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EDUCATION | The ‘essential’ key workers who can still send children to school

Coronavirus: The ‘essential’ key workers who can still send children to school. 👇

Many schools are shutting their gates until further notice as the government ramps up measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Department for Education has published a list of “key workers” deemed “essential” to the COVID-19 response and whose children will continue to be cared for at school amid the pandemic.

“If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision,” the Department for Education said.

The list has been separated into eight categories:

Health and social care:

Includes frontline health and social care staff – such as doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, as well as support and specialist staff in the health and social care sector. In addition, those working in supply chains, including producers and distributors of medicines and personal protective equipment are included.

Education and childcare:

Includes nursery, teaching staff and social workers, as the department said these workers are required to deliver their plans.

Key public services:

Those required to run the justice system, religious staff, as well as those responsible for managing the deceased and journalists providing public service broadcasting are on the list.

Local and national government:

The list “only includes administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services”, including payment of benefits.

Food and other necessary goods:

Includes those involved in the production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery of food.

Public safety and national security:

Police, support staff, Ministry of Defence civilian staff and armed forces personnel are on the list, along with fire and rescue staff, as well as those responsible for border security, prison and probation staff.


Includes those who will keep “air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response”.

Utilities, communication and financial services:

Staff required to keep oil, gas, electricity, water and sewerage operations running are on the list, along with those in the civil nuclear, chemical and telecommunications sectors. Those in postal services and working to provide essential financial services provision are also included.

FILM REVIEW | The Invisible Man is a tense yet thrilling horror experience

Lewis Pearce from Pearcey’s Picks is back with his latest film review.

The Invisible Man is a tense yet thrilling horror experience.

In 2017, Tom Cruise starred in the reboot of The Mummy, a film which was meant to launch Universal’s own cinematic universe titled Dark Universe, with the next film to follow being a Johnny Depp-led reimagining of The Invisible Man. However, following The Mummy’s critical and financial failure, development was halted for all upcoming projects and this potential crossover of iconic Universal monster characters was over before it even began. This soon led to Blumhouse Productions taking over control of The Invisible Man project, a smart move for the studio who excel at delivering entertaining and unique horror movies on miniscule budgets.

It gives me pleasure to say that Blumhouse have done it again. This should come as no surprise from the producers of excellent films like Get Out and Split, but The Invisible Man is one of their best films yet as, aside from gaps in logic, this is an exhilarating horror that will have you on the edge-of-your-seat!

After Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) leaves an abusive relationship with optics expert Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), she finally feels free. But when a series of coincidences build up, she must prove that she has not gone mad and that she is actually being stalked by… an invisible man.

Writer-Director Leigh Whannell (who most recently did the superb and seriously underrated Sci-Fi flick Upgrade) perfectly executes this well-known source material towards modern audiences. I thought it was a bold but brilliant idea to have our lead character suffer from domestic abuse, an issue more relevant than ever in today’s society, which makes the movie’s antagonist even more frightening. Beyond Whannell’s serviceable script, his directing here is of elite class. Not only does he shine in the film’s outrageous action sequences, he also knows how to build tension, slowly moving his camera left and right with the audience totally unaware of what’s going to happen and when.

Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale and more recently seen in Us) is seriously good as Cecilia. Despite its message of domestic abuse, very little is actually seen on screen, leaving Moss’s pure emotion and agony on display to really showcase the damage that her partner has left on her. It’s the type of performance that stays with you, long after the credits roll and it’s the best performance I’ve seen in a horror film since Toni Collette in Hereditary.

My only negatives are the overly long run time and the sheer lack of plausibility during some scenes. For the most part, Whannell has created a film which feels totally realistic, but at times it does require you to switch your brain off. It seems it’s a world without any kind of CCTV footage, as on many occasions if any police officer looked at the security cameras, then they’d probably discover Cecilia’s innocence far earlier than they actually do. Whilst never boring, the film could’ve also felt tighter and stronger being about 10 to 20 minutes shorter.

Overall, this film is a blast and features some of the best jump scares and surprises I’ve seen in the genre in quite some time. Horror fan or not, I highly recommend checking this one out!

Verdict: Well directed and staged by horror veteran Leigh Whannell, this is the horror film of 2020 to beat anchored by the brilliance of Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia.

Best Moment: Invisible Man attacks the guards
Rating: 7.5/10

Head over to 👉 https://www.odeon.co.uk/cinemas/hereford/217/ for tickets and information on the latest film releases.

FOOTBALL | Lads Club need to be more clinical in front of goal says Ellerton

Hereford Lads Club will be looking to return to winning ways this weekend with a trip to New College Swindon.

We’ve managed to catch up with Stephen Ellerton ahead of tomorrow’s match.

Q) A frustrating result on Tuesday with a number of players missing due to injury. Are any of them back and how do you go about getting back to winning ways this weekend?

