Online Pop up Business School- 15th June

PopUp Business School is a FREE traveling business school that runs intensive courses helping you to get going. Our courses are run in seminar style with cohorts of anywhere between 30 people and 300.

You will receive 1-2-1 support on how to be resilient and sustain your business during uncertain times, how to make sales, learn about e-commerce strategies and how to move your business online.

You will receive 1-2-1 support on your idea, inspiration, motivation and the business skills to move forward.

If you want to take control of your life, in a full-time (but unsatisfying) job, if you’re unemployed and looking for the right path, been working on your own business for years or are already established and want to find out how to become adaptable, PopUp’s alternative method will help you to take action and make it happen.

To know more and register click here

Faringdon Virtual Open Gardens 2020

Spread the joy of gardening, send in photos of your garden so we can compile them to make a virtual tour of Faringdon’s gardens.

Small or large garden, a single bloom, window box or allotment we would love to see what you are growing! Get the whole family involved, it would be great to see photos from Faringdon’s Junior Gardeners, it could be cress grown in a tub, a growing sunflower, a picture made from flowers and leaves or even a mud pie!

Send your photos to adele@faringdontowncouncil.gov.uk by the 1st of June 2020

*by submitting your photos you are giving Faringdon Town Council permission to display them on our website and social media channels.

Your Oxfordshire

Recycling centres reopening, celebrating carers, bluebell woodlands and community support

May 2020

We’re celebrating the care sector and key workers!

Thank you to all those in the care sector and to everyone who goes above and beyond the call of duty to deliver essential and flexible services. From the emergency services and armed services to delivery drivers, shop workers, teachers, waste collectors, manufacturers, postal workers, cleaners, vets, engineers and all those who are out there making an unbelievable difference to our lives in these challenging times – we are grateful for all that you do!

Help us celebrate and thank our local inspirational teams by tagging us in on your photos and videos on Facebook (@OxfordshireCountyCouncil) and Twitter (@OxfordshireCC) using #ThankyouOxon.

Support for residents

Our support for residents pages have lots of information to help you during this challenging time, from help and support for people who don’t have a support network to advice for parents, from schools places and early years providers to home schooling.

Coronavirus Carer ID scheme

A Carer ID scheme is available for paid and independent Carers who are providing care and support to youngsters and adults known to our Social Care team. The Carer ID is a simple letter of authority which can be presented whilst out and about, should the Carer be challenged.

Help your local community

It’s during tough times that communities can really pull together to support each other. So, whether you are able to help shop for essentials or put the bins out for a neighbour, or even have a phone call with someone who wouldn’t get a chance to speak to anyone for weeks, there are plenty of ways for you to get involved.

We’re opening our Household Waste and Recycling Centres

On Monday 18 May we’re opening our Household Waste and Recycling Centres for essential visits, from 8am to 4pm. They’ll be open seven days a week as long as they are not overwhelmed and can operate safely.

To keep everyone safe and allow for social distancing we’ve reduced the number of vehicles allowed on site at any one time, so queues are very likely, especially at peak times like weekends. You may find local traffic restrictions around each site in order to prevent queues blocking the network, so we recommend that you check the latest information online before each visit.

There will be restrictions at the recycling centres including the size of vehicles coming in, and social distancing, and unfortunately our staff won’t be able to help with the lifting of bags.

Please only visit the site if you can’t safely store your waste at home. And to make sure you can visit safely, we’ve made changes to our site rules.

Get your waste to the right place

The Waste Wizard online tool is here to provide a magical solution to help you in your quest to solve the riddle of household waste and defeat General Waste. Type in your postcode and the name of any item to find out whether it can be reused, repaired, donated, recycled, if it needs to go into a specific bin or can be disposed of at a Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Bringing nature to you

The countryside has sprung to life over the last few weeks and we have been staying at home to help save lives and protect the NHS. So for those of you not able to get out to the bluebell woodlands at the moment, we’ve brought them to you.

Could you change a child’s life?

There is no such thing as a typical foster carer, they come from all walks of life. Like the children they look after, carers come from a variety of different backgrounds, cultures and religions. It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, single, a couple, have children or don’t, you could still foster and help change children’s lives.
We need a diverse range of people with different skills and qualities to come forward to ensure that our children remain in Oxfordshire close to their families, friends, schools and the things that will be important to them.

