NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Op Sceptre, National Knife Crime Awareness and Action Week. Operation Sceptre, originally started by the Metropolitan Police Service, is a twice-yearly run campaign that aims to tackle the danger that knife crime poses by educating those most at risk and carrying out proactive work that takes knives off our streets. Together with 44 police forces, Sussex saw a host of tactics and targeted action during the week, this included: Test shops on selling knives to under-18’s; carrying out more stop and search; speaking to young people in schools/colleges; offering guidance on the behaviours associated with knife crime; highlighting our no-questions asked amnesty bins at front offices. Wealden Prevention officers also visited local schools, colleges, and youth events in order to inform and educate young people about how to act if they feel pressured to carry a knife, and what to do if they feel in danger. Youth Officers attended assemblies during the week, along with PC Adrian Cooper from the Youth Offenders Team gave group lessons on offensive weapons/knife crime which was very well received and some great conversations were had. Some work was done with students during their lunchtime where a stall was set up with seized weapons shown to further highlight the dangers. So far this week, over 12 schools and colleges have been visited across Sussex, and officers spoke with more than 1,900 young people in promoting and raising awareness around knife crime, offering support and advice to students, and educating them on the dangers of carrying knives and it’s consequences. This work will continue into the coming weeks. Throughout the week local teams also took to the roads and parked up in high streets and supermarkets in and around Wealden. On Monday and today (Friday) Prevention teams spoke to shoppers, and parents outside Tesco, Uckfield and Crowborough, answering questions around knife crime, and offering parents advice on possible signs to look out for should they suspect their child to be carrying a knife. Possible signs to look for: Are there any knives missing from your home?; do you think your child is being bullied or been a recent victim of theft or bullying?; is school or college not going well, are they missing with an older network?; what to do if you suspect a child in your care is carrying a knife?; if possible speak to them, or are there other adult/family members that can help? Remind them to walk away if confronted with threat of violence. Talk to other parents or carer and share experiences, they may feel the same way, and together you may feel more able to act. For more advice and support, parents and carers can contact ‘Family Lives’ on: 0808 8002222 or visit www.familylives.org.uk
MOBILE POLICE STATION: Wealden PCSO Lewis and Wealden Prevention staff attended Forest Row Community Centre on Tuesday, March 12 to speak to local residents about local issues. The mobile police station can be used to report crime, obtain prevention advice and crime prevention tools to take home, as well as speak to local officers about local issues. Should you have not got down to see us owing to the poor weather, the mobile Police Station will be heading to the Annual Parish Assembly at Groombridge Village Hall tomorrow, Saturday, morning where you will be able to meet the Wealden Prevention team, including senior officers, local PCs and local PCSOs. More information will be advertised on social media platforms in the coming days.
CRIME SUMMARY: Overnight on Thursday last week, properties in Springwood Road Heathfield, and Oaklands Road, Pevensey were broken into where the suspect has gained entry via back doors. Glass has been smashed and suspects have entered taking personal items, jewellery and laptops. Residents have been spoken to and house to house enquiries are ongoing. Residents can secure their properties further by reviewing their existing security measures, such as rear security lights, reinforced glass on rear doors/windows, or chains across door as an extra prevention measure. If you saw anything or have noticed anything suspicious please call us on 101, email firstname.lastname@example.org. police.uk or online at sussex.police.uk
WEALDEN ALERTS: Wealden young people have their say on key issues. The Wealden Strategic Partnership is working with Heathfield Community College to host a Young Persons Engagement Event for Wealden secondary school pupils today (March 22). The Forum will look at key issues selected by the youngsters in the nationwide Make Your Mark consultation including knife crime, mental health, period poverty, homelessness and equal pay. Some 21 percent of East Sussex young people took part in the consultation last year. They were among one million young people nationwide who voted. The event is taking place at Heathfield Community College with Year 7 to 13 students from Heathfield, Uckfield, Uplands, Beacon and Hailsham taking part. Workshops will be facilitated by members from the Wealden Strategic Partnership who have experience of working to address the issues. Sussex Police will lead the knife crime workshop, the Southdown Housing Association will cover mental health and Wealden District Council will discuss homelessness. The Uckfield and Hailsham foodbanks focus on ending period poverty, whilst the issue of equal pay for equal work will be explored with Unison. Every year young people up and down the country aged 11-18 participate in the UK Youth Parliament’s Make Your Mark Consultation. The consultation is an opportunity for young people to identify the priorities that they would like to see the UK Youth Parliament focus on in the year ahead. Members of the UK Youth Cabinet will also be attending the Heathfield event to let the students know how they can get involved with UK Youth Parliament campaigns on these issues.
