A vital ingredient for Valentine’s Day
 
Couples looking forward to a romantic Valentine’s Day meal out or a candle-lit takeaway at home may not include Food Hygiene Ratings in their plans, but they are a crucial ingredient in the recipe for a perfect evening, says South Holland District Council’s Food, Health & Safety Team.
 
Restaurants and takeaways are given ratings from 0 to 5 after being assessed by council officers for the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, and diners should be on the look-out for ratings of 3-5 to be sure that the venue they choose has proper food hygiene procedures in place.
 
Cllr Malcolm Chandler, portfolio holder for Food, Health & Safety, said: “The scheme makes it easier for everyone to find somewhere for their romantic meal where food hygiene is taken seriously.
“For local restaurants, cafes, takeaways and pubs, a ‘good’ rating is good for business during this busy time.
 
“Diners should look for the green and black food hygiene stickers displayed on windows and doors. If you can’t see a sticker, then ask staff or check online at http://ratings.food.gov.uk/”.
 
Since the launch of the scheme, the council has applied a combination of coaching, education and enforcement to help drive up standards and support local businesses whose ratings were between 0 and 2.
Cllr Chandler added that hygiene standards had risen in the district as a result: “Around 97 per cent of the district’s restaurants and takeaways are now in categories 3-5, so it is a very high proportion.
 
“We’ve seen the benefits of the scheme and we do see premises actively wanting
 to get a 5 rating during inspections.
 
“Some are devastated if they don’t get it and will reach for that standard next time, so it’s very   worthwhile.”
 
The National Food Hygiene Ratings cover:
how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored;
the condition of the structure of the buildings – cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities;
how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.

Historic manuscript goes on display
 
An historic manuscript charting the details of Lincolnshire families over hundreds of years has gone on display at Ayscoughfee Hall Museum.
 
The museum is currently displaying a range of items belonging to the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, focussed on the recently acquired manuscript.
 
The piece is an 18th century manuscript titled ‘Armes and Memoires of ffamilies in Lincolnshire’ compiled by Maurice Johnson of Ayscoughfee Hall.
 
The striking green and gold document depicts the genealogies of a number of renowned Lincolnshire  families.
 
It is believed to date from the 1710s or 1720s and features beautifully written and illustrated entries  for various local families, presumably known to Maurice Johnson.
 
Over 200 families are listed, some of whose histories are traced back to the eleventh century.
 
The exhibition also features an index of names which visitors are able to search, and also to order facsimile copies of pages from the Society, which they hope will help genealogical researchers visiting Spalding.
 
Cllr Gary Taylor, SHDC portfolio holder for Arts Development, said: “Anyone who has a passion for local history will be fascinated by this exhibition which has already attracted much interest.”
 
A spokesperson for Spalding Gentlemen’s Society said: “The Council of the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society would like to extend a special thanks to the Friends of the National Libraries, whose generous support enabled the Society to purchase ‘Armes and Memoires of Ffamilies in Lincolnshire in 2014’.
 
The objects displayed show the broad range of collections held by the Society, which are accessible by appointment and at the Society’s open Sundays, held on the third Sunday of the winter months.
The exhibition is open until the end of March. Admission is free.
 
For more information and opening times at Ayscoughfee Hall museum visit www.sholland.gov.uk.
 
 
Ken McErlain | Communications Officer | South Holland District Council
Direct Dial: 01775 764885
www.sholland.gov.uk 
 

Pride Officer is reducing litter   
 
A drive to reduce litter from the district’s streets continues with a dedicated officer employed as part of the Pride In South Holland campaign. 
 

Pride Officer Dave Rodwell’s main job is to report littering, dog fouling and fly-tipping but he will also focus on encouraging people to use litter bins, especially when disposing cigarettes. His efforts have already met with a positive response.
 

Dave said: “The role is all about educating rather than enforcing and I’m finding that people are starting to recognise and approach me.
 
“We are determined to keep the streets free of cigarette butts and litter and by actively speaking to people we hope the message is getting across.
 
