Wednesday, 31 May 2017

HEALTH ISSUES - Party Manifestos 2017

Where do the parties stand on Health and the NHS?
The parties standing locally have issued their manifestos, some have more to say than others.
If these quotes from the manifesto's grab your attention, you might want to have a look at the further details in the manifestos (links are on the individual infogrames).
Remember, these are just selected excerpts, and a point made by one party may well be covered by another, but just not listed on these infogrames.

In this constituency, South West Bedfordshire - there are 5 candidates in the general election taking place on 8th June:

◘ Morenike Mafoh, Christian Peoples Alliance
◘ Daniel Norton, Liberal Democrat
◘ Morvern Rennie, Green
◘ Daniel Scott, Labour
◘ Andrew Selous, Conservative

 By clicking or tapping the images will enlarge
Morenike Mafoh, Christian Peoples Alliance - manifesto

Daniel Norton, Liberal Democrat - manifesto 

Morvern Rennie, Green - manifesto 

Daniel Scott, Labour - manifesto 

Andrew Selous, Conservative - manifesto  

For more guides to party positions on various issues, we recommend this BBC web site

Friday, 26 May 2017

New Arriva Services 33 & Z For Houghton Regis

Arriva bus services across Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis will be changing on 18th June.

Full timetables are being produced and they plan to have those in circulation in the next two weeks. An information desk will be in the Mall in Luton between the 8th and 11th June.

In addition to the service changes Arriva are also planning fare changes including the reduction of their day, week and 4 weekly tickets in price. A weekly network ticket will go down from £17.50 to just £15.

Busway Services A & Z

Busway A service will operate between Dunstable, Luton and Luton Airport only and an overnight service between the Interchange and the Airport is being introduced making the service 24 hours. The service will operate every 7.5 mins between Dunstable and Luton Interchange with 4 buses an hour going to the airport on Monday to Saturdays.
Sunday frequency remains the same. Timetable

Busway Z service route is changing. The Z will operate every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 20 minutes on Sundays and an evening service is being introduced on Sundays to maintain the link between Parkside and Dunstable.

The new Z service will miss out Windsor Drive. Instead it will run from Wheatfield Rd to new Parkside Drive link road, past GoHoughton, up to Hillborough shops, Tithe Farm Rd, High Street, Blackburn Rd, Busway, Asda. At Asda they change to A buses where they use the Busway to go to Luton Interchange. Some of the A's will also go to the airport.

Coming back, the A's will go from the airport to Luton Interchange, onto Busway for Asda Dunstable. Some of these A's then change into Z's and go to HR via Busway, High Street, Tithe Farm Rd, Hillborough, Parkside Drive new road, Wheatfield Rd, through Lewsey Farm to L&D, and onto busway at Chaul End  Lane, and from there to the railway interchange.

33 - A New Service For Houghton Regis
33 - Mondays to Fridays, Saturdays, but no Sunday service.

The 33 bus is to be extended on Monday-Saturdays from Lewsey Farm, via Wheatfield Road, Sandringham Drive, Windsor Drive, Parkside Drive and Tithe Farm Road to Houghton Regis. It will replace the withdrawn section of the Z route, and to part replace 38 route. The 33 will also operate via Beechwood Road, Addington Way and Leagrave High Street and will no longer serve the Hospital on Lewsey Road. The Sunday service is also withdrawn due to low usage. see Timetable.

1 Reinstated to Farley Hill

4 Reinstated to Farley Hill

12 New timetable and route

13 New timetable and route

14 Afternoon timetable changes

23 No change

24 New timetable

25 New timetable

27 New timetable

28 New timetable and route

28A Withdrawn

29 New timetable and route

29A Withdrawn

31 New timetable

32 New timetable

33 New timetable and route

38 Withdrawn

38A Withdrawn

70 New timetable

F70 New timetable

321 New timetable

A New timetable and route

Z New timetable and route

Download the full details. (pdf) or Read online at Arriva

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Free Workshops on Mental Health Issues

A number of free workshops are being held locally. Bedfordshire and Luton Recovery College is part of the Bedfordshire Mental Health Academy which is a formal partnership with East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) and the University of Bedfordshire.

