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Mountsorrel Post june 2020 (number 71)

VE Day: village celebrates

Pic: John & Maria Hagger raise a glass on Boundary Road

THE PEOPLE of Mountsorrel didn’t let a pandemic stop them celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE Day on May 8.

Many held ‘socially distant’ tea parties in their front gardens, with houses and streets decorated with bunting and flags. Some of the decorations had been made thanks to the Mountsorrel Good Neighbours facebook group and the youth service, while the children of key workers at Mountsorrel school decorated the front of the building with bunting they made themselves.

Pic: (above) Eric Sanders and Hilary King enjoy a cream tea

The local stone finders group “Sorrel Stones” also got involved encouraging villagers to paint a rock in remembrance and leave it at the Mountsorrel Memorial Centre.

In a small ceremony at the Mountsorrel Peace Garden, a wreath was placed on behalf of the Mountsorrel Parish Council and the Mountsorrel branch of the Royal British Legion. The wreath, placed on the gate so that all who passed could read it, carried a dedication reflecting the mood of the time:

Pic: VE Day 1945 on Loughborough Rd, Mountsorrel
Pic: Giving the V for Victory sign are Beth & Chris Benner with Taitum (8) & Peighton Benner (5)

“VE and VJ DAY 75th Anniversary. In honour of the village WWII casualties and all the NHS and Care Staff casualties of the current pandemic. Mountsorrel Royal British Legion and the Parish Council. In Remembrance”

Pic: The wreath at Mountsorrel Peace Garden

At 3pm many residents stood for the Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WWII, using the words: “To those who gave so much, we thank you.” It was a unique opportunity to pay tribute to the many millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we can all enjoy the freedom we share today.

The whole day was punctuated on social media by Mountsorrel Parish Council and Mountsorrel Heritage Group posting photographs of the original VE Day parties and the large number of war memorials that characterize the village; including the Memorial Centre, the Castle Hill Monument and the Memorial Playing fields.

The Tea Dance which was to have taken place at Mountsorrel Memorial Hall has now been rescheduled for August 14, however this is subject to change.

Murder, man charged

A MAN has been charged with murder after a body was found at a property in Mountsorrel.

Pic: Chestnut Court, Mountsorrel

Police were called by the East Midlands Ambulance Service to an address in Chestnut Court at 10.47am on Friday May 22.

The body of Michael McNee, 40, was found inside the property. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Monday May 25, 41-year-old Benjamin Bracegirdle, of Pinfold Gate, Loughborough, was charged with murder.

He was remanded in custody and appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on May 26.

The family of Michael McNee has issued the following statement: “Michael was a much loved son, brother, nephew and uncle and we are heartbroken by his death and the horrific circumstances from which he was taken from us.

“We ask that you please respect the family’s privacy at this time to allow us to grieve”.

Future of Sorrel Youth Café is secured

THE FUTURE of the Sorrel Youth Café has been secured.

In October last year it was announced by the trustees of the café that it would be closing in March 2020.

As that date approached some village residents formed a Facebook group ‘Save Sorrel Café’ and organised a meeting of stakeholders and interested parties.

As a result of that meeting and others, Homefield College, an independent specialist college for people with learning difficulties that is based in Mountsorrel, has taken over the lease and aims to continue the community work that goes on there.

Youth work provision is now funded directly by the Parish Council and provided by Leicestershire & Rutland Youth & Family Services (LRYFS) - it plans to work with Homefield College and use the café for some of its activities.

Pics: Homefield College student Rajeet with his finished bread rolls; Youth worker Anthony Marvin; Bella, Hannah & Shona enjoy breadmaking

Helen Gerard from Homefield College said: “We are delighted to be able to save the café and to be working with the current coordinator Nicci Ilett to continue to operate as a community café. We very much want to keep it as a hub for groups within Mountsorrel. We are also exploring the idea of an artisan bakery with goods made in our students’ catering sessions led by local bread maker Ian Waterland.”

She added: “Along with edible goods, we will also be selling a range of craft products, woodwork, artwork and cards made by our students and residents. We have had success at local market stalls so we are looking forward to having a permanent outlet for our students’ great work.

“As we will be using the café as a learning environment, the café simply needs to generate the costs needed to keep the building running. Any profit goes back into the charity to support our beneficiaries.

“Once the café has undergone some renovations and COVID-19 allows, we intend to open initially Monday to Friday but in the longer term, we would want to operate on a Saturday as well.

“We are excited to be starting this new venture, and hope you will continue to support the café with as much enthusiasm as before. We look forward to welcoming you in the near future!”

LRYFS have taken over the provision of youth services within the village. It is an independent non-profit organisation providing support to young people and families across the county in areas where government provision, national or local, is not available. It worked closely with Sorrel Youth Cafe over recent years and has, with Parish Council support and funding, been able to step in and provide a seamless transition for the young people of Mountsorrel under the name Mountsorrel Youth Services (MYS).

