PCSO Mick Harle and Carol Cotterill, Rural Crime Coordinator for North Warwickshire with Sandra and John Webb, Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators visited a number of locations around Birchmoor providing crime prevention advice, property marking pens and free identity marking for all residents. The team had a really busy day with great support from the local community. Lots of bicycles and tools were marked and people signed to receive alerts for the area.
Carol Cotterill, Rural Crime Coordinator for North Warwickshire and Mark English, Crime Prevention Officer for North Warwickshire did a live interview with Keith Sedgebury on BBC Coventry and Warwick radio in Grendon, at The Smithy Farm Shop.
Rural crime, Rural Watch and the importance of taking crime prevention measures to protect your property was covered in two interviews in the morning.
PCSO Scott 6162, PCSO Fretter 6262, Rural Watch Coordinator Carol Cotterill and Cleaver Cycle Maintenance attended the Library on Long Street, Atherstone. Safety checks were done on the pedal cycles and FREE security marking was provided to everyone who brought their bikes along.
PCSO Pete Beale and Carol Cotterill, Rural Crime Coordinator for North Warwickshire were at Planters Garden Centre, near Wood End, meeting local residents and providing crime prevention advice.
47 people came to chat to the team during the morning with a number joining the Rural Watch scheme to receive alerts on local incidents.
Shed security and how to protect tools was one of the main topics covered.
For further advice and information please visit our website at www.warwickshireruralwatch.co.uk. There is a short information film and advice sheets on lots of topics to help you.
Over 60 NFU members met in Stratford to discuss rural crime on the 8th March. The Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Seccombe attended the meeting and reaffirmed his support and the importance he places on supporting communities on tackling rural crime.
The local Safer Neighbourhoods Policing Team Sergeant Bob Shaw, discussed policing in the local area and Lucy Lambert and Bob Church, Rural Crime Coordinators for South Warwickshire, gave an overview of their role and information on crime prevention, security equipment available and how they can help.
It was a really good night with lots of topics discussed.
November 2016 update
New coverage coming soon!
We are making great progress with the work to extend superfast coverage still further. As you will read below, we have a potential £2m being modelled as part of Contract 2, Part 2, which could start to roll out imminently. We also have up to £20m (dependent on funding bids) to go into Contract 3, which we anticipate will take us up to 98% (or more) superfast coverage. There is even positive news about broadband connectivity on new developments!
Contract 2, Part 2
We reported in our last newsletter that we were awaiting modelling for £9.5m coverage, which would form Contract 2. When the modelling was received the coverage failed to meet our value for money test, and so the majority of the funding will be moved to Contract 3, where a wider range of providers will be invited to tender (see below). Contract 2, Part 2 will now have a value of £2m, and we are awaiting modelling to that value. It is hoped that this will be received shortly so that the Invitation to Tender for Contract 3 can be issued without delay.
Contract 3 – exciting new opportunities!
As previously reported, Contract 3 will be a full OJEU procurement, meaning that we can invite a wide range of suppliers to tender, and that some will be offering different technologies from those which have been used before. This offers new opportunities to reach those communities that have previously been inaccessible to the fibre broadband network, and to extend the superfast broadband reach still further.
We have always stated that our ultimate ambition is to achieve at least 98% coverage, and that superfast would be redefined as 30Mbps (EU definition) rather than 24Mbps (previous UK definition). We anticipate achieving both of these targets with Contract 3.
Another change with Contract 3 is that we will be dividing the project area into Lots, this is because some technologies may be better suited to different geographies or topographies, and to bring forward the delivery by enabling a number of suppliers to be working at the same time. At the moment we are looking at 3 Lots, and these have been well-received in our early discussions with prospective bidders:
Lot 1: North Warwickshire, Nuneaton & Bedworth, Rugby, Stratford District east of the M40
Lot 2: Coventry (excluding the City Centre) and Solihull to the east of the M42*
Lot 3: Warwick District and Stratford District to the west of the M40
* We are not able under the current State Aid approval to go into the most urban areas, so Coventry City Centre, inside the ring road, and the urban parts of Solihull are excluded from this contract, but may be covered under different funding (which is not part of this project).
Things are progressing well with Contract 3, and we expect to issue the Invitation to Tender in the next few weeks. We should know which areas are to achieve superfast speeds by the summer of 2017.
