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New Amateur Investor Blog Launched

A new website has been launched to record the trials and tribulations of an Amateur Investor.

www.amateurinvestor.co.uk is written by a real-life amateur investor who invests their own money in FTSE stocks and shares, unit trusts, fixed rate savings accounts, PIBS, corporate bonds and ETFs.

The blog is aimed at other amateur investors would like to compare their own investing experiences with amateur investors across the country.


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Five candidates nominated to stand in Hereford and South Herefordshire parliamentary election

Five people have been nominated to stand in the Hereford and South Herefordshire parliamentary constituency for the general election which takes place on Thursday, May 6.

The candidates are:
  • Sarah Jane Carr – Liberal Democrats
  • Jesse Norman – The Conservative Party Candidate
  • John Oliver – British National Party
  • Philippa Louise Roberts – The Labour Party Candidate
  • Valentine James Smith – UK Independence Party (UKIP)
Residents who have chosen to vote by post should receive their ballot papers in the next week or so as the council is aiming to send out postal votes by Monday, April 26 at the latest.

Residents who have chosen to vote by proxy - this means they have appointed someone to vote on their behalf – have until 5pm on Tuesday, April 27, to return their completed application form to the electoral registration team based at Hereford Town Hall.

The application form can be found on the council’s website and is available from Info shops and libraries. Applicants may need to have their application vouched for, depending on the reasons.

If someone is unable to get to the polling station due to a medical emergency that has arisen after the normal deadline, they can apply to vote by proxy up to 5pm on the day of the election.

Six candidates nominated to stand in North Herefordshire parliamentary election

Six people have been nominated to stand in the North Herefordshire parliamentary constituency for the general election which takes place on Thursday, May 6.

The candidates are:
  • Lucy Ann Hurds – Liberal Democrats
  • John King - Independent
  • Felicity Mary Norman – Green Party
  • Jonathan Paul Oakton – United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)
  • Neil Sabharwal – The Labour Party Candidate
  • Bill Wiggin – The Conservative Party Candidate
Residents who have chosen to vote by post should receive their ballot papers in the next week or so as the council is aiming to send out postal votes by Monday, April 26 at the latest.

Residents who have chosen to vote by proxy - this means they have appointed someone to vote on their behalf – have until 5pm on Tuesday, April 27, to return their completed application form to the electoral registration team based at Hereford Town Hall.

The application form can be found on the council’s website and is available from Info shops and libraries. Applicants may need to have their application vouched for, depending on the reasons.

If someone is unable to get to the polling station due to a medical emergency that has arisen after the normal deadline, they can apply to vote by proxy up to 5pm on the day of the election.
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Recent Articles

Council service partners celebrate outstanding safety record

Herefordshire Council’s service partners Amey are celebrating an outstanding health and safety record.

Amey, who carry out a wide range of services on behalf of the council including maintaining more than 2,000 miles of highways, have just attained a zero AIR (accident incident rate).

The AIR is a specific measure, based on the number of employees within the business against the level of accidents and incidents that must legally be reported to the national Health and Safety Executive.

Geoff Hughes, Herefordshire Council’s director of regeneration, said: “I would like to congratulate Amey for this exemplary health and safety record. It is really good to see one of the county’s largest employers with a staff of 500 taking health and safety so seriously.

“The fact their role involves maintaining some 2,000 miles of highways makes it even more remarkable that they have managed this without having any reportable accidents,” he added.  
Amey has ensured safe working practices by increasing and continually developing site safety visits that are carried out by the businesses management team.

Other areas of improvement include the procurement of better vehicles, plant and equipment, improving personal protective equipment, developing and reviewing operational safety documentation and most importantly listening to what is being said by operational staff which allows the business to further develop its safety culture.

Amey employees are actively encouraged to question and challenge any unsafe working practices, and report “near misses” with a view to preventing anything more serious occurring.

Mark Thomas, service director for Amey said, “I am delighted to confirm that we have attained an AIR of Zero and have now reached a safety benchmark of which we can all be immensely proud.”

School students explore their dream jobs

Local businesses are signing up to a special careers fair that will give young people the chance to explore their ideal career and gain hands-on experience in a range of professions.

Herefordshire Council has organised the fair Me@Work which takes place at the Three Counties Showground on the 29th June 2010.  It aims to open up the world of work to 13 and 14 year old students by encouraging them to talk to professionals and try their hand at a number of skills.

This is the third year the council has run this hands-on style careers fair.  Last year 31 businesses signed up and many others are showing interest for this year including Worcester College of Technology, St John’s Ambulance, MotoV8 and many more.

Fran Wheatley, youthzone co-ordinator, said: “This is a chance for school students to explore the job of their dreams by talking to local experts, having a go themselves and finding out what sort of qualifications they need to get.  We want to attract a wide a range of professions to the event to make sure our young people have a wide and varied choice.  We’ve had quite a mix in the past including funeral directors, social workers, roof thatchers, hairdressers and dancers.

“This is a great opportunity for businesses to help recruit to their respective professions and to raise their profile in the school communities.”

The council is keen to hear from any businesses who’d like to get involved.  Please contact Fran Wheatley on 01432 260670.

NHS Herefordshire provides good service, say residents

More people in Herefordshire believe their local NHS is providing a good service since the primary care trust joined together with the council in close partnership working.

Now 83 per cent of local people are satisfied with NHS Herefordshire compared with 66 per cent three years ago. Public satisfaction with the NHS in Herefordshire is also substantially higher than the overall satisfaction with the NHS in the West Midlands region (72 per cent) and higher than the national level of satisfaction (73 per cent).

