Winter Support Grant Scheme

South Oxfordshire District Council is able to help those who are struggling to afford food and stay warm this winter.  The Winter Support Grant scheme is available for households who have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Support is available in the form of advice, supermarket and fuel vouchers or through the direct payment of energy or water bills.

If you are a South Oxfordshire resident and you are struggling to afford food or pay your fuel bills, you may be eligible to receive help.  Get in touch with your nearest advice centre for further guidance or if you know of someone who is struggling please tell them to get in touch: Citizens Advice – 0300 3309042

Note: Only one member (over the age of 18) per household can apply, and they must live in South Oxfordshire. The Winter Support grant will be available from 11 January until the end of March 2021. To find out more about the Government’s COVID Winter Grant Scheme, visit www.gov.uk

Airband broadband – an update

Following the promotion, but not endorsement, by the parish council of internet service provider Airband to provide cost-effective fibre broadband to the premises, it’s troubling to find that the suggested install date of autumn seems stuck in a perpetual loop of slippage.

Autumn slipped to December, December to February and now, despite prompting there is now no date for the install. Further, the company, at the end of November, sent an email suggesting that more subscribers were required in the parish before the install could take place.

Airband have repeatedly promised confirmation that the install would go ahead regardless, as well as a projected install date.

However, on making contact with the original project manager, it appears that there are several issues that the company is contending with. Coronavirus hasn’t been helpful; more people are working from home and it’s putting a strain on their network requiring more investment as well as delaying rollouts. Also, the company says its contract work has become very burdensome and is causing knock-on delays.

The manager was blunt and upfront. At this point, there is no guarantee that FTTP will come to the parish – it’s not yet been signed off by the board. It’s probable, but not certain. However, some will have noticed Airband vehicles in the area laying fibre; they’re connecting council contract premises from the Thame exchange in the Chinnor area.

According to the manager, those who are less than 70 metres from this fibre can seek a connection. But it won’t be under the rural broadband voucher scheme that will apply to everyone else in the parish.

While the parish council did not endorse Airband, it is nevertheless necessary to make the current situation known to each subscriber so that they can make their own mind up as to whether to stay on board.

Business support

Businesses are being urged to sign up to the South and Vale Business Support mailing list to ensure they keep up to date with the latest news about the financial support available to them during the ongoing restrictions.

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils are currently administering a number of government-funded support grants which cover the periods during national lockdowns and localised tier restrictions, as well as further support for pubs.

Each time the government announces a new grant it can take several weeks before they provide councils with the specific details they need in order to open the scheme for applications.

Visit svbs.co.uk to sign up to the Business Support mailing list.

Leak on Coffin Path cleared

Following the parish council calling out Thames Water – for a second time – the blockage causing the sewage leak on the Coffin Path in Aston Rowant has now been cleared.

Thames Water note that the pipe is their asset.

The path has been sprayed with disinfectant and is now safe to cross.

Sewage leak on Coffin Path in Aston Rowant

The parish council is aware of, and has been trying to deal with for a few weeks now, a manhole cover on the Coffin Path in Aston Rowant that is progressively leaking greater volumes of sewage. The manhole cover in question is around 20m from the church end of the path.

Thames Water, after a visit before Christmas, has denied responsibility for the leak as has the owner of the green, James Williams. The parish council is trying to engage with Oxfordshire County Council’s environmental health department; that is proving difficult as coronavirus has meant that staff are working from home and are not contactable other than by voicemail.

In the meantime, Thames Water has agreed to visit for a second time, but until responsibility for the leak can be established can villagers please walk *around* the leak and avoid the first 50m of the path. It is a health hazard.

Garden waste collections suspended

SODC has suspended garden waste collections with immediate effect and is not taking on new garden waste customers until further notice.

The move seeks to allow crews to focus on essential services including household collections while “building resilience in our workforce to allow for increased staff shortages due to illness.”

This means that you cannot now leave your Christmas tree alongside a brown bin for collection in January, as this service is suspended – one option is to take a tree to White’s Field Car Park, Mill Lane, Chinnor, before the evening of Friday 8 January, and place it in the communal pile for disposal of over the weekend.

SODC has yet not given information regarding refunds of this paid service.

Recycling waste centres

All household waste recycling centres are remaining open during the national lockdown announced for January 2020 onwards.

When visiting you can expect:

  • a limit on the number of vehicles unloading
  • social distancing measures

Sites are open 8am – 5pm every day (booking is not required).

When there are long waiting times to enter the centre, staff may close the queue earlier than the advertised closing time based on an assessment of the queue time.

Our nearest centre in Oxfordshire is 9 miles away – Oakley Wood, Henley Road, Crowmarsh, Near Wallingford, OX10 6PW

http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/recyclingcentres

Path to Crowell

A request from the parish council regarding the new path from Kingston Blount to Crowell.

For obvious reasons residents are using the path – which is welcomed. But the parish council is asking walkers to use the full width of the path as the centre is now becoming churned up and muddy. Using the full width will spread the wear and give the path a chance to recover.

New Year’s Parish Walk – cancelled

The New Year’s Parish Walk planned for 3 January has been cancelled; group walks aren’t permitted in Tier 4.

Ask for Christmas help

With food banks and other support organisations running reduced or limited services over the Christmas period, South Oxfordshire District Council is urging residents to think ahead and get in touch now if they’ll need help with food or essential supplies.

The councils’ own Community Hub service will be running a limited service and wants to make sure families do not suffer this Christmas.

The Hub provides support to people who are in crisis as a result of the pandemic. Since April the team has received 1,300 requests for help and sent out 806 food parcels. A team of specially trained call-handlers can also signpost people to foodbanks, community support groups, NHS services and other agencies who can help.

The Hub will be running an emergency service for residents that need urgent food support from 24 December. The service will be available on Thursday 24, Tuesday 29, Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 December, from 9am-5pm, by calling 07919 381 605.

From 4 January the hub will be operating as normal and will be available between 8.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Fridays. In an emergency it’s best to call the hub on 01235 422600 but it can be emailed via .