Monday, February 28, 2011

Y-us? - A Charity devoted to supporting family members suffering as a result of a loved one’s drug abuse

1 in 8 people are seriously damaged by a drug addict in their family

But they are very unlikely to admit it!

Y…us? is devoted to helping and supporting the millions of family members whose lives have been devastated by one or more of them succumbing to long term hard drug addiction.

Its priority is to provide an environment where members and appropriate guests can communicate or meet in a caring, supportive and secure environment, exchange experiences and suggestions, gain comfort from the knowledge they are not alone, and realise that life can be worth living once more. It also provides training and information as to how the style and content of their communications with the addict can significantly help or hinder long term recovery.

Angie Chalkley (pictured above), has for 16 years battled with the crippling effects of her son’s addiction to heroin. She did not cause it, she cannot cure it and she can’t control it, but it has ruined her life and that of millions of people like her. Addicts have plenty of ways of seeking help, their families have virtually none!

Angie says,

"A few months ago I created Y-us?, a Humberside Charity devoted to supporting family members suffering as a result of a loved one’s drug abuse. Due to the stigma involved these people are largely unseen and unheard, but their numbers are huge.

I desperately want to work with people across the region to help improve the lives of thousands of people like myself, while giving partner organisations a chance to contribute to and enhance their profile within their community. Some of you will no doubt already be aware of the TV, radio, newspaper and magazine pieces that have spread the Y-us? message. There are many promotional opportunities available, and our strong media and political presence means we can together create a win/win result. "

You can learn more at, then please contact Angie to discuss how you can work together at Y-us?

p.s. If you have sympathy for this cause, please do send this message to your own database of contacts to spread the word.

Friday, February 25, 2011

COULD YOU BE AN ENTREPRENEUR? - Presentation to East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Young Advisors

This week I was invited to speak to the East Riding Council’s Young Advisors on the subject of entrepreneurship and business planning. This was more in my role as a director of my own company rather than as a Councillor. I really enjoyed the afternoon and I’m sure some of the young people present will go on to become successful entrepreneurs in the future.

It was a somewhat miandering and interactive presentation ranging from Education to Dragon's Den. The following are my notes as promised.


What are the 12 characteristics of successful entrepreneurs? You needn't possess all of these characteristics; few people do. Many of these can be developed or learnt as you enjoy your journey as a business person – remember business is a journey - it is certainly not a destination. It’s sometimes easier and less painful to learn from the mistakes of others – this is where it can be advantageous going into business in partnership with someone who can bring some of the following characteristics that you perhaps don’t have…. Yet!

1. Confidence

Not be confused with cockiness or bragging (remember, the quietest person in the room might also be the most confident).
Confidence refers to having belief in yourself and your ideas. This is essential, especially when things get rough. Most people gain confidence by creating a positive habit. I developed confidence by listening to others, always looking for the positive in any situation. Listen to people who are where you want to be – if you want to be a millionaire should you take advice from your mates at the pub or from someone who’s already a millionaire?
Invest time building your confidence as part of your preparation to embark on the journey of running a business. Always concentrate on positives and successes, take a public speaking course, and spend as much time with business people as possible.

2. Motivation

Without the reason why – don’t bother!
It’s the reason why, the dream, the desire is what makes you choose to become an entrepreneur. Personally I like to be in control of my own destiny, I like to do what I want to do, I want the satisfaction of doing it my way, I want to feel proud and I want to be admired – I also want to make some money.

3. Self-Awareness

Be aware of what you can and can’t do, recognise your strengths and weaknesses and work to your strengths and work on your weaknesses. If you can’t write get someone to help you, if you can’t handle accounts find someone who can – go out and do what’s productive and if need be - buy the other stuff in.

4. Be Competitive

You don’t have to always be first, biggest or best – you don’t have to smash the competition. It does mean that, in business, there are usually other people trying to do what you do except better, faster or cheaper. The key is to accept this and respond accordingly. Are you willing to put in the time to be successful? Do you use your initiative, can you seize the opportunity and be persistent?

