Dorset

School design approach shortlisted for a regional award

Dorset For You - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 12:25

The work on a programme of baseline school designs by Dorset County Council has been shortlisted for the South West Built Environment Awards.

The work was submitted to the value category where judges were looking for, among other criteria, a balance of expenditure on design, construction and operation with the needs of the school itself.

The ‘baseline design’ approach developed by the County Council’s Dorset Property provides innovative, practical, low cost solutions to which additional features can be added as required and as funds allow.

Cllr Daryl Turner, the council’s Cabinet member for natural and built environment, said:

“This is a great achievement. I am very proud of the work that has been done on streamlining our new buildings for schools, giving good value for money for tax payers and giving a good quality for pupils and teachers.”

There is a shortlist of four companies for the Value Award. There is a total of 14 awards and the winners will be announced on 22 June in Bristol.

This is the eleventh year of the awards and winning a category automatically qualifies the organisation entry into the prestigious National Constructing Excellence Awards, where the best that the region has to offer is pitted against the best nationwide

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Categories: Dorset

The Lost Words for Dorset’s schools

Dorset For You - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 12:45

A campaign to provide a copy of the book The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris to every Infant, Primary and Junior School in Dorset has been launched.

By using Crowdfunder a local conservationist Richard Bradford aims to use the book to re-introduce lost words from the natural world.

The book takes twenty of the words that have been falling out of use amongst children – such as adder, kingfisher and bramble – and brings them back to life, through the magical paintings of Jackie Morris and the ‘spell poems’ of Robert Macfarlane.

Cllr Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council Cabinet member for natural and built environment, said:

“The countryside is important to all of us and making sure that our young people learn about nature is essential for future generations.”

The target is £3,600 which will mean that 180 schools will be given a copy of the book and also an accompanying resource  called “An Explorer’s Guide to The Lost Words”, that will help teachers get the most out of the book.

Donate to donate to this campaign

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Categories: Dorset

Get to the school prom safely

Dorset For You - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:38

The school prom season is approaching so if you are hiring transport, please remember to check it is properly licensed.

Get to the prom safely

 

Any vehicles advertised for hire with a driver should be appropriately licensed with the local authority from where they operate or the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

That is the message from Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, West Dorset District Council and North Dorset District Council.

Vehicles offered for hire which are not legally licensed to carry passengers will not be covered by the appropriate insurance. Vehicles used solely for weddings and funerals are exempt from licensing.  However, if they are offered for hire for any other purpose, such as school proms, then they do need to be licensed.

Check vehicles for hire are licensed

If you are unsure whether a driver or vehicle is appropriately licensed, you can check with the council in the area where the vehicle is offered for hire.

If you are in Weymouth and Portland, West Dorset or North Dorset, you can contact the Licensing Department on 01305 838028 or email:licensing@dorset.gov.uk.

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Categories: Dorset

Weymouth Crematorium improvements

Dorset For You - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 17:01

Improvements have been carried out at Weymouth Crematorium.

Improvements have been made to Weymouth Crematorium

The improvements are the first part of a £50k refurbishment project, which will see further work carried out during 2018 and 2019.

Councillor Kate Wheller, Briefholder for Community Facilities at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “These improvements mean we are able to provide an even better service to people at a difficult time.

“I would like to thank staff for their hard work. We have a great team working in our bereavement service. They provide our community with an excellent service and we now have an even better facility.”

‘An even better facility’

The improvements carried out included a new damp proof membrane for the floor, full decoration of the chapel and vestibule, refurbishment of the pews, seats and lecterns, new carpet and flooring in the chapel, enhanced lighting in the chapel and vestibule and new flooring in the crematorium public toilets.

Sam Wilding, Funeral Director Manager at Rose Funeral Service, said: “The chapel décor is now more uplifting than before. The lighter colour pews definitely make a difference to the overall environment. The comments I have heard from families using the Crematorium since the renovation have all been positive.”

