Hello and welcome to the 36th issue of this regular Sunday email.
I hope you find the email 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.
Tier 2 restrictions
From last Wednesday Hambleton and Harrogate have been in tier 2, which signifies a very high incidence of Covid-19 infections. The fact is that the number of infections in our areas has greatly reduced as a result of the four week lockdown and there was some surprise that we didn’t go back to tier 1, which is where we were pre-lockdown. Perhaps if things continue to improve we’ll be moved down the system from tier 2 to tier 1 at the first review which is scheduled for 16 December. In the meantime, here’s a reminder of the restrictions in force for both districts, which includes Topcliffe and Asenby.
• You must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
• You can meet in a group of up to six outside, including in a garden or a public place such as a park, beach or countryside.
• Shops, gyms and personal care services that can guarantee Covid-secure access have now reopened.
• Pubs and bars can only open if they are operating as restaurants – serving substantial meals. Alcohol can only be served with that meal.
• Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to provide table service only and must take last orders for alcohol by 10pm.
• Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.
• Sports can resume with up to 2,000 spectators, or 50% capacity (whichever is smaller).
• Collective worship can resume with restrictions.
• Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events, such as wakes.
• Organised outdoor sport and physical activity and exercise classes can continue. Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing.
• You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim, where possible, to reduce the number of journeys you make.
• Non-essential foreign travel allowed, subject to quarantine rules. See the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office for destinations advice and to check out the travel corridors list.
Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey.
Christmas relaxation of restrictions
At Christmas, coronavirus restrictions will be eased to allow people to mix with a slightly wider circle of family and friends.
• People will be able to form "bubbles" of three households over a five-day period between 23 and 27 December. The three households in a "Christmas bubble" can mix indoors and stay overnight.
• Bubbles will be allowed to meet each other in each other’s homes, at a place of worship or in an outdoor public space or garden.
• The bubbles must be fixed, so you will not be able to mix with two households on Christmas Day and two different ones on Boxing Day.
• Households in your Christmas bubble can’t bubble with anyone else.
• There will be no limit to the number of people who can join a bubble – but obviously they all have to be from within the allowed three households.
• Importantly, if you have formed a support bubble with another household, that counts as one household, so you can join with two other households in a Christmas bubble.
• People who are self-isolating should not join a Christmas bubble. If someone tests positive, or develops coronavirus symptoms up to 48 hours after the Christmas bubble last met, everyone will have to self-isolate.
Despite the arrangements for meeting others over the festive period, you are not allowed to go with your Christmas bubble to hospitality settings, such as pubs and restaurants, or to entertainment venues.
The experts agree it is inevitable that the relaxation of restrictions so that we can have Christmas with family and friends will lead to an increase in infections and the potential for a spike in Covid cases in January. So only mix together if you really must and remember to continue to try and protect the more vulnerable – the message is don’t kill granny for the sake of a Christmas party!
The vaccines are coming
It has been reported that next week we could see a start on a mass vaccination as the NHS has received the first supplies of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine from labs in Belgium. This will happen as the UK becomes the first country in the world to approve mass use of a Covid vaccine for people aged 16 and over. Key NHS workers, hospital patients and some care home staff will be first priority and then the process will expand to cover people in high-priority groups in the following order:
- residents in a care home for older adults, and their carers
- everyone aged 80 and over, and other frontline health and social care workers
- everyone aged 75 and over
- everyone aged 70 and over, and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable
- everyone aged 65 and over
- people aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and death from Covid-19
- everyone aged 60 and over
- everyone aged 55 and over
- everyone aged 50 and over.
This order of priority makes it perfectly clear that it is still very much the case that the older you are, the higher your risk is of becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus. After these ten priority groups, there will be a second phase of vaccination for younger groups in the population. People will be vaccinated twice – 21 days apart – and immunity starts seven days after the second dose. It’s anticipated that people will be invited to get a vaccine as soon as it’s their turn, probably by letter. GP surgeries will act as local vaccination centres, and plans are being made for sports stadiums and conference centres to act as mass vaccination hubs. The government has so far ordered seven different types of vaccine and expects to receive 355 million doses, including 100 million of the Oxford/AstraZeneca one, which is in final tests at the moment.
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.
This list only shows the testing sites closest to where we live. These are government operated sites and they are open between 11am and 3pm. The full list of North Yorkshire sites can be viewed on the county council’s website at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/book-coronavirus-covid-19-test
- Every day – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
- Sunday 6 December – Thirsk – Millgate Car Park, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
- Monday 7 December – Stokesley – Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley TS9 5JG
- Tuesday 8 December – Catterick – Catterick Race Course, Catterick Bridge, North Yorkshire, DL10 7PE
- Wednesday 9 December – Ripon – Coach Park, 3 Moss Arcade, Ripon, HG4 1AG
- Thursday 10 December – Richmond – Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
- Friday 11 December – Easingwold – Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Rd, Easingwold YO61 3DZ
- Sunday 13 December – Thirsk – Millgate Car Park, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
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: 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
Watch out for the latest Covid test scam
North Yorkshire Police have issued a warning that everyone should be aware of scam callers trying to take advantage of people’s fears about Covid and desire to get tested if they’ve been in contact with someone who has the virus. The scammer calls and states that you have been near a Covid positive case and asks you to purchase a test over the ‘phone, The caller requests payment details which is, of course, something we all have to be careful about providing to anyone. The advice is do not purchase a test. You don’t need to: tests are available free of charge from government testing centres. If you want more information about Covid issues contact 111.
