Blewbury News

Latest Coronavirus Information 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


Coronavirus in Blewbury

March 19, 2020

Follow the link above for a digest of the coronavirus-related news items notified to us so far. This will be updated as new information becomes available, but the scale of the impact that the outbreak is having on village life is already becoming clear.

Blewbury Bulletin: now available to download

March 25, 2020

Partly in response to the virus outbreak, but mostly because this is the 21st century, the Bulletin is now available as a digital download. Just click on ‘The Bulletin’ in the menu bar above and select ‘Download the Bulletin’.

Village Hall Refurb

February 20, 2020

We are still on track to finish by the end of June. Coronavirus has not yet affected progress but we cannot assume that it will not disrupt supplies or the availability of labour at some point. We’re keeping this under regular review and will keep you posted.

Thanks from Blewbury School

February 7, 2020

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to the fundraising events over the past two years. It is fantastic to finally have the climbing frame in place and it is fair to say that it has been a huge success with the children which makes it all worth while.

Project Resound: Latest News

June 20, 2019

The full scheme of window, banners and lighting is now successfully installed in St Michael’s and only a few finishing touches are left to complete the work. We are confident that the project will come in under budget and are now just £400 short our financial target.

Post Office News

February 27, 2020

We now have the dates that our Post Office will be closed, for a bit of a revamp!

Our last day will be Thursday 9th April (Friday 10th is Good Friday & Monday 13th is Easter Sunday). We will be closed from Friday 10th April until 2.30pm on Tuesday 28th April.

Royal Mail usually put the cost of postage up at the beginning of their financial year, and as usual, it will be at the end of March or beginning of April, & will be announced after the Bulletin/Upton news, is published, so buy 1st & 2nd class stamps before then, as they just revalue themselves!

We will be looking to take on another part time counter clerk (1 or 1½ days a week),  full training given of course. Please pop in for a chat, or ring 851777, I would just like an extra day in the garden!

Tickets for Sustainable Blewbury events & the Duck Race will be on sale too! Love from Karen and Maggie xx 

Sustainable Blewbury

Our first Repair Café

Saturday 29th February, 2 to 4 pm, in the Melland Room, Blewbury Clubhouse

If it’s worn out, torn or has just stopped working don’t bin it, bring it to see if we can fix it! We aim to have a team of local experts who can sharpen tools and knives, do electrical and mechanical repairs, help with sewing and upcycling clothes, fix bikes, and stick things back together. If we can’t fix it we’ll try to suggest where you can go to get it looked at. And you can enjoy our café while you watch us work. All repairs are free, but a donation to cover expenses would be appreciated.

The mind-blowing truth about our food – a talk by Anthony Simpson

Monday 9th March, 8.00 pm, in Blewbury Manor Barn

Anthony gave us an excellent talk on electric cars a year ago. In this talk he will look at the surprising range of impacts of our food choices. Food is a crucial element in reducing carbon emissions – this talk will help us make reasoned choices. Anthony’s research produced some facts that will surprise us, with answers to questions like:

  • Is food responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transport?
  • Do we grow enough food to feed the world?
  • How do our food choices impact fires in the Amazon, ocean dead zones and water shortages?
  • Is our diet sustainable in a net-zero carbon world?
  • Do we need to eat animal produce for protein and calcium?
  • Local food is much better, isn’t it?

Tickets £6 including a drink and nibbles, from the Post Office (or on the door if not sold out).

Love Food Hate Waste workshop

Saturday 14th March, 10 am to 12 noon, in the Melland Room, Blewbury Clubhouse

It’s a free event but you will still need a ticket, available at the Post Office from the end of February. See the Blewbury Climate Action/WI item and advertisement elsewhere in this Bulletin for more information.

Two single electric under-blankets Peter Saunders
Mr Shifta caravan mover, battery renewed 2012. Previously used to assist when moving single-axle touring caravan, now sold. Michael page 850661
To freecycle your item please send a short description, email & phone number to Lydia Inglis (

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 bi-monthly Newsletter, email us at or phone 01235 850558.

Blewbury Climate Action

Our Second Action Meeting: 7.30 pm, March 4th in the Melland Room, Blewbury Clubhouse

This is the follow up meeting to our successful January ideas meeting. The people who attended the first meeting (and other SB supporters) have now voted for the five areas that they think are the ones we could tackle and/or look the most interesting.

At the second meeting they will be able to decide which group they would like to join and make some decisions about what they want to do first. Do join us at the second meeting if you want to join in.

Love Food Hate Waste Workshop: Saturday 14th March, 10 am to 12 noon, in the Melland Room

Would you like to save food, save money and help the planet? Did you know that UK households throw away 7 MILLION tonnes of food every year, and 5 MILLION tonnes of it is perfectly usable!

Love Food Hate Waste is a workshop put on by Blewbury Climate Action and the WI that can help you do all that. It is a completely free event that we hope will get you to think about how you choose the food you buy, how you use it and also make tasty meals from leftovers, a short quiz and ideas to discuss with your friends,  coffee and a free homemade soup and bread lunch afterwards! Although it is free you will need a ticket, which you can collect from the Post Office from the end of February onwards

BCA now has a Facebook group well as a Facebook page, which means that you will be able to start conversations as well as “like” or comment on posts on the page, or you can email us at

Finally, please see the Sustainable Blewbury entry for details of our first Repair Cafe and a “Mind-blowing truth about our food” talk that are both motivated by our aim to live more sustainably.  Jo Lakeland

Blewbury Local History Group

When does history become history?

I ask that because this year we shall be celebrating VE Day, 1945, 8th May, and that’s history to schoolchildren today, but a vivid memory to many of us born before the War. What do you remember about that day? If we get enough people recalling events for that day then we shall have an exhibition and a chance to exchange stories about it. I remember everyone sitting at a long table in our street and having ham sandwiches, and jelly that families had saved their coupons for. Any photos, stories about VE-Day either in Blewbury or elsewhere will be welcomed. Talk to any member of the History Group.

Next meeting is Tuesday, March 10th at 8pm in the History Room, Parsonage Lane. Contacts: Mark at or Audrey 850427 or