Date for your Diaries: Oct 31st Joel Park Halloween trail - Details to follow
Welcome everyone to this online latest edition of the JPRA Newsletter for Autumn 2020. Feel free to print it off for your neighbours if you are aware that they do not use the internet, but obviously we cannot use our Road Reps to distribute it to people’s houses as numbers with the disease begin to increase again. These are such unique times that we, as a committee, find it as bewildering as you do as well. We are still actively representing you all, and relying on Zoom for our Committee Meetings.
So what have we been doing since lockdown was enforced towards the end of March?
I assembled a rapid team of volunteers to cover the whole estate and distribute postcards with a named volunteer to support vulnerable residents in individual roads. Very soon WBC and other organisations were doing the same, so to avoid duplicity and confusion, I was happy to let them take over this support. Community spirit was very much alive thanks to the good weather and people supporting one another. It was great to have a walk around and see so many mini garden parties on V.E. Day, and people enjoying socially distanced company.
Paul and I also set up our disco rigs around 6 times during the traditional Thursday evening applause for the keyworkers and the NHS. There was the odd complaint about the noise, but this again was our way of promoting community spirit, and getting people to have a dance and come out for 45 minutes to show appreciation to our NHS heroes. I enjoyed it immensely.
Once lockdown had been eased at the start of July, all 3 R.A. Chairs met to discuss issues with Matthews Green Farm. Basically Bovis had removed Cratus as their Community Representative, and were inviting any issues to be emailed into their customer care generic email. We were not happy at all with this proposed method of communication, so we are planning an escalation campaign to make the developers meet up with residents face to face and be accountable for any issues. Watch this space!
We are also aware of access issues occurring with construction of the NWDR. It does more affect the E.R.A. patch, but I have seen many social media posts expressing alarm and disdain at construction traffic thundering down Toutley Road and intruding close to the 3 schools. I have included an E.R.A. article that does include the contact details for Balfour Beatty, and Imogen has included a piece that does encourage residents to report all wrongdoings to Balfour Beatty for appropriate action to be taken.
Sadly I am not looking to organise the Carol Concert this year, as I sense we may not be allowed to anyway. It was a great shame to miss Party in the Park at the start of July, but safety remains our top priority. On a more optimistic note, we are looking to work with the Senior School in a working party to improve the access from Brooke Close to the school. We would also like to fund a J.P.R.A. Noticeboard at some focal point in the park to put up events and allow residents to see information. Anysuggestions?
So the J.P.R.A. is still very much here alive and kicking. We would like to extend our very best wishes to you all and please do drop us a line if you would like to draw our attention to issues affecting life around the Park.
Steve, JPRA Chair and all the committee.
I have no doubt that residents will have noticed that Old Forest is now closed until next spring. There have been a number of concerns that this has brought about large vehicles passing the schools. Emmbrook Road has a 20Mph speed limit and a weight limit of 7.5 tons. Where we have been able to identify any large vehicles using the route, the owners have received stern warnings from both Wokingham Borough Council and Balfour Beatty. Combined with better signage, we believe that the problem is now much reduced from when the closure first started, however we do ask residents to report serious breaches and speeding to the police.
Also, Balfour Beatty, who are completing the work on Old Forest Road have agreed to create a public access point at the end of the park containing the Emmbrook river at the Old Forest Road end. This will allow better access for all residents across the area. Access to the new park, on the other side of Forest Road, is still available through the entrance near Monkey Mates.
Joel Park itself has been a welcome respite green space during the Coronavirus lockdown. It is good to see children enjoying our new playground again. I am also pleased to say that Wokingham Town Council has never had any plans to charge Personal Trainers or anyone else using the park.
However, we do ask all our residents to remain considerate of other users of the park, who are free to enjoy the space too.
Cllr Imogen Shepherd-DuBey Wokingham Borough Councillor for Emmbrook Ward, Wokingham Town Councillor for Emmbrook South.
This will be in place until 18th December 2020 and will be reviewed in late November.
Construction works on the North Wokingham Distributor Road (NWDR) has begin and Old Forest Road is planned to be shut until spring 2021.
The main construction works include: Upgrading the existing Emmbrook Bridge, building of a new flood prevention feature and upgrading Old Forest Road in preparation for the tie- in with the new road.
If you're out and about in Wokingham town centre, Woodley and Twyford, you'll notice new Covid-19 safety signs going up both in their shopping areas and at their edges.
