Re-opening of the Village Hall
In order for the Village Hall Management Committee to make a robust plan of action in readiness for any re-opening of the Village Hall (under guidance from DEFRA/ACRE/CFO) all potential hirers of the hall need to complete a questionnaire.
Village groups who have regularly hired the hall in the past will have already received information from their representative on the VHMC, and regular outside hirers will have received their information from Katie Rushworth, the Letting Agent.
Other potential hirers of the hall need to complete this questionnaire which can be downloaded and printed, or collect a paper copy from Margaret Bulleyment, VHMC Secretary at 32, Grange Park, Steeple Aston.
You may also find this sample COVID-19 Risk Assessment useful.
Please note that currently most activities that take place in the hall are still not permitted, but we need to know your intentions in advance so we can make an appropriate and safe plan for when the situation changes. Please deliver your questionnaire in person, or by email to Margaret Bulleyment firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 15 August.
For more information please consult the CFO (Community First Oxfordshire) website www.communityfirstoxon.org or contact Margaret Bulleyment (Tel. 347346); Barbara Brewer (Tel 340423) or Letting Agent Katie Rushworth (Tel. 340196).
Thank you for your help. We hope to have everything in place to get the hall up and running as soon as it is humanly possible.
The following at the moment are due to take place.
Thursday 5th November Annual Fireworks Evening.
Sunday 13th December Wassail Evening.
Saturday 23rd January 2021 Annual Quiz Evening.
Please note our letting agent is Mrs. Katie Rushworth 01869 340196. Email email@example.com Collect keys from “Touchstones” The Dickredge, Steeple Aston. OX25 4RS.
Always remember, clean hands save lives and when in doubt, don’t go out.
Barbara Brewer, Chair
Charity cooking competition for all the family
If you are looking for something FUN to do as a FAMILY (safely at home) and enjoy cooking, then take a look at this FREE to enter COMPETITION, run by a local charity.
All you need to do is follow a recipe to make a typical Ugandan meal of bean stew with chapattis. Then you should enjoy eating your meal in authentic Ugandan style – with your hands!
Record the whole thing with photos and on video and share them on Instagram or email them to the foundation.
The top prize to four winners is a Zoom workshop with Prue Leith, well-known from the Great British Bake Off.
Entries must be in by 26th July, so take a look at the website and get cooking and ‘snapping’!
All the information can be found on the event website including a video from Prue herself talking about the competition.
The Rafiki Thabo Foundation is a small charity based in Kingham, but operating at grass roots level in Kenya, Lesotho and Uganda, supporting education and community development projects.
New bus timetable and new service
The S4 bus service between Oxford and Banbury via Steeple Aston will return to its normal weekday timetable from this Monday. 29th June. There will be no change to weekend times.
In addition, a new company called Hallmark Travel is taking over the 250 service between Bicester and Oxford, which stops at Lower Heyford. Here is their new timetable from Monday, 6th July.
Oxfordshire County Council made the following announcement about the change of provider:
As the service will no longer be operated by Oxford Bus Company, tickets and passes for use on this company’s buses will no longer be valid after Saturday 4 July 2020. This includes all SmartZone and Key card products. Passengers holding such tickets should contact the Oxford Bus Company for a refund, and details of Hallmark’s ticket range should be available in due course. The company will be offering as a minimum weekly, monthly and multi-trip tickets for regular travellers.
The new contract has provisions to run until December 2022.
As Hallmark are a new provider of County Council local bus contracts, we will be particularly interested to hear of your experiences with the service and any feedback you may have. In the first instance, any problems should be discussed with Hallmark directly but also can be reported to us via the email address IDpublictransport@oxfordshire.gov.uk.
Hallmark Connections can be contacted at 01784 425612 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember Government advice is still to avoid public transport unless your journey is strictly necessary, and you must wear a face covering to travel.
SAVA asks for your memories of the coronavirus lockdown
Steeple Aston Village Archive Trust is asking villagers to contribute their thoughts and experiences during the current lockdown as a record for future generations. Their message below suggests some of the questions you might like to consider.
Would you like to contribute to a record of this unique time?
The current coronavirus pandemic continues to have a profound effect on us all in so many ways, and is likely to do so for some time to come. SAVA wants to assemble a snapshot of this unprecedented time, and would like to ask for your help in sharing some of your experiences and thoughts as a lasting record for future generations.
If you are interested in contributing, please find below some possible (although not exhaustive) points that you may wish to consider. We would also welcome any photos.
What has been your experience during the Covid-19 Lockdown?
- Describe in 5 words how you have felt during the lockdown?
