Scrubs help

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Ready, steady, sew!

Volunteers are using their love of sewing to help make scrubs for health care workers

There’s no end of people putting their skills to use during the coronavirus crisis and that includes those handy with a sewing machine who have been making scrubs for health care workers.

Madeleine Steele, pictured, is just one who has been helping. She set up the South Oxfordshire and Berkshire Scrub Hub from her home in Crowmarsh making garments and masks for the NHS and people working in social care.

She said: “It was a Facebook post on Easter Monday that I saw about people making scrubs and I thought that’s a great idea, I’ll see if I can join in. There weren’t any other ScrubHubs in our area so I called my old school friend and asked her if she wanted to set it up with me.”

The South Oxfordshire and Berkshire Scrub Hub is a network of volunteers operating in Abingdon, Didcot, Wallingford, Henley, Reading, Caversham, Woodley, Earley, Winnersh, Wokingham and Tilehurst.

Their aim is to plug the gap as an emergency helping hand by supporting our health care professionals without scrubs during the current crisis.
The volunteer network ‘who love to sew’ is operating all over the country answering calls from workers through their networks and communities. The scrubs are made to order by experienced volunteers, working safely within the guidelines of the lock down, often with donated materials.

To find out more visit scrubhub.org.uk/south-oxfordshire-berkshire

If you are member of the public and you’d like to sponsor their efforts visit the GoFundMe page.

Donations will help support the NHS Practitioners health service who care for and support the mental well being of NHS workers, who are doing such a selfless job during this time.

Facing the challenge

Local schools are supporting NHS frontline workers in the battle against coronavirus
with the production of face shields and protective screens

PPE – before the coronavirus most of us would not have heard of this or indeed be aware of its importance – now we hear of the need for it on a daily basis.

Schools across Berkshire have been working to produce face shields and screens for use in GP practices and hospitals.

One project was the brainchild of Leighton Park School’s Head of Design and Technology, Mark Smith who began making the protective wear in the Reading school’s workshop with an original target of 200.

Mark said: “We are fortunate at Leighton Park to have access to tools and resources that can make a difference and keep our keyworkers safe: I just had to do something.”

Using the laser cutter to create re-usable plastic headbands he then attached disposable A4 PVC sheets donated by Reading-based stationery suppliers Frasers Office Supplies.

A plea for additional laser cutters was met by other schools in the area and there is now a network of manufacturers involved including the University of Reading, Neal’s Export Packaging Ltd, in Silchester, and rLAB, a community workshop space.

School partners include Denefield School, Edgbarrow School, Prospect School, Reading Blue Coats, Shiplake College, Holme Grange School, The Forest School, Brackenhale School, Waingels College, The Bulmershe School, Luckley House, Warriner School, Little Heath, Ranelagh and St Joseph’s College.

Since starting production on April 2nd they have supplied more than 80 organisations with shields.

The Oratory school near Woodcote has also risen to the challenge to help the local community after it was approached by Dr Amanda Gemmill, a GP and the school’s Head of PSHE. She asked the Design LabOratory to construct protective screens for the Goring and Woodcote surgeries to offer protection to reception staff.

The Design LabOratory began with three polycarbonate screens which were installed on a Saturday to ensure the surgery was not disrupted.

Word of the screens spread and Strawberry Hill Medical Centre in Newbury put in a request which required more material and a more robust construction. They have since made screens for surgeries in Woodcote, Goring, Newbury, Henley, Wokingham and Abingdon with orders from two practices in Oxford.

The Design LabOratory is now producing face shields with the use of 3D printers and has delivered to medical practices in Woodcote and Goring, to Marcham Road Surgery in Abingdon, Sue Ryder in Nettlebed and Townlands Hospital in Henley.

Working together

Buckinghamshire schools come together to make PPE for healthcare workers

Schools and colleges across the county have been playing their part to support the NHS and other local health services to help keep frontline staff safe. Using their 3D printers they have created safety visors for the NHS and donated PPE equipment to support healthcare staff.

Thanks to the fantastic work of schools from all parts of the county, hundreds of visors have been produced and distributed to frontline healthcare professionals. Many local businesses played their part too, donating items such as lab coats, goggles and gloves, after hearing about the work schools were doing from parents or teachers.

Many schools across the county, including Buckingham School, Stowe School, Westbury School, Sir Thomas Fremantle School, Holmer Green School, Sir William Borlase’s School, Wycombe Grammar School, Wycombe High School, Highworth Combined School and Sir William Ramsay School have also produced (using their 3D printers) or donated essential PPE equipment such as goggles and lab coats.

