Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Free Check To Make Sure Your Car is Street Legal (30 April 2014)

Correct tyre pressure? Sufficient tread on tyres? Lights all working?

Drivers are again being offered the chance to ensure that their cars are in good condition by taking them for a free check, courtesy of the Bedfordshire and Luton Casualty Reduction Partnership.

A local event takes place in Central Bedfordshire from 11 - 6pm at Sainsburys in Dunstable on the

30 April 2014.

All vehicle checks will be performed by a group of specialists from the companies Autohome (breakdown) ProTyres/MichelDever (tyre supplier and fitter) and Autoglass (repair and replacement windscreens).

Cars will have their tyre pressures and treads checked, along with lights, windscreen wipers and fluids.

Road safety officers will be available to offer advice, and everyone who attends will receive a free drivers’ pack containing high visibility vest, ice scraper, an emergency foil blanket and tyre depth gauge along with advice regarding driving safely.

For more information go to http://www.drivesafely.org.uk.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Public meeting on the future of three Dunstable Middle Schools.

Are you a parent affected by the proposals that could see up to three (or none) middle schools being closed in Dunstable? If so, you are encouraged to attend a public meeting at the Grove Theatre on May 7th.

Parents, carers and other interested parties are invited to attend a meeting of the council’s Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee to listen and take part in the committee’s consideration of a report on the proposed closure of Ashton VA, Brewers Hill and Streetfield Middle Schools that will eventually be considered by the Council’s Executive on the 27th May. The public meeting is taking place at the Grove Theatre on 7 May, starting at 7pm.

At the meeting the committee will consider a detailed report covering the outcomes of the three consultations, previous public meetings as well as other relevant factors relating to the future of the schools. The report is available to view on Central Beds Council website www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/modgov/ieListMeetings.aspx?CId=650&Year=0. The report, including recommendations from the committee will then be considered by the council’s Executive on 27 May.

As with all council meetings, everyone is welcome to attend. If you would like to speak at the meeting you will need to register to do so before the start of the meeting. Please contact the scrutiny team on 0300 300 4634 or email scrutiny@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk for more information.

Houghton Regis' CBC Councillors (Lib Dems) David Jones, Rita Egan, Susan Goodchild, and Peter Williams are looking for your opinions.

Cllr Mark Versallion, Executive Member for Children’s Services, said:

"This is a very important and difficult decision that we are faced with as something has to change now for these three schools. I really do encourage everyone, particularly parents and teachers to come along to this meeting. Everything we are told will get taken into consideration before any decisions are made.”

For more information about education in Central Bedfordshire and to see a video explaining what is happening locally go to www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/learning/schools/going-to-school.aspx

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Wild Family Fun at Houghton Hall Park.

Wild Family Fun, run by Groundwork Luton & Bedfordshire, aims to provide an opportunity for families to learn together and work towards gaining the John Muir Award (an award celebrating wild places).

Through the course, families will gain skills and knowledge about safe play in the outdoors, creative use of natural resources and using outdoor play to enhance numeracy and literacy.

Activities include den making, nature trails, eco-art, bird box making and camp fire cooking. The course will run from the Cricket Pavilion, on the Green in the Park, and from the community centre in the library complex.

Participants will be advised of the start location for each of the days.

Who’s it for?

The course is for families living in Central Bedfordshire or Bedford Borough who:-
- Are interested in learning about using the outdoors for play
- Want to work together to achieve something as a family
- The course is targeted at families in which the adults are without formal qualifications or have not reached level 2 (5 GCSE’s Grade A*-C or equivalent). 

Applicants will be assessed and if a parent with a full Level 2 has needs that can be met by the programme and it is appropriate for the mother or father and the child, we may be able, as an exception, to enrol him/her.

What does it consist of?

The course is run over four whole days, providing you with all the skills and knowledge your family will need to help enjoy free and creative fun outdoors. Families will be required to attend all days of the course and may be given short activities to do at home between the sessions. 

Information, Advice and Guidance Support will be provided to all adult learners to review your previous experience and develop a learning plan for you and your family to work towards during the course. 

