Press Release Date: 20 March 2018
West Berkshire to hold largest ever volunteering event
More than 80 organisations will be coming together next week (Thursday 29th March) to raise awareness of volunteering in the largest-ever event of its kind in West Berkshire.
The event aims both to promote the value of volunteering and highlight the help and support available to residents from community and voluntary sector organisations across the district. It’s a great opportunity for:
The event has been organised by the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire in partnership with West Berkshire Council, the Health and Wellbeing Board and Awards for All. It takes place on Thursday 29th March, 2018 between 9.30am and 4.30pm at Newbury Racecourse.
The event will be formally opened by the Chairman of West Berkshire Council, Councillor Quentin Webb, at 11am.
Free return travel is available from Newbury town centre to the event, on local buses 9 and 123. Hail either these services from Cheap Street (outside the Kennet Centre) and travel to the Rondetto Avenue stop at Newbury Racecourse.
Speaking ahead of the event Gary Poulson, Director at the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire said: “In West Berkshire we have a thriving voluntary and community sector making a real difference in communities across the district. Through this event we want to raise awareness of the help and support all these groups are providing so that they can work more closely together and become an even more effective network of support for local people.
“This will be one of the largest volunteering events in the south of England in recent years with plenty of help and support on offer. I look forward to seeing everyone at the event next week.”
West Berkshire Council is among the organisations supporting the event. Chief Executive Nick Carter, from West Berkshire Council, added: “At the council we benefit directly from the energy, enthusiasm and hard work of volunteers in our libraries, supporting our countryside team and in many other different ways. We also recognise the value of the support of voluntary groups in supporting our residents so they don’t need to rely on council services. The work they do is very worthwhile and so we have been very happy to support this event and the voluntary sector in the district.”
To find out more about the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire visit www.volunteerwestberks.org.uk
From Deputy Police & Crime Commission, Matthew Barber - In this month's edition:
Below is the Pew Sheet for Sunday 25th March
Services in the West Downland Benefice this Sunday will be at:
8.00am Holy Communion (BCP) at Leckhampstead
9.30am Holy Communion at Shefford Woodlands
10.00am Holy Communion at Brightwalton
Don’t forget that the clocks go forward this Sunday!
Reverend Miri Keen
Community conservation award launched for 2018
Community groups with projects aimed to improve their local area for both people and wildlife have the chance to win cash to help them succeed with their vision.
The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust are calling on all local community projects which are beneficial to local people and wildlife to apply for the bi-annual Dorothy Morley Conservation Award 2018. Applicants will have the chance to win the award with £1000 to go towards the winning project. One runner up will also receive £500.
The award scheme which has been running since 2000 is a tribute to the memory of the dedicated conservationist Dorothy Morley. The continuation of the award scheme has been made possible through the outstanding generosity of the Morley family.
Daniel Akam, Berkshire Community Wildlife Officer explains: “This is a great award scheme aimed at highlighting all the great work done by volunteers for the benefit of their local community and wildlife a lot of which many off us don’t even know is going on”
“We want any group involved in such projects to apply, no matter how big or small or where they are located within Berkshire, the key element is that it must be in a publicly accessible place. Over the years we have had some great winners which have had a really positive effect on their local green spaces and for the communities which use them”
2016 winners were the St Paul’s Churchyard Tree Succession Project in Wokingham: Andy Clark from the project commented “We are all absolutely delighted with this award. It has been a great pleasure to be involved in a real team effort, with everyone contributing their different interest and expertise.
“In securing the future of the trees in the churchyard we have a growing appreciation that not only was the site home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, but also that this existing biodiversity could be greatly enhanced with careful planning and action.”
Full details about the Dorothy Morley Conservation Awards are on the Wildlife Trust’s website www.bbowt.org.uk/dorothymorley Application packs are also available from the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, Woolley Firs, Cherry Garden Lane, Maidenhead, SL6 3LJ.
Interested groups have 4 months to apply with the closing date for applications on 29th June, with the winners being announced in late August.
