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Author: ParishClerk

Bus Back Better

After 30 years of deregulation of buses the government are now supporting an initiative for a National Bus Strategy: Bus Back Better and awarding grant funding worth £3 billion to support it.
The objectives are to encourage people to leave their cars at home to create a greener environment and support climate change. Their journeys should be reliable, comfortable and affordable. The Somerset scheme is called the ‘Bus Service Improvement Plan’ ‘BSIP’.
Somerset is the 4th lowest user of buses in the country. The person taking responsibility for Somerset County Council’s bus scheme is John Woodman. He is supported by 4 chairs covering 4 district councils as well as a panel of users. The SWT chair is John Haswell.
The scheme has until end of October to submit its plan with roll out planned for April 2022. The Parish Council is being asked to do is submit not only our wish for a bus service, but innovative and new ideas on how a new bus service could operate. Ideas should be practical and affordable.
Some of ideas floated at a recent zoom meeting for Somerset Parish Councils were:
  • S106 money used to subsidise buses on new developments (Monkton Heathfield has one operating for 2 years as a trial).
  • More centrally located hubs for buses to connect with.
  • Saturday and Sunday services run by volunteers driving buses used by Schools etc. during the week.
  • Provide bus shelters for people to wait in.
  • Easily available and up to date bus timetables.
  • A bus timetable that links with the whole county/national services.
The Parish Council have been given the chance to have our say, but if we stay quiet then we cannot expect anything to happen for our area or Somerset.
What can I do?
  • Talk with our local councillor tell them what you think and need, including disadvantaged users.
  • Come up with some ideas and help the Parish Council promote them.
  • Encourage other residents to send in their ideas and support.
  • Lobby our local MP for support.
More information on the scheme can be found at https://www.somersetbuspartnership.co.uk/

Road Closure, Culver Street, Burton 28th to 30th July 2021

Urgent Road Closure: Culver Street, Stogursey

Please be aware that we have received notification of an urgent road closure at Culver StreetStogursey, which will commence on 28th July 2021 and is expected to last until 30th July 2021 (the closure is between the hours of  00:00 – 23:59).

These works are for Wessex Water to renew a Stop Tap, their works reference is 039384995001.

For any further information about this closure please contact  Wessex Water on  0345 600 4600.

A map of the affected area (in red), together with the recommended diversion route (in purple) is shown below, along with the link to One.Network. https://one.network/?tm=122865834

Have your say on bus services in Somerset

Somerset County Council is to work in partnership with bus operators in the county to deliver improved services for all, and local people have a pivotal role to play.

Following the Government’s announcement in March of the new National Bus Strategy – ‘Bus Back Better’  a £3 billion pot of funding is being made available to improve bus services across the country and Somerset County Council can bid for a share of this in partnership with operators.

But first, the Council needs to know about residents’ experience and where the gaps in services are.

You can take the survey here: https://somerset.inconsult.uk/somerset.bus.survey/consultationHome

As part of the process the Council’s Cabinet agreed on 21 June that it would commit to forming an ‘Enhanced Partnership’ with all local bus operators in the county to access funding and improve services.

The first stage involves drawing up an ambitious Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) – a blueprint for future service provision across Somerset which will be used by Government to determine future funding for the County. The public survey will feed into this as well as input from operators and other key stakeholders.

“The most important people in all of this are bus users in Somerset,” said Cllr John Woodman, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport.

“We need to hear about their experiences and what they think the Council and operators need to be providing terms of services.

“Please take some time to complete the survey and give us the best possible chance of accessing as much funding as possible.”

The Bus Service Improvement Plan will be published by 31 October. It will be further developed and updated annually.

For more information on roadworks, live traffic and major projects visit www.travelsomerset.co.uk  and follow @TravelSomerset on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Advice

Did you know a thief can take the catalytic converter from your car in a matter of minutes and leave you to foot the bill? Precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium are used in catalytic converters. The price of some of these metals has risen sharply in recent years and as a result has led to an increase in the theft of catalytic convertors.

Cars that are most often targeted are hybrid vehicles, as these vehicles have two power sources, so the catalytic converter is used less frequently. The metals are less likely to corrode, meaning they are worth more and therefore more attractive to thieves.

Hybrid cars, Vans and SUV’s are particularly at risk, as the ride height makes access to the exhaust system beneath them easier. The Toyota Prius, Toyota Auris, Honda Jazz and the Honda CR-V are often targeted.

Please click here to find out how to reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen.

REMEMBER: If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, call 999 or 101 and report it to the Police. Be sure to obtain as much information as possible, including the registrations of any vehicles being targeted or being used by the persons involved.

Remember, everyone can catch it, anyone can spread it.

From Monday 19 July, the majority of legal restrictions relating to Covid-19 will be lifted, but the risks of Covid-19 have not gone away.

As cases rise here and across the country, we urge you to be cautious, not only for yourselves, but to protect our vulnerable residents and frontline workers.
We are advising people to think carefully about continuing to keep the all important two metre distance where possible – the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) estimates that the risk of transmitting Covid-19 at 1 metre could be up to ten times higher than at 2 metres.
See: https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3223

As another measure to protect more vulnerable members of our local communities, as well as workers in key services such as shops and pubs, we recommend continuing to wear a face covering in indoor spaces such as in shops, on public transport or in healthcare settings.

