Friday Newsround

by Christopher Hudson

Call for a fresh approach to health and housing in Suffolk

Securing better-quality housing, and preventing the ill health that can come with poor housing, were issues discussed by housing organisations and local councils at a key meeting this week. Joanna Spicer, chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board, was joined by Dr Dan Poulter MP, together with representatives from both the private and public sector and independent landlords, to look at the connection between health and housing. Speaking on the issue, Joanna Spicer said: “The evidence clearly points to close links between people’s health and where they live. Well-planned homes can combat depression, support family cohesion and go a long way to boosting overall health and happiness.” Those at the meeting considered how future housing needs can be met for people with mental health needs, young people and older people, and how to develop opportunities to work together in these areas to improve housing to meet the needs of Suffolk people.

Suffolk to benefit from £335,500 grant for electric-car charging posts.

The county is to receive £337,500 to speed up the roll-out of rapid charging posts for electric cars. The move coincides with the launch of the ‘Go Ultra Low’ campaign, a collaboration between car makers and the government to promote the many benefits of plug-in vehicles. The announcement of £337,500 means 12 rapid chargers (with space to charge 24 cars) will be installed over the next year, linking Suffolk with a national car charging network that already links London to Edinburgh and a further project to install rapid chargers along the A14. The charging posts can provide an 80% charge in 20 minutes, compared to a standard charger taking 6-7 hours. Current electric cars can travel up to 100 miles on £2 worth of electricity.

Be Clear on Cancer

Women over 70 across Suffolk are being advised that the risk of breast cancer increases with age. The new national ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign, supported locally by Public Health Suffolk, is set to remind older women to visit their doctor if they spot any changes in their breasts. Recent statistics show that in 2011 there were 226 registered cases for breast cancer in women aged 70 and over living in Suffolk, and 95 deaths as a result. Women between the ages of 50 and 70 are currently invited for screening, which can detect the condition at a very early stage. Automatic screening invitations are being extended to those aged between 47 and 73. If you’re over 70, you can ask for a free screening every three years. Get in touch with your local screening unit to make appointment, or ring your local surgery if you are unsure which number to call.

Suffolk plays its part in National Fire Sprinkler Week

A new national awareness week to support the installation of sprinklers has taken place this week – finishing this Sunday 9th February. The campaign is the first in a schedule of annual campaigns designed to convey a simple message: controlling a fire as it starts is better than repairing the damage after it has spread. Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service has been fully active in supporting this Week. On Friday, an event was held at Lowestoft South Fire Station to promote awareness and understanding of fire prevention in businesses. The event was attended by Colin Spence and Peter Aldous MP, members of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and business leaders. Speaking on the issue, Colin Spence said: “A fire sprinker system is a combined fire detection and extinguishing system that provides continuous protection 24 hours a day. This vital week will encourage the politicians, businesses and construction firms to support sprinkler installation, as fire damage costs continue to rise.”

Nearly all young people in Suffolk have seen websites set up to bully others

Nine out of ten young people across the county have seen websites or pages which were set up specifically to bully someone because they might be gay. The annual ‘Suffolk Cybersurvey’ of 1,685 young people, conducted to monitor trends in abusive on-line activity, also found that over half (53%) of young people have experienced rude or aggressive messages and had been sent sexual jokes. The results of the survey were announced at a major e-safety conference in Ipswich today. The event, organised by SCC’s e-Safer Suffolk team, saw 80 professionals from across the county who work with vulnerable children and adults come together to hear from industry-leading e-safety and sexual exploitation experts. This forms part of SCC’s work to educate vulnerable people and protect them from harm.

And finally:

Suffolk comes to the aid of Somerset

One of our Fire and Rescue Service’s specialist rescue vehicles has been sent to help out in Somerset, where communities are struggling to cope with the effects of the severe flooding. The ‘Unimog’, as the vehicle is called, is a four-wheel-drive vehicle capable of driving through several feet of water. It can be used to transport people and equipment where other vehicles can’t go, including off road. Suffolk Fire and Rescue has a second Unimog which is to remain in the county. The response came as part of established national arrangements to provide assistance to other parts of the country when needed. By this system, our fire service was able to call upon fire engines from other services across the country to help in Suffolk last December, in response to the tidal surge.