5. Don’t be afraid of hard work

There is a significant time commitment to being an entrepreneur – many work and play very hard. People tell me I’m a workaholic, for me it’s never been about working nine to five especially in the beginning… but it does become a habit that’s difficult to break!
I thrive on hard work, I live with stress, and I never switch off – but I do know how to relax and play.

6. Never Stop Learning

The most important – the day you stop learning is the time to die. Keep up to day – as I said before always try to learn from others – less painful to learn from their mistakes than your own.

7. Persistence

Don’t be blown off course, have that strong desire to succeed, to work hard and to overcome difficulties. Nothing ever goes as planned.

8. Be focussed

It's important to be able to face the irritations and aggravations, and to be able to find solutions to the problems and then get on with your business.

9. Inventiveness

Always be on the lookout, see what could be and recognise the need. See the opportunity perhaps it’s for something that’s not be produced before. Train yourself to look out of the box – read and listen to successful inventors

10. Be aware of risk

To be an entrepreneurs will involve a degree of risk – but not overly so. High risk gives high pressure and high stress – and can lead to frustration and disappointment
I’ve not taken a great deal of risk – I’ve weighed the odds, I spread bet with advertising and have people working for me in case I go sick but other than that I calculate risk.
Good preparation (creating a business plan) should demonstrate your exposure to risk and your chances for success, if the calculation gives a disproportionate amount of risk – why would you proceed?

11. The ability to plan

“Those who fail to plan – plan to fail” – never jump in with both feet unless you’ve checked the temperature and depth of the water. Yes there are times to "fly by the seat of your pants" and it can work. But there is less risk to your success if you plan ahead.

12. Develop your communication skills

The essential element, one of the most successful people I know can hardly read or write – but he can communicate like you would not believe. Be able to articulate your dreams and visions to others – but most importantly have people feel comfortable in offering you advice and help – develop the skill of listening…. Very difficult for most politicians I must admit!
Learn to speak clearly and effectively, use humour were appropriate – develop the skills of communicating both one-on-one and in groups.
Learn to use the telephone correctly… Whenever someone asks “how are you ?” - There is the temptation to just say “fine” – why not try something different, how about…. “Never better” or “Hey you wouldn’t believe it, any better and I just couldn’t cope”, or “any better and I’d be twins”… what does that say to the other person on the line??? I’ll leave it up to you to decide!
Writing – always get someone to check any letter or important email - and never send an email after mid-night or when you’re angry or upset – I always wait till the morning and read it through after a night’s sleep!!

13. Luck

I’m a firm believer in making one’s own luck.

There is a great story about Gary Player, the South African golf champion, hitting a hole in one at a tournament.

“Lucky shot!” exclaimed one of the gallery. “Yes,” retorted Player, “and you know what, the more I practice, the luckier I seem to get.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

Newport Parish Council ploughs money from fishing rights back into community projects

Money raised by people fishing in the Market Weighton canal at Newport is now being ploughed back into the village by the Parish Council.

Last September the Parish Council obtained the fishing rights on a section of the Market Weighton Canal as it passes through the village, from the main road bridge north to Seavy Carr Drain. To date some £930 has so far been raised to be spent in the village, this is in addition to the welcome additional trade brought to local shops, the butchers, Fish and Chip shop, and pubs by the visiting anglers.

In early 2009, at the request of residents and Newport Parish Council I managed to obtain clarification from the Environment Agency as to the ownership of the Market Weighton canal, who was responsible for the banks, who owned the fishing rights, and what happened to the money paid by people to fish.

It was confirmed to me that until a few years ago, Hull and District Anglers Association paid rent to the Environment Agency and its predecessors for the fishing rights. The Anglers Association requested fishing platforms to be built, but the Environment Agency however were unsure of who owned the canal banks, and from this time on, I am led to believe the Association refused to pay the lease to the Agency presumably because they assumed that if the Agency did not own the banks then they did not own the fishing rights, although this had not stopped the Anglers Association continuing to charge people for fishing.

