SMOKING BAN IN CHILDREN’S PLAYGROUNDS? – health risks of waterpipe smoking also highlighted
A SMOKING BAN in children’s playgrounds is set to be considered by Croydon council.
Croydon also plan to take action warning residents and businesses of the health risks of waterpipe smoking – more commonly known as shisha hookahs or hubble-bubble pipes.
The moves come as Croydon sign up to a local government declaration on tobacco control.
“Reducing smoking in our communities significantly increases household incomes and benefits the local economy – and reducing smoking among the most disadvantaged in our communities is the single most important means of reducing health inequalities” said a Croydon council spokesperson.
“Two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18.”
The council are also considering measures to protect children from exposure to smoke in children’s playgrounds.
A council spokesman told News From Crystal Palace: “The council is currently looking at options for protecting children from second-hand smoke, negative role-modelling and smoking litter – which can be harmful to small children – around playgrounds in the borough.
“Over the next few months, the council will consider proposals and take action if it is deemed to be in the interests of the borough’s communities.”
The moves follow the signing of the local government declaration on tobacco control by Croydon council leader Cllr Tony Newman.
A council spokesperson said: “The declaration puts a spotlight on the harmful effects of smoking tobacco. “With the signing, Croydon will be joining other local authorities in uniting behind the call to rid the country of tobacco-related harm through a reduction in its sale and promotion.
“The signing of the document commits the council, among other things, to:
act at a local level to reduce smoking prevalence and health inequalities and to raise the profile of the harm caused by smoking to the borough’s communities;
develop plans with partners and local communities to address the causes and impacts of tobacco use;
protect its tobacco control work from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry by not accepting any partnerships, payments, gifts and services, monetary or in kind or research funding offered by the tobacco industry to officials or employees.
WATERPIPE SMOKING RISKS
“Following the signing of the declaration, the council will be taking action to warn residents and businesses of the health risks of waterpipe smoking, more commonly known as shisha hookahs or hubble-bubble pipes.
“New guidance from the council will soon be distributed to known shisha bar businesses to remind them of the legal implications of failing to comply with smoking laws associated with tobacco sales.
“Information to clarify common misconceptions surrounding the use of shisha has already been sent to all schools as there are some indications of the growing use of shisha among young people.
“The council will be working with shisha bars to ensure they are compliant with smoke-free laws and restrictions that pertain to these premises, such as appropriate signage, ventilation and age restrictions.”
Cllr Newman said:“This is an opportunity for local government to show we’re serious about our residents’ health by leading local action to tackle smoking and secure the health, welfare, social, economic and environmental benefits that come from reducing smoking prevalence.
“The sterling work carried out by our health, environment and trading standards teams has already made inroads into helping our residents to quit smoking, as well as clamping down on illegal tobacco sales and fighting to keep our streets clean and free from discarded cigarette butts.”
Further information on the health risks of shisha, and support available in the borough to quit smoking is available at www.croydon.gov.uk/publichealth
LAUGHING GAS FINES NO JOKE
PEOPLE USING legal highs in Lambeth – or throwing them away – could face on-the-spot fines of £100 – or even a court appearance and a fine of up to £1,000.
“Legal highs are linked to anti-social behaviour, drug dealing and particularly littering around South London night life hotspots such as Vauxhall and Clapham” says Lambeth council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods Cllr Jane Edbrooke .
“The mess left in some of our neighbourhoods after a Friday and Saturday night just isn’t acceptable, with families having to witness this behaviour on a regular basis, as well as coming across these canisters in their playgrounds, parks and streets.
“So we are proposing to use a Public Spaces Protection Order to protect local people’s quality of life and get on top of this problem.”
A council spokesperson explained Public Spaces Protection Orders were introduced last year and give councils power to tackle activities in public that is likely to have an ongoing negative effect on the quality of life for locals.
Lambeth council and the borough’s police force have proposed bringing in the on the spot fines for people using or littering legal highs, ahead of substances such as club drug nitrous oxide being made illegal to produce and supply in the UK, the spokesperson added.
“In Lambeth during the past 12-months residents and the council have noticed a significant increase in anti-social behaviour and litter (canisters and whippets) relating to legal highs, in particular nitrous oxide.
Cllr Edbrooke said: “The Government’s new laws will tackle production, importation and supply of legal highs, but there’s a big gap around actually tackling people who use these drugs and leave canisters lying all over our streets.
Public Spaces Protection Orders were introduced last year and give councils power to tackle activities in public that is likely to have an ongoing negative effect on the quality of life for locals.
Inspector Neil Cochlin, from Lambeth Borough Police, said: “Both the police and local authority have listened to concerns from residents and businesses about anti-social behaviour and crime caused by legal highs such as nitrous oxide.
“Last summer saw a rise in legal high-related problems, particularly in the borough’s green spaces, and we are committed to prevent a repeat this summer.
“The potential use of a Public Spaces Protection Order is a first for Lambeth Borough. Consuming or possessing legal highs could result in an on-the-spot fine and a requirement to hand them over. Failure to surrender any legal highs will be a criminal offence and could lead to the person being arrested.
“The message is very clear: if you want to take legal highs or cause trouble, avoid Lambeth.”
Lambeth council will survey residents for feedback on the Public Spaces Protection Order and it will only go ahead if it gets public backing. For more information visit http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/consultations/public-spaces-protection-order-for-legal-highs.
