Hello and welcome to the 40th issue of this regular Sunday email. As one avid reader pointed out, it is the ruby edition!
I hope you find its contents interesting and informative. As usual, do get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think Topcliffe and Asenby residents might like to hear about.
Covid situation round-up
It has been a truly awful week with the number of infections, hospitalisations and deaths massively increasing – and the situation proving worse than at the height of the spring 2020 lockdown. The post-Christmas spike that was predicted is now coming into play and the new UK variant is hugely increasing the rate of transmission in almost every part of the country. Here are a few other statistics and snippets that sum up the situation:
• The Office for National Statistics reckons that nearly half the households in the UK formed a Christmas bubble, whether they were allowed to or not.
• On Friday last, 68,053 people in the UK tested positive for coronavirus. Over 415,000 tested positive over a seven-day period to Friday.
• Last week it was announced that one in 50 people were infectious…and in some areas as many as one in 20.
• Around 3,870 people a day last week were admitted to hospital (23,400 in the week).
• 620,000 coronavirus tests were undertaken on 7 January and 3,403,714 during a seven-day period to 7 January.
• On Friday 1,325 deaths were announced. There were almost 5,700 in the seven-day period to Friday. So far during the pandemic, close to 80,000 deaths have been recorded.
• Two types of vaccine are now being used. They are being given to the most vulnerable first, as set out in a list of nine high-priority groups, covering around 30 million people in the UK. Around 1.5 million people in the UK have had at least one dose of Covid vaccine so far. That includes almost a quarter of those aged over 80 in England.
• A third Covid vaccine has been approved for use in the UK. It is made by the company Moderna and works in a similar way to the Pfizer one that is already being offered on the NHS. However, supplies of the new jab are not expected to be available until the spring. The UK has now pre-ordered 17 million doses.
• From next week, all international arrivals, including UK citizens, will have to present a negative Covid-19 test before they board a plane, train or boat bound for the UK. The test will need to have been taken within 72 hours of the start of the journey. People arriving from countries which are not on the government’s ‘Travel Corridor list’ will still have to self-isolate for ten days, regardless of their test result.
As North Yorkshire is in a national lockdown we must now stay at home and follow the restrictions to limit the spread of the virus, to protect the NHS and to save lives. We must not leave or be outside of our homes except when we have a reasonable excuse. You can leave home to/for:
• Work – where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home
• Volunteer – to provide voluntary or charitable services.
• Essential activities – to buy things at shops or obtain services. You may also do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating.
• Education and childcare – for education, registered childcare and supervised activities for children where they are eligible to attend.
• Meeting others and care – to visit people in your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one), to provide informal childcare for children under 14 as part of a childcare bubble, or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or for a short break in respect of a looked-after child.
• Exercise – to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area. You should maintain social distancing.
• Medical reasons – including to get a Covid-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies.
• Harm and compassionate visits – to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse). You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.
• Animal welfare reasons – such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.
• Communal worship and life events – to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony. You should follow the guidance on the safe use of places of worship and must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble when attending a place of worship. Weddings, funerals and religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to someone’s death are all subject to limits on the numbers that can attend, and weddings and civil ceremonies may only take place in exceptional circumstances.
Book a coronavirus test locally
These are government operated ‘every day’ sites close to where we live. They operate 8am to 8pm. The full list of other sites operating in North Yorkshire 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
• Every day – Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
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/ There’s a link on the North Yorkshire County Council website to request a home test – https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/home-testing
Note from Topcliffe Surgery
Please see the attached communication from the team at Topcliffe Surgery.
Help available to anyone who needs it
Many residents will be shielding again as part of the national lockdown but no-one in either of our villages should ever be alone or without help. In most cases neighbours are happy to provide essential support with such things as shopping, collecting prescriptions or just to have a chat. But if a more formal approach is preferred North Yorkshire County Council can assist. Since the beginning of the pandemic the authority has been working alongside district councils and in partnership with community organisations to coordinate volunteer support hubs. These hubs are a single point of contact within the community that can provide a safety net of support for people during this latest lockdown. More than 1,500 volunteers have helped thousands of people each week with shopping, hot meals and prescriptions, as well as checking on people’s health and wellbeing. If you don’t have anyone you can turn to for help give them a call and they will get you the support you need. Call 01609 780780 between 8am and 5.30pm seven days a week.
