Monthly Archives: March 2020

Coronavirus Update from Oxfordshire County Council

March 30, 2020

Before I start this report I must applaud the work done by the volunteer groups working in the parishes, towns and cities throughout the County and beyond, who have sprung into action during this emergency to ensure the elderly and vulnerable are not alone and are receiving assistance when needed.

I recently attended the start up meeting of the Harwell Parish Helpers and was very impressed by their enthusiasm and dedication. All our volunteers are much deserving of our praise and appreciation and if you feel you can give even a small amount of support to your local volunteer group, please do.

These are unprecedented times; we all need to take care and follow the latest Government advice. Staff at the County Council are working flat out as we cannot simply close down or ask everybody to work from home, we are there to support and protect Oxfordshire’s residents particularly the vulnerable. We are prioritising our work and where possible staff are working from home. There are some areas that will see an increase in demand at a time when some of our staff will become ill with the virus. There will be some changes as we have to prioritise our work to key areas.

The main area of work in Social Care both adult and children’s has to continue on a 24/7 basis protecting around 7,000 residents. We expect the number of people requiring care to increase as informal carers become ill and are unable to continue care. This work is vital as it’s important we keep as many people as possible out of hospital.

We are working closely with the NHS to provide care and facilities for those patients that do not require acute care to be cared for away from hospitals or at home freeing up beds for those that most need them. This includes the group that we need to shield from the virus who are thought to be most at risk across the county.

The Government are shielding the extremely vulnerable approx. 1.5 million across the country full details can be found on the website: Extremely vulnerable.

Currently those people identified by the NHS as extremely vulnerable will be contacted by the NHS by letter, email, text or all 3 to say that they need to isolate themselves at home for the next 12 weeks. They will be asked if they have any help to collect prescriptions and food, this may be supplied by one of the brilliant local groups that have been set up. If they don’t have any help then they will be told to contact the council who will arrange a contact which again may come from one of the local groups. As you will see from the document these are certain groups within the population but there may be others that need help such as those in self-isolation which is where all the volunteers will help. If somebody thinks they should be on the list and haven’t been contacted by Sunday 29th March, then they should contact their GP or hospital clinician.

To assist in the logistics across the country there are Local Resilience Forums, we are in the Thames Valley Based around the Police authority area. These are where the blue light services link in with the NHS and local authorities to consider the high-level strategy. These then delegate down to the County to work with WODC and other Districts to coordinate the local hubs. The Government have seconded military planners to assist in the hubs which is where all the local community groups come into the local networks. This is about all working together to ensure that we do not duplicate provision or even worse miss a vulnerable resident

The organic growth of the community networks or hubs that we are seeing being set up is fantastic. These groups are providing some excellent services to local residents who are self-isolating or do not have relatives locally. It’s important that they are community led but we need to avoid duplication, so the County Council and Districts are working with Oxfordshire Volunteers to list them all and provide support where needed.

If you are approached by people wishing to volunteer, they can register at:

Unfortunately, there are some cases of people taking advantage of the vulnerable residents so Trading Standards are working with the Police monitoring the situation and will take action should there be a need. Should you be aware of anything please do not hesitate to contact me.

This is a very fast-moving situation so please use the OCC, NHS and Government websites for the latest information.

I would like to say a big thank you to all the residents who continue to work to help us get through this difficult time. I will send any updates as they become available.

Above all please take care, stay safe and follow the advice.


County Councillor Mike Fox-Davies
Hendreds and Harwell Division

Coronavirus Update from Vale of White Horse District Council

March 27, 2020

Hello from Hayleigh & Sarah

Coronavirus Update from your Local District Councillors

Friday 27th March 2020

Hello! We hope that all residents are managing to stay safe and well during these unprecedented times of the coronavirus outbreak. Over the coming weeks, there will likely be further challenges, but we are confident that as a community we can pull together and look out for one another to get through the difficult times ahead.

It has already been very heartening to see that all the communities we represent have had dozens of volunteers offering to help vulnerable neighbours, and that each area is starting to officially organise and co-ordinate these volunteer efforts. Thank you so much to everyone involved in these groups: Blewbury Good Neighbours, Harwell Helpers, Chilton Mutual Aid, Great Western Park Community Support and the Upton village WhatsApp group.

The situation around the coronavirus outbreak is changing daily, and there is a lot of information coming through from various sources about how this affects aspects of our lives. With that in mind, we have put together this round-up of all the recent news from the Vale of White Horse District Council relating to how council services are affected, and how the council is supporting community volunteer groups and vulnerable residents.