HANDING POWER TO THE COMMUNITY
Community ward budgets are set to be introduced as part of a cross-party initiative to take decision-making out of the Town Hall and devolve funding to local areas across Croydon.
Each councillor will be allocated £2,000 to be spent within their ward, with £3,000 for each ward councillor in New Addington and Fieldway, where there are fewer members.
The programme is designed to be a borough-wide pilot that shapes how the council can further devolve decision-making and fiscal responsibility.
It will give ward members greater freedom to work with communities on the priorities that matter most to residents.
Each ward will have a dedicated website which members can use to promote local issues and engage with people in the community.
Other avenues will also be explored, such as social media, the appointment of community connectors, crowd funding and community panels.
The council’s cabinet is being asked to recommend the proposals to full council for approval on Monday (June 22nd).
Croydon council leader Cllr Tony Newman said: “Croydon’s one of the most diverse boroughs in London, and we understand that there are different needs and issues within each community.
“This council have already made a strong case for devolution of powers from Whitehall to local government, and we feel this applies within our borough as well.
“By devolving funding and delegating powers to our communities, we can better address the priorities of our residents and enable them to have a greater say over what they would like to see happen in the area they live.
“We’re delighted this has cross-party support, and that we can build on the many great examples of community success stories in our borough.”
Cllr Jamie Audsley (Lab. Bensham Manor) said: “For me, community ward budgets are all about giving greater power to local councillors and, in turn, the communities they are working closely with.
“They’ll provide much-needed resource to resolve local issues in a far faster and more effective way than asking for the solution to come from the centre of the council.
“They’ll also improve accountability as local people will be able to judge how their councillors involve them in decision-making and making changes – a good thing for local politics
“They should enable us to better develop and support communities to take action themselves.”
Cllr Steve Hollands (Con Kenley) said: “This is an opportunity for ward members to be able to respond directly to residents rather than go through a longer process via the town hall. “It should be a lot quicker.
“We’d be looking to work with residents’ associations within the ward, and it’s another opportunity for residents to be involved and see the results of that.”
ADULTS IN SOUTHWARK SOCIAL CARE COULD PAY UP TO 100 PER CENT OF COSTS
ADULTS IN social care in Southwark could be asked to pay up to 100 per cent of care costs in the future.
Southwark are asking for views on the proposal which the council say follows national changes brought about by the Care Act 2014.
Southwark’s cabinet member for adult care and financial inclusion Cllr Stephanie Cryan says: “We know that some people won’t be enthusiastic about proposals to increase the amount they pay for care, but with an ageing population and more and more people needing care, it’s the right time to reassess what is fair.
Southwark have offered generous subsidies for much longer than most other councils, but unfortunately we can only continue to do so for our poorest residents, if we are to offer people the good quality care that they need.
“We have also taken this opportunity to address any inequality in the current system, so that our charging is fairer for all.
“I hope as many people as possible give us their feedback on our plans to help us get the details right for everyone.”
A Southwark council spokesperson said: “In anticipation of national changes brought about by the Care Act 2014, the council are preparing to make some changes to how much people are asked to contribute for adult social care, in order to ensure this vital service can still be delivered to everyone who needs it and to a high standard.
“The main changes in the proposal are that for those who are deemed liable to make a contribution following means-testing:
That up to 100 per cent of their spare income is available to contribute to the cost of their care. Spare income means the money that is left over after housing and disability costs, plus the government recommended amount for minimum income. The council currently charges up to 80 per cent of the cost of care. In the future, contributions would be up to 100 per cent of care costs.
To make things fair by asking everyone who can afford it, to make a contribution to the cost of their care, including community mental health users who are currently exempted.
To change how multiple services such as respite care and meals on wheels are charged for, so that people only pay what they can afford, and only make one payment per week rather than several different ones.
To offer a discount to people who pay by direct debit, passing on the lower costs incurred by the council when this payment method is used.
“Crucially, those with the least money will continue to have their care paid for by the council” the spokesperson added.
Full details of the consultation and the different ways in which people can respond can be found at www.southwark.gov.uk/careact
The consultation will run until 4 September.
NEW ‘DEMENTIA CAFES’ OPEN
Two new ‘dementia cafes’ have been opened in Bromley.
Funded by Bromley council, ouncil, the dementia wellbeing and exercise cafés are run by MindCare, one of the council’s strategic partners and is a place for those with dementia, their families and friends to socialise and enjoy light fitness activities.
The cafes are held in the United Reformed Church, Giggs Hill, Orpington and at 28 Beckenham Road, Beckenham. For more information please contact Mindcare on 020 8249 7282.
A recent council initiative where local organisations bid for grant funding has seen a number of other projects being launched across the borough to support those with dementia.
These include: a new specialist dementia unit run by Age Concern Orpington in the Saxon Centre to help those with higher needs; an Age UK Bromley and Greenwich activities coordinator for older people in Chislehurst; Saturday opening to provide extended opportunities for socialising and respite support for carers at the Bertha James Centre run by Age Concern, Ravensbourne;
Bromley and Lewisham Mind working with older people who have dementia in the BME communities in Penge and Beckenham; and a link worker at the Biggin Hill Community Care Association to support local people to continue to live independently.
A second round of grants will be awarded later this year.
A new Bromley on-line resource that gives loads of advice and information about living well with dementia. To find out more please visit http://bromley.mylifeportal.co.uk/dementia