Council News: David Starkey, start-ups, Mindme alarm, Mark Cavendish, digital hub, pension fraud, Green Deal, personal safety, trading standards, defibrillators, broadband, Family Support and apprenticeships

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TV historian David Starkey to give talk in Surrey on Magna Carta
Historian David Starkey, who presented a BBC documentary about Magna Carta, will give a talk in Surrey to mark the 800th anniversary of the charter’s sealing in the county.
Dr Starkey has been lined up by Surrey County Council to speak at Guildford Cathedral about the influence the historic document has on modern-day Britain.
Sealed by King John at Runnymede in 1215, Magna Carta is considered one of the first steps towards modern democracy. In January, BBC2 screened ‘David Starkey’s Magna Carta’ as part of its Taking Liberties series about the history of the manuscript.
The historian’s talk on Wednesday 22 April (7.45pm) will come around the same time as his new book ‘Magna Carta’ is published to mark the 15 June anniversary, which is expected to attract worldwide attention.
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “The 800th anniversary will be an occasion of immense local, national and international importance so it is fitting that such a distinguished historian as David Starkey will help us start our celebrations.”
Tickets for the talk costing £12 are available online or by calling 01483 547881.
MARCH 27, 2015

Surrey’s £50,000 to help business start-ups
Surrey County Council is investing £50,000 to help business start-ups get off the ground, grow and create jobs.
It has joined forces with the Fredericks Foundation, which lends to people who may have been turned down for a bank loan. The money will be used to call on the charity’s expertise with the aim of helping almost 20 businesses with great start-up ideas launch in a year while also giving other small firms a helping hand as they seek to develop.
In addition, it is hoped that more than 25 people will be helped into work through the Surrey Hub scheme. Business advice will also be available for new and recently launched businesses.
The Surrey Hub will open this month. For more information, contact Geraldine Harman at or on 07877
MARCH 27, 2015

Confidence and security beyond your front door
For some people the world can be a daunting place. Now there is a new device to help people feel more secure in their surroundings so they can go confidently about their daily lives. Woking Borough Council has partnered with neighbouring Runnymede Council to bring the Mindme Alarm scheme to Woking. The Mindme Alarm is a GPS tracker and communication device that allows the user to summon help wherever they might be.
Similar to the pendent alarm worn at home by frail and vulnerable residents, the Mindme Alarm allows the wearer to travel beyond their front door with the same level of confidence and access to immediate help and reassurance at the touch of a button should they get into difficulty.
The Mindme Alarm is linked to the Telecare Service Centre in Runnymede, which operates 24/7. When the alarm is activated the operators at the Centre can pinpoint the user’s location using satellite technology, speak to them directly and take appropriate action to ensure their safety. This could be alerting a local family member, carer or emergency service.
Cllr Melanie Whitehand, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Independent Living Services, said: “The Mindme Alarm is peace of mind for people coping with reduced mobility, memory loss, recovering from a serious illness or recent trauma. It’s a powerful tool for anyone who feels vulnerable or anxious away from home. It provides the wearer with support and a greater sense of security while at the same time being non-intrusive so they can continue to live independently.
The GPS tracker enables the Mindme Alarm to be activated wherever the wearer is, no matter how far from home or distance travelled.
The Mindme Alarm consists of an alarm device, typically worn as pendant, and a charger. The cost of the service starts at £27 per month. For more information about the service please call Careline on 01483 743647.
March 25 2015

Mark Cavendish to race in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic
British cycling star Mark Cavendish will race on Surrey’s roads this August as a competitor in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic. The 2011 world champion and winner of 25 Tour de France stages has been revealed as one of the leading riders competing in this year’s race, which takes place on Sunday 2 August.
Mr Cavendish said: ‘I can’t wait to ride this year. After only two years, this race is already an event every rider wants to win and you can’t beat racing in front of British crowds. After missing out in 2014 I was determined to ride in 2015. ‘
Earlier in the day on 2 August, more than 25,000 amateur riders will take part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 event. The organisers of the cycling festival have more information on their website. These maps show the routes of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.
MARCH 24, 2015