Public consultation for Contract 3 procurement
We have now started the pre-procurement work for Contract 3, and the first formal part of this is our Public Consultation.
We can only use public funding for places which will not receive Superfast Broadband as a result of earlier rollout i.e. installed by a supplier in the normal course of their business, or through the first two stages of the CSW Broadband project. Now that we are planning the third stage of our rollout, we need to confirm which areas are eligible for our assistance – and this is where we need your help!
Please visit our Public Consultation page to see how you can respond.
Please respond to this consultation even if you have previously completed one of our surveys, as this information forms part of our formal procurement process
First community cabinet goes live
Residents at Westwood Heath were disappointed not to have been included in the original CSW Broadband rollout – so took matters into their own hands and set about funding their own cabinet.
Many months of hard work on the part of the local Champions followed, to generate local interest and to persuade people to pay towards the cost of the upgrade. BT’s Regional Partnerships Director came to their help with a co-funded project framework that gave the Champions the ability to set up a self-funding project with certainty over costs. This latter point was critical, as it transpired that the work was more complex than anticipated, but Openreach stood by the cost cap they had given the community.
Initially, the plan was to share the costs between the local community and BT/Openreach of two new fibre broadband cabinets and the fibre optic cabling back to the exchange. The necessary £26,000 was raised in two rounds of funding within the community and a contract was signed in August 2015.
However in a stroke of good fortune, just prior to going-live a year later, CSW Broadband spotted that the recent changes to the DCMS Better Broadband voucher scheme made the Westwood Heath project eligible for this funding source. BT were very quick in supporting this and driving it through to completion, much to the relief of local residents!
Local Champions Tony Leatherdale and David Warlow applauded CSW Broadband, which is lead by Warwickshire County Council, who have been supportive and provided advice and guidance during the 2-year project. Tony said: “Without CSW Broadband’s support, we would have found this a lot harder. Spotting the change to the voucher scheme, and connecting it to our project, has shown real commitment and concern for local communities”.
The project with Openreach turned out to be bumpy in places as delivery was delayed several times by technical complexity but Tony and David are the first to recognise that Openreach had the necessary technical skills to overcome the complications. Tony said; “We looked at several options for superfast broadband but the best long term solution for us was to get us back onto the BT fibre technology infrastructure as it will continue to evolve as part of the wider national network.”
Tony and David are keen to thank their fellow residents and other supporters in Westwood Heath. The whole Westwood community is very keen to thank the team at CSW Broadband, as well as the DCMS Program Manager behind the voucher scheme for his rapid support.
If you want to find out more about community-funded project, visit http://www.communityfibre.bt.com However, we would advise waiting for a little while to see if your area is to be covered under Contract 2, Part 2 or Contract 3.
Good news for future new-build developments
As regular readers will know, one of our constant bugbears has been the lack of superfast broadband connectivity on new developments. There is no legal requirement to provide superfast broadband (unlike a requirement to provide a copper telephone line), and many developers and builders have failed to recognise the importance of connectivity to residents and businesses. This should change for future developments.
We have worked closely with all of the Local Planning Authorities to get superfast broadband policies built into their Local Plans. This should now be part of the planning approvals as we move forward. In addition, many of the larger infrastructure providers are now offering packages to developers to ensure that they get their networks onto new developments.
Our advice remains, however, to check before moving home whether superfast broadband is available (or will be in the near future), and if possible to get this in writing. Unfortunately, there are still a high number of homes being built with no connectivity – and, especially in areas where the roads have not yet been adopted, it is not possible to install the traditional fibre cabinets and other infrastructure. This may, however, be different if alternative technologies come into play in Contract 3. We will advise on this as things progress.
Copy for your own website or newsletter
We regularly produce updates of around 350 words that can be used on your own website or in newsletters. There are a selection of articles available for download and you can select the most appropriate depending on where your particular area is in the rollout pipeline. Copy can be found at: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/about-the-project/copy-to-use-on-your-own-website-newsletters-or-flyers/
Questions and Answers
Here are some of the Q&A’s raised recently. Our website has a full set of Q&As, which are regularly updated.
How will people find out when their area is due to get fibre broadband?
As information becomes available it will be published on the CSW Broadband website. We have published a Rolling 12-Month Plan and we provide quarterly updates to this and to the map.
The best thing is to register for more information through our website. We will send you our e-newsletter, which comes out once a month and contains project updates, information about local meetings and events, broadband news, FAQs, and more. By providing us with your landline number and address we can also send specific information as we learn more about what is happening in your area.
