Parent carer Sarah Panter is feeling very optimistic about her future after receiving NHS Carers Funding from Carers in Bedfordshire, a partnership between Central Bedfordshire Council, NHS Bedfordshire and Third Sector Carers Organisations. This has allowed her to take a break from her caring role and follow her ambition to train as a horticultural therapist.
As well as attending the new Central Bedfordshire Carers Forum, which has been set up to give carers an active role as partners in designing and monitoring the information and services they receive, Sarah has also signed up to be an ‘Expert by Experience’, which works to improve services by drawing upon people’s interests, experience and skills.
Her enthusiasm to get involved doesn’t end there, because Sarah has also volunteered to represent other parent carers as a member of the Carers Delivery Partnership, providing valuable insight and experience from someone who really understands what it is to be a parent carer on a daily basis.
Sarah said ‘I want to use my new qualifications to help other local carers, and I feel very optimistic about my future as a parent carer in Central Bedfordshire’
The first Central Bedfordshire Carers Forum was held on 16th February 2010 and was attended by nearly seventy carers from the area. The Forum has been set up by the Carer’s Delivery Partnership, a delivery group of the Healthier Communities and Older People Board, to work in partnership to improve the quality of life for those who provide unpaid care to people who are ill, frail and disabled or have mental health or substance misuse problems.
The partnership is working to make sure that Central Bedfordshire is a place where:
- Carers are treated as expert partners in their care needs and those of the person they care for
- Carers receive personalised information and services to help them in their caring role
- Carers enjoy a life of their own outside of their caring role
- Carers are supported to avoid financial hardship because of their caring role
- Young Carers are protected from inappropriate caring roles
If you are a carer and would like information about support, the Carers Delivery Partnership, or the Central Bedfordshire Carers Forum, please contact the Central Bedfordshire Carers Helpline on 0300 300 8836 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Central Bedfordshire Together has developed a comprehensive Community Engagement Strategy in discussions with Council officers, Ward Councillors, Town and Parish Councils and partners.
Residents’ views have been gathered by the Residents’ Survey and a Residents’ Discussion Workshop.
The final draft of the Strategy and Delivery Plan were endorsed at the Central Bedfordshire Together Board meeting on 13 May 2010.
The aim of the strategy is to help the public sector deliver greater added value to our citizens by understanding their needs and issues, and giving them greater involvement in the decision making process and access to public sector services.
Consultation on the draft strategy was carried out for 13 weeks from October 2009 until January 2010. A broad range of partners, officers and members were invited to respond to the consultation, which was also available on Central Bedfordshire Council’s website for all to view and respond to. Presentations were given to various partnership meetings and housing tenants’ panels.
Feedback from the consultation process has shown that overall there is strong support for all five of the principles contained in the strategy, and also the actions listed under each of them.
Implementation of the three year delivery plan for the Community Engagement Strategy will be co-ordinated by the Stronger Communities Thematic Partnership, and the Community Engagement Delivery Group. The current document is about the delivery of engagement via Central Bedfordshire Council, but more work will be undertaken in the first year to identify and include partner’s engagement activities.
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, and people worldwide are focusing on biodiversity: why it is so important, why it is under threat, and what we are all doing to help protect it?
The Bedfordshire and Luton Biodiversity Partnership is a partnership of many organisations including Central Bedfordshire Together, which promotes nature and biodiversity conservation in Bedfordshire and Luton. The partnership works to promote people’s enjoyment and appreciation of the natural environment, and to help conserve and enhance the wide variety of habitats and species in the county as outlined in the Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP). The plan includes action plans for seven habitats and twenty three species, as well as plans for data management and community involvement.
By maintaining rare habitats and species, and educating people about them, people are encouraged to engage with their local wildlife and green spaces. This not only helps develop awareness of nature conservation issues, but can also have substantial social and health benefits for all involved.
The work of the partnership is often carried forward by small working groups like the Wildlife Working Group; the Local Sites Partnership; the County Wildlife Sites Panel; the Environmental Education Working Group and the Woodland Forum, who can target their specialist knowledge to key work areas.
