Best of Blaby District celebrated



Eight finalists honoured at fifteenth Outstanding Achievement Awards 

Blaby District Council’s fifteenth celebration to recognise individuals and groups from District of Blaby for their selfless work within their communities took place on Thursday 05 October.

Eight finalists and their families joined special guests and sponsors to enjoy the evening and honour the unsung heroes. BBC East Midlands Today’s Maurice Flynn hosted the ceremony.

Finalists included the inspirational 13-year-old Emma McCarron of Narborough, whose father is battling cancer, who took Young Achiever of the Year for her work raising over £5,000 for the charity Hope Against Cancer.

Thorpe Astley resident Michaela Garfield won Good Friend/Good Neighbour after being the backbone of her street, offering support and friendship to neighbours suffering illness and going through hard times for over 15 years.

Blaby Scout Leader Betty Saunders won Volunteer of the Year after serving her local scout group for 37 years, whilst Commbus took the title of Best Community Group/Achievement for their work in helping elderly and disabled residents maintain their independence through the voluntary transport service.

Councillor Terry Richardson, Leader of Blaby District Council, said: “I am so proud as leader to see us host these awards for the fifteenth consecutive year. The Judging Panel and I had an extremely hard task of whittling the 43 nominees down to the eight we saw honoured on the night.

“All of those nominated deserve praise for the selfless work they do in their local community. We know that thousands of volunteers are what make this dirstrict a great place to live.

“We would like to thank every person that has taken time to submit nominations and put forward their district heroes and I am consistently in awe of the incredible work we get to hear about.

“I want to congratulate all the finalists and to personally thank our sponsors who make this event possible.

Our awards are funded entirely through the incredibly generous sponsorship of businesses who contribute to the economic viability of our District”

Davidsons Homes are the main sponsors of the awards, along with category sponsors Fosse, Marriott Leicester, Ford and Slater and Countryside Properties.

Full list of winners and runners up:

  • Good Friend/Good Neighbour – Winner: Michaela Garfield (Thorpe Astley), Runner-up: Janet Chapman (Croft)
  • Volunteer of the Year – Winner: Betty Saunders (Blaby), Runner-up: Josie Sharp (Enderby)
  • Young Achiever of Year – Winner: Emma McCarron (Narborough), Runner-up: Jack Wheeler (Thorpe Astley)
  • Best Community Group/Community Achievement – Winner: Commbus Community Transport, Runner Up: Thurlaston Carnival Committee

District leaders pledge to continue to work together



The leaders of all seven district councils have today unanimously agreed to continue working together to review the current model of local government in Leicestershire.

The leaders of Blaby, Charnwood, Melton, Oadby and Wigston, North West Leicestershire, Harborough and Hinckley and Bosworth councils, said in a joint statement: “The district councils are continuing to work together to look at future service delivery in Leicestershire to ensure it is lean, effective and in touch with residents.

“Any potential changes need to be based on a thorough assessment of all options and backed by evidence and communities.

“The district councils will ensure residents, partners and stakeholders are involved in the conversation and fully consulted. The needs of our residents will be put first.”


Lightbulb service celebrates first anniversary

Following a year of work transforming the lives of residents across Leicestershire, “Lightbulb” is celebrating one year since the partnership began delivering this innovative service.

Hosted by Blaby District Council and in partnership with Leicestershire County Council, the district councils, the county’s Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s), Leicestershire Partnership Trust, and University Hospitals of Leicester, Lightbulb is a centralised, integrated housing support service which helps people to remain independent in their own homes.

During its first year, Lightbulb has helped over 3,200 people across the county, improved hospital discharge for 600 people, reduced waiting times for minor housing adaptations, with 89% of service users reporting an improvement in their physical and mental health.

A typical case is a person with mobility issues caused by Drop Foot, Arthritis and respiratory problems, who was reluctantly looking to move into supported living. Due to the advice and practical support of the Lightbulb service, and with one point of contact to coordinate everything needed, suitable minor and major adaptations were installed.

They were delighted to be able to remain in their own home, and stay connected to their local community, which is so important to their overall wellbeing.

The pioneering project has been featured in local and national media, and has attracted interest from other local authorities keen to understand how a Lightbulb service in their area could benefit their residents.

Lightbulb has achieved three major accolades in the first year of operation: winning the Local Government Chronicle award for best Public/Public Partnership, named the Best Collaborative Working Initiative by the Association for Public Service Excellence, and highly commended at the Home Improvement Agency Awards.

Councillor Lee Breckon, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “Everyone associated with Blaby District Council is so proud of Lightbulb’s achievements in its first year. It has improved lives and made accessing help easier.

“We have made a significant difference to people across the county through innovative partnership working, and I’m looking forward to an equally successful second year.”

Residents can find out more about help within their home by visiting or calling 0116 305 0004.

Plan sets out future growth


A PLAN setting out how Leicester and Leicestershire will grow in the future is set to be agreed by local partners.

The Strategic Growth Plan has been developed by a partnership made up of Leicester City and Leicestershire County councils, the seven local borough and district authorities and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP). It puts forward proposals for future development, including housing provision, that will be needed to support population change, meet housing needs and support economic growth from now until 2050.

Following public consultation, a revised plan has been agreed by a members’ advisory group representing all the partners. It will now be used to help shape the Local Plans that the city, borough and district councils are preparing or reviewing.

