Blog

Supporting vulnerable children in the borough

Over £38,000 will be given to the Epsom and Ewell Foodbank this week to support their work ensuring that vulnerable children in the borough don’t go hungry in the coming months.

On 27th October, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s Strategy & Resources Committee agreed to transfer the funding to the Foodbank which came in the form of a Government Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential supplies.

Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of the Strategy & Resources Committee, said:

“The Epsom and Ewell Foodbank has done a remarkable job in supporting individuals and families affected financially by the pandemic, and I am very pleased to be able to release this funding to them.

“Since the start of this pandemic, our Council has worked hard to support residents throughout the borough.  We are maintaining that focus and determination now, especially as we are seeing coronavirus infections on the increase in the borough.”

During the meeting, the Committee also agreed to provide grants of £5,000 each to Age Concern Epsom and Ewell and to Citizens Advice.  These are to support their ongoing work in the coronavirus pandemic, preparation for winter pressures and the EU Transition after Brexit.

The Council are also making preparations to use their own kitchens to provide healthy packed lunches, if required, before schools restart. 

All enquiries about support for free school meals during half term can be made to 0300 200 1008.

In June 2020 the Prime Minister announced a grant of £63 million for local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials. This is known as the Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies.

Surrey County Council has been granted an allocation of £788,015.67 on the basis of population, weighted by a proxy measure of need, the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) for each authority area.  Epsom and Ewell Borough Council has been provided with a proportion of this funding totalling £38,598.65.

Supporting the local economy

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has been working hard to ensure that local businesses have received the support they need throughout the pandemic.

Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of the Strategy and Resources Committee said “COVID-19 has had a significant and unprecedented impact on all aspects of life in this country, including on business and employment. 

“In Epsom and Ewell, our local businesses have shown great resilience and adaptability throughout the pandemic and have continued to operate in very challenging circumstances. We are proud to see how our local shops, restaurants and other businesses have been putting in place all the necessary measures to operate safely and provide employment for local people. Through their efforts, our shopping areas are a safe and welcoming place to visit. 

“I am grateful to residents who have supported their local shops and restaurants and who buy local whenever they can.

“While the Council has been busy managing the emergency situation and keeping essential services going, we have also taken a range of positive actions to support local businesses and their continued recovery.

“We recognise the importance of working together, and we are determined to stick with the commitments we have made to support and invest in the local economy. We want to ensure that the local economy emerges stronger than before and continues to contribute to the vibrancy and prosperity of the borough”.

Karen Pengelly, the BID Manager from the independent Go Epsom stated “2020 has been an extraordinary year; Epsom’s business community is demonstrating outstanding resilience and adaptability, qualities needed for the duration of this pandemic. With no pandemic handbook in existence, Go Epsom, the Business Improvement District, has welcomed the manner in which the Council has handled business support, the approach throughout has been to enable, support and assist, it has been exactly what was needed.”

Councillor Kington was speaking after last night’s Strategy and Resources Committee which discussed the importance of the local economy and the proactive approach the Council was taking to support local business during the pandemic. These have included:

  • Administering the payment of grants totalling £10million to over 700 small businesses
  • Establishing a High Streets Task Force with support from Go Epsom, Surrey Police, the county council and major businesses, to help with the safe recovery of the boroughs retail and hospitality areas
  • Working with GLL to support the re-opening of the Rainbow Leisure Centre
  • Engaging with Job Centre Plus to ensure that residents whose jobs could be impacted by the pandemic have to access to effective support in accessing new employment opportunities
  • Contacting over 100 restaurants and food business as national restrictions started to be lifted, providing relevant information and guidance to support the safe re-starting of their businesses operations, including advice on dealing with other health and safety risks such as legionella
  • Engaging with all the borough’s pubs and bars to support their safe re-opening and ongoing COVID Secure operation
  • Providing fact sheets and posters for local letting agents and landlords of houses in multiple occupation on COVID-19 issues
  • Completion of major elements of the Plan E investment programme, including the Market Place to create the best possible environment for local businesses and their customers
  • Introducing new Epsom open air markets and safe operation of the existing markets to encourage visitors into the town centre
  • Developing and launching a new scheme to support local restaurants and cafes that want to make use of the space outside their premises
  • Working with the county council to deliver the temporary extensions to the footway on the Northern High Street in Epsom to provide additional pedestrian and queuing space
  • Establishing a team of Borough Wardens to provide reassurance, advice and guidance to visitors and local businesses, and to ensure that borough and its high streets continue to be a safe and welcoming place to visit.

Remembrance in Epsom & Ewell

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and government guidance, showing respect on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day will need to be conducted in a different way this year.

The Mayor will lay wreaths at all the borough public war memorials of behalf of residents of Epsom and Ewell.

