Toni Coombs set to host a Thanksgiving Service at Wimborne Minster

Dorset For You - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 15:06

Cllr Toni Coombs, Chairman of East Dorset District Council, is set to host a Civic Service of Thanksgiving at Wimborne Minster on Monday 4 March at 1.45pm.

Ahead of the creation of the new unitary council, Dorset Council, on 1 April 2019, the service will be held in celebration of East Dorset. Many community representatives have been invited; however the service is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

The Sermon will be delivered by the Bishop of Sherborne and the Right Reverend Karen Gorman. The service will include a handover of the area for safekeeping to the Shadow Dorset Council Chairman, Cllr Hilary Cox.

Local schools from across East Dorset will take part in the service, with pupils from Ferndown Upper School, Queen Elizabeth, St James’ CE First School, St Mary’s First School, West Moors, Wimborne First School, Cranborne First School and Ferndown First Schools in attendance.

A retiring collection will be taken in support of the Chairman’s charities; Macmillan, Mosaic (who support bereaved children throughout Dorset) and Wimborne Minster.

The service will end with a ceremonial gun salute on the Minster Green, by the Wimborne Militia and refreshments will be available after the service.

Cllr Toni Coombs, Chairman of East of Dorset, said: “This is an historic occasion as after 31 March; East Dorset District Council will no longer exist. Although this is the right decision to protect services for the community, it is still hard to let go of our local history. We should mark this last civic service in a special way, by thanking all of those who have made a difference to our district.”

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Categories: Dorset

New rules about dogs in public places

Dorset For You - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:12

New rules about dogs in public places will come into force in North Dorset on 31 March 2019.

The rules were drawn-up after more than 800 people had their say about where and when dogs should be allowed in public places.

North Dorset District Council carefully considered the views’ of dog owners and the concerns of other residents who use public places such as parks.

After considering 859 responses the council attempted to strike a balance and also simplified a raft of regulations. The result is the new North Dorset Dog Related Public Spaces Protection Order 2019, which will replace existing orders.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the district council’s cabinet and then approved by Full Council.  The new rules will come into effect on 31 March 2019.

Councillor Andrew Kerby, Community Safety and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder at North Dorset District Council, said: “Thank you to everyone who took the trouble to share their views on how dogs should be managed in public places in North Dorset. We have looked carefully at the results and have tried to strike a balance to suit the interests of all.

“North Dorset District Council encourages responsible dog ownership. Most owners are very responsible, unfortunately a small minority who do not clear-up after their dogs do cause a problem.”

Here is the new North Dorset Dog Related Public Spaces Protection Order 2019.


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Categories: Dorset

Free central heating and grants to keep warm

Dorset For You - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 10:53

Need affordable heating and hot water? Want a warmer and more cosy home? Free mains gas central heating may be available. 

Help may be available, whatever your income, if you live in Melcombe Regis, Littlemoor, Underhill, Westham East, Westham North, Westham West and Weymouth East.

In other areas across Dorset  help may be available if you are on a low income. Gas connections are free as well. You can apply now here.

The HEAT Melcombe Regis project is offering first time full gas central heating systems (if you do not have central heating already). This is usually free. Gas or LPG Boiler Upgrade Grants may also be available if your boiler is broken, old, or inefficient.

Loft Insulation Grants and Cavity Wall Insulation Grants are available wherever you live in Dorset. Find out more here.

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day

It is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on Friday (15/2), so please tell anyone who might benefit that this help is available.

Advice about how to keep your home warm is available here from National Energy Action (NEA), a national charity that aims to end fuel poverty for all households.


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Categories: Dorset

Discover Lost Words in Thorncombe Wood

Dorset For You - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 09:28

Thorncombe Woods, near Dorchester, has a new ‘Lost Words’ trail for visitors to follow, inspired by the book of the same name by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris.

The Lost Words celebrates the once-common ‘nature’ words – including acorn, wren, starling and dandelion – that were dropped from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. It takes these words that have been falling out of use amongst children – such as adder, kingfisher and bramble – and brings them back to life through Macfarlane’s ‘spell poems’ and illustrations by Morris.

