£2.7 million boost for cycling in national parks

Five national parks are set to benefit from more than £2.7 million to help develop new cycling facilities.  The funding will create additional cycling routes, improving links between national parks and nearby areas.

Robert Goodwill said:

I want to get more people on their bikes and this funding will open up cycle access to some of the country’s most scenic routes.

It demonstrates the government’s determination to continue the cycling legacy generated by the 2012 Olympics and the launch of the Tour de France in Yorkshire last year.

The investment will fund cycling schemes in the following areas:

Dartmoor has been awarded £675,000 to deliver 5 schemes, including additional routes, on-trail improvements and improved links to nearby areas

Yorkshire Dales will be given £450,000 to transform a stretch of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal creating a gateway to the Yorkshire Dales

South Downs will receive £450,000 to upgrade existing routes to create ‘easy access’ cycling facilities

Peak District will receive £430,000 to create a new short cycle link providing access from North West Matlock to the Monsal Trail

Norfolk and Suffolk Broads will be given £715,000 to construct a shared cycleway footway connecting Wroxham / Hoveton to Horning

Firefighters launch campaign to stop drivers blocking roads by parking inconsiderately

Firefighters in Leicestershire are launching a campaign to stop drivers parking inconsiderately. Fire chiefs in the county warn that parked cars which narrow roads so their engines cannot get through are putting lives at risk.

Firefighters from Eastern fire station in Hastings Road, Humberstone, Leicester, are to drive through the streets of Highfields, St Saviours, St Peters and Belgrave with police officers and traffic wardens on March 7.

Read more about this story on This is Leicestershire


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Raise a Pint and Remember Sebastion Gates Founder of @SebsActionTrust Charity

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In June 2001, at the age of 7, Sebastian Gates was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumour – a rare form of childhood cancer. Over the next two-and-a-half years he endured many operations, a stem-cell transplant, scores of chemotherapy courses and radiotherapy. Sadly, Sebastian died on Christmas Eve 2003.

Throughout his illness, Sebastian showed remarkable courage and a maturity that belied his nine years. Sebastian’s approach to his cancer was always positive and a source of inspiration to all who met him. Instead of focusing on himself, Sebastian sought opportunities to help others through their individual battles with illness and disease.

Having raised the funds required for a much-needed refurbishment of the Children’s Cancer Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Sebastian turned his attention to the plight of families struggling to cope with all that accompanies a child’s battle with a life-threatening condition.

In the month before he died, Sebastian launched a new fundraising drive to establish a holiday home that would provide somewhere exclusively for families to spend precious time together, away from the hospitals and punishing treatment programmes that govern the lives of cancer patients and others with life-threatening conditions. Sebastian believed the holiday home should be available all year and should offer respite breaks to families with sick youngsters.

Sebastian’s Action Trust has created the UK’s only purpose-built facility that offers respite holidays to very sick children and their families, enabling precious time to be spent together.

The house, called The Bluebells, has been built  in the pretty Hampshire village of North Waltham. It opened in July 2011.  Nothing like this previously existed in the UK, making The Bluebells the first of its kind and Sebastian’s vision all the more exceptional.

Family Outreach Hub, in Slough Berkshire, provides a welcome drop-in centre for families of seriously-ill children, enabling them to access advice, guidance, advocacy, counselling and therapeutic support in order to address some of the critical issues they face on a daily basis.

They also give emotional, social and practical support in many different forms, through an outreach service to families of children battling with life-limiting illnesses and provide meaningful assistance at critical times to those exhausted by the stresses of hospital life and their child’s gruelling treatment.

The Trust does not have a restrictive geographical catchment area and already supports families in the South East, principally from Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire; however, they are happy to welcome families from outside these areas for respite breaks at The Bluebells.

At Sebastian’s Action Trust, they care about making life a little easier for these children and young people. With your help they can continue to give support where and when it is needed.

There are a great variety of ways in which you could choose to donate funds to Sebastian’s Action Trust.

The #DrugDrive law is changing 2nd March – Will you be fit to drive?

New drug drive legislation comes into force from 2 March 2015 in England and Wales. So long as you are following the advice of a healthcare professional and your driving isn’t impaired you can continue to drive as usual and aren’t at risk of arrest.

