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Lockdown Restrictions – Statement from Chief Constable Anthony Bangham

Chief Constable of West Mercia Police, Anthony Bangham, has issued a statement (5th January 2021) following the announcement of the new lockdown for the country as we continue to work together to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

Chief Constable Bangham said: “Over the last year the vast majority of people in our communities have kept to the rules and I am confident that they will continue to do so through this new phase of the pandemic.

“West Mercia Police will continue to be visible across our villages, towns and cities working with our partners to do all we can to prevent the spread of the virus. As the public would expect, we will respond firmly, but fairly, using all the powers available to us to take action against those people that flout the laws and knowingly put others at risk.

“Policing across West Mercia will continue unabated throughout the lockdown and as the Prime Minster outlined yesterday help is available to anyone whose home is not a safe place to be. We would like to emphasise that we are still here for you 24/7.”

We are awaiting the official regulations from the Government and will share them on our website and social media channels as soon as we can.

Third National Lockdown Announced

The Prime Minister has this evening (Monday 4th January) announced a third national lockdown

The PM says you may only leave their homes:

– To shop for essentials

– To go to work “if you absolutely cannot work from home”

– To exercise

– To seek medical assistance

– To get a Covid test

– To escape domestic abuse

Primary schools and secondary schools and colleges across England must move to remote provision from Tuesday 5th January, except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

Early years settings such as nurseries will remain accessible.

“If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, we are advising you to begin shielding again, and you will shortly receive a letter about what this means for you”

To view details lockdown restrictions and permittable activities visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Winter Weather Advice

With snow still on the ground over some of our area and a possibility of more forecast over the next couple of days West Mercia Police are reminding motorists to take extra care on the roads. The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of snow, ice and freezing conditions throughout Wednesday and Thursday.

Motorists are being encouraged to really consider if their journey is necessary or not.  Driving in icy and snowy conditions is challenging for drivers as vehicle handling changes significantly and stopping times and distances increase. When roads are slippery, it can take up to ten times longer for your vehicle to come to a stop. 

If your journey really is necessary then ensure you reduce your speed, keep well back from the vehicle in front and allow plenty of time to slow down. Motorists are advised to carry out simple POWDERS checks on their vehicles to ensure they are as prepared as possible;

P – Petrol (or diesel). Make sure you check your fuel level and if low, ensure you know the nearest garage.

O – Oil. Does your vehicle have enough oil? Don’t just rely on a sensor to tell you if your oil is low, it’s always better to check yourself

W – Water. Coolant/antifreeze should be checked to ensure this is at the correct level. It is vital the washer fluid is full to keep your windscreen clear, especially during winter months

D – Damage. Always check areas like damage to tyres or windscreen wipers.

E – Electrics. Check your headlights, indicators and hazards.

R – Rubber. Checking the tread, pressure and condition of the vehicles tyres is a simple, quick thing to do.

– Service. Is your vehicle due a service?

Drivers are being reminded about the importance of carrying an emergency kit in their cars in case of a breakdown or delay. This should include items such as an ice-scraper, torch, warm clothes and a blanket, a pair of boots, a first aid kit, battery jump leads, a shovel for snow, food and drink and sunglasses to help see in low winter sun. Motorists are also advised to make sure their mobile phone is fully charged before heading off on a long journey and to watch or listen to local news for updates and be prepared to alter their travel plans.

Santa’s Christmas Message

Even though he is very busy, Father Christmas likes to take time out of his busy schedule to visit the children at Fairfield Preschool, to hand out some early presents and to wish children & staff a Merry Christmas.

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 Santa was unable to visit the children this year. Instead he recorded them a very special video message.

A Christmas safety message from the Chief Fire Officer

It’s been a year like no other for all of us and our Christmas celebrations are also not going to be anything like the sort we normally enjoy.

As usual, however, there will be memorable moments created and a chance to enjoy some time and relaxation with our nearest and dearest.

But in amongst all the changes we have to make to our usual routines, one thing remains the same and that’s the need to remember to take extra care and think about fire safety in our homes at this special time. Simple things such as not leaving candles and cooking unattended and turning off Christmas lights can make the difference between enjoying a memorable festive time and suffering a devastating house fire.

Statistics show that an accidental fire in the home is more likely to happen in December than in any other month and so if the worst were to happen, it’s worth remembering that smoke alarms can buy you vital time to escape. Please consider fitting one on every level of your home.

Giving some thought to having an escape plan in the event of fire could save your life and so it’s worth making sure that all of your house guests are made aware of yours.

There is plenty more good advice on fire safety in the home on our website www.hwfire.org.uk so please check it out.

As always, our crews and fire control staff will maintain their around-the-clock cover across our two counties to help to keep you safe during this festive time.

So on behalf of everyone at Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas in the hope that 2021 will be a more normal year for us all.

O Holy Night at St. Mark’s

Local singer Mitzy this evening (Thursday 17th December) sung “O Holy Night” at St. Mark’s, our village church.

With there being no village carol service this year, we hope you enjoy this beautiful performance.