An accompanying leaflet also highlights some old Dorset dialect words to stimulate memories for the older generations and inspire interest in younger generations:

This trail is part of a wider crowd-funded Dorset Lost Words project supported by Westbourne Books, in which schools across Dorset are being given a copy of The Lost Words. Together with funding from Dorset AONB a programme of school workshops, an exhibition of children’s work and the development of a website using the hashtag #LostWordsDorset is being delivered across the county.

The concept will also be taken to Memory Cafes for those living with dementia in Dorset.

Thorncombe Wood ranger Claire Platten said: “We hope that people of all ages, and those caring for others, will enjoy this trail. It is a wonderful opportunity to get close to nature and to search for, find and speak about The Lost Words.

“The trail encourages everyone to write, illustrate and share their own poems and ‘lost words’. Have a go – the most outstanding artist and wordsmith will win a copy of The Lost Words.”

The short trail runs alongside Thomas Hardy’s cottage and follows paths that can be used by off-road mobility scooters (which can be hired from Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre) and will be open from February half term until 10 April.

To celebrate the opening of this trail, local storyteller Martin Maudsley will be leading a Lost Words story walk on 20 February. It will feature folktales, myths and legends that celebrate plants and animals found in Dorset. To book your place email:

The Lost Words Trail is funded by Stepping into Nature – a local community lottery funded project which provides activities for Dorset’s older generations, including people with dementia and their carers, to access and enjoy our unique landscape, wildlife and culture.

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Categories: Dorset

Weymouth to host new library, information and learning centre

Dorset For You - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 15:37

A refurbishment project at Weymouth Library is due to get underway in mid-February.
It will bring together a range of services and teams into one shared building, as a ‘library information and learning centre’.

The library building in Great George Street in the town centre will be adapted to offer space for:

o The town’s library
o Skills & Learning – the local Adult Learning provider which offers a variety of high quality courses and learning opportunities to the local community and training opportunities to local employers
o Community Resource Team (mental health) – part of Weymouth & Portland Community Mental Health Team, which facilitates attendance at a range of social, vocational and educational activities to aid recovery
o Citizens Advice – providing free, confidential and independent advice to help people overcome their problems

Dorset County Council has been working with representatives from these organisations to bring together the new offer. Together, they have designed how the library building can be reorganised to make the space work for everyone.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset County Council Cabinet member for education, learning and skills said:

“There are huge benefits to be gained from this £550,000 project, including improved links between organisations and services. It will provide easier access to services as they are based in one building, at a central location with good public transport links. The refurbished library space will provide a wider range of uses, as well as refurbished public toilets and two additional accessible toilets. The building works will not result in fewer books or public access computers.”

So that we limit disruption to the library service, the building works will take place in phases, starting in mid-February and finishing in July. The library will remain open for most of this period but may close towards the end of the works while new shelving is fitted.

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Categories: Dorset

Volunteers needed in local libraries

Dorset For You - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 15:08

People in Sherborne, Blandford, Lyme Regis and Shaftesbury need help to use digital technology.

There is no need to be an IT expert, just an interest in helping people and basic knowledge of computers and phones.

Digital Champions are volunteers that support people to learn basic computer skills. Around 70,000 people in Dorset are not online at all. Our champions give people confidence to start, help them to save money and keep safe online.

Volunteering as a Digital Champion might be your next career move. The rewards might be unexpected. Jessica Orchard, of Wimborne, (pictured above) started last year, hoping to become a librarian.

She said: “Originally I became a Digital Champion for my own personal gain, but now I do it for the feeling I get when I see people improve. One of my learners cried with happiness when he learned something.

“I meet lots of new people and admire them for coming and trying something new, especially if they are older.”

Currently, over 50 Digital Champions run weekly sessions in Dorset libraries and learning centres. They normally see up to six learners over two to three hours. Now, libraries in Sherborne, Shaftesbury, Blandford and Lyme Regis want to offer sessions too.  Other libraries want to provide more sessions.

Learners often lack anyone else with the time and patience to teach them. Your help will allow them to stay connected to family and use essential online services. Many learners bring their own digital device and library facilities are also available.

Roy Arnold, also of Wimborne, has attended Jessica’s sessions for several weeks. Initially, she had to remind Roy where to click each time. Now, he logs in and remembers what to do.

Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council Cabinet Member for Natural and Built Environment, said: “It’s fantastic that we have so many Digital Champions who are happy to share their knowledge. They already help more than 100 people a month to get to grips with computers, phones, tablets and the internet.”

“There are still lots of people in Dorset who need help with digital skills and risk being left behind, especially as more and more services move online. If you can help, please do by volunteering as a Digital Champion.”

It is easy to get involved. Enrol as a Digital Champion at or call us on 01305 221048 and we’ll invite you to an induction session to give you some training. We support our volunteers throughout their experience.

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Categories: Dorset

Councils recognised for improved land searches services

Dorset For You - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 10:23

Three councils in Dorset are up for an award recognising the service they deliver to home buyers.

Dorset Councils Partnership’s Local Land Charges Team serves North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.

North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council are each nominated for ‘Most Improved Services’ at the 2019 Land Data Local Land Charges Awards for Excellence.

The three councils share a single work force and over the last few years have focused on improving the overall land charges service. Their plans included recruiting more people to process applications and improving the way relevant information is held.

Searches now completed well within target time

The average turnaround of searches across all the councils is currently less than 10 working days. This exceeds the 15 day target time set by the councils as part of their improvement plans. It also means they are meeting the national targets set by central Government.

The Land Charges Team remains committed to continue the development of its service going forward.

North Dorset District Council portfolio holder for Access and Customer Service, Cllr Piers Brown said:

“It’s great news that we are up for the award.

“A win for one of the councils would be a win for all as we work together as a single team.

“The land charges team have worked incredibly hard to improve the service across the three councils’ areas and ensure our customers receive consistent, high quality and fast service.”

West Dorset District Council’s Corporate portfolio holder, Cllr Peter Barrowcliff said:

“It’s fantastic news that we are on the shortlist.

“Regardless of whether we win, I would like to thank our staff who have worked hard to turn it around for west Dorset.

“I’d also like to thank our customers who have shown great patience while we worked to reduce search times.

“We now have an efficient process in place and our customers can be confident of a fast turnaround – vital when buying a house.”

Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s brief holder for Corporate Affairs and Business Improvement, Cllr Alison Reed said:

“It’s great news that we are being considered for this award. It shows our customers that we are continuing to improve the service as we go forwards to the unitary council in April this year.

“The Land Charges Team has worked hard to increase the speed of the service and to ensure and maintain the quality for people looking to buy property in Weymouth and Portland.”

About the awards

This year’s shortlist for the Local Land Charges Awards for Excellence is made up of 46 local authority teams and 12 individuals who have all demonstrated excellence, enthusiasm and willingness to adapt and improve in a tough and uncertain market.

The shortlist has been drawn from over 200 entries and nominations submitted by solicitors, conveyancers, customer service experts and local land charges personnel.

The awards are held every year and celebrate the achievements and successes of Local Authority Local Land Charges departments across England and Wales .

The winners and highly commended for each category will be announced at an awards dinner on Monday 4 March 2019 in Birmingham

Watch this space!

More about Land Charges

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Categories: Dorset

Holwell Neighbourhood Plan backed by residents

Dorset For You - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 09:20

A local community is one step away from having an approved Neighbourhood Plan for their area.

Holwell residents support Neighbourhood Plan in referendum

A final version of the Holwell Neighbourhood Plan was submitted to the district council for examination and a referendum was held on whether to accept or reject the plan on 7 February.

Residents voted to accept the plan, with 81.95 per cent of votes cast in favour.

The plan has been drawn up by local people, and agreed by the parish council, who feel confident that the plan reflects the hopes and views of the local community.

Neighbourhood plans were introduced in the Localism Act 2011 and aim to give residents more say in the future use of land and buildings in their area. For example a neighbourhood plan can say where new homes, shops or offices might be built or where important green spaces might be protected.

Cllr Robert Gould, West Dorset District Council’s Ward Member for Holwell, said:

“I congratulate all those who put so much hard work into producing this Plan and I am delighted that it has now received such strong backing from the residents of Holwell.”

The Holwell neighbourhood Plan will now be taken to West Dorset District Council’s Full Council, where members will decide whether to formally adopt the plan.

