We are all aware that some of us have struggled over the last few months; with Covid, and lockdowns, and different ways of doing things, and isolation, and simply a sense that things are 'not right'.
With October comes the annual Love Me Love My Mind, Epsom Mental Health and Wellbeing Festival.
Love Me Love My Mind is a small registered charity based in Epsom which aims to promote better understanding of mental health and to support the wellbeing of everyone in the community.
The Epsom Mental Health and Wellbeing Festival which takes place from 3 to 10 October, will be a virtual experience this year and you can download the full brochure with details from the Love Me Love My Mind website (click on the image) or visit https://www.epsomonlinefestival.co.uk/
To celebrate the festival Mayor of Epsom and Ewell, Humphrey Reynolds, has recorded a special message which can be seen on YouTube
Five steps to improve your mental health and well-being
Evidence from the NHS suggests there are five steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.
1. Connect with other people
Good relationships are important for your mental well-being. They can:
- help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth
- give you an opportunity to share positive experiences
- provide emotional support and allow you to support others
There are lots of things you could try to help build stronger and closer relationships:
- if possible, take time each day to be with your family, for example, try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together
arrange a day out with friends you have not seen for a while
- try switching off the TV to talk or play a game with your children, friends or family
- have lunch with a colleague
- visit a friend or family member who needs support or company
- volunteer at a local school, hospital or community group
- make the most of technology to stay in touch with friends and family. Video-chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are useful, especially if you live far apart. Don’t r ely on technology or social media alone to build relationships. It's easy to get into the habit of only ever texting, messaging or emailing people
2. Be physically active
Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing by:
- raising your self-esteem
- helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them
- causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood
Find out more about getting active
- find free activities to help you get fit
- if you have a disability or long-term health condition, find out about getting active with a disability
- find out how to start swimming, cycling or dancing
- find out about getting started with exercise
Don’t feel that you have to spend hours in a gym. It's best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life
3. Learn new skills
Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental well-being by:
- boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
- helping you to build a sense of purpose
- helping you to connect with others
Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.
Some of the things you could try include:
- try learning to cook something new. Find out about healthy eating and cooking tips
- try taking on a new responsibility at work, such as mentoring a junior staff member or improving your presentation skills
- work on a DIY project, such as fixing a broken bike, garden gate or something bigger. There are lots of free video tutorials online
- consider signing up for a course at a local college. You could try learning a new language or a practical skill such as plumbing
try new hobbies that challenge you, such as writing a blog, taking up a new sport or learning to paint
Don't feel you have to learn new qualifications or sit exams if this does not interest you. It's best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life
4. Give to others
Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental well-being by:
- creating positive feelings and a sense of reward
- giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth
- helping you connect with other people
It could be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community.
Some examples of the things you could try include:
- saying thank you to someone for something they have done for you
- asking friends, family or colleagues how they are and really listening to their answer
- spending time with friends or relatives who need support or company
- offering to help someone you know with DIY or a work project
- volunteering in your community, such as helping at a school, hospital or care home
5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)
Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental well-being. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you.
Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
(Information on the five steps supplied by the NHS)
Flu jab - more vital than ever
Covid-19 means it's extra important to get a flu vaccine in 2020.
Last month, Public Health England highlighted research that suggests that people infected with both were more at risk of severe illness and death. PHE found that during the pandemic's first peak, for those who were infected by both coronavirus the risk of death was six times greater than the general population, while 43% of those infected with both flu and Covid-19 died, compared to 27% who only tested positive for the coronavirus. Those who died tended to be older, PHE said.
Adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from COVID-19.
However flu on its own is a serious condition that kills, on average, 11,000 people in England each year and hospitalises many more.
The free flu vaccine is more important than ever to help protect ourselves and the nation from the double threat this winter.
The programme is being expanded this year to help protect more people from flu and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services.