- Have you had to adjust your working arrangements, such as working from home? If so, what technology has assisted/hampered your ability to do so?
- If you are employed in providing an ‘essential’ service, what has been your experience on the front line?
- How have you filled your free time during the lockdown?
- How did you get exercise? For example, have you explored the village and surrounding area more than usual?
- Have you been aware of any environmental changes as a result of less traffic/people? If so, what are they?
- What has been your experience within the village community? Have you had more/less contact with your neighbours? Examples of acts of support and kindness?
- Are you home-schooling your children, and if so how is it going?
- What has been your biggest challenge during lockdown?
- What/who have you missed the most during this period?
- What, if anything, do you think you have learned during this crisis?
- Are there any changes you have made during lockdown, that you hope to continue?
Please email replies to: email@example.com or for a postal address call 01869 347046
Many thanks from Steeple Aston Village Archive.
There’s more information about SAVA on their page in the Clubs & Societies section.
Spring Show cancelled, but here’s a photographic feast!
A message from Richard Preston, Chairman of The Astons Horticultural Society:
The Spring Show had to be cancelled this year, but it doesn’t mean Spring has not sprung.
Spring is here no matter what else the world has to throw at us.
To help brighten a time when normally we would all be out enjoying the parks and gardens, here are few photos from our garden along with a picture of the TWIDDLE-MUFFS provided by some of the show’s prospective entrants that will be winging their way to the dementia ward at the John Radcliffe.
Keep safe everyone and keep gardening.
You can contact Richard on 01869 340512 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
After the cancellation of the Spring Show on 29th March. John Coley sent five photos of some of his entries. He suggests that others could contribute photos as well, to create a virtual Spring Show. Please send your photos to email@example.com
John’s photos are here
Don’t give a dog a bad name!
We’d just like you to know that almost all the fouling on our village streets comes from wild animals. After all, we do live in the country! We’ve investigated this issue thoroughly with the help of Cherwell Council’s dog warden. So, please, don’t always blame the dogs and dog walkers in the village. It’s probably not them messing up our streets. It’s most likely foxes. Or maybe badgers or muntjac.
What should you do if you see some poo?
Please just pick it up in a suitable plastic bag and pop it in a street-side bin or a green bin. Bags are available free from the Village Shop. Dog walkers often pick up scat that their dogs are not responsible for. Give them a hand. You will be helping to keep the village clean and you may stop someone putting their foot in it.
And if you do see a dog walker not picking up?
We think this is unlikely, but if you do … report it to the dog warden at https://www.cherwellandsouthnorthants.gov.uk/xfp/form/347?council=cdc or on 01295 227007. He will take action against anyone found not picking up.
Steeple Aston Parish Council
March’s Crafternoon Tea & Pop Up Café – the first of many!
We had a great time at the first Sustainable Steeple Crafternoon Tea on Sunday 8th March. Held in conjunction with the new monthly Pop Up Café, run by the Village Hall Committee, there was crafting and cake galore!
I’m not sure whether it was the lure of Daphne’s cakes or the chance to get creative with our collaging and decoupage frames but had plenty of visitors across the afternoon and Christopher’s book stall added a further level of interest.
Several of us had brought our own projects, but much of the fun was provided by our younger crafters (and visiting Texan) who wonderfully embellished old picture frames (previously destined for the tip) with decoupage and turned old wood off cuts into pieces of collage art. As you’ll see from the pictures, we had some budding artists in our midst.
Those who didn’t craft, enjoyed great conversation and even better cake!
We were intending to meet again on 5th April and then 3rd May, however, we have taken the difficult decision not to go ahead with either Crafternoon Tea or the Pop Up Café on these dates, due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation. However, we will be back in the summer!
In the meantime, watch this space for an imminent Sustainable Steeple announcement regarding the first project we’ll be funding with the near £2000 that we have raised so far. Thanks again to everyone who has donated items for up-cycling so far!
For more information, please contact Amanda Rodgers on 07793 553150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just a reminder that Steeple Aston has a FixMyStreet SuperUser. This means we have a fast track method of getting potholes filled as long as they meet the relevant criteria in terms of size, depth etc., and they are within the 30 mile an hour limit.
If you report a pothole direct to the Parish Clerk (email@example.com or 01869 347000), she will pass on the details to our SuperUser, who can contact the Highways contractors, without going through FixMyStreet. The system has been in place for a while now and works well.
The Parish Council
The 128th Annual Flower Show
Richard Preston, Chairman of the Steeple Aston and Middle Aston Horticultural Society reports:
August Bank Holiday is synonymous with possibly one of the major events in the village’s calendar and this year we celebrated our 128th Annual Show. The first one recorded was in 1869 in The Dew Diaries and I must admit, I feel I have been to most of them!
