Cold homes, damp homes
Living in cold, damp homes is an unfortunate reality for some people in Central Bedfordshire. Rising energy costs have made it difficult for many households to heat their homes properly.
This can often mean that there are risks to health, particularly for older people, families with children and people with disabilities or serious health conditions.
Warm Homes Healthy People scheme
The Government has made available extra funding to help tackle the problem, of Fuel Poverty. The Central Bedfordshire Warm Homes Healthy People scheme aims to offer help and support for vulnerable people living in cold and damp homes.
If you are a homeowner, or a tenant in a privately rented home and your home is cold, damp or has an old inefficient heating system, you could be eligible for a range of help.
The scheme can offer advice and financial assistance to improve your home insulation and heating.
You do not have to be in receipt of benefits to receive help from the Warm Homes Healthy People scheme.
How the scheme can help you
The Warm Homes Healthy People scheme can:
- Help to find out how efficient your home is
- Give you ideas on how to keep your home warm
- Help to install measures for keeping your home warm
- Give advice on other support or benefits you may be entitled to
- Give advice on keeping warm and healthy.
- Phone 0300 300 8302. Please mention the Warm Homes scheme when you call.
- See the Warm Homes, Health People leaflet.
A much-loved landlord who ran The Five Bells in Eaton Bray from 1990 to 1994 and was a publican for three decades has died.
Popular Norbert Coughlan, who ran five different pubs in the area between 1974 and 2004, died aged 72 on February 6 after a lengthy illness.
Mr Coughlan's wife Una told the Luton News: "He was very popular and well respected by the community.
"He was very witty and had a dry sense of humour.
"He'd been ill for some time and people always used to joke that the favourite had come second again whenever someone we knew died."
Being a publican was obviously in the blood for Mr Coughlan, whose parents ran a pub in his home town of Castlepollard in Westmeath, Ireland.
Norbert was something of a sports star back in his home town scoring the winning goal for Westmeath Juniors in the All-Ireland Junior Cup final and excelling at the high jump.
He eventually started his career in the pub trade in Luton, after stints living in Birmingham and London, when he helped his sister run the Painters Arms in High Town in the 1960s.
Mr Coughlan took charge of his own Luton pub, The White Hart (now The Castle) in Castle Street in 1974.
He went on to run the Stags Head in Russell Street for a decade, the Five Bells in Eaton Bray, the Inkerman Arms in Inkerman Street, and finally the Butchers Arms in hastings Street with wife of 45 years Una.
Mrs Coughlan said that her husband enjoyed running all five of the pubs, but that the pair probably most enjoyed their time at the White Hart. She said: "That was a brilliant little pub.
"They used to come down from the brewery and wonder how we could work behind such a tiny bar.
"But we had a great craic there."
As well as wife Una, daughters Ann, Sue and Sarah and son Edward.
A remembrance mass takes place for Mr Coughlan at the Our lady Help of Christians RC church in Castle Street on February 26, with his funeral taking place at the same church the following day (February 27) at 12.45pm.
Police in Bedfordshire have honoured their pledge to tackle the crimes that matter most to the public, latest performance figures show.
Last year, Bedfordshire Police Authority ran a number of consultation exercises to gather feedback about the crimes which ranked highest on residents' lists of priorities for the Force.
In one survey, 41 percent of respondents said they wanted police to concentrate on cutting domestic burglaries rates in the county which have a devastating emotional impact on their victims.
In a later questionnaire, a quarter of residents again placed domestic burglary as their top concern, significantly higher than any other single offence. As a result, Bedfordshire Police Authority ensured burglary was listed as a top priority in its Strategic Plan and that action was drawn up to target this type of crime.
And now latest figures show the Authority and Force's efforts to address burglary rates across the county are already bearing fruit. Two fewer burglary offences took place in the county per day between April and December 2011 (from 10.7 per day in 2010 to 8.4 in the first nine months of this year). Meanwhile, police are also detecting a greater number of burglary offences, from 16 percent between April and December 2010 to 20% in the same period last year.
Overall crime also fell at a rate of almost five fewer offences per day, from 119.5 between April and December 2010 to 115.2 in the same period last year. In addition, robbery rates – which also featured high on the public's list of priorities – also saw improvements as well as its detection rate.
Penny Fletcher chairman of Bedfordshire Police Authority's Performance Scrutiny Committee said: "These figures are extremely encouraging and show the public that we have not only listened to them but are also delivering on the actions we outlined in our Strategic Plan. Our communities play a huge role in the way we set our policing agenda and these results show that making the effort to tell us what you think can have a real impact on our operational decisions.
"Both the Police Authority and the Force are constantly striving to improve the service the public receives whether this is in the way we deal with victims of crime or the way we listen to the problems which concern our communities. By closing the gap between public expectations and performance we will hopefully improve satisfaction levels in local policing and ensure confidence continues to grow in the Force.
"Bedfordshire Police has maintained its improved national rank positions in all of its priority detection categories compared to last year which means our communities are not only safer, they are also receiving a better service in the investigation and detection of the crimes which take place in the county. By continuing to place the needs of residents at the heart of our decisions, I am confident we will continue to bring further reductions and service improvements in the future."
Further consultation this year has again identified domestic burglary as an ongoing concern for residents and as such it will feature prominently again in this year's Plan.
Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire
You may wonder about the heading, well let me tell you a little more about the events of 2012.
