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FEATURED | National Star – Improving the lives of young people with complex disabilities in Herefordshire

National Star at Hereford is growing and they are expanding their services for young people with complex disabilities from the local Herefordshire community, and they urgently need your help.

National Star at Hereford offers life-transforming programmes combining learning, personal development and specialist therapies along with a high level of support for people aged 19 to 25 years old who have physical disabilities and / or acquired brain injuries, alongside associated learning, behavioural sensory and medical needs.

Most have complex learning difficulties and disabilities. They support young people to develop their sensory awareness and their understanding of cause and effect, whilst improving their social and communication skills, learning how to make personal choices and building their self-confidence. All this is integrated with speech and language therapy and physiotherapy.

Mark’s Story – When Mark started at National Star at Hereford three years ago, simple tasks, such as eating lunch, crossing the road or walking from one room to another were huge challenges for him. Mark has autism, is sensitive to noise and needs time to process information and put those thoughts into action. His condition had an impact on his entire family as they learned to be patient and to allow Mark the time he needed to complete tasks. National Star worked with Mark to enable him to manage his condition and develop his confidence and communication skills. Now he is thriving. He volunteers in a shop as part of his work experience, socialises with his peers and can cross the road safely.

‘National Star has made me more confident,’ says Mark. ‘I can now talk to anyone. I like the staff at National Star, they are kind.’

The support from National Star has been phenomenal and Mark has got his life back,’ says his mother Heather. ‘He’s using his mind for himself and making his own choices. He’s enjoying his life.’

The demand for specialist support in Herefordshire is growing, and they have outgrown their current base in Hereford and have secured a new permanent home at 1 Ledbury Road, Hereford, which is centrally located, with easy access to community facilities. The property was previously used for local children’s respite services, and they are pleased to be bringing it back into use to support young people with disabilities, however they need to refurbish the property to ensure it has the right accessible and specialist facilities needed by the young people that they support. These include seven long-term supported living bedrooms, en-suite specialist bathrooms, an accessible kitchen and living area due for completion in autumn 2019 and specialist learning, life skills, therapies and sensory spaces due for completion in summer 2020.

Purchasing and refurbishing 1 Ledbury Road will be a major commitment to expanding and improving National Stars provision in Hereford. They need a wide range of support to help make this project possible, and need to raise £100,000 to help complete and equip the refurbishment and turn the property into a warm and welcoming place. Are you able to help them? With your help they will be able to support more young people with complex disabilities like Mark to have the opportunities and support they desperately need to progress, to grow and to flourish.

You can make your donation to the Hereford Appeal here.

If you would like more information about the Hereford Appeal please email herefordappeal@nationalstar.org or call the Fundraising team on 01242 524478.

BREXIT | Herefordshire MP’s vote against extending Brexit deadline but motion gets passed

Herefordshire MP’s Jesse Norman and Bill Wiggin both voted against a motion put forward by the Prime Minister this evening to delay Brexit until the end of June or beyond.

The motion was however passed and signalled a victory for under fire PM Theresa May. May will now approach the European Union for an extension to Article 50.

Both Herefordshire MP’s are believed to want a decision on Brexit to be made prior to the original deadline of 29th March. That now seems increasingly unlikely.

NEWS | City councillors agree to changes to reduce carbon footprint

Hereford City Council agreed last night to remove single use plastic bottles from its meetings.

Each Councillor is given a plastic bottle of water before each meeting and it was highlighted by Councillor Chris Chappell who said: “I don’t wish to have plastic water any more. I’m making a point to save the Earth, Can I have mine in a jug from now on please?”

The city councillors agreed a motion to announce its support for Herefordshire Council in declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ by agreeing that they have a shared duty of care to the residents of Hereford to act on Climate Change.

Hundreds of students and the public recently joined together at Hereford Shire Hall to let councillors know how much the future of the planet means to them.

FEATURED | Women urged to help build vibrant future for region

The region’s leading businesswomen have been urged to join the drive to build a vibrant economy for the Marches for years to come.