Just like the Church Fete, we experienced record temperatures on Robinson’s Close and this meant that the ice-cream van actually sold out before leaving the field. As always, hundreds (estimated 800) of visitors came to see the amazing produce, cookery, photographs and handicraft in the marquee and not forgetting the numerous entries from the children who never cease to amaze us all with their craft skills and enthusiasm.
This year entries were around 850, which is close to a record and well above the average with what the judges described as ‘exceptional’ quality exhibits throughout the show. On the field were various stalls and attractions and the Fun Dog Show which this year was managed by Dogs for Good who did an amazing job considering the intense heat. We are very grateful to Harts Veterinary Centre for their continued sponsorship of the Fun Dog Show. Teas in the Village Hall were as busy as ever providing visitors with much needed refreshment after the hustle and bustle of the marquee.
The show is the culmination of some hard work by a very small and slightly older age group than might be expected, and without them there would be no show. Also, our most enormous thanks go out to the families that simply turn up on the day and help us out by stewarding or manning the gate or stalls during the afternoon.
But even more importantly, there would be no show without the exhibitors who support this age-old tradition and keep the village alive. I must add at this point that there were many new exhibitors making this one of the best supported shows in recent years. There are, as always, winners of trophies and prize money and well deserved they are, but the real winners are the people who support the show every year by entering something or simply coming along to the show in the afternoon.
We, the committee, are desperate for new committee members and our AGM (it only last about 30 minutes) is in the Village Hall Committee Room on Wednesday 11th September at 7.30pm. There are never more than four meetings a year! Steeple and Middle Aston undoubtedly produce the biggest and best traditional flower show to be found in North Oxfordshire and probably further afield and it is down in no small amount to the fact that we try to keep abreast of the changing times and interests within our community. To do this we need and will always listen, to new ideas from people who are as keen as the existing committee to ensure this show carries on for another 128 years. If you feel you can join our committee or contribute ideas or help on the day of the show, please let me or any committee member know or simply turn up at the AGM.
Thank you everyone for your support at this year’s show.
To see the full show results, please click here.
Thank you to Mick Bonwick and Catherine Crook who took lot of lovely photos. To see them, please click here.
Local lottery to support Valentine Club
Steeple Aston’s Valentine Club is one of the good causes to be supported by a new lottery launched by Cherwell District Council. The Valentine Club, for the over 60s, has been around since the 1950s and is one of the most popular and successful clubs in the village.
Tickets for the lottery cost £1 per week. Each ticket has a 1 in 50 chance to win a prize each week, with a top prize of £25,000! The council says that’s a better chance of winning than the National Lottery or the Health Lottery.
Each ticket will consist of 6 numbers and each number will be between 0 and 9. There will be a draw every Saturday night when a 6 digit winning combination will be picked. Prizes will be given to players with tickets that match the first or last 2-6 numbers from the winning combination. Match all 6 and you win the JACKPOT!
The lottery will benefit local residents with 50p per ticket going to the chosen good cause and another 10p to other local good causes.
Valentine Club Chairman Richard Preston says, “This will be a wonderful way of raising much needed funds for our village group.”
To find out more about the lottery and to buy a ticket to support the Valentine Club, please click here.
To find out more about the Valentine Club and see its programme for the coming months, please click here.
Village Hall AGM
The Annual General Meeting of the Steeple Aston Village Hall management committee was held by teleconferencing on the 4th May 2020. The full committee is listed below, showing which group they represent.
- Barbara Brewer Tuesday Badminton (Chair)
- Margaret Bulleyment Choral Society (Secretary)
- John White (Treasurer)
- Janine Beckwith Thursday Badminton
- Deborah Morris Village Rep
- Arts Programme Co-ordinator TBC
- Esther Brown WI
- Torquil McLusky Scouts / Cubs / Beavers
- Amanda Rodgers Village Rep
- Chris Clarke PCC
- Stuart Cummins Archive
- Richard Preston Valentine Club
- Cathy Fleet Parish Council
- Rose McCready Garden Club
In the next few months the committee will be deciding on a programme of events for the forthcoming year. If there is a specific event you would like to see in the programme or if you have any new ideas, please contact Barbara Brewer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or any committee member.
Help for victims of crime or abuse
Being a victim or a witness of a crime can be an emotional and difficult time.
Victims First provides free emotional and practical support to all victims and witnesses of crime or abuse, as well as family members of victims. It is available across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and can provide help regardless of whether or not the crime has been reported to the police.
