Shop safe, shop local

Council urges residents to support local business

With the roadmap underway and with retail and hospitality sectors reopening after a turbulent year, what better time to support the local traders in Epsom, Ewell and Stoneleigh?

Local businesses have worked hard to make their facilities safe to help in the local fight against the virus.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is extending its ‘Shop safe, Shop local’ campaign to encourage people to back local businesses.

Councillor Colin Keane, Chair of the Strategy & Resources Committee said “Our traders have been through a lot this last year and it has been good to see people returning to our shops, pubs, cafés, restaurants and other businesses.

“There is a great entrepreneurial spirit in Epsom and Ewell with a wide range of independents as well as the larger retailers and hospitality venues.

“The Council has worked closely with local businesses throughout the pandemic but some are struggling, hit by the combined impact of Covid and changes in shopping habits.

“I am constantly told that residents want to support their local area. You have the power to make a real difference to the success of our local businesses with the spending decisions you make”.

The council is highlighting the diverse range of local businesses across the borough:

 

Angie Starr at Happyglaze Ceramics in Epsom said “I am so pleased our doors are back open and we’re really excited to be welcoming customers back into our Covid secure studio. We’ve focused on reopening bigger and better, with new techniques, products and services, and can’t wait to share them!”

Tammy Sirilli at the Holiday Inn Express on Epsom Downs said “Looking forward to welcoming all our corporate, leisure and  conference guests through our doors again. Excited to see our regulars back and to see lots of new faces!

Henry Lee at Fudges Cycle Store in Epsom said “We are fully open for business, operating a Covid safe environment, 7 days per week. We have a huge range of bikes in stock available for sale, our workshop is open for all your service requirements, and our team is keen to help deliver all the support you need to get you cycling”

Nicci & Sara, the owners of All Things Nice in Ewell village said “We are delighted to be able to throw the doors back opens and welcome you all back into our cafe and garden with fabulous coffee, fresh food & buckets of enthusiasm! We missed you”!

Rachel and the team at Fitness Theory in Epsom said “We’ve loved seeing our members return since restrictions have been lifted but now want to see some new faces in the building”!

Lauri at The Celtic Pantry in Epsom Market said “I love the market stall presence and have so enjoyed being part of the culture that goes with outdoor markets. I’m looking forward to the next stage, mainly for the lunch time rush on a Friday when all business are back working in the offices and bringing more people to the market during the week”.

Carlos Laorden at Blacks Burgers in Epsom said “Blacks Burgers has been able to carry on thanks to all of the customers that have supported us, and for that, we’ll be forever grateful. We’re very happy to be back open and ready for dine ins. Be safe in the knowledge that our mission statement has remained the same: Serve the best burgers possible, in a safe comfortable environment (and of course all safety aspects relating to Covid have been addressed, and government guidelines are being adhered to). We can’t wait to see you all soon”!

Elaine Teague at the Epsom Playhouse said “We’re really looking forward to reopening next month. The continued loyalty and support for The Epsom Playhouse has been greatly appreciated by the whole team during the last 15 months. It will be fantastic to see our patrons returning in the up-coming months to enjoy all Epsom’s local theatre has to offer”.

 

Great British Spring Clean

Council urges community involvement as part of Epsom in Bloom

Litter is a huge problem across the UK, causing harm to the environment and wildlife. Over the past year, Covid-related litter, such as face masks and gloves, have added an additional risk to both the public and to green spaces. 

The Great British Spring Clean, from 28ht May to 13th June, is a key milestone in Keep Britain Tidy’s calendar, encouraging thousands to help clear up their neighbourhoods. 

For 2021, the charity is calling on volunteer ‘litter heroes’ to help it reach a target of a million miles of picking (#MillionMilesMission). All minutes and hours promised will be converted into miles and counted on the Great British Spring Clean website. On average it takes 20 minutes to walk or litter pick a mile. 

The local community group, Keep Epsom & Ewell Tidy (KEET), has organised a borough-wide litter pick on Monday 31 May. The council are supporting this initiative by providing litter pickers and arranging for collections of the group’s collected litter from pre-arranged locations. 

Councillor Neil Dallen, Chair of the Environment and Safe Communities Committee said “If you are one of the over 900 people who have signed up to the council’s litter picking pledge, we’re urging you to join in by undertaking the litter pick with KEET or on another day as part of the Great British Spring Clean”. 

