Support your local area – let’s shop!

The Prime Minister has confirmed that ‘non-essential; shops, hairdressers and gyms can reopen in England from Monday 12 April. Boris Johnson said that the next stage of England’s roadmap out of lockdown can go ahead as planned.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is urging local residents to shop local. 

A spokesperson said “It’s vital we support our own communities. By buying your meat from a local butcher, purchasing from one of the new stall holders at Epsom Market, opting to use the shops at Stoneleigh, ordering a takeaway from restaurant in Ewell and getting a haircut at one of the many shopping parades across the borough, you will provide much-needed support to your local community.

“Research form the campaign group Independent Retailer Month, suggests that for every £1 spent locally around 50p – 70p of that money recirculates back into the local economy. That’s why the Council’s ‘Shop Safe, Shop Local, Shop Epsom & Ewell’ campaign is encouraging residents to shop safely and buy locally wherever they can.

“Supporting local businesses means that they will stay in business through this difficult period.”

Staying local, as individuals can walk and cycle, also boosts exercise and is more environmentally sustainable.

Some retailers will be taking advantage of temporary relaxation in trading rules that will allow them to stay open until 10pm from Monday to Saturday in a bid to spread out shoppers and avoid congestion.

Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality can reopen from 12 April, but customers must sit outdoors and be served via table service. Indoor leisure centres – including swimming pools and gyms can also open their doors again.

Hosted activities at council venues, including at Bourne Hall, will be re-established in line with the government roadmap, increasing the activities available to residents and supporting neighbouring businesses.

Please help us continue to make the borough safe for the return of shoppers by:

Following social distancing guidelines:

    • Paying by contactless where possible
    • Following directional signage

    • Being considerate and give way

    • Wearing face coverings when social distancing isn’t possible.

It’s a kind of magic

Children’s ward appeal flies high with Theo the Magician

Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Charity is delighted to announce that award-winning Theo the Magician will be hosting a fun interactive online magic show to raise money for the dedicated children’s ward at Epsom Hospital.

Theo the Magician’s magical event will support Casey Ward’s appeal to fund a ‘magic carpet’ for the young patients on the ward. With a mobile projector, motion sensor and interactive mat and lots of preinstalled games and apps, the Magic Carpet provides children with a range of activities for physical, mental or sensory simulation, from being transported to a virtual seaside, to taking part in a dance off or completing a puzzle.

And even more importantly for these times, play can be touchless while the mat is easy to clean and sanitise between users.

Well know Sutton resident and member of the prestigious Magic Circle and Equity, Theo Theodoris, normally performs shows all over Surrey and South London, but is currently delighting young audiences using the magic of zoom to bring abracadabra into the room!

His show, exclusively for the Magic Carpet Appeal, will be at 10am on Saturday 10 April. Bookings will remain open until midday on Friday 9 April. The show will last around an hour and will contain tricks, illusions, and games to suit children of all ages.

For your invitation and more information, the Charity and Theo kindly request a minimum donation of £10 for every child who watches the show. Every penny will go towards the appeal.

This won’t be the first time Theo has chosen to support his local hospitals. Back in 2003 he raised a staggering £17,000 for St Helier’s neonatal unit who saved the life of his daughter Elena who was born 10 weeks early and weighed just 2lbs. Since then, he has continued to hold numerous fundraising events for the unit bringing the total, so far, up to £25,000! This includes his Magic Sunflower Competitions and during last year’s lockdown he also chose to donate some of the fundraising to the Charity’s Covid Appeal.

Theo said: “I’m delighted to be able to help entertain the kids with my fun interactive magic show while at the same time helping Casey Ward get this exciting piece of equipment, powered by digital magic! Unfortunately, I know all too well the anguish of having a child who is very poorly and needs hospital care. But I also know that the children’s team at Epsom always know what’s best for their young patients and are fully committed to them. I have no doubt that this magic carpet will make a real difference to the kids on Casey Ward.”

