Book today for Picnic and Play 2024

#PicnicAndPlay takes place again this year at Ash Vale Chapel and we can’t wait to welcome you, for lots of family friendly fun in the sunshine. We have plenty of fun on offer, DJ Martin is doing the disco & games, Revd Neil is planning his legendary pancakes, and we have arts and crafts, games and activities each week from printing to clay, sand and water play, and more in between.

DATES: It’s on the 4 middle Wednesdays in the holidays: 31 July, 7th August, 14th August, 21st August from 11:30am until 3pm (slightly longer this year so it’s easier to work around naps for our littlest customers!)

BOOKING ESSENTIAL text phone or whatsapp to 07730 609446 please so we know you are coming and can cater for the right numbers.

FOOD: Let us know your choice of sandwich filling for each person when you book (or let us know now if you already booked and we dont have your lunch choice yet). We can offer cheese, ham, vegan humus, cream cheese, jimjam chocolate spread, or jam. Let us know your preference and we will order in accordingly, so there is no waste. Any allergies eg gluten free please let us know before you get here so we can be prepared.

COST: We don’t set a fixed fee, so that all families who want to can join us. We do have a donations link, and we do need donations to help cover our costs, so please if you can bring a cash donation on the day or pop a contiribution on the Give A Little link if possible. The amount you give is up to you, THANK YOU! .

VOLUNTEERS: We are always in need of more helping hands, setting up the gazebos, making the picnics, serving the drinks, leading the crafts, clearing down and cleaning, theres a job for everyone! If you would like to pitch in please get in touch thank you!

Love to all and see you soon at #PicnicAndPlay!


Food Parcels Project Newsletter Summer 2024

(Ash Villages Food Parcels Project)

Ash Villages Food Parcels Project & Ash Vale Community Fridge

Newsletter Summer 2024

Introducing…Ash Villages Food Parcels Project:

We are here to help anyone who is struggling in Ash, Ash Vale, Ash Green and Tongham. What started as a crisis project during Covid, has become part of the furniture locally, and we will be here for as long as we are needed.

We rely on grants & generous donations from individuals, businesses, schools and clubs for our store cupboard items, and all our parcels are prepared and delivered by a wonderful team of local volunteers. We also receive fresh food donations from Co-op in Ash & Ash Vale, Tesco, and Bookers, adding short dated items to the menu each week, food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

We have put together this leaflet to pop on your fridge and refer back to when you need us, or pass on to a friend. We hope it’s useful, and feedback is always welcomed.

With our best wishes to all our clients, the lovely volunteer team, our brilliant supporters, and to all of you in our local community. Have a fun and fabulous Summer 2024!

Alex Sanderson BEM (Project Manager)

Revd Neil Lambert (St Mary’s Church Ash Vale)

Cllr Carla Morson (Ash Villages Support Circle)

This is a joint project between the Ash Villages Support Circle (Carla) and St Mary’s Church Ash Vale (Revd Neil) Charity Number 1152717 and we are kindly hosted at The Chapel Project on Wharf Rd GU12 5AY. Project Manager Tel. 07730 609446 Website: Donations:

Know someone who is struggling?

Citizens Advice can help with things like benefits reviews, food bank referrals, advice and emergency loans. They can also refer new clients to us here in Ash Vale for a parcel.

Local Citizens Advice: 08082787888

UK Number: 0800 144 8848


Did you know? If you have had a food parcel from the Ash Villages Food Parcels Project before, and need another one, you can phone/text/WhatsApp direct on 07730 609446. You do not need another referral.

Welcome to… The Ash Vale Community Fridge

This simple project opened in June 2023. The fridge is located in the community shed in the Chapel car park on Wharf Rd GU12 5AY. It’s open 24/7 for you to drop off food you don’t need, or take food home that you can use. It’s pot luck, no guarantees, but it’s free, and it is open to everyone. What a great way to reduce food waste! 

One big ask – please do make a note in the red folder in the shed when you drop off or pick up food, so we can keep track of how much we save from being wasted and report back to our funders. In June—Dec 2023 we saved over 1000kg! We are grateful to Co-Op and Hubbub for making this project possible.

Did you know? This is a separate project from the food parcels and is for everyone to share food. You do not need a referral for the Community Fridge. Enjoy!

We have more news than space! More online…

You can read more about these projects, supporters and volunteers here:

Creating Community—Come and join in!

Did you know? We have community groups running almost every day. We would love to welcome you.

