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Sunday Email: Issue 28

Hello and welcome to the 28th issue of this regular Sunday email.

Whichever way you look at the mass of confusing reports and statistics about the pandemic, coronavirus is still spreading – despite town after town being placed under extra limits. The situation has been labelled “perilous” by the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock. All the numbers are rising rapidly – new infections, hospital admissions and deaths. The restrictions introduced in many areas don’t appear to be having any impact and now the government is planning to introduce a new three-tier alerts arrangement, which it hopes will clarify the way restrictions work across the country. Let’s hope so.

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 residents might like to hear about.


07785 223707

The New three-tier alerts system for England

Last week the BBC reported that it had seen a government memo showing a new plan for dealing with local outbreaks and this is what it looks like. It is anticipated that this plan will be announced in Parliament tomorrow and introduced almost immediately. This new "three-tier" approach system has now been signed off by government officials and politicians. The idea seems to be to replace the patchwork of existing Covid-19 restrictions across the country.

  • Areas that fall into Level 1 will have fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 of population and will need to adhere to national restrictions – such as the "rule of six" and social distancing.
  • Level 2 would kick in where cases are above 100 per 100,000. Restrictions for these areas would be similar to those currently in place in large parts of northern England, such as bans on household meetings.
  • Level 3 areas would have significantly higher rates and would face full lockdowns – excluding schools and essential businesses, like supermarkets, as well as places of worship.

There are also plans for increased local involvement in particular parts of the country and additional money for local authority areas placed into Level 2 or 3. Local authorities would get £1 per head of population if placed into Level 2 and £2 per head for Level 3. When all areas are "mapped" onto the new system, it is not believed any areas will be moved to Level 3 at this stage.

Book a Coronavirus test locally

Testing sites in North Yorkshire are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. The Department is asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms. This is important to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Monday 12 October – Skipton – Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 12 October – Thornton Le Dale – National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7RR
  • Monday 12 October – Whitby – Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Tuesday 13 October – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Tuesday 13 October – Sherburn in Elmet – White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Wednesday 14 October – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Wednesday 14 October – Skipton – Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Wednesday 14 October – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Thursday 15 October – Whitby – Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 15 October – Richmond – Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. If test sites are fully booked they will not appear on the government’s website. To book a test visit:

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 –

Test & Trace Support Payment

The Test and Trace Support Payment has been announced in response to feedback that some residents were struggling to self-isolate due to financial constraints. It is to ensure that people on low incomes self-isolate when they test positive or are identified as a contact, and to encourage more people to get tested. This will help reduce the transmission of Covid-19 and avoid further social and economic restrictions, including local lockdowns.From tomorrow (12 October) the new self-isolation payment will be in place. Individuals on a low income are able to claim a £500 lump sum payment if they cannot work from home and are required to self-isolate. To be eligible for the grant, you must be told by NHS Test and Trace that you must self-isolate. Be either employed or self-employed, be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, or currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-Based Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit. Locally the scheme is being administered by Hambleton Council. Check out the details and make an application on the council’s website:

The Tea Time Café weekly Bake Box is back

During these difficult times The Tea Time Café in Thirsk is offering a delivery service for its delicious homemade bake boxes to homes in the YO7 postcode area. The boxes contain one loaf cake, four scones, four pieces of traybake and four biscuits for £20. Flavours change weekly and will be announced on a Thursday. If you wish, you can just order individual options. Orders must be placed and paid for by 4pm on a Monday to guarantee doorstep delivery on Wednesday. Tea Time Café, 87 Market Place, Thirsk YO7 1ET – Telephone: 07492750991 or 01845 523869 –

The Milk Churn Farm Shop

Debs Roberts, co-owner of the Milk Churn Farm Shop on Long Street, Topcliffe, reports that the new shop had a fabulous first four weeks of trading and serving the local community. She hopes the shop is providing locals with the range of products that they want but would like to hear if there is something anyone would like to see on sale. It’s become clear that Sundays are currently not a popular shopping day in the village so it has been decided to close on a Sunday until nearer to Christmas. So the revised opening times are now Monday to Saturday 9-5pm, Thursday 9-1pm and Sunday closed.

