Erewash Mayor honours caring citizens

Community-minded residents and groups were honoured for their contribution to society at this year’s Erewash Mayor's Awards.
 
Seven caring residents and representatives of eight local groups were presented with their awards by the Mayor of Erewash, Councillor Chris Corbett, at a ceremony in the Council Chamber at Long Eaton Town Hall last night (Wednesday 13 February).
 
The awards recognise groups or individuals who carry out vital work in their community without expecting anything in return.  Erewash Borough Council’s judging panel looked at nominations, made by local residents, for evidence of special qualities and service beyond simply being a ‘good neighbour’ when picking out the award winners. 
 
Councillor Chris Corbett, the Mayor of Erewash, says:
 
“Presenting these awards was one of the highlights of my year in office.  It was a pleasure for me to recognise all the recipients and an honour to personally congratulate and thank them for all that they do for this borough.
 
“I have seen at first hand the work of the countless people in this borough who work so selflessly to help others in so many ways. It has been a privilege to be able to present awards to some of those residents and organisations.”
 
The successful recipients of a Mayor’s Award for the 2018/19 civic year are:
 
Residents
 
Mrs Sylvia Woodhouse, Long Eaton
For the past 25 years, Sylvia has run the weekly family morning at Long Eaton’s Trinity Methodist Church where children and their carers meet to enjoy play time and refreshments. Children play with playdough, construction sets and blocks as well as making a variety of crafts. Sylvia also arranges and provides food for a Christmas party.  
 
Mrs Elaine Chapman, Draycott
Elaine is involved with the Draycott in Bloom group and is an organiser of ‘Tea with Friends’, a monthly get together for single people who live alone.  She visits disabled and elderly neighbours on a daily basis.
 
Mr Ray Jepson, Breaston
Mr Jepson has been a volunteer with the Erewash Volunteers Centre for 15 years.  He is a befriender who visits lonely residents, a shopper for those who can’t get out and a sitter to allow carers to have a break.  He also volunteers with Treetops Hospice, the Long Eaton Talking Newspaper and the Nottingham Buddy Association.
 
Mrs Wyn Townsend, Long Eaton 
Wyn is 88 years old but is an active volunteer with Erewash Volunteers Centre.  She volunteers as a befriender and shopper and has recently completed training courses to become a dementia friend and a hand-holder for end of life care.
 
Hugo Harvey, aged 9 years, of Long Eaton
Hugo didn’t ask for presents at Christmas, instead saying he wanted to help other people who were struggling over the festive period. He made up hampers of food and toys for people in need and also donated 250 chocolate bars to two homeless charities. Hugo also spent a day singing to residents in various care homes.
 
Mr Philip Lees, Long Eaton
Since the age of eight, Philip has been involved in the scouting movement and has served as District Commissioner for the Long Eaton area on two occasions. Among his achievements has been to deliver adult training and safeguarding to adults. 
 
Mr Brian Moon, Ilkeston 
Brian is a volunteer at Erewash Museum and helps out with a variety of tasks on a daily basis.  He helps to set up, co-ordinate and supervise the Erewash Beach, which attracts thousands of visitors.
 
Groups
 
Ilkeston Parents for Play
This group of young parents work to improve children’s play areas in the Ilkeston area.  They have made a significant contribution to improvement projects, including Rutland Recreation Ground and the forthcoming Barling Drive play area - raising funds through various activities.
 
1st Sawley (Pegasus) Cub Pack
The four long-standing leaders of this cub pack are Mark and Mandy Stafford, Andy Rydzyk and Michelle Carver, who run weekly meetings for the children and numerous additional events such as camps, water sport activities and visits to local places of interest. 
 
Friends of Victoria Park, Ilkeston
The friends group has helped Erewash Borough Council in a variety of events over the last few years. Last year they arranged a stunning remembrance display featuring thousands of knitted poppies which transformed the Park into a memorial to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. The event raised over £7,000 for the Royal British Legion. 
 
CCTV System volunteers of Ilkeston and Long Eaton  
Erewash Borough Council has a number of CCTV cameras located in key areas around the borough for safety and detection of crime and anti-social behaviour. They are monitored at various times during the week and weekends by volunteers, who give their own time to cover the system and help protect visitors and businesses to the towns.
 
Action4Cotmanhay
This group has worked hard over the last four years to get the old Bennerley School building open again for community use.  The venue, now called the Vernon Community Suite, is an excellent hub for residents to use and members undertake the security and cleaning of the building.  
 
Borrowash in Bloom
This community group has carried out numerous projects including fundraising, bulb planting, commemorating the centenary of the end of WW1 and creating flower displays - all aimed at improving the local environment for residents and visitors.
 
Friends of Forbes Hole Local Nature Reserve, Long Eaton 
The group has organised volunteer work parties to improve the site every Monday for the last two years.  Work has included woodland thinning, bramble removal, maintaining wildflower meadows, tree planting and creating homes for wildlife.
 
Ilkeston Winter Shelter
An idea to organise a shelter for local homeless people, primarily over the cold festive season, was put into action at the end of last year. A plea on social media attracted numerous volunteers and the Shelter attracted support from residents and businesses
 

New Local Nature Reserve in Erewash

Long Eaton beauty spot Trent Meadows looks set to be granted Local Nature Reserve (LNR) status at a meeting of Erewash Borough Council’s Executive next week (19 February). 
 
Erewash Borough Council, which has been working closely with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, wants to add the site to its official nature reserves in the borough, as the area is a valuable open space for the local community, visitors and nature conservation.
 
Trent Meadows in Long Eaton is in a wildlife-rich area alongside the River Trent, Attenborough Nature Reserve and a number of local wildlife sites and declaring it a LNR would help protect the site for nature and for the recreational enjoyment of visitors.
 
Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Leisure and Culture, Councillor Mike Wallis, says:
 
“It will be absolutely fantastic news for Erewash if Trent Meadows is approved with a Local Nature Reserve status. We already have 9 nature reserves in the borough which are managed by Erewash Borough Council, so it would be great to make Trent Meadows number 10! It thoroughly deserves to have its environment protected and this would show the council’s commitment to maintaining important local wildlife and nature sites.”

Council Tax 2019/20

A recommendation that Erewash Borough Council raises its share of council tax for 2019/20 by 2.99% is expected to be sent to the council’s budget setting meeting on Thursday 7 March.
 
Councillors at a meeting of Council Executive next week (19 February) look set to support the increase – which works out at £5.42 p.a. or 11p a week - and, if agreed, it will mean that the council’s charge for a Band D property in Erewash will rise to £186.59 p.a..
 
The proposed increase comes at a time when local authorities continue to face financially challenging times with continuing reductions in government funding.
 
The council has worked to achieve significant savings over the last few years and the outsourcing of its leisure services on 1 February this year will bring direct savings of just over £600,000 p.a. together with anticipated back office administrative savings of approximately £300,000 p.a.
 
The council is working towards further savings in the region of £1.2m to enable balanced budgets to be set in future years.
 
Councillor Wayne Major, Erewash Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, says:
 
“We have worked very hard over the last five years to balance our budgets against the backdrop of continuing financial pressures. Going forward, we are under no illusion that the challenge remains a tough one – but we can assure residents that they remain at the centre of everything we do. We have done everything in our power to maintain and protect frontline services and that remains at the forefront of our work as we strive to meet the challenges ahead.”
            
The meeting of Council Executive is at Long Eaton Town Hall on Tuesday 19 February at 10.30am. The budget-setting Full Council meeting is at Ilkeston Town Hall on Thursday 7 March at 7pm.
 

Good news for retailers

A proposed new business rates discount scheme to help small and medium sized retailers for the next two financial years is expected to go to Erewash Borough Council’s budget-setting meeting in March.
 
Councillors at a meeting of Council Executive next week (19 February) are set to agree to send the new scheme to Full Council with a recommendation that it be approved.
 
The move follows a Government announcement in its autumn budget that eligible retailers with a rateable value below £51,000 will receive a one-third discount on their business rates bills in 2019/20 and in the following financial year. Local authorities are following national guidance to draw up how their discount schemes will work.
 
If approved, eligible businesses in Erewash for 2019/20 will be identified and the discounts applied automatically to their bills – meaning businesses do not have to apply for the relief. The council will be fully reimbursed for the discounts applied.
 
Councillor Wayne Major, Erewash Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, says:
 
“This scheme is all about supporting our small and medium sized retail businesses and we are sure they will welcome the news that their business rates bills will be cut by a third for the next two financial years. It is also important that the scheme is as efficient as possible and that is why the discount is applied automatically rather than businesses having to fill in forms and make official applications.”
           
The meeting of Council Executive is at Long Eaton Town Hall on Tuesday 19 February at 10.30am. The budget-setting Full Council meeting is at Ilkeston Town Hall on Thursday 7 March at 7pm.
 

Car and motorhome business picks up more awards and drives growth with investment

An award-winning car and motorhome dealer based near Derby has acquired more premises and is investing further as part of its growth plans.
 
Geoff Cox, based at Derby Road, Denby, is a family firm established 52 years ago, which has two divisions selling and servicing cars and the growing motorhome/leisure market.
 
It has just bought a disused car showroom at Marehay Garage, Derby Road, Marehay, Ripley, a short distance away. The existing Marehay Garage Services is not affected and continues as a Vauxhall service centre.
 
The site owners had planned to sell the site of the empty building for housing, but Geoff Cox stepped in and the company plans to redevelop it to a showroom for selling motorhomes.
 
The building has been empty for more than two years and renovation will help improve the gateway to Ripley.
 
Neil Cox, managing director of Geoff Cox, said that the site owners Jackie and David Hunt were delighted with the sale because it continued an automotive connection with the site.
 
The new base will open and be fully operational in March, replacing one which has been trading from Denby Pottery Village for three years.
 
Geoff Cox will be investing nearly £300,000 in the new centre,  including facilities for motorhome servicing.
 
The existing motorhome workshop at Denby will move to Marehay, releasing that land for used car sales.
 
“We have had such growth in both divisions over the last four years that we have outgrown the facilities,” said Neil.
 
“The operation at Marehay will mean we can expand the motorhome business and use the vacated land at Denby for the used car business.
 
“This is all part-of the long-term growth and investment plan from four years ago which is now coming to fruition.”
 
In that time turnover has increased from £6m - £15m and and employees numbers have doubled to 24.
 
“We are delighted that youngsters we took on as apprentices have developed their skills and helped contribute to the company's growth,” added Neil.
 
Last year Geoff Cox became a brand ambassador for Adria motorhomes in recognition of it being the company's number one dealer for the last seven years. Last year Geoff Cox achieved £4.5m of sales on new Adria motorhomes alone.
 
For the second year running it has picked up a gold award for customer service from Practical Motorhome magazine and the Camping and Caravan Club.
 
As for cars, the company has now been associated with Subaru for two years and won the company's new dealer award. 
 
“This is recognition of the hard work we have put in in the last year alone,” said Neil.
 
This included a re-structuring of the car sales business with more staff and specialised training for engineers, all of which led to a 40 per cent upsurge in the car division last year and led to the company becoming new and used car selling site Auto Trader's best performing retailer.