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Christmas lights switch on

10.25am - 16th November 2018

HARLOW gets into the festive spirit when the Christmas Lights Switch On takes place in Broad Walk.

A programme of activities planned by Harlow Council, the Harvey Centre and The Water Gardens in the town centre throughout tomorrow (Saturday).

 At 11am the Harvey Centre hosts a fun-packed comedy Christmas launch event featuring special guests and live entertainment including ‘Sister Ruth’, the singing nun. Children can also visit Santa’s Grotto. The fun continues until 4pm. 

At the same time (11am-4pm) in Market Square, Harlow’s first Makers Market will take place with a range of local makers offering unique, hand-crafted products, from wooden garden ornaments, baked goods and homemade cards to knitwear, jewellery, preserves and chutneys and ceramics. 

Children can become one of Santa’s Little Helpers at a free workshop where they can make their own elf hat costume. Workshops run from midday to 1.30pm and 2pm to 3.30pm. 

At 4pm there will be a festive procession through Broad Walk with the cast of this year’s panto, Aladdin, Santa and his special friends and the Pets' Corner reindeer. 

Santa and his friends will set off from the Harvey Centre, be led out into Broad Walk and down towards the Christmas tree where the countdown will begin and the Broad Walk Christmas Lights switched on at 5pm. 

The Water Gardens will be putting on its own festive show from 4pm-6pm featuring live music and mulled wine with their lights switched on at 5pm.

MP supporting Small Business Saturday

10.57am - 14th November 2018

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon is supporting Small Business Saturday by awarding a number of prizes to local businesses and staff. 

He will be presenting awards on Small Business Saturday - Saturday, December 1 - to the Small Business of the Year; Apprentice of the Year and Employer of the Year. 

He said: "Small Business Saturday is a fantastic way of celebrating and supporting the small businesses that are the backbone of our communities. 

"Whether you are a small business, an employee or a customer, show your support on Small Business Saturday for our vital community shops, restaurants, pubs and organisations."

If you know a business or individual deserving of one of the awards email Mr Halfon's office at halfon4harlow@roberthalfon.com

Campaign launched to reduce amount of un-used prescription medicines

12.40pm -10th November 2018

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to help reduce the £1m bill for medicines which are prescribed every year in west Essex but never used. 

GPs and pharmacists are working together to encourage people to consider the cost and health implications of not taking medicines as they are prescribed, or ordering medicines which are no longer needed. 

Research with patients and carers across the area suggests prescription medicines are sometimes over-ordered ‘just in case’ they run out - leading to very expensive and potentially dangerous stockpiles of medicines in the home that have a limited life.

Some patients are also reluctant to tell their GP surgery that they have stopped taking medicines that have been prescribed for them, which could lead to serious health problems. 

Patients are returning unused medicines to their pharmacy, but most do not realise they cannot be re-used and must be destroyed - at a cost to the NHS. 

If a medicine is handed back to a pharmacist straight away, before the patient leaves the pharmacy, it can be recycled for another patient but once it has been taken outside the building it has to be destroyed.

Medicines should never be thrown in the bin or flushed away. 

When you collect your prescription it is a good idea to look in the bag before you leave the pharmacy and hand back anything you do not need. 

You do not need to order a medicine every month to keep it on your repeat prescription list. 

Dr Rob Gerlis, Chairman of West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group and Joint Clinical Lead of the Hertfordshire and West Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) - the health and care partnership driving the campaign - said: "It’s really important that you or the person that you care for take the medicines that have been prescribed. 

"If for some reason you are not, please tell a GP, pharmacist or nurse, because it could be having a serious impact on your health. 

If a medicine doesn’t agree with you, it might be possible to prescribe an alternative.” 

The start of the campaign will see about 300 pharmacies across Hertfordshire and west Essex displaying campaign materials in-store and on pharmacy bags. 

Posters and screens in waiting rooms in GP practices will also help get the message across. 

A Twitter campaign will also be highlighting medicines waste with the hashtag #lookinthebag. 

It is hoped the campaign will save vital NHS resources and support patients to think more about the medicines they are ordering and taking, and seek advice from their GP and pharmacist should they need any help.

MP opens school's new facilities

5.36pm - 6th November 2018

A FORMER small classroom at Little Parndon Primary Academy has been transformed into a library to entice pupils inside to find a love of reading.

A graffiti artist has breathed life into the space with Wizard of Oz and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe images on the walls.

