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The West Berkshire Countryside Society’s purpose is to promote the understanding, appreciation and conservation of the West Berkshire countryside… furthering these objectives through practical conservation work and guided walks and talks from local experts.
Upstream is their quarterly publication designed to highlight conservation matters in West Berkshire and to publicise the activities of the Society.
Upstream contains articles from knowledgeable members & regularly from non-member experts from organisations such as BBOWT & the Environment Agency
Summer 2021 edition.
The June news update from our West Berkshire Council Ward Councillor, Clive Hooker is available to download.
June WBC Update
West Berkshire Council to provide for Free School Meals during school summer holidays
Press Release - 6th July 2021
West Berkshire Council is extending its Free School Meal voucher scheme into the school summer holiday period (25 days in total) for eligible children. The £294,075 programme will provide vouchers for 3,921 children across the district and support families in need as the district recovers from the pandemic.
The programme is being funded through West Berkshire’s allocation of £262,483 from the national COVID Local Grant Support Scheme* that the government is extending for a third and final time up until September, along with a top up of £31,592 from a separate Covid fund managed by the Council.
The vouchers will be available to families whose children would normally receive free school meals during term time and will be issued by schools with the support of the Council’s Education team. Children in school not currently receiving free school meals but considered by the school as vulnerable will be included.
Given that the government’s COVID Local Grant Support Scheme is not being extended beyond the summer, this will be the final round of free school meal voucher provision outside of term time as the country moves back to business as usual from September onwards.
This final COVID Local Support Grant is in addition to the Holiday Activities and Food programme that the Council will be running this summer to provide disadvantaged children across the district with healthy meals and enriching activities. Details of this programme will be announced separately.
Councillor Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said: “We are pleased to be able to extend Free School Meal vouchers into school summer holidays to help families get back on their feet as the economy recovers and the vaccine rollout continues.
“Additionally we are continuing to focus on supporting job creation, providing appropriate guidance and support to those facing financial difficulties and helping to boost the local economy through our economic development and Covid recovery strategies.
* The DWP COVID Local Support Grant was formerly known as the DWP COVID Winter Grant Scheme. Allocations from this Scheme, plus additional top-ups from other Covid support funding, were administered by the Council to pay for Free School Meals over the school holidays for Christmas 2020 as well as the February, Easter and May holidays this year. The COVID Winter Grant Scheme also helped families and individuals economically disadvantaged by the pandemic to pay for food, utility bills, and essential supplies.
Public Protection Partnership - Press Release 5th July 2021
Our animal wardens will be out and about all over the summer meeting with local residents to discuss the welfare of their dogs, or other dogs residents are concerned about. They’ll also double check the microchip details in your dog are correct. For full details of where they’ll be and when see attached or link below:
Meet the Animal Wardens Poster
A copy of the May update from Clive Hooker, Dowlands Ward Councillor can be downloaded here:
Parish Council Report May 2021
West Downland Service in Commemoration of His Late Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
The Parishes of the West Downland Benefice will be holding
A Service in Commemoration of
His Late Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
on Friday 16th April 2021
in Welford Churchyard
Parking will be available at Welford Park
The service will be organised in line with current Covid-19 regulations for outdoor worship.
· Please ensure that you maintain social distancing as you enter and exit the churchyard, especially through gateways and narrow walkways. Please leave gates and doors open.
· Please check in using the NHS App, or by offering your name and contact number to the sidesman on duty.
· Printed orders of service will not be provided. Instead an electronic version of the Order of Service, for printing or download onto a hand held device, will be made available on the St Gregory, Welford entry on the A Church Near You website from Thursday 15th April
· If you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, or have reason to self-isolate, please do not attend the service.
No physical Books of Condolence are being made available.
If you would like to view the online Book of Condolence you may do so here:
If you would like to write your own message of condolence you may do so here:
Revd Miriam Keen
Brightwalton Village Hall Monday's 12.30 - 1.15 starting 12/04/2021
WBC Press Release:
West Berkshire Council will be distributing lateral flow device testing home kits across its district from Monday 12 April.
