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Press Releases

Memorial Testing

Sedgemoor District Council is undertaking a programme of memorial testing and repair in the Quantock Road Cemetery and Bristol Road Cemetery in Bridgwater. The work is necessary to ensure the safety of those visiting or working in Sedgemoor’s graveyards.

Each headstone will be tested for stability and safety. If any stone is found to be potentially unsafe, the Council will take temporary safety measures and will contact family members where possible so it can be decided how to make it safe long term.

Graves and/or memorials are the responsibility of the family or relatives of the deceased.

For newer memorials, the grave or memorial should be under guarantee and the memorial mason who carried out the original installation should be able to correct any faults, if found.

Make a Perfect Job Match on Valentine’s Eve – Free Recruitment Fair

Sedgemoor District Council is holding its 5th annual Recruitment Fair in Burnham-On-Sea, aimed at helping local people find the training, job advice or careers that are right for them.  The Fair will be in The Princess Theatre on Tuesday February 13th and open from 10.30 to 13.00 and from 14.00 and 16.30. It is free to attend and there is no need to book.

Among those who have agreed to be on hand to field inquiries are Host, Holiday Resort Unity, New Directions Social Care, Avon, R K Bell, Ecocleen Services, Somerset Larder and G4S FM. More than 250 job and apprenticeship opportunities will be promoted at the Fair as well as the help provided by recruitment agencies, trade bodies, careers services and training organisations.

Last years event attracted more than 170 people who were able to talk to a range of local employers about the opportunities on offer and meet experts primed to help with advice on how to make the most of those opportunities.

A spokesperson for Sedgemoor District Council said: ‘We are hoping to beat our own record for attendances this year as we know the event is seen as really useful by employers and people looking for a new start’.

If you are an employer and would like to book a space or want further information about the event, please contact Laura Fowler,  Employment & Skills Outreach Worker at Sedgemoor District Council on 01278 435227 or laura.fowler@sedgemoor.gov.uk

HPC Grants for Charities, Voluntary Groups and Social Enterprises

Hinkley Point C Community Fund Small Grants Programme, which is managed by Somerset Community Foundation, is open to applications from charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises and the next deadline to apply is Friday 2 March. Organisations or community groups with an annual income of less than £100,000 are encouraged to apply, and successful applicants can expect to benefit from grants of up to £5,000 for projects, measures or initiatives that help to mitigate impacts from the construction of Hinkley Point C in their community.

Click here to view full press release PDF

Library Services Consultation Announced

A consultation on the future of how Somerset County Council library services could be delivered across Somerset is due to start at the end of this month.

A formal decision was taken today to consult on a set of proposals that seek to put the service on a sustainable footing for the long-term, at a time when all Council budgets are under enormous pressure.

The decision sets out that a public consultation will start on 29 January and run for 12 weeks (ending 22 April) and invites members of the public, businesses and organisations for their views.

Somerset County Council is proud to deliver a comprehensive, thriving and modern library service across the county and is fully committed to continuing to do so. Somerset County Council currently provides a library service online through LibrariesWest, a mobile library, a home delivery service for customers unable to visit a library for themselves and through 34 library buildings in major towns and villages.

As with many Authorities, Somerset County Council continues to face challenging financial times. Funds from central government reduce year on year whilst demand for services, such as adult and children’s social care, increase and all County Council services are considering efficiency and cost reduction options.

In summary, under the proposals, 15 of our 34 library buildings would be seeking community involvement to remain open. Where this is not possible, services would instead be provided either through outreach in community venues or through additional mobile library stops.

For 7 of our libraries, the County Council is consulting on two alternative options – either to seek community involvement to maintain library buildings or to keep existing library services as they currently are.

Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic Development, Cllr David Hall, said: “These are challenging financial times and we must put libraries on a sustainable financial footing for the long-term, whilst still delivering a modern thriving library service across our County.

“Library services will continue across Somerset whatever the response from this consultation, but our proposals highlight that keeping some libraries open may require community support. Where we are unable to keep libraries open, we will deliver library services in other ways such as via alternative venuesor mobile library services.

“I would stress that no decision about the future delivery of library services in any community has been taken and no decision will be made until the results of this consultation have been fully analysed. Please take the opportunity to submit your views on the proposals from 29 January and offer your ideas or suggestions for any alternative proposals you may have.”

There are Somersetlibrary service proposals for 9 areas in total available to view. Anyone taking part in the consultation will be asked to view the area of the library they visit most often before completing a questionnaire asking for their views on the proposals.

The proposals and the questionnaire will be available online from 29 January at www.somerset.gov.uk/librariesconsultation.

Bridgwater Tidal Barrier Project

Please find attached, a summary of the feedback received during the Summer/Autumn 2017 consultation period.

For further information about the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier, please go to https://www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/article/1659/Bridgwater-Barrier or contact the Project Team at Bridgwater.Barrier@environment-agency.gov.uk

Sedgemoor Opens Second Round of Grant Scheme for Small Businesses

More small and medium sized businesses in Sedgemoor are set to gain a financial boost as the Council re-opens its popular grant scheme aimed at helping local enterprises grow and prosper.

A sum of £100,000 has been ear-marked by Sedgemoor for allocating grants of up to £5,000 per business to fund a range of activities from recruitment, staff retention and marketing to research and diversification or to pay for new facilities and equipment.