“It’s all about engaging and empowering the public, we’re not here to police people or point the finger.

 
“I personally enjoy getting out and meeting new people, so it’s a perfect job for me. Anyone who spots me out and about is welcome to come over for a chat.”
 
Roger Gambba-Jones, portfolio holder for waste management, said: “The Pride in South Holland campaign has already enjoyed much success but we’re not resting on our laurels.
 
“Our Pride officer combined with our recently-acquired Glutton cleaning machine will be ensuring that litter is reduced.”
 
For more information about the Pride in South Holland campaign visit www.sholland.gov.uk 

 

Food safety courses for businesses
 
Local Businesses can gain vital qualifications in food safety by taking part in training courses run by South Holland District Council in conjunction with South Kesteven District Council
Local firms can take part in Level 2 and Level 3 certificates in Catering at workshops held at SHDC’s offices in Spalding, SKDC’s offices in Grantham and Stamford Arts Centre
 
By law, all food handlers must receive adequate supervision, instruction and/or training in food hygiene
 
Cllr Malcolm Chandler, SHDC’s portfolio holder for Food Safety, said: “We are committed to supporting local businesses and residents by providing low cost quality courses that are locally based
I would urge any firms that haven’t already taken part in the courses to do so
SHDC is a registered training centre for the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and is providing the training on behalf of SKDC
 
By taking part in the courses you will have a better understanding of
Food poisoning and prevention
Food safety management systems
Food safety law
Safe food storage

Level 2 Course Dates for 2016

Tuesday 16 February 2016 - 9.30 am to 5 pm - South Kesteven District Council Offices, Grantham
Tuesday 23 February 2016 - 9.30 am to 5 pm - Stamford Arts Centre
Monday 11 and Monday 18 April 2016 - 5pm to 8pm - at South Holland District Council offices
Monday 6 June 2016 - 9.30 am to 5 pm - South Kesteven District Council Offices, Grantham
Tuesday 21 June 2016 - 9.30 am to 5 pm - Stamford Arts Centre
Wednesday 7 September 2016 - 9.30 am to 5 pm - South Kesteven District Council offices, Grantham
Tuesday 20 September 2016 - 9.30 am to 5 pm - Stamford Arts Centre
Monday 14 November 2016 - 9.30 am to 5 pm - South Kesteven District Council offices, Grantham
Tuesday 22 November 2016 - 9.30 am to 5 pm - Stamford Arts Centre. 
The cost of the Level 2 course is £55 per person. This includes course literature, examination fee and certificate upon successful completion of the course and exam

There are also spaces available on the Level 3 course
The dates of the next 3 day course are
7 March 2016 - 09.30am to 4.30pm
14 March 2016 - 09.30am to 4.30pm
21 March 2016 - 09.30am to 4.30pm
To apply for a place on a course or for more information visit www.sholland.gov.uk or call the Food Safety Team on 01775 761161

 

Time Bank

SHDC are working with Timebanking UK to set up a  time bank in South Holland. Timebanking is a way for people to help others in their community and be rewarded for it in time. For example shopping, dog walking, gardening and companionship. For every hour of time helping someone you receive one time credit. You can spend credits when you need help from someone else. Everyone’s time is equal, you give an hour and you get an hour back.
 
Three free Question and Answer sessions to raise awareness of time banks have been organised. To find out more come along to Tonic Health, Spalding at 11am on Tuesday 9th Feb, 11am in Crowland Parish Rooms on Friday 12th  Feb or Holbeach youth club on Monday 22nd Feb at 11am. If you have any questions contact South Holland District Council community development team on 761161 or e-mail community@sholland.gov.uk
 
   

Councillors help football team
 
A junior football team took to the field in a brand new kit recently – thanks to three South Holland Councillors
Pinchbeck Junior Girls Under 13’s were able to get a full kit of shirts, shorts, socks and tracksuit tops after Councillors Sally Slade, Elizabeth Sneath and James Avery donated £500 from their designated ward budgets.

