Hello and welcome to the 49th issue of this regular Sunday email. Mother’s Day is very special and I hope all mums reading this have really wonderful day.
I hope you find this email’s 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.
The week’s Covid statistics
• The R number – which takes into account cases, hospitalisations and deaths – is now between 0.6 and 0.8 – a slight improvement on last week.
• Nearly 24 million people have now had a first dose vaccination. And the number of second doses administered now exceeds 1.5 million.
• There have been more than 4.2 million confirmed cases of Covid in the UK. Yesterday 5,534 cases were confirmed.
• 8,284,494 Covid tests were conducted last week. Presumably this huge figure is because of lateral testing in schools.
• 570 people were admitted to hospital on a daily basis (4,325 in the week). Those figures are 28% down on the previous week. The number of Covid patients in hospital dropped again, week on week,
to a new low of 8,029 (10.898 last week).
• Yesterday 121 UK deaths were reported. There were 1,045 in the seven-day period to Saturday. Deaths from Covid have fallen by 32% in a week.
• The total number of UK deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test now stands at over 125,464. Worldwide, the number of deaths is now over 2.65 million.
The Roadmap out of Lockdown
We are now a week along the route out of lockdown. Since 8 March and until we reach the next milestone on 29 March, here’s what is allowed:
- Schools and colleges have reopened. Practical Higher Education courses have recommenced.
- Recreation or exercise outdoors with household or one other person. No household mixing indoors.
- Wraparound childcare.
- Funerals (30), wakes and weddings (6)
Stay at Home restriction continue but people can leave home for recreation, as well as exercise outdoors, with their own household, support or childcare bubble, or with one person from another household. Social distancing and other safe behaviours should be followed.
The next key date is 29 March when the easing of restrictions will allow:
- The ‘Rule of 6’ is back meaning six people from different households can meet outdoors. There’s also a new measure allowing two households totalling more than six people to meet outdoors – giving greater flexibility for friends and families. No household mixing indoors.
- Outdoor sport and leisure facilities to reopen.
- Organised outdoor sport allowed (children and adults).
- We are advised to continue to minimise travel. No holidays yet.
- Outdoor parent and child groups with up to 15 parents can operate.
People will no longer be legally required to Stay at Home. Many of the lockdown restrictions, however, will remain in place. Unless an exemption already applies, it will not be possible to meet people from other households indoors and many business premises will remain shut.
Details of the complete roadmap are shown in the attachment.
The fight against Covid continues
The UK’s chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty warned this week that the fight against the virus is far from finished. "A lot of people may think this is all over. It is very easy to forget how quickly things can turn bad," he said.
Back to School
Schools across North Yorkshire reopened last Monday, although the return of secondary school pupils was staggered over the week. Preliminary data shows that attendance in our primary schools was as high as 97 per cent. Perhaps such high attendance rates show how much confidence families have in schools, in the safety measures that have been put in place and the high value they place on the quality of teaching and learning provided.
Progress with vaccination programme
Almost 24 million people have now received a first dose of a vaccine – around a third of the population – and more than 1.5 million people have had a second. The current seven-day average for first doses is around 295,000 doses a day – down from more than 400,000 a day in early February. According to the government, this drop in first doses can be partially explained by an increase in the number of second doses now being administered but also on supply issues.
Phase one of the vaccination programme aims to have everyone in priority groups 1 to 9 offered a jab before 15 April. That will be around 32 million people…and so far the programme is on schedule.
Already 24 million first dose jabs have been given, so only 8 million left to do in four weeks. Phase two – groups 10 to 12 – covers all adults aged between 18 and 49 and they will be offered a first dose by the end of July. Before then most people in phase one will have been called for that all-important second dose.
NHS text alerts for Covid jab
The NHS has started texting people inviting them to book their jab, making it quicker and more convenient to get an appointment. Almost 400,000 people aged 55 and over and 40,000 unpaid carers were the first to get a text alert inviting them to book a slot as part of the latest development in the NHS vaccination programme. The messages include a web link for those eligible to click and reserve an appointment at a vaccination centre. Reminders will be sent 2-3 weeks after the original alert to encourage people to get their vaccine if they have not taken up the offer.
GP-led and hospital vaccination services, which operate their own booking systems, have been using texts for invites since the start of the vaccination programme. Introducing texts to the national booking service will help increase uptake of the jab, particularly as the NHS moves on to younger groups. Texting is also likely to enable the NHS to react faster to changing vaccine supplies and fill appointments quickly. People will continue to receive letters inviting them to book an appointment as well as a text alert, to ensure that people who don’t have a number registered or need information in different languages or formats don’t miss out. People should not receive a text message or a letter from the NHS if they have already been vaccinated and this has been recorded. If people cannot or would prefer not to travel to a vaccination centre or pharmacy-led site, they can choose to wait to be invited by a local GP-led service.