Community Collect is a government programme which makes lateral flow device testing home kits available to families and households with children and young people at Primary or Secondary School, or College, including childcare and support bubbles. Lateral flow device testing helps with the process of finding more COVID-19 cases and breaks the chain of transmission.
West Berkshire Mobile Community Collect will be in operation from Monday to Friday, with a different specified route around the district each day. The routes and timetable can be found on the council’s lateral flow testing webpage.
The Government has recently announced that everyone in England should have access to twice weekly lateral flow device testing from Friday 9 April. People will be encouraged to have regular testing, so that more positive cases within households are found and prevented from entering workplaces, schools and colleges so that as a society we are able to make a step towards a more normal way of life.
Around one in three people have COVID-19 without showing symptoms and lateral flow device testing helps finds cases quickly – in under 30 minutes – meaning positive cases can isolate straight away. This can be the difference between children being able to stay in school, or a class being sent home due to an outbreak.
Cllr Graham Bridgman, Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing at West Berkshire Council, said:
“West Berkshire Council is making every effort to make lateral flow device testing accessible to residents across the district.
“We urge residents to undertake regular testing, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep children and young people safe.”
Speaking about Community Collect, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, said:
“Regular testing of households and childcare support bubbles of primary and secondary school children is another tool we are making available to help keep schools safe. We know that one in three people with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms, so targeted, regular testing will mean more positive cases are kept out of schools and colleges.
“As we continue to roll out the vaccine, testing offers us a way forward. Sustained and repeated testing for people without symptoms has a critical role to play as sections of society are reopened by driving down transmission rates.
“By everyone playing their part and getting tested regularly, vital public services, workplaces and educational settings can stay open and running, and we can move closer to a more normal way of life.”
Professor Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England, said:
“These rapid tests help uncover hidden cases of the virus and break chains of transmission, stopping outbreaks before they occur.
“Combined with other protective measures, they are a vital tool to help us lower infection rates and ensure that they stay low.
“I would encourage all eligible households to take up the offer of twice weekly rapid testing – it’s quick and painless and could help save lives.”
All families and households with Primary, Secondary and College aged children and young people are encouraged to undertake lateral flow device testing at home twice a week and report their results to https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result, or call 119, 7am to 11pm (lines open every day).
West Berkshire Council Press Release - Date: 06 April 2021:
Have your say on public rights of way
Work as started on an improvement plan for public rights of way across West Berkshire - and we want your views.
West Berkshire Council is responsible for around 740 miles of public footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways. There are public rights of way across the whole of West Berkshire, in both urban and rural areas. These form an important network for enjoying and exploring the countryside and travelling to work or school, as well as supporting tourism and good health. They provide hundreds of miles of free routes on which people can walk, cycle, ride horses or use other means of travel.
Our rights of way improvement plan helps us to make sure the public rights of way network meets the needs of the public, now and in the future. Our current Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) was adopted on the 27 May 2010 and it now needs updating.
Speaking about the work Councillor Richard Somner, Executive Member for Transport and Countryside, said:
"Many people have used public rights of way more during the pandemic, or have discovered them for the first time. Accessing the countryside and West Berkshire's network of paths has been very important to people for their health and mental wellbeing. We want to better understand the value of the public rights of way network to those who currently use them as well as how we might other residents to discover and make use of them."
The rights of way service is also using the process of reviewing its ROWIP to understand the needs of residents of West Berkshire more fully. It will use the opportunity to make sure the ROWIP addresses the priorities of the area in terms of health and wellbeing, supporting people living with disabilities and mental health issues, regeneration, growth, transport, climate change, tourism and other priorities.
To make sure the new ROWIP reflects the needs of West Berkshire's residents, we'd like to know about your experience of using our public rights of way, and how important the network is to your health and wellbeing. We also want to know if you've encountered any problems using the PROW's, and whether your concerns were addressed.
An online survey has been set to gather people's views - take part before 30 May 2021.
A public right of way is a path that anyone has the legal right to walk on. Some public rights of way can also be used by cyclists, horse riders or motorists. You can use:
Please find below the March update from Downland Ward Councillor, Clive Hooker.