Cllr Ian Gardner, West Dorset District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, said:

“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to bring a Neighbourhood Plan forward and have it backed by the local community. I look forward to presenting the plan to Full Council on 26 February and am confident of a positive outcome.”

View the full result of the Holwell Neighbourhood Plan referendum. 

View the Holwell Neighbourhood Plan online. A hard copy of the plan is available at the district council offices in South Walks House, Dorchester.

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Categories: Dorset

£380k worth of grants provided by West Dorset District Council

Dorset For You - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 09:37

One off grants totalling £380k have been awarded to projects across West Dorset.

Grants: Beaminster skate park concept

Last week (7 February), West Dorset District Council’s Strategy Committee gave the go ahead to provide a financial boost to seven different projects across the area.

Cllr Mary Penfold, West Dorset District Portfolio Holder for Enabling, said:

“I am really pleased that the council has been able to provide support to these projects.

“Each scheme will provide significant benefits to local communities and West Dorset as a whole. I look forward to seeing these projects develop.”

The projects

St Osmunds Middle School

A one-off grant of £15,000 has been awarded to St Osmund’s Middle School to support the retention of community access to sports facilities following the demise of the St Osmund’s Community Sports Centre Trust. The grant will complement a grant of £5,000 from Dorchester Town Council and help the school improve access controls and security measures in order that those clubs that have been using the centre in the evenings can continue to do so.

Cam Vale Parish Council

A one-off grant of £78,800 has been awarded to Cam Vale Parish Council to help the project to build a new community hall in Longburton, subject to planning permission. The parish council has also been given a loan of £20,000 to assist with the project. The new hall would provide a modern facility for the surrounding community.

Bridport Museum Trust

A one-off grant of £25,000 has been awarded to the Bridport Museum Trust to assist with the cost of urgent conservation works for its collection. The council has also set aside £10,000 to enable the commissioning of a specialist building survey of the Museum’s store and offices at the Coach House on Gundry Lane.

Beaminster Town Council

A one-off grant of £60,000 has been awarded to Beaminster Town Council to support its project to build a skate park to meet the needs of young people in both the town and surrounding villages.

Dorchester Town Council

A one-off grant of £90,000 has been awarded to Dorchester Town Council to support a project to enhance the townscape and paving in the vicinity of the Town Pump in South Street. The aim of the project is to replicate the paving style recently installed at the southern end of South Street.  The grant is conditional on the town council committing £100,000 of its own money to the project.

Dorchester Heritage Joint Committee

A one-off grant of £50,000 has been awarded to the Dorchester Heritage Joint Committee to support a project to develop a heritage-based tourism strategy for Dorchester. This grant will be matched by funding from the town council and help to promote the town’s heritage attractions including Dorset County Museum, Shire Hall and the Keep Military Museum.

Beaminster Town Council

A one-off grant of £70,000 has been awarded to Beaminster Town Council to support the provision of a new public toilet in Beaminster – plans are at an early stage.

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Categories: Dorset

Meet Dorset’s new Members of Youth Parliament

Dorset For You - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 13:53

Four Dorset youngsters are taking their first steps on the political ladder after being elected to represent the county in the UK Youth Parliament.

After weeks of campaigning, two Members of Youth Parliament (MYP) and two deputies have been elected from the 13 contenders.

Henry Slocombe, Emily Marshal, Imogen Watson and Melissa Garanowako

There were 11,838 votes case in total, with the four successful candidates announced yesterday, Thursday 7 February, at a ceremony at County Hall in Dorchester.

The new Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) are:

• Imogen Watson, 15, Budmouth College in Weymouth
• Emily Marshall, 18, Weymouth College

And the deputies are:

• Henry Slocombe, 17, The Gryphon School in Sherborne

• Melissa Garanowako, 14, Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester

MYPs represent Dorset on a regional and national basis, helping to engage young people in politics, democracy and citizenship.

They also deliver their own personal manifestos to improve the lives of young people. Last year, MYPs tackled issues like mental health, exam stresses, and period poverty.