Marches Local Enterprise Partnership director Gill Hamer called on women to step forward and help shape the economic future of the area by applying for two vacancies on the LEP board.

Her call came at a special event to celebrate International Women’s Day hosted by the Marches Growth Hub in Shrewsbury.

She told the audience the Prime Minister had insisted that all LEPs had an equal mix of men and women on their boards by 2023.
“At the moment we have only one woman on the board so I am appealing for women specifically to join,” she said.
“I want to hear from women who run or manage their own business or who are on the board of a larger business and who want to put something back.
“We need people who will make sure that Shropshire and the Marches has a vibrant economy by making sure we have the right infrastructure to do that.”

The Marches LEP is a business-led partnership charged by the Government with driving economic growth across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire.

Applicants should have a strong knowledge or expertise in the region’s industry and either live or work in the Marches.

The board meets six times a year and membership will be for a minimum of two years on a voluntary basis.

Expressions of interest should be emailed along with a short biography or CV to Gill Hamer at gill.hamer@marcheslep.org.uk by 12.00pm on March 28. To find out more about the roles call Gill Hamer on 01743 462026.

FOOTBALL | Bulls match off as Storm Gareth hits county

Hereford FC have announced that this evening’s fixture against Brackley Town at Edgar Street has been called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

The Bulls had been hoping to continue a good run of form which has seen them go nine points clear of the relegation zone, however heavy rain has caused parts of the Edgar Street surface to be deemed as unplayable.

FOOTBALL | Second half masterclass sees the Bulls steer clear of relegation rivals

A second half masterclass from Hereford FC saw the club move nine points clear of the relegation zone.

It didn’t start at all well though, with the Bulls allowing Elliot space to fire a fantastic shot beyond Bulls keeper Yates to put the visitors ahead. Things got worse just before half time when Thompson doubled the visitors lead from close range.

Marc Richards must have had a lot to say at half time and it certainly worked. Keiran Thomas quickly getting the Bulls back into the game before a bizarre own goal saw the Bulls level. Tom Owen-Evans then put the Bulls ahead from the penalty spot before sub Lance Smith secured the victory with a close range finish on his return to the Hereford squad.

The Bulls host Brackley Town at Edgar Street this coming Tuesday before travelling to Alfreton at the weekend.

NEWS | Ten new fire engines across Herefordshire & Worcestershire

Ten fire stations across the two counties have taken delivery of brand new fire engines.

Crews at five stations in Herefordshire and five in Worcestershire are now enjoying the benefits of using the latest additions to the Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service fleet.

Each fire engine includes a 3,000-litre water tank, increasing the volume by 40% – and the weight of the fully loaded vehicle to 15 tonnes.

The latest cutting gear and radio systems can be found on each vehicle that is also provided with a 3,000-litre dam, to enable water to be stored while more is collected.

Six cameras around each fire engine give 360 degree CCTV, offering benefits for incident review and driver training.

“It’s a welcome investment in firefighting in the two counties and comes after 12 months of planning,” said Neil Lilwall, the Station Commander at Ross-on-Wye Fire Station who was involved in the design of the new fire engines.

“The crews have much better tools to use for their job and it gives them much greater flexibility.

“It’s a great morale-booster for the staff and for rural firefighting.

“The fact that the pump has got so much more water on-board means that crews can attack a fire with much more confidence while waiting for a water supply to be established.”

“It’s not just a brand-new fire engine, it’s also kitted out with the latest equipment,” said Ledbury’s Station Commander Adrian Thompson.

“It’s a massive step forward.”

“It’s a great commitment to the retained service and the crews are delighted.”

The new Scania appliances have been deployed at Droitwich, Evesham, Kidderminster, Kingsland, Ledbury, Leintwardine, Leominster, Malvern, Ross-on-Wye and Tenbury Wells stations.

Area Commander Guy Palmer said: “This £2.5 million investment demonstrates the commitment from the Fire Authority to deliver a first-class service not only to the communities of Herefordshire and Worcestershire but also to empower our staff with the right tools and equipment to be able to do their job.”

