Welcome everyone to our first newsletter of 2021.
Seemingly not a lot has altered from the rollercoaster of a year that typified 2020 and we are still living in a period of very restricted movement in a bid to reduce those getting infected. However, as a committee, we can still function by holding regular zoom meetings and passing out information via social media so we will very much do what we can to keep you all abreast of Joel Park related issues.
Due to the uncertain period ahead, we are not committing to any date for Party in the Park. If it does happen then I know it will be very popular, but we have decided to hold fire until we are advised that congregations of people are permitted.
Elsewhere we are working with community stakeholders on a councillor led zoom get-together to raise issues with the construction companies, so please do drop us a line if there is anything you would like raised.
We do have concerns about the Wokingham Borough Council-led Greenways initiative so again please do contact us if have any questions about this.
I would like to thank the committee for all their hard work in keeping us an active community force during these troubled times. We hope to be knocking on your door at some point for subscription collection and to meet new residents who have moved onto the Park during the last year.
Until then, stay safe and healthy.
Steve, JPRA Chair and all the committee.
I love our community! When I take the dog for her daily walk, the number of people who return a smile or a Good Morning never fails to cheer me up and brighten my day. People respect distancing and we all mutually take a step to the side.
However, in recent weeks, there have been a few unkind comments made on social media about the choices people are making during this lockdown and this has not been nice to see.
In our community we have people working from home, others having to leave the house for work, people isolating at home, families in support bubbles, families in child-care bubbles, children schooling at home and children going to school.
Everyone is having to make tough decisions for their personal situations.
All three schools are still open for key-worker and vulnerable children. Plus we have a playgroup which, in line with government rules, is still open and full to capacity.
Our community has many key workers, and we thank them for everything they are doing to teach our kids, care for our old, sick and vulnerable, ensure we can buy food to feed our families, police our streets and all the other amazing essential work.
People are doing what they can to get through each day.
As we are all struggling through lockdown #3 when the weather is cold, dark and miserable, please can we try to build each other up, and not knock them down
And when you are out on your daily exercise, remember to smile when you pass someone as your smile might be the only one they see that day.
Councillors continue to be busy in the latest lockdown. With the help of the Joel Park Residents' Association we are talking to local developers to try and minimise the inconvenience caused to residents by the building and roadworks in the area.
We've set up regular zoom calls with Bovis / Vistry - so if you have any problems please feed them into Imogen, Rachel or the JPRA and we will raise them for you.
Bovis have now put marshalls on the gates of the Matthewsgreen site to manage the lorry traffic and they have spoken to their suppliers about considerate driving in the area. We've also asked for the weeds and neglected green spaces to be improved. We will continue to meet regularly in the coming months to make sure things are moved on.
Parents were disappointed when the playground at Matthewsgreen Road wasn't open by Christmas. We've flagged an additional problem, that there is standing water in the area which could be dangerous to children.
We continue to chase Vistry for a when date they will have completed the work and handed the site over to the council, who can then prepare for it to be opened for families to use. At the time of writing this, the playgrounds and parks at Joel Park & Lowther Road are still open, providing a place to get fresh air in the lockdown.
The bus stops on Matthewsgreen Road are long overdue repairs, and we are talking to officers on the council to get a date. We're also suggesting that metal grid windows would last longer than glass!
Work continues on the Old Forest Road with a planned opening date of March 2021, when the NWDR project will mean a temporary closure of that end of Toutley Road. We are meeting regularly with Balfour Beatty and the council Highways Department to keep disruption, noise and dust to a minimum and to make sure residents are kept informed.
Cllr Imogen Shepherd-DuBey Wokingham Borough Councillor for Emmbrook Ward, Wokingham Town Councillor for Emmbrook South.
It is encouraging to see that case numbers are continuing to fall in Wokingham Borough. However, it is important to note that while cases have gone down, the number of daily hospital admissions for Covid- 19 continues to increase in Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust hospitals. We are extremely grateful for everyone's efforts in sticking to the rules under the national lockdown - please continue to do so.
If you're heading out to do your weekly shop, please remember to wear a mask and keep your distance from others in our local supermarkets. You should also wash your hands thoroughly before you leave home and once you return.
We are working with these shops to ensure they're as safe as possible for staff and customers - but we also need everyone to limit their visits, shop alone where possible and follow the rules. In addition to this, if you're going out for your daily exercise, please stay local and avoid visiting anywhere that looks overly busy.
Under the national lockdown rules, you can meet one person from another household for outdoor exercise, but you should keep these meetings limited to avoid catching or spreading the virus.
During lockdown, we are offering community testing to critical and keyworkers who are regularly leave their home to go to work. The test used is called a Lateral Flow Test and it delivers the results within around 30 mins.