Epsom in Bloom is being run by the Council and Go Epsom as an entry into this years’ South and South East in Bloom competition. Judges award points for planting and flowers and also for environmental and community projects linked to Bloom: the more engagement the local community has with Epsom in Bloom, the better the result. Judging is due to take place at the end of June / early July.  

See Links Below For More Details

New Mayor of Epsom & Ewell

Councillor Peter O’Donovan elected first citizen of Epsom and Ewell

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has announced that Peter O’Donovan has been appointed the new Mayor.

Peter was first elected as a Borough Councillor in 2015 for Ewell Court Ward. He has served on various council committees, most notably on Planning for six years, and spent a year as Chair of the Environment Committee.

Peter is 60 and has worked in the finance sector since leaving school. He joined Lloyds Bank and made his way up to the position of branch manager before leaving in 1997. Since then, his career has included working with comparison website MoneyExtra; managing the assets for the old Bradford & Bingley and Northern Rock in UKAR; and as a mortgage advisor. He is currently a self-employed equity release advisor.

Peter has lived in Ewell since 2007. He is married to Sarah and has two children, Aoife (14) and Eoin (11).

Peter is a keen sportsman and helped run Eoin’s football team at AFC Ewell for a few years. He enjoys taking part in musical theatre and has performed at the Epsom Playhouse and other local venues, including the Wimbledon Theatre and the Fairfield Halls. It was whilst playing Alfred P Doolittle in My Fair Lady at the Secombe Centre that he met Sarah.

On becoming Mayor, Peter said: “Epsom and Ewell is a special place; successful, welcoming, inclusive – the ideal environment to bring up a family and to run a business. My aim as mayor is to give something back to the borough I call home and to meet and thank the people who contribute so much to our community”.

Peter will be using the opportunity to raise funds and recognition for three organisations that mean a great deal to him. These are…

  • Epsom RDA
    A local organisation providing disabled people with the opportunity to improve their health and wellbeing through horse riding

  • My Time for Young Carers
    A charity providing fun activities for young carers aged between 7 and 15 who live in and around Epsom and Ewell, and Mole Valley

  • Look Good Feel Better
    A national charity who help boost the physical and emotional wellbeing of people living with cancer.

The Mayor is the first citizen of the Borough of Epsom & Ewell and has several specific roles during their one-year term of office. These include representing the Council and the local community at formal and ceremonial occasions, both within the borough and elsewhere, and chairing full meetings of the Council. During the mayoral year the Mayor is strictly politically neutral and the work representing those in their ward is undertaken by the other ward councillors.

 

Get Active Epsom and Ewell!

Boost your mental and physical wellbeing this April – sign up today!

Residents of Epsom and Ewell are being encouraged to take part in ‘Active April’, a new initiative being launched by Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, to encourage local people to boost their mental and physical wellbeing in the borough’s great outdoors.

Active April runs from 1 – 30 April and is open to residents of all ages and abilities. As part of this initiative, each week in April will focus on a different sport or activity and ways for residents to take part, from walking, cycling, running, jogging to playing sport outdoors.

As a fun challenge, residents can sign a pledge to take part in Active April and make a note of all the activities they are doing each week. At the end of the month, residents who have signed up will be invited to share their personal achievements. This could be how many hours they have jogged, miles walked, or types of sports played. The most active person in Epsom and Ewell will receive a £25 sports voucher to spend in their local chosen sports outlet.

Residents can sign up to take part at www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/active-april where they’ll also find information on walking and cycling routes and outdoor sports facilities in the borough’s parks and open spaces, challenges to complete and useful resources to help them stay physically and mentally active.

With Spring in the air and outdoor sports facilities re-opening on 29 March as part of the next phase of Step 1 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, Active April is all about offering residents the opportunities to stay active in the borough’s wonderful parks and open spaces in keeping with current government guidance and restrictions.

Find out more and sign the pledge to get active this April today at: www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/active-april

Stay up to date with #ActiveApril on our social media channels @EpsomEwellBC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Don’t forget to tag us in your posts!