The Bourne Hall Park Garden of Remembrance will be open as normal for you to place your own symbols of remembrance. And, of course, you can place poppies and wreaths at war memorials however please be respectful of others who may be visiting too and follow social distancing. 

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council are requesting that residents do not visit at 11am on Sunday 8th November (Remembrance Sunday) or on  Wednesday 11th November (Armistice Day) to avoid groups gathering.

Surrey County Council are encouraging all Surrey residents to take part in the two minute silence on their doorstep, or inside their homes, as a mark of remembrance at 11am on Sunday 8th November and Wednesday 11th November.

The Royal British Legion are asking everyone to back the Poppy Appeal in a new way to adapt to the threat of Covid-19. Please visit the Royal British Legion website for key ways to get involved and support and for ordering poppies and buying poppy merchandise from their online Poppy Shop.

The Epsom and Ewell Poppy Appeal has launched their own GoFundMe page for donations as they are not going to out and about as much as normal this year (Epsom and Ewell normally raises the most funds in Surrey for the poppy appeal). To donate CLICK HERE 

Poppies will be available in the Ashley Centre and at Homebase on 31 October, 1 November and 7 November.

What’s On In Epsom will not be holding our Walk To Remember but we will still be laying a wreath on behalf of our followers at Ashley Cemetery War Memorial.

Be Extra Vigilant

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is urging residents to increase their efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus as public health data shows that the number of positive cases in the borough has significantly risen

Infection rates are rising steeply in Epsom and Ewell and the council is calling on people of all ages to do all they can to restrict the spread of coronavirus.

Data published by the county council shows that, for the week ending 24th October, the Epsom and Ewell rate was 109 cases for every 100,000 people. This is significantly higher than the majority of Surrey.

Councillor Liz Frost, Chair of the Health Liaison Panel and Covid-19 spokesperson, said “The steep rise of cases across the borough is a serious concern.

“No one wants to see any further restrictions brought in locally, but we need to get on top of the increasing infection rates in the borough. Ultimately it will be the Government’s decision on whether further action is required.

“There is no room for complacency, and I would urge residents to continue following the basic advice of hands, face, space and the rule of six. Individual actions can help to stabilise, then reduce, the transmission of the virus and protect the most vulnerable people in our community – it’s in our own hands to keep ourselves and our loved ones, neighbours, staff and customers safe”.

“We continue to work with Surrey County Council, Public Health England and other partners to monitor the case numbers in the borough.”

The council has:

  • Written to businesses across the borough with information and advice to help them ensure that their premises are Covid-19 secure
  • Written to shared homes to provide practical advice

If you have COVID-19 symptoms of high fever, continuous cough and loss of taste or smell, then self-isolate immediately and get tested by calling 119 or visit the NHS website. If you have a positive test or are alerted by a contact tracer, play your part to protect your community by self-isolating; this is now a legal requirement.

Stay Safe, Don’t Be Spooked This Halloween!

Surrey Police will again be working alongside local authorities, Surrey Fire and Rescue and the Surrey Trading Standards Service during Halloween and Bonfire Night to target anti-social behaviour. 

To ensure responsible trading, Surrey Police is working with local businesses asking shops not to sell large quantities of flour and eggs to those they suspect will use them to damage property. Posters bearing the same message are also being distributed by neighbourhood officers. 

‘No trick or treat’ advice posters are available from local Safer Neighbourhood policing teams, and posters will be on display to reinforce the messaging.

CLICK  HERE for poster then Right Click to save image.

If you or your children do choose to go trick or treating this year, please remember the following safety tips:  

  • No cold-calling houses and pre-specify which houses to visit by checking with the occupants first
  •  Avoid houses where there are people shielding and where there are vulnerable people. Pre-specify which houses you intend to visit by checking with the occupants first
  • Avoid close contact with others and continue to observe social distancing 
  • Respect the privacy and wishes of people who do not want to take part in trick or treat – observe the ‘No Trick or Treaters please’ posters people may display in doors or windows
  • If you are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, please remain within your household
  • Avoid gatherings of six people or more. Perhaps Consider celebrating virtually or with members of your own household as this poses low risk for spread
  • Assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit your gathering or trip – Find Covid local Alert Level. 
  • Covid-19 can be spread by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus, as well as through droplets breathed in
  • Avoid communal buckets of sweets
  • Carry hand sanitiser and wash hands frequently. 

Surrey Police ASB Manager Jo Grimshaw said: “If you are going trick or treating, please follow the safety advice and remember that some people, especially the elderly, might be frightened by groups of people knocking at their doors so please respect any homes displaying a ‘no trick or treat’ sign. 

We want people to enjoy themselves safely but Halloween does not legitimise bad behaviour or vandalism and people need to consider how their actions can affect others. 

Officers will be carrying out high visibility patrols over the coming weeks and taking appropriate action against any anti-social behaviour. Causing damage to someone’s property could result in an on-the-spot fine or an arrest so act responsibly and everyone will enjoy Halloween.” 