The councillors recently presented the girls with a certificate before watching them in action
Mike Bracegirdle, the team’s coach, said: When I first asked Sally Slade about support for the girl’s team, the reply came back very quickly that they would love to help us

Everyone at the club thought it was a great gesture, especially offering us £500, which is a great deal of money
There are 18 girls in the under 16’s and 14 in the under 13’s team, though any girl who wants to play is always welcome
We entered both teams into the Girls only League, the S-tech Cambridgeshire Women’s and Girls Football League and needed a kit for them
It is difficult to keep asking local companies and individuals to support the club with donations for kit, so the money has helped to turn a group of interested girls into a fully formed football team, all playing regularly and loving every minute of it.
Cllr Slade said: We are always happy to help local causes and we hope that the team will enjoy wearing their new kit.
South Holland Councillors regularly use their designated ward budgets to support community groups and good causes across the district.
For more information and to find your local councilor visit www.sholland.gov.uk.

Affordable homes near completion
 
A new development of quality affordable homes earmarked for South Holland residents is nearing completion.
 
‘The Maltings’ based in Maltings Lane, Donington, comprises of 51 homes, with 37 properties available for affordable rent and 14 for shared ownership.
The homes, which include a range of one, two and three bed properties, have been built by Waterloo Housing working in partnership with South Holland District Council.
Much interest has already been expressed in the properties following a special open day event which took place at the Royal British Legion in Donington this week.
 
Cllr Christine Lawton, South Holland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “We are committed to helping provide good quality affordable homes across the district and this development certainly falls into that category.
“The homes are expected to be completed in March following a successful partnership with Waterloo Housing and I look forward to seeing the new tenants and owners move in.”
 
Marion Duffy, Director of Neighbourhoods and Operations at Waterloo Housing said: "We're delighted that our open day has been so popular and that we've been able to bring much needed affordable housing to the area by working in partnership with South Holland District Council.
 “If you weren't able to attend the open day, it's not too late to register your interest in these brand new homes."
 
Anyone interested in renting one of the homes is urged to get in touch with South Holland District Council’s Housing Team on 01775 761161 or alternatively Waterloo Housing on 0800 435016.
Those interested in purchasing one of the low cost home ownership properties can contact the marketing team at Waterloo Homes on 0345 450 3995.
For more information on the properties visit www.waterloo.org.uk.

Meet the Buyer

Local businesses are being invited to attend a special event to find out more about how they could win contracts to provide services for South Holland District Council.
The Meet the District Council Buyers event, to be held on 24th February, will give businesses a chance to speak to members of the council’s various teams about the diverse range of goods and services bought by South Holland. The event is open to all local businesses.
 
The companies will have an opportunity to hear more about how South Holland selects suppliers before talking about the services they can provide and how they could support the council to deliver first class services to residents and businesses. The event will also provide an opportunity for networking with other local businesses.
 
Julie Kennealy, South Holland District Council’s Executive Director of Commercialisation, commented: “South Holland buys a vast range of goods and services on behalf of residents and businesses, as well as behind the scenes services which enable the council to operate”.
 
Cllr Nick Worth, Portfolio holder for Commercialisation, said: “This event will provide local businesses an opportunity to find out more about the sort of contracts that South Holland offers and how they could become a supplier in the future. It also means our teams can find out more about the businesses that are out there which are offering new and exciting ideas, services, and ways of operating, which could help us further enhance our services and become more efficient and effective”.
 
When booking their place, businesses will be asked to identify their area of expertise so they can be matched with the most appropriate Council team. Service categories range from architects and financial services, to cleaning services, marketing materials, and security, so any business will be able to attend.
 
