Wallingford vehicle rally

Round & About

Oxfordshire

The popular annual Wallingford Vehicle Rally & Parade has been cancelled this year but the organisers are keeping their fingers crossed for a ‘mini lockdown parade’ on August 2nd.

They say: “We are currently in negotiations to hold a short driving tour around the area on Sunday 2nd August for all those purchased any ticket for this year’s event.

“We are currently working on a route that won’t cause disruption to the usual traffic and will contact everyone via email very soon with details.”

It will be free of charge, but they ask you make a small donation in the collection buckets on the day or via the crowd funder link that will be set up nearer the time so we can then share this with the local charitable causes who usually benefit and are struggling for funding during these trying times.

Organisers added: “Thank you for your patience, we are disappointed we are unable to hold the event this year but the health of participants, traders, staff and general public have to be our prime concern. Stay safe and we will be in touch with ticket holders this week and please keep an eye on our social media for updates for Sunday 2nd August 2020 mini lockdown parade.”

Info

All those who purchased tickets for the 2020 event can either request a refund (follow the link on your ticket confirmation) or your purchase will be valid for the 2021 event which will be held on Sunday, 9th May 2021. If they don’t hear from you, they will simply send you information and wrist bands in April for the event.

Could you help Citizens Advice?

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Oxfordshire

The dedication of staff and volunteers at local charity Citizens Advice Oxfordshire South and Vale has allowed it to continue giving advice to those in need at this time.

The team rallied to ensure as many people as possible could be helped over the phone or through webchat. Two weeks into the lockdown, 70 volunteer advisers were operating the Advice Line service from their homes.

As part of Volunteers’ Week, which runs from June 1st to 7th, Citizens Advice Oxfordshire South and Vale wants to thank its 150 volunteers for their contribution not only during this exceptional time but throughout the year. Between them they contribute more than 1,000 hours to helping people each week.

In the last year it has helped over 11,000 people with problems such as debt, housing, benefit and employment issues.

Volunteer Virginia Parker, a specialist benefits adviser in the Abingdon office, said: “I get enormous pleasure in helping people in difficult circumstances to understand and get what they are entitled to.

“It can be very daunting to ask for help, so we do our best to put people at ease and help them through the process. There is nothing more rewarding than helping people to resolve their problems so they can move ahead with their lives.”

Jon Bright, chief officer at South and Vale, said: “Throughout the year our wonderful volunteers contribute their time and energy to make a huge difference to people’s lives and help keep our vital service running. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Want to volunteer?

If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering with Citizens Advice Oxfordshire South and Vale, please visit their website

Taylor Wimpey reopens showhomes

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Oxfordshire

Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire has begun a phased approach to reopening its sales office and show homes across the county.

Taylor Wimpey was the first UK homebuilder to stop construction on sites and close sales centres in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown restrictions. A phased return to construction has since restarted on a number of sites across England and Wales, with staff and subcontractors operating under a robust set of revised health and safety practices and protocols.

On Friday 22nd May, developments including Bridleways and Castle Grange in Banbury, Great Western Park in Didcot and Thornbury Green in Eynsham reopened their doors to customers with strict social distancing requirements in place.

A new set of protocols for all sales offices and show homes has been developed alongside new safety measures which have been introduced to protect the health and safety of its customers and employees.

These include the installation of Perspex screens and marker guides for social distancing. Show home viewings will be unaccompanied and only one family at a time will be able to view each home.

The sales teams have been helping customers remotely through the lockdown period and customers are encouraged to maintain contact digitally where possible. Customers wishing to visit the development will need to book an appointment over the phone.

Danielle Heard, Sales and Marketing Director for Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire, said: “Reopening our sales offices and show homes is a significant step for both staff and customers. I want to assure the public that we are not prepared to compromise health and safety, which is why we will be operating our sales offices on a strict appointment-only basis.”

To book an appointment to visit or to speak to the sales team to find out about the homes available, customers can visit www.taylorwimpey.co.uk

To find out more

For more information about Taylor Wimpey’s protocol for safe working practices

Share your views on climate change

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Oxfordshire

Young people are being urged to help shape West Oxfordshire District Council’s response to the climate emergency.

Students, schools and youngsters from across the district are invited to express their views and ideas in a special online consultation at www.westoxon.gov.uk/environment/climate-action

As part of that WODC have arranged a competition which encourages them to get creative and submit their art to express how they feel about climate change and how their perfect, future world would look.

