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Free, online masterclass in resilience exclusively for Somerset military veterans, reserves and their families

We CAN’T always control what happens to us
We CAN learn to be resilient

A new, free, online masterclass in resilience exclusively for Somerset military veterans, reserves and their families, including people living with PTSD, launches on Wednesday 29 September.

The inspirational, informative and interesting masterclass is funded by the NHS. Designed and led by Bernard Genge, former Royal Navy medic, trainer, coach and published author, it will help you:

• Take control of excessive worrying
• Become more decisive and confident
• Respond more effectively to challenges
• Adjust to life outside the military
• Prepare for the next unpredictable event that comes along.

Reactions and responses will be explored. Practical, easy-to-use tools will be shared that can be very helpful in everyday life. There will be time to reflect and try out new techniques. All in a safe space, with the opportunity to connect with people who have similar experiences.

The course will run fortnightly for around 1.5 hours each time, over a total of 17 sessions. Former service people will be in one group; families in a separate group. It would be really helpful for everyone who signs up to attend the first session as this gets you thinking about how resilient you currently are; thereafter, you can choose to join specific sessions if you wish. Please spread the word to anyone who could benefit.

While in the Royal Navy Bernard served before, during and after the Falklands conflict. Being a medic made him very interested in helping people develop their resilience to cope with challenges. Since then he has run over 100 marathons, completed the ironman triathlon, trekked across the Namib Desert, cycled across Vietnam, from John O’Groats to Land’s End, through Europe and helped build a community school in Tanzania. For the last 13 years he has managed a not-for-private profit social enterprise learning and development company. During the coronavirus pandemic he set up a voluntary phone buddy service for elderly and vulnerable people in his local community.

Bernard looks forward to warmly welcoming you and supporting you to improve your personal resilience.

To book a place on the resilience masterclass:
Login or register on Somerset Recovery College website – visit
• Call the Somerset Recovery College admin team on 07342 063 735
For full course outline and any queries, please email Bernard:

Knife Crime – Drop the Knife campaign


Somerset communities are urged to report any knife crime in the area – and young people are encouraged to avoid becoming involved or victims of knife crime.

A knife crime campaign was launched this week with a bid to raise awareness about the dangers of carrying a knife and report knife crime incidents across the county.

The Somerset Serious Violence Reduction Unit states Somerset is a safe place to live, but police data suggests the reporting of knife possession has doubled in Somerset between 2016-2018.

Knife crime offences represent less than 5% of total violent crimes, but they are serious offences that can causes significant harm to our communities.

The Violence Reduction Unit is therefore keen to reduce incidents of weapon possession, particularly amongst young people and look to raise awareness around the risks linked to knife crime.

Early this year, the Violence Reduction Unit commissioned a research report on ‘Social Media and experiences of cultural norms, violence and exploitation in Somerset’. Insights from this report finds the primary reason young people carry weapons is for protection and out of fear for their safety, not to intentionally incite violence. Some young people told us they have carried weapons because they perceived it to be cool and are sometimes swayed by music artists and online influencers.

Speaking on the launch of the campaign, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for community safety, Cllr Clare Paul said, “From the work we have done so far with young people, we realised that weapon carrying was more for protection and of fear or because they perceive it to be cool. They have expressed a need for understanding and compassion around why they had started carrying. The social media and experiences of cultural norms report puts further emphasis on this. Our message to young people is clear – you are neither safe, cool, or protected when you carry a weapon. Over the next few months, we will continue to engage with young people and listen to what they have to say which should enable us to reduce the devastating impact that knife crime and weapon possession could have on communities.”

The Violence Reduction Unit will also conduct regular surveys with professionals including volunteers who encounter knives or bladed weapons as part of their work. The objective of these survey will be to gather enough information about experiences and concerns across sectors to know what a multi-agency response could look like. An accurate picture of professional’s experiences could be used to inform future training and communications.

Please click here to access the Social Media and experiences of cultural norms, Violence and exploitation in Somerset research report. If you are unable to click on the link, please visit the Somerset Violence Reduction Unit webpage, downloads section to view the report.

If you have information about knife crime in your area and you’re nervous about going to the police, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They will never ask for your name or try to trace the number that you’re calling from.

If you are worried about someone you know carrying a knife, help and guidance is available:

  • The #knifefree website provides information about helping young people go knife free.
  • is a service that allows you to pass on information about crime 100% anonymously.
  • Call 999 immediately if there is an ongoing incident involving a weapon.



SWP – Garden Waste Collections to be suspended for six weeks

Garden waste collections in Somerset are to be suspended from Monday 2nd August hopefully to be restarted on 13th September 2021.


There is more information on garden waste collections and the suspension, full FAQs and an online contact form at

 If essential to get in touch, the form is the quickest way to make contact.

If you cannot use the online form, DO NOT contact your district council – it is NOT involved in managing the garden waste suspension. Instead, call this dedicated garden waste service number 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday: 01823 589900.

They apologise for this temporary measure, which is essential to maintain rubbish and recycling collections.

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

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:

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  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.