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Pupils enjoy writing workshop

3.58pm - 18th December 2017

YEAR 6 pupils at Freshwaters Primary Academy took part in a writing workshop with author Neal Zetter, writer of Here Come the Superheroes.

Senior lead practitioner Jo Mullane said: "Pupils spent the day role playing and creating poetry around a theme, using Neal’s books and poetry pattern as a stimulus. 

“Children were able to experiment with their vocabulary and rhythm in poetry to create poems which they then performed.” 

Neal will return in the spring to work with Year 3 and 4 writers.

Award for Community Safety Officer

3.55pm - 18th December 2017

THE hard work and commitment of one of Harlow Council’s Community Safety Officers has been recognised at a national awards ceremony. 

Faith Watson was runner-up in the Police Support Volunteer category at the Home Office Lord Ferrers Award. 

The awards recognise the contribution police volunteers make to policing. 

Faith had been shortlisted for an individual award and attended the presentation at Millbank Tower, London. 

This year there were 600 nominations, twice as many as last year. Nine winners were announced at the ceremony which was attended by Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Minister of State for Policing and the Service Nick Hurd. 

As part of Faith’s role she is a Hate Crime Ambassador. 

She was nominated for her contribution and commitment to the Harlow Incident Reporting Centres project. 

She said: "It was an amazing experience to be selected from over 600 nominations. I met some amazing people and felt very humbled, it was something I will never forget." 

Harlow Council youth and community portfolio holder councillor Emma Toal said: "We are very proud of Faith and what she has achieved. 

"She is one of many hard working officers we have in the council who work with other organisations to make a difference to others."

Public Health England's Harlow move comes step closer

3.40pm - 18th December 2017

PLANS for Public Health England’s new public health science campus and headquarters have been given the green light by Harlow Council. 

Outline consent has been given for the development at the former GSK site, subject to conditions. 

Work will now take place between the council and PHE to finalise a legal agreement. 

The campus will be the national centre for PHE’s research, training and administrative functions. 

The plans will see PHE relocate most of its current facilities at Porton in Wiltshire, Colindale in north London and its central London headquarters to a single, state-of-the-art science campus. 

PHE Harlow as it will bring together experts in cancer, mental health, nutrition, smoking, alcohol, diabetes, dementia, infectious diseases, environmental hazards and climate change. 

Some 2,750 staff will be based at the currently vacant site by 2024, with scope for further expansion. Thousands of construction-related jobs will be created during the development of the site, of which it is hoped a significant number would be recruited locally. 

To help develop the next generation of scientists and meet its future recruitment needs, PHE will pursue academic and commercial partnerships and work closely with local schools and colleges to offer work experience and apprenticeships. 

The plans include a visitor area where school groups and other visitors can meet PHE scientists, attend talks, workshops and learn about public health, science and research. 

The planning application includes a Travel and Visitor Plan which outlines car parking provision and sets out sustainable travel and transport plans for the site.

These include shuttle buses to and from Harlow Town railway station as well as car-share and cycle-to-work schemes. 

Building work is expected to start in 2019 with phased occupation starting in 2021. 

The outline planning application had widespread support from a range of local organisations who see this development as vital to Harlow’s continued regeneration and building a reputation as a place to do business. 

Harlow Council leader Jon Clempner said: "This decision signals a key moment in building Harlow's tomorrow. "PHE's move is part of the regeneration of Harlow - making it a better place to live, work and visit. 

"This development and investment in our town, and the investment which will follow, will play a major part in Harlow's bright future. 

"New jobs and opportunities for local people and local businesses will be created and Harlow will be placed on the world map. 

"Once again Harlow will lead the way as the place for protecting and improving lives. This development directly benefits the town and the businesses and people already living here. 

"Together we are committed to ensuring that local people and local businesses take the opportunities the public health science campus will bring to Harlow." 

Harlow MP Robert Halfon said: "I have worked incredibly hard over the last five years to bring Public Health England to Harlow. 

"I'm delighted that the Government supported this and are investing over £400m in our town to make us the Science Health Capital of the world. 

"PHE will bring thousands of jobs back to Harlow and provide incredible opportunities for our young people and future generations. 

