DCMS: Emotional Child’s Play - A teaching resource to help children with autism make sense of the world around them is to be marketed internationally, following great success in the UK. The Transporters, a DVD that uses a unique combination of real actors' faces and 3D computer-generated settings, was originally available free to parents in the UK as part of the DCMS funded Culture Online programme.
But its runaway success, with 40,000 copies already distributed, means it can now go on sale across the English-speaking world, with the prospect of translation into other languages in the future. A substantial share of profits from sales will go to autism charities and to research other scientifically validated ways to help children with autism spectrum conditions.
The DVD Pack, which is narrated by Stephen Fry, consists of 15 five minute animated stories, 30 interactive quizzes and a booklet to help parents and carers get the most out of the series. It aims to help children with autism recognise & understand different facial expressions by superimposing real faces (which the children normally find confusing because of their unpredictability) on vehicles such as trains, trams and cable cars which all have highly predictable movement. This predictability appeals to children with autism.
The DVD provides children with autism a setting that is designed to appeal to them, in which to learn about simple emotions such as happy, sad, angry and afraid, as well as more complex ones like sorry, tired, joking and unfriendly.
SE: But have 2012 ‘building’ requirements swallowed most of the ‘pot’ - Sport England recently announced a £36m investment in ‘Sport Unlimited’ - a nationwide initiative to get more children and young people taking part in sports that interest them most outside of school. The 3-year programme will enable 900,000 more 11-19 year olds to choose from a range of sports including several in which Team GB has excelled at the 2008 Olympics such as sailing & cycling, as well as less traditional sports like dodgeball, snowboarding and American football.
Sport Unlimited offers young people 10-week taster sessions in sports which they have requested and aims to get 300,000 participants to join clubs and continue with sport when the 10 weeks are up.
The programme, run by Sport England in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust and County Sports Partnerships across England, has already been successfully trailblazed in 12 areas and will now be fully rolled out across the country, resulting in 4,000 new sporting projects being set up.
TfL: A handy sum in times of rising prices - Families in London are being reminded to take advantage of free bus and tram travel for their children with the new school year about to begin. While take up of free travel among eligible 11-15-year-olds is at around 80%, there are still thousands of eligible young people yet to take advantage of this scheme.
Free travel concessions have now been grouped under the umbrella name 'Zip'. The Zip Oyster photocard gives 11-15 year-olds free travel on London's buses and trams. This could save families over £300 a year.
In addition, it is estimated that around 140,000 young Londoners in full-time education or work based learning are eligible for the 16+ free bus and tram travel concession. All 16+ Oyster photocard holders can buy 7 Day, monthly or longer period Travelcards at child-rate and pay as you go at half the adult-rate, even if they don't qualify for free bus and tram travel.
Zip Oyster photocard application forms are available from Post Offices within London. It may take up to two weeks to process your application. 11-18 year olds who do not have a valid Oyster photocard must pay the full adult cash fare. Proof of application will not be accepted by bus drivers as a valid ticket for travel.
ScotGov: Out of the mouths of children - A Youth Commission on Alcohol is to be set up by the ScotGov so that young people can play an active role in tackling Scotland's £2.25bn alcohol misuse problem, as young people themselves are the key to getting to grips with underage drinking. The forum will allow young people to give direct feedback to Ministers.
A series of audits on the impact of alcohol on A & E departments found that nearly 650 children - including 15 children under twelve and one as young as eight years old - were treated for alcohol-related health problems during the six-week audit period.
65,000 Scottish children are estimated to live with a parent whose drinking is problematic and a quarter of children on the Child Protection Register are estimated to be there due to parental alcohol or drug misuse.
CLG: But just how ‘real’ are these savings? - Local Government Minister John Healey has launched a consultation (closes 16 October 2008) on giving the public greater access to information on how efficiently their council is being run. Under these proposals, all council tax bills would include details of the efficiency savings the local authority has made.
Information accompanying the bill would show the average level of efficiency savings achieved by similar councils over the same time period so people can see how well their council is performing compared to others.
WAG: There could be ‘gold’ in those ideas - Delegates from around the world will be heading for Cardiff this month for the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s annual two-day Forum which is hosted by the Welsh Assembly Government. The forum, which will be held on September 10-11 at the Millennium Stadium, is a prestigious globally acknowledged gathering of leaders in the field of intellectual property, its promotion and protection.
The Forum is one of several activities held by the WIPO SME Division each year and has a specific focus on encouraging greater use of the IP system by micro-enterprises and SMEs. It has only been organised outside Geneva on two previous occasions and it is the first time it has been held in Wales.
LD: Are property searches fit for the 21st century? - Land Data cic, has been commissioned by Communities and Local Government (CLG) department to conduct a survey of all Local Authority Local Land Charges Departments across England & Wales, to establish their ‘state of readiness’ with regard to Government’s access guidelines, issued in January this year, which seek to deliver open access to local authority held property information.
Land Data’s survey is being undertaken over a four month period and will cover the five or six departments where the relevant data is held within each of the 410 Local Authorities. The survey will conclude at the end of October 2008 and it will identify current access procedures, any access constraints, the current data format (electronic or paper) and any planned moves to electronic delivery.
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