Cross in Hand, Horam, Blackboys & Five Ashes

WEALDEN ALERTS: There is more to learn in 2019. There are opportunities to improve your IT and computer skills across Wealden in the New Year. And to pursue a wide range of other activities with Street Learning 2019. These include cookery, arts and crafts, wellbeing and basic maths and English. IT for You is a weekly half-day course to help improve computer skills. It will be taking place at Hailsham, Heathfield, Uckfield, Eastbourne and Crowborough from January to March. The courses take place in the town libraries. Cookery courses include Vegetarian Cooking, Cooking with Lentils at Hailsham and Homemade Healthy Suppers at Uckfield. Other activities include Spring Planting, Working with Wood and Arts and Crafts for Wellbeing at Hailsham; and Fun with Fabric at Uckfield. In Eastbourne there are opportunities to improve your cake decorating skills with Spring Sugarcraft and to brighten up your home with Spring Flower Arranging. East Sussex College, based at Eastbourne, is running free Street Learning courses on Administration, Customer Service, Self-confidence, Mindfulness, and Maths 4 Parents. Training Now is also offering free courses in Basic Maths and Basic English at Eastbourne. All the courses are free, open to any one aged 19 or over and provide a great opportunity to improve your job-seeking skills. You can also make use of Computer Buddies who are based at Wadhurst, Hailsham, Heathfield and Uckfield Libraries at certain times during the week. These volunteers can help you out if you get stuck on your computer or are trying to do something you don’t understand on the internet. Don’t get frustrated. Help is at hand. Computer Buddies are available at: Wadhurst Library every Wednesday 10.30am till noon; Uckfield Library every Tuesday 10.30am till noon; Heathfield Library every Monday 11am till 1pm; every Tuesday 10am till 1pm; Hailsham Library every Thursday 10am till noon; every Saturday 10am till noon. To find out more, download the Spring 2019 Street Learning prospectus or email streetlearning@wealden.gov.uk You can also learn more about opportunities for Street Learning by telephoning East Sussex County Libraries on: 0345 6080196, calling in at your local library, or telephoning East Sussex College: 030 30038212.

HEATHFIELD ABOUT TOWN: Heathfield Surgery. If you are a patient of Heathfield and the Firs Surgery you may have a view on the things that matter in your local health service. The surgery’s Patient Participation Group is a selection of patients and practice staff who meet at regular intervals to decide ways to make a positive contribution to the services and facilities offered by the practice.

The purpose of the Patient Participation Group. To provide a means for patients to make positive suggestions about the practice and their own healthcare. To encourage health education activities within the practice. To develop self-help projects to meet the needs of fellow patients. To help surgery staff man flu clinics, health promotion displays, etc. To act as a representative group that can be called upon to influence the local provision of Health and Social Care in our area.

Since it was founded in 2010 Heathfield Patient Participation Group Committee has produced newsletters, conducted surveys and encouraged changes in the practice in response to patient concerns.

Online Patient Participation Group. Would you like to have your say about the services provided at Heathfield Surgery but don’t have the time to come to meetings? Then you may like to join the Online Patient Participation Group and help shape the future. They would like as many patients as possible to take part. Just send them your email address and they will be in contact once or twice a year to ask you for your views on what you think is important, ask your participation in surveys or to tell you about health promotions. If you are happy to be part of this group please email the secretary at: heathfieldpatientsgroup@gmail.com The PPG will keep your email address in strict confidence and only use it for essential PPG business and as stated above.

BUS CHANGES: Compass Bus Service Changes. Compass Travel is making a number of changes to bus services from January 7. Compass Travel is unable to continue to provide all of their current provision of services due to financial pressures. This has been caused by higher fuel and insurance costs, along with reduced levels of income because of declining passenger numbers. Several services have few or no changes, with the main alterations affecting the worst performing journeys.

The County Council’s own financial pressures mean that we are not able to provide additional funding for bus services. Compass Travel has worked closely with officers to maintain, at the very least, limited journey opportunities for service users in line with the County Council’s needs based Public Transport Commissioning Strategy. Compass Travel will be releasing details of the changes to their staff and service users. 231 Uckfield-Framfield-Blackboys-Heathfield-Broad Oak-Burwash-Etchingham. The journeys from Uckfield at 5.15pm and 5.50pm are withdrawn and replaced with a new journey at 5.35pm to Etchingham Station. The 5pm and 6.03pm journeys from Etchingham Station are retimed to depart at 4.45pm and 6.20pm instead. The 6.20pm journey will run only as far as Heathfield, meaning that the last bus from Heathfield Fire Station to Uckfield will be 5.10pm.

