Friday, 17 October 2008

Free session for hospital trust members on preventing and controlling diabetes

A FREE one-hour meeting for Musgrove Park Hospital Foundation Trust members is being held to look at the prevention and control of diabetes.
It is part of the ‘Medicine for Members’ series and is for staff and public members of the Foundation Trust.
The session on Tuesday, November 4, will be an opportunity to hear experts from the trust give advice and information on the latest research and evidence on a key issue of health interest.
Consultant physician and endocrinologist Dr Colin Close will present on the subject of ‘managing the diabetes epidemic’.
He will look at the latest medical evidence and lifestyle advice which can benefit everybody, explaining what people need to do, and need to stop doing, to prevent and control diabetes.
Information about the latest drugs and other treatments will be available.
The meeting starts at 7 pm in Musgrove’s Academy Lecture Theatre.
There will be an opportunity for questions and the meeting will end at 8 pm with a free wine and nibbles buffet.
Only 30 places remain available and any Foundation Trust member who wants to attend should book a place as soon as possible by emailing or calling 01823 342460 and leaving a message.
Joining the Foundation Trust is free and allows an opportunity to have a say in the future of the hospital.
Members receive regular newsletters from the hospital, invitations to exclusive meetings, consultations, and focus groups, and an opportunity to take part in elections for the members’ council.
The members’ council has a majority of publicly elected members and makes key decisions about the future of Musgrove Park.
To join, contact the membership office on 01823 342460 or fill in the online form available at

BUSINESS NEWS: New team of advisers to guide local firms through tough times

MEET the new team of full-time business advisers from Business Link (pictured, left), who are now covering West Somerset and the surrounding areas.
They are joining forces with Business Link’s existing online advisory and start-up services to provide fully-rounded support for local businesses.
Penny Bond, Al Brooking, Nicola Evans, Roger Bacon, and Peter Oldham are the new ‘local face’ of Business Link, meeting owners and managers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them with all the challenges they face.
Adam Chambers, who heads up the Business Link service across Somerset, said: “These are very experienced and successful business people, who now want others to benefit from all the lessons they have learned the hard way.
“Amazingly, their help is available at no cost whatever to you or your business.
“We think it is a fabulous opportunity for anybody who is serious about business improvement.
“First, your adviser will work closely with you to understand your business.
“Then, they will help you develop an effective action plan to improve it.
“And finally, they will put you in touch with the carefully selected professionals who can deliver the changes your business needs.”
All the new business advisers are experienced, hands-on managers and operators with a wealth of wisdom to share.
Penny Bond’s career has seen her work in just about every aspect of business - finance and credit control, sales, marketing, PR, and production and distribution co-ordination - but little in it has excited her more than helping Business Link clients.
She said: “That light bulb moment is the very best buzz that I get from this job.
“Businesses have transformed their perspectives to achieve very great advances after working with our team of advisers over just two days.”
Al Brooking’s career includes a long period as a partner in a family business, and he has 12 years’ senior management experience in retail and hospitality as well as stints in a number of other industries.
He said: “I feel real empathy with the owner/manager who regularly works a 70-hour week, because I have been there myself.
“There are many really excellent businesses out there, and I see my role as getting down to the real nitty gritty to find the solutions they need to get even better.”
Nicola Evans has had a successful career in marketing, including the launch, development, and sale of her own Midlands-based consultancy prior to moving to Somerset.
But she regards working with Business Link as her dream job.
She said: “It allows me to utilise my experience, expertise, and passion for marketing and business in general to help other companies fulfil their aspirations.
“That really gives me a buzz - helping people make positive change in their businesses.”
Roger Bacon sees the most valuable assets he can bring to Somerset businesses as his extensive experience and empathy.
“I have ve been there myself,” he said. “ As MD, I have gone into businesses that had not been performing well and worked closely with their team to turn them around.
“I get huge enjoyment and satisfaction from helping people to identify the problems that could be holding their business back and working together on what needs to be done to achieve even greater performance.”
A former management consultant, Roger most recently ran a major regeneration programme in East Anglia before moving to the South West.
Peter Oldham has a proud record of helping troubled businesses turn the corner - in a recent brief period as managing director of a warehousing and distribution business, for example, he helped turn a £150,000 loss in 2006 into a profit of more than £200,000 the following year.
He said: “I am not frightened of change, and taking the actions that a business needs to succeed.
“In my experience, though, it is most often changing the attitudes of people that does the most to help an organisation improve.”
According to Adam Chambers, this series of new appointments is a major investment in the future of Somerset business, which confirms the organisation’s commitment to one-to-one business support.
He said: “This is a fantastic line-up of management talent, and itis a very exciting moment for us and for the 22,000 SMEs across the county.
“From now on, we expect to see even better growth rates among the businesses we help across Somerset, even in today’s tough economy.”
Anybody who wants to arrange a face-to-face meeting with one of Business Link’s business advisers should call 0845 600 9966 or visit, where they will also find details of the many other services with which Business Link is involved.
They include Somerset-dedicated staff who can link businesses to a vast range of services for existing enterprises and those just thinking of starting up.
They can also put callers directly in touch with specialist services for rural businesses (via SWREG, the South West Rural Enterprise Gateway), people wishing to import or export (through UKTI, UK Trade and Investment), and anybody looking for training services (via Train to Gain).
Mr Chambers said: “It is all there just waiting to be used, and all the advice and contact services we provide are completely free.
“So there is no reason not to give it a go, and a great deal to gain.”
  • Our photograph shows Business Link advisers (left to right) Nicola Evans, Peter Odham, Penny Bond, Al Brooking, and Roger Bacon. Photo submitted.