The college is open to any adults who live or work in Bedfordshire and Luton.

Courses and workshops focus on mental health wellbeing and recovery. They are delivered by people with lived experience and professional experience.

We promote a positive student experience based on the principles of recovery and the values of the University of Bedfordshire and East London NHS Foundation Trust.

All of the courses and workshops are FREE of CHARGE.

Courses are open to people age 18 and over  who live or work in Bedfordshire and Luton
People living with mental health problems, their carers , family and friends
Colleagues from ELFT, Local authorities and local partner organisations

There are places still available on our workshops below. If you would like to book a place please email or Telephone Nicky on 01234 273479

Workshop title: Trans Gender Awareness
Date: Thursday 25th May 2017
Time: 10.30-12.30

Workshop title: CREATIVE WRITING
Date: TUESDAY 30TH MAY 2017
Time: 10.00 – 13.00
Venue: The Higgins Bedford, Castle Lane, Bedford, MK40 3XD

Date: Tuesday 30th May 2017
Time: 10.30 – 12.30
Venue: Incuba, 1 Brewers Hill Road, Dunstable, LU6 1AA

Workshop title: Asian Community Mental Health Wellbeing
Date: Thursday 1st June 2017
Time: 12.30-15.00
Venue:ACCM (UK) 3A Woburn Road, Bedford, MK40 1EG

Workshop title: Dementia after diagnosis information workshop
Date: Monday 5th June 2017
Time: 14.00-16.00
Venue:St Andrews Church Hall, Kimbolton Road, Bedford, MK40 2PF

Workshop title: Polish Community Mental Health & Wellbeing
Date: Tuesday 13th June 2017
Time: 10.30-13.00
Venue: ACCM (UK) 3A Woburn Road, Bedford, MK40 1EG

Workshop title: Co-Production
Date: Thursday 15th June 2017
Time: 10.00-12.00
Venue: Priory Methodist Church, Choir Vestry, 63 Newnham Avenue, Bedford, MK41 9QJ
(This workshop is for people who are currently using ELFT NHS Services only and their carers)

Workshop title: Interview Skills
Date: Thursday 15th June 2017
Time: 13.00-15.00
Venue: Priory Methodist Church, Small Hall, 63 Newnham Avenue, Bedford, MK41 9QJ
(This workshop is for people who are currently using ELFT NHS Services only and their carers)

Workshop title: Co-Production
Date: Thursday 15th June 2017
Time: 10.00-12.00
(This workshop is for people who are currently using ELFT NHS Services only and their carers)

Workshop title: Interview Skills
Date: Thursday 15th June 2017
Time: 13.00-15.00
(This workshop is for people who are currently using ELFT NHS Services only and their carers)

Workshop title: Alcohol & Awareness
Date: Wednesday 21st June 2017
Time: 13.30-15.30

Date: Screening – Thursday 29th June until Thursday 6th July
Time: 14.00-15.30
(This workshop is for people currently accessing Mental Health Services in Bedford & Central Bedfordshire)


Saturday, 20 May 2017

Biker Down Courses

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are running free 'Biker Down' courses throughout the year to give motorcyclists and other road users the skills they need to help bikers who may have been involved in an accident.

Each course lasts four hours and is split into four modules:

· June 17th
· July 22nd
· August 27th
· September 24th
· October 22nd
· November 26th

Please check the course is running and book at place, please don’t just turn up.

Module 1 – First on scene – this module includes an introduction into the course followed by detailed input on risk assessment, prioritisation of activities, calling the emergency services & giving accurate details, parking safely on arrival, scene safety, hazards that can be encountered at an incident and how to deal with each, managing adrenaline & generally staying calm & safe.

Module 2 – First Aid – this module covers basic live saving first aid techniques that can be applied when arriving first on scene. We cover managing the airway, breathing & circulation of casualties whilst reiterating being mindful of the hazards detailed in module 1.
We also perform a ‘Motorcycle Helmet’ removal demonstration and allow participants to practise the correct technique for this.

Module 3 – Avoiding the accident – this module enlightens attendees with current statistics with regards to motorcycle accidents, the most common causes of motorcycle accidents including both motion camouflage and the looming effect. The module concludes with a discussion on some advanced riding techniques that can be used to reduce the chance of becoming involved in an accident.

