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NEWS | Nominations open for the 2020 David Price Award

If you know a Herefordshire carer who has helped to change someone’s life – nominate them for a David Price Award

Herefordshire’s Making it Real Board is inviting people to nominate carers from their local community for a 2020 David Price Award.

The annual David Price Award recognises an individual of any age who has, in an unpaid capacity, helped change the life of an adult or adults in the county.

Candidates may be a friend, a neighbour, support worker, member of a group or organisation, family member, colleague or volunteer.

The award is in memory of Herefordshire resident, David Price, who sadly passed away in May 2016. The award celebrates David’s work as a pioneer of disability involvement across the local community.

If you know a Herefordshire carer who has helped to change someone’s life – nominate them for a David Price Award

In launching this year’s competition, Councillor Pauline Crockett, Herefordshire Council, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Wellbeing, said: “The David Price Award is our way of showing appreciation to a carer who has made a huge difference to someone’s life or the lives of a group of people in Herefordshire.”

Winner of the 2019 David Price Award, Graham Downing, added: “It was a privilege to receive the award, especially when I was only doing my job. I love my job and it’s an honour to be able to help people in Herefordshire.”

For more information about the award and to make your nomination visit: www.herefordshire.gov.uk/DavidPriceAward Nominations can be made by completing a form online, or the form can be downloaded and returned to: Making it Real Board, c/o Herefordshire Council, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE. Alternatively, completed forms can be emailed to makingitreal@herefordshire.gov.uk

NEWS | Award-winning brewery completes expansion project

An award-winning, family-owned, brewery which was formed by a former Guinness brewer almost 35 years ago, has completed a major expansion project and created an additional five jobs following receipt of a £100k Marches Building Investment Grant, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Wye Valley Brewery has extended an existing building at its nine-acre site in Stoke Lacy to provide much-needed additional temperature-controlled storage space, as well as multi-level loading bays to allow the business to maximise the distribution of its products.

Vernon Amor, Managing Director, explains the firm’s growth since its humble beginnings in the outbuildings of a small rural pub:

“We’ve been producing cask, keg and bottle beers using quality, locally-sourced, ingredients since 1985 and now deliver more than 12 million pints a year to over 1,200 pubs, restaurants and bars throughout the West Midlands and South Wales.

“Having relocated to the former Symonds Cider site in 2001, a decade of investment and expansion followed. As the business continued to grow, a bottling line was included and a new brewhouse in 2013 allowed us to further increase capacity. However, it was clear that with double the amount of beer being produced, the brewery would need to create the capacity to both store and deliver more product.”

The grant received by Wye Valley Brewery has allowed the business to consolidate cask washing and filling operations, along with storage, into one building which has improved efficiency and safety. Vernon Amor continues:

“Our new building improves our efficiency and helps towards our ‘green’ goals. For the first time, our cask-washing, filling, storing and loading bays are under one roof and additional roof space has enabled us to increase our solar PV installations.”

Caroline Cattle, Grant Manager, adds:

“Wye Valley Brewery is a perfect example of the sort of business that benefits from the Marches Building Investment Grant. Following sustained growth, the business could identify further expansion and job creation opportunities that would only be possible via investment in physical expansion.”

Cllr Trish Marsh, Cabinet Member for Environment, Economy and Skills, concludes: “The council is delighted to have been able to allocate Marches Building Investment Grant funding to allow Wye Valley Brewery to continue to flourish.

“It is one of our priorities to support the growth of our local economy and it is wonderful to see a local business continue to expand, attract investment, create jobs, and provide the county with a range of delicious beverages!”

The £2.5m Marches Building Investment Grant is open to businesses across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. It is open to all B2B businesses and awards grants of up to 45% of the total project costs (to a maximum £100,000) which are intended to cover conversion and alteration costs. They cannot be used towards purchasing property, equipment, or ‘excessive’ landscaping costs. Nor can they be made retrospectively.

Applicants to the Marches Building Investment Grant can be either owner-occupiers or tenants although for the latter, they must have a fixed term lease with at least six years unexpired. Residential property is exempt as are agricultural, horticultural, retail and hospitality buildings.

Herefordshire Council is the accountable body for the scheme. Full details are available from Caroline Cattle and Alison Rogers on mbig@herefordshire.gov.uk or by calling the Marches Growth Hub team on 0345 6000 727.

NEWS | New faces strengthen Marches LEP Board

Two leading businesswomen have joined the board of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership after a comprehensive recruitment process.

Ruth Shepherd and Sara Williams were officially appointed to the LEP’s leadership team at its latest board meeting this week.