Buckinghamshire UTC has also donated 30 protective goggles and their Principal Sarah Valentine personally bought six lab coats from Amazon for delivery to Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Cllr Anita Cranmer, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “I’m hugely impressed by the time, effort and heart that our education community has put into creating and donating PPE for our healthcare workers.

“This is a fantastic example of how Buckinghamshire is coming together and a tribute to our hardworking and dedicated healthcare workers who are helping to keep us all safe during these challenging times. Another amazing initiative that shows just how #ProudofBucks we are.”

In addition, Aylesbury High School, The Grange School in Aylesbury, Beachborough School at Westbury, and the University of Buckingham have also got involved in the production and donation of PPE to local NHS trusts.

Vince Murray, Headteacher of The Grange School, said: “As a school we were more than willing to respond to the call for PPE equipment through the collection of goggles and laboratory coats. It was also lovely to see some of our students making ‘scrub bags’ for the NHS, alongside their teacher (Miss Friend) while they were in school.

“We see ourselves as a community school. We were only too happy to contribute, in a small way, to maintaining the safety of other key workers looking after those in our hospitals, and providing essential care for others at a time when they need it most.”

Scrubs help

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Sew essential

Mel Downing is one of a consortium of local curtain makers who came together to make scrubs for healthcare workers

At the end of March we were aware there was a real shortage of scrubs – all healthcare workers were going to need them and due to the contagious nature of Covid-19 would need several sets each and wash bags for them to be put in once taken off and laundered.

A consortium of local curtain makers set up a Justgiving page to raise money to buy rolls of washable polycotton, within days we had raised a few thousand. The total now is more than £15,000.

I have run Melanie Downing Interiors, a busy curtain design company for 25 years and one of my blind makers Julie Knaggs had trained as a pattern cutter. We decided the best way forward was to bulk cut the fabric and then hand out kits for people to sew depending on their skills.

This saved us so much time and also very little wasted fabric. It was really important we sent out beautifully made scrubs that were made to last. We created a Facebook page and very quickly had an army of more than 80 volunteers from curtain makers, dress makers, costume makers, and even a tutu maker.

Local hubs were established in Farnham, Guildford, Haslemere, Petersfield, Petworth and Godalming to try and reduce journeys and volunteer drivers co-ordinated delivery and collection.

Realising the phenomenal demand we also enlisted the help of Mint Velvet who delivered 800 sets to Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, for us.
We have supplied more than 2,500 sets to The Royal Surrey, Frimley Park, Basingstoke Hospital and Hospice, Haslemere, Petworth, Milford and Alton Community Hospitals, Phyllis Tuckwell, Marie Curie, Macmillan, Meath Home, Ticehurst Care Home, Aldershot Community team and numerous GP surgeries as well as several private requests.

It has been an incredible logistical challenge to achieve so much in such a short space of time but worth it to know it is being used.

There are so many talented people in the area and the team spirit has just been such a positive experience. I feel lucky to have been able to use my business experience and skills to co-ordinate such an important project with the help of so many really amazing people.

We are now starting to make masks which will be distributed primarily via local food banks and hope these will be sent out with a wash bag and soap stressing the importance of continued hand washing.

Most of the professional seamstresses in the team are currently unable to work due to restrictions re visiting people’s homes but hoping we can soon get back to work!

Contact Mel Downing – www.melaniedowning.co.uk 01428 713868; Coleen Smart – www.honeybeehandmade.co.uk 01483 577168; Caroline Lockie – Sewn – 01483 425577; Jo Martin – www.josephineellen.co.uk; Julie Knaggs – www.montaguesadles.co.uk

Stitches in time

A teacher has set up a volunteer sewing group to make scrubs for health care workers

Sewing enthusiasts have been taking to their machines to answer the call for scrubs, masks, scrub bags and gowns to help support front line workers.

Head of Design & Technology at Glebelands School in Cranleigh, Tamsin Mitchell (pictured), heard local frontline workers were faced with a drastic shortage of scrubs, masks, and similar equipment, and decided to pitch in.

Having seen a Facebook post from a nurse who works for Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, she contacted her to see if there was anything she could sew to help.

“She wanted scrubs bags, so people can change at hospital and take their uniform home in the bag and pop it straight in the wash. I went online to see if I could get more people on board, and I found a national group called For the Love of Scrubs. They had subpages for local areas, and there wasn’t one for Cranleigh. So I volunteered.”