The election is run by Participation People in partnership Dorset County Council. Cllr Andrew Parry, Cabinet member for education, learning and skills, said:

“The high calibre of candidates from across Dorset – all campaigning passionately on issues relevant to the lives of young people in the County – demonstrates how by successfully engaging with their peers, they inspired thousands of them to cast their votes in support of this year’s Youth Parliament elections.

“Congratulations to the successful MYPs and their deputies. I am confident they will be a strong voice for young people in Dorset at a local and national level”.

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Categories: Dorset

Room for two more?

Dorset For You - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 13:46

The next instalment from Mandy, one of our foster carers…. January, the month where many people make resolutions and stick to them for at least two weeks. Mine was to be more organised which lasted approximately twenty four hours.

I organised for my cat to be neutered and thought I’d been very clever in sorting someone to take him, someone to pick up and had even remembered not to feed him after midnight. All was going well until I had a phone call from the vet to say ‘ Sorry we can’t remove his boy bits as he’s female.’ Cue massive rant to my husband about putting the wrong cat in the carrier and a ‘break neck ‘ drive to vets to rescue the wrong cat being neutered. When I got to the vet it was the correct 

feline but he wasn’t quite the little boy I thought he was. Sheepishly I apologised to my husband while my eldest foster son asked me if I actually had the skills to help him with biology homework.


In the midst of this chaos two new foster children entered our lives. My husband’s parents welcomed a mother and baby from Eritrea who came to England through the dubs amendment (a scheme that allows unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to come to live safely in the UK).  How traumatic must it be to give birth at 16 far away from your family, and then to travel to yet another country to live with strangers who don’t speak your language? Yet this amazing young lady is a very capable mother and has taken England, being fostered and starting college, in her stride.  My seven and my parents in law’s four bonded almost instantaneously with the help of google translate and a football while the adults sat around looking shell shocked from all the changes in our once quietish lives. Spontaneous trips out are now almost impossible and we need a blooming coach  for combined family outings. My kids have learnt what I think is an Arabic swear word (well it sounds like one) and two of the refugee teens have learnt how to ride my youngest’s ponycycle (look it up they are so cool). 


January ended in a flourish of romance (ish) my husband arranged for me to see the ballet, Beauty and the Beast. I not only got to see a beautiful show but he’d arranged for my eldest son to join me. (currently at uni and I see him very little) Hubby also arranged for my little foslings and my younger daughters to accompany me, so I did spent a great deal of time trying to explain why they kept dancing all the time and not saying anything. My youngest foster son was, however, very enthusiastic with his applauding at the end. He even shouted loudly ‘why are we still clapping? They weren’t that good.’  


 Will the rest of 2019 be as diverse as January? Probably but bring it on.



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Categories: Dorset

Former Weymouth amusements set for re-development

Dorset For You - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 11:47

Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Planning Committee has given its approval to the redevelopment of land to the rear of the former ‘Harry’s Amusements’ building on Weymouth Esplanade.

The scheme will see the development of 26 apartments and associated parking in a mix 17 one-bedroom apartments and 9 two-bedroom apartments.

This development is part of a broader redevelopment of the Harry’s Amusements building that will provide 32 apartments in total when complete.

Cllr Ray Nowak, Weymouth & Portland Borough Councils Briefholder for Environment and Sustainability, said:

“I am pleased the council has approved this application. Once complete the development will bring residential accommodation to the Town Centre close to amenities, and will see the redevelopment of an otherwise little-used site, together with a visual enhancement to the conservation area.”

Cllr Gill Taylor, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Housing, said:

“It’s good to see the council approve developments on under-utilised sites. We must make use of this type of space in order to provide homes for our residents.

“If any resident is looking to own a home I would encourage signing our Home Ownership Register – a key part of our Opening Doors project. This will provide us with more information about housing demand and find out the size and locations of homes that people want. As part of this we also forward on details of upcoming developments and opportunities to own a home.”

Find out more about the Home Ownership Register at

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Categories: Dorset

Councils raise rainbow flags and mark LGBT History Month

Dorset For You - Wed, 02/06/2019 - 09:49

Three councils have raised rainbow flags to show support to LGBTQ+ communities and mark the start of LGBT History Month.

Rainbow flags ready to be raised outside South Walks House in Dorchester.

Rainbow flags have been raised outside the offices of North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.