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OPA Play & Activity Days 2020 – Postponed

Dear Playday Partners

Following much deliberation and based on the most recent advice from the Government we have taken the very difficult decision to Postpone our Play and Activity days for 2020.

This is not the decision we wanted to make as these events will be needed more than ever this year to help Communities recover from the lockdown and to help rebuild the Physical and Mental Wellbeing of Children, Young People and their Families.

However Safety, and the Wellbeing of ALL our service users is our first concern.

Our decision making process has taken into account the following factors; 

  • Planning – At present there is NO guarantee that large Social gatherings will be permitted this year and each Playday event takes several months to plan around booking activities, facilities management etc 
  • Social Distancing – Although we will be able to place the activities apart by at least 2 metres we cannot control large groups of ‘guests’ in an open public space
  • Hygiene – Many of the activities will require ‘cleaning’ after each individual use which for some will be a lengthy and difficult process
  • Funding – Many of the usual funding streams we use for Playday are either currently suspended or being redirected to Covid-19 purposes only
  • We hope to still be in a position to promote the Playday 2020 message of Playday at home – Everyday Freedoms – Everyday Adventures. http://www.playday.org.uk/

It is our intention that the 14 Events we had planned for this year will be re-arranged for the same venues, on a similar date in 2021

Stay Safe, Stay Strong, Keep Playing

MP-May Newsletter

Welcome to the first edition of my newsletter, which will be one of the ways I update you about my work as your representative. I would like to be writing to you in happier times but I hope that you and your loved ones are all safe and well.

It has been a whirlwind since becoming an MP in mid-December and what follows is some of the highlights of my activity since that period, both in parliament and in the constituency.

In February, my partner and I found a home in the Didcot area and we are very much enjoying living here, despite the fact we are currently doing so during lockdown. Prior to lockdown I had been getting round as many of our businesses, charities and community groups as I could and I look forward to being able to continue this when I can – as well as to resume fortnightly surgeries.

I’m pleased that with the help of my staff we’ve been able to help over 2,100 constituents so far with challenges they’ve been facing.

NB: As this is my first newsletter I’ve chosen not to make it COVID-19 focussed even though most of what I am helping constituents with every day during this period are issues relating to the virus. That said, you’ll find an information section full of sources of support regarding the virus on my website here.

In the House of Commons


I got my maiden speech out of the way in January (!), speaking on education during the Queen’s Speech debate. My next contribution in the Chamber was during Business Questions, when I was again banging the drum to re-open Grove Station, having already been making the case with ministers privately.

Since that time, my contributions have included praising the Government’s investment in a new Natural History Museum site at Harwell Campus; supporting a bill that will lower the cost of school uniform for families on modest incomes; and speaking in favour of the Domestic Abuse Bill which will, amongst other things, prevent abusers being able to cross-examine their victims in court.

In recent days, via ‘virtual parliament’, I have pushed Robert Jenrick to make sure supermarkets are giving online delivery slots to constituents who are shielding and asked Matt Hancock to clarify the guidance to the over 70s, after media reports suggested they had to stay in their homes for a considerable period of time.

In Parliament

I have become a member of the Education Committee and we have recently been having ‘accountability hearings’ with key figures such as Gavin Williamson and the Head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, pushing them both to do what they can to ensure the most disadvantaged young people do fall further behind. I was asked to be the Conservative Co-Chair of the Social Mobility All-Party Parliamentary Group and I was pleased to join the Conservative Environment Network.

One of the enjoyable things to do whilst in parliament is meet individuals or groups from the constituency. It was fun to meet pupils from Wallingford School and take their sharp questions on their visit to Parliament and a privilege to present Andy Rowe (pictured below) with his Point of Light Award from the Prime Minister.

In the Constituency

In March I had a productive meeting with a group of parish council representatives about issues with the A420 and when parliament resumes fully I will apply for an adjournment debate to highlight issues on this and the A34.
Although I can’t continue visits at this time, I have been trying to volunteer when I can with the charities and community groups that are doing such great work to help local residents during this period, including Sofea and the Ray Collins Charitable Trust. Special mentions to the Great Western Park Residents Association, Harwell Helpers, Wallingford 2020 and Stanford 2020 – but there are too many to mention here. Click here for just how many and get in touch if you can help them.

