Thurrock ‘most improved’ GCSEs

The Department for Education said on Wednesday (12 January): “Southwark, Thurrock and Westminster are the most improved local authorities in terms of percentage of pupils achieving five GCSE (or GCSE or equivalent) passes at A* to C including English and mathematics from 2007 to 2010.”

Council boss welcomes plan to lift Dartford Toll barriers

“However, I am cautious about this. When the government announced rises in the tolls they promised that the money would be ring-fenced to crossing improvements and they’ve gone back on their word there. “They also said there would be a public consultation into the rises launched by the end of 2010. We’re now ten days into 2011 and there is still no consultation.”

Swopshop time with unwanted Christmas gifts

If unwanted presents, toys, books, kitchenware, old keyboards or electrical appliances permanently clutter your cupboards, this is a chance to clean them out, and possibly get something you actually need in return. Give and Take Days are a community waste exchange events organised to promote the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle.

Childcare at top of council agenda

The meetings will be at Thursday, 13 January, at the Thameside Children Centre, Manor Road, Grays, between 8.15am and 10am; Wednesday, 19 January, at the Beacon Children’s Centre, Drake Road, Chafford Hundred, between 9am and 11.30am; Saturday, 22 January, at Purfleet Primary School, Tank Hill Road, Purfleet, between 10am and 2pm; and Wednesday, 26 January, at the Flag Ship Children’s Centre, London Road, Tilbury, from 4pm until 6pm.

Plenty of time to see Thameside panto!

The 2010/2011 pantomime at the Thameside Theatre, Grays is Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood starring Kim Taylforth (from ITVs London’s Burning and Bad Girls and Channel 5s Family Affairs) as The Forest Fairy, Alex Marshall as Robin Hood, Mark Siney as Nurse Glucose, Postman Pat as himself!, Tobey Nicholls as The Sheriff […]

Gritting runs cut

Due to the ongoing weather conditions, the forecast, and the likelihood of government intervention in salt deliveries the council decided to take the prudent step of protecting its supplies of salt as far as possible, something it has done in the two previous winters. Future gritting runs to the reduced routes as laid out in the Winter Maintenance Plan, details of which are available on the council’s website at and by going to “Gritting” via the A to Z.

Cultural champion: John Scowen

Essex Arts & Business invited arts organistions from across the East of England to nominate their Cultural Champions and bring them along to a celebration at Hylands House. Arts & Business was delighted that the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Lord Petre, who makes such a significant personal contribution to the cultural life of Essex, made time in his busy diary to attend and say a few words.

Bin collections restarted

A 5am inspection of Thurrock’s roads today (Tuesday, 21 December) showed there had been a slight thaw overnight and some refuse collections were started. Crews will be carrying out collections scheduled for Monday (20 December). They will be collecting green/grey (residual waste) and blue (recycling) bins only.

Santa in the woods

There were a number of stop offs on the way in which the story is unfurled and little gifts were given to the children. Once they found Sleeping Beauty, she led them to a tented area where they received hot drinks, minced pies and were able to make their own or purchase wooden craft items made by the Friends group before being invited to Santa’s Hut to see Santa and received their present.

Refuse collections suspended

DUE to heavy weekend snowfall and freezing overnight weather conditions , all refuse and recycling collections have been suspended today (Monday 20 December). Waste Services Management staff have been inspecting the borough roads since 5.30am and have determined that public and staff safety cannot be guaranteed.

Thurrock’s Credit Union launched

MP Jackie Doyle-Price joined Thurrock Council Leader, Cllr John Kent; portfolio holder for Community, Culture and Leisure, Cllr Lynn Worrall; and Alison Davies, Managing Director of Essex Savers at the Civic Offices for the launch. Essex Savers is regulated by the Financial Services Authority and encourages people to save little and often through community-based credit unions — through direct payments and from their wages.

Warning to those selling booze to under-agers

Thurrock Council’s Trading Standards will be using young volunteers to check whether stores are acting properly with the sale of age-restricted goods. It is part of an ongoing test-purchasing programme, but Trading Standards is also asking shops and parents to be vigilant and help ensure alcohol and cigarettes are not supplied to under-18s.

Join the Board!

The board’s aim is to improve people’s well being as they grow older. Matters such as transport, health, housing, and pensions are discussed and fed back to the council to influence future resources and decision-making.

Council leader John Kent: Meeting the challenge

OBSERVERS have seen council leader John Kent grow into the role as council leader over the last eight months. Many saw the Labour leader’s speech at the opening of the Royal Opera House last week and wondered whether he had loftier ambitions in the future. However, YourThurrock wanted to speak to the leader about more immediate issues.

Festive cheer without the beer

Alcohol is not necessary to enjoy the festive period and members of Thurrock Council’s road safety team were in Grays High Street on Tuesday (7 December) afternoon to prove it. They were offering shoppers and passers-by free “mocktails” (non-alcoholic cocktails) as well as alcohol free wine, beer and even mulled wine — which was doubly welcome on a freezing day.

Praise from government for adult social care

At Wednesday (8 December) evening’s meeting of the cabinet, portfolio holder for Adult Social Care, Cllr Tony Fish, said it “judges the quality and range of services on offer and performance and progress in improving the quality of life and outcomes for people who use services, carers and the wider community. The ratings scale ranges from performing poorly (the lowest), performing adequately, performing well up to performing excellently (the highest).”

Street cricket in Thurrock

The new youth cricket project, Street20 is an urban, funky form of the game, designed to be played in crowded environments and using facilities such as five-a-side football pitches, multi-use-games-areas, basketball courts and sports halls. In Thurrock, Street20 sessions for young people from 11 to18 years have been taking place since September and are run by the Thurrock Nacro Community Sports Project for Thurrock Council.

Deputy leader praises gritting staff

Thurrock has five new gritting lorries with staff working 12-hour shifts to ensure 24-hour coverage during the worst of the weather. In addition 150 staff — from street cleansing, grounds maintenance and waste collection — with help from the Community payback team cleared snow and ice from town centres and other pedestrian areas.