Laura Sheppard and Lucy Davies are here with your essential information update for Petersfield and its villages.
Today, more detail on what we can and shouldn’t do, including outdoor activities now allowed, sports facilities reopening and news of the Police response.
We also have information about ways you can help people with pets to care for, the latest 60 Second Support mental health feature and a series of Thank Yous from care homes and The Harrow to share.
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Your essential information for Petersfield and its villages is right here every weekday morning, fully-fact-checked by volunteers at Petersfield Community Radio.
We’ve been staying alert to bring you the latest on the lockdown changes and what that means for all of us in the Petersphere.
Today, there’s news about getting out and about from the Country Parks and National Trust; tennis news from Steep and a message from Hampshire Police.
Let’s start, though, on the subject of pets. Apparently it wasn’t just Suzie who wanted to mark the passing of Nigel. Monty Don was on the BBC yesterday saying how touched he was by all the messages about his special dog.
He says pets can help in so many ways, especially with mental health, and that we are all suffering with differing levels of anxiety at the moment.
Which brings me on to Canine Partners. The local charity has formed a coalition with other animal charities, part of the Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG), to provide guidance and support in response to coronavirus called Comfort in Crisis.
Many of our listeners are helping and supporting friends and neighbours by walking their dogs. So what help is available?
The group has provided some info graphics, giving tips and advice on how to look after your pets whilst protecting yourself. The link to these clear and attractive posters is https://cfsg.org.uk/coronavirus
If the worst happens and there is an emergency, meaning you can’t look after your own pets, they have a downloadable Pet Care form. Even if you can’t communicate, someone coming in to help would be able to see quickly and easily who to contact to seek support for the pets. There is also a poster to display in the window warning that pets are inside the house. Another, which you fill in, gives essential details about any pet in the house, such as where food and leads can be found; vet practice details etc and they suggest this is placed on the fridge.
What if the voluntary helper needs to buy food and so on? It may be difficult to use money?
ASDA’s volunteer shopping card provides an easy solution for those self-isolating to pay for shopping, without the added hassle or risk of using cash or debit cards. You can:
- Buy the card online
- Send to your volunteer or print and leave for them in a safe place
- Stay secure—no bank or credit card details are exchanged
- Be safer as you’re not handing over cash
- and it can be topped with extra funds online
And if you’re volunteering, it’s ideal because:
- You’re not exchanging cash
- You’re still able to help, whilst minimising risk for you both
- You don’t need to know the person’s bank or credit card details
- You can use the card contactless in-store using a barcode
Customers can go to www.asda.com/volunteercard to sign up – where they will be able to buy a voucher, ready for use. The customer or their volunteer will then receive a barcode via email that can be used to pay for the shopping.
We’re currently bringing you a daily episode of the 60 Second Support series, helping you to look after your family’s mental health during these difficult times.
Today, it’s the turn of Best Beginning supporter and clinical psychiatrist, Dr Trudi Seneviratne [PRON sene-veer-at-nee] with some breathing exercises to help you relax.
More information is coming every day on exactly what we can and can’t do, conditional on that all-important R number.
Sailing is specifically mentioned and I know there are many around our area who are aching to get out on the water, whether to race dinghies, catch fish or just get some clean air. The Calshot Activities Centre will be opening for parking, and depending on a decision by Associated British Ports, the slipway will also be available for recreational boating.
And a cracking return from Steep Tennis Club! If you are a Steep member, you will hear shortly how the Club intends to reopen. At the moment, it needs to organise safety gear so that the club and courts can be used, along with some new signage to enable coaching to restart as well. When it begins, it will be one-to-one coaching only, in line with Lawn Tennis Association and Government advice. New measures to keep safe will be explained at the time of booking the first lesson – and you are advised to get in fast! You can find out more information and book by phoning the coaches: Dave Gaterell (tennis professional at SLTC) 07801 422228 or Joe on 07904 558423 Or emai firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
And here’s the latest from our Country Parks, if the countryside is more your thing. Hampshire County Council has announced that all its country parks, except for the Staunton Farm and Manor Farm attractions, have now reopened and car parking charges will be in force. Sites with Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems, which includes Queen Elizabeth Country Park and Butser Hill, will operate normal opening hours and normal parking rates will apply. Toilets will be open but cafés, shops, visitor centres and play areas remain closed until further notice.