Lead Youth Officer Anthony Marvin said: “The Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown has meant that the continuation of some services was not possible so we rapidly changed our way of working, moving to a digital service using social media, telephone and video calling to engage with and support young people.

“We now provide a 1 to 1 service where young people can talk to a worker about any issues they may be having or if they are feeling isolated and need a chat. We offer group chats via Zoom where we do cooking sessions, homework groups or general open access virtual youth sessions”.

He added: “Parents and carers can also access services if they need support, guidance or information during this time”.

The digital service has proven to be popular, with an average 25-30 young people accessing per week, but with the lockdown restrictions easing slightly they are now engaging with young people on a detached outreach basis on the streets of Mountsorrel. This is proving successful and positive for those young people who can’t access digital services but still require support.

Anthony said: “With the wider community needs being so important at present we have expanded services and are providing a prescription pick up and collection service, food parcels, essential packs along with carrying out welfare checks on the vulnerable within the community. We have engaged with the whole community by posting activity packs through doors and putting them up on notice boards around the village with the most recent one being for making VE Day bunting which brought a lot of very positive feedback from families.”

He added: “We aim to restart the groups that Sorrel Youth Café established and made a huge difference to the young people of the village. Initially we plan to restart Sorrel Tots, The Homework Group and Young Carers and going forward will also be working towards starting new groups. We have been able to do this thanks to the grant funding for youth services from Mountsorrel Parish Council who have been and continue to be supportive of the children and young people of the village”.

Mountsorrel Parish Council has awarded a grant of £20,000 to LRYFS.

To learn more about MYS or to contact them go to their social media pages:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EastMidlandsYouth/

Twitter: @EastMidsYouth

Instagram: @eastmidlandsyouth

Telephone: 07979031673

Email: enquiries.lryfs@icloud.com

Mountsorrel community quilt project

A COMMUNITY quilt made by dozens of local people will be a permanent record of Mountsorrel living through the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s something the village will have forever” says founder of the project Jill O’Neill. “It’s been so gratifying to see people come together to work on this” she added.

The Mountsorrel Community Craft Project began after Jill became involved with making headbands and scrub bags for carers through the Mountsorrel Good Neighbours Facebook group.

Jill said: “I was really inspired by the way people were helping each other, the community spirit had come out.”

Jill decided to post her idea for a community quilt made of 49 twelve inch panels on the Facebook page and was delighted with the response.

People aged from 8 to 80 are now creating their own panels, with designs that represent the village through its landscape, landmarks, buildings, services, people and groups that bring the community together.

Squares are being made using fabric to create appliqué or collage with embroidery or sample stitches. There are cross stitch designs underway, crochet and knitted offerings alongside button art, felt and beading. Children, parents and grandparents are involved.

Jill hopes all the squares will be completed by the end of July when they will be edged, backed and then assembled into a quilt ready for displaying in the village, perhaps in one of Mountsorrel‘s community buildings.

Jill said: “I am really looking forward to meeting the people that have been involved in the project. Crafting is therapeutic, it’s calming and through crafting we’ve created new friendships and everyone has been very supportive of each other.”

Heritage Centre wins Queen’s Award

Pics: (above) in 2017, having driven a steam train from Mountsorrel to the Heritage Centre, HRH Prince Charles starts his inspection of the Nature Trail accompanied by the Heritage Centre’s Managing Director, Steve Cramp

THE MOUNTSORREL and Rothley Community Heritage Centre is celebrating after being awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Since 2007 hundreds of passionate and dedicated volunteers from the surrounding communities have come together to contribute almost 200,000 hours of volunteer time to restore the Mountsorrel railway line. They have go on to create the Heritage Centre with museums, nature trails, Quarry Heritage building, and many other areas of interest for local history and wildlife.

Managing Director Steve Cramp said: “It is a great honour for us as a volunteer group to be given such a prestigious award! It is fantastic to be recognized for all the hard work our many volunteers have put in over the last 13 years to make our site somewhere for the community to learn about their local history and wildlife. It really goes to show just what communities can achieve when they work together”.

Pic: Volunteers laying track in 2015

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award that can be bestowed onto a voluntary organisation – the equivalent of an MBE – and is given in The Queen’s name.

The Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre opened to the public only as recently as 2016. Open seven days a week, visitor numbers have grown to almost 140,000 per year. The Centre has attracted royal interest previously with HRH The Prince of Wales visiting in January 2017 and HRH The Duke of Gloucester in July last year.

Leicestershire’s Lord Lieutenant Michael Kapur gave his congratulations to all the volunteers at the Heritage Centre. “I was delighted to learn that the Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest possible national accolade that can be bestowed on a voluntary organisation, coming as it does at the gift of Her Majesty. It is given only to the most outstanding examples of voluntary service.