INDUSTRY CHAMPIONS: Wealden District Council has been given the accolade of Industry Champions by East Sussex County Council (ESCC). The award is recognised by all schools in East Sussex and highlights the careers support offered by Wealden to local young people in the District. To find out more about working for Wealden District Council, see the careers pages online.
BIG WEALDEN SWITCH: Wealden District Council’s award winning Big Wealden Switch is open again to save you money on your energy bills. This year all those who register will be entered into a free draw with a cash prize of £500. By taking part in The Big Wealden Switch collective buying scheme, you could save around £200 to £300 a year on your electricity and gas bills. In 2017, 953 Wealden residents took part in the Big Wealden Switch saving themselves a total of £217,000. The success of the scheme got Wealden noticed at this year’s iESE Public Transformation Awards for the way the scheme had successfully involved so many local people. Wealden won the Gold Award in Public Transformation for Community Focus – People. The Big Wealden Switch attracted 198 switchers in its first year. In its second year, this rose to 963 switchers. In 2018, 294 people switched accounts, saving on average £337 a year. Last month energy regulator Ofgem raised the price cap on gas and electricity prices which could see a typical household paying an extra £117 a year. You now have the opportunity to take part in this year’s scheme. If you register now, you can benefit from the February auction. Those that register after March 27 will be taking part in the May auction. To be included in the £500 prize draw, you must be registered by midnight on May 20. Everyone who registers will be asked to tell a friend about the Big Wealden Switch, spreading the word ever wider and helping create even greater muscle for the collective buying group. Wealden works with iChoosr to get the best collective bid at regular supply auction involving the big energy companies. When you register for the Big Wealden Switch online, you will need a recent household energy bill to provide details of your current usage. To find out more go to www.wealden.gov.uk /thebigswitch or call us on 01323 443322.
HEATHFIELD ABOUT TOWN: Pipe cleaning to keep tap water crystal clear in the Heathfield area. A specialist team of South East Water technicians will undertake a deep clean of the Heathfield area drinking water network starting on March 18 for three weeks. Forming part of the company’s ongoing programme to keep tap water flowing crystal clear, water will be pumped through pipes in the area at high speed. The process, called flushing, stirs up naturally-occurring sediments which build up over time, such as iron or manganese. Despite not being harmful, these can cause customers’ water to appear discoloured. Jenny Rhodes, Regional Network Manager at South East Water, said: ‘The drinking water entering our mains after treatment is extremely high quality. However, over time, deposits can build up in the pipes particularly if the water is slow moving. ‘Our team of scientists and engineers use information gathered from our customers, from water samples and historical data, to develop a programme to ensure we flush the areas that need it most. ‘We appreciate customers may have concerns about the water used during the process appearing to run to waste but we only draw through our pipes as much as we need and once the water reaches its journey’s end, it is directed into the drains to be recycled.’ During the work it is possible customers may notice a reduction in water pressure, and some discolouration, but this is temporary and can be solved by running the kitchen tap until the water runs clear. Jenny added: ‘To help minimise the risk of any disruption, we usually avoid flushing between 6am and 8am, and 5pm and 10pm, when demand is highest. Customers will receive advance notice if we are going to be working in their area, and we do encourage anyone with a medical condition which could be impacted by an interruption to their water supply to sign up to our Priority Services Register at southeast water.co.uk/help.”Find out more about the work at corporate.southeast water.co.uk/heathfield
CROSS IN HAND: Ghyll Road-Sheepsetting Lane Traffic Calming. We note with interest that traffic flows along Ghyll Road and Sheepsetting Lane have diminished dramatically. I assume they have increased by the same proportion in the High Street. The build-outs, raised ramps and speed bumps are doing an excellent job and it is noticeable that speeds have reduced. A particular relief is the reduction in the number of HGVs or large vehicles and trailers using the road. Technically HGVs should not have been using Ghyll Road anyway but the combination of satnavs and impossibility of policing every road in the county, means that all too often they did. We are always complaining about council and Highways inaction, this time they have got it right.
MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: Good news for Mayfield, a New Post Office. Jo Eates of Rusdens Home has stepped into the breach and has had the go ahead to have a Post Office counter in her lovely shop. She hopes it will be up and running by April. Jo tells us: ‘Rusdens Home will remain the same sort of shop but will just incorporate a Post Office counter offering all the services the village are used to, not just stamps and postage, but pensions and benefits, banking facilities (including withdrawing cash), travel money, bill paying etc. The hours will be Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri and Sat 9.30am to 4.30pm. Closed on Wednesday and Sunday.’ Contact detailswww. rusdenshome.co.uk Nappers, High Street, Mayfield, East Sussex TN20 6AB 873330.
MAYFACS: General Knowledge Quiz. To help kickstart the MAYFACS building project please come to Shirley’s general knowledge quiz tomorrow, Saturday, 7pm for a 7.30pm start, Memorial Hall. Teams of up to six maximum. Tickets £10 each to include a jolly good ploughman’s supper and other delights and a licensed cash bar. Tickets available from the MAYFACS office and The Shopping Basket or by ringing Shirley on 07908 516 875.
ST DUNSTAN’S: Roof Appeal. The church has now launched its £100K appeal. It is a daunting total to be found by the end of April but already they have received donations totalling £2,470. Hopefully the new appeal leaflets, being distributed to every home in Mayfield and Five Ashes, will allow them to reach our target. Fr Nigel said: ‘The only way is up’ but he is not sure which pop song that is.’
MAYFIELD AND DISTRICT GROUP: With spring allegedly on its way we are busy organising outings and social events, as well as planning our well-established Speakers’ Programme. During the next few months, we will be learning how to edit a human genome (maybe not a DIY project to try at home), discovering the influence of Romanticism and Impressionism in music and art, hearing about Napoleon’s last days in exile on St Helena, and learning how to avoid being a fraud victim. For our July meeting we shall be having a cream tea at Barnsgate Manor and no doubt discussing whether jam or cream should be spread first on our scones. As well as improving our minds we shall also be out and about on various visits. In April we are going to the Towner Gallery for a guided tour of the art store and to look at the current exhibitions. Visits to Shepherd Neame Brewery and a vineyard are being planned, and a series of seasonal walks at Bedgebury Pinetum. In the autumn we will be organising an Old Time Music Hall matinee performance as requested by a group of our members who are all set for some enthusiastic audience participation. In conjunction with Wadhurst U3A, a group of horticultural enthusiasts are going to Leonardslee Garden to admire the famous Loder collection of rhododendrons and rare plants, not to mention the wallabees and beautiful dolls’ house. Our annual membership fee of £17 includes admission to our monthly meetings and access to a range of interest groups. The cost of visits varies, depending on distance travelled and transport. We are always pleased to have new members and you can be sure of a warm welcome. For further information please contact any of the committee: Mary Brentnall, Acting Chair: email@example.com. Caroline Hill, Secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thomas Ballantine Dykes, Treasurer: t.ballantinedykes @btinternet.com. Paul Hill, Committee Member: email@example.com
SPRING SHOW: Five Ashes Horticultural Society. The pace of the horticultural society year is picking up, the schedule is at the printer and we are making preparations for our Spring Show on Saturday, March 30 from 2pm in Five Ashes Village Hall. This is due after Brexit Day so there will probably be one major subject of discussion over tea and cakes at the show. There are signs of movement in plants in the garden due to the mild winter. Schedules will be available from The Pink Cabbage, Heal’s Farmshop and Cafe, Five Ashes Inn, Five Ashes Village Hall and also directly at the show. For further details contact Graham Playfoot 01825 830511
MAYFIELD HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY: A reminder that membership remains at £5 and includes free entry to the society talks, 10 percent discount on some purchases from Millbrook Garden Centre, 10 percent discount on horticultural products from Heathfield Ironmongers and 10 percent discount Monday to Friday at Thorpe Garden Centre, excluding special offers. Steve Bradley is offering to test soil samples from members’ gardens so please bring a soil sample if you would like your soil tested. Steve is probably best known to us for appearing most Sunday Mornings on Sussex Radio on Dig It answering listeners’ gardening questions. He grew up on a nursery, spent over 20 years teaching horticulture at colleges around England and is now a freelance garden writer and broadcaster. Please come and join the society this year, make new friends and enrich your gardening life. Please note that the Summer Show Schedule will be delivered to members in April this year. Request for donations of plants on the day of the Plant Sale Saturday, May 11. This year the success of the plant sale in Mayfield High Street is going to depend on the thoughtfulness and generosity of our members and anyone else in the area who enjoys growing plants. Please think of the plant sale when planting seeds this year or weeding and finding self-seeded plants which could be given to the society Plant Sale. Vegetables, flowers or shrubs, they are all welcome and would be most gratefully received. Everyone is welcome to our society events. For further details contact Rosemary Bayliss. mayfield firstname.lastname@example.org
