by Christopher Hudson
(selected news snippets from the last seven days)
Suffolk Flexi-Care Conference
Suffolk’s second Flexi-care Conference took place in Newmarket last week. Sponsored by the county council, it brought together representatives of local authorities, care-home providers, social workers and all those interested in making a difference to the housing provision of our ageing residents in Suffolk. The main speeches were given by Stephen Burke (What older people want), Stephen Javes (Orwell Housing), Jo Collins (Suffolk Age UK) and Janet Sutherland (Helpful housing – my life, my choice).
The key message was good housing is a must for good health and wellbeing. In a closing address, Colin Noble outlined what would be needed for success in Suffolk: “a commitment to support a 10m investment in each of Suffolk’s districts and boroughs, each year for the next four years”: ensuring a total investment of 270m in extra-care facilities for our ageing population over the next four years.
Suffolk’s Post-16 Home-to-School Transport Policy Agreed for 2013/14
SCC’s Cabinet agreed the council’s home-to-school policy for the coming year at its monthly meeting on Tuesday. The county council provides transport to and from college for students aged over 16, when they live more than three miles and fewer than 75 minutes by public transport from their chosen college. The policy, which has to be developed and published annually prior to the new academic year, also covers those with special educational needs up to the age of 21 to enable them to receive transport. While the overall policy itself remains unchanged from last year, there was a change in the charge to students for this service. As established in the report of May 2012, this has been set at a minimum of £510 per year, or £170 per term - an increase of £10 a term over last year. Given that the average cost of this transport is around £850, this means that the transport is being subsidised by an average of £340 per place.
Suffolk has among the lowest rates of death from lung disease
Suffolk County Council is in the top five councils in England in terms of having the lowest number of deaths from lung disease. The statistic comes from a new website created by Public Health England, called Longer Lives, which has been launched and provides all sorts of information on numbers of deaths from major killers and the geographical spread. For more information, the Longer Lives website can be visited at: http://longerlives.phe.org.uk/
Easier travel on public transport along the east coast
SCC has teamed up with Greater Anglia, Anglian Bus and the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership to develop and launch a new ticketing system, which will make it easier to travel to Southwold from Ipswich or Lowestoft. The new ticketing system means there is now an integrated rail and bus service, with a bus linking up with each daytime train at Halesworth Station. The new through-ticket can be bought at any railway station or on-line.
Pedal-power generates income for the local economy
The current Pearl Izumi Tour Series of cycling arrived in Ipswich on Friday, and has been estimated to be worth £250,000 to the local economy. The estimate is based on the impact the Tour had in visits to other towns last year, and means lots of extra trade drummed up for businesses in the town. Around 15,000 people are likely to be lining the route, watching some of Britain’s best cyclists in events taking place throughout the afternoon and evening.