Welcome to the autumn edition of our newsletter. We hope your summer months were Covid-free and lives began to return to some form of normality. Covid infection rates are hovering around 29,000 across Reading, but the vaccination rates seem to be working well. We must pay tribute to the NHS staff and volunteers for all their tireless work in fighting the condition and supporting the community. I hope to be meeting many of these as I take up my new post with Bracknell Healthwatch.
It is with great sadness that I commence my chat with paying a tribute to our dear friend and colleague, Paul Gallagher, Chairman of the Emmbrook Residents' Association. Paul passed away in August following a tragic accident and he will be greatly missed by all of us throughout Emmbrook. Our thoughts and sympathies go to his widow Liz, his family and friends and to the E.R.A. Committee.
Progress seems to be have been made with the completion of the two new Reading Road roundabouts before you reach Winnersh. Early feedback on social media suggests that more needs to be done to make it 'cycle-friendly'. Please do feel free to leave us any feedback on our website www.jpra.org.uk if you have any views or comments. Jubilee Avenue and Matthewsgreen Road have been resurfaced, again to mixed reactions. Please feel free to draw our attention to any issues connected to this.
Some important dates for your diaries
17th November 2021 The J.P.R.A. Annual General Meeting at the Dog and Duck at 8pm. We missed it last year so content will review the last 2 years and reaffirm our vision for 2022.
12th December 2021 The Christmas Carol Concert with St Sebastian's Brass Band. We advise attendees to arrive at 4pm for a 4:30 start, with 30 minutes of carols until 5pm. This is again hosted by the Dog and Duck and thank you to them for agreeing to this.
I would like to thank Chris, our Membership Secretary, and all the road reps, who devoted many hours to the collection of subscriptions. These are vital to finance these newsletters and run the Association, and we plan to do the same again in 2023. At the moment, we have a 'comfortable' number of committee members, but we always appreciate new volunteers to contribute innovative ideas. Why not visit the website and fill out a form if you are interested in joining us?
Well, that is enough from me. Hope to see you at the A.G.M. and/or Carol Concert. Stay safe and wishing you all the very best.
Steve, JPRA Chair, and all the committee
This year Wokingham's first ice skating ring will be opening in Cantley Park. The rink will be in the event field between 12 November to 7 January.
There will also be a Christmas Market running from 24th November to 24th December with food stalls and craft stalls selling all sorts of festive items. The market is free to attend but tickets must be bought for the ice rink.
Visit the Wokingham Borough Council's Eventbrite booking site for more information and to book ice skating tickets
Wokingham Winter Carnival returns on Sunday 28 November but will not include the Parade. With around 80 stalls, allowing for social distancing between them, funfair rides that will be fenced in with entrance and exits and performances taking place in Peach Place there will be lots to do and see.
And at the end of the day there'll be the switching on of the Christmas tree lights with carol singing led by the Mayor's Chaplain.
We are delighted that the annual Christmas carols will be back this year. The carols take place in the garden of the Dog and Duck and is always a popular event with St Sebastian’s Brass Band provide a rousing accompaniment.
The Christmas Carol Concert starts at 4:30pm, with 30 minutes of carols until 5pm
This very special light trail will take you on a multi-sensory journey through a dreamlike laser-scape, a cathedral of light, and past fountains of flowers, mythical creature holograms and many more moments of awe.
Enjoy mouth-wateringly good food, mulled wine and hot chocolate, and toast marshmallows at one of the fire pits. For details, visit https://www.windsorgreatpark.co.uk/illuminated
The staff and volunteers at Greys Court are organising the Christmas display in the mansion which will open on 24th November and run until 5th January. The house is open from Wednesdays to Sundays and will be open on Monday 27th, Tuesday 28th December and Monday 3rd January as these are bank holidays.
This year's theme is 'Coming Home for Christmas' and the display will have a nostalgic feel to it with festive Christmas trees and traditional and handmade decorations.
Further information can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greys-court/lists/christmas-at-greys-court
As you will have seen from the Chairman's Chat, we were saddened to hear of the untimely death of Paul Gallagher, the long-standing chairman of our neighbours in the Emmbrook Residents' Association. I first got to know Paul during my time as JPRA Chairman in the mid-2000's, when the threatened closure of the Emmbrook School brought our two associations together in opposition to the Council's plans. From that time on, successive chairs of the JPRA continued to work with Paul to strengthen the links between the two associations.
