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Proper Gander Issue No Proper Gander Issue No 144 31 10 08 Work and


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									Proper Gander: Issue No. 144 (31/10/08)

Work and play ............................................................................ 2
Time is running out! .................................................................. 4
Pilates classes ........................................................................... 4
Mendip Hills hedge laying champions .................................... 5
The roll of a dice ........................................................................ 6
A new year - a new you ............................................................. 6
Mendip Hills AONB funding ..................................................... 7
Public Management Course at Plymouth University ............. 8
Mendip Carer’s Day ................................................................... 8
90th birthday competition for Somerset libraries .................. 9
Further Information ................................................................. 10
What is Proper Gander? ......................................................... 10
How do I submit a comment or question? ............................ 11
View previous editions ........................................................... 11

Work and play

Mark Twain says somewhere: “What work I have done, I have done
because it has been play.

“If it had been work, I shouldn‟t have done it.”

It is incredibly important to try to find a way of enjoying our work. And yet,
at times like this, it can be extremely difficult.

It has been a tough week.

Management Team and the Financial Services Group spent two long
days on Monday and Tuesday struggling with next year‟s budget.

We are an optimistic and fun-loving bunch but it was a very painful

There are some really serious challenges facing our communities in the
coming year and there just isn‟t enough money to do everything that we
would like to do to support them through it.

The whole team felt that our budget choices this year are the hardest we
have had to deal with.

Using our resources wisely and creatively to give people certainty and our
full support is, I think, our top priority.

The global economic downturn, fuel and food prices and uncertainties
about jobs are a depressing prospect. But they are also an acid test and
huge opportunity for local government.

As I said in this bulletin some weeks ago, when the economy becomes
unpredictable, public services come into their own.
This is not about local authorities over-reacting to scratch the surface,
locally, of a global problem.

It is certainly not about setting up the emergency „Gold Command‟ to
make a drama out of our current difficulties.

A regional „task force‟ is about to be established and that is sensible.

For the County Council, we need to keep our feet on the ground and
concentrate on our core business of supporting our business community,
lifting burdens where we can, working with our public sector partners to
provide seamless support and providing opportunities wherever possible.
The greatest contribution those of us at the County Council can make to
support our communities is to strengthen our resolve and focus our
energies and creativity on delivering first-class services, first-time, every
time, at every point of contact.

This will require the best leadership, management and team spirit that we
can muster.

Our staff and their teams are right at the centre of this.

In his book Leading in a Culture of Change, Michael Fullan makes the
point that strong and supportive relationships are the key to performance.

When relationships improve, he says, more things go well and fewer
things go badly.

We have been a living example of that in recent years.

And so, notwithstanding all the real challenges which we are facing in
continuing to deliver our excellent services in the face of severe financial
restraint and economic turbulence, what I would most like you to do is to
strengthen the relationships within your team and between yours and
other teams within the County Council.

This is what the Dream Team Challenge is all about.

It is also going to be fun.

As Richard Branson says somewhere: “A business has to be involving, it
has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”

I can promise you that the challenges and rewards coming up for those of
you who have entered will provide all three.

I was delighted to hear this morning that 96 teams have entered for the
Dream Team Challenge and that they come from all over the County.

There is still time to enter before close of play today!

Have fun and good luck!


Time is running out!
Have you signed up for the Dream Team Challenge yet? If not, the clock
is ticking. All teams must be registered no later than 5pm today (Friday 31
October) in order to take part.

Over 500 members of staff from various service areas and offices all
around the County have already signed up, so there is plenty of
opportunity for you to pit your wits against your colleagues, managers and
elected members.

The fun doesn‟t stop once the chocolates have been eaten! As well as
this delicious treat for entering the competition – and the chance to be
crowned the Dream Team of Somerset – there are many exciting tasks
and fantastic prizes on offer throughout the competition.

Don‟t miss out! Register your team at
http://www.somerset.gov.uk/dreamteamchallenge before 5pm today.

Submitted by Emma Gill

Pilates classes
Beginning next week, we have six-week programmes of Pilates starting
and continuing.

