Cllr. Simon Christopher submitted the following report at this evening’s Informal Meeting of Broadwindsor’s Group Parish Council:
Dear Helen and Councillors
It is wonderful thing to note the positivity of people. It has been great to see the Save the White Lion appeal exceed the £30,000 target, Una and I were pleased to support the appeal for funds. There will be work ahead and the need for continued financial backing. I noted with interest elsewhere in the County that, since we last met Dorset Council has allowed an application for a grade 2 listed building to be converted from Pub to residential.
I would like to pay tribute to Kevin, with his all his efforts at Broadwindsor Comminity Stores as manager. Kevin has always conducted matters in such a cheery way and has clearly been hugely instrumental in the Stores being so successful and a crucial community asset.
I continue my work in connection with consistent , sensible speed limits and also pressing for improved pedestrian walkways.
Una and I were pleased to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Melplash Show, again there was much enthusiasm to hold a show one again after the difficulties. I know that amongst the Parish Council there are active supporters of the Show who have enjoyed activities put on by the Melplash Agricultural Society but there is nothing quite like Show day and that is what people have missed so much.
One of my first memories of Melplash Show ( many years ago) was the highlight of seeing the farming toys stand of Frost and Co of Bridport. Maybe others, such as Andrew Frampton will share those memories. Speaking of Andrew I was pleased to hear from him of plans to commemorate the Spitfire Crash on the north side of Lewesdon Hill and the death of Belgian pilot Jean Verdun Marie Aime De Cloet . History matters to me and I am pleased to be a member of the Joint Dorset Council and Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Archives Board.
On Tuesday Dorset Council will have the first face to face Full Council meeting, This will include a discussion and voting on the budget for 2022/2023. We will soon see a new face on Dorset Council as Daryl Turner, Dorset Councillor for Lyme Regis has, I understand, moved to Wales.
It is good to see so many events at local village halls , I will pick out just one the recent coffee morning and talk on the growing of potatoes at Drimpton Village Hall that was so well attended.Now for some really important thoughts and that concerns mental health and community events. It is I believe, very important to reflect on, and act on, the impact of Covid on mental health.
Age Uk conducted a survey of what the Charity described as older people being people aged over 60. Some 27 per cent of people said they speak less to their family now. The Charity reports that millions have lost the confidence to go out and 41 per cent described feeling lonely. Memory loss disturbed sleep and anxiety are some of the symptoms being reported by older people in what Age UK has called an “alarming” mental health crisis The Charity is urging friends and family of older people to what it describes as “reach out for a chat. Good mental health of residents of Dorset is good news for the NHS and Dorset Council. It is no wonder that I am a keen supporter of our local halls, community shops , faith groups, clubs and societies. My work also encompasses lobbying for better public transport, road and rail for the benefits that can be derived for the residents of the Marshwood Vale ward. My lobbying also continues for better pavement provision, reduced and indeed consistent speed limits .
In agriculture there are big changes in agriculture policy:
National membership organisations are hosting the Low Carbon Agriculture Show at Stoneleigh, once the home of the Royal Show. This is worthy of mention as the Marshwood Vale ward is rural and we live in a time where farmers prepare their businesses for a future without the Basic Payent Scheme ie a solely area based subsidy.
The first cuts to BPS have been made , by 2024 a typical farming enterprise will have lost 50 per cent of its BPS subsidy and by 2028 the BPS will be removed altogether.
The event is being marketed as an event for forward thinking farmers and landowners to consider practical guidance on issues such as:
- Sustainable land use
- Renewable energy generation
- Emission Control
Farmers will have read in the farming press of changes in farming policy to include:
- Carbon storage
- Soil health
- Natural capital
- Net zero renewable energy
- Low emission vehicles
- Sustainable rural architecture
- Water health
All of this is very helpful given DEFRA has announced a number of schemes to help farmers move away from reliance on BPS.
Covid-19 update from Public Health Dorset
Following a rise in cases over the past couple of weeks, infection rates have started to fall again across Dorset. Case rates are above the national average for England but below the regional average for the South West. Infection rates remain highest amongst children and lowest amongst over 65s. The number of people in hospital in Dorset with COVID-19 remains similar to last week at 92.
Whilst there are far fewer people needing hospital treatment as a result of COVID-19 compared to last year, our local health and care services are under significant pressure. Alongside exceptional demand and the usual pressures faced every winter, COVID-19 is adding to these. Please continue to play your part by getting your jabs to protect yourself from serious illness, and taking precautions to reduce the spread of the virus.
Exceptional pressures county wide leads to Dorset CCG call for public to use services wisely
NHS and local authority social workers across Dorset are working tirelessly to keep services running to support us all – keeping our loved ones, families, neighbours, and local communities safe and well.
We would like to ask for your support to help us. You can help in the following ways:
- Support loved ones to leave hospital so that they can be more comfortable and recover more quickly at home. The support of relatives and friends can be important in enabling patients who are medically ready to leave hospital.
- Use NHS services wisely to get the right treatment, in the right place, at the right time. Our hospital emergency departments are under extreme pressure. If you’re unwell and are unsure about where to go, visit nhs.uk or call 111. We’ll do our very best to answer your call as quickly as possible though it may take a little longer due to the current demand. Please be patient and kind when you speak to our teams.
- Contact your local pharmacist or GP practice for ongoing or minor health issues.
- Only ever call 999 in a medical emergency – this is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.
- Get your jabs – protect yourself and support your local services by getting your first, second, and booster Covid-19 vaccine doses. For a full list of Covid-19 vaccine sites, visit dorsetccg.nhs.uk.
Adult Social Care recruitment
With huge pressures currently within the Adult Social Care directorate one of the ways members can help is to promote the recruitment adverts for roles which are currently vacant.
The pressures, which are being mirrored across the country, include higher demand, people with significant requirements, and a reduction in the number of staff in adult social care sector.
There is particular gap in the number of Social Workers and Occupational Therapists within the workforce for which there is a recruitment drive. However, there are also other roles within the service which residents can apply for.
Unitary council, costs are rising.
Residents often ask us ‘why don’t the savings made through creating Dorset Council in 2019 get put towards lowering our council tax?’.
We have made significant savings, but the rising demand and costs of services, particularly social care, have absorbed this. If a single unitary council hadn’t been set up, Dorset’s financial position would have been much worse.
I am struck by the cheerful nature of those who work in our local schools and those who run businesses. The children of today may be the workers of tomorrow.
I thought I would mention that I was invited by one of our neighbouring Members of Parliament to attend a question and answer session with local businesses . The main key difficulty that the emplyers quoted was that of difficulty in hiring skilled staff.
I have subsequently been invited it attend another event to be hosted by our own MP for those who run businesses and I also will be interested to hear his comments.
Chris Loder MP has written of his concern about the state of class rooms in Dorset , in particular classrooms which were installed decades ago on a temporary basis, which are still being used. This is an issue that I will continue to discuss with Andrew Parry the Dorset Councillor portfolio holder for education and children’s services.
Many of you will recall that a couple of years ago Dorset Councillor Andrew Parry attended a Broadwindsor Group Parish Council meeting and is portfolio holder for children education and skills, vulnerable families in Dorset are benefitting from a Government grant. Dorset Council will be receiving funds from the Governments Supporting Families Programme which will assist with this.
I would like to quote Andrew’s words:
“The Supporting Families funded work in Dorset has helped us transform the lives of some of our most vulnerable children , young people and their families.”
Best regards to you all
Councillor Simon Christopher
Dorset Councillor Marshwood Vale