LINKS:

For more information on Active April see www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/active-april

For more information on getting active in the borough see: www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/getting-active

For Covid-19 council service updates see: www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/coronavirus

For current government guidance see: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Epsom and Ewell Showcase 2021

Epsom Rotary will be hosting a YouTube streaming evening on Saturday 1st May to showcase the best of the talents of Epsom and Ewell.  From 8pm to 10pm they will run a programme of Epsom & Ewell based music from choirs, musicians, and bands as well as poetry and other interests such as local interest groups and charities.  They hope to have some items of local interest as well  The aim of the evening would be:-

  • To provide an evening of fun and entertainment for local people
  • To show what talents exist in the Epsom and Ewell area
  • To allow some charities and interest groups to explain what they do and why it’s fun
  • To raise some money for local charities

They plan to run the evening with occasional requests for money in the same way as Children in Need is run with straplines asking for donation.  Access to the stream would however be free.

They will also run a session from 6pm to 7pm with children’s entertainers offering short sessions. We already have the offer of a children’s story with illustrations being read.  This session depends really on demand from the public and children’s entertainers willing to give their time whilst promoting their services.

If you wish to contribute in any way.  They would like artists to send in videos of their work which can be played from the studio, rather than live acts.  To submit a video Click Here

Council sets budget for 2021/22

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council set its budget for 2021/22 yesterday evening (Tuesday 16 February) at a Full Council meeting.

In setting the budget, councillors have agreed a 2.43% increase to council tax (borough council portion) – this is the equivalent of 9.5p per week for the average band D property and the council tax for this borough remains below the average for Surrey. 

The percentage of the overall council tax being paid this year by residents of Epsom and Ewell to the Borough Council will be 10%, Surrey Police will receive 14% and 76% will fund Surrey County Council activities.

The budget was set in the climate of ongoing increased expenditure as the council addresses the pandemic within the borough, including a significant rise in emergency temporary accommodation. The council has also seen a large decrease in commercial income (eg from parking and income from rents) due to COVID-19.

Speaking at the Budget Meeting Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of the Strategy & Resources Committee said he recognised the challenges faced by so many residents including “the lockdowns, the absence of physical contact with family and friends, the worries over employment, being furloughed, the closure of schools and the challenges of home schooling, and the toll on the mental health of so many”.

He added that “Using the ideas in the Councils Future 40 vision which were shaped by residents themselves, we will further develop our recovery plan, for the Council and the Borough as whole, to Build Back Better so that, collectively and individually, we will be stronger and even better than before”

Referencing the new council tax rate, which for the lowest council tax band will be just 6 pence extra a week, Councillor Kington said that:  “We are asking all our residents pay a few pence extra each week so that we can come through the pandemic in a stronger position whilst collectively protecting the very important services that support the most vulnerable members of our community”

Councillor Kington also said he was “Very pleased that, as in previous years, there are no cuts to the services provided by the Borough Council”.

This budget key facts:

Council tax for the borough to remain one of the lowest in Surrey

Council tax increase just 10p per week

Residents on the lowest council tax band will pay just 6p extra a week

Ongoing investment in the borough’s future to continues

The budget sees a rise in the Epsom & Ewell Borough Council proportion of council tax of £4.95 per annum or 2.43% (for band d property).

For full details of the budget CLICK HERE

 

 

Epsom Rotary Club Helps Another Local Charity

Have you heard of the local charity “The Meeting Room”? It’s an organisation that runs daytime drop-in centres for homeless, socially isolated and vulnerable people living within our local community. Epsom Rotary Club is proud to support the Meeting Room.

Did you know that every year around Christmas the Ashley Centre security staff on behalf of Epsom Rotary Club put a large collection box in the centre for donations of food items. We then collect and deliver the donated items to The Meeting Room.

In this extraordinary year Epsom Rotary Club members have also donated wrapped Christmas presents for The Meeting Room to distribute to individuals and families that they support. It is also worth mentioning that many others have also generously made donations

The drop-in centres provide a warm, safe and friendly environment where people are made to feel welcome and can eat, relax and socialise. A hot nourishing mid-day meal sustains the body, while talking, playing games and other activities help to break through isolation.

Important as the Daily Centres are, The Meeting Room also offers other vital support including:

  • Accompanying clients to appointments where they need someone to speak up for them. This may be an assessment, medical appointment, social workers or legal meetings.
  • Assistance to prevent homelessness, such as helping negotiate debt, helping with maintaining their property and negotiating with housing associations where there has been a problem.
  • Help with paperwork or online forms. Many clients are not fully literate or unable to use computers, so we help them complete necessary paperwork.
  • Running regular self improvement courses. We have courses scheduled to cover the following: Mindfulness; Building Confidence and Self Esteem; Managing Finances; Managing Stress and Anxiety.