On Monday, come along to the Frome Enterprise Centre between 5 and
6pm, or the Bridgwater Resource Centre on Wednesdays between 5.15
and 6.15pm.

For those of you who fancy a bit of light relief at lunchtime, the Temple
Methodist Church, just around the corner from County Hall, hosts courses
between 12.15 and 1pm.

Each course costs £20 for six weeks, so contact Somerset Direct on 0845
688 0488 to book your place. Also, in Wellington at W.H.E.R.E Northfield
Centre, there is a Pilates based keep fit class running on Wednesdays at

It costs £3 per person per session, so if you are interested in attending
this class or would like further information, please contact Louise
Woolway by emailing Lwoolway@somerset.gov.uk.

Submitted by Louise Woolway

Mendip Hills hedge laying champions
It‟s official, Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
Warden, Tina Bath, is the nation‟s best woman when it comes to hedge
laying! Tina won the accolade of „Best Lady Hedge layer‟ at the 30th
National Hedge laying Championship, held on the Royal Estate at
Sandringham in Norfolk on Saturday 25 October.

With keen support from the Patron of the National Hedgelaying Society,
HRH the Prince of Wales, some 121 competitors from all over the country
set to work on one hedgerow that had been specially selected for this

The competitor‟s work came under the close scrutiny of the judges who
were looking for uniformity of height and width in the final hedge, together
with highest standards of finish and presentation in the age-old
countryside skill.

Tina has been working with hedgerows for over 20 years, and for many
years was self-employed.

When she came to the Mendip Hills AONB to work as a warden in 1994,
she brought all her skills with her, and has, for several years, been
running training courses that help others carry on this age-old tradition.

Back at work again in the Mendip Hills AONB office at the Charterhouse
Centre, she reflected on the weekend‟s achievements, “This is wonderful!

“To have been awarded this is national recognition.”

Tina was not the only „Mendiper‟ to pick up a prize at the championship.

Local hedgelaying contractor, Colin Clutterbuck, was the winner in the
class for the North Somerset style.

All in all a good day for the Mendip Hills!

Submitted by Norma Newby

The roll of a dice
Would you make a business decision on the roll of a dice?

There is another way, take a look at our latest document.


Submitted by Pam Pursley

A new year - a new you
Stuck for ideas for Christmas presents?

Want to dress for success in all areas of your life?

Need more colour in your life?

Dillington House still has places available on two special one-day courses
designed for men and women who want to learn how to dress
successfully develop their confidence and discover their own personal

Looking Good Feeling Good
On Saturday 24 January and Saturday 28 February 2009, Dillington
House plays host to a course specifically designed for women who want
to look good and feel confident about themselves.

If you want to take a fresh look at your image and learn how to project
your personality with colours that enhance your natural colouring and
discover clothes and accessories that both flatter and project the real you,
then this is for you.

The course costs £46 and includes lunch, refreshments and workbook.

Image Works for Men
A relaxing, informal day specifically designed for men to discover how to
achieve personal style and inner self-confidence whatever their age takes
place on Wednesday 15 April 2009.

The course costs £41 and includes lunch and refreshments.

Both courses are run by Jenny Webb, a professionally trained personal
style coach, who has been helping men and women enhance their vision
of themselves for over nine years.

Whether you are treating yourself, or someone close to you, the day will
be fun and informative and we promise a superb lunch too!
For further details, please contact the Dillington House booking office on
(01460) 258613 or visit http://www.dillington.com.

Submitted by Denise Borer

Mendip Hills AONB funding
Funding is available to support projects that bring environmental, social
and economic benefits to the Mendip Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
(AONB). Over the last year grants totalling £46,768 have been awarded
to 11 projects.

The projects include a nature trail at Barton Camp, the International
Dormouse Conference that took place at Shipham, East Harptree Village
Shop, the Hawk and Owl Trust Community Owls Project, Avon and
Somerset Constabulary Cheddar Valley Horsewatch Scheme, Avon
Wildlife Trusts Living Landscape Project and Bracken Burn, a project to
develop bracken as a biofuel. Grants ranged in size from £300 to

The Mendip Hills AONB Sustainable Development Fund Panel meets
several times during the year to consider applications. The next meeting
takes place on Thursday 11 December and the deadline to submit
applications is Monday 24 November.

