e-Scooters Coming to Colchester (& other news)

Lady & man on e-scooters

Lady & man on e-scooterse-Scooters, Befriending, Wellbeing, Fitness & Chitts Hill

e-Scooters will kick off this update but we also have updates on:

e-Scooters Trial Starting Soon

Continue reading “e-Scooters Coming to Colchester (& other news)”

Day 86 of (stairway to) Lockdown – the ‘MC Escher’ edition

Family cycling

Escher impossible staircaseDay 86 of (stairway to) Lockdown

Day 86 starts off with an update from the Parish Council.  It is also MC Escher‘s birthday who was famous mostly for his ‘Impossible Stairs’ – navigating the pandemic sometimes seems a bit like this!

A couple of mini-snippets:

  • Recycling back to normal apart from textiles on 22nd June,
  • Colchester Zoo opens tomorrow pre-booked entrance only,
  • If you are going into town, remember to keep left on pavements.

After all that we have:

Quality Local Council AwardParish Council Work Continues During the Pandemic

Continue reading “Day 86 of (stairway to) Lockdown – the ‘MC Escher’ edition”

Day 72 of Lockdown – the Bowling Along edition

Volunteers week

Day 72 of (irregular?) Lockdown

The day 72 update starts with Woods Bowls Club keen to welcome you for a rollup.  There then follows:

Woods Bowls ClubWoods Bowls Club Restarts

Woods is a small but very friendly lawn bowls club that is normally open to all ages and abilities throughout the spring & summer months of April to September.  The club consists of a mixture of male and female members with ages ranging from ‘Thirty-somethings’ to, sprightly Octogenarians! You are never too young or too old to play Lawn Bowls. Continue reading “Day 72 of Lockdown – the Bowling Along edition”

Day 64 of (un?) Lockdown – the Spare Plants edition

Allotments Surplus

Allotments SurplusDay 64 of (un?) Lockdown

Day 64 seems to be full of controversy but not much news.  Here is what little we have, news relating to the allotments first and then a couple of health-related items from ECC.  As ever, some light relief at the end.

Spare Plants & Produce

Whilst COVID-19 has prevented the Allotments’ Charity Stall opening it is still possible to obtain surplus produce & plants.  A neighbour of the allotments on New Church Road is happy for their driveway to be used for plot holders to deposit their surplus and for villagers to take what they need. Continue reading “Day 64 of (un?) Lockdown – the Spare Plants edition”

Has anybody seen the Dog Poo Fairy?

Dog poo fairy

Dog fouling is nasty - there is no dog poo fairyHas anybody seen the Dog Poo Fairy?

In these winter months, the dog fouling in West Bergholt becomes a large issue so obviously some villagers do believe in the dog poo fairy!  Children and other villagers are having to dodge large amounts of dog waste on our pavements; it is both unsightly and incredibly unhygienic.   Not only does it pose a significant health risk it causes a lot of distress for children if they step in it on the way to school.

A Legal Obligation

As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to pick up its’ poo, whatever Continue reading “Has anybody seen the Dog Poo Fairy?”

Funding, Energy Switch & More

Funding, Energy Switch & More

Funding is just one of many subjects in the numerous news updates Essex County & Colchester Borough Councils issue every week, the following are extracts that might be of particular interest.

Funding available for community projects

Colchester’s Big Choice funding application process is now open! Bid for a share of £200,000 to fund new or existing community projects in Colchester. Finalists will be entered into a public vote at the end of February 2016 to decide on the winners.

If you have a project that could be eligible CBC needs to know more about it. Not all applications will go through to the final vote but in order to qualify CBC needs to know who you are, what you do and how your idea will benefit the residents of Colchester Borough.

Completing this online application form will guide you through the information CBC needs so please complete it carefully and take note of the deadlines as CBC has to stick to them. The online application form needs to be completed and received by CBC by 12 noon on the 15th January 2016.   Click here to find out more

Save hundreds in the Essex Energy Switch

An energy-saving initiative which has already saved Essex residents almost £1 million has reopened for new applications. Register now for the Essex Energy Switch to potentially save hundreds of pounds on your energy bills.

Registration is open till 1 February 2016. After this, energy providers will bid against one another in an auction with the winning bidder being the company offering the lowest price to all applicants. Following last year’s Switch, residents saved approximately £263 per household.

Anyone who pays for energy is eligible to take part. Signing up takes just a few minutes online. Visit www.essex.gov.uk/energyswitch for more information and to find out how to take part.

How to avoid a cold (caller) this winter

Free “No Cold Caller” stickers are now available at Essex libraries to help vulnerable people protect themselves from rogue traders.