The new signs at shopping area edges are a reminder of the importance of shopping locally and how to stay safe while you're doing this.
Once the signs are all up, the Council will be removing the remaining red and white traffic barriers in Wokingham town centre.
If you're a borough library member you can use any borough library. Wokingham town centre and Woodley libraries are open weekdays with Covid-19 public health measures:
Wokingham 9.30 am to 1.30 pm, and Woodley 9am to 1pm, for returning/ borrowing books and collecting waste bags (pre-order them first via our council website). Sadly, other services such as public computers, study space, and newspaper and magazine browsing aren't available. But you can also access online, free of charge, an expanded range of digital books, magazines, music streaming and virtual events.
The Greenways project will create a network of traffic free multi-user routes across the borough, connecting the new major developments at Arborfield Garrison, Shinfield Parish, Wokingham town and North and South Wokingham. Greenways will provide non-car commuting journeys to work and school as well as new leisure opportunities to get out into the countryside. The first section of Phase 2 of the project creates a new greenway route through Cantley Park and Matthewsgreen and links to Woosehill. The route through Joel Park is to use the verge areas of Jubilee Avenue and the quiet roads of Clifton Road, Brook Close and Millmead.
We are delighted to be doing baptisms and weddings (and funerals as well) under the Government’s rules on social distancing and limited numbers at events. We will be filling the Churchyard with candlelight on the night of the 1st of November as we keep All Souls Day, remembering those we love who have died.
We are also trying to support people in the community, and work with Schools, and keep serving in every way we can.
And we have regular Sunday services as well, with the congregation sitting 2m apart and wearing masks. It helps us to know that you are coming so we can fill in the Track and trace info in advance. The 9.30am Service at St Paul's is also available on Livestream, and St Nick's meet at 11am at the Village Hall as usual. Do come along to anything you’d like to- and do call on us if we can do anything to support or encourage you in these unsettled and difficult times.
The Rev'd Richard Lamey firstname.lastname@example.org
The Group was very pleased to loan our large marquee to the Emmbrook Infants School during the Summer Term and it was used effectively as an additional outside class-room.
After the Summer break the Covid19 restrictions were eased and we restarted all 6 Sections in early September. This involved the Group Executive and Leaders putting in a tremendous effort in getting Risk Assessments approved followed by the implementation of the requisite measures. Our thanks go out to local cleaning company “Keep it Spotless” who deep cleaned the Headquarters at no charge. We must also thank local electrician Paul Norris who installed two outside sockets (again at no charge) to allow additional outside lighting. We have had to split each Section into two bubbles which meet outside separated by 25 metres distancing. To allow this we have erected the marquee at the top end of the grounds for one bubble and are using our new covered activity area for the other.
All the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts were very happy to be able to meet up again despite the Covid19 restrictions and our membership has been maintained at about 130 plus 25 Leaders. Sadly, however, we are not admitting new young members until things are back to normal.
We are a large successful Scout Group thanks to all concerned. But we must make the usual plea for more adults to volunteer to help. Just email the Group Scout Leader, Martin Wilson (email@example.com) and he will tell you all about how to get a rewarding hobby and how to enrich your lives.
Halloween Virtual Balloon Race! We hope you're as 'blown away' with this new fundraiser as we are: https://www.balloonrace.com/Emmbrookprimary
Please buy as many balloons as you wish, they are £3 each, and decorate as you please. Click on the button "Get a balloon" in the top right corner of the screen. Then at midday on the 24th of October, you can watch your balloons as they begin their virtual journey across the spooky Halloween scene, until Halloween at 12pm, when the winner will be announced.
How far will your balloons travel? How will you decorate yours?
Keep an eye on the leadership board - you might be first place! (But don't be 'deflated' if you're not!)
Emmbrook Infant and Junior school PTA's fundraising efforts have suffered as a result of Covid-19. We appreciate any donations at this time in order to help the schools to provide valuable resources and experiences for our children. If you use Amazon then please remember to sign-up to Amazon Smile on your account and make use of smile.amazon.co.uk. The PTA will then receive funds from Amazon on every purchase made – with no extra cost to you. Please choose Emmbrook County Primary School as your chosen charity. This is a fantastic way we can raise funds for our schools.
We are all missing our Monthly meetings at The Town Hall in Wokingham but have continued to keep in touch with our members throughout lockdown and beyond via a regular newsletter containing tasty recipes, lockdown walk ideas, quizzes and much more!