David Grassby, Funeral Director at Grassby Funeral Service, said: “On behalf of our company may I congratulate you and your team for uplifting the décor, furniture and flooring at the Crematorium chapel.”

The second stage of improvements, which will take place in 2018/19, will include new curtains for the catafalque, a new family room, decoration of the waiting room and the office area.

More information about the borough council’s bereavement service is available here.

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Categories: Dorset

Esplanade Lighting – designer appointed

Dorset For You - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 13:08

Tuesday 17 April saw Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s management committee discuss the latest progress in the Esplanade Lighting Scheme. We have shared the statement that was prepared for members at this committee. 

Design company appointed

Last week, the borough council appointed the design company Tonkin Liu to develop the design for the Weymouth Esplanade Lighting Scheme. This will be paid for by a £200,000 grant from the Coastal Communities Fund, the Dorset Coast Forum.

Tonkin Liu were selected based on the design brief approved by Management Committee in December 2017. This followed a rigorous procurement process in accordance with the council’s procurement rules.

Community and member input

The design for the new scheme has not yet been produced. Tonkin Liu have until mid-June to work up the design concepts. This will incorporate community input from last Autumn’s survey and targeted engagement sessions in the coming weeks. Elected members’ comments will be incorporated, too.

All technical, legal and financial constraints will also be incorporated to ensure the most viable design.

Inclusive design

The design process will also include consideration of equality issues and how the new scheme can – where possible – provide a sensitive, sensory experience for those with disabilities.

July report for Management Committee

The project team will submit a report to Management Committee in July, setting out the options for the new scheme. Management Committee will then consider the report and agree on a scheme. Once the scheme is agreed, the relevant planning applications will then be submitted for approval. The council will then procure a company to fabricate and install.

Members can comment as designs evolve

Cllr Richard Kosior, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Tourism, Culture and Harbour, said: “As the appropriate briefholder and nominated representative of the Member Arts Advisory Panel, I have been involved in the procurement process which has been managed by officers from the council’s Assets and Infrastructure team. This was under the guidance of the council’s Procurement Officer. The appointment of Tonkin Liu was approved by the Strategic Director.

“The agreed time for elected members to be involved is during the design process, which has just commenced. A meeting of the Member Arts Advisory Panel will be held in the coming weeks. The members can then meet with Tonkin Liu and comment on the designs as they evolve. Members will then have an opportunity to agree the final design when it is presented to Management Committee.”

Exhibition of concepts

The format of the exhibition, focus group and member involvement is the priority to be arrange now that the designer has been selected. The public will have the chance to comment at the concepts stage via the exhibition, and will be able to comment formally through the planning process in the regular way.

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Categories: Dorset

A Week of Treats for Dorset Residents

Dorset For You - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 15:30

Residents across Dorset can enjoy special discounts at many of the county’s top attractions during the Visit Dorset Residents’ Week, which runs during the week of the 23rd to 29th April and aims to showcase the fantastic range of experiences that Dorset boasts.

David Rawsthorn, Sales and Marketing Manager at Swanage Railway pictured with Jasmine Faller from the Visit Dorset Tourism Partnership.

More than 50 local businesses are participating in the promotion, including many well-known Dorset attractions and some interesting alternative options for memorable days out. With so many ‘2 for 1’ and other special offers, it’s a great way to enjoy a day out with family or friends.

There are spring-time gardens and country homes to explore, a host of fascinating heritage attractions and museums, memorable days out for families, and opportunities to get active and close to nature. So why not experience those places that you’ve always been meaning to visit?

For something a little different, you could book a relaxing walk with Llamas in the scenic West Dorset countryside, take a guided tour through the historic Rex cinema in Wareham, or discover Dorset’s flourishing vineyards with a tour and tasting offer at the Furleigh Estate and the Langham Wine Estate.

