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Blewbury News

Vale of White Horse District Council Update

December 10, 2020

Hello! As this is the last edition of the Blewbury Bulletin for 2020, we would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone in Blewbury Parish a very happy Christmas.

We sincerely hope that you and your families are able to enjoy the festive season and get some much needed rest and relaxation at the end of a very challenging year. With the hope of an imminent COVID-19 vaccine rollout, we wish you a bright and promising new year in 2021.

As we approach the new year, we will continue to keep you updated on council matters and the council’s response to COVID-19 through these newsletter articles, as well as on 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 hayleigh.gascoigne@whitehorsedc.gov.uk and sarah.medley@whitehorsedc.gov.uk.

COVID-19 Community Support Hub

Since the lockdown ended, Oxfordshire is in tier 2 of the Covid-19 restrictions across England. Council services continue as they have done throughout lockdown. As we come out of lockdown and move into the tier system the government has updated its guidance for those considered to be Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. There is general advice for all tiers and further guidance on each tier. We have reflected this messaging on our websites. The tier level for Oxfordshire will be reviewed again on Wednesday 16 December.

Our Community Hub will carry on its work offering support to our vulnerable residents and those in need – details below:

To contact the Community Support Team:
call: 01235 422 600 Monday to Thursday 8.30-5pm and Fridays 8.30-4.30pm
email: communitysupport@southandvale.gov.uk

fill in an online form at: www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/communityhub

Remember, for the most up-to-date coronavirus information relating to district council support and any changes to services, please take a look at the dedicated Vale webpage for updates: www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/covid19

Support local traders in the Vale and South Oxfordshire with free parking days in the run up to Christmas 

With many traders affected by the Covid-19 restrictions, we are urging people to use this opportunity to support their local shops and cafes in the run up to Christmas, while maintaining social distancing and face covering requirements.  Each year we provide free parking days during December to help encourage people to shop locally for their Christmas presents to help support our high streets.  This year motorists can park for free in our car parks, and will not have to display a ticket, on the following days:

  •          Abingdon – Saturdays (5, 12, 19 December)
  •          Faringdon – Saturdays (5, 12, 19 December)
  •          Wantage – Saturdays (5, 12, 19 December)
  •          Didcot – Mondays (7, 14, 21 December)
  •          Goring – Saturdays (5, 12, 19 December)
  •          Henley – Tuesdays (8, 15, 22 December)
  •          Thame – Saturdays (5, 12, 19 December)
  •          Wallingford – Thursdays (10, 17, 24 December)

Motorists can also continue to park for free each day outside of the charging period and during the standard free periods offered by both councils, but must they display a ticket during this time. The above arrangements are subject to any change in national or local Covid-19 restrictions.

For more information about parking and district council car parks please visit – whitehorsedc.gov.uk/parking / southoxon.gov.uk/parking

Leisure centres in tier 2 

If you want to stay up to date with our leisure centres the Better website has all the details of the opening times and which facilities are available at each centre.

Christmas Waste Guide and Quiz 

We have a new page on our websites helping people deal with their waste over the Christmas and New Year period – including information on changes to collection days, what to do with extra waste, Christmas trees and some videos on how to reduce waste by reusing and recycling items. We also have a Christmas-themed recycling quiz  which tests your knowledge on what to do with festive junk and Christmas leftovers. We can help you deal with all the extra waste at this time of year by helping you to put the right things in the right bin.

See more at www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/christmaswaste

Flytip caught on camera in Harwell – man prosecuted 

A man from Fyfield Wick near Abingdon has been ordered to pay more than £1,000 after Vale of White Horse District Council successfully prosecuted him for flytipping. The crime was caught on camera after the council placed CCTV cameras in the area in Harwell, following a number of cases of flytipping at that spot. On 12 November 2019, on private land on Grove Road, Harwell a tipper truck was caught on camera dumping a load of hardcore and soil on land without permission. For more information on flytipping and how to report it please see our webpage

What should I do if I see a person rough sleeping in our districts? 

During office hours, please call the housing needs team on 01235 422 452. This is a direct line to a Housing Needs Officer. If the person is in immediate danger, call an ambulance or the police on 999.  Don’t put yourself in danger or approach someone acting strangely, even to help. Outside office hours, please report to the non-profit homelessness organisation Streetlink which is funded by the Government.  You can report someone rough sleeping via its website www.streetlink.org.uk or by calling 0300 5000 914.  Streetlink is the national scheme for reporting rough sleeping and connects rough sleepers to local support services.  Please be aware that these reports will be dealt with next working day.  To contact the Out of Hours Officer, please call 01235 422 410.

