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With the kids breaking up from school and a long summer stretching ahead with fewer opportunities to travel abroad for the holidays, Help for Heroes have devised a new fundraising challenge, Step 2 It, that could be just the thing to motivate families to get up, get out and get moving. Simply by reaching a step target every day for 30 days you can help support wounded and sick veterans and their families – while helping your own mental and physical wellbeing.

With Step 2 It, you can easily adjust the suggested 10,000 steps a day to a lower or higher number to suit your own fitness levels and the time available every day that you want to allocate to stepping. You track your steps using a Fitbit, or through the Strava or Runkeeper apps, or can enter them manually using other devices such as a pedometer, smartphone app or fitness tracker. This also means that people with disabilities can take on Step 2 It by selecting a ‘steps equivalent’ distance to record doing the challenge in a wheelchair.

While exercise is well documented as a way to better manage our mental health, the stresses of life during the pandemic seems to have left many people feeling stressed and with less time or inclination to exercise. Help for Heroes has carried out *research among wounded, injured and sick veterans, serving personnel and families which reveals that 56% of this group are doing less exercise than normal since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with 39% saying that they don’t feel motivated to exercise. This is despite the fact that 65% of respondents find exercise is something they can use to manage stress and anxiety.

Signing up to Step 2 it is easy to do at Step2It.helpforheroes.org.uk and it’s simple to get sponsors to support your challenge. With the majority of its fundraising events being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Help for Heroes hopes that Step 2 It will start plugging its expected 40% deficit in forecasted income this year, while giving people an opportunity to get fit in a fun way.

Hannah Lawton, Sports Recovery Manager at Help for Heroes, says,” Sport and exercise are massively important for many of the sick and wounded veterans that we support. Not just to help their physical wellbeing but to improve mental health. It can be a great way to re-motivate yourself after injury or illness and help you realise you can still do the things you love.”

Over the past few months, many people have found solace in exercising and keeping fit. But like many of our veterans, there are also those who have felt demotivated because of concerns and worries caused by the coronavirus, even though we all know that exercise makes us feel better. Our hope is that Step 2 It will give anyone and everyone across the UK a goal to work to – either to motivate them to get back into exercise, or a reason to keep up new habits formed. By taking this big step for themselves, they won’t just be helping wounded and sick veterans, but will be doing themselves a favour too.”

*About the Help for Heroes Research: * Based on 312 responses to a survey carried out by Help for Heroes in May 2020 of wounded, injured and sick veterans, serving personnel and families who answered questions around the amount of exercise they had undertaken since the COVID-19 pandemic began to understand how their support needs may have changed.

About Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes supports those with injuries and illnesses sustained during or attributable to their service in the British Armed Forces, and their families. No matter when someone served, Help for Heroes believes that those prepared to put their lives second, deserve a second chance at life. Every course and activity the charity offers aims to empower them to look beyond illness and injury, regain their purpose, reach their potential and have a positive impact on society. For more information, visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk.

Painshill Park Trust is delighted to announce that it has received £250,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help combat the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Designed in the 18th century by Charles Hamilton, Painshill fell into ruins until it was saved by the Painshill Trust in the 1980s. Hamilton designed the garden as a walk through a work of art, taking the viewer past theatrically placed follies, a Serpentine lake, vineyard and a heritage collection of trees and shrubs.

Over the years, the Trust has been restoring each of the follies and recreating the views for the 140,000 visitors a year. It relies on ticket admission income for its survival.  

Director of Painshill Paul Griffiths said: “The Painshill team are hugely relieved and overjoyed to have received this generous grant. These vital funds will go towards combating the financial impact of Painshill’s recent nine-week closure. We’re grateful that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us at this crucial time – it’s a lifeline to us and others who are passionate about sustaining heritage for the benefit of all.”

The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. £50million has been made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.

The UK-wide fund will address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as Painshill during this uncertain time.”

Like Painshill, other charities and organisations across the UK that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak are being given access to a comprehensive package of support of up to £600 million of repurposed money from The National Lottery. This money is supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and span the arts, community, charity, heritage, education, environment and sports sectors.

Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes, including heritage of local and national importance. By playing The National Lottery, people up and down the country are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.

To find out more about the National Lottery Good Causes, visit: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/coronavirus-pandemic-response

This funding will help Painshill to recover from the financial damage the COVID-19 lockdown caused, specifically supporting its costs for four months. While this funding is a vital lifeline for the park’s immediate future, it will require additional support urgently to secure the charity’s long-term future.

To find out more about Painshill and how you can help today, visit: www.painshill.co.uk

Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre starts streaming live performances thanks to significant Arts Council England grant.

Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre in Walton-on-Thames has invested in state of the art cameras and streaming equipment thanks to a grant awarded from Arts Council Englands (ACE) Emergency Fund.

Since receiving the grant less than a month ago, the Riverhouse team have been busy installing thecameras and learning the essentials of streaming and will premiere the new offering on Friday 26th July with a live stream of The Hard Way, a one-woman show by musician and performer Louise Jordan.

Riverhouse have more live streams scheduled, including the play Fleshby John Foster on July 10th, performed by Cassandra Hodges (Silent Witness, The Crown, Dupris and Durrell), and a private outdoor concert by acclaimed folk musician Daria Kulesh on July 24th. From July 9th, they will bestreaming 6 chapters of Michael Mears(The English Game, Knightfall, Fleabag) show This Evil Thingwhich he self-filmed during lockdown in his flat.

More performances, including classical music, jazz and spoken word are in the pipeline. Emily Boulting, the Director of Riverhouse says

The impact of Covid-19 lockdown on the arts sector has been immense, and small community venues like Riverhouse have had to find how to deliver our programmes without physical contact. We started a YouTube channel in March, which has become the focus of alot of activity, with artists and performers creating and contributing content for us. We have been delighted with the engagement we see there, and the feedback made us confident that broadcasting and streaming is essential for our future success.

Some of the ACE grant will also fund improvements to Riverhouses website to provide enhanced access to the exhibitions hosted in the Robert Phillips Gallery, which is currently hosting a virtual residency with artist Maria Walker.

The Centres Community Café recently re-opened for takeaway service. The Café focusses on sustainability by transforming surplus food from M&S into tasty treats and light meals.

 

 

Thank Cod for Fish and Chips!

Following the resounding success of last year’s National Fish and Chip Day, and in response to the Government’s recent announcements, we are absolutely delighted to say that our celebration of the nation’s favourite dish will go ahead in 2020, but a little later than planned ‪on Friday 4th September!

As well as being one of the most popular awareness days of the year, we want National Fish and Chip Day this year to be even more special as we say a very big thank you to this amazing industry who are at the centre of every community, and who have, when able to do so safely, adapted to keep us fed, and when that wasn’t possible have kept us all safe by remaining closed at great sacrifice to their business.  All of them have shown great resilience throughout lockdown.

So let’s make National Fish and Chip Day 2020 the best yet as we bring together everyone involved in creating this iconic British dish; from Fish & Chip shops, pub chains, restaurants, retailers, to the fishermen and farmers who provide the sustainable and natural ingredients needed to create this family favourite.

Last year National Fish and Chip Day was a day like no other, with everyone talking about the nation’s favourite dish from first thing in the morning until late at night!  People across the country came together to celebrate their love of fish and chips.  Shops reported their highest footfall of the year…even higher than Good Friday in many cases. 62 million people would have seen, heard or read about National Fish and Chip Day and our hashtag was #1 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook from 8am until 8pm.

This is the biggest food awareness day of the year and we would be delighted to help you generate some fabulous content.

Whether it’s to celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday or wedding anniversary, or simply to say, ‘I love you’, treating your older friends and family to a cake is a great way to show you care. Cake in a box designs delicious cakes and cupcakes and offers nationwide delivery. They can make egg free cakes, dairy free cakes and gluten free cakes if required, and will create a cake to suit your budget, so why not bring a smile to a loved one’s face with a sweet treat?

