Saturday, 6 April 2013

Police appeal after woman is assault in Lancaster

Police are appealing for witnesses after a woman was assaulted in Lancaster last month.

The incident happened in the early hours of Sunday 10th March at around 1.10am, outside the Lost night club on North Road. The offender approached a 19-year-old local girl who was texting on her mobile phone. When he spoke to her she ignored him - prompting the man to grab her phone and throw it to the ground, then slapping her so hard she was knocked to the ground.

He then left the area in a white Ford transit taxi with two other men and a woman - and possibly went to the Joiners Arms.

PC Faye Tinker from Lancaster police said, “I would appeal to anyone who recognises this man to come forward and contact the police.

“The victim required hospital treatment for her injuries and the person responsible needs to be caught and brought to justice. If anyone witnessed what happened or has information about this incident then I would ask them to come forward.”

• Anyone with information should call Lancaster police quoting log reference number LC-20130310-0095. People with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Will you be head of the Comedy Class?

Comedy director Chris Head

Do you think you could be the next Jason Manford or Peter Kay? Or maybe you’d just like to build up your confidence or public speaking skills in a friendly environment? If so, you might be interested in a comedy course run by acclaimed comedy director, script editor and tutor, Chris Head. He’s coming to the Park Hotel in Lancaster to teach a three week stand-up comedy course in May and June.

The course will run at the Park Hotel, St Oswald Street, Lancaster on Saturday 18th May and Saturday 1st June, 12 noon – 6pm. Classes cover all aspects of stand-up, including how to get inspiration for writing material, working a crowd, dealing with hecklers and finding gigs. After the first class, you’ll be asked work on your act at home and Chris will give email feedback. You’ll get chance to learn in a small, friendly group environment.

The course culminates in a live stand-up gig after the second class. Anyone can come along to the gig at 7.30pm on Saturday 1st June at the Park Hotel to see the new comedians perform their routines.

Chris is a comedy heavyweight, having directed, script-edited and consulted on nine shows for last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He’s directed shows at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and many major London venues. He teaches regular courses in stand-up, sketch comedy and sitcom in Soho and the South West, and was described by the national Guardian as "the ideal person to nurture new talent." Those he's taught include the BBC's Will Gompertz, who talks about his experience here, and Simon Jenkins.

The course is organised by Ruth Ainsworth, a local mum who had a brief brush with stand-up while a student in London.

"I did a few stand-up gigs when I was a student and enjoyed it," she says. "Seeing live stand-up in January this year inspired me to try it again, but I wanted some help in getting a good routine together. I spoke to Chris and he was keen to come up north. It’s a bit scary, but last time I did stand-up I found the audiences were really positive and supportive. It’s a massive buzz. I can’t wait to get started!’

The course is just £99 for 12 hours of teaching and email feedback, tickets for the gig are £3.

• More information, full course details is available on the Lancaster Comedy Classes facebook page: or email

• Chris Head's official web site:


Thursday, 4 April 2013

New report praises Lancashire Police on tacking anti-social behaviour, warns on reduction of 'on the beat' intelligence gathering

A report released today by Cardiff University has praised the work of Lancashire Constabulary in tackling anti-social behaviour.

The Personal, Situational and Incidental Vulnerabilities to ASB Harm' Report from the Universities Police Science Institute has been presented to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies.

The report is a follow-up to the HMIC's 2010 and 2012 Inspection reports and looked at how incidents of anti-social behaviour are reported, tackled and monitored. Lancashire came top of all Constabularies in terms of overall performance when dealing with anti-social behaviour. (Constabularies such as West Yorkshire and Essex came bottom, with the majority of forces situated in the middle of the overall performance scale).

The Constabulary was also rated as 'excellent' in the areas of IT input and analysis; follow up contact, management and communication.

However, the report also puts value on the work of "on the beat" work by police officers and community support officers (a service facing cuts across the county).

"Investment in IT solutions should not be assumed to automatically translate into an ability to detect those incidents posing most harm and risk to victims," the report notes. "Computer systems are no substitute for inter-personal contact with the victim to identify risk at the point of report, particularly as risk is itself dynamic and can easily change from one call to the next.

"This report makes very good reading for Lancashire Constabulary," feels the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, Clive Grunshaw. "It is proof of the efforts the force has made to monitor, report, approach and assess anti-social behaviour in the County.

"Furthermore, the report shows how the Constabulary is aware of and is tackling the wider impact of ASB, such as victim support and re-offending.

"In my newly-published Police and Crime Plan, I have made ensuring a swift and effective response to reports of ASB a priority,:" he continued. "Putting the needs of victims first and protecting the vulnerable is also a clear aim.

"This report shows the Constabulary is prioritising these areas; having been deemed to be performing excellently by updating those who have reported incidents of ASB and providing on-going assessments of their cases.

"Clearly there is always room for improvement," he cautioned. "This report offers an incentive to continue this good work in the long-term and I will continue to work with the force to achieve this. Working with our partners will be key to improving the way we tackle ASB and look to promote targeted initiatives to contribute to tackling this type of crime, re-offending and the needs of victims."

Chief Superintendent Stuart Williams said: “We are extremely proud of these findings, particularly as the report focuses on victims and looks at how we help them through what are often really traumatic experiences.

"Anti-social behaviour is reducing in Lancashire but still causes misery to people’s lives so I’m pleased to hear that our concentration on vulnerable people, repeat offenders and areas with the highest problems has been recognised.

"However, we will not become complacent, we know there is still plenty to be done and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to put significant resources into tackling these issues.”

• To read the report in full, click this link:

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Share a Story Awards programme returns to local libraries

Raising awareness of books for the under-fives and the benefits and joy that can be found from sharing stories with children in this age group will be top of the agenda in Lancashire County Council's libraries during April and May.

