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.
WARWICKSHIRE County Council this week defended the hourly rate it pays to home carers in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The UK Homecare Association (UKHCA) slammed councils across the UK for underpaying personal home carers who look after the elderly and disabled.
They want them to be paid a minimum of £15.19 an hour to cover wages, training and travel.
The council has defended its pricing structure saying: “The cost of commissioning home care in Stratford averages at £15.81 per hour, which is higher than the rate of £15 suggested by the UK Home Care Association.”
Although admitting they offered care companies “hundreds of different rates” they could not provide their minimum rate to the Herald by the time of going to press.
But a BBC investigation found that across the UK, the average minimum rate paid by councils was just £12.26 an hour.
Personal home care is usually paid for by councils, and delivered by private agencies.
Philip Maundrill, director of Home Instead Social Care, based at Hatton Rock, Stratford, does not bid for council contracts because they do not pay enough.
“We don’t really work with Warwickshire County Council principally because it’s done to a price, it’s done to a budget,” he said. “We all know there is a challenge for every single local authority to cut their spending.”
Last year the council announced they had to make cuts of £92 million over the next four years.
Mr Maundrill’s company has been in Stratford for three years and thanks to an ageing population, demand for home care is increasing all the time.
He said council cuts affects care quality.
“We are focused on quality and quality means time with our clients,” he said. “We do a minimum of an hour, we don’t do 15 mins, half an hour, because for us, that is not care.”
Even those companies who do work with the council say the current situation is “unsustainable”.
Stratford Domiciliary is run by The Care Bureau Ltd. Operations director Matthew Dunster, said: “The general trend in downward pricing, upward cost pressures and increased demand is clearly unsustainable in the long run.”
He said there are a number of low-quality care companies willing to work at low prices, tempting the council desperately trying to save money.
“However, I have confidence in our council colleagues being able to see a difference in price and value.
“As social care continues to dominate the political agenda, then more councils and health authorities will conclude that increasing funding to this area avoids unacceptable quality issues, and saves large amounts on more acute services in the longer term.”
Warwickshire County Council said: “Standards of care and the rates that are paid are monitored on a regular basis to ensure we meet people’s needs within the resources that are available to us.”