“This is a Community Centre run entirely by volunteers who have, together, created a truly remarkable visitor experience, which inspires people of all ages to discover more about their local, industrial and social heritage.

“What they have achieved is astonishing and everyone involved rightly deserves to share in the recognition that this Queen’s Award brings. I send everyone at the Centre my heartfelt congratulations.”

Steve Cramp added: “It has to be something very special indeed to capture the Queen's attention and the phenomenal amount we have achieved at the Heritage Centre has certainly done that. Once the Coronavirus restrictions are lifted and we are allowed to reopen to the public again, we welcome everyone to come and see for themselves what is so special that the Queen has awarded us such a prestigious award!”

The Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre can be found on Swithland Lane, Rothley, not far off the A6 between Loughborough and Leicester. Opening times are 10am till 4:45pm, seven days a week and entry is free. www.heritage-centre.co.uk

Your Say...

As you may have heard the Sorrel Youth Café formally closed its doors on March 23. That week was significant in that it is the formal end of the lease of a building and therefore a piece of work that has been a big part of my working life for the last 8/9 years.

After a few weeks of starting work at the Sorrel Youth Café I realised that this was a project and community that could really ‘get under my skin’. Over the years this has been proven to be true and I will miss the work, the people (especially the young people) and the friendships that have been a result.

Unfortunately, over recent years funding and resources for ‘open youth work’ have become harder to access. This alongside young people’s changing expectations and opportunities the café became hard to sustain and the renewal of the building lease became a focus for some hard decisions.

I think the success of the Café can speak for itself, but I am in no doubt that we have changed many young people’s lives in a positive way and became their voice of the community. We generated much needed youth-focused income for the village and delivered some amazing pieces of work together. We also helped develop, support and deliver some excellent community initiatives, including the MCT and the Mountsorrel REVIVAL.

From the outset I thought this fantastic village resource was being underused and in 2014 I introduced the idea of opening the building to the wider community. This both made better use of the building and reinforced community links. Together with Jo Wiseman, MyCafé developed its own identity and has become a valuable village resource in its own right.

For those of you have been connected in any way to the Sorrel Youth Café, I hope you will agree it has been an amazing journey. Now we are at the end our journey and the Café starts another, I would like to thank you all for your support, commitment, time and true friendship. It has been a pleasure to work with so many amazing people as both volunteers and paid workers. You all have enriched my learning and have been a support to me professionally and personally. I am sure the café would not have survived without them.

To those of you who have supported me from the County, Borough and Parish Councils, funding bodies and local business, I again say a massive thank you.

In the early days, some said that the Café would not survive, but by working together we have proved them wrong. Again, my sincere thanks to you all.

You will be pleased to know that the Café has now been handed over to another community organisation who intends to continue much of the work we have started.

Graham Lloyd

Youth Officer, Sorrel Youth Café until March 31, 2020.

Council elects new chairman

MOUNTSOREL PARISH Council has a new chairman, elected at the annual parish council meeting held in May.

Pic: New Chairman Cllr Kath Walker (left) & Vice Chairman Cllr Beth Benner

Newly elected Kate Walker said: “I am very pleased to have been elected as the new Chairman of the Parish Council. I would like to thank Cllr Steve Haywood for his dedication to the post over the last year and my fellow councillors for the support they have shown in voting for me to undertake this role.

“Mountsorrel is a fantastic village in which to reside, work, visit and enjoy life. I have a long association with the village and have been fortunate enough to both live and work here. Before moving to Mountsorrel, I spent over 20 years (since 1987) as Practice Manager at Alpine House Surgery. I have now lived in the village for three years.

“These are very challenging times for us all and the Council will not be immune. Since joining the council I proposed that we undertake a Peer Review.”

A Peer Review is a review of the parish council's governance and accountability, undertaken by a recognised peer group or organisation.

Cllr Walker said: “It provides our residents with reassurance that the Council is undertaking its duties and responsibilities in an accountable and transparent way.

“We used the services of Leicestershire and Rutland Association of Local Councils (LRALC) who came and took a snap shot over several days of interviews and document checking, as to where the Council is in relation to its governance, accountability and then provided us with a draft report. This draft report is currently being considered by Councillors.

“It is important that we are open with parishioners and consult with them. I am keen to drive through greater community consultation, transparency and governance and I am very much looking forward to my new role in our community and to serve the residents of Mountsorrel.”

• At the May meeting of the parish council, Cllr Beth Benner was elected Vice Chairman.

Parish Council notes

A FULL meeting of Mountsorrel Parish Council was held on February 10.

It was reported that the Bond Lane project would be completed by the end of February or the beginning of March.

In public participation questions were raised about the expenditure report, particularly relating to confidential transactions and the final payment to Stepnell, the installation of new safety barriers at the Memorial Centre and the progress of the path repairs at the cemetery.