Learners can also be provided with more dedicated support from a Personal Advisor to help identify pathways to get back into employment, education or training.

What are the benefits?

- Meeting other families and sharing skills and experience
- Learning as a family and sharing your new knowledge together
- Understanding how you can have free and safe fun with your family outdoors
- Accessing information and guidance about further learning and/ or employment 

How much does it cost?

The course is free to attend for those who meet the eligibility criteria and who live in Central Bedfordshire or Bedford Borough.

What do I need to bring?

You will need to wear clothing and sturdy footwear suitable for spending the day outdoors in the Park. You will need to bring a packed lunch.

When is the course running?

Days 1-3 Wednesday 28th, 29th & 30th May 10am—4pm Day 4  - Saturday 14th June 10am—4pm 

How do I book?
Please contact Vicky or Tillie at Groundwork on 01582 720147 or email at vicky.duxbury@groundwork.org.uk

Grow it, Cook it, Share it! - Parkside Neighbourhood Centre - Free

What is it?

Grow it, Cook it, Share it! is a 10 week course which aims to provide an opportunity for families to learn how to grow and nurture fruit and vegetables either in their own garden or at an allotment.

The course is run by Groundwork Luton & Bedfordshire and will be based at Parkside Neighbourhood Centre, next to Hawthorn Lower School, Houghton Regis. The majority of the course will take place outdoors in the Centre’s garden.

You will have an opportunity to take part in fun activities which will teach you all you need to know in order to grow, care for, harvest and use a range of fruit and vegetables. 

Who’s it for? The course is for families living in Central Bedfordshire or Bedford Borough who:-

- Are interested in learning how to grow their own fruit and vegetables at home, or at an allotment or community garden 
- Have children aged 4+  - Want to work together to achieve something as a family
- The course is targeted at families in which the adults are without formal qualifications or have not reached level 2 (5 GCSE’s Grade A*-C or equivalent). 

Applicants will be assessed and if a parent with a full Level 2 has needs that can be met by the programme and it is appropriate for the mother or father and the child, we may be able, as an exception, to enrol him/her.

What does it consist of? The course will run on a Tuesday afternoon for 10 weeks starting on 13th May. Sessions 1 and 9 are just for adult learners, these sessions will be 3 hours long and will run from 3pm – 6pm.

All of the other sessions are for you and your child/children, and these sessions will run from 3.45pm – 5.30pm. A drink and a snack will be available for learners on arrival.

Adult learners are required to attend all 10 sessions of the course.  Information, Advice and Guidance Support will be provided to all adult learners to review your previous experience and develop a learning plan for you and your family to work towards during the course.  Learners can also be provided with more dedicated support from a Personal Advisor to help identify pathways to get back into employment, education or training.

What are the benefits? - Meeting other families and sharing skills and experience
- Learning as a family and sharing your new knowledge together
- Understanding how you can grow your own fruit and vegetables and add these to the family diet
- Understanding how growing at home can help reduce your weekly grocery budget
- Accessing information and guidance about further learning and/or employment 

How much does it cost? The course is free to attend and is open to those who meet the eligibility criteria.

What do I need to bring? You will need to wear clothing and sturdy footwear suitable for working outdoors in a garden. You may wish to bring a note book. 

Houghton Regis Pride in Day Friday 25 April

 Times  9.30am to 2pm at Morrisons and Bedford Square.

Come along and take part in the beer goggles safety test, find out more about Doctor Bike, Fire Bikes, Rave Bus, Good Neighbours and learn how fostering and adoption has made a difference to young people's lives.

There will also be security etching of cycles and free crime prevention advice from Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Neighbourhood Watch

For more information, contact the Community Safety Team - community.safety@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk or telephone 0300 300 8302

Projects and Opportunities 24 April

Please find below this weeks’ link to projects and opportunities. I’m aware that the link doesn’t work for everyone  so it is also uploaded onto the Town Council website.

 https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0ByQBCAHt4M8sSzdpa1l2VXc3Ync&usp=sharing

Best Wishes,

Jan

Jan Cooper

Community Organiser, Houghton Regis Town Council

Pride in Houghton Day is nearly Upon Us!

