Thursday 22 February 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes a marathon, a by-election, floods, photos and sustainability – plus a look at the current row about pharmacy provision (or, as some would argue, the lack of it) in Newbury.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Newbury events include a repair café and a heritage fair. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Newbury’s pharmacies

There’s been a good deal of comment recently about the fact that, although there seems to be plentiful evidence that Newbury needs another town-centre pharmacy, plans for this are, it is alleged, being opposed by Boots. I’m not clear how formidable such opposition would be. There seems to be plentiful anecdotal evidence that one pharmacy is not enough, with reports of the queueing times sometimes being longer than at the Thatcham level crossing (which is saying something). There is someone ready and willing to open a new outlet. What can the problem be?

The matter was discussed at a meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board on 22 February, the agenda for which you can see here. (There’s also a link to the recording of the event at the top of the agenda sheet and this discussion started at about 35′.) The main issue seems to be our old friend, central-government funding. There is, as with all things, only a limited pot of cash for pharmacies in each area. If too many new ones open, or so the argument runs, the risk is that all will become non-viable.

I find this rather hard to accept, for three main reasons. The first is that the demand is clearly there and one pharmacy is clearly not enough. The application made extensive reference to Boots being unable to cope with the number of customers and the lack of alternative provision. One is also an awkward number as it’s only one more than zero, which would be the number of outlets in the event of a burst pipe or damaged roof, if only for a few days.

Second, pharmacies can do more than just dispense medicines if they wish and so there’s surely an element of letting the market decide.

Finally, and most importantly, if the pot of money was adequate in the past (and many would say it wan’t) it certainly isn’t now. Under new the primary healthcare policy, pharmacies have an extra role to play in prescribing medicines and treating minor conditions, all in attempt to reduce the pressure on GPs. This in turn will lead to more people using them, and doing so for longer. More funding thus seems to be a necessity. You can’t expect someone to do two jobs but only get one salary.

The Health and Wellbeing Board supported the application. Community Pharmacy Thames Valley, however, objected on the grounds that there was no evidence that the application would secure unforeseen benefits and the PNA did not identify a gap in provision.

This has helped provide Boots with excellent grounds for objecting: there’s no need, it might argue; we’re worried that the jam may be spread too thinly if too many pharmacies open in which case we all risk closing; we are, in short, sticking up for the interests of the people of Newbury.

I’ve contacted Boots’ press team about this and will bring you their actual response when I get it. In the meantime, we’ll see if there’s any more cash available to ease the problem, which is not unique to Newbury. There’s an election coming up, so anything’s possible.

• Other news

• Do you have an interest in Berkshire’s history? The Berkshire’s Online Heritage Fair is being held on Saturday 24 February, with two drop-in sessions. Whether your focus is family history, local history, military history, business history or transport history – this informal event will help connect you will experts who will try and help answer your questions. It is free to attend and will be held on Zoom. Click here to learn more and find out how to register.

• A by-election will take place on Thursday 14 March to choose a new Newbury Town Council member for the Wash Common ward. Click here to see the notice of the election and a list of candidates.

• For those who regularly enjoy a stroll on Greenham Common, just be aware there is a Charity Half Marathon happening this Sunday, starting from the Control Tower. The run should be finished by 1pm, but expect the car parks to be very busy around that time. Click here to learn more.

The government issued a flood alert on 22 February: “River levels on the Lambourn and its tributaries [down to Newbury] remain high but stable due to recent rainfall combined with high groundwater levels. Flooding of low lying land, roads is expected to continue over the coming days. Property flooding is not currently expected.”

• The new Newbury and Thatcham Repair Cafe, will be holding it’s very first session this Sunday 25 February at Newbury Methodist Church Hall. Visitors can bring items which need repairing, such as electrical goods, clothes and textiles, crockery, wood items, toys, etc –  and their team of clever volunteers will endeavour to fix them, if feasible. The repairs are free but donations are appreciated to keep the Repair Cafe running. Refreshments will also be available. Click here to learn more.