The full list of participating attractions and offers can be found on the Visit Dorset website and were also published in Dorset County Council’s community newspaper ‘Your Dorset’. Simply choose your favourite offers, double check opening times, and bring a voucher with you to the participating attraction.

David Rawsthorn at Swanage Railway commented: “Swanage Railway is delighted to participate in the Visit Dorset Residents’ Week again this year. Word-of-mouth recommendations from the local community play an invaluable role in encouraging visitors throughout the year. This promotion is a fantastic way for Dorset residents to experience a day out with us, with the hope that they will champion our heritage railway service to visiting friends and family.”

Nick Thornley, on behalf of the Visit Dorset Tourism Partnership, said: “Our popular Residents’ Week event provides an unmissable opportunity for local residents to visit some of Dorset’s top visitor attractions. We are extremely fortunate to live in such a beautiful county and I would encourage residents to come out and enjoy the best of what Dorset has to offer and to tell friends and family when they visit throughout the year. I would like to thank all the attractions that are involved with our Visit Dorset Residents’ Week this year for once again making it such a successful event”.

All of the special offers covered by the vouchers will be valid during Residents’ Week only and are subject to availability.

For more information about Visit Dorset Residents’ Week, along with detailed information about accommodation, events, activities, heritage and culture around the county visit https://www.visit-dorset.com/whats-on/events/visit-dorset-residents-week

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Categories: Dorset

New campaign asks residents to Tip Off the Dorset Waste Partnership

Dorset For You - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 15:20

A new campaign has been launched asking Dorset residents for their help in the fight against fly-tipping.

The Dorset Waste Partnership’s (DWP) ‘Tip-Off’ campaign is aiming to inform the public about how they can report illegally dumped rubbish and prevent fly-tipping in the first place.

Like most counties, Dorset is subject to persistent fly-tipping and the number of incidences is continuing to increase, following a national trend. On top of the obvious damage to the environment, the clearance of this waste costs the DWP around £150,000 per year.

A series of roadshows is happening across the county where DWP officers are talking to local people about what they can do to help stop fly-tipping activity. The campaign will also be promoted in the local press, on radio and across social media.

The ‘Tip-Off’ campaign focusses on three key areas:-

  • Report itFly-tips can be reported to the DWP online and by phone. Where there is sufficient evidence, we will investigate all reported incidents and attempt to trace and prosecute anyone found to be fly-tipping.
  • Make sure you’re covered – Rubbish you’ve handed to someone else is still your legal responsibility until it is correctly disposed of. If someone – such as an unlicensed ‘man in a van’ found online – were to fly-tip that waste, you could end up paying a fine or being taken to court.
  • Love your HRC – Most fly-tips in Dorset consist of household waste that could have been taken to a household recycling centre (HRC, or ‘the tip’) and disposed of free of charge. There are 11 HRCs across Dorset, open daily, free to visit and do not charge for most items.

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence, punishable of fines of up to £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrate’s Court. The offence can attract an unlimited fine and up to 5 years imprisonment if convicted in a Crown Court.

Councillor Tony Alford, chairman of the Dorset Waste Partnership’s Joint Committee, said:

“We have recently expanded our Enforcement Team and are investigating more fly-tipping incidents than ever before, but we need the help of Dorset residents to help us fight against this illegal activity. The ‘Tip-Off’ campaign will help inform others about what they can do.

The DWP need people to keep us informed when they spot fly-tips and people dumping rubbish. We want residents to check who they’re handing their waste to and to use their local household recycling centre whenever they can.

There are no excuses for fly-tipping. It’s unsightly and damaging to the environment. But we all have a part to play in stopping this anti-social behaviour and by working together I know we can make a positive impact.”

Dorset residents can find out more by visiting the Tip-Off webpage.

Fly-tipping incidents can be reported by filling out the fly-tipping e-form on the Dorset For You website , via e-mail or by calling Dorset Direct on 01305 221040.