It will also be used to support bids for Government funding to deliver the infrastructure needed to support growth.

People were invited to comment on the plan by taking part in a county-wide consultation, which ran from 11 January until 10 May 2018. In total, 588 responses were received, 79 per cent of which were from members of the public, with others received from local businesses, developers, landowners, voluntary groups and stakeholders such as parish councils, the police and health.

The comments received were analysed and considered during the preparation of the revised Strategic Growth Plan, which is what is now being put forward.

The plan estimates that Leicester and Leicestershire needs 96,580 new homes and 367-423 hectares of employment land from 2011-2031. These homes have already been built, have planning permission, or are already allocated to be built in adopted or emerging Local Plans.

Beyond 2031, the plan identifies the need for a further 90,500 dwellings and additional employment land. Local Plans will deal with the detailed allocation of which sites will be brought forward for potential development.

Major infrastructure improvements would also be needed to allow for new growth. These include a new link road – the A46 Expressway – to the south and east of Leicester, connecting strategic highways to the west of the city with the M1 and A46 to the north-east. No decisions have yet been made about the exact route of this road, which would be subject to extensive further consultation before going ahead.

The A5 and A42 would also be upgraded to expressway status, supporting growth in these areas. Rail improvements are proposed, too, to provide improved connections to Coventry and Birmingham.

These road and rail improvements would require significant Government investment and would relieve congestion pressures along the M1 and more widely across the Midlands.

Key areas for potential growth are the city of Leicester and the corridor of land around the proposed new road.  A secondary area for growth is identified in the north of the county – there would be a ‘Leicestershire international gateway’ close to East Midlands Airport and major employers in the area.

However, plans for a ‘southern gateway’, close to Magna Park, have been dropped after feedback from the consultation. Instead, the focus will be on the A5 corridor, where improvements to the A5 will support growth.

Growth and regeneration is also proposed for Melton, where it would support transport improvements and relieve congestion in the town.

Trevor Pendleton, chair of the Strategic Growth Plan Members’ Advisory Group, said: “It’s extremely positive that 10 local partners have joined together to formulate and agree on a long-term plan for our city and county’s future. We need to work to together to manage development, focusing it in key areas, so that our city and county can grow and prosper.

“This plan will also help us bid for national funding, which is essential to get the sort of infrastructure improvements that will help to ease congestion and drive growth.

“The plan will influence more locally-made decisions on planning and development. It gives more control over planning matters back to local authorities and will inform the Local Plans that each authority develops, which set out in more detail how they will allow and encourage future growth.

“We know that some of these proposals are controversial. They are not easy decisions. But we need to be strategic about how we manage future growth so that it is focused, sustainable and of benefit to the people who live and work here.”

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The future prosperity of our city and county is a key priority for all the partners who have shaped this plan. Thinking ahead is vital to ensure we get the best possible deal for Leicester and Leicestershire, particularly when it comes to getting funding for infrastructure improvements.

“We are all committed to protecting the environment and heritage that make our city, county and market towns so special. We also have ambitious plans and a strong shared vision to ensure that we get the best possible deal for Leicester and Leicestershire. Together, our voice is stronger.”

Nick Rushton, leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “I really welcome the production of the plan, it makes the area a real trailblazer in terms of the rest of the country.

“From our perspective, there’s now a long-term vision which helps us to better plan for the future. That’s particularly important in bidding for Government funding towards the transport infrastructure needed to support further growth.”

The Strategic Growth Plan will now be considered by the local councils which developed it, with the aim of having the plan approved by mid-December.

To find out more about the plan, visit the website at

Blaby named fifth happiest district in UK

The District of Blaby has been named the fifth happiest location in the UK following the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) Annual Happiness Study.

Looking at Life satisfaction, Worthwhile, Happiness and Anxiety, the ONS report shows that the happiness level of the district is 8.11 out of 10, compared with the national average of 7.7. This figure is the highest recorded in the district by the ONS since the report began in 2011.

Life satisfaction rose to 7.9/10, Worthwhile grew to 8.2/10 whilst Anxiety dropped to 2.6/10.

The ranking of fifth happiest in the UK is the highest in Leicestershire. Last year the district was rated as the third best place to live for people aged 20-29 on a Channel 4 show.

Blaby District is home to over 95,000 residents in 24 parishes and includes major employers such as Next, Sytner and Topps Tiles, who all have their head offices in the area. Fosse Shopping Park, which welcomes over 10 million visitors a year, is also based in the district.

Villages in the district host nationally renowned events, including the Victory Show in Cosby. The village of Huncote will be hosting the British Cycling BMX National Championships at the Pavilion Leisure Centre over the coming weekend (28-30 September.)

Councillor Terry Richardson, Leader of Blaby District Council, said: “We are extremely proud to be placed so highly once again in the ONS study, and we’re especially pleased to see our residents’ overall happiness at record levels.

“Whilst this cannot be all about Blaby District Council, the way in which we work with partners to deliver fantastic projects and great design in our community, keep our streets clean and have fantastic parks and open spaces to visit as well as delivering high quality services all contribute to this success.

“With a thriving new community in Lubbesthorpe, the expansion of Fosse Park and the exciting new Everards Meadows development coming over the next few years we know that the district will continue to be a great place to live, work and visit.”

More information on the ONS study is available by visiting their website.