• Are you a photography student or know of anyone who would like to practice their photography skills for a good cause? Local charity the Eight Bells are in need some stock photographs to use in marketing materials for their website, social media platforms and newsletters. If you could occasionally spare just a couple of hours to take and edit photos, get in touch at [email protected] or call 07387 962220.

• This weekend there is an Energy Sustainability and Eco Event, taking place at the Fieldgate Centre in Kingsclere. Alongside the regular monthly Repair Cafe and Clothes-Swap, there will also be local individuals and organisations. Come along to have an informal chat to answer your questions about household energy, to help you save money, cut carbon by using less energy, travel in greener ways to make our air cleaner and ways to buy less and reuse and repair more. To learn more about the event, click here.

• It’s your last chance to nominate a worthy local for the Newbury Town Civic Awards.  The closing date for nominations is Sunday 25 February. Click here for more information.

• Local charity Eight Bells is seeking enthusiastic volunteers to support them with food collections from local supermarkets. For more information and to register your interest please call 07387 962220 or email [email protected].

Newbury Town Council’s February newsletter is now available to read here.

• The Volunteer Centre West Berkshire is offering a range of courses for volunteers, trustees, and anyone in the charity sector. Too see what courses they’re offering and to book a place, click here.

• A reminder that Newbury Rotary is welcoming back Cor Meibion De Cymru (The South Wales Male Choir) to perform a St David’s Day Grand Concert on Saturday 2 March to raise money for local charities including the West Berkshire Therapy Centre. Taking place at St Nicolas’ Church, you can book your tickets here.

• Would you like to help inspire the future workforce? Education Business Partnership helps prepare our local young people for the world of work, and to do this EBP relies on the support of local businesses and professionals. If you would like to volunteer your expertise please see here for more details.

• On the same theme, nominations are now open for BBC Radio’s Make a Difference Awards, celebrating local people who are going above and beyond. There are eight categories (including one for animals) and the deadline to make a nomination is Sunday 10 March.

• If you have children who need swimming lessons, take advantage of swimming crash course with Jo at GR Swimming School. Jo is a multi award-winning teacher and the lessons take place in the pool at Brockhurst School in Hermitage.

• If you need to let off steam about Newbury’s current roadworks, join the Newbury Happening Now facebook group. See West Berkshire Council’s list of roads prioritised for improving here.

• The snowdrops at Welford Park are now open Wednesday to Sunday with several plant sale dates up to Sunday 3 March. It makes a lovely local day out, especially when you pop into The Five Bells round the corner in Wickham for their special Snowdrops Menu.

The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• Quick reminder that local Ukraine support groups are appealing for candles to send to Ukraine, to be made into ‘trench candles’ to be sent to the frontline where they are for lighting, heating and cooking. If you can help, new or part-used candle donations can be dropped off at Waitrose in Newbury.

• Quick reminder about coping with winter weather: advice about flooding and how to stay safe in icy conditions and how to thaw frozen condensate pipe from your boiler.

• For the low-down on the local live music scene follow Sound Newbury’s facebook page

• A new Rhyme Time for pre-school children is under way at Wash Common Library every Thursday afternoon at 3pm from Thursday 22 February.

• For support and advice with any flooding issues in Newbury please join the Newbury Flood and Drainage Action Facebook Group.

• Have your say

Have your say on current consultations being run by West Berkshire Council:

Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

Latest local newsletters


Community notices

• Have your say on current consulations by West Berkshire Council. Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

The Corn Exchange café bar on Thursday mornings between 10.30am and 12.30pm hosts Coffee Companions to meet new people and have a chat.

• Loose Ends drop-in centre at Newbury Cricket Ground welcome volunteers to join its friendly team. They offer hot meals and a safe and friendly environment for vulnerable people. More details and how to apply can be found here.