Paul was proud of his Scouse roots (a lifelong supporter of Liverpool FC) and his family but equally proud of his home in Wokingham, and determined to do all he could to preserve and protect the community of which he was an integral part. Working with him in meetings with the Council and developers was never dull – often, JPRA played the 'good cop ' to ERA's 'bad cop', and generally that seemed to work to our mutual advantage. Many of you will have heard Paul in full flow at Matthewsgreen development meetings over the past few years.
With Paul's passing, the Joel Park and Emmbrook community has lost a staunch advocate and a very good friend.
Main construction works on a crucial section of the North Wokingham Distributor Road (NWDR) began in Summer 2020. A section of Old Forest Road between the junctions with Ashton Road and Toutley Road is currently shut and the plan is to re-open the road in Spring 2021.
The works have included:
Phase 1 works on Old Forest Road are now largely complete and the project has moved into Phase 2, with the temporary closure of Toutley Road until towards the end of 2021.
The Ashridge Farm section of the NWDR will connect Bell Foundry Lane with the section constructed by Crest Nicholson as part of the Kentwood Farm phase 2 development.
Construction began in January 2021. Works to date have focused on the connection with Bell Foundry Lane and diversion of the Ashridge Stream into a new man-made culvert and the creation of a new attenuation pond to help with storm water.
Completion of the scheme s expected in Autumn 2021.
The new primary school built in Matthewsgreen as part of the development is currently under construction. The school will have 1 class per year (1 form-entry), with the ability to expand to 2 classes per year. The school will be built by the council, following the successful transfer of the land this year.
The community facility will be approximately 500 square metres and will be linked and adjacent to the primary school.
Each building will have a separate entrance and facilities between the school and community centre can be shared if and when needed. There will be a school staff car park as well as community parking and a school drop- off area provided.
The current case rate per 100,000 people in the borough is increasing and is at similar levels to what it was in the height of the January lockdown.
Cases are largely concentrated on families with school-age children and around half of all infections are in 10 to 19-year-olds. WBC are working closely with schools to balance keeping young people in education and keeping Covid-19 out. Please continue to be responsible and help stop the spread.
Kill Covid-19 with Kindness
There's been a great community spirit throughout the pandemic and we don't want to lose this. Please continue to look out for others and be respectful to help stop the virus spreading. There are actions we can all take to protect one another, including:
Dangerous viruses like flu and Covid-19 spread quickly when we're all crowded together inside. More people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the pandemic. Getting vaccinated will provide protection for you and those around you for both serious illnesses.
You'll only be able to book an appointment for a booster dose if it's been at least six months (180 days) since your second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
If you are not a frontline health or social care worker, please wait to be contacted by the NHS before booking your booster jab.
We have largely lifted the Covid measures we instigated last year and meetings are nearly back to normal. The Leaders still prefer to meet outside if possible and for indoor meetings we keep the doors and windows open. Unfortunately, the number of young members catching Covid seems to have increased this term and this has impacted some meetings.
Recent meetings and activities have been as varied as ever. The two Beaver Colonies have litter picked, built shelters at the Look Out and practised campcraft skills. The Cubs have had an overnight camp, a night hike, built and raced chariots and had a wide game in Joel Park. The Scouts have enjoyed a great cycling weekend - camping in the New Forest and crossing to the Isle of Wight by ferry. The Scouts also threw axes (in a safe way) and worked on the Skills Challenge Award. All the Sections cooked on fires - it's a favourite activity.
The Toutley Road roadworks are lasting rather longer than we anticipated but we thank Balfour Beatty for doing their best to keep our access in a reasonable condition. We hope for a hardened new driveway entrance before winter sets in.
We heard of the death of Geraldine Lea a few weeks ago. Geraldine was one of our great Cub Scout Leaders (Akela) in the 1970s, 80s and 90s and hundreds of young people benefited from her skilled leadership. We remember her well and with great affection.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he will tell you all about how to get a rewarding hobby and how to enrich your lives.