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Categories: Dorset

Rise in Dorset children being offered first choice of primary school

Dorset For You - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 11:41

Today (Monday 16 April), parents across the county are finding out which primary or first school their child will be going to in September 2018.

In Dorset, 95.5 per cent of parents are receiving the good news that their child has a place at their first choice of school. This is a 1.5 per cent increase on last year.

Just over 99 per cent gained one of their three preferences, again an increase on 2017. Those who applied online (over 95 per cent) can now see their outcome on the school admissions portal, whereas those who sent a paper application form will receive letters shortly.

Dorset County Council processed a total of 5206 primary and first school applications. This includes places for those starting school for the first time, transferring from infant to junior school and transferring from first to middle schools.

To accommodate the number of pupils for 2018/19, extra places have been created at Ferndown First School and Bovington Primary.

The number of children who weren’t offered a place at any of their preferred schools dropped by half this year, from 78 to 39. They will be offered alternative schools – any parents wanting to appeal against the decision can do so on school admissions page on the website.

Deborah Croney, Cabinet member for education, learning and skills at Dorset County Council said:

“We’re very pleased that Dorset has seen more pupils than ever being offered their first choice of school. It is great news for children – and their parents and carers. The council is continuing to work with schools to ensure there are enough places in the areas we need them.

“I wish all Dorset children the best of luck as they prepare to take the next step in their education in September.”

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Categories: Dorset

Funding available for heating upgrades in Melcombe Regis

Dorset For You - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 09:19

Weymouth & Portland Borough Council has been successful in securing £1.7m in funding towards a ‘Heat Melcombe Regis’ initiative.

Melcombe Regis to benefit from grant funding for heating

The funding comes from National Grid’s ‘Warm Homes Fund’, and will go towards first time gas central heating installations in homes in the Melcombe Regis area.

Grants could be provided for up to 500 properties to receive an efficient, affordable, controllable gas heating system. Funds will be targeted at households struggling to meet their heating costs, or households with medical conditions worsened by living in cold homes.

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

“This funding is a great opportunity for residents to make significant heating improvements to their homes. Grants which cover the full cost of the works will be available for both home owners and to privately rented properties.

“With other funding also available to provide better insulation, smart controls and low energy lighting, households in the ward will be able to benefit from lower energy costs and improved living conditions.”

Melcombe Regis has been identified as a priority area for the council with areas within the ward continually reported as being amongst the more deprived in the country. Fuel poverty is reported to affect 21 per cent of households in the park district.

The Heat Melcombe Regis initiative will be managed by the borough council’s delivery partners, Aran Services Ltd and Happy Energy Solutions Limited.

Home owners and landlords are encouraged to contact Heat Melcombe Regis by calling 01305 550556, emailing hello@heatmelcomberegisproject.org.uk or by completing the online form at heatmelcomberegisproject.org.uk.

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Categories: Dorset

We need your thoughts about Dorchester’s Wednesday market!

Dorset For You - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 11:52
Dorchester’s historic market

Charter market, Fairfield market, the Wednesday market… whatever you call the market, it has been an important aspect of town life for hundreds of years.

CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY

We have created a survey that asks your current opinions on the market, whether you shop there or not. If not, we want to understand why not! And if you do, what could make that experience even better for you? Please do tell us in the survey.

The survey takes about 5 minutes to fill in. It asks a range of questions, based on whether you currently use the market in some capacity, or if you don’t use it all.

Valuable insights

Cllr Mary Penfold, West Dorset District Council’s portfolio holder for Enabling and Chairman of the Joint Markets panel, said: “This survey intends to glean insights in order to provide us with valuable data. This data will compliment commissioned reports to fully understand the current situation and future opportunities regarding our market.

Cllr Molly Rennie, Vice Chairman of the Joint Markets panel, said: “This will be key to help us achieve our vision of a thriving and vibrant market here in Dorchester to rival any town market for quality, value and experience.”