To book your ticket for Theo’s magic show, please make your donation at (you can do this as a guest).  Then email [email protected] with your contact details and the number of children participating, and their ages. Alternatively, you can donate over the phone by calling the Charity on 01372 735 262.

The Charity always welcomes support from local people and businesses – if you would like to make a donation to this or any other project, please contact the team by email at [email protected] or call 01372 735 262.

For more information about Theo the Magician please visit:

Local projects awarded funding

Borough Councillors have chosen to allocate over £216,000 of Community Infrastructure Levy funds on a selection of projects within Epsom and Ewell.

Each year, borough councillors and local community groups are able to bid for funds from the Community Infrastructure Levy for local projects, with winning bids selected by a committee of councillors.

The projects receiving funds this year are:

• 1st Ewell Court Scout Group for storage facilities
• Girl Guiding Epsom to fund a trench for utilities to service campsite lodge
• Outdoor gym for Court Recreation Ground
• CCTV for Alexandra Recreation Ground
• Rifle Butts Alley footpath resurfacing
• New gates at Hook Road Arena to address anti-social behaviour
• New drinking water fountains in six parks as part of a push against single use plastics
• A replacement playground for London Road Recreation Ground
• Refurbishment of the Longmead MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area) with specific emphasis on deterring antisocial behaviour.

Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of the Strategy & Resources Committee, said “The Community Infrastructure Levy provides us with an opportunity to use contributions from developers for the benefit of our residents and I am pleased that, once again, we have been able to support a range of bids from community groups providing new infrastructure in locations across the borough.

“Many of the projects will support outdoor leisure activities, particularly for young people, at a time when being outside and active is encouraged. Keeping people safe is also a theme of the bids, and I am pleased that we have been able to support those projects too.”

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) allows the council to raise funds from developers undertaking new building projects in the borough and is used to support new physical and social infrastructure and to improve existing facilities. Under legislation, 80% of total CIL collected has to be allocated towards borough wide infrastructure and up to 5% towards administration. In addition, at least 15% of levy receipts must be spent on priorities as agreed with the local community.

Kissing Gate - Hook Road Arena

Latest news from Chris Grayling MP

Dear constituent

I am writing to you with a further update on the Coronavirus crisis. I also wanted to tell you about what I am planning to do with these emails going forward.


Firstly, many of you who are eligible for vaccinations will be aware that you have not been able to book second jabs at the racecourse after mid-May. This is because the NHS only has access to the course up to that time. After that it will hopefully revert to normal for the Derby meeting in early June and the resumption of regular events if the rules are lifted in the middle of the month.

There have been two different vaccination centres operating side by side at the racecourse. Vaccinations have been organised both by the NHS on a regional basis and also by local GP practices on behalf of their patients. This has enabled the centres to get through lists more quickly, and in particular has allowed the GPs to concentrate on some of the more vulnerable groups.

There are four local groups of practices working together on a variety of issues including vaccination. Three have been operating together from the racecourse for the vaccinations, and the fourth, the Integrated Care Partnership, has been operating from Fitznells in Ewell.

After May the regional operation at the racecourse will move to Sandown Park in Esher, and you should soon be able to book second appointments there. The three practice groups have not yet finalised which local centres they will be using, but I would expect them to have local premises available.

If you received your first appointment after a message from your GP practice, the advice is to wait, and they will contact you to fix a second appointment locally in due course. If you went through the national website to book the first time, then the best advice is to book the closest available centre for the second and then rebook at Sandown if you need somewhere closer once appointments are available there online in the coming days.