  • The gift shop has now opened in the upstairs rooms and quite soon the rear conservatory will open for the sale of a fabulous selection of artisan Christmas decorations.
  • Vegetable, fruit and salad boxes are now available for £15 or £20. These can be delivered locally. Please order on a Monday for delivery or collection on a Wednesday.
  • Meat boxes at £20, £40 and £60 are also now available. All the meat retailed through the farm shop originates from Thompson’s Butchers in Northallerton. All meat is fresh, bought local and any cut or joint can be ordered if you cannot find it in the shop’s fridges. Two working days are needed to prepare orders.
  • Pumpkins from Yorkshire Pumpkins at Cundall are now out on display at the front of the shop ready for Halloween.
  • For Christmas the shop is taking orders for free range turkeys, turkey crowns, real Christmas trees, handmade wreaths by Lavender & Bee, plus everything for a full Christmas lunch. The shop’s Christmas puddings and Christmas cakes both have a gluten free option.

Anyone self-isolating in Topcliffe and Asenby can have the boxes delivered to their door and this is all done following strict sanitising procedures. Preferably money should be transferred by BACs, but cash can be accepted if necessary. Ring 01845 400446 to order and talk through payment steps. You can see what is on offer by visiting

The Halloween alternative – the Pumpkin Trail

There seems to be some support for the idea of a pumpkin trail this Halloween rather than the more traditional trick or treat arrangement. Parents appear to have concluded it would be a better, safer way of providing something to entertain children. Obviously householders can’t be welcoming children and handing them sweets this year so an alternative, socially distanced plan seems very sensible. So on Saturday 31 October are you interested in tackling some pumpkin carving and putting it on display outside your home? Instead of knocking on doors, consider some other way of rewarding your children, maybe by giving them a sweet for each pumpkin they spot. Any parents interested should communicate via the Facebook pages of Asenby Institute Community Space or Top Residents.

Pumpkin Festival

Spilmans had 30,000 pumpkins and squashes of lots of different sizes, shapes and colours, when they began their festival recently. No doubt many have now been sold but there’ll be lots of choice left. During the festival there’ll be tractor rides, maize maze, corn cannon, bale mountain, pumpkin carving barn and lots of great food to eat. Check out their website – – to book your car arrival time slot for £10 and receive a voucher for £10 to spend anywhere on the farm. Only pay for what you pick or do. Spilmans are located at Church Farm, Sessay, Thirsk, YO73NB.

St. Columba’s Church

There will be a service of Holy Communion today (11 October) at 10.45 am. A service of Sung Matins will be held on Sunday, 18 October at 10.45 am, and this month’s second service of Holy Communion will be on Sunday 25 October at 10.45 am. There’ll be full Covid safety arrangements in place. All this, of course, is subject to any further changes in Covid restrictions.

Your Village Hall needs you!

Did you read last week’s article in which Emily Collard and Jenny Bumby appealed for more volunteers to step forward to help keep the Village Hall operating? It’s a critically important issue and one which urgently needs to be addressed. The future success – even existence – of the hall relies entirely on the interest local people have in making it work. So the article is being repeated again this week…and there’ll be more publicity about this in the weeks and months to come.