Christmas post deadlines rapidly approaching
Wednesday, 9 December………… Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central and South America, Far and Middle East
Thursday, 10 December………….. Canada, Cyprus and Malta
Friday, 11 December………………. Greece, Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia) and Turkey
Saturday, 12 December………….. Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, USA
Wednesday, 16 December ………Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland
Friday, 18 December………………. Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg
Friday, 18 December………………..2nd Class
Monday, 21 December…………….1st Class
Christmas Decorations & Bake Sale
The Friends of Topcliffe Academy are holding a Christmas decoration and cake sale on Friday 11 December from 4.30 to 7pm. The stall will be positioned near the Chip & Fish van on Long Street. All funds raised will go to the school. See poster attached.
The Topcliffe Poor Fund
This charity (the name relates to the old parish of Topcliffe – not just the village) gives grants to Topcliffe and Asenby. The charitable representatives – known as feoffees – for each village distribute the cash to those they believe need it and will benefit. It’s understood that Topcliffe feoffees Anne-Marie Barningham and Amanda Jameson-Allen have finalised their plans for allocating the cash to over-80s this Christmas. However, Carole Ford who represents Asenby, is planning on awarding a gift to all over 75 year olds but she is thinking she might not now be aware of everyone who will qualify. If you have received a gift in the past you are already on Carole’s list but otherwise, if you would like to be considered, call Carole on 01845 577718 before the 15 December.
The Topcliffe Educational Fund
This fund offers grants to university and further education students to purchase study books or other educational aids agreed by the charity. The value of any single grant depends not only on the funds available to distribute but also on the number of successful applications. This fund is not allocated according to the applicant’s financial position. Tomorrow (7 December) the feoffees will consider applications received and make their decisions. There’s time to get a last minute application to them via the Secretary, Mrs Rosemary Hart at email@example.com
Green waste and Christmas trees
Garden waste collections have been suspended during the winter months and the regular service will resume mid-February. In Topcliffe there will be a green bin collection on 14 January, mainly for Christmas trees, but normal garden waste is accepted as well. This service is only for residents who subscribe to the green waste system. Trees must be chopped up and placed inside the green bin, trees left at the side of bins or protruding from bins will not be collected. There is no similar special collection in Asenby, so residents are just advised to cut up their tree and put it in the green waste bin. Non subscribing residents will have to dispose of their trees themselves – trees can be taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centre at Sandholme Lane, Sowerby, which is open from 8.30am until 4pm. They are closed on 25, 26 December and 1 January and every Wednesday.
Subscriptions to both Hambleton’s and Harrogate’s fortnightly green waste collection service for 2021 will open in January.
How to help your neighbours during the continued ‘lockdown’
The past nine months of the pandemic have been miserable and difficult for everyone but it’s likely it has been much worse for our elderly, vulnerable and isolated neighbours. As we approach the festive season we have a chance to consider how we can help and support those in the community who might be dreading Christmas and the long days of winter. Normally the community organises a Christmas lunch at the Village Hall but because of Covid the hall is closed until at least March 2021. So we need to look at other little acts of kindness to show we care during the ongoing crisis. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Keep in touch with your neighbours – a quick chat on the phone or a message on social media will raise their spirits and yours. If you can, be the eyes and ears of your street or group of houses
- Check on neighbours to find out what they might need – you might already be doing a bit of shopping for them but is there some other way you could assist them?
- Could you prepare an extra plate of Christmas dinner for a neighbour living on their own?
- No one needs to go through this crisis alone. There is plenty of support out there – so jot down a list of numbers e.g. charities, your local council etc, who can give advice and make sure your neighbours know what help they can get.
The December edition of The Tattler should be delivered door to door on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.
Covid and Crime
Neighbourhood Watch and University College London are working together on some research to see how Covid-19 has impacted upon people’s routine and online activities, crime and their perceptions of it. As well as understanding how the pandemic has affected things to date, the aim of the survey is to understand how it might do so in the future. Your participation will be really valuable and help the researchers understand things that other data cannot. I’ll probably take about 15 minutes to complete the survey. Responses will be stored securely and you will not be asked for any information that would identify you as an individual. If you are willing to take part, please complete the survey at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/9LGPHDL
Thirsk Garden Centre – the Santa connection
Santa’s post box and wish tree at the garden centre opened yesterday and are awaiting messages from local youngsters. Santa may not be able to be in his grotto this year, but children can still let him know what they would like for Christmas. Letters to Father Christmas can be left during normal opening hours (9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm Sundays). Children shouldn’t forget to let Santa know their address so he can send a reply! The message is that Santa wishes everyone a safe and happy Christmas, and he wants to reassure everyone he’s keeping safe and well in the North Pole with all his reindeer…and getting ready for Christmas Eve.