In some cases, text messages have been used by scammers to try to collect personal details from people, get them to ring premium rate numbers or enter their banking details. The NHS text message will be sent using the government’s secure ‘notify’ service and will show as being sent from ‘NHSvaccine’. The NHS will never ask for payment or banking details.
Book a coronavirus test locally
Permanent sites are open every day for testing between 8am and 12pm. Between 1pm and 7pm they are open for collecting tests if you live or work with a school/college student.
• Every day – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
• Every day – Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
People who don’t have access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, can ring the 119 service to book their test. The full list of mobile sites the NHS is operating in North Yorkshire can be viewed on the county council’s website at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/book-coronavirus-covid-19-test Mobile sites are open for testing from 8am to 8pm.
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
Covid anniversary to be marked with day of reflection
A minute’s silence and a national doorstep vigil will form part of a day of reflection to mark the anniversary of the UK’s first Covid lockdown. The original idea to remember those who have died in the pandemic came from the Marie Curie charity but the plan is finding widespread support across the country. It will be held on Tuesday 23 March and will feature a minute’s silence at 12 noon and householders are encouraged to light a candle on their doorstep that evening. Prominent buildings and landmarks will also be illuminated across the UK.
Children in the Seedlings Nursery Class at Topcliffe CofE Academy have been celebrating World Book Day by reading a book called ‘Real Superheroes’. The book recognises all the amazing people who have worked super hard over the last year throughout the Covid pandemic. The children enjoyed a day dressing up as real superheroes, including doctors, police officer, postal workers and chefs (See photograph attached). They also enjoyed a variety of other activities, such as creating a ‘gallery of hope and thanks’ (see second photograph attached) and making rainbows in as many different ways they could think of.
National anti-littering campaign called for
The problem of littering in our two villages and on surrounding country roads, verges and hedgerows has been mentioned several times in Sunday Emails and The Tattler. Littering is a real problem – it is an eyesore that spoils the countryside, ruins the enjoyment of walking, is a demonstration of extremely selfish behaviour on the part of the litterers and is simply unacceptable. But what can be done about it? How can the behaviour of a minority be changed? Well one answer might be to increase public awareness and promote anti-littering messages. That’s what a campaigner is hoping to persuade the government to do by launching a petition on the parliamentary website. Her petition reads: “I would like to see the government fund a national anti-littering campaign, to put this issue back into public awareness. The campaign should include advertising on tv, online, in schools, at bus stops and anywhere else that it can be seen.’ If you are prepared to support the initiative, please sign the petition at: https://petition.parliament.uk/signatures/108239917/verify?token=7uTlJCy_10ykxCuMWtFG
The Tattler – Spring edition
The latest Tattler newsletter was distributed in our two villages last week. Everyone should have received their copy by now. Anyone living on farms or in outlying areas who doesn’t get a delivery through their letterbox can pick up a copy at The Post Office, Milk Churn Farm Shop. Alternatively, they can contact me – doug and I’ll add them to the circulation to receive an electronic version.
The main article in The Tattler was about existing traffic concerns and potential new issues relating to a planned extension to Dalton Industrial Estate which could easily worsen the situation in Topcliffe. It would be great if lots of residents were to write to or email elected representatives at both District and County level to comment on the current and future concerns about illegal HGV traffic through the village. Write to:
- Cllr Mark Robson, Leader, Hambleton District Council, Civic Centre, Stone Cross, Rotary Way, Northallerton DL6 2UU Email: cllr.mark.robson
- County Cllr Robert Baker, North Yorkshire County Council, County Hall, Northallerton DL7 8AD Email: cllr.robert.baker
- You can also refer any specific concerns about traffic issues to the Thirsk & Easingwold Neighbourhood Policing Team – Jonathan.Harrison
Potter Eggs commitment
Topcliffe Parish Council has written to local hauliers asking for cooperation in reducing their HGVs usage of the village’s streets. As a result, the parish council has received a commitment from Potter Eggs agreeing to instruct their drivers to use alternative routes where possible. Thanks Potter Eggs. Now let’s hope that a similar response comes from Potter Plant Hire.
