CAB- New Phone Number

New free phone number We are pleased to announce that we have a new free phone number. 

Adviceline: 0808 278 7907
Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm

This free phone number will enable more people in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse to get help from our advisers. Please change and share our contact details. Thank you.

Faringdon Community Bus – December 2020

Weeks commencing the 7th and 14th of December, FCB will run on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday

Week commencing the 21st December, FCB will run only on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd as there won’t be a bus run on Christmas Day!

Week commencing 28th December FCB will also run on the 29th and the 30th.

David Johnston MP-November Newsletter

I hope you, your friends and your family continue to be safe and well.

I was naturally disappointed that the whole county of Oxfordshire has been put into Tier 2. I know the impact this will have on families and on local businesses, particularly some of our pubs. But we now have great news in being the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use, starting next week, and and if cases continue to fall in the county I am hopeful that we will be put back into Tier 1 as soon as possible.

I am at least glad that we will be able to see our families over Christmas and I hope you have a good one when it arrives.

As ever, if I can help you with anything then do contact me via david.johnston.mp@parliament.uk

Best wishes,

David

LINK TO THE NEWSLETTER

Oxfordshire Libraries announces e-book short story competition 2021

Library users are being offered a chance to discover new writers, stories and voices from around the county as Oxfordshire Libraries launches its annual short story competition for 2021.

The winner from each of the three categories will see their short story published as an e-book; available via the library website to be borrowed and read across Oxfordshire. Previous winners have been some of the most borrowed e-books in the library collection – so this is the perfect time for new writers to take this opportunity to get published. The competition aims to inspire writers, whatever their age, to express themselves and tell their own original story.

Cllr Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Cabinet member for Cultural Services said:

“The e-book competition is a great chance to get your unique writing voice heard and could be an inspiring first step for new writers of all ages. We welcome and encourage people of all ages to enter the competition and share your creative talents.”

What’s new this year?

Now in its seventh year, the competition has newly added a third category, so that children are invited to enter their short stories.

This follows on from the success of the Children’s Poetry and Art Competition, in early 2020, where Oxfordshire Libraries were overwhelmed with creative responses from children and young people. Oxfordshire poet, James Carter, who wrote in the foreword for this collection, noted that the writing “dazzles, intrigues and enchants.”

The short story competition categories are:


o Children’s category for 5 – 11 years
o Young Adult category 12 – 17 years
o Adult category 18 years +
The competition is free to enter and entries can be submitted from Tuesday 1 December 2020. The closing date is Sunday 21 February 2021.

Oxfordshire Libraries Online – Full terms and conditions as well as instructions on how to submit your entries can be found on the Oxfordshire Libraries website: http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/shortstorycompetition

Contact: librarydigitalservices@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Council cabinets to consider Civil Parking Enforcement proposals

A major change aimed at helping to prevent illegal parking could move a step closer in the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire this week.

At their respective meetings on 3 and 4 December, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils’ cabinets will consider whether to move forward with proposals for Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) which could see responsibility for enforcement transfer from the police to a new team managed by Oxfordshire County Council.

Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Councils enforce parking in their own off-street car parks. However, enforcement for on-street parking in both districts is carried out by the police.  This can put unnecessary extra pressure on police resources and leave parking problems unresolved as the police focus on more serious crimes. 

Local councils can apply to the government to take on powers for Civil Parking Enforcement which allows them to fine motorists who park illegally or drive in bus lanes.

The two councils have been working alongside Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council to investigate the feasibility of implementing CPE arrangements within their three districts. This work has included commissioning a specialist parking consultant to investigate the potential benefits, challenges, and financial requirements of the scheme.

In order to implement CPE, cabinets at all three districts need to agree to move forward with the proposals.  The councils would then collectively ask Oxfordshire County Council to submit a joint CPE application to the government for approval.

CPE is already in place in Oxford city centre and in West Oxfordshire.  If the application is approved by the government, parking enforcement on-street in South and Vale would then be carried out by a new team managed by Oxfordshire County Council.

Cabinet members at Vale and South Oxfordshire will now decide whether to approve the proposals and therefore ask the county council to move forward and submit the application to the government. 