Module 4 – The Law – this module covers various aspects of the law and how it can affect persons involved in an RTC (such as modifications to vehicles invalidating your insurance). It also covers the information the Police will require after a serious collision, what to expect from the Police after a collision, the court process including what to expect if you are required to give evidence and finally a ‘frequently asked questions’ session covering several other interesting topics.

“Biker Down!” courses run throughout the year at Shefford Community Fire Station. The next one is on June 17th from 10am to 2pm and then at least once a month during the rest of the year. Anyone who would like more information, or to book a place, should contact:

Monday, 15 May 2017

The Challengers For South West Bedfordshire #GE2017

5 candidates will be on the ballot papers in South West Bedfordshire constituency for the General Election. Voting takes place on 8th June 2017 to elect a person to serve our area in the UK Parliament. They are: Morenike Mafoh (Christian Peoples Alliance), Daniel Norton (Liberal Democrats), Morvern Rennie (The Green Party), Daniel Scott (Labour), Andrew Selous (Conservative).

VOTING Thursday 8th June until 10pm

Meet Your Candidates

Morenike Mafoh

Christian Peoples Alliance. Morenike lives in  Dunstable with her husband and children. An experienced RGN and Peri-Operative Practitioner. She has worked in the NHS and private health sectors, and was a senior operating theatre nurse at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington London, and theatre sister in Milton Keynes General Hospital and Peri-Operative Nurse in Spire Health Care Harpenden for over 5 years. She currently works as a locum. She has concerns for the NHS doctors and nurses who are over stretched in the performance of their duties of care. She said, "The social welfare is denying disabled people their financial right and others receiving benefits. The police resources are overstretched because of increase in crime rate and call outs."
Morenike is a pastor, a Sunday school teacher, and mentor to the teens and youth. She believes in Christian values. Sanctity of marriage, supports the right of persecuted Christians and protection of unborn babies.

Twitter: ‎@CPA_Party Party Manifesto

Morvern Rennie

Morvern Rennie is a Green Party activist who lives and works in Bedfordshire. She is 28 years old, and married with two children, with a law degree from Strathclyde University.
Morvern said, "A chaotic brexit being led by inexperienced negotiators is a threat to the stability of the British economy. Greens will steady the ship and support Bedfordshire businesses by working to stay in the single market, defending free movement of workers and trusting the people of Britain to decide on the final deal we are offered by the EU. "

"We will help Bedfordshire's hard working families by campaigning for more affordable housing, reducing commuting costs by bringing the railways back into public ownership and fighting for a compassionate welfare system which makes work pay. "

"We will be a strong voice for education in Bedfordshire ensuring everyone has the chance to succeed in life by reducing class sizes, scrapping tuition fees, bringing back bursaries for nurses and ensuring our universities continue to be world leaders by matching EU funding."

Twitter: @Morvern4SWBeds       Morvern4SWBeds on Facebook  Party Manifesto

Daniel Scott

Daniel Scott is the Labour Party candidate. Mr Scott, from Leighton Buzzard, is self-employed and runs a small business in Milton Keynes. He has served as a school governor and is currently treasurer of the local triathlon club. Mr Scott came second in this constituency in 2015 with 20% of the vote. He said, "This Tory government has overseen the biggest cuts to our public services in a generation. The NHS and social care is in crisis, our schools are struggling under the weight of the budget cuts and cuts to police budgets are putting our safety at risk." (source)   Party Manifesto

Daniel Norton

The Liberal Democrats candidate is Daniel Norton.  Daniel, who lives in Bedfordshire, was inspired to take a more active role in politics during the EU Referendum. He said “I believe that Britain is an open, tolerant and united society and I am standing to give people the opportunity to vote for a strong opposition to the Tory Hard Brexit plan.” In his full time job Daniel is responsible for buying around £3 billion per year of gas and electricity for British Gas’ residential and business customers. His career path has been in utilities, as an analyst, risk management consultancy, and as a senior strategic analyst (source).
Twitter: @danielmnorton         DanielNortonLD on Facebook   Party Manifesto