Thanks to Mitzy, and to St. Mark’s church for hosting.

Christmas Eve Jingle

Residents are invited to take part in a worldwide Christmas Eve jingle bell event to spread joy after lockdown.

Participants are asked to stand on their doorstep and ring a bell for two minutes at 6pm on Thursday 24th December 2020.

After what has been an unprecedented year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with people losing loved ones, being separated from family and friends and struggling with the impact of lockdown restrictions, the hope is to bring “magic, hope and togetherness” to communities.

The idea was started by Mary Breggs-Reid, 41, an estate manager from Harrogate. She was inspired by the ‘Clap for Carers’ initiative, along with the movie ‘Elf’ starring Will Ferrell in which characters sing to provide Christmas spirit to fuel Santa’s sleigh.

Don’t let fire put a damper on your celebrations this Christmas

Present-wrapping, decorating your home and dinner with all the trimmings will hopefully take our minds off other concerns this yuletide, especially now that the Government has given the go-ahead for the Christmas break.

But Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and the national Fire Kills campaign are reminding people that fire safety always needs to stay high on their Christmas lists.

While fire safety is vital throughout the year, the extra distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant, so HWFRS is asking people to take extra care over the festive season to ensure that their families and loved ones are protected from fire.

In recent years, excessive alcohol consumption has been a major contributor to fire-related casualties, so if you are having some festive drinks, please don’t drop your guard.

Last Christmas, between 24 December 2019 and 1 January 2020, there were more than 120 incidents in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, more than 30 of which were fires.

Over the Christmas period, more than half of the fires were accidental, including 14 accidental dwelling fires in which cooking was the most common cause. The kitchen was the most common start place for fires to occur.

15% of non-fire related callouts were for road traffic collisions and other vehicle incidents.

There were also more than 50 false alarms throughout the period.

HWFRS Community Risk Manager Emma Roberts said: “Christmas is a time for festive cheer with family. But fairy lights, candles and decorations mean it is also a time to take extra care to keep our loved ones safe from fire.

“Make sure you place candles in suitable holders and away from curtains and, at this time of year, from Christmas decorations, never leave cooking unattended, especially with so much more food than usual on the go, and of course, test your smoke alarms.

“The colder weather brings its own menaces, too. Take care when using portable heaters or open fires to keep warm.”

Here are some simple tips from the Fire Kills campaign to help you and your family enjoy the joys of Christmas safely:

Check your Christmas tree lights carry this British Safety Standard sign

  • ensure you have working smoke alarms installed on all levels of your home. Test them regularly and never remove batteries.
  • never leave cooking unattended, especially the extra quantities for a Christmas meal. The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high-risk area.
  • never leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles out of the reach of children, and away from decorations, cards and wrapping paper, fires, lights and heaters.
  • put your cigarette out, right out. Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished and take care when under the influence of alcohol or tired.
  • never use heaters to dry clothes. Heaters can start fires when things are placed too close to them. Keep them well away from curtains, clothing and furniture.
  • don’t overload electric sockets. Ensure only one plug per socket. Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, like freezers
  • ensure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed or leave the house
  • always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment. This safety device can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault and can be found in any DIY store.
  • do something good this Christmas. Test the smoke alarms of someone you know who may need help such as an older relative or neighbour to ensure their safety.
  • make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire – in the event of fire you should Get out, Stay out and Call 999.
  • watch the Fire Kills campaign’s short Christmas Tree video at: http://youtu.be/hMtjGfr0tYs .

“From everyone at HWFRS, we wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas.”

Second Bin For Pepper Wood

Due to the increase in dog walkers visiting Pepper Wood, a second bin has been installed in the car park.

Procured and sited by the Pepper Wood volunteers with the help of Fairfield Village Community Association, the bin will be emptied as part of the Parish Council current “dog waste” contract.

In response to a need the Parish Council have agreed to a Community Association request to procure, site and maintain a dog waste bin on Woodcote Lane, on the side of the road where the footpath leads into Nutnells Wood.

Our thanks to the Pepper Wood Volunteers and Parish Council.

dav

West Mercia Police supports Home Office weapons surrender initiative

Lawful owners of certain weapons can begin to surrender them to the police from today as part of a three month scheme launched by the Home Office.

The weapon surrender scheme runs from today, Thursday 10 December 2020 until Tuesday 9 March 2021, where those owning particular weapons can hand them over to police and submit a compensation claim from the Home Office.

The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 contains measures to make it unlawful to possess certain offensive weapons– including rapid firing rifles and specific types of knives such as flick knives and zombie knives.

West Mercia Police will be accepting offensive weapons – those detailed in the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 – at front counters at the following police stations; Kidderminster, Redditch, Worcester, Hereford, Telford and Shrewsbury.

Those with legally held firearms that are affected are being contacted directly by the Firearms licencing unit with specific instruction on surrender and compensation.

Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Jones said: “Supporting this Home Office initiative is part of our commitment to tackling violence together with our partners and the public. It is only by working together that we will reduce violence including street violence and domestic abuse.