Next Sunday is Census Day
The census officially takes place next Sunday – 21 March. The census, which takes place every ten years, aims to shed light on the needs of different groups and communities, ensuring the big decisions facing the country – on education, health, transport and many more issues – are based on the best information possible. The Office for National Statistics – which runs the Census – should by now have delivered letters with a personalised online code to all households explaining how they can complete their online census. People can also request a paper questionnaire if they’d prefer to complete the census that way. From Monday 22 March reminder letters will start arriving and field officers will visit houses still to respond. Census 2021 includes questions about your gender, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. For the first time, there is a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces. There are also some voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity. The census results will be available in 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years. For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit www.census.gov.uk
Road repairs at Mill Bank
After continual lobbying by Topcliffe Parish Council, repairs to the unsafe railings and support wall on the A167 above Mill Bank (Catton Lane) are finally underway. The work involves re-pointing various worn areas of the wall, re-building an 8m long section of the wall, near the centre, installation of a new drainage system within the wall itself and a soakaway at the base, within the highways verge and repairs to the public footpath steps between the A167 and Mill Bank. The works should be completed by 24 April. Though the road remains open to traffic with a traffic light arrangement, the highways department warn of some disruption throughout the contract period. Access to private properties is being maintained, though there may be temporary restrictions from time to time.
Thirsk town centre webcam
Did you know that there is a webcam operating in Thirsk town centre that can be accessed 24 hours per day? It beams out the view of the Market Place all over the world every day of the year. The current statistics reveal 680 people are taking a look every single day. It’s much used by locals checking up on how busy the marketplace is before they set off to do the shopping…but people all over the world are known to take a look, either because they are homesick or because they are checking out places to visit. The Tourist Information Centre believes that many who first see the town online will come to visit, stay in local accommodation, and buy in the town’s shops, pubs, restaurants and visitor attractions. See the webcam for yourself at www.VisitThirsk.uk/webcam
The World of James Herriot
The popular and famous museum in Thirsk has won the ‘Triumph over Adversity Award’ in the prestigious Rural Business Awards 2021. The World of James Herriot team is celebrating following the national final held online in February. The award was presented by Jules Hudson, the BBC Escape to the Country presenter. For more information about the museum visit: www.worldofjamesherriot.com
Bags2School textile recycling
Topcliffe Village Hall and the Scouting Association have joined forces to organise another ‘Bags2School’ recycling event. Everyone is encouraged to have a cupboard and wardrobe sort out and bring unwanted items in black bags to the village hall garden on Friday 23 April 2021 between 8.30am and 12 noon. The proceeds of the event will be shared between the Village Hall and Scouts’ Association. There’ll be more details about this fundraising event in future Sunday Emails.
Parish Council meetings
• The next Parish Council meeting will be held at online at 7pm on Thursday 1st April 2021. Any members of the public wishing to join the meeting should contact the clerk for log in details by mid-day on the
day of the meeting by email to topcliffeparishcouncil 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. More information is available at www.topcliffe.net
• The next Asenby Parish Council meeting will be held online at 7.30pm on Wednesday 17 March 2021. Residents wishing to join this meeting should email the clerk at asenbypc for log in
details. More information is available at www.asenby.net
Local Government Reorganisation
The consultation about the reorganisation of local authority areas in North Yorkshire is now well underway. There’s basically two proposals – one based on the whole county and another based on an east/west split. The closing date for receipt of comments is 19 April 2021. You can express a view at https://consult.communities.gov.uk/governance-reform-and-democracy/northyorkshire/
The election for our local Police and Crime Commissioner will take place on 6 May 2021. The Village Hall will act as the Polling Station in Topcliffe. Residents in Asenby will have to travel to Rainton Village Hall to cast their vote.
There’s still time to apply for a postal vote:
• Write to Electoral Registration, Hambleton District Council, Civic Centre, Stone Cross, Northallerton DL6 2UU – email@example.com or call 01609 779977 or print off a form from www.hambleton.gov.uk/electoralregister
• Write to Electoral Registration, Harrogate Borough Council, Civic Centre, St Luke’s Avenue, Harrogate HG1 2AE – call 01423 500600 or apply using the online form at
All change at Swaleside Holiday Park
The family behind a group of North-East holiday parks says it is ‘proud and delighted’ to have taken ownership of a top-rated Swaleside Holiday Park in Topcliffe. Maguires Country Parks, which owns a range of five-star graded holiday parks, has announced the acquisition of the site. It brings to eight the number of parks now owned by the family. And we welcome Brian and Karen Hills as the new managers of the site. They replace Andrew Balderson and Amanda Kenny who, after many years at Swaleside, have moved on to manage a bigger site near Selby. The couple were great friends of Topcliffe and they have promised to come back to join in some of the village’s events in the future.
• Wednesday, 17 March at 7pm – Compline (or Night Prayers, a short evening service (approx. 15 minutes) of prayers, readings and responses, providing a simple and peaceful way to close the day).