Ruth is the founding director of Results Communications Ltd, a consultation and communications consultancy based in Whitchurch, whilst Sara is marketing manager for Northern Europe at Telford-based global digital manufacturer Protolabs.

Marches LEP chairman Graham Wynn said he was delighted to welcome both women to the team.

“The skills and attributes which Ruth and Sara bring will add real value to our board and help us enormously as we continue to drive economic growth across the region.

“It is absolutely vital that our board reflects the diversity and range of different experiences across the Marches region. The appointment of two such hugely-successful businesswomen will help us do that.”

Communications consultant Ruth has more than 20 years’ experience of communicating, engaging and consulting with communities, working with construction, development and planning clients across the country.

She previously worked for one of the North East’s largest housing associations, a top-track 250 London-based construction company, and since 2008 has worked with public and private sector clients bringing forward development sites. She is a Whitchurch town councillor, Vice Chair of Shropshire Constructing Excellence, an Enterprise Advisor through the Careers and Enterprise Company/Shropshire Council and a GoConstruct Construction Ambassador with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Sara brings a wealth of experience gained in both the private and non-profit sectors. She was influential in the establishment of Enginuity at the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust and led marketing projects at office supplies giant Lyreco before joining Protolabs.

Sara is a certified STEM ambassador, helping inspire a new generation of youngsters in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths to ensure the region has the skills necessary to meet the challenges of the future.

The pair are also joined on the board by new members David Hitchiner and Paul Bennett.

Councillor Hitchiner joins in his role as new leader of Herefordshire Council, following the elections in May. He is a qualified solicitor and chartered secretary who has worked for Cadbury Schweppes and Bulmers in Hereford as well as spending time working in Texas in the USA.

He was a governor of Wrekin College before going to Texas, and Hereford Cathedral School since his return. He is now chair of Caplor Horizons which is a charity aimed at inspiring and equipping leaders for a sustainable future.

Mr Bennett takes up his post as part of his role as chairman of Shropshire Business Board. The Shropshire-born solicitor is an expert in professional practices and advises clients across the UK from his base in the county.

He often deals with high profile cases on health and legal sector issues and is regularly quoted in the legal press. He has also chaired The Professionals Partnership, a sector group for business and professional services, covering Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin since its launch in 2017.

FOOTBALL | HUST express disappointment as Mick Merrick steps down

From Hereford United Supporters Trust website:

HUST is disappointed that Mick Merrick has taken the decision to relinquish his position as a HUST Nominated Director on the HFC board.

We wish Mick all the very best and thank him for representing HUST over the last 15 months.  

The Trust is concerned about the turnover of talented and capable Board members since the formation of the Club and will look to work with the Club to understand this for mutual benefit. 

Moving forward, HUST board will meet to discuss the next steps to replace the 3rd HND on the HFC Board.

FOOTBALL | Buoyant Bulls travel to Blyth

Hereford picked up all three points from their 1-0 win over AFC Telford United at Edgar Street on Tuesday, but now face the long trek to take on Blyth at the weekend.

The Bulls won the corresponding match at Croft Park last season and will no doubt be trying to emulate that success again on Saturday.

Simon Wright looks ahead to the match in the North-East.

Spartan at the Spartans

Back in January 2019, Hereford FC unexpectedly won 3-2 at Croft Park. Spartans were downcast that their 14-match unbeaten run was ended while us visitors were thrilled. And rather shocked.

Seven months later, the clubs meet again in Blyth. Same clubs but different personnel. While Hereford have re-stocked with hardened ex-pros, the home side were forced down a different route.

The Blyth Chairman, retired engineer Tony Platten, and his Board members, decided the club had exceeded its budget and reined in expenditure heavily. In a dormitory town of 37,000, with Newcastle just a bus ride away, crowds of 800 were a natural limit, despite their pleas for more support. Platten believes the Board has made a brave, sensible move rather than the easy option of keep spending and worry about the overdraft later. Certainly, Spartans last published accounts showed an alarming deficit of £300,000, which is more than a season’s income. Patten hasn’t forgotten that his money previously bailed out his club last time, Understandably, he would be reluctant to flash the cash again.

Manager Alan Armstrong was unimpressed. The Spartans qualified for their first ever Step 2 Play-Offs in April. This despite no overnight stays, no club tracksuits and only a 5 a side pitch to train on, according to the manager. Armstrong resigned and took the vacant Darlington job. And then returned for 6 players. Sensing blood, other bigger local clubs started a feeding frenzy. In the end, York City gained two Spartans, happy to turn full time. Newly promoted Morpeth grabbed a Blyth regular scorer while even Consett added a Spartan to their ranks.   Only 5 Spartans remain from last season, who are believed to have all taken a pay cut.

Striker Robbie Dale is among the few seniors that remain. Robbiedineo has played for 15 seasons for the Green Army. Golden Boot, Player of the Season you name it, he’s won it. He’s even been voted #2 on the all-time list of Northern Premier League players behind a certain Jamie Vardy. Dale works in his mothers’ pub and doesn’t enjoy being recognised. That is rather unfortunate in a small town. He’s Club Captain and part of Spartans last 5 FA Cup runs.

Blyth have an influx of assorted new young players by the new manager. The not terribly well-known Newcastle Benfield FC were heavily raided. They are a Step 6 club.

Now in charge is Lee Clark, an influential player in his day, and initially sounded like a successful manager. For his first match in charge of League One Huddersfield, his side beat Hereford United 2-0 in December 2008.

“Oh, wow Lee Clark” is a common reaction. Perhaps that is no longer the case. Clark didn’t last a year at any of his previous 3 clubs. Since being sacked at Bury after just 33 games in charge, Lee Clark has been out of work for nearly two years.  During a newspaper interview in mid-2018 after 9 months out of work, Clark admitted “the longer you stay out of football, the harder it becomes.”
He has zero experience of playing or managing in the Non-League game. I suspect this is a desperation move on the part of both club and manager. Clark’s assistant is Paul Stephenson who has ten years coaching experience in the Football League but again no knowledge of the unique challenges of Non-League.

And talking of challenges, our gallant few supporters will be re-living Hereford’s longest ever competitive away match. There is a metaphorical badge of honour for making this trip, a feeling of “I was there..” Would be nice if our club could recognise the fanatics in some way who travelled to both Norfolk and Northumberland on consecutive weekends, near enough one thousand miles travelling.

Just a few pointers about the home of the Spartans for any first timers:

Croft Park has one stand with 500 seats which covers approximately 40% the length of the pitch with uncovered standing areas to either side. There is a supplement of £2 payable to sit (in addition to £12 adults. £7 seniors at the turnstile). The other three sides are covered terraces, with 8 steps on each. For obvious reasons, segregation is rarely enforced. Car parking is side streets only and lots of it.

The club bar is outside the ground and feels like a dark working mens` club. The most interesting feature of the clubhouse is the Spartan Helmet on the bar. Refreshment is limited to Carling, Fosters & John Smiths plus some bottled beers. A selection of rolls and pies are available from the clubhouse.

A catering van is situated within the ground, near the main stand and the chip shop by the away turnstiles comes recommended. There is a pub called the Masons Arms approximately 300 yards along Plessey Road. Widely reported as being welcoming but no real ale is served here. The Wallaw is the local Wetherspoons based in Union Street. This is the cultural centre of the town and the venue for a Radio Hereford live broadcast in January.

Elsewhere in the town, there is a Marina with new developments and sculptures. There is also a well-preserved World War Two Gun emplacement plus a beach with copious dunes, where allegedly dogging is a popular pastime. Let’s not pretend this is an ideal place for a tourist. Blyth is mainly a dormitory town and the name of the Spartans.

Overnight accommodation is limited in the town. There just aren’t many choices. Booking rooms in the nearby seaside town of Whitley Bay or in the City of Newcastle may tempt.

The Blyth twitter feed claims that the Spartans are “the most famous non-league football side in the world.” Now that is an ambitious claim. I guess we’ll have to grant them that accolade. No Hereford team can claim to have won the Northumberland Aged Miners Homes Cup Winners five times. Not to mention securing the Tynemouth Infirmary Cup. But seriously… I’ve always considered Blyth Spartans to be a proud old club, with passionate support. I can just about recall the year Blyth Spartans reached the FA Cup Fifth Round in 1978 when big clubs took the competition very seriously. Another claim to fame is that the Northumberland club have only ever been relegated once. I wonder whether this season could be their second? Certainly losing at home to both York City and Gloucester City plus an away defeat  to Alfreton doesn’t look good. On that happy note…

Getting There:

By Road: Oh dear 563 miles return. (NE24 3JE.) Exit A19 onto A189 (Spine Road) at the Annitsford Roundabout. After two miles exit onto the A1061 (signed A192 Seaton Delaval, Cramlington and Blyth Beach.) Follow A1061 for 3 miles and exit left onto the A193. Turn right at the second roundabout onto Plessey Road. Ground on left up a side street.