“For those weapons that are not detailed in the Offensive Weapons Act, there will also be knife bins at every station so they can be deposited safely.”

If you have information about someone you suspect to be in possession of an illegal weapon, you can contact West Mercia Police through the 101 number or via our website. Any information received is always dealt with in the strictest confidence.

If you have information but don’t want to speak to police, then you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting their website Crimestoppers-UK.org They are 100% anonymous and totally independent of the police. They never ask your name, they cannot trace your call or I.P address and no one ever knows that you’ve passed on information.

Young people can find advice by visiting Fearless.Org Full details on the Home Office surrender scheme can be found here.

Are you ready for winter?

As the nights get colder and darker, the chances of severe weather increase.

Storms, floods and other extreme conditions can cause damage to network infrastructure and disrupt your energy supply.

That’s why Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is reminding the public to be well prepared for power cuts and gas emergencies that may result from bad winter weather.

In recent years the chances of unplanned problems with electricity and gas supply have reduced dramatically, and network companies have invested £billions in improving the reliability of local energy networks in the UK.

As a result, on average, electricity and gas distribution customers hardly ever suffer a power cut or interrupted gas supply these days.

Despite this, however, our gas and electricity networks can be affected by natural events, with severe winter weather potentially causing significant damage.

So be Winter Ready for the 2020/21 winter.

Make sure you’re prepared in case you have a power cut or gas emergency.

To be well prepared:

  • know your free emergency numbers – in a power cut dial 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111 999
  • prepare your home – keep a torch handy and get your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
  • find out about the Priority Services Register – a free service provided by suppliers and network operators to vulnerable households which can give advance notice of planned power cuts or priority support in an emergency, eg with cooking and heating facilities. (Each energy supplier and network operator maintains its own register – to get on it, contact your energy supplier or visit www.energynetworks.org to find out who your network operator is.
  • keep a regular check on the weather forecast

Emma Roberts, HWFRS Community Risk Manager, said: “The danger of fire is also at its greatest during autumn and winter – so we’re asking people to remember these simple safety tips as the bad weather approaches:

  • watch out for overloaded plug sockets – many people use four-way bar adaptors to allow them to plug in more appliances, particularly in older properties that have fewer sockets
  • make sure that any portable heaters are being used safely – they should not be used to dry or heat clothes and should not be left switched on and unattended
  • check that electric blankets are in good condition – and that manufacturers’ instructions are followed
  • position your candles carefully – make sure they are on a stable surface, out of the reach of pets and children, and away from flammable objects like curtains, furniture, bedding, books and newspapers, especially while the Christmas decorations are up
  • fit smoke alarms and test them regularly – working smoke alarms can buy you valuable time to Get out, Stay out and Call 999
  • make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do if there is a fire – practise and memorise your escape route

Have a Happy Christmas – Smoke Alarms Save Lives

It’s beginning to look a lot like the time of year when statistically accidental fires in the home are more likely to occur! As many of us are ‘going early’ with putting the decorations up check your smoke alarms are working properly, and ensure that everyone in the house knows how to escape in the event of an emergency!

Make a diary note to regularly check #TestItTuesday

Properties Taking Part In Festive Fairfield’s Advent Calendar

On the 24 days leading up to Christmas Day a different property in the village will “unveil” a festive display.

As part of your daily exercise, visit the properties and see if you can spot our Advent Calendar window; displays are of various sizes, some in the windows, some on the ground or on the roof. Take photos and share on Twitter @fairfield_info message to www.facebook.com/fairfieldinformation or email admin@fvca.org.uk

Download our Advent Calendar Map

DateProperty Address 
1st December 10 Pepperwood Close
Barn Owl Cottage, Stourbridge Road
 
2nd December Village Hall 
3rd December32 Stourbridge Road  
4th December 5 Wood Lane
77 Stourbridge Road
142 Stourbridge Road
 
5th December Fairfield Cafe 
6th DecemberThe Police House, Stourbridge Rd  
7th December 186 Stourbridge Road 
8th December Fairfield Dental Surgery
334 Stourbridge Road
 
9th December 7A Stourbridge Road 
10th December 28 Stourbridge Road 
11th December Fairfield First School 
12th December 153 Stourbridge Road 
13th December 57 Stourbridge Road 
14th December 112 Stourbridge Road 
15th December1 High House (188 Stourbridge Rd)  
16th December 55 Brook Road 
17th December 55 Stourbridge Road 
18th December 2 Yew Tree Lane 
19th December 9 Stourbridge Road 
20th December 24 Yew Tree Lane
59 Stourbridge Road
 
21st December83 Brook Road  
22nd December 111 Stourbridge Road 
23rd December 20 Yew Tree Lane 
24th December Top of Swan Lane 

Road Traffic Collision

This morning (24th November), the emergency services attended a road traffic collision, involving two vehicles, on Sandy Lane.

2 people received precautionary checks from paramedics, an appliance from Bromsgrove Fire Station was also in attendance.

Festive Fairfield’s Advent Calendar

This year, Christmas in the village will be very different, with many of our annual activities not taking place.