Opened on January 1, the second round of grants closes on February 9 2018 and there is more information about what the money can cover and which businesses are eligible on the Council website: https://www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/smallbusinessgrants

The scheme will prioritise funding for those small or medium sized businesses with the potential for growth and needing a little additional help to develop. Grants cannot be used to supplement a loss of income and only one application per business can be considered.

The first round of the grant scheme was launched last summer and a panel of assessors looked at applications from dozens of companies and individuals of which ten were successful including those from a builder, a taxi firm, a rugby club, a tree surgeon and an engineer.

Bridgwater based, family owned Monmouth Scientific is one of the UK’s leading designers, manufacturers and suppliers of Clean Air Solutions and received a grant from Sedgemoor towards research and development.

David Pomeroy of Monmouth Scientific said: “The new system will ensure ongoing growth within our business whilst offering a more efficient bespoke product design service to our whole customer base. Thank you SDC!”

Drinkwater Tree Services of Lympsham is using its grant to pay for training and equipment that will mean it can work more efficiently, take on more contracts and employ more people, according to office manager Genevieve Drinkwater who said the team was excited about the opportunities it would bring.

Engineer Mark Smeed from Othery applied for funding to buy a motive water pump to show how his company could assist businesses using Water Jet Cutting Processes and he says that without this help he would struggle to demonstrate his approach and win new business.

Fly-tip lands Somerset man in jail

A Sedgemoor man who fly-tipped waste over his garden fence into a back lane spent a night in jail for not dealing with a fine for the crime and left court today [Tues 3 Oct] with a bill for £280.

Unemployed father-of-two Marcus Jones, aged 25, was arrested and held overnight after he failed to appear for a summons about an unpaid fixed penalty notice for dumping rubbish.

Responding to questions from a council enforcement officer, Jones admitted fly-tipping, said he was not aware that his conduct was an offence and apologised.

But he never paid the fixed penalty notice, which is reduced from £400 to £250 if settled early, saying that he could not afford to meet the cost.

Today Jones, from Dukes Mead in Bridgwater, was fined £250 for fly-tipping, with a £30 victim surcharge but the court was told he would not have to pay costs because of his low income.

Sedgemoor District Council solicitor Steve Hellard, prosecuting at Taunton magistrates, said: “Fly tipping blights local communities and poses a risk to human health and the environment.”

He added that, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, householders have a legal “duty of care with regard to their waste and a duty to ensure that such waste is properly disposed of”.

Fixed penalty notices and court prosecutions are part of a Somerset-wide campaign to fight fly-tipping that has included closing a road that became a dumping blackspot in Mendip.

With special training and coordination efforts, surveillance cameras and warning signs, Somerset’s councils have seen fly-tipping across the county fall to a five-year low.

And there are hopes that a new push can be launched to tackle “Facebook fly-tips” with online warnings about criminal dumpers for those using social media to get waste taken away.

Simple steps anyone can take to fight fly-tipping are highlighted on Somerset Waste Partnership’s website at somersetwaste.gov.uk/about/fight-fly-tipping.

Rural Crime

New text number to combat rural crime – 07492 888109

We launched a new text service to help us prevent and detect rural crime in January.

The service was aimed at encouraging rural communities and businesses to help us by providing information and intelligence about suspected crime in their area.

The number allows the public to text information directly to the Rural Crime Team, who assess and action the intelligence quickly and efficiently.

The service is going to continue following its three month trial but the number is changing. The 81819 number, which was also shared with our Drink Drive campaign and other services, is being discontinued and new numbers are being rolled out.

The new Rural Crime number is now 07492 888109 and will working in exactly the same way.

Inspector Joanna Mines, from the Rural Crime Team in Somerset, said: “We trialled the number for three months and have decided to carry on with the service. However, we felt we needed our own specific number and the 81819 number was quite expensive to run. The new number is specifically for Rural Crime and is a lot more cost effective.

“The number came about as many people who belong to our FarmWatch scheme said they wanted a facility to be able to pass on information and respond to messages quickly, and this number has facilitated that.

“We want to hear from anyone who has information about any suspicious or potentially criminal activity in their area, for example – details of people/vehicles seen behaving suspiciously, potentially stolen goods or livestock being offered for sale either to the public or at markets, sightings of stolen vehicles we might put out an alert for.

“No matter how small or insignificant people may think information is, it may be a vital piece of a jigsaw that helps us fill in the gaps and either prevent a crime or bring offenders to justice.”

Messages are currently sent out via text message, voice alert and email to members of the Neighbourhood, Farm and Horse Watch schemes to alert them to crimes and incidents in their area. This new number will allow people to text back information quickly and easily.

Anyone can use it if they have information about rural or agricultural crime in their area, and isn’t just for Watch members.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Rural crime affects the livelihoods of farmers, smallholders and rural businesses and presents some real challenges for the wider rural areas. I know the Rural Crime Team, working closely with our local communities are committed to tackling and preventing crime.

“I know from speaking to residents and farmers that there is a real desire to engage with the police when it comes to tackling rural crime. Providing an appropriate way for our rural communities to contact the police with intelligence will make a real difference to ensuring our countryside is safe and feels safe.”

It is important to note that the number isn’t monitored 24/7. The team will be looking at it when they are on duty, it therefore shouldn’t be used for reporting crimes.

You can report a crime online via our website www.avonandsomerset.police.uk

If it’s a crime which requires an immediate police attendance then dial 999.

The new number is 07492 888109, please text us any information you believe could either help prevent or detect a crime in your area.

You can still pass on information via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask your name or trace your call.

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