Andrew Selous

Andrew Selous, is the Conservative candidate. Andrew has lived in SW Bedfordshire for 14 years and has fought hard for many improvements which are now being delivered. He is committed to an in-out EU Referendum and to controlling immigration. Former director of a small manufacturer, working to help local businesses start and expand. As a former TA soldier, wants strong defence for the United Kingdom in a troubled world. A school governor passionate about the best education in the world for our children. Strong backer of the NHS which saved his life, training as an NHS community first responder. Worker to introduce the Family Impact Test and to strengthen marriages and relationships. (source ).
Twitter: @AndrewSelous         andrewselous4swbeds on Facebook   Party Manifesto

Register to Vote

It takes just a few moments to register your right to vote, or to apply for postal vote. Go to - There are just a few questions to answer, and have your National Insurance number ready.  You need to register by 11:59pm on 22 May. You don’t need to register again if you’ve already registered.

Meetings. All Welcome.

send your questions to

Why registering your vote could change everything.

There are five candidates standing in South West Bedfordshire.

  • Morenike Mafoh, Christian Peoples Alliance
  • Daniel Norton, Liberal Democrats
  • Morvern Rennie, The Green Party
  • Daniel Scott, Labour
  • Andrew Selous, Conservative

Friday, 12 May 2017

​CVS Update | 12 May 2017

CVS Update  |  12 May 2017


Do you have any photographs of 'volunteers in action' that you can share? We are on the look-out for some still images of volunteers working with local organisations that we can use for printed and online media. If you have anything that you are allowed to share, then please email


Bedford Heritage Day (21 May, 1pm-4pm, Bedford Corn Exchange) is an event organised by The Polish Language and Culture Association, in cooperation with Bedfordshire Police Community Cohesion Team, Healthwatch Bedford Borough and Bedford Borough Strategic Partnership. Click here.

Freedom Programme Professionals Training, 26 May - This session offers professionals an opportunity to gain an insight into the content of the Freedom Programme and how women are supported through this. Click here.

Diabetes Week is 11-17 June and the Bedford Diabetes UK group are offering to come and talk to groups, free of charge. Click here.



Training from just £20 per delegate! - CVS has organised a new season of training courses for staff and volunteers of voluntary and community sector organisations in Bedfordshire.

  • Running Effective Meetings - Tuesday 27 June, 9:30am - 1pm
  • Taking and Presenting Minutes - Tuesday 18 July, 9:30am - 1pm
  • Recruiting and Selecting Staff - Thursday 20 July, 9:30am - 1pm
  • Finance Made Easy - Friday 21 July, 9:30am - 1pm

For more information click here.

Free Workshops - CVS offers a series of free workshops:

  • Safeguarding Awareness (22 May eve, 6 June am, 10 July am) An introduction to safeguarding which aims to raise awareness of the issues for voluntary and community groups working with children, young people or vulnerable adults.
  • Fit for Funding (31 May am, 20 June eve) - The workshop will cover all the basics you will need to get 'Fit for Funding', including your governing document, policies, budgeting, and a brief introduction to outcomes and demonstrating need.
  • Outcomes and Impact (13 July am) - This free workshop will help you to clearly link your aims, outcomes and activities in your funding applications.

For full details of all our training and other events, click here.



Listening for Change - Two Sides of the Same Coin is a report by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the Blagrave Trust which explores the relationship between funders and social-purpose organisations. Click here.

Charity Coms have issued a guide to producing annual reports. Click here.

Bedford Borough Council is consulting on the new 'Supported Housing Strategy'. Further details can be found here.



Prebend Day Centre are recruiting for the following roles:

  • Weekend Day Centre Worker (two positions), 10 hours per week (two five-hour shifts), £14,430 pro rata, 6-month fixed-term contract
  • Cleaner, 2 hours per day (hours by agreement), £14,430 pro-rata.

Deadline 16 May. Click here.

Community Director, Emmaus Village Carlton, £45,000 per annum. Deadline 9am, 19 May. Click here.

Polish-speaking sessional Youth and Community Worker, TOKKO Youth Space, Luton. 10 hours per week, £8-9 per hour depending on experience. Deadline 12pm, 22 May. Click here.

