set to be expanded in Harlow
- Published 11/29/2012
A POTENTIALLY life-saving scheme is set to be expanded in Harlow thanks to the Harlow Lions and West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, the organisation taking over the running of the local NHS.
The Message in a Bottle scheme is designed to encourage people, particularly the more vulnerable, to keep their personal and medical details on a standard form and in a common location - the fridge. The idea is it will save the emergency services valuable time identifying people and their emergency contacts. By informing them of any special medication or allergies, it is a potential lifesaver and provides peace of mind to users and their friends and families.
Ronni Ayres from Harlow Lions said: "Lions have been funding the scheme in Harlow for three years now, thanks to the generosity of people who support our work by donating so generously when we rattle a bucket. It is an initiative we have happily adopted and we are now keen to increase take-up of the scheme. We have approached the local clinical commissioning group and asked it if it would be able to help us spread the word and I am glad to say the reaction was very positive."
Dr Rob Gerlis, Chairman of West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Message in a Bottle is a very valuable scheme which particularly aims to help the more vulnerable people in our community. We are talking to local GPs, pharmacists and other health and social care colleagues to ensure we can maximise awareness of the scheme."
Further information on the scheme can be obtained from Harlow Lions on 0845 833 5742.» Read More
News from Harlow Council: Council urges Government rethink on London housing situation
- Published 11/19/2012
Harlow Council is urging the Government to review the impact of its proposed welfare and benefit reforms and financial restrictions on local government to ensure that people in London get access to affordable housing in their own communities.
The Government’s proposed welfare and benefit reforms and the significant financial reductions in Government funding for Councils is creating the need for Councils, particularly in high cost places like London, to find cheaper alternative accommodation for those in housing need in areas outside of the capital. A recent report in the national press identified that a number of London Borough Councils had bought or rented private sector housing in a various Council areas around the country. Harlow was mentioned as one of these Council areas.
Whilst Harlow Council sympathises with Londoners in housing need and the challenges faced by London Boroughs it does not wish to see housing in Harlow used as temporary accommodation by other Councils. Enquiries by Harlow Council so far reveal that the London Borough of Waltham Forest is renting two privately owned houses in Harlow to use as temporary accommodation. Whilst there is nothing that the Council can do to stop this, and whilst it understands the pressure that many Councils are under to house those in housing need, it will be making it clear to Waltham Forest and other Councils that it does not want them to buy or rent housing in Harlow for their residents.
Councillor Rod Truan, Harlow Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: '”We have sympathy for London Councils who find it hard to get enough affordable housing for their residents. We also have sympathy for those families who are being forced to move away from their communities. If more private properties are used in Harlow by London Councils, however, this would mean less private homes for rent or to buy in the town adding to an already desperate housing shortage. Harlow Council is powerless to do anything about any other Council purchasing or renting private property in the town in future. The ball is in the Government’s court as they are the only ones with the power to do something about it. We will be writing to the Government to urge them to recognise this problem and to take action.”
News from Harlow Council: Cutting back greenery will help with litter picking and improve town's appearance
- Published 11/2/2012
Harlow Council and its partners Kier Harlow have started a two-year hedge maintenance programme to help keep the town looking clean and tidy.
The town-wide programme, which started on 1 October 2012, is seeing overgrown shrubs, bushes, hedges and trees cut back in residential areas to keep footpaths clear and to help with picking up litter and removing dumped rubbish.
The £400,000 programme is part of a number of measures announced by the Council and Kier Harlow in March 2012 to keep the town clean and attractive.
Councillor Jon Clempner, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “Keeping the streets clean and tidy is a constant priority for our residents and there have been complaints of hedges in residential areas being overgrown. This work means our teams can get to litter more easily and uncover dumped rubbish. It also keeps the footpaths safer by removing overgrown and overhanging greenery and it will be easier to keep it maintained and looking neat in the future. The cutting-back might look a bit drastic initially but everything will soon grow again and return to the attractive appearance of a few years ago.”
Teams are currently working in Church Langley, and Katherines and Sumners areas. Details of when the programme will visit each area can be found on the Council’s website by following this link:» Read More