Things continue to get back to a more recognisable shape in Church- most people are still wearing facemasks, and many people are choosing to sit apart, but we are able to sing in Church and more and more of our services are coming back, as well as having the great joy of showing Cub packs and School Year Groups round Church with all of the questions that that brilliantly offers up.
We are very much hoping that we get to have Christmas properly this year- do look out for details of our services on our Facebook page and our website. There will be lots going on in the run-up to Christmas and then over the Christmas weekend as well.
Also, if you keep meaning to book in a wedding or a baptism for 2022 or beyond, then it is definitely not too late. Speak to Louise in the Parish Office on 0118 979 2122 or email@example.com for more information- she would love to hear from you. Anyone who lives in Emmbrook now, or has done in the past, is entitled to be married at St Paul's and we would be delighted to be part of your special day- and we would be equally thrilled to be part of a baptism.
See you soon! Richard Lamey Rector of St Paul's, Wokingham and St Nicholas, Emmbrook firstname.lastname@example.org
The Link Visiting Scheme is a charity dedicated to reducing loneliness in Wokingham Borough. The Link helps people to make friends and feel a part of the community. Over the last 18 months the demand for The Link's services has grown rapidly and more volunteers are always welcome. The charity was recently awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (the highest award given to voluntary groups) in recognition of The Link's services to the community.
Volunteers are matched up with a Link Friend and are asked to give one or two hours per week or per fortnight to offer companionship. Volunteers will receive training and support. Often, the friendship formed is as valuable to the volunteer as it is to the Link Friend. It is all about promoting social integration, combating loneliness and helping people feel valued. In addition to befriending there are a number of social activities such as pub lunches, bowls and singing in which Link friends and volunteers can participate.
If you are interested or you know someone who would benefit from a Link visitor, please look at the Link Visiting Scheme website, www.linkvisiting.org, where you will find all the information you need or, if you prefer, you can phone 01189798019 to speak to a member of staff
I have been meaning to write an article on the events of the 2nd June 2021 when the Park along Jubilee Avenue experienced a traveller incursion of around 10 caravans. This was the second occurrence, following the time in May 2017 when the same thing happened, with 8 caravans and associated vehicles occupying the same area illegally.
This time, it made me want to do a small piece of research into the background of the travelling community and I uncovered some interesting facts and statistics:-
I get the impression that the actions of the minority give the majority a bad name!!
However, the events of the 2nd June were totally unacceptable. Residents received abuse! The clear up operation cost £1000s and much of the Copse was damaged. It did also highlight the effectiveness of excellent communication between stakeholders to address this problem. Of particular note were
The whole episode shows the strength of community co-operation and communication in solving issues very quickly and effectively. Well done to all involved.
There has been an increase in parking on the pavement around the estate recently. Please park considerably and remember there is a very good reason why it is now a prosecutable offence to block the pavement, as these pictures demonstrate
This year marks the centenary of the British Legion's Poppy Appeal and from 26th October to 13th November the Wokingham Poppy Appeal has been given the sole use of the old Clinton Cards shop on Peach Street. The local crochet group, The Barkham Hookers, will be decorating the shop with a display of their lovely crocheted poppies and group members will be in the shop every day selling their poppies and demonstrating how they are made. The crocheted poppies will also be available to purchase in various locations throughout the town and locally.
The group make and sell a range of poppies including 'Posh Poppies' with vintage buttons, 'Military Poppies' with regimental buttons and purple poppies for pets which can be put on a collar or bridle. 100% of all proceeds from the poppies goes to the British Legion's Appeal. Please look out for the shop when you are in Wokingham and pop in say hello.
As the nights draw in and the mornings are often misty/foggy, now is a good time to remind people that cars fitted with 'automatic' headlights don't recognise mist and fog as being dark.
So, the headlights (and tail lights) won't switch on and these cars are driving dangerously (and illegally).
Also, cars with Daylight Running Lights only have these at the front (and the dashboard lights will also be on), there are no lights at the rear.
Please take a moment to reflect when out on the road. If you have trouble seeing another car, either coming towards you or travelling the same way, due to no lights, ask yourself 'are my lights on?'
Keith Gambles - Wokingham Driving School