Service Delivery Manager, Citizens Advice Bedford, minimum of 30 hours per week, £25,012 pro-rata, permanent. Deadline  25 May. Click here.

Chief Executive, Willen Hospice, circa £80,000 per annum + benefits. Deadline 9am, 25 May. Click here.

Activities Coordinator, Oakley Rural, part-time post for three days a week. Deadline 31 May. Click here.

Domestic Abuse Practitioner, FACES, Bedford. Full-time, £21,745, deadline 2 June. Click here.

Administration Manager, Level Trust, Luton, 8 hours per week, £21,000 pro-rata. Deadline 2 June. Click here.

The Hope Programme is advertising a number of vacancies:

  • Service Delivery Manager, 21 hours per week
  • Administrator, 21 hours per week

For more information click here





Community Voluntary Service
43 Bromham Road
MK40 2AA
Tel: 01234 354366
Fax: 01234 214880


Registered Charity no: 1091423
Company Limited by Guarantee: 4312967

Monday, 8 May 2017

Tithe Farm Primary School - Positive Comments From Ofsted

Ofsted paid a recent visit to Tithe Farm Primary School and were impressed with what they saw.

Having been through a period of unrest Her Majesty’s Inspector recognized the great work being done at the school and felt confident they would get a positive outcome at their next inspection.

Leaders, including the new Headteacher Mrs Deborah Pargeter, were commended for their "relentless commitment and enthusiasm towards driving school improvement."

Further positive comments were made about all aspects of school life.

Children’s learning was recognised in an improvement in the quality of pupils’ work across a range of subjects…"  Particular reference was made about Early Years where the Inspector recognised the good progress children made.

Mrs Pargeter, Interim Headteacher, said, "My staff work tirelessly to give our children the best possible opportunities. We are passionate about learning and ensuring that children develop a love of learning from a young age. We want our school to be a fun place, where children hurry to in the morning, keen to find out what they are doing for the day. Whether it is making bonfires, acting out Shakespeare or making a speech; learning can be found everywhere. We are proud that Ofsted recognised the strengths of our school and look forward to continuing on the journey with their endorsement."

The school has some vacancies for staff. Enquiries should be directed to the school's Head Teacher: Mrs Deborah Pargeter. Telephone: 01582 865047 or visit the school's website at

Sunday, 7 May 2017

CBC Wins For Conservatives in Shefford and Biggleswade

By-elections took place on Thursday last week to elect Councillors to serve on Central Bedfordshire Council.

Mark Liddiard, Conservative, was elected to serve Shefford polling 1325. The Liberal Democrats came second;  Annabel Woolmer polled 499. Mark Liddiard replaces Lewis Birt who died in February [obit.].

Steven Watkins, Conservative, was elected to serve Biggleswade North polling 704. Independent candidate Bernard Rix was second polling 541. Steven Watkins replaces Maurice Jones who resigned.

The wins for the Conservatives mean that the party once again has 53 of the 59 councillors representing Central Bedfordshire. The others are  Independent (3), Labour (2), Liberal Democrat (1). Three of the opposition councillors represent wards in Houghton Regis.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Cost of Saving Park's Cedar Tree Put At £24,000

Photo: cedar tree pictured in 2014, A. D. Winter

The cost of saving a prominently positioned lebanese cedar tree in Houghton Hall Park, Houghton Regis, has been put at £24,000.

The figures, sent from Houghton Regis Town Council, show the cost breakdown as:  hire of the temporary fencing approximately £2,700, tree decay testing £970, tree consultant £1,230, tree work £925, permanent fencing £9,349, mulch bed to cost £8820, making a grand total of £23,994.

The cedrus lebani tree was discovered to be irreversibly diseased in 2016. The tree was tested because of the presence of Phaeolus Schweinitzi, a fungi that causes brown rot, which degrades the cellulose. Decay initiated above ground can lead to branch snap or breakout.

A consultant was engaged who conducted tomograph tests to assess the health of the tree at two different heights. The consultant advised that advanced levels of decay were indicated. At the higher level large branches could fail, or in wet, windy conditions it was regarded extremely likely that the whole tree might fall. The consultant outlined possible ways forward, including complete removal, crown reduction, creating a chainsaw memorial, pruning and fencing work.