By Train: Can’t be done from the Shire in one day. Tis a mere 4 hours from London to Newcastle and then another hour by bus to Blyth.

By Minibus: Check with Reg on Hereford Awaydays Facebook page

FEATURED | Local Girl Stars in new BBC reality series Heartbreak Holiday

Erin White aged 18 from Shobdon is starring in a new 7-part BBC reality series – HEARTBREAK HOLIDAY which starts on Tuesday 20th August on BBC1 at 10:35pm and will also be available on iPlayer.

The series follows 10 young people from diverse backgrounds as they enjoy the holiday of a lifetime island hopping in Greece. Over the 5 weeks of filming on location Erin stayed in luxury villas with the cast. The film crew followed Erin and the rest of the group as they enjoyed jet skiing, exploring the local culture, exclusive yacht parties, a festival, clubbing, beach parties, spa days, restaurants and much more.

Erin is a past Miss Jr Teen Great Britain 2016 and has previously worked with some prestigious fashion photographers and has appeared on several magazine covers. Erin says “This is the most amazing experience and I was so lucky to have this opportunity. I am very excited for the future The experience taught me a lot about myself and I have really matured as a person throughout the whole journey. Another amazing thing to have come out of this show has been my unconditional offer of a place at University to study a degree BA (Hons) Television Production based on my filming experiences and potential.

As I have always been more vocational than academic I was always given the impression by my teachers that I would never go to university. Also that I wouldn’t go far in life because I wasn’t traditionally ‘booksmart’ at school and I’m very pleased that I have now proved them all wrong. Be prepared for sun, sand, drama, reality checks and secrets to be revealed as temperatures rise on Heartbreak Holiday.

NEWS | Shock as police officer is killed in Berkshire

John Campion – West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner, tweeted a message this morning in response to an incident that has seen a police officer killed whilst responding to reports of a burglary in Berkshire.

West Mercia PCC@WestMerciaPCC·2h Devastating news this morning about the death of PC Andrew Harper. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues in @ThamesVP @TVPFED @TV_PCC and the wider policing family at this awful time.

Ten people have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a police officer was killed while responding to a reported burglary in Berkshire.

PC Andrew Harper, from the Roads Policing Proactive Unit based at Abingdon Police Station, was on duty when he died.

Thames Valley Police said a 13-year-old boy was among those being held in custody at different police stations across the region.

WHAT’S ON? | Learn how to stay safe online

Learn how to stay safe online. Free training from Fastershire and Herefordshire Libraries to help beginners learn how to use the internet safely.

Hereford Library on Mon 19th August and Kington Library on Tuesday 20th August. For more info, visit, socsi.in/Peexo

WEATHER | Severe Weather Warning issued for heavy rain

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for western parts of Herefordshire. Heavy rain and torrential downpours are expected to affect the area throughout Friday.

Rain is expected to become widespread and heavy at times during Friday. Heavy rain may also coincide with peak travel times during the afternoon and early evening leading to difficult driving conditions on major routes. The heaviest rain is most likely over high ground, where some places may see 60-80 mm. Strong winds are also expected with 30-40 mph gusts likely around exposed coasts and hills.

NEWS | Closure order granted to prevent ASB in Hereford

Closure order granted to prevent ASB in Hereford

On Wednesday 14 August, a Closure Order was granted at Hereford Magistrates Court under the Disorder and Nuisance criteria, of the Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2014. The application was submitted by the new Problem Solving Hub within West Mercia Police, with support from West Mercia Housing and local residents.

The application related to a house in the College Estate in Hereford and was a result of the vulnerable occupant being involved in issues of disorder and Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB).

The Closure Order was served to protect the tenant from continuing to be the victim of exploitation as well as provide neighbours with respite from continued ASB.

The order prevents any person from entering the premises except the tenant and extended family, housing officers, medical/ care professionals and emergency services for three months until 14 November 2019. It also gives Police officers the power to arrest any person in breach of the order.

Sergeant Duncan Reynolds said: “The Problem Solving Hub in West Mercia Police addressed the ASB issues surrounding the house in the College Estate by placing a Closure Order on the premises.

“We worked with the regulatory bodies to modify the order so that the house is closed to the general public but allows access to the owner and extended family as well as professionals that may need access.

“The tenant has been supportive of the order and we are hopeful that this will safeguard them from potential criminality and exploitation.

“Alongside this we have also worked with Home Office Immigration Enforcement to deport three individuals over the course of the last two years who have been involved in disorder and ASB at the address.”

He continued: “By utilising a problem solving approach, and working with partners we hope to have made the area a safer and better place to live.”

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