Hello and welcome to the 22nd issue of this regular Sunday email.
I hope you find the contents interesting and informative. As usual, get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think Topcliffe and Asenby village residents might like to hear about.
Going back to your work place?
A row has broken out between businesses, unions and the government as the government steps up its bid for employees to return to their offices and other workplaces after the coronavirus lockdown. The Prime Minister is has been urging people to return to the office for more than a month but his pleas have largely been ignored by many businesses and employees. Now the government is planning a massive publicity campaign to persuade workers to return, even those that can reasonably continue to work from home. The message seems to be that if employers put in place adequate safety precautions there’s no reason stopping workers from going back.
But with the furlough scheme beginning to wind down by October, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak refusing to rule out an extension, there is concern that the push has more to do with the economy than health. It’s fairly clear that the government is keen to get people back into old habits and kickstart the economy amid fears town and city centres are becoming ghost areas as commuters stay away. But it’s not so clear that individuals are convinced the time is right, or that employers are keen to welcome employees back in huge numbers just yet.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, (who interestingly was interviewed from his home, not his office) insisted that it is now safe to return to the workplace and an unnamed Downing Street source is quoted as saying that “those opting to continue working from home could make themselves more vulnerable to redundancy”. That suggestion has been denied by the government but some commentators worry that if it was said – officially or unofficially – it must have some element of truth. Interesting times ahead.
Book a coronavirus test
Key workers and anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms can have a test. As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social Care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days:
- Monday 31 August – Skipton – Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
- Monday 31 August – Northallerton – Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
- Tuesday 1 September – Thornton Le Dale – National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
- Tuesday 1 September – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
- Wednesday 2 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
- Thursday 3 September – Whitby – Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
- Thursday 3 September – Richmond – Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
- Friday 4 September – Northallerton – Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
- Friday 4 September – Harrogate – Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP
- Saturday 5 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
- Sunday 5 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
Before you attend you must book a test. There are two ways to do this depending on which testing group you are part of. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. To book a test visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
In certain cases, home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house. There’s a link on the North Yorkshire County Council website to request a home test – https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/home-testing
Update on government advice
The next stages in the process of lifting restrictions are as follows:
• From next Tuesday, 1 September schools, nurseries and colleges will open for all children and young people on a full-time basis and universities are working to reopen as fully as possible.
• From 1 October, if prevalence remains around or below current levels, audiences will be allowed in stadiums, and conference and other business events will be allowed to recommence in a covid-19 secure way.
• In November, the ambition is to scale back remaining social distancing measures, but this depends on a number of factors, including consideration of the specific challenges as we move into winter.
Travel isolation list
As of yesterday morning, travellers in Switzerland, Jamaica and Czech Republic who return to the UK must self-isolate for two weeks. The government said the move was needed to keep UK infection rates down. It considers imposing quarantine conditions when a country’s rate of infection exceeds 20 cases per 100,000 people over seven days. The data showed there has been a "consistent increase" in the weekly case rate in Switzerland over the past four weeks, with cases per 100,000 rising from 18.5 to 22 over the past week. It’s believed that over 1.6m Britons travelled to Switzerland last year and more than 300,000 visited the Czech Republic.
The list of countries from which returning holiday makers have to isolate for two weeks also includes Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, France, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago and the USA. In addition, travellers arriving from much of Central and South America, plus some countries in Africa and the Middle East and Asia, also have to quarantine.
Village Hall Remains Closed
Although the current guidelines allow village halls to reopen, the risks and requirement to mitigate against the Covid-19 threat continues to be extremely complex, very demanding, difficult to administer and it places significant additional responsibilities on the Village Hall Trustees and committee members. Having examined the government and local council Covid-19 Risk Assessments, which detail the requirements for both committee and hall hirers to follow prior to any activity in the village hall, it was very clear that there would be considerable risk in allowing activities to take place whilst the incidence of Covid-19 is still relatively high.