• Roadworks seem to be ongoing across the town…For up to date news and discussion it’s worth joining the Newbury.Happening now facebook group and its Newbury Traffic Live Updates chat group (on facebook messenger).

Printer ink cartridges can be recycled at the Waterside Youth Centre, which will help them raise money to fund local youth activities. You can find the donation box next to the blue reception desk. – 01635 018500

• Donations of second-hand bikes are always welcome at the Community Furniture Project in Newbury where they refurbish the bikes and sell them at affordable prices to people in need. – 01635 43933

• Newbury Market welcomes small business interested in having a pitch in the Market Place get in contact with them at [email protected] or call 07399 122964 to find out more.

Newbury Town Council Saturday Surgery between 10 am and noon any week at the steps of the Town Hall.

Newbury’s two friendly community cafés on Wednesdays: Educafe Community Café in Newbury Library 11am to 2pm and Speen Community Café at The Starting Gate Pub 2pm to 5pm.

• Fair Close Centre on Newtown Road in Newbury provides a vital social hub and meals on wheels for over 65s, many of whom live on their own. Please support them here. Goodness knows we might all need their services in years to come.

The Community Larder at the Waterside Centre is open every Tuesday afternoon, 2pm to 4pm to provide members with surplus food, discounts for local businesses, access to other services and support, as well as a friendly community environment.

Dignity in Dying local West Berkshire group meets in Newbury Library.

•  Newbury Library offers free IT support sessions including filling out online forms, how to Zoom, downloading e-magazines or sorting out pictures. Bookable 30- or 60-minute sessions. To find out more or book a slot, email [email protected].

West Berkshire Library’s friendly At Home service delivers books in person on a three-weekly basis, free of charge if you can’t get into your local branch. Contact the At Home service on 01635 519827 or email [email protected].


Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Every Wed: Educafe 11am to 2pm, Newbury Library

Every Wed: Speen Community Cafe, 2pm to 5pm The Starting Gate.

Sat 24 Feb Online West Berkshire Heritage Fair, Online.

Sun 25 Feb Newbury and Thatcham Repair Cafe, Newbury Methodist Church Hall.

Sun 25 Feb Eco Event, Fieldgate Centre, Kingsclere.

Sat 2 Mar Orchard Pruning Event, Barn Crescent, South Newbury, RG14 6HD.

Sat 2 Mar St David’s Day Concert with South Wales Male Choir, St Nic’s Church

 Regular events

A wide range of activities for over 55 year olds is offered by The Corn Exchange in its Ageing Creatively programme.

 Shaw House Community Garden drop-in gardening sessions Wednesday morning 9.30am to 12.30pm.. If you would like to join a session, please call Amy Bosley, 07553 810133 or email her.

Ukulele group workshops for all levels with the UTeam in Wash Common. Call 07963 647087 to enquire.

Salsa in Newbury courses for beginners and level 2/3 on Wednesday evenings at Newbury British Legion.

Regular youth activities at the Waterside Centre in central Newbury.

 Thatcham & Newbury Town Ladies and Girls FC Wildcats programme for girls aged 5 to 11 to get involved in football, promoting skill development, health, confidence and friendship. 6 to 7pm every Wednesday at Lower Way playing fields in Thatcham. Email [email protected] to get involved.

• Newbury Park Run at Greenham Common at 9am every Saturday morning. Folks of all ages welcome to run/walk/jog the 5km. They also have volunteering opportunities. See details here.

 Newbury Women Football Club always welcomes new players. For more details click here or contact [email protected].

• ACE Space on St Nicholas Road hosts live acoustic performances. Join their Facebook group or follow them on Twitter.

• Newbury Community Larder every Tuesday 2pm to 4pm at the Waterside Centre (down the canal from Costa Coffee on Northbrook Street). For more details please contact [email protected] or call 01635 018500.