The County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Sean Woodward, asks visitors to be courteous at all times. This includes when arriving and leaving, and also paying for parking. He says, “This positive step forward is dependent on all of us continuing to socially distance and follow the Government’s wider guidelines. That way, we stand a quicker and greater chance to recover the much-valued parts of our daily lives such as enjoying Hampshire’s beautiful scenery and outdoor spaces.”
And the National Trust has announced that it’s working on an online pre-booking system as a way to control visitor numbers, in an attempt to remain in line with the revised government regulations to keep staff, visitors and local communities safe. They’ll be making a further announcement when the booking details are available. Where some unstaffed National Trust car parks in England are already open, care must be taken to avoid creating hotspots or encouraging gatherings.
We’ve heard that without the usual visitors, wildlife has moved into the empty car parks and open spaces, so visitors are being asked to look out for unexpected fellow-guests. Car parks in Wales and Northern Ireland will remain closed. National Trust cafés, shops, gardens and houses will follow where and when it’s safe, so any reopening will be gradual. The website is being kept up to date so do check it before visiting, at nationaltrust.org.uk
All of which brings us to the latest message from Hampshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Scott Chilton thanks the public for their efforts over the past few weeks, which have meant police officers have not had to widely enforce the Government regulations.
As many of us are now able to spend more time outdoors and travelling to work, he urges each of us to take personal responsibility for staying within the restrictions set out by the Government …
He says: “Officers will be focusing on those activities that remain prohibited including unlawful gatherings or travelling to visit others in their homes. We will use common sense and discretion to determine what’s reasonable. We can now issue fines for £100 in the first instance to those not adhering to Government guidelines. However, officers will continue to engage, explain, encourage and, only as a last resort, enforce.”
He goes on: “Officers are also working hard to keep us all safe from the full range of crimes in what remain challenging circumstances so we would ask everyone to work with us and remember that if you need our help we are here for you.”
For full guidance on what you can and can’t do, it’s best to check the Government’s own updated advice on their website at gov.uk and the link is in the transcript at petersfieldradio.uk
And now some thank yous, starting with the Harrow Inn. After our shout-out for plants and cuttings to sell for charity at the Harrow Inn, Claire would like to thank everyone who has responded. She has already sent £800 to the Rosemary Trust nurses in the past week, so please keep all plants coming and if you’re passing by, do buy some.
The management at Steep House Nursing Home are sending a special thank you to relatives, staff and our wonderful local community for the kind donations of PPE during this challenging time. Special thanks are given to Mrs Pelling, Mark from The Petersfield School, Emma from Rogate, our night staff Paula, West Hampshire CCG, Portsmouth CCG and The Grange Surgery. The procurement team at head office have ensured there has been an adequate supply of PPE to keep all residents and staff safe, which must be a comfort to everyone involved in any way with the Home. Last but not least, Dominos Pizza has supplied free pizzas on Thursdays.
Don’t forget we can go to Garden Centres now – and Blue Diamond at Rake is already open, with Hillier Garden Centre at Liss joining them today, from 10am till 4.30pm every weekday and from 10.30am on Sundays. As you’d expect, neither is serving food or drink while physical distancing is in place.
Roads are becoming busier. Try to avoid Sussex Road for the rest of this week. Hampshire County Council says its contractors are working there and traffic control is in place. We haven’t seen it to be honest but that’s what they say.
The same goes for the reported traffic control on Winchester Road, near to the McDonald’s slip road as South-East Water says it is carrying out out necessary works.
And if you’ve been wondering where our summer went … Ne’er cast a clout till May is out! No, it’s not bashing the scriptwriter over the head but shedding even a rag of clothing.
We shouldn’t be surprised about a sudden cold snap around the middle of May. This is when legend says that the Ice Saints do their worst work, from May 11 to 14 — the feast days of St Mamertus, St Pancras, St Servatius and St Boniface, respectively.
Of course it is! As another old saying goes, “He who shears his sheep before St Servatius’ Day loves his wool more than his sheep.” Vineyards are especially vulnerable to frosts in May that badly damage buds and young shoots.
So gardeners need to look out for these late frosts, when those three mischievous ice-saints hold their festival in the middle of May. And apart from frost, what else does the weather have in store?
After a cold start, today will be sunny until the afternoon, when cloud will bubble up again. It will stay dry but chilly, with a maximum temperature of 13 degrees. It warms slightly towards the weekend.