My phone line has been connected to a cabinet that is not upgraded. How can I get it moved to a fibre-enabled cabinet?
It is an operational matter for BT as to which cabinet they connect your landline to. There is a legal obligation to provide a copper telephone connection, but not for a fibre broadband connection. Therefore you would technically be considered by our project to be in a white area – i.e. awaiting additional funding.
As more money becomes available we will move into Contract 2, Part 2 (and Contract 3), and additional coverage will be mapped. We are doing all that we can to bring in additional funding to take the network further, as it is in everyone’s interests that we gain maximum efficiencies by carrying out the installations in a single programme. We have also offered the Boroughs and Districts the opportunity to invest to extend the superfast broadband coverage within their areas
What are all-in-one cabinets?
An all-in-one cabinet is a combined copper and fibre cabinet. The advantage is that rather than installing two separate cabinets only one is required. The downside is that these cabinets cannot support as many connections as the more usual two-cabinet solution so they are not suitable for use in all locations.
More frequently asked broadband questions can be found on our website at:http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/faq
Working closely with colleagues in neighbouring police forces is crucial, especially in rural areas. As well as regular meetings and sharing of information, our rural teams show the communities we serve, the strong links we have forged.
This weekend the rural crime team from North Warwickshire linked in with our colleagues in neighbouring Leicestershire Police at a large event for local farmers. The opportunity to share information and support people who live in both counties and for them to see the relationships both police forces have was very well received, the team were kept busy all day offering advice and support.
Safer Neighbourhood Team officers from Atherstone, with Carol Cotterill, Rural Crime Coordinator for North Warwickshire were at the annual ploughing match for the area promoting the Warwickshire Rural Watch scheme. As well as people becoming members and receiving gate signs, they had leaflets with top tips on keeping their property safe and were shown equipment to help prevent crime.
PC Scot Ramsall and PCSO Jane Owen from SNT West beat with Carol Cotterill, Rural Crime Coordinator for North Warwickshire visited Norman Edwards Estate at Nether Whitacre and met up with Luke Pearson, who is the NHW Coordinator for the estate and a Cadet with Warwickshire Police.
The team were busy all evening, chatting with residents, giving out crime prevention information and advice, plus property marking kits to assist householders.
Warwickshire Libraries thank their volunteers at celebration event
On the 8th of September, Warwickshire County Council library service celebrated the successes of its library volunteers in an event held at Kenilworth Library.
31 people gathered from around the county, to get together, eat and chat and be thanked for the valuable contributions that they make to the smooth running of Warwickshire’s libraries. Warwickshire County Council would like to extend this thanks and appreciation to all of its volunteers.
During the last financial year, 210 volunteers gave a total of 8,699 hours. They helped support over 4,000 events which attracted close to 70,000 people. Kenilworth Community Services issued in excess of 111,000 items to housebound readers, mobile library users and nursing homes in almost 23,000 visits. All of these figures would be significantly reduced were it not for the volunteer-led and volunteer–assisted events taking place in our libraries.
Just some of the ways our volunteers support the library service include:
- Family history support
- Game groups
- ICT assistance
- Reaching out to housebound readers
- Silver surfer volunteers
- Hospitality volunteers
- Writing groups
- Reading groups
- Creative/knitting groups
- Children’s and young person’s volunteers
- Greeting customers making them feel more welcome and comfortable.
Volunteers enhance Warwickshire services by adding value, engaging with the community, and being advocates for local government. Volunteers are essential for some services such as the delivery of books to those that are housebound and Warwickshire Libraries could not exist without them. Celebration events such as these are a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to everyone who has given their time to make a difference.
Cllr Kam Kaur, Portfolio Holder for Customers, said:
“It’s very important for us to celebrate the fantastic work of the people who volunteer to help keep Warwickshire’s Libraries Running.”
“They should feel proud of their hard work – they keep libraries across Warwickshire open.”
Cllr. Matt Western, Chair of Resources and Fire and Rescue Committee, said:
“Our volunteers are integral to the running of our libraries ensuing that each are able to continue offering an interesting and engaging agenda of events throughout the year. Well done to all.”
Find out more about Warwickshire Libraries on the Warwickshire Website: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/libraries
There is more information about Volunteering in Warwickshire on the Warwickshire Website: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/volunteering