League gives hospital £70,000 scanner in 50th anniversary year

YOUNG patients of Musgrove Park Hospital, in Taunton, will benefit from a new state of the art scanner, thanks to the hospital’s league of friends.
The £70,000 Echocardiogram/Ultrasound Scan will provide the paediatric department with the facilities to perform heart scanning on children of all ages.
This includes infants and even premature babies who can also have brain scanning carried out with the new machine.
The technology can be linked to other hospitals to allow for greater communication between clinicians across the region.
Consultant paediatrician Dr Talal Farha, who has a special interest in paediatric cardiology, said: “We are extremely grateful to the league of friends for their efforts to provide us with the funds needed to purchase this technology.
“Without a doubt, this will be of benefit for all children of Somerset.
“We have already started using the new scanner and we currently scan an average of 50 to 60 children each month.”
League of friends chairman Margaret Pegge said: “We are very grateful to everybody who helps the league - the money that we collect makes a direct and powerful difference to the care offered to patients at Musgrove Park.
“It is the league’s 50th anniversary in 2009 and we hope many more people will join us in our work.”
  • Our photograph shows Dr Talal Farha with Margaret Pegge and Alice Da Costa, who was the first patient to be scanned with the machine. Photo submitted.

Railway turntable is feature of new business development official opening

AN official opening of a controversial industrial development next to Minehead’s railway station will take place on Tuesday (October 17).
The £6 million regeneration project was led by Somerset County Council after it reneged on an earlier deal for a joint scheme with West Somerset Council.
The Mart Road development provides modern workspaces for businesses, retail opportunities, and a 110-space car park.
There will also be a café and the facility for different events to be held at the site, such as trade fairs.
The site will include a viewing area for the new West Somerset Railway turntable, which will enable visitors to see close-up the spectacle of 165-ton locomotives being moved by just two people.
It has been developed in partnership with the South West Rural Development Agency and the railway, which contributed £358,000, and it was also supported with £2 million of funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
On the day of the opening, young musicians from the nearby West Somerset Community College will entertain people on the platform of Minehead Station with jazz music.
County council Minehead ward member, Councillor Ian Galloway, will officially open the development and the railway will demonstrate the new turntable, which attracted national attention when it was craned into place earlier this year.
Councillor Galloway said: “I am very proud that we are now able to open this hugely significant development that the residents and friends of Minehead have advised on and helped to shape.
“We owe them all a huge vote of thanks. I am confident that together we will make the most of the opportunities created by the council and its partners, and that the local economy will soon see a good return.”
The RDA has invested more than £1.3 million in the project as part of its support for market and coastal towns, which often have vulnerable economies.
RDA regeneration head Carl Budden said: “This is an important project, creating a new hub of activity in Minehead for the benefit of the community, in one of the most deprived rural areas in the region.
“This new development will help create a more vibrant economy for Minehead and the wider West Somerset area by providing much-needed workspace for small businesses, including start-ups, as well as providing a welcome boost for tourism in the area.”
Railway general manager, Paul Conibeare said: “We are delighted to see completion of this outstanding project for Minehead and the railway.
“The railway witnessed over 6,000 visitors during our recent autumn steam gala, who, at some point, were either watching a steam locomotive been turned on our new turntable for the first time since 1964, or were using our new refreshment kiosk which has provided permanent catering facilities at Minehead since it was first opened in 1874.”
County economic development portfolio holder Councillor Alvin Horsfall said: “The council has invested almost £3 million in this development to provide opportunities for people and businesses in West Somerset to expand the local economy, encourage business investment, create jobs, and boost tourism.”
  • Our photograph shows the some of the new business units off Mart Road. Photo submitted.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Litter and leaf picks keep youths occupied on autumn evenings