30 million people are now eligible for a free flu vaccine. They include:
- two and three-year-olds, who will be offered the vaccine through their GP
- primary school children and Year 7 pupils, who will be offered the flu nasal spray in schools
- those age 65 and over
- people with long-term health conditions and pregnant women,
- household contacts of people who were instructed to 'shield' during the first wave of the pandemic
- paid health and social care workers who have direct contact with the people they care for
- within Surrey, if you are an unpaid carer looking after someone who is elderly or disabled, you are also eligible for the free flu jab - see information on the Action for Carers website
- Once the first at risk groups have been contacted, the vaccine programme will also be rolled out to include everyone over the age of 50.
For more information visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/
Click on the image to learn more about the flu jab
Latest from the Market
The Market Place renovations are almost complete and we have had excellent feedback from market traders and we've been encouraged that new market traders and market organisers are making increased enquiries about the Market Place (in November there will be four different Sunday markets).
You may have noticed a specialist contactor recently spruced up the base of the Evocation of Speed statue.
The Emily Davison Memorial Project has announced that they have reached the financial target to install a statue of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison in the Market Place.
The target was reached in part by support from Go Epsom and from Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, as well as donations from local businesses and individual residents.
Sculptor Christine Charlesworth has started work creating the statue of Emily with the aim to unveil the artwork on International Women’s Day Monday 8 March 2021.
The sculpture will show Emily sitting on a bench and hopes to encourage visitors to stop and sit with her by the Clock Tower. Beside the statue, Christine has chosen to place some of Davison’s favourite books, together with the mortarboard from the suffragette marches. Davison will be wearing the hat she wore on the fateful day in June 1913 when she lost her life in the cause of women's suffrage.
Below: the statue takes shape...
... and what it will look like:
Black History Month
October is Black History Month and we’ve been looking at some early local Black history in Epsom with Bourne Hall Museum and the excellent Surrey History Centre, who this year are focussing on anti-slavery campaigners, known as the abolitionists.
The British first began to take enslaved people to the West Indies from Africa in the 1500’s.
Where early records mention Black people there is often no further information about the individual. Some parish records include descriptive comments about the physical traits of those being baptised, married or buried. For instance on the 8 February 1705 there was the burial in St Martin’s, Epsom of John Ackmett, ‘a black boy’. It is possible to speculate that John was a page boy for a wealthy visitor taking the waters at the Wells.
Slavery did not exist in Britain as it did in the colonies. There had always been resistance to colonial slavery, from the enslaved themselves and from within the colonised countries, but by the later 1700s there was growing opposition to the barbaric trade from within Britain. Abolition was debated in Parliament and also by ordinary people, in the home, at the local inn, or in a place or worship.
The movement gathered pace once the British slave trade had been officially abolished in 1807 and full emancipation came in 1833 with The Slavery Abolition Act. By this date, there were over a 100 slave owners in Surrey which still owned many thousands of enslaved Africans for which they received compensation for the loss of what was perceived as their 'property'. Far from being free, most of the enslaved people entered an 'apprenticeship' scheme which still kept them in unpaid labour until 1838. In the East Indies slavery was still not abolished until 1843.
A newspaper cutting from the daily newspaper, the Morning Herald on 5 March 1826 describes an Anti-Slavery meeting, the previous week, at The Spread Eagle Inn in Epsom (pictured right in the early 1800's). The meeting discussed the poor working conditions of slaves, the national feeling of ‘moral guilt’ and the apathy of the British people on the matter. It resolved to petition parliament to free slaves in British colonies and ‘the whole community had been agreed on the great question, the only point of difference being the mode of removing the horrible stain from the English character’.
That last statement came from John Briscoe, Lord of the Manor for Epsom. He made a parliamentary career for himself as a Whig MP (Whig MPs were central to the Westminster West India lobby). He held a seat three times during the period 1830-70. He warned that any immediate hasty action to emancipate enslaved people would be disastrous and needed much thought.
Briscoe was a beneficiary of a slave plantation in Barbados, home to 136 enslaved people. He benefitted from the labour of the enslaved, but that did not mean he could not imagine slavery coming to an end. Like many, he was cautious of the uproar the immediate emancipation of slaves would bring about.