I was delighted to be asked to become a patron for both the Play2Give and Secret Santa 365 charities and will be doing what I can to support them both.

In the media

Every 2 weeks I write an article in the Herald newspaper and recent articles can be found here.

I also sat down with the Oxford Mail for an extended interview, which you can see here.

A piece for House magazine the role of employers with young people is here.

I hope you enjoyed reading this first newsletter. Do get in touch with any suggestions of what you’d like to see in future issues.

As ever, I can be contacted via david.johnston.mp@parliament.uk

Citizens Advice article- How to handle suspicious and spam emails

Use new fast-track reporting for suspicious emails – Citizens Advice

Scam emails, one of life’s most tiresome phenomena, are becoming so smooth and sophisticated that even computer experts can be deceived by them, and the rest of us are in constant danger of being taken for a ride. 

There is no need to feel isolated with the problem, though. If you are suspicious of an email or simply unsure, you can use a new, dedicated reporting service which is very quick and convenient:  forward the email to report@phishing.gov.uk and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) will investigate it.

How does a scam email work? The usual methods are persuading you to divulge sensitive information, like bank details, or urging you to click on certain links. If you click on those links, you could be directed to an unsafe website which might download viruses on your computer or steal your passwords or data.

It’s crucial to bear in mind that a scam email is designed in such a way as to get you to act quickly and without thinking, so NEVER give way to that pressure.

How do you spot a phishing email? This is very tricky, since many of them look just like the real thing. Scammers are quite capable of producing professional quality graphic design with pleasant pastel colours, for example. This makes the email look authoritative and trustworthy and thoroughly up to date. 

However, and fortunately for us, if you examine a scam email carefully it will reveal its true nature. Remember these key points:

First, it is very unlikely to be a message you are expecting.

Second, the language of most scam emails has an uncompromising toughness that isn’t characteristic of the average business email. It might try to rush you into making a decision or threaten you with legal action or financial losses, telling you that you have to act right away to avoid them. The email might claim to be from a bank, a government department or the Inland Revenue, perhaps saying that a warrant has been issued for your arrest.

The email could also be from a company that doesn’t normally contact you or from an organisation that you normally deal with in a different way, e.g. TV Licensing or the district council – which, it might strike you, have never emailed you before.

Beware too of topical scams: an email might offer you a cure for coronavirus or encourage you to donate to a related cause. 

Always check the sender’s email address because this is the only part of the message which can’t be beautified. There will be something peculiar about it for sure. For instance, it might be extremely long and complicated with lots of numbers and letters, or the country code might be unfamiliar.

If you are in any doubt, don’t open the email and don’t click on any of its links, but forward it right away to report@phishing.gov.uk. The NCSC says it acts on every message received, analysing it and the dubious websites it links to. Government specialists can then block the criminal’s email address and instruct hosting companies to remove the websites from the Internet. 

For essential reading see https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/report-suspicious-emails or ring Citizens Advice Adviceline on 0300 330 9042.

NHS healthcare over the May bank holiday weekend

During the bank holiday, Oxofrdshire’s healthcare partners would like to remind our residents and patients about the minor changes, to the following services:

·       24/7 mental health helpline

·       Minor Injuries Units

·       GP practices

·       Community pharmacy services

·       Dental services

Please see below for details on the different services:

24/7 mental health helpline

If you or people you live with don’t have coronavirus symptoms and you think you need advice for a physical or mental health concern:

We have launched a new service to provide people with mental health advice during the coronavirus pandemic covering a range of conditions and symptoms including anxiety, low mood, stress, worry,  difficulty with relationships. You can find out more here

Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire

Adults 01865 904997; Children 01865 904998.

The helpline adds to the range of ways people can get support locally including Safe Havens which continue to offer an alternative to A&E for mental health care in the evenings and at weekends during the outbreak.

Banbury Safe Haven: To self-refer  ring 01295 270004 or 07851246546.

Oxford Safe Haven: To self-refer ring 01865 903037 (Fri-Mon)

People who already use mental health services should contact services directly using the numbers in their care plan.

Dial 999 if you think that your life, or that of another person, is at immediate risk.