Importance of Dorchester’s Wednesday market

We recognise the importance of the market to the success of the core retail area of the town and do not see Dorchester’s future without this valued local asset. What we are working hard to do is improve the fortunes of the market to ensure its prosperity. This survey will provide valuable insights for us to consider alongside commissioned reports to achieve that goal.

Dorchester market Thank you for taking the time to give us your opinions.

CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY

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Categories: Dorset

Nature’s prints

Dorset For You - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 09:28

Visitors to a Dorset visitor centre are getting the chance to try a Japanese creative technique.

Hapa-zome or ‘leaf-dyeing’ is a creative process which uses nature’s pigments to create a unique print design onto fabric. Workshops are being held at Thorncombe Wood Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre for people to create these easy to make prints.

Budding artists will be shown the basic method of Hapa Zome and have time to forage for materials around the visitor centre and surrounding woodland to create their own unique prints to take away.

The workshops are being held between 10.30 am-12.30pm on:

  • 24 April
  • 29 May
  • 26 June
  • With a special dementia friendly session on 21 May (10.30am – 12 noon).

All ages are welcome. Hot drinks are included and donations of £4 are suggested. Booking is  essential email or call 01305 251228

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Categories: Dorset

Silverlake Conservation and Community Fund launched

Dorset For You - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 09:26

A Conservation and Community Fund has been launched for the parish areas of Warmwell, Crossways, Knightsford, Owermoigne, Puddletown and Moreton.

Silverlake conservation fund launched

The fund has been developed by West Dorset District Council, Dorset County Council Natural Environment Team (DNET) and Habitat First Group (Silverlake).

The Conservation and Community Fund can be used for projects to benefit habitats and wildlife found in Silverlake and the local area. It can also be used for projects to reduce vehicle use in the area through promoting the natural environment – such as bike paths, walking routes.

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

“This funding is an opportunity for local community groups and organisations make a positive change and enhance the natural environment of their area.”

The fund is a requirement through the Silverlake planning permission which will see up to 1,000 new holiday homes built over the next 30 years on the former Silverlake quarry, west of Crossways.

The legal agreement tied to this planning permission requires each holiday home owner to pay an annual sum of at least £50 to fund nature conservation and community projects that help mitigate the effects of the development on nearby protected heathlands. The developer will top-up this fund to ensure that a contribution of £10,000 is made to the council each year.

Applying for funding

Applications for funding can be made during April and October each year.

Initial funds in the Conservation and Community Fund stand at £10,000 but will increase as the number of properties within Silverlake increases.

Applicants can apply for up to £5,000 per year from the fund.

Those wishing to apply for funding will need to complete and submit an application form by 5pm on Monday 30 April. The applications will then be considered by DNET, WDDC, Habitat First Group, and relevant ward members before awards are made later in the year.

Guidance on the application and assessment process has been prepared together with an application form, visit dorsetforyou.com.

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Categories: Dorset

West Dorset District Council vastly improves land searches waiting time

Dorset For You - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 13:50

Homebuyers in West Dorset are now benefitting from faster land searches when buying a new property.

Faster land searches will speed up the process of buying a home.

West Dorset District Council put an improvement plan in place in 2016 to deal with a backlog of applications for land search.

There were a number of reasons why this happened, including a high volume of requests. But it meant that at times some searches were taking about 10 weeks to process.

After carrying out most of the improvement plan, the council is now completing all searches within its target of an average of 15 days.

Further improvements

A new IT system is also being introduced which should help improve the way land searches are processed. This will further improve the speed of carrying out searches.

The improvement plan included recruiting additional people to process applications and improving the way relevant information was held. The council aimed to achieve this by April 2019.

“Efficient process”

Councillor Peter Barrowcliff, portfolio holder for corporate services at West Dorset District Council, said:

“We’d like to thank people for their patience while we worked to reduce the length of time it took to complete searches.

“We always knew it would take time for the improvement plan to take effect. We are pleased to have achieved this well within our target date of April 2019.

