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Rising to the ash dieback challenge

The ash is one of the most common trees in the UK and is a much loved part of the landscape. Now, though, it is under serious and sustained threat from ash dieback.

Which means, over the coming years, another common sight will be an ash tree accompanied by a bright red mobile elevating working platform (MEWP), the Hinowa spider platform.

The Hinowa ‘spider’ is the access platform of choice for most tree surgeons. Distributed in the UK by Access Platform Sales, they are increasingly vital tools for responding to ash dieback by inspecting, reducing or felling trees that have succumbed to the disease.

Over time, ash dieback leaves trees brittle and unstable which means rope climbing – the traditional method used by trees surgeons to get up close and personal with trees – becomes too dangerous.

Ash dieback, also known as chalara, is by far the biggest challenge to the UK’s treescape over the next two decades. The Woodland Trust estimates it will wipe out over 80% of the UK’s 126m ash trees.

That means the crisis will also be a key driver in a trend away rope climbing towards the safer and, in many cases, more productive method of working from platforms.

Working on trees – the rise of the spider

The seed that has seen the rise of the spider platform in the tree management industry was sown with the publication, 16 years ago, of the Working at Height Regulations 2005.

They enshrined in law a duty to carry out an assessment of the risks associated with working at height and to always select the safest practical options available.

That placed the benefits of working from a platform to the fore. Since then, there has been a steady move towards the adoption by tree surgeons of MEWPs, and spider platforms in particular.

In fact, from the word go, Hinowa has designed its spider platforms with the needs of the tree management industry front and centre.

The platforms have tracks for moving across rough and low loadbearing ground. In transport (tracking) mode they are ultra-narrow to move through confined spaces. Their outriggers are then deployed to create a firm and safe working platform. Key, also, is the platform’s exceptional outreach.

Arborist James Plaskett, owner of Access 2 Trees in Shropshire, shares the views of many tree surgeons, saying: “Hinowa spider platforms are perfect for tree work, and have replaced rope climbing in most cases.”

The Arboricultural Association has supported the move to working from MEWPs. Its code of practice has a risk hierarchy that places working from platforms firmly above rope work as the most desirable option.

However, Simon Richmond, the association’s technical officer, admits the industry has some way to go to fully adopt working from MEWPs.

He says: “I would say we’re not very much over halfway. A lot of tree surgeons want to stick to rope work because it’s what they know. But when forward-thinking ones invest in platforms, they invariably see the benefits and don’t want to go back.”

Those benefits include winning new business from agencies, like the National Trust and English Heritage, which have firm policies that require working from platforms in all but exceptional circumstances.

Working from Hinowa spider platforms can also sharply increase productivity. They also improve quality. This aids long-term tree health, as crowns can be trimmed more precisely from a platform.

Tightening control – two-rope working

Tree surgeons are also likely to look to platforms more thanks to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) insistence on the introduction of two-rope working.

When the 2005 regulations came in, tree surgeons were allowed to keep single rope anchor points, the industry standard at the time. From 2020, the HSE has required two. It had lost patience, it explained, with regular serious injuries and deaths from falls.

It is a sign, say industry experts, that the days of widespread rope climbing for tree management are numbered. It will increasingly become a niche practice, used in exceptional circumstances.

Spider platforms and ash dieback

Ash dieback will have an increasingly important influence on the take-up of access platforms for tree work. The effect of the disease on trees is still the subject of scientific study.

However, it is acknowledged that as ash dieback takes hold, it makes branches increasingly brittle. As a result, many tree surgeons have decided climbing trees that have the disease is off limits.

Either they must be reduced from MEWPs, like Hinowa spiders, or remotely, using equipment like tree sheers or grapple saws. Given the wider use of spider platforms, they are the most common alternative.

In March 2020, Thompson Tree Services used its Hinowa Lightlift 20.10 to remove trees infected with ash dieback along a main road near Matlock in Derbyshire.

Managing Director Jack Thompson said: “The trees were a danger to road users and pedestrians. Working from our Hinowa was the only sensible way to work on them. They were just too dangerous to climb.”

In some cases, it is not ash dieback that represents the primary threat, but secondary infections as the tree weakens, for example Armillaria, a fungus that rots tree roots. These trees will be particularly dangerous to climb. In some cases, they collapse even as they are being felled.

