Soham is a deprived' village

PUBLISHED: 09:38 10 November 2006 | UPDATED: 12:06 04 May 2010

HARD DONE BY? APPARENTLY Soham is a deprived area. This is what the Town Forum was told last week by the county council. We must be pretty deprived as it took three ladies from Shire Hall to tell us so. One of them was the head of infrastructure

HARD DONE BY?

APPARENTLY Soham is a "deprived" area. This is what the Town Forum was told last week by the county council.

We must be pretty deprived as it took three ladies from Shire Hall to tell us so. One of them was the head of infrastructure in the council's children's department and another was the locality manager! No, I've no idea what that means, either. They are so worried about the deprivation in Soham that they are going to set up a children's centre in town for the parents of children up to the age of five.

The centre will be "a focus for multi-agency teams to deliver integrated services." I never had an integrated service delivered to me when I was a toddler......maybe that explains at lot about the way I am. In essence, from what I could make out, this centre will be a place where the parents of young children can go to get information. In fact, you can pick up leaflets at the Viva Centre or the library, but the council are going to spend £200,000 on a new building that has to be within "pram-pushing" distance of the people who would use it. A single office within 'pram-pushing' distance of Downfields and the 'affordable' houses on the new town off The Shade means that there are some pretty fit mums in Soham.

Never mind, it's nice that the county council has recognised that Soham does, at least, exist and are trying to do something for us. Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that they have been ordered by central government to set up 22 of these centres in the county by 2008 and have been granted the money (for the time being) to run them. So this sudden interest in our town could actually have more to do with ticking boxes for the bureaucrats in Whitehall than genuine concern for the people of Soham. It seems that we are going to be helped, even if it kills us.

NEW TRADITION

APPARENTLY, the custom of knocking on doors on Halloween and accepting gifts stems from a tradition in parts of Europe of poor people promising to pray for dead relatives of the rich in return for money. This crossed the Atlantic and mutated into the current convention. Now it has come back to Europe and we get children of all ages and sizes wandering the streets on October 31.

The group of lads who knocked on our door had obviously taken the thing to heart as they were decked out in masks and robes and had obviously taken a bit of trouble. You couldn't mistake them for Americans, though, because the Soham came through as soon as I opened the door and their spokesman said, "Trick or treat, mate."

POSSIBLE ANSWER

AS and when we get our centre within pram-pushing distance there may be an answer for some of the mums who think that a three-mile round trip is too far. There are so many cars for sale in Soham that there must be one within everyone's price range. And you don't have to go far to find one. Almost every piece of greenery on the main road through town has one or two (and, in some cases, three) parked up with a cardboard price tag on it. I always thought that green spaces were put there as amenities, not showrooms. It just shows how much I know!

HAVE YOUR SAY

NEXT Wednesday (15) there is a meeting of the Soham Neighbourhood Panel at the Pavilion at 7pm. 'What is the Soham Neighbourhood Panel', I hear you cry?

It is a group of people of 'good standing' who would like to get involved in setting local priorities for housing and policing. There will be people there who will listen and who should be able to provide some answers. If you want to shout the odds and cause a nuisance they would rather you stayed away, but if you feel that you can contribute they will be delighted to see you. For more information, call Jane Fletcher or Annette Fontaine on 01353 616352.

LEND A HAND

THE scouts had their annual fireworks display and hot dog session on Friday.

When you see the youngsters having a good time it really makes the hard work put in by the leaders worthwhile. The thing is, the more leaders there are the more the work is shared. If you would like to help spread the work in a very worthwhile cause have a look on the website www.2ndsohamscouts.org.uk.

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