At this news, many people in the town expressed their feelings showing how much the cedar tree was revered. A Special Meeting of the Town Council was convened in the summer of 2016 which recognised the tree's significant importance to the local community.

Land at Houghton Hall Park is owned in part by Houghton Regis Town Council, and in part by Central Bedfordshire Council. The cedar tree was  on land owned by the Town Council. In making their decision the Town Councillors considered public safety issues, and the stability of the tree. The tree was protected by a Tree Preservation Order.

The Agenda for the th July 2016 meeting, and the consultant's report is available at HRTC website or here.

Many questions were posed by members of the public, as well as by councillors. The meeting was advised by an arboriculturist from BHA Trees, who was present. A voting majority of 7 in favour, 4 against, agreed to, "carry out necessary crown and limb reduction to the tree and erect an exclusion fence with warning signs all around the tree to prevent anyone accessing the fall zone".

Afterwards, Cllr Jimmy Carroll commented on Facebook, "Many many thanks to those in Houghton Regis and beyond who helped with the public consultations on the Village Green and Town Council web site and especially those who made the effort to attend the Special Town Council Meeting. You have helped the Town Councillors make a way forward for this most ancient member of our COMMUNITY."

Former Town Councillor, Alan Winter, commented on Facebook at the time, "Because of its position I think I would have opted for its removal. However, the tree quite possibly will last many more years so if the team redesigning the park could take the paths further away from the cedar tree that would further help with safety concerns."

There were mixed comments posted on Facebook from the public.

One wrote, "Will it not look like a complete eyesore then with fences and signs??? Will it not just detract from any improvements that are being implemented at the site? It's a tree, it's diseased, get over it and move on people."

Another wrote, "The report is interesting reading and I suspect the experts do not always get it right, and my own feelings are that the cedar tree in Houghton Hall may well survive another 100 years!"

Another  suggested, " If it does have to go ... I reckon carve [it into] ... a giant squirrel."

Crown reduction and pruning works to the cedar tree near Houghton Hall were completed in February 2016.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

​CVS Summer Training Programme

CVS Summer Training Programme



A new season of training courses are on offer at CVS, with half-day sessions at our training facility in Bedford, 43 Bromham Road. Each session is available at just £20 per person for staff and volunteers in voluntary and community sector organisations in Bedfordshire.

We have selected a range of topics to help staff with the every-day running of their organisations. Follow the links through on the individual courses to find out more and access booking details.

Running Effective Meetings, on Tuesday 27 June 2017, 9:30 - 13:00  - A half-day course designed to help those who chair or participate in meetings to understand how to run effective meetings that are constructive, concise and actually achieve something.

Taking and Presenting Minutes, on Tuesday 18 July 2017, 9:30 - 13:00 - A half-day course for those who find themselves taking and presenting minutes for different kinds of meetings.

Recruiting and Selecting Staffon Thursday 20 July 2017, 9:30 - 13:00   - A  half-day course designed to help managers and supervisors to develop efficient recruitment practices, 'read' applications / select candidates, prepare for interviews and ask pertinent questions.

Finance Made Easy, on Friday 21 July 2017, 9:30 – 13:00 - A half-day course for treasurers, finance officers or trustees, wanting to draw up budgets, develop financial procedures and present management accounts.

CVS also offers a  series of free workshops:

Safeguarding Awareness (8 May EVE, 6 June AM, 10 July AM) An introduction to safeguarding which aims to raise awareness of the issues for voluntary and community groups working with children, young people or vulnerable adults.

Fit for Funding (31 May AM, 20 June EVE) - The workshop will cover all the basics you will need to get 'Fit for Funding', including your governing document, policies, budgeting, and a brief introduction to outcomes and demonstrating need. 

Outcomes and Impact (13 July AM) - This free workshop will help you to clearly link your aims, outcomes and activities in your funding applications.

For full details on all our training and other events, see the events page on our website.  





United Kingdom


Community Voluntary Service
43 Bromham Road
MK40 2AA
Tel: 01234 354366
Fax: 01234 214880


Registered Charity no: 1091423
Company Limited by Guarantee: 4312967