Ringing in the Chinese New Year

Music, dance and a heart-warming lantern procession are among the highlights when the Year of the Dog is celebrated in colourful style during Chinese New Year festivities on Saturday 17 February.
Drop-in family lantern making workshops will be running at Erewash Museum between 12.30pm and 5pm where, for £1.50 per person, people can make their own lanterns to take along to the early evening parade.
The Year of the Dog celebrations will begin at 5.30pm when the lantern procession will set off from the museum to the nearby Ilkeston Market Place. The parade will also feature a special processional dog lantern made by local artist Ann Levett and adults with learning disabilities from the Outlook Day Centre in Long Eaton.
A one-hour New Year knees-up in the Market Place will include Dragon Dancing by pupils from Hallam Fields Junior School, Lion Dancing from Seven Star Praying Mantis Kung Fu and Chinese music and song from professional musician Ling Peng.
Councillor Mike Wallis, Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Leisure, says:
“Whether you want to make lanterns and join in the procession or simply want to go along to watch the fun, our Chinese New Year celebration will be a memorable family event. So join us to welcome the Year of the Dog!”
Organised by Erewash Borough Council’s Arts Development Team, the Chinese New Year celebration is the final event in the council’s Festival of Light programme – a series of events to mark traditional and culturally diverse celebrations from September through to February each year. These feature Harvest Moon, Diwali, the Erewash Bonfire and Fireworks display, Christmas Lights switch on events and Winter Solstice.

A chance to be worldly wise!

Youngsters can enjoy an action-packed week at Erewash Museum for February’s half term holiday with celebration activities inspired by the classic adventure tale Around the World in Eighty Days.
Egyptian hieroglyphs, cowboys, Vikings and military displays will feature in the whistle-stop world tour between Monday 19 February and Saturday 24 February. The activities are all free and run between 11am-3pm.
Parents can put dates in their diaries for daily themed activities:
• Monday 19 February – visit Viking England and take part in Viking crafts and activities inspired by the invasion of Anglo Saxon England.
• Tuesday 20 February – an ancient Egyptians theme with interactive displays and the chance to learn how to write your name in hieroglyphs.
• Wednesday 21 February – the tour moves to India and a day of Indian-themed crafts.
• Thursday 22 February – back to Victorian England for the day, including the chance to see military equipment of the time.
• Friday 23 February – it’s the Wild West and a time to find out more about life for settlers and meet some real cowboys!
• Saturday 24 February – the holiday activities end with the Silk Route and the chance to experience what life was like for people and those who traded with ancient China.
Councillor Mike Wallis, Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Leisure, says:
“This journey around the world means parents can bring their children to our museum every day of the school holiday – we’ll keep them thoroughly entertained with a wide range of activities and learning!”



Leisure changes move forward

A recommendation that Erewash Borough Council takes the next step and invites expressions of interest to run its leisure services is expected to go to the next full council meeting.
A report going to Council Executive next week outlines the progress of the possible outsourcing of leisure so far and asks that the matter goes to Full Council with a recommendation that members agree the key principles of the tender specification and give officers the go-ahead to go out to tender for leisure services.
A market test on the benefits of outsourcing took place last year and that initial investigation revealed potentially significant annual savings.
Since then the council has put together a detailed ‘specification document’ which lists key information and the council’s expectations to help any potential interested party.
Councillor Mike Wallis, Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Leisure, says:
“There has been a lot of hard work carried out to prepare a document that gives a detailed service specification for leisure services – and we thank residents who shared their views with us to help us in preparing this document. It is right that the matter should go to Full Council for a decision on the next step.”
If the matter is sent to Full Council, councillors will also be recommended to ask officers to produce a report on the outcome of any procurement exercise so that members can consider any awarding of a contract at a future council meeting.

Litter fines set to increase

Residents caught dropping litter will face an increased fine from 1 April due to new government legislation.
New regulations come into force nationally next month which mean that the ‘lesser penalty’ – i.e. early repayment fee – cannot be less than £50, an increase from the current £40 rate. The full fixed penalty is also increasing to recognise the importance of dealing with environmental offences.
Councillors at a meeting of Erewash Borough Council’s Executive on Tuesday (20 February) are expected to send the new Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) rates to next month’s Full Council meeting with a recommendation that members approve the higher fines.
If agreed, it will mean that anyone caught dropping litter in Erewash after 1 April will be issued with a £100 FPN, an increase on the current £75 rate, with an early repayment rate of £50.
Councillor Garry Hickton, Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Environment, says: 
“These higher rate changes are coming into force as a result of national legislation. We do continue to support the crackdown on environmental crime and, together with our residents, work to keep Erewash clean and tidy.
“There is, of course, a clear message here – don’t drop your litter. It’s as simple as that. Dispose of your litter responsibly and you won’t be out of pocket.
Similar proposed increases in FPNs issued for other environmental crime are also expected to go to Full Council for approval, including fly posting and graffiti.

Art in the community at Kirk Hallam

Free arts and crafts sessions for older residents living in Kirk Hallam get underway this Thursday (25th January) thanks to a joint project by Erewash Borough Council’s Arts Development Team and the National Lottery-funded Big Kirk Hallam group.
Drop-in sessions will be held in the new Kirk Hallam Community Centre café space on Thursdays between 10.30 am and 12.30pm from this Thursday through to Thursday 22 March, excluding  the school half term holiday.
The two hour informal get-togethers are part of the council’s Arts at the HeART project that uses art to improve the wellbeing of older members of the community by bringing them together and encouraging them to get creative.
Artists Dawn Turner and Ann Levett will introduce a new activity each week and provide all the materials and resources.  No experience is necessary, but any residents that already enjoy being creative can go along and share their skills with everyone.
Councillor Mike Wallis, Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Leisure, says:
“Arts and crafts can bring such a sense of well-being for older people in our community, which is why we are delighted to be working with the Big Kirk Hallam group to provide these weekly sessions. They will bring people together and I have no doubt that many will carry on being creative with their newly-learned skills.”