Ceremonies were held outside two of the councils’ offices on Monday 4 February attended by councillors, council staff, members of UNISON (who helped organised the events) and local LGBT groups.

The Chairman of West Dorset District Council, Cllr Peter Shorland and Mayor of Dorchester, Cllr David Taylor raised the rainbow flag – a symbol of LGBTQ+ pride – outside South Walks House in Dorchester. 

Speaking at the ceremony on behalf of West Dorset District Council, Cllr Shorland said:

“By raising the LGBT flag at our offices, we are demonstrating that we are allies to the LGBT community.

“Our offices, as places to work and where services are delivered, are a safe place where we respect the diversity of love, relationships and identity.

“We strive to reflect this in the services we provide, while committing to continuing to learn and improve.”

The Mayor of Weymouth & Portland, Cllr Gill Taylor raised the flag at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s offices at Commercial Road.

Speaking at the ceremony on behalf of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council said, Mayor Taylor said:

“This year is a particularly significant year for the LGBT community as it marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York which was probably the most significant event in the leading to the gay liberation movement and the fight for LGBT rights in the United States.

“In the United Kingdom, LGBT History Month is recognised as an opportunity to demonstrate that LGBT people are welcome, valued and respected in our community. To raise awareness, to educate and to inform; and to celebrate achievements and sending out a clear message of support and campaigning against the ongoing discrimination and inequality faced by their community.

“However we are all one community and that is something we should never forget.”

In the warm and dry! Supporters gather at Commercial Road in Weymouth before raising the flag outside. Words of support from the councils

North Dorset District Council portfolio holder for Access & Customer Services, Cllr Piers Brown attended the ceremony at South Walks House.

He said: ‘By raising the flag we want to show solidarity and support to the LGBTQ+ community and to make it clear to everyone that North Dorset is a welcoming and inclusive place to be.”

West Dorset District Council portfolio holder for Equalities, Cllr Stella Jones MBE said:

“We’re proud to be flying the rainbow flag on behalf of West Dorset. We want to show to that we be believe in equal rights and equal treatment for everyone in our community. And that we recognise the struggles LGBTQ+ have faced, and still face, on daily basis.”

Weymouth & Portland Borough Council brief holder for Social Inclusion, Cllr Jon Orrell said:

“We’re flying the rainbow flag with pride in recognition of the LGBTQ+ members of our community. We want people to see that Weymouth and Portland is a place where LGBTQ+ people can live, work and visit free from discrimination and stigma.”

The rainbow flags will fly during the first week of February to show of support to members of the LGBTQ+ community.

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Categories: Dorset

Public event on Wednesday 13 February to showcase sea defences work

Dorset For You - Tue, 02/05/2019 - 11:46

The Environment Agency and West Dorset District Council have partnered up to work on new multi-million pound sea defences at West Bay, Bridport, West Dorset.

The partnership is co-hosting a drop in event for the local community at the Salthouse, West Bay, Bridport on Wednesday 13 February from 2-7pm. Hear from the Environment Agency’s project manager, engineers from West Dorset District Council, and the contractors who will be constructing the works. There will also be representatives from the Dorset Coastal Connections team who can show you all the exciting projects that are happening in and around West Bay in 2019.

Want to know more about the project? Click here for our previous story.

For  anyone from the local community who is unable to attend, we will upload all the relevant information to in the days following the event.

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Categories: Dorset

Parents and carers of children with SEND – have your say

Dorset For You - Mon, 02/04/2019 - 18:38

Parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have a chance to give their feedback to inspectors next week.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are visiting Dorset from 11-13 February to see how agencies are progressing with improvements following their last inspection of SEND services in 2017.

At that time inspectors found that:

  • education, health and social care needed to work better together and take responsibility for making life better for children and young people with SEND
  • Dorset County Council was taking too long to turn statements of special educational needs into education, health and care plans (EHCP) and to complete new EHCPs suited to each child or young person’s needs
  • parents and carers were worried about delays in getting help, not getting enough support or information and not being involved in making decisions about their children
  • more work was needed to challenge and support organisations to do better

The council produced a plan called a written statement of action to set out how it would make improvements.