The Epsom meeting turned into a debate about the duties levied on the East Indian sugar imports and the possibility of alleviating them, with the result that competition would be fairer, and other sources of sugar would be favoured over the immoral slave-driving West Indies plantations. This was suggested by Mr Pownall who wrote Some Particulars relating to the history of Epsom. Pownall lived at Woodcote End (what became the Chalk Lane Hotel) and financially supported William Wilberforce, the leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade.
Further meetings were held at the Spread Eagle Hotel in 1827 and 1828 and reported in the Times newspaper.
In 1827 the meeting was chaired by Henry Drummond the MP for West Surrey who was pleased at the turnout as 'the great room was full' and it was noted that there were ladies present. In his address, Drummond said they could view the system of slavery in two ways – as Christians, and as moralists. "As Christians" he said "they had to consider the saving of 800,000 souls; as moralists, they had to look at the example that would be made to the white population of the colonies. By what power could any class of beings be doomed to slavery? If such a power could be admitted, why might it not be applied to the people of Epsom, as well as to any other race of human beings? No power or parchments could take away the natural rights of a child, of a parent, or of a husband; and certainly the claims of such beings were prior to those of the slave-owner. The freedom of the slave was, in fact, with them, a question of pounds and shillings.”
The 1828 meeting chiefly consisted of ladies and was considered highly respectable. Again Mr Pownall spoke” Unless they persevered, as Christians and as men, to call the attention of the Parliament and the public to the subject, nothing would be done. They had met to ask Parliament for the abolition of slavery, and not for its mere mitigation – to ask it to lay the axe to the root, and to destroy the whole system of inhumanity from the beginning to end”.
A full history of the Surrey abolitionists and of Black history in Surrey can be found on the Surrey History Centre website.
Litter picking volunteers
The Epsom and Ewell community has taken litter picking to their hearts.
We’ve supplied over 700 litter picking kits to individual volunteers who are undertaking regular litter picks on their way to school, walking the dog or making specific litter picking sojourns.
During lockdown we were approached by many individuals wanting to litter pick while doing their daily exercise and we produced a covid special guide for volunteers.
The large group litter picks, for obvious reasons, are very much reduced this year, however there have been a few, with the groups dividing themselves into smaller teams up to a maximum of six.
We lend equipment to most of the groups, although some supply their own, and we pick up the litter they have collected. Special recognition to The Church of God, who have bagged 1,250 kgs in three separate litter picks this year and to College Ward residents who picked 18 bags around their ward in a single day.
Visit our website if you wish to take part in a community litter pick or to undertake your own.
A survey of visitors and residents, carried out by Go Epsom, the independent Business Improvement District (BID) for Epsom town centre, asked people for their opinions on safety and their experiences of visiting the town since shops and businesses reopened.
More than 200 individuals responded to the survey, the feedback provided told Go Epsom the following:
- 85% carry hand sanitiser with them
- 77.5% say that seeing others wearing face coverings is reassuring
- 84.5% feel safe visiting local shops
- 12% have changed their method of travel into the town centre with walking now being as popular as car use
- 97% say that supporting local businesses is important to them
- 68% are ordering more online than they did prior to Covid 19
Some of the comments made were:
- Secure and happy with measures in most places.
- Been there for groceries shopping and other stuff. Always feel safe.
- Ashley Centre shops and staff well organised.
- Shops very organised. One way walking system. Plenty of hand sanitisers.
Karen Pengelly, BID Manager at Go Epsom commented “Anecdotal reports from businesses have been positive with trade slowly building week on week. To see so many people wanting to support local businesses is amazing, we need to maintain this resurgence, our local high streets need our support, Amazon doesn’t. Every time you shop on your local high street, you are investing in your local community, helping to keep it healthy and vibrant. We will be regularly reminding people to support local, especially as we move into Autumn and Winter. It’s clear that a minority of people feel nervous or anxious about visiting busy places, the town centre will collectively work together to help these people feel more confident.”