Please also continue to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. Meet up outside rather than inside, and, if you are inside, make sure you let the fresh air in by opening windows and doors.

Finally, it’s important to:
• make sure that you get both doses of the vaccine,
• self-isolate when required to do so; and,
• use rapid tests twice a week.

So, our message is please ‘think twice, do the right thing, and don’t let your guard down’.

Thank you.

Beware – Cold Callers are active in our area

We have been made aware of the following by PCSO Sue from our local Neighbourhood Policing Team:

A couple of individuals are working in the area at the moment offering gardening services.

Their usual method is to cold call & offer to cut hedges etc. They will give a quote, then once the work is done, will say that it was a bigger job than initially expected, & demand further payment.

They will usually target more elderly residents whose gardens may look overgrown & untidy, thus preying on the vulnerable.

Please be vigilant, & look out for elderly /vulnerable members of the community.

If you are looking for gardening services or property maintenance, please do not succumb to these unscrupulous people- no matter how professional and friendly they may appear. Always go to a reputable firm, or someone who has been personally recommended.

If you are concerned about people behaving suspiciously or rogue traders in your area please call 101 and report it to your local neighbourhood team.

COVID 19: Are you lateral flow testing twice a week?

Lateral flow tests are extremely good at identifying when people have a lot of the virus in their system but are not displaying symptoms. To be able to see friends and family and keep them as safe as possible, testing yourself twice a week by lateral flow test is just as important as it’s always been. You can order lateral flow tests online to be delivered to your home, call 119 to have a kit home delivered through the post, or collect a kit at a local pharmacy.

For further information on lateral flow tests, including a video showing how to perform one, you can visit our website here. Just to note: now that we are in
summer, take care to store your supply of lateral flow tests somewhere cool, as the kits need to remain between 15-30 degrees Celsius.

Grant aims to tackle growing childminder shortage in Somerset

Somerset County Council is renewing its campaign to tackle a shortage of childminders across the county through a ‘Golden Hello’ grant worth £250.00.

The number of childminders in Somerset has fallen year upon year, in line with what is a national picture.  The number of registered childminders in the county has decreased by over 31% since September 2015.

In response, Somerset County Council has been working hard to boost numbers and is extending an initiative aimed at encouraging more people to start their own childcare business.

The grant is available to new childminding businesses offering early years funded places who apply before 28 February 2022.

The Council also offers guidance and training to newly registered childminders and supports them through Ofsted registration and beyond.

Would-be childminders can get information and advice at two upcoming short, informal virtual sessions. Anyone interested is urged to register through online booking website Eventbrite through the following links:

  1. Thursday 24 June (10-10.30am) – www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/childminding-in-somerset-virtual-information-session-tickets-157985190959
  2. Wednesday 21 July (6.30-7pm) – www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/childminding-in-somerset-virtual-information-session-tickets-157986252133

Hosted by the Council’s Early Years team, the events offer an opportunity to find out more, including what is needed in terms of training and qualifications.

Whether you are thinking about what to do after leaving school, are already working with children or you’re looking for a career change, the team will have information to help you make the right choices.

Emma Stradling set up Millmoot’s Little Boots childcare in February 2021. Although Emma has only been childminding for just over a year, she finds it works well for her and her young family. Emma said: “Childminding gives me the flexibility to care for others while also looking after my own children.  I love that every day is different, and every child is different with their own unique personality and needs.

“I live on a farm in Cossington, around five miles north of Bridgwater. There’s always something happening on the farm to involve the children in. Recently, it was so lovely to see their excitement when our lambs were born.

“It’s always busy but loads of fun. I really can’t imagine myself doing anything else now. Anyone thinking of becoming a childminder should go for it. It’s a fantastic job and is so rewarding.”

Councillor Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “The pandemic has had an impact on us all and made many people re-evaluate what is important to them. Becoming a professional childminder may be the ideal opportunity for some.

“I would encourage anyone who loves children and wants to give them the best start in life, while also working flexibly from their own home, to take advantage of this scheme and the County Council support that is on offer.”

Support is also available to childminders through a county-wide network of Early Years Communities, assisted by officers within the Early Years Team at Somerset County Council. The networks arrange continuous professional development (CPD) events as well as offering practitioners peer-to-peer support.

To find out more about becoming a childminder, and for an information pack please call 0300 123 2224 or visit www.somerset.gov.uk/registerasachildminder

Spark iT

In partnership with Barclays and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, we are delighted to announce the launch of Spark iT, our new project which aims to tackle digital exclusion in Somerset and help people to access health care online.

The Spark iT Helpdesk is now live, and anybody in Somerset who is digitally excluded can get in touch for free IT support with a range of activities. This might include using IT equipment, connecting with others online or accessing local support and services that could improve their health and wellbeing.

The Helpdesk is available Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm on 01458 550977.

We are also recruiting a bank of Digital Champion volunteers who will receive training from the Barclays Digital Eagles and offer additional 1-2-1 support. You can find out more and sign up here.

For further information about Spark iT, please click here or email Verity Baum, Digital Inclusion Project Manager, verity.baum@sparksomerset.org.uk.