Financial Support for Businesses 

Businesses that need help and guidance should continue to visit the South and Vale Business Support website svbs.co.uk. Around 3,500 businesses in the Vale and 4,500 in South Oxfordshire may be eligible for further grant funding aimed at helping those affected by Covid-19 restrictions. The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open Businesses) is a discretionary fund that applies to rate paying businesses in tiers 2 and 3 that have been severely affected by the restrictions but haven’t been forced to close. The council is currently finalising the application process and eligibility criteria for this scheme and will confirm more details as soon as everything is in place. There is a separate grant for businesses that pay rates and have been forced to close due to the national lockdown – we estimate we have a total of 677 eligible businesses. Finally, the Additional Restrictions Grant scheme is for businesses that aren’t eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant, including those that haven’t been temporarily forced to close, but have been severely impacted by the current restrictions, and those that do not pay any business rates. This is a discretionary fund with £2,000 available to support individual businesses. Deadline for applications was 4 December, however the council will continue to accept applications from any businesses who were notified they incorrectly applied for the Local Restrictions Support Grant.

Village Hall Reopening

December 30, 2020

Tier 4 restrictions have moved the goalposts again as far as reopening the Village Hall goes. Current restrictions do not allow us to open the hall for community use and therefore we will not be opening as planned on the 5th of January. The Melland Room will also be closed.

Revised 94 bus service from Monday 4th January

December 22, 2020

A New Year present from Thames Travel: more buses, earlier and later buses, AND 6 buses each way on Saturdays! The revised service will run from Didcot through East Hagbourne, Blewbury, Upton, Chilton to Harwell Campus and back.

Paul Sibley’s Big Cycle

October 22, 2020

After successfully completing his epic cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats, Paul says “a massive thank you to everyone in Blewbury who supported me. Everything went smoothly, which was unexpected, and I completed 968 miles in 10 days, raising a total of £4,730 for MIND.”

BELL RINGING NEWS FROM BLEWBURY TOWER

December 22, 2020

It’s almost Christmas and we were very much hoping that the bells would be able to ring out to celebrate the festive season. Covid-19 had other ideas!

We came out of the latest lockdown and into tier 2 meaning that ringing bells was still a no-no as people from different households couldn’t meet indoors which meant the ringing chamber was out of bounds so to speak! There was a glimmer of hope in that Richard and Gill (husband and wife) could ring and being very experienced ringers, they tried ringing two bells each and discovered that chiming was possible, albeit very hard work, they chimed the bells prior to the Advent Carol Service.

The Central Council of Bell Ringers are liaising with the government and we hope that the rules may be relaxed over the Christmas period allowing us to ring for the traditional services, fingers crossed.

We wish everyone a safe and Happy Christmas, traditions will, no doubt, be very different this year. We look forward to 2021 hoping that life will be able to return to a form of normal that includes bell ringing.

**UPDATE 22 DECEMBER **

The Christmas relaxation of the Covid rules permits church bells to be rung for a limited time, and Blewbury bellringers will be ringing 6 bells (the maximum permitted) on two occasions. We will ring at 11.05 pm on Christmas Eve for the Midnight Mass service which commences at 11.30 pm. We will also ring for 15 minutes at 9.45 am on Christmas morning. We do not recall any Christmas Day since the Second World War when bells have not been rung out over the village.  Please note that there is not a physical service in the church on Christmas Day, and we request that you do not enter the church while ringing is taking place please. We hope that you will enjoy this brief sound of hope in this most difficult year. We wish you all a happy Christmas and a more joyful New Year.

Richard Loyd, Tower Captain

 

Blewbury Post Office News

We are back to our usual hours, mornings & afternoons, and Saturday mornings too! We will be closing on Christmas Eve at 12, and will be closed until Tuesday 29th, Wednesday 30th & Thursday 31st (all of which will be mornings only). Then we will be closed until Monday 4th January, and will be open our usual hours.

You will have heard the  news that Royal Mail are putting their prices up from January 1st, you can buy 1st and 2nd class stamps (standard & large) which will revalue themselves, so it’s worth buying extra before the price rise.

I’ll be home for emergency gas, electric and mobile phone top ups, my mobile is 07825 154842.

Finally, don’t forget: 6pm on Christmas Eve, national event, stand on your doorstep and ring your bells for Santa!

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, peace and joy and health and happiness to you all,

Love from Karen, Maggie, Michael & Katrina 

Blewbury Pre-School: 50th Anniversary, Lottery and Logs

It’s Blewbury Pre-School’s 50th anniversary in 2021 and we’d love to hear from anyone who has memories of the pre-school.

You may have attended as a child, or perhaps you used to help out as a parent, or maybe helped on the committee, or were a member of staff?  We’d love to hear from you! Please email chair@blewburypreschool.co.uk with any stories or photos you’d be happy to share.

We also plan to launch the Blewbury Pre-School Lottery in 2021. Anyone aged 16 or over will be able to take part. For just £5 per month you’ll be entered into a monthly lottery with a chance to win one of three cash prizes. The lottery money will be split 50:50 between fundraising and prize money. The proceeds going to the village pre-school will help fund equipment and resources, and to meet any other funding needs. We’re asking people to sign up for a whole year as annual members. We plan to sell a maximum of 200 lottery numbers each year. If all 200 lottery numbers are sold, the prizes each month would be: 1st prize £250, 2nd prize £150, 3rd prize £100. The remaining £500 per month would go to the pre-school.  Please email lottery@blewburypreschool.co.uk and we’ll send you a sign-up form in the New Year.