Information from Go Epsom, including the full survey results can be found on their website
It's getting nippy
Is your home cold and draughty?
Do you want to save money on your energy bills?
Action Surrey can help!
If you are struggling to keep your home warm and are finding your energy bills are too high, then Action Surrey, working in partnership with Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, can help.
Action Surrey can offer information on the best energy saving measures and methods for keeping your home warm as well as for saving on your energy bills. They can also be able to advise on if you are eligible for a grant towards the cost of installing energy efficiency improvements, including the new Green Homes Grant scheme.
Contact Action Surrey on 0800 783 2503 or fill out an enquiry form on their website: www.actionsurrey.org to find out what funding is available.
Join thousands quitting smoking this October. Are you ready to end you relationship with smoking? With the right support you will be. Stoptober offers a range of support to help you quit.
Visit Stoptober to find out the best way for you to quit.
Make yourself more employable
The Government has added over 60 new courses to The Skills Toolkit from top quality providers including The Open University, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.
With an even wider range of free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses, and the addition of new employability and work-readiness courses, the online platform gives people the opportunity to build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.
From computer essentials and practical maths to digital marketing, coding, leadership and project management, there's something for everyone.
Find out more at www.gov.uk/theskillstoolkit
New grant available
Grassroots groups which help keep people living independently in their communities are being invited to apply for grants from a new Surrey fund.
The Adult Social Care Supportive Communities Fund was launched this month by the county council to support local groups and networks which make a difference to the lives of residents who are isolated and encourages creative ideas for local projects to help communities thrive.
One-off grants of up to £1,500 will be awarded to projects which support carers, older people or those living with long-term conditions or disabilities, including mental health problems.
Grants will be awarded to projects that strengthen community support and help people who are finding it harder to cope during the pandemic, in particular those who are lonely or do not have access to the internet.
Examples of community-led initiatives include the accreditation of the Epsom and Ewell Veterans Community Hub which helps tackle loneliness and isolation.
Those who may be eligible have until Friday 23 October to apply for a grant and can find out more about the Supportive Communities Fund at surreyinformationpoint.org.uk.
Introducing... the Binterrogator!
We all know that recycling our waste is a good thing, and it’s better for the planet and our pockets to reduce the amount of waste we produce in the first place.
To help , the Surrey Environment Partnership has launched a new Watch Your Waste campaign by creating the Binterrogator.
This simple tool is quick and easy to use, helps you record what you bin over a set period and come up with ideas to waste less and recycle more.
It can help you work out what to:
- Reuse instead of throwing away – this could be upcycling and repurposing clothes, home textiles or plastic/cardboard/tin items, cooking or freezing leftover food.
- Recycle instead of throwing in your rubbish bin – if an item can’t be reused, upcycled or repurposed, find out how you can recycle it where you live by using the online recycling search tool.
You can continue to Watch Your Waste by repeating the ‘binterrogation’ a few weeks later to see how you’re doing.
Why not involve your children too? It’s a great way to help with their knowledge and understanding of the world around us and how to look after it better. You’ll also save a heap of cash if you reuse more and save the planet by wasting less!
Why not start your binterrogation today? You can download it and find out more on the SEP website.
Latest COVID-19 updates
The UK COVID-19 alert level has been moved from level 3 (COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation) to level 4 (COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation, transmission is high or rising exponentially). The Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Officer have highlighted that fewer than 8%of us have antibodies, and infections are spreading to more vulnerable age groups
The Prime Minister stated that the prospect of a second wave was always real, and that we have now reached a turning-point in the pandemic. The latest figures show that near 4,000 people a day are testing positive for the virus, which would lead to tens of thousands of new infections everyday next month if left unchecked.
New measures have been introduced. The Prime Minister stated that they were not going to be like those in March – there will be no general instruction to stay at home, and schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
The new measures are as follows:
- If you are able to work from home, you should do
- All pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table service only and they must close at 10pm.