YOUNG members of the Dreamscheme project operating in the Seaward Way area of Minehead have been earning plenty of points by cleaning up litter and leaves on their estate.
They have been out and about on every Tuesday evening this month, braving the wind and rain, and have filled more 20 bags with the rubbish they have cleared.
Scheme co-ordinator Debbie Fitzpatrick said: “We now have activities planned leading up until Christmas, including hotdogs and a fireworks display, Christmas shopping, and an X Factor singing competition.”
During next week’s school half-term holiday, the youngsters will be baking their own cakes and taking them along to a senior citizens’ coffee morning and chatting with the elderly people, to earn even more points.
Dreamscheme rewards young people for helping in the community by awarding them points which can be used for treats such as trips to football matches or to go swimming.
  • Our photograph shows some of the youngsters who have been giving up their evenings to collect litter and leaves at Seaward Way. Photo submitted.

BUSINESS NEWS: Speed networking and Indian food offer from Moorkhana

SMALL firms in West Somerset and Taunton Deane are being given a quick and fun opportunity to find new suppliers or win new orders from local businesses while tucking into an Indian meal at the same time.
Mignon and Andrew Johnson, who run newly-opened Indian restaurant Moorkhana, in Wiveliscombe, have teamed up for the occasion with speed networking facilitator Rachel Sweet.
They will host a two-and-a-half-hour speed networking session over lunch in Moorkhana on Friday, November 14, from 11.30 am to 2 pm.
The event offers business owners and managers a fun way to meet new people and to source potential suppliers and generate interest in their services or products.
Mignon said: “As a small business ourselves, we would like to help other firms in the Deane to be equally successful and so we offered the Moorkhana function room for Rachel to hold a networking event where people can generate business for each other.
“Moorkhana already provides job opportunities and skills training for the local economy of Wiveliscombe, while we also support the surrounding business community through hiring out our function room, plus each room in the restaurant doubles as a gallery where local artists can display and sell their paintings.”
Rachel Sweet is on the board of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and is also a UK Female Ambassador, and helps business women thinking of starting an enterprise or who need support and encouragement.
Places at the speed networking event, which cost £25, are limited because of the size of the premises, and can be booked by emailing or faxing 01823 326682, or by post to Moorkhana, 3 Silver Street, Wiveliscombe, TA4 2PA. Cheques for £25 payable to ‘The Saffron Kitchen’ should follow by post.
Moorkhana, which is the trading name of The Saffron Kitchen, is a family-friendly restaurant serving meals between 6 pm and 10 pm on Wednesdays to Saturdays and lunchtimes by prior arrangement.
Mignon said: “Many of my recipes have been handed down through generations of my family and some of them are handwritten by my mother, which means the food in Moorkhana is authentic and tastes just how it would if you were actually in India.”
More information about Moorkhana and the speed networking event is available from Mignon and Andrew Johnson by telephoning 01984 623648 or by visiting the website
  • Our photograph shows Mignon Johnson in traditional Indian dress. Photo submitted.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

PROPERTY NEWS: Buy all of a new Minehead home for three-quarters of the price

BARRATT has unveiled an offer for anybody who wants to buy a new home in Minehead.
House hunters could pick-up the keys to a property on the new Clanville Grange development immediately, for just 75 per cent of the price.
Barratt would then pay the other 25 per cent through a deferred loan.
Some lenders will even accept Barratt’s 25 per cent share as the purchaser’s deposit - meaning they might not need a deposit of their own.
Barratt sales manager Louise Terry said: “This is a terrific offer, which can make a dramatic difference to the move-in price of a new home.
“Paying only a 75 per cent mortgage makes buying very affordable.
“And you may not have to find a deposit either.
“This is not shared ownership - it is your home, and you own 100 per cent of it, but you only pay 75 per cent of the purchase price now.
“There is no interest or rent to pay on the other 25 per cent for up to 10 years or until you sell the property, whichever is sooner.
“We can only offer it on selected plots for a limited period.
“We will operate on a first come, first served basis so I would advise anybody who wants to move to pick up the telephone or visit our website now.”
Homes currently available to move into for 75 per cent of the price at Barratt’s Clanville Grange include one and two-bedroom apartments from £125,000 to £191,950.
For further details call Clanville Grange, which is open daily from 11 am to 6 pm, on 01643 709738, or log on to
  • Our photographs show some of the recently completed Clanville Grange homes in Minehead (TOP) and a typical living room (BELOW). Photos submitted.

