West Berkshire Community Support Hub launches
As the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak continues, communities across West Berkshire have united together to support their families, friends and neighbours in need.
Offers of help have been pouring in on social media with concerns for the vulnerable and elderly, who are at a greater risk of serious illness from Covid-19.
That is why West Berkshire Council, in partnership with Greenham Trust and Volunteer Centre West Berkshire, have created an online Community Support Hub. We want to thank and help spread the word about the amazing support that is available across the district from our community champions.
The Community Support Hub will coordinate local support across West Berkshire to meet the needs of those who are self-isolating because they are vulnerable or have been advised to stay at home.
We need to know who is vulnerable and where they are. We will do this through working with community groups, Town and Parish Councils, partners that we work with and information from the public e.g. neighbours.
Towns and Parish Councils will use all this information to create a community needs map so that the Community Support Hub can match what individuals and communities need with the help voluntary and community groups can provide. At its simplest level, the Community Support Hub is about helping people continue to be good neighbours.
The function of the Community Support Hub will be to work together so that community and voluntary groups can try to make sure that those who are vulnerable get what they need. This would include mental health support and practical help such as offering to pick up shopping or medication, being at the end of the phone for a chat for those who are feeling lonely, walking the dog, and signposting to various groups for advice and guidance.
If you would like more information on the Community Support Hub, please do get in touch.
We also want to celebrate the great work that the West Berkshire community is currently undertaking and share good practice on what’s happening.
Tell us what you are doing via social media using the hashtags #WestBerksCommunity #WBCommunityLove on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We would love to share your inspirational community acts of kindness.
M4 Junctions 13 to 14 Welford Viaduct (West Berkshire) – Emergency weekend closure
Following rapid deterioration of the surface of the bridge which carries the M4 over the River Lambourn, we will be implementing an emergency full weekend closure of the M4 westbound carriageway between junctions 13 and 14 to carry out significant repairs.
This closure will take place from 10pm on Friday 27 March through to 6am on Monday 30 March 2020.
A full weekend period is required to allow the materials sufficient time to set. Repairs undertaken in the past using overnight lane closures only have proven unsuccessful as curing time has been too short.
During the closure a signed diversion route will be in place from M4 junction 13, south on the A34 to the A4 Speen junction, west along the A4 to Hungerford, then north on the A338 to join the M4 at junction 14.
Permanent structural repairs to the bridge are currently scheduled for later in 2020/21, but are still in the development stage.
Please be aware that this closure is subject to change due to weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances – please check the yellow signs placed in advance alongside the road for confirmation of the closures dates/timings.
We would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience or disruption during our work. If you have any questions, or if you’d like you know more about our work please email Highways England at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on 0300 123 5000.
ACTIVITIES AT MORTIMER LIBRARY
The Library currently remains open but all craft and club activities held in Mortimer Library are suspended for the foreseeable future. This includes Craft and Chat, Rhyme Time, Children’s Crafts, Children’s Board Games, etc.
For more information phone: (0118) 9332882
You can get more updates at the West Berkshire Libraries Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WBerksLibraries/
Closure of ‘The Avenue’ - Parish of Stratfield Mortimer
The above road will be from 12th to 25th March 2020, in order to carry out emergency repairs to a visible leak. The closure will prohibit any vehicle from proceeding in any direction over the Southern loop of The Avenue.
The alternative route for all vehicles affected is via the Northern connecting section of The Avenue that runs parallel to The Street. (The top section of the loop).
Access will be maintained for residential access.
The diversion will be signed on site.
All enquiries should be directed to: Cappagh on 020 8947 4000
You can find more details of this closure by clicking on the link: https://one.network/?tm=116766527
CANCELLED - CHILDREN’S BOARD GAMES IN LIBRARY - Friday, 13th March Please note that the children’s board games in the library this Friday (13th March) has been cancelled.
SOCIAL PRESCRIBING SERVICE FROM WEST READING VILLAGES PCN
Do you know our surgery is part of a Primary Care Network (PCN)? The West Reading Villages Primary Care Network (PCN) works with Chapel Row Surgery, The Boathouse Surgery, Mortimer Surgery and Theale Medical Centre.
One of the important services they provide is a social prescribing service which is available to anyone, who would like help to:
· Improve your general health and wellbeing
· Reduce feelings of isolation
· Discover local self-help groups, clubs and befriending agencies
· Volunteer your own time and experiences
· Find bereavement support
· Access social groups and parenting classes
· Explore support for housing, employment, benefits, debt & legal advice
· Become more active
· Get involved in your local community
Talk to your GP or healthcare professional about a referral. Alternatively, you can self-refer by emailing email@example.com or calling Lucy on 07933 944 556
A social prescriber is someone you can talk to confidentially; someone who is practical, helpful and who will not judge you; and someone who can give you additional and ongoing support to improve your health and wellbeing.
LIBRARY “AT HOME” SERVICE
The West Berkshire Libraries ‘At Home’ service is designed to help those who find it difficult to visit their local library because of age, disability or other special circumstance by delivering books directly to them.
CONSULTATION ON ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR IN NEWBURY
Are you concerned about Anti-Social Behaviour in Newbury town centre?
People who live, visit or work in Newbury town centre are being asked to take part in a consultation on the order to help reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
West Berkshire Council is looking to introduce a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for Newbury town centre. PSPOs allow the council to place restrictions on certain behaviour in an area, to make sure that everyone can feel safer and enjoy public spaces.
The consultation will be live between 24 February and 6 April 2020. It is expected that the final decision will be made by 14 July 2020. A full report on the consultation will be published on www.westberks.gov.uk/psponewbury.
A map of the proposed ‘restricted area’ to be covered by the PSPO is here.
Take part in the consultation at www.westberks.gov.uk/psponewbury
FLOOD RISK UPDATE – 20th FEBRUARY 2020
Please see below the update regarding the flood risk in West Berkshire
Thurs & Friday: unsettled in next few days, some rain, 5-10mm generally. Some strong winds this afternoon but nothing like we have experienced.
Sat/Sun: Unsettled again, slightly heavier rain on Sunday but not anything like the last few weekends.
Next Week- continues to be unsettled.
Weather Warnings: None are in place or expected in short term.
General: 5 Flood Warnings and 30 Flood Alerts in place across the Thames Valley.
· River Thames: In West Berks area the levels are rising slightly in the Purley on Thames area and downstream. However, they are expected to stabilise and start dropping overnight. The levels will stay high for a while as the water from the tributaries work through the networks. The Jubilee River is in operation.
· River Pang– stabilising and starting to drop – still on Flood Alert
· River Kennet – stabilising but will remain high due to the Groundwater now feeding into the system- still on Flood Alert
· River Lambourn – stable but will remain high for some time due to groundwater - still on Flood Alert
No new flood alerts or flood warnings are currently expected based on the forecast.
· Groundwater: 2 X Groundwater alerts – Lambourn and Pang Valley. Particularly there are concerns for the River Lambourn area at the moment. Reports are now coming in with respect to sewage pipes being inundated and ‘bubbling’ in gardens and the area around Great Shefford deteriorating. There is now a ‘Groundwater Cell’ in place with the EA so we are linking with them and our highways team as to the next steps. Feedback in relation to issues would be appreciated from both Lambourn and indeed the Pang areas.
Again, this is a good time to check for damage, blockages etc and report online all call customer services if a West Berkshire issue, or to the relevant agency asap.
Heavy rain falling onto already saturated ground and strong winds over the weekend have led to impacts such as difficult driving conditions, disruption to transport, isolated power outages and the potential for flooding of homes and businesses from rivers or surface water.
Currently there are 22 flood alerts in place in Berkshire, a number in West Berkshire area including 2 Groundwater alerts: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings
With the rainfall from yesterday and forecast it is likely more flood alerts will be put in place. There is also the possibility of Flood Warnings, currently the most likely flood warnings to be activated is the Lower Kennet near Burghfield which at the moment is expected to ‘peak’ between 0300- 0600hrs on Monday morning. It is currently expected to be at approximately the same levels as in the previous floods this winter. As a result, a flood warning may be issued for this area later today. It is recommended that properties in the area get prepared.
Monday and Tuesday look like seeing days of sunshine and showers, although some places may remain dry, in a brisk west to south-westerly wind. Further unsettled weather is expected later next week.
Next 5 days: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/5-day-flood-risk?_ga=2.162922108.1930880300.1581777330-82914738.1578599795
The Met Office situation: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/forecast/gcphr8ztm#?nearestTo=Stratfield%20Mortimer&date=2020-02-17
At the weekend, WBC had reports of trees falling across roads, traffic lights being an issue along with several flooded highways. Most of this is surface water flooding. Our contractors are going out to clear if possible, where this is not possible, they are putting up flood boards and, if necessary, some roads may have to be closured.
Our contact centre is reporting higher than normal calls, often due to repeat calls about the same issue. If anything is not an urgent issue then you are asked to report it on line. A reminder that the call centre number is 01635 42161.
New budget sets out investment for the future
West Berkshire Council's proposed Revenue Budget for 2020/21 sets out clear investment in the future of the district.
It includes a council tax increase of 1.99% and a 2% rise in the Adult Social Care (ASC) precept. This will enable the council to deliver the budget with no cuts to services.