- Extended requirement for facemasks to include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hires vehicles, and staff and customers indoor hospitality except when seated for food and drink.
- For leisure, retail and tourism venues, guidelines will become legal obligations and those breaching the rules will be fined or closed.
- A maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies, up to 30 for a funeral.
- Large scale sporting events and business conferences will not be able to operate from 1 October as originally planned.
- The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will double to £200 for first offence.
- For those who were shielding, the guidance continues that you do not need to shield unless you are in a local lockdown area.
- Those people in England who have to, are now required by law to self-isolate. This will be enforced by the police. New fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000 - but could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for the most serious breaches
- Those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result of self-isolation will be supported by a payment of £500.
All information correct at time of writing (1 October 2020). For the latest COVID-19 updates please see: www.gov.uk/coronavirus
The news that people in England who have to, are now required by law to self-isolate, begs the question; what is self isolating?
The government is making it clear that self isolation and social distancing are not the same thing.
Self-isolating means staying at home and not leaving it.
You should not go out for any reason - even to buy food, medicines or other essentials.
Do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care.
Do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one
If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can order your shopping online and medication by phone or online. Delivery drivers should not come into your home, so make sure you ask them to leave items outside for collection.
If you have coronavirus, all other people in your household also need to self-isolate. They must not leave the house for 14 days from the day you first became ill, or - if you have no symptoms - from the day you had a test.
The new rules will be enforced by the police. Fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000 - but could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for the most serious breaches.
All information correct at time of writing (1 October 2020). For the latest COVID-19 updates please see: www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Face mask exemption
Sight for Surrey is a local charity offering of support for people who are blind or partially sighted, deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing.
For people who are deaf or with a hearing loss and who use lip reading, wearing a face mask can have devastating consequences leaving them unable to understand and communicate with people around them leading to feelings of isolation.
The charity has heard many stories of deaf people being abused by members of the public for not wearing face masks. They have therefore designed a series of exemption cards that explain why individuals are not wearing face masks.
They can be printed off and worn or displayed. It is hoped that these will help to protect all the deaf and hard of hearing people from any abuse, as well as relieving the anxiety and pressure for deaf people.
The passes are available to download here.
Last month we featured the government exemption cards which explain the government’s guidance - see the article here
Hands Face Space
We all have a responsibility to stop the spread.
- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds.
- Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces.
- Make space from people you don’t live with.
All information correct at time of writing (1 October 2020). For the latest COVID-19 updates please see: www.gov.uk/coronavirus
After a terrifying spike in domestic abuse reports during lockdown, the charity Crimestoppers has launched a new campaign, encouraging people in Surrey to be aware of the signs to spot and to speak up about their suspicions 100% anonymously.
During the national lockdown, Crimestoppers saw a 49% increase in domestic abuse reports and comparing the past five months (April to August 2020) with the same period last year, there has been a staggering 70% increase in reports about domestic abuse.
The UN has described the worldwide increase in Domestic Abuse as a "shadow pandemic" alongside Covid-19.
A team of Crimestopper professionals working at a UK contact centre anonymise all information - to ensure the person giving the details can never be identified - before passing it on to police to investigate and safeguard. Whether it is a neighbour, friend, work colleague or relative, no one will ever know who provided the information.
It’s estimated that a typical victim endures up to 35 assaults before speaking up and that can be for many different reasons; fear of losing their children; fear of losing their home; fear of not being believed; even thoughts that they are somehow to blame for the abuse. But bystanders – those in the know, whether that’s because they’ve heard or witnessed abusive behaviour, or because the victim has confided in them - can speak up straight away to help stop the abuse and get the victims the support they desperately need.