  1. Help them learn

U3A, or the university of the third age, provides creative, educational, and social activities for people in their ‘third age’. They have recently launched Trust U3A as a way for people to join their community online while face-to-face contact is limited. Why not treat someone dear to a Trust U3A membership for just £7.50, and give them access to learning resources, interest groups, and events and activities that they can take part in.

  1. Top up their hobby supplies

Do your loved ones have a hobby that they enjoy? Taking part in a hobby exercises the brain and supports positive mental health, so making sure their hobby supplies are topped up is a great way to support your friends and family. Most supplies can be purchased online and delivered directly to their front door. If you’re not sure what they might need, just ask!

  1. Send a letterbox hamper

From cheese to chocolate to healthy snacks, receiving a hamper is a lovely experience – so often they contain little luxuries that we wouldn’t buy for ourselves. Treat your loved one to a Yumbles letterbox hamper that is beautifully presented, full of carefully chosen treats and fits through their letterbox.

  1. Write a letter

This is a simple but powerful way to support your friends and family – a personal letter shows your care in a unique way and is sure to be treasured and reread. If you don’t like writing letters yourself, take advantage of RoboQuill’s offer to send 150 free notes to the ‘loved and elderly’ during lockdown and beyond. RoboQuill’s robots pen ‘handwritten’ notes using real fountain pens and using real ink – they are so realistic your loved ones won’t believe they’ve been written by a robot!

  1. Spoil them with a boutique treat

The Bias Cut is the first age-inclusive online women’s boutique with lots of gorgeous treats to cheer up loved ones, including clothing, jewellery, and accessories. Even better, buy an item marked with a rainbow, heart or star and they will donate 25% of the proceeds from your sale to Hospice UK. For your older male friends and family, why not treat them to something from Charles Tyrwhitt.

Whichever way you choose to show your care and support for your friends and family that are over 70, it is sure to be appreciated and will make a real difference reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.

If you are feeling lonely and feel like you need to talk to someone immediately, call the Age UK Advice Line on 0800 055 6112.

