Business support – Covid-19 grants update

Business support – Covid-19 grants update

Do you run a hospitality, accommodation or leisure business that remained open during the Tier 2 restrictions in December, but with your trade severely impacted during that time? You can now apply for a Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) up to £1,800. 

You can find details about this grant and the various other funding schemes that are currently available on the Vale’s Business Support website.    

Local businesses can also sign up to the South and Vale Business Support mailing list by visiting the link above, this is the best way to find out as soon as grant funding becomes available locally.  You can also receive updates by following the Businesses Support teams Twitter and Facebook accounts.  

Winter Support Grant Scheme

Winter Support Grant Scheme

The Vale has launched a new grant scheme to help residents affected by the pandemic to buy food and keep their homes warm this winter.  The Vale has been given £73,430 and this funding must be spent by 31 March 2021. Citizens Advice South and Vale and Wantage Independent Advice Centre will now distribute this funding out on behalf of the District Council.

The advice centres can support people with supermarket vouchers for food and fuel vouchers to top up prepayment meters or with paying a heating bill. This will be alongside their usual package of advice and support around budget management, debt and benefit advice and any other assistance the resident may need signposting towards.  

If you have received a food voucher from a previous scheme, or indeed support via free meals or any other route, you can still apply for a Winter Support Grant.  

Anyone in need of support should contact their local advice centre. Those in immediate and urgent need should, as always, contact the Community Hub on 01235 422600.  You can also contact your nearest Botley Responder street rep for help and support.

Parking enforcement

Parking enforcement

Parking enforcement update: you can now report illegally parked vehicles in the Parish directly to the County Council enforcement team via their website at https://service.oxfordshire.gov.uk/reportparkedvehicle

This is thanks to persistence by our County Councillor Judy Roberts. North Hinksey is now specifically listed along with Oxford City in the reporting page so you can report any illegal parking on yellow lines or Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) in Botley and North Hinksey.

New Year and COVID-19 update

New Year and COVID-19 update

Update from Oxfordshire County Council …

from OCC Press Release 30th December 2020 …

Keep to Tier 4 disciplines in 2021 as cases continue to rise

Steep rises in COVID-19 cases in Oxfordshire have continued with people being strongly urged enter the New Year strictly abiding by the new tier 4 level of restrictions that came in to force on Boxing Day.

Tier 4 is the highest alert level in the national four-tier system, and it means that Oxfordshire residents must stay at home, except for a limited number of purposes. These include essential work that cannot be done from home, buying food, taking exercise, or getting medical treatment. In tier 4, you cannot meet other people socially indoors, unless you live with them or are part of a support bubble.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “We have had some good news with the new Oxford vaccine being approved and we know that a number of people in Oxfordshire have now begun the process of being vaccinated. However we cannot allow this to tempt us in to relaxing – we still have tough Winter weeks ahead of us before the vaccines will start to have an impact. 

“We know that the new variant of COVID-19 spreads extremely quickly and these rules were applied for our own safety and protection. The numbers of cases across the county have risen very steeply and we have also seen sharp rises in hospital admissions.

“Viruses always thrive in Winter and we can clearly see how aggressively COVID-19 can spread if we let our guard down even marginally. We have seen during 2020 the damage that this virus can do when people are in close contact with each other. The new variant is significantly more transmissible and is becoming the dominant strain across the country – more places have now joined Oxfordshire and our neighbouring areas in Tier 4.

“Unless we all take personal responsibility as individuals and families in the early weeks of 2021, we will create a deeply deteriorating situation in January. This means putting even more pressure on our NHS at its busiest time of year.

“I continue to urge everyone to adhere to the new tier 4 rules and to take every single precaution. We need to protect ourselves, our communities our families and our work colleagues in the coming weeks before the vaccine is widely enough in circulation to begin to have an effect. Please do not let your guard slip.”

Current cases

The latest data shows that the virus is continuing to spread rapidly in the county. In the past 7 days, cases across the county have increased by 27 per cent to 2,126, with rises seen across all districts. The weekly rate currently stands at 338.2 per 100,000. The rise is particularly concerning among the over 60s, where cases are continuing to rise in all parts of the county. Hospital admissions are increasing rapidly as a result. 

The highest rate in Oxfordshire is in Cherwell which stands at 475.7 cases per 100,000.

What are the tier 4 rules?

  • Stay at home, except for permitted reasons. This includes shopping for food and other essentials, exercise, education, childcare, collecting prescriptions, medical appointments, essential work, and to attend a place of worship.
  • Everyone who can work from home should do so.
  • You cannot meet other people indoors or in a private garden, unless you live with them or they are part of your support bubble.
  • You can exercise or meet in a public outdoor place with people you live with or your support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person at a safe social distance.
  • You must not travel to other areas, other than for legally permitted reasons, to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • Shops selling non-essential goods and market stalls not selling food must close.
  • Cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs must close but they can serve takeaways, click and collect and delivery orders.
  • Personal care, hair and beauty salons must close, as should tattoo, massage and spa venues.
  • Entertainment venues, indoor attractions and leisure facilities must close.
  • Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend health appointments. If they cannot work from home, they are advised not to go to work and claim any support where eligible.

Further information can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home

Clinically extremely vulnerable people

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend health appointments. If they cannot work from home, they are advised not to go to work and can claim any support where eligible.

Libraries and cultural services

The Oxfordshire Museum and Oxfordshire History Centre have closed. The county’s libraries will also close but some will provide a limited number of services, including IT access, which must be booked, online services, home library visits and click and collect.