A) Yes a frustrating result on Tuesday. I think their game plan was to sit behind the ball and hit us on the counter attack. We have had a few injuries of late long term and short term plus some suspensions but you have to get on with it and that’s the purpose of having a big squad who you can rely on & trust in times like these. Long term ones ( Kiea & Daws ) no unfortunately but short term injuries hopefully yes some may be back. To get back to winning ways we need to keep playing football and be a bit more creative at times. We also need to be more clinical in front of goal. There were a few tired players on Tuesday due to the quantity of games we’ve had lately and with the intensity of those games, but you have to get past these barriers in front of you and we have the quality in the squad to do so.

Q) Do you think the injuries you seem to be picking up are to do with the pitch or just simply bad luck?

A) A bit of both really getting an injury as a player is always bad luck whatever the case. As for the pitch only the players can answer that one but some have said it does take its toll at times.

Q) You’ve had some great attendances recently. Does this push you on and give you even more desire to get promotion?

A) The publicity and attendances have been brilliant for the club on the whole, both from youth level right up to senior level. Getting promotion is priority for us to move forward as a club. Having publicity and good attendance levels is a massive bonus for the club which helps us to get promoted so it goes hand in hand really. As long as we have the desire and passion to reach our goals I’m sure the media and attendees will have the same desire and passion to cover and watch the games. So yes it does give us more incentive to get promotion.

Q) One thing we noticed on Tuesday night was how well you did defensively at times. Do you believe the defence and goalkeeper get the credit they deserve?

A) We try to defend as a team, but the back 4/5 do a great job and they get a lot of credit where necessary. It’s all about clean sheets, not conceding and if we do that’s not just the defenders fault it’s the teams fault collectively.

Q) Danny Moon and the management team deserve huge credit for competing in a league that has plenty of clubs that pay players to play. What gives you the edge over your rivals?

A) Mooner for me is the best coach in the county by a mile but then I’m very biased, however there are many outside the club who think that as well. Mooner doesn’t just coach his players he improves them as players also. He can be very hard and straight to the point but it’s very effective in many ways. Rich does a lot of work in the background and works very hard at it which all helps. As for me I just mop up the little bits left over but we work as a team to get things right for the boys which is important. As for the paying players side of things, that’s part and parcel of the game these days unfortunately and I think some players loyalty to the club goes amiss though I can understand why some players do it. I wouldn’t say it gives us an edge but unless you understand the spirit and desire of the management team and players here it’s hard to explain. As I said before about Mooner’s coaching, he demands 120%  effort, passion and desire off his players, which he gets and I suppose money can’t buy that. So if that’s an edge, long may it last hopefully.

FOOTBALL | Pegasus drop from top spot after being thrashed by Malvern

Hereford Pegasus were leapfrogged by Malvern Town in the race for promotion after the visitors put in an incredible performance to win 7-1.

Harry Clark scored a hat trick for the visitors while Kyle Panniers scored Pegasus’s only goal of the game.

Man of the match Clark said:

“This is how we should play every week,” beamed Clark. “We responded brilliantly to the defeat in our last game and made a real statement with this result.

“For me personally it has been good to get back into scoring goals in the last couple of weeks and it’s always nice to grab a hat-trick.

“I’ve been through a bit of a dry patch but hopefully that is behind me now as we prepare for the run-in to the end of the season, with some big games coming up.

“The backing that we get, both home and away, is massive for us and really pushes us on to perform every week. We had another great following at Pegasus and that helped us get the result to leapfrog them and take top spot.

“It’s a position that we will be doing all we can to hold on to between now and the end of the season.”

HIGHLIGHTS | Hereford 0-2 Altrincham

Highlights from Hereford FC’s 2-0 home defeat against Altrincham.

NEWS | Herefordshire secondary school places announced today

More parents receive a place in their first choice secondary school

Parents in Herefordshire join those across England today (Monday 2 March), in finding out which secondary school their child will be attending in September 2020.

Herefordshire Council has made 1763 offers of places in schools across the county with the following parental preference success rates:

First preference: 1609 offers, which is 91.3% of the total offers

Second preference: 107 offers, which is 6% of the total offers with a cumulative success rate of 97.3%

Third preference: 16 offers, which is 0.9% of the total offers with a cumulative success rate of 98.2%

In comparison to last year more parents got their first school preference (91.3% compared to 89.8% in 2019), but slightly less parents got a place in one of their three preferences (98.2% compared to 99.6% in 2019).

The remaining 31 places offered (1.8%), were to parents whose preferences could not be met and their offer was for the nearest school to their home address with available spaces.

As in previous years, Herefordshire schools continue to be a net importer of pupils, with more pupils from neighbouring counties requesting places in the county’s schools than Herefordshire pupils requesting places in other counties.

There are currently 6 Herefordshire secondary schools with waiting lists and 5 have available spaces.

The council has continued to promote its online application service to parents again this year. This year 94.2% applied online compared to 79% last year.

NEWS | Flood recovery grants already reaching those in need

The first 143 payments of the recently announced flood recovery grants for those affected by flooding were paid this week. 