The clerk reported that the confidential transactions related to casual bar staff wages, bad weather had delayed path repairs and the safety barriers would be inspected.

Police Sergeant Rod Smart reported there had been four thefts from vehicles, two stolen vehicles and one burglary of commercial premises. Four individuals have been arrested on drug related charges.

It was reported that there are continuing problems with flooding at the Primrose Hill development.

Mr Paul Reeve of ‘Mr Paul’ barbershop and the Mountsorrel Community Team community team will receive certificates of commendation for their contribution to the village.

It was agreed that the vandalism of the Loughborough Road play area continue to be monitored and that the local beat officer be asked to visit it on his rounds.

It was agreed to pay £2060 for the restoration of the Remembrance wall at the cemetery.

Representatives from Mountsorrel Youth Café and the Leicestershire and Rutland Youth & Family Services (LRYFS) spoke to counsellors about the future of the café and youth services within the village. It was agreed to support in principle the LRYFS plans for continuation of youth service provision.

A full meeting of Mountsorrel Parish Council was held on March 9.

PCSO Jarvis reported that in the last month there had been one theft of a motor vehicle, one theft from a motor-vehicle and two burglaries.

It was reported that the Bond Lane project would be completed on April 20.

It was agreed to spend £602 on one month’s funding of a LRYFS youth worker. Consideration of a request from LRYFS for a £20,000 grant was deferred.

Following an incident at Mountsorrel cemetery it was agreed to pay the funeral directors £1375 and the sum of £2626 to the complainant in full and final settlement.

It was agreed to let retail unit B at the Memorial Centre to a barber/hairdressing business.

A full meeting of Mountsorrel Parish Council was held on May 11 using Zoom (there was no meeting in April).

Chairman Steve Haywood thanked all the key workers and volunteers in the village for the efforts they are making during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was reported that the Revival 2020 has been cancelled.

The council elected a chairman for the ensuing year. There were two candidates, Councillor Steve Haywood and Councillor Kate Walker. Councillor Walker was elected 7 votes to 5. There were two candidates for the position of vice chairman, Councillor Paul Harris and Councillor Elizabeth Benner. Councillor Benner was elected.

Councillor Pirt proposed a vote of thanks to Councillor Haywood and Councillor Harris for their service to the Parish Council and the village.

It was agreed to approve a grant of £20,000 to LRYFS for the provision of Youth work in the village.

Revival

MOUNTSORREL’S ANNUAL Revival event, due to be held in August, has been cancelled.

Organisers, the Mountsorrel Community Team, met via a video conference on April 27 and decided they had no option but to cancel the event due to the pandemic.

In a statement on their website they gave the main reasons for the decision:

• Social distancing is still highly likely to be in place

• Without a vaccine vulnerable people are still likely to be at elevated risk

• Some of the funding needed to run a free event will not be available

• Some processes needed to set up the event are currently suspended

Vacancy

THERE IS a vacancy on Mountsorrel Parish Council due to the resignation of Penny Maguire.

The Parish Council can fill the vacancy by co-option if 10 or more electors do not request an election.

To be considered for co-option, candidates can send a letter of application to the clerk at Mountsorrel Parish Council.

Library

MOUNTSORREL LIBRARY has been closed to the public since March 19 due to the current Covid 19 epidemic and the subsequent government advice.

All loans have been extended until at least July 4 and users are requested not to try to return them earlier as this might result in books being lost or damaged and users being fined.

Users can still access the e-book, audiobook, e-newspaper and e-magazine service from the comfort of their own home.

All details are available from the Leicestershire Library Service webpage https://bit.ly/2TelsDJ or on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mountsorrellibrary/

Virtual meetings

MOUNTSORREL PARISH Council are now holding virtual meetings using the app Zoom.

Members of the public can view the meetings and participate in the public participation part of the agenda. Agendas are published on the council’s website and include Zoom links to the meeting.

Those without a computer will find telephone numbers on the agenda that they can ring to enable them to listen in to meetings.

The first meeting using Zoom was the annual parish meeting when the council elect a new chairman for the ensuing year.

Councillor Kate Walker was elected chairman and Councillor Beth Benner was elected vice chairman.

Councillor Benner said: “Kate and I are both very grateful for the hard work and service of the outgoing chair Councillor Steve Haywood and Vice chairman Paul Harris.”

Mountsorrel quarry donates PPE

Pic: NHS staff with the donated items

AN EMPLOYEE at Tarmac’s Mountsorrel Quarry has answered a personal plea from his NHS frontline wife by donating personal protective equipment (PPE) to the local hospital where she works as a deputy sister.

Duncan Green, an asphalt supervisor at the quarry, approached the site management team after his wife returned home from work at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, concerned that low supplies of PPE meant they could run out.