A Victims First Officer can discuss any emotional or practical needs you may have and work with you to put a tailored support plan in place. This could involve referring you to a specialist service such as services for victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse.
The type of assistance available includes telephone and face to face support, advocacy including help to access other services such as sexual health clinics, drug and alcohol services and legal services, support through the criminal justice system (if you have reported the crime to the police) and therapeutic counselling.
A Young Victims Service is also available to anyone under 18 and works with young people to help them cope with the effects of crime.
To speak to a Victims First Officer about any of the services and to receive support please call 0300 1234 148.
You can also find more information or make a referral for support online at www.victims-first.org.uk
Live Well in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire County Council has an online directory of over 2,000 (and growing) support services across the county to help residents live better.
Live Well Oxfordshire has been developed by Oxfordshire County Council in partnership with Age UK Oxfordshire and Affinity Works. The directory has been designed to bring together information about groups and organisations offering services for adults with a variety of needs in one place.
It includes categories such as looking after someone, keeping fit and well, finding a care home, help with life events and many more.
To go to the directory, please click here.
Speed monitoring and parking
The Parish Council has received several complaints about both speeding and bad parking near the school, the pre-school and in the rest of the village.
If you have concerns about speeding in the village, would like to nominate any locations for a Speedwatch Survey or would be prepared to help carry one out, please contact Charlotte Bartlett (01869 347347 or email@example.com)
Please always park considerately. You should not park partially or wholly on pavements or yellow lines and zigzags, as this can be extremely dangerous. Thames Valley Police will be informed of persistent offenders.
The Parish Council
News from the Sports & Rec
Not everyone in Steeple Aston knows what the building next to the Village Hall and the Pre-school is… This is the Sports and Recreation Trust: we look after the changing rooms and the meeting hall and are also responsible for the Recreation Field.
The Field is where the football pitch and cricket nets are and where last month we all enjoyed the fantastic firework display. As well as sports, the field is also used for many of those annual events that really bring the village together like the Horticultural Show, Church Fete, and Whit Races. The meeting hall is where many clubs and societies meet every week. We work closely with the Village Hall, Parish Council and Church but have very much our own identity. In particular we try to concentrate on helping sports related groups and those that focus on young people.
The Sports & Rec has things happening most days but it is a smaller and less formal space than the Village Hall so well suited to children’s parties and smaller events up to 30 people and has a kitchen and a licenced bar. We can also work with the Village Hall to host joint events for 100 or so people.
We have the following regular groups, as well as parties and other events:
- Monday morning 10am (every other week) – Home Education Group
- Tuesday morning, 10am, Mindfulness
- Tuesday night, 7pm Scouts (and we are hoping to start Cubs again soon)
- Wednesday night, 6pm, Brownies
- Thursday morning, 9am, Baby and Toddler group (term times)
- Most Saturday afternoons in season, Steeple Aston Football Club
- Most Sunday afternoons in season Junior Football.
The Sports & Rec is a busy place but we do have slots available and are happy to look at special rates for village groups. Please contact Katie Rushworth (Booking Agent) on 01869 340196.
You can find contact details for all the clubs and societies in the Clubs and Societies section section or contact Torquil McLusky, Chairman, (347914) or Chris Cooper, Treasurer, (347173).
Your village needs you!
Do you have some time to spare to help our community? We are looking for people to help out with repairs and maintenance of amenities in the village, particularly around the play facilities at Robinson’s Close.
The next things on the list are yellow line repainting and mending a wooden bench in the pagoda. If you think you can help out, now or in future, please contact the Parish Clerk, myself or any member of the Parish Council.
Charlotte Clarke on behalf of Steeple Aston Parish Council
Community First Responders needed
Alan Brewer, Community First Responder writes:
Community responders are trained, equipped volunteers that answer emergency medical calls in their local communities and initiate treatment while the ambulance is on route. We are not a substitute for the ambulance but a complement to it,we also provide reassurance – the sight of the hi-viz jacket lets them know that help is near and often reduces stress.
It was discovered that if a series of events took place in a set sequence, a heart attack victim has a greater chance of survival.
Early access – this is getting to the patient as quickly as possible (to get help).
Early resuscitation – starting CPR to those patients who require it (to buy time).
Early Defibrillation – delivering an electric shock with a defibrillator to those patients in cardiac arrest (to restart heart).
Early advanced life support – the skills that Paramedics and Doctors have (to stabilise).
Over 350,000 people in the UK suffer heart attacks each year.
160,000 people die as a result of heart attacks each year.
Eighty-five per cent of victims have the potential to survive. The chances of survival decrease by ten per cent for every minute that treatment is delayed.
