Still time to buy a book for a child in care this Christmas

giving-treeI paid a visit to Waterstones in Norwich yesterday, to see how the Giving Tree was getting on.

The Giving Tree, pictured right, is in the Castle Street store and is decorated with tags, each representing a child in care in Norfolk and a book they would like to receive this Christmas. Visitors to Waterstones choose a tag, find a book that fits the bill and buys it to be given to the child to open on Christmas Day. Isn’t that a lovely thing?

When I went in yesterday there were only about a dozen tags left on the tree, which is great news as they need to be bought by Sunday 4 December, in order to reach the children in time for Christmas. We really don’t want any of the children to go without though so if you’re late night shopping in Norwich tonight and want to support the Giving Tree appeal, please do drop into Waterstones (it’s open till 9pm tonight) and see how many tags there are left – the Giving Tree is in the children’s book section. There may still be tags left at the weekend too.

The Giving Tree appeal is organised by Norfolk County Council’s Virtual School for Children in Care, whose role is to monitor the progress of all looked after children in Norfolk and ensure they have the best possible education.

Thank you to everyone who has already bought a book for a child in care for Christmas. Many of these children and young people have had a very difficult start to life, so the generosity of people in Norfolk to get them a present they want will almost certainly make a big difference.

Norwich Park & Ride is running some extra late night bus services on Thursdays in December, as well as additional Sunday services – you can find out more here.

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Do you have the medical supplies to see you through Christmas?

Stay Well logoHelp yourself and your loved ones stay well – and help the NHS at what is a very busy for them – by making sure you have the right medicines and other supplies to see you through the Christmas and New Year period.

Those who take regular medication should make sure they have ordered enough to last through the holiday period or ask their GP practice for a new prescription.

Most pharmacies will be open between Christmas and New Year and some will be open on the bank holidays, including Christmas Day. Pharmacists can provide advice, over-the-counter medicines and fulfil repeat prescriptions. Find out which Norfolk pharmacies are open on bank holidays here.

It’s also important to make sure your medicine cabinet or kit contains all the essential items, such as:

  • painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, including versions for children (if there are any children in the house)
  • over-the-counter cough, cold, flu and indigestion remedies
  • plasters
  • bandages
  • antiseptic cream
  • thermometer

For health information over the festive period please go to http://www.nhs.uk/staywell.

This information has been kindly provided by the five NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Norfolk.

Time running out to buy a book for a child in care for Christmas

This is the last weekend that you can buy a book for a Norfolk child in care from Waterstones in Norwich to ensure it gets to them in time for Christmas.

drwMrk

Picture credit: drwMrk

When I went to buy mine on Tuesday evening there will still around 100 tags on the Giving Tree, which each represent a child who is in the care of Norfolk County Council, and the book they would like to receive for Christmas. Some specify particular books or authors and others ask for a certain genre or type of book.

The books need to be bought by Monday (7 December) so that they can be collected and wrapped by Norfolk County Council staff and distributed via the children’s schools.

This is such a lovely thing to do if you’re shopping in Norwich and can spare a bit of time and some money. Books meant a lot to many of us as children and it’s great to think of passing that love of reading onto a child, particularly one who may not have had the same access to books that some children enjoy.

The Giving Tree is in Waterstones on Castle Street in central Norwich. Here’s some information on its location.

Thank you!

Help police prevent drink drive incidents this festive season

Do you know someone who risks their life, and the lives of others, by getting behind the wheel of a car while over the drink drive limit?

This year Norfolk Police are supporting a national Crimestoppers campaign which urges people who know someone who regularly drink drives to give information anonymously. You can do this via Crimestoppers but if someone is about to commit an offence then call police on 999 so officers can be dispatched to the scene immediately.

Police in Norfolk and Suffolk have also launched their Christmas crackdown, which will involve carrying out extra patrols and breathalysing any driver who is stopped through concern over their manner of driving, a vehicle defect or involved in a collision. Last year 5,547, drivers were tested across both counties with 204 testing positive – a relatively small but nonetheless significant number.

For more information on the Crimestoppers campaign or the Christmas crackdown, visit Norfolk Constabulary’s website.

From Black Friday to a weekend warmer

While it’s been knocking around for a few years, Black Friday became a bit of a phenomenon in 2014, with retailers enticing us to spend by offering significant discounts. Many shops are extending their promotions over the weekend and if you’re planning a shopping trip into Norwich this weekend, can we recommend a couple of activities for your consideration? They’re not your traditional bargains although hopefully you’ll think they’re money well spent.

