Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Container on the Westcliff cliffs

An email sent to me recently had this :-

... a copy of a letter that is going to be posted through the letterboxes of the nearest neighbours to Cliff Gardens where the proposed new Museum of the Thames Estuary will be sited.   The attached is the Final version.
 
The letter is to let them know about the Pop Up Museum that will be temporarily sited on the cliffs as part of the new arts biennial Estuary 2016 – and to invite them to come and visit the pop up once its opened to the public.
 
And here is that letter :-
 
Dear Neighbour,
I am writing to let you know about a project that will be temporarily happening on Cliff Gardens, Southend Seafront.
Ahead of the planned new permanent Museum of the Thames Estuary, Metal in partnership with Southend Museum and Southend Borough Council will be organising a small pop-up, temporary Museum in a Shipping Container as part of Estuary 2016 – a new, biennial arts festival that takes place across the whole of the Thames Estuary region (on both the north and the south banks).
Inside the pop-up Museum we will be exhibiting artefacts from a brand new collection of shipwreck finds, recently accessioned into Southend Museum from the Thames Estuary bed itself.  These will be shown alongside a stunning new Shipwreck Drawing by artist, Adam Dant that will provide information and stories associated with some of the 1000 shipwrecks and their secrets still hidden beneath the waters.
The exterior of the Shipping Container will be painted with an artist’s design, using the nautical communication flags.  It will spell out ‘Thames Estuary Museum 2016’.
The Shipping Container will arrive on site on Tuesday 2 August.  It will then be painted and fitted out over the following 3 weeks.
It will be open for the public to visit free of charge from 17 September – 2 October 2016 (the duration of Estuary 2016).  Opening hours will be 10am – 4pm. 
I hope you will come and visit us on site.
For more information about Estuary 2016 please visit www.estuaryfestival.com.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Following on from my last post ....



Here are the recommendations in the report, and all certainly worth considering if not actually adopting.

Children’s lives in Southend-on-Sea:  (A report by The Children’s Society)  Recommendations


·         Every child or teenager who goes missing or absent from home or care should be offered an independent return interview.

·         Ask your Local Safeguarding Children Board to audit the safeguarding response that agencies provide to 16 and 17 year olds and review thresholds for intervention to ensure they do not discriminate against or fail to assess 16 and 17 year olds.

·         Adopt an explicit policy that no child under 18 can be made ‘intentionally homeless’.
·         Review the local homelessness protocol to ensure all children under 18 who present as homeless receive a joint assessment from housing and children’s services.

·         Local authorities, as commissioners of supported accommodation for vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds, should ensure all these settings have effective safeguarding policies in place and are regularly scrutinised by the Local Safeguarding Children Board.


·         Health and Well-Being Boards should ensure local Joint Strategic Needs Assessments explicitly include children and young people’s mental health and the needs of different vulnerable groups at risk of developing mental health problems, to assess current and future need and inform commissioning strategies.

·         Local authorities – through Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards (LSCBs) – should review and monitor access to mental health support for children who have experienced abuse and trauma, ensure that such services are commissioned locally, and ensure that there are policies in place for priority access to services for all children who need it.

·         All mental health services should have policies in place on transitions for young people from vulnerable groups between the levels of CAMHS services and to transition to adult services. This would ensure that children do not fall through the cracks of services and that they have continuous access to mental health support. Policies on transitions should outline how CAMHS will work with other agencies in planning transition.

·         Prioritise resources raised through business rate growth for early intervention services, using local needs assessments and open consultation with local residents.

·         Local authorities should ensure the systematic collection of data for separated children with non-asylum immigration claims.

·         Local authorities should train social workers and Independent Reviewing Officers in the identification of children who are out of scope of legal aid and in how to best support their legal needs within this new and complex territory.

·         Local authorities should develop written policies that offer clarity on the nature and scope of their responsibilities in relation to legal aid for separated children.



·         Every local authority needs to have a welfare assistance scheme which does not exclude 16–17 year olds from support.
·         Annually monitor the spending on local welfare provision to build up a profile of need in the area.

·         Councils should exempt care leavers from paying council tax up to the age of 21.

·         Every local authority should have a debt collection strategy which includes measures to address the impact of collection on children.

·         Councils should not engage bailiffs for collecting council tax debt from families who are in receipt of Council Tax Support and have children.

·         Local authorities should use community hubs as locations to deliver outreach debt advice and fuel poverty work, to ensure hard to reach families are able to access this service and support.

·         Local authorities should advertise and promote the Warm Home Discount – a rebate of £140 on electricity bills for the most vulnerable – in services that families access, such as children’s centres.

·         Local authorities need to consider the impact of changes to disability benefits under UC on families.

·         The loss of the SDP is likely to be particularly severe. There will be a need to reconsider support services in light of this.

·         Local authorities have a key role to play in ensuring that families with children that need Alternative Payment Arrangements under Universal Credit are able to receive them.