The two youngest members on the committee of Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall are appealing for more young residents to volunteer to become involved in running the hall. Emily Collard and Jenny Bumby are by far the youngest committee members and they are keen to have more younger people join them to manage the hall, which is the social hub serving our two villages. Emily says: “Without wanting to be disrespectful to the other members of the committee the fact is that they are all quite a bit older than Jenny and me, they have served their community for many years and it is recognised that new blood is required to ensure that this important community building is retained and maintained.” Jenny added: “It is only the willingness of volunteers to give up a little of their free time now and again that ensures that the village hall is available for everyone’s use and enjoyment. The hall is closed at present because of Covid-19, but it is anticipated that it will reopen in the New Year so that regular activities and events can get going again. Now is a good time to get involved and see what is involved in running the hall. It’s not at all arduous and can be extremely rewarding.” If you would like to chat about putting your name forward to join the committee, feel free to call Emily on 07843 274604 or Jenny on 01845 577483. Alternatively talk to committee chairman Andrew Eckersley on 01845 577648.

Have your say on council budget

Time is running out if you want to have a say in the way Hambleton District Council puts its budget together for next year. The council is currently holding a consultation to get views on how the budget and services ought to be shaped and you can contribute until 30 October 2020.

Topcliffe Parish Council

The Parish Council will be meeting remotely on Thursday 5 November at 7pm. There is a period of 10 minutes at the beginning of each meeting set aside to receive questions and comments from members of the public.

Any members of the public wishing to join this meeting electronically should contact the Parish Council Clerk for log in details. If you have any queries regarding the meeting please do not hesitate to contact the Clerk by email at or any Parish Councillor – details are available on the village website at

Asenby Parish Council

Asenby Parish Council held its September meeting remotely. It is intended that the next scheduled meeting on 18 November will also be held remotely. Information will be obtainable before the meeting from the Parish Clerk via email on and details will be made available on the Asenby village website at

The Angel at Topcliffe

The Angel has replaced its traditional festive party nights with some festive comedy cheer. You can now get a three course meal followed by on stage performance comedy with Silky and a guest for a great price of just £32.95per person – see poster attached or visit These evenings will all be organised in a strict Covid compliant way. A festive two or three course menu will also be available in the restaurant (bookings only) – The Angel currently closes at 10pm each evening.

The Swan

The Swan serves food every day of the week 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. The Swan also closes at 10pm.

Get online

If you’d like to learn new online skills or update existing ones, these free courses from the North Yorkshire Adult Learning service may be of interest:

  • Get started with Skype at 10:00·12:00, Monday 19 October
  • Parents’ guide to online safety at 13:30-15:30, Monday 19 Oct0obe
  • Parents’ guide to mobile phone safety at 13:30-15:30, Thursday 22 October
  • Get started with Email & Internet part 1 at 11:30-13:30, Tuesday 20 October
  • Get started with Email & Internet part 2 at 11:30-13:30, Wednesday 21 October
  • Social media for beginners at 13:30-15:30, Wednesday 21 October
  • WhatsApp for beginners at 10:00-12:00, Thursday 22 October
  • Safe shopping online at 10:00-12:00, Friday 23 October
  • Get started with Zoom at 13:00-15:00, Friday 23 October
  • Learn to learn online part 1 at 9:00-11 :00, Tuesday 20 October
  • Learn to learn online part 2 at 9:00-11:00, Wednesday 21 October
  • Learn to learn online part 3 at 9:00-11:00, Thursday 22 October

To book call 01609 780780 and ask for Adult Learning.

Blue Cross litter pick to raise funds for rehoming centre

Blue Cross volunteers and members of the Wombles of Hambleton did a litter pick yesterday along Station Road from Busby Stoop to Topcliffe. In a couple of hours they filled 22 sacks with litter – a remarkable achievement on their part but one which demonstrates a total lack of respect that some people have for the environment. The litter pick was part of a wide range of activities to raise funds for the pets in the centre. If you would like to support the Blue Cross details are on the fundraising page at:

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Refuse – Mondays 12 October and 26 October

• Recycling and green bins – Thursday, 22 October.

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Recycling – Mondays, 12 and 26 October.

• Refuse – Monday, 19 October.

• Garden waste – Thursday, 22 October.

That’s all until next Sunday. Stay alert, keep safe and keep well.