Woking Town Centre set to become Surrey’s leading digital hub
Woking Borough Council has unveiled a project, one of the first of its kind, that will transform Woking Town Centre into a hub for leading edge digital services.
Working with the Council’s existing technology supplier, EMCOR UK, and local IT services provider, Arcom IT, the project will use and enhance Woking Borough Council’s existing fibre network and data centre located within the town centre. Combined with Arcom IT’s technology services, the project will provide Wi-Fi and commercial services to Woking’s business community with particular focus on the Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) sector.
Enhanced access to hi-speed consumer Wi-Fi network coverage will be delivered in and around Woking Town Centre, initially focussed within the Peacocks and Wolsey Place shopping centres, H.G. Wells Conference and Events Centre (including Victoria Way Car Park) and Jubilee Square, before being rolled out to other parts of the town.
Cllr John Kingsbury, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: “Our aspiration is to see Woking become Surrey’s leading digital town by utilising new technology that compliment and further the continued economic growth of Woking.
Shahid Azeem, Managing Director of Arcom IT, said: “There are over 4,600 businesses in Woking, with 96 per cent having less than 20 employees. Arcom IT, in partnership with Woking Borough Council and EMCOR UK, are very keen to support SMEs which are the backbone of the local business community.”
John Kovacs, Network Solutions General Manager, EMCOR UK, said: “We are very proud to be working with Woking Borough Council, and Arcom IT, on the design and implementation of this exciting project. Once complete, consumers and businesses in Woking will have access to one of the most modern, and wide-reaching, high-speed Wi-Fi network coverage in the UK.”
March 24 2015

Make sure you do not become a victim of pension fraud
Woking Borough Council is urging residents of a pensionable age (or approaching) to remain vigilant against potential pension fraud scams in the lead up to the roll-out of the new pension rules, which took effect from 6 April 2015.
Following plans set out in the Government Budget in 2014, the new pension rules will apply to people aged 55 and over, which will allow them to have wider choices and freedom on what they can do with the fund(s) they have accrued; whether that be savings in personal or company pensions.
Get Safe Online, a national private and public sector partnership to help protect people online, is warning people to be careful who they take advice from and not to become a victim of pension fraud, especially as individuals will be able to release more or all of their pension funds as they wish.
Useful information provided on its website ( includes: how to identify the key warning signs and actions associated with scammers; how to report pension fraud to the UK’s national fraud office (Action Fraud); and how to report suspicious cold calls to the Financial Conduct Authority.
Cllr Beryl Hunwicks, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, said: “The changes to the way people can access their pension funds presents individuals with more freedom and accessibility to enjoy their retirement. However, during this early stage, it also provides further opportunities for scammers to dupe people out of their life-long, hard earned savings.
“I would urge people within this age group to find out more about the changes to pensions, taking effect from 6 April, in order to make informed choices and to protect themselves and their finances.”
Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of unbiased, factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety. It is a public / private sector partnership supported by the Government and leading organisations in banking, retail, internet security and other sectors.
To find out more about the Get Safe Online campaign and obtain useful advice,
To find out what you can do with your pension pot, how to shop around and what to look out for with taxes and fees, visit the Government’s free, impartial advice service, visit
March 23 2015

Green Deal Home Improvement Fund – up to £5,600 available
The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund is once again open to new applications. Up to £5,600 will be available to households in England and Wales to help with the cost of installing energy saving improvements such as solid wall insulation, double glazing, boilers, cavity wall and floor insulation.
So what’s on offer?
Up to £3,750 for installing solid wall insulation and/or up to £1,250 for installing two of the following improvements:
• cavity wall insulation
• condensing mains gas boiler
• secondary glazing
• double/triple glazing (replacing single glazing
• flat roof insulation
• replacement warm air unit
• fan-assisted storage heaters
• energy efficient replacement doors
• floor insulation
• room-in-roof insulation
• waste water heat recovery.
• up to £100 refunded for their Green Deal Assessment
• Up to £500 more if applying within 12 months of buying a new home.
With funds expected to be allocated quickly, make sure you don’t miss out. Please visit or call 0800 783 2503 for more information.
19 March 2015

Fun-filled sessions help to deliver serious safety messages
Around 1,000 ten and eleven-year olds from across Woking Borough received important lessons about personal safety this month as the annual Junior Citizen Scheme got underway at Woking Football Club.
Organised by members of the Safer Woking Partnership, which includes Surrey Fire & Rescue, Surrey Police and Woking Borough Council, as well as Freedom Leisure, the three-week educational safety scheme seeks to show children how to stay safe in everyday situations. By breaking down a two-hour session into fun, interactive ‘sets’, participating organisations help children to develop their skills in managing risk and making decisions about important day-to-day scenarios.
Specifically, this year’s scheme focused on topics including stranger danger, fire safety, advice around 999 calls and hoaxes, being a good neighbour, water safety, anti-social behaviour, online safety and railway safety.
Speaking about the scheme, Cllr Beryl Hunwicks, Chair of the Safer Woking Partnership and Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, said: “The Junior Citizen initiative helps us to raise awareness amongst young people about the importance of their personal safety, as well as teaching them about their rights and responsibilities as citizens.”
For more information about Woking’s Junior Citizen Scheme, please contact Woking Borough Council’s Community Safety Officer, Camilla Edmiston, on 01483 743080, or email
18 March 2015

