Get online with free training sessions on August 11th at Suffolk One

A group of summer Interns from Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils are holding free workshops to help people who have trouble using computer technology.
The Beginners’ Internet and Technology Skills workshops, each lasting two hours, will be held at Suffolk One Sixth Form College on August 11th from 10am and 1pm. Student volunteers from the sixth form college will also be joining the interns to help on the day.
The idea for these workshops came from Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s four summer interns, who are spending 13 weeks with the councils to gain experience of what it is like working in a district council. Their internship comes under Suffolk County Council’s Raising The Bar initiative, which aims to raise educational attainment levels within Suffolk.
Robert Carmichael, Management Support Intern at Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, said: “We came up with the community project of a computer and internet workshop for beginners from our work within both councils. We had become aware that there is a skills gap between those that can use the internet and those that can’t. After seeing this we wanted to do something to help so we created this workshop.
“With the world becoming ever more digitalised this session will help those people who are keen to learn but are currently struggling to get online for one reason or another. We can take up to 30 people at each workshop and it would be fantastic if we can fill these places and help even more people enjoy the benefits the internet can bring.”
The free workshops are open to anyone and will include:
•    Setting up email an address
•    Skype- video and instant messaging
•    Internet Searches- understanding what to look for and how to look for it.
•    And any other general queries that attendees wish to discuss about technology that they have encountered or own.
Babergh and Mid Suffolk are committed to helping to provide stronger communities and part of their strategic priorities are based around enabling people to develop skills and assets which help themselves and their communities.
If you, or someone you know, would like to attend either of the sessions, which are being held at 10am and 1pm on August 11th, or have any questions, then please contact Annabel Larter, Environmental Health Intern, on: 01449 724709, email Annabel.Larter@midsuffolk.gov.uk or Emma Seymour, Communities Intern, on 01449 724926.

October report to Mid Samford parishes

From District Councillors Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard

sue.carpendale@babergh.gov.uk  kathy.pollard@babergh.gov.uk

A14 Tolling

Babergh District councillors recently debated the issue of tolling on the A14 near Huntingdon. The Highways Agency have been consulting on the issue, but there was a tight deadline for responses by October 13th. More details of the proposed scheme are available on the Highways Agency website

Improvements to the route will cost £1.5bn, and the consultation suggests that motorists should contribute towards these costs by introducing tolls.  Recently announced road improvements elsewhere in England do NOT include tolls. Suffolk’s Chamber of Commerce point out that an A14 toll would be a major departure from current practice. Until now there have only been tolls on river crossings or the M6, where there is a clear alternative for all traffic. Details of their “No Toll Tax on Suffolk” campaign are on their website

There will be much needed improvements to the Girton interchange on the Cambridge Northern Bypass. The toll would be imposed on the new section of the A14 near Huntingdon and the proposal is to use automatic number plate recognition. We are unclear about how this will work with foreign vehicles.

The majority of Babergh councillors supported the view that vehicles should not be tolled. The campaign against tolling is being led by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and has the support of all councils in the County as well as many commercial organisations. A fuller account is available on Kathy’s blog (see address above), but here are some extracts:

  • Tolls on the A14 would be discriminatory, adding costs to businesses in the East of England.
  • Many heavy goods haulage firms have a policy of not paying tolls. Tolls on the A14 will lead to traffic diverting onto less suitable alternative routes leading to an increase in congestion and accidents on those routes.

Textile recycling

Don’t forget that you can recycle textiles including shoes and handbags in the special bags provided. These should be tied up and placed inside the blue bin on top of your other recycling. However the bags are not being replaced automatically and to order replacements you have to ring 0845 603 9412, or email:  textiles@suffolk.gov.uk or call in at the library.

Please continue to give good quality items to charity shops and other good causes. The textile recycling service is really for items that would otherwise go in your black bin and be sent to landfill.

More information at www.greensuffolk.org/recycling/textiles-recycling/

Better Broadband initiative

Suffolk currently has some of the poorest broadband coverage in England, with no coverage at all in some parts of the County.  Suffolk councils have agreed to allocate investment to a maximum of £11.68m, which is matched by a further £11.68m from national Government. BT were awarded the contract to carry out the improvements.

  • The average broadband speed currently experienced by Suffolk’s consumers and small businesses is under 5Mbps (Megabits per second).
  • This average masks wide variations in speeds across the County; around a quarter get between 2Mbps and 4Mbps, and nearly one fifth (60,000 premises) get less than 2Mbps, with some parts of Suffolk unable to receive any broadband service at all.

The vision for Suffolk’s Better Broadband Programme is to deliver Superfast Broadband, offering typical speeds of 100Mbps, to everyone (100% of homes and small business) in Suffolk by 2020.  The interim objective is to get faster, more reliable broadband services to everyone in Suffolk by 2015.

However there will still be “black holes” in the coverage in sparsely populated rural areas and an alternative technology “fix” will be needed there.

Once deployment is completed in October 2015, 90% of Suffolk will have fibre broadband (85% of which with access speeds of at least 24Mbps), with the remaining 10% accessing speeds between 2Mbps and 24Mbps via a range of technologies.

To check the rollout of the programme in your area please look at the website: www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com

Suffolk County Council’s Scrutiny committee looked at this issue at their meeting on Sep 26th and the above information is taken from the report which is available here

Babergh District Council meeting 19th Sep

The following items were discussed at the meeting:

  • A14 tolling (details included in this report)
  • Annual Treasury Management Report 2012/13
  • Scrap Metal Dealers Act
  • Statement of Accounts for the year 2012/13
  • Terms of reference for joint committees of Babergh and Mid Suffolk
  • Allocation of lead member roles to councillors: Kathy is the lead member for Public Access

Further details available on the Babergh website

Suffolk people urged to show support for better Broadband

PEOPLE who live, work and shop in Suffolk are being urged to show their support for the Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign.

A new survey has been launched which asks residents and consumers if they’re interested in superfast broadband, what their current internet speeds are and what speeds they’d be interested in getting.

 The survey only takes five minutes to complete and is an essential part of the campaign’s work to prove to ministers and potential suppliers how much superfast broadband is both wanted and needed.

Suffolk currently has one of the poorest broadband networks in England. The average broadband speed experienced by Suffolk’s consumers and small businesses is under 5Mbps. 

 The Better Broadband for Suffolk residents’ survey can be found online: www.suffolk.gov.uk/broadband

 Follow the campaign:

Twitter –  @BB4Suffolk

LinkedIn –   Better Broadband for Suffolk