The Town Council have formed a working party to compile a list of potential projects to spend some significant Cil money that will come to the town from some of the developments.
We would like to recruit 4 members of the community from a variety of backgrounds to sit on the working party. Any lists that are compiled will then be consulted on with the wider community before any decisions are made.
The terms of reference for the working party are below. These still need to be approved by council but outline the remit of the working party.
When bills start piling up and multiplying, vague fears can turn into a paralysing panic for people experiencing money troubles. Turn to Citizens Advice, which has eighty years of experience in pulling people back from precipices. Your burden might seem overwhelming and impossible to resolve but in reality there is a lot you can do to turn things around.
Start by assembling your bills and make an overall list, with relevant details like dates when payment is due. Sort the bills into priority debts (rent and mortgage arrears, Council Tax, gas and electricity, tax and National Insurance – and see https://www.citizensadvice.org/debt-and-money for a complete list) and non-priority debts (water rates – your supplier can’t cut you off – credit card debts, unsecured loans, hire purchases etc). Take the priority debts first and contact your creditors. Don’t be afraid of this step. Many companies will be expecting you to get in touch, saying on the bill itself “We know that paying a bill can be difficult” or “Affected by Covid-19?” – and providing a telephone number or web link. Approach them with a constructive attitude, tell them you are actively tackling your debts, and perhaps ask them to suspend interest charges while you do so. They also might be amenable to letting you defer payment or pay smaller amounts over a longer time period. Ask about any special reductions – for example, the Warm Home Discount Scheme for electricity supplies (see www.gov.uk for more information).
If you need to compose a letter or email to a creditor, you don’t have to start from scratch: you could copy or adapt a template letter from the Citizens Advice website. One especially useful letter asks creditors to give you more time.
If your circumstances have changed you might be able to claim benefits, or extra benefits. Citizens Advice runs a Help to Claim programme (call 0800 144 8444) and can guide you through all the stages. The Turn2us website at https://www.turn2us.org.uk will tell you what benefits you might be able to claim, and has details of grants available to those on low incomes.
If you have an overdraft, talk to your bank. In the coronavirus age many banks are making concessions and charging no interest on overdrafts up to a certain amount. Contact your district council about a possible Council Tax reduction. And think creatively about ways of increasing your income. Could you rent out a spare room in your house, for instance?
Talk to a volunteer at Citizens Advice (call Adviceline free on 0800 278 7907, Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm) or through webchat (“chat with us online about debt”) Monday to Friday 8 am to 7 pm. Appointments in person are not available at present.
The Place was set up as a result of the closure of the local Children Centre. Members of Faringdon’s community, including the Town Council, local Churches, School and Parents put together a business plan, working with Spurgeons Children Charity.
Since then local fundraising and continued commitment from the Town Council has enabled The Place to grow from strength to strength. This has culminated in The Place moving into its own premises near the Corn Exchange.
The Place is now seeking new fundraising volunteers who can raise money for an important cause and supporting the wider Place team in accomplishing their role in Faringdon.
If you are looking for a rewarding role with an organisation that makes a difference to families in Faringdon, we want to hear from you.
Residents across Oxfordshire have continued to benefit from the county’s home library service during the pandemic with 8,364 library books being delivered from April to December 2020.
Oxfordshire County Council’s home library service is offered free to users in partnership with Age UK to almost 800 residents of all ages. These residents are unable to visit libraries themselves through frailty, infirmity or a disability and have no other means of getting access to loaned products. It is also available to full-time carers and those who might need the service in the short-term following illness or hospitalisation.
The service depends on a team of around 180 volunteers who supply the users with loan items on visits every three weeks. The service matches its volunteers carefully to specific residents to allow the same volunteer to visit each time. During the pandemic the number of volunteers has dropped linked to the impacts of COVID-19.
Councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Cabinet Member for Education and Cultural Services, said: “The home library service has continued to play a vital role during the pandemic for those who cannot access libraries with books and other cultural resources provided by the council.
“As well as council staff, I would like to thank the dedication of our team of staff and volunteers who keep this service running and offer a very valuable resource to our residents who may otherwise be isolated. The home library service is about far more than books; it offers real and meaningful connections with residents whose needs may otherwise go unnoticed. Wherever you may live in Oxfordshire, the service would welcome new volunteers to help keep up the good work.”
Recent survey feedback (48 responses) underlines the real value its users find from the service. The survey was aimed customers who have no volunteers free in their area or who are awaiting a volunteer to take over once their application has been completed.
Home visits are supported by COVID-19 safety measures with staff wearing face coverings, gloves and/or hand sanitiser and remaining at least two metres at all times from customers to keep people safe. All items collected are quarantined for 72 hours before being allowed back into the library.
Residents can volunteer to join the home library service by emailing email@example.com or calling 01865 810259.
Action Fraud is raising awareness of another coronavirus vaccine scam, after it received a high volume of reports relating to a phishing email on Monday 25 January. The email, which attempts to trick people into handing over their bank details, was reported more than 1,000 times in 24 hours. It appears to come from the NHS and asks the recipient to click on a link to accept or decline an invitation to receive the coronavirus vaccine. If they click accept, they are asked to input personal information and their bank card details. The national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime has previously warned about coronavirus vaccine scams, with many people reporting receiving fake text messages purporting to be from the NHS. Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, is warning the public to remain vigilant as fraudsters continue to act: “It’s despicable that fraudsters will take advantage of such an important tool in the fight against this evil and deadly disease. Not only are the people being targeted with this email at risk of losing money, or having their identity stolen, but they are also at risk of not receiving the real vaccine. “The public have been fantastic at reporting these scams to us and raising awareness in their local community as well. But unfortunately, as this latest phishing campaign shows, we still have to remain cautious and alert. Remember: anything purporting to be from the NHS asking you to pay for the vaccine, or provide your bank account or card details, is a scam.” How to protect yourself In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay. The NHS will never: • ask you for your bank account or card details. • ask you for your PIN or banking password. • arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine. • ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips. If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge. If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
At the end of last year, the Home Office announced the funding settlement for police across the country for the next financial year. In Thames Valley, this means an additional £12.6m in Government grant to pay for an additional 179 police officers. The increase in officers is the second part of the national uplift programme that will see 20,000 additional officers across the country by March 2023. In the Thames Valley, we have already recruited the extra 183 officers funded from the 2020/21 budget.
Alongside the funding from the Home Office, the Government has also allowed Police & Crime Commissioners to increase council tax by up to £15 (for a Band D property) in order to make additional investments in policing. In Thames Valley that means that for less than 29p a week for the average household (Band D property) more than £13m could be invested in frontline policing.
In previous years, the support of local tax payers through their council tax has meant that we have managed to reduce the time it takes for the police to answer non-urgent 101 calls and to significantly increase detection rates, meaning that more victims of crime receive justice and more criminals are held to account.
It is important that any increase in council tax now, at a time when many families are struggling, is focussed on frontline policing to tackle the concerns of the public. I am proud of the work done by Thames Valley Police Officers, PCSOs, staff and volunteers every single day, but there is always more that can be done.
By contributing your views now you can help play your part in shaping how Thames Valley Police continues to improve and tackle crime across our community.
The survey will close for submissions at 5pm on Wednesday 20 January.