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Showing posts from April, 2020

Captain Tom Made Honorary Colonel on His 100th Birthday

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Captain Tom Moore has been made an honorary colonel by the Queen to mark his 100th birthday, after raising £30million for NHS Charities Together.

The war veteran walked laps of his garden to raise the funds during the coronavirus lockdown to raise money for healthcare workers.

Capt Tom has now raised well over £31million for NHS Charities Together and walked 200 laps of his garden in total.

He was informed of his promotion to honorary colonel in a letter presented to him at his home by Lt Col Thomas Miller, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.

Capt Tom said, “Although I can't use it in public it really is something special to be able to say, honorary colonel.

"I'm still Captain Tom, that's who I really am but if people choose to call me colonel, well, thank you very much!"

Earlier in the day, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, was delighted to present Captain Tom Moore with a 100th birthday card from Her Majesty The Quee…

New Foal Born at Whipsnade Zoo Under Lockdown

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Zookeepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire have shared the first images of a newborn Przewalski’s foal – a species once declared Extinct in the Wild - born during the nationwide lockdown at the UK’s largest zoo.  



The female foal was born to mum Charlotte and dad Nikki on the 13 April. Mum was at first naturally protective of her new youngster and kept her hidden away, out of view of zookeepers who were eager to get a proper look at the new arrival.

An Endangered wild horse native to the steppes of central Asia, the Przewalski’s horse is known in Mongolia as Tahki, meaning spirit.  Once classified as Extinct in the Wild, the Przewalski’s horse was reintroduced to its native habitat in Mongolia, thanks to conservation breeding efforts by organisations including ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Team leader at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Mark Holden said: “The birth of a Przewalski’s foal is a real cause for celebration – they’re considered to be the last remaining truly wild horse in the world, and ZSL Wh…

Houghton Regis CBC Councillors Support Good Causes

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Community grants Each Central Bedfordshire Councillor has had access to £2,000 from which they can allocate grants to local projects that demonstrate a community benefit. Councillors could also work together across a ward to combine their grants, if that’s what was most needed. Some wards have more needs or more groups or more organisations than others, so funds allocated across the authority area will vary.

In order to qualify for cultural, environmental, sporting or social projects, the applicants had to have match funding.

In Houghton Regis the following councillor awards have been announced:

Councillor Farrell's grant allocation Organisation: HR Hub Café
Purpose of grant: To purchase catering equipment to support the Hub Café and Coffee Time sessions
Amount: £185
Also,
Organisation: A local Primary School (tbc)
Purpose of grant: Contribution towards setting up a sensory room
Amount: £300
Also,
Organisation: Toddle Totts
Purpose of grant: Contribution towards new equipment
Amo…

Premier Inn Equipment Donated to Ambulance Service Call Centres

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Whitbread have helped the East of England Ambulance Service to extend their call centres with a donation of 100 phones, 38 desks and 38 chairs.

Office equipment formerly owned by Premier Inn has a potentially lifesaving new calling – after owner Whitbread donated it to the East of England Ambulance Service to help it cope with unprecedented call volumes.

Following the relocation of the Premier Inn Customer Contact Centre from Oakley House in Luton to its new home in Houghton Hall Business Park in Houghton Regis, the facilities team at Whitbread’s Head Office had a supply of office equipment, including 100 phones, that they were waiting to rehome.

With the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team were made aware through their business contacts at Fujitsu that the East of England Ambulance Service were in need of additional equipment to expand their operations at their call centres. Their three call centres in Bedford, Norwich and Chelmsford required rapid expansion in order to co…

Selous Asks For More than £50k to Support Leisure and Tourism Businesses

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In an exchange in Parliament yesterday local MP Andrew Selous called for more funding to support the leisure and tourism businesses.

Andrew Selous, “I am grateful to the Treasury for the work it has done to keep the economy going. However, I have a tourism business and a leisure business that have been turned down by their banks, even though they are both viable, and they will need more than the £50,000 from the bounce-back scheme announced by the Chancellor today. These are excellent businesses that we must not lose. Will he continue to look further at such cases and consider grants for where there are very difficult situations?”

