The owl returns …..


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Journalism: too elitist, too removed from ordinary people – says journalist

“… Giving the MacTaggart lecture on Wednesday, the journalist [Jon Snow]said: “Amid the demonstrations around the tower after the fire there were cries of: ‘Where were you? Why didn’t you come here before?’

“Why didn’t any of us see the Grenfell action blog? Why didn’t we know? Why didn’t we have contact? Why didn’t we enable the residents of Grenfell Tower – and indeed the other hundreds of towers like it around Britain – to find pathways to talk to us and for us to expose their story?

“In that moment I felt both disconnected and frustrated. I felt on the wrong side of the terrible divide that exists in present-day society and in which we are all in this hall major players. We can accuse the political classes for their failures, and we do. But we are guilty of them ourselves.

“We are too far removed from those who lived their lives in Grenfell and who, across the country, now live on amid the combustible cladding, the lack of sprinklers, the absence of centralised fire alarms and more, revealed by the Grenfell Tower fire.” …”


… “The Grenfell residents’ story was out there, published online and shocking in its accuracy. It was hidden in plain sight, but we had stopped looking. The disconnect was complete. Our connectivity – life on Google, Facebook, Twitter and more – has so far failed to combat modern society’s widening disconnection. …”

Now Seaton and Honiton hospital beds are closed, here’s something to look forward to

Better keep fingers crossed that you or your loved ones are not in a similar position to some of the people mentioned here.

But if you are one of the unfortunate ones, remember Paul Diviani (EDDC), Sarah Randall Johnson (DCC), Neil Parish MP, Hugo Swire MP, Minister Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister Theresa May all put you there. They all have one thing in common: they are Conservative politicians whose decisions led to this situation – and think carefully about whether you would vote for them now or in the future knowing what you know now.

People who receive care at home have told a health watchdog that a lacklustre service has meant they have had to go two weeks without a shower, eat their dinner at 3.30 in the afternoon and be cared for by workers who can’t make a bed.

The failings highlighted in a report by Healthwatch England drew on the experiences of more than 3,000 people who receive care at home. Other problems described in the document include care workers coming at different times to those scheduled, not having enough time to fulfil all their duties and some missing appointments altogether.

Across England there are more than 8,500 home care providers, collectively helping an estimated 673,000 people with tasks such as washing, cooking, dressing and taking medication. The report suggested that home care was “in a fragile state” and that care packages were being “designed to meet the needs of the service provider rather than the service user”.

One home care user in Redcar and Cleveland said: “Sometimes they give me a shower but they go over their time. Most of the time they haven’t got the time to give me one so I go a couple of weeks without one and that is not right. I feel dirty.”

A woman in her 80s told Healthwatch Bradford her care workers were unable to boil an egg or make the bed, while another said staff needed to be taught “home care common sense”.

A care user in Barnet, north London, said: “I am diabetic and sometimes carers are late or don’t show up and that really affects my medications and insulin administration.”

However, Healthwatch, the health and care consumer champion, stressed that most people had positive things to say about their domiciliary care – with many older people praising the service because it enables them to remain in their own home and to maintain as much independence as possible.

Neil Tester, the deputy director of Healthwatch England, said: “We heard examples of compassionate care from dedicated staff, but people also talked about care that doesn’t meet even basic standards. Given the challenges facing the social care sector, it is more important than ever that people’s voices are heard.”

Izzi Seccombe, the chairwoman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “This report shows that while most people report that their services are good there is a need to improve services.

“The financial pressure facing services is having an impact and even the very best efforts of councils are not enough to avert the real and growing crisis we are facing in ensuring older people receive the care they deserve.

“The continuing underfunding of adult social care, the significant pressures of an ageing population and the ‘national living wage’ are combining to heap pressure on the home care provider market.”

She added: “This study shows the strain providers are under, and emphasises the urgent need for a long-term, sustainable solution to the social care funding crisis.

“While the £2bn announced in the spring budget for social care was a step in the right direction, it is only one-off funding and social care services still face an annual £2.3bn funding gap by 2020.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Everyone deserves access to high-quality care, including those who receive it in their home. This is why we have introduced tougher inspections of care services to drive up standards, provided an additional £2bn for adult social care, and have committed to consult on the future of social care to ensure sustainability in the long term.”

Exmouth: EDDC and Grenadier sign contract

And here is the spin, spin, spin:

“East Devon District Council has confirmed it has signed a deal with Grenadier Estates for new watersports centre in Exmouth.

The watersports centre will be community focused and a not for profit development, and forms an integral part of the council’s plans to regenerate the seafront area, the new centre will be built on a former car park on Queen’s Drive.

As well as offering watersports facilities, a new access ramp will be incorporated within the development allowing easier access to the beach, and will further confirm Exmouth’s place as a leading UK watersports destination, the council say.

Cllr Philip Skinner, the council’s portfolio holder for economy, and chairman of the Exmouth Regeneration Board, said: “I am delighted that we are entering into this agreement with Grenadier Estates. There has been a long-held commitment to have this watersports centre for Exmouth and we are now taking a huge step forward to achieving this ambition.

“The council, through the Exmouth Regeneration Board, has delivered significant improvements for Exmouth over recent years including the new Strand in the town centre, the new Premier Inn and more recently, the re-opening of a brand new Mamhead slipway. The delivery of the first phases of the Queen’s Drive regeneration is now the next step in this exciting journey for Devon’s largest town.” …

There is more in the same vein, but Owl can’t bear to give them more oxygen of publicity.

A VERY extraordinary council meeting on Exmouth seafront businesses!

Owl predicts it will indeed be extraordinary – if it happens!

“East Devon District Council says it is to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the future of two Exmouth seafront businesses which are set to close imminently.

The council confirmed its chief executive was considering a request for a meeting to discuss the future of Exmouth Fun Park, set to close next week, and the Harbour View Café, set to close at the end of September.

A spokesperson said: “We will announce shortly when that meeting will be held.”

The sites of those businesses are needed for phase three of EDDC’s proposed three-phase seafront redevelopment plans, but there is currently no developer in place for this phase, and it was revealed last week that the site has not yet been remarketed to developers.

EDDC said last week that sites would be boarded up ‘for a time’, but that temporary attractions could be provided.”

“Rural littering is down to councils charging residents more to use local dumps” says Countryside presenter

Well, it seems simple to us countryfolk: charge people too much to remove their waste and they will dump it somewhere that is free … But councils no longer work for their electors – they are big businesses that exist for profit and development. Fewer services for more money to spend on vanity projects and unsympathetic regeneration.

“… Official figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs showed councils across England reported 936,090 cases in 2015/16, up 4 per cent on the previous year.

Clearing up all the waste is said to cost councils £49.8million a year, and on-the-spot fines of up to £400 are said to have done little to ease the situation.

Craven, who has fronted Countryfile for more than 25 years, continued: ‘This scourge had been on the decline but now it’s peaking and in some quarters blame is being put on local councils.

‘Because they are strapped for cash, they are charging more to use local rubbish tips and even closing some of them, while at the same time cutting back on household waste collections. …”