• Speen Community Café at The Starting Gate in Speen on Wednesdays between 2pm to 5pm. Drop in for a chat or a cuppa, knitting and craft activities. You don’t have to live in Speen to join in. Follow them on facebook here.

• Educafe’s Community Cafe at Newbury Library every Wednesday between 11am and 2pm. If you would like to pop along for a friendly chat or to volunteer in the cafe please see their website for more details.

• Berkshire Youth‘s Waterside Centre in Newbury hosts various clubs and activities for local children and can provide volunteering opportunities for adults too.

 The Base, Greenham organise many art-focused events for people of all ages to let their creative sides go wild.


News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others. If the link is scored through this may be because draft minutes have been replaced by approved ones and the drafts file deleted. If so, please follow the links provided to the council’s website.

• The most recent meeting of Newbury Town Council for which minutes are available took place on 23 October and you can read the minutes here. Note that many matters are delegated to committees.
To see the dates of future Town Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Enborne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 29 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; financial matters; the precept (£10,000) and budget; the neighbourhood development plan; and reports from the Councillors.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Speen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 24 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the budget and precept (£62,419); the Recreation Ground; the defibrillator; spear thistle in Stockcross; ward members’ reports; and flooding issues.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shaw-cum-Donnington Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 17 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: matters arising; flooding; speeding; financial matters; reports from the ward members; planning matters; speeding; amenities, the litter pick (16 March); and the annual parish meeting (1 May).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chieveley Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: actions from the previous meeting; planning matters; financial matters; the precept (£35,000) and the budget; the burial ground; a report from at the ward member; and damage at Oare Pond.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here to download the meeting schedule. To see the agendas and minutes please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Greenham Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 8 November and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Boxford Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 7 November and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Hamstead Marshall Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 July and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click hereTo see minutes, please click here.

• Newbury area council contacts

Parishes: Newbury Town CouncilGreenham Parish CouncilChieveley Parish CouncilEnborne Parish CouncilBoxford Parish CouncilSpeen Parish Council,  Shaw-cum-Donnington Parish Council, and Hamstead Marshall Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Lambourn ValleyThatcham area; Compton and DownlandsBurghfield area; Wantage area; Marlborough area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

Thursday 15 February 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes an orchard, a choir, champions, apprentices, volunteers and snowdrops – plus welcome funding news for the Watermill and the launch of the Mayor’s raffle.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Newbury events include a retro show and a pruning event. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Funding the Watermill

The multi-award winning theatre in Bagnor – which was recently given the accolade of joint best theatre in the country at the 2024 Stage Awards – has recently received a major boost. The loss of Arts Council support last year led to a major fundraising drive. A recent statement announced that “Greenham Trust has added £20,000 to the match funding available via the Funding Alliance. The Alliance was established to support the Watermill following the news of its 100% funding cut by Arts Council, England.  Its support has underpinned the work in 2023

“This Alliance brings together The Headley Trust, The Bernard Sunley Foundation, Englefield Charitable Trust, Miss W E Lawrence 1973 Charitable Settlement, and Greenham Trust, to provide £78,000 of funding, pledged to match public donations made to The Watermill’s Communities Thriving through Culture campaign, via the funding alliance webpage on The Good Exchange.

PROPEL is The Watermill’s fundraising appeal supporting the theatre to continue its ambitious creative work and extensive community engagement programme as it transitions to an independent charity without statutory funding.” This campaign has raised over £42,000 to date – the next target, which Greenham Trust’s support will help it achieve, is to drive donations to reach the fundraising target of £116,000 by the end of March.

• Try your luck

Newbury Town Council has announced that the Mayor of Newbury has created an online raffle to help raise funds for the Mayor’s chosen charity, West Berkshire Homeless. “I would like to thank all the local businesses who have so generously donated some brilliant prizes,” Councillor Nigel Foot, the Mayor of Newbury said.