Surrey and Buckinghamshire trading standards join forces from April
Residents in Surrey and Buckinghamshire will be better protected from scams and rip-offs with the launch next month of a joint trading standards service covering both counties.
A merger between Surrey and Buckinghamshire trading standards takes effect from 1 April with the aim of harnessing their collective expertise to give consumers even stronger safeguards and businesses an even better service.
The tie-up will also save taxpayers money over the next four years through smarter working and pooled resources. Trading standards services in both counties will still maintain their local bases in Aylesbury and Redhill.
While Surrey has particular expertise in tackling doorstep crime, protecting vulnerable residents and working with businesses to help them comply with regulations, Buckinghamshire is noted for its food safety and animal welfare work, as well as its success in recruiting volunteers to be the eyes and ears of the service on the ground.
The new joint trading standards service will:
* Serve the public more effectively by sharing expertise and intelligence on combating con artists and rogue traders
* Be better equipped to deal with animal disease outbreaks, major investigations and complex frauds
* Save money and generate additional income through providing specialist business services and also secure external funding
* Better support legitimate businesses
* Have greater regional and national clout and influence on Government policies
The combined service will be overseen by a joint committee comprising members of both Surrey County Council and Buckinghamshire County Council.
MARCH 23, 2015

Life-saving defibrillators on all Surrey fire engines
Every fire engine in Surrey has been fitted with a defibrillator to help fire fighters save more lives at the scene of emergencies.
Surrey County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service has equipped its entire 35-strong fleet with defibrillators to enable crews who are first on the scene to treat casualties suffering a cardiac arrest. At the same time, more than 180 Surrey fire fighters have been given extra training to improve the care they can give to casualties facing life-threatening illness and injuries.
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service worked closely with South East Coast Ambulance Service to develop the course, known as Immediate Emergency Care Responder training. The new equipment and training will help ensure that casualties at the scene of fires or road accidents are treated as quickly as possible, potentially saving many more lives. Surrey County Council is backing the project with £150,000 of funding.
MARCH 20, 2015

Surrey becomes Britain’s best-connected county
Surrey has become the best-connected county in Britain following the completion of the main part of a high-speed broadband project. The county council and BT have announced that fibre broadband coverage has been extended to more than 82,000 businesses and homes not included in commercial roll outs.
Surrey County Council Deputy Leader Peter Martin said: “This roll out has been delivered at an amazing rate of nearly 200 homes and businesses per working day, transforming lives across the county and making Surrey the best connected county in Britain.
There is still work to do to reach those remaining premises located in the more technically challenging and harder to reach places of the county. This is not, therefore, the end of the story and as a council we would like to do more.
Further information can be found in a press release on BT’s website.
MARCH 19, 2015

Surrey transforms the lives of 1,050 families
More than 1,000 families in need of support have turned their lives around with help from a ground-breaking Surrey programme. New figures reveal that the Surrey Family Support Programme has reached a Government target two months early by helping 1,050 of the county’s most vulnerable families.
The initiative involves public services in Surrey working together so they can better support families facing difficulties such as unemployment and truancy from school.
It brings together Surrey County Council and the county’s borough and district councils, working in partnership with the police, the NHS and Job Centre Plus.
Many families benefited from intensive help from a dedicated support worker and a family support plan devised with input from across the public services.
Surrey’s Family Support Programme has been singled out by the Government as being among the best in the country and will be extended to help a further 3,660 families over the next five years. It will also be widened to cover families affected by domestic abuse and ill health.
The work will benefit all taxpayers in the county by reducing these families’ reliance on public services in the future.’
MARCH 10, 2015

Surrey County Council apprenticeship drive helps 1,500
A Surrey County Council drive to create apprenticeships has given more than 1,500 young people a leg up on the career ladder.
A target to fill 500 apprentice roles in the last year alone has been beaten two months early, with 562 places taken up in just 10 months.
The news was confirmed as National Apprenticeship Week got underway to highlight the positive impact of apprenticeships on individuals, organisations and the economy.
Surrey County Council leader David Hodge launched a cash incentive scheme in 2012 which gave employers £750 for each apprentice aged under 19 they took on in addition to any national funding.
Major Surrey employers have taken part including Ann Summers, McLaren Racing and Berkeley Homes as well as many smaller businesses.With 562 apprentices recruited between April 2014 and February, the total number of roles filled since the scheme was launched now exceeds 1,500.
The majority of these apprentices were hired through the cash incentive scheme, with the rest taken on by the county council itself and its contractors.
The apprenticeship drive is among measures being taken by the council to stimulate economic growth and support Surrey’s business community.
MARCH 9, 2015

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