#InstaEssex – Capturing the culture of Essex

What best describes Essex culture to you? Is it some of our buildings and architecture; our artwork and theatres; local street and contemporary social culture; or perhaps there’s an iconic image you think sums up the county? Whatever it is, the #InstaEssex campaign wants to capture it with a photography competition that’s open to both amateur and professional photographers.

15 winning images will be displayed at London Liverpool Street station and at branch line stations across Essex. From these winners the top three will be awarded cash prizes of £1,000 (first prize), £500 (second prize) and £250 (third prize).

If you’re stuck for inspiration why not take a look at the Explore Culture website.  Or if you’d like to brush up on your photography skills, why not take part in one of the #InstaEssex workshops.

If you don’t fancy submitting a photo but still want to share your thoughts, you can join the discussions on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #Instaessex.  The competition is open until Mon 15 February 2016 so there’s plenty of time to get snapping!

Boost Your Online Skills

If you were fortunate enough to receive a new smartphone, tablet or PC at Christmas and you’d like help to get online, then why not brush up your IT skills for free at CBC’s digital bazaar events and online drop-in sessions beginning this month and running throughout 2016.

At CBC’s digital bazaar events and online drop in sessions, you are encouraged to bring your own device where you will receive professional help with setting it up.

Computers are available at all of the events and staff are there to support and teach you and undertake tasks such as setting up email addresses. You will also have the opportunity to meet some of CBC’s dedicated multi-skilled Zone Teams who have in-depth knowledge of local areas.

One to One Support

CBC also offer one-to-one support at any of the library hubs across Colchester. To book a free one hour session please complete CBC’s online form or call 01206 282222.

Local Health Matters Meetings

Taking place twice a month in various parts of the North East Essex area, these meetings are free to attend without prior booking and give you an opportunity to discuss matters of concern or interest to you regarding Local Health matters.  The minutes of the recent meeting in Colchester will give you an idea of what they are about:

Winter’s on its way

The unseasonal mild spell is coming to an end. Are you ready for wintry conditions on the roads? Keep up to date with road conditions via Essex County Council’s website or Twitter accounts.

Visit ECC’s winter travel web page for useful information about salt bins, salting (gritting) routes and links to other winter-related advice about school closures, flooding alerts and health. Follow @Essex_Travel and @EssexGritters for all the latest winter road updates from Essex County Council on Twitter. ECC does not manage the A12, A120, M11 and M25. Visit the Highways Agency website for information about these roads.

At midday every day during winter a weather report comes in to Essex County Council and the decision is made whether to send gritters out onto the Essex roads.  Essex County Council has 59 gritters which grit 2,500 miles of roads in the county using a mixture of salt and brine. Find out how the gritting service works in a feature which appeared in the East Anglian Daily Times this week.

Remember to always drive to the weather conditions to keep safe on the roads this winter.

NHS seek views on service restrictions

NE Essex Clinical Commissioning GroupClinicians want to hear local views on plans to restrict services

Clinicians at North East Essex CCG are seeking local people’s views on their plans to restrict IVF services in the future – and they are inviting everyone to give their feedback.  Under the plans, they are proposing restrictions to the current IVF service as it does not provide sufficient benefit to the overall health economy.

Certain groups of patients would still be able to access IVF: for instance, those patients who are undergoing medical treatment that would leave them infertile.

They also propose that couples experiencing difficulties in conceiving could still seek medical advice through their GP in the first instance.

Dr Hasan Chowhan, Clinical Director at the North East Essex CCG, said: We recognise that infertility is a very difficult issue for those affected by it and we have not taken this proposal lightly or without engagement with other clinical professionals.  We fully intend to review this decision in the near future.

Between 2013/14, the CCG paid for 107 fertility procedures which amounted to £386k – the equivalent of:

  • 25 drug treatment courses available for breast cancer;
  • 15 community nurses;
  • 104 hip replacements;
  • 108 patients being admitted to an acute stroke unit at Colchester General Hospital.

Samantha Hepplewhite, Acting Chief Officer at the North East Essex CCG, said:

We have managed to achieve around £35m savings over recent years.  However this challenge will continue as we need to find a further £14m savings each year for the next four years.

We have a requirement to stay within budget and if we do not implement these decisions and further proposals then we would have to select other services to restrict.  Current local demands for healthcare services are costing more money than is currently available.