Ross Mackinnon, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Finance said, “We never want to increase the tax burden of our residents. However, the increase in Council Tax plus the ASC precept will raise around £4 million of income which means that I can say with confidence that there will be no cuts to services, and that’s something to shout about.”
“We'll be investing heavily in the district wherever it is most needed. For example, in schools, care homes, and tackling homelessness. We will be focussed on continuously improving the environment and will be investing in measures, such as tree planting, to naturally capture and reduce carbon dioxide.
“This budget will not only maintain essential services, but is a massive step forward in ensuring that West Berkshire will continue to be a great place to live, work, visit and learn.”
The council is proactively looking at affordable ways to borrow to ensure that important environmental projects can be taken forward. One idea is a ‘climate change bond', which would allow communities to invest in environmental schemes receive a small return on their investment.
Key investments outlined in the budget include;
- Over £7.5million invested this year in new schools and expansion to existing schools (including Highwood Copse, Theale Primary and The Willink School)
- £1.2million in large scale tree planting
- Over £10million in improving roads and junctions around the district
The Budget proposal will go before the Council's Executive on 13 February and to Full Council on 3 March 2020.
WEATHER FORECAST FOR WEEKEND: Saturday / Sunday 14-15 February
Storm Dennis is expected to bring a spell of wet and very windy weather across the UK over the weekend.
Outbreaks of rain will continue through much of the weekend; 20-30 mm of rain quite widely with a few isolated locations seeing as much as 40-50 mm. As we could start to see some impacts in places, the Met Office have issued a Yellow RAIN Warning (Low Likelihood of Medium Impacts) for the areas more likely to see impacts, to go along with the Yellow Flood Guidance Statement, to highlight the potential for river and surface water flooding.
The rain will be accompanied by very strong, south-westerly winds, with gusts of 50 mph isolated 60 mph. The strongest winds are expected during Saturday although some strong winds are still possible during Sunday.
The Met Office have issued a Yellow WIND Warning (Very Low Likelihood of Medium Impacts) to cover the potential impacts from the strong winds. Impacts could include damaged or fallen trees, difficult driving conditions, disruption to transport, power outages and isolated structural damage. With the potential for fallen trees and structural damage there is risk of injuries and danger to life.
Warnings can be found on the Met Office App and on the Met Office website at www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings.
Exploitation, Vulnerability and Safeguarding (Need to Know) Sessions
WBC Building Communities Together team and TVP are running five Exploitation, Vulnerability and Safeguarding (Need to Know) sessions over the next year – details and form attached if you are interested.
A free, two hour training session run by Thames Valley Police will explain what the emerging issues and trends are regarding county drugs lines and the links to modern slavery and child exploitation. The sessions will provide a national overview as well as share information on current cases which affect West Berkshire.
This session will explore why children and adults are working for county drugs lines and how social media is used for targeting the most vulnerable in our society.
The session will support practitioners with how to help and highlight the benefits of partnership working and information sharing, as well as providing information on personal safety awareness.
Dates: Thursday 5th March 2020
Thursday 4th June 2020
Thursday 3rd September 2020
Thursday 3rd December 2020
Thursday 4th March 2021
Venue: Shaw House, Church Road, Newbury, RG14 2DR
West Berkshire Directory
The West Berkshire Directory provides the local community with an online directory of local and national services available for all. There are over 2000 records on this online, one-stop shop which is being updated daily.
It covers a wide range of services for adults, families and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities which can provide information, advice and support for those who need it. Leisure activities, clubs, registered childcare providers, care homes, supported living they are all there at the fingertip.
CLOSURE OF NEW ROAD, WOKEFIELD – 17th February to 3rd March
New Road will be closed, 17th February to 3rd March inclusive, between its junction with Lockram Lane and Goring Lane. (The works are from Lockram Lane to the East Lodge of Oakfield)
Diversion is via Lockram Lane and Goring Lane.
The closure is for fibre optic cable installation by Gigaclear, to whom enquires should be addressed on 01932 544032.
The closure can be viewed on one.network under the following link New Road, Wokefield
Thames Valley Police no longer accept bikes that have been found by a member of the public or take reports of lost bikes. If a person has had their bike stolen this needs to be reported online to TVP or by calling 101. A lost or stolen bike needs to be reported with all details and serial numbers online to www.bikeregister.com. It is important for all bike owners to register their bikes on this website, as besides helping to get your bike back if stolen and found abandoned, it also helps with finding out your identity if you are involved in an accident on your bike.
TVP have access to search this site so they can check if a stolen bike has been found providing the owner knows the serial number. The finder of a bike can go to this website to check if the bike has been reported stolen and if it has, it needs to be reported to the Police. If the found bike has not been recorded on www.bikeregister.com as lost or stolen, the finder needs to make reasonable attempts to locate the true owner via social media pages such as Lost and Found in our area. Best practice for finders of bikes would be to hold on to them for a period of 4 weeks to give the owner chance to come forward but after this period the finder can decide how to dispose of the bike and would suggest giving to the Community Furniture Project.
The following roads will be closed at the times below to allow maintenance works to take place
Nightingale Lane, Mortimer
Closure in place between Brewery Common and Mortimer Lane on Thursday 6th Feb 2020 (7am – 5pm). Diversion via Mortimer Lane, The St, Hammonds Heath Road and vice versa. A plan of the closure can be found at https://one.network/?tm=116245585
Yattendon Road, Pangbourne
Closure in place between Pangbourne Hill and Gardeners Lane on Friday 7th Feb 2020 (7am – 7pm). Diversion via Gardeners Lane, Pangbourne Road and vice versa. A plan of the closure can be found at https://one.network/?tm=116245502
Emergency and residential access will be maintained at both closures although a small delay is to be expected. Enquires should be directed to West Berkshire Council Highways Maintenance Team on 01635 519080
& CRAFTS (Free)
Friday, 21 February at 2-3pm in Mortimer Library
FOR UNDER 7s: meet children’s author Rachel Jane and hear all about the adventures of Milo and Lil, the campervans. Then join in with our colouring and craft fun! For more information 0118 933 2882 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MORTIMER LIBRARY DROP IN SESSION - 1.00pm, Monday, 10th February
West Berkshire Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and held a Climate Conference last October. The Council is now working on a draft Environment Strategy which went out to public consultation at the beginning of January for 6 weeks.
As part of the public engagement, and to reach a wider section of the resident population of West Berkshire, the District Council will be holding some informal ‘drop in sessions’ in some of the districts libraries.
The drop in session will be brief (around 45 minutes) and will give residents an opportunity to talk casually and tell WBC what concerns them about the climate change and the environment in West Berkshire. It does not replace the opportunity to respond formally to the consultation, but WBC want to encourage those who are not as motivated to responding to a formal document but still have opinions to share.
GIGACLEAR BACK IN STRATFIELD
Gigaclear contractors (CCN) are preparing to return to Mortimer and close out the final sections of the network build.
Provisional dates are for the 24th of February to the 30th of March, across 10 different locations and for varying durations.
- 24th – 25th February: Wokefield Bridleway 7
- 25th – 27th February: Station Road, Mortimer
- 27th February – 10th March: The Street Mortimer
- 10th – 11th March: Stratfield Mortimer Footpath 8
- 11th – 12th March: Outside Abbotts Lodge ‘The Street’ Stratfield Mortimer
- 12th – 16th March: The Street
- 16th – 17th March: Monktons Lane
- 17th – 30th March: Wokefield Row
- 30th – 31st March: Road known as New Road
- (Half Term possibility) 17th February – 03rd March: Road known as New Road
Some work will require only minimal disruption, but there will be a few instances of larger scale work which may require two-way lights or diversions on the road. Their contractors will put up early signs if it is a closure and letter drop residents the week before to let them know.
Should you have any queries, please contact their Network Build Care team: email@example.com or 01865 591 137
You can also register for updates on progress by scanning the QR code on the attached leaflet or go to gigaclear.com/our-network
UPDATE: Severe Cold Weather Alert
The current Level 2 severe cold weather alert has now been extended until 9.00am on Wednesday, 22nd January.
You can find the alert here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/cold-weather-alert/#?tab=coldWeatherAlert
WARNING UPDATES - 17 January 2020
Sadly, the forecast of things improving was a tad premature and we had some heavy rain yesterday. As a result, all the rivers in the area are on at least a flood alert with one river – the Kennet at the lower reaches on a Flood Warning where properties are at risk of flooding.
The following flood warnings are now in place: to be prepared for flooding of properties.
· Properties closest to the River Kennet at the Burghfield, Southcote, Coley and Holybrook areas
The following flood alerts are also in place:
· River Enborne and Foudry Brook
· River Kennet and its tributaries from Berwick Bassett down to Newbury
· River Kennet from Thatcham down to Reading
· River Lambourn and its tributaries from Upper Lambourn down to Newbury – see the note attached about Thames Water Tankering in Lambourn area.
· River Pang from East Ilsley to Pangbourne and Sulham Brook
· River Thames from Pangbourne to Purley
· River Thames and its tributaries from Days Lock to above Pangbourne
· River Thames from Mapledurham to Sonning
At the moment WBC are not expecting more flood warnings to be put in place.