Further updates will be posted on our councillor Facebook Page: Cllrs Hayleigh Gascoigne & Sarah Medley, and on the Vale of White Horse Facebook and Twitter accounts. However, for the most up-to-date information on how the district council’s services are affected, please take a look at the dedicated Vale webpage for updates:

Shielding our most vulnerable – new support lines for those who need help

Local authorities across Oxfordshire have worked with the local Voluntary and Community Sector to develop a simple point of contact for those who have been told by government that they have been identified as extremely vulnerable, and who have no support network and would otherwise be completely isolated. This new, dedicated support line will provide our extremely vulnerable residents access to a central team who will be able to offer advice on a range of issues.

If you or someone you know has been identified as extremely vulnerable by the NHS and have nobody around to help with day to day tasks like shopping, please call 01865 897820 or email

Anyone in this situation that is not considered high risk can call 01235 422600 or email

These support lines are open 8.30am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturday and Sundays.

Volunteering for the coronavirus community support efforts

We recognise that many of you who can would like to support your local communities during these challenging times, whether that’s delivering essentials, putting the bins out for someone, or being on the other end of a phone. To ensure that residents know where to turn, all community groups, community organisations and local businesses are being asked to include details of their initiatives on the Oxfordshire All In Response Map:

Council Services – General update

Due to the ongoing public health risk from the virus, the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils have closed their offices to the public. Residents can continue to access information about council services, and make payments, or make an application or a report via the council website: The councils’ phone lines will remain open, but anybody that needs to contact council staff is encouraged to go online first or use email as this is likely to be quicker and will help the councils respond to those most in need first, during a difficult time. Anybody with an appointment at the council building from Monday 30 March onwards should contact the relevant team if they haven’t been in touch already.

Council Meetings and events – as a precaution, the following have been postponed:

  • All formal council meetings and committees have been cancelled until the end of April.
  • South and Vale Business Awards will now take place in the autumn.
  • The Police and Crime Commissioner Election has been postponed and will now take place in 2021.
  • Community sports activities for the over 60s that are part of our “Go Active Gold” programme and activities run for those with diabetes have been cancelled.

Waste collections

Most waste collections are running normally. Our waste contractor, Biffa, has suffered some staff shortages due to illness and self-isolation and so some bins might not be emptied on their usual collection day. Critical waste services are being prioritised, so we will not be taking on new customers for the Garden Waste Service until further notice

The advice for residents is as follows: if the bins in your street are not emptied, please leave them out for up to three days (including weekends) and we’ll try to catch up. If still not emptied, bring them back in and we will empty them on the next planned collection day. We’re also recommending residents wash their hands before and after taking the bins out to practice good hygiene for themselves and our bin crews.

If you have the virus or suspect you or someone in your household have it, please follow these guidelines from Public Health England about how to dispose of your waste: Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

Advice for businesses and job seekers

For the latest coronavirus advice for business owners, self-employed and job seekers, please see our South and Vale Business Support website

Council tax

If you are having any difficulty paying your council tax for any reason, including if you have lost work or now have a reduced income, contact us as soon as possible on 0345 302 2313 or email

Parking charges suspended

All parking charges in our council-owned car parks are now suspended until 1 June 2020, to support key workers and those needing to shop for essential food and medical supplies. You do not need to display a ticket. For all enquiries please email or call 01235 470118.

Leisure and community centres, parks and play areas, and The Beacon

All our leisure centres, community centres, children’s play areas, sports and exercise areas, and The Beacon are now closed until further notice.

Taxi licensing

We cannot offer licensing appointments until further notice. For more information head to the webpage:

Planning and building control

There is some disruption to our planning and building control services. Please see our planning and building control pages for the latest information: and

Charity Support

AGE Concern Oxfordshire has set up a new helpline to advise anyone worried about the Corona Virus. You can find out more by visiting their website  

SOFEA, the Didcot-based food charity, has also announced that it is offering free food deliveries to vulnerable residents. They’re looking for volunteers to help and have set up a Just Giving page for donations towards the service: 

Take care, stay safe, stay home!

We will endeavour to keep you updated on the council’s response to the Coronavirus COVID-19 through future newsletters and our dedicated councillor Facebook Page: Cllrs Hayleigh Gascoigne & Sarah Medley. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any issues or concerns – our email addresses are and


Blewbury Bulletin: now available to download

March 25, 2020

Partly in response to the coronavirus outbreak, but mostly because we’re now 20 years into the 21st century, the Bulletin is now available as a downloadable pdf.

To access the download page, click on ‘The Bulletin’ main menu item on the top right of this page and select ‘Download the Bulletin’, or simply go here.