Usually based on the endoscopy ward, as more patients have been admitted with COVID-19, Duncan’s wife has been moved to a respiratory ward.

Duncan explains: “Although the hospital currently has supplies of PPE my wife was understandably worried that there could come a time when the right kit wasn’t available.

“I knew the team at work would want to help any way they could and I was really pleased to be able to pass on some FFP3 face masks, gloves and visors.”

Mountsorrel Quarry is an important manufacturing hub for essential materials, required to maintain critical regional and national transport infrastructure. The team there is working in strict accordance with government and public health guidance, helping to keep the roads, highways and railways open so health and social care staff can get to work, emergency services can operate safely and key resources such as food and fuel can move around the country.

Mountsorrel works manager, Trevor Warren, said: “We’re really proud of work the team is doing to support vital infrastructure at this important time. We know that many people in our team have personal connections to the NHS and other care workers and it’s always been important to us to support our people and local communities wherever we can.

“We are so grateful to Duncan’s wife, her colleagues and everyone in the health service for their work and providing some PPE was the least we could do.”

The donation made by the team at Mountsorrel is part of a wider employee led campaign in Tarmac which has seen sites donate PPE to NHS and social care workers up and down the country.

Funeral videos in difficult times

Pic: Videographer Ian Wilkinson

AN AWARD-WINNING wedding videographer from Mountsorrel has been taken by surprise by the requests he’s been getting to make videos of funerals.

Ian Wilkinson has been filming weddings for three years and in 2020 won an award as “Wedding Video Specialist, England”.

When the pandemic began and lockdown was introduced in March, Ian was approached with a request to make a video of a funeral in Litchfield.

Lockdown rules have greatly restricted the numbers that can attend funerals and a professionally made video can be sent to family members all over the world, and watched via live streaming.

In a four week period, Ian has done 16 funeral videos including one at Mountsorrel cemetery. He usually does three or four wedding videos a month over the course of a year.

Ian said: “Litchfield crematorium asked if they could recommend me to future clients. It is a difficult time and it is rewarding to facilitate this for those who cannot be there to attend, so I said yes.

“The challenge is making the person viewing the video from New York, Sydney or Nairobi feel as though they are at the service, rather than just observing it remotely.”

He added: “My job is not to be noticed at all, as if I wasn’t even there. So I do not speak to anybody, I tuck myself away out of sight concentrating on the cameras and the sound.”

Ian works alone and films with three cameras and uses ambient and lapel microphones.

He says it’s rewarding to create a film for the people who are unable to attend a service in such difficult times.

He said: “In the first week of May I filmed a funeral and as I left around 30 people lining the road thanked me, each holding a mobile phone or tablet on which they had been watching the funeral via live streaming. It was such a strange feeling.”

Contact Ian on (07834) 077534.

Support for mums

DUE TO the current situation with Covid 19, Breastfeeding Support Cafés in Mountsorrel have been temporarily suspended but new parents have not been left without support.

Liz Blackshaw, who has volunteered as a breastfeeding peer supporter in Mountsorrel for over ten years said: “The decision to suspend face to face support was not taken lightly as we knew many mums would still need our support, so instead we set up on line support via Facebook and other channels.”

Breastfeeding parents can now join a closed, private Facebook group run by qualified peer supporters with ‘live chat’ happening twice a week on Wednesday afternoons or Friday mornings, but parents can still post questions or queries at any time. Alternatively one-to-one support is available by sending the Charnwood BRAS page a private message or by phoning or texting their phone line on 07583041054 (leave a message and they will phone you back), or you can email charnwoodbras@hotmail.co.uk

Breastfeeding cafes will return to the Green Room in the Memorial Centre as soon as the NHS advises that it is safe to do so.

MP joins women’s team at quarry

Pic: Local MP Jane Hunt (back row, 4th from left) – and nine out of the eleven women working at Mountsorrel Quarry – pose for a photograph in the rain outside the quarry offices. They are all making the #EachforEqual sign – demonstrating their support for International Women’s Day

LOUGHBOROUGH MP Jane Hunt joined the women’s team at Mountsorrel Quarry, to help them celebrate International Women’s Day on site, pre-lockdown.

This year’s Women’s Rights slogan is #EachforEqual, which is why all the women in the photograph are standing – or kneeling – with their arms horizontally spaced, equidistant from each other.

After visiting the site, Jane Hunt talked to the team about how challenging her journey to becoming an MP had been – and how difficult it was – and still is – to become a female MP in a strongly male-dominated Parliament. Jane succeeded at her fifth attempt, and emphasised “the importance of persistence and never giving up.”

Mountsorrel Quarry currently employs 11 women with weird and wonderful job titles, ranging from Weighbridge Operative and Facilities and Compliance Manager, to Strategic Planning and Performance Manager and Sand Plant Manager.