The research, undertaken by Ipsos Mori and commissioned by the Department of Health, shows that Herefordshire is number two in the league table of 17 trusts in the region when it comes to a positive perception of service. Herefordshire people are also least likely to feel local healthcare needs improvement. Three out of four residents said their local NHS Herefordshire services need no or little improvement.

People in Herefordshire are most happy about the quality of medical treatment by their GPs and the short amount of time it takes to get an appointment with them. They are also pleased with the information provided about local healthcare and access to services to improve their own health.
 
But priorities for improvement in Herefordshire echoed those of people identified across the West Midlands. Most important was improved cleanliness of local hospitals, according to 16 per cent of local people. Shorter time spent waiting in accident and emergency were called for by 14 per cent and 11 per cent said they also want easier access to NHS dentists. Care for the elderly was not seen as needing any improvement in Herefordshire.

“It is very encouraging that most people feel their local NHS services have got better since we joined up management teams and many services with the local authority”, said Chris Bull, chief executive of both NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Council.

“But there is plenty of work still to do. NHS Herefordshire recently launched its strategy for improvement – called Healthy Herefordshire – and while it is true that the local population as a whole lives longer than average and is comparatively healthy, it is still a concern that nearly one in eight people have poorer quality of life, health and wellbeing”.

NHS Herefordshire, working closely with Herefordshire Council and other partners, has set the challenge over the next four years of improving the health and life chances of two groups in particular. These are young people (affected by poverty, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, drinking and taking risks with sexual behaviour), and the increasingly ageing population (who need more care and support to live with dignity in their own homes, often in remote rural areas).  

Reading, Writing and Recycling…. free recycling service coming to a school near you.

Following the successful introduction of a new recycling scheme in Herefordshire, the county’s waste team is now turning its attention to schools.

Schools will be able to help protect the environment but also save money by recycling instead of landfilling their waste. Wheeled bins, similar to those provided to homes across the county, can be provided free of charge to the school.

The bins can be used for paper, cardboard, cartons, plastic bottles and containers, mixed glass and tins and cans. The recyclables collected are taken to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) which separates the materials using a combination of mechanical separation and hand sorting. Once separated these materials are then bulked and delivered to reprocessing companies.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for environment and strategic housing, said: “By recycling in school, you can help protect the environment, promote recycling to the pupils and cut your waste disposal bills.”

If your school is interested in the recycling service please contact Herefordshire Council’s recycling officer, Laura Blackwell, on 01432 260051.

Eggplosive Easter fun in Herefordshire museums

Herefordshire Council’s heritage services is working in partnership with Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust to put on a series of explosive family friendly events this Easter.

At heritage sites around the county families have the chance to get in touch with the local geology in a fun and hands on way.

Families can explore Silurian seas at Ledbury Heritage Centre where participants can make an underwater fossil scene and decorate their own trilobite mask on Friday, April 9.

At the Museum Resource & Learning Centre in Friar Street, Hereford, volcanoes are exploding during a family fun day on Thursday, April 15. Families can make their own volcano and recreate an ancient Devonian delta filled with prehistoric fish and plants.
Families can also make their very own fossils to take home and bring in any weird and wonderful rock and fossils to be identified by the council’s own geology experts.

People taking part can see geology from the museum collections and find out more about rocks and fossils in Herefordshire.

Admission is free and there will also be quizzes and tours.  Charges apply for craft activities and refreshments, baby changing facilities and disabled access available.

On Friday, April 16, the Market House Heritage Centre, Ross is getting geological with activities for families. People can make their own 400 million year old Devonian delta and a Devonian fossil fish mask to take away.

Friday, April 9: Silurian Seas, Ledbury Heritage Centre, 11am to 1pm. Booking requiredon  01432 260692.
Thursday, April 15: Volcano!, Museum Resource & Learning Centre, Hereford 11am to 3pm. Drop in or call 01432 260692.
Friday, April 16: Ancient Fish, Market House Heritage Centre Ross, 10.30am to12.30pm. Booking required on 01432 260692.

For more details or information please contact Sarah Skelton or Kate Andrew on 01432 383383

Don't cook up trouble this pancake day!

With many households flipping pancakes to mark Shrove Tuesday next week (16 February) Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is issuing a few simple tips to keep you and your home safe from the risk of cooking fires.

Nearly a third (30.4 percent) of accidental dwelling fires that KFRS attended last year were cooking related.*

Head of Community Safety Stuart Skilton said: “Overheated oil in pans, deep fat fryers or dirty ovens and grill pans along with unattended cooking are the main cause of cooking fires. A moment’s distraction, especially if under the influence of alcohol, could find you faced with a serious fire that could take your home or your life. People also risk serious injury as a result of these types of incidents so take our advice and help keep you and your family safe.”

Residents are advised to take the following safety measures:

• Don’t leave pans unattended. Take them off the heat if you leave the room. Remember, fire starts when your attention stops
• Turn saucepan handles so that they don’t stick out from the hob
• Never fill a pan more than one third full of fat or oil. If the oil starts to smoke, do not begin cooking - remove from the heat and leave it to cool
• Keep the oven, hob and grill clean - a build up of fat and grease can easily catch fire
• Do not leave items on top of a hob in case it is accidentally turned on
• If you are going out for a night out and may be drinking, try and pre-plan for your return home and take a snack from the fridge or cupboard instead of turning on the cooker for a hot meal
• Fit smoke alarms on every floor of your home, and test the batteries regularly
• If there is a fire, get out, stay out and call the Fire and Rescue service.

Oil and fat fires are not minor – they can and do injure and kill!

If you would like any further information on fire safety issues, please call our freephone number 0800 923 7000 to book a home safety visit or visit our website on www.kent.fire-uk.org.

*KFRS figures for April 2008 to March 2009 show that out of 760 accidental dwelling fires attended 231 were cooking related. 
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