For children with special educational needs and disabilities, a sensory room is also being created at the school. 

Harlow MP Robert Halfon opened the new facilities and talked with children in the new library. 

He told them: “I love libraries; they are amazing. I spent a lot of time in the library growing up; I think booksare incredible. “Books are like friends and they can make your home feel really warm and cosy. Having a beautiful room like this is wonderful and you are very lucky.”

Having answered children’s questions about his role in Parliament and discussed favourite books, he said: "Little Parndon is a very, very special place. What is happening in this school is just wonderful.

"Every single thing has been thought about. To come to a school like this makes you feel inspired. What is going on here is a miracle. I go to schools a lot but the children here are so intelligent." 

Mr Halfon also heard about the work going on in the new sensory room with children with additional needs. 

He said: “The sensory room will make such a difference to a whole lot of children with difficulties. It’s a beautiful place.” 

Head of School Kirstie Clark said: "The new library has been completely transformed and looks fantastic. The space we had for the library previously was too small and was not inviting. 

"We want pupils to want to pick up a book and feel comfortable going into the library to relax and read. This space will give them enjoyment around reading. 

"What was the library is now a sensory room. We have never had a dedicated space for children with special educational needs to go to to explore their senses. 

"It’s really important for children with needs to be able to go somewhere to have that space and time.

"Previously, we would take children outside or to the games trail to give them what they needed.

"Now we have a facility to give children what they need in school. It’s a quiet space which can be used by all children to go to to reflect and have time to themselves."

MP named in 'most influential people' list

12.34pm - 4th November 2018

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon has been named as one of the most influential people with a disability in the UK. 

The Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List is an annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. 

More than 700 nominations were received for the list which is compiled by an independent judging panel, chaired by Kate Nash OBE. 

Mr Halfon was recognised for his commitment to social justice, for campaigning to bring an end to hospital car parking charges and championing the “ladder of opportunity”. 

He said: "I am thrilled to be named on the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List 2018. In my role as MP and Chair of the Education Select Committee I endeavour to ensure everyone has an equal chance to climb the ladder of opportunity." 

Shaw Trust interim chief executive Nick Bell said: "The judges were beyond impressed by the standard of nominations but selected the most influential people who are proving that disability or impairment is not a barrier to success. 

"One of our aims for the Disability Power 100 list is to demonstrate to young people that they can achieve their ambitions. 

"At Shaw Trust we work with government, local authorities and employers to support people overcome barriers which hold them back from achieving their potential."

Drivers face fine and points for driving wrong way on M11

4.03pm - 3rd November 2018

MORE than 80 drivers face a £100 fine and three points on their licence after police officers received information that motorists turned around on the M11 near Harlow following a six-vehicle collision. 

The crash happened between junctions 6 and 7 at about 1.10pm last Saturday. 

The road was closed for 25 minutes due to the number of vehicles involved. No-one was seriously injured.

Following the road closure police received dozens of video clips from vehicle dash cams and peoples’ phones through the Safer Essex Road Partnerships’ Extra Eyes campaign. 

The clips showed drivers turning around and driving the wrong way up the hard shoulder and slip road.

Adam Pipe, Essex Police’s head of roads policing, said: “Turning around on a road and driving in the other direction is clearly dangerous, there are no excuses. 

"You wouldn’t do it in a moving traffic and it’s no different to turning around following a road closure. 

“People determined to continue to do this must remember there are extra eyes on our roads. Dash cams are being a common feature in vehicles and passengers can film you using their phones.

“In this instant, the road was closed for less than half an hour. Being inpatient does not pay and 86 drivers face a fine of £100 and three points on their driving licence.” 

For more information about SERP’s Extra Eyes campaign visit https://saferessexroads.org/extraeyes/extra-eyes-what-next/

Three teenagers arrested over moped crash

4.00pm - 3rd November 2018

THREE teenagers have been arrested in connection with an incident where a moped rider was left with a serious head injury. 

A man in his 20s was in collision with a van in School Lane at the junction with First Avenue at 7.25pm on Wednesday, October 10. 

He was taken to hospital where he was treated for a fractured skull.

Three teenagers were arrested yesterday (Thursday). 

A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, ABH, criminal damage, theft of a motor vehicle, and theft from a motor vehicle. 

Another 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, ABH, theft of a motor vehicle, and theft from a motor vehicle.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of ABH, criminal damage, and theft from a motor vehicle. 

All three have been released on bail until November 8.

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