A suggestion has been received to create a Village Advent Calendar. 

What is a Village Advent Calendar?

On a given date, something festive is placed in the window (or garden) of a property in Fairfield, that can be viewed by people passing by.  The display staying in place until the end of Christmas day.  Examples of displays are:

  • Christmas wreaths
  • The whole Nativity Scene
  • Candles
  • Santa & Rudolf in the snow
  • Winter tree wonderland

How can I take part?

Below are listed the 24 days preceding Christmas Day and the addresses of the properties that are taking place.  Email admin@fvca.org.uk with your address details, the date when you will “unveil” your display and an outline of your display (to reduce likelihood of duplication).  We will then update the webpage.

Then, during December, wander around the village, enjoying the festive displays. 

DateProperty AddressOutline Display
1st December 10 Pepperwood Close Partridge in Conifer
2nd December Village Hall Christmas Tree
3rd December32 Stourbridge Road  Father Christmas
4th December 5 Wood Lane
77 Stourbridge Road
142 Stourbridge Road
 Candles
Lighted Snowmen
Icicle House
5th December Fairfield Cafe Christmas Presents
6th DecemberThe Police House, Stourbridge Rd Candy Land 
7th December 186 Stourbridge Road Reindeer & Homemade Crafts
8th December Fairfield Dental Surgery
334 Stourbridge Road
 Festive Window
9th December 7A Stourbridge Road Reindeer
10th December 28 Stourbridge Road Illuminated Wreath
11th December Fairfield First School The Jolly Postman
12th December 153 Stourbridge Road Snowmen
13th December 57 Stourbridge Road Christmas Bears in Snow
14th December 112 Stourbridge Road Christmas Roof Tops
15th December1 High House (188 Stourbridge Rd)  
16th December 55 Brook Road Santa, Sleight & Reindeer
17th December 55 Stourbridge Road 6 Little Elves
18th December 2 Yew Tree Lane 
19th December 9 Stourbridge Road 
20th December 24 Yew Tree Lane
59 Stourbridge Road
Stars 
The Nutcracker at Pepper wood
21st December83 Brook Road  Five Gold Rings
22nd December 111 Stourbridge Road I Saw Three Ships
23rd December 20 Yew Tree Lane 
24th December Top of Swan Lane Nativity Scene

Appeal To Motorist When Passing Horses

To provide safety to horse, rider and motorist, please follow these four simple steps when passing horse riders along our country roads;

  • Slow down to a max of 15mph,
  • Be patient & dont sound your horn or rev your engine,
  • Pass the horse wide and slow, (if safe to do so) at least a car’s width,
  • Drive slowly away

Full Fibre Update

Preparations continue to deliver Fibre To The Premises, across our community.

Contractors are preparing the underground ducts for the fibre optic cables that will connect telegraph poles to local junctions boxes, which are in turn connected to the telephone exchange.

Once cables are laid and connected to telegraph poles, residents & businesses will be contacted.  OpenReach have produced a video that explains the procedure of connecting telegraph poles to your property.

Help Double Pepper Wood

The Woodland Trust is looking at an exciting opportunity to double the size of Pepper Wood, acquiring 120 acres of adjacent land, thereby achieve some 100 hectares of resilient continuous native woodland.

Pepper Wood is an ancient woodland site, designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the aim of the Woodland Trust is to blend opportunities for natural regeneration/ colonisation with sympathetic tree planting, and this will create a significant locally distinctive and accessible landscape asset promoting nature recovery and climate resilience.

To deliver this vision, the Wood land Trust needs to raise £1.5 million to secure the extension of Pepper Wood. A national appeal has been launched, which members of the community may wish top donate to.

This is an exciting project that will have many benefits for our community.

For further information and to make a donation CLICK HERE

Community Oil Buying Scheme

  • Community First will negotiate on your behalf with the oil suppliers
  • The best deal will be secured
  • You pay the supplier direct for the oil they deliver
  • Deadlines for orders are approximately around the 26th-28th of each month

To become a member please complete the form and return with payment or for more information please call 01684 312730

Information and Advice for Older People

AGE UK offer a free and confidential information and advice service for older people, their families and carers. Our team can provide help in a variety ways including:

  • Providing Benefit Checks and help with claiming benefit entitlement
  • Checking if a person is eligible for a Warm Home Discount
  • Providing information about staying safe, warm and well during the winter

Read more CLICK HERE

High Sheriff Awards Nominations are Open

Do you know an individual, community group or voluntary organisation that goes above and beyond to improve the lives of others in our county? Perhaps it’s a small group that doesn’t get any publicity or a person who deserves recognition for everything they do.

Winners will be celebrated in spring 2021 either in person or remotely!


Please submit nominations before the 15th January 2021.

https://www.highsheriffofworcestershire.org.uk/high-sheriff-awards

Fairfield Cafe is Staying OPEN

Please continue to support by buying milk, bread, cakes and take-away meals

Following yesterdays lockdown announcement, Fairfield Cafe WILL be remaining open.

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday of this week the Cafe will be open to dine in but from Thursday 5th November it will be takeaway only.