Pride in Houghton Regis

Friday 25th April
9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
 
Morrisons, Bedford Square.
  • Rave Bus - Healthwatch
  • Countryside Access - display
  • Houghton hall Park project - survey
  • Fostering and adoption - display
  • Groundwork Luton - display
  • Stevenage Leisure - display
  • Community safety / Trading Standards /ASB – display
 
Bedford Square car park  
  • Police - securing number plates / cycle marking
  • Fire Service – Fire bikes
  • Travel Choices – promote Dr bike / sustainable transport
  • Road safety – reaction time activity especially when under the influence
  • Bobbyvan – crime prevention referrals for the elderly
  • DogWarden – advice regarding dogs
 
We will also be visiting homes in the area offering fire and crime reduction messages.
 
Teams will be out in Moore Crescent, Bidwell Hill, Hammersmith Gardens, Westminster Gardens and at the Pavilion undertaking Environmental Clean Up projects.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Duke of Burgundy Threatened at Totternhoe - Please help to save him!


Wildlife Trust BCN

Duke-of-Burgundy web page.png
 


Please help us save local rare and threatened butterflies

Did you know that one of the UK’s rarest butterflies, the Duke of Burgundy, lives on your doorstep?


This elusive butterfly can be spotted from late April to early July at Totternhoe nature reserve in Bedfordshire, where the Wildlife Trust is managing chalk grassland habitat especially for these beautiful insects. 

Changes to our towns, cities and countryside mean that butterflies have fewer places to call home. Last year the State of Nature report confirmed that over the last 50 years a frightening 60% of monitored UK butterfly species have declined. 

Make a donation today

We want to restore and link together areas of chalk grassland for the benefit of butterflies and a host of other creatures, for example, turtle doves, slow-worms and small mammals, but we need your help. We are planning to remove or cut back scrub, control invasive plants and repair fencing so that livestock can graze. We have secured a grant of £44,346 towards this vital work but we still need to raise £20,000 to make these places perfect for butterflies. 

Butterflies are beautiful and essential to the health of the environment but they are disappearing fast. Donate now to help ensure a more colourful future for all of us. 

Thank you for your support 

With best wishes

Nancy Reed
Bedfordshire Reserves Manager

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Outlying Parcels of Land Will be 'Houghton Regis'

When Luton Borough Council negotiated for land at Dog Kennel Down for the Luton- Dunstable - Houghton Regis Guided Busway, it was agreed that a parcel of land at Blows Down would be re-designated as owned by Houghton Regis Town Council.

The hand-over is due on completion of the busway, and in turn is expected to be handed over to the Wildlife Trust to manage.

See Map

Another parcel of land is the old railway corridor from Dog Kennel Walk bridge, to the A5, which will also be transferred to the Houghton Regis Town Council.

See Map

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The People's Millions 2014


The People’s Millions 2014 is now open for applications for communities to come forward with a great idea to make their community a better place. Anything from youth and environmental projects to schemes that improve employment prospects or help people in need are in for a chance of bagging the Big lottery Fund cash, provided entrants can convince their community through a broadcast on ITV news that their idea is worthy of the prize.

The People’s Millions is an annual TV competition run by ITV and Big Lottery Fund which awards National Lottery funding to community projects that will improve the lives of local people. The People’s Millions gives the public the chance to vote on which local projects should receive National Lottery funding. This year The People’s Millions is offering a total of £3.8 million to 76 communities across the UK.

If you’re a voluntary or community organisation, school, local authority or health body you’re eligible to apply.

Entry packs are available at www.peoplesmillions.org.uk and the deadline for completed entries is 12 noon on Friday 16 May 2014.

Regards

Kim

Kim Mead 
Information Services Co-ordinator 

Voluntary and Community Action

Bossard House 
West Street 
Leighton Buzzard 
LU7 1DA

Tel: 01525 850559 
Fax: 01525 376281

Email: kim@action-centralbeds.org.uk

Sunday, 13 April 2014

4YP Supporting Young People Needing to Improve Their Family Relationships

Are you a young person in the area who could use some support contacting family elders?

Or do you know a young person that could use some support?