First up, families, history buffs and fans of the brilliant author and illustrator Michael Michael Foreman War GameForeman need to know about Christmas in the Trenches at Norwich Castle tomorrow (Saturday, 29 November). Free with admission into the museum, this First World War day is inspired by the Christmas truce of 1914. Michael Foreman, who wrote and illustrated the classic children’s book War Game about the famous Christmas truce and football match in no man’s land, will be there in person to give a talk about his work at 2pm, and will be signing copies of his books afterwards. Michael grew up just over the Suffolk border in Pakefield, near Lowestoft, so this even is almost a homecoming for him. As well as this, there’ll be carols, talks, a family trail and the chance to take part in a giant commemorative art project, and of course you can have a look around the museum’s exhibitions and displays too. Drop in any time between 10.30am and 4pm.

Our second activity is a request – to buy a book for a child in care in Norfolk that will be given to them for Christmas. You can do this by visiting Waterstones on Castle Street in the city, in the children’s book section is a little wooden tree decorated with dozens of tags, each of them with a request for a book from a child who is currently in care in Norfolk – some will be for a specific book, others for a type of book or something by their favourite author.

This is such a wonderful thing to support – if you have your own children it’s a lovely thing to do as a family too. People are always so generous (this is the ninth year the council’s teamed up with Waterstones to do this) and we hope this year is no exception. Just pop into the store during its normal opening hours before the end of Sunday, 9 December to buy a book from the Giving Tree – the reason for this deadline is to make sure the books can be wrapped and delivered in time for Christmas.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, and wherever you’re doing it, we hope it’s a good one for you.

E-read your way through Christmas

E-readers are once again topping our Christmas lists this year and make a wonderful gift for book lovers. Norfolk County Council’s library service wants to remind you that they have lots of e-books and e-audio books ready to be downloaded onto your shiny new device, and also to remind you that the service is also completely FREE!

Fiction and non-fiction titles can be downloaded by anyone with a library card from the library service’s website straight to an e-reader, computer, tablet or mobile phone. While lots of devices are compatible, please do check our list here before buying one as a Christmas present if you want to ensure the recipient can borrow e-books from the library with no problem.

E-readers are perfect if you like to read on the go and give you the simplicity of downloading books instantly – anywhere and anytime (as long as you have an internet connection).

As with the traditional book loan service, it costs nothing to borrow an e-book from the library and at the end of the loan period – which can be either seven, 14 or 21 days – the e-book file will be automatically deleted from the borrower’s device, meaning you will never face a late fee!

All you need to do to borrow an e-book is a personal computer with internet access and have membership for the library service – which is also free to join.

Top e-reads you can borrow from the library now include:

Fiction

Rohinton Mistry – A Fine Balance

In 1975, in an unidentified Indian city, Mrs Dina Dalal, a financially pressed Parsi widow in her early 40s sets up a sweatshop of sorts in her ramshackle apartment. Determined to remain financially independent and to avoid a second marriage, she takes in a boarder and two Hindu tailors to sew dresses for an export company. As the four share their stories, then meals, then living space, human kinship prevails and the four become a kind of family, despite the lines of caste, class and religion. When tragedy strikes, their cherished, newfound stability is threatened, and each character must face a difficult choice in trying to salvage their relationships.

Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar tells the story of a gifted young woman’s mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in the early 1950s. The real Plath committed suicide in 1963 and left behind this scathingly sad, honest and perfectly-written book, which remains one of the best-told tales of a woman’s descent into insanity.

Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg – Pros and Cons

Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg have teamed up for a dynamic new series featuring an FBI agent who’s on the hunt – and a master con artist who’s enjoying the chase. The con is on in this eBook original short story that’s a triumphant prequel to The Heist.

Erlend Loe – Doppler and Sam Eastland – Eye of the Red Tsar

First in a gripping new series of detective novels set at the birth of Stalin’s Russia.

 

Non-fiction

Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Top Tips for a Truly Wonderful Christmas by A. Non

Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the festive period distract you from what should be the happiest time of the year. This indispensable gem of a book offers practical tips on everything from organising party games the whole family will enjoy to planning the all-important Christmas dinner, and will help ensure that Christmas is manageable, and more importantly, fun!

The Beauty And The Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War by PeteEnglund

There are many books on the First World War, but award-winning and bestselling historian Peter Englund takes a daring and stunning new approach. Describing the experiences of twenty ordinary people from around the world, all now unknown, he explores the everyday aspects of war: not only the tragedy and horror, but also the absurdity, monotony and even beauty.

Two of these twenty will perish, two will become prisoners of war, two will become celebrated heroes and two others end up as physical wrecks. This is a piece of anti-history: it brings this epoch-making event back to its smallest component, the individual.

The Great Mid-life Career Switch: 15 important tips to help you change careers at half-time

This indispensable career book is the first essential tool readers need to purchase to help them plan and execute a successful career change.

WildCoast: Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge by John Gimlette

In this compelling and elegant travel memoir, John Gimlette returns to Guyana, the Wild Coast in South America, to discover his ancestral colonial history – one of brutal, cruel and often uncomfortable truths.