Access platforms also have a role to play in surveying woodland and monitoring the spread of the disease as part of a sustainable approach to countering its impact [See separate box].

Ash dieback is a tragedy in terms of the impact on the British landscape. Ironically, though, it is accelerating the trend towards using MEWPs, most commonly spider platforms, to work on trees, so is spreading safer practice as well.

Simon Richmond says: “Using MEWPs denotes a higher level of professionalism. It’s why more clients are stipulating they should be used when working at height. The development of ash dieback will only reinforce that trend.”

Ash dieback fact file

Scientific name                         Hymenoscyphus fraxineus

Pathogen                                   Fungus

Origin                                        Asia

First identified in UK                    2012

Number of ash trees in Britain        126 million

Proportion of all broadleaf trees     11%

Most common                             South West (12.6%) and East Midlands (12.7%)

Proportion expected to die             80%

Estimated economic cost               £15 billion

APS spider platform guide

Don’t add a ‘crime’ to a disaster

If you find trees infected with ash dieback on your land, don’t fell them straight away, urges Arboricultural Association Technical Officer Simon Richmond.

“Property owners who find ash dieback often fell the infected trees and others in the same stand. In my view, this adds a crime to a natural disaster, because it appears around 15% of trees are either resistant to the disease or can recover from it,” he says.

Instead, property owner should monitor the development of the disease, using a four-stage model advocated by the association, and only fell those that it is clear will succumb.

He explains: “Younger trees are more susceptible to ash dieback. That means, if we can save the older, more resistant ones we have a stock from which we can start to rebuild our ash populations.”

Hinowa spider platform – quick guide

  1. Working height – 13m to 33m
  2. Articulating boom – For reaching over obstacles
  3. Compact body – To get through narrow gaps
  4. Outriggers – Self-levelling for speed and safety
  5. Rotating basket – For precise positioning
  6. Tracks – To travel over rough terrain
  7. Power pack – All-electric, diesel, petrol, or bi-energy
  8. Safety features – Include tilt alarms and auto return to ground

About the author: Steve Couling is Managing Director of Access Platform Sales, the UK and Ireland distributor of Hinowa spider platforms.

CICV Forum welcomes new Construction Leadership Forum Chair and pledges to continue on path of collaboration and co-operation

CICV Forum – Ivan McKee

The Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum has pledged its ongoing commitment to the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum (CLF) and has warmly welcomed its new Chair, Scottish Government Minister Ivan McKee.

The unique collaboration of trade associations, professional bodies, companies and individuals is now a key contributor to the CLF, having realigned its infrastructure to be consistent with the mission of its fellow sector body.

At its full meeting yesterday (June 17), the CICV Forum said that it is looking forward to working closely with Mr McKee, the new Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, who takes over the Chair from Kevin Stewart, who is now Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care.

Alan Wilson, CICV Forum Chair and Managing Director of SELECT, said: “We are keen to continue the constructive and positive dialogue which we have enjoyed so far with the CLF, and to build on the strong foundations we have established.”

As an illustration of the CICV Forum’s commitment to continuing dialogue, it welcomed to its meeting a Scottish Government official, who updated Forum members on a meeting of the CLF held the previous day.

Mr Wilson added: “The CICV Forum is very pleased to be so closely linked with the CLF as it carries out its important work and we are sure that we will enjoy the same productive relationship with Mr McKee as we did with his predecessor.

“We are delighted that the CLF continues to be chaired at Ministerial level and we will continue to provide practical suggestions and solutions in a spirit of collaboration and co-operation.”

The CLF was formed in 2019 by Construction Scotland and the Scottish Government to focus on the sector as a key economic driver and has been instrumental in detailing the industry’s longer-term recovery plan.

Along with the CICV Forum, it is now firmly committed to the ideals of co-operation and collaboration within the industry and to demonstrating the sector’s determination that it can flourish by working together.

Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “Through collaboration, the CICV Forum provides valuable contributions to the work of the CLF. It has quickly become a major influence on the construction industry’s direction of travel, offering practical guidance and support at a time when it was most needed.

“I hope that support will continue as we work together on delivery of the CLF’s long-term Recovery Plan which is showing steady progress and on the transformation which is vital for the sector.