Press Release Dated 25th March 2021
West Berkshire Council, in partnership with its waste contractor Veolia, are trialling four new recycling banks to increase collection of plastic waste. The banks will be for the collection of plastic pots, tubs and trays and will be available to use from Monday 29 March 2021.
Residents will be able to recycle a wider range of plastics in the new recycling banks including: yoghurt pots, margarine/butter tubs, biscuit trays, chocolate/sweet tubs, ice cream tubs, fruit punnets, meat trays and cosmetic pots.
Cllr Steve Ardagh-Walter, Executive Member for Environment at West Berkshire Council said: "It is important we reduce our plastic waste and choose alternative products where possible. I am delighted we are able to improve our recycling facilities in West Berkshire and provide new recycling banks for plastic pots, tubs and trays. There's an increasingly strong desire from the public to recycle more plastic waste types and I hope the new banks will help residents to reduce the amount of plastics they put into their black bin.”
Sara Perry, General Manager at Veolia, added: “Veolia are pleased to work with the Council to expand plastic recycling options within West Berkshire. The new banks will be rolled out on a trial basis to allow monitoring of plastics collected and we are testing the markets to find out how much we are able to place within it.”
The new plastic recycling banks will be tested at the following locations:
Currently West Berkshire residents are able to recycle plastic bottles in their green bags at the kerbside, as the materials used in making plastic bottles are easily recycled in UK markets. The plastic recycling banks will initially be installed on a trial basis to help the Council assess how well the public engage with this scheme and to look into the continued availability of markets for these materials going forward.
New HWRC Live Webcams
Alongside this positive development, the Council is also pleased to announce that residents can view the recycling centres through our new live site webcams. These webcams will give residents the opportunity to have a look at real-time site conditions before they set off on their visits. View them online: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/recyclingcentres.
The Spring edition of the Countryside Society Upstream! is available to download here and contains lots of local updates
The Parish Council is please to confirm that a Memorial Bench in memory of John Hall-Craggs and all the work he did for the village will be installed outside the Church.
A full article will be published in the May Brickleton News on all John was part of in the village, including his work to save the school and the creation of the Dunmore Pond Millennium Green.
The family have chosen a beautifully engraved timber bench and the purchase is going ahead this month with the assistance of private donations, donations from the Parish Council and the Village Hall. If anyone would like to add to the donations, please get in touch with the Parish Council.
We will share a picture once installed.
The Ministry of Defence Police now operates a small armed policing team every day and night at RAF Welford. You might see us patrolling across the Lambourn Valley and the Vale of the White Horse. If you’ve seen anything suspicious please speak to our officers when you see them, or email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Your information, no matter how small, could make a big difference to keeping our communities safe or preventing crime. Your information is always in the strictest confidence and will only be shared with our policing partners at Thames Valley Police. In an emergency please always dial 999. It is an emergency when a crime is being committed, someone is at risk of being injured, or there is a risk of serious damage to property.
As you might have seen in your Brickleton News, the Terepin family have kindly put together a walking route with map around Brightwalton and Leckhampstead incorporating Oak Ash and Spray Wood. We have uploaded the full route with map and photos on the walking page which can be found here.
West Berkshire Council Press Release 13/01/2021
Garden and Food Waste Collections Temporarily Suspended
Like many other local authorities across the country, we are facing a difficult January with significantly increased volumes of waste after the Christmas holiday period and a number of collection crews self-isolating. This has impacted parts of our waste collection services meaning we have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend garden and food waste collections to prioritise rubbish and recycling.
The garden waste collection service will be suspended from Monday 18 to Friday 29 January 2021. We are asking residents whose garden waste is due for collection on or after 18 January 2021 to not put their green garden waste bin out until service can be resumed again from 1 February 2021. This change will also affect food waste collections because they are collected at the same time as garden waste.
Councillor Steve Ardagh-Walter, Executive Member for the Environment at West Berkshire Council, said:
“We have received tremendous support from West Berkshire residents over the past few weeks and I want to thank everyone for their understanding during this challenging time.
“We have not taken this decision lightly to put garden and food waste collections on hold and understand that some residents may be disappointed by this service disruption.