Clap for Heroes
Did you take part in the first Clap for Heroes last Thursday evening? The weekly doorstep applause for NHS and care workers that was so popular in the early days of Covid has returned under a new name and to thank a wider range of deserving workers who have kept going throughout the pandemic. By all accounts the public didn’t respond to this fresh call for applause in the way they did last year, but maybe the idea will gather momentum in the weeks to come. The plan is to have doorstep applause each Thursday evening at 8pm.
Asenby Parish Council
Just a reminder that Asenby Parish Council will be meeting remotely on Wednesday 20 January 2021. The meeting is at 7.30pm – not 7pm as suggested last week. Residents wishing to join this meeting electronically should email the Parish Clerk at email@example.com for log in details.
Topcliffe Parish Council
The Parish Council met remotely last Thursday. The Minutes will be published online at www.topcliffe.org.uk
Margaret’s Tipping Point
Last October (Issue 29 of the Sunday Email) I mentioned that former Topcliffe resident Margaret Whitaker was due to make an appearance on the ITV quiz programme Tipping Point that week. Well, it didn’t happen! But the recorded appearance is due to be broadcast at 4pm this Friday (15 January). Margaret, who was the school secretary at Topcliffe School for some years but moved to Seaton Carew after her retirement, sadly died not long after the programme was recorded.
Fish and Chips
Both Karen and her dad Paul have recently had operations and I’m pleased to report both are recovering well. It’s anticipated that the Fish & Chip van will be back in action between 4 and 7pm on Friday 22 January. The time and date will be confirmed or otherwise in next week’s email.
We’ve had some pretty severe weather over the last few weeks and our drives and paths have been treacherous to walk on. So, it’s timely that Josh Barningham is selling bags of white rock salt to treat surfaces. The 25kg bags are available at £6 (reduced from £10). He can deliver to both villages. Telephone 07716 334211.
Post Office opening times have changed
Topcliffe Post Office has announced that it is reducing its opening times during the current lockdown. Until further notice it will close at 3:30pm. The opening times are now 7.30am – 3:30pm for the shop and 7:30am – 3.30pm for the post office counter.
RSPB’s annual birdwatch
The RSPB’s annual bird watch will take place between 29 and 31 January. Anyone can take part and all you have to do is pick an hour during which you will monitor and count the birds in your own garden. In other years you could select another location such as a park or allotment, but during lockdown it’s best to stick to your own garden. You can be an early bird checking out what goes on before most of us are out of bed or a night owl if you think there’s any nocturnal activity where you live. All you have to do is count the birds that land in your garden…but you should ignore any birds that are still in flight. To avoid double-counting, just record the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not a running total. The results can be submitted online at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch from 29 January until 19 February. Every count is important so, even if you don’t see anything you are asked to tell the RSPB. Apparently, finding out which birds don’t visit your area is as important as understanding those which do!
Police, Fire & Crime budget and council tax bill
There’s still a few days to tell Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan about your thoughts on the size of the budget allocated for services she oversees and the impact on your council tax bill next year. The consultation closes Wednesday 13 January. The survey can be completed at www.telljulia.info
Census 2021 will provide a snapshot of modern society
Households across North Yorkshire will soon be asked to take part in Census 2021. Census day will be on March 21. The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941. This census will be the first run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter in early March with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets. It’s important for everyone to take part as the information gathered is used to ensure everyone from local government to charities can put services and funding in the places where they are most needed. This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, schools and new transport routes. Although this year’s census is principally an online affair, there will be paper questionnaires for those that need them. There’ll be more about the census in future Sunday emails and the spring Tattler.
Scammers try it on with vaccines
It doesn’t take long for scammers to catch on to the latest opportunities to try and defraud us. Neighbourhood Watch this week warned about a new scam that is doing the rounds using a genuine looking website. It starts with a text seemingly from the NHS inviting the intended target to apply for the new vaccine. If you click on the link you are redirected to a website that looks believable and asks for a load of personal information. But it’s all a con and alarm bells should ring because, as we all know, the vaccine is free. Follow the usual advice and do not click on links in unknown texts or emails and never give out your personal details.