Tamsin formed NHS Sewing Cranleigh and Dorking to mobilise local sewing enthusiasts including Glebelands pupils. The group already has more than 65 members, who have together produced items for St Joseph’s Specialist School and College and more than half a dozen other local organisations, including care homes and medical practices.

Tamsin said: “It’s a real community effort. Everyone is stepping up to the plate and helping each other. In a time of need, it’s the practical and creative skills that make a difference.”

Anyone in need of items or wanting to join the group should contact Tamsin through the NHS Sewing Cranleigh and Dorking group on Facebook.

Supporting Surrey SAR

The science department at King Edward’s Witley donates PPE to Surrey Search & Rescue

In 2010, relies solely on donations to purchase vital lifesaving equipment and provide training for its team.King Edward’s Witley has delivered much-needed supplies of personal protective equipment in response to an urgent appeal from Surrey Search & Rescue.

Woking-based charity, Surrey SAR – a voluntary specialist search team – posted a request on Facebook for vital supplies of PPE to protect their responders as they help Surrey Police and the county council at this time, checking on the welfare of vulnerable members of the community.

King Edward’s science department technician, Alison Hill sourced, sterilised and packed boxes of protective goggles and disposable gloves which were given to the charity.

Head of Science, Jim Culbert said they were delighted to be able to support Surrey SAR: “This is an amazing organisation. During the current coronavirus pandemic, Surrey Search & Rescue is playing a pivotal role in checking on the welfare of those who are deemed particularly susceptible to the virus, ensuring they remain well and lending a caring and sympathetic ear when people need it most.”

Surrey SAR assists the emergency services in the search for missing vulnerable adults and children. Volunteers, assisted by search dogs and drones, deliver an on-call response service 24 hours a day across Surrey and surrounding areas, when the emergency services need their specialist skills.

On average 2,100 people go missing in Surrey each year and as such Surrey SAR is one of the busiest search & rescue teams in the UK. The charity, which was formed in 2010, relies solely on donations to purchase vital lifesaving equipment and provide training for its team.

You can donate or read more about Surrey Search and Rescue here.

One Million Bubbles of Love

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Nothing brings smiles to people’s faces like balloons and the professional balloon decorating and entertainment industry is helping people find their smiles and joy during this challenging time. 

On May 9th & 10th, balloon artists from around the world joined in One Million Bubbles of Love to share their talents and skills to help bring happiness and remind the world there is hope and kindness out there. 

Among those taking part was Amy Brown, a professional balloon decorator based in Thursley, her business AJ’s Balloon Décor has been involved with the project for the last two months. 

She created and displayed designs in April – NHS Rainbow Heart and in May – Keyworkers Gardens of Hope. 

Amy said: “I had some wonderful feedback from passers by. It has been a great way to bring smiles to those who are out and about, but also online through social media and to say thank you to all the NHS and keyworkers. 

The first One Million Bubbles was held on March 26th with more than 350 designers participating from 15 countries. The second One Million Bubbles was held on April 11th & 12th with nearly 1,900 designers participating from 81 countries. 

“With all the fear and uncertainty going on in the world right now, I felt like we had to do something,” said Steven Jones, project leader of Balloon Designers in Seattle, Washington. “Balloons make people happy in ways nothing else does, so if working balloon professionals cannot make people smile right now, who really can?” 

Balloon professionals are encouraged to create something artsy and fun either in their yards at home or in a public place, to convey the message of Be Safe Be Kind. 

Check out the One Million Bubbles website

Surrey Hills

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The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is looking forward to welcoming people back to visit but stress this is not the time to come and enjoy the countryside.

They want to reinforce the Government’s message in the releasing of lockdown measures in the countryside and encourage you to use the greenspaces closer to home and observe social distancing rather than travel distances.

Heather Kerswell, Chair of the Surrey Hills AONB Board comments:

“As we move out of the lockdown period over the coming months we look forward to welcoming visitors back to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“We know you will be keen to return to the Surrey Hills but just for now please stay local! This will ensure we all respect Government safety measures, local communities and wildlife.

“As freedom returns and we embrace a new normal, we will be keen for everyone to come and enjoy the benefits of natural beauty while supporting the local business community who very much need our custom at this time thank you.”

This very slight lifting of lockdown measures will still see many businesses remain closed, particularly those catering for the visitor such as attractions, hotels, restaurants, cafes, pubs, public toilets etc. The worry for many rural communities is people descending on beauty spots and picturesque Surrey villages making social distancing difficult and therefore increasing the risk of spreading the disease.