Needless to say that after considerable effort, particularly by Newport Parish Council, the fishing rights have been taken back and returned to the community.

There have been 5 matches and almost 200 tickets sold since the rights were obtained by the Parish Council – this was despite some revenue being lost due to flood water and ice. The costs to administer the fishing rights including the lease to the Environment Agency runs at less than £150 per year, although it must be stressed that the Londis supermarket makes no charge for issuing the tickets - which is a terrific gesture on their part.

The fishing is not restricted to any side of the canal and there are no pegs provided, there have been some issues with parking (which is being looked at by the Parish Council), litter and toilet facilities which require addressing - but on the whole many positive comments have been made.

I fully support the Parish Council’s efforts to extend their fishing rights further along the stretch of the canal northwards towards the River Foulness, and their plans make more leisure and amenity use of the canal as it runs through the village.

This is a great example of a community raising additional funds for public use, as well as contributing to the sustainability of the local shops and pubs in Newport.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sutton Bridge Weight Limit causes increased HGV movements in Bubwith, Holme on Spalding Moor, Harlthorpe and Foggathorpe

Many will be aware that after the work was undertaken to the bridge at Sutton on Derwent a temporary weight limit was imposed. Residents have confirmed this has resulted in increased HGV movements through Bubwith, Holme on Spalding Moor, Foggathorpe and Harlthorpe as many of the lorries leaving the Breighton Airfield Industrial Estate travelling north to York now travel through these Howdenshire villages on their way to join with the A19 or the A1079.

This weight limit on Sutton Bridge is temporary and of an experimental nature, and can, but does not have to run for a period of up to 18 months. The first 6 months of the experiment allows for comments, objections or letters of support to be made to the legal order for the weight limit which is in place.

I certainly do not support this ill thought out experiment, and would like to see it removed as soon as possible.

During the last few months many comments have been received by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council both in favour and not in favour of the limit.

Once the 6 month mark is reached (in the middle of March) comments will be reviewed and further discussions will take place with York City Council at this stage to further develop a way forward.

If you wish to comment, object to, or support this weight limit please pass on your comments to Paula Danby (the ERYC Officer dealing with this), by email at or writing to Paula at: County Hall, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, HU17 9BA.

To re-route HGVs through rural villages such as Bubwith, Holme on Spalding Moor, Foggathorpe and Harlthorpe not only passes the problem from one community onto others, but also has a detrimental effect on both the businesses that have to foot the extra fuel costs and increased travelling times, and the wider community with the increased emissions associated with lorries travelling the extra distances. I do not think this fits with the ERYC policy of reducing emissions through reduced journeys.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Decision on 23 affordable housing application in Holme on Spalding Moor deferred

This week I appeared before the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Western Area Planning Committee to speak against a proposal by Chevin Housing for 23 affordable houses in Holme on Spalding Moor.

The decision of the Committee was to defer and reconsider at the next meeting after a site visit.

I had appeared before the Committee a short while ago to speak in favour of an affordable housing application in village, for 4 dwellings on a small plot of undeveloped land, and of such a scale so as to be incorporated into the community with relative ease.

This is not the case for this 23 dwelling proposal and I pressed the Committee to give significant weight the rate at which a community can absorb affordable housing.

The application had been compared with a similar scheme in Newport, something I fully supported – but was very different because of that community’s capacity to absorb the properties and locally available employment.

I had spent a lot of time looking at this application, when previous sites in the village where identified but fell through, and certainly before this site was identified – I attended the public consultation event and have listened to many, many HOSM people.

Almost all accept the need for affordable housing in HOSM, especially for young people. There is a big difference between people who presently live in the village or have a close connection with it wanting affordable housing and people from outside the community indicating HOSM as their preferred village in which to live. On balance the figures demonstrate a need from within those living in the village – But I would certainly take exception to this need being described as massive.

I recognise the excellent work done by HOSM Parish Council in looking to address the affordable housing need in the village. Without their drive and determination this proposal would never have got off the ground.