Are you are experiencing loneliness during lockdown or do you know someone who is feeling isolated as a result of social distancing guidelines? Well, digital scrapbooking might be just what you need… even if technology is not normally your thing. A digital scrapbook is a just like a traditional scrapbook but created online, meaning there is no mess, no size limit and it is easy to share with your friends and family.
Even when we can’t be physically close to our loved ones, we can still experience connection and a sense of belonging. Here are 10 ideas for how you can use a digital scrapbook to stay connected and reduce feelings of loneliness.
1. Celebrate special occasions
Even during lockdown, special occasions deserve to be celebrated. Birthdays, anniversaries and other special days might not be quite the same without your friends and family nearby, but thankfully, you can still find ways to connect using a digital scrapbook. Capture the experience of opening thoughtful gifts from your family and blowing out the candles on your cake and tell your grandchildren how much you love the drawing they created just for you.
2. Share recipes
Lockdown is a great time to unearth that closely guarded family recipe and share it with your loved ones. Why not invite them to have a go at making a batch and to upload a photo of the results? Of course, you’ll have to take their word for it about how tasty the final product is! Look for a digital scrapbook where you own and control the copyright, so that unique recipe can stay securely in the family for generations to come.
3. Capture your history
Even if they aren’t thinking about it now, your grandchildren will one day want to know about where they came from. You can create a wonderful gift to future generations by capturing your story. Dig out old photos, memorabilia and artifacts and take a walk down memory lane. Scan or photograph selected items and use them as a starting point to tell your story and capture your family history.
4. Grow something
The act of caring for something, be it a person, a plant or pet, causes your body to produce the hormone oxytocin, sometimes known as the ‘tend and befriend’ hormone, because it is the same hormone that’s released when you hug your loved ones and plays an important role in bonding. During this time of social distancing, when you can’t necessarily get an oxytocin boost from hugs, you can get it instead by tending your garden. You can increase this connection and care-giving further by uploading photos of your endeavours to your digital scrapbook and sharing the experience. Get your grandchildren involved by challenging them to grow something too – sunflowers are quick and easy for children to grow so why not find out who can grow the tallest one?
5. Get creative
Use your lockdown time to get creative; write a story or poem, knit, sew, paint, draw, sculpt, felt or use whatever method of creative expression speaks to you. Creative activity is known to reduce stress levels and can be a great way to express yourself. It doesn’t matter what your creative outlet of choice it, it can help to reduce anxiety and support your wellbeing. Use digital scrapbooking to share both your creative journey (“can you tell what it is yet?”) and your sense of accomplishment with the finished product.
6. Listen together
As well as images and words, use the opportunity to capture and share sounds and listen together with your family. You can use your digital scrapbook to record birdsong in your garden, a special message for a loved one or your favourite tune. Music encourages relaxation and can transform your mood, so why not upload a song that brings up happy memories to share with your family?
7. Unearth memories in your photo albums
Have you got piles of photo albums gathering dust or folders of digital photos buried somewhere on computer drives? If so, this is a great time to sort through them and unearth some special memories. Select a few photographs that represent important occasions and upload them to your digital scrapbook, adding a few words about what you remember. Relive the memories and bring a smile to the face of your loved ones.
8. Preserve letters
To compensate for the isolation of social distancing, there has been an increase in the numbers of people writing cards and letters to each other. If you have sent or received some letters during lockdown, why not preserve the most special ones in your digital scrapbook? If you haven’t done so already, try writing to your grandchildren and give them the experience of receiving exciting post – even better, let their parents know that special post is on its way so they can capture and share the moment the children open and read your precious words.
9. Laugh together
Laughter is known to decrease stress levels and boost the immune system – something we all need in these challenging times. Use your digital scrapbook to tell a funny family story and invite your family members to add their own hilarious memories, stories, photos and mementos.
10. Create a lockdown story
We’re currently living through an historical event so why not use this opportunity to create your lockdown story? Record the unique moments you are experiencing, from a video of you joining in with your street to Clap For Our Carers to sharing images of rainbows in windows spreading hope and happiness during this pandemic. Create lockdown stories that you and your family can look back on in times to come.
Storychest is an easy-to-use app that enables you to capture and store the precious moments of your life to privately share with your family, closest friends and generations to come. Unlike social media platforms, there is no advertising and your data is never shared, meaning you can create a treasure chest of memories that is totally secure. Even if you usually describe yourself as a technophobe, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by how simply and easy it is to use.

The charity is asking people to follow their disabled residents lead and come up with their own challenge idea connected to 2.6 or 26. No need to be a marathon runner or an elite athlete, could you skip for 26 minutes non-stop? Or cycle 2.6 miles with your family? Or do 26 burpies 2.6 times over? Decide on your 2.6 Challenge then sign up at www.twopointsixchallenge.co.uk and choose QEF as the chosen charity and ask friends and family for their support. Why not film and share your challenge using #twopointsixchallenge and tag @QEF1 to be a part of this UK wide initiative.

The 2.6 Challenge takes place from April 26th – the day the London marathon should have happened – until April 30th and is open to everyone of all ages and all abilities (as long as it complies with Government rules around exercise). The aim is to raise much needed funds for charities like QEF, to help them survive this pandemic, so they can continue to support the people that rely on their services.

Charities like QEF really need support at the moment and The 2.6 Challenge is a great way to get everyone involved.

Council working with partners to help the most vulnerable

The Epsom & Ewell Borough Council Community Hub is now working to regularly engage with over 2,000 of the most vulnerable borough residents.

The council is also working with its community partners, voluntary groups and the groceries industry, to ensure that essential items are delivered to those who need them.

Dorah May Hancock, Chief Officer of Age Concern Epsom & Ewell said “During these challenging times Age Concern Epsom & Ewell is supporting the older generation who are vulnerable or struggling in self-isolation. Assisting the council, we are contacting 5,500 older people on our list and supporting them with our dedicated band of volunteers. While they may be self-isolating, we’re trying to ensure they are not alone”.

Sally Dubery from Central Surrey Voluntary Action, who are coordinating volunteers for the council, said “The response we have had from the public during this time has been amazing; a true community spirit, thank you. We still have various roles available, and as the situation continues, we will need more volunteers – please contact us if you think you can help”.

