Difficult choices face Surrey Wildlife Trust in funding shortfall

Scrub removal in Folly Bog

Once again, I’m informed by readers about a current issue – this time by Lightwater Retiree. Thank you.

The Guildford Dragon reports that Surrey Wildlife Trust [SWT], in seeking to address a funding shortfall, is looking to reduce staffing, as this statement by SWT in the Guildford Dragon states,

“In response to the reduction in Surrey County Council’s funding, SWT has been asked to find significant cost savings. The savings required can only be achieved through restructuring the countryside management team.”

“The proposal under consultation is to have six fewer roles. The final number of redundancies will depend on how many of the team want to apply for and are appointed to the new, different roles as well as other opportunities available within the Trust.”

Get Surrey report that all of the Surrey Wildlife Trust rangers are to be made redundant. Reading this Surrey Wildlife Trust working to be self-sufficient by 2021 as council reduce funding, in Get Surrey of January last year, describes the funding shortfall resulting from a new arrangement with Surrey County Council.

In the Trust’s 2016 annual report, it’s staffing, including a reduction of 4 through redundancy, is shown as 95,


If you’re keen to delve deeper into the arrangement between Surrey County Council and the Trust, it’s available to read HERE, just as the 2016 Annual Report of SWT.

I do find it curious that the report in Get Surrey is markedly more dramatic than that reported in the Guildford Dragon.

Flood alleviation works keep Surrey Heath safe from flooding

I’m worried that I’m tempting fate here, by saying Surrey Heath is well prepared for flood events at this time. Really, I should say the eastern part of Surrey Heath is well prepared, from the map below the River Blackwater and the Blackwater Valley have flood alerts.

Here’s the latest Environment Agency flood warning/alert map for our local area.

flood-map-jan-2017Readers here will, I’m sure will know of my keen interest in flood alleviation as Lightwater has in the recent past suffered from flooding. See HERE why its important, and most recent article on the subject HERE, if you’re interested.

I’m somewhat out of date on knowing where the most recent flood alleviation works have occurred, or are planned in the Borough. I’d better do some research. Will tell you what I’ve found.

Lightwater Co-op tell me they’ve re-opended

Jolly nice of the Co-op to post an advertising flyer through our letter box, in which they tell me that ‘Your Lightwater Co-op has re-opened”.

Passing the Co-op this week I noticed workmen erecting a sign in the square. Promising myself to find out about the re-opening and the new sign I visited the store yesterday. Actually, I bought a bottle of their Medium Dry sherry, which is rather good, neither too dry, nor too sweet. Harvey’s Bristol Cream is too sweet for me, and Tio Pepe is much to dry for my taste. [I have written about sherry, and it’s varieties –SEE HERE].

Noticing Gill Price in the square, I walked over to her and asked about the re-opening, thinking I missed something. Well, they did have a day this year when water was pouring through the ceiling – burst pipe perhaps. No, said Gill, it was about the pre-Christmas closure, and she’d received her adverting flyer before Christmas.

Always necessary to ask questions to find out what’s happening. Anyway, I took a photo of the new sign.

Surrey Heath awards grants to voluntary groups of almost £160,000 for 2016/17

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce grant funding for voluntary organisations for 2016/17.

surrey-heath-houseVoluntary organisations in Surrey Heath are to receive almost £160,000 of support in 2017/18 following a decision by Surrey Heath Borough Council this week.

On Tuesday 10 January, its Executive approved grants to community organisations and charities dedicated to helping people within the borough.

A total of £159,900 will go towards supporting groups including Citizens Advice Surrey Heath, Voluntary Support North Surrey, Surrey Heath Age Concern, and Basingstoke Canal Authority.

The grants have been allocated for the past 14 years, with the funding reviewed annually by the Council.

The other organisations awarded grants were Surrey Heath Arts Council, Surrey Heath Sports Council, Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership, Camberley Central Job Club and Tringhams lunchtime club, West End.

Cllr Colin Dougan, Transformation Portfolio Holder for Surrey Heath, said: “Voluntary organisations within Surrey Heath do a tremendous job and are hugely valued.