In addition, the CCG is also intending to restrict the following services:

  • Any Qualified Provider – Spinal Service – The CCG would control activity and expenditure for manual therapy and spinal services, ahead of these services moving to the lead provider arrangement in April 2016.
  • Clinical Priorities Policy – The purpose of this policy is to provide a mechanism for deciding whether referral of an individual patient for a specific assessment and treatment should be funded, based on clinical effectiveness.We are reviewing this policy to bring it in line with other NHS commissioners.
  • Continuing Healthcare – We believe that new patients requiring NHS continuing healthcare care at home, should be entitled to up to 10% above what it would cost for the same care in a residential or nursing home setting.
  • Gluten free – The CCG is restricting the prescribing of gluten free foods to young people, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers and stopping prescribing these products altogether to all other adults.  These products are now available in shops and there is a variety of alternatives widely available.
  • Threshold for elective procedures – All patients being referred for non-urgent elective surgery and who are smokers should be referred to smoking cessation services at the initial referral/assessment/appointment.  Meanwhile, overweight and obese patients should be strongly encouraged to lose weight before their operation.  Failure to attend smoking cessation or weight loss programmes may have an impact on whether individuals could undergo their procedure.
  • Vasectomy and female sterilisation – The community vasectomy and female sterilisation services are being reviewed by the CCG as these services have no or limited clinical value – rather they are considered as one of many forms of contraception.  Both vasectomy and female sterilisation will however be available in cases of complex health needs.

Please see our consultation document with further details at www.neessexccg.nhs.uk

The CCG is holding a number of engagement events over the coming weeks aimed allowing local people to find out more about its plans.

DateVenue
Friday 26 June (3pm)Clacton – Sam’s Hall, CVST, Rosemary Road, Clacton CO15 1NZ
Tuesday 7 July (6pm)Colchester – Room 12a, Primary Care Centre, Turner Road, Colchester CO4 5JR
Friday 10 July (2pm)Clacton – Princes Theatre, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton CO15 1SE
Thursday 16 July (6.30pm)Clacton – Princes Theatre, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton CO15 1SE

Please email to confirm your attendance at any of the above events –

[antibot mailto=”[email protected]”]

The closing date for feedback on our IVF proposal is Monday 7 September 2015.  If you have any feedback in relation to these changes, please email your comments to [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] or write to PALS, North East Essex CCG, Primary Care Centre, Turner Road, Colchester CO4 5JR.

Local Health Forums – Get Involved

NE Essex CCG Health ForumThe Health Forum

The NEE Health Forum is a largely enthusiastic and committed body of people who are interested in health matters.  They are all people who have registered as public members of North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group.

The Health Forum is not formally part of the Clinical Commissioning Group, but members of the Health Forum Committee are invited to be part of all decision-making meetings within the CCG so that they can obtain and reflect the views of people from North East Essex to the group in a timely way.  The Clinical Commissioning Group wants the Health Forum to be as inclusive as possible, and so the criteria for eligibility are very broad.  There is more detail on the Join the Health Forum page of their website.

Members of the Health Forum are able to vote for the Health Forum Committee.  The Health Forum Committee has a number of sub-groups which are looking at specific health related issues.  The Health Forum does not have any legal powers, but has been given local powers by the CCG.  It works very closely with Essex HealthWatch, who do have legal powers.

Their important reports, including local Health Forum meeting dates, agendas and minutes and similar material relating to the Health Forum Committee can be found on their site in the Library.

The Health Forum issue monthly newsletters, Forum Focus, in which numerous local & national health issues are discussed – they can be accessed in the forum library.  The most recent edition can be downloaded from :

Get Involved at Local Health Forums

The Health Forum holds local meetings which any public member of the CCG  can attend, regardless of where they live.  The 3 local meetings are held at Colchester;Harwich; (rest of) Tendring – this is usually held in Clacton.

The next meetings are being held on 2nd, 3rd & 4th February (2pm – 4pm) respectively.  The agenda vary slightly both from meeting to meeting but also by location, but will typically include items such as those due to be discussed in the February meetings:

  • NE Essex Community Pharmacy Scheme
  • CHUFT Cancer Services (Clacton & Harwich only)
  • Borough GP Care Advisory Service (Colchester only)
  • Carer Strategy Consultation
  • General Q&A

These meetings give Health Forum members a chance to receive presentations and ask questions relating to key health care issues and services in their area.  They are also to raise concerns with the NEE CCG staff directly and Health Forum Committee members.

The Agendas for the local meetings are set by the Health Forum Committee who request speakers on the subjects they believe local people want to hear more about.  The CCG supports the Health Forum Committee by finding suitable speakers and health professionals that are in a position to answer relevant questions.

All three local meetings are usually held within a week of each other and they occur bi-monthly (every other month).  The dates of future meetings can be found on their events page.

The agendas and minutes of the Local Engagement forum are published in their Library under Health Forum.