“I’d like to thank all the staff who have worked hard to turn this around.

“We now have an efficient process in place with further plans to improve our service in the coming months.

“This will help ensure our customers continue to receive a fast turnaround, which I’m sure will be welcome in speeding up the overall process of buying a house.”

Searches for North Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council are all also being processed within target.

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Categories: Dorset

Share your views on loos!

Dorset For You - Mon, 04/09/2018 - 14:22
Share your views

The council is upgrading existing toilet facilities on Weymouth seafront. Whilst we are significantly investing in this scheme,  due to the nature of the existing facilities, the money allocated  simply won’t be enough to completely revitalise all of the facilities. That is why we are calling on you to give us your views! Simply complete the survey by clicking this link by 30 April. 

Cllr Kate Wheller, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s briefholder for community facilities, said: “We want to have facilities that our residents are proud of, and our visitors are happy to use. We have a challenge to modernise these facilities on a tight budget, so we want to hear from you and understand what your priorities are.”

Complimenting commissioned studies

Feasibility and condition studies have been carried out. These looked at the current quality of the toilets on offer. We want to compliment these insights with your feedback in order to understand what is most important to you. When put all together, we will have a clear understanding of how to best spend the money on improvements.

The survey itself should only take a few minutes to fill in. Thank you for your help.

2019 holiday season

We are aiming for the upgraded facilities to be in place by 2019 holiday season. In the meantime, upgrade works will begin. A new, modern facility is also being planned. The temporary toilets outside the Weymouth pavilion will remain in place through the 2018 holiday season.

Members agreed last year to allocate £400,000 from financial reserves to improve public toilet facilities along Weymouth seafront.

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Categories: Dorset

Sturminster Newton Town Council submits Neighbourhood Plan

Dorset For You - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 15:04

Sturminster Newton Town Council has submitted a neighbourhood plan to North Dorset District Council.

Sturminster Newton Town Council submits Neighbourhood Plan

 

The plan sets out a wide range of planning policies including policies that allocate sites for housing development. It has been submitted to North Dorset District Council to arrange for an independent examiner to assess it.

The district council is required to publicly consult on the plan. The plan, supporting documents, and response form can be accessed online on dorsetforyou.com.

You can also view the plan at Sturminster Newton Library, Bath Road, Sturminster Newton and the district council’s Offices at the Nordon Lodge, Salisbury Road, Blandford Forum during normal opening hours.

All comments must be received by 4pm on Friday 25 May 2018. These comments will then be sent to the examiner along with the plan. Depending on the examiner’s report, a referendum will be held for the residents of Sturminster Newton to finally decide whether the plan should be approved.

Cllr David Walsh, North Dorset District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, said:

“Neighbourhood plans are a great way for a community to shape their area.

“The Sturminster Newton Neighbourhood Plan is very comprehensive in terms of its scope and is the result of a huge amount of hard work by all those involved in producing the plan. I would strongly encourage people with an interest in the future of Sturminster Newton to have their say on the submitted plan.”

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Categories: Dorset

£67 million boost for a full fibre future

Dorset For You - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 10:37

Businesses and homes across Dorset could benefit from faster internet connections after the Government launched a nationwide Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.

The £67m national investment will provide future-proof full fibre connections for businesses and the homes around them.

Businesses can claim up to £3,000 against the cost of gigabit-capable (1,000 megabit) internet connections, either individually or as part of a group.

Residents can benefit from the scheme too if they are part of a group project which also includes businesses, and can claim a voucher with a value of up to £500.

Around 96 per cent of properties in Dorset can already access superfast broadband – download speeds of 24 megabits per second or more. Currently only around three per cent of UK premises have access to a full fibre connection.

Check superfast broadband availability at your home or business.

Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council Cabinet Member for the Natural and Built Environment, said: “I welcome this scheme. It is an opportunity for Dorset businesses to get the connectivity they need to grow. It’s also another potential route for those households without a fast, reliable connection.”

Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “This is great news for Dorset businesses. A high speed digital infrastructure is crucial to supporting local economic growth. A better connected Dorset helps to create the right conditions for businesses to thrive and for more highly skilled jobs and housing to be created.”

The scheme is only accessible through broadband service providers. Full details and a list of registered suppliers can be seen on the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website.

The website also includes instructions on how new suppliers can register and full details and terms and conditions.

The scheme will run until March 2021 or until all available funding has been allocated.

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Categories: Dorset

Giving youngsters a home – and hope for the future

Dorset For You - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 15:04

Ruth Dempsey of Weymouth changes lives. Providing lodgings for vulnerable young people, she gives them a safe haven where they can learn to live more independently.

As a Supported Lodgings provider for Dorset County Council, Ruth has taken in more than 20 youngsters over a 10-year period. Most have been teenagers who were leaving local authority care.

“Some have no idea how to cook, use the washing machine or do their budgeting, so I give them the help they need,” said Ruth. “Others are more independent, but just need stability and moral support.”

As with anyone bringing up teenagers, Ruth has had some challenges. “But I’ve never felt threatened or been shown any violence. I find if you respect young people, they respect you back.”

Ruth emphasises that there have been more positives than negatives. “It’s really satisfying when these youngsters – who have had a tough start in life – begin to achieve things they didn’t feel possible before. I’m proud to have been part of it.”

Ruth with lodger, Jamie. He’s on the brink of a career in performing arts thanks to Ruth’s stable influence.

One of Ruth’s current lodgers is Jamie (18) who’s been with her for two years. Being given a stable home meant he could concentrate on doing a drama course at Weymouth College, as well as performing with WOW Youth Musical Theatre. He’s now had offers to study Performing Arts at Winchester and Plymouth Universities.

He said: “When I first came into Supported Lodgings with Ruth I was feeling lost and lacking in direction. I can now see my future in a more positive way.”

Find out more about Supported Lodgings here, email supported.lodgings@dorsetcc.gov.uk or call 01305 225809.

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Categories: Dorset

Former Portland school building to be turned into a community hub

Dorset For You - Wed, 04/04/2018 - 17:23

A former infant school on Portland is going to be turned into a community hub to benefit local people on the island.

Dorset County Council’s Cabinet agreed today (4 April) to sell the former Brackenbury Infant School to Portland Town Council for £100,000. The town council submitted a comprehensive business case to buy the site and turn it into a community hub which will provide:

  • offices for Portland Town Council
  • a new larger location for Allsorts Nursery
  • a new home for the food bank
  • a venue for activities for older residents
  • an internet café, providing computer and scanning facilities for residents
  • adult education courses
  • a hall and studio/classroom for hire

Cllr Tony Ferrari, Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for community and resources, said:

“I’m delighted that Portland Town Council will have the former Brackenbury School building. It’s a great example of political parties and organisations coming together for the benefit of the local community. A hub that will serve local people of all ages, as well as provide spaces for groups and organisations, will be a great addition to the island.”

The creation of a community hub could enable the council to free up other buildings and ties in with their wider strategy of running a variety of services from local buildings.

Cllr Katharine Garcia, county councillor for Portland Tophill, spoke at the Cabinet meeting. She said:

“I fully support the land disposal to Portland Town Council. Local people will benefit from the creation of a community hub in the Fortuneswell area. I am sure that the town council will ensure that all due diligence is taken to ensure the new facility operates in the black, so that the council tax payers of Portland do not need to subsidise its running costs.”

Read the full report

 

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Categories: Dorset

Cabinet agrees multi-million pound investment into special educational needs provision

Dorset For You - Wed, 04/04/2018 - 15:50

More than £3M is being invested in education for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Dorset.

Cllr Deborah Croney

Dorset County Council’s Cabinet has agreed to spend just over £2M – plus a £1M grant from central Government – on creating eight specialist bases in mainstream schools to cater for children with complex communication needs.