All entries will be considered whether working alone, with siblings or as a team of remotely-working friends. The cross-party Climate Action Working Group will be judging the entries and sharing with you all their favourites.

Post your videos – songs, raps, poems, dance, whatever grabs you – to describe what climate change means for you. Let them know what you’d like to see happen to make a change for the better and help protect the natural world.

Share your videos with everyone by posting them using this hashtag #climateactionwoxon.

If you love to draw, paint or take photographs, use the medium of art to describe your perfect, future world where we have come together and successfully tackled the issues of climate change.

What does your perfect world look like? Are we still driving cars? What do our buildings and homes look like? How do we heat and power them? What jobs are we doing? What technologies are we using? How are we living with nature? And what do our natural landscapes and pathways to school and work look like?

Your future world may be the whole planet or just your street. Release the artist in you and illustrate what you see.

Share your art and post it to: Your Views on Climate Action, West Oxfordshire District Council, Witney OX28 1NB or email [email protected]

This consultation is open until June 16th.

Art from your armchair

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Oxfordshire

 Local artists open up virtual exhibition for Oxfordshire Artweeks Festival

Artists looking forward to welcoming the public to their studios for Oxfordshire Artweeks are now doing so virtually until May 25th.

The 13 resident artists and associate members of Ayres House Studios, Wallingford, were looking forward to inviting visitors into the previously derelict building; throwing open their studio doors to exhibit both art work and studio space – now sadly impossible due to social restrictions.

In October 2019 the artists took over Ayres House on Station Road. The building was used as a rectory until the 1950s and had been empty for many years and was officially opened with a launch celebration in December.

Studio Manager, Emma Souter of Adumbration Arts said: “It’s such a lovely building with so much potential, I think it needs us as much as we need it.”

On show ‘virtually’ will be paintings, ceramics, sculpture, textiles, upholstery, jewellery, photography, installations, artist’s books, performance and art restoration. The artists are from both academic and self-taught backgrounds, including those from high art, conceptual, fine art and applied crafts.

Daily content will be shared to provide a creative overview from the studios, highlighting what the artists have been doing before and during the coronavirus.

Among those helping out has been Becky Colwell who has used her textile skills to help make scrubs for the NHS and is looking forward to being able to teach sewing classes when the studios re open to the public.

Emma of Neoteric Dance Company has created a new dance film A Home in Isolation, documenting the experiences faced by so many at this time. Alongside this she is also supporting individuals who may be struggling emotionally and physical at this time, by offering virtual spaces to talk and process their experiences, seeing her transfer her Dance Movement Psychotherapy skills to a virtual platform.

During lockdown the studio is welcoming applications from artists who would like to join the studios and for those who would like to join as associate members. They are also seeking proposals for community and collaborative projects so they are ready for when restrictions are lifted. Once back they will re-open Monday Makers and the various courses, workshops and exhibitions which were suspended due to Covid19.

Until then why not visit Ayres House Studios online from the comfort of your homes throughout May.

During Artweeks there will be a chance to view works online via https://www.artweeks.org/festival/2020/ayres-house-studios and on the Studios social media pages https://www.facebook.com/ayreshousestudios and https://www.instagram.com/ayreshousestudios where new posts will be shared daily throughout the festival.

More info

For those interested in visiting Ayres House, signing up for a class or joining the studios after restrictions have eased, please email [email protected] or call Adumbration Arts on 01865 819869.

Cotswold Challenge

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Oxfordshire

Teenagers aged 16-19 are being invited to take the Cotswold Challenge for the chance to win cash prizes by showing off their skills and talents.

It is an opportunity for young people, who had their GCSEs and A-levels cancelled, to take part in a challenge to excel and gain a sense of achievement as well as winning a prize.

The Cotswold Challenge has three categories: Art & Design; Creative Writing; Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking. Budding artists, sculptors, authors, poets and entrepreneurs can enter one or all three categories as many times as they like.

The Art and Design Challenge

Express your artistic talents in any medium: fine art, graphic design, sculpture, print-making, illustration, photography

The Creative Writing Challenge

Entries are invited for short stories/plays/scripts/poems that could be inspiring, reflective of what’s happening in the world today or thoughts about the future, in any genre

The Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking Challenge

Do you have a great idea for a product, service or campaign that would benefit the world? How could we improve the planet or environment or our way of life?

There are four prizes in each category of £500, £300, £150 and £50, which has already been donated in full by several generous sponsors (full list can be seen online).

