Cllr Mark Healey's Parish Council briefing, October 2017

The Dragon Patcher:

Somerset County Council and its highways contractor, Skanska are committed to using new equipment and techniques to reduce costs and improve services. The dragon patcher – so called because it uses flames to dry and heat the road surface – is currentlyon trial in Somerset. It is claimed to be five times faster than a traditional patching gang and can be controlled by one operator. As well as simply filling potholes, it can also be used to treat sections of road with cracks or minor deterioration to prevent potholes formingin future.

Yeovil Western Corridor:

Wessex Water works were scheduled to commence on 18th Sept, as programmed.

Skanska have completed early enabling works and all orders have now been placed withthe utility companies. SCC is working closely with the contractor/project manager to develop a communications/engagement plan associated with the works, which are due to

commence in October.

National Adoption Week:

NAW launches on 16 October and encourages people to consider adopting a child or to help spread the word about the urgent need for more adopters. Somerset children in

care recently made a beautiful heart on the sand at Minehead beach and are now

decorating hearts to be shown in the windows of County Hall and on social media. SCC

is encouraging everyone to join in the ‘Have a Heart’ campaign to help spread this

message. Take a photograph of a heart in as many ways as you like (from a children’s

drawing to a design on a t-shirt to icing on a cake for example) and photograph it for

social media. @adoptsomerset #haveaheart

Integrated family support services:

A consultation on potential changes to the way support is provided to families in Somerset, including the role of Sure Start Children’s Centres, has been launched. Anyone with an interest is encouraged to give their views on the Family Support Service proposals, which aim to make support as accessible as possible for those who need it most. The plans would also fully joinup the County Council’s getset service (including Children’s Centre support for 0 to 4 yearolds and support for families with children aged 0 to 19) with the support offered by Health Visitors and School Nurses. More support would

be offered through community venues, in people’s homes and online -concentrating spend on supporting families rather than running expensive buildings.

Further information can be found in children’s centres and at www.somerset.gov.uk/familysupportandchildrenscentres

Selworthy Special School:

Unfortunately there are currently not enough special school places in Somerset for the children who need them. This puts pressure on Somerset’s education funding because expensive independent school places have to be bought. It also leads to children with special educational needs being taken outof their communities. SCC are planning to expand Selworthy School in Taunton onto a new site nearby and are moving toward the statutory consultation before applying for planning permission, with the expectation of providing 60 - 80 additional places by the autumn of 2019.

Library Service:

A thriving, modern library service is very much a part of the future of Somerset County Council. Consultation will launch very shortly to feed into a threeyear plan which is being developed to redesign the service and place it on a sustainable financial footing for the longterm. The intention is to do this in a structured robust way that maximizes integrationof library resources with other customer facing services. This will also ensure we continue to fulfill our statutory duty to deliver a comprehensive and efficient library service.

Education Business Partnership:

Hinkley Point C Planning Obligations Board will meet in October to decide on a funding bid for the EBP. The EBP is a new vision designed to bring the two elements of education and business together. A skilled workforce is essential in assisting the delivery of economic growth in Somerset and will also help increase productivity. The bidwill aid the relationships with business and educators, highlighting opportunities for our next generation of workforce. Winter Flu Jabs: SCC’s Public Health are encouraging everyone eligible for a free NHS flu vaccination to arrange it a soon as practical. The vaccination is the best protection wehave against flu infection which is easily transmitted and even people with mild or no symptoms can infect others. In particular Flu can cause severe illness and even death among those most ‘at risk’ including pregnant women, people with a long-term health condition and older people. Make sure you protect yourself and the people around you. The vaccination is quick, easy and best of all FREE for people who are ‘at risk’. People in any of the ‘at risk’ groups can contact their GP surgery to get their free NHS flu jab. If you are not in one of the ‘at risk’ groups but want a flu jab you can still get one from a local pharmacy for a small fee.

Health Checks:

Many Parish and Town Councils have worked with SCC Public Health to provide NHS Health Checks for people aged 40 to 74. The check assesses a person’s risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease or dementia. Taking around 20 minutes each person then receives a comprehensive health report. More information is available at www.somersethealthchecks.co.uk

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