Quote of the week

Life isn't about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself'

George Bernard Shaw
If you cannot mould yourself entirely as you would wish, how can you expect other people to be entirely to your liking?
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/wish.html

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Groundbreaking for new Lavenham Pre School

Martin Weaver, Katherine Eves, and Carroll Reeves

As I come to the end of my term as a county councillor a number of projects with which I have been connected are inevitably continuing without me.  But for one of these at least the end is in sight!  This week it was good to be able to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Lavenham Pre School which will move to a new building adjacent to the Village Hall in the autumn.

When planning permission for the extension was sought some time ago, the fee being financed by my locality budget,   finding the full funding for the project was thought to be a considerable challenge.  However thanks to a special grant from the Department of Education, skillfully accessed by Early Years officers at the County Council, the full amount of money is now available and building work will commence very shortly.

The Pre School has been offering a great service to parents at Lavenham School for some time now, but has been constrained by a shortage of space and the need to leave the premises by 12 noon every day.  The new Pre School will be able to offer all day, morning or afternoon care, plus after school and holiday clubs, for children from age 2 to school age in a new purpose built facility surrounded by green playspace.

Further information can be obtained from Katherine Eves, the Pre School Manager, at lavenhampreschool@gmail.com

Delicious refreshments at the ceremony!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Return to the Sudbury Festival of Performing Arts

After a break of a few years, this year I was really pleased to be able to find the time to volunteer once again for a couple of sessions helping out at the Sudbury Festival of Performing Arts.

I spent a happy time filling in certificates for all the participants, while being able to keep one ear open to listen to their contributions.  It was wonderful to hear the young people reciting poetry by heart, including old favourites  like Matilda and Cargoes, and also other poems of more recent vintage. In the evening I was lucky to be able to sit alongside the adjudicator as her 'clerk', and was in a prime position to watch a number of very talented children bravely undertaking their solo acting contributions.  I am sure that at least some will be the stars of the future!

Last Sunday afternoon I went along to the theatre at Ormiston Academy in Sudbury to watch the Festival concert, comprising winners and runners up from many of the different classes in the Dance, Music and Speech and Drama Sections.  The standard, not surprisingly was very high.  There were dance troops and solo musicians in addition to theatre and poetry reading, and it was good to hear Shakespeare delivered with such clarity and understanding.

The Festival will be on again next year, and is always looking for volunteers.  Even if you can only do one or two sessions, the experience is good fun.  For more information the website for the Festival can be found HERE.

Presentation of prizes at Sudbury Ormiston Academy

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Rural pharmacies at risk

We read in some of today's papers that Government funding for rural pharmacies is set to fall by over £200m inthe next financial year   This is putting the future of many local businesses under threat, and a challenge against the cuts has today been mounted in the High Court.

The inconvenience these changes will cause to many people, mostly in rural areas, has been highlighted by a House of Lords library study that shows that 1.3m people in the UK could have to travel further to visit a pharmacy, with obvious knock on effects on demand for GP services.  The development is particularly costly for people in view of the fact that,in order to prevent overprescribing,  doctors are now only allowed to prescribe very low quantities of drugs at a time.  This means that visits to collect regular prescriptions must be made more often in what strikes me as yet another example of mindless 'cost shifting', this time by the NHS onto the hapless patient.

Coincidentally it seems Public Health Suffolk is currently consulting on the provision of pharmacy services in the County and residents have until the end of March to answer a questionnaire about the issue.

The survey can be accessed on www.healthysuffolk.org.uk and the closing date is Friday 31 March 2017. Hard copies of the questionnaire can be requested by emailing healthandwellbeing@suffolk.gov.uk or by telephoning 01473 260079.

Any information provided will be treated as confidential.

Monday, March 20, 2017

News from LWHS

Geoffrey Robinson
Please click on the 'Suffolk Pioneer' tab above for an illustrated review by Andy Sheppard of the most recent event enjoyed by members of the Little Waldingfield History Society and their guests,   

The Group was delighted to welcome Geoffrey Robinson, secretary to the Worlingworth Local History Gruop and Recorders Secretary to the Suffolk Local History Council.  He spoke about Henry Adams Cupper, a pioneer who emigrated to America during the latter part of the 19th Century.

The Society's next events will be at 7.30 in The Parish Room on:

19th April: The brilliant Ashley Cooper will tell us all about the myriad connections between Suffolk and India - it should be absolutely fascinating.

17th May: Mark Bills, Director of Gainsborough’s House, will discuss the life and art of the great man - it should be really interesting and informative.

Both events are going to be great and the Committee look forward to welcoming guests new and old to the Parish Room.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Last Council Meeting closes harmoniously.

On Thursday I attended my last full County Council meeting.

Since it was the last meeting of the full council before the election in early May, the atmosphere during the early part of the meeting was fairly highly charged with political point scoring being the order of the day.  Both the Labour Party and UKIP introduced motions which, I suppose, were designed to embarrass the administration.  One was about Highways and the other about the democratic accountability of the Local Enterprise Partnership.  Both motions were fairly technical in nature however, which means that they were unlikely to resonate particularly strongly with the public at large.  I am not sure if either made much of splash in  the EADT.