“Our aim is that all waste collection services will be able to continue as normal once the service is reinstated by the end of January. Our contractor’s collection crews have continued to work hard throughout, keeping our waste services running and we would like to thank them for doing a great job.”
At the close of play on Tuesday 12 January, about 5,300 recycling collections (equivalent to just under 8% of households) remained outstanding. The collection of other waste types including general refuse is being completed without any significant disruptions at this time.
If your rubbish (black bin) or recycling (boxes and bags) is not collected as expected, please continue to leave it out and we will collect it as soon as possible.
We are grateful to residents for their continued patience. We are asking residents to kindly avoid calling our Customer Services colleagues, unless necessary, because they are very busy helping various residents with other urgent queries at this time.
You can find out more information on the garden waste service from Council’s website. Our household waste recycling centres are still open for essential visits but you need to book an appointment.
Have your say...
West Berkshire Council has appointed a multi-disciplinary team to undertake a major new study into the future uses of Newbury Town Centre. Led by HemingwayDesign, the team includes New Masterplanning, GL Hearn and Urban Movement.
The study will include extensive engagement with the local community, a detailed analysis of the town's needs, and a masterplan. It will be developed over the next nine months and will outline how the town centre can evolve in the future. It forms a key part of the Council's robust response to the pandemic and will have a unique role to play for businesses, residents and other stakeholders.
The study begins with an online survey which is open until midnight on Sunday, 31 January 2021.
Currently more town centre residents have taken part, it is just as important that the surrounding villages have their say too. If you can spare the time to take part please follow the link below:
Take part in this consultation
The Downland Practice have provided the following update today regarding vaccinations:
COVID-19 Vaccination UpdateDear Patients,
The GP Partners have agreed to sign up to the COVID-19 Vaccination, this decision was taken on the 21 December 2021. This vaccination programme is likely to be rolled out in January 2021, the location of the vaccination centre is still to be confirmed but it is looking like this will be a central Newbury facility that is able to handle large numbers of patients for vaccination. The practice staff will all be involved in this process and on the days when there are vaccination clinics for practice patient’s, the surgery will have a reduced capacity for routine appointments. Depending on the timescales and notice that the surgery is given for vaccination clinic, this may impact some routine clinics being cancelled and rebooked. These dates will be made available on the website.
The practice staff are now getting prepared to deliver the COVID-19 Vaccination, this includes ensuring the people eligible for vaccination are notified and know where to go and at what time. There are still a lot of unknowns so all patients are advised to keep watch on the practice website for any news and updates. We will keep the website updated with any developments on this issue.
The practice will be requesting for volunteers in the next few days/weeks by means of texting patients of working age. We have had some interest from patients who wish to volunteer, the roles required will be clinically or administrative assistance. We do not know exactly what is involved, this will be come much clearer once the Newbury location is confirmed and the COVID-19 Vaccination facility have an established management structure.
Please follow NHS advice and do not contact the surgery to book a COVID-19 Vaccination, the surgery will contact those people who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.
With the recent announcements on Covid-19 restrictions, if there is anyone in the village that is self isolating or unable to get out and needs assistance with shopping essentials, especially over the Christmas period. Please let the Parish Clerk know and with the help of Councillors and Volunteers we will help where we can.
If we can all watch out for neighbours in these difficult times too.
You can email at email@example.com or text/call 07811 322994
Press Release - WBC 20/12
West Berkshire moves into Tier 4 from Sunday 20th December.
New restrictions have been introduced in response to a rapidly rising level of coronavirus infections.
You can read the statement by Prime Minister made earlier today.
Information about the restrictions under Tier 4 is below (a larger image is available here). You can also find more detailed information on Tier 4: Stay At Home restrictions online.
There is lots of information available on financial support, help for residents and help for businesses on the West Berkshire Council website
The winter edition of the West Berkshire Countryside Update - Upstream! is available to download here. It contains lots of information on their work locally and the local wildlife.
Press Release from West Berkshire Council 27/11/20
West Berkshire Council is launching a COVID Winter Grant Scheme worth £279k for food, energy and other essential items for residents in need due to the pandemic. Free School Meal vouchers for holidays will also form part of the programme. The COVID Winter Grant Scheme will run from 1 December 2020 to 31 March 2021.