Herefordshire Council are issuing payments each evening to residents and businesses who have suffered the effects of flooding; having made 103 payments on Monday, 40 yesterday, and with a further 100 payments ready to be made this evening, we are encouraging anybody who thinks they may be eligible to contact us.

The new Community Flood Recovery Grant offers up to £500 for eligible affected properties and the Business Flood Recovery Grant offers up to £2,500 for eligible affected businesses. Council tax relief and Business rate relief is also available for properties affected by the recent floods.

Applications are now open and we encourage everyone who is entitled to make an application. Even if you claimed following the flooding incidents towards the end of 2019, you may still be eligible.

Businesses affected road by closures may also be eligible. Simply explain in the application process how the flooding has affected your business. 

Hardship grants already reaching those in need

For more information or to apply, please visit the Herefordshire Council website.

Councillor David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “The multi-agency response group, of which Herefordshire Council is a member, is working around the clock to help protect Herefordshire, its residents and community. Although many parts of the county are now recovering, several communities are still suffering from the impact of flooding, and with more rain potentially on the way later this week, it is vital that we provide all the assistance we possibly can.

“The first payments of our Flood Recovery Grants have been made and are helping to support affected residents and businesses. I would like to thank council financial officers for the hard work that has gone into ensuring those in need of this help can access it in as short a timeframe as possible.

“This continues to be a challenging situation for the entire region, but the resilience and efforts of local people and public services has been exemplary. I encourage anybody who has been affected by the flooding to apply for the financial assistance available, and would like to offer reassurance that we will get through this difficult time together.”

For the latest updates, please keep checking the Herefordshire Council website and follow @HfdsCouncil on Facebook and Twitter.

To find out more about the range of support and guidance available please visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk/floods 

NEWS | Herefordshire Council adopts ‘better ways of working’

Initiative enables employees to work flexibly and consolidates council’s buildings 

Cabinet has approved a long term savings plan to reduce Herefordshire Council’s office accommodation in Hereford. The council will also encourage staff to work from alternative locations or use market town multi-agency offices in an effort to reduce the employee carbon footprint and congestion into Hereford. These plans form part of the ‘Better Ways of Working’ principle adopted today.

View the decision details on the Herefordshire Council website.

Herefordshire Council currently operates from three core sites for back office staff; Plough Lane, Elgar House and Nelson Centre. Multi-agency offices are also available in all of the market towns.

The council plans to vacate Nelson Centre on Whitecross Road and Children and Family Services will relocate to Plough Lane. Staff will be encouraged to work remotely from multi-agency offices or other locations. Vacating the Nelson Centre will create an annual saving of £155k a year as the council will no longer pay the running cost and lease of the building. This follows the closure of Bath Street offices 18 months ago which achieved an annual saving of £130k a year. As well as the financial benefit, the consolidation of council buildings will bring a sustainability benefit of reduced energy consumption.

The Plough Lane offices were bought in 2009 as a long-term investment. As part of the decision, up to £855k has been agreed to reconfigure working space at Plough Lane, although the savings made by vacating Nelson Centre will cover this in just over four years.  The council will also continue to operate Elgar House (Holmer Road) which has a long-term lease.

Councillor Gemma Davies, Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Commissioning, Procurement and Assets, said:

“In a world of huge central government cuts where council services have been significantly reduced, the public rightly expects the council to use its limited funding wisely. The accommodation strategy for staff identifies the need to reduce the main Hereford sites down from 3 to 2. This change not only reduces the costs in rent and maintenance issues but more importantly brings council departments together, further embedding our desire to integrate children’s services and adult social care more closely.  The wider concept of ‘Better Ways of Working’ recognises the fact that people work differently to 10 years ago and will provide more opportunities for truly county-wide working utilising multi agency offices and home working. This will also reduce the amount of people travelling into Hereford for work, which helps to decrease congestion and responds to the climate emergency.”

The council will continue to support a network of offices in the market towns for staff working outside of Hereford. The decision also outlines that the council is committed to being a “paper-light” organisation which saves costs and is better for the environment. 

FOOTBALL | Westfields FC staff work into the night to get clubhouse back in working order

Westfields FC staff and volunteers have been working hard into the night all week to get their clubhouse back up to standard after recent flooding.

The clubhouse was flooded with several inches of flood water. The pitch at allpay park was under over 5ft of water in places.

Westfields are no strangers to flooding, with their ground being on a floodplain, however, the clubhouse has never seen such extensive flooding before and the clean up bill is likely to cost several thousand.

FOOTBALL | Top of the table Hereford Pegasus take on Malvern Town

Hereford Pegasus will be looking to open up a bit of breathing space at the top of the table when they take on Malvern Town at Old School Lane later today.

Mick Panniers and Dave Cadwallader’s side are currently two points clear at the top of the table but today’s visitors have two games in hand, as do a number of clubs below them.

Pegasus should find themselves refreshed and ready to go however, as they haven’t had a game since 8th February, due to postponements. Malvern on the other hand will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2-1 home loss to Hereford Lads Club last weekend.

It promises to be a cracker. 1st vs. 2nd. Old School Lane. 3pm kick off.

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