Rishi Sunak,The Chancellor of the Exchequer, responded, “Without knowing the particular details of those businesses, I can say that many businesses in the retailleisure and hospitality trade will be eligible for cash grants of £25,000. Also, all businesses can use the furlough scheme, which is significant, and there will be business rates holidays for those…

119 Homes To Be Approved on Houghton Regis Green Belt?

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Planning Application No: CB/19/02130/FULL (Houghton Hall)
Address: The Gates, Land East of Bedford Road, Bidwell, Houghton Regis, (nearest postcode: LU5 6JP)

"Demolition of existing residential dwelling and erection of 119 dwellings including the creation of a new vehicular access, recreational open space,parking infrastructure and associated landscaping and ancillary works."

Applicant: Jarvis Homes Ltd

This application is Recommended For Approval by council officers. The application is a departure from the Development Plan and the Town Council have objected so the application was referred to the Development Management Committee. The Committee is not meeting due to the pandemic, and instead a Panel will meet and pass on their thoughts to the Chief Executive of Central Bedfordshire Council, Richard Carr.

Meanwhile, Chalgrave Parish Council held virtual meetings on Tuesday this week using Zoom, and Dunstable Town Council held a virtual Plans meeting via Microsoft Teams on the sam…

Fun Maths Games Developed - Wins The Queen’s Award for Enterprise

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Bedfordshire business that ‘makes maths fun’ becomes Winner of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis has praised Maths Circle Ltd for being awarded the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, the UK’s most prestigious business awards, announced on HM The Queen’s Birthday.

Maths Circle Ltd is a small company of seven employees who developed "Times Tables Rock Stars" a gamified app solution to engage children with learning of times tables and increase their confidence and proficiency in maths. The Bedford based business wins the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.

Innovation Award winners are defined as having demonstrated that their business has substantially improved in areas of performance and commercial success by either outstanding innovation, continued over at least two years, or continuous innovation and development over at least five years. Innovation achievements are assessed for invention, design or production; pe…

The biggest health emergency of our lifetime — Council Leader

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“This is the biggest health emergency of our lifetime, and the most important thing we can all do is to stick to the guidance about staying at home.” — Cllr James Jamieson, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council.

The Coronavirus national emergency is worrying for everyone.  And those who may be vulnerable and are not able to access support from family, friends or trusted neighbours will be particularly concerned.

Central Bedfordshire Council is working across the area with local groups and individuals to help those people in need.

These may be people who are unable to leave the house, perhaps because they are elderly and live on their own, are pregnant, self-isolating, shielding, or have a disability or mental health issues.

The council can provide emergency food parcels and medicine delivery for those in urgent need, and in the longer term, voluntary organisations across the area are also providing support.

But, as Council Leader James Jamieson explains, everyone can do their bit.

Cll…

The Disability Resource Centre : Pandemic Update

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The Resource Centre based in Poynters Road Houghton Regis is busy helping hundreds of vulnerable people every week across Luton and Bedfordshire. This is a coronavirus update on how they are continuing to help carers, people with long term health conditions, disabled people and their friends and families.


Melanie Hawman, the CEO, said, “"Since the prime minister announced the lockdown we have helped 1,796 people in Luton and Bedfordshire. Our phone lines have been hot and increasingly people have been emailing us, sending chat messages and texts. Our team have been getting calls about support for people leaving a hospital and many vulnerable people have been worried about food and medicines. We have also received calls from carers concerned about supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves.

​“A large number of callers contact us for help to support their older relatives and many disabled people need local help with shopping and medical appointments. Many…

Force: Busiest Weekend Ever - Please Comply With COVID-19 Lockdown

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Bedfordshire Police force has had their busiest ever weekend as they encouraged people to comply with the COVID-19 lockdown alongside everyday policing.

The force logged 2,555 incidents across all four days of the Easter bank holiday, including 712 on Saturday and 714 on Sunday.

The Sunday figure broke a 22-year record for the highest number of incidents recorded in a single day. Between 36 and 42 per cent of the logged incidents on each day were linked to breaches of the regulations on coronavirus.

They have now issued a total of 63 fixed penalty notices for breaches of these rules, the majority of which related to people breaking the restrictions on movement.