To find out more about the work of The Meeting follow this link: https://www.themeetingroom.biz/. More about Epsom Rotary Club can be found at: https://epsomrotaryclub.org 

Local Crime Update

Epsom Choral Society Keeps calm and carries on singing!

Amateur choirs,  like many other groups, have struggled enormously during the Covid-19 pandemic. We all had to stop singing and an important part of our lives disappeared.

But Epsom Choral Society, now in its 99th year, was determined to find a way to keep going. For nearly a century we continued to sing through wars and crises, and we were not going to stop now if we could find a way to continue safely. 

During lockdown, when choirs were forbidden to meet in person, we held weekly rehearsals online.  Something of a challenge for many of our members, but despite having to master this new technology, over 70 members of our choir joined in. 

When the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced in September that community choirs could meet again, providing they adhered to government guidelines, that was the green light Epsom Choral Society had been waiting for and we sprang into action. 

We used to rehearse in St Martin’s church hall but, under the new social distancing rules, that wasn’t possible for a choir of our size. Instead St Martin’s offered us the use of the church itself where we usually perform our concerts and which could accommodate all members who wished to return to group singing, suitably distanced. Our members were so happy to have the chance to sing together again. And for those who were too vulnerable or shielding, we streamed all our rehearsals live so that they could still join in at home. Now during the second lockdown we will go back to online rehearsals but hope we can resume rehearsing in December.

And so, through adversity, Epsom’s longest established choir continues to sing.  

Chairman Helen Phillips said: “I can’t tell you how excited we were at the prospect of singing together again. Zooming was invaluable as a way to keep us connected but was like eating dry toast when what you really want is a cream tea. We are so grateful to St Martin’s for helping us get back to the real thing.” 

Now ECS are going one step further. We realised that, as we have the ability to live stream into people’s houses, we can put on a live Christmas concert that our loyal audience can watch from the safety of their own home. So on Saturday 19th December at 5pm we will be live streaming our annual Christmas concert from St Martin’s Church. This concert will be streamed directly from our website (www.epsomchoral.org.uk) and free of charge – although we will be inviting people to make donations to help us keep singing in the future. Singing is good for mental health and we hope that our Christmas concert will bring festive cheer for the Epsom community.

We are extremely grateful to Epsom businesses Artifax Software Ltd who have kindly offered to sponsor us, and also to Grayside Insurance. Both Artifax and Grayside have been long term supporters of ECS and we are very appreciative of their continued support during these difficult times.

Please note:

  1. Epsom Choral Society is in its 99th season and has over 100 singers. In normal times, we put on at least four concerts each year in Epsom, Cheam, London as well as singing each year in a European town. www.epsomchoral.org.uk
  2. Epsom Choral Society is a friendly choir and, once the pandemic is over, look forward to welcoming new members again. They do not audition but do aim for high performance standards.
  3. Rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings, currently in St Martin’s Church, Church Street, Epsom under the artistic direction of conductor, Julian Collings.
  4. Artifax Software provides Venue and Event Management software to arts organisations world wide – and is based in Epsom. www.artifax.net
  5. Grayside Insurance, also Epsom based, provide Financial and Insurance services. www.grayside.co.uk

Surrey Police ready to meet the challenges of second lockdown

Robust plans are in place to ensure that Surrey Police can continue to meet the challenges of further changes to the coronavirus regulations – that was the message from Chief Constable Gavin Stephens following the introduction of the second lockdown last week.

Urging Surrey residents to play their part in preventing the spread of the virus, CC Stephens urged people to stay at home as much as possible to save lives.

Thanking the Surrey public for their high compliance with the restrictions since the first lockdown was imposed on 23 March, he said:

 “We know that this a challenging and unprecedented time for everyone and that the public are doing their best to adapt and follow the rules in place for everyone’s safety. We have seen high levels of compliance in Surrey and I am so grateful to our local communities for this and am confident that this will continue to be the case.

He continued: “Our officers will continue to engage with our local communities using our well-established policing approach of engaging, educating and explaining. However, in exceptional cases, and only as a last resort and where people show a blatant disregard for the rules, we will take enforcement action.”