Anyone who needs to report anti-social behaviour can contact Surrey Police direct message or report online using webchat or our webform https://www.surrey.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/ or calling 101. If you do not wish to leave your name, please call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

Anyone with information about shops that may be selling fireworks to young people can contact Surrey Trading Standards via Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06. 

For more advice on keeping COVID-19 safe this year, and within the law around Halloween and Bonfire Night visit www.surrey.police.uk.  

What a difference a day makes…

Make a Difference Day, which takes place on the fourth Saturday of October this year Saturday 24th October 2020, is an annual celebration of the contribution by volunteers in our society and encourages others to try volunteering.

The Mayor of Epsom and Ewell, Councillor Humphrey Reynolds said: “I feel it is important to use today as an opportunity to raise the awareness of our local voluntary community and to thank them.

“This year has seen borough residents of all ages and backgrounds helping out in a myriad of ways during the pandemic. I want to thank each and every one of you.”

“While the general public may only see volunteering when it is in the headlines, I know that there are many performing vital roles within our community, behind the scenes, year in and year out.”

“Individuals and groups contribute to our community on many different levels, including in youth, culture, sport, care and the environment.”

“Each of us is regularly presented with opportunities to make a difference. Most of the time, for quite understandable reasons, we let those opportunities pass us by. Don’t assume that you have nothing to give or that people won’t want what you have to offer. You don’t need to make a huge gesture to make a difference.”

“If you would like to volunteer and would like to find out what’s available locally contact Central Surrey Voluntary Action.”

“One day of volunteering can make all the difference”.

For more details regarding Central Surrey Voluntary Action Click Here

You can also Phone 01372 722911 or Email: [email protected]

Don’t be spooked, you can still enjoy Halloween

While some Halloween activities will have to be paused this year, there are ways you and your family can enjoy spooky fun while staying safe from exposure to COVID-19.

Six spooktacular low risk activities:
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them in your window or outside
  • Getting the Bake Off vibe and gather the household around to make ghoulish and tasty Halloween cakes and biscuits
  • Celebrating with a household movie night with the people you live with and dress as your favourite characters
  • Taking part in a ‘spot the pumpkin’ trail, where people display pumpkin or Halloween pictures in their windows and you have to try and find them all with your family (a good walk around the neighbourhood remembering to socially distance)
  • Organising a Halloween scavenger hunt by hiding Halloween treats (and tricks) in and around your home for your children to find
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume competition using a video chat app
Higher risk activities to avoid this Halloween:
  • Traditional trick-or-treating, where sweets are handed to children who go door to door
  • Attending a party where there are more than six people from different households
  • Going to any event where people may be crowded together and screaming

Councillor Barry Nash, Chairman Community & Wellbeing Committee, said: “This year, we need all the fun we can get. Many of the Halloween traditions we have adopted over the last few years, such as trick or treating, carry a risk. The challenge is how to still have fun but to have it safely and consider how to make fun, Covid safe”.

If you are pumpkin carving, be careful to avoid pumpkin carving injuries. Children can draw a face with markers and then an adult can do the cutting. Consider putting a battery-operated light rather than an open-flame candle inside your carved masterpiece.

 

Epsom RDA Planning for the Future

Despite the difficult times Epsom RDA is planning for the future. In 2019 the Group received planning permission to build a new indoor school. It had been hoped to start the building of the 25 x 45 indoor school this year, but the arrival of COVID 19 has slowed progress.

Epsom RDA Chair, Ray Lee said: “We were looking forward to getting the building work underway this year. We would have then been able to increase the number of rides we can run and improve the quality of the facilities for our riders and volunteers by the end of the year.”

The Group has had a delay in the building programme as the funding they were so close to securing has been halted as a number of grant making bodies who had expressed interest in the project have suspended their activities. These organisations have had a loss of income as a result of the cancellation of events such as the London Marathon.

However, the Group remains committed to the plans to provide its’ volunteers and riders with a first-class environment, increase the choice of activities riders can take part in, and make the service available to more riders.

Ray continued: “Riding and volunteering brings tremendous physical therapeutic benefit to riders, equally important is the benefit of being involved with horses and being active to the well-being for both riders and volunteers alike. This will be especially important as we start to recover from COVID 19. We are working hard at finding other sources of funding and are hopefully that we will be able to get the first stages of the project underway by the Spring next year.”



About Epsom Riding for the Disabled Association

Epsom Riding for the Disabled Association (Epsom RDA) provides disabled people with the opportunity to ride to benefit their health and well-being.

Epsom RDA provides over 3,000 riding lessons for 350 disabled adults and children.

Epsom RDA is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) Charity Number 1180061) and a member group of the national Riding For The Disabled Association.

Epsom RDA is entirely funded by donations and our own fundraising efforts.