After the competition, winners will be able to pitch for additional funds to take ‘the next step’ towards showcasing their work eg publishing their poem or short story; staging their own art exhibition or taking their innovative idea to an early prototype stage.

The Cotswold Challenge is a brand new innovative initiative, which launched on Monday, 20th April, and has a deadline for entries of 9pm on Monday, 1st June.

Entry

Entry is free and you can get a briefing pack and entry details

The Cotswold Challenge has been created by The Cotswold Collective – a team of five self-employed, professional business men and women, all of whom are members of the Fairford & Lechlade Business Club: Nigel Chute of Chute Design; Barry Jackson of Aspire Academy; Allison Murray of Allison Murray Design; Chris Roberts MBE, founder of the Fairford & Lechlade Business Club and freelance journalist; and Fiona Scott of Fiona Scott Media

Town and Gown

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Oxfordshire

Muscular Dystrophy UK is inviting the 6,000 plus runners who annually sign up to Oxford Town and Gown to safely run, jog or walk at home in this year’s virtual event for the famous race now in its 39th year. 

Inspired by people running marathons in their gardens and driveways, registrations are open for this year’s race – taking place from now until 6th May.

People like Adam Smith who had signed up to do an amazing four laps of this year’s Town and Gown 10k are leading the way by registering their own version of a ‘Lockdown Run.’

Race Director at Muscular Dystrophy UK Jessie Keighley said: “The beauty of a ‘virtual’ race is that we’re no longer tied to one location. So, if you know of friends and family up and down the country who would like to join in then get them to register here

“We need your help now even more than ever. Coronavirus has left us battling to fill a £2.8m gap in our funding from lost events just at the moment when the people we help are in real need of our support.”

Anyone who has already registered to run the Oxford Town and Gown will receive a link inviting them to register free for the virtual event and this will explain the process of taking part.

Once people have completed the event, they can log back into their race nation account and upload the date and time they took part as a ‘proof’. As soon as our offices re-open they’ll be sent a well-deserved medal.

How to take part

For more information and to register to take part online

Barry the pig

Round & About

Oxfordshire

Barry the pig needs your help – his home is flooded and he can’t swim!

He lives with dogs, cats, sheep, alpacas, ponies, parrots and tortoises at the Berkshire branch of the National Animal Welfare Trust at Trindledown Farm, in Great Shefford, near Hungerford.

The ten-acre site is a rescue and rehoming centre specialising in the care of elderly animals and needs your help to stay open after being hit by flooding.

Barry hates water and the branch has launched a Just Giving campaign called Barry Can’t Swim with the aim of raising £5,000 to build ditches along the boundary to enable the flood water to drain away naturally into the flood alleviation stream further down in the village.

The centre is totally self-funded and receives no help from anywhere except its fundraising activities and relies on being open to the public for events as well as the income from the café and onsite charity shop.

Ellie Humphreys works for the charity and says: “We are flooded and on the verge of having to close the centre to the public until the water subsides.

“The rehoming of animals does not cover the cost of vets bills, accommodation or maintenance of the 20-year-old farm.

“Not only is this impacting on our funds, all of our field animals have been put on higher ground which is not ideal for elderly animals and their joints.”

And it’s far from ideal for Barry in particular. He lives with a sheep called Bjork who has special needs and was rejected by the other sheep, but now their area is becoming inaccessible.

Ellie adds: “The last time we flooded was 2014 where our fields were out of action for three months.

“Unfortunately we are in the Lambourn Valley so we receive the overflow of water from the higher ground which then runs through half our grazing land, our dog exercise areas and our car parking field.”

Not having the fields also means they cannot rotate the field animals to eat the grass so the centre is forced to buy hay and feed adding to the costs.

Help Barry

The Just Giving campaign aims to raise £5,000 to pay for the ditch work, to help click below

Garden Re-Leaf Day 2020

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Oxfordshire

Plans are blooming for the ninth annual Garden Re-Leaf Day, which takes place on Friday, 13th March.

This year, Chilton Garden Centre will be the central hub for fundraising activity, as it hosts the fifth Garden Re-Leaf Sponsored Walk and Cycle Challenge.

Members of the gardening sector and hopefully local residents will trek across the Chiltern Hills to raise money for the children’s hospice garden charity, Greenfingers Charity.

Gardeners young and old are invited to take part in fundraising events – either a gentle 10-mile stroll or complete a more challenging 20-mile route through the Chiltern hills. There will also be a Garden Re-Leaf Cycle Challenge for bike enthusiasts. With a 25km route through the Oxfordshire countryside entrants are invited to complete as many rotations around the course as they can throughout the day.