Fund-raising Botham visits hospital children's unit 'where it all began'

ENGLAND and Somerset cricket legend Sir Ian Botham started his latest fund-raising walk - and visited Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, where it all started for him 20 years ago.
Sir Ian, who is president of national blood cancer charity Leukaemia Research, walked around the hospital with chief executive Jo Cubbon and consultants Dr Linda Whiteford and Simon Bolam.
He saw the new Beacon Centre for cancer patients, which will open in May of next year, and was cheered on outside the children’s unit, where he first met patients with leukaemia in 1985.
Sir Ian said: “It was great to be back at Musgrove Park Hospital where it all started for me over 20 years ago.
“The staff here are working hard with Leukaemia Research and many others to help beat childhood leukaemia for good.”
Dr Whiteford is a consultant paediatrician with a special interest in cancer and she joined Sir Ian on his walk round the hospital.
She said: “Leukaemia is the commonest form of childhood cancer and the work that Sir Ian and Leukaemia Research are doing to raise awareness and funds is helping us to make great progress.
“Survival rates have improved dramatically over the last 20 years and overall survival rates for children with leukaemia are now approaching 90 per cent.”
Anybody who would like to help Sir Ian Botham beat childhood leukaemia should visit or call 020 7405 0101.

  • Our photograph shows Sir Ian Botham and chief executive Jo Cubbon outside the children’s unit at Musgrove Park Hospital. Photo submitted.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Good behaviour by youngsters is rewarded by Dreamscheme

POLICE have praised the success of a scheme in Minehead which rewards youngsters for good behaviour on a housing estate.
Teenagers who act as ‘better citizens’ on the development off Seaward Way can enjoy activities such as fishing trips and days out at the Alton Towers theme park.
The Dreamscheme initiative was launched nationally last year with Home Office funding to help cut down youth crime.
Minehead police Inspector Carol Pearce said incidents of bad behaviour in Minehead had fallen greatly since the scheme started.
She said: “About 12 months ago, we were looking at 150 to 200 reports of anti-social behaviour for that period of the year.
“In the second period of the year since we started that process, we are looking at less than 10.
“It is demonstrating that if we do work with young people and the wider community on a one-to-one basis and people get to know who their beat managers are and who the young people are, if we work together and have community cohesion, we will have a better society for all of us to benefit from.”
‘Dreamscheme - Seaward Way’ celebrates its first anniversary this month.
  • Our photograph shows some of the youngsters from the estate who were taken to see a Football League match at Plymouth Argyle in February of this year. Photo submitted.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Rescue bid for troubled Quaywest radio stations

A BRIDGWATER company has stepped in with a rescue bid for troubled West Somerset commercial radio station Quaywest 102.4 FM and its sister station in Bridgwater, Quaywest 107.4 FM.
Dave Englefield (pictured), one of the founders of the Bridgwater station when it was previously known as BCR FM, has set up Bridgwater Broadcasting Services Ltd (BBS), of which he is a director, to take on temporary responsibility for running the two Quaywest brands.
It follows an application to the High Court by Quaywest parent company, financially-crippled Laser Broadcasting, to be placed into administration.
The Laser application, due to be heard in Leeds on October 24, pre-empted an application by a creditor to have the company wound-up.
Mr Englefield, the Quaywest station director, said: “We are thrilled and delighted to be able to bring the stations back into local hands.
“The radio stations are extremely important to the people of West Somerset and Sedgemoor, and an integral part of the community.
“We have an important role to play for our listeners and the local businesses, who have shown us a huge amount of support and loyalty, which, in turn, gives us a fantastic platform to build on.”
BBS has aligned itself with local media and marketing company Southwest Media Consulting in its bid to help save Quaywest and to ensure that the stations remained locally owned.
Mr Englefield said: “This is going to be a testing, but exciting time for us all.
“Both stations were born in Somerset and we intend to make sure they both continue to thrive and grow.
“We owe it to the public and their continued support to keep their own radio stations on air, and in local hands.
“We are looking forward to the challenge, and will be working hard with the staff to ensure we keep the stations running successfully.”
BBS is expected to keep the West Somerset and the Bridgwater Quaywest stations running while administrators deal with the winding-up of Laser’s affairs.
The Watchet station recently celebrated its 10th birthday, while the Bridgwater one has been on air since 2001.
They were originally independently owned before being sold to Watchet-based Choice Media, and then to Laser Broadcasting in 2006.
More information about the BBS rescue bid is available from Darren Horne or Lawrence Hebron at Southwest Media Consulting by calling 01278 434 231.