ACTION FOR DEAFNESS: Heathfield Surgery. Did you know you can have a hearing assessment through the NHS you just need to ask your GP for a referral? Action for Deafness provides NHS audiology services in Heathfield in the clinic attached to Heathfield Surgery at 92 High Street. Action for Deafness has a drop in clinic on a Thursday morning from 9.30am to 12.30pm which provides batteries and hearing aid maintenance for Action for Deafness audiology patients. The staff at the clinic are also happy to give support and advice to anyone who wishes to drop in on a Thursday morning. Should you wish to find out more about Action for Deafness please visit the following website: www.actionfordeafness.org.uk

ROTARY CLUB: Heathfield and Waldron Rotary Club Christmas Collection. Report from Richard Owen, Fundraising Committee Member. This year’s Christmas collection marathon has finally been completed! Back in early October, I have to admit, I had serious reservations about the ability of the Club to man the complete Christmas collection programme that had been drawn up. I could not have been more wrong. The response from all quarters during the run up to the collection dates was tremendous, and made completing the schedule of volunteers an easier task than it had been in the past. The early commitment of Rotarians to the manning of the ‘Santa service’ at Wyevale Garden Centre was extremely encouraging with numerous Rotarians taking on multiple sessions and therefore fulfilling our commercial commitment to Wyevale. An equally encouraging response was received from Rotarians for both the street and Co-op collection, which again required a large quantity of volunteers to man our proposed commitment. Following some pleading at early club meetings Rotarians rose to the challenge with several club members again taking on multiple sessions. It was encouraging how well Santa’s sleigh was received and a Rotary collection welcomed on the doorstep. I cannot allow this brief résumé of the successful Christmas collection to pass without reference to the phenomenal response that I received directly from the wives and partner of Rotarians. The response was overwhelming and far greater than I had expected and succeeded in substantially completing the schedule of sessions. The Fund Raising Committee wholeheartedly thank you all for your commitment to the Christmas collection program, Frankly we couldn’t have done it without you. Finally, I must acknowledge the effort, commitment and dedication shown by both Trevor Goldsmith and Mark Deacon. This year, as in the past, neither the street or Co-op collection would have taken place without their enthusiasm and perseverance. Frankly we couldn’t have done it without the either. The really good news has been kept until last:

Street collection £1,662.07; Co-op Collection £2,392.27; Wyevale income £1,500. Total £5,554.34. Allowing for expenses and gift aid on donations the final figure could be in excess of £6,000. Fantastic result. The Fund Raising Committee would like to thank everyone who helped raise this amazing amount of money.

MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: Parish Council News January. In December, Wealden District Council hosted their annual Parish Conference and there were some interesting presentations and snippets of information that residents may wish to know.

Communities in Policing. Sussex Police’s Wealden Prevention Team informed that they will be working with communities to identify the needs of each parish and that they will be increasing the number of neighbourhood officers by 2022. They have started running surgeries as a ‘mobile policing approach’ in community buildings and in a mobile unit that they park at local supermarkets. Information on where and when these surgeries will take place in the future will hopefully be shared with us. They have also challenged themselves to be in our parishes on some occasions to deal with parking issues which will please a lot of people.

Refill Wealden. City to Sea gave a very useful talk on how we can all help to cut plastic waste by refilling reusable water bottles, a very hot topic at the moment. Their campaign works by connecting people who are looking for water with local businesses, transport hubs and public spaces where they can refill for free. Anyone can download the free app to find Refill Stations near them to refill for free on the go. Participating businesses simply sign up to the app and put a sticker in their window – alerting passers-by that they’re welcome to come on in and fill up their bottle. There are now more than 14,000 Refill Stations in the UK alone including railway stations, airports and high street chains. The Parish Council will certainly be joining and it would be great to see other local businesses signing up too. Visit: www.refill.org.uk.

Crematorium. At the Parish Conference the council was told a little about Wealden District Council’s various commercial projects that are they are investing in, such as the building of affordable homes and the regeneration of shopping centres. You may be pleased to know that the majority of the construction work at their new crematorium is now drawing to a close and may be interested in the following: Trees and landscaping, a bonus for the local environment. The majority of the crematorium site will feature well thought-out formal and informal gardens, woodland areas, grazing and wildflower meadows. New native species hedgerows are also being incorporated into the scheme. The landscaping includes the planting of nearly 8,000 trees to form new native species woodland and for screening. Care has been taken to avoid species where there are recent health issues for example, Ash. In addition over 4,500 shrubs and over 4,700 herbaceous plants are being planted. The site has a high potential for nesting birds as the woodland, scrub, scattered trees and hedgerows provide ideal nesting habitat for a range of bird species. A number of bat boxes have also been installed across the site. Supporting the local economy. Wherever possible the contactor has taken care to engage local suppliers, sub-contractors and tradespeople. Once the crematorium opens there will be further ongoing benefits to local businesses.