Over the last 22 months, Dorset has seen a 49 per cent increase in children with an Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP). There were 2094 children and young people with an EHCP plan at the end of March and the council expects that figure to have increased to more than 2,440 by 2023.

Changes to legislation mean that young people with SEND now have the right to be supported in education up to the age of 25, instead of 19. It is hoped that this additional investment will help support local children with complex needs both now, and in the future.

Cllr Deborah Croney, Cabinet member for economy, education, skills and learning at Dorset County Council, said:

“I’m delighted that we’re investing in our SEND provision. We believe that children should be supported as close as possible to where they live. This work will allow us to provide more support in our own schools, which will reduce the need for out-of-county placements, cut down travel times for pupils and offer better value for money. Most importantly, children will be closer to their families and local communities.”

The investment comes as part of a wider review of SEND provision across Dorset. Since 2017, the council has spent over £1M on providing additional places and making improvements to the county’s special schools, as well as moving Dorchester Learning Centre to Monkton Park.

A new special school is also due to open in Bovington next September (2019). Funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, it will provide places for another 160 children with autism, as well as social, emotional and mental health needs. The school will support pupils from Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.

Cabinet also agreed to replace modular buildings at Beaucroft School in Wimborne, which will create an extra 10-14 places.

There are also plans to provide additional bases for children with social, emotional and mental health needs in the future.

The eight bases for complex communication needs will cater for between 10 and 16 children and will be based at:

  • Parley First School, Ferndown – open for Sept 18
  • West Moors Middle School – open for Sept 18
  • Ferndown Upper School – open for Sept 19
  • Gillingham Primary School– open for Sept 19
  • Sturminster Newton High School – open for Sept 18
  • Dorchester Middle School – open for Sept 19
  • Weymouth and Portland Primary – open for Sept 18
  • Weymouth and Portland Secondary – open for Sept 18

Read the full report

 

 

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Categories: Dorset

Art project to brighten up Weymouth town centre

Dorset For You - Wed, 04/04/2018 - 14:18

Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and Weymouth BID will be working together this summer to brighten up the town centre for the whole community.

Art project – Wall to be transformed in Weymouth Town Centre

A competition is being held to find pictures of Weymouth landmarks designed by local children in three age categories with an additional category for adults.

The winning designs will be recreated on a large board which will be mounted on the newly painted side wall of Argos in St Albans Street. Both Weymouth BID and the Weymouth & Portland Borough Council will contribute towards the cost of the materials.

The  competition will be for four age groups:

  • Ages 5 to 8
  • Ages 9 to 12
  • Ages 12 to 18
  • Adults

Four prizes will be awarded, although only two designs will be chosen for the project.

Images need to be 15cm high x 18 cm wide and is in landscape orientation.

Entries for the competition are to be handed in to the Weymouth BID office, 15 St Albans Street or the Council offices on Commercial Road. The closing date of the competition is 16 April 2018. Entries will be judged by a panel of three judges.

Chosen designs will be used as the basis for the artwork that will be produced by the ‘Let`s Make it’ Community Group. Winners will be invited to attend the unveiling of the work which we hope will be completed by mid-June.

Helen Toft from Weymouth BID and Julie Hursthouse the Community Development Officer for Weymouth & Portland will be working with the Art in the Park Community Group to create the artwork from the designs entered into the competition.

Cllr Christine James, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Social Inclusion, said:

“This is a great opportunity to give something back to the community while brightening our Town Centre.

“I’d like to encourage anyone and everyone to send their pictures in and really capture our beautiful area.

“Anyone can help the group paint the boards – you don’t need to be an artist – just someone that likes working as part of a team.”

For more information on how to get involved contact Julie Hursthouse via email at jhursthouse@dorset.gov.ukor telephone on 01305 838497.

It is the hope of Weymouth BID and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council that this project will be the first of many around the town, contact has already been made about additional artwork on the side of CEX.

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