Infection rates in Surrey

The levels of infection in our area have continued to fall sharply, which is good news, as has the number of patients in Epsom Hospital which is now a fraction of the peak level. There may be an increase in infection levels again now the schools have gone back, but my impression is that our local schools are doing a very good job of managing testing to keep any spread of infection under control. I am grateful to all local heads, teachers and school staff for what they are doing. I visited one local secondary this week and the arrangements were very impressive.
The latest information about infection rates in Surrey is here

Lockdown rules

A few people have asked me specific questions about what the rules are likely to be after April 12th and the other dates that the Government has set out for the easing of restrictions. I do not yet have any firm details beyond the outline in my last email bulletin. These are all provisional, and I expect full details from the Government about a week before each date. I will keep you updated as soon as I can, and will do my best to give you sensible steers for difficult questions. But there will not be definitive answers until the full guidance is published ahead of each date, pandemic progress permitting.

The Chalk Pit site

There is one other item of current local news I wanted to mention. Many of you will be aware of the controversy around the expanded use of the recycling facilities in the Chalk Pit in Epsom. This is now being used for a level of activity that is far beyond what has previously been permitted and the operators are applying for retrospective planning consent.
In the meantime the operation has been causing considerable nuisance to local residents. I am pushing the Environment Agency and the County Council to step up their enforcement action and have lodged a formal objection to the planning application. I am in regular contact with local residents, but if you are one of those affected please feel free to get in touch.

With best wishes 

Chris Grayling

New Local Testing Site Opened In Epsom

A new walk-through coronavirus testing facility has opened for those with symptoms to book appointments at the Upper High Street Car Park (KT17 4DU) in Epsom, as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to continue to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for local communities.

Testing at this site is only available for those with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test at or by calling 119. The government is committed to continue expanding the capacity of the network of UK test sites and laboratories to make it even easier to get tested and reduce the time it takes to receive test results.

The new site is situated so it is easily accessible without a car. Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practicing good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout, including while travelling to and from the testing centre. 

Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through test site will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.

Testing at the new site started on Tuesday, 16th February, with appointments made available each day.

The site is part of the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities created in British history which has the capacity to process more than 700,000 tests a day and includes more than 800 sites across the UK, including 88 drive-through sites, 493 walk-through sites, six Lighthouse laboratories, home testing and satellite kits, and a large number of mobile units.

Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them trace their contacts. This will help to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.

Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for ten days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop symptoms.

Health Minister, Lord Bethell, said: To respond to the coronavirus, we have built a major testing and tracing system from scratch. We are constantly working to expand and improve it with new technologies and innovations so everyone with symptoms can get a test.

“New walk-in sites like this one makes it even easier to get a test no matter where you live. If you have symptoms of coronavirus, I urge you to book a test today and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted to protect others and stop the spread of the virus.”

Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “Walk-through sites offer communities better access to coronavirus testing, so everyone with symptoms can get a test. This new site is part of our ongoing work to expand our testing network across the UK which now has the capacity to process more than 700,000 tests a day. We will continue to expand capacity to improve test turnaround times and push forward testing innovations to make sure anyone who needs a test can get one.

 “Please book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms: a new continuous cough, a high temperature and a loss or change in sense of smell or taste, and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted.”

 The testing centre is being operated in partnership with Serco and will offer self-administered tests.

 Jonathan Brasher, Serco’s Director for Testing Centres, said: “We are pleased to be supporting the Government, in their work to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, as one of the providers managing testing centres, including this new local test centre in Epsom.

“I would like to thank all my colleagues within Serco who work extremely quickly and professionally to set up these testing centres, alongside the other organisations involved. I know that they are proud to be playing their part to help deliver this vital programme.”

Asymptomatic Coronavirus Test Centre

Normally at this time of year Bourne Hall is getting ready to host Herald of Spring with What’s On In Epsom Spring Craft Fair but like most events since March 2020 this will not be taking place this year. Today in the fight against Covid a new Asymptomatic Coronavirus test centre has opened at Bourne Hall for those essential workers who are not tested in the workplace and show no signs of any symptoms. I went along to get tested and to show you what to expect.

To get a test you must book via Surrey County Council website CLICK HERE The site also has information on who can have the test.