The site selection is controversial to say the least – the whole process has raised a number of very series issues and the behaviour of the developer is not something they should be proud of – including sponsoring the Parish Council Magazine in which they announced their plans, resulting in the Parish Council finding themselves in a position that, under advice, didn’t even comment on the application when it was before them.

There are numerous better sites for housing in the village – I am led to believe this was not the first or even second choice. It is on the outskirts of the village a considerable walk from what most believe is the centre of the village. For the applicant to cynically re-define the centre of the village as the school in order to support the proposal is nothing short of a ‘manipulation of logic’, it is embarrassing and it has not gone down at all well with people.

The site is wet, neighbouring Bailywood Close have had drainage issues – I am led to believe one of the delays in getting this application before the Committee has been around drainage. Yes any site can be drained – But what is confusing here is that the flood risk assessment asks that soakaway tests are carried out and the results submitted to the Environment Agency – this has quite simply not been done and I can see no reason what so ever why it hasn’t. So how can this be considered acceptable when it clearly isn’t.

I have spoken to many residents, and when one considers the population of HOSM of 1,286 households, to have a total of 636 residents (that’s people who live in the village not in other communities), opposing this sends out a very clear message – there is not the support for this proposal for 23 affordable houses.

The majority are not NIMBY’s - the proposed development is not near them, but they recognise the pressures that will be put on local services if an extra 23 families move into the village.

The one letter of support pretty much nails the issue “Smaller infill plots of 2 or 3 houses would be more acceptable”. The Planning Committee report was shows that that even back in 2006 it was suggested that a phased development of 10 per year would be appropriate – this is what is needed rather than this large affordable housing development.

If this was a private developer wanting to build 23 houses outside of the village development limit – would it have even got as far as the Committee – I suggest not?

I suggest Chevin go back to the drawing board, consult with and take the community with them, and find a more suitable site - or preferably sites in HOSM.


Affordable Housing - A disappointing result at the second meeting of the planning committee after the site visit

As Ward Councillor I again spoke against the Chevin Housing planning application for 23 affordable houses when it was heard by the ERYC Planning Committee after the initial deferment, not that I didn’t support the need for affordable housing, but I had concerns with the location and as to how the village services could cope with a large influx of people at one time that we will see with such a significant development. I would have personally liked to have seen much more of a phased process - so the families moving into affordable housing could be integrated into the community at a reasonable rate – preventing a ‘them and us’ situation.

I thought local democracy would have won the day, but it didn’t. I feel very disappointed for all the 636 HOSM people who had taken the time to write an objection to this application. I have spoken to many HOSM people, and when you consider the population of HOSM is 1,286 households, to have a total of 636 people, opposing this sent out a very clear message – there was not local support for this proposal for 23 affordable houses.

The behaviour of the developer Chevin was not something they should be proud of, particularly in cynically redefining the centre of the village as the school to justify their choice of site.

We will now have to make sure that the new homes go to HOSM people or those who have a close connection with the village.

If anyone knows of people who fit this criterion and are interested in affordable housing please pass me their details.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Potholes, Potholes and more Potholes

As a result of the recent prolonged cold snap and combination of freezing, thawing and freezing, there is little wonder that some of the roads around Howdenshire and the East Riding are breaking up, and this is compounded by the fact that many of the roads were never designed for today's volumes of traffic and large HGVs.

This is not a matter of filling in potholes; some sections of roads in the East Riding are so damaged they will have to be rebuilt.

The cost of highway maintenance is funded through road tax, however the amount the last Labour Government paid back to local authorities was much less than they took in taxation and not sufficient to maintain the roads.

The cost to repair and rebuild our damaged roads will be huge, and it will take time, but East Riding of Yorkshire Councillors have made a pledge that the Council will undertake this work. .

We are not waiting for the damage to be reported, the Council has more than a dozen crack teams filling potholes as they go around - We think this is very much a common sense, practical short term solution as we cannot repair properly until the weather allows, and the full extent to the damage is known.

But motorists across the region are still being asked to report any potholes they come across to the relevant authorities. Potholes on minor and residential roads are dealt with by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council while those on major roads including the A63 and M62 are dealt with by the Highways Agency.