Chris Howard, Chairman of the Tourist Board – Visit Surrey added: “Whilst we are all anxious to get back out into the countryside, it is worth bearing in mind that facilities are still very limited due to the coronavirus restrictions. This means a lack of open toilets, and places to get food.

“Plan your outings carefully and get to know some of the amazing places right on your doorstep. Remember, the lockdown rules have only been tweaked slightly.”

Stephanie Fudge, National Trust General Manager for the Surrey Hills reinforced this saying that while the National Trust has been working on reopening plans, the safety of staff, volunteers, visitors and local residents is the priority.

She said: “Any reopening will need to be gradual and phased and visitors’ experience is likely to be different from usual, including the need to manage volume at our pay for entry places. Countryside car park opening will also be phased.”

Surrey Hills AONB has set out some key guidance points for accessing the Surrey Hills over the coming months:

· Keeping yourself and others safe is paramount and we encourage you to adhere to guidance set out by DEFRA in their Countryside Code.

· We are aware that many visitors who love to walk and cycle will have greatly missed the Surrey Hills landscape, the views and the well-known beauty spots. We encourage you to use countryside sites close to your home rather than travelling. Over the coming weeks and months we will see carparks and facilities gradually re-open and we urge you to check before you travel that car parks are open and would advise you away from the more well-known sites which may become congested and therefore difficult to socially distance.

· Please be aware that our local farms are under great seasonal pressures during this time and we would encourage you to respect their needs by keeping dogs on leads and follow all designated foot paths and bridleways to keep yourselves and farm animals safe.

· During the lockdown period, nature has had an opportunity to thrive and we ask you to look after nature by being extra cautious. Please stick to footpaths and bridleways so as not to disturb ground nesting birds and other wildlife.

· We encourage you to continue supporting local during this time of transition and want to highlight all the wonderful products and services available on our doorstep in the Surrey Hills. Take a look at our list of businesses offering home deliveries, online support and services, gifts and inspiration.

 

Click for further information on the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Rock Choir fundraiser

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Rock Choir, the largest contemporary choir in the UK with 32,000 members, is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week (18-25th May) by hosting #RockChoir24.

The 24-hour non-stop fundraising event is running via their Facebook page from 11am on Tuesday, 19th May to 11am the following day.

All day and night, the Rock Choir team will host an energetic schedule of dynamic singing sessions, themed musical events, songs from the decades and social musical events as well as sessions aimed at teenagers and younger children so the whole family can join in the virtual music Rock Choir Festival from the comfort of their own home.

As well as the live and pre-recorded footage, there will be video messages from Key Worker Rock Choir members who will share their stories with us from the front line in response to the pandemic. Also highlighted will be stories of inspirational acts of kindness from across the UK to reinforce the theme of ‘kindness’ which Mental Health Awareness Week has adopted for this year in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rock Choir has also been receiving video messages from their celebrity friends and fans including Jess Glynne, Michael Ball and Sir Cliff Richard to name a few. Each has sent messages of kindness, encouragement and support for Rock Choir’s fundraising mission and Mental Health Awareness Week. These messages will also be shown throughout the 24 hour period.

Founder, creator and creative director of Rock Choir Caroline Redman Lusher will host the event. She said she was proud they were continuing to sing and help through the crisis, adding: “Rock Choir has been looking after the well-being of the British public for 15 years now and I knew that we would need to ensure that we continued to support not only our Rock Choir Members but also the needs of the public as lockdown continued and anxiety, stress and difficulties developed through this time.

“Our 24-hour Rock Choir National fundraiser on 19th May will not only bring back to back music, singing and entertainment to everyone but will also lift spirits and engage everyone with feel-good and uplifting music.

“Most importantly, it will help raise awareness of and much needed funds for the Mental Health Foundation who host the national annual Mental Health Awareness Week.

“I hope everyone will not only support our 24-hour Rock Choir Fundraiser but also become more aware of how every single person in the country and beyond will be trying to manage their own mental well-being through the pandemic and what they can each do to be kind to themselves and to one another.”

Mark Rowland, CEO of the Mental Health Foundation said he was delighted to have Rock Choir’s support and that he would be joining in.

He said: “By bringing people together and raising funds, The Rock Choir is not only an expression of kindness but one that uses singing which is also great for our mental health. I can’t wait to take part.”