Registration Services

In line with national guidance the county council’s Registration Service is only conducting wedding or civil partnership ceremonies in exceptional circumstances such as the iIlness of a couple or member of family due to attend ceremony. This includes a military deployment at short notice, life threatening surgery or debilitating illness as well as for couples where one of them is seriously ill and not expected to recover.

Press Release as downloadable PDF.

Christmas & New Year support

Christmas & New Year support

Details of how to get support or report something over the Christmas holiday period:

COVID support:  

Following the late changes in Tiers and Christmas rules we realise many people may have to change their plans and some may be alone when they didn’t plan to be. If you need support, if you are self-isolating or in need in any way, please check our COVID hub page for more support information.

The Botley Responders email BotleyResponders@gmail.com will be monitored daily but if you need urgent support please check the list of Street Champions and contact someone near to you directly. The Responders are all volunteers and may not be available at short notice so please also check the leaflet with links to local and national helplines and other support. Stay safe and well this Christmas.

Christmas break: Free and discount food for children – check this list of cafes and pubs offering free or low cost meals for children over the break. There are tabs for our area – the Vale, plus South Oxfordshire and National chains with offers.

Other queries:

The Parish Clerk is on annual leave from December 23rd to January 1st inclusive. Very urgent queries will be picked up but if you do have an urgent matter during this time please also copy in Chairman Councillor David Kay by email or telephone 01865  240272. Non-urgent matters will be responded to from Monday 4th January.

You can report many issues including graffiti, fly tipping, street lighting and broken paving slabs direct to the County Council via fixmystreet.com.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, healthy New Year.

Scout Hut: update, and public meeting

Scout Hut: update, and public meeting

Update: new free lease offered to 2022. Background: new webpage. Public meeting: more information in January.

In response to requests, NHPC has created a webpage- Scout hut lease background where you can see a timeline and access documentation of previous decisions taken by Council in relation to a lease agreement with the 4th Oxford Scouts.

Update: At its meeting on 17th December Council passed the following resolutions: 

  • To extend the period that the Scouts Group are allowed access to the Scout Hut to remove their belongings to a later deadline of 1st March 2021, by which time they must vacate the premises. 
  • To separately make a new offer to the Scout Group of a short-term lease, with the terms being the same as included in the previous 1 year lease offered to them in July 2020 other than the expiry date of this new lease now being set at 30th April 2022. There is a deadline of 24th February 2021 for returning a signed copy of this new lease, which, if met, negates the need for the Scout Group to vacate the premises by 1st March 2021. Should this deadline not be met then that deadline for vacating the Scout Hut remains in place. 
  • Plan for a public meeting to re-engage the community on options for the future of both the Pavilion and the Scout Hut. A proposal on this will be presented at the January meeting. 
  • The Clerk to write to Knights asking them to convey the above decisions to the Scouts. 

Note: Public Meeting likely to be online.

Invitation to artists: Artworks at West Way Square

Invitation to artists: Artworks at West Way Square

As part of the West Way Square development there is a public art fund available to provide a significant artistic feature for residents and visitors to enjoy. North Hinksey Parish Council is working with the Vale District Council to invite a lead artist to work with local residents to create a work of art or a series of works of art to help people re-engage with this public space and help foster a sense of belonging and identity.

The full brief has been distributed by the Vale’s arts officer via a number of artist networks. It includes input from the public consultation event at Seacourt Hall early in 2020 where over 200 members of the public were asked about what artwork they would like to see in terms of function, location, artform and themes. The brief includes

  • Artistically improving some of the street furniture metal work (such as railings, bollards and electricity boxes)
  • Creating a trail of artworks and sculptures in the main Piazza (combination of wood, metal and stone)
  • Exploring the use of creative lighting to enhance the night-time footfall of the piazza
  • Creating decorative wall features on the elevations of the community and residential landmark buildings, also potentially some type of shelter connected to buildings or free standing.
  • Using this project to encourage artistic interventions within the A34 underpass (including lighting, metalwork and painting)
  • To reference and commemorate the names of local people who died in service in the world wars as a memorial.

Once commissioned the artists will be asked to work closely with local residents, neighbours, visitors, community groups and the local arts community. Ideas for creative engagement and community involvement will be developed at an early stage of the design process.

Expression of Interest should be submitted electronically, as a PDF to publicart@northhinksey-pc.gov.uk entitled “Expression of Interest in West Way Public Art project” by 14th January 2021  See the brief in the link below for full details of what to include in Expressions of Interest.

Update: Join us for tree planting

Update: Join us for tree planting

Community tree planting 5th & 6th December. Everyone welcome. Sat Dec 5 at Wytham View, Tilbury Fields (11am) see poster and Sun Dec 6 12pm to 2pm at Oxford Rugby Club (past the Fishes pub in North Hinksey Lane) see details here.

Due to the Covid-19 issues, we will be ensuring that planting is done in a ‘socially distanced’ and safe manner. Please bring  your own spades and gloves rather than share them.  We are grateful to the Rugby Club for their support. 

We’ll aim to plant around 500 trees. These will be small ‘whips’ – young trees about 1m tall.   If you’ve not done this before, it’s easy and satisfying and we’ll give full guidance.

If you’ve got ideas on other land where tree planting could take place in December or in the spring please do get in touch – email: environment@northhinksey-pc.gov.uk