Through the COVID Winter Grant scheme, the Council will provide families, individuals and vulnerable people in need with financial support for food, utility bills (heating, cooking, lighting), water bills for household purposes (including drinking, washing, cooking, central heating, sewerage and sanitary purposes), or other related essentials.
As part of the scheme, the Council will make arrangements for the provision of Free School Meal vouchers for eligible 5 to 16 year olds during the Christmas and February half term school holidays (17 days in total). Children in school not currently receiving Free School Meals but considered by the school as vulnerable will be included. Consideration will also be given to children between 16 and 18 and children in cross border education settings. Details on how the vouchers will be implemented are currently being finalised.
Councillor Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said: “We are fully aware that it’s going to be a tough winter for the large number of residents whose jobs sadly have been impacted by the pandemic. We want them to know that our new COVID Winter Grant Scheme is available to help pay for food, utility bills, and essential supplies between December and March next year.
“As we head into winter and the festive season, we do not want anyone to be concerned about being able to feed their families or keeping warm.”
The COVID Winter Grant Scheme funds of £279k were recently allocated to West Berkshire by central government. Further funding has been identified from the Council’s overall allocation of Covid-related grants to support the local delivery framework should it be required.
The application process for the COVID Winter Grant Scheme will also enable eligible applicants to benefit from other funding such as the £103k Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies for ongoing support with their needs, for example, information to access longer term support such as benefits.
To identify those most in need for the COVID Winter Grant Scheme, the Council will work closely with professionals, statutory partners, Parish Councils, Citizens Advice West Berkshire, Newbury Resource Centre and other community and voluntary groups. DWP Job Centre Plus will also be playing an active role to support those newly in financial hardship, such as through a recent job loss.
Those who currently have support from professionals such as social and care workers will be encouraged to work with their provider to make an application. In addition, individuals who are in need can make an online application independently on the West Berkshire website or contact the Community Support Hub from 1 December, when the scheme formally launches.
The application form will ask for information about the financial support required and for information about any benefits they are being paid. The application will not be means tested. Non-receipt of benefits will not necessarily exclude a family or individual from receiving support, and any exceptions will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
Any individuals who may need support with the online application process, including those without internet access, are welcome to contact the Community Support Hub from 1 December on tel: 01635 503579 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Community Support Hub is open during office hours between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Thursday, or between 8.30am and 4.30pm on Friday.
Arrangements will be in place to identify and manage any incidences of fraudulent activity.
The Downland Practice have provided the November Patient Update report for sharing. This covers updates on:
Covid-19, the Flu Vaccinations and Patients Shielding.
SSEN have asked us to share the following information with residents.
Details on how to register for priority service and support during power cuts can be downloaded here or call 0800 294 3259
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has done a survey of the high voltage electricity network feeding your parish and have identified refurbishment works we need to carry out to improve the electricity network and reduce the risk of power cuts in the future. These works represent an investment of £ 192,103.00 in the local infrastructure.
In order for our teams to safely complete these works it may be necessary to organise some Planned Power Cuts. If this is the case, we will notify affected customers and businesses in advance. Since the start of the pandemic, we know our customers have relied on us more than ever to ensure a safe and secure supply of electricity to our homes and we have made changes to how we work, including social distancing, additional hygiene measures and carrying out customer visits only when critical or safe to do so. All work we carry out will be reviewed and planned in line with the Government guidance and to ensure residents are without power for the shortest time necessary, in order to reduce any potential inconvenience this may cause.
The work will involve Tree Cutting and Network Improvements, as appropriate, which will help us to improve the reliability of the electricity supply to you for the future. The safety of our customers and employees is at the heart of all we do, and we would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you.
The community policing team have issued some useful Winter guidance to help protect your property during the darker winter months.
A copy can be downloaded here
The latest edition of Upstream! from the West Berkshire Countryside Society is available to download here, with lots of local wildlife and countryside news.
This is written by the Parish Clerk with input from the village.
Click here to find out more about the planning process and to view all the current planning applications in Brightwalton.
Newcomers to the village
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