They will also confirm the financial contribution that the councils will need to make in order to support the formal application to the Department for Transport to implement Civil Parking Enforcement in their respective districts. 

If all three districts agree then CPE could be implemented by the end of 2021.

Cllr Neil Fawcett, Cabinet Member for Strategic Partnerships and Place at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Illegal parking is extremely frustrating for residents and road users alike, particularly in our town centres. It adds to congestion and makes air quality worse. It can also hold up the emergency services.  To help tackle this issue, we have been working with the County Council and Cherwell District Council to look at whether Civil Parking Enforcement would be suitable in our districts and how it could work.  We will now decide whether to move forward with the scheme.”

Cllr Neil Fawcett, Cabinet Member for Strategic Partnerships and Place at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Illegal parking is extremely frustrating for residents and road users alike, particularly in our town centres. It adds to congestion and makes air quality worse. It can also hold up the emergency services.  To help tackle this issue, we have been working with the County Council and Cherwell District Council to look at whether Civil Parking Enforcement would be suitable in our districts and how it could work.  We will now decide whether to move forward with the scheme.”

Cllr David Rouane, Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Parking restrictions are important in helping to ensure congestion and road safety can managed effectively.  Our current on-street enforcement is carried out by the police; however, this is not a great use of their resources, with enforcement generally taking place only if there is a danger or an obstruction.  If taken forward, this more locally focussed approach could be a much more efficient and effective way of managing the issue and dealing with problem areas.”

Citizens Advice can guide you through a claim for benefits

As the cold weather closes in with biting frosts and long, depressing hours of darkness, the

combined effects of the pandemic and financial problems threaten to drive us into a pit of total despondency. But if lack of money is your problem, take heart because there could be a way to take control of the situation: you might be entitled to receive benefits and Citizens Advice can help you all the way.

If you are unemployed, have a low income, an illness or disability, or are caring for somebody, you could get Universal Credit. This also applies to the self-employed. The amount you might get depends on your individual circumstances. Always do a benefits check before starting an application. Don’t forget that if you need help with paying Council Tax you need to apply to the District Council.

Even if you are not a UK citizen you might be able to get some benefits, and if you already receive benefits, you could get more because of Covid-19.

All the information is on the Citizens Advice website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk. Also have a look at the government website www.gov.uk where benefits rules are signposted on the home page. There are some reliable online benefit calculators like benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk

In order to apply for benefits you will need to assemble all the relevant information: details of your bank or building society accounts; your income, e.g. payslips and savings; and proof of identity.   

Citizens Advice has a dedicated “Help to claim” team to get you started on claiming benefits. Phone us on 0800 144 8444 (Mon-Fri 0800 to 1800) or use webchat (same hours). Appointments in person are not available at present.

Free parking at Oxford’s park and rides during Christmas period

Shoppers and people planning to support hospitality businesses in the run-up to Christmas are being encouraged to do so safely and avoid the busiest times.

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are providing free parking at Oxford’s five park and ride sites from Saturday 5 December until Sunday 27 December, to support businesses and help reduce congestion. The councils are also asking people who plan to use the service to travel outside peak times if possible.

Councillor Liam Walker, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Delivery and Operations, said: “I’m really pleased we’ve been able to work closely with Oxford City Council to reintroduce free parking at our park and ride sites. Having this in place proved really popular in August to support the Eat Out To Help Out scheme and it makes sense for us to do the same now to support jobs and local businesses across Oxford during a busy period ahead of Christmas.

“We are keen to play our part in helping to reduce congestion in the city centre during peak times and we have recently been working closely with the Westgate Centre to help achieve this and we will be putting measures in place, which will now be complemented with free parking at the park and ride sites.

“Ultimately, we want everyone to be able to travel around safely, enjoy their visiting experience, and reduce the congestion on our roads and this is a great way to help achieve this. We urge all those planning to visit Oxford over the next few weeks to take advantage of this festive gift from both councils.” 

Oxfordshire will be in the high alert level (tier 2) from Wednesday 2 December, when lockdown ends. The government has updated its safe travel advice, including for those walking, cycling, and travelling in vehicles or on public transport. You can read the latest advice online.

