Friday brief: Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees now settled in Northamptonshire
An update on new arrivals from Ukraine, some news in brief, the latest from Westminster and activities for the weekend
Northamptonshire has now welcomed almost 800 Ukrainian refugees since the war began. 469 people have arrived in the West of the county and 322 are now living in the North.
Next week North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive will discuss how best to use the £10,500 per person it receives from central government to support the new arrivals.
It is proposed that those funds are used in part to recruit a refugee resettlement team to offer support with housing, safeguarding and advice about healthcare, employment and education.
If the plans are approved the council says its aim is for agency staff to be in place by the end of July to deal with the current caseload and the recruitment of the resettlement team to take place in September.
Up until now much of the work to help refugees has been coordinated by the local community, charities and church groups. Cllr Lynne Buckingham is paying for many families to have English lessons out of the councillor community fund that all councillors are given.
West Northamptonshire Council currently has six resettlement workers who work alongside the communities team to offer support to Ukrainian families.
In addition to the £10,500 councils receive to help with resettlement the government also provides funding for education for Ukrainian children starting at £3,000 for those in early years up to £8,755 for secondary school aged pupils.
As of June 23 the North had received 91 school applications with 71 places being offered. In the West as of July 7 186 applications had been received with 158 places offered.
Last month the Guardian reported that some refugees arriving in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme were facing homelessness after the breakdown in the relationship between them and their hosts. It was reported that many local authorities were then treating those people as homeless rather than attempting to rematch them with new sponsors.
Both Northamptonshire unitary councils say there have been occasional relationship breakdowns with host families in the county but that in those circumstances they will attempt to rematch the family and sponsor.
New in brief
A new chief fire officer for Northamptonshire police has been appointed.
Mark Jones, who was police and fire commissioner Stephen Mold’s first choice, has been appointed to the role after a vote by the police and fire panel.
Jones, who was chief fire officer at Buckingham Fire Service several years ago and has recently held senior fire roles in Australia, was one of ten candidates who went for the job.
In a statement issued before his official appointment by the panel Commissioner Mold said:
“I have no doubt that Mark Jones is the right person to take NFRS forward into the next stage of its development, creating a positive, welcoming culture, embracing change, and taking the undoubted skills of the firefighters and staff to build on the already significant work they do in the broader community safety arena.”
The body of a woman in her 20s has been found at a Wollaston beauty spot. Northamptonshire police have launched an investigation after the woman’s body was spotted in the water at Summer Leys Nature Reserve by a passerby on Wednesday morning.
The woman has not been formally identified, although her family has been told. A post mortem took place yesterday to establish the cause of death.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Adam Pendlebury, said:
“Following this tragic discovery, we are working at pace to establish what has happened and are asking anyone who believes they may be able to help us to get in touch as soon as possible. I know many people will be concerned about this incident, and I would like to offer our reassurance that we have a large number of officers dedicated to our investigation.”
Further information will be released in due course.
Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call Northamptonshire Police on 101 or alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Incident number: 22000388343
A report about how to level up the three left behind areas in the North of the county has been published and will now go forward for executive approval.
The Levelling Up Scrutiny Review, which was chaired by Labour’s Cllr Zoe McGhee, spent many months meeting with residents and looking at the data pointing to particular issues in the areas.
The report has made a series of recommendations, including new CCTV in the areas of Kingswood and Hazel Leys, Avondale Grange in Kettering and Queensway in Wellingborough. A feasibility study about extra provision of youth services has also been recommended. The youth service provided by the former county council was vastly reduced a decade ago, with voluntary, charitable and christian organisations setting up to try and provide services for the county’s young people.
Speaking at a meeting of the scrutiny commission on Tuesday night, Cllr McGhee said, there was real engagement from the community, although the process was not without its challenges and hopes the recommendations can start to make an impact on the area, which are suffering from complex systemic issues.
The commission did not make any amendments to the report and it will now go forward to the conservative executive for final approval.
Wellingborough’s Glamis Hall on the Queensway estate is celebrating its 50 year anniversary. The community space hosts an over 50s day centre, community rooms and youth and sports clubs.
In June the local community turned out to celebrate the milestone by enjoying an afternoon tea with a band playing live music from the last 50 years.
As Boris Johnson gave his resignation speech outside No 10 yesterday two of our county MPs were among those who gathered in Downing Street to give him their support. Both Wellingborough’s Peter Bone and Daventry’s Chris Heaton-Harris who is chief whip watched on as the prime minister finally accepted defeat.
Johnson has pledged to continue in charge until the autumn while a leadership contest takes place. At the time of going to press, he was still attempting to fill the many government positions left vacant by the string of resignations in recent days.
One has gone to loyalist Corby’s Tom Pursglove, who has remained silent throughout the past few days and has not made a public comment on Johnson’s behaviour behaviour despite several requests on social media from residents.
He has become the policing minister, a post made vacant by Kit Malthouse who has been promoted to another role. Pursglove was formerly the minister for justice and tackling illegal immigration.
Pursglove was congratulated by his close ally Peter Bone on Twitter
Tom Pursglove MP @VotePursgloveAs the son of two former @NorthantsPolice officers, safer streets matter to me. I'm honoured to have been asked to serve as the Policing Minister during this period of transition. We are putting more police officers out on the beat, catching criminals and deterring crime.
🥳Rushden’s party in the park is happening tomorrow at Hall Park from 1.15pm to 10pm. Headline act will be Abba Revival.
🌻The Oundle Open Gardens event is happening on Sunday from 11am to 3pm. People can collect a map and wristband from The Queen Victoria Hall in West Street on the day and the cost is from £5.
🎉The town’s fringe festival is also on throughout the weekend until July 16.
🍔Bite Street NN is taking place on Sunday from 4.30pm at Franklins Gardens, Northampton.
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