We are in the process of expanding our current Lateral Flow Test pilot at our Shute End offices and are inviting keyworkers forward for testing.
Do you or a family member have loaned equipment from us or the NHS that you no longer need?
We urgently require items such as beds, shower chairs and commodes to be returned! Please contact NRS Healthcare to arrange free and safe collection, simply:
Help us to reuse and recycle our equipment. Together we can help those who need it most!
Works are progressing and, as it stands, we are still on track to complete the scheme early 2022.
We are pleased to report that preparations for the installation of the girder beams for the new railway bridge are going to plan.
The two bridge girder beams were manufactured in an off-site workshop. These were transported from the workshop to the site in six separate sections. A dedicated assembly area was set up on site where the sections were welded together. They were ready to be lifted into place over the railway, as planned in mid-January.
|Old Forest Road|
|Brief description of works||Estimated Timeline|
|Installation of new footbridge across the Emmbrook, installation of new flood relief culvert||September - October 2020|
|Earthworks and site clearance to allow for main construction||September 2020 - January 2021|
|Laying of kerbs||January 2021|
|Installation of drainage||December 2020 - March 2021|
|Road surfacing||February - March 2021|
|Switch over to Toutley Road||End of March 2021|
|West of Old Forest Road|
|Brief description of works||Estimated Timeline|
|Piling Work||October - December 2020|
|Installation of abutments||December 2020|
|Bridge preparation||November 2020 - January 2021|
|Crane lifting and installation of steel beams||January - February 2021|
|Installation of wing walls||January - March 2021|
|Installation of bridge deck by phased concrete pours||March - May 2021|
|Expected completion||June 2021|
|Brief description of works||Estimated Timeline|
|Main Construction||March 2021 - March 2022|
|Expected completion of overall scheme||March 2022|
|September 2020 - March 2021||Full road closure||Old Forest Road||Full road closure|
|April 2021 - November 2021||Full road closure||Toutley Road||Full road closure|
Margaret and Cyril are possibly the oldest and longest living residents on Joel Park. Both in their nineties, they have many stories to tell about the years of residing on the estate: here are just a few memories they share.
They moved into their new house with their two young daughters in January 1965 and paid £5400. In those days things like a garage and landscaped garden were all extras so these things had to come later when you could afford to do it yourself. At this time. it was only the Jubilee Avenue end of the estate that was finished. The rest was still a building site for many months and everything was in slow progress due to the brick shortage.
During the time of moving in, it was Winston Churchill's funeral on the 30th January; they both remember it well as they attended Wokingham Station to watch the steam train that passed through carrying Churchill to his resting place in Oxford.
Cyril attended one of the first meetings of the JPRA and found himself volunteering to be Secretary. Dave Tegg was JPRA Chairman who campaigned for the council to place speed humps in Jubilee Avenue to slow the traffic down. Ironically, he was the first person to be caught by the police when they set a speed trap.
JPRA arranged many cheese and wine nights, which were always popular and great fun.
Cyril was also Secretary of the Emmbrook Junior School PTA. along with other PTA members and parents, he helped raise much needed cash to enable them to spend their spare time physically building a swimming pool, which benefited many children over the years, Sadly. it is no longer there.
When the A329M was in the planning stage, an official had to walk the route and Mr Wells, the headmaster of Emmbrook Junior School, was horrified that the plans included it to pass right past the new school that had just been built. The JPRA and PTA campaigned against this and therefore the A329 was moved to where it is now and was finalised in 1974.
The estate is still as we knew it and nothing much has changed apart for the many house extensions and the later addition of Martins Drive. The woods and green space on Jubilee Avenue have been left untouched by progression, and for that we are thankful.
We are not so keen on the many houses that have recently appeared on Matthews Green Road spanning to Bill Hill. This is a sad move for the area and the green space along with the Farm.
The Dog and Duck is a place we used to frequent years ago, then it was the original building without the additional extensions, but fortunately, the original building is still visible on how it was.
Houses are fetching so much more now on the estate, they are well built with breezeblocks and bricks, which is very different from the newbuilds which I hear are quickly constructed with internal walls made of plasterboard.
We pass on our thanks to Cyril and Margaret for their brief history of the JPRA estate and it would be lovely to hear others memories.
From September to December, 2020, the 6 Beaver, Cub and Scout Sections were delighted to get back to some normality even though numbers were limited to bubbles of 15. To allow for meetings to be outside we put the Marquee up in the grounds for one bubble and used our Outside Activity Area for the other.
The Leaders put on some great programmes including socially distanced cooking on fires, obstacle courses, local hikes and litter picking.