·         Local authorities need to consider access to online provision of UC for local families – particularly for those requiring regular updates to claims, such as parents with childcare costs.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Children’s lives in Southend-on-Sea

The following are some extracts from Children’s lives in Southend-on-Sea (a report by The Children’s Society, May 2016).

·       There are currently 38,216 children in Southend-on-Sea, with 1,024 of these children being categorised as ‘children in need’. This report sets out recommendations on the steps you can take to help them.

·       In Southend-on-Sea, of the 1,024 children classified as ‘children in need’, 206 are aged 16 or 17.

·         Last year in the South East 1890 children aged 16 or 17 presented as homeless. These teenagers are often at serious risk of harm and can be escaping homes where they face problems such as substance abuse, violence or severe overcrowding.

·         In the year 2014–15, total spending on children and young people’s mental health spend services (across Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), local authorities and NHS England) in the South East was £73,971,000. The average local authority CAMHS expenditure for local authorities in the South East was £1,124,000 with the average spend across England being £949,000. In the same period, the average spending by CCG on mental health for children in the South East was £1,762,000 – compared to the England average of £2,721,000.

·         The Government allocated £4,777,613 in early intervention funding to Southend-on-Sea Council this year, that’s a reduction of £5,428,865 per year compared to 2010. This massive reduction means local authorities are less able to address the problems experienced by children and families at an early stage. Children suffer harm that could have been prevented and the state is faced with greater costs as they are forced to deal with more entrenched, serious and expensive problems at a later date.

·         44.71% Decrease in early intervention grant to Southend-on-Sea council between 2010–11 and 2015–16

·         In the South East, 660 unaccompanied asylum seeking children were in the care of local authorities. These are children fleeing persecution, war and abuse from across the globe. There are also many other children in the region with an irregular immigration status which can cut them from support and leave them with an unsecure future.

·         It is unacceptable that any child is living in poverty in the UK, let alone almost 3.7 million children. Poverty has a devastating effect on children, harming their immediate well-being and drastically reducing opportunities throughout their lives. There are 10,662 children living in poverty in Southend-on-Sea.

·         Our Debt Trap research also identified that in 2014–15 there were 3,850 children living in families in council tax debt in Southend-on-Sea. There are 1.6 million children living in families who have faced council tax debt, with 2 in 10 families visited by bailiffs to reclaim council tax. This equates to thousands of children experiencing fear, intimidation and worry at the hands of bailiffs.

·         Our report Show Some Warmth7 found that there are around 6,338 children in Southend-on-Sea living in energy debt. Children in families in energy debt are three times more likely to have damp or mould in their homes and to have been ill last winter, and are twice as likely to have breathing problems.

·         The introduction of the new Universal Credit (UC) benefits system will have a profound impact on millions of children and families across the country. Once it has been fully introduced, around half of children in the UK will live in families in receipt of UC.


Labour can only succeed nationally if it succeeds in Essex



Whichever side of the leadership debate Labour members in Essex sit, I think they will all wish for an improvement in Labour's performance in General Elections in this largest of the non-metropolitan counties.

The following table shows all Essex constituency winners from 1987. It is largely a story of Conservative successes.


1987
1992
1997
2001
2005
2010
2015
Basildon
Con
Con
Lab
Lab
Lab


Basildon and Billericay





Con
Con
Billericay
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con


Braintree
Con
Con
Lab
Lab
Con
Con
Con
Brentwood and Ongar
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
Castle Point
Con
Con
Lab
Con
Con
Con
Con
Chelmsford
Con
Con



Con
Con
Clacton





Con
UKIP
Colchester


LD
LD
LD
LD
Con
Colchester North
Con
Con





Colchester South and Maldon
Con
Con





Epping Forest
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
Harlow
Con
Con
Lab
Lab
Lab
Con
Con
Harwich
Con
Con
Lab
Lab
Con


Harwich and North Essex





Con
Con
Maldon





Con
Con
Maldon and East Chelmsford


Con
Con
Con


North Essex

Con
Con
Con
Con


Rayleigh


Con
Con
Con


Rayleigh and Wickford





Con
Con
Rochford
Con
Con





Rochford and Southend East


Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
Saffron Walden
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
South Basildon and East Thurrock





Con
Con
Southend East
Con
Con





Southend West
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
Con
Thurrock
Con
Lab
Lab
Lab
Lab
Con
Con
West Chelmsford


Con
Con
Con


Witham





Con
Con

1987       0/16
1992       0/16
1997       6/17
2001       5/17
2005       3/17
2010       0/18
2015       0/18

Three blanks; this is yet another argument for a more proportional voting system since whilst Labour rarely sees victory in Essex, its vote share should see some reward.

Whilst Labour HQ will see not Essex as a priority in the way it will view other counties which regularly elect Labour candidates, it will be noted that our General Election victories come with success in Essex.

No MPs in Essex means no Labour Government -  whoever leads us after September please note.