“By running this raffle, we are hoping to raise vital funds to support those in need in our community. Be in with a chance of winning some fantastic prizes, such as a speciality ‘Mayor’s tea & coffee hamper’, a day at the races for two at Newbury Racecourse, a bottle of bottle of Moet and Chandon Champagne, and more.”

The raffle will is now open and the draw will be made on Tuesday 2 April. Click here to take part – tickets cost £5 each. If you would like further information, or would like to enter and pay with cash, please contact the Mayor’s Office [email protected] or call 07538 334 106 or pop into the Town Hall.

• Other news

• Last week was National Apprenticeship Week and Newbury College celebrated by honouring the achievements of outstanding apprentices and employers in the area with their prestigious annual Apprenticeship Awards. This year also saw the launch of a vibrant new “Light the Way” campaign, featuring videos that aim to illuminate the path for future apprentices by showcasing real-life success stories. Click here to see the list of winners and learn more about the campaign.

Growing Newbury Green has announced new Orchard Pruning Events for 2024. The group has planted six community orchards across Newbury on Town Council managed land, to provide free fruit to anyone living locally as well as re-introduce old Berkshire bred varieties of apples. Their next pruning event will be at 10am on Saturday 17 February at Sayers Close Orchard (Greenham). Everyone is welcome to come along and learn about how to prune, no experience nessicary. Click here to learn more get in touch at [email protected].

• As mentioned previously, West Berkshire Council’s announced the winners of its Community Champion Awards. The Council have uploaded some lovely photos of the the winners receiving their certificates as the award ceremony via their Facebook Page. Click here for more information.

• A new Rhyme Time for pre-school children is starting at Wash Common Library every Thursday afternoon at 3pm from Thursday 22 February.

Newbury Town Civic Awards have been launched for 2024 including a new Civic Award for Local Community.  The closing date for nominations is Sunday 25 February with the awards presentation taking place on Wednesday 13 March 2024. Click here for more information.

• The Volunteer Centre West Berkshire is offering a range of courses for volunteers, trustees, and anyone in the charity sector. Too see what courses they’re offering and to book a place, click here.

• A reminder that Newbury Rotary is welcoming back Cor Meibion De Cymru (The South Wales Male Choir) to perform a St David’s Day Grand Concert on Saturday 2 March to raise money for local charities including the West Berkshire Therapy Centre. Taking place at St Nicolas’ Church, you can book your tickets here.

Newbury Town Council’s February newsletter includes hedge planting success at Greenham House Gardens, launch of Newbury Town Civic Awards and a reminder that you can meet a councillor every Saturday 10am to 12noon on the Town Hall steps.

• Would you like to help inspire the future workforce? Education Business Partnership helps prepare our local young people for the world of work, and to do this EBP relies on the support of local businesses and professionals. If you would like to volunteer your expertise please see here for more details.

Congratulations to Newbury Town Council’s Green Spaces Working Group and HSS Sewa (Hindu Swayamesvak Sangh) who successfully planted 38 trees earlier this month at Hutton Close, including oak, goat willow, cherry, hornbeam and lime trees. See more details here.

• On the same theme, nominations are now open for BBC Radio’s Make a Difference Awards, celebrating local people who are going above and beyond. There are eight categories (including one for animals) and the deadline to make a nomination is Sunday 10 March.

• If you have children who need swimming lessons, take advantage of swimming crash course with Jo at GR Swimming School. Jo is a multi award-winning teacher and the lessons take place in the pool at Brockhurst School in Hermitage.

• Local charity the Eight Bells is on the hunt for enthusiastic volunteers to support them with food collections from local supermarkets. Volunteers would need to have access to a vehicle and be physically fit to load donations into your vehicle. The maximum time commitment would be roughly 1.5 hours per pick up. For more information and to register your interest please call 07387 962220 or email [email protected].

• Richard Bobruki of Newbury Happening Now facebook group recently took a walk with his camera around the recently developed area of Weavers Yard between Market Street and the station.