Oxford Bus Company, which operates services from the five park and ride sites – Pear Tree, Redbridge, Seacourt, Thornhill and Oxford Parkwa­y – is supporting the initiative by running a ‘£4.80 per car maximum charge’ promotion. This will mean that any more than two adults in the same car will get their bus journey for free. Children will go for free too. By making parking free all week at all five sites, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council also aim to reduce peak-time congestion on routes into the city and around city centre car parks

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Book now for a Drive-in Carol service at Aldi- Faringdon

As promised here are the details of how to book your car into the Drive-in Carol service(s) on Sunday December 20th at 6pm or 7.15pm at Aldi car park Faringdon,

The services will last about 40 minutes and be suitable for All Ages,

Please go to http://bitly.ws/aEYg or use the QR code below and click ‘select a time’, then click on ‘Tickets’ for the time of service you want, then click ‘Register’, fill in your contact details and car registration number, then click ‘Register’, then ‘View tickets’, then ‘Print tickets’, (you’ll also find a printable ticket attached at the bottom of the confirmation email you will receive),

Booking is essential as entrance is by ticket only and there won’t be pedestrian access, 

Please do let friends, family and neighbours know and encourage them to book soon as both services have limited spaces and may fill up quickly, 

We will send another email to everyone who books nearer the time, with up-to-date joining instructions and timings but for now please note:

1. you should print out your ticket and then place it in your windscreen as you’re arriving

2. there will be a big screen with carols and videos on for us to see as well as a live camera feed, the sound will come to you via your car radio ( or another FM radio) which you’ll tune to a particular FM frequency,

3. we don’t want engines running during the service so you need to be dressed warmly and maybe have blankets or even a hot water bottle with you, as you won’t be using heating/aircon during the service.

My apologies to those who won’t be able to make it through not having a car or being able to travel with others at present. Sadly, this is the best we can do to get a larger number of folk together this year to celebrate what Christmas is all about,

Looking forward to everyone having some fun and a good sing with the car windows up!

See you there,

Steve

People urged to support local traders in the Vale and South Oxfordshire as councils confirm free parking days in the run up to Christmas

People in the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire can park for free on specific days this December and are being urged to use this opportunity to support their local shops and cafes in the run up to Christmas.

Each year Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Councils provide free parking days during December to help encourage people to shop locally for their Christmas presents.  

With many shops affected by the Covid-19 restrictions, this year it is particularly important that people support local traders where they can, while maintaining social distancing and face covering requirements. 

Councillor Andrew Crawford, Cabinet Member Finance and Corporate Assets at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Local traders are a vital part of our community, providing high quality, important goods, services and jobs for residents and visitors, as well as providing a friendly face to talk to for many people. 

“The Coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on across our local economy and so I really hope that people will take advantage of the free parking days and free periods offered each day to support our local businesses in the run up to Christmas.” 

Cllr David Rouane, Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We provide free parking as a way of encouraging people to shop locally for their Christmas presents.  This year it seems particularly important for people to do that in order to help independent traders who have been badly hit by the recent restrictions. 

“Many of those who have been affected will be your friends and neighbours, as well as individuals who are familiar and friendly faces when visiting our town centres.  As a community we really have a shared responsibility to look after each other and help to ensure that their businesses survive through this current period and then thrive once again after the pandemic is over.”

Motorists can park in district council car parks without paying for or displaying a ticket on the following days in December: 

  • Abingdon – Saturdays (5, 12, 19 December) 
  • Faringdon – Saturdays (5, 12, 19 December) 
  • Wantage – Saturdays (5, 12, 19 December) 
  • Didcot – Mondays (7, 14, 21 December) 
  • Goring – Saturdays (5, 12, 19 December) 
  • Henley – Tuesdays (8, 15, 22 December) 
  • Thame – Saturdays (5, 12, 19 December) 
  • Wallingford -Thursdays (10, 17, 24 December) 

Users will not have to display a ticket on the free days.

Motorists can also continue to park for free each day outside of the charging period and during the standard free periods offered by both councils, but must they display a ticket during this time.

For more information about parking and district council car parks please visit – whitehorsedc.gov.uk/parking / southoxon.gov.uk/parking

The above arrangements are subject to any change in national or local Covid-19 restrictions.