The project, which started in 2011, is an early years book award called The Lancashire Share a Story Awards and participating venues include Lancaster, Morecambe, Garstang and other local libraries.

Libraries in every district of the county can choose to focus on one of three categories of books: Books for Babies; for Toddlers; and for Pre-school children.

"The Lancashire Share a Story Awards is a hugely important initiative," says Jillian Connolly, Lancashire County Council's reading and learning manager for children and families. "Talking and reading to children from an early age plays a vital role in their development, particularly when it comes to developing their communication and language skills.

"Stories and rhymes are a great way to help this development along and it also acts as a wonderful bonding opportunity.

"There are four books shortlisted for each category. Parents, grandparents, carers, nurseries and reception classes are encouraged to take part, read the four titles with their child and vote for their favourite one.

"The books chosen all have an interactive element to them, which makes them good for reading aloud and sharing."

The participating libraries will be promoting the awards in their branches and communities and will be organising special events to link in with the project.

Libraries will all be holding a celebratory event in the week beginning 3rd June, after the county winners have been announced.

• More information on the Share a Story Awards initiative is available online at

Baby Category Branches
Burnley Central
St Annes

Toddler Category Branches
Coal Clough
Sharoe Green
Kirkham Prison

Pre-School Category Branches
Great Harwood

Don't miss the chance to have your say

Lancashire County Council is reminding people to register to vote by Wednesday 17th April or miss the chance to have their say in the council elections.

There's now just one month to go until Thursday 2nd May, when Lancashire’s voters will elect their representatives to shape and decide on county council services.

Today (Tuesday 2 April 2013) is 'Register to Vote Day' and the Electoral Commission is launching their public awareness campaign ahead of the elections on 2nd May. For more details visit their website -

The county council provides around 85 per cent of all local government services in Lancashire and all 84 seats on the council are up for election.

Phil Halsall, chief executive of Lancashire County Council, said: "County elections are only held every four years, so it’s important that people use this opportunity and cast their vote.

"The county council runs a wide range of different services including social care, roads and public transport, libraries, youth centres and much more.

"County councillors are elected by the people and make important decisions affecting the lives of everyone in Lancashire. I’d encourage everyone to have their say and use their right to vote."

You can vote in person at your polling station on 2nd May, by post, or by proxy - choosing someone to vote on your behalf.

Anyone wishing to vote by post needs to complete and return their form by Wednesday 17th April.

If you've moved house in the past few months, you'll need to register your new address. Anyone who turns 18 on or before 2nd May will also need to be registered, so that they can vote for the first time.

New applications to vote by proxy (not postal proxy) should be returned by 24th April. The last date to apply to vote by proxy on the grounds of a medical emergency is 5.00 pm on the day of the election.

Your district election officer will be able to advise you - for contact details visit

The county council recently re-launched its website to help people find out more about the elections. Log on to where you can find out how to register to vote, get information about the elections and register to get results once the votes have been counted.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Appeal after alleged Cycle Path assault

Police are appealing for information after reports of an assault in Morecambe.

At around 3.30 am this morning (Tuesday 2nd April) officers received a report that a man had been assaulted and left unconscious on a cycle track in the town, but when emergency services attended the alleged scene they found no one there.

Although it is unclear exactly what has happened, there is a concern that a man may well have been assaulted and be in need of medical assistance and so officers are appealing to anyone who may have any information to come forward.

The assault is believed to have occurred on the cycle track near to the Honda garage at the rear of Grosvenor Park estate on the Lancaster side of the underpass.

A 21 year old man from Lancaster has been arrested in connection with the assault on suspicion of wounding and is currently in custody being questioned.

Detective Sergeant Mark Stephens said, “Anyone who either witnessed the incident or has any information is requested to contact the police on 101 quoting reference LC-20130402-0122.”

• People with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Government releases funds for home improvements for the vulnerable

Local councils will share in a £30.8m hand out from government announced today, to help them fund the adaptations disabled people need to live independently in their own home.

Every councils across England will receive a share of the £180 million Disabled Facilities Grant, which provides financial help to install a wide range of housing adaptations or modifications such as wider doorways, stair lifts and level access showers.

Lancaster City Council will receive £657,717, Pendle £360,717, South Lakeland £246,717 and Wyre £635,717.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said that the grant was essential to help thousands of people stay in their homes if their circumstances change, providing the support that disabled or vulnerable people need to live independently and comfortably, whether they are homeowners, social tenants or living in rented accommodation.

Any eligible disabled person can apply for this grant through their local authority, whether they are a homeowner, private tenant or local authority tenant. The council will arrange for an occupational therapist through social services to visit the home to assess which adaptations are needed.

The grant can be used for adaptations that provide better freedom of movement into and around the home or to provide essential facilities. An occupational therapist will look at individual circumstances and recommend the type of adaptation(s) needed. Acceptable types of work include widening doors and installing ramps, providing or improving access to rooms and facilities - for example, by installing a stair lift or providing a downstairs bathroom, adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use, improving or providing a suitable heating system, providing suitable bathroom or kitchen facilities and
improving access to and movement around the home to enable individual to care for another person who lives in the property, such as a child.

Ministers have protected the Disabled Facilities Grant programme for the last three years, with a further £185 million expected in next year’s funding.

“For many people, the security of being able to stay in your own home in difficult times can have a real impact on their health and wellbeing," Mark Prisk.

“That’s why we’ve protected the Disabled Facilities Grant. The £180 million I’ve allocated today will help to support people across the country through disability and provide some of our most vulnerable with the help they need to live independently for as long as possible.”

• Details of the Disabled Facilities Grant can be found at: