Lights on at Blewbury Tennis Club

Blewbury Tennis Club has installed court lighting at the club. By using the latest high tech, low spill, LED components, extended play and coaching can now take place for people of all ages and abilities all year round.
To celebrate this special occasion, British renowned tennis player, Tim Henman OBE will be the guest of honour for the big Switch On.
Everyone is invited to join in the fun on Tuesday 5th October 6-8pm so do join us if you can although booking is essential via https://buytickets.at/styleacre/555273 We’re delighted to be hosting this event in partnership with Style Acre, a local charity supporting 250 people with learning disabilities and autism across Oxfordshire. The occasion will be celebrated with musical accompaniment from Blewbury Brass Band, drinks, refreshments and a raffle. And if you fancy a spot of tennis, bring your racket along and stay for our club social from 8-10pm.This project has been made possible through support from the LTA, which provided both a grant and a loan for the project, National Tennis Association, the club’s coaching partners, Vale of the White Horse District Council, whose funding contributed towards the project and of course Luminance Pro who supplied and installed the lighting.
Rosemary de Wilde

Driverless minibus trial at Milton Park

Staff working at Milton Park near Didcot will soon benefit from an automated driving public transport service

Digging with VPA.

There is still time to Create a Flowered Bonnet, Hat, Crown or Tiara and enter the VPA Spring Competition on Saturday 10th April. For details Contact Blewbury Post Office or Maggie Maytham in Upton (850126) or email   vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com  or call Eileen on 0777 518 5322

I’m sure everyone has been getting to grips with the weeds, cutting the grass and planning what is going into the veggie plot this year. Here’s some food for thought on how to go about preparing your vegetable plot.

Five reasons not to dig – 1 Digging encourages soil-living creatures like worms to do the spadework for you. 2 It reduces the loss of moisture.  3 It protects the soil structure. 4 It prevents weed seeds being brought to the surface. 5 It’s easier on the back.

Five Reasons to dig – 1 Digging breaks up heavily compacted soil, allowing it to breathe. 2 It kills surface weeds. 3  It exposes pests to predators and the cold. 4 If you don’t, you’ll need a lot more mulch to grow potatoes as you will not be ‘earthing up’. 5 It’s good exercise for those who want it.

I’ve actually tried a semi-no-dig method this year. I’ve hoed the plots and have gone down about four inches.  This has loosened the soil and weeded it at the same time I can then go a bit deeper when I start planting, I hope this works –watch this space!

We are hoping that the VPA will be able to hold the Summer Show this year on the 10th JULY – it will depend on what Covid restrictions are still in place.   We will keep you informed through the Bulletin.

DID YOU KNOW –Peppers contain up to five times as much vitamin C as oranges. The highest levels are found when the peppers are in the early green stage of ripening.

Eileen

 

HUGS – Wildflowers and a Garden Competition.

Wildflowers in the Overflow Cemetery

We’re getting ready to sow wildflower seeds along the eastern edge of the overflow cemetery. Upton Parish Council, the landowner, has given the go-ahead for us to carry out a trial sowing this year. We’ve raked out moss and scuffed up the grass (which tends to throttle wildflowers), and we’ll be scattering seed soon.

The mix we’re using contains flowers and grasses including oxeye daisies, field scabious and black medick.

Don’t expect too much in the first year though. In spite of all the preparation the soil will probably still be too fertile for wildflowers to do well. Fingers crossed that’ll come in successive years.

The grass won’t be cut again until the flowers have bloomed and produced seeds.

If the experiment is successful we’ll look at extending the sowing area next year, and maybe planting a hedge to give the space some definition and character.

Chilton Road Closure

As well as giving traffic-free access to the Hagbourne track and beyond, the closure of Chilton Road is proving to be a great wildlife haven. Badgers are active in the hedge, and there are increasing numbers of bird species to be seen. Yellowhammer, reed bunting and firecrest have all put in appearances in the last few weeks. You can check the full list of species on iRecord (www.brc.ac.uk/irecord) – search for ‘Chilton Road survey’.

We’ll be liaising with Wild Oxfordshire and Sustrans to look at how we can make the hedgerow and verges even better wildlife habitats.

Wildlife Garden Competition

We’re launching our search for the most wildlife-friendly gardens in the area on 1st May! The competition is part of our project to support the local owl population.

Our website has ideas and inspiration for wildlife gardening at www.hugsustainability.org/wildlifegardening

Kieron

 

 

 

REAL “Old World Wines” at the Virtual Wine Club

Having taken a few months off, it was great to host another virtual wine club in March. With record numbers joining for this month’s meeting, the feeling was clearly shared amongst our members as well! This month we were trying wines, which in the main, were new to most members. With the support of Strictly Wine, we were given a tour of wines from countries that could really be described as “old world”!  Wines had been selected from countries that had been making wine for over 2000 years and in some cases, using methods that had not changed much over that time either!

We tried white wines from Turkey (Kayra Narince 2018); Croatia (Jako Vino Stina “Cuvee white” 2019);  Cyprus (Kyperounda “Petritis” 2019) and Georgia (Vachnadziani Qvevri Rkatsiteli 2014). All were very good and more than stood up as an alternative to some of the more well known grapes and wines we might normally pick. If you have never tried an “orange” wine, then the Georian wine was lovely (note, orange wine is very much like marmite – you’ll either love or hate them but definitely worth a try!)  All the wines could easily by paired well with some traditional foods, sea foods, creamy pasta’s etc – www.strictlywine.co.uk offer some great suggestions for each one.

The reds again, gave us some wonderful examples of grape varieties that would not normally be classified as main stream! We had wines from Lebanon (Chateau Oumsiyat Desir 2018), Armenia (ArmAs Karmrahyut Reserve 2013), Greece and Republic of North Macedonia (Tikves).The Lebanon wine was a great if you wanted an alternative to a Gamay, lovely slightly chilled and with some warm weather coming, would go down well with the first BBQ of the year! If a rich Australian red is your go to wine, then maybe try the Armenian, which had a little more ageing that brought out some amazing deep fruit flavours. There were wines for all tastes, sausage casseroles, classic BBQ’s and fine steaks!

Next wine club night is on the 21st April. If you are interested to know just a little more about wine (with a large serving of some great social fun), then please take a look at our web site www.uptonwineclub.co.uk or contact our chairman, ian.langley@yahoo.co.uk.

Ian

 

Blewbury Post Office News

We are still open Monday to Friday mornings 8.30am until 12 noon, there are rumours about us closing, but not to our knowledge. Two potential new members of staff are about to embark on their training, so hopefully we will be able to open in the afternoons and on Saturday mornings very soon. Maggie is working full time in Hagbourne, as Steve has had a nasty accident and is off work until December.

We have beautiful Rupert stamps out now, glorious Bugs in early October, and we are expecting the Christmas stamps in shortly, they will be on sale in early November. The basic rate for Europe is now £1.45 and for the rest of the world £1.70

Anyone with a Post Office card account, will be receiving letters that this service is closing, just fill out the form, and have your pension and allowances paid into a bank account, you can still get your money out at the post office, (and pay in cash or cheques very easily)

Royal Mail have reported an increase of 40% in mail since March, there are still delays to the service, and we ask that ALL mail is processed by 11.30 am every day, we still have people rushing in at closing time, when we are struggling to clean and cash up.

We rely on sales from the shop to support paying for staff, Post Office Ltd do not pay for them, I have to pay them from my allowance, (which is a pittance I can tell you), we have heard from the High Court that POL have once again asked for a delay in court case No 4, (the one that decides if we are actually employed by POL, or still classed as ‘agents’ with no sick pay, no pension or rights) POL have lost the last 3 cases decidedly, and have little hope of winning this one either! They still take tax and national insurance out of my ‘remuneration’ as they call it!

So please help us by buying a few cards or something, when you are next in! Christmas stock is on its way! Trying hard to stock up with more recyclable goods, with less glitter and plastic!

Karen and Maggie

 

 

Blewbury Post Office Re-opens

Blewbury Post Office is back open again on Monday to Friday mornings, 8.30am until 12noon, closed on August Bank Holiday Monday. The days post is collected between 11.00am and 12noon, so urgent mail needs to be in by then. Pretty stamps are available to buy but stick on at home.
We are still working on the ‘one in, one waiting in the corner, everyone else outside’ system, face coverings are appreciated, but not really needed, as we are behind our glass screen and everyone can keep more than 2m apart. We are taking a short break at around 10.30am, so don’t worry if no one is there at that time.

Planned Improvements for Local Cycling

Residents of all ages can look forward to a step-change in cycling infrastructure aimed at making this green form of transport safer and more attractive for a range of journeys across Oxfordshire.

A series of bold plans by Oxfordshire County Council, combined with a £2.9m two-stage Government grant, will transform residents’ experience of cycling as part of a move to support active and healthy travel combined with a firm commitment to cutting carbon emissions and air pollution.

The popularity of cycling has soared since lockdown began in March. The council is determined to build on this trend and to ensure that the related reduction in air pollution (which is down by as much as 64% in some parts of the county) is sustained in the future.

The active travel fund will allow Oxfordshire to address some of the key factors that deter people from cycling and encourage more journeys by bike. Current measures include prioritising road space for bikes to improve road safety; improving signage and road markings for cycle lanes; and creating more cycle parking in all market towns and Oxford. The next stage of the funding will include more 20mph zones to improve road safety where residents want them.

The first phase of the funding is being concentrated over an eight-week period. The steps taken include:

More purpose-built cycle parking areas, particularly in market town squares, close to rural bus stops, and at park and rides

More priority given to cycles, from changes to traffic light timings to prioritise people travelling by bike to adapting the road network to allow more space for bikes

An upgraded maintenance scheme for cycle paths and cycle routes, with improved signage and route markings

The County Council is also working on an exciting programme of structural improvements to support cycling and walking well beyond the active travel fund. As part of the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan, the county is working with the district and city councils on a series of Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs). Didcot, Bicester and Oxford will be the first locations in the county to benefit from them.

The LCWIPs will mean a cycle network for each town, with numbered cycle routes, including links to villages and towns within easy cycling distance. They will also include measures to improve pedestrian access to the main shopping centres.

Work on the Icknield Greenway, the cycle route linking Wantage to Harwell business park, started on 26 May and is due to be completed on 16 October. The route is one of six key corridors linking Harwell Campus, Milton Park and Culham Science Centre with Didcot, Abingdon and Wantage, and is part of the Science Vale Cycle Network Project. This major scheme is designed to provide improved facilities for journeys by bike and on foot and to encourage sustainable travel across the area.

 