"Given that the Government are investing so much money in our town, I am very pleased that Harlow Council approved the planning permission for this development."

Hospital bosses serve festive fare to volunteers

2.09pm - 18th December 2017

EXECUTIVES at Princess Alexandra Hospital swapped roles with volunteers to serve a celebratory Christmas lunch to 50 of the hospital's volunteer force and thank them for their dedicated work throughout the year. 

Volunteers provide a vital function at Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust supporting clinical staff in a variety of ways and helping with patients and visitors. 

The trust has 120 volunteers across its three sites - at its Harlow hospital, at St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping, and the Herts and Essex Hospital in Bishop's Stortford. 

The volunteers perform a variety of duties, including running stroke patient support groups in Epping, as well as working in admin, A&E, pathology, biochemistry, maternity, children’s departments, and catering.

There are also students from Harlow College, Hertford Regional College and Epping Forest College committing over six months volunteering for their Health and Social Care courses. 

Voluntary Services also includes the Patient Panel and Chaplaincy. 

The lunch was organised by Voluntary Services Manager Arzum Tuzci and catering staff. 

Miss Tuzci said: "As a busy trust serving a population of 35,000, we could not function without these unsung helpers. T

"hey come from all areas and can vary in age from 17 to 93, but they have one thing in common - the dedication they show to our service. 

"We wanted to say a big thank you to them all, with a bit of festive fun."

Woman charged over arson attacks

8.52am - 16th December 2017

A WOMAN has been charged following two fires in Harlow. 

Police were called by the fire service following fires at neighbouring properties in Broadfield at about 1.20pm and 3.20pm on Tuesday, December 12. 

Police established that the fires were started deliberately and increased patrols in the area and carried out house-to-house enquiries. 

Nina Merry, 26, of Broadfield, Harlow, has been charged with two counts of arson with intent to endanger life and perverting the course of justice. 

She was due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Students stage Cinderella

2.44pm - 8th December 2017

STUDENTS at Burnt Mill Academy put on a festive performance of Cinderella. 

The show featured acting, dancing and comedy, as well as a medley of songs from 60 years of pop, including rewritten versions of hits by the Monkeys and George Michael. 

Philip Watson, lead practitioner of drama, wrote the bespoke script for the show including slapstick comedy scenes with two ugly sisters and music from the school’s concert and rock bands. 

He said: "We’ve always had a huge, inclusive cast of students from across the academy in our Christmas showcases.

"The challenge this year was to create a single pantomime with songs, roles, dances and scenes for everyone." 

Students auditioned in September and attended rehearsals each week to prepare for the performance. 

A performance was also put on for children at the Burnt Mill Academy Trust primary schools - Cooks Spinney, Freshwaters, Little Parndon and Roydon.

Students collect coats and food for charities

12.06pm - 7th December 2017

STUDENTS at Burnt Mill Academy have collected coats and food for two charities. 

Five sacks of coats have been donated to the Wrap Up London campaign while dozens of boxes of food have been handed over to Harlow Food Bank. 

Students are also volunteering their time to collect more Food Bank donations from shoppers at the Tesco store in Edinburgh Way. 

Head of Humanities Kayleigh Trainor said: "We have regularly supported the Food Bank, but this is the first time we have collected for Wrap Up London. 

"We want our students to be aware there are people around them who are not as privileged as themselves, that could include their friends in school without them even realising. 

"It’s showing them that, as a school we can support people in this way and raising awareness of the fact more and more people are turning to the Food Bank for help." 

She added: "It’s a way of promoting active citizenship and showing the positive impact we can have on our community. 

"The response has been really impressive, especially for Wrap Up London as we had a very quick turnaround for that collection."

Illicit cigarettes seized

9.41am - 3rd December 2017

MORE than 17,000 illicit cigarettes have been seized from two shops in Harlow. 

Officers from Harlow’s Community Policing Team worked with Essex Trading Standards officials to search businesses in the town centre on Thursday. 

During the intelligence-led operation, detection dogs Scampi and Yoyo located the cigarette haul and 4.5kg of hand rolling tobacco in a vehicle and hidden with a secret compartment in a shop wall. 