For more information,please contact: Email: [email protected] or visit www.epsomrda.org.uk

…and breathe

A week on from Clean Air Day 2020, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is highlighting a free service to residents who may experience health problems due to occasional poor air quality.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is part of the Surrey airAlert consortium.

airAlert is a service that sends free messages direct to people informing them about local air pollution levels in the area the day before air pollution is expected to occur.

Air pollution can cause both short term and long term effects on health and many people are concerned about pollution in the air that they breathe. These people may include those with heart or lung conditions or other breathing problems and those people who look after someone whose health is sensitive to pollution.

airAlert is intended for people with respiratory health problems who may be affected by air pollution.

Councillor Neil Dallen, Chair of the Environment and Safer Communities Committee explained “The council is responsible for investigating complaints and responding to pollution incidents in relation to air quality, industrial pollution, bonfires, dust, fumes and odour. This is in addition to routine day to day monitoring of pollution and regulation of industrial processes.

“However, air quality here can be affected by events outside of the borough, the county and even the country.

“airAlert is an incredibly useful for tool that the council has invested in for residents to use free of charge. If it prevents just one person from having a serious issue and an emergency visit to hospital, it is a sound investment, and we know that over 600 people have downloaded it”.

airAlert can be downloaded https://airalert.info/Surrey/Default.aspx

Generally if you are young and in a good state of health, moderate air pollution levels are unlikely to have any serious short term effects. However, elevated levels and/or long term exposure to air pollution can lead to more serious symptoms and conditions affecting human health. This mainly affects the respiratory and inflammatory systems, but can also lead to more serious conditions such as heart disease and cancer. People with lung or heart conditions may be more susceptible to the effects of air pollution.

Four of Epsom and Ewell’s green spaces have once again won the Green Flag Award!

Four green spaces within Epsom and Ewell have been recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as some of the very best in the world.

Epsom Common Local Nature Reserve, Ewell Court Park, Alexandra Recreation Ground and Rosebery Park join other green spaces awarded this recognition throughout the UK. 

A record-breaking 2,000 green spaces across the country have received this international award in a year when millions of people have seen the value of having great quality green spaces on their doorstep.

The four green spaces in Epsom and Ewell that were put forward for judging for the award were selected, as they are broadly representative of the different green spaces within the borough:

  • Epsom Common Local Nature Reserve has won the award for the fourteenth consecutive year. It is the largest local nature reserve in Surrey and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
  • Ewell Court Park has won the award for the ninth year in a row. The park is the former gardens of the historical Ewell Court House.
  • Alexandra Recreation Ground has also won the award for the ninth year in a row. It is a sports ground with facilities for cricket, soccer, bowls, tennis and basketball situated in Alexandra Road, Epsom.
  • Rosebery Park has once again won the award for the eighth year running. It is a formal town centre park in Epsom.

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world.

Councillor Barry Nash, Chair of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s Community & Wellbeing Committee said: “We are absolutely delighted that four of our parks and green spaces have once again won the Green Flag Award, a testimony to the hard work of our staff and also to the input and support from community groups and volunteers.

“We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors, especially more than ever this year, and this Award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining our parks and green spaces to such high standards. Let’s continue to respect our beautiful green spaces by keeping them clean and safe for everyone to enjoy.

“By lighting up a tree in Rosebery Park to mark our Green Flag Award success, we joined buildings and landmarks across the country, going green for parks to celebrate and to say a massive thank you to the parks staff, volunteers and the Green Flag Awards Judges for all their hard work this year.”

Commenting on Epsom and Ewell’s success, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive, Alison Ogden-Newton OBE said, “This year, more than ever, our parks and green spaces have been a lifeline and we know that millions of people have used them to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.

“It is a testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff and volunteers that, despite the challenges that went along with record numbers of visitors, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s award winning parks and green spaces have achieved the highest international standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”

For more information on Epsom and Ewell’s parks and open spaces visit www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk   

The Green Flag Awards Scheme (http://greenflagaward.org/) is run by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, in partnership in the UK with Keep Scotland Beautiful, Keep Wales Tidy and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. The scheme also operates in an additional 14 countries including Portugal, New Zealand and USA.

Keep Britain Tidy is a leading environmental charity. We set the standard for the management of parks and beaches, inspire people to be litter-free, to waste less and to live more. We run programmes including Eco-Schools, the Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces and the Blue Flag/ Seaside Awards for beaches. To find out more about Keep Britain Tidy, our programmes and campaigns visit www.keepbritaintidy.org  

Any green space that is free to enter and accessible to the public is eligible to enter for a Green Flag Award. Awards are given on an annual basis and winners must apply each year to renew their Green Flag Award status. A Green Flag Community Award recognises quality sites managed by voluntary and community groups. Green Heritage Site Accreditation is judged on the treatment of the site’s historic features and the standard of conservation.