Garden Re-Leaf Day is to celebrate the start of the garden year with fundraising events to raise money for Greenfingers, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of children in hospices through the creation of magical gardens.

In total, 58 Greenfingers gardens have been built since the charity’s creation in 1998 with many being funded by monies from Garden Re-Leaf Day.

In 2017, a new Oxfordshire based garden was opened at Helen & Douglas House, enabling children who call this hospice ‘home’ to find a moment of calm away from the hustle and bustle of daily hospice life. The Kaleidoscope Garden, designed by Oxford garden designer Nicola Wakefield and built by local landscapers GreenArt Garden Design and landscaping, features a colourful and protected garden pavilion that is now being enjoyed by patients, their families, friends, carers and hard-working hospice staff.

Last year in 2019, the charity’s 20th anniversary, four sensory and therapeutic gardens were built in London, The Wirral, Sunderland and St Austell, offering children and families the perfect out door space in which to make memories.

More gardens are in the pipeline to be built this year and this is where Garden Re-Leaf Day comes into its own, raising muchneeded funds.

Linda Petronsdirector of fundraising & communications at Greenfingers said: “Each year, Garden Re-Leaf Day helps over 350 life-limited children to enjoy a quiet place of relaxation and contemplation away from the hustle and bustle of hospice life, something that is so incredibly important for them and their families. 

Being able to do offer this for seriously sick children and their families is only possible due to the fundraising activities that our supporters undertake.

Garden Re-Leaf Day offers a great opportunity to get involved – it’s just one day of the year where you can help make a difference. Whether you raise £10 or £10,000, every single penny counts. We hope that the people of Oxfordshire will get involved on March 13th!”

More info

To find out more about Garden Re-Leaf Day and the work that the Greenfingers charity undertakes visit

Journey of discovery

Round & About

Oxfordshire

Fi Harding tells us more about Chiltern Arts Festival 2020 which takes place at various venues between Friday 28th February and Saturday 7th March

As the world celebrates 250 years since Beethoven’s birth, Chiltern Arts is celebrating overcoming adversity in the arts, with its usual array of venues including those in Henley, Marlow, Wallingford and, for the first time, Princes Risborough.

‘It’s a busy year for Chiltern Arts,” says founder and creative director Naomi Taylor, “and an exciting one! I’m particularly excited to have a theme linking all events for the first time and I hope people will get on board and follow the festival as a bit of a journey of discovery. There are also lots of opportunities to get involved as well as sitting back and enjoying; a Come and Sing day, poetry competition and Youth Music and Art Day… come and join us for what we think will be a brilliant week!”

Chiltern Arts offers an array of concerts for all musical tastes: Septura Brass Septet celebrate the music of female composers; the Come and Sing Company invite you to explore Tippett’s Five Spirituals alongside Tippett’s biographer Oliver Soden; the Marian Consort uncover the Catholic music kept under wraps in Elizabethan England; the Phoenix Piano Trio present piano trios from Beethoven and Fauré, both of whom suffered hearing loss; pianist Danny Driver presents Beethoven and the loss of Vital Senses with music from Gabriela Lena Frank and Rodrigo partnering Beethoven’s impressive Hammerklavier; and the City of London Sinfonia close with Beethoven’s famous Septet.

One of the highlights is undoubtedly a mini-residency from eminent solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, performing with Trio HLK a piece called Extra Sensory Perception; and we’re thrilled to be commissioning a piece from Stephen Goss for Dame Evelyn and Matthew Wadsworth. The piece will be premiered at the Candlelit Lute recital in Great Missenden on Thursday 5th March. Dame Evelyn and Matthew both also precede their respective events with pre-concert talks.

Chiltern Arts’ popular concert and dinner event returns to The Gatsby in Berkhamsted with music from members of the Piccadilly Dance Orchestra, featuring cabaret and a seven-piece band.

Three outstanding young professional ensembles feature at the festival: the Salomé String Quartet, baroque quartet Ensemble Hesperi and wind group the Magnard Ensemble. The first entirely youth-focused event features music from several local young musicians and performers, including students from the Mary Hare School for the Deaf, Amersham Music Centre, Tring School and Chiltern Music Academy, as well as a massed choir led by the Marian Consort.

More info..

The poetry competition also returns, open to writers of all ages. There’s information about all of these events online, where you can also request a brochure, buy tickets and find out how you can get involved with Chiltern Arts. You can also call the box office on 01442 920303.