Friday, 26 September 2008

HOPE event for people facing prejudice or harassment

AN event is being organised next month in Dunster for anybody who has experienced or is worried about being harassed or facing prejudice because of their race, faith, sexual orientation, or disability.
HOPE - Harassment or Prejudice Event – will take place in the Tithe Barn Community Hall on Wednesday, October 8, at 1 pm.
Speakers at the event include the police, local council, Crown Prosecution Service, Somerset Racial Equality Council, and Witness Service representatives, as well as somebody with personal experience of these sorts of incident.
Information will be available about support services and crime prevention and Tthere will be an opportunity to ask questions of all the organisations involved in tackling the problem.
The day will feature display stands from agencies involved and there will be a panel of representatives who will explain how the agencies work together, as well as a victim story.
A number of discussion groups will cover topics such as
Hate crime reporting - exploring the reasons why people do not report offences and what the agencies can do to encourage and make easier the reporting of such incidents
Safety awareness for businesses – for anybody running a business to share their experiences and find out what help is available to them, and to have their say in what should happen in the future
Your experience matters - where experiences of hate crime or being part of a minority community are shared with others, and suggestions made on how everybody can affect change
The court experience – finding out what happens if somebody is called as a victim/witness to court, the help and support which is available, and suggestions for improving the system
Free transport to Dunster’s HOPE is available via community transport scheme Atwest, which will be picking up from the Williton council offices at 11.15 am, from Butlins at 11.20 am, from the West Somerset Railway, in Watchet, at 11.25 am, the council offices in Summerland Avenue, Minehead, at 11.30 am, Driftwood CafĂ©, Blue Anchor, at 11.40 am, Silvermead, Alcombe, at 11.40 am, opposite Carhampton Post Office at 11.50 am, Ellicombe at 11.45 am, and Dunster at 12 noon.
To book a place at the event or to obtain further information, call 01935 402122, or just turn up on the day.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

£1 million community fund-raising challenge launches in college gardens

A CHARITABLE fund which aims to raise £1 million across Somerset by 2011 was launched at a reception in Cannington yesterday.
The Grassroots Grants Endowment Match Challenge is being organised by the Somerset Community Foundation, a Wells-based project set up in 2002 to provide a new, independent funding body to tackle poverty and disadvantage throughout the county.
Foundation director Justin Sargent said: “Our target is to raise £1 million over the next three years, which would attract an additional £500,000 from the Government.
“This is a unique opportunity for us all to build a major endowment fund for Somerset.
“It will provide much-needed long-term support to hundreds of local projects and initiatives that make such a difference to the lives of so many people.”
Clifford Hall, in Cannington College, was one of three venues across Somerset to host launch events for the effort to build a long-term community asset.
Mr Sargent said: “The events were enjoyed by all and a special thank you to those groups who helped to make the events a great success.”
More than 50 guests from the local area attended the Cannington event, including West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger and the West Somerset Business Network chairman, Sandra Wilson, from Dulverton.
They heard a talk by the college’s head gardener and were also shown around the college’s walled gardens.
Among the groups attending the Cannington reception was ALFFFA, a voluntary group providing Filipino and multi-cultural programmes and information to the community in the form of dance, song, music, food.
Also represented was the Sedgemoor Deanery Youth Project, which aims to care for and challenge young people, encouraging them to reach their full potential.
The local branch of Ups and Downs, a support group for parents and carers of children with Downs Syndrome, also took part. The charity provides face to face support, information and resources to help children reach their full potential both educationally and socially.
Mr Sargent said: “We are a unique charity in two respects. We are able to support a wide range of charitable causes across Somerset, which means we can respond to the specific and changing needs of each community, and we provide a flexible, professional and personal ‘donor service’ to a wide range of donors, enabling them to achieve their specific charitable goals within Somerset.
“At the heart of our approach is a strong belief in the importance of helping communities respond to their local circumstances in their own way.”
  • Our photograph shows some of the representatives who attended the launch of the foundation’s Grassroots Grants Endowment Match Challenge held in Cannington College. Photo submitted.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Johnny Kingdom guest appearance at Exmoor Food Festival