At this moment in time no reports of properties flooding internally have been reported. There are some properties which have been surrounded by way with some access issues.
As a result a the conditions a number of roads have been affected all of which have been added to our website: https://one.network/?tm=116126952 (please scroll out to get the full picture and identify roads in your area). It has been noted that a number of vehicles have been driving through these road closures – which normally means if they breakdown their insurance is invalid, however it also places additional resource issues on the emergency services.
In addition to the road closures there are a number of roads which have flood water in places and whilst passage care needs to be taken.
The Highways officers and WBC contractors are working hard to try to clear flood waters where they can but this is likely to take some time due to the numbers.
The weather is set to improve over the next few days, and it is expected to get colder as a result on the roads and therefore the risk of a mixture of water and cold causing hazards on the road network is likely to increase. The situation is being closely monitored as a result.
What we are doing:
WBC continue to monitor the situation and work with other agencies to try mitigate the situation as far as possible. Officers and contractors are busy assessing reports of issues, prioritising them and responding as soon as possible. They are also monitoring for vulnerable people being affected or isolated, providing support where needed. This work will continue over the coming days.
As indicated before WBC consider that the risk of flooding has not gone away as a result ask that:
· any issues causing flooding in the roads etc are reported to West Berkshire Council – online or via the contact centre 01635 551111 or out of hours 01635 42161 (for emergencies only). Please don’t go to individual officers since they are often out on site or the issue is not logged to be processed in a coordinated way.
· any issues in the rivers are reported to the Environment Agency as soon as possible to allow for works to be undertaken. 0800 80 70 60
· any issues relating to Sewage are reported to Thames Water 0800 316 9800
Service Manager - Emergency Planning
West Berkshire Council
FLOODING AND GROUNDWATER ALERTS
The following flood warnings are now in place: to be prepared for flooding of properties.
· Properties closest to the River Kennet at the Burghfield, Southcote, Coley and Holybrook areas
The following flood alerts are also in place:
Overnight on Tuesday a number of trees fell on to the road network with crews working throughout the night to clear the areas and make the roads safe. This has continued through Wednesday. In addition, a number of roads have been closed due to flooding; these can be reviewed on: https://one.network/?tm=116126952.
The weather is set to improve over the next few days, although we still expect rain, so we are still at risk of flooding until this water pushes its way through the system. We are also expecting that the risk will not go away for some time so we would ask that:
· any issues causing flooding in the roads etc are reported to the West Berkshire Council – online or via the contact centre.
· any issues in the rivers are reported to the Environment Agency as soon as possible to allow for works to be undertaken.
· any issues relating to Sewage are reported to Thames Water
Any queries please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL CELEBRATES LOCAL HEROES
The winners of the 2019 West Berkshire Council’s Community Champion Awards have been announced at an evening awards ceremony at Shaw House on Monday 13 January 2020.
Pat Eastop Junior Citizen Award
Joint winners Benjamin Kaesser and Finlay Beavan take home the prizes for the Pat Eastop Junior Citizen Award.
Benjamin Kaesser was nominated by Lucille Harrison of Swings and Smiles for his fantastic voluntary work with the young people who use Swings and Smiles.
Finlay Beavan was nominated by Mrs Gemma Piper, Headteacher of Kennet School, for his wonderful contributions to his local community including a sponsored run to highlight the needs of the homeless.
Volunteer of the Year Award
The winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award went to Jana Little, who was nominated by no fewer than seven people.
Jana was nominated for setting up and running a local Terracyle scheme which has not only diverted considerable waste from landfill but has raised money for a local charity.
Again the judges were extremely impressed with the standard of nominations and also presented Steve Masters and Tessa Brown a Highly Commended award each.
Tessa Brown who was nominated by Maureen Martin for her voluntary work to benefit the staff, children and families of the Hungerford Nursery School Centre and Steve Masters who was nominated by David Marsh and Claire Willsher for his role as Chair of Trustees for Eight Bells for Mental Health Newbury.
Community Group of the Year
The winner of the Community Group of the Year went to 4th Thatcham Cubs who were nominated by Lucille Harrison from Swings and Smiles in Thatcham.
The panel was extremely impressed by the wonderful work carried out by the 4th Thatcham Cubs group and loved the strong sense of inclusion that the group allows children with special needs to take part in an activity that many children take for granted.
The Lifetime Achievement Award.
The winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award went to the late Colleen Walker and Jane Fairchild, who is Colleen’s daughter.
The panel was extremely impressed by the dedication and commitment demonstrated by Colleen Walker to helping others. It was clear from the nomination that Colleen spent all her working life in a caring capacity and this compassionate ethos carried on in her wonderful charity work.
The two commended awards went to Mrs Wynne Frankum who was nominated by Bucklebury Parish Council for her commitment and service to the community of Bucklebury, and to Mr Robert Alderman who was nominated by Sarah Warburton on behalf of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust for an amazing 68 years of voluntary work with the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust.
The highly commended award in this category went to Marcus Allum who was nominated by Richard Keene.
Marcus Allum is a lifelong resident of West Berkshire, having been brought up in Chapel Row, he has a business in Beenham and is currently Chairman of Frilsham Parish Council.
Award winners' details will also be recorded in an exclusive book called the "Roll of Civic Award" which will be available to view at the council's offices in Market Street, Newbury.
Overall, the number and standard of nominations for 2019 were outstanding. For information on this year's winners visit www.westberks.gov.uk/communitychampion.
EXHIBITION – “FOCUS ON STRATFIELD MORTIMER”
At the West Berkshire Museum
4th December 2019 – 5 July 2020
This special exhibition looks at the parish of Stratfield Mortimer’s history through objects from the museum collection and from the local community.
Have your say on our draft Environment
West Berkshire Council has developed a draft Environment Strategy in response to its declaration of a Climate Emergency in July 2019. The draft Strategy details the different ways the Council, with the help of the local community and businesses, can contribute towards tackling the climate crisis and achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
The Council will lead by ensuring it is doing all it can within its own operation, and continue the initiatives we have already committed to making a start on since last year. These initiatives will make a positive contribution to protecting and preserving our natural environment as well as assisting us to become carbon neutral by 2030. These include:
- installing more solar panels across our estate, aiming for a significant contribution from solar energy towards the Council’s energy consumption and beyond;
- continuing to increase the number of charging points for electric vehicles in West Berkshire; and
- conducting a Council carbon audit so we understand our challenges and are better placed to become carbon neutral by 2030.
West Berkshire Council have reviewed and analysed relevant data and engaged with a range of stakeholders over the last six months to gain insights into the priorities, challenges and opportunities related to our carbon neutral target and wider environmental concerns.
Steve Ardagh-Walter, Executive Member for the Environment for West Berkshire Council, said: “The Environment Strategy is a significant focus for us and while we want to lead on this important issue, we know the Council cannot deliver this strategy alone: everyone across West Berkshire has a role to play.
“The changes we can make will vary in size but all are important as we work towards our shared aspiration. The publication of this strategy, we hope, will act as a catalyst to residents, businesses and interested groups that we all need to adjust our own priorities and behaviours if we are to rise to the challenge that climate change presents to us all. Please therefore read the strategy, respond to the consultation and, crucially think about what action you can take to make its aims a reality.”
The climate presents us all with a challenge that we must meet to secure a safer, greener environment for the generations that follow us. We recognise the Council needs to engage more with the local community, schools, town and parish councils, local environment groups and the business community. We will be holding various focus groups and drop-in sessions across the district in local libraries during February - more information will be announced on the website soon.
The consultation on the strategy will begin on Thursday 9 January 2020 and will be open for 6 weeks from this date, closing on 21 February 2020.
To read the strategy and take part in the consultation, please visit our website: www.westberks.gov.uk/draftenvironmentstrategy.
BOARD GAMES ARE BACK IN THE LIBRARY THIS FRIDAY
The weekly Friday afternoon Board Games for children (between 3.45pm and 5.45pm) is back in action. These games sessions are free and all children aged 8+ are welcome.
See you there for some new challenges!
WEST BERKSHIRE’S LARGEST VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT EVENT – V365 2020
V365 2020 at Corn Exchange, Newbury – 11th January 2020 – 10am to 3pm
Volunteer Centre West Berkshire are organizing a large volunteer recruitment event with 65 different charities based in West Berkshire. The event will showcase all the opportunities for volunteering in our area.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities and there are so many ways you can make a difference. Whether it is a New Years resolution, or you are just looking for new ways to get involved – VC West Berkshire look forward to seeing you there!
West Berkshire Councils ‘Giving Tree’
The generosity from residents across West Berkshire has once again exceeded expectations to help domestic abuse victims with the ‘Giving Tree’.
The initiative is arranged by West Berkshire Council’s Building Communities Together Team as part of its ongoing work, alongside partner organisations, to help protect and care for victims of abuse across the district.
The ‘Giving Tree’ was launched on 3 December as part of the worldwide White Ribbon Campaign which aims to eliminate violence against women and children. The ‘Giving Tree’ allows local people to take gift tags with a child’s age from the Christmas tree and donate gifts, vouchers, money, or experiences, for the recipient to enjoy.