Thirsk Garden Centre – coffee shop remains closed
The owners have made the decision not to reopen the coffee shop but will continue to operate a takeaway service only. This difficult decision at a time when the centre is usually very busy is intended to afford greater protection for both customers and staff. The priority is to safely manage customer volume, flow and queues to maintain social distancing. The situation will be constantly monitored and the coffee shop will be reopened as soon as it is felt safe to do so.
Christmas at The Elm Gallery
The gallery is opening 10am – 5.30pm almost every day up to and including Christmas Eve. Liz and Dave are happy to open by prior arrangement on an evening. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with if they can help you with gift ideas. Call 01845 577316 / 07709 223920 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheElmGallery/ and website www.the-elm-gallery.co.uk for details about the wide range of lovely hand-made items and Christmas gift ideas.
The Milk Churn Farm Shop
Here’s an update from the ladies at the Farm Shop:
- There’s only a few Christmas trees left, so thankyou to all who have supported our Christmas campaign this year.
- There’s still time to order Christmas vegetable and meat boxes, so pop in or telephone 01845 400446.
- The last date for collection for turkeys and any vegetables, fruit and/or meat boxes is 23 December. We will be open 7am-7pm and will provide timed collections to keep everyone safe.
- Milk, Cream, Yogurts can be ordered up to 17 December. The last day for bread orders is 22 December.
- We are providing everything for the Christmas Day lunch, so get your orders in by 18 December to prevent disappointment.
- We still have the fabulous Burtree Christmas puddings available… but they are selling fast.
- We will start taking orders again for our hampers next week, as we have caught up with the amazingly high volume of orders that have been completed. Apologies to our hamper customers that we had to close our website this week because of this.
- The shop will be closed 24,25,26 and 27 December. It will be open on 28,29 and 30 December but only 9am to 1pm. We will be closed from 31 December through to 7 January to recharge our batteries and ensure that the shop has a freshen up for the New Year. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
Made in Topcliffe
Nikki and Sam Keys are running a home-based business making candles, wax melts and reed diffusers from their home in Long Street, Topcliffe. Their company slogan is ‘environmentally conscious, luxury candles hand poured in North Yorkshire.’ Nikki said: “We have been overwhelmed with all the support our online candle business has received over the past year, especially with so many of our planned craft fairs having been cancelled and Christmas ones still undecided. As a big thank you we are offering a 10% discount on all orders up until the 20 December 2020. We offer contact-free collection if you’re local. So if you’re looking out for Christmas gifts check out our website at www.fotiacandles.co.uk and don’t forget to enter the promo code FOTIA10 at checkout.”
St. Columba’s Church
• Tonight at 6.30 pm, Choral Evensong
• Sunday 13 December at 10.45 am, Holy Communion led by Reverend Terry Dyer
• Sunday 20 December at 10.45 am, Sung Matins
• Sunday 20 at 6.30 pm, there will be a suitably Covid-safe shortened service using the traditional readings, but without congregational carols. It is hoped that the choir will be able provide some accompaniment.
• Christmas Eve, Thursday 24 December at 11.30 pm, ‘Midnight’ Holy Communion led by Reverend Terry Dyer
• Sunday 27 December there will be no service.
The Angel has introduced a new ‘substantial’ menu, with dishes between £4.50 and £5.50 to consume in the bar, which allows customers to also consume alcoholic drinks. They are currently offering a scotch egg and crisps meal to eat in the bar with your drinks at a promotional price of £1.50 since Michael Gove said it was a substantial meal! All substantial meals are available daily from noon with last orders before 9.45pm, and 9pm on Sundays. The internal layout has been re-arranged in order to serve food in the bar and lounge areas. The Angel’s lunch deal menu offers two courses for £15 and three for £19 and is available Monday to Friday lunch. The Angel at Home take away promotional food offers end today but we are still offering a take away service Wednesday to Sunday for those who rather eat at home. The Angel has a range of festive food and drinks options available throughout December to include a New Year’s Eve take out menu and midnight nibbles. Check the website www.theangelattopcliffe.co.uk for the menus and follow The Angel on Facebook for updates.
The Swan is serving drinks when a ‘substantial’ meal is ordered from the extensive and specially prepared menu. Take-away food is available from 5 to 9pm and 12 noon to 4pm Sundays. Jane, George and staff look forward to seeing you all and they thank everyone for being so supportive and understanding during this crisis.
• Refuse – Monday, 7 December; Saturday 19 December and Monday 4 January 2021
• Recycling – Thursdays, 17 and 31 December and Thursday 14 January 2021
• Green waste – The regular green waste collections are now suspended until 25 February (with the exception of a special Christmas tree collection on 14 January 2021). Subscriptions for green waste collections for 2021 open in January.
• Recycling – Monday 7 December, Saturday 19 December and Monday 4 January 2021
• Refuse – Monday, 14 December, 28 December and 11 January
• Garden waste – There are no more garden waste collections until March. Subscriptions for 2021 will open in January.
That’s all until next Sunday. Stay at home, keep safe and remain well.