SKIPPERS HILL SCHOOL: News from Skippers Hill Prep School. Year 7 pupils from Skippers submitted poems to the National Young Writers Poetry Wonderland Competition back in October. Young Writers aims to encourage young people to engage in creative writing and poetry through national competitions. This competition saw entrants write a piece of poetry themed around the topic Wonderland. Nine of the Year 7 pupils from Skippers who submitted poems to the competition, have had their poems selected to be published in an upcoming anthology in March. An overall winner is then chosen from the book once published. On the February 4 the Senior choir took part in the O2 Young Voices event. Millie, in Year 8, has written a short piece to tell us about the day and her experience of the O2 Young Voices event 2019. ‘This event lasted all day, starting with a practice run through with the entire choir and all of the instrumentalists, before performing the show to all of the parents. All of this happened in the O2 arena in London. Roughly 7,000 children took part in the concert and there were some celebrity guests at the show, as well as, a message from Hugh Jackman because we were singing a Greatest Showman medley. The celebrity guests included Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet, Sharlene Hector and Beau Dermott, who each sang a song or two with the choir. Urban Strides, the incredible dance group, performed many amazing routines alongside our songs and made us all get up and dance with them. Even the parents joined in too. We left school at 11am and returned 12 and a half hours later. We all had fun and it was a great day out. A special thanks to all the teachers involved with helping in this event.’
BELL RINGERS: St Dunstan’s Bell Ringers held their Annual General Meeting in January this year, at which Officers for the following year are appointed. 2019 will be significant with the incumbent Tower Captain, Graham Holland, standing down after five years of excellent service to the ringing team, with Vanessa Kolberg taking the reins. Graham’s organisational skills have not been lost however, as he takes on the role of Secretary from Sue Ellis who has held this role for many years, much to the gratitude of the ringers. Barry Humphrey continues as Treasurer. Richard Barraclough was appointed as Ringing Master, to lead the training of new ringers and advancing the quality of the ringing in general. The meeting was gratefully chaired by Fr Nigel. Please contact either Vanessa (07796954812) or Graham ( 01435 87213) if you would like to join their enthusiastic ringing team, or would like to come up to a Tuesday evening practice when you can try out the art of ringing.
FOOTPATHS WALK: Why not step into spring with the monthly walk on Sunday, March 31. As usual the group will meet at 10am in South Street car park and will walk for around two and a half hours along some of the Parish’s public footpaths. For further details contact Deborah.email@example.com
HORAM: Maynards Green School. This term Foxes Class has been learning about the incredible story of Ernest Shackleton and his attempt to cross Antarctica in his ship, The Endurance. The children have been thinking about what life might have been like for Shackleton and his crew. As part of their Forest School learning they experienced what it must have been like for the crew to perform simple tasks like tying knots in the extreme cold of the Antarctic. Despite the cold Forest School afternoons the children showed great resilience and completed their tasks.
MOTHER’S DAY: A couple of businesses in Horam have special offers for Mother’s Day. At Cuckoo Flower Co, you can get 10 percent off any Mother’s Day bouquet with a minimum spend of £25. Use the voucher in the Village Diary. Another Village Diary offer is free local delivery with every Mother’s Day hamper from Two Sisters Deli.
RECREATION GROUND: Horam Recreation Ground play area. Following delays caused by bad weather, work on the play area is progressing and it’s hoped it will be finished by the end of the month. A date for the start of work on the new skatepark has yet to be finalised. Any enquiries should be made to the Clerk at Horam Parish Council, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or ring. 07900 576236.
SHOW SOCIETY: The East Hoathly and Halland Show Society invites you to a talk by Ian Clemens of the National Vegetable Society in the village hall tonight, Friday, at 7.30pm. Ian will guide us through the art of growing vegetables and will give his tips and tricks for successful showing. £2 for members, £3 for guests, refreshments available.
CHARITY NIGHT: Cancer Research Charity Night in aid of St Wilfred’s Hospice in Eastbourne. There will be an evening of music and dance tomorrow, Saturday, 7.30pm to 11pm in the village hall. The entertainment will be provided by the dance band Champagne and 70’s pop-rock band The Zimmermen. Tickets are £10 from either the Village Stores (01825 84031) or John ( 01825 840916), raffle and nibbles provided.