After consulting regular hall hirers, it was clear that the majority had no plans to make use of the hall until at least early in the New Year, it would seem a reasonable decision to remain closed until these priority hirers were ready to resume operations. As the majority of priority hirers have little appetite for commencing the reopening process it would be perverse for the Committee to facilitate casual use at this time.
The Village Hall Committee agreed to keep the village hall closed to all users for the remainder of 2020, though this position will be reviewed in mid-October, or at any time the government guidelines are changed significantly to allow a re-opening with less complex and arduous requirements.
The Tattler – September 2020 edition
This Tuesday (1 September) is the deadline for copy for the September issue of The Tattler. It will be published and delivered door to door in Topcliffe and Asenby mid-September. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bags 2 School – reminder about next recycling event
The next ‘Bags 2 School’ recycling event will be held in the grounds of Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall on Monday, 21 September. More details will be included in the next couple of emails.
Government meal discount schemed ends tomorrow
The "eat out to help out" scheme, which gives diners up to 50% off their bill, is due to end on Bank Holiday Monday (31 August). So there’s only one more day that you can take advantage of this popular discounting initiative. The scheme offers the discount on food and soft drinks at participating restaurants and some other food establishments. You must eat in the establishment. And the maximum discount available is £10 per person. It is not available on take-away food or on alcohol. You can check out all participants on this website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-a-discount-with-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme
The Angel at Topcliffe
Booking a table in the restaurant is highly recommended any day of the week as it has been very busy, especially at weekends. The garden is still operating on first come first basis for food and drinks. To book email email@example.com or call 01845 578000. The Angel has been participating in the ‘eat out to help out’ discount scheme which of course ends on 31 August.
The Swan serves food at socially distanced tables and reservations are necessary. Takeaway meals to order. Times are: 5 to 8:30pm Monday to Saturday and 12 noon to 4pm on Sunday. Telephone 01845 595185.
St. Columba’s Parochial Church Council
At last week’s meeting Linda Carver and Liz Marsh retired as Churchwardens. The meeting passed a heartfelt and well received vote of thanks for all the work they have done for the church. Dave Marsh was also thanked for all his contributions as he leaves the Parochial Church Council. Chris Hewlett was elected as sole Churchwarden as no one else stood for the appointment and John Philips was elected as Vice-Chair.
There will be an extraordinary PCC meeting at 7pm this Tuesday, 1 September in the church to discuss arrangements for reopening the church.
The Pew Sheet newsletter for w/c 30 August is the last one. In September Kit Norris will again be producing the monthly Cross Talk. It will be available online at www.achurchnearyou.com and will be emailed to those on the present Pew Sheet contact list.
Church office holders targeted by gift card email scam
North Yorkshire Police is warning local residents to be vigilant for an email scam in which the sender claims to be the local reverend and asks the recipient to purchase high value Amazon gift cards on their behalf. Anyone can be targeted but recently Church wardens, treasurers and volunteers have been approached, with some emails claiming to be from the Archbishop of York. The initial email follows a standard format and reads: “Do you have a moment I have a request I need you to handle discreetly. I am currently busy in a prayer session, no calls so just reply my email.” Then, if the recipient enters into a dialogue they will be asked to purchase Amazon gift cards as ‘thank you’ presents for members of the church family.
The scammer provides reassurances that the money will be reimbursed and asks the individual to send photos of the gift cards or vouchers which allows them to collect the unique codes and use the cards to make online purchases. Individuals who work or volunteer for churches in the Diocese of York have been targeted, with one church office holder purchasing gift cards but thankfully realising this was a scam before it was too late. Residents are being urged to check the sender email address of any emails appearing to be from a reverend or other church representative and not to make any purchases based on email correspondence received. Anyone receiving these emails should report it to North Yorkshire Police by calling 101.
Topcliffe Snooker Club
The snooker club’s AGM will be held at 7.30pm tonight (30 Aug) at the snooker club. The club is beginning to operate as normal, with players using sanitisers and wipes to clean the table, balls and snooker tools. Players are asked to be careful when visiting the club and, as far as possible, respecting social distancing rules.