This year the 'Giving Tree' extended its reach across West Berkshire to include trees at Tilehurst Parish Council and Hungerford Hub and Library meaning more people were involved in the gift of giving.
This act of kindness has truly gripped the hearts of many people across West Berkshire as there was an overwhelming 187 presents donated this year. Jade Wilder, Community Coordinator for the Building Communities Together Team at West Berkshire Council, said: “This has brought such happiness and hope to those who need it, so thank you to all the residents within our community who took the time to purchase a gift because it couldn’t have been this successful without you.”
BURGHFIELD & MORTIMER
NEIGHBOURHOOD ACTION GROUP
The next meeting of the Burghfield and Mortimer NAG will take place on Wednesday, 8th January 2020, at 7pm in the meeting room at Burghfield Village Hall.
A copy of the agenda can be downloaded from here.
Consultation on proposed term dates for 2021/22
Term dates for community and voluntary controlled schools are set by West Berkshire Council following a consultation process. West Berkshire will ‘propose’ term dates and would recommend that schools consider aligning term dates with other schools in the area, for example, secondary schools with primary schools, in recognition of families with children at different schools.
In West Berkshire, the set dates traditionally include a common INSET at the start of the Autumn Term. Therefore, 191 days are set with recommendations for the remaining 4 INSET days.
The 2021/22 proposal for West Berkshire sets a common INSET day on Wednesday 1st September 2021 and suggests other inset days on Friday 22 October 2020, Tuesday 4 January 2021, Friday 8 April 2021 and Friday 27 May 2021. We have aligned our term dates with neighbouring authorities to try to alleviate any cross border difficulties.
The proposed dates for 2021/22 have been through our internal consultation process and are now available for public consultation. The consultation runs from 6 January until 24 February 2020. The deadline for feedback and comments is 24 February 2020.
Link to survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/terms2022
Proposed Term Dates for 2021/22
These term dates provide a guide. Sometimes a school may adjust the dates slightly due to specific circumstances, and we recommend that you check with the school if a specific date is key to your plans, e.g. before making a holiday booking.
Please note that we cannot accept consultation responses from school by email, and your formal response to the consultation should be made via the online form (link above). We will however, clarify any points and maintain FAQS through the consultation period, based on feedback we receive.
Trading, Pupil Transport & Planning Officer - Access, Planning & Trading, West Berkshire Council
THINKING OF VOLUNTEERING IN THE NEW YEAR?
West Berkshire Libraries' message of the month (January) is all about volunteering not just in their libraries, but in the West Berkshire Museum and at Shaw House too.
For more information, call 01635 519533 or send an email to email@example.com
West Berkshire Directory
The Directory - https://directory.westberks.gov.uk - is a free online resource highlighting a wide range of information, advice and support available across West Berkshire for adults, families and children – it includes lists of useful phone numbers, email addresses and websites of local and national organisations.
The Directory provides a first point of contact for many support networks, linking in to a huge amount of advice and support, alongside details of the many organisations and community groups running events and activities in the district.
Adult Social Care Mailbox
The adult social care mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org has been renamed email@example.com. Any mail addressed to ‘ccenquiries’ will automatically appear in the adultcare mailbox – this is a permanent arrangement due to our details being published on numerous documents and external sites.
People are encouraged to submit an online enquiry, this prompts for useful information to enable action in a timely manner without the need for us to request further information. The enquiry form has a friendly URL www.westberks.gov.uk/adultenquiry and sits on WBC’s Adult Social Care Advice webpage.
Local Voluntary and Community Groups Invited To
Apply For POLICE PROPERTY ACT FUND Grant
£170,000 available to community and voluntary groups
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, and the Chief Constable, John Campbell, have opened a new grant round of the Police Property Act Fund.
The Fund, which is jointly managed by the PCC and the Chief Constable, is created from money recovered by the police and the proceeds from the sale of items that cannot be returned to identified owners, including seizures from criminals.
Earlier this year, £106,733 was distributed to 27 different organisations in addressing Police and Crime Plan priorities and the PCC and Chief Constable expect to allocate around £170,000 in this grant round.
Applications are now invited from local voluntary and community groups who can contribute towards two of the PCC’s strategic priorities in his Police and Crime Plan priorities, which are:
- Prevention and Early Intervention
Some examples of projects that may be considered include those that aim to tackle:
- Elder abuse
- Hidden harm such as stalking, honour based abuse and forced marriage
- Peer on peer abuse
- Hate crime
- Mental health
All applications will be required to submit clear evidence of how their project or activity will contribute towards achieving the key aim indicated.
The closing date for this round of applications is 12pm Friday 22nd November 2019 and applications will be considered jointly by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the Chief Constable.
More information and the application form can be found at https://www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/police-property-act-fund/
Successful recipients will be invited to attend a presentation ceremony, due to be held on Monday 17 February 2020 at Holdsworth Hall, Sulhamstead.
Thames Valley Police.
matters – have you returned your Household Enquiry Form?
Residents across West Berkshire are being encouraged to complete their Household Enquiry Forms before time runs out to be added to the electoral register.
The household canvass takes place every year between September to December and is used to check whether voter registration records are correct. We have had a good rate of response back on the forms, but there are still some outstanding. A reminder is being sent out this week to nearly 15,000 households across West Berkshire that haven’t returned their Household Enquiry Forms.
It is really quick to do as the form lists the current eligible voters in the household and asks you to check and update the details. If details are incorrect, the steps you need to take are fully explained on the form.
It is important to confirm the details on the form as it can affect an individual’s right to vote but more importantly a response is required by law.
Responding to the Household Enquiry Form can be done using a variety of methods, including posting the form back in the pre-paid envelope, online, over the phone or via text. Details of how to use these methods can be found on the form.
There are other advantages to being on the Electoral Register as it can affect an individual's credit rating; if you are not on the register of electors, it may have an affect on your credit rating which can lead to difficulties when applying for mortgages, loans, credit cards or even a mobile phone contract.
Have you registered to vote? With the general election taking place on 12 December, it is important to note you need register to vote in the UK Parliamentary general election by 26 November.
Further information about your right to vote can be found at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.
Winter Plan in pace to support rough sleepers
On 1 November 2019, West Berkshire Council’s Winter Plan was put in place in readiness to support single people and childless couples who are sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough with a warm place to stay. The Winter Plan also ensures that the council is ready to activate the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, (SWEP) when temperatures are forecast to be below freezing conditions for 3 consecutive days.
It will help the most vulnerable homeless single people who have a local connection to the district to have the support they need during extreme cold weather and to be able to access warm, safe accommodation at Two Saints as well as wider support and advice.
When SWEP is activated, non-residents who are at risk of sleeping rough will also receive support.
The Winter Plan is the plan of action developed by The Homelessness Strategy Group over the last year.
Voluntary groups and charities including West Berkshire Homeless, Loose Ends, Eight Bells and the Newbury Soup Kitchen will join forces to focus their efforts to support the work of Two Saints and ensure that rough sleepers receive the help they need to help them back to independence and a home.
Supporting rough sleepers during adverse weather is part of a much broader programme of activity to tackle homelessness in the district. West Berkshire Council’s housing team works alongside a number of local partners year-round to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place as well as offering help and support when it does occur – including through its ‘No Second Night Out’ policy to help people find emergency accommodation.
Anyone at risk of sleeping rough on the streets should go to West Berkshire Council’s offices in Market Street, Newbury for support. Anyone who becomes homeless when the offices are closed should contact the council’s Emergency Duty Team on 01344 786543.
People can also tell Streetlink https://www.streetlink.org.uk/ which exists to help end rough sleeping by enabling members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.
If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can send an alert to StreetLink via their website.
The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area to help them find the individual and connect them to support. If you think the person you are concerned about is under 18 please do not contact StreetLink but instead call the police.
Berkshire's Climate Conference attracts over 300 attendees
Over 300 people gathered at a Climate Conference organised by West Berkshire Council on Monday 28 October.
The event follows the council’s declaration of a climate emergency in July 2019.
It's one of the first initiatives to come from a new Environment Board established by the Council which will create a new Environment Strategy and coordinate and oversee environmental projects to help work towards carbon neutrality in West Berkshire by 2030. It also supports the Council's priority to maintain a green district as set out in the new West Berkshire Council Strategy 2019-23.
Opened by Richard Benyon MP for Newbury, former Parliamentary Secretary at the Department of Environment and Wildlife Minister (DEFRA) it looked at how residents, communities, organisations and the council can help tackle the climate crisis and work towards carbon neutrality by 2030.
The Keynote speaker, Tom Heap, Rural Affairs Correspondent of BBC News and contributor to the BBC One programme Countryfile, the Panorama programme, and the BBC Radio 4 programme Costing the Earth spoke specifically around the challenges facing West Berkshire.
There were also break-out sessions covering the Science of Climate Change, Climate and Land use, Sustainable Transport, Renewable Energy, Green District, Circular Economy and Waste and a chance to shop with some of West Berkshire's eco-friendly businesses.
Speaking about the conference, Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council said: "We were delighted to see so many people at the Conference. It was an exciting day which brought together not only academics, industry figures and local organisations but over 300 people who were serious about finding out how we can all work together to tackle the climate crisis here in West Berkshire.