📱 Please preorder for collection wherever possible to avoid waiting around.⌚

🍰🥖 The Cafe will continue to offer fresh bread and fresh cream cakes but to avoid disappointment please order the day before you’d like to collect to avoid disappointment as we will only be holding a small amount from now on as we are in such an unsure time.🍰🥖

200 Club Update

It is with regret that the temporary suspension of the monthly 200 Club draws has had to be extended. 

It had been planned to restart the draw in November but in view of the recently announced lockdown it has been decided to suspend the draws until the environment is more suitable. 

All subscriptions already received will be carried forward. The draws will start again as soon as it is reasonably practicable and safe to do so.

Linda Garvin, 200 Club Administrator (01527 834935)

Swan Lane Update

FVCA have been chasing Worcestershire County Council regarding the ongoing outstanding work on Swan Lane.

The Council have provided the following responses:

Blocked Gully at bottom of Swan Lane, near gas pipeline

“This has been placed on a list for ditch digging. The drains on the plan do not work just not as efficiently as they should until the ditch is dug out.”

Blocked gully grids

“The drainage team have advised that they have broken connections along this road and that there are few broken lids, as well as the pot holes that have been marked up for repair.

Having inspected the lane, there are a lot of the gullies are covered in mud. In order to get all of the above addressed, the team are looking to put in place a road closure . At present there is not an advised timeframe for this.”

Unsuitable for HGVs sign

“As for the additional sign- we are looking into it. The consideration is for a sign to be in place when coming out of farm.” [FVCA have asked for clarification regarding sign location]

Weight Limit

“It is advised there is no reason for weight limit to be implemented, as these have to be associated with a weak structure.”

Speed Limit Reduction

“Finally, with regards to the consideration of a speed limit reduction, I have been advised that this is not feasible. The location is derestricted, meaning that drivers should be driving at the appropriate speed to the road, and not at the drivers discretion.” 

FVCA have responded as follows “According to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 section 82 traffic authorities have the powers to remove restricted road status – a restricted road being where “there is provided on it a system of street lighting furnished by means of lamps placed not more than 200 yards apart”, Swan Lane has no street lighting.

Swan Lane is a narrow, winding, low light road, that is regularly used by pedestrians, horse riders as well as motorists; pedestrians are mainly older people.  According to Department of Transport guidance Setting local speed limits paragraph 127 it suggests that Swan Lane can be considered for a 40 mph speed limit, due to, and not exclusively to, the bends, landscaping (that provide low light) and vulnerable road users.  We, therefore, request a reduction in speed limit, in accordance with Department for Transport guidelines.”

Litter Pick Cancelled

To safeguard our vulnerable volunteers, November’s community litter pick has been cancelled.
 
The next scheduled litter pick will be Saturday 9th January 2021 (all being well).

Light Up Fairfield

What a year it has been? You could say it has been very dark. We need to brighten our spirits, so this Christmas let’s “Light Up Fairfield”; this could be by having some outdoor lights, fairy lights in the window or an electronic candle.

From Saturday 19th December, friends and neighbours can wander around our village and, hopefully, “Light Up Fairfield” will lift all our spirits.

Please share your “Light Up Fairfield” photos and spread our Community Christmas Cheer.

Email: admin@fvca.org.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fairfieldinformation

Twitter: www.twitter.com/fairfield_info

Neighbourhood Pumpkin Trail

Halloween 2020 might look a little bit different to previous years. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still have lots of creative Halloween fun together!

This Halloween, we’d love to get as many homes as possible in our community involved in our Big Neighbourhood Pumpkin Trail!

All you need to do is display a pumpkin in your window – paper, real, decorated, plastic, painted….whatever you like! Then when children are out and about on Saturday 31st October they can see how many pumpkins they can spot – it will become one massive Pumpkin Trail!

Share your pumpkins by emailing a photo to admin@fvca.org.uk, message via Facebook (www.facebook.com/fairfieldinformation) or Twitter @fairfield_info 

Fireworks and Livestock

Farmers care deeply about the welfare of their animals, and are rightly concerned about anything that could jeopardise their wellbeing. Fireworks have the possibility to frighten livestock, which can lead to lower production and even stock loss. Poultry especially are at risk of a “smother,” where birds huddle together which can result in some birds dying. In addition fireworks can pose a fire risk if hot embers land on barns or in fields of standing crops. 

If you are thinking of marking the 5th of November (or any other event/date) with fireworks, we ask that you consider the safety and wellbeing of neighbours and neighbours animals. It is important to let farmers know beforehand that you are planning on letting off fireworks so they can take necessary precautions to protect their animals. Fireworks should always be used safely, and pointed away from buildings, standing crops, and fields with animals in them.

Always check the government advice before using fireworks: https://www.gov.uk/fireworks-the-law

Ultrafast Broadband Update

Full Fibre – Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) – is on its ways, as part of OpenReach’s upgrade of the Bromsgrove network.

In our Autumn newsletter we informed you that over the past few months contractors have been unblocking and preparing underground pipes for the upgrade.

