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 projectmanager@Ash-Vale.org.uk and I will be sure to share it in our team chat!

Have a happy week!

Alex

Memories in old money

by Mike Jacobs

I came across a sixpence recently and this made me think of the rich culture we had with our pre-decimal coinage. The only recognisable one these days is half-a-crown mainly because the bricks for the Cathedral were sold for this amount. Two shillings and sixpence. The pennies and ha’pennies were real coins and with two or three in your pocket, you knew you had some money. My first ‘pocket money’ was thruppence or three whole pennies. With these in your pocket, you were rich.

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What moves you?

by Catherine Free, Life Coach

Movement can feel like a luxury and is so important.

Spring is the perfect time to get more active. In Ash Vale we have the beautiful Basingstoke canal to enjoy. Regular walking is beneficial in so many ways including: 

+ Maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat

+ Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer and type 2 diabetes

+ Improve cardiovascular fitness

Continue reading “What moves you?”

What’s on in February & March 2022 – Regular Groups

Mondays:
Keep fit:  HIIT at 7.45pm with Janet Thomas Fitness (St Mary’s, Vale Rd)

Tuesdays:
Baby Group 10am—11.30am : A support group for 0-12mth olds and their parents and carers. Tea, coffee, chat, and we have song time at the end. All welcome. Text or call Alex for details 07730 609446  (St Mary’s, Vale Rd)
Choir Practise: 8pm on Tuesday evenings, all welcome (St Mary’s, Vale Rd)
Keep fit:  Fit Steps 7.30pm with Janet Thomas Fitness (St Mary’s, Vale Rd)

Wednesdays:
Chapel Kids 11:30am—1.30pm Come and join our Baby & Toddler group with craft, story and songs at The Chapel. All welcome 0-4yrs and their parents and carers. We eat lunch together too. Bring a picnic or enjoy something from the community fridge! (The Chapel, Wharf Rd)
Chapel Craft 8pm-10pm Bring along your latest craft project and craft  enjoy a  sociable cuppa and chat as we craft. (The Chapel, Wharf Rd)

Thursdays :
Baby Plus (Tongham)  10.30am Baby group for non-walkers at The Old School, Poyle Rd, Tongham. (St Paul’s, Poyle Rd)
** Lent Special ** Thursday Lent Film nights 6.30pm at The Chapel  
Every Thursday in lent—Film, food and discussion. Starts on 3rd March, running for 6 weeks, all welcome. Text to book 07730 609446

Fridays:
Community  Café 10am-12 Noon Please pop in for a cuppa and a chat at the  St Mary’s community café. All are welcome, all faiths and none, all ages and stages. It’s free / by donation (St Mary’s, Vale Rd)

Sundays:
Sunday Services 10:30am at St Mary’s. All are welcome, whether life long Christians or just exploring. We serve refreshments after the service, join us for cuppa & chat. You can also join us via Zoom online.
Sunday School is on too!  Join us on Sundays at 10:30 at St Mary’s while your grownups are in church. The sessions are aimed at school age children.

More on Facebook: @StMarysAshVale @TheParishioner @AshValeChapel

A New Lease of Life for the Church Steps

By Nikki Glover (St Mary’s Church Warden)

St Mary’s church has changed over the years, from the tin hut it used to be in Victorian times, to the brick building it became, then the extensions of the entrance hall, office and small hall on one side  and the large community centre and kitchen on the other side. The need to accommodate those with extra needs meant a change to the front steps by the building of a ramp and extending the steps.

Continue reading “A New Lease of Life for the Church Steps”

A huge * Thank You * to all of you who supported our first Christmas Market!

By Val Hoppichler

What an amazing event the Christmas Market & Carols was at St Mary’s! We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who had a stall, all who came to support us and of course the choir who led us in the beautiful carols afterwards. We  enjoyed being able to invite the whole community to be a part of  Christmas at St Mary’s even though we couldn’t do our usual events indoors.

Continue reading “A huge * Thank You * to all of you who supported our first Christmas Market!”

Neighbourly Reflections

Before lockdown I was very much challenged by a talk at church about how we can love our neighbours; and in fact asking whether we even know any of them. We were asked if we took note of who moved in and if we welcomed people into the street. Jesus was big on telling people to love their neighbour, but I’ve never really looked at it terms of the people in my street – I’ve always seen my neighbour as relating to the people I work with, the parents of my children’s friends etc, because I spend time with those people. We don’t tend to have connections with neighbours other than living next door and sharing a hedge/fence! So the challenge was a good one …. and then lockdown happened!

We have lived in our current house for 24 years and in Ash Vale for 34 years since our marriage. We know our immediate neighbours but have not spoken to many of the others in the street for most of that time – even though there have been comings and goings along the road over the years. I guess the reason I have always used is that our street has only got houses on one side of the road – we can’t look in neighbours’ windows and be nosy! And it makes things a little less easy to connect with those we live side by side with. When we went into lockdown, to my shame I did not dash along to all the neighbours and check that they were all OK – I have followed the isolation rules as was demanded because we have an elderly relative that we have ‘bubbled’ with and so we were not involved with other community initiatives during lockdown. Covid has thrown us all onto a new horizon; giving us new ways of looking at our locality; making us re-evaluate how we work and how we connect with friends and our neighbours. We did become acquainted with one or two via a nod and a ‘Hello!’ as we walked past on our way to pick up shopping from the Village, but that’s about as far as it went.

As the restrictions started to lift in April and May, we started to think outwards again and realised that over lockdown there had been three houses in our little patch alone that had sold and now had new people settling in. Having two sons who also moved during lockdown I appreciate just how difficult a thing it has been for people to move and find out about a locality in these times of restrictions. So things had to change – I no longer wanted to be an ostrich. The best way I know of connecting with people is through food, so we decided to hold a cream tea in the garden which we could do within the restrictions. We hand delivered invitations and invited all the neighbours in the small section of street near our home – about 10 invites in all – and waited. Even though we had left it really late to invite people, we got responses almost straight away and had about 8 families accept the invitation. I was very pleased. The day we chose to host our cream tea was one of the hottest in the late Spring which meant that we could all gather in our shady garden and drink tea, prosecco, wine and eat scones to our hearts content; but more importantly it connected all the households who came together. People were initially hesitant, but by the time the afternoon ended everyone knew who each other was  and which house they lived in. It was the first event of what I hope will be a continuing trend – how can we progress this? How can we really be neighbours to our neighbours?

How have you connected with your neighbours this last 18 months? I would love to know other peoples’ experiences – I want to pick up creative ways to be a good neighbour – to do what Jesus told me to do.

By Jackie Scott

Do you have a story about how you got to know your neighbours, or people being neighbourly? The Parishioner would love to hear from you. parishioner@ash-vale.org.uk