MONDAYS Chapel Café (SCC Warm Welcome Venue / HSBMC Warm Space) is on Mondays in term time at The Chapel on Wharf Rd GU12 5AY. We are open 9:30-12:30. includes hot drinks and simple lunch. (free / by donation)

TUESDAYS Little Lambs Library (baby & toddler group) at St Mary’s on Vale Road GU12 5JE. Tuesdays in term time 10:00-11:30 includes drink & biscuit, craft, bouncy castle, story & songs. All welcome. (free / by donation)

WEDNESDAYS: Chapel Kids (baby & toddler group / HSBMC Warm Space) is at The Chapel on Wharf Rd GU12 5AY. Wednesdays in term time 11:00-14:00 includes cuppa and singing, then craft and play. We have lunch together too— bring a picnic or enjoy the beans on toast (or similar) and then play until everyone needs a nap! In the summer we enjoy the Chapel Community Garden. (free / by donation)

FRIDAYS Community Café (SCC Warm Welcome Venue) is on Fridays in term time at St Mary’s on Vale Road. GU12 5JE. We are open 10:00-13:00 includes hot drinks and simple lunch. We also open in the summer holidays on the same weeks as Picnic and Play. (free / by donation)

SUNDAYS Church Services at St Mary’s (with Sunday School) 10:30am start. We also offer refreshments in the large hall after the service. All welcome!

Summer Holidays: PICNIC AND PLAY at The Chapel on Wednesdays in the holidays 11:30am-3pm on 31st July, 7th Aug, 14th Aug, 21st Aug. Free picnic, craft activities, games and outdoor play. Bookings 07730 609446.  

St Mary’s Summer Fair: Saturday 7th Sept 12-3pm If you woukd like a stall at this event please get in touch with Martin via the Parish Office

How you can help the Food Parcels Project

Donating Food: We use the app “Bank the Food” to let you know what we need most urgently. Or you can donate any store cupboard items like tins, pasta, teabags and rice and drop them off at the Ash Vale Co-Op, Ash Manor School, St Mary’s Church or The Chapel. If your school, business, club or church would like to help us with a collection at Harvest we would love to hear from you!  Thank you for your support.

Donating your plastic bags: If you have any spare plastic bags, we need them for the food parcels please. You can drop them off at The Chapel in the community shed next time you visit the Community Fridge. Thank you!

Donate Funds: Funds are a big help so we can buy in what is urgently needed (eg specific baby formula, bulk buys of tins etc) You can use our “Give A Little” online giving page here:  Or pop a donation in an envelope, and deliver it to The Chapel or St Mary’s and mark the envelope “Foodbank” Thank you for your generous support.

Giving your time: We are always in need of volunteers. These superheroes make the magic happen! We need help with all sorts of tasks – collecting donations, sorting donations, packing parcels, delivering parcels, fundraising, cleaning and tidying, chatting to clients and making cups of tea, Contact Alex to find out more 07730 609446 Thank you for your time and talents!

What a wonderful community we live in!

How to donate to St Mary’s and The Chapel

Hello and thank you for reading this! We hope that you are enjoying all the groups, services, projects and events at St Mary’s and The Chapel in Ash Vale. If you can spare a donation, or even commit to a regular monthly gift, we will be very grateful, as this all helps us to keep going and keep serving our community. Thank you for your support, it reallly matters!

Our online giving platform is ‘Give A Little’ and you can find our donations links here:

ST MARYS Online Donations

CHAPEL PROJECT Online Donations:

PARISH GIVING SCHEME: Of course, if you prefer to use the Parish Giving Scheme service you can donate to St Mary’s by signing up with them here: Our church reference is PGS Parish Code: 170617008 (Guildford Diocese.)

CASH AND CHEQUES: If a good old fashioned donation in an envelope is more your style, please pop it in whenever we are open, and we will pass on any donations to our Treasurer Patrick Brown. If you want your donation to go towards a specific project or service please make a note on the envelope or on the back of your cheque, Otherwise it will go towards the general running costs of all our activities and projects. It is always a good idea to give us your phone number in the envelope too, just in case we need to check anything with you. Thank you!

GIFT AID: If you are able to add Gift Aid to your donation, please do! For every £1 you donate we then receive an extra 25p from the tax man, at no cost to you. It makes a big differeance, as it all adds up! If you are donating online there is a box to tick. If you are donating in other ways please email us on and our volunteer team will have a declaration form sent out to you as soon as we can.

BENEVITY – if your place of work is registered with Benevity, you can donate here for our community cafe and/or for the Ash Villages Food Parcels Project. Why not ask your colleagues to help us to? You can search for us by charity number 1152717. Thank you!

Huge thanks to all our family, friends, volunteers, community and supporters, Your time, talents and donations make all the difference. Thank you!

Care at home

(By Wendy at Catto Homecare)

The question we are most asked, is how to broach the subject of a parent or loved one needing care. This is obviously going to be different for everyone depending on their own experiences of parents and grandparents who needed additional help. For some older adults, they reach a crisis point eg a fall or a urine infection where the hospital will only discharge with a care package in place. However, what do you do when nothing significant has happened? Where do you even begin? Have you been struggling for a long time with supporting your loved one and you are coming close to no longer being able to sustain the increase in their needs? Maybe you are physically not in the greatest of health yourself? I often use this example to compare with an elastic band. Some people can stretch to an extraordinary level but we can only flex the band to a certain level until it snaps.