It was initially thought that FTTP in Fairfield would be live sometime during the Autumn.  Contractors have encountered several issues with their preparation work that has delayed the “live” date, with talk now of early 2021.

Residents can register for OpenReach updates, visit https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/fibre-for-home

Be s-careful this Halloween

West Mercia Police are asking those of you planning to take part in Halloween activities to be “s-careful” and follow Covid-19 regulations.

Whilst Halloween is going be different this year, for obvious reasons, we are sure that many of you are still hoping to seize the opportunity to have a good time.

Along with asking you to keep following the Coronavirus regulations (as the vast majority of you have been for the last eight months) we are also asking you to be “frightfully thoughtful” to those living around you. Some people, particularly those that live alone, can find parts of Halloween behaviour intimidating, so please be mindful of this. We have also produced our annual posters to help prevent visitors; these are available from our Safer Neighbourhood Teams and at the bottom of this page.

Chief Superintendent Sue Thomas said: “We want to get the balance right between ensuring everyone is doing their bit to prevent the spread of coronavirus by following the law whilst not stopping people from having a good, safe, time.

“As in previous years, we will have an increased number of officers on duty and will be carrying out additional high visibility patrols to ensure that anti-social behaviour remains low. We will also be engaging with those out and about and encouraging them to act responsibly and reminding them to follow Covid-19 laws. Where we need to though, we will take enforcement action.

“Perhaps most importantly, please remember that if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been told to self-isolate you shouldn’t take part in any in-person Halloween festivities and shouldn’t give out sweets to trick-or-treaters. There are, however, lots of other ways that you can still make a memorable evening for your family.”

Plant Pots Needed

If you have any used 5″ plant pots, the church office would be most grateful to have these to use for Mothering Sunday flowers next year.

If you are unable to get to the church office in Belbroughton, leave your pots in the porch of St. Mark’s and someone will take them there.

Remember, Remember Stay Safe This November

Think twice about home firework displays, in addition to the destress that fireworks cause livestock and family pets (we are a farming community), fireworks are dangerous and can cause serious injury. 

If you choose to go ahead plan and prepare – carefully, 

A £2 firework at a family display misfired & left Maisie with burn injuries. Hear her story in this video released by the National Fire Chiefs Council.  

WARNING:  Some people may find the film destressing.

Dog Walkers Urged to Clean Up Faeces on Farmland

Diseases found in dog poo can cause abortions in cattle and death in sheep

Local farmers and Fairfield Village Community Association are urging members of the public to clean up after their dogs when walking on or near to agricultural land.

Parasites found in some dog faeces can result in the abortions of cattle and death in sheep and with several reports over recent months, local farmers are pleading with the public to be more responsible.

As the lambing and calving season begins for another year, the message to members of the public is to remember to pick up any faeces from dogs they are walking, including when they are using agricultural land.

The two diseases of particular concern that can be present as a result of faeces on farmland are neosporosis and sarcocystosis.

Neosporosis can cause abortions in cattle and is thought to be responsible for the highest percentage of all cattle abortions reported in the UK. Neospora eggs are produced by infected dogs and excreted in their faeces. Cattle will then become infected if they eat food, i.e. grass, or drink water contaminated with the eggs.

Sarcocystosis is also caused by parasites, which can use dogs as intermediate hosts, and similarly the eggs are produced and excreted in faeces.

In terms of both these diseases, faeces from infected dogs can contaminate pasture and animal feed, water or bedding. There is currently no licensed vaccine or drugs available for these diseases.

Remembrance Service Cancelled

Having considered Government guidance and other advice received, the age & vulnerability of members of our community, the limited space around the war memorial and the restricted maximum number of people permitted in St. Mark’s church, it has been decided not to hold a Remembrance Service this year.

Members of the public & community groups may leave wreaths (that are pegged down) and crosses at the War Memorial at a time when that they feel safe to do so.

A national act of remembrance will be televised on BBC1.

Harvest Festival Service

The annual Harvest Festival service will take place on Sunday (11th October) at St. Mark’s church.  The short, family friendly, service starts at 11.15 am.

Non-perishable donations only, these will be passed to Foodbank.

Temporary Arrangement for 200 Club Draws

November sees the recommencement of 200 Club draws, giving members the opportunity to win up to £200.00.

As a temporary arrangement, whilst trustees meeting are being held remotely via Zoom, the monthly draw will take place during the first seven days of each month at Fairfield Café, with a member of the public witnessing each draw. 

Take extra care on rural roads during harvest season

West Mercia Police are warning motorists of the dangers that may be present at this time of year as farmers are using the roads more when harvesting and moving their produce, and reminding them that extra care and patience should be taken during this important season.

Agriculture is one of the region’s key industries and this time of year is very busy in the farming calendar with many crops requiring harvest and transportation, often within a short window of opportunity in order to ensure consumers can enjoy the produce in prime condition. However, this burst of activity traditionally sees a rise in road collisions, many of which are preventable.