The first thing to note is that the Car Park at Bourne Hall is still pay and display so you will need to allow for this on your arrival. If you have Ring Go on your phone you can pay via the app. 

Entrance to the test centre is to the left of the main entrance, the main entrance is for click and collect from the library,  At the entrance to the site you are met and shown to the Registration area. 

Here you will need to show proof of your address, tests are for residents of Surrey, and your test booking. Staff are on hand to sign you in. Once completed you will be shown to one of the 10 bays for your test.

Here you will be explained the test procedure and you start by blowing your nose. Once you are happy to start you will be handed a swab. Holding the swab in your hand, you open your mouth wide and gently rub the swab’s fabric tip over both tonsils at the back of the throat for 10 seconds, I must say I don’t like this bit at all, Once completed you put the same end of the swab gently into one of your nostril until you feel some resistance. Rotate the swab for 10 to 15 seconds and slowly remove it. 

You then place the swab in the tube provided and break off the tip of the swab and hand back to the member of staff. The test is now complete and you are shown the way out at the other end of the hall turning left down the corridor and back out into the car park near the Way Out gate of Bourne Hall.

I did noticed on my way out that the bays are cleaned thoroughly after each person has been tested and from the time you enter the building till the time you leave you are required to wear a face mask.

I was in and out in no time at all with the result texted to my phone after 30 mins. I must say the staff are very helpful, friendly and understanding.

As well as Bourne Hall you can also have your test done at Nima Pharmacy in Stoneleigh

For More Information or To Book A Test CLICK HERE

A big thank you to Ben and the team at Bourne Hall and to  Surrey County Council for allowing us to visit and take photos.

Oh and by the way I tested negative…..

Epsom RDA Volunteer Receives RDA Presidents’ Award

Epsom RDA is very proud that long standing volunteer, Jo Lee, is a recipient of this years’ Riding for the Disabled Association Presidents’ Award. This is the most prestigious volunteer award presented by the National Riding for the Disabled Association and is awarded for exceptional dedication.

Jo, who lives in Epsom, has been volunteering at Epsom RDA for 31 years. In the three decades travelling from teenage volunteer to Trustee and Group Coach Jo has made an outstanding contribution to the Group and is very much at its’ heart. As well as coaching disabled riders on her regular Wednesday evening riding sessions, Jo has responsibility for overseeing the care of the charities’ herd of 10 horses. In addition she is always prepared to step up and led on a myriad of other activities to help the Group including: organising the in-house riders championships, tackling the logistics of volunteers, riders and ponies travelling to Regional Championships and National Championships as well as fundraising and making sure the yard is kept in an orderly fashion. Most recently she has bought the experience from her professional life as a School Business Leader at a large local primary school to contribute to the processes to make Epsom RDA Covid safe for its’ volunteers and riders.

Jo said “When I first arrived at Epsom RDA as a teenager I never for one moment imagined that I would still be volunteering there over 30 years later and that Epsom RDA would become such an important part of mine and my family’s life. I am delighted to have been recognised in this way, but I am mindful that I am one individual representing the wider Epsom RDA community. It is a community that I am very proud to be part off especially so in the challenging circumstances of the last year.”

In her over three decades of service to Epsom RDA Jo has led by example frequently going the extra mile for the benefit of the charities’ riders, volunteers and ponies. It is hoped that Jo will be able to receive her award in person from the RDA President, HRH Princess Anne, at a prestigious event as soon as circumstances allow.

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 CLICK HERE or contact them via email at  [email protected]

Clean, caring, and catered for: £2 million pledge for vital Epsom and St Helier staff

Epsom and St Helier is investing £2 million in the cleaning, catering and portering teams who help to keep patients safe and support hospital and community services 24/7, in a move which will improve pay and benefits for these vital staff members. 