Finally, did you know you can support Blewbury Pre-School by ordering quality hardwood for your log burners?  It’s £100/£60 for a full/half trailer load delivered (or £75/£50 for a full/half trailer load collected).  Further reductions available if you prefer to split logs yourself. Single nets of logs are also available outside pre-school for £5.  Email orders to: committee@blewburypreschool.co.uk

Sustainable Blewbury

Read our newsletter at sustainable-blewbury.org.uk/newsletter_latest.pdf

Thermal imaging of houses: Get your home thermally imaged for free in January – Seeing where heat is leaking out can help you make your home more comfortable, save you money and reduce your carbon footprint by showing what can be done to improve your insulation. Sustainable Blewbury volunteers have imaged and provided short reports on well over 200 homes in Blewbury since 2009. To be on our list, or for more information, email info@sustainable-blewbury.org.uk or phone Eric at 07935 232296. (We need more helpers. It’s interesting work and little experience is needed to help take the images. Just contact us as above.)

Annual footpath leaf clearing – DIY this year! A big thank you to all the public-spirited people who have been taking part in the Great Blewbury Rake-Off by clearing leaves from our footpaths. By pure coincidence we started during the Vale’s Recycling Week, so the brown bin men took away many of the bags piled up around the village.

It is hard work once the leaves have got soggy, and they were under water in Watts Lane one weekend. Well done! Most of the leaves have now been cleared, but do feel free to tackle any patches left behind. If you do this please bag up the leaves, stack them at the road end of the footpath, and post where you have left them on BVS Facebook so that people who want leaves for mulching know they are there. (Or, if you do not use Facebook, email me at jolakeland@blewbury.uk so that I can post them). The Parish Council will clear any bags remaining, but we want to give you the opportunity to help yourself to some leaves before they do so. Thank you again, from SB/the BVS/BPC who (with volunteers) arrange the leaf clearing in a more normal year. (I think leaf clearing may officially become the Great Blewbury Rake Off from next year!)  Thank you for helping to keep Blewbury beautiful!  Jo Lakeland

Hedge-laying progress: We have now laid the hedge along the southern border of Blewbury allotments. This has had a transformative effect on the allotment plots alongside the hedge, allowing in much more light and probably adding up to a metre of extra useable ground. We were originally asked to lay 80 metres of hedge and, with some stakes and binders cut from the hazel growing along the road boundary we have extended this to over 100 metres. The small length of hedge remaining has been cut down to the same size. We welcome suggestions for further hedges to be laid.  John Ogden

BLEWBURY FREECYCLE   FREE ITEMS TO A GOOD HOME E-MAIL TEL NO.
Unused wall-mounted CD and MP3 player, some talking books, unused… A donation to Oxfam would be welcome. Peter Saunders pahsaunders@gmail.com 850245
Blue and red wooden Thomas the Tank Engine train bed, to suit single mattress. Free to a good home, but donation to Preschool appreciated. Marianne Suhr marianne@oldhouseconsultancy.co.uk 07808 287507
Large free standing embroidery frame 60 cm wide Ann Dendy 850760
If you have any items to freecycle please email a short description (using ‘freecycle’ as your subject), and include your email and phone number. Lydia Inglis (lydandmuz@gmail.com).

Getting involved in Sustainable Blewbury can contribute to the village and its environment. To participate, or to receive our free bi-monthly Newsletter, email info@sustainable-blewbury.org.uk or phone 850372.

Blewbury WI news

Hello again to everyone. This will be the final WI News for 2020, and we can only hope that by the next issue of the Bulletin in February 2021, and good news from the Vaccine front, we will have said goodbye to the dratted Covid-19 and the miserable 2020.

Lyn’s Walk.  Wednesday, January 13th

Lyn will be having (unusually) a Walk in January 2021. Meet at the Village Hall at 9.15 am to give us time to get to Asda for 9.30 am. We will be travelling to Asda’s car park in Didcot. It will be an urban walk as the state of paths is unsure. The Walk will be guided by my two friends who often walk with us. We  have arranged this as there is plenty of parking so it is possible for us to travel individually if you don’t want to car share. Also with two leaders we can be divided into socially acceptable groups if needs be and this will keep us legal. Coffee at Costa is possible once we finish. I only need to know in advance that you are coming if you need a lift.

Blewbury WI Committee Members have made up a number of “goody bags” – “A Christmas Meeting in a Bag” –  to be delivered by a dedicated  group  of Christmas Elves to every member in Blewbury & Upton. A huge task, but undertaken with the Christmas  Spirit. We are keeping our fingers crossed that a February meeting will be allowed to take place in the new Village Hall. May I wish you all as Happy a Christmas as possible and a wonderful 2021.

For more details please contact our Secretary, Joy Boness 01235 850543 or visit our web page, http://blewburywi.wordpress.com where you will find more information.       Love from Cilla.

A Monument Restored

October 22, 2020

The George Knapp memorial, a splendid old survivor, is back in place after two months of technically very demanding work by master antique restorer Edward Fitzgibbon. Once again, George’s rhymed warning from the grave speaks loud and clear to all who pass by!