A significant proportion of the collisions involving agricultural vehicles occur on rural roads with 60mph speed limits, and many near turnings into farms. The typical causes of collisions are poor overtaking manoeuvres and inappropriate speed, with drivers finding themselves unable to stop in time when presented with a slow moving or wide vehicle.  Since the start of 2017 there have been 83 collisions across West Mercia involving an agricultural vehicle.

A further hazard is caused by mud and debris being brought onto the roads by tractors and other vehicles that have been working in the fields. Under the Highways Act (1980), farmers and contractors have a legal obligation to ensure their vehicles are cleared of any mud or debris before entering the public highway. Excess mud on the road is a danger to cars, motorbikes and cyclists and can change the way a vehicle handles, causing skidding, especially in wet conditions.

Superintendent Mel Crowther, West Mercia Police Force Operations comments: “Every year we face problems with agricultural vehicles leaving large amounts of mud and debris on the roads during the harvest season. While the majority of farmers take steps to ensure they keep the roads clear and safe, not all are as diligent.

“We would like to remind farmers and contractors of their responsibilities under the Highways Act and we will continue to take a tough stance against anyone who we believe is being reckless and irresponsible, this also includes other motoring offences such as mobile phone use.

“Although many drivers of agricultural vehicles use the roads in a responsible way, we are reminding them to be aware of the impact they can have and consider other road users while they undertake their work. During busy traffic periods, pull into a lay-by or safe place to allow other vehicles to pass safely, to avoid traffic build-up and prevent unsafe overtaking manoeuvres.  

“We would also like to remind general motorists that extra care and patience should be taken during the harvest season.  While it can be frustrating travelling behind an agricultural vehicle it’s not worth getting impatient and putting yourself and other road users at risk with dangerous manoeuvres.”

Drivers of agricultural vehicles or anyone wishing to report any issues regarding debris or mud on the road should contact West Mercia Police on 101 or online at www.westmercia.police.uk

NHS COVID-19 app launches across England and Wales

  • NHS COVID-19 app launches nationwide to help control COVID-19 transmission alongside national and local contact tracing
  • Features of the app include contact tracing using Bluetooth, risk alerts based on postcode district, QR check-in at venues, symptom checker and test booking – with user privacy and data security at its heart
  • Businesses are now required by law to display the official NHS QR code posters from today so people can check-in at different premises with the app

People across England and Wales are being urged to download the NHS COVID-19 app to help control the spread of coronavirus and protect themselves and their loved ones as case numbers rise.

The app launches today, and after positive trials and rigorous testing is an important new tool to work alongside traditional contact tracing to help reduce the spread of the virus.

It will be available to those aged 16 and over in multiple languages. It forms a central part of the NHS Test and Trace service in England and the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme – identifying contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus.

As part of a major campaign to encourage downloads of the app a new advertisement will launch on primetime TV tonight with the strapline ‘Protect your loved ones. Get the app.’

Today the UK’s major mobile network operators, including Vodafone, Three, EE and O2, Sky and Virgin, have confirmed that all in-app activity will not come out of customers’ data allowance.

The contact tracing element of the app works by using low-energy Bluetooth to log the amount of time you spend near other app users, and the distance between you, so it can alert you if someone you have been close to later tests positive for COVID-19 – even if you don’t know each other.

The app will advise you to self-isolate if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case. It will also enable you to check symptoms, book a free test if needed and get your test results.

The app has been designed with user privacy in mind, so it tracks the virus, not people and uses the latest in data security technology to protect privacy. The system generates a random ID for an individual’s device, which can be exchanged between devices via Bluetooth (not GPS). These unique random IDs regenerate frequently to add an extra layer of security and preserve anonymity.

The app does not hold personal information such as your name, address or date of birth, and only requires the first half of your postcode to ensure local outbreaks can be managed. No personal data is shared with the government or the NHS.

UK government Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

We are at a tipping point in our efforts to control the spread of this virus. With infection rates rising we must use every tool at our disposal to prevent transmission, including the latest technology.

We have worked extensively with tech companies, international partners, and privacy and medical experts – and learned from the trials – to develop an app that is secure, simple to use and will help keep our country safe.

Today’s launch marks an important step forward in our fight against this invisible killer and I urge everyone who can to download and use the app to protect themselves and their loved ones.

From today certain businesses in England are required by law to display NHS Test and Trace QR codes so customers with the NHS COVID-19 app can use them to check-in. QR codes will help businesses meet their legal requirement to log contact details and allow public health leads to send alerts based on whether people have checked in at venues. So far, more than 160,000 businesses have already downloaded QR codes. Venues in Wales that are legally required to collect and keep a record of visitors will still need to do so.

The NHS Test and Trace team behind the app has worked closely with major tech companies, including Google and Apple, scientists within the Alan Turing Institute and Oxford University, Zuhlke Engineering, medical experts, privacy groups, at-risk communities and teams in countries across the world using similar apps – such as Germany, to develop an app that is safe, simple and secure.

The app has been through successful trials in the Isle of Wight, Newham and among NHS volunteer responders. Lessons learned have informed the final version that is launching today.