Many of us are now well-versed in meetings via Zoom and we were lucky enough to have a veryinformativepresentationfor our July meeting from David Lamont from 'Plastic Free Home – Zero waste and living more sustainably'. He certainly made us all think and shared some great tips on how we can all make a positive difference to the environment by making small changes at home.
September's meeting was a light-hearted talk by a lady who has been on many TV game shows and won all sorts of prizes. She cheered us all up with her funny stories which was just what we all needed at this strange time!
One of our members, Joy Devlin, had a lovely surprise when she won our raffle of an afternoon tea! As you can see, she was delighted and said that the gluten/dairy free tea from Nisby's was delicious and the portions were huge!
We even managed to fit in a socially distanced Summer social before the rule of six came in, when we met up with some members in a local field for a lovely catch up. We are stringently following government guidelines to ensure everyone is safe but don't underestimate the power of catching up face to face, all be it at a distance! 2020 has certainly made us think out of the box to keep in touch with our wonderful members!
The Link visiting scheme is a local Wokingham charity which aims to reduce isolation and loneliness through friendship. The service focuses mainly on the over sixties in Wokingham Borough who find themselves in need of friendship and support. Befrienders, who are all volunteers, visit people on a regular basis, once a week or once a fortnight, providing companionship and friendship. This core activity is supported by other activities all aimed at reducing loneliness thus promoting friendship and wellbeing.
During the lockdown, Link continued to support people across the borough through a telephone buddy scheme which proved enormously popular. Volunteers would phone people once or twice a week to check on their wellbeing and have a friendly chat. Link also ran a welfare check scheme which involved volunteers phoning shielded people in the area to check that they were getting essential supplies and were managing.
I have been a Link visitor for the past five years and have found it a most rewarding and fulfilling role. During that time I have befriended three elderly people. The visits last about an hour and we spend time having a cup of tea, going for a walk, pottering around the garden and just chatting about anything and everything. I have learnt a great deal from my Link friends and and have found it both fulfilling and enriching.
During lockdown I took part in the telephone buddy scheme and carried out welfare checks on shielded people. Both roles were very rewarding and I felt that I was providing a valued service to many. I have continued as a telephone buddy and phone three people regularly each week for a friendly chat.
There are so many people everywhere who are lonely and isolated and Link is one way of enabling us to ease the loneliness and bring some joy into people’s lives. The Link team is very friendly and supportive and I would encourage anyone who has a little bit of spare time to try volunteering with Link.
If you know someone who would benefit from the Link scheme or you are interested in becoming a volunteer then please contact Link through their website linkvisiting.org or phone 0118 979 8019.
Everything has been rather different this year and we anticipate that Halloween will be no different. As I’m sure you remember, Halloween night is an exciting time for our little ones around the estate with many houses taking part in the Trick-or-Treating fun. Our children out and about have always, in the main, been very polite and courteous to house-holders whilst being respectful of those houses not welcoming visitors.
However, this year, it is likely that Trick- or-treating will not be an option within the current Covid-19 safety parameters but it would be great for the kids (and grown-ups) if we could provide a substitute. Therefore, we would like to propose a Pumpkin Trail.
It would be great if as many people as possible could decorate their house with a pumpkin or two for anyone who goes past to spot. The Pumpkins could be real, fake, big, small, in the window, outside the door or even hanging from a tree!
This idea is also being promoted by a facebook group who are running a Halloween display competition: RG Halloween Hunt 2020 and at the time of going to press, there were at least 34 houses in the RG41 area joining in the fun.
The JoelEmm Craft Group has continued to meet every week since March via Zoom. We all chat and do our knitting, crochet, embroidery etc. It’s all very jolly.
We meet on Tuesdays at 11am and the sessions are for 2 hours .
All are welcome - details from Anne via email firstname.lastname@example.org
At the time of going to press, the streetlights are not currently working on Jubilee Avenue again. This is due to a fault with the SSE power supply. SSE have a target to restore the power by 5th of November, although obviously the JPRA have requested that the Council and SSE prioritise this repair and deal with it as soon as possible.
Wokingham Borough Council is reviewing and consulting on its home to school transport and travel assistance policies with the aim of improving services for children and young people, particularly those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The consultation will be open until 6 November and is available on the council's consultation webpage at www.wokingham.gov.uk by clicking on the home to school transport survey.