“I look forward to working with the CICV Forum and our other partners to build the sustainable, innovative, diverse and successful industry we all want to see.”

Since its inception at the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, the CICV Forum has evolved from being a successful and innovative crisis response organisation into a major voice within the Scottish construction sector.

Made up of more than 70 trade associations, professional services bodies and companies, it has maintained a steady supply of information and practical advice to the sector as well as carrying out surveys, hosting webinars and holding regular discussions with the Scottish Government.

The Forum’s most recent event was a political hustings in April, during which Scottish Parliamentary candidates from the five main political parties debated the major issues facing today’s construction industry.

Scott Logic awarded contract to develop the Scottish Government’s digital identity platform

Software consultancy Scott Logic has been awarded a new contract to act as implementation and development partner on the Scottish Government‘s digital identity programme.

The digital identity programme is part of the Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy actions to build a suite of common platforms to be adopted across the public sector, transforming government. The commitment is to introduce a digital identity service for users: to develop and establish a trusted and secure service for users to prove who they are, and that they are eligible for a service.

Business Minister, Ivan McKee

Users will be able to store their information and choose to share it when applying to public services. This will improve a user’s access to services by providing a safe, secure and accessible way to prove their identity, while reducing time and cost for the public sector.

Business Minister Ivan McKee said:

“People expect public services that are accessible and simple to use. They want them to be inclusive and designed around their needs, rather than the structures of the organisations that provide them.”

“Our vision is to introduce a digital identity service for users, that provides a safe and easy way for people to prove that they are eligible for a public service or benefit online.”

The programme encompasses four main components: secure sign-in for end users, an attribute store, integration with credential providers and integration with service customers, the public sector organisations that depend on verification. Scott Logic is the principal implementation and development partner, bringing its engineering expertise, as well as configuring, testing, API development and full service management.

Scott Logic began work on the initial two-year project in April 2021, and there is an option for two one-year extensions should they be required.

Stuart Grey, Head of Consultancy – Edinburgh office

“This is a user-driven platform that will improve access to public services in Scotland by providing citizens with a safe and secure way to prove their identity. It will also reduce time and cost for the public sector when delivering digital services,” said Stuart Grey, Head of Consultancy Edinburgh office, Scott Logic. “It’s an essential component of Scottish Government’s platform strategy, giving users complete control over how their personal information is used, stored and shared to prove eligibility for a public service or benefit online. We have a strong heritage working with the public sector and to be entrusted with such an important strategic project is testament to our credentials and expertise in this field.”

Scott Logic employs more than 300 people, providing a wide range of technology services, including architecture and technical strategy, bespoke software development, and data engineering. In January 2021 it announced the appointment of former executive director of Government Digital Services (GDS), Stephen Foreshew-Cain, as the new company CEO.

The digital identity programme is the second major piece of work for Scott Logic with the Scottish Government. After partnering during the prototype and alpha phases, Scott Logic began work in October 2020 on a new payment platform that will allow Scottish public sector departments to manage payments consistently.

With tens of millions of transactions set to take place in coming years, this two-year project aims to drive consistency of user experience and standardise the outbound payment process across Scottish Government. Scott Logic is the implementation and development partner, building the platform, application and integration services.

South Lanarkshire Council Embarks on Modernisation of ‘Care at Home Service’ with Totalmobile

Implementation to digitalise and automate scheduling of over 36,000 home care visits a week will save time and money whilst improving communication with social care stakeholders

Totalmobile, the UK leader in Field Service Management software solutions, has announced it is working with South Lanarkshire Council to modernise the service that plans, schedules and carries out personal care to around 1,500 service users a week.

The council’s Care at Home Service operates seven days a week to help people remain as independent as they possibly can in their own home. The modernised service is being rolled out in four localities, starting with Hamilton in May 2021, over the next six months. Rutherlen & Cambuslang, Clydesdale, and East Kilbride localities will follow in that order before the end of the calendar year.

Historically, the service planned visits and resources manually, relying on a team’s local knowledge. It was a time intensive process, and any optimisation or changes required to a schedule were made manually. This proved troublesome due to the need to then communicate to a mobile workforce of almost 1,000 Home Carers.