Dido Harding, Executive Chair of England’s NHS Test and Trace Programme, said:

We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to engage with England’s NHS Test and Trace service. The NHS COVID-19 app enables the majority of people with a smartphone to find out if they are at risk of having caught the virus and need to self isolate, order a test if they have symptoms, and access the right guidance and advice.

The features of this app, including QR code check-in at venues, work alongside our traditional contact tracing service and will help us to reach more people quickly in their communities to prevent further spread of the virus.

This is a welcome step in protecting those around us.

Simon Thompson, Managing Director of the NHS COVID-19 App, said:

We have worked tirelessly to develop the new NHS COVID-19 app and we are incredibly grateful to all residents of the Isle of Wight, London borough of Newham, and NHS volunteer responders, the learnings and insight have made the app what it is today. We are now ready to roll-out the app across England and Wales.

This new version is so much more than just a contact tracing app – it has a range of features which will quickly alert you if you’re at risk of coronavirus. The more people who use it, the better it works.

We are confident that every person who downloads the app will be helping to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Wales’ Health and Social Services Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

The launch of the NHS COVID-19 app is an important part of Wales’ coronavirus response, bolstering our Test, Trace, Protect programme. The more people who download and use this app, the more it will help us to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We have worked closely with the app development team to ensure it works seamlessly across England and Wales, providing people with the right advice based on where they live. In Wales, the app will complement our existing contact tracing and testing services and will further support our co-ordinated response to COVID-19 at both a local and national level.

I strongly encourage everyone in Wales to download and use the app to keep Wales safe.

In a joint statement Apple and Google said:

We built the exposure notifications system to enable public health authorities in their efforts to develop apps to help reduce the spread of the virus while ensuring people can trust in the privacy-preserving design. We are committed to supporting the government’s effort to launch an app based on this technology.

Hamish MacLeod, Director at Mobile UK, said:

The mobile industry welcomes the opportunity to support the government’s efforts to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic by zero-rating access to the new NHS COVID-19 app. Customers can be reassured that all in-app activity will not come out of their data allowance.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

The NHS COVID-19 app is a great addition to the safety measures already being put in by retailers. We hope it provides extra reassurance for customers and their families all across the country.

As well as contact tracing, the app has a range of additional, enhanced features that will help to reduce personal and public risk from COVID-19 as part of the wider testing and contact tracing service:

  • alert: letting users know the level of coronavirus risk in their postcode district
  • QR check-in: enabling users to check-in at a venue and alerting them if they have recently visited somewhere they may have come into contact with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19
  • symptoms: allowing users to check if they have coronavirus symptoms and see if they need to order a free test
  • test: helping users book a free test through the app and get results to know whether they have COVID-19
  • isolate: if a user is told to self-isolate, a timer feature will help count down that period and access will be provided to relevant advice

Fairfield Flicks Screenings Halted

Last week Fairfield Flicks, which is operated by Fairfield Village Community Association, had their first film screening since lockdown, numbers  attending  Knives Out were low and the Community Association made a loss.
 
Yesterday, Fairfield Flicks screened their second film, Mrs Lowry & Son, which was well received.  Unfortunately numbers were once again low, 9 people including volunteers in the audience, and againthe Community Association made a loss.
 
The low numbers could be that people do not feel confident to support local community cinema, understandably worried about Covid-19.
 
Losses are not something that the Community Association can afford, with available funds very low. 
 
Until the Community Association  committee feels that there is confidence to support local community cinema, and risk to finances changes for the better, Fairfield Flicks will be suspended until 2021.
 
The Community Association  appreciate that there will be some disappointed people, hopefully when confidence grows and infection rates are lower the Association can relaunch their community initiative.

Here2Help Worcestershire

www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help 

Launched as One Worcestershire’s community action response.

Here2Help is a communication campaign as well as a dedicated response service for all residents who ask for help and those individuals and organisations who offer to help. It aims to complement the national scheme to support those individuals extremely vulnerable to becoming severely ill from Covid-19 (our shielded cohort) and the NHS Volunteer Responders. Districts are linking into this and information of local community support across the six Districts in Worcestershire is contained within the Here2Help Worcestershire database. *Please note*: Opening times has recently changed and is now 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

Support Bromsgrove

www.supportbromsgrove.com 

For anyone in need or would like to offer their help in their local area within Bromsgrove District.

Support Bromsgrove is a partnership of local voluntary and community groups, including our three local foodbanks and Fairfield Village Community Association. See website for contact details. Please note that since 1 July, the helpline became a 24 hour Answerphone Service. Information of local community schemes working across different Parishes / Villages / Neighbourhoods and a directory of organisations are included on the website to help connect the full range of local community support available across the District. The Bromsgrove Community Support Facebook Group, which initially set up the helpline, is continuing on Facebook, helping to connect people to the support they require.

Reducing Energy Bills

Act on Energy has a free specialist helpline open to all who need help with reducing fuel bills, switching suppliers, support with accessing emergency heating and much more.  The helpline number is: 0800 988 2881 or they can be contact via their website: www.actonenergy.org.uk