Safer Internet Day – 9 February
With more people working from home and children now having their school lessons online, the need to use the internet more safely and securely has never been greater. To mark Safer Internet Day, North Yorkshire Police will be hosting another of the popular online ’Ask the Experts’ evenings. There’ll be presentations from the Cyber Crime Unit and Online Abuse & Safeguarding Units, and an insight will be given into the tricks scammers use to manipulate their victims. As usual there will be the opportunity to ask questions of our panel of experts. This event will be conducted using Microsoft Teams and those registering to take part will be emailed a link prior to the date. You do not need to have Microsoft Teams installed on your computer to participate, just a good internet link. To register for the event please click on this link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/internet-safety-day-ask-the-experts-north-yorkshire-police-tickets-135979661829
News from The Elm Gallery
The gallery remains closed. The gallery didn’t have to close, but Liz and Dave decided they would now feel much safer if it did. They will continue to post things on the gallery Facebook page and, just as they did during the last lockdown, collection of purchases at the gallery door can be arranged. More information can be found on their website at www.the-elm-gallery.co.uk and they can be contacted on 01845 577316 or 07709 223920. The gallery will re-open when infection rates fall and/or when Liz and Dave have had their vaccinations.
The Milk Churn Farm Shop
Debbie and her team would like to thank all of their customers for accepting the changes they have had to make due to the Covid lockdown.
The farm shop is now open again after a well-deserved extended festive break, but no takeaway drinks are being served. The shop is well-stocked with fresh food and drink. If there is a specific vegetable, fruit or meat product that any customer wants, the staff are more than happy to order it from their suppliers. They are getting fresh bread daily but unfortunately are unable to get sourdough throughout lockdown. Because of the lockdown restrictions and worrying high numbers of infections in Hambleton, customers will be required to be in the shop one at a time, to wear their mask and not to handle products they don’t intend to buy – the names and prices are all clearly presented. For their part, the staff will clean the baskets, door handles and other surfaces on a regular basis. Meat, fruit and vegetable baskets can be delivered to any Topcliffe and Asenby residents who are isolating or collected in person by arrangement. Telephone 01845 400446 to order and agree a time. https://www.milkchurnfarmshop.co.uk/
St. Columba’s Church
The Communion Service scheduled for today (10 January) will not take place as the Rev’d Terry Dyer has decided not to continue with services under the present circumstances. The congregation offers its heartfelt thanks to Rev’d Dyer and Churchwarden, Chris Hewlett, for their dedication and professionalism in supporting church activities to date. The possibility of holding future services will be risk assessed under the Covid regulations and a further announcement made in due course.
Because of the tier lockdown The Angel has had to close its doors. However, Greg and his team are keeping positive and look forward to a brighter spring. In the meantime, the Angel at Home takeaway service is operating with a new menu and reduced prices. Take away times are Wednesday to Saturday, 4.30-8pm, with orders taken from 3.30pm and Sundays 12-6pm, with orders taken from 11am. Call 01845 578000 to place an order or book a time slot in advance. Check out the details at www.theangelattopcliffe.co.uk
The Swan is closed until further notice…hopefully, not too long! George and Jane would like to thank everyone who has supported them throughout the recent difficult and confusing times and they look forward to the time when customers can again visit for drinks and meals.
• Recycling – Thursdays 14 and 28 January 2021
• Green Waste – 14 January – this special collection is for subscribing members only. It’s primarily for Christmas trees, which must be cut up and placed completely inside the bin. Other green waste can also be included. The current 2020/21 licences expire 26 March 2021. Subscriptions for the Hambleton 2021-22 garden waste service can now be purchased. Subscriptions cost £40 per licence per bin. The 2021-22 service runs 29 March 2021 to 25 March 2022. To subscribe or for further information please visit www.hambleton.gov.uk/newbins Residents who don’t subscribe to the green waste collection services can take trees to the Recycling Centre in Sowerby. It’s open from 8.30am until 4pm but closed every Wednesday.
• Refuse – Mondays 18 January and 1 February 2021.
Important Note from Hambleton Council: Low temperatures and continuous spells of wintry weather have resulted in ice remaining on many roads and paved surfaces. Conditions are expected to continue in some area across the district for some time. Whilst additional vehicles and staff have been deployed to assist with collections, the conditions in some areas have not improved enough to allow safe access and collection teams may not be able to work as normal. If this is the case, additional waste to the equivalent of one missed collection will be collected with your next scheduled collection – waste must be left in black sacks.
Due to the current weather conditions, collections this coming week will be a day later than planned. This schedule may change if the adverse weather continues.
• Collections due on Monday 11 January will now be collected on Tuesday 12 January
• Recycling – Mondays 18 January and 1 February (subject to weather conditions)
• Green waste – currently suspended. Subscriptions for 2021-22 open this month. To subscribe or for more information please visit https://www.harrogate.gov.uk/garden-waste-subscription-service
That’s all for this week. Keep safe and remain well.