Everyone can get involved in this fun event and donations can be made via the Facebook Donate option on Rock Choir’s Facebook page as well as a TEXT option which can be made by texting SING5 to donate £5 or SING10 to donate £10 to 70500.

Head to their Facebook page

GladRags Project

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West Horsley Place is inviting members of the local community to help create an artwork that explores ‘what makes us glad right now’.

Devised by local artist Diana Burch in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the GladRags project asks people, including children, to create a small patchwork square that captures ‘what makes you feel glad’. Everyone is invited to take part, making use of what can be found at home, from rags to remnants.

Once the current lockdown has been lifted, these patchwork squares will be collected by West Horsley Place and brought together to make a large artwork that will be a record of how the community came through this extraordinary time.

Launched in Haslemere in partnership with Haslemere Museum, the GladRags project is now being rolled out across Surrey. West Horsley Place is delighted to be helping residents of Guildford and the surrounding area to take part.

Diana Burch said: “Coronavirus is a huge event in human history. The GladRags project wants to step in as history is made and provide a community record of how we came through isolation and learned to value the little things, the things that make us glad right now.

“Creativity is a wonderful way to relax, focus and build self-esteem – and is very much needed at the current time. Every square will be welcomed – regardless of classic needlework skills!

“I want to thank the cultural hubs and museums that are enabling this project to take place. When this is all over, we can all get together to celebrate creativity and community spirit once more.”

Clare Clinton, Operations Manager at West Horsley Place, adds: “We are delighted to be taking part in the GladRags project with our local community. By reflecting on what makes us glad despite this difficult time we will create a patchwork that will be a celebration of our community’s resilience.

“We were so looking forward to opening the doors of West Horsley Place this spring. Although this has been delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, our charity remains committed to creating here a welcoming space for the community to share and enjoy with arts, culture, community, history and nature at its heart.

“Until we can be together, we look forward to seeing pictures of your wonderful patchworks which we will share for everyone to enjoy.”

How to Take Part

Participants are asked to create a 15cm square, with a small extra allowance for a border so that the patchworks can be stitched together, using any material available. This might be a remnant, an odd sock – or a rag. Decorate the square to reflect ‘what makes you feel glad’ using thread, glue, buttons and bits and bobs accessible at this time.

For participants who would like to share their patchworks now, please email a photograph to [email protected] Photos will be shared on the West Horsley Place website and through the charity’s social media channels.

For further information visit

Wartime spirit

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Friday 8th May 2020 marks 75 years since Germany’s formal surrender to mark the end of the Second World War.

Millions of us should have been celebrating this historic day with parties and community events, mimicking the sprit and jubilation experienced on VE Day.

Sadly, the social restrictions brought about by the coronavirus have forced these to be abandoned for the time being but it is hoped they can be moved to 15th and 16th ~August when VE Day will be commemorated alongside VJ Day.

But while we can’t celebrate with family and friends or with our neighbours having a street party, English Heritage is encouraging everyone to mark the anniversary with their own VE Day entertainment at home and have produced a special VE Day at Home pack.

There are ideas for 1940s recipes – try making carrot scones and ginger beer; learn to dance the Lindy Hop – 1940s dress optional – and a playlist to help you plan as well as popular songs from the era, White Cliffs of Dover and Lambeth Walk.

While swing dance may not be for everyone, one thing we can all do is to raise a glass and join the nation’s toast to say thank you to the men and women who played their part in the war. At 3pm on the bank holiday, Friday 8th, wherever you are and whether it’s with a glass of something or a cup of tea say thank you to honour our nation’s heroes and those of today too. Find out more at www.veday75.org

Did you know...

It wasn’t the end of the Second World War – VE Day marked the formal end of war in Europe, but pockets of German resistance continued fighting for a week or so more

Celerations started early – 9th May 1945 was the date originally agreed by the Allies as VE Day but news of the surrender was leaked and so, late on 7th May, a BBC radio news flash announced the next day would be a national holiday

Pubs stayed open late – licensing hours were extended so people could properly toast the end of the war, and dance halls remained open beyond usual closing hours to accommodate buoyant revellers

It wasn’t a surprise – surrender was not unexpected and had been anticipated for some time in Britain. The term VE Day had been mooted as early as September 1944 and a team of bell ringers were on standby at St Paul’s Cathedral ready for the celebrations, once the news arrived

For further information, contact Citizens Advice helpline on 0300 330 9042

For all of English Heritages tips and ideas and to download their material visit their site

Save music venues campaign

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A new national campaign has been launched by Music Venue Trust to save hundreds of grassroots music venues at imminent risk of being closed down – permanently.