Firstly on 21st April the Village Hall and Eaton Bray Tennis Club are holding their twice yearly Quiz. This will follow our usual pattern with questions from the undisputed king of question masters, the one and only Keith Blackburn. The price will be £9 and this will include your supper which will be even better than usual, not sure how, but I have been assured that it will!
Following on from that, we will be holding our 9th Annual Beer Festival on Friday 1st June and Saturday 2nd June. We will be having all the usual features plus even more Beers plus Ciders and Perrys. Again this is becoming a part of Village life and we are now into our 9th year. As soon as we finish this one, we will be putting our thinking caps on see what we can do to celebrate the 10th one in 2013.
But what of the Diamond Jubilee? You may have noticed that the Beer Festival is the same weekend as the Jubilee celebrations when the whole country will be celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. So we had a chat with Coralie, the vicar, to see what we could do to celebrate this event. Together we have come up with the idea of a traditional children's tea party! We hope that this can held outdoors on the Saturday afternoon (2nd June) with lots of good food and fun and games, including a children's entertainer. If it rains we still have the Hall!
As you may have seen from previous pieces I have written, volunteers are few on the ground but by combining the Village Hall crowd and the Church members together, we can offer a wonderful treat to local children. Coralie will be expanding on this part of the festivities in her own piece elsewhere in Focus.
Should you wish to help make this a special day for the children please feel free to contact either myself, Ross or Coralie.
We will both be keeping you up to date in further issues of Focus. Just put the dates in your diary now!
Source: Focus, February 2012
The congregation at St Mary's has the pleasure of worshipping in a beautiful, medieval, Grade 1 listed building, which will be 800 years old in seven years' time. This building however belongs not just to people who go to church but to all parishioners of the four villages of Eaton Bray, Edlesborough, Northall and Dagnall for whom it is their parish church. It is steeped in history and it is yours to marvel at and enjoy whenever you wish; it is amazing how many people do come into the church for various reasons during any ordinary day.
The down-side of owning such an ancient building however, is that it is very expensive to maintain. The stonework, a soft chalk-like stone originally mined in Totternhoe, requires tens of thousands of pounds to be spent on it every 20-30 years just to stop the building crumbling away. In addition, we have to fi nance an annual budget of around £80,000 which includes paying a diocesan quota to cover among other things, clergy salaries and pensions.
To meet these commitments, it does mean that we have to think about money rather more than we would wish and to run many fund-raising events throughout the year to pay our bills and save for future renovations; you will no doubt have attended some of them – Carnival, Open Gardens, concerts, Christmas Fayre, to name a few. But what you may not realise is that St Mary's also tries hard to be a generous church. In 2011, for example, St Mary's donated almost £15,000 to charity through events such as Carnival, collections at Christmas Services, Christian Aid concert, Harvest Auction, Poppy Prom, Gordon's Christmas Puzzle and response to natural disasters, plus also the PCC's annual budgeted charitable giving.
If you would like to help decide which charities St Mary's supports in 2012, there will be regular opportunities presented in Focus for you to make recommendations, so in addition to supporting our events, look out for these occasions during the coming year and make your suggestions to the Vicar, Churchwarden or Gordon Gray or via St Mary's website www.stmaryseatonbray.org.uk.
-- Gordon Gray & Catherine Hayden
Source: Focus, February 2012
The time for Carnival cometh once more.
The theme for Carnival 2012 is "Kings and Queens". We are not just talking Elizabeth, Edward, Victoria, George, Henry and Ethelred; there is Cleopatra, Martin Luther … not to mention Freddie Mercury! Use your imagination for the theme; decorate your house on the Carnival route and join the procession in costume to make this a Carnival to remember in Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee year.
The Carnival will also include some superb Olympic-themed events for children from 2 to 92 in the main arena on The Green.
Organisation for the Carnival is underway so is there any way you can help to make this a year to remember?
- VERY IMPORTANT: Selection of the Carnival Queen and Princesses will take place in April. Dresses for the Queen and Princesses are very difficult to find this year. Can anyone help with any bridesmaid or similar "fancy" dresses that would be suitable for our stunning young ladies? All help or ideas would be greatly appreciated!
- Local Groups: Do you run any group in the Villages that would like to operate a float this year? Perhaps you do not live in the village but operate your events here and would like to take part? All floats are welcome!
- Transport: Can you help with transport in any form; flatbed lorry, open truck or van or anything that could provide transport for the procession?
- Advertising: Any business that would like to advertise in the Carnival program should have their requests in by mid-April. This is an event that draws thousands of people for the local area so don't miss out.
- Can you provide any help to the carnival?
- Prizes, of any sort, for the various raffle and tombola stalls.
- Items for the silent auction.
- Can YOU provide help on the day of the carnival at any of the many charity stalls, even for a few hours?
Contact Gordon Gray via the St Mary's Village Carnival website
My Lords and Ladies the time is coming; prepare yourselves for a "right Regal Carnival" in 2012.
Our Saturday Cafe Community will start again on February 11th from 11-00 am until 1-00pm, when we offer you the opportunity to pop in and enjoy a cup of coffee, a light hot lunch, newspapers to look through and friends old and new to catch up with. We have an Activity Area available so all ages are welcome, if you are free come along and join us, we can promise you a warm welcome. The Charity we are supporting for the next 3 months will be Luton Women's Aid Centre.
Music at St Mary's
Performed by The Linsdale Singers
St Mary's Church
7.30pm 19 May 2012
Box Office open from 1st Feb: 01525 222283
Tickets: £7.50 & £10 (Numbered seats)
Source: Focus, February 2012