Post Office News

March 30, 2020

Royal Mail have put the price of postage up from March 23rd. If you already have stamps that say 1st or 2nd on them, they are fine to still use! Lots of very nice special stamps available, James Bond out now!

Post Office Ltd have just issued us with instructions to use our ‘best judgment’ in light of the Covid-19 situation. We are cleaning all surfaces regularly, and we have hand gel on our side of the counter, but we are asking customers NOT to come in if they are unwell, particularly if they have any of the symptoms for corona virus. We will be open as best we can, but if we are ill, then there will be closures.

UPDATED OPENING HOURS:  Open Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 11.30am. As the refit is postponed for now, the Post Office will just be closed for Easter (Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Sunday & Monday)

If anyone needs help, for any reason, we will be taking calls for the Blewbury Good Neighbour scheme, please call 01235 851777, and I will pass the messages to the amazing team of volunteers, who will be in touch very quickly. For out of hours messages, call or text my mobile 07825 154842.

Later this month, you may see a new face on the other side of the counter!

Happy Easter. Love from  Karen, Maggie and Carl 

Blewbury Village Society

Everyone who lives in Blewbury is a member of the BVS, so please attend the AGM in April. However see the note below.

The BVS AGM and Annual Parish Meeting is scheduled to take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 22nd April in the Manor Barn. This will be subject to the latest advice from Government bodies and the NHS. In the event of the advice being that the meeting should not go ahead for reasons of social isolation, reports will be collated and distributed on-line. Please submit your reports as usual to Any cancellation will be notified by Stop Press and the village noticeboards. The BVS will apply the same Official Advice to all its future events.

THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF VE DAY The BVS is currently planning a traditional village fete on the Playclose on Friday May 8th, from 3pm to 7pm with entertainment throughout. There will be a distinctly 40s theme to the event, to recreate the atmosphere of the first VE Day in 1945. You can contribute in three ways:

  1. Come along with the family and a picnic. 40s outfits would be great.
  2. Run a stall along the lines of Make Do and Mend, or Dig for Victory.
  3. Create a display showing what the War and VE Day meant to Blewbury.

Could you add to the entertainment with singing, dancing or music to evoke the 1940s era? We hope folks will dress accordingly. We would love to see the Home Guard, Service men and women, the Land Army, or any costume reflecting the restrictions of rationing! And finally, we want to decorate the Playclose, so we will need bunting! If you have any unwanted fabric please contact Jo Laugharne at laugharne355 (at), or on 077681 96260.

We will be following the national celebrations during the day, from the playing of “The Battle’s O’er” at 3pm, to the nation’s church bells ringing out at 7pm. It should be a great day!

Please note that we will follow National Policies on VE Events so things may change.

Dates for your diary

Egg Rolling at the Chalk Pits                         CANCELLED

BVS AGM at the Manor Barn                      Wednesday 22nd April 7:30pm

VE Day celebrations at Playclose              Friday 8th May 3pm – 7pm

Summer Dance Ashbrook House              Saturday 20th June

Comedy Night (Village Hall tbc)                 Saturday 3rd October

Postponement of the Duck Race

The situation regarding events held during the Coronavirus epidemic is constantly changing.

As we have now been told that the progress of the pandemic will cover the next two months, the bellringers have decided to postpone the annual Duck Race, which was due to take place on Easter Sunday.

The Duck Race will now take place on Michaelmas Sunday, 27th September.

If you have already bought tickets for the Duck Race and would like a refund, please can you take them back to the Post Office or, alternatively, any ducks that remain sold will be entered in the race in September.

We know that this is frustrating and disappointing, but we feel that it is the most sensible approach to take as caring for our health is far more important. Gill Loyd

New Table Tennis Facilities

The Blewbury Table Tennis Club is now just over one year old and we are very pleased with everything that has been achieved in that time.

Over the last fifteen months we have held regular Tuesday evening club sessions and over 70 different individuals aged from 6-90 years of age have participated in our club sessions. In the early days we played on tables generously loaned by four families in the village. With generous support from the Tony Loy Trust and the Vale of the Wight Horse Active Communities Fund we now have four top quality Cornilleau Table Tennis tables, which are a joy to use both because of the quality of the playing surface but also because they are so easy to fold up and wheel around when they are not in use.

As well as our regular Tuesday evening club sessions, we have also now established a regular Tuesday afternoon After-School Table Tennis Club at Blewbury School, and both clubs have benefited from specialist coaching from a fully qualified Level 3 Coach, who visits us every now and then. On top of all that we have recently, almost seamlessly, been able temporarily to move the sessions for both Clubs from the Village Hall to Blewbury School Hall.