 

4YP are commissioned by Central Bedfordshire Council to provide support for up to a year for young people who have a parent or close family member in prison.  Therefore this is a free service which schools can access for their students and other professionals can access for their clients aged 10-17. 

 

Over the past year their support worker has helped young people by:

* advocating on behalf of young people at professionals meetings

* mediating with foster carers on behalf of young people to improve relationships

* supported young people to improve behaviour and attendance in school

* just being there on the end of the phone and to talk to face to face on a regular basis

* helping one young man to find his father after many years of no contact and not knowing which prison he was in

* offering to go with a young person to visit her mum in prison

 

There are many young people out there in this situation who could use this support and new referrals are welcome.

 

Referrals should be made by speaking to someone at your school and  asking them to complete an EHA form and submitting it to the CAF admin team at Central Bedfordshire.

 

If you have any queries regarding this project please feel free to contact Gill Boydell at gillboydell@4ypuk.com or on 07903 202 703.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Plan to Build 6 Apartments in Tennyson Avenue

A planning application has been submitted for "Land North of Tennyson Avenue between 97 and 119, Tennyson Avenue, Houghton Regis" for the development of land for residential purposes - erection of 3 one bedroom apartments, 3 two bed apartments, landscaping and parking. 

Trees on the land were recently subjected to tree preservation orders. The application states that many of the trees would be retained, and a "Tree Survey and Arboricultural Method Statement" is included in the application.

The application is on behalf of Clarence Country Homes Ltd.

Houghton Regis Town Councillors will review the application on Wednesday 9th April, before it goes forward to Central Bedfordshire Council for a decision. 

The application and plans can be viewed online at http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/PLANTECH/DCWebPages/AcolNetCGI.gov and then, by entering application number,  CB/14/00858/FULL

Friday, 4 April 2014

Special Search is on for 127 Policing Volunteers

Currently, there are 203 Specials in the county, but both the Chief Constable and the Commissioner are hoping to see the numbers increase to 330 by this time next year. A recruitment campaign is already underway. 

Activities lined up for this weekend include events which the Specials routinely help to patrol and  police such as rave prevention patrols in Central Bedfordshire on Friday and Saturday evening; Luton Football on Saturday; and Operation HOGG on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There will also be a ‘scenario weekend’ for the new intake on Saturday.

Last year the Police & Crime Commissioner, Olly Martins, allocated £115k from his Community Safety Fund to finance costs such as equipment, uniform and training for 46 more Special Constables. “The impressive and tangible results that they have achieved show that this money was well spent – and I hope to be able to provide further financial support this year,” he said.

Although Special Constables are unpaid, many of them speak of the satisfaction they gain from volunteering, Mr Martins commented. “The training and work they do also provides them with valuable opportunities for personal and professional development which can be a spring-board to a new career.”

Volunteering around four hours of their time a week, they serve alongside regular police officers and share the same powers. Training is on-going, but initially covers Law, self-defence, first aid and conflict/threat management. This training can take place over eight weeks on two evenings a week and three weekends or a two-week intensive course Monday to Friday 8-5pm and one weekend. Information about how to apply to become a Special is available on Bedfordshire Police’s website.

People interested in joining the Specials can find out more at

http://www.bedfordshire.police.uk/about_us/careers/special_constables.aspx



Thursday, 3 April 2014

Arriva Looking to Encourage Bus Users As Children Go for 50p



Arriva are here to help families get out and about with the exciting 'Kids Go Cheap' offer
.

Any child travelling with a fare-paying adult can travel for just 50p for any single journey, cutting the cost of travel for families.
 
The offer applies after 09.30 hours on weekdays and all day at weekends and bank holidays.
In the school holidays, the deal gets even better with one adult being able to travel with two children for 50p each!

Linsey Frostick, Regional Marketing Manager said “With the rising cost of fuel, getting out and about with the family can be costly, but with our offer, just getting into town on a Saturday or having a day out locally is now really affordable.”

Tickets can be purchased from the driver and any adult who has a weekly or 4-weekly ticket can also take advantage of this great offer.