• If you need to let off steam about Newbury’s current roadworks, join the Newbury Happening Now facebook group. See West Berkshire Council’s list of roads prioritised for improving here.

• For support and advice with any flooding issues in Newbury please join the Newbury Flood and Drainage Action Facebook Group.

• The snowdrops at Welford Park are now open Wednesday to Sunday with several plant sale dates up to Sunday 3 March. It makes a lovely local day out, especially when you pop into The Five Bells round the corner in Wickham for their special Snowdrops Menu.

The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• Quick reminder that local Ukraine support groups are appealing for candles to send to Ukraine, to be made into ‘trench candles’ to be sent to the frontline where they are for lighting, heating and cooking. If you can help, new or part-used candle donations can be dropped off at Waitrose in Newbury.

• Quick reminder about coping with winter weather: advice about flooding and how to stay safe in icy conditions and how to thaw frozen condensate pipe from your boiler.

• For the low-down on the local live music scene follow Sound Newbury’s facebook page

• Have your say

Have your say on current consultations being run by West Berkshire Council:

Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

Latest local newsletters


Community notices

• Have your say on current consulations by West Berkshire Council. Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

The Corn Exchange café bar on Thursday mornings between 10.30am and 12.30pm hosts Coffee Companions to meet new people and have a chat.

• Loose Ends drop-in centre at Newbury Cricket Ground welcome volunteers to join its friendly team. They offer hot meals and a safe and friendly environment for vulnerable people. More details and how to apply can be found here.

• Roadworks seem to be ongoing across the town…For up to date news and discussion it’s worth joining the Newbury.Happening now facebook group and its Newbury Traffic Live Updates chat group (on facebook messenger).

Printer ink cartridges can be recycled at the Waterside Youth Centre, which will help them raise money to fund local youth activities. You can find the donation box next to the blue reception desk. – 01635 018500

• Donations of second-hand bikes are always welcome at the Community Furniture Project in Newbury where they refurbish the bikes and sell them at affordable prices to people in need. – 01635 43933

• Newbury Market welcomes small business interested in having a pitch in the Market Place get in contact with them at [email protected] or call 07399 122964 to find out more.

Newbury Town Council Saturday Surgery between 10 am and noon any week at the steps of the Town Hall.

Newbury’s two friendly community cafés on Wednesdays: Educafe Community Café in Newbury Library 11am to 2pm and Speen Community Café at The Starting Gate Pub 2pm to 5pm.

• Fair Close Centre on Newtown Road in Newbury provides a vital social hub and meals on wheels for over 65s, many of whom live on their own. Please support them here. Goodness knows we might all need their services in years to come.

The Community Larder at the Waterside Centre is open every Tuesday afternoon, 2pm to 4pm to provide members with surplus food, discounts for local businesses, access to other services and support, as well as a friendly community environment.

Dignity in Dying local West Berkshire group meets in Newbury Library.

•  Newbury Library offers free IT support sessions including filling out online forms, how to Zoom, downloading e-magazines or sorting out pictures. Bookable 30- or 60-minute sessions. To find out more or book a slot, email [email protected].

West Berkshire Library’s friendly At Home service delivers books in person on a three-weekly basis, free of charge if you can’t get into your local branch. Contact the At Home service on 01635 519827 or email [email protected].


Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Every Wed: Educafe 11am to 2pm, Newbury Library

Every Wed: Speen Community Cafe, 2pm to 5pm The Starting Gate.

Sat 17 Feb Newbury’s Premier Retro Show, Newbury Royal British Legion Club, Pelican Lane.

Sat 17 Feb Orchard Pruning Event, Sayer’s Close, Greenham, RG14 7UU.

Sat 24 Feb Online West Berkshire Heritage Fair, Online.

Sun 25 Feb Newbury and Thatcham Repair Cafe, Newbury Methodist Church Hall.