"Climate change is an important issue that affects us all and the Conference clearly showed how very passionate and committed the people of West Berkshire are to making the changes needed to future proof our planet. It was a great opportunity to speak directly to local people and hear their views, ideas and experiences as we look at shared solutions we can adopt in the district.”
“All delegates will be asked to feedback on their thoughts and preferred actions. Residents will then have the opportunity to take part in a public consultation on the Draft Environment Strategy.”
COLD WEATHER PLAN
Are you “#winterready”? As you know, cold weather increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, lung illnesses, mental health illnesses such as depression, flu and other diseases. People slip and fall in the snow or ice sometimes suffering serious injuries. Older people, very young children and people with long-term health conditions are particularly vulnerable to suffering adverse effects of cold weather.
It is the responsibility of Emergency Planning and Public Health to provide key warning and informing messages during the period of the Cold Weather Plan: 1st Nov to 31st March because primary prevention, such as keeping indoor temperatures at 18oC, can help prevent excess winter ill health and deaths.
Level 1: Winter preparedness and action programme is in force throughout the winter from 1st November to 31st March and covers the moderate temperatures where the greatest total burden of excess winter death and disease occur. Cold Weather Messages leaflet (attached).
Check that you, and any children and elderly members of the family, are #winterready for ‘winter preparedness and action’: be alert, and prepare for cold, i.e. have flu jabs ahead of winter, ensure houses are properly insulated/ boilers serviced, etc.
You may also find Preparing for Winter - Advice to help you during the winter months a useful resource: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/winterprep
County Lines Awareness Campaign
County lines gangs use children and vulnerable people to courier drugs and money. A young person who is involved in county lines activity might exhibit some of these signs:
· Persistently going missing from school or home, or being found out-of-area
· Unexplained acquisition of money, clothes or mobile phones
· excessive receipt of texts or phone calls
· Suspicion of self-harm, physical assault or unexplained injuries
· Parental concerns
· Significant decline in school performance
· Significant changes in emotional well-being
· Relationships with controlling, older individuals or gang association
· Leaving home or care without explanation
If you see something that doesn't feel right, or looks suspicious, concerning a child or young person you should report it to Thames Valley Police, online or call 101, or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
Poster available here.
FOR THE UNDER 3s
Rhymetime for under 3s takes place every Tuesday during term time at Mortimer Library from 2.30pm to 2.50pm
To see the West Berkshire Library calendar for this event – as well as upcoming half-term and Christmas events - please go to http://info.westberks.gov.uk/35205
For more information call 0118 933 2882 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Put your musical talents to good
Alzheimer’s Society is the only UK charity that campaigns for change, funds research to find a cure and supports people living with dementia today.
Singing for the Brain is one of the Society’s most popular services for people affected by dementia. It offers the opportunity for everyone to socialise and take part in a good old-fashioned sing-song within a safe and supportive environment.
The Burghfield Singing for the Brain group meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month between 1.30pm and 3.00pm at Burghfield Common Methodist Church Hall.
We urgently need a new volunteer who would be happy to lead the group as our current volunteer will shortly be moving on. This would involve putting together a singing programme to meet the needs and tastes of those who attend and then leading the singing on the day.
We’re looking for someone who can sing well and ideally play an instrument too. We run several Singing for the Brain groups in Berkshire so there’s the opportunity to visit any of these and learn from other Lead volunteers plus we provide other training for the role.
The best way to find out whether this is the volunteering role for you is by going along to the group to see for yourself what’s involved! Please contact Jane Penton (email@example.com or 07540 921 221) if you would like to arrange to visit.
Protect Your World - Top Cyber Tips
Over the next few weeks, Thames Valley Police will be publishing our top cyber security tips as part of our Protect Your World campaign.
Our Protect Your World campaign aims to encourage Thames Valley residents and businesses to protect themselves online.
The campaign is aimed at helping residents stay one step ahead of cyber criminals by producing top cyber security steps everyone needs to take.
It not only explains the risks of cyber crime, but also what steps you should be taking to stay safe and how you can complete them.
For more information on our seven top tips, visit the Protect Your World page and follow the campaign on our social media channels using #ProtectYourWorld.
WITH HOME-START WEST BERKSHIRE
Home-Start West Berkshire need volunteers who can spare 3 hours a week. If you are organised, calm and caring you could offer support to a family experiencing hardship.
Contact https://home-startwestberks.org.uk/ (01635 760310) to find out more.
Council welcomes improved rail timetable
Faster journeys and more frequent services will be coming West Berkshire’s way thanks to the biggest timetable change in over 40 years!
West Berkshire Council welcomes the announcement by Great Western Railway (GWR) that there will be a new timetable serving the Thames Valley from December 2019.
On the popular Reading to Newbury route, passengers will benefit from an increase to three trains an hour, journey time improvements of around five minutes, and a more consistent service throughout the day with up to two fast services an hour running through to London Paddington. There will also be a third train each hour during peak periods on the Reading to Basingstoke line improving links to Mortimer Station.
With improved links, more seats and faster and more frequent journeys from West Berkshire stations to popular destinations like Reading and London, residents and businesses can celebrate these upcoming changes.
Richard Somner, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Transport and Countryside said “We welcome the new timetable, which builds on the unprecedented investment made by the rail industry and also the efforts of the Council and the Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership who have worked in tandem with GWR to support electrification on the Newbury to Reading, improvements to Newbury and Theale railway stations, and the provision of new faster and less polluting trains.
“These new services will provide residents with greater choice and seats, plus shorter travel times to Reading and London, helping to boost our links with these important economic centres and meeting the council's priorities of developing local infrastructure and supporting businesses to start, develop and thrive in West Berkshire. I urge residents to consider taking advantage of these improved services and use the train wherever possible.”
REMINDER: WBC GARDEN WASTE COLLECTION 2019-2020
If you would like to have your garden waste collected in your green bin you will need to subscribe to the service. This is an opt-in, paid for service.
The 2019/20 garden waste collection service starts on 2 September 2019 and runs until 28 August 2020. If you are renewing your subscription, to ensure your garden waste service continues after the 31 August, with no gaps in collections, you will need to renew your subscriptions by 11 August 2019.
ANNUAL CRICKET MATCH - The Alan Thorpe Trophy
The annual Alan Thorpe Trophy match, sponsored by the Parish Council, will be played on the Fairground on Sunday, 11th August, between Mortimer Cricket Club (MCC) and Mortimer Villages. The match starts at 1.00pm.
Subscribe to 2019/20 garden waste collections
West Berkshire residents can subscribe to the 2019/20 garden waste collection service from today (Tuesday 16 July).
Residents signing up will have their garden waste – including grass cuttings, prunings, plants and weeds – collected every fortnight. Full details of what can be collected are available online
Around 29,700 households across the district signed up for the 2018/19 collection service. Current subscribers will soon receive an email or letter with details about how to renew. To ensure collections continue without interruption residents should subscribe before 11 August 2019.
The 2019/20 subscription period runs from 2 September 2019 to 28 August 2020 and costs £50 for the first bin. Residents can subscribe to the service at any time until 30 June, 2020. The price is fixed for the period, (there will be no part year charge) so residents are encouraged to sign-up early to get the best value from their subscription.
Garden waste can also be taken to one of the recycling centres in Newbury and Padworth, or can be composted at home. Opening times for the recycling centres are:
- Newbury: 8.30am - 7.30pm, 7 days a week
- Padworth: 8am - 6pm, 7 days a week
Food waste will continue to be collected from green bins at non-communal properties, even if they have not subscribed to a garden waste collection service.
To subscribe online or for more information about the service and to read our Frequently Asked Questions visit www.westberks.gov.uk/gardenwaste.
It takes only a few minutes to subscribe and can be done on computer, tablet and smartphone. As well as signing up themselves, residents are also able to subscribe on behalf of family, friends and neighbours.
West Berkshire Council declares Climate
West Berkshire Council declared a Climate Emergency yesterday evening (Tuesday, 2nd July).
There was unanimous support for a motion to declare the Climate Emergency at a meeting of West Berkshire's Full Council.
The declaration follows discussion at a meeting of Council last month and a petition put forward by Councillor Steve Masters (Green Party) requesting the declaration of a Climate Change Emergency.
Climate Change is high on the agenda for the council and features in a number of the new Council Strategy priorities.
Steve Ardagh-Walter, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for the Environment said:
“It is the responsibility of government at all levels to limit the negative impact of climate breakdown, and we need to start working on this right now.
“We are responding to this urgent call for change by making a firm pledge to do everything we can to deliver carbon neutrality by 2030.
“However, we do realise that it will take time for the level of change we need to take place. That is why we have created an Environmental Board that will work with residents, businesses and neighbouring authorities to create a strategic plan for change.
“As a council, we have been making positive steps towards change and will continue to work with business and communities to find and use greener options. There are clear benefits but this will require hard work from everyone in the community and changes in individual’s lifestyles.”
The newly formed Environment Board will provide an interim report to the council’s Executive in September 2019 with the progress made to date.