From 1 June 2021, the staff will once more become NHS employees at the Trust, as the current contract (which was held by provider MITIE) comes to an end after a successful six years. In re-joining the NHS family, the cleaning, catering and portering staff will see a number of benefits, including an uplift in pay to ensure all staff are paid the London Living Wage – a 12% increase on current pay for some 440 staff, based on the increased London Living Wage for 2021/22.  

Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles said: “Our cleaning, portering and catering teams are absolutely at the heart of our hospitals and community services. Their work has become even more crucial during the pandemic – cleanliness, professional portering of sick patients, and catering that powers our staff and keeps patients well-fed and hydrated, has never been so important.  

“As the current contract comes to an end, we’ve looked at what’s best for the staff, our hospitals and services, and what provides best value for taxpayer’s money. Having fully assessed our options, and with the support of our Trust Board, we look forward to taking our cleaning, portering and catering services back into the NHS family as part of the Trust’s Estates and Facilities Team. We would like to thank Mitie for its high quality support and service since 2015.”  

The Trust has agreed to invest more than £2 million annually to ensure all staff are paid the London Living Wage from 1 June 2021, meaning a 12% pay increase for all non-supervisory staff in these roles. It will be the biggest staffing investment the Trust will make in the next financial year and also improves benefits for those staff, placing them on direct contracts with the Trust.  

Daniel said: “We have pledged to support equality, and this move is central to that commitment. Some 40% of our cleaning, catering and portering staff are from BAME communities – communities already hit particularly hard by COVID-19. This is absolutely the right time to welcome these teams back to the NHS family, with all of the benefits that brings.”  

For more information about Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust, visit  

To find current job vacancies Click Here


It is somewhat unusual for two racehorse trainers to be celebrating a dead heat, but this is the case for the latest dual winners of the Sir David Prosser Trophy, Simon Dow and Michael Attwater.

For the last two decades, an award has been presented to the leading Epsom trainer of the year.  Since 2014, the award has been named in honour of Sir David Prosser, former Legal & General CEO and unfaltering supporter of the Epsom Training Community, and it will continue to be named in his honour following his death in 2020.  The award takes into account every winner enjoyed by Epsom-based trainers, under both Flat and National Hunt rules, which for Simon and Michael was a total of 18 winners apiece in 2020.

The trophy is usually presented at Epsom Downs racecourse as part of Racing Welfare’s prestigious Epsom Owners’ & Trainers’ Awards in November, however, the event had to be cancelled last year due to Covid-19.  Instead, the achievements of the two winning trainers have been recognised virtually, with an online presentation hosted by local raceday presenter and host Anthony Kemp.

Dawn Goodfellow, Racing Welfare Chief Executive said: “I am delighted that, despite losing the awards event itself, we are still able to recognise the success of two well-established trainers and stalwarts of the Epsom training community.  It is fantastic to see Simon and Michael share this award for 2020.”

Simon Durrant, Epsom Downs Racecourse General Manager said: “Given what has been an extreme and challenging year, it is brilliant that the Epsom Training Community has been able to celebrate continued success.”

You can watch the virtual presentation below. The video also includes an interview with Simon Dow and Michael Attwater who reflect upon what has been a tough year for the industry, as well as looking forward to greater things to come in 2021.

Racing Welfare

Racing Welfare is the only charity that supports all of racing’s people – including stud, stable and racecourse staff, alongside those working in associated professions – from their recruitment right through into retirement. The charity provides a wide range of advice and guidance services, all of which are completely confidential and non-judgmental.  Support is available for a wide range of life’s challenges, including physical health, mental health, bereavement, careers advice, housing, money advice, illness, addiction, relationships and retirement. Racing Welfare’s services are nationally accessible with offices in all of the main racing centres and roving Welfare Officers covering the whole of the country. 

The charity owns 164 units of accommodation across the UK, with a focus on providing housing for young people working in racing and those who have retired from the industry which are managed by its housing arm, Racing Homes.

Racing’s Support Line, a multi-channel support platform, allows people to contact the charity online as well as through a 24hr telephone line.  


