Community News and Events

Council’s Rescue Grant Kick-Starts World Title Win

Judo Picture

A council sports development grant came to the rescue of Pitsea teenager Kieran Silver and helped him on his way to win a gold medal in an international martial arts tournament. Kieran, a master of Taikido, faced having to bow out of the world all-styles martial arts championships, held in Malta, because he could not afford the airfare and hotel. But before months of training got the chop, the council stepped in to keep his ambitions alive with a £600 lifeline just days before he was due to compete. Sustainable Communities also helped out with an additional grant. The grant meant Kieran, 17, went on to lift the World United Martial Arts Federation title for Great Britain in the men’s under-75kg intermediate continuous contact category. "I could not have done this without the help of the council grant. I was facing having to pull out of the championships because I couldn’t finance the trip. That would have been a massive blow to me, especially as it was the first time I had been picked to compete," said Kieran. "We run the sports development fund to assist promising young sportsmen and women in training and competition," said councillor Anthony Hedley, cabinet member for Leisure and Open Spaces. "It is designed for athletes whose achievements can put Basildon on the map, and Kieran has certainly helped to do that. We are delighted he won the world title, especially when it was doubtful he could even take part," he added.




Councillors in Basildon were prepared to face a grilling by local students as they took part in a BBC-style question time debate.

Youngsters from eight schools held local politicians to account in a series of quick-fire question and answer sessions as part of local democracy week.

The sessions, in which councillors moved around tables of eight students, were designed to make politics interesting for young people and encourage them to become more politically active.

“It is vital that we help young people to feel more connected to politics and show them how local government can provide solutions to the issues that concern them,” said Councillor Terri Sargent, cabinet member for community services.

“Young people use a massive range of council services and it is important that they have a say in how these are run.

“We hope to show them how politics has an affect on their daily lives and more importantly encourage them to take part and influence local government.

“It will also give the students a chance to find out what politicians can do for them and give councillors an opportunity to listen to the needs and concerns of their young constituents,” she added.

Twelve students from each of Beauchamps, Billericay, Bromford, Chalvedon, De la Salle, James Hornsby High, Woodlands and Barstable schools took part.



FOR YEARS, women walking past construction sites have had to endure the wolf-whistles of admiring builders.
But, it seems, the tables are about to be turned as Basildon Council launches the district’s first ever construction classes for girls.

Teenagers from local schools will be swapping their uniforms for hard hats and boilers suits when the latest lessons run by the Basildon Trade School get underway at Wat Tyler Country Park.

In a course lasting eight weeks, 12 aspiring craftswomen will get the chance to try their hand at plumbing and electrical work, bricklaying and carpentry or painting and decorating. Five boys will also be taking part.

The sessions are designed to give the sixteen-year-old students from James Hornsby, Barstable, Billericay and De La Salle schools a taster of a career in the construction industry.

“Men have traditionally dominated the building trade but we want to show girls that a career in construction is a viable option for them too,” said Councillor Terri Sargent, cabinet member for community.

“The trade school offers valuable experience to young men and women who might be thinking of taking up a trade or who had not considered this career path before.

“This is a good way of improving the employment prospects of young people and giving them practical skills for life. And who knows, it might eventually bring a Bonnie the Builder to our television screens too,” she added.

Among the jobs they could be getting their hands dirty with are plumbing in a bath, wiring an electrical switch or building a wall. There are also plans for the youngsters to put their skills to use during the February half-term holiday with a makeover project in the local community.

The trade school will be launched on 7 October at Wat Tyler Country Park. The classes are to be held every Saturday from 10am to 2pm for the selected pupils only.





A sanctuary for sick animals and a children’s play school are among the latest community groups to win thousands of pounds of funding from Basildon Council.
Six local charities cashed in on a total of £10,000 handed out by the council for local community projects.

The money is the first slice of £35,000 available this year for groups who come up with projects for improving the environment and helping the community.

Among those to benefit is the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, based in Vange, who received £500 for anaesthetic and new equipment to administer it.

Kent View Pre-School, a playschool for children under four in Pitsea, received a £2,000 boost to pay for a new boiler.

There was also a £420 award for the Basildon Natural History Society for a new chainsaw to use for coppicing work at Mark's Hill nature reserve in Laindon.

The largest chunk of funding went to the Basildon Twinning Association who received £4,000 for youth exchange trips between the council’s twin towns in France and Germany.

There was also a £2,000 award for St John’s Church in Billericay to assist with building improvements and a £1,000 payout for road signs for the Basildon and Pitsea Carnival.

Councillor Terri Sargent, cabinet member for community services, said:

“I am delighted to award the money to these groups. It is not just the major projects that help to improve the district, the smaller ones can make a real difference to people’s lives too.”





 Social Inclusion 

Two hundred balloons were released in Basildon town centre to mark the launch of a new social inclusion strategy by the council.

The balloons, 150 of them orange and 50 white, represented the one in four children who live in poverty across the country.

Councillor Terri Sergeant, cabinet member for community, was on hand to release the balloons in St Martin’s Square, along with the council’s chief executive, Bala Mahendran.

The strategy is a 50-page package of measures designed to address problems that lead to marginalisation like unemployment, poor skills, low income, crime, health and family breakdown.

The framework, entitled ‘Basildon Council: A Social Inclusion Strategy’, was drawn up following extensive consultation with the local voluntary and community sector.

It outlines four key objectives to break the cycle leading to social exclusion, tackle isolation where it occurs, encourage a coordinated approach to the problem and promote inclusion within the council.

“Social exclusion describes the experience of groups, like single parents or the disabled, who are unable to play a full part in society because of a range of disadvantages they face,” said Councillor Terri Sargent, Cabinet Member for Community Services.

“As a community leader, we are obliged to promote an inclusive society that offers fair and equal life chances for all.

“We hope this new strategy will help break down the barriers to opportunities faced by vulnerable sections of the community, and ensure all residents have equal access to local services and facilities.

“By tackling isolation and the root causes of it, we can work towards creating a better quality of life in Basildon.”

A rolling programme of 19 goals has been drawn up, including plans to help more older and disabled people live independent lives, reduce teenage pregnancies and improve basic skill levels and employment opportunities.

There are also plans to raise awareness of the importance of healthy eating and exercise, reduce domestic violence, improve the built environment, encourage voluntary and community groups to work together and celebrate diversity and equality.

You can view the Social Inclusion Strategy by following the "Our files" link on the left hand side.