At Catto Homecare we find the most successful method is to adapt your approach eg ‘it’s more for me me, so that I don’t worry during the day / evening’ or ‘you are fine but I am constantly worried about you’. Most people associate the word ‘care’ as wiping bottoms so mentioning ‘support’ rather than care will be more favourably received. If this angle is still not successful, you may find a more honest approach could work. The person may not be aware that your life could be on hold as you undertake an increasing amount of day to day tasks for them eg carrying out the shopping, all laundry, making their bed, ironing, giving support with personal care, liaising with the pharmacies, GP practice, doing gardening and missing out with family events etc. It is recommended that you admit you are not able to cope, and need support. A good starting point is to hire a cleaner to come every fortnight.

Almost all our clients past and present had no idea we were able to take them for eg bra fittings or to go to a café to enjoy a once a week coffee and cake. We introduce this as modern care. Loneliness and lack of stimulation during the day has become an increasingly problematic issue as activity centres / day centres / organisations are no longer offering what they did pre lockdown.’


Registered Manager,
Catto Homecare

Registered Address: 5 Hamesmoor Way, Mytchett GU16 6JG, UK
Opening Hours: Mondays to Thursdays 8am – 4:30pm, Fridays 8am – 4pmTel:  01276 500 522           

Working AND Struggling? Make your voice heard.

An opportunity to have your say:

Revealing Reality, an independent research agency, are doing some research with Surrey CC looking to understand more about Surrey residents’ experiences of facing financial challenges while working.

Your perspective would help Surrey CC to better understand how to support people better with these challenges.

We are offering £75 to say thanks for taking part in an in-depth conversation about your experiences. This would be about 3 hours long and we can work around what is most convenient for you. 

To get involved or ask any questions, please sign up by filling in this quick form:

Or, get in contact with Sara, who is helping to co-ordinate interviews on Revealing Reality’s side (email: call +44 (0)20 7735 8040).

A Generous Gift

 Wow – feeling very humbled this week! We were just tidying up the stock at the Food Parcels Project on Monday, and thinking about the next lot of shopping to do to make sure we can meet all the needs locally. We were just sorting out my list…. need more size 1 and 4 nappies, run out of one type of formula, need some more uht milk, running low on tinned fruit and jam etc etc…when suddenly a lovely gentleman arrived unannounced and gave us a wonderful cash donation! He did not give a name, so a huge big THANK YOU! to the “mystery man” who has just paid for the foodbank top up shop this week. What a wonderful community we live in. 

if you would like to know more about this project please click on ‘Food Parcels and Fridge’ in the menu on this page.

Food Parcels Update and The community Organisations Cost of Living Fund

By Alex Sanderson (Project Manager)

Did you know? Our Ash Villages Food Parcels Proejct received funding from the The Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund to help us keep the project going in 2023/2024. We are so grateful for this government funding, as it makes all the difference for local families. The funding ended in March and we have just finished writing up our end of grant report, so I thought you might like to see a few of the statistics.

I am so incredibly proud of this amazing volunteer team! In 23 weeks they have fed 1300 people. They have been very busy collecting donations, managing the stock, packing and delivering over 400 parcels. The funding we received stocked up the shelves to make sure we could deliver enough food, basic toiletries, and baby bank items to those in urgent need in our local villages of Ash, Ash Vale, Ash Green and Tongham.

Have a guess how many volunteer hours they have racked up between them? We had 32 different volunteers, who worked a total of 373 shifts, donating a staggering 648 hours of their time between them during these 23 weeks. What a huge thing to do for the community. Thank you all so much!

If you would like me to pass on a message to them for you, please email me and I will be sure to share it in our team chat!

Have a happy week!


APCM Report for 2023

Dear Parishioners, Electoral Roll members, and wider community, herewith the APCM Report for the year 2023. As already announced the Annual Meeting takes place at St Mary’s on Sunday 28th April 2024.

With our very best wishes from the PCC all at St Marys.

We look forward to welcoming you at the APCM.

Please note – You can read the copy below online, or download it to read on screen or print. If you would prefer a copy by email please contact the parish office If you cannot access the electronic version and need a printed copy please contact our Project Manager on 07730 609446 or pop in to the Community Cafe on Fridays 10:00-13:00 and ask for one to be printed for you. Please note that we do wish to encourage everyone who can use the electronic copy to use this version, as we are trying to minimise our climate impact. Thank you.

Notice of APCM

We have published the notice of this year’s annual meeting recently. Here it is for anyone who has not been in the building lately and may have missed it. See you on Sunday 28th April 6.30pm. If you would like a copy of the annual report please contact the Parish Office or pop in on Sunday or at our community cafe and ask for one.