Sun 25 Feb Eco Event, Fieldgate Centre, Kingsclere.

Sat 2 Mar Orchard Pruning Event, Barn Crescent, South Newbury, RG14 6HD.

Sat 2 Mar St David’s Day Concert with South Wales Male Choir, St Nic’s Church

 Regular events

A wide range of activities for over 55 year olds is offered by The Corn Exchange in its Ageing Creatively programme.

 Shaw House Community Garden drop-in gardening sessions Wednesday morning 9.30am to 12.30pm.. If you would like to join a session, please call Amy Bosley, 07553 810133 or email her.

Ukulele group workshops for all levels with the UTeam in Wash Common. Call 07963 647087 to enquire.

Salsa in Newbury courses for beginners and level 2/3 on Wednesday evenings at Newbury British Legion.

Regular youth activities at the Waterside Centre in central Newbury.

 Thatcham & Newbury Town Ladies and Girls FC Wildcats programme for girls aged 5 to 11 to get involved in football, promoting skill development, health, confidence and friendship. 6 to 7pm every Wednesday at Lower Way playing fields in Thatcham. Email [email protected] to get involved.

• Newbury Park Run at Greenham Common at 9am every Saturday morning. Folks of all ages welcome to run/walk/jog the 5km. They also have volunteering opportunities. See details here.

 Newbury Women Football Club always welcomes new players. For more details click here or contact [email protected].

• ACE Space on St Nicholas Road hosts live acoustic performances. Join their Facebook group or follow them on Twitter.

• Newbury Community Larder every Tuesday 2pm to 4pm at the Waterside Centre (down the canal from Costa Coffee on Northbrook Street). For more details please contact [email protected] or call 01635 018500.

• Speen Community Café at The Starting Gate in Speen on Wednesdays between 2pm to 5pm. Drop in for a chat or a cuppa, knitting and craft activities. You don’t have to live in Speen to join in. Follow them on facebook here.

• Educafe’s Community Cafe at Newbury Library every Wednesday between 11am and 2pm. If you would like to pop along for a friendly chat or to volunteer in the cafe please see their website for more details.

• Berkshire Youth‘s Waterside Centre in Newbury hosts various clubs and activities for local children and can provide volunteering opportunities for adults too.

 The Base, Greenham organise many art-focused events for people of all ages to let their creative sides go wild.


News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others. If the link is scored through this may be because draft minutes have been replaced by approved ones and the drafts file deleted. If so, please follow the links provided to the council’s website.

• The most recent meeting of Newbury Town Council for which minutes are available took place on 23 October and you can read the minutes here. Note that many matters are delegated to committees.
To see the dates of future Town Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Speen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 24 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the budget and precept (£62,419); the Recreation Ground; the defibrillator; spear thistle in Stockcross; ward members’ reports; and flooding issues.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shaw-cum-Donnington Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 17 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: matters arising; flooding; speeding; financial matters; reports from the ward members; planning matters; speeding; amenities, the litter pick (16 March); and the annual parish meeting (1 May).
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chieveley Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: actions from the previous meeting; planning matters; financial matters; the precept (£35,000) and the budget; the burial ground; a report from at the ward member; and damage at Oare Pond.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here to download the meeting schedule. To see the agendas and minutes please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Enborne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 27 November and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Greenham Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 8 November and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Boxford Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 7 November and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Hamstead Marshall Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 July and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click hereTo see minutes, please click here.

• Newbury area council contacts

Parishes: Newbury Town CouncilGreenham Parish CouncilChieveley Parish CouncilEnborne Parish CouncilBoxford Parish CouncilSpeen Parish Council,  Shaw-cum-Donnington Parish Council, and Hamstead Marshall Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Lambourn ValleyThatcham area; Compton and DownlandsBurghfield area; Wantage area; Marlborough area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.


Archive

To see earlier Newbury & Surrounding Area Weekly News columns please click here.

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