Chances are, if you’re not a volunteer yourself then it won’t take you long to think of someone who is.
From school governors, youth sports coaches and youngsters helping to run youth clubs to residents cutting back footpaths, keeping an eye on our older residents and helping to make our towns and villages safer and even better places to live, volunteers play a huge part in our community in an incredible array of different roles.
Now, we are asking for help to give them some recognition.
Nominations are open for the fourth annual Central Bedfordshire Cheering Volunteering awards.
The awards and celebration evening will take place at the Grove Theatre, in Dunstable, on Tuesday, 5 June 2018.
And until the beginning of April, we are taking nominations in six different categories:
The easiest way to make a nomination is via the Cheering Volunteering pages on our website at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/council/stronger-communities/awards-event.aspx
Councillor Carole Hegley, Executive Member for Adults, Social Care and Housing Operations and Customer Services, said: “We said that last year’s Cheering Volunteering event was the best ever – and we’d now like to surpass that. But we can only do that with our residents’ help, by asking them to put forward volunteers in the six different awards categories.
“Volunteers really are the lifeblood of our community, doing what they do for no other reward than the pleasure of helping others and making a difference. So, what better way to say thank you than to put them forward for a Cheering Volunteering award? The application process is quick and easy.
“Please share this message with friends, family and colleagues as we love to hear the inspiring stories about the contribution our volunteers are giving.”
Graham Mountford was among the many emergency response volunteers recognised at last year’s Cheering Volunteering awards when BLEVEC (Bedfordshire & Luton Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee) won Volunteer Group of the Year.
Graham, who is a pilot, said: “It’s great that the council took the step of organising the awards to celebrate volunteers, and I’d encourage people to get their nominations in for this year’s awards.
“It was great to be recognised. You don’t volunteer for the recognition and to be patted on the back; it funny because it shouldn’t feel important, but it really does make a big difference.
“The awards evening was really good. It was great to see so many volunteers from so many different organisations and all walks of life. You don’t realise until you see it that there is so much going on and so many people out there volunteering.”
Free tickets to the event are available from the Grove Theatre’s website (https://www.grovetheatre.co.uk/events/cheering-volunteering-2018/) or by calling the box office on 01582 602080.
And we are also taking applications to the Inspiring Volunteering grant scheme.
There’s a total funding pot of £5,000 available for projects which encourage volunteering or kick-start new activities involving volunteers.
The deadline for applications is the beginning of April, via the Cheering Volunteering pages on the council’s website (www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/council/stronger-communities/awards-event.aspx).
Keep an eye on our letstalkcentral social media channels where we will have regular updates about the event, including more details of the awards evening.
Many thanks to Biffa, Pro Logis, Aragon, Jeakins Weir, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue and Central Bedfordshire College who are sponsoring Cheering Volunteering 2018.
Council consults on Local Plan
Central Bedfordshire Council is now consulting residents on their Local Plan, which will deliver up to 20,000 new homes and 24,000 new jobs over the next 20 years.
This growth will be delivered alongside supporting roads, transport networks, schools and services, such as health, retail, leisure and community facilities, and new country parks.
Last summer, the Council’s draft Local Plan had put forward a flexible range of up to 30,000 new homes over seven growth locations with new jobs, services and facilities.
The Local Plan is now proposing a smaller number of homes. The growth will mainly be in four locations, with a series of up to four new villages in the Marston Vale and one east of Biggleswade, plus sustainable extensions to the north of Luton and east of Arlesey. There will also be some growth in existing towns and villages, but only where services can support it.
To keep the identity of existing town and villages and the rural character of the area, the Council has also designated 19 areas as Important Countryside Gaps, which will restrict development in these areas.
New homes will still include a range of different ones to rent and buy for all people, with a mixture of sizes, while a commitment remains to ensure that 30 per cent will be provided as lower cost options, such as affordable rent and shared ownership.
Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “This is now the Local Plan that we will take forward, which will guide the development of fewer homes than originally proposed, though we do recognise that up to 20,000 homes over the next 20 years is still significant.
“However, by consulting residents now and submitting our plan before the end of March, we will retain control over where development will be located and how it is delivered rather than succumbing to the pitfalls of speculative development.
“Not all the homes will be built in one go, so the growth will be gradual. And it will be delivered with the supporting roads, transport networks, schools, shops, more parks and open spaces, community, leisure and health facilities that, during our previous consultations and engagement events, thousands of people told us were needed.
“We have listened to that feedback and now have a Local Plan that will deliver the homes and jobs our residents need, where they are needed, while creating communities where people want to live.”
The public consultation is now open for feedback until 22 February (5pm). More detail about the individual growth locations and all supporting documents are available at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/localplan.
During the consultation, the Council will be holding drop-in sessions where members of the public can speak to Council officers and ask questions. These will take place from 3pm-7:30pm on:
Feedback can be submitted online or in writing to: Local Plan, Central Bedfordshire Council, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, SG17 5TQ.
The Council will collate and analyse all comments submitted during the consultation and consider what changes it would like to recommend to an independent Planning Inspector, who will hold a public examination of the Plan.
Residents can sign up for email updates about the Local Plan and Community Planning at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/localplanupdates
Last updated about 2 months ago