520 Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued by Surrey Police since the start of the lockdown on 23 March for contravention of lockdown regulations.

A total of six Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) were issued over the weekend following the introduction of the second lockdown on 5 November. Three of the FPNs issued related to the same incident after three men were stopped in a van at the Clacket Lane services on Friday evening (6 November).

Although there was not enough evidence to link to them to the reported poaching incident, all three were issued with £200 fines for breaching current covid restrictions.

Of the six tickets given, all were given to people aged 22-35 years and five of them were given to men.

During the first lockdown, Surrey Police saw an increase in reports of certain crimes, including online fraud, domestic abuse and online child exploitation, as well as a rise in the number of mental health incidents being reported.

However, there was a decrease of 37.5% in the number of residential burglaries between 1 April and 8 November compared to the same period last year. Reports of external child exploitation also decreased during the first lockdown.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Ali Barlow said: “These crime patterns are reflected nationally and we will obviously continue to monitor these trends as we navigate our way through the second lockdown.

“We will continue to work with the county’s fantastic outreach services and helplines to support those who report domestic abuse.

“Similarly, we will work with our partner agencies to tackle online exploitation involving children, particularly as they will inevitably be spending more time on their mobile devices during this period.

“During the first lockdown, children were subject to increased tensions within the family and increased exposure to domestic abuse and abuse of alcohol and drugs. The dynamics are different in the second lockdown because children are still going to school.

“We also believe that child abuse did increase during the first lockdown but that it wasn’t reported and so wasn’t reflected in the crime figures.

“We would urge anyone who suspects a child as being at risk of abuse or online or external exploitation to report it to us straightaway. We do not want children to suffer in silence.

“We will also continue to issue tips and reminders about keeping yourself safe from fraud and to not give out your personal details or banking information as we see a shift in everyone spending more time online.

“Safeguarding our most vulnerable victims will always be a top priority for us and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to ensure that we continue to do so alongside all the other demands which are being placed on us in these unprecedented times.”

More In Detail Look At Trends Since March 2020

FPNs issued

Since 23 March, Surrey Police have issued 520 fixed penalty notices (including the six issued over the weekend). These included contravention of restricted movement during emergency period; contravention of gathering of more than two people in a public place; failing to comply with instructions; participating in a gathering in an indoor space; not wearing a face mask within a relevant place; coming back from a non-exempt country and failing to self-isolate; contravention of self-isolation regulations.

 Crime trends during first lockdown

Domestic abuse

Reported incidents peaked in May at the height of the first lockdown (1,509 domestic abuse offences reported in May 2020 compared to 1,292 incidents reported in May 2019). Outreach services across the county also saw an unprecedented number of calls during the first lockdown period.

Child abuse

  • Since the UK went into lockdown on 23 March 2020, Surrey Police have seen a 12.2% decline in the number of child abuse reports compared to the same time frame in 2019 (103 less reports). This is largely attributed to the reduced opportunity to spot the signs of child abuse within school, nursery and youth clubs settings with them having closed temporarily.

Online child exploitation

  • There was a 19% increase in referrals to their Paedophile Online Investigation Team during the same period, indicating that more child exploitation is happening online as children and perpetrators are spending more time on their devices.

Mental health

•             There were noticeable increases in the number of mental health incidents and s136 detentions in Surrey.

•             These incidents were made more complex because of the pandemic, with a recognised increase in presentation by people not previously known to services.

•             There has been a significant increase in young people being detained under s136 during 2020 (73%) and this uplift begins in April during the Covid-19 pandemic.

•             The increase in demand is not Surrey specific and has been identified as a national issue by the NPCC and College of Policing mental health lead.

Fraud

676 fraud offences were reported between 23 March 2020 and 4 July 2020, which was an increase of 73 offences (12.11%) compared to the same period last year. Action Fraud also reported significant increases in reporting of online fraud during lockdown, particularly in relation to online shopping, advance fee fraud, and cheque, plastic card and online banking.

Cyber crime

During the first lockdown (March to June) there was an increase in reports of cybercrime (166 reports, compared to 136 reports for the same period in 2019.

•             January 2020 – 145

•             February 2020 – 120

•             March 2020 – 133

•             April 2020 – 157

•             May 2020 – 186

•             June 2020 – 189

•             July 2020 – 201