In addition as trained volunteers, community responders help patients suffering from breathing problems, severe bleeding, diabetic emergencies and unconscious casualties, all of which will benefit from early treatment.
Our aim is to preserve life, prevent the patient’s condition from worsening and promote recovery.
At present here in Steeple we have five trained Responders and two Defibrillators, this is voluntary, putting in 20 hours a month that suits you. Due to changes in life style, work and other activities three of our responders will be leaving us after many years of serving the community.
You must be able to drive and have your own car, no blue lights I’m afraid, your aim is to get to the patient with in eight minutes of receiving the call from the emergency dispatcher.
Now, if this is something you have been thinking about doing for your community then please get in touch with me on 01869 340423.
Adderbury Community Food Market
The market is held every second Thursday of the month from 6.00pm to 8.00pm at The Institute, The Green, Adderbury OX17 3NE.
You will find a wide range of local producers selling meat, poultry, eggs, savouries, vegetables, cakes & tarts, honey, coffee, gin & liqueurs, preserves and lots more. Guest stalls provide monthly variety. There is a bar and hot food to eat in or take away.
This is a not-for-profit community project. For more information go to www.market.adderbury.org
Community Education at the Marlborough School Woodstock
The Marlborough School offers an extensive programme of courses for adults. There are weekly courses and 1-day and 2-day weekend workshops. Many subjects are available at several levels – beginners, improvers etc.
Subjects range from tai chi, Pilates and yoga to singing, calligraphy and various art, language and computer courses.
To browse the courses available or download the latest brochure, go to www.marlborough.oxon.sch.uk/community/
To request a printed brochure and to book a place ring 01993 813592 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Essential repairs grant available
Cherwell District Council is offering an essential repairs grant to help vulnerable people, which covers, for example:
. Replacing a defective door or window
. Roof repairs
. Minor electrical works
You may be eligible if you meet the following criteria:
1. You have owned your home for at least three years and
2. You are eligible for a means tested benefit, and /or a tax credit with a household income below a set level and
3. You are over 60 years of age or in receipt of child benefit for a child living with you.
For more details contact:
Private Sector Housing Team
Cherwell District Council
Tel. 01295 227004 or visit www.cherwell.gov.uk
Calling all parents and grandparents
• Are you a good listener?
• Do you enjoy being with young children?
• Could you spare 2 – 3 hours per week?
• Would you be interested in becoming a volunteer with Home-Start?
• Volunteering provides excellent experience for a CV
Home-Start Oxford and Bicester is a local charity which supports families with at least one child under five years of age. They have been doing so for over 20 years and in that time have been a lifeline to thousands of families in need.
Their volunteers offer regular support, friendship and practical help to local families under stress in their own homes, helping to prevent family crisis and breakdown.
CAB Caseworker Help for disabled & vulnerable
- Are you living with a hard to manage mental or physical condition?
- Do you need some help to cope?
- Our Specialist Caseworker can visit you at home, offer a full welfare benefits eligibility check, and help you to access other relevant support services within your community.
Contact us if you:
- Are under 60 years old, and
- Live in Oxfordshire, and
- Have limited ability to get around on your own, and
- Need support to continue to live independently
To discuss your requirements in complete confidence, please leave a message with your name and contact number for Lynn on 01608 646990
Have YOU ever thought about FOSTERING?
There is a recognised shortage of 10,000 Foster Carers in the UK. PACT, founded in 1911, is also known as the Oxford Diocesan Council for Social Work inc. We are a registered charity working to improve life chances for children. The focus of our work is within Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and aims to build and strengthen families.
We are an approved Adoption and Fostering Agency. We have a history of finding safe, loving families for children in care. Here are a few facts about Fostering:
1. Did you know you don’t have to be married to become a Foster Carer?
2. You don’t have to have children already although you do need to have experience of caring for children.
3. Did you know you get paid a Fostering Allowance of £335.70 a week to be a Foster Carer which is tax free and won’t affect any other benefits?
4. Most of the children who need fostering are known as ‘hard to place’ children, they will usually be 8+ years of age.
Fostering is a hard but very rewarding job. If you think you might have what it takes to become a Permanent Foster Carer or you want to find out more then contact PACT now on 0800 731 1845 e-mail email@example.com
Katherine House Hospice Lottery
Support your local hospice lottery for just £1 a week.
Over £100,000 is raised every year.
Every week there is a first prize of £1,000 plus:
2 x £100 prizes
2 x £50 prizes
5 x £20 prizes
10 x £10 prizes
Fundraising and Lottery Office
Katharine House Hospice
Tel: 01295 816484
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Or download an application form from their website: www.khh.org.uk
Registered Charity No. 297099