The Meet the District Council Buyers event will take place at the South Holland Centre, 23 Market Place, Spalding, PE11 1SS on 24th February, from 4pm. The closing date for registration is 5.30pm on 15th February. For more information and to book your place, email:economicdevelopment@sholland.gov.uk

Have your say on our Local Plan
 

Residents in South Holland are being invited to have their say on where new homes, businesses and roads should be built over the next 20 years.
A new Local Plan is being prepared for South East Lincolnshire (the areas of Boston Borough Council and South Holland District Council) to guide the development and use of land up until 2036, including the provision of some 18,000 dwellings.
The South East Lincolnshire Local Plan is being produced by Boston Borough Council, South Holland District Council and Lincolnshire County Council working in partnership.
As part of the preparation of the Local Plan, a public consultation is being held from 8 January to 19 February 2016 which will see a series of ‘drop-in’ exhibition events held across the area.
 
Residents and business representatives are invited to come along and have their say on a variety of topics, including housing site options for towns and villages and where facilities such as schools, GP surgeries and open space should be located in order to support the new homes. This will help determine which sites are most suitable for development.
The Local Plan will also help to determine sites for future business use, to assist in the creation of the 17,000 jobs needed in South East Lincolnshire.
 
Other proposals concern the delivery of the Spalding Western Relief Road and the Boston Distributor Road.
This stage of the Local Plan is about involving local communities in making choices from many options – and, as yet, no firm decisions have been made on where growth will happen.
 
Responses to this consultation will be taken into account in finalising the Local Plan which will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for independent examination in late 2016.
 
Cllr Roger Gambba-Jones, South Holland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and current Chairman of the South East Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee, said: “The new Local Plan is going shape the future growth of South East Lincolnshire, so it’s vitally important that people have their say on the proposals.
“The plan will identify opportunities for growth and set out guidance on the development that will be permitted and where it will go.
“So please don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to be involved in shaping our area’s future.”
 
The draft Local Plan and Policies Map are available to inspect at: www.southeastlincslocalplan.org; at each council’s offices; and at any libraries in the area.
There will be permanent exhibitions at Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston, PE21 8QR and at Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding PE11 2XE during the consultation period between the hours of 9am and 4.30pm.
The Policies Map Insets show whether any new development is planned in your area.
A list of the drop-in sessions is below. If you would like to have your say on the Local Plan but can’t attend any of the events, you can write to us at: South East Lincolnshire Local Plan, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston, Lincolnshire PE21 8QR;
or E-mail southeastlincslocalplan@sholland.gov.uk

The deadline for responses is 5pm on 19 February 2016.
 
Drop-in sessions take place at the following dates/venues between 3.30pm and 7.30pm:

 
Swineshead Village Hall, North End and Pinchbeck Village Hall, Knight Street
Wednesday 13 January
 
Wyberton Parish Hall, London Road and Sutton Bridge Curlew Centre, Bridge Road
Friday 15 January
 
Old Leake Community Centre, Furlongs Lane and Long Sutton Market House, Market Street
Monday 18 January
 
Kirton Town Hall, Station Road
Wednesday 20 January
 
Butterwick Village Hall, Church Road and Donington Ruby Hunt Centre, Church Street
Friday 22 January
 
Sutterton Village Hall, Park Avenue
Monday 25 January
 
Gedney Hill Memorial Hall, Hill Gate
Tuesday 26 January
 
Holbeach Community Centre, Fishpond Lane
Thursday 28 January
 
Surfleet Village Hall, Station Road
Tuesday 2 February
 
Crowland British Legion Hall, Broadway
Friday 5 February
 
South Holland Centre
Market Place, Spalding
Tuesday 9 February (from 11am – 3pm)
 
Cowbit Village Hall, Barrier Bank
Wednesday 10 February

Councillors fund hockey goals
 
A hockey club is benefitting from new goals thanks to three South Holland Councillors.
Cllrs Sally Slade, Elizabeth Sneath and James Avery used their designated ward budgets to help out Spalding Hockey Club.
They contributed a combined £750 towards the goals which will be used in competitive matches and training sessions by the club’s teams.
The club, based at Glen Park in Surfleet, regularly takes part in fund raising initiatives to help maintain their artificial pitch and playing facilities.
It has eight senior league teams (five men's and three ladies) and provides regular coaching and playing opportunities for over 100 local youngsters.
In a joint statement, the councillors said: “We are happy to support Spalding Hockey Club, as it does such a great job for sport and fitness locally, plus it is raising the profile of South Holland on a sporting stage." 
Fred Morris, Chairman of Spalding Hockey Club, said: “Everyone at the club is extremely grateful to the councillors for helping us out.
“The goals are state-of-the-art and wouldn’t look out of place in an Olympics match. Our next project is to install pitch-side dugouts and shelter for spectators.
“We have to continually raise money just to keep the club going and maintain our facilities, so any help along the way comes in very handy.”
South Holland Councillors have designated ward budgets which they use to help all manner of community groups and causes across the district.
To find your local councillor visit www.sholland.gov.uk.