Glenys Balchin, Crimestoppers Regional Manager for the South, said:
“Domestic Abuse can be physical, psychological, emotional, sexual or financial. It affects one in four women and one in six men during their lifetime. In too many cases, it results in death with two women murdered by a current or former partner each week. Statistics also tell us that 1 in 5 children will witness domestic abuse. I can’t imagine being that victim, terrified to make a wrong move, say a wrong thing and I don’t want to even try to imagine being that child, scared, defenceless and alone.
“We hear heart-breaking stories each and every day from people who are doing the right thing and telling us anonymously when they think domestic abuse is happening. We all need to realise that victims are normally too scared and traumatised to seek help. There was a time when people didn’t know what they could do if they didn’t feel confident in talking to the authorities, but thankfully, those days are over.
“As seen with the shocking rise in reports we received during lockdown and over the past year, more and more people are willing to come forward, confident that we will guarantee their anonymity, that no one will ever know they contacted us. Their information, via our charity, helps law enforcement bring a halt to the abuse and violence in the home. Our message is clear – by working together, being aware and reporting what we know, together we can help put a stop to domestic abuse, we can save lives.”
Lisa Herrington, Head of Policy and Commissioning, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, added:
“Our vision is for every adult and child experiencing domestic abuse to be seen, safe and heard and free from the harm caused by perpetrator behaviour. Coronavirus has raised public consciousness of the extreme fear and harm that domestic abuse survivors, both adults and children, are suffering all across the country. The control that perpetrators will exert through isolation, manipulation and many other harmful tactics has been increased through lockdown.
“In Surrey, there are an estimated 35,400 victims, with around 3,300 children known to be living in homes where there is domestic abuse. Since the lockdown has lifted, we are seeing the number of people calling Surrey Police for help increase, with an 8% rise in the number of incidents being reported. On average 28 domestic abuse crimes are reported every day. Sadly, these figures are only the tip of the iceberg as we know that less than 1 in 4 victims (and worryingly this is reducing for females) report to the police.”
To report domestic abuse 100% anonymously, visit our website Crimestoppers-uk.org and fill in our simple and secure anonymous online form or call our 24/7 UK Contact Centre on freephone 0800 555 111.
Please note: Computer IP addresses are never traced and no-one will ever know you have made contact. For telephone calls, there is no caller line display, no 1471 facility and Crimestoppers have never traced a call.
If you are a victim and need support then please contact Surrey Domestic Abuse helpline 01483 776822 9am to 9pm, 7 days a week.
If you want to find out more about Domestic Abuse specifically for Surrey, please visit: https://www.healthysurrey.org.uk/domestic-abuse
Calling all young theatre fans!
Epsom Playhouse needs your help!
Their poster wall is looking a bit bare and they need your best and brightest arty creations to display.
To enter there's an upper age limit of 16 years and your entries need to be a minimum size of A4.
Drop off your arty creation through the letter box at the backstage door or post them to the Epsom Playhouse. Don't forget to include your first name and age at the bottom right hand corner.
Epsom Playhouse plan to display the creative entries on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Please note, Epsom Playhouse will not be able to return any pictures.
For more information see: https://www.facebook.com/TheEpsomPlayhouse/
Epsom Choral Society sings again...
Choirs have struggled enormously during the Covid-19 pandemic. By government decree we all had to stop singing and an important part of our lives disappeared.
But Epsom Choral Society, now in its 99th year, was determined to find a way to keep going. For almost a century they have continued to sing through wars and national crises, and they were not going to stop now as they approached their centenary!
During lockdown, when choirs were forbidden to meet in person, they held weekly rehearsals online. Something of a challenge for many of their members, but despite having to master this new technology, over 70 members of the choir joined in.
Then, last month, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced (in a rather convoluted manner) that community choirs could meet again, providing they adhered to government guidelines. That was the green light Epsom Choral Society had been waiting for and they sprang into action.
Their first port of call was St Martin’s Church in Epsom. They used to rehearse in the church hall but, under the new social distancing rules, that wasn't possible for a choir of their size. St Martin’s offered the use of their church, where they usually perform our concerts, which can accommodate all the members who wish to return to group singing, suitably distanced. They produced a comprehensive risk assessment which was sent to all members. They were so happy to have the chance to sing together again. And for those who are too vulnerable to attend in person they are live streaming the rehearsals, so that they can still join in.
