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]

Walkies At Wisley

On Saturday 19th September RHS Wisley held one of their popular Walkies at Wisley nights allowing visitor to look around the beautiful gardens with their 4 legged friends. Having never been to Wisley Dogs Outings Guide were delighted to be invited.

The gardens are open from 4pm – 6pm and to be honest I was surprised how busy it was and wish I had done some research on the parking situation. We parked in car Park 3 which is to the far right of the main entrance and for our dog plenty of places for our dog to stop and sniff.

Once at the entrance it was all plain sailing. You do need to pre-book your tickets, as is the case for most places you visit now days, and as expected there are some rules. Only 2 dogs are permitted per person, which is fine. If you have more take someone with you. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times. We couldn’t see any signs about the type of lead but with a busy event like this we used our retractable lead with a shorter lead as back up.

It goes without saying you have to pick up any dog waste and use the bins provided, which there were plenty, I don’t understand people who don’t pick up after their dogs especially is a place like this. I am pleased to say everyone we saw was using the bins.

As this was our first visit we did find it overwhelming and rushing to get in we couldn’t find any maps. Again, due to covid-19, there might not have been any but there were maps around the gardens showing you where you are. There are sign posts and after stopping at the small lake we headed towards the Glass House.

From beautiful lawns, viewing points, fruit tree orchards and walks along the stream rolling down from the rockery area. On a barmy warm late September evening this was a wonderful evening out and best of all the dog enjoyed it.

The Wisley Plant Centre and Shop is open for the evening but by the time we got back they were closed. As for drinks these were also available from outdoor catering outlets as no dogs permitted inside catering outlets. In the time we were there the time just flew by and we wished it was longer then 2 hours to walk with your dog around such wonderful grounds.

Would we go again? yes but may be different time of year. A place like RHS Wisley you need to enjoy throughout the year and seasons. Unfortunately RHS Wisley only allows registered support dogs throughout the year. But hopefully more events like this are planned.

Cost of the evening is FREE to RHS Wisley Members and £7 per adult and £5 per child. For more information regarding RHS Wisley CLICK HERE

Dogs Outings Guide (D.O.G) is for like minded dog loving people to share and recommend Places To Visit, Places To Stay, Bars & Restaurants, Shops in fact anywhere you go with your four legged friend.

To join the free Facebook group CLICK HERE 

Satisfied Eye International Film Festival Full Line Up

The Satisfied Eye International Film Festival (SEIFF) returns to Epsom for its third season this 9th-11th October at the Odeon and they are extremely excited to announce the full line-up which is now live at https://satisfiedeye.com/tickets/ with tickets and festival passes on sale.  
 
The festival is rated in the top 100 in the world (out of over 8500) and is an internationally renowned event with one of the highest quality programmes of any festival. Tickets are £7.50 each or £35 for a festival pass which allows you to watch every film over the three days (at a saving of £100).
 
Over 90 films from over 30 countries with over 30 premieres, including multiple BAFTA and Oscar winning films. All live and in person (with full social distancing and government followed guidelines) at the Odeon Epsom. With their ever-popular People’s Choice Awards, children’s animation, science fiction, horror, costume drama, comedy, feature films, short films and documentary, there really is something for everyone.
 
Watch the trailer to get a sample of all the great movies on show https://youtu.be/HBTbDuQxnlc
 
The festival takes safety extremely seriously and all precautions are being followed to the letter, the booking system automatically provides socially-distanced seating and the Odeon will be ensuring full sanitation procedures before and after every single screening.
 
This does mean that tickets will not be sold on the door and only those who have booked will be able to attend. Should the current situation change and the event cannot go ahead, full refunds will be given. Ticket holders will also have exclusive access to dozens of online Q&As we will be recording with those filmmakers who, due to travel restrictions, are unable to attend this year.
 
During these challenging times, as a completely voluntary event that receives no local or government funding, the festival is relying more than ever before on the support of the community so do please spread the word.

The Dawn Chorus: tune into Nature during lockdown

Natural England is rallying the nation to connect with nature this Easter weekend by tuning into one of nature’s most special phenomena: the dawn chorus.

As we firmly emerge from winter into spring this weekend, Britain’s most loved and widespread birds including robins, blackbirds and song thrushes will be heard singing to defend their territories and attract a mate for the breeding season.

By simply opening your window an hour before Sunrise, we can all enjoy a slice of nature safely without the need to leave our homes. And the dawn chorus is set to be heard especially loud and clear this Easter, with many of us expected to enjoy fine weather and quieter roads than usual.

Chair of Natural England Tony Juniper said:

“Across the UK people can enjoy this vibrant annual manifestation of life happening right next to where we live, including in the heart of our biggest cities.

This wonderful celebration of life is all the more important during this difficult period, when it is so important to appreciate everyday things. Now is an especially good time to connect with this annual natural wonder, when our birds have less competition from the roar of planes and traffic.”