Inspectors will visit to see what progress has been made and parents have a chance to give their feedback. You can:

Cllr Andrew Parry, Cabinet member for education and learning at Dorset County Council, said:

“We’re working hard to improve services for children and young people with SEND and it’s important that the inspectors hear from parents and carers during their visit. We encourage parents to make the most of these opportunities and have their say.”

Find out more

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Categories: Dorset

North Dorset members delighted to award £70k to North Dorset Trailway

Dorset For You - Mon, 02/04/2019 - 15:23

Jan Wardell, member NDTN, Cllr Carr-Jones, leader of North Dorset District Council [middle left] Cllr Jespersen, Portfolio Holder for Community and Regeneration [middle right] with Scott Norman, Chair NDTN [right]

£70,000 has been granted to the North Dorset Trailway Trust (registered Charity no. 1145442).

Read more about this grant – and other recently awarded grants in North Dorset – here.

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Categories: Dorset

Works to start on historic Victorian Shelters in Weymouth

Dorset For You - Mon, 02/04/2019 - 14:47

As we previously reported, £50,000 has been awarded by central government to repair and redecorate seven Grade 2 listed Esplanade Shelters. Works are due to start tomorrow [Tuesday 5 February] for approximately 8 weeks.

Made from cast iron and dating back to 1889, these shelters are an important part of Weymouth’s heritage.

The works are due to be carried out by Dorset Build and Maintenance Ltd.

No expected disruption

We expect no road or footpath closures whilst these works are carried out. Each shelter will be encased in scaffolding and sheeting while the work takes place. The shelters will not be done all at once, with the intention to work on groups of two or three at a time.

The works will prevent access to the two or three shelters whilst they are being worked on,  and access along the promenade will be reduced at those points. However, we will ensure that the access is wide enough to cater for mobility scooters, pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Scope of works

The works will include:

  • blasting off existing paint
  • carrying out repairs to the ornamental ironwork
  • timber repairs to seating
  • roofing repairs
  • replacement of damaged glazed panels
  • All graffiti will be cleaned off the glazed panels and existing seating
  • replacing the ground lights to each shelter

How will it be paid for?

The £50,000 will cover the cost of the majority of the works. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council will cover the rest, plus the cleaning and public protection element of these works.

Cllr Jeff Cant, briefholder for Finance and Assets and leader of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “These works form a key part of our exciting plans to improve the public realm throughout Weymouth. Other projects include the sculpture trail and artist led lighting installations along the Esplanade (funded by a previous round of the Coastal Community Fund).

“These are an important part of our heritage and we know how the public value them, so we are working closely with police and local bodies to discourage anti-social behaviour at the Shelters. ”

Coastal Communities Minister

Coastal Communities Minister, Jake Berry MP, previously said about the project: “It’s fantastic to be able to kick start the restoration of 25 important sites up and down our Great British coastline.

“From Whitehaven to Weymouth, we’re saving some of the nation’s most cherished coastal heritage assets and landmarks from falling into disrepair. The Coastal Communities Fund also helps regenerate our coastal communities and support them to grow by bringing these sites back to life and making them the focal points of their communities once more.

“It’s all part of our plan to invest nearly a quarter of a billion pounds in our seaside areas by 2020, providing thousands of jobs, training places and opportunities up and down the Great British Coast.”

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Categories: Dorset

Southill students design school ‘park and stride’ scheme

Dorset For You - Mon, 02/04/2019 - 13:04

Children at Southill Primary School in Weymouth have designed a park and stride scheme to encourage students and their families to be more active and environmentally-aware.

The Year Six students planned and mapped the route along traffic-free paths, with no roads to cross, before walking along it to assess how long it took.

 Year Six students designed the route to help them get healthy and make their school’s streets safer.

The aim of the scheme is to help to keep the streets close to their school clear of cars – reducing congestion and pollution, and creating a safer and more pleasant environment.

The scheme was launched on 31 January when the whole school, children and staff met at the shops and walked to school together.

Headteacher Paul Mason said: “As a school that encourages its pupils to lead active and healthy lifestyles, we are pleased that it is the children themselves who are taking the lead in encouraging their family and school community to walk to school. They know that this will help make the school a safer place and that everyone will feel the health and social benefits of walking to school together.”