Linsey continues “This ticket gives people further reason to try the bus for the first time and leave the car and hassle of parking and traffic at home”.

Pride In Houghton Day - Clean up for the town on April 25th - Join in!

‘Pride in’ days aim to improve the general environment of a location, provide crime prevention advice and are an opportunity for local agencies to engage with the general public. 

Partnership Working

The Community Safety Partnership is working with Houghton Regis Town Council, partner agencies and public and voluntary organisations to achieve these aims.  Locations and priorities for Pride in are chosen from data obtained from Bedfordshire Police and partners with additional information provided by local communities.

Pride In Details

Pride in Houghton Regis will take place on Friday 25th April  9.30am-2.00pm. 

Partners will gather in the Morrisons car park in Houghton Regis to deliver crime prevention advice, support and education for the local community.  A secondary location for partnership activity will be near Bedford Square, Houghton Regis.
  
The event will also encourage local residents to become involved in community safety initiatives including Road Safety, Adult Social Care, Healthlink, Fostering and Adoption, Countryside Access.  Practical fire safety, security of cycles and road vehicles and crime prevention advice will be given from Neighbourhood Watch, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Bedfordshire Police.

Highways, Housing and Houghton Regis Town Council will work together to organise environment clear ups


Further information 

For more information, or if you would like to attend this event, please contact the Community Safety Partnership - community.safety@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk or John Seamarks - Community Safety Officer, Tel: 0300 300 5490. 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

TickTock Decimal Clocks Start Today in South Bedfordshire

From today residents in Dunstable and Houghton Regis will be going to decimal time. There will be 100 new seconds in a new minute, 100 new minutes in a new hour, and  just 10 new hours in a new day.

Local supermarkets Morrison, Tesco, Co-op and Nisa have all agreed to help people get used to the new time system, and assistants will be on big hand and little hand to help people make the change.
Scheme organiser, D'Aftasa Broosh explained, "The changes will be welcomed by people living near church clocks, and by spouses suffering their other half's cuckoo clocks, as they won't be chiming or cuckooing 24 times a day on the hour, instead that number will be reduced to 10."


Professor Abinga Al Larf said, "It's a problem when people want to add times up. If a tv programme started at 7.10pm and finished at 9.pm it's currently very difficult to work out how many minutes that is. In digital time it will be much easier. You'll just have to do a simple take way sum. 900 - 710 = 190 new minutes."

"The digital time converter app will be available on download from iTimes until 12noon. When the timely application has been downloaded, and a watch or clock has been passed over the applications software, the time changes will be made. TDC might output the time of arrival for each incoming pulse. Some applications wish to measure the time interval between two events rather than some notion of an absolute time. If time is measured by whole counts, then the resolution is limited to the clock period. For example, a 10 MHz clock has a resolution of 100 ns.  

The dual-slope conversion can take a long time: a thousand or so clock ticks in the scheme described above. That limits how often a measurement can be made (dead time). Resolution of 1 ps with a 100 MHz (10 ns) clock requires a stretch ratio of 10,000 and implies a conversion time of 150 μs.[10] To decrease the conversion time, the interpolator circuit can be used twice in a residual interpolator technique.[10] The fast ramp is used initially as above to determine the time. The slow ramp is only at 1/100. The slow ramp will cross zero at some time during the clock period. When the ramp crosses zero, the fast ramp is turned on again to measure the crossing time (tresidual). Consequently, the time can be determined to 1 part in 10,000. "

The professor's wife, Effina, said, "We've made it very easy to understand."

"Typically people sleep for 8 hours so we don't need those hours. Those hours will be held in a new timebank.  In digital electronics, hold time is the minimum amount of time that a data signal should be held steady after a clock event so that the data are reliably sampled in synchronous circuits such as flip-flops. School and work  will start in the first new hour, a new hour later it will be time for lunch, then there will be another new hour's work or school in the afternoon. "

If successful, the new time system will be rolled out across the country. The South Bedfordshire area has been selected by the World Time Federation Authority Peoples Representatives In Longevity (WTF-APRIL)  but don't be fooled into thinking you have to go along with it.

Published at 005.00.00.02.01.