KEEP BURGLARS OUT THIS SUMMER
Whether you are staying at home, or going away on holiday, here’s a reminder of our top tips to protect your home against burglary this summer:
· Fit window opening restrictors to all ground floor and other easily accessible windows. This will allow ventilation while restricting access.
· Close and lock all windows and doors, even if just out in the garden.
· Remove window and door keys from the locks, store out of reach and away from your letterbox.
· Keep valuables out of sight, along with any visible signs including charging cables.
· Hide the keys to your vehicle, and if you have a keyless entry, store the fob in a RFID pouch to block the signal.
· Lock all windows and doors.
· Check side gates, sheds and garages are locked and tools and ladders are not accessible to break into your home.
· Store all keys out of sight and away from your letterbox, doors and windows.
· Use a RFID pouch to store fobs for keyless entry vehicles.
· Make your home look occupied by using a timer switch to turn on lights at night.
· Ask a trusted friend to look after your home while you are away.
· Invite a neighbour to park their vehicle on your drive while you are away.
· Don’t post details about your holiday on social media until you return home.
For more tips to protect your home, download your free Home Security Guide from the Thames Valley Police website here: https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/SysSiteAssets/media/downloads/thames-valley/advice/home-security-guide.pdf
Your local Neighbourhood Policing Team would like to make you aware of the following:
Rogue Doorstep Traders will use a trade to extract large sums of money from people by:
- Offering services such as driveway re-surfacing, block paving, roofing, fascias, gardening or selling goods such as furniture, alarms or mobility aids.
- They may claim you have a loose roof tile or that a tree you have is unsafe and needs to be trimmed.
- They will often give a very low quote that will increase when work begins.
- Sometimes they will drive victims to the bank and will often come back on future occasions to get more money.
- They may come across friendly to begin with but then quickly become demanding and adding pressure which can be intimidating.
- Trying to convince people that work carried out was previously agreed.
- Please warn your elderly and vulnerable residents by:
- Make the person aware that they are never required to open their door to unexpected callers and that it is not rude to send someone away.
- Reinforce the message "IF YOU'RE NOT SURE DON'T OPEN THE DOOR".
- Encourage the person to set up passwords with their utility companies.
- Try to ensure that the outside of the property is well maintained, including the garden. Properties that are poorly maintained may be targeted.
- Advise the person not to keep money in the house and to keep credit cards, debit cards, cheque books, savings books and any other valuables in a safe place.
To report Rogue Trading in progress call 999. If you see any suspicious vehicles or incidents in your neighbourhood call the non-emergency number on 101 or visit www.thamesvalley.police.uk and report on-line.
For Trading Standards please ring Citizen Advice Consumer helpline on 03454 040506.
TEA AND COFFEE
AVAILABLE AT MORTIMER LIBRARY
Tea and coffee is now available for £1 a cup when you visit Mortimer Library. Come along and enjoy a hot drink whilst you browse the shelves or take part in activities based in the Library.
New Insulation and Heating Grants for West Berkshire Residents
A new range of grants has been launched for residents who live in the West Berkshire area, to help towards the cost of boiler upgrades, full central heating, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. Heat Berkshire has already been offering these grants in other areas of the county, and last year more than 500 Berkshire residents received a new boiler through the service.
Steve Ardagh-Walter, West Berkshire Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, said: “In West Berkshire you are likely to be eligible for a grant if you are on benefits, or if your household income - after tax and after deducting your mortgage or rent and energy bills - is less than £35,000. This means that residents of poorly insulated homes, or people who have inefficient and expensive heating, may be able to save money through a grant.
"As well as helping to lower household expenditure and reduce fuel poverty, this scheme is a welcome step in reducing the district's carbon footprint, and I encourage residents who meet the qualification criteria and are looking to improve or update their home heating or insulation to apply."
Grants are available for people who own their home for boiler upgrades, first time central heating installation and insulation. Tenants and landlords of privately rented properties are also eligible for grants for central heating and insulation (regardless of the tenants’ income) provided that the home has an energy performance certificate rating of A to E, however rented homes are not eligible for boiler upgrades. In many cases the works are completely free of charge, although central heating grants are likely to require a partial contribution from the property owner.
The central heating grants are available for people who currently have no heating system. This includes using open fires or plug in electric heaters, or for people who wish to switch from electric storage heaters to a full radiator heating system. Grant funding can also be provided towards the cost of a new mains gas connection or, in rural areas, the new heating system can be fuelled from bottled gas, and in some cases, by a ground source heat pump.
Residents of West Berkshire wishing to know more or looking to take advantage of these heating and insulation grants can call Heat Berkshire on 01344 515 045, or go to www.heatBerkshire.co.uk. All works are subject to survey, eligibility criteria and the total pot of funding available.
Berkshire Libraries - FREE PRESS READER
Read or download your favourite title via PressReader – another free service for West Berkshire library members.
It really is very simple to use. Just download the Press Reader app from your app store, or if using on a computer access it from: http://info.westberks.gov.uk/35201
You will then just need your library card number and PIN to get started.
Organiser Needed at the Mortimer LibrarY
With the library service having a reduction in staff, the branch libraries rely on volunteers to help. In most branches there is a volunteer called a ’Community Organiser Volunteer.’ They play a key role in supporting the library by ensuring that the library has adequate cover to be able to maintain a high level of service and to be able to open. This role has proven a success in the libraries who have a volunteer covering this opportunity.
The role covers:
· Organising the volunteer rota to ensure there is adequate cover for the opening hours.
· Be the point of contact for volunteers and staff to create a sense of a team.
· Arranging cover for volunteers if they are unavailable due to sickness or holiday.
West Berkshire Council are now looking for a Community Library Volunteer Organiser to play a key role in supporting front line volunteer cover and day to day activities.
Apply online at www.westberks.gov.uk/volunteer. For more information call 01635 519533
FOCUS ON STRATFIELD MORTIMER EXHIBITION
4th December 2019 – 5th July 2020
West Berkshire Museum is working on a series of exhibitions focusing on towns, villages and parishes in the region, and would like to hear from Stratfield Mortimer residents.
Do you have any interesting items which represent Stratfield Mortimer’s history that you would like to loan for the exhibition?
Would you be interested in coming to look at the items from the Collection that may be included, to give feedback and maybe provide more information?
After the exhibition closes, some of the items will form a Pop-Up exhibition in Mortimer library. Are you interested in advising on the items to include?
If you would like to get involved, please contact the Museum’s curator, Janine Fox, by email at Janine.firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone (01635) 519532 or 07787 828189.
REPORTING CRIME TO THE POLICE
Further to the discussion at the Annual Parish Meeting on 29th April, this is to remind members of the public the importance of reporting incidents / crimes to Thames Valley Police.
Call 999 if:
- a serious offence is in progress or has just been committed
- someone is in immediate danger or harm
- property is in danger of being damaged
- a serious disruption to the public is likely
Call the Non-emergency 101:
- Call 101 for non-emergency enquiries. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service on 18001 101.
Anti-terrorist hotline 0800 789 321:
- Call the UK Anti-Terrorism Hotline on 0800 789 321 if you've seen or heard something that you think could suggest terrorist activity.
Stay anonymous – Crimestoppers:
Reporting each and every crime is really important as this helps the police build a bigger picture of what’s happening in your area. The crime data assists in the deployment of our officers based on the locations of where the crimes have been committed.
I understand that sometimes there is a delay in our operators answering 101, but please bear with us as we are working hard to reduce waiting times. Certain crime types can be reported via our website using the online reporting tool.
If you have any other information or concerns you would like to share with your local Neighbourhood Policing Team, please visit https://www.police.uk/ insert your postcode and e-mail your local team.
Inspector 212 Alan Hawkett, Pangbourne, Hungerford and Downlands Neighbourhood Inspector, Thames Valley Police, Mill Lane, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 5QU
Volunteering Opportunities in West Berkshire
There are many opportunities for volunteering in the local area be it a Handybus Driver, a volunteer engineer or a group fundraiser. Details of all the new and current volunteering opportunities can be found at: http://www.volunteerwestberks.org.uk/current_vacancies.htm
Thames Water Free Priority Services
Thames Water offer a free Priority Service to customers who find themselves in vulnerable circumstances. By registering for this service Thames Water aim to provide free support in the unlikely event you have no water, by prioritising the most vulnerable first.
Thames Water can tailor their services to meet your needs, from using your preferred means of communication to delivering water to your door, giving you peace of mind at a time when you need it most.
Thames Water work with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks to help customers register for priority services once and benefit from support during both power cuts and water supply interruptions. Amongst the eligibility criteria are poor mobility, sight or hearing loss, dialysing at home, speech or hearing difficulties, mental health issues.
To ask for
leaflets or to request a speaker to visit your local groups, email email@example.com.
information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call the Extra care Team on 0800
0093652 option 3, or visit www.thameswater.co.uk/priorityservices. Financial support is
available as well: search ‘help paying your bill’ on the Thames Water website.
- MEMBERSHIP DETAILS
Are your membership details up-to-date? Check your details are correct and don’t miss out on the latest library offers.
New from April 2019: no late return fees for anyone aged 75 and over.
PADWORTH RECYCLING CENTRE
Padworth Recycling Centre will be open 8am – 6pm, 7 days a week from Monday 1st April. This is a pilot scheme until 30 September 2019.
