Football coaching courses are about to kick off in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Newcastle Borough Council is running daily sessions for boys and girls of all abilities during the half-term holidays to help improve their skills and techniques.
The courses, suitable for five to 13-year-olds, include mini soccer games, penalty shootouts and crossbar challenges.
They run from 10am to 4pm at Roe Lane playing fields, Newcastle, on Monday 15, Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 February followed by Kidsgrove Sports Centre on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 February.
Places cost £10 per child each day and can be booked at Jubilee2, Kidsgrove Sports Centre or by calling 01782 786162.
The Council’s football development programme has FA Charter Standard status which means it meets best practice standards of coaching, administration and child protection.
In recent weeks residents have contacted me to complain about people setting off fireworks far too early and also lighting them in a public place. This problem occurs each year and has a huge impact on the health of people (especially small children and elderly people) in the community and also their pets. It is important to know what the law is on this issue so that swift action can be taken against the law breakers. Local shops and firework suppliers also have a duty of care when selling fireworks to anyone.
An individual can’t buy or use ‘adult’ fireworks if they’re under the age of 18, and it’s against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on certain occasions. ‘Adult’ fireworks are also known as category 2 and 3 fireworks; they don’t include things like ‘sparklers’ and ‘party poppers’. The law states that you must not set off or throw fireworks (including ‘sparklers’) in the street or other public places. If you see someone doing this you should contact the Police immediately on 101.
You must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am. The exceptions are:
- On Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight
- On New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am
An individual can only buy fireworks (including sparklers) from registered sellers for private use on these dates:
- 15th October to 10th November
- 26th to 31st December
- Three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year
At other times fireworks can only be purchased from licensed shops. Fines of up to £5,000 and/or imprisonment for 3 months can apply for buying or using fireworks illegally. “On-the-spot fines of £80” may also be imposed. If you think a supplier or local shop is selling fireworks inappropriately or without the correct license, you can report them to Staffordshire County Council Public Protection/Trading Standards on 0300 111 8045.
I can always remember visiting Kidsgrove Labour Club on a Thursday night and sitting with nana for a game of bingo. She loved the club and was much loved by the regular bingo players. She would always play a full book of six and nothing would stop that. One Thursday I noticed that nana couldn’t hold her bingo dabber properly. Her hands seemed to have stiffened up and she was missing her numbers. So I asked her if she wanted help and she was reluctant to let me, but eventually passed me the dabber and gave me a look I always remember. Nana didn’t want to give up, but her body was giving up on her.
Weeks went by and I noticed nana struggled to get out of the car, she would trip up on flat surfaces and she needed help to get up small steps. Ladies at the club, in particular Morag and Cath, would help as much as they could and I will never forget their kindness during what was a very difficult time. Nan had other problems, but she never complained and just wanted to carry on as normal, even though her body was trying to stop her.
Eventually nana struggled with swallowing and was choking on her food. I don’t want to go into great detail about what granddad had to do when she choked because it wasn’t pleasant and it upsets me thinking about it. Nana was eventually admitted into North Staffs because she was struggling so much with so many different issues. Her mobility problems were becoming a daily fight and she struggled to do anything without help. Eventually nana passed away with her closest family around her. It was a quiet end, but I still to this day cannot believe how quick it all happened.
I could go into much more detail about the suffering and the struggle we had caring for nana, but it wouldn’t be fair on my granddad or other family members. They have a right to keep their privacy.
Few diseases are as devastating as Motor Neurone Disease. It is rapidly progressive in the majority of cases, and is always fatal. People with MND will, in varying sequences and combinations, lose the ability to speak, swallow and use their limbs; the most common cause of death is respiratory failure. Most commonly the individual will remain mentally alert as they become trapped within a failing body, although some experience dementia or cognitive change. There are up to 5000 people living with MND in the UK. A third of people with the disease die within 12 months of diagnosis, and more than half within two years.
There is no cure for MND, but symptoms can be managed to help a sufferer achieve the best quality of life.
Over the years I have worked to raise awareness of MND in our community and also joined the Motor Neurone Disease Association (www.mndassociation.org) to help raise funds for research. So much more needs to be done on this issue in terms of providing better care for people with the disease and also encouraging the Government to fund better research.
The Government’s plans to reform benefits will have a negative impact on people with MND and their carers. The Government’s current proposals in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015 would take vital support away from people with MND who claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA), a benefit to support them when they can no longer work. The benefit freeze will mean that even those in the support group for the benefit will be worse off. The Governments proposal to include the basic rate of ESA in the four year freeze to working age benefits is causing significant concern for many affected with MND and their families and friends. In addition, carers will be penalised further by the lower benefit cap, despite the considerable service and financial contribution they make.
People with MND who find themselves struggling to meet mortgage interest payments will be faced with the prospect of arranging a further loan, and will have to wait 39 weeks in order to do this, despite their terminal diagnosis. Finally the cumulative impact of cuts across the welfare system poses a very real risk to those who need support the most.
My belief is that government ministers do not really understand how difficult it is coping with such a diagnosis and condition. People suffering with such a terminal illness like MND will face huge financial challenges in managing extra costs of the condition. It is an uphill battle when your body is quite simply giving up on you.
There should be no question that the Social Security System should be fully supporting people with terminal illnesses. People deserve to live the rest of their lives feeling comfortable and without worry.
The Government should ensure ESA is not affected by the freeze on benefits, and that the basic allowance rises in line with inflation. They should also remove the Carer’s Allowance and Bereavement Allowance from the scope of the benefit cap. The Government should also preserve the support for mortgage interest (SMI) as a benefit and provide an exemption to the 39 week rule for people with a terminal illness. Finally there should also be a requirement for the Government to carry out a report on disability poverty, and set meaningful targets to achieve reductions.
I will do all I can to raise this matter with the Government, my local MP and health bodies including the NHS. Unless you know someone who suffers with this disease, you will never really understand the devastating effects MND can have. So if you are reading this and want to do more, please use whatever means necessary to raise awareness of MND. Small communities can help with such a big issue.
Unfortunately my auntie has recently been diagnosed with the disease. My family are devastated and cannot believe how unlucky life can be. MND is rare, but to hit two relatives like this, even rarer. People in Kidsgrove are once again showing their kindness and are supporting our family to help our auntie. We are determined to work together to fight back and remain in hope that one day we will find a cure for this nasty vile disease. This is a fight we want to win.
(Thank you to the Motor Neurone Disease Association for providing facts and figures to make this article possible. You can visit the MNDA at www.mndassociation.org)
You can now buy your tickets to support our auntie and raise awareness of MND. Just click the link below for a fast payment, or alternatively you can purchase them from behind the bar at Kidsgrove Working Men’s Club.