Of these 63 penalty notices, 48 were issued over the Easter weekend. These included people having parties as well as larger gatherings in parks and town centres.

Alongside engaging people to comply with the guidance, officers also responded to a number of other offences such as domestic abuse and theft, as well as making a numb…

Whitbread Food Donation Makes 65,000 Meals

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Whitbread PLC, with offices in Houghton Regis, and the UK’s largest hospitality operator, has donated over 27 tonnes of food to charity, the majority of which will be to food redistribution charity FareShare as part of its new partnership with the organisation. The food, which has been diverted as a result of the closure of its restaurants and is enough to provide 64,387 meals, most of which will be redistributed through FareShare’s nationwide network of thousands of frontline charities as they work to support those most vulnerable through the Coronavirus crisis.

The partnership with FareShare has come at an unprecedented time for UK hospitality, and the relationship is due to play a key part in Whitbread's sustainability targets to reduce food waste across its business. The timing of the partnership has become pivotal to both organisations as with the closure of its restaurants, Whitbread now finds itself in the position of having huge surpluses of food in the run up to what wou…

NHS Works with Tech Firms to Help Care Home Residents and Patients

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Thousands of isolated residents and patients will be able to connect with their family and friends with video call devices, the government has announced.


NHSX is working with technology firms to help some of society’s most at-risk and isolated people access vital emotional support and companionship during COVID-19.

As part of this work, Facebook will provide up to 2,050 of its Portal video-calling devices for free to hospitals, care homes and other settings including hospices, in-patient learning disability and autism units.

50 of the devices have already been deployed to pilot sites in Surrey, with Manchester, Newcastle and London and other areas to follow, with support from Accenture.

NHSX Digital Transformation Director Iain O’Neil said, “Technology companies big and small continue to pledge their resources and expertise to support our NHS and social care system in these unprecedented times.

“We are working hard to find and develop services that meet people’s equally unprecedented n…

Susan Lousada: High Sheriff of Bedfordshire 2020-2021

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Susan Lousada was born and educated in Bedfordshire and has lived all but four years of her life in the county. She is married to Simon, has two children and two grandchildren and enjoys local history, gardening, skiing, walking and spinning classes at her local gym.

Susan has a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry and Microbiology from Leeds University and a PGC in Translational Medicine from Cranfield University. She has over 20 years’ experience of running a family business prior to its sale in 2007.

She is currently taking a sabbatical from sitting as a non-legal member in the First Tier Tax Tribunal and has recently stepped down from serving on a Research Ethics Committee based in Oxford where she has held both the Chair and Vice-Chair positions.

Susan is privileged to serve as Deputy Lieutenant for Bedfordshire and support the Lord-Lieutenant in carrying out her functions as Her Majesty The Queen’s representative in the county. She is a school governor with responsibility for safeguardin…

NHS Asks People to share their Coronavirus Symptoms to Help Others

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A new Coronavirus Status Checker will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak.


A new Coronavirus Status Checker that will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak has been launched today by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

People with potential coronavirus symptoms are now being asked to complete the status checker and answer a short series of questions which will tell the NHS about their experience.

It is open to anyone in the UK to use on the NHS website and in its initial phase the NHS is particularly keen for anyone who thinks they may be displaying potential coronavirus symptoms, no matter how mild, to complete it.

Status Checker users are clearly told at the beginning and the end of the survey that it is not a triage or clinical advice tool, and that they should visit 111 online for medical advice about their symptoms.

The information gathered will help the NHS to pl…

World's largest trial of potential coronavirus treatments rolled out across the UK

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The world’s largest randomised clinical trial of potential coronavirus treatments is well underway in the UK as part of the race to find a treatment.

A number of promising treatments are being tested and, if the science supports it, will be given to NHS patients as quickly as possible.

Definitive results on whether the treatments are safe and effective are expected within months and, if positive, they could potentially benefit hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

Almost 1,000 patients from 132 different hospitals have been already recruited in just 15 days and thousands more are expected to join the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial in the coming weeks, making it the largest randomised controlled trial of potential COVID-19 treatments in the world.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

The coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation and we are doing everything we can to fight it on all fronts through our evid…