Temporary Working Practices at Woodlands Medical Centre to cope with COVID-19

Co-existing with Covid-19: The new normal
The Woodlands practice has had an increase in the number of patients going to the practice to book appointments. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS.
• Only go to the practice if you have an appointment booked. This helps protect vulnerable patients
• To book an appointment please call the Practice or use the NHS app
• For non-urgent enquires please use the online consultation facility (e-consult) on the practice website.
The new normal:
Rather than waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to end, it looks increasingly likely that it is something we will need to live alongside in the long-term. Below are some changes that we need to make to how our services function, and ways in which patients can help us to provide effective services.
We need to achieve three things:
• Assess and treat people with possible symptoms of Covid-19 in a safe way for them, our staff, and other patients.
• Continue to provide a broad range of primary care services to our overall population.
• Ensure that people who would be at high risk from Covid-19 can access services safely.
To achieve this, we are adopting the following measures:
• Patients with potential symptoms of Covid-19 are seen separately from other patients.
‘CALM’ clinics (Coronavirus Assessment Liaison and Monitoring) have been established across Oxfordshire. Woodlands hosts the Didcot clinic. Patients park in separate parking bays, use a separate entrance, and are seen in a separate part of the building from other patients. The clinicians seeing those patients stay in that clinic for the duration of that session, wear PPE, and change out of the clothes worn at the end of their clinic before coming back into the rest of the building. This should provide effective segregation of people with symptoms and those without. The number and locations of these clinics may vary over the coming months as we see peaks and troughs of symptoms of possible coronavirus.
• All staff in the practice have weekly screening for coronavirus.
We are fortunate to have had this service provided by a local private laboratory prior to NHS testing being available, and this helps us to monitor the health of our staff and ensure that the people treating patients are not infected with coronavirus without having symptoms.
• The waiting room chairs are spaced 2 metres apart.
People can have coronavirus with no symptoms, or very few symptoms. We therefore need to operate services bearing this in mind. Significant contact is defined as being less than 2 metres away from an infected person for more than 15 minutes, and we need to avoid this in our waiting areas. This has reduced the capacity of our main waiting room down to 12 people, and we have adjusted the volume and timing of face to face appointments to align with this.
• Shielded patients can be seen separately.
We are operating some evening appointments for blood tests / nursing activity which are reserved for people at the highest risk of complications from coronavirus. The CALM clinic and the pharmacy will be shut at these times, so that people can access services without significant contact with other people. Staff will be wearing PPE, which together with their weekly screening, makes the risk of possible transmission to these patients extremely low. We will also be operating daytime appointments for shielded patients from one of the other GP practices, so that people also have this option to access services.
• Most GP appointments will be done remotely by phone, video or e-consultation.
We can now only justify face to face GP consultations for people who need to have a specific examination carried out. This is needed to manage the flow of people through the practice, reduce the risks to patients and staff, and preserve the available supplies of PPE. We have found that most issues can be dealt with in this way, without the need for face to face examination, and we will be able to continue to provide effective services with these changes. If you have symptoms that you would like advice on, please do get in touch rather than waiting for things to get back to normal, particularly if you are concerned about potential cancer symptoms, heart problems, or any other significant health issue.
How to help us help you:
• Please make sure we have an up to date mobile phone number for you on your medical records.
We are increasingly using text messaging to let people know about appointments, send links to documents and issue electronic prescriptions. Having your correct mobile number is essential for these things to work, so please update this if it changes. You can provide or update your number via the NHS App (see Annex).
• Consider using the e-consult service available via our website.
We are providing a same day response to e-consults received before 4pm on any working day, so this is a quick and effective way to deal with health issues. Photos can also be attached.
• Do not enter the waiting room before the time of your appointment.
With our limited safe waiting room capacity, we need to minimise the number of people waiting. If you have arrived by car and have a mobile phone, you can also phone reception to let them know you have arrived and ask for the clinician to phone you when they are ready to see you. We will also be working on ways for people to check in and contact reception from outside the building. Depending on how things develop in the coming months, we will look at the feasibility of having an additional temporary waiting area to create additional capacity.
• Attend your appointment alone unless you need someone to assist you.
With the reduced waiting room capacity, we are not able to fit in several people per appointment and having more people in the building or consulting rooms increases the risks of transmission of coronavirus. Clearly children will need to come to their appointments with a parent / guardian, but where possible this needs to be 1 adult with the child and no other family members.
• Request your prescriptions online and have them sent electronically to a pharmacy.
You can use the NHS App or other online services to request prescriptions. Please also nominate a pharmacy to receive your prescriptions electronically, as this is more reliable and helps to reduce the number of people needing to come into the practice.
• Make use of our community link workers.
The pandemic will have created issues for many people with work, finances, and stress from uncertainty and isolation. Our community link workers can offer pragmatic and emotional support for anyone in need. You can contact them on 01235 849 445 or at communitylink.didcot@nhs.net .
We are all needing to rapidly adapt to the new realities we are faced with and we would like to thank our patients and our staff for the understanding that they have shown so far.
We are happy to hear any comments, feedback or suggestions that would help us provide effective healthcare, so please feel free to share these.
Annex: SETTING UP THE NHS APP: THE STEPS
First read through the steps before you start to ensure you have all you need ready.
• Go to the NHS website or download the NHS App to your phone
• Set up your NHS log-in details which will mean giving your email address, choosing a password and accepting the terms and conditions
• Reply to the email the app will send you to confirm your email address and log in
• Supply your mobile number. You will then be sent a text with a security number which you will need to enter to continue
• Then comes the hard bit. You can either register with your practice details which will require the practice to confirm you; OR you can register by submitting a photo of some photo ID such as passport or driving licence. This is how you do this: Submit the photo of your ID record a short video of your face as you say 4 randomly generated numbers Enter your date of birth Enter your NHS number if you know it or else the name and postcode of your home address
• The website or app will then verify your ID and should reply back within two hours.
If you cannot enter this information via the app then please contact the surgery and who will send you an online application form to complete. This will allow the practice to set up your access and then send you a link to the NHS app for you to accept.
Woodlands Medical Centre – June 2020

Cycleways and Footpaths to be cleared.

Cycleways and Footpaths to be cleared.
Cyclists and walkers are set to benefit from a concerted plan of action to clear and prepare the Oxfordshire’s network of cycleways and footpaths ready for the expected rises in demand as lockdown is very gradually relaxed.
As the people of Oxfordshire look to return to work and school during the Summer, cycling and walking will become more important than ever – both offer zero emission ways to travel which will improve health and wellbeing as well as helping to address the need to keep socially distant.
In each case, the work will pay particular attention to narrower areas that might be widened for greater access. Paths requiring surface improvement work will also be identified so that repairs can be made.