As the rains kept falling, the field got muddier and muddier and the Marquee pegs looser. Eventually the Marquee blew down during the Christmas storm and is now hanging in the headquarters.
We are back to Zooming and will do our best to keep things ticking over until Covid is eliminated. Let's hope it is soon.
Looking to the future we always need new Leaders and Assistants and if any of you want to have a life-changing and fulfilling hobby please contact me to find out more. A reasonable commitment is needed as well as a wish to help young people grow up to be awesome adults.
Martin Wilson Group Scout Leader - 1st Emmbrook Scout Group Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We continue to do funerals in person, either in Church or at the Crematorium, but those are the only services we are doing face to face.
St Paul's Church is also open for private prayer every day, from 11 to 4, and we urge people to follow the guidance on using handgel and wearing a mask etc.
We have been hosting the Wokingham Foodbank for the last few weeks to help them sort the food in safety and to arrange home deliveries, and are delighted to be in partnership with them on this. A number of people are volunteering locally collecting prescriptions and doing shopping for folk.
As well as that we have been focusing on supporting local Nursing Homes and also the staff of the RBH - we have been organising the collection of food and drink for their staff rooms and also, equally importantly, thank you notes thanking the staff for their commitment and skill and care for those from our community who have fallen ill.
This is a really difficult time for everyone, but it's been amazing how the community has rallied together and we are incredibly proud to be a small part of that.
The Rev'd Richard Lamey email@example.com
One of our neighbours, Liz Reed, who volunteers for Trussell Trust has placed a box for Food Bank donations outside her house, 43 Clifton Road, Emmbrook. Here is a link for the latest general request list, https://wokingham.foodbank.org.uk/,, if you are able to continue to make donations locally.
We have had some absolutely fabulous meetings at Wowwi, despite being only able to meet virtually via Zoom. Our last two meetings of 2020 were no exception!
In November we were treated to a craft workshop when members were shown how to make Christmas tags, boxes, cards and place names out of odd pieces of card and Christmas paper. We all had great fun making these and I think you’ll agree by looking at the photo, we were justifiably pleased with the results!
In December, for our Christmas meeting, we held a really successful cook along with Jenny from Wild Garlic Community Cookery School. She taught us how to make chilli jam, Christmas flavoured gin and cranberry and ginger tiffin. Members who were able to attend the meeting, had the ingredients for the chilli jam delivered in advance by some Christmas elves, aka members of the committee! Everyone enjoyed watching Jenny’s wonderful demonstration on how to make the chilli jam and joined in making their own at home in their kitchens at the same time. It was a really successful meeting, and a lot of our members have commented on how much they enjoyed these interactive sessions to finish off 2020!
We have quite a few members from Joel Park and Embrook already and have a few membership places remaining if anyone is interested in joining. You can join one of our zoom meetings as a visitor for four pounds a time to give us a try and can come as a visitor 3 times before deciding whether Wowwi is for you. Please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org m if you are interested in finding out what we have coming up next.
We're a really friendly bunch of ladies and are all looking forward to some more exciting meetings in 2021 and can't wait to meet up again in person at Wokingham Town Hall as soon as it's possible!
We all care about where we live and we would like the environment to be the best it can be for us all, including the wildlife. Walk along any street in Wokingham and you will see litter and it's not always easy to do something about it! Whilst we would hope that people would take their litter home, this is not always a realistic hope.
Adopt a Street, Wokingham has been set up by the council for ordinary people who would like to contribute and pick up litter. There is no pressure, it's up to you what you do and when. The council provide a litterpicker, high viz jacket and green waste bags like the blue ones you have athome, when they are full you just leave them out with your normal rubbish! No sorting the recycling!
One of our residents Tony Howells has been taking part for over a year and has set up a Facebook group for others to join in. They are now an active group of over 100 members and they help, encourage and advise each other. It's been a fantastic reason to keep busy during lockdown and when restrictions allow there are group picks. They also advise the council of fly tipping (generally when reported is gone in three days) and if it's something dangerous (like chemicals,broken bottle or drugs paraphernalia) it is gone much more quickly. It's very satisfying when an area has been cleaned to look back and see it looks amazing! Every little helps to keep us all safe! If you want to join, please go to Facebook or Local council
I'm sure many of you have spotted that works to revamp the sports facilities at Cantley Park are well underway. The plans include a brand new state-of-the-art 3G artificial pitch with floodlights, a refurbished pavilion and significant parking improvements. Find out more at here
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.
All are welcome - details from Anne via email email@example.com
We are as disappointed as you are that we have had to cancel all our usual Joel Park community activities, not least the annual Carol Concert and Party in the Park. Please rest assured that as soon as it is safe to do so, we will be planning our next community event.
Fingers crossed we can have an amazing summer shindig in the park this year