Gemma Bettoney-Bramhall, currently Programme Manager for Mountsorrel Quarry, said: “I’m really proud of all the women we have working at Mountsorrel Quarry. The number of women working on site has nearly doubled over the last twelve months and we are very keen to continue to further increase this number. We have an extremely wide variety of roles available – from front-line operatives and management positions to being out and about on the quarry or in the offices. We are looking towards developing flexible working initiatives to encourage even more women to join our business.”

Virtual visiting for patients

HOSPITAL PATIENTS are being given iPads to help them stay connected to loved ones.

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust has issued 37 iPads to all their inpatient wards (community hospitals, learning disability and mental health units) so that patients can enjoy ‘virtual visiting’ with their loved ones whilst visiting is suspended.

Alison Kirk, the Trust’s Head of Patient Experience and Involvement, said: “We understand how difficult it must be for families and loved ones during this time. The distribution of iPads to all wards is the latest in a number of initiatives the Trust has introduced to ensure patients can stay in contact with their loved ones during their hospital stay.

“Although many of our patients may not be able to speak to their families, on the iPad they will be able to see their faces which makes a real difference to them.”

Patients from all inpatient services are benefiting with Linda Mellor, meaningful activity co-ordinator at Coalville Community Hospital commenting: “So far it has been amazing, watching patients see their families for the first time in maybe four weeks. It has been received positively by both patients and their families. It has been a fabulous tool to improve the patient’s wellbeing and gives them a positive attitude – impacting on their recovery and goals. It is patient centred care at its best and I've seen tears of sadness from missing loved ones, but the big smiles on their faces is priceless.”

Patients can also stay connected to their loved ones without technology through the message to a loved one service which was launched in April.

Visiting is suspended to limit the spread of Covid-19. The only exceptional circumstances where one visitor (an immediate family member or carer) will be permitted to visit are listed below:

· The patient you visit is receiving end-of-life care.

· Parent or appropriate adult visiting their child.

· The patient has a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed.

Family and loved ones should contact the ward or department in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements.

Charnwood forest

CHARNWOOD FOREST has been awarded a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £2,767,300.

The grant, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, will fund the Charnwood Forest Landscape Partnership Scheme. This five year scheme will promote awareness and understanding of the importance of Charnwood Forest through geological conservation, habitat restoration, improvements to rights of way and paths between sites for visitors, creating innovative interpretation, outdoor learning opportunities for young people and adults, and a five-year programme of cultural and heritage activities and events.

John Everitt, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company, host organisation for the project, said: “Charnwood Forest’s future hinges on our ability to convey its story effectively. We need to fill people with surprise, delight and awe when they hear it. Only when they understand Charnwood Forest will they be moved to care for it. This Scheme will support more than 80 sites across Charnwood Forest and enable over 1,000 volunteers to learn about and help us to protect this precious landscape.”

Charnwood Forest’s rocky outcrops, some of the oldest rocks on the planet, were thrown up by volcanic activity in the southern oceans more than 600 million years ago. Millions of years of global plate tectonic movements brought the Charnwood rocks to their current location, and with them the fossilised remains of the first moments of complex life on earth. These fossils are only found in a handful of places across the globe, and the most ancient are found in only two places on Earth: Newfoundland in Canada and Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire. Roadshows, events, outdoor activities and Citizen Science projects will enable 10,000 people to explore this incredible history.

But the area is not just important for its fossils. Because the land has not been heavily cultivated, it still contains a wealth of nationally and internationally important wildlife, including the Charnwood Spider and rare lichens.

John Everitt explained further: “When most people are asked where Charnwood Forest is, they point to a tiny area east of the M1 around Bradgate Park and Beacon Hill. But Charnwood Forest covers more than 150 square kilometres. It extends north and west of Leicester, into the National Forest and includes parts of Coalville and Loughborough and villages along the A6 corridor. This project will help reconnect local communities with the landscape and its incredible heritage. Charnwood is a hidden gem in the East Midlands and this award will help ensure its unique story and character are celebrated and secured for the future.”

Rothley care home rated ‘good’

Pic: staff at the Mountview care home

MOUNTVIEW CARE home, based in Rothley, has been celebrating as they receive an overall rating of ‘GOOD’ by regulatory body the Care Quality Commission.

The report details how Mountview staff who provide care for up to 66 residents are “kind, considerate and treat everyone with dignity and respect.”

Following the unannounced inspection in February 2020, inspectors observed day to day life at the home and examined paperwork, policies and care plans. They also spoke to eight residents, six relatives of residents, visitors including doctors and nurses who work closely with the home, care workers and management to gather a full picture prior to compiling the report.

Inspectors found that residents and staff are supported, happy and empowered. The report stated: “Staff promote a positive culture that is person-centred, open, inclusive and empowering, which achieves good outcomes for people.”