Advantages for the wider community. Baxall Ltd, the main contractor, plans to donate some of its workforce time to maintain and enhance local stretches of the much used and much enjoyed Cuckoo Trail. Wealden District Council will be organising open days for the general public and businesses in January or February 2019, once the main building work has been completed. Helping Wealden’s Street Scene Team help you. Wealden District Council has a Street Scene Team of three officers who often work closely with the Parish and Town Councils to resolve issues such as flyt, Abandoned vehicles, littering and dog fouling. They investigate fly tipping incidents both on public and private land including the fly tipping of non-recyclable waste at the Neighbourhood Recycling Centres. They are however unable to arrange for the clearance of fly tips from private land. It is important that any fly tip is not disturbed prior to the team visiting as crucial evidence may be destroyed. If evidence is found within the rubbish by the team, action is taken where appropriate. This can range from a warning letter to full-scale court prosecution. The team is also able to assist with abandoned vehicles. These are vehicles that are untaxed and either unsecure in poor condition or unroadworthy. However, in the first instance these should be reported to Operation Crackdown at: www.operationcrackdown.org They will investigate both littering and dog fouling issues. Where the appropriate evidence is available, such as witness statements, they will take further action by issuing warning letters or Fixed Penalty Notices as appropriate. Dog patrols can also be set up in problem areas, subject to resources, to help catch and deter offenders. It is important for all of these issues to be reported to the Street Scene Team as soon as possible to allow them to investigate. To contact them email: street.scene@wealden.gov.uk or call 01892 602735.

READY TO BRAVE THE COLD: East Sussex Highways’ winter gritting season runs from October 1 until April 30. During this period, they have Winter Duty Officers who are on call 24 hours a day. They are responsible for collecting information about the weather and determining if any routes require gritting. Gritting the road at the right time is crucial, so they use weather forecasts and monitor the road surface temperatures to decide when to put salt down. They often grit during the evening or early mornings to try and limit the likelihood of frost/ice forming on the road.They operate a fleet of 24 gritters, with two spares in case of breakdowns or accidents. Each gritter lorry operates a pre-planned route that takes two to three hours to complete. They treat 777 miles of highway. All pre-planned gritting routes can be found at: www.eastsussexhighways.com.

NEW WATER MAIN: In The Warren. Work to install a new 390 metre water main, to replace an old pipe prone to bursting is planned to start this month and will take place along The Warren between ‘Sandleford’ and ‘Fairways’, including the looped section of the road. Work will take place during normal working hours, although there may be some activities at weekends. This essential work forms part of a £3 million improvement to the local water network in Mayfield, Five Ashes, Rotherfield and Crowborough.

BUS CHANGES: Compass Travel bus service changes. Compass Travel is unable to continue to provide all of their current provision of services due to financial pressures. This has been caused by higher fuel and insurance costs, along with reduced levels of income because of declining passenger numbers. Several services have few or no changes, with the main alterations affecting the worst performing journeys. One of the services affected is the 227 Five Ashes-Beacon Academy Crowborough school service which is mainly used by pupils entitled to free home to school transport. The County Council has confirmed it will secure an alternative service provider to maintain the current service timetable.

CROSS IN HAND: Cross in Hand Amenities Society. Over the next two Saturdays, January 12 and 19 from 1.30pm until dusk teams will spend a couple of hours picking up litter and removing general debris that has been dumped in Darches Wood. If enough people turn up, we can do some more rhododendron clearance from the pond area. Any help will be much appreciated. Please meet by the pond. Why bother to go to the gym when you can get some healthy exercise in good company?

SINGING: Singing for Fun for Everyone continues on Monday, from 2pm at Cross in Hand Methodist Church at the top of Firgrove Road. The car park is on the left hand side. Favourite songs, carols and Christmas songs. Do bring along songs and music for the group. Time for refreshments and a chat afterwards. Expenses are just covered.

HORAM: Volunteers are needed to help toads crossing the road, Vines Cross Area. Toads are in decline across the country and partly this is due to a reduction of the vital land that is their habitat but also problems they face getting across roads. Our campaign is very much dependent on the English weather but every spring, usually late February or early March, toads cross the local roads to reach their spawning ponds. Unfortunately many are killed whilst attempting to do so. Volunteering to help, even for just an hour, can help to maintain a local population. Your help, even for a short time, could ensure these lovely creatures can survive in our countryside. For further information please contact John Burgess on: 07940 587404 or email: john.linda1@bt internet.com. I used to live in Alfriston and there was a lively group which also helped toads across the roads at Litlington from the woodland to the River Cuckmere. As a result, there’s a healthy population of them in the area. There are also road signs asking people to take care as they drive along these roads at this time of year.