Honouring city’s unsung heroes

John Holdich

John Holdich

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Earlier this week the city got a chance to say thank you to some of its unsung heroes, writes Peterborough City Council leader, cllr John Holdich.

The Peterborough Civic Awards honour those people or organisations that go above and beyond to help out in the community.

This is the third time we’ve held the awards and it was fantastic to hear about what all the winners have achieved to make Peterborough an even better place to live.

I’d just like to highlight a few of those that received an award on Tuesday, some I’ve known for many years. I’d mention more but I have to keep to a word limit - so don’t be offended if I’ve left you out!

Joan Pickett has been pivotal in Ailsworth village life since moving there in 1961. Hundreds of people have benefitted from her work and dedication to the village. I’m convinced that without her Ailsworth would not be quite the thriving place it is to live today - and I was fully behind her receiving the Lifetime Achievement and Community Involvement awards.

Now, what Brian Pearce doesn’t know about trains you could fit on the back of a one-way ticket to King’s Cross. His long-term commitment to this vital part of the city’s history began with the creation of the Nene Valley Railway followed by the Railworld project. Brian was given the Lifetime Achievement award after spending some 46 years on these projects and creating a legacy that he can truly be proud of.

Tom Rodulson is a great old boy, I’ve known him for a number of years and it was fabulous for him to receive the Community Involvement award. Tom is the chair of Westwood Residents’ Association and works hard campaigning for improvements, new play areas and safer road crossings in his neighbourhood. He also works for the Royal British Legion supporting many ex-service personnel and their families.

Finally a well done to the Peterborough Telegraph’s David Lowndes for receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. No one has chronicled the development of the city in greater detail, for good and bad, over the last few decades than Mr Lowndes.

You’ll soon be able to find details of all the winners on the council’s website. And in the coming months we’ll be opening nominations for this year’s Civic Awards, so get thinking about who in your community would be a worthy recipient.

The overwhelming majority of Peterborough parents will see their children start at their first preference primary school this September.

Over 2,800 places were allocated to pre-schoolers earlier this week, with 91.5 per cent being offered their first preference school. That’s an increase of almost four per cent compared to last year.

Peterborough’s school population has increased even more steeply than the city as a whole in recent years. We’ve therefore worked hard to create thousands of new places, and through continued good planning, made sure that such high numbers of families are able to send their children to their preferred primary school.

Peterborough has some of the best quality care homes in the region. The Care Quality Commission has endorsed this by rating 90 per cent of care homes in the city as good.

The demand on our adult social care services has led us to increase council tax in recent years, through the Adult Social Care Precept, and that is to ensure we are able to provide the best quality care to those most vulnerable in the city.

We were also named as one of the best performing UK councils in patients avoiding delayed transfers of care from hospital - you may have heard this described as ‘bed-blocking’ in some media. This is down to a number of projects we’ve started including locating a team of social workers at Peterborough City Hospital in order to get plans in place for people well before they are ready to be discharged.

In addition, we’re performing well at in-home care and helping a growing number of older residents to stay independent in their own homes. The council helps 7,000 households every year through our Care and Repair service which fits aids and adaptations to make things easier for people at home as their situation changes. We help people like Doris Neal who has recently had insulation fitted, alongside a lift to avoid the steps to her front door, at her home at no cost to her.

And, like for so many helped by this service, Doris can now stay where she wants to be - at home.