Padworth Recycling Centre also now accepts general rubbish and bulky waste.
Residents are reminded to display their permit in the windscreen of the car to help minimise queuing. A list of materials accepted and a user guide for the site can be found at www.westberks.gov.uk/recyclingcentres
New West Berkshire Facebook Page
A new Thames Valley Police Facebook page has just been launched for West Berkshire.
Please follow the page to keep up to date with local activity and crime prevention advice in our area. Feedback is important to TVP, so please comment and share on their posts.
You can follow TVPWestBerkshrie on Twitter: @TVP_WestBerks and Facebook: www.facebook.com/TVPWestBerkshire
WEST BERKSHIRE EVENT CALENDAR
Do you want to find out about events and when they are happening around West Berkshire? There is a searchable online calendar available on West Berkshire Council’s website which lists up-coming events and activities with links to information and booking details.
Every day is different when you Care
West Berkshire Council is supporting a new Government recruitment campaign to help fill the 110,000 vacancies nationally in Adult Social Care.
Every day is different launched this week and will run during February and March, focusing on promoting the wide range of career opportunities in the sector and highlighting that, in Adult Social Care, no two days are the same. The campaign invites people to consider whether a career in this field is for them, and offers a short quiz to help them decide.
Graham Bridgman, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Adult Social Care, says: "We’re very keen to support and actively promote this campaign because recruiting carers is vitally important. Working in the care sector is very rewarding and 96% of care professionals feel their work makes a difference to people’s lives. The flexibility of the work is also a draw for parents who can work during school hours, but need to be available to drop off and collect their children.
"If you, a family member or a friend are considering a career in Adult Social Care there are a variety of rewarding care roles here at the council that provide careers with plenty of progression opportunities and professional development to enable you to follow a clear career path."
See more information about Working for Care in West Berkshire, and our Adult Social Care vacancies.
Libraries’ At Home Library Service
Can’t come to them? They’ll come to you.
Do you find it difficult to visit your local library, possibly because of age, disability or other special circumstance? Perhaps you are a carer yourself and cannot get to a library?
Maybe the Library could deliver the Library Service to you in your own home.
What can the Library offer?
A member of staff from the At Home Library Service will visit you to discuss your requirements, what sort of books you enjoy, and whether you prefer large print books, or perhaps spoken word items. They will enrol you as an At Home library member, but will keep your library membership ticket.
A Library Volunteer will choose and deliver books, spoken word cds or cassettes to your home at an arranged time and day, usually every three weeks. Library volunteers are friendly and enjoy a chat. They have been CRB (police) checked. You can request particular books or spoken word items. Ask your Library Volunteer or contact the At Home Library Staff. There will be a charge for this service if the item is not already in the library.
For more information, call 01635 519827 or email email@example.com
upgrade for Theale Railway Station
West Berkshire Council and Great Western Railway (GWR) are to receive funding from the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVB LEP) for additional investment in Theale Railway Station.
The £8.6 million upgrade is planned to start within the next two years and will see Theale Station benefit from a new pedestrian bridge and lifts, a cycle hub, electric vehicle charging points and a significant number of additional car parking spaces.
It will be funded with the recently announced £4m through the LEP’s investment of Local Growth Funds; £4m from Network Rail; £450,000 from West Berkshire Council specifically ringfenced for Theale station plus a further £20,000 from West Berkshire Council via other successful funding bids.
The plans will also see the new ticket office finally brought into use and deliver new waiting shelters for passengers. Initial plans also include taking the opportunity to generate energy through the installation of solar panels. GWR estimate 114 panels would enable the station to become carbon neutral from an electricity perspective.
Last May, the Council joined with GWR and submitted an outline proposal for additional investment at Theale Station. The LEP were going through a process of prioritising schemes to receive funding from the Local Growth Deal. The scheme scored well, but came below the line for imminent funding.
However, funding for the scheme has been reallocated to the next worthy schemes on the list because an MRT scheme Reading was promoting is not now able to be delivered in the planned timescales, therefore West Berkshire was asked to progress their ideas for Theale Station and develop a full business case.
There is confidence that the Theale Station upgrade will lead to more jobs in the area as businesses are drawn to local premises such as in Arlington Business Park due to a much improved station with smart, modern facilities. The increased capacity and creation of a quality transport hub will also help to support new homes in the area. The outline proposal states that “Good quality transport provision will be a significant factor in delivering the sustainable development of additional houses and the creation of new jobs.”
Jeanette Clifford, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for highways and Transport said: “We are delighted that this opportunity has opened up and that we are in a position to be able to take it forward. It will have a powerful effect on the station, enabling it to become a significant interchange and Park & Rail site and also the area around it. This investment will help to provide the long term benefits of more jobs and housing which are vital to grow and to future proof economic prosperity.”
Work will need to start on the Theale Station project by March 2021 as a condition of this funding.
Alert – COURIER FRAUD
Elderly and vulnerable residents in West Berkshire Police Area have been targeted by courier fraudsters.
Courier fraudsters phone and trick victims into handing over their bank cards and associated PIN (number) to a courier that arrives at their home.
Thames Valley Police is calling on friends and family to help tackle the problem by talking to elderly or vulnerable friends and relatives.
The talk should cover:
- Never deal with cold callers on the phone or in person, no matter how polite or friendly they are. Saying "No thank you" and shutting the door or hanging up the phone is not rude.
- Your bank, the police or anyone legitimate will never send a courier to your home to collect your bank cards, your money and they will never ask for your PIN number. Close the door, lock it and call 101 to speak to the police.
- Keep a mobile phone next to your landline, and if you want to make a phone call, immediately after hanging up the landline, always use the other phone.
- If you do hand over your bank details or card, don't panic. Call your bank immediately using another phone, such as a mobile phone, explain what's happened and cancel your cards.
- Legitimate callers will never try to rush you, scare you, or force you into anything. If you feel scared or pressured at any point, hang up or shut the door and tell someone you trust, what's happened.
There are many variations of the Courier Scam, but it usually follows this method:
- A fraudster will cold call the victim on a landline, often claiming to be from the victim's bank, the police, or to be a fraud investigator.
- The fraudster states their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment in the victim's account, or that they need the victim's help in investigating fraudulent activity at the bank.
- In order to reassure the victim that they are genuine they suggest that the victim hangs up and rings the bank/ police back straight away. However, they don't Hang up at their end to disconnect the call from the landline so even when the genuine bank/ police number is dialled the victim is still talking to the fraudster.
Finally, the fraudsters will send a courier to collect the card and PIN, cash or in some cases take the victim to a bank to withdraw cash.
If you receive this type of call, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website. In an emergency dial 999.
GET YOUR TICKETS FOR THE NEW
WEST BERKSHIRE LOTTERY!
Tickets for the new West Berkshire Lottery are now on sale! From every ticket sold 60% goes to good causes in the area – and you could win prizes up to £25,000. There are more than 35 good causes have signed up - which will you choose to support? Buy tickets and find out more at www.westberkshirelottery.co.uk
Independent Visitor, Mentoring & Advocacy Scheme
Could you make a positive difference to a young person?
The Action for Children Here4me project is looking to recruit volunteer Independent Visitors and Advocates to support children in care and on the edge of care. They are looking for people who are genuinely interested in the welfare of children, who will focus on meeting their needs and who can develop a good working relationship with them. Full training is given for both roles and all volunteers will be required to undertake an enhanced DBS check.
Please note that the minimum age for a volunteer is 21.
Action for Children is a leading children’s charity which has been supporting vulnerable children and young people for over 130 years. They are based in Thatcham and provide, manage and train Independent Visitors, Mentors and Advocates throughout Berkshire and Bracknell Forest.
Information on what being an Independent Visitor, or Advocate is all about is available on the attached leaflet.
If you are interested in training to becoming an Independent Visitor, Mentor or Advocate, please complete the online application form and call them on 01635 873739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGE AGENTS
The Community Connectors – do you need help finding the right information and advice? Do you, or someone you know, have problems that are affecting health, well-being or an ability to remain independent?
This service is free of charge and a trained and trusted Volunteer Village Agent will call and provide face to face support. They have the time and the knowledge to be able to solve some of life’s problems and assist you to get the hard to find help.
Tel: 01635 581 001
(Aged 8 and above)
Pop into Mortimer Library any Friday afternoon between 3.45pm and 5.45pm for this free session open to all children aged 8+.
For further details, contact the library on 0118 933 2882 or via email@example.com
DOLLY PARTON IMAGINATION LIBRARY COMES TO WEST BERKSHIRE
West Berkshire's Family Hubs are being supported by Greenham Common Trust and Sovereign Housing to bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to eligible children in West Berkshire.
It's a free book gifting organisation devoted to inspiring a love of reading in the hearts of children. Each month, enrolled children (from birth to age five) receive a high quality, age appropriate book in the post, free of charge.
Book selections in the UK include popular characters such as Peppa Pig and beloved authors and illustrators including Lynley Dodd. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) assists in the conversion of select titles to braille and audio books for children who are blind or partially sighted.