Despite being four down the Conservatives managed to win both votes and thus see off any criticism.   In  recent months this has been the usual outcome, despite the fact that the Group has not always had a theoretical majority.  Luckily our record of attendance is good;  better than some of the opposition groups.  The Greens in particular seem to have put in a rather patchy performance.

The last hour or so of the meeting was taken up with reports and business from committees that are largely concerned with the internal workings of the council such as the Audit, Scrutiny, and Pension Fund Committees.  Although these do include members from different political parties, and, in the case of the Pension Fund Committee, representatives from the District Councils and also the Unions, these bodies have worked very effectively over the past four years,  It was good to hear politicians from all sides coming together in a mood of mutual congratulation, and, more importantly perhaps, praising the council’s excellent officers, for their extremely professional and efficient support.

Chief Executive, Deborah Cadman, Chairman Colin Spence and Vice Chairman Stephen Burroughs

Attending full council meetings has not been the part of the councillor’s role that I have most enjoyed, and I left the chamber shortly before the end without much feeling of regret.  The coming weeks, when I will be bidding farewell to the Parish Councils that I have worked with since 2013, will, I suspect, prove much more difficult.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A month of free Sundays at Gainsborough's House

This weekend the 'month of Sundays' initiative continues at Gainsborough's House.  There will be free admission to the museum from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Sunday, 19th March and also on 26th March.

Families are very welcome and there are currently two very interesting exhibitions on display.

More information is available HERE.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

We should not leave it to 'Them'

Russian communal clean up or 'subbotnik'
On 4th March, at Sudbury on Show, the Sudbury Society launched the LoveSudbury Campaign.  The aim of this initiative is to encourage people to ‘do their bit’ when it comes to improving the appearance of the Town.  Last week the Group launched its website which can be accessed HERE.

Apparently this admirable campaign is to some extent motivated by the perceived shortfall in services that has resulted from central Government cuts to local authorities.  This has caused some people to criticise the campaign because they say that councils will not resume services when the current period of austerity is over, and ‘people’s jobs will be at risk’.  This negative approach is misconceived for a number of reasons.

Firstly, are we to wait until councils have the ability to start spending again (probably some time in the mid 2020’s on current forecasts) and simply allow the situation to get worse and worse?  I certainly hope not!

Secondly, upright and responsible citizens in all communities have, even at times of plenty, done their bit for the common good.  How many people do we know who 'just cut that little piece of grass' that is always neglected, or regularly organised small scale litter picks?  Even in the Soviet Union regular communal clean ups were organised that encouraged a voluntary approach to civic pride.

Thirdly, demand for public services is infinite.  However much money is available there will always be room for improvement, always more that can be done.  Even in the City of London, where support from business rates from banks and other businesses mean that to some degree the streets really are paved with gold, there are patches of neglect.  Sadly there are few residents around to take these in hand.

When it comes to our communal environment, there are always those who say ‘it’s a disgrace, “THEY”  should do something about it.’    What they forget is the actually ‘THEY’ really means ‘US’.

Poster advertising a communal clean up

A chance to meet Jo Churchill

On 6th April Articulate HLC is hosting a business breakfast with the Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds, Jo Churchill, pictured left.

An M.P. since May 2015, In July 2016, Jo was elected, with joint highest nominations, to join the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and was also appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Rt Hon Mike Penning MP, Minister of State for Armed Forces.

With a depth of knowledge of small business, retail and rural life, Ms Churchill is well placed to explain, advise and listen to the concerns of those who live and work here.

She will be focusing on a range of issues, from areas in which she is campaigning for her constituency to the broader issues on which she is focused in Parliament - Brexit, rural business needs and women in business.

 The business breakfast will be held at Highwaymans in Risby.  If you would like to meet this dynamic local  MP and air your views, details and a booking form can be found on www.articulatehlc.co.uk <http://www.articulatehlc.co.uk>

£15pp Bookings close on 30th March.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bring out your unwanted medical equipment!

A antidiluvian crutch

Many years ago my husband, Nick, had a nasty accident while on a business trip in San Francisco.  The driver of the taxi that he took from the airport to the city drove much too fast during a rain storm and skidded and crashed into the barriers at the side of the freeway.  As a result he broke his ankle and, having been patched up by San Francisco Hospital, he returned home for further treatment at the West Suffolk Hospital with crutches provided by the US medical services.

These crutches were immediately condemned as antediluvian in design by the orthopaedic department at West Suffolk.  However I have no recollection of ever returning their replacements to the hospital

Well, it seems I was not alone in hanging on to medical bits and pieces that are given out by hospitals in times of need.

Last year in Suffolk local health services issued over 100,000 NHS community equipment items to patients in need at a cost of more than £8.5m. By the end of the year nearly 40,000 items, costing £3.4m, had not been returned to the contractor Medequip. While some patients need equipment for long periods of time, NHS services lose thousands of pounds each year due to missing equipment.

In a bid to save some money the NHS, working with Suffolk County Council, has announced an amnesty during the month of March, hoping that people will return some of the items that they no longer need.  Three collection points have been set up at Medequip depots in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Ellough (near Beccles), which will be open to collect goods from 8.30 to 5 p.m. on Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.  Mediquip will also pick up items if you call them on 01473 351805. The locations of the sites can be found by clicking Here. . The collection service will continue after the March amnesty is over.