MISSING | Concern grows for missing Leominster woman

West Mercia Police are continuing an urgent search for an 81 year old vulnerable adult missing from the ridgemoor area of Leominster.

The lady has been missing since early on Thursday and is wearing a cream jacket, with light grey, beige trousers and has grey hair. Police are asking the public to keep an eye out for her.

Members of the public have organised a search that is taking place this afternoon.

Anyone with any information is asked to call 101. Please call 999 to report any sightings.

EVENTS | Disabled Access Day at Hereford Cathedral

Hereford Cathedral will be taking part in Disabled Access Day on Saturday 16 March to celebrate accessibility and encourage people to try something new.

Disabled Access Day is a national event which began in 2015. The day celebrates good access and focuses on creating opportunities for people to attend a series of organised events where they will receive a warm welcome, a chance to try something new and the memory of having done something different.

Inspired to take part in the day, Hereford Cathedral (who have recently been awarded Autism Friendly status), will be hosting a range of activities which celebrate the improvements which have been made to accessibility within the cathedral over the last year. As well as being able to sample exciting new resources which have been produced including a Sensory Trail and video tours of inaccessible parts of the cathedral, there are three special one off activities for visitors to take part in.

At 10.30 am, the Cathedral Librarian will welcome visitors to the Reading Room, Hereford Cathedral’s lending library which is fully wheelchair accessible, to spend the morning looking at high quality facsimiles of some of the best medieval illuminated manuscript books that there are, including the Lindisfarne Gospels. Later, at 11.15 am, a specially trained Guide will deliver a Tactile Tour of the cathedral, designed for visitors with visual impairments, which will highlight the fascinating history of the building.

The day will finish with a talk from Hereford Cathedral’s Access Ambassador, Sarah, as she discussed the changes she has made during the last year to improve the cathedral’s accessibility. The session, which begins at 2.30 pm, is open to all and will be an opportunity to share lessons and practical tips for other churches, museums and groups. These events are all free but booking is essential, please visit the cathedral website for more information.

Throughout the day, the Stanbury Chapel will be dedicated as a Quiet Space, equipped with holding cross, twiddle muff, and accessible NIV translation of the Bible.

To download social stories, find out more information about the day and for further details on accessibility at Hereford Cathedral please visit herefordcathedral.org.

NEWS | New cycling initiative hopes to get more people cycling in Hereford

Cycling around Hereford is about to get a lot easier with the launch of a new initiative.

Herefordshire Council has partnered with scheme operator Beryl, for a two year contract to provide bike share across Hereford.

The scheme will be launched in Summer 2019, with bikes distributed at key destinations across the city.

The bikes will be available for hire via the Beryl App, which lets users find a bike and then easily unlock it, simply using their smartphone. The App will be available for download on the Apple app store for iPhone, and the Google Play Store for Android users.

Users will be informed of the location of ‘Beryl Bays’, the preferred parking locations to leave the bikes. However, the scheme is designed with flexibility in mind and will allow users to park the bikes elsewhere for an extra charge, provided they are safely within the scheme area.

There is no initial or ongoing cost to the council and Beryl will be responsible for supplying the bikes as well as management and maintenance of the service.

Beryl is a partner to the London bike share scheme and has experience operating two corporate dockless bike share schemes in London and recently announced a scheme in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Beryl is accredited with CoMoUK, which is the agreed standard of best practice for the industry.

Marc Willimont, Acting Assistant Director for Regulatory Environment and Waste Herefordshire Council, said: “The bike share scheme is a welcome addition to the other active travel options offered through our Choose How you Move project. Bike share will give more people the opportunity to make short journeys in and across the city by bike, helping to reduce congestion and support increased activity levels.”

Philip Ellis, chief operating officer at Beryl, added: “We are looking forward to bringing out expertise in bike share to Hereford and opening up cycling to more people. We believe in the power of bringing private and public sector together to collaborate on common goals such as getting more people to choose active transport.”

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