 Minor Injuries Units

Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) are for  injuries, such as deep cuts, eye injuries, broken bones, severe sprains, minor head injury, minor burns and scalds. This service can be accessed by calling 111 where you may be given an appointment if appropriate. Full details on our MIUs and First Aid Units – locations and opening times – are here

 GP practices

  • GP practice services on Friday 8 May will be available. This may be offered by your practice or another nearby service.

If you think you need to talk to your GP practice about something other than coronavirus.:

  1. Contact your GP practice online or by phone to be assessed. If your practice is not open for any reason you will be directed to another nearby service.
  2. If a face-to-face appointment is necessary, you’ll be advised on this.

 Community pharmacy services

  • Many community pharmacies will be open for a minimum of three hours on Friday 8 May with some pharmacies being open longer. Please check the NHS website or your pharmacy’s own website for details.

Pharmacists and their teams are an essential part of the NHS and need your help and support during the coronavirus pandemic. Always treat our staff with respect, they are doing their best to provide you with the medicines and advice you need.

 Dental services

If you think you need urgent dental treatment:

  • call your dentist
  • if you cannot contact your dentist, or you do not have one, use the NHS 111 online service
  • if a clinical appointment is necessary, this will be arranged at an urgent dental care centre.

 Important information on prescriptions during the COVID-19 pandemic

  1. Order repeat prescriptions in your usual quantities at the usual time. Over ordering of your medicines may mean someone else has to go without their medicines.
  2. Order your usual prescription online or by an app. Do not go to your GP practice or pharmacy to order prescriptions and only phone them if you cannot order online or by an app. You can order repeat prescriptions on the NHS App and through your GP surgery or pharmacy’s online service, where available. You can find out about ordering medicines online at nhs.uk
  3. If you have a prescription to collect:
  4. If you are 70 or over, have a long-term health condition or are pregnant you should arrange collection by a relative or friend, or ask your pharmacy for advice about delivery
  5. Ask any relatives and friends who are delivering your medicines to make sure they have seen you pick up the bag
  6. If your medicines are being delivered make sure you keep a safe distance when you receive them.
  7. For everyone else, if you are going into a pharmacy in person, follow social distancing rules and the rules put in place by the pharmacy to protect you and their staff
  8. Pharmacies may have altered opening times to manage their workload
  9. Sales of some medicines may be restricted in quantity by pharmacies to ensure that there is enough for everyone.

Please remember: Everyone should stay home in line with government guidance.

If you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms (high temperature and / or a new continuous cough):

  • Stay at home.
  • If your symptoms worsen or you feel that you cannot manage at home, please refer to the NHS111 online coronavirus service.
  • Please do not go to your GP practice or community pharmacy.

For the latest Coronavirus advice, including Government and public health information, please visit here

HWRCs to reopen on 18th May

As you are aware Oxfordshire’s seven Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) have been shut to waste delivered by the public since 24 March 2020, following Government’s direction that everyone should stay home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Since then we have been working with the city and district councils to ensure excellent kerbside collection services have continued, and preparing for full service reopening of the recycling centres. The sites will reopen on Monday 18th May at 8:00am.

All seven sites will be open seven days a week as long as they are not overwhelmed and can operate safely, and will accept all waste materials. Sites will open at 8am and close at 4pm to allow for additional cleaning.

The number of vehicles allowed onto the site will be reduced by approximately 50% to allow for social distancing. This means that queues are highly likely, especially at peak times such as weekends. Traffic marshals will be in place to manage queues, but queuing is not allowed on the public highway.

Residents are therefore being urged only to visit the site if their trip is essential and they cannot safely store their waste at home

Other policy changes in place include:

  • Contactless card payments for DIY waste only
  • Site staff are there for guidance and will not be able to help unload waste from vehicles
  • Only one resident will be allowed out of the vehicle, unless assistance is needed with heavy items, and then 2 people will be permitted
  • For the time being hire vans and trailers will not be allowed access, even if they have a permit.
  • Sites will shut at 4pm promptly and anyone queuing will be asked to return another day.  This will allow the site staff the time needed to clear and clean the site thoroughly.  Traffic marshals will monitor the queue and warn those who may not reach site by closing time.
  • In line with Public Health England guidance, residents who are vulnerable, or who are showing symptoms which may indicate coronavirus, should not visit household recycling centres

A full list of FAQs will be available on our website shortly: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/wastereopenquestions  

If you have any questions please contact the waste management team on wastemanagement@oxfordshire.gov.uk