And so, through adversity, Epsom’s longest established choir continues to sing.
Chairman Helen Phillips said: “I can’t tell you how excited we are at the prospect of singing together again. Zooming was invaluable as a way to keep us connected but was like eating dry toast when what you really want is a cream tea. We are so grateful to St Martin’s for helping us get back to the real thing.”
For more information on Epsom Choral Society visit: http://www.epsomchoral.org.uk/
Neighbour of the Year Award now open!
Nominate a neighbour that goes above and beyond for your community for the Neighbour of the Year Award 2020
For the third year running, Neighbourhood Watch are excited to launch the nationwide search in partnership with Co-op Insurance to find and celebrate some of the UK’s best neighbours.
Neighbourhood Watch members have said that to be a great neighbour people share some clear qualities: a willingness to look out for others; being sociable and friendly; offering practical help; and being kind, caring and respectful.
In addition to Neighbour of the Year Award, this year there's a brand-new category, Co-op’s Young Neighbour of the Year. This award will celebrate someone aged 18-24 who has gone above and beyond to help enhance their community and has brought people, young and old, together.
Nominations are now open
If you’ve got someone who ticks all these boxes and more in either category, Neighbourood Watch want to know all about them and how they go above and beyond.
Click here to be taken to the nomination form, where you can share your stories of great neighbourly activities and acts of kindness.
The deadline to nominate is 27 October.
Ready for pregnancy
A 12-month campaign has launched across Surrey to encourage women to get fit and healthy before they try for a baby. #ReadyforPregnancy aims to raise awareness of how women’s health when they get pregnant affects them and their baby not only throughout their pregnancy, but also at birth.
The campaign will focus on a different aspect of health each month. These can improve a couple’s chances of conceiving and going on to have a happy and healthy pregnancy and birth. Topics include taking regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, stopping smoking and mental wellbeing.
Gemma Puckett, Head of Midwifery at Ashford & St Peters Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is such an exciting time for couples but we know that most women don’t seek health advice before becoming pregnant and are often unaware of the risks to themselves and their baby. There is a clear link between a mother’s health before pregnancy, the risks she is exposed to or exposes herself to, and her baby’s health.
“We want to every woman in Surrey to know how to prepare themselves for a healthy pregnancy which they can enjoy, and a few small changes can make a big difference. #ReadyforPregnancy is a great way to help raise awareness of things women can do before conception to improve fertility, pregnancy health and their baby’s future health.”
The campaign will run on social media across Surrey and you can keep updated by following https://twitter.com/surreyheartland or www.facebook.com/SurreyHeartlandsICS.
You can also find out more at https://www.healthysurrey.org.uk/children-and-families/ready-for-pregnancy
Tacking ASB in the borough
Behaviour that is anti-social is unacceptable as everyone has the right to live in an environment free of a negative living experience.
ASB has a great impact on the community and victims of ASB can become frightened of leaving their home or even feel unsafe in their homes. A simple walk to the park or school can become daunting and they feel anxious.
People causing ASB can put their own lives at risk as well as others. Your child may be behaving in an anti-social manner in your community or you may know someone involved. The risks and consequences that he/she may face may be worrying you and you may not know how to help.
Fearless.org provides free non-judgemental information and advice. They are available 24hours a day, 7 days a week – 365 days a year for you. More details can be found at Fearless@crimestoppers-uk.org.
If you are affected by ASB, help and support is available. It is important that you feel safe and that ASB is reported to the police by contacting 101 or 999 in an emergency or via www.surrey.police.uk.
Prisoner families online peer support group
Online Peer Support Group for prisoners families
A supportive space for anyone with a family member in prison who is also caring for a child or young person under 18.
Monthly, starting Wednesday 4 November, 6.30pm - 7.30pm. For details email: email@example.com