St Peter's Church is now thought to be well into its tenth century as a place of worship, and whilst it has been refurbished, altered and partially rebuilt, it remains a Grade I listed building. Much of the remaining fabric of the building dates back to the fourteenth century, although there are some areas of Norman flint walling.
But, like so many rural churches in small parishes, maintenance depends on a small number of volunteers, so the Parochial Church Council is seeking help with its efforts by holding a Church Maintenance Day and Spring Clean on Saturday, September 24th between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The intention is to tackle the more long term and difficult to reach dust and cobwebs in the church and to do some essential maintenance on the exterior. All are welcome, and refreshments will be available.
A consultation asking users of Suffolk's mobile library service how they think savings could be made was launched yesterday. The six week consultation will give people an opportunity to tell Suffolk County Council what they value in the service as well as make suggestions on how to save public money.
Suffolk County Council currently spends £600,000 a year providing the service for around 7,000 customers. This equates to £7.70 per customer visit as opposed to £2.51 in Suffolk's 44 built libraries. Six mobile libraries (plus a backup in case of breakdowns) make 630 stops fortnightly in 361 communities across the whole of Suffolk - predominantly in rural and isolated areas but also in areas with or near to library buildings.
Visits to mobile libraries have declined by 36,744 (32.46%) over the last 10 years and loans have decreased by 123,090 (37%). Statistics in the past three years show a rise in borrowing.
The main proposals being consulted on are:
Reducing the service from fortnightly to four weekly or monthly visits - as is the case in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire
Removing mobile library stops in parishes or towns which already have a library building.
If implemented, the proposals would save £225,000 of public money annually.
No decisions will be made until after the consultation responses have been thoroughly examined. Suffolk County Council's Cabinet will decide on the way forward in November 2011. For some people living in Suffolk's most rural communities, the mobile library service plays a significant role in given them access to reading and learning.
Councillor Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council's Portfolio Holder responsible for libraries, said: “There is therefore no question of removing it altogether. I want to reassure people that these proposals will not leave anybody who currently uses mobile libraries without any level of local library provision.
“What we're asking people for are their views on how to keep it running whilst making necessary financial savings. We think we can save money whilst keeping a valued public service running. But that decision is a long way off. Now's the time to work with Suffolk residents to find out what they want to happen.”
Sunday, September 11th is Heritage Open Day this year, and to mark the occasion, the River Gipping Trust is taking part for the first time, when it will be welcoming visitors to Baylham, where volunteers are restorong the lock to full working order as part of their mission to return the full length of the River Gipping to navigation.
The Trust is proposing to undertake a feasibility study for providing a tourist boat service between Bosmere Lock and Baylham Lock when the work is complete, which will make the Needham Lakes facility even more attractive.
Baylham Lock is near the Rare Breeds Farm, and will be open between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., with volunteers available to answer questions and show visitors around the site.
Saturday, September 10th sees another Parochial Church Council Coffee Morning. And as a bonus, the second in what is hoped will become a regular six-monthly visit by the Mobile Police Station is planned, with either PC Stefan Henriksen or PCSO Sam Knibbs in attendance to offer advice and tips on home and personal security, or to answer any questions you might have.
PC Henriksen is keen to meet as many villagers as possible, and is always happy to address any concerns about speeding, anti-social behaviour and other blights on village life.
So, make sure that you come to the Church Room, at the end of The Lane, between 10 a.m. and noon.