Inspectors were impressed with the varied daily activity programme, adding, “during our inspection the residents were enjoying receiving manicures and taking part in exercise classes such as armchair yoga”. One resident who spoke to inspectors commented: “There's all sorts going on here to get involved in.”

The inspectors enjoyed learning about Mountview’s local community links, comprising of trips to local churches, amateur dramatic shows, local festivals and boat trips that had all been undertaken.

Staff spoke with the inspectors who commented that morale in the home is good, adding that they enjoy their work and feel well supported by management. The report details how there is a strong team ethic where staff hold positive views of each other and feel confident to speak up.

Registered Home Manager, Stacie Weaver, said: “I have built my career at Mountview and have been part of the team since the very start, working my way up from Care Assistant to Home Manager, and I am extremely proud of how far we have all come in that time. I have seen the home consistently improve, and always with the residents at the heart of everything we do. I am thrilled we received ‘GOOD’ in all areas, congratulations to everybody involved, I am sure this very encouraging news will spur us on to continue our ‘good’ work.”

Ideal Carehomes Regional Director, Kay Paul, said: “I am thrilled that Mountview have achieved ‘GOOD’ overall following their inspection, there has been many improvements since the last inspection and that can really be seen in all of the positive comments throughout the report. I would like to congratulate all of our staff who make Mountview such a great place for our residents to live.”

Mountview care home, operated by Ideal Carehomes, provides 24 hour residential and dementia care and has all the finishing touches you would expect from a warm and welcoming home. All 66 bedrooms are en-suite enabling staff to deliver person-centred care in a dignified manner promoting independence as far as possible. For more information about Mountview, contact Stacie Weaver on 0116 303 3303.

Birstall Covid-19 test centre

Pic: the test centre at Birstall Park & Ride

A DRIVE-through Covid19 testing centre opened at Birstall Park and Ride on May 1.

It means people who work in the NHS, social care, education, food and drink production, transportation and many other essential services, as well as people in their households, can now be quickly tested to see if they have symptoms. If the test is negative for everyone in the household, workers will be able to get back to carrying out their critical roles as soon as possible.

The test consists of a swab to the mouth and nose, and people are being advised to get tested within the first three days of the onset of symptoms.

Appointments for testing must be made in advance. Some employers will choose to refer their employees for a test using an online portal or they may ask employees to refer themselves by visiting www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Dr Nick Glover, who is the clinical lead for the testing programme for the clinical commissioning groups in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland said: “Essential workers in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland can now use the local test facility. We’d like any essential workers, who are already self-isolating because they, or someone they live with, are in the first three days of developing symptoms, to refer themselves for a test straight away. They can do this either through their employer or by referring themselves.”

Leicestershire County Council and Leicester City Council, who jointly operate the Birstall Park and Ride site, have been working with the three local clinical commissioning groups to get the local facility up and running as part of the Government’s plans announced on April 23 to extend testing to essential workers.

Nick Rushton, Leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “The County Council owns the park and ride site, operated jointly with the City Council. We are pleased to be able to make it available to assist the response to the pandemic and to make it easier for our key frontline workers to get tested.”

The contractor operating the site is Sodexo.

• Anyone aged 5 or above can now ask for a test if they have symptoms of the virus. Go to www.gov.uk to apply, or call 119 (free call).

Planned flats will go ahead

Pic: an artist’s impression of how the flats, off the Granite Way roundabout, will look

PLANS FOR a 3/4 story apartment block of 25 flats on the land next to Granite Way have been approved by a planning inspector following an appeal.

The plans had been refused by Charnwood Borough Council in 2019 on the grounds that the development would have an adverse impact on the character of the approach into Mountsorrel and on the amenities of 1 Betty Hensers Lane.

The developers appealed and in January 2020 a planning inspector ruled that permission will be granted.

The planning reference is P/18/1379/2

Business safety advice

A QUALIFIED safety advisor from Birstall is providing advice to local businesses about restarting their business safely now that lockdown restrictions are being slowly lifted.

The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible – there are currently 8 guides available which cover a range of different types of work.

Andrew Powdrill (Tech IOSH, DGSA) said: “In Birstall there are many small business and shop owners and workers who, after reading through the government guidance, may find some of the guidance either difficult to work through or unclear as to what exactly is needed to be done and how.

“As some businesses may also operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles then more than one of these guides may be required to be used as you think through what you need to do to keep yourself safe.

“Using professionally qualified advice to help navigate through the guidance and suit what is best for your business will help further reduce risks.”

For further information contact Andrew Powdrill at Annotech on 07917 590083 or e-mail annotechservice@gmail.com to arrange an initial free telephone consultation.

The current official guidance can be found by following the link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Car crash

ONE PERSON was trapped in their vehicle after a two car collision on the northbound A6 near Birstall.

