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Latest News

Press notice - Taxi driver prosecuted for refusing to take a passenger’s guide dog

A taxi driver who refused to take a passenger with a guide dog in Abingdon has been ordered to pay nearly £600 after he was successfully prosecuted by Vale of White Horse District Council.

Tahir Murad, 45, of Cullerne Close in Abingdon, pleaded guilty to breaching equality legislation and was fined £300 and ordered to pay a contribution of £250 towards the prosecution costs and a £30 victim surcharge at a hearing at Oxford Magistrates' Court on 4 March. More »

The prosecution followed a complaint to the council by a man, who is registered blind, that the driver had refused to carry his assistance dog in his vehicle.

On 5 July 2018 the complainant approached Mr Murad's Hackney carriage at the Ock Street taxi rank with his guide dog. Mr Murad gave a number of excuses why he could not take the dog and refused to take it.

However Mr Murad did not hold a certificate of exemption which would have exempted him from the requirement to carry assistance dogs.

Magistrates were also advised that Mr Murad had received disability awareness training from the council and was fully aware of the requirement to carry assistance dogs.

Mr Murad's Hackney carriage driver licence has lapsed since the offence.

Cllr Elaine Ware, Vale of White Horse District Council cabinet member for licensing, said: "I would like to thank the complainant for making us aware of this incident. This case demonstrates that we will always look to take action against drivers who refuse to take passengers with assistance dogs without a valid reason."

CommunicationsSouth Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils01235 422400www.southoxon.gov.uk | @southoxonwww.whitehorsedc.gov.uk | @whitehorsedc » Less

Posted: Mon, 25 Mar 2019 12:33 by Joanne Myers

Press release - Didcot Garden Town continues to move forward and received £218 million investment

The nominated Didcot Garden Town Advisory Board met on 11 March to discuss the proposed operation and structure of the board and the three sounding boards it will be setting up.

The separate sounding boards will consist of a:

  • a parish council board, to include parishes within the garden town area of influence,
  • a business sounding board made up by representatives from local business based in the vicinity and,
  • a community sounding board with people from community groups and interested parties.

Each of the sounding boards will meet regularly to discuss various garden town projects and give constructive feedback and ideas on how they might work. This feedback will be used by the advisory board to make their decisions on what they recommend to the authorities that fund and approve the garden town plans. More »

Since the meeting, the government announced that £218 million has been secured from their Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) and we will work with Homes England to help bring much-needed transport improvements for residents living in and around the garden town.

The four major projects include a Didcot Science Bridge and improvements to the A4130, a new crossing over the River Thames at Culham and a bypass at Clifton Hampden.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chair of the nominated advisory board, said: "We are delighted that the government has demonstrated its commitment to investing in Didcot Garden Town. This is an exciting and important stage in the progress of the garden town projects - it is vital that representatives of the local community are involved as we lay the foundations for the future of Didcot and its surrounding villages."

Now that the funding from HIF is secured, the Didcot Garden Town team will continue work to prioritise the over 60 projects identified in the delivery plan and, once the sounding boards are formed, the team will start to talk to the members for their input.

Once set up, all advisory board meetings and annual general meetings will be held in public so that everyone can hear about and get involved with the plans for the town to make the Didcot Garden Town vision into a reality.

Communications

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils01235 422400www.southoxon.gov.uk | @southoxonwww.whitehorsedc.gov.uk | @whitehorsedc » Less

Posted: Mon, 25 Mar 2019 12:29 by Joanne Myers

Press notice - New housing project for vulnerable homeless peoplelaunched with Oxfordshire Mind

New housing project for vulnerable homeless people launched with Oxfordshire Mind

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have funded a new housing project for homeless vulnerable people run by Oxfordshire Mind.

Initially a trial for a 12-month period, the accommodation is available for people who are from southern Oxfordshire and who have a history of rough sleeping and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. All referrals to the project are made by housing needs officers at South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils, who help people find suitable accommodation to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping. More »

The new housing project provides a total of eight bed spaces, that are a mix of shared and self-contained accommodation. Advance Housing and Support owns the properties and has prepared and equipped the properties ready for people to move in.

In November 2018 the first residents moved in and the project is now fully occupied. Among those now living at the properties, some had a long history of rough sleeping, whilst others were sofa-surfing or about to lose their accommodation. All suffered mental ill health, often made worse by a precarious and uncertain housing situation.