Without these independent venues the live music scene in the UK will die. These grassroots venues play a crucial role in the development of British music, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills. These venues also play a vital role in the cultural and economic vibrancy of any village, town or city.

Currently 556 venues are at risk including The Northcourt Centre, Abingdon; The Boileroom, Guildford and the Fiery Bird, Woking.

Artists will be performing ‘at home’ gigs in support of their local venues, chosen from a list of venues currently in crisis which can be found at the campaign website www.saveourvenues.co.uk.

Each venue will have their own fundraising page with a clear target of the funds it needs to raise to stay afloat throughout this difficult period. Once a target is reached any excess revenue will go to the central #saveourvenues fund to help the wider grassroots music venue community.

HOW CAN MUSIC FANS GET INVOLVED?

1. Donate to a specific venue’s fundraising page by clicking this link www.saveourvenues.co.uk to see a list of local venues that urgently need help.

2. Watch ‘at home’ shows by artists supporting the #saveourvenues campaign. Click here www.saveourvenues.co.uk to see a list of shows coming up.

3. Donate to the national #saveourvenues fund via the website www.saveourvenues.co.uk

4. Help spread the word on social media using the hashtag #saveourvenues and the campaign link www.saveourvenues.co.uk.

One of the main drivers of this initiative is the musician Frank Turner whose recent series of ‘Independent Venue Love’ shows for local venues raised thousands of pounds and provided a major inspiration for this campaign.

Turner said: “The UK live music industry is staring into the abyss right now. I’m not able to save the whole thing on my own, but I decided to do a series of livestream shows to raise money for specific independent venues that I know and love, and that are in serious risk of disappearing right now. The success of these shows demonstrated the love that exists between music fans and their favourite grassroots music venues so the #saveourvenues campaign is a brilliant way of building on that and hopefully giving artists and music fans a chance to get involved and play a big part in helping them survive.”

Music Venue Trust’s CEO Mark Davyd said: “Without the support of music fans and artists literally hundreds of the UK’s grassroots music venues could go out of business, never to return, in the coming months. Please help to save every single grassroots music venue in the UK so that it can reopen after this crisis and continue to be a home to our musicians and our communities.”

To find out more

Town and Gown

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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

Turn on the TAP

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A new social platform for thanking unsung heroes in education and healthcare/NHS was launched in Ascot last year but never has it been more poignant.

TAP (Thank And Praise) is a unique platform, running on WhatsApp, for parents and patients to thank employees working in education and healthcare/NHS.

Founders, Phillip and Sandie Curtis, came up with the idea after receiving so much excellent care and support for their special needs son, in schools and the NHS, and often finding it difficult to relay their appreciation.

Sandie shared her experience: ‘We have received so much help, from many truly amazing people, who deserve to be recognised for their selfless commitment to caring for us, and our children.’’

TAP research in 2019 confirmed more than 70% of people do not manage to give the thanks they want to pass on, and believe employees in the NHS and education, deserve more praise.

To use TAP, just register on WhatsApp, and let them know who you would like to thank. TAP will pass on your words of appreciation, and also allocate TAP points, worth £1, to your unsung hero, which can be redeemed with participating retailers. These points are funded by corporate companies who want to contribute to the wellbeing of employees in certain sectors.

Soon after the launch in Ascot, St Michaels school became the first establishment to receive more than 100 thank you messages, which means some of their staff have already qualified, and claimed their vouchers, which can be spent in retailers such as Costa, Waitrose and M&S.

The headteacher at St Michaels school, Lorna Anderton has witnessed the benefits of TAP first hand: “As a headteacher, I am thrilled with the opportunities TAP provides to support my teachers’ well-being. A ‘thank you’ every so often makes a huge difference to someone’s day and how they feel. Happy, positive teachers create an environment where our children can flourish. Everyone’s a winner!”

TAP is delivering a tangible solution to the growing need to improve staff well-being in the NHS and education; many of these unsung heroes are being worn down with pressures at work, and TAP provides us all with the opportunity to show how much we appreciate them.

TAP has just launched a digital thanking wall to allow people to post messages of appreciation for the courageous and selfless people working in healthcare/NHS and education, visit the website www.thankandpraise.com to see the wall and post your message.

If you live in the Ascot area, and want to give thanks, message us on Whatsapp 07871 064296, or, if you think TAP would benefit your community, contact Ann on [email protected]