Partnership successes for Central Bedfordshire include:
- Establishment of a Local Wildlife Sites Group working to bring positive management to the 263 County Wildlife Sites that are located in the Central Bedfordshire area, helping to contribute to NI 197 and enable land managers to access guidance and funding for management works;
- Implementation of the Bedfordshire Wet Woodland Project, the assessment of the county’s important arable plant areas; the survey of the key chalk spring habitats; surveying the hedgerows of the Bedfordshire chalk hills;
- A successful bid for ‘Countdown 2010’ funding for two major projects, one to restore heathland and acid grassland along the Greensand Ridge area, and another covering the conservation of species-rich lowland meadows across the county
Find out more:
To find out more about the work of the Bedfordshire and Luton Biodiversity Partnership, or to see how you can get involved, go to the partnership website at http://www.bedslife.org.uk
Community safety is an area of concern for all communities.
It is consistently a high public priority, and one that can affect the quality of life for individuals and entire communities. In recent years it has been acknowledged that tackling community safety issues cannot be done by the police alone, but is dependent on a number of organisations and services working together to find solutions to community problems. The statutory partners in Central Bedfordshire are Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire Police Authority, NHS Bedfordshire, Bedfordshire Probation Trust, Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedfordshire & Luton Fire and Rescue Service.
The Community Safety Plan is a statutory document, and aims to set out the priorities for action within Central Bedfordshire. Each year the community safety priorities are refreshed, and inform not only the work of the Community Safety Team but also that of the statutory partners.
The plan for 2010 – 2012 has been approved and is now in place for the Community Safety Partnership. It details the six priority areas that the Community Safety Partnership will be working towards, together with what we are going to do and how we are going to evaluate.
The six priority areas that have been agreed for Central Bedfordshire are:
- Reduce re-offending – We plan to work with re-offenders and pool our resources, to help re-offenders turn away from crime, using punishment and reform
- Reduce substance misuse of drugs and alcohol – We aim to set up more intervention and treatment programs to help those adults and young people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol
- Reduce Serious Acquisitive Crime (Domestic Burglary, Robbery and Theft from Motor Vehicle) – We aim to reduce crime and the fear of crime, especially targeting burglary, vehicle offences and robberies
- Reduce Anti Social Behaviour – To help combat anti-social behaviour, we will pull our resources together and use prevention, intelligence and enforcement
- Reduce Domestic Abuse – We aim to provide more professional support to those at risk of domestic abuse, working closely with those involved in repeat incidents of domestic abuse, with clear routes into safeguarding adults and children
- Casualty Reduction (Road Safety) – We aim to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads using a multi-agency approach looking at how to make our roads safer through engineering, raising safety awareness through education, and where necessary the use of enforcement
The Stronger Communities Partnership really wants to see people helping to shape their local community.
Parish and town plans have been recognised in the newly published Community Engagement Strategy for Central Bedfordshire as a compelling way to do this.
Parish and town plans provide communities with a way to voice their concerns and needs. They offer local residents an opportunity to tackle locally specific issues themselves and highlight other needs and aspirations that can be delivered by local service providers.
The aims of parish and town plans are to:
- Reflect the view of all sections of the community;
- Identify which features and local characteristics people value;
- Identify local problems and opportunities;
- Spell out how residents want the community to develop in the future;
- Prepare a plan of action to achieve this vision
In 2009/10, four plans were completed across Central Bedfordshire, in Ridgmont, Stotfold, Shillington and Potton. Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC) is currently working with 12 communities to produce parish plans, as well as town plans for the larger settlements of Biggleswade and Sandy. Houghton Regis is also due to embark on a plan later this year.
‘A model of co-operation…’
Ridgmont Parish Council had already completed a parish plan back in 2004 – and it had a particular focus on the proposed bypass, which was then in the final stages of approval and was perceived as an important priority by the people of Ridgmont.
While the building of the bypass has significantly reduced the volume of traffic through the village, a high priority when developing Ridgmont’s new plan remained the need to address speeding in the area.
In April 2010 – not long after the production of the new plan - a package of proposed road safety improvement measures, including a 20mph zone and a system of traffic calming features, was approved by Central Bedfordshire Council. The Council cited the parish plan and the demand for traffic calming demonstrated in it as an important factor in its decision – saying it was “a model way of co-operation between village, Parish Council and CBC officers”.
2009/10 has seen some significant steps taken towards improving Central Bedfordshire as a prime location for business.
The new A5/M1 link is moving forward and improvement works have begun on some of Central Bedfordshire’s major industrial parks.
