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County Councillor Report (Sep 2022)

by Wendy Pattison

wendy.pattison@northumberland.gov.uk – Tel. 07779 983072

And also on Facebook: Cllr Wendy Pattison

Photo portrait of Councillor Wendy Pattison

[All text and the above portrait photo provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison and used with permission. Received: 24 August 2022.]

HEDGELEY PARISH

9 Parishes Meeting

Tuesday 13 September 2022 at 6:30pm

A meeting for all nine of the Longhoughton Division Parishes has been arranged for Tuesday, September 13th at 630pm at The Old Court House, Alnwick Police Station, Prudhoe Street, Alnwick, NE66 1UJ.

Community Police Officer, Andy Newby will be on hand to discuss all village/parish concerns and this will be followed by a discussion with NCC Transport Manager, Neil Easton about local bus services.

Silver Sunday

Sunday 2 October 2022

Banner advertising 'Silver Sunday'

https://silversunday.org.uk/

What is Silver Sunday?         

Initially launched as a local campaign to tackle loneliness and isolation, Silver Sunday is now a national day where people of all generations can come together by hosting fun and free activities for older people. It is a day where older people can meet new people, visit new places, try new activities and connect with their local communities and the generations around them.

It started with a tea dance and within a few short years it has turned into a national campaign to tackle the blight of loneliness that affects so many older people. Silver Sunday is a day in the national calendar, the first Sunday in October, when we ask the nation to pause and think about older people and celebrate their contribution to society.

Silver Sunday is a powerful vehicle to draw attention to the problem of loneliness amongst older people. Celebrating the contribution of older people to society, also increases their happiness and well-being and presents an opportunity to bring generations together.

Who is taking part in 2022?

Anyone and everyone can take part. In 2021 there were more than 750 events for older people across the UK, organised by wonderful local groups, businesses and volunteers.

At a time when the loneliness and isolation being felt by our older citizens has never been more acute, please help us by making this the biggest Silver Sunday yet by putting on a Silver Sunday event, helping others who are already involved or simply take part in a Silver Sunday event in your community.

Many organisations have already pledged their support and are starting to plan their Silver Sunday activities.

Silver Sunday started in Westminster in 2012 and since then has gained widespread support. The aim is to turn it into a national day matching Mothering Sunday and Fathers’ Day, establishing it in the national consciousness as a day when we think about older people and help them. With the support of the Sir Simon Milton Foundation, Silver Sunday has grown to the point where thousands of activities and acts of kindness towards older people take place each year – from the south of England to Glasgow and all the way to Northern Ireland.

We want to make a step change in the number of activities, making Silver Sunday truly national. Our strategy sets out the following objectives:

  • To reach isolated, vulnerable older people through activities and events which celebrate the contribution of older people and help connect them with other people and services
  • To use Silver Sunday to increase the awareness of elderly isolation and celebrate the contribution of older people
  • To make Silver Sunday inter-generational, targeting the involvement of schools and youth movements
  • To develop a partnership model across the country where charities, local authorities and businesses work together to support communities.

Silver Sunday is a day that offers us all the opportunity to focus on older people’s contributions to our communities and to our society.  Different generations gather together across the UK to celebrate their elders and to make new friends, through a variety of fun, free activities that range from tea parties to curling to Zumba dancing.  As a member of Silver Sunday’s target audience, I can honestly say that it is a completely brilliant initiative.  Different generations gather together across the UK to celebrate their elders and to make new friends, through a variety of fun, free activities that range from tea parties to curling to Zumba dancing.  As a member of Silver Sunday’s target audience, I can honestly say that it is a completely brilliant initiative.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall (Silver Sunday supporter)

County above national average for food hygiene ratings

Northumberland’s food businesses are above national average for food hygiene standards with 98.3% rated 3 or above.  

Businesses in the county that supply, sell or provide food are all subject to a food hygiene inspection and a report going to Councillors later this month shows the county’s traders are performing well.  

Food hygiene inspections help residents and visitors when choosing to eat out or shop for food by giving clear information about the hygiene standards of Northumberland’s businesses.  
Rated from 5 to 0 – businesses are rated from very good to urgent improvement is required:  

  • 5 – hygiene standards are very good 
  • 4 – hygiene standards are good 
  • 3 – hygiene standards are generally satisfactory 
  • 2 – some improvement is necessary 
  • 1 – major improvement is necessary 
  • 0 – urgent improvement is required 

While businesses are not required to display food hygiene ratings, many choose to in their windows and online. Ratings are also searchable at https://ratings.food.gov.uk 

Inspections will look at how hygienically the food is handled, the physical condition of the business and how the business manages ways of keeping food safe, looking at processes, training and systems to ensure good hygiene is maintained.  

Local authority officers rate food businesses based on the standards of food hygiene found at the time of inspection. It is extremely important that this is carried out so our residents and visitors are well informed and can make their own decisions on where they eat and shop.  However, it is still the responsibility of the business to comply with food hygiene law at all times and maintain good hygiene standards, and as we can see here through our high standards the majority of Northumberland’s businesses are choosing to do so.

Where a food business does achieve a low score, food safety officers work closely with owners advising them on the actions they need to take to improve their hygiene rating and comply with food hygiene legislation.   The officer will also tell the business how quickly these improvements must be made – this will depend on the type of issue that needs to be addressed.  Officers also have several enforcement options available to them as well as giving advice and guidance, to make sure these improvements are made.

Challenge Board welcomed in Northumberland

Northumberland County Council is welcoming challenge from an independent board following recommendations made in the SOLACE Independent Governance Review. 

Since June 2022 when the recommendations were brought to Full Council, the local authority has created an Action Plan and brought in the independent Challenge Board which will provide independent advice, challenge, expertise and support. 

Council leader Councillor Glen Sanderson said: “I am pleased to invite the Challenge Board to our Council and welcome their agreement to come in as our ‘critical friend’. “No one organisation or individual should ever shy away from challenge and I know their huge experience will be very useful indeed. “I am very proud of our staff and all they do in delivering first class services across the County and I want us to do things even better.” 

Set up in conjunction with the Local Government Association, the Challenge Board is independent of the Council and has membership with significant and appropriate experience at both top officer and elected councillor level.    

It will be chaired by Northumberland resident and former CEO at Newcastle City Council, Pat Ritchie CBE. Pat will be joined by a further six board members from across the country who offer cross-party representation and officer insight.   The Board will engage with members across all political groups, officers and with partners delivering services in the county.   

Cllr Sanderson added: “This is certainly another step in the right direction. We do have so much to be proud of in our county and we want to do our very best for our residents, businesses and visitors. “By bringing in the Board it brings in another level of transparency, challenge and oversight which we’re looking forward to.”  

The Board will regularly and formally report to the Council’s cross party Member Oversight Group (MOG). Reports will be made public through this group reporting to the Full Council.  

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