Racing’s Support Line: 0800 6300 443

Online self-help resources:

Statement From Surrey Heartlands NHS

As cases of Covid-19 continue to rise across the South-East, including Surrey, our hospitals are very busy and we expect that to continue over the coming weeks.  As a result, the local NHS has been working as a system to put measures in place that will enable us to prioritise how we provide care, focusing on those patients who are critically ill.

Dr Claire Fuller, Senior Responsible Officer for Surrey Heartlands explains more:

“Due to the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on local NHS services, we are doing all we can as a health and care system, to increase capacity. This includes opening more beds and redeploying staff to support our Covid-19 response, wherever we can.

However, to ensure we keep vital NHS services running we recognise that this isn’t enough and we now need to prioritise how we provide some care services to our community. This is not a decision we have taken lightly but we must focus our efforts on those who are critically ill and need the most urgent care. This means we have now postponed many routine and non-urgent elective procedures and operations to focus on urgent and cancer care, including caring for those with Covid-19.”

These new measures include:

  • Opening up additional beds within our acute and community hospitals to help create additional capacity for people who need to be admitted. This includes plans to open additional beds at the NHS Seacole Centre.
  • Prioritising urgent and cancer care over non-urgent care. This has meant postponing some routine planned elective procedures and non-urgent operations to help create additional bed capacity and free up staff to support our Covid-19 response.
  • Moving to virtual (telephone and online) appointments for many outpatient services to reduce the number of people travelling to hospitals and other sites to reduce transmission.
  • Working together as a system, across health and social care, to discharge people from hospitals as soon as they are well enough to leave, with the right support and the right package of care.
  • Working with our independent sector partners (such as private hospitals) to identify any additional bed capacity and any clinical staff that could be deployed to other sites if needed.
  • Temporarily suspending home birth services due to ongoing pressures on the ambulance service which means SECAMB are unable to guarantee a timely ambulance response to those women choosing to plan their birth at home or in a stand-alone midwifery unit should they experience an emergency.

Importantly, patients who have booked appointments should still attend; if we need to reschedule an appointment patients will be contacted directly. 

Dr Fuller continues:  “I would like to thank all our staff and partners across Surrey Heartlands, for everything they are doing at what remains a challenging and exceptionally busy time.  The measures we have put in place will allow us to care for those who need the most urgent help over the next few weeks; we will of course keep the situation under constant review so we can restore these non-urgent services as soon as possible.  In the meantime, NHS services are available if you really need us; spotting problems early is vital, especially cancers, and GPs continue to refer patients who need urgent treatment to hospitals as normal.  And if you do have a booked appointment it’s really important that you attend.

Finally, we would like to thank the public for their support and to remind people to follow the national guidance to reduce the spread of Covid-19; this is critical in helping to protect our families, keep frontline services running and save lives. The pressure will stay on the NHS as long as the infection rates stay high.”

Ahead of the New Year bank holiday, Dr John De Vos, Consultant and Clinical Lead for Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust’s Covid isolation unit added:

 “Everyone please stay safe and please, please follow the rules they are there for a reason. We are seeing this increase in numbers and we need to all work together to try and get that number down and prevent the spread of Covid further. Together we can do this. It’s been a very, very tough year but we’ll get through this and we’re continuing to be here for you.”

He went on to explain how people can support their local NHS at this time, saying: “If you feel unwell and you feel like you maybe need to come to hospital please contact NHS 111 (online via or by calling 111) they can give you the right advice. This will help us from overcrowding our Emergency Department and the hospital. Of course, if you feel acutely unwell you should continue to attend the hospital or ring 999.”

As a reminder, if you or someone in your household show symptoms of the virus, or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, please self-isolate straight away. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you can book a test by calling 119.  NHS services are still available if you need us. Spotting problems early is vital, especially cancers. GPs are continuing to refer patients who need treatment to hospitals as normal.