“They continue to provide vital services – whether helping people on a day to day basis, or enriching the community through the arts, sport, or access to the natural environment. While the council has limited funding resources from which to give grants, we are committed to recognising their crucial work in Surrey Heath.”

The Revenue Grants awarded were:
Citizens Advice Surrey Heath: £80,000

Voluntary Support North Surrey: £30,000

Tringhams, West End: £13,000

Surrey Heath Age Concern: £10,000

Basingstoke Canal Authority: £10,000

Camberley Central Job Club £7,000

Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership: £5,000

Surrey Heath Sports Council: £3,500

Surrey Heath Arts Council: £1,400

Replacement for damaged London Road milestone ready for installation

I know this will please Lightwater Retiree, who recently bemoaned the lack of progess on the repair to the damaged milestone.

I’ve received a lovely New Year message from Surrey Heath Museum Curator, Gillian Barnes-Riding. She says the replacement for the damaged milestone on the London Road [A30] is ready for installation. Continuing, she said plans are being made to install the replacement, and a celebration of the event. I’ll let you know here, when I know.

If you want to know more about the damaged milestone, I recommend this front page article in the Camberley News – Historic Camberley milestone defaced, which reported on the mindless vandalism to the milestone. It’s simply amazing that this report was on May 12th 2015. Goes to show how long it takes to organise a replacement, and the funding for it.

The magnificent Gillian Barnes-Riding raised the funds for the replacement, variously from grants from Surrey Historic Buildings Trust, Surrey Heath Local History Club, The Milestone Society, and private donors – including yours truly.

Here are photos of the replacement in the museum, awaiting installation.


The Winter newsletter of Surrey Heath Neighbourhood Watch

Perhaps I’m a touch late posting the Winter 2016 Newsletter of Surrey Heath Neighbourhood Watch. Regardless, it’s a worth a read, and to know that the Neighbourhood Watch volunteers are an active and professional group.

Click on the arrow at the bottom right-hand corner to expand the view.

The battle of wills is surely between Theresa May and Angela Merkel

Lots and lots is written daily interpreting the minutiae of government words on Brexit. I don’t want to add to it. My angle is about personalities. Perhaps I’ve missed it, but the media don’t seem to be focussing on the key battle between to two main combatants, Theresa May and Angela Merkel.

theresa_mayLets look at what each has said in the past two days. Firstly, Theresa May on the Sophy Ridge Show in Sunday, then what Angela Merkel said on Monday.

Sophy Ridge asking about prioritising control of immigration over membership of the single market, Theresa May said,

‘We are leaving. We are coming out. We are not going to be a member of the EU any longer.

‘So the question is what is the right relationship for the UK to have with the European Union when we are outside. We will be able to have control of our borders, control of our laws.’

Angela Merkel, speaking to the German Civil Service Association, said,

angela_merkel_2011“One cannot lead these [Brexit] negotiations based in the form of ‘cherry picking’. This would have fatal consequences for the remaining 27 EU states.”

“Britain is, for sure, an important partner with whom one would want to have good relations even after an exit from the EU.”

But Mrs Merkel said it was important to be clear, “that on the other hand, we are clear that, for example, access to the single market is only possible under the condition of adherence to the four basic principles. Otherwise one has to negotiate limits (of access).”

Angela Merkel will, surely, have been aware of what Theresa May said on Sunday. No obvious agreement there that I can see. From what we know about the two of them, there are remarkable similarities. Both are religious, lead centre-right political parties, have held similar positions in their respective parties and government, are of a similar age, have no children, and are from a non-metropolitan background,

So far, so similar. Both have succeeded in the male-dominated world of politics, so will both have exhibited grit and determination to succeed and survive. Perhaps it might be said that both show a stubbornness. On Brexit both Merkel and May have frequently repeated their positions, with neither varying very much from those positions.

There’ll be appointed European negotiators, though not yet exactly sure who and what. While the people in the negotiations will be important people, they’re not as important, in my opinion, as that of Merkel for the EU, and May for the UK.