A pilot was run initially in the Hamilton locality where Totalmobile’s Optimise, Mobilise and CareLink solutions were implemented. Jobs were scheduled via Totalmobile’s field service management technology that optimises resource and journey planning. It connects workers out in the field with the office via handheld mobile devices, and links to other stakeholders like GPs and the NHS service.

Scott McNeill, Service Manager for registered Care at Home Services at South Lanarkshire commented: “Modernising our Care at Home Service with Totalmobile enables us to direct more of our staff time towards supporting and makes us more efficient. We’d known for some time that our existing system had limited efficiency, it took one of our community support coordinators a day a week just scheduling jobs, and then inevitably changes had to be made. It was time intensive and reactive.

“The initial roll out in Hamilton for 30 carers working on 1,000 visits per week began in March and it couldn’t have run more smoothly. In fact, we went straight from pilot to live implementation with the support of Totalmobile training the workforce on its easy-to-use interface. The support we have received from Totalmobile has been tremendous, as has been the positive feedback we’ve received from our workforce. We are now more efficient than we’ve ever been.”

The dynamic nature of the new service now means that jobs can be rescheduled at short notice and avoids wasting resources through staff attending last minute cancellations. It also optimises journey planning so that no more time ‘on the road’ is spent than is necessary.

Teaching Twins and Multiples: A Teacher’s Guide

Schools are predominantly set up to teach children born in different years. With twins and multiples, it can become a challenge to ensure their needs are considered and that they are included. This extends to how teachers and schools communicate with them and their parents, whether or not the siblings are taught in the same class.

Leonie Huie, a part-time teacher and a mum to three-year-old twin girls from Southwark, is the author of The First Year Is Survival, a book published in October 2020 for parents of twins and multiples – writes London News Online on 13th January 2021. She was also awarded the British Empire Medal in the 2021 New Year’s Honours for her service’s to education. Read the story here

Managing Teacher Recruitment, Training and Retention

With many schools, teaching unions and teachers expressing concerns about how safe the classroom is – despite reassurance from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), an article by Yvonne Williams in the Times Educational Supplement (TES), asks how many teachers have decided to quit their profession.

Yvonne Williams is head of English and drama in a secondary school in the South of England. In her December 2020 article, written before the recent spate of school closures, she argued that the risks of infection, as well as the stresses, strains, and fear over novel coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 and Covid-19, were made it more likely for people to quit their teaching jobs during the crisis: Read the full story

TIME TO DO WHAT THE EMPLOYABILITY INDUSTRY DOES BEST: RECRUIT

Thousands of roles available in the ‘hidden’ employability industry as the sector prepares for the busiest time in its history

Employability Day on 30 April 2021, was the UK’s largest celebration for organisations supporting often disadvantaged people to gain, sustain and progress in work. Led by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), it’s an annual opportunity for the employability sector to celebrate all that it accomplishes and wants to achieve for jobseekers in the UK. In these unprecedented times, as the sector’s work proves to become more crucial than ever, ERSA is leading the call for people of all professional and personal backgrounds to consider a career in employability.

ERSA CEO, Elizabeth Taylor

With recent Government contract announcements of the new Restart employability programme, the sector is at its busiest in terms of levels of financial support and expansion. Over a course of three years, the Restart funding package of £2.9b will help over 1 million unemployed people find work in England and Wales as the employability sector manages and proactively changes the challenge of unemployment during and following Covid-19.

With all hands on deck for the next few years, the industry itself must upscale at pace and fill a diverse range of positions, across all levels of skills and expertise. In a nutshell, the sector itself, who are themselves employers, is short staffed and requires jobs to be filled as a matter of urgency.

Elizabeth Taylor, CEO of ERSA, the membership body for the employment support sector, says:

“Our sector has a breadth of roles to be filled, from frontline advisers, trainers, and youth workers to wellbeing professionals, admin and IT staff. The sector offers fulfilling roles, professional career development and accreditations. All wrapped up in a buoyant, growing and innovative industry, working with like-minded people to help those that need it most.

“Employability is a hidden industry – an area you might know little about unless you’ve had first-hand experience of unemployment – but it’s a sector that embraces the skills and lived-experiences that workers can bring from other areas.”