The dawn chorus can be enjoyed annually from March to July, as the increase in daylight switches male songbirds into breeding mode to sing for a mate.

There are many online resources available to help people identify any mystery voices and learn more about the nation’s birds, such as on the RSPB’s website.

The dawn chorus can also be enjoyed from the garden or whilst exercising – however, people should follow government guidance on using green spaces and protecting yourself and others. The government’s priority is to save lives, and the best way to protect yourself and others from illness is to stay at home.

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David Harper – Unexpected Tales

David Harper BBC TV antiques presenter, and star of  Bargain Hunt, Flog It!, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is and The Antiques Roadtrip, brings his first stand up theatre show ‘Unexpected Tales’ to Epsom Playhouse on Wednesday 26th February 

David, known for his brightly coloured trousers, is also known for his for his appearances on BBC TV shows which are often disastrously – he’s been described as the worst ever contestant in the history of Celebrity Masterchef!

His stand up show is an improvised, story telling night of entertainment. Often involving the audience, he shares tales of embarrassing moments, funny celebrities, run-ins with the police, big antiques profits , bigger losses, strange historical journeys through time, behind the scenes TV gossip and unexpected world records. The show is very much audience led with involvement in the form of questions from the audience or questions and challenges from David throughout, as the talk develops.

Initially the tour was purely for the north of England, but it’s had some rave reviews and so ‘Unexpected Tales’ is now being extended to cover the whole of the UK

If you would like more information or to book tickets CLICK HERE

Skills Hub Initiative Announced

Affordability of local rented housing is a major factor in homelessness across the borough, and being in work is core to local households being able to afford to rent a home in the local area. 

Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of the Strategy & Resources Committee, explains “Whilst unemployment is low within the borough, there are many households living in council provided emergency temporary accommodation who just cannot afford the comparatively high housing costs of this area as they are either unemployed or in low paid or fragile employment”.

Recognising we all need some help sometimes, the council has announced the establishment of a new skills hub, hosted within the Epsom Job Centre Plus. The skills hub will be deliver training and support in partnership with Surrey Life Long Learning. Those attending the skills hub will be able to access support and training, tailored to their specific needs to help them either get into employment or better employment.

A rolling programme of tutor led and/or online workshops will be provided and, depending on the individuals’ needs, these could include literacy, numeracy, language and digital training plus business start-up and self-employment guidance and money management coaching.

The council has long recognised the need to assist households in seeking work. The council’s ETHOS project assists the unemployed and those at risk of unemployment to find suitable employment opportunities, creating effective CVs and developing their interview techniques. In developing the skills necessary for the workplace, the skills hub will support the work ETHOS does in getting people into employment.

Councillor Eber Kington, added “residents of Epsom and Ewell live in an area with high educational attainment, fantastic employment opportunities and good connectivity with London and the rest of the country. We believe all our residents should benefit from the success of the borough and have the opportunity to access good quality employment. The skills hub initiative will help a small minority of residents who need additional assistance into better employment, helping to make day to day living costs, including the cost of accommodation, more affordable.”

It is anticipated that the financial investment in the skills hub will be more than matched by the reduced cost to the council of emergency temporary housing if just a few people gain meaningful employment and are able to afford the rent of a home in the borough.

This is great news for the borough. What’s On In Epsom is a proud to support Epsom & Ewell Jobs Board alongside ETHOS. The Jobs Board social media pages is there for local employees to advertise local jobs for FREE. This site also allows jobs to be listed. If you are looking for staff CLICK HERE to list your vacancies 

Unemployment rates

Epsom & Ewell 2.2%
South East 3.1%
UK 3.9%
(Oct 2018 – Sep 2019)

Education and skills

52.2% of residents in Epsom and Ewell aged between 16 and 64 years hold a qualification at level NVQ4+. This is higher than the Surrey average of 50.1% and the national average of 38.3% (ONS: Annual Population Survey – qualifications – 2017 data)

 

Contestants Sought For Live Love Gameshow

The Ashley Centre, Epsom is looking for couples to be contestants in their live Me and You Game Show in the centre on Saturday 8th February.

From 11am until 4pm couples are invited to compete to win tons of great valentine’s gifts from Ashley Centre retailers by answering easy questions about their relationship. No need to book, just turn up and give it a go!

The Ashley Centre Manager David Beddows said: “We are looking forward to sharing the love in Epsom in readiness for Valentine’s Day by asking couples to see just how much they really know about each other in our fun game show. But you don’t have to take part in the live quiz to win, just like our Facebook page between 31 January and 13 February for an opportunity to win prizes every day!”

For more information about The Ashley Centre and all the latest events, please “like ” them on Facebook (facebook.com/theashleycentre), follow them on twitter (@ashley_centre) or visit our website (theashleycentre.co.uk)

A previous Valentines competition held in The Ashley Centre

Just Because Day at Epsom Primary School

On Friday 24th Jan I was invited back to my old school Epsom Primary, or as I called it back in 1969-1975 Pound Lane School. The event was Just Because Day. A special day where staff, children, parents and visitors celebrate helping others with an act of kindness.The idea behind the day is to celebrate doing something for nothing and making the children feel valued. 