Open Arts 2016
 

Artists are invited to enter a prestigious competition designed to showcase the best work created by professionals and amateurs across the region.
Entries are now open for the 16th South Holland Open Arts Exhibition which will take place at the South Holland Centre in Spalding
from March 3 – 10 2016. Artists can submit their work and an independent panel of judges will choose the pieces which will be displayed at the exhibition.
 
Cllr Gary Taylor, portfolio holder for arts development, said: “This prestigious event has been running since 1999 and previously attracted artists and visitors from all over the East of England.
“I’m sure next year’s event will be of the usual excellent standard and I look forward to seeing the artwork on display.”
 
The contest is open to any professional or amateur artist over the age of 14 living or working in Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Leicestershire or Fenland.
Artists can enter up to three works by completing an Open Arts entry form and submitting it along with photographs of their work to South Holland District Council’s Community Development team by Monday, February 1 2016.
There will also be prizes on offer which have been sponsored by Riverbank Studios in Spalding and Shutter Hub.
Full details and rules can be found in the entry form.
 
Entry forms are available from South Holland District Council, The South Holland Centre, Ayscoughfee Hall Museum, libraries and galleries in South Holland and online at www.sholland.gov.uk.
For more information or to receive an entry form contact the Community Development team on 01775 761161
or email community@sholland.gov.uk

Garden waste pilot scheme launched.

A pilot garden waste collection scheme will launch in South Holland from next April.
Members of South Holland District Council’s Cabinet unanimously approved the project at a meeting last night.
 
The two-year pilot will initially be available to 5,000 households with residents who sign up provided with wheelie bins.
A total of 500 kerbside collections will be made daily on a two-week rota. This will be split between Spalding households one week and Holbeach, Crowland, Long Sutton, Sutton Bridge, Donington, Gosberton and Surfleet the next week.
Residents in these areas will be invited to sign up on a first-come first-served basis.
There will be an initial charge of £49 for 24 collections a year and an initial one off charge of £15 to cover extras including delivery and lease of the bins.
Residents wishing to participate on an ad hoc basis or those living in a property which isn’t suitable for a wheelie bin can purchase paper sacks.

Cllr Roger Gambba-Jones, portfolio holder for waste management, said: “We are launching the pilot in response to the results of a survey and feedback from residents.
“It also likely that other local recycling services will be restricted in future meaning that residents have fewer options when it comes to recycling garden waste.
“We believe that at £2 a collection, this scheme represents excellent value for money and will be much cheaper than having to travel to recycle garden waste.”

Last year households were surveyed on interest in such a scheme, particularly method of collection and cost.
Around 85 per cent of respondents were interested in a garden waste collection service, with 60 per cent indicating they would be happy with a wheelie bin and 65 per cent prepared to pay £2 per collection.
It is also hoped that the scheme will help to boost composting and recycling rates in the district.
Further announcements about the pilot scheme and details on how to sign up will be made shortly.


New cleaning machine hits the streets.
 

Cigarette butts and chewing gum are being blitzed from streets by South Holland District Council’s powerful new cleaning machine.

As part of our successful Pride in South Holland campaign to clean up unloved sites in the district we’ve obtained a Glutton vacuuming machine.
The potent machine is highly effective at cleaning up cigarette butts, drinks bottles and chewing gum from pavements.
It is electric and runs silently, using a lengthy vacuuming nozzle to clear hard-to-reach pavement cracks and kerbsides.

