Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
AN OFFICIAL paving stone commemorating Stratford-upon-Avon’s forgotten war hero for the 100th anniversary of the First World War will be placed in the town, the government has confirmed. Rex Warneford – the first man to single-handedly shoot down a zeppelin - was ignored in the government’s initial plans to recognise Victoria Cross winners because he was born abroad in India. The Herald launched a campaign, together with King Edward VI school, where Rex lived and studied for five years, to get the fighter pilot recognised.
THE number of emotional child abuse cases in Warwickshire that are so serious they have been referred to police or children’s services has increased by 30%.
The NSPCC has today revealed a national surge in the amount of emotional neglect and abuse cases it has been forced to send to local authorities.
In Warwickshire, helpline staff assisted 67 people who contacted them in 2013/14 and referred 43 of them. Last year, they referred 33.
Across the Midlands, 491 out of 700 cases were serious enough to be referred for further action.
This compared to 319 last year, an increase of 54%.
Sandra McNair, NSPCC Midlands Regional Head of Service, said: “Emotional neglect and abuse cause real harm to children and we are supporting more people than ever before who want a safe, non-judgemental place in which to talk through their concerns.
“As a result of this we are able to recognise the most serious cases and are referring an unprecedented number of emotional neglect and abuse cases to children’s services and the police.”
Emotional neglect and abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child causing severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.
Today’s figures come as the government considers a new law to tackle the emotional neglect and abuse of children.
The so called ‘Cinderella law’ would update the 1933 criminal offence of child cruelty to include emotional neglect and abuse as well as physical abuse.
“We must ensure we support children’s services and that the police are given better powers to prosecute those who subject children to emotional neglect and abuse,” said Ms McNair.
“That is why the NSPCC supports the proposed changes to the law to tackle this issue. But a law alone is not enough – what we really need to do is work together to prevent this abuse happening in the first place.”
The charity also revealed that helpline practitioners, who listen to people’s child welfare concerns and can take action on their behalf, are being contacted by more people than ever before.
Over 60,000 people have been offered help and support by the helpline in the Midlands this year; an increase of 20 per cent compared to last year.
Anyone who has concerns about a child or wants advice can contact the NSPCC for free 24 hours a day, by calling 0808 800 5000, emailing email@example.com, texting 88858 or using an online reporting form. They can choose to remain anonymous if they wish.
In one example of an emotional abuse call to the NSPCC – a member of the public contacted the helpline with concerns about a teenager who was routinely being singled out and belittled by his step-father.
The step-father would become aggressive after drinking and the caller had heard him shout and swear at his step-son and call him ‘useless’.
The teenager’s academic performance was suffering and he’d been suspended for disruptive behaviour.
The helpline counsellor was able to reassure the caller they could remain anonymous and had taken an important step in protecting the teenager.
The conversation enabled the counsellor to ascertain a fuller picture of the teenager’s life and refer the case to children’s services.