Jayne Garner, now Head of Delivery for major employability provider Ingeus, is a case in point. 20 years ago, Jayne worked in the heady, high flying world of recruitment, but became disillusioned, knowing her skills could be put to better use. She became a frontline advisor, working with long term unemployed people, and hasn’t looked back. She is now an award winning driving force in enhancing the long term life chances of people to find and sustain employment, managing a team of 120 colleagues to do just the same.

Jayne adds: “I didn’t appreciate the opportunities that were open to me within the employability sector, but when I did, I made the decision to take the plunge and not regret something I hadn’t done. It was the best decision I ever made, and today I embrace the challenges that each day brings me. At the end of every day, I know my efforts have made that difference and that my day-to-day is worthwhile.”

Interested in the opportunities the employability industry offers? The ERSA website lists ERSA members’ vacancies for the new DWP Restart Programme: ersa.org.uk/restartjobs

or search online for employability jobs:
findajob.dwp.gov.uk/search?q=employability+&w=

jobs.theguardian.com/landingpage/2868250/jobs-employability-html/

uk.indeed.com/Employability-jobs

www.totaljobs.com/jobs/employability

www.red5people.co.uk/job-category/employment-support/

www.thelevycompany.co.uk/employability

www.alderwoodrecruitment.com/employability-welfare-work-jobs

www.myiep.uk/page/IEPTalentAcademy

Employers with live vacancies (including employability organisations themselves) are invited to contact the prime provider partnership for free recruitment and employability services: www.dwppartners.co.uk/get-in-touch/

Whizz Education Quantifies Maths Lockdown Learning Loss

Whizz Education, provider of the leading virtual tutor Maths-Whizz, has quantified the lockdown learning loss in maths experienced by 5–13-year-olds in the UK.  Whizz Education’s research shows that 46% of the 1,721 children assessed experienced a learning loss, exhibiting an average of knowledge decline of eight months during the first lockdown.

Dr Junaid Mubeen, Director of Education explains: “Learning loss is such a loaded term. At Whizz we simply take it to mean a decline in students’ knowledge levels, which is hardly surprising in the face of severe disruptions this past year. Despite the tireless efforts of teachers to adapt lessons and provide remote classes, the global pandemic has had a drastic effect on pupils’ learning.

“We found that pencil and paper multiplication was the skill that fared worst, along with pencil and paper addition, both demonstrating more than six months of knowledge declines across the sample.

“Knowledge declines were less severe in topics such as integers, powers and roots and also decimals (5 months’ learning loss).  Children studying these topics are generally older, however, so these findings reflect similar studies we have conducted in other regions around the world, where younger pupils with a limited store of knowledge to draw on, suffered a higher degree of learning loss.

“It is also likely that those in our underserved communities have been hardest hit – a sad consequence of the pandemic is that it has exacerbated the attainment gap, with disadvantaged students falling further behind due to lack of access to online learning during school closures. We’ve observed this in both the UK and globally.

“While we recognise that some students have lost almost a year’s worth of maths knowledge, when addressing how best to move forwards it is important that teachers are not put under further pressure, or that students are made to feel penalised, for events which have, frankly, been out of their control.  We should not expect quick fixes; it will take months, even years, for students to regain any lost ground.  The emphasis needs to be on informal assessment of gaps and ensuring each student receives individualised support that addresses their specific knowledge gaps.  Virtual tutors can play an important part in the battle against learning loss, without inducing further burdens on teachers.

“At Whizz Education, we believe that every child deserves a learning experience that caters to their individual needs and pace of learning.  We work closely in partnership with schools to develop quality bespoke learning programmes delivered via our virtual tutoring platform, Maths-Whizz.  Maths-Whizz uses powerful AI to build a completely personalised plan for each child, and then continues to tailor it as they complete lessons.

“Maths-Whizz provides more than 1,250 pre-prepared lesson plans, assisting teachers to deliver measurable learning gains for children with a range of abilities.  Our research shows with just 60 minutes per week of Maths-Whizz over a six-week summer period, students can expect to acquire a 4-month learning advantage. This year of all years, this seems like too great an opportunity to pass up.”