Inspector Tony Walker said: "The operation saw thousands of counterfeit cigarettes removed from shops that operated illegally while taking trade away from other businesses. 

"We’ve been listening to the community and in October introduced a 12-week plan to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

"We're already seeing the benefits and have completed over 200 hours extra foot patrols, have carried out four dispersal orders, have arrested eight people and have seen a reduction in reported crime. 

"We will continue our operations throughout the festive period and have additional plans to increase our visibility in the New Year, helping to create a safer community for people to live, work and visit." 

Councillor Susan Barker, Essex County Council’s cabinet member with a responsibility for Trading Standards, said: "The importance of this work cannot be underestimated and it would not happen without the help and support of the people of Essex. 

"We are finding that more and more criminal businesses are using sophisticated means to conceal illicit tobacco, often investing significant sums of money into their installation. 

"We have sent out a clear message that repeated criminal behaviour of this kind will not be tolerated and we will continue to work hard with our partners to clamp down on the sale of illegal tobacco." 

Both businesses have been issued with notices and the seized cigarettes will be destroyed.

Historic pond area restored

8.03am - 1st December 2017

HISTORIC Harlow parkland that has been part of the town for centuries is being restored thanks to an £80,000 project funded by Harlow Council and Essex County Council. 

Oakwood Pond, near Princess Alexandra Hospital in Little Parndon, has been transformed thanks to a project being completed by Harlow Council in partnership with the county council, contractors and volunteers.

The pond and surrounding area has a rich history, possibly dating back as far as the 1100s as a stew pond for the Canons Brook monastery and later forming part of the grounds of Upper House in the 1700s. 

In recent years the area has been neglected and fallen into disrepair. Now the site is on the way to returning to its former state with the original parkland being restored, flood protection for homes in Canons Brook and Fold Croft in place and the general environment being improved for both wildlife and local people. 

Work began on the first phase in September. 

It saw excess trees and vegetation removed opening up the area and reinstating the original pond for local flooding prevention. 

The water supply was re-introduce to the pond by reconnecting spring water. 

New aquatic plants have been introduced and a diverse range of water, vegetation and wood-based habitats created for wildlife and further restore the parkland. 

Access has been improved to and through the site from Upper Park to Harlow Town Centre and the hospital. 

Disabled access points, fishing platforms and a new 360m access loop/footpath around the pond have been installed along with a 30m boardwalk across a section of the pond. 

A number of bird boxes have been installed while a balancing pond has been planted with reeds to add to the biodiversity and to filter the incoming water supply. 

The new fishing platforms, available and suitable for people of all abilities, will also be used by Stort Valley Angling Society to help teach young people and people with disabilities to fish when the pond is ready to be restocked. 

A special opening event was attended by councillors, volunteers, contractors and local residents. 

Harlow Council environment portfolio holder councillor Danny Purton said: "Oakwood Pond will be a place for residents to enjoy once again and provide educational opportunities for local people. It is also another great example of local volunteers and Council staff working together to improve our town. 

"The plan is that this project will pave the way to make further improvements to the area in future. Once the water levels have increased and a natural food supply has been established, the pond can be restocked with fish. 

"This is an area that has unfortunately been neglected over the years but, by working together with local organisations like Stort Valley Angling Society, contractors and our fantastic volunteers, we can make this place really special and somewhere for everyone to enjoy."

School relaunches debate society

8.00am - 1st December 2017

A DEBATE society has been relaunched at Burnt Mill Academy with Year 7 to Year 11 students encouraged to come together to express their views. 

The club is also promoted as a way of keeping up-to-date with current events, to build confidence, to become part of a team and to take part in competitions. 

Each week students practise their debating skills. Maths teacher Angus Hally, who runs the after-school club, said: "Young people are seen as not being engaged with the world around them, particularly when it comes to politics. 

"The debate society gets them to think for themselves and to argue their points and is a great way of getting them involved. They get to explore some of the things they are interested in. 

"It also helps to develop an incredibly useful skill which is transferable across their subjects. In English, for example, it helps to make their critical thinking much stronger. 

"Most of the time I throw a topic at them and they have to debate it on the spot. It’s a really exciting club."

Students are looking to compete in competitions run by the Rotary Club and Oxford Schools.

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