Rick Jones, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Culture and Leisure said: "We are delighted to bring this brilliant service to West Berkshire and very grateful for GCT and Sovereign for their help in making this happen. There are few things that offer so many benefits and so much enjoyment to children as reading, but finance can sometimes be a barrier to getting them started. The Imagination Library ensures that as many children as possible in West Berkshire will be given the opportunity to begin their lifelong journey of enjoying books."
Check your eligibility and apply online now! https://imaginationlibrary.com/uk/affiliate/WBKSENEWBURY/
DON’T LET YOUR HEDGE BE A HAZARD
Overgrown hedges next to footpaths and roads pose a real hazard to people who are disabled or who are visually impaired and young children or other pedestrians who risk injury or damage to their faces or clothing from thorns and branches. If the pavement (footway) is narrow or the obstruction is excessive, they may be forced into the road. This is particularly dangerous for wheelchair users or for people pushing a pram or buggy.
On junctions and bends overgrown hedges may obstruct sight lines and the clear view of motorists. They may also obscure traffic signs or streetlights, increasing the risk of accidents.
It is an offence under the Highways Act 1980 to allow trees, hedges, shrubs and so on to obstruct the highway.
· Cut back your hedges and trees etc to within your boundary to or above the heights previously specified.
· Regularly maintain them so they do not become an obstruction.
· Seek advice if you have any doubts.
West Berkshire Council are happy to discuss any problems with you. Please telephone Customer Services on: 01635 519080
Don't let your hedge be a hazard leaflet
COMMUNITY CHAMPION AWARD WINNERS
The winners of this year's Community Champion Awards have been announced and the awards were presented on Thursday, 6 December.
The four awards recognise the valuable contribution local residents make to West Berkshire.
Pat Eastop Junior Citizen Award
Winner: Kieren Nailer.
Kieren has been helping at Partners for Active Leisure Service (West Berkshire) for over a year, completing over 100 hours of service in that time.
Highly Commended: Emily Curtis for her hard work looking after her local environment.
Volunteer of the Year Award
Winner: Janet Wood.
Janet has been heavily involved with three local community groups, the Brownies, St Mary's Church Shaw and the Shaw-Cum-Donnington Village Hall.
Highly Commended: Sue Bennett who works at the front line of West Berkshire's local NHS community service.
Community Group of the Year
Joint winners: Burghfield Santas and Pangbourne Dementia Friends.
The Burghfield Santas organise numerous fund-raising events in the community and Pangbourne Dementia Friends actively facilitate social interaction for older people living in our communities.
Highly Commended: Kennet District Scout Council and the Newbury Street Pastors.
The Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Graham Reeves.
Graham has provided 30 years of devoted service providing transport for the elderly and disabled and has dedicated the last thirty years to the running of the Carebus.
Again, the judges were highly impressed with the nominations and gave three Highly Commended awards: Helen Relf, Mike Hart, and Graham Plank who have all contributed to the support of communities within West Berkshire.
Award winners' details will also be recorded in an exclusive book called the "Roll of Civic Award".
West Berkshire Council reported that the number and standard of nominations for 2018 were outstanding. For information on this year's criteria and winners visit www.westberks.gov.uk/communitychampion .
WHY NOT JOIN THE MORTIMER LIBRARY
BOOK GROUP OR SET UP YOUR OWN?
Have you ever read a brilliant book and wanted to talk with others who have read it too?
Loved it or loathed it – why not get together with others and share your views.
Book groups are a great way to get to know people and make new friends and to discover new books that you’d never have thought to read. It doesn’t matter if you don’t manage to finish the book, just come along and hear what others have to say.
Join one of West Berkshire Library Book Groups or set up your own and borrow a book group set of books from West Berkshire Libraries for a small annual subscription charge from our collection of 200 titles.
For more information: check out the website www.westberks.gov.uk/bookgroups or contact the library in Mortimer ((0118) 9332882 http://info.westberks.gov.uk/article/35192
Did you know that book groups meet on the first Monday of every month between 2pm and 3pm, and on the first Tuesday of each month between 10am and 11am, in Mortimer Library, 27 Victoria Road?
If you are interested and would like to join the book group, please do pop along to the Library to find out more.
LOST YOUR LIBRARY CARD? NO WORRIES!
Between now and the end of December you can get a replacement for free!
Pick it up from Mortimer Library and at the same time see what else is going on – Rhyme Time; Craft and Chatter; children’s craft sessions; book groups; photocopying; internet access; films and magazines to borrow; newspapers to read; information galore; battery recycling; Foodbank drop off and so much more!
Mortimer Library is open at the following times:
Monday 1pm to 5pm
Tuesday 9:30am to 5pm
Friday 1pm to 6pm
Saturday 10am to 12:30pm
Excluding Bank Holidays
UNWANTED GREEN BINS
West Berkshire Council will be arranging collection of unwanted green bins over the next few months.
Residents who do not wish to subscribe to the garden waste service or use their green bin to recycle food waste can request a collection online to have their green bin removed from their property
We would encourage residents to use their green bin to recycle food waste or to use them for something other than garden waste. Some residents have chosen to use them for extra storage, or to convert them into a water butt, wormery or composter.
Request for a green bin to be collected at www.westberks.gov.uk/unwantedgreenbin
BorrowBox App allows you to borrow and read eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines from West Berkshire Libraries directly from your device.
The App is available for Android (Google Play), iOS Apple (App Store) and Kindle (Amazon).
More information on the Digital eBook services and links to the App downloads at West Berkshire libraries is here. (http://info.westberks.gov.uk/article/35201)
SATURDAY MORNING CHILDREN’S CRAFTS
West Berkshire Libraries and Made in Mortimer run a Children’s Craft morning in Mortimer Library every second Saturday of the month from 10.30am-12pm.
For more information call Mortimer Library on 0118 933 2882 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
BURGHFIELD AND MORTIMER NEIGHBOURHOOD ACTION GROUP
The Burghfield and Mortimer Neighbourhood Action Group (BMNAG) has been in operation for many years now, looking at local policing and revised police activities in a combined effort to reduce local crime and also the fear of crime. According to its Terms of Reference, the BMNAG "is a multi-agency problem solving group, consisting of appointed representatives from the Thames Valley Police, Local Government, Educational Establishments and Government Agencies".
Representatives from local schools and other organisations, as well as interested groups or individuals within the community are welcome to attend meetings and get involved.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR VEHICLE SAFE AND SOUND
Due to the recent spate of theft from vehicles in our area, here is a link to a few simple steps you can take to keep your vehicle, and what’s in it, safe.
TENNIS ON TUESDAYS
FROM 4th SEPTEMBER
Mortimer Tennis Club has arranged for adult and junior coaching sessions, run by a qualified tennis coach, to run on Tuesdays from 4th September for all who would like to take up this opportunity.
There will be three sessions each Tuesday:
4.30pm for under 8s
5.15pm 8-12 years
PRIORITY SERVICES REGISTER
Following the power cut affecting parts of Mortimer and its surrounds on 2nd March, here are some tips provided by Scottish and Southern Electricity’s (SSE) helpdesk to help those in greatest need during such incidents. Please pass them on to friends and family who are not on social media:
1) dial 105, in a power cut, to log it and provide a contact number, ideally mobile, for them to provide you updates. If possible, check your fusebox has not tripped and that a neighbour is also affected before logging an incident.
2) Consider registering those in greatest need for the "priority service register"
The scheme is described here:
To register for our local provider's (SSE) scheme click here: https://sse.co.uk/help/accessibility/priority-services-register
New West Berkshire Council Wards
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England
proposals for West Berkshire Council are published today (16 January), setting
out the new warding arrangements for the May 2019 elections (subject to
approval in Parliament).
Locally, for Mortimer and Burghfield, the Commission has accepted the representations that we four local Conservative councillors (Graham Bridgman, West Berkshire Member for Mortimer; Keith Chopping, Member for Sulhamstead; Carol Jackson Doerge, Member for Burghfield and Ian Morrin, Member for Burghfield) made, supporting the West Berkshire Council response - agreeing the Commission’s proposal for a new three member Burghfield & Mortimer Ward, but (importantly) to exclude the southern part of Sulhamstead that the Commission originally proposed as part of the new ward.
The new ward will be comprised of the parishes of Beech Hill, Burghfield, Stratfield Mortimer and Wokefield and will have an anticipated variance from the predicted average number of electors per councillor in 2023 (3,028) of -1%.
The other local changes are that the Commission has accepted the criticism (which we joined in with) of its proposed vast new Aldermaston, Bradfield and Bucklebury ward and instead there will be three new one member wards: Aldermaston (Aldermaston, Beenham, Brimpton, Padworth and Wasing parishes; +4% variance from the predicted average number of electors per councillor in 2023), Bradfield (Bradfield, Englefield, Sulhamstead and Ufton Nervet; +2%), and Bucklebury (Bucklebury, Midgham, Stanford Dingley and Woolhampton; -1%).
For the report, maps, summary etc. visit https://www.lgbce.org.uk/current-reviews/south-east/berkshire/west-berkshire
Did you know that you could use the library outside opening hours for meetings of small groups such as a book club, bridge club, games evening etc. If you would like to know more about how to go about arranging this please email email@example.com