 To find out more about Whizz Education and the Maths-Whizz virtual tutor please see: www.whizzeducation.com

How to Maximise the Advantages of Hybrid IT

By Sascha Giese, Head Geek at SolarWinds

Recent research in the U.K. public sector shows a combination of cloud and local infrastructure will continue to be used over the course of this year, with up to 53% of services confirming they use hybrid infrastructure. In essence, hybrid IT is the integration of on-premises IT services and cloud-based services, and it includes any blend of software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), or platform as a service (PaaS) solutions with traditional IT infrastructure. More and more organisations are realising the value, practicality, and potential hybrid IT offers to grow proficiencies, services, and solutions.

Practically speaking, public sector organisations throughout the country are leveraging hybrid IT to deliver the performance, flexibility, and scalable infrastructure foundation needed to meet short- and long-term IT needs. Indeed, in response to the government’s pursuit of a “cloud-first” approach, over half of U.K. public services use hybrid infrastructure, with organisations gradually moving their infrastructure and services from on-premises venues to the cloud.

Though the flexibility of hybrid IT is one of the main reasons behind its growth, bringing dissimilar systems together can also significantly increase complexity. For instance, many IT teams will be familiar with the challenges of troubleshooting a service outage and spending more time working out the source of the outage than taking the steps required to resolve the issue.

This is just one example of a range of challenges involved in implementing and managing hybrid IT. So how can public sector organisations make the most of their hybrid IT investments to deliver service innovation and digital transformation alongside reliability, performance, and security?

Overcoming Hurdles

Among the most common challenges teams face in the development and integration of on-premises and cloud technologies is ensuring internal and external IT stakeholders can embrace new solutions and services. Education and training play a key role in maximising efficiency, but they can sometimes be sidelined compared to other priorities, resulting in users not knowing how to properly use new technologies.

To augment hybrid strategies, for example, many experts support splitting the IT organisation into two segments: one focusing on on-premises technology and another targeting cloud technologies. Though IT teams generally have the technical skill to execute on these goals, wider organisational functions—such as finance, HR, and compliance—may benefit from education about how on-premises and cloud services work together.

However, monitoring remains one of the key issues to address in successfully delivering efficient hybrid IT infrastructure. Configuring networks, moving data, and executing services in a hybrid infrastructure is relatively straightforward, but service monitoring continues to be one of the most critical responsibilities of an infrastructure team. Some parts of the hybrid cloud, for instance, are similar to traditional enterprise resources. However, the public cloud doesn’t provide insight into the physical infrastructure—in a private data centre, monitoring agents and integration offer detailed information about everything from the hardware to the hypervisor, guest, and application.

Making Monitoring Work

A smart approach to monitoring processes and technologies facilitates a reduced mean time to resolution (MTTR) for any services impacted by infrastructure failure. Every layer of abstraction reduces the ability to correlate physical hardware failure with service availability, and adding data centre clustering solutions (such as Docker and Kubernetes) results in additional layers of abstraction and increases the importance of effective monitoring.

Implementing monitoring tools supports an improved understanding of the underlying infrastructure. As an example, architects can mine monitoring data for capacity planning, using the insight to prioritise future investment plans. Additionally, monitoring tools provide the capability to design the placement of workloads based on organisational growth and a data-driven understanding of the hybrid infrastructure.

The reality for public sector organisations is hybrid IT is increasing in popularity every day, meaning there’s a choice they need to make. Teams either need to regard it as a foundation for their entire infrastructure or see it in the bigger picture as a springboard to further cloud adoption over time. Both options are a step in the right direction on the digital transformation journey, and whichever one they choose, incorporating detailed and focused monitoring capabilities into their approach can help organisations maximise system performance, reduce downtime, and plan for future requirements.

GLOS CRICKET THANKS BRISTOL NHS AND EMERGENCY SERVICE WORKERS WITH ENGLAND WOMEN ODI TICKET GIVEAWAY

International cricket is returning to the Bristol County Ground this summer and Gloucestershire Cricket is taking the opportunity to thank the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic by giving away tickets to blue light workers.

In a rerun of the 2017 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Final, England will take on India in Bristol on Sunday 27 June, which has been renamed ‘Thank You Day’, giving Gloucestershire Cricket the chance to acknowledge the commitment of the many thousands of local NHS and emergency service staff who have been working tirelessly over the past year.