For more information: Daniel Akam, Community Wildlife Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org 01628 829574 Ext. 202
Services in the West Downland Benefice this Sunday will be:
8.00am Holy Communion (BCP) at Fawley
10.00am Café Church at Great Shefford
10.00am Holy Communion at Chaddleworth
11.00am Matins at Welford
Pew Sheet for the 18th March can be downloaded here:
Date: 08 March 2018
West Berkshire Council 2018/19 budget
West Berkshire Council passed its 2018/19 budget at its full council meeting on 1March.
This year’s budget sees investment in a number of areas including highways, education and infrastructure as well a Council Tax increase of 2.99% from West Berkshire Council, with a 3% Adult Social Care precept. The Council Tax increase will raise £2.7m and the precept will raise a further £2.7m, which will be ring-fenced to meet growing demand adult social care.
Graham Jones, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said: “To put this budget into context, over the past five years we have faced increasing demands on our core services, coupled with reduced funding. In 13/14 our grant from central government was almost £24m. That grant is now virtually zero. Taking inflation into account there has been a real terms reduction in our spending of £10.5m each year compared to 2013/14.
“Our budgets are particularly under strain as a result of the spiralling cost of adult social care, which represents almost 40% of the council’s budget. It is estimated that within 20 years there will be two adults of working age for every one retired. We must address this as caring for our most vulnerable is the most important thing we do as a council.”
Revd Miri Keen writes …
Over the last few weeks I’ve enjoyed ‘window shopping’ for Easter eggs for those I love. There’s a huge range available in the supermarket and so I’ve been comparing the relative merits of an egg that comes with a mug with an egg in magnificent packaging and full of chocolates, or of small eggs covered in a variety of colours of foil that can be unpeeled one by one and savoured whilst smoothing the foil into shining squares. I want to choose something that’s ‘just right’ for each person; something that clearly says ‘I love you’.
God said ‘I love you’ to each and every one of us throughout that first ‘Easter weekend’. He didn’t choose to tell us with chocolate eggs, he chose to show us his love despite betrayal and through the anguish and death of his son Jesus. He showed his love by turning tragedy upside down and raising Jesus from the dead.
The Bible puts it like this
“For this is the way God loved the world: he gave his one and only Son that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3: 16
God showed his love by giving a priceless gift, his unique, one-of-a-kind son Jesus. But he achieved much more than a declaration of his love. He changed our potential life experience. He gave us the opportunity to live life in all its richness or ‘fullness’, to experience his kingdom on earth and to live ‘a little bit of heaven’.
When I give my family their Easter eggs, I’ll be watching carefully to see if my choice of egg was the right one. I’m hoping that they’ll be delighted and accept the gift joyfully. It’s the same whenever we say or do something that shows someone else that we love them. We eagerly await a response and hope that our love is accepted. At Easter Jesus doesn’t offer us chocolate eggs, he offers us all that he achieved by dying on the cross so that we could know God’s love for us. He’s eagerly waiting to see how we will each respond to his ‘I love you.’
Revd Miri Keen writes …
Thank you to all of you who have welcomed me and my husband Dave as we settle into our new home in the West Downland Benefice. I’m very much looking forward to getting to know the communities in each of the six parishes and to exploring the beautiful countryside. But over the last week the weather hasn’t been on my side! I’m hoping we’ve seen the last of the snow and I’m looking forward to some warmer and sunnier weather. Of course any bright sunshine will show up the damage that’s been done by the snow and ice along with all the usual springtime garden maintenance that’s needed. We need to get to know our ‘new to us’ garden and that will take the full cycle of the seasons, but for now there are shrubs to trim and bulbs to discover. Before we know it we’ll be listening to the hum of the first lawnmower of the season!
I think that we can understand Lent in a similar way. It’s our opportunity to allow Jesus, the light of the world, to shine on us so that we can take a careful look at our life and see what habits need to be cut back or pruned so that our spirits can flourish. Just as the little plants underneath dense shrubs spring to life with extra sunlight, our souls will grow as we experience the warmth of God’s love for us.
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