Our street sweeping team will be using the Glutton machine to clean streets and pavements on a daily basis.
The machine is initially being trialled for three months and if it proves successful then it could be secured for an extended period.
A pavement sweeper is also being used in conjunction with the Glutton machine to clear dirt from walkways.
 
Cllr Roger Gambba-Jones, portfolio holder for Waste Management, said: “We’re confident that the Glutton machine will prove extremely effective at clearing litter from our streets.
“It has been used by other local authorities across the country and has already met with positive acclaim.
 “Our small street cleaning team do an excellent job, but we’re always looking for ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the service and support our determination to make the district a clean and enjoyable place to live.”

 
The Pride in South Holland campaign was launched last year to tackle eyesore sites in the district and has made great strides.
Highlights have included the cleaning up of the former Bull and Monkie pub in Spalding, clearing over 200 tonnes of fly-tipped rubbish from roadsides and the re-painting of children’s play areas.
The initiative also coincides with a national campaign run by Keep Britain Tidy to remove chewing gum from streets which launches this month.
 
For more information about this project visit www.keepbritaintidy.org

LOOK BEFORE YOU BOOK
Thinking of eating out

If you’re planning that special meal with work colleagues, friends or family we would like to remind you to ‘look before you book’.
you can’t tell a restaurant’s hygiene standards by how clean and tidy it is.
It’s the things you can’t see – like germs spread by bad hygiene practices.There’s one easy way to set your mind at rest – check the Food Hygiene Rating which tells you about the hygiene standards in restaurants and other food businesses.

Simply visit the Food Standards Agency website: www.food.gov.uk/ratings or if you’re out and about check for the green and black sticker, if you can’t see one, just ask.
Councillor Malcolm Chandler, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Health, said:
“Our Food, Health and Safety Team works hard by continually monitoring standards across the district and offering advice and guidance on good hygiene practices and I’m pleased to say we generally have good levels of standards across the district."
 “A good food hygiene rating is something to be proud of. It matters to customers so we are encouraging all businesses in the district to display their rating and have a prosperous Christmas season.”

The ratings are determined following an unannounced visit by local authority food safety officers, who follow national guidelines and are trained to make sure ratings are consistently applied.

The ratings run from 0 to 5, with a 5 rating meaning a very good level of food hygiene.
Around 97% of food businesses in South Holland are rated 3 or better so there are plenty of places with good standards.

If you don’t see a green and black sticker in the window or you spot a low rating online, you can make a better informed choice.
To Keep up to date with the latest businesses who are awarded a 5 rating, follow South Holland District Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/SouthHollandDistrictCouncil

Crackdown on illegal alcohol
 
South Holland District Council’s licensing team are launching a crackdown on illegal alcohol sales in in the district with a clear message for those breaking the law – clean up your act or face severe consequences.
As part of a new campaign, officers from the Licensing Team will be visiting licensed premises in the run up to Christmas.
 
Working alongside Lincolnshire Police and Trading Standards, the principal aim is to check for smuggled alcohol which is undercutting legitimate businesses and defrauding the government of funds for vital services.
They will also be checking the compliance of licence conditions and offering guidance to ensure that operators are working in a responsible and legally compliant manner.
Our officers can’t be everywhere at once – so we’re calling on the public to keep a look out for illegal drinks, cigarettes and operations in the district.
It’s easy to spot smuggled alcohol – if drinks are illegal they won’t have a small round Excise Duty stamp on the bottles, as shown.
 
Cllr Malcolm Chandler, portfolio holder for licensing, said: “Alcohol bottles over 35CL in size and with an alcoholic content of 30% or above must have Excise Duty paid on each bottle.
 
“For every smuggled bottle sold the government is defrauded out of £7.26 which should be going towards vital public services such as the NHS.
“Our officers already carry out regular inspections but we’re increasing our profile to protect the public and ensure that businesses can thrive legitimately.
 