England captain Heather Knight is looking forward to leading out her World Cup winning team at the County Ground and acknowledging the Bristolians who’ve gone above and beyond over the past twelve months. “So many people have been putting themselves at risk to look after others during the pandemic, it will be an honour to entertain some of them,” she says. “My brother and his partner both work for the NHS – as do many of my friends – and I’m hugely proud of them and all the medical staff who’ve been keeping hospitals going.”  Heather herself signed up to become a medical transport volunteer in March 2020 during the first national lockdown.

Heather’s teammate, England and Western Storm bowler Anya Shrubsole, who took six wickets in the ICC Cricket World Cup Final to secure victory for England, is also expected to be in action on 27 June.  She’s delighted to be returning to the County Ground and being part of the thank you effort. “I always love playing in Bristol, which is close to home for me.  Thank You Day is such a great initiative, it will be a real honour to play in front of the real-life heroes in the crowd,” she said.

The County Ground has played its own part in helping combat coronavirus by hosting both flu and COVID vaccination clinics during the winter and into the current cricket season.  Working In conjunction with the local GP centre, almost 7,000 vaccines have been administered at the ground to help protect local people and enable the country to return to normality as quickly as possible.

“I’m delighted that the club has been able to play a small part in the fight against COVID but the real heroes have been the blue light workers who have provided care and hope to so many,” says Will Brown, Gloucestershire Cricket CEO. “Thank You Day is our way of acknowledging their selfless efforts – we hope they have a great day out on us.”

”We are very grateful for the support of Blue Light Tickets, who have made the application process as straightforward as possible, and our thanks go also to Ticketmaster, who are waiving their usual administration fee to make the day completely free for our NHS heroes.”

William Campbell-Lammerton, Partnerships and Operations Manager at Blue Light Tickets, said:

“The work done by the blue light community during the pandemic has been nothing short of remarkable. Thank You Day is a fantastic cause for the South West and the UK, and it’s inspiring to see Gloucestershire Cricket’s generosity.

“I’m delighted that Blue Light Tickets has been able to support Bristol Cricket Ground in providing complimentary tickets to those that have given so much to us. The UK has an impressive cricket presence, and I can’t wait to see emergency service workers flock to Bristol’s historic ground for a fun-filled day out. The team spirit you experience at an in-person sports game is second to none, and as we emerge out of lockdown, what better way to start the summer than by watching a World-Cup winning team for free?”

To receive a pair of free tickets to the Royal London One-Day International, eligible NHS and emergency service workers can visit www.bluelighttickets.co.uk to register and obtain a unique reference number before booking through the Gloucestershire Cricket website: www.gloscricket.co.uk/tickets

Investing in Nature: An Emerging Institutional Asset Class

The Green Purposes Company, in partnership with Finance Earth, has today published a ground-breaking report on the urgent need to accelerate and scale up investment in nature. This report is published at a critical time: we are facing an environmental crisis with global wildlife populations plummeting and the impacts of climate change increasingly being felt

Continue reading Investing in Nature: An Emerging Institutional Asset Class

REESINK OFFERING 10 PERCENT OFF TORO ROTARY BLADES IN MAY

Reesink Turfcare is offering 10 percent off genuine Toro rotary blades in May to ensure there’s nothing holding you back from delivering in the busiest season of the year.

Never underestimate the importance of your rotary blades. If blunt or unbalanced, you can expect a poor cut and poor after-cut appearance, but also your

Continue reading REESINK OFFERING 10 PERCENT OFF TORO ROTARY BLADES IN MAY

YPO LOOKS TOWARDS POST-PANDEMIC SUCCESS WITH THREE SENIOR APPOINTMENTS

YPO, one of the UK’s largest public sector buying organisations, has made three appointments across its board and senior leadership teams, as part of a wider focus on stability and pandemic recovery for the organisation.

Julie Hawley will be taking the role of executive director of finance, Jacquie Lightfoot will be joining YPO as executive

Continue reading YPO LOOKS TOWARDS POST-PANDEMIC SUCCESS WITH THREE SENIOR APPOINTMENTS

What next for social care?

Highland Marketing’s advisory board welcomed Jane Brightman, social care lead at Institute of Health and Social Care Management, to discuss the sector and its technology needs. A lot of hope is being pinned on integrated care systems, but when it comes to joining up health and care systems and putting the underpinning IT in place,

Continue reading What next for social care?