The Milk Churn Farm Shop
The new Milk Churn farm shop at 81 Long Street should be opened to the public on 7 September. The attractive shop signs have been erected and the finishing touches to the interior are underway. There’ll be more about the official opening in next week’s email.
Sutton Bank to close for eight days
Just a reminder that Sutton Bank between Thirsk and Helmsley will close for eight days of maintenance work starting 8am on Sunday 13 September. The work will include the inspection and maintenance of the rock face to ensure the route remains structurally safe in the future. A diversion route will be signposted along the caravan route through Ampleforth and Coxwold for the duration of the closure.
Online fraud discussion
There’s still time to book a place on North Yorkshire Police’s online fraud event which will take place on Wednesday, 16 September 6.30 to 8.30pm. This is a brilliant opportunity to learn about the types of fraud currently operating, how to spot them and how to stay safe. In addition there will be a presentation on cryptocurrency investment fraud and protecting your personal information. There will be an opportunity to ask questions on fraud and cyber security to an expert panel of experts. This is the first of its kind organised by North Yorkshire Police. The number involved will be restricted to 100. The event will take place over Microsoft Teams. Do not worry if you do not have Teams installed on your computer. To register please click on the link – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fraud-ask-the-experts-tickets-116702719977
Thirsk Museum reopens tomorrow
The museum will reopen on Monday, 31 August at 11am. Regular opening times will be on Mondays and Saturday only from 11am to 3pm. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated. It’s likely that the majority of people reading this have not been to the museum before and that’s a shame as it is a very interesting place to visit. It is in Kirkgate just opposite The World of James Herriot museum. The building is where Thomas Lord of cricket fame was born and among the many displays of yesteryear in Thirsk are cricket memorabilia. www.thirskmuseum.org
Dr Parker’s retirement
This is likely to be the last mention of Dr Charles Parker’s retirement and that a Memory Book is being created which his patients and friends can add to. He will be retiring as a GP partner from the surgery at the end of September after 28 years in the post. Staff at the surgery are inviting patients and members of the community to contribute to the Memory Book to be presented to Dr Parker on his departure. Written comments or cards can be forwarded in one of two ways:
• A folder is available at the Post Office, courtesy of John Mulley. Any cards, photos or hand written notes can be delivered to the Post Office and will be collated to be passed on to the surgery.
• Email responses can be sent to Doug Allan (firstname.lastname@example.org) who has kindly offered to collate and forward comments received this way and to forward them to the surgery.
Responses are requested by Friday, 11 September at the latest to allow sufficient time to put the finishing touches together. There’ll be a short article, including photos of the presentation, in a future Tattler.
Don’t forget that Dr Parker doesn’t know about these plans, so please help keep this a secret from him.
Autumn online courses via the Women’s Education Association (WEA)
This autumn there are over 100 online courses in our region from WEA. The cost is from £6.40 upwards, but there are also some free courses. The list of fascinating subjects is far too long to list here but here are some suggestions. Make sure you book early because places are limited.
- Hockney: Yorkshire to California and back – £25.60 • Art for the Terrified with Janette Hill – £38.40 • Family History; The Parish Chest – £44.80 • Families Get Active – Family Yoga – free
- Italian Cuisine (English speaking) – £38.40 • Autumn Gardening – £28.80 • Kings, Cousins and Conflict: The War of the Roses – £51.20 • Action Towards Inclusion: Planning your future – free
Phone 0300 303 3464 or see https://tinyurl.com/weayorkshire
• Refuse – Tuesday, 1 September (one day later than usual because of the Bank Holiday) and Monday 14 September.
• Recycling and green bins – Thursdays, 10 and 24 September.
• Recycling – Tuesday, 1 September (one day later than usual because of the Bank Holiday) and Monday 14 September.
• Garden waste – Thursdays, 10 and 24 September.
• Refuse – Monday, 7 and 21 September.
That’s all until next Sunday. Stay alert, keep safe and keep well.