TELEVISION wildlife celebrity Johnny Kingdom will be a guest of honour at this year’s Exmoor Food Festival.
Johnny, a poacher-turned-gamekeeper who loves his local food, will be launching the Lyn Food Fest and signing books on October 5.
Lynton will be showcasing the very best foods, wines, and drinks from unique local producers as part of the festival.
The eight-day feast of local produce starts with a tea party in Porlock on October 4, while more adventurous tastebuds should be tantalised by a Moroccan evening at The Creamery, in Minehead.
There are also workshops on how to catch, cook and eat wild food, trapping or hunting with falcons, how to prepare game, and selecting wild mushrooms and herbs during a ‘Wild Food at Wimbleball’ event.
Thef award-winning Hidden Valley of Pigs, in Barbook, features a free range rare breed herd of Berkshire pigs, while huacaya alpacas can be seen on the Alta Lyn Alpaca Farm.
Visitors can pick up top tips from the renowned chef at the Yarn Market Hotel, in Dunster, take a tour of Exmoor villages in a vintage bus to enjoy locally-sourced lunches, visit Exmoor’s secret corners on a wildlife safari followed by a sumptuous meal at the Home Cook, or browse through a crafts and local produce market before attending Dulverton Carnival.
Firm favourites such as the Porlock Food Fayre, Breakfast at the Heart of Exmoor, Styles Ice Cream Open Day, and Exmoor Dinners at Ranscombe Farm Restaurant are again also on the menu this year.
Festival organiser Naomi Griffith said: “There are eight action-packed days and nights that will delight people who are passionate about superb local food.
“From farmers markets and food fayres, cosy pubs, and intimate restaurants, to farms on the wide open moors, there will be something to delight fans of fantastic food.”
Programmes for the Exmoor Food Festival, which runs from October 4 to12, are available at Tourist Information Centres, or more information is available by calling 01643 821425, or visiting

  • Our photographs show (from the top) Johnny Kingdom; Derek de Maid, of Brendon Hill Crafts; and an Exmoor lamb dish. Photos submitted.

Monday, 22 September 2008

New appeal supports ChildLine base for Westcountry

‘LET no cry go unheard’, is the rallying call of a local fund-raising appeal being launched today which, if successful, will massively increase the capacity of the NSPCC’s Exeter-based South West ChildLine service to help children in distress.
The fund-raising drive and expansion plans are key elements of the well-known child protection charity’s most prominent appeal since it launched the Full Stop Campaign in 1999.
Called the Child’s Voice Appeal, it aims to raise £50 million nationally over the next three years to continue to run and grow its listening services - like that provided by the ChildLine base at Exeter - and also by its national helpline for adults with concerns about a child.
A launch event is due to take place in Exeter city centre at 3 pm today where thousands of bubbles will be released into the air.
The NSPCC said its plans involved building on the existing telephone services and recruiting and training more volunteer counsellors to respond to children in need of help.
Services will eventually also include counselling online and by text.
Last year, the charity answered two-thirds of calls to ChildLine and three-quarters of calls to the adult helpline.
The Government is providing £30 million towards the development of the NSPCC helplines over the next four years.
An additional £50 million raised by the public through the Child’s Voice Appeal is needed to continue running the existing services and to get the development off the ground.
The local proposals, which would cost £2.6 million to implement, could see as many as 150 counsellors based in Exeter.
It is currently the smallest of the 15 existing and planned UK ChildLine bases with around 30 trained volunteer counsellors available for shifts supervised by five experienced, paid staff.
Nationally, the expansion would allow:
  • Growth of the NSPCC Helpline nationally by more than 60 per cent to counsel 18,000 more adults who have concerns about a child
  • 500,000 more calls every year put through to ChildLine volunteers
  • Young people to choose how they access help - by phone, online, or by text, wherever they live

Last year, the South West base counsellors counselled 2,529 young callers about everything from feeling suicidal to family break-ups.
The average length of a call is around 20 minutes but hour-long calls are not uncommon. Many callers ring more than once.
At the moment, the South West base has two shifts operating at peak times for calls on three days a week.
Outside these times, calls are routed to other bases which may or may not have capacity to deal with the calls.
Calls are routed to the nearest base available.
ChildLine South West children’s services manager Cheryl Marshall said: “ChildLine is a vital service for children so they have somebody to turn to, whatever the worry.
“Donations really will really make a direct impact in providing this service as we can provide more counsellors to counsel children, as well as allowing us to develop other ways for young people to communicate with us.
“It is important to remember, too, the children and young people who are unable to contact ChildLine themselves, be it because they are too young, or too scared.
“Whatever the reason, we want adults who are worried about a child to be able to contact the NSPCC helpline.
“The support and advice they receive calms fears, solves problems - and even saves lives.”
To support the appeal launch, a new TV advertising campaign will screen from this evening which draws on the theme of voices being heard (image above).
For further information visit: or call freephone 0844 892 0562 for support with fundraising.
In April last year, ChildLine South West was able to relocate from Newton Abbot to Exeter city centre premises capable of housing expansion of the service thanks to funding from the Children’s Promise, a project jointly developed by the New Millennium Experience and Marks and Spencer.
The new accommodation is shared with the NSPCC’s Young Witness Support Service which helps child witnesses who have to give evidence in court - mostly in sexual abuse cases.