“Most of the traders in South Holland operate within the law offering our communities a valuable service, but unfortunately a small minority do not.
“For any traders breaking the law we will find you and deal with you. Don’t run the risk of losing your licence and going out of business.”
Smuggled alcohol is brought into the UK by criminal gangs who sell it on at a reduced price, undercutting businesses who pay the legitimate rate. These products could also contain ingredients that may be harmful.
 
Shop owners who sell it risk having their licences revoked, heavy fines or even worse a stint in jail.
In recent weeks, two Spalding stores caught selling illegal drinks have had their premises licences revoked subject to appeal.
 
Anyone who spots smuggled alcohol, cigarettes on sale, or inappropriate licensing conditions in South Holland can contact our Licensing Team on 01775 761161.

Lincolnshire-wide crackdown on Benefit Fraud launched

A campaign has been launched by Councils across Lincolnshire in an attempt to crack down on Housing Benefit fraud and error.
A Parliamentary report which looked at the annual expenditure of Housing Benefit in the UK found that most councils were affected by claimant error or deliberate fraud.

In Lincolnshire the annual spend on Housing Benefit is £160 million pounds for around 52,500 households.
Lincolnshire authorities have joined forces and are working together to support the Government’s bid to cut the cost of fraud and error. 
The Lincolnshire campaign, called ‘Tell Us’ runs until March 2016. 
The campaign’s message to Housing Benefit claimants is simple. If you claim Housing Benefit you must tell your Council about all changes in your circumstances, including:
  • Money coming into the home - such as pensions, wages, other benefits or tax credits.
  • People who live in your home.
  • Savings and investments.All Lincolnshire Councils will be checking the Housing Benefit claims being made. 
  • As a priority, the initial focus will be on those considered a high risk of not having reported changes which means they may have received too much Housing Benefit which will have to be paid back.

Whilst most claims will be genuine and correct, the review is essential in order to find those that are wrong.
Some residents may have simply forgotten to let their Council know that they have had a change in their circumstances, such as children moving out or leaving full time education, getting a job or a pay increase. 
Changes such as these should be brought to the attention of their District or Borough Council as soon as possible to avoid claiming the wrong amount of Housing Benefit.

Now is the time to notify the Council of a change before fraud investigators take more serious action, which can include prosecution.
Cllr Peter Coupland, Portfolio Holder for Finance at South Holland District Council, said:
“Anyone who claims Housing Benefit and has had a change in their circumstances that might affect the amount of benefit they receive should contact their local District or Borough Council immediately.
“Most residents will be claiming the correct amount, and therefore do not need to worry. 
“However, it is an offence not to declare changes in circumstances, and anyone found to be in receipt of Housing Benefit that they are not entitled to may have to pay back the money and could face court action or financial penalty.  
“Tell Us. We want to help claimants avoid being in such a position.”

Extra care housing prioritised

The delivery of specialist housing for people with care needs has been adopted as a key priority for South Holland District Council.

Extra Care Housing is accommodation where care and support is provided onsite 24 hours a day in a communal setting yet residents retain a degree of independence over their own lives.
It is usually provided within complexes of between 40 and 60 units of self-contained accommodation.
Extra care housing schemes are often available across a range of tenures, from affordable rented and shared ownership through to market sale.
South Holland has been identified as a priority area for Extra Care Housing due to the area’s demographics and lack of existing supply.

Recently councillors unanimously approved the decision to make the delivery of Extra Care Housing a priority and work is now underway to identify opportunities to make the vision a reality.
Cllr Christine Lawton, portfolio holder for housing, said:
“We are acting now to meet the demands and needs of an ageing population and increase the choice available in the local housing market to those who wish to remain in specialist accommodation whilst receiving care.”

The 2011 Census identified that around 27% of the district’s population is of pensionable age, compared with 18% nationally.

Government population projections predict that there will be a 51% increase in the population of those aged 55 or over by 2036 and that over the same period, the population of those aged 85 or older will increase by 175%.
At the same time dementia rates in South Holland are anticipated to rise by 109%, along with an 88% rise in the number of people expected to suffer with mobility problems. 

SOUTH HOLLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL LIFELINE

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