“We encourage applications from all sectors of the community including
business, local groups, individuals and national organisations.

“Projects must link with the aims of the AONB Management Plan,” said
Sarah Jackson, AONB Manager. For application forms and guidance
information, or for further dates and deadlines, visit

If you would like to discuss a project with a view to obtaining a
Sustainable Development Fund Grant, please contact either Sarah
Jackson or Gail Graham at the Mendip Hills AONB Service on (01761)

Submitted by Abi Howarth

Public Management Course at Plymouth University

The Learning and Development Team are arranging a postgraduate
course in Public Management with Plymouth University, to begin in
January 2009.

Currently there are 13 people from Somerset County Council attending,
but there is space for a few more. The time commitment is likely to be one
day a month for nine months at a venue in, or near, Taunton.

If successful on the course you will achieve a Postgraduate Certificate in
Public Management.

There is also the possibility of continuing the programme to Diploma or a
full MSc, with a further one or two year‟s study.

The financial commitment is £1,320, and there is no corporate funding
available to cover this.

If you are interested, then speak to your line manager about the funding
options or the option to self-fund.

If you are interested, please contact Ruth Shivas as soon as possible to
discuss details and entrance requirements.

Submitted by Ruth Shivas

Mendip Carer’s Day
On Friday 10 October, Mendip Adult Social Care held its first ever Mendip
Carers‟ Day at Wells Town Hall.

The event was organised by Mendip Carer Support Workers and proved
to be a huge success with over eighty people in attendance.

The purpose of the event was to provide information, relaxation and
support to carers from the Mendip area who might be caring for a family
member, friend or neighbour.

The day provided an opportunity for carers to share their experiences with
others, whilst enjoying respite from their caring responsibilities.

A range of information stands from a wide variety of agencies was
available for carers, including Somerset Direct and Age Concern.

Andrew Freeman, County Strategic Lead for Carers, outlined future
service provision, whilst former carer, Susan Hartnell-Beavis, shared her
own personal experience of caring.

Three workshops were offered, everyone enjoyed the Relaxation with
Stress Management, which proved very popular, as did the delicious
lunch that followed.

The day concluded with a moving performance by the theatre group,
„Mirror Mirror‟.
The feedback from carers was extremely positive:

“Thank you for a very friendly and happy day. „Mirror Mirror‟ Theatre
Group were compellingly powerful and released the feelings of the
audience to perfection.” Carer from Wells.

“The information stands were very useful and gave me access to
resources of which I was not aware.” Carer from Shepton Mallet.

With the encouraging responses we hope that Mendip Carer‟s Day will be
the first of many.

Submitted by Maggie Charlesworth

90th birthday competition for Somerset libraries
Somerset libraries are celebrating 90 years of service to the people of
Somerset this autumn with a photographic competition.

The aim is to invite customers and staff to submit photos taken over the
years showing how services and buildings have changed through the

If you‟d like to take part, pick up a form in your library and attach your
entry to it, perhaps also adding a favourite memory about using libraries.

There will be prizes for the best photos.

For more information, visit http://www.somerset.gov.uk/libraries.

The closing date is Sunday 30 November.

Submitted by Paul Smith

Further Information

Awards and Accolades
The County Council strives towards excellence in everything we do. See
how we are achieving this here. Go to Awards & Accolades

Corporate Diary
Forward plan your diary with details of forthcoming corporate events here.
Go to Corporate Diary

Corporate Projects
Feel you‟re in the dark? Switch on the light on the major projects the
County Council is currently undertaking here. Go to ISiS Go to Local
Area Agreement
Go to CPA Corporate Assessment Inspection Go to Joint Area Review

Job Opportunities
Want a new challenge or a new career? You can find out more with a few
clicks here! Go to Job Opportunities

Our partnerships are fundamental to delivering excellent services. Go to
SSP Go to Somerset Waste Partnership

Press Releases
Keep up to date with how the County Council is getting its „Good News‟ in
the media here. Go to Press Releases

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