Together with partners such as Businesss Link and Chamber Business, Central Bedfordshire Council is encouraging and assisting business growth and enterprise. To strengthen business engagement, a Business Ambassador scheme has been launched.
Also, an independent survey was recently launched by Central Bedfordshire Council, working in partnership with Bedford Borough Council, Luton Borough Council and the East of England Development Agency (EEDA). The survey asked local businesses for their views, so that they can help to shape Central Bedfordshire Council services that will support long term economic growth in the area.
Liz Wade, Assisstant Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration at Central Bedfordshire Council said: “We are doing this to find out exactly what businesses think of the help and support that the Council and its partners is or should be offereing to businesses in our area to help them grow and prosper.
“Central Bedfordshire has experienced strong economic growth over the past decade and has ambitious growth plans to support at least 23,000 new jobs to 2031. The recession has also had a big impact on business and Central Bedfordshire Council is listening to the concerns of those affected. The results of this survey will make a big difference to how we and our partners support businesses in the future.”
The survey has now closed, and a report is being collated by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Economic Growth and Regeneration team.
For further information please contact Amanda Coleman, Service Development Manager, Central Bedfordshire Council.
‘Team around the Child and Family’ is a new way of working that will move services closer to local communities and develop local approaches to delivering integrated services – a key priority for the Children’s Trust, and a cross-cutting priority in Central Bedfordshire’s Children and Young People’s Plan.
This work emphasises the Think Family approach that we are taking, and the plan to bring together multi-disciplinary teams made up of health, education, social care and youth services in four areas in Central Bedfordshire.
So that we can understand the types of services and teams we need, a profile of each area is being developed. This will help us understand the issues facing families and young people. The four areas, which cover the whole of Central Bedfordshire, and are closely linked to the natural clusters of upper, middle and lower schools, are:
- Dunstable and Houghton Regis
- Leighton Buzzard
- Sandy and Biggleswade
- Rural Central Bedfordshire.
As part of the work to shape the approach we take in Central Bedfordshire, we are looking at how other Children’s Trusts are bringing multi-disciplinary teams together. A number of workshops are being planned to consider the options and ideas that are emerging for developing teams around children and families in Central Bedfordshire.
We have identified a number of opportunities to pilot models of co-located or co-delivered multi-disciplinary services in different work contexts. We will use these pilots (known as Pathfinder Pilots) to inform future development and learning of the Trust as it moves forward with the Team around the Child and Family programme.
This is an ambitious programme, and will be important in making it easier and simpler for children, young people and families to access the range of services they need closer to their homes.
For further information contact:
The Compact is an agreement that provides an overall framework for promoting effective partnership working between the Government and the third sector.
Having recently undergone a review and refresh process, the new version of the national Compact retains all the key points of the original but takes into account recent developments in law, policy and practice. Consisting of 95 commitments: 62 for government and 33 for the third sector, it is divided into three key areas covering:
• involvement in policy development,
• allocating resources, and
• advancing equality
Our local Compact for Bedfordshire and Luton is currently being revised to reflect these changes to the national Compact, a process which will be finalised by the end of May 2010.
The Council has a statutory duty to work with partners to produce a Sustainable Community Strategy (SCS) that sets out a long-term vision for the area and agreement on the key priorities and actions needed to deliver it.
The Board of Central Bedfordshire Together has overseen the process to develop the SCS and began the process with an ambition setting workshop and visioning exercise in September 2009. The emerging vision and priorities were refined by the Statutory and Thematic Partnerships and consultation, which has been ongoing, was carried out with;
- Town and Parish Councils in November 2009;
- stakeholders at the Central Bedfordshire Forum in January 2010; and
- business views gathered at Business Leaders lunch;
- voluntary and community sector organisations at the Third Sector Assembly in February 2010.
The first draft was also presented to a number of other partnerships and forums, and feedback received. Resident’s views have been gathered from a Resident’s Survey (with 1335 responses) and a Resident’s Discussion Workshop, with 35 attendees. Elements of the vision were also shared with businesses at a Business Leaders lunch in March 2009.
Feedback from partners, stakeholders and residents confirms widespread support for the partnerships’ vision and high level strategic priorities.
The final draft of Central Bedfordshire’s first Sustainable Community Strategy 2010 – 2031 (SCS) has been recommended to Central Bedfordshire Council for approval and publication by the Central Bedfordshire Together Board.