Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Back to school and raring to go!

September always feels like the start of term even for those of us who left school some time ago!
There is a lot going on in the next couple of months – but after a lull in August that is so often the case – and it’s certainly the way I like it.
 
One great bit of news to start the Autumn was our successful bid to Government for grant funding towards our Gigabit project. We started on this a couple of years ago initially working with Worthing and Adur Councils looking to see how we could build superfast broadband in our accommodation and link up across the public sector. We then looked at the feasibility of expanding the project across the County and much work has been undertaken – including a bid to the Government for grant funding. We were one of six Councils to be successful and we now have to wait and see how much we have been allocated and then we can plan how ambitious we can be. A powerful fast internet connection between the public sector has many benefits particularly when serving our residents – but once established there may be possibilities for other businesses to connect in too.
 
Throughout the Summer we’ve been running our Campaign ‘The Beautiful Outdoors’ – promoting all the varied and different aspects of our beautiful county. And let’s be honest there is so much from coast to downs to High Weald – there is something for everyone; a real box of delights that is on offer to residents and visitors alike.
 
We asked people to submit their best and favourite photos of West Sussex in our latest Beautiful Outdoors Competition – and we have had a great response – so one of my tasks this week is picking the top shot. I am really looking forward to seeing the photos – but I know all the contributors will give me a hard task in choosing!
 
This summer I like so many have been enjoying our Beautiful Outdoors in the county, sampling some of the delights in West Sussex. I have visited lovely gardens. West Dean is always well worth a visit, spent time at the wonderful Pallant House Gallery. I took a vineyard tour where I learnt huge amounts about the making of sparkling wine that gives our French cousins a run for their money. Then we have outdoor concerts and theatres, parks and woodlands and so much more. I have lived here for many years and I’m still uncovering hidden jewels and gems. Whether it is Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring there is much to see, do and learn in West Sussex whether it is outdoors or indoors.
 
Next week our Taste Magazine will be out Celebrating its 10th year! It is a real bumper edition with some excellent articles on pickling, pies and local pubs.
In its 10 years Taste has built up a loyal following and won an prestigious award.
It is self-funding and promotes all the terrific food oh and drink grown, made or served here in West Sussex – I do hope you enjoy it.
 
This is just a flavour of what we have coming up, keep an eye on our Twitter account and in the local press for all the fantastic stuff that’s coming up. It might be the end of summer but it’s the start of a whole lot more!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Read all about it

August is a busy month for tourism and visitors home and abroad. Whether you are on holiday at home or away it is often the time when people manage to read a book or even two and nowadays there is so much choice.

For many of us we were introduced to books and reading either by being read to at home, the bedtime story as it used to be known, or at school. Whatever way for many it fired an interest in reading that stays with us throughout life so we can enjoy the written word whatever genre it happens to be.

Through reading we can explore and learn so much as well as it being a relaxing way to spend time.

That’s why I am so delighted with this year’s reading scheme in our libraries. This has become an annual event at our libraries where we challenge young people to read six books throughout their summer holidays. This year we’ve added parents to the challenge, challenging them to read three books. We’ve even added an extra incentive to be entered in to a competition to win an iPad if they and their children meet the challenge. We might be some way through the summer holidays but the competition runs until September 16, so you’ve still got time.

I remember just how hard it was to make time to read with my children when you’re a busy parent. However now they are older I have such fond memories of the times I did spend reading with them and perhaps, even more importantly, they still talk about the stories and verses we read together.

Our libraries are such brilliant places. No longer places to just host books but one of the few remaining places where anyone in our community can come and have free access to knowledge. They bring communities together.

Reading is one of my greatest pleasures. If you are a parent, carer or grandparent, whisk your charge along to your nearest library and sign them up for the challenge. They can use that iPad to reserve some more library books!