• Sunday, 21 March at 10.45 am – Matins (Book of Common Prayer)
• Wednesday, 24 March at 7p – Compline
• Wednesday, 31 March 7pm – Compline
• Saturday Easter Eve, 3 April 7.30pm – Easter Vigil and First Eucharist of Easter (with choir accompaniment)
• Sunday Easter Day, 4 April – No Service
• Sunday, 11 April 10.45am – Holy Communion (Rev Terry Dyer)
The PCC continually assesses the Covid risks and it operates ‘track and trace’ arrangement. All the usual precautions apply – please bring a face covering with you – and we will provide hand sanitiser for use before and after each service. Most importantly, for everyone’s sake, if you have any suspicion you might have contracted Covid, please don’t join us on that particular occasion.
Topcliffe Post Office
The revised opening hours of the Post Office and Shop are: Shop – weekdays 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7 to 11.30am. Post Office – weekdays 8.30am to 5pm and Saturday 8.30 to 11.30am. Both closed on Sundays.
• The Angel at Topcliffe – If you have forgotten to get that all important Mother’s Day present don’t despair as The Angel has the answer. From 11am today you can pop in to purchase a Gift Voucher for
future use in their restaurants.
• Thirsk Garden Centre believes that mums should be made to feel special all year round, but today of all days that extra effort needs to be made to give them that little extra attention. The garden centre is
open from 10am to 4pm and there’s a wide range of perfect gifts – plants, garden furniture, gift cards and lots more – available for anyone who forgot to buy something in advance. Check out their website
at https://www.thirskgardencentre.co.uk/ The centre is open 9 to 5pm Monday to Saturday.
The Angel at Topcliffe
Greg and the team are very much looking forward to re-opening the garden on 15 April. They will be offering a limited food menu to include favourites such as burgers, skewers, steak pies etc as well as lunchtime sandwiches, sharers and daily specials. Marquees will be erected above all tables to protect customers from inclement weather but don’t forget to take your coat or a blanket in case it’s cold. New temporary openings times:
- Wednesday – Thursday 12 noon – 9pm (food served 12 noon – 2.30pm and 5 – 8pm)
- Friday 12 noon – 10.30pm (food served 12 noon – 2.30pm and 5 – 8pm)
- Saturday 12 noon to 10.30pm (food served 12 noon – 8pm)
- Sunday 12 noon – 9pm (food served 12 noon – 7pm).
- Bookings for food (tables up to 6 or two households only) will start to be taken soon. Closing times will be subject to weather conditions.
- The Angel will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays until 16 May. Follow them on Facebook for all the latest updates.
The regular ‘Dine at Home’ takeaway service menu can be found on The Angel website. 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
Other Local traders
• Fish and Chips – The Fish & Chip van is in Topcliffe on Fridays between 5 and 7pm.
• The Elm Gallery – The gallery remains closed, though it looks forward to reopening mid- April. In the meantime, Liz and Dave continue to promote items on the gallery’s Facebook page and website.
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 Milk Churn Farm Shop – Current opening times are: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9-5pm. Thursday and Saturday 9-1pm. Once lockdown has been lifted, Saturday openings will return to 9 to 5pm. The shop is still operating a one out, one in system to protect customers and staff. A home delivery service remains available to anyone in Topcliffe, Asenby or Cundall. They are also making free deliveries to Dalton, Sessay and Husthwaite every Tuesday and to Rainton, Dishforth and Ripon areas every Wednesday (£10 minimum order applies). Ring 01845 400446 to arrange a delivery. https://www.milkchurnfarmshop.co.uk/ Takeaway teas and coffees with cake have resumed. Why not enjoy a walk and call in for a freshly made hot chocolate or other warm hot drinks? And here’s a bit of good news – ice creams will soon be going on sale.
• The Swan – The Swan remains closed for now but is planning to reopen on Monday 14 April. George, Jane and their staff look forward to welcoming everyone.
• Refuse – Mondays 15, 29 March and 12 and 26 April.
• Recycling & green waste – Thursday 25 March and Friday 9 April (one day later than normal due to Bank Holiday) and Thursday 22 April.
• Recycling – Monday 15 and Saturday 27 March (two days earlier than normal due to Bank Holiday) and Mondays 12 and 26 April.
• Refuse – Monday 22 March and Tuesday 6 April (one day later than normal due to Bank Holiday) and Monday 19 April.
• Garden waste – Thursday 25 March and Friday 9 April (one day later than normal due to Bank Holiday) and Thursday 22 April.
Green waste will only be collected if you have paid the subscription for April 2021 to March 2022.
• A Hambleton licence for the year will cost £40 per bin. To subscribe or for further information please visit www.hambleton.gov.uk/newbins
• A licence from Harrogate will cost £41 per bin. To subscribe or for more information go to https://www.harrogate.gov.uk/garden-waste-subscription-service
That’s all for this week. Keep safe and remain well.