In the dawn of new drug drive legislation, THINK! is encouraging people who take medicines and aren’t sure if they are safe to drive to check with their pharmacist or doctor. The new law comes into force from the 2nd March and is designed to catch people who risk other people’s lives by getting behind the wheel after taking drugs, and not those taking legitimate medicines that don’t impair their ability to drive.

The new law sets limits at very low levels for 8 drugs commonly associated with illegal use such as cannabis and cocaine. There are also 8 prescription drugs that are included within the new law. These are:


However, the limits that have been set for these drugs exceed normal prescribed doses, meaning that the vast majority of people can drive as they normally would, so long as:

they are taking their medicine in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional and/or as printed in the accompanying leaflet
their driving is not impaired

Robert Goodwill, Road Safety Minister said:

If you are taking your medicine as directed and your driving is not impaired, then you are not breaking the law and there is no need to worry. We advise anyone who is unsure about the effects of their medication or how the new legislation may affect them, to seek the advice of their doctor or pharmacist

There will also be a medical defence if a driver has been taking medication as directed and is found to be over the limit, but not impaired. THINK! advises drivers who are taking prescribed medication at high doses to carry evidence with them, such as prescriptions slips, when driving in order to minimise any inconvenience should they be asked to take a test by the police.

Professor David Taylor, Royal Pharmaceutical Society spokesperson and member of the Department for Transport advisory panel on drug driving said:

Don’t stop taking your medicines, prescribed or otherwise, if you are worried about this new law. Instead, talk to your doctor or pharmacist for information about how your medicines might affect your ability to drive. They’ll be happy to give you the advice you need to stay safe.

For more information speak to your doctor, pharmacist or visit drugs and driving: the law.  Materials to help advise those taking prescription or over the counter medicines can be found at drug drivingHealthcare guidance is also available to help healthcare professionals prepare and brief their teams.


Hundreds of older people benefit from HFRCs

Firefighters and trained technicians carried out more than 230 Home Fire Risk Checks (HFRCs) in the homes of older people as part of a high profile campaign.

The Service focussed on residents aged 65 and over from Monday, January 26 to Friday, January 30 when they carried out the free safety boosting visits.  The dedicated safety drive, which formed part of the Older People’s campaign, saw 83 HFRCs completed in the east of the county, 77 in the north and 72 in the west.

Statistics show that the majority of people who lose their live in accidental house fires are over 65, while those over the age of 80 are 10 times more likely to die in a fire than those aged 30.

Head of Risk Reduction Jim Bywater said:

“This dedicated drive has been incredibly successful with more than 200 households with older residents benefiting from expert advice, new smoke alarms and general home safety checks. These visits are vitally important as they can highlight potentially hazardous situations that residents may not be aware of.

“I would urge anyone who has not had a free Home Fire Risk Check to contact us and book one in as soon as possible. Also, if you are aware of someone who may benefit from a visit, do not hesitate to call us. A simple phone call could save their life.”

During the HFRC visits, crew members or trained technicians check every room in a property for potential fire hazards and speak to residents about their everyday behaviour in the home. Using this information they try to identify anything that may increase the risk of a fire. They can also fit new smoke alarms.

 For more information on the fire and rescue service’s Older People’s campaign visit http://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/1327.asp

People can call 0800 0241 999 to book a free HFRC either for themselves or for someone they know.

Informal Talk About The National Trust Charity

B9UhIoNIcAA9fpgMore information from National Trust Website

Listen to your heart with mending broken hearts appeal

Heart conditions include angina, heart attack, heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms – as well as many other conditions including congenital heart disease and inherited heart conditions.

Sometimes, understanding your heart problem and knowing the facts can help you come to terms with it and help you to feel less worried.

Help The Heart Foundation with a donation, which will help fund research into many of these conditions. For example, though our Mending Broken Hearts appeal we’re funding pioneering research into heart failure which could help the thousands of people in the UK with this debilitating condition.

Call the heart foundation on 0300 330 0633 to use your credit or debit card to pay in money you’ve raised, or to make a donation. Make sure you let them know you want to support the Mending Broken Hearts Appeal.


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