Sadly like so many other groups we are now suspending all Club activities as a response to the Coronavirus situation. We are however looking forward to being able to welcome new members to both of our Clubs once we start up again in the refurbished Village Hall – hopefully very soon! Roger Murphy, Club Chair

Sustainable Blewbury

Upcoming events:

Green drinks

  • Monday 6th April – CANCELLED

Repair Cafes

  • Saturday 25th April – CANCELLED
  • Saturday 27th June, 2 to 4 pm – PROVISIONAL

Our first repair cafe, in February, was a big success. We were arranging to have two more, and hope they will become a regular feature. However, due to the rapidly developing Covid-19 (Coronavirus) situation, we regret that we must cancel the cafe on 25th April. For the cafe on 27th June we will make a decision nearer the time.

Annual General Meeting

  • Wednesday 29th April – POSTPONED

We had planned to have a short AGM followed by an interesting and beautifully made film about biodiversity loss. We are postponing the meeting and film, probably until autumn, again due to the Covid-19 situation.

Permaculture Orchard Garden

Our garden on Woodway Road has a wide variety of fruit trees, soft-fruit bushes and other interesting plants. Working out of doors with a small group of people scattered around a large garden is something we hope we don’t have to cancel or postpone. After the soggy, unusually warm winter the garden needs work, and we plan to set up some working parties. In addition, volunteers can come to help any time, and would be very welcome. In return, you can share some of the produce. If you are interested or want to learn more phone Eric at 07935 232296.

TP-LINK Archer C2 -AC750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit router. 750Mbps wireless speed. Gigabit Ethernet Ports. USB Port Susan Corderoy 850060
·    Adjustable stair gate   ·    Basic Ikea highchair – white plastic   ·    Base for child’s car seat – IsoFix Maxi-cosi 0-4 years   ·    Electric table lamp, brass finish, in the style of old oil lamp Jane Gibson 850689
Approx 30 low voltage transformers for 12V MR16 bulbs Nina Hutchins 851249
If you have any items to freecycle please email a short description (using ‘freecycle’ as your subject) to and include your email address and phone number.

To find out more about Sustainable Blewbury go to
Getting involved is fun and can contribute to the village and its environment. To participate, or to receive
our free monthly Newsletter, email us at or phone 01235 850558

Blewbury Local History Group

– Memories of VE Day 1945

The group is attempting to put together a publication, for present and future generations to read, of the memories of village residents of the eventful day. We have already asked many people `of a certain age’ to write down what they recall of the day. If we haven’t yet asked you, or if we have and you need a little reminder, can you put to paper what your recall happened please. We are seeking not just memories of the village but anywhere that you were. You can either email them to Mark or Audrey or write them down on paper and drop them in at either Spring Cottage or St Michaels which are both on Church Road.

It’s an important exercise really as we have no record of what happened here on November 11th 1918 or even the first Remembrance Day. To give an idea of what you might write, here are Audrey’s memories:

There were celebrations and a feeling of relief everywhere!. The war in the Far East was still going on so there must have been a tinge of sadness for some because they had heard of the terrible experiences of our POW’s over there but people were determined to have a big celebration, with prospects soon of another victory.

Our street in South Wales had a long row of trestle tables, kitchen tables and planks with lovely clean white table clothes. Housewives had been saving food coupons for months and we all had Ham sandwiches and even Salmon. I remember jelly and tinned mandarins being popular. Games followed, with all the grown ups laughing and smiling. Robert was in Birmingham, just outside the centre, where people made a bonfire of furniture. Maybe we will have the same relieved feelings after thus virus has run its course, and  big bonfire of celebration. 

Our next meeting and AGM was scheduled for April 14th in our room just off Parsonage Lane. Details of alternative arrangements are to follow.

Blewbury WI News

Hello, again, to everyone.  This will be a sad WI News. We are complying with the Government guidance regarding the Coronavirus outbreak and, regrettably, our planned events and meetings for April have been cancelled or postponed.

The Melland Room is shut down for the foreseeable future. The events that we usually hold in each others’ houses will not be available, i.e. Scrabble – Mahjong – Craft Evening. Also Lyn’s Walk.

The Talking Science lectures  at R.A.L. Harwell are cancelled for the foreseeable future.

As soon as ”they” give us the “all clear” I will be back in contact with The Bulletin and look forward to getting back to our normal routine. For more details please contact our Secretary, Kath Butler, on 01235 851299  or visit our web page, where you will find more information.       Love from Cilla.