It is part of a nationwide project run by charity Sustrans, which encourages people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day.

Jonathan Dixon from the charity said: “By asking people who drive to school to park at the shops in Southill, we hope to reduce the number of cars near the school at the start and end of the day. This will make the streets around Southill Primary School much nicer for everyone.

“It will also help people to get the exercise they need every day to keep healthy, and research shows that pupils who do more exercise are better learners in the classroom. Let’s not forget that it can be fun too.”

Sustrans’ work in Dorset is funded by Dorset County Council.

David Harris, county councillor for Westham said: “The park and stride scheme produced by the Year Six students at Southill is a fantastic follow-up to their earlier success with the NHS fitness trial, which was designed to encourage people to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which they won last year. These young people are setting a superb example.”

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Categories: Dorset

Landlord licensing – have your say

Dorset For You - Fri, 02/01/2019 - 10:17

People in Weymouth ae being asked if a landlord licensing scheme should be introduced to improve rented housing.

A consultation starts today (1/2) to ask whether a Selective Licensing Scheme should be introduced for private rented housing in part of Melcombe Regis. The consultation, which will be carried out by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, will end on 12 April 2019.

The scheme would aim to address levels of deprivation experienced by many tenants in the area through improving the way housing is managed. Landlords would for example have to make sure that properties were well managed and maintained and will need to pass a fit and proper person test in order for their property to be licensed.

Councillor Gill Taylor, Housing Briefholder at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “We have a some really good landlords in Weymouth but we also have some who are not so good. Poor  Poor housing affects people’s physical and mental. Everyone who rents should be able to live in a decent home. This is why we are considering introducing this scheme to improve housing standards. I believe that good landlords will support this scheme, as will tenants.

“The consultation is quick, easy to complete and confidential. Please take the time to have your say and complete it. Your views will be considered.”

The consultation is available here: 

The scheme would effectively mean that private rented accommodation in most of the Melcombe Regis area would be subject to licensing, with conditions attached to the licence requiring landlords to adopt good management practices.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council currently works with landlords to improve housing. Current schemes include ‘Heat Melcombe Regis’, which sees free central heating made available as well as other measures to tackle fuel poverty. The borough council also supports and works with landlords through the Landlords Local Authority Partnership, which is a free to join forum providing information and impartial advice to landlords.

More information on the council’s work with landlords is available here.

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Categories: Dorset

Dorset Youth campaigners claim two regional awards

Dorset For You - Thu, 01/31/2019 - 16:12

Dorset Youth Council and a team of Dorset’s young researchers have won two regional (South West) awards.

The team of young researchers has claimed the British Youth Council’s (BYC) Youth Voice Star Award for Young Campaigner of the Year and Dorset Youth Council has claimed best Youth-led Organisation or Project for its ‘Dorset Youth Voice Summit’ project.

Laurence Hayward MYP
Finley Wyer – Dorset Young Researcher
Melissa Garanowako – Member of Dorset Youth Council

Both awards mean that young people from Dorset will be invited to London to take part in a national awards ceremony, for which both projects have now been shortlisted as a result of being a regional winner.

Last year 24 of Dorset’s Young Researchers surveyed nearly 3,000 young people for their views on social isolation, their own aspirations and volunteering, before presenting their research to 87 decision-makers including local and national politicians, directors of services, budget holders, headteachers and businesses.

As a result, and based on what young people wanted:

  • a new staff member was hired to look at social isolation in young people with learning difficulties and disabilities
  • family information services have made their websites more youth-friendly
  • there has been a successful bid for funding to support building academic resilience in secondary schools, offer employability skill sessions, and create additional information and resources for parents, young people and schools to support their careers decision making

The researchers are continuing their good work this year by asking nearly 5,500 young people what matters to them in 2019 when it comes to mental health, emotional wellness and healthy relationships.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for Education, Learning and Skills said: “We are immensely proud of the work that Dorset Youth Council and Dorset’s young researchers are doing with young people across the county.

“Their projects help shape services and give young people a voice on decisions that affect them.”

Dorset Youth Council and the Dorset Young Researchers are supported by Participation People and funded by Dorset County Council.

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Categories: Dorset