Category Archives: Community

Surrey’s first Omicron case

The UK Health Security agency is leading the investigation into one confirmed case of the Omicron variant in Spelthorne. Surrey County Council and the Borough Council are working closely with UKHSA to ensure that all contact tracing and appropriate Public Health actions, such as increased testing, take place.

Ruth Hutchinson, Surrey’s Director of Public Health said,
“I want to reassure everyone in Surrey that we are working with UKHSA to minimise the spread of the Omicron variant. Residents do not need to take any further action, other than to continue to be vigilant and follow the public health guidance and new Government measures.
“We currently have some of the highest Covid infection rates in the country in our Districts and Boroughs, but everyone can help slow the spread of the virus by taking some simple steps.

“It is never too late to get vaccinated. It is one of the single most effective things we can all do to stop the spread of Covid. And it is important people get the booster as soon as they are eligible to have the best protection.
“We have proof that the vaccine works. Between January and September this year, the risk of dying from Covid was 32 times greater in people who were unvaccinated.

“We all need to keep up the prevention measures too. Please follow Government rules on mandatory face masks in shops and on public transport. Testing, hand hygiene and meeting outdoors, or in well ventilated spaces are all ways you can keep yourself and others safe.
“If you have symptoms, no matter how mild, isolate and book a PCR test immediately.

“Any close contacts of a confirmed case of Omicron must also isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccine status or age.
There are so many things we can do to minimise the spread, if we all pull together we can protect ourselves and those around us.”

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Initiative to promote community-led green energy projects

Surrey County Council has partnered with Community Energy South to support community-led renewable energy projects in Surrey.

Community energy projects aim to provide low-carbon heat and power to communities, organised and managed by local people. They can be a great way to tackle the climate emergency as a community, provide green energy and reduce bills for residents.

A community energy project could be anything from installing solar panels on a local school to creating a wind farm.

Marisa Heath, Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said, “28% of the emissions in Surrey are from the energy used to heat and light our homes. By increasing the amount of green energy produced, we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint as a county. Community energy projects are a fantastic way of empowering communities to generate their own green energy and we’re delighted to be able to support this in Surrey.”

The programme will see Community Energy South supporting people in Surrey to generate, own and manage renewable energy installations. The initiative will provide resources, business development, funding and networking opportunities to kick start new community-led organisations.

To start with, Community Energy South would like to hear from residents who are already involved in community energy projects in Surrey or would like to set one up.

Ollie Pendered, Chief Executive of Community Energy South said, “We are thrilled to be working with Surrey County Council to support the growth of community energy across the county. We are excited to discover what projects are already underway and hear about new ideas that are out there. Through our partnership we will find ways to support new projects and groups going forward so that community energy can thrive in Surrey.”

Community Energy South (CES) is a not-for-profit company set up in 2013 to support the network of community energy groups in the South East of England. One of the leading energy agencies supporting the road to zero carbon in the south east, CES acts as a voice for the community energy sector developing new routes to market and capacity building.

You can get involved here:

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Crawley FC shirts for children this Christmas

More than a thousand young children will receive an unexpected present in the run-up to Christmas – their very own Crawley Town FC shirt.

Across December, 1,200 shirts will be distributed to Year one children at 19 primary schools across the Crawley borough as part of the Shirts 4 Schools initiative, led by principal sponsor The People’s Pension, Crawley Town FC, and the club’s Community Foundation. It is the fourth year of the scheme and since it began, more than 4,000 of the Red Devils’ distinctive red tops have been given to local four and five-year-old children, providing many of them with their first encounter with the League Two club.

Again, this year, together with the shirt, The People’s Pension is giving every child an activity pack, which includes a design a shirt competition. The overall winner will have their design screen printed onto a Crawley Town FC shirt which will be presented to them on the pitch by players at a game in the New Year, while their school will receive a framed copy of the winning design. Runners-up will receive vouchers to spend in the club shop, along with match tickets.

Image: Crawley Town FC

Stella Beale, Group Director of Marketing at B&CE, provider of The People’s Pension, said:
“We’re delighted to be able to deliver the Shirts 4 Schools initiative again, as it’s been a resounding success over the past four years. Like Crawley Town FC, we are rooted deep within our community and this is a perfect opportunity for us to give something back at the same time as bringing the town and the club even closer together.”

Alex Watts, Revenue Manager at Crawley Town Football Club, said:
“As a club, we’re extremely pleased to be working with our principal sponsor The People’s Pension on the Shirts 4 Schools initiative again. Shirts 4 Schools would not be possible without The People’s Pension and we thank them for their continued support. This initiative is crucial in ensuring young people engage with the club to generate lifelong fans and make football more accessible for families across Crawley.”

On Thursday 2nd December, players, club representatives, Reggie the Red, and The People’s Pension team, will visit the Bewbush Academy to present children with their shirts.

If you have news for Sussex and Surrey, contact us on [email protected]

New Assistant Chief Fire Officer appointed

Image-West Sussex County Council

Peter Rickard has been appointed Assistant Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex Fire and Rescue service.

He joins the service from London Fire Brigade (LFB) where he is currently serving as Deputy Assistant Commissioner and Head of Operational Risk.

His appointment follows the departure of Jon Lacey.

Speaking of his appointment, Peter said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as the new Assistant Chief Fire Officer at West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and am very much looking forward to starting work with the service in the coming weeks. I am incredibly grateful to Jon Lacey for the incredible legacy that he leaves behind, and am fully prepared to continue this good work to best serve the residents of our local communities.”

Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire & Rescue Service, Duncan Crow, said: “Peter brings with him a wealth of experience from his time serving the residents of London which puts him in good stead for taking on this fantastic leadership role within our fire and rescue service. I look forward to welcoming him to West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.”

Chief Fire Officer Sabrina Cohen-Hatton said: “I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Peter as he prepares to leave London Fire Brigade, his home of the last 20 years, and embark on a new chapter of his life here with us in West Sussex.

“I am confident he’ll become an incredible asset to our leadership team and help develop the service further to continue to best serve its communities.”


Don’t drink and drug drive this festive season

Surrey and Sussex Police have launched their yearly crackdown against drink and drug drivers.

From yesterday to 1 January, the Police will have resources dedicated to preventing and detecting incidents of drink and drug-driving.

The consequences of drink or drug-driving could include:

  • Killing or seriously injuring yourself or someone else;
  • A minimum 12-month ban;
  • An unlimited fine;
  • A possible prison sentence;
  • A criminal record, which could affect your current and future employment;
  • An increase in your car insurance costs;
  • Trouble travelling to countries such as the USA.

 In keeping with previous campaigns, anyone arrested during this period and convicted will be identified on the force’s website and social media channels.