Emergency services had to cut them free following the accident which was reported at 8:18 pm on May 14. The casualty was taken to Leicester Royal infirmary and the road was reopened at 10:30pm.

Support for NHS

MOUNTSORREL RESIDENTS have been busy making equipment for front line nurses, doctors and carers.

Working through the group Mountsorrel Good Neighbours and coordinated by resident Sarah Curtis, they have made 1426 headbands, 65 small back bands, 225 face masks, 258 scrubs bags, 30 sets of scrubs with another 20 sets currently in production.

These have been given to Leicester’s three hospitals, Rose Cottage and Mountview Nursing homes in the village, Rushcliffe nursing homes in Loughborough and the Leicestershire Community Nursing Team.

Over 50 knitted or crocheted hearts pairs have been made and delivered to hospitals to be shared between patients and their families, to remind them that although they may be apart, they are still in each others’ hearts.

GCR preparations

THE GREAT Central Railway has announced its first steps to open up the railway.

“We have taken our first tentative steps towards opening up the railway and, in doing so, providing our friends and supporters with some much needed ‘steam’” said Michael Gough, Managing Director of the Great Central Railway.

In mid-May 10 staff were brought back from furlough to carry out essential functions and to prepare for reopening.

On May 22 BR Standard Class 2 78018 was put through some trials following repair works.

Mr Gough said: “We expect to run further tests to check our infrastructure in the coming days to prepare for a return to operating as soon as government regulations allow.”

He added: “During the pandemic the Railway has been forced to use up all of its cash reserves including vital match funding set aside to add to the funds raised by their appeal for the new locomotive works and education centre to be built. Thus the ongoing success of that appeal through the purchase of commemorative plaques is even more needed and the GCR are asking for its friends and supporters to visit our website to help ensure that the project may still proceed after the current pandemic.”

Pic: 78018 on test PHOTO: A J MORLEY

Free mental health support

ONE-TO-one support for people aged 16 and over who are suffering with anxiety, depression and other similar difficulties across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland is now available from the NHS.

Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, many more people are now experiencing mental health difficulties and the Let’s Talk - Wellbeing service is available to help people across the City and Counties to manage their conditions.

The Let’s Talk - Wellbeing service offers free talking therapies for common mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, panic, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), trauma and stress, all of which can be accessed online.

Support is on offer with one to one sessions via telephone or video conferencing with a therapist, and by accessing online support through a dedicated digital platform Silvercloud which enables patients to access a range of online programmes that can be used at any time on any device. It also allows patients to work at their own pace with regular reviews from a therapist.

Dr Avinashi Prasad, Mental Health Lead and Co-Chair at Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “During times of change and uncertainty it is important that we look after our mental health especially when many people are isolating alone or away from friends and family. The Let’s Talk – Wellbeing service is a vital source for mental health support for anyone who needs help across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and we encourage people to register for help when they need it.”

The service has also produced online videos to supplement care covering different topics such as stress control, anxiety management and self-care. People will also be offered the opportunity to take part in interactive webinars on similar topics and special modules that have been developed to deal with anxiety and stress caused by Coronavirus. These sessions will be delivered online by a therapist so that people can engage with the therapist and ask questions.

Anyone can access the Let’s Talk – Wellbeing service by registering online here: www.letstalkwellbeing.co.uk and selecting the area you live in.

Alternatively you can register by calling the service directly:

If you’re registered with a GP practice in Leicestershire or Rutland call 01509 561100.

Phone support for the elderly

THE CHARITY Age UK runs a telephone service, Call in Time, to support lonely people aged over 60.

What is Call in Time?

Call in Time is a free telephone friendship service for people 60 and over. They’ll match you up with a likeminded person who's keen to make a new friend, and every week they'll give you a call.

Not having someone to talk to regularly can be lonely, particularly if you're used to sharing your home and time with others. A friendly, 30-minute chat on the phone every week can make all the difference.

How does Call in Time work?

You sign up and register your interest (or refer someone else).

Age UK check you (or the person you're referring) match all the criteria.

What are the criteria?

Age UK find a likeminded person who has similar interests and hobbies to you or the person you're referring. Sometimes that can take a few weeks, so while they are waiting to find the right person, Age UK call you for a 5-minute catch-up as often as they can.

Age UK connect the two of you to begin your weekly calls.

Who can sign up for Call in Time?

To sign up for Call in Time, you must be:

• over 60

• have your own landline or mobile phone

• able to hear and be understood over the phone

• able to commit to a regular weekly call at the same time.

• Call in Time may not be suitable for people with memory loss, dementia or mental health issues who require higher level support. These conditions may affect the person's ability to build a telephone friendship with a volunteer. In some instances, people with these conditions may actually find the calls more distressing.

www.ageuk.org.uk/ and put ‘Call in Time’ in the search box