Early signs are very positive with residents using the support provided by Oxfordshire Mind staff to help build their ability to live independently; by managing their tenancy, registering with health services and accessing any additional mental health support.

They are also being encouraged to join the wider community through starting work and volunteering. The aim of the project is for residents to be equipped and able to move on to independent accommodation within 12 months.

The Oxfordshire Mind Housing Project is part of a wider approach being developed by South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils to tackle homelessness across both districts. The councils already fund supported housing for rough sleepers with a local connection and the housing needs team continues to develop innovative approaches to tackling homelessness before it happens.

Cllr Caroline Newton, cabinet member for housing for South Oxfordshire District Council, said: "Both councils are committed to minimising homelessness and recognise that the best approach is a clear focus upon early intervention and prevention.

"This project is a new way of offering support to the rough sleepers in our districts with our organisations working as a partnership to help vulnerable people with all their needs."

Cllr Elaine Ware, cabinet member for housing for Vale of White Horse District Council, said: "The housing needs team at the councils has a successful track record of preventing homelessness in the districts. However, there are occasions when vulnerable households need additional support to secure and maintain their accommodation.

"The aim of this trial is to help homeless people with a connection to South and Vale areas to get the appropriate support they need to stay off the streets and stay safe."

For more than 50 years Oxfordshire Mind has provided supported accommodation to people suffering from mental ill health across Oxfordshire.

Dan Knowles, Oxfordshire Mind CEO, said: "Four in five people with mental health problems have lived in housing that has made their mental health worse, 40 per cent of people with mental health problems have experienced stigma or discrimination in the place they live at the moment.

"Research carried out by Homeless Link shows that 45 per cent of homeless people have been diagnosed with a mental health issues – nearly double that of the general population – and 80 per cent of homeless people self-reported some form of mental health issue.

"Here at Oxfordshire Mind we are proud to have a long history of providing high quality supported housing across the county. We are very excited to work with South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils to provide more housing options for persons who are homeless and who suffer from ill mental health and who may not be eligible to access other supported accommodation services."

A spokesperson from Advance Housing and Support said: "We are proud to be working with South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils and Oxfordshire Mind to provide safe homes and support for people who are vulnerable or have been homeless. A good quality home with the right support in place provides stability and is a platform on which to address wider health and wellbeing issues as people more towards independence."

Note to editors:

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have supported this trial project working with Oxfordshire Mind and Advance Housing Association. It will run for 12 months from November 2018 with the option to be extended.

The accommodation is in a town in South Oxfordshire.

Potential residents are offered a place following an assessment process to determine those who would benefit most from the scheme.

More information on help provided for homeless or people at risk of homelessness is the council's websites (South and Vale)

For more information contact:

  • Oxfordshire Mind - Sarah Jordan (PR and Communications)
    • 01865 263 735
    • communications@oxfordshiremind.org.uk

About Oxfordshire Mind:

  • Oxfordshire Mind is part of Mind, the leading mental health charity in England in Wales.
  • Founded in 1967, Oxfordshire Mind run a wide range of services for anyone over the age of 16 who are affected by mental health problems, providing information and support to people experiencing mental health problems in Oxfordshire. Our services include; the Oxfordshire Mind Information Line, wellbeing support, benefits advice, supported housing, physical activity and wellbeing services, and Talking Therapies.
  • Last year Oxfordshire Mind helped over 20,000 Oxfordshire residents.
  • In addition to supported accommodation funded by South & Vale District Councils, Oxfordshire Mind provides 86 units of supported accommodation across the county for persons who suffer from severe and enduring mental health issues. This provision is delivered as part of the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership that is funded by the OCCG.

| Oxfordshire Mind is your local mental health charitywww.oxfordshiremind.org.ukOxfordshire Mind is your local mental health charity. We're here to make sure anyone with a mental health issue has somewhere to turn for advice and support


  • Omhp.org.uk

About Mind:

  • Mind, the mental health charity provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. We won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect.
  • www.mind.org.uk
  • Please note that Mind is not an acronym and should be set in title case.
  • Mind has a confidential information and support line, Mind Infoline, available on 0300 123 3393 (lines open 9am - 6pm, Monday – Friday).

Links:

Posted: Thu, 21 Mar 2019 11:36 by Joanne Myers