Michelle Pollard Head of School

Speaking to Michelle Pollard Head of School she said ” Value is something that gets distorted and can sometimes be related to what you got or finance but actually what you can do for your community, your friends, your family  and others is a life skill and is so important” She added “As well as all the wonderful ideas the children, staff and parents have come up with its escalated now with local businesses and independent schools getting involved which is great and looking to expand working with these groups in the future.”

The morning started with a school assembly some of the children had a special gift and a lovely poem for one of the teacher who is expecting. The poem was lovely and that was the cue for the tissues all round. The Choir started singing Bruno Mars Count On Me with the whole school joining in. I knew I was in for a special day, make sure you watch the video with the sound on,. 

During the assembly one of the local independent schools involved  St Christopher’s School presented the school with a check of £2,000 to go towards new equipment 

Annie Thackray presented with a Thank You card from pupils of Epsom Primary

Headteacher Annie Thackray told me “St Christopher’s has been working with Epsom Primary for several years due to our shared passion for literature.  Epsom Primary have attended every one of our ‘Great Read’ competitions and their avid readers often win prizes by finishing in the top 3 teams.  This link allows us to see what goes on inside this amazing school and you only have to look at their incredible library to know that inspiring and developing a love of literature is at the heart of their ethos.  When we heard about their ‘Just Because Day’ we were eager to get involved.  As a registered charity we have a responsibility to support schools wherever we can and this partnership has been successful because we see first-hand just what a difference we can make.  The money will buy some fabulous Early Years equipment and we are delighted to be able to help.  Our wonderful PE teacher Mrs Sarah Pryor was also keen to get involved and as she is a netball specialist, Headteacher  Mrs Michelle Pollard, warmly welcomed her to teach netball skills on Friday afternoon as part of this day of kindness.”

Inspirational is the best word that I could use to describe Michelle Pollard.  Her drive and energy to make the children’s educational journey as magical as it can be has seen her introduce a raft of initiatives such as their annual Shine Awards. We are delighted to be working together and look forward to future opportunities.

Throughout the day the Parents cleaned the lower years play area, St John’s School gave Cricket Lessons, Sutton & Epsom Rugby Club popped in to run a training session for the school rugby team, City of Freemen’s band joined the school band. There were talks by the Children Trust and loads more. Some of the children also visited Applyby House Care Home 

We love this idea and great lesson for a lot of us to learn. Life is not all about money, It helps, but a kind act goes a long way. At the end of the assembly there was a saying on the screen 

” If you have to choose between being Kind & being Right choose being Kind and you will always be Right”

Make sure you watch the video below to get a small taste of a wonderful day.

EVERYONE IS WELCOME AT THE RACE FOR LIFE EPSOM

THIS January, everyone is invited to Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Epsom.  The charity’s much-loved events are returning to the town but are no longer restricted to female participants.

This means everybody can be part of the empowering Race for Life movement – and show support for the 33,800 people diagnosed with cancer every year in Greater London.

Anyone who signs up in January can claim a special 30% off the entry fee* by using the code RFLJAN30.

The Race for Life events take place at Epsom Downs on Sunday, June 21 and are open to people of all ages and abilities.

Sarah Parker, Cancer Research UK’s Event Manager for Epsom, said: “This year, our Race for Life events are open to everyone.

“We’re sending a heart-felt message to anybody who’s thought about signing up in the past but for one reason or another hasn’t got round to it.  This is your year – please seize the opportunity to register in January and become part of the Race for Life community. 

She added: “Our events are fun, colourful, emotional and uplifting. Participants take part at their own pace – taking as much time as they like to complete the course. For some people, the Race for Life is literally a walk in the park.  For others, it’s a jog or a run.

“Although ‘Race’ features in the name, our events are not competitive. Instead, ‘the Race for Life’ is about our doctors, nurses and scientists working as hard and fast as possible to help more people survive.”

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5k and 10k events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

Sarah continued: “This January, we’re urging mums, dads, nans, grandpas, brothers, sisters, friends and workmates to show their support by joining the Race for Life.  It’s a perfect example of everyday people doing an extraordinary thing – uniting in a common cause to beat cancer.”

Cancer Research UK receives no Government funding for its ground-breaking research.

That’s why money raised through the Race for Life events is vital. It funds world-class research to help beat 200 types of cancer – including bowel cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, testicular cancer, brain cancer, children’s cancers and leukaemia.

Sarah said: “The Race for Life is a powerful, inspirational movement which unites participants in Epsom with people across the South East and the whole of the UK.

“People get together and remember loved ones lost or celebrate the lives of those who have survived.  At the same time, they are helping to make a difference to people with the disease, right now.

“Please go to the Race for Life website, choose an event, and sign up today.”

To enter, visit raceforlife.org