Next time you visit your local doctor’s surgery, keep a look out for a Carers Pack – every GP surgery in Central Bedfordshire now has a copy of the information pack for carers.
This is a significant development in support for Central Bedfordshire Carers as a result of partnership work between carers, Central Bedfordshire Council, Bedford Borough Council, NHS Bedfordshire
and Voluntary Organisations.
What’s in a Carers Pack?
Central Bedfordshire Carers Forum told the Council and its partners that access to information was their top priority. The Carers Pack is part of a wider package of support to help carers get early support, including a Carers Card with key contact information that GP’s should give to carers and also a range of training for surgery staff about how to effectively support carers.
This work has been identified as a national example of an innovative and effective way of increasing information and support for carers within GP surgeries. Details of this project will be featured in the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners.
Like to get involved?
The partnership work doesn’t stop there. Central Bedfordshire Council and NHS Bedfordshire need your help. Please do double check the pack is easily accessible in your local GP next time you visit. If it isn’t please contact Lianne Bowskill at NHS Bedfordshire on 01525 636987.
Residents of Houghton Regis now have a new green space to explore, thanks to the efforts of local environmental regeneration charity Groundwork Luton & Bedfordshire.
Working in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council, Groundwork has this summer overseen the completion of the second and final phase of works to the green space known as Blue Waters Woodland and Plaiters Way to the north west of the town.
The works implemented were part of a plan drawn up by Groundwork on behalf of Central Bedfordshire Council, following extensive research and public consultation.
Improvements to Blue Waters Woodland included the creation of new pathways to improve access to and around the site, woodland management to encourage biodiversity and wildlife to the area, and the installation of seating, way markers and interpretation boards to make the area more engaging for visitors.
The majority of works were completed by contractors, but this was supplemented with community volunteering events including litter picks and tree and shrub clearance.
Phase 1, which was completed in summer 2010, involved the creation of a natural play area by young Houghton Regis residents, over a six week period.
The project allowed participants to develop new practical skills and work towards an ASDAN award, as well as learning about team working and communication whilst creating a new facility for their local community.
Julia Watts, Senior Landscape Architect at Groundwork, said: ‘This has been a fantastic project to work on as there are so many different elements to the site and community involvement at each phase of works has been really strong.’
‘I hope that the combination of a natural play area and exciting and accessible woodland will mean that adults and children alike will be encouraged to enjoy the natural environment on their doorstep!’
‘Shaping local green spaces…’
Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities Services, Central Bedfordshire Council said “It is great to support a project that encourages communities and young volunteers to engage with and shape their local green spaces.’
‘We hope that all Houghton Regis residents and visitors will enjoy and explore this woodland with its wonderful wildlife and activities for many years to come.’
The site has now been handed back to Central Bedfordshire Council who will continue to management both the woodland habitat and natural play area. The works at Blue Waters Woodland were made possible thanks to funding from Chalk Arc Initiative and Central Bedfordshire Council.
Want to find out more?
For more information about Groundwork’s involvement in the project, please contact Julia Watts.
Have you seen one of these flowers lurking in a waterway near you…?
Throughout the summer, one of the biggest problems on our rivers and streams is the spread of the non native species of Himalayan Balsam. The purplish-pink flowers were first introduced in the UK during the1800’s as a garden plant, but quickly spread and invaded local riverbanks.
The brightly coloured flowers are slipper shaped, and have a red stem and dark green leaves with jagged edges. It is easiest to spot between June and August, when it is in flower and can grow up to two metres tall.
Problems for wildlife…
The flowers may be beautiful, but their dense growth and prolific seed dispersal prevents native plants from growing successfully. When the flowers die back in the autumn, they can leave the river banks bare and more vulnerable to erosion. Soil from the banks then falls into the river causing reduced water flow and other problems for wildlife.
Since 2009, the Environment Agency has been working with Natural England and the Wildlife Trust in Bedfordshire to remove the plant from the nationally important Flitwick Moor nature reserve, and from river banks and wildlife sites upstream in order to reduce the chance of the moor being re-colonised.
A great deal of the work is also done by volunteer work parties coordinated by the Wildlife Trust, Greensand Trust, Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity and British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
Want to get involved?
What else can I do to help?
There are a number of things you can do in your day to day activity to help improve your water environment.
- Avoid putting waste oil and fats down the drain; they can cause blockages which allow pipes to overflow.
- Waste oil, paint or household chemicals should be taken to a local recycling centre for disposal.
- You can also check the drainage connections in your home. Misconnected pipes are a common cause of pollution to rivers and streams. Incorrect plumbing could mean that waste water from dishwashers, washing machines, sinks, baths and even toilets is flushed directly into a local river rather than into the foul sewer.
For more information on misconnection visit the Connect Right website or contact your water company.
Want to find out more…?
The Environment Agency is undertaking projects across the East of England including Bedfordshire, to improve water quality in rivers, lakes, coastal waters and groundwater, in order to meet tough targets set by the EU.
The projects are part of the Environment Agency’s plans towards meeting the Water Framework Directive (WFD) European targets. The WFD encourages everyone with an interest in water to work together to protect and improve the quality of the water environment. This includes wildlife habitat, river maintenance and creating new recreational activities.
For further information on the Water Framework Directive, or to find out more about the water quality in your neighbourhood, visit the Environment Agency website.