To report a pothole to the ERYC please call 0845 600 1 666
or email:
For major routes please call the Highways Agency on 08457 504030
or email:

Yorkshire Water working in Eastrington to reduce flood risk

Yorkshire Water contractors have really progressed since starting work on a project to reduce the flood risk to a number of properties in High Street, Eastrington and, hopefully, to reduce the pressure on the sewage system elsewhere in the village. The work is expected to last for 3 to 4 months in total.

High Street was closed for a period of time and there was also a period of one way traffic, controlled by traffic lights, whilst new drains were installed.

(pictured on a visit to the site)

The Yorkshire Water Scheme involves the installation of two large underground storage tanks along the eastern boundary of the playing field. They will be used to store excess water at times of heavy rainfall which will then be pumped back into the drainage system at a controlled rate when the pressure on the village sewer network reduces.

On completion a small control cubicle, vent pipe and manhole lids will be all that is visible. The playing field will be returned to its original condition and Yorkshire Water has said they will do everything possible to avoid any disruption for the playing field users and that Eastrington Show will not be affected.

As a temporary measure the main ingress into the village hall and car park will be through the entrance known as Jubilee Gates, which will lead also to an area of additional parking places by the cricket score box. It is hoped that by using care and consideration during this period that damage to the field will be minimised, and that once the work has been completed the entrance, driveway and car parking area will be back to normal.

“I am led to believe that a small amount of compensation will be payable by Yorkshire Water and current expectations are that this will be used to improve the village hall car park.”

“Whist appreciating the inconvenience to road users, especially those like myself that forgot the road was closed; the permanent benefits to the properties to the west along High Street would appear to outweigh the minor disruption. Having seen the flooding to some of the properties, and water coming up through the manholes and running down High Street during times of heavy rainfall in the past - I certainly welcome this work.”

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Eastrington Village Shop to re-open

Having listened to Eastrington residents and spoken to Gilberdyke Post Office owner John Shepherd a short time after Eastrington Post Office and shop closed; I certainly welcome his plans to re-open this valuable village facility. I don’t think people appreciated just how important it was to the community until it closed.
John realised the need when people from Eastrington started to use the Gilberdyke Post Office, telling him how difficult it was for some of the older people to get to Gilberdyke.
I am led to believe that there is a few weeks to go before the formal agreements are signed, but once open we will see the shop containing a ‘Post Office Local’ - which is somewhat different to a fully-fledged post office, but offering most of the same services.

For the most part it will be a village shop with the post office facilities at the till, therefore being more economical to run than the previous arrangement.

The big advantage is that some post office facilities, including buying stamps, posting letters and withdrawing cash will be available not just Monday to Friday - but also Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 1pm.

We hear a great deal of bad news concerning rural villages losing services, but in this case we have very good news as we see a service returning. I am confident that Eastrington people will support the ‘Eastrington Village Shop’ as it is to be known.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Gilberdyke Flood Relief Project Begins!

After all the organisational work, all the arguments and all the hassle - construction work has finally started on the Gilberdyke Flood Relief project this morning. Those who were affected by the June 2007 floods will, I’m sure, be looking forward to the work being completed and the risk of future flooding being vastly reduced.

Once the new culvert is installed there will be less pressure on the Yorkshire Water sewage system (into which an amount of the surface water discharges at present) and the other surface water drains, therefore this culvert will have a positive effect for most of the village.

This is the first of the three phases and the section which takes the surface water from most of the village, once completed the other two phases can then follow on soon after, looking towards a completion date for the whole system in the spring.

There will obviously be some minor disruption during the undertaking of the work, some people have raised the issue of the pipes being stored near the Health Centre and another raised the issue of the spoil being temporarily piled at the side of the public footpath. Hopefully the pipes will soon be buried in the ground and once the job in completed the spoil and waste materials will all be removed.

This work is a great example of a community working in partnership with organisations such as the Parish Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board.

Many thanks to all those people who have stuck with this.

(Pictured with the contractors who had to hand dig the first section)