To ensure those identified as vulnerable get the food and essential items they need, the council is being supported by the Epsom branches of Waitrose and Savers, who are prioritising the council’s services. The Ruxley Foundation, a charity based in Ewell, is donating fresh fruit and vegetables.

Councillor Liz Frost, Chair of the Health Liaison Panel, said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff, volunteers and partners for the work they are doing and will continue to do through this very challenging period to support those in our community that need a little extra help”

If you or someone you know is struggling, and think extra help is required, please contact

  • the Surrey Community Helpline: 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 2pm)
  • Age Concern Epsom & Ewell Information & Advice line: 01372 732 456 (Monday to Friday: 9am to 4pm) ageconcernepsom.org.uk

If you would like to volunteer, please contact

 

Due to current staff shortages, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s garden waste service is temporarily suspended until further notice

  • This is to allow the Council to focus on providing core collection services at this challenging time.
  • The Council apologises for this service interruption and thanks residents for their patience during this period.
  • As soon as the garden waste service resumes, the Council will update its dedicated webpage – www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/recycling – as well as its social media accounts.  Messages will also be shared with the local media.

Surrey residents are being asked to help their local bin crews as they deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on waste and recycling collections.

Waste tonnages have already started to increase and while most services are currently operating as normal, they could be reduced if staff sickness increases because of the virus.

Residents can help in lots of ways including making sure their bin lids are able to firmly close, compacting recycling, only putting bins out when full, reducing waste as much as possible and not buying too much food.

Mike Goodman, Chairman of the Surrey Environment Partnership says: “As key workers, bin collection staff provide an essential public service and are continuing to work hard to maintain collections during this difficult time. Residents can help reduce the pressure on the service by taking a few simple actions.

“Also, as the county’s community recycling centres (CRCs) have been closed due to the pandemic we are asking residents to hold on to any waste they were planning to take to a CRC until they reopen.”

The advice on how residents can help is being regularly updated on the <a href=”https://www.surreyep.org.uk/waste-and-recycling-information-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/”> Surrey Environment Partnership website</a>. The site also features public health guidance for people who are self-isolating with symptoms of coronavirus to explain what they should do with personal waste such as tissues and cleaning cloths. They should place these items into a rubbish bag placed inside another bag, tie it securely, keep it inside for 72 hours and then disposing of it in the usual way.

Below is the full list of ways residents can help their bin crew:

Help bin crews operate

  • Due to reduced traffic, usual collection times may change. Bins should be put out early and left out until they’ve been emptied.
  • Residents should be considerate when parking cars on a collection day to help ensure collection vehicles can access roads.
  • Bin lids should be firmly closed to help prevent crews unnecessarily touching them.
  • Residents should wash their hands before and after touching bins.
  • Waste should be compacted into bins as much as possible to maximise space and bins should only be put out when they are full.
  • Bin crews are working hard to keep this essential service going during this difficult time and their moral would be boosted if residents let them know they are appreciated with a wave or a smile.
  • Recycle right and reduce waste
    • The right items should be put in the right bins. The Surrey Recycles search tool can help residents find out what goes where. It can also be downloaded as an app – search for ‘Surrey Recycles’.
    • Waste should be reduced as much as possible. There are tips on how to reduce waste on the SEP website.
    • Residents should buy only what food they need and should freeze it if it can’t be eaten before the use by date. Leftovers should be used rather than thrown away. The SEP website features many leftovers recipes.
    • Start composting at home. Compost bins can be bought at a reduced rate or for those wanting to compost all their food waste, food waste digesters are also available.
    • Surrey’s community recycling centres (CRCs) are currently closed until further notice due to the Government’s decision to restrict all but non-essential movement. Residents should not put waste that may have taken to a CRC in household bins as it may overwhelm collection services. If having a clear-out while at home, hold on to waste as much as possible until normal service resumes. 
    • Fly-tipping
      • While options for disposing of waste are reduced, residents should remember that fly-tipping is against the law and those convicted face fines of up to £50,000 or up to five years’ imprisonment as well as other potential penalties.

      The latest information on how residents can help can be found on the Surrey Environment Partnership website.