Didcot Diary Summer 2020
Welcome to the Summer edition of the Didcot Diary.
Due to the pandemic we have a slightly different version of our newsletter this time.
We have added some isolation activities to this edition to help keep you entertained
during these unprecedented times and a couple of recipes that our staff have tried
Please stay safe and follow the governments and the NHS advice on their website.
You can also find help and advice on our website too:
Message from the New Mayor of Didcot Page 1
Message from Outgoing Mayor Page 2
Message from Leader of the Council Page 3
Past Events – VE Day Page 4-5
Future Events – Didcot Town Awards Page 6-7
General Information -Parks & Gardens and Allotments Page 8-9
Didcot Civic Hall Page 10-14
Grant Aid Reports Page 15-19
Lockdown activities Page 20-24
Message from the New Mayor
‘At the time of writing, things are just beginning to
get going again as lockdown eases. I am very
much looking forward to going to Didcot Railway
Centre on 4 July to mark their re-opening as the
Living Museum of the Great Western Railway. To
start with, opening hours will be limited and it is not
possible to run trains for safety reasons, but it is
hoped that before too long trains will be in steam
Another long-awaited treat will be a haircut the Didcot Mayor Councillor Eleanor Hards
Meanwhile other Didcot businesses will be gradually opening their doors. I hope
there will not be too many casualties of the long period without trading but I am
concerned that some of the businesses that we have relied on for their personal
service and that have helped give our town its character may not have survived.
Didcot will be a poorer place without them.
I am very aware that lockdown has been a very different experience for different
people depending on their personal circumstances. However, I hope that everyone
remembers that the virus is still around, and we should not take unnecessary risks.
Like many people I have been dismayed by recent photographs of the beach at
Bournemouth and various gatherings in London and other parts of the country
during the hot weather. Even if we are not worried about our own health, we could
pass the infection to others who are more vulnerable than ourselves.
So, enjoy the summer but please stay safe. I hope my next message will include
details of all the interesting events I have been able to attend (while socially
distanced of course).’
Mayor for Didcot
Message from Outgoing Mayor
‘It has been a great honour to have had the
opportunity to serve as Didcot Mayor for
Over the year I have met so many wonderful
people doing amazing things in our community and
I thank these people for all the hard work they do.
The annual Didcot Town Council awards evening
and Mayor's Charity ball were both very successful.
I used both events to raise money for my chosen
charities, Secret Santa 365 and Make-A-Wish. Outgoing Mayor Councillor Anthony Hudson
Many invitations I received were kindly extended to
my family. This experience has allowed us to spend more time together doing things
that we would not normally have done, and we have enjoyed every minute.
It certainly has been a year never to forget, and to help me remember my time as
Mayor I take away with me hundreds of photos and most importantly many new
Cllr Anthony Dearlove
Outgoing Mayor of Didcot
Message from Leader of The Council
‘Dear Didcot Residents,
In my last letter, I stated that I would update residents
when there were significant changes to government
guidance regarding covid-19, reopening, and easing of
restrictions. That moment has now arrived. You will be
aware from Saturday 4th July, there will be considerable
lifting of restrictions, previously shut business able to
reopen such as pubs and restaurants and social distancing
measures being changed to 1 metre plus where
Below is a phased timetable of what will be opening in
Deputy Mayor Councillor Mocky Khan areas that Didcot Town Council has control:
• Saturday 4th July 2020– Playgrounds and outdoor gym equipment will open
• w/c 20th July 2020 – Didcot Town Council office area to reopen and staff to return
• 3rd August 2020 – Didcot Civic Hall to reopen for hire – more information to follow
We are hoping to stick to these dates, but these are dependent on whether, social
distancing and government guidelines are being followed, any issues arising or any
changes in circumstances. This decision can be reversed if we deem necessary.
The council is putting in measures to minimise the risk through cleaning schedules,
providing hand sanitiser machines in the office and civic hall, screens, conducting
risk assessments and by being vigilant. However, we need your assistance too,
please bring and use your own hand sanitiser, bring wipes to clean any equipment
before your child goes on the playground and please follow social distancing
The council will be sharing more information and guidance on our website and social
media so please follow Didcot Town Council, so you are up to date with the latest
Cllr Mocky Khan
Deputy Mayor and Leader of the Council
VE Day – Friday 8th May 2020
Lots of VE Day celebrations that were planned for Friday 8th May 2020 up and down
the Country sadly did not take place due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Here in Didcot an event we had planned to hold at the Civic Hall was also cancelled.
However, lots of Didcot residents still got into the spirt of the day by having a social
distancing afternoon tea as suggested by the Royal British Legion.
Houses were decorated in red, white & blue, people dressed up in traditional wear
and lots of cakes and scones were baked for the afternoon tea.
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor paid their respects by having a 2-minute silence at
the Memorial at 11am.
At 3pm a Country wide toast was made to all those who took part in the WW2 and
our Mayor also took part.
Annual Awards 2020
The Annual Didcot Town Council Awards will be taking place later this year. No
date has been set at this time due to the current pandemic. Also due to social
distancing rules this may be held virtually this year. But no decision has been made
However, we are still looking for your nominations for 2020. The closing date is 31st
There are 7 community awards for members of the public to say thank you for the
work they do in the community arranging from Long Service to Sporting
achievement. The final award is the John Eldridge Award for a local charity group or
individual for their work in the charity sector for the community. It was set up by Jean
Eldridge in memory of her husband who was deputy mayor at the time of his death.
This award is usually awarded by Mrs Jean Eldridge but sadly she passed away a
few days after the 2019 awards night last year.
Nominations can be sent to us electronically by going on our website and
completing the nominee form – see our Didcot Town Awards webpage.
If you would prefer a paper copy of the nomination form email [email protected] uk
and we will post you a form.
The categories are:
Didcot Artistic Award – for those people who have contributed to artistic or cultural
projects in Didcot.
Sporting Achievement Award – for those people who have made a significant
contribution to sport
Service with a Smile – for those people who take pride in their work and make our
days better when we see them
Young Volunteer or Charity Fundraiser (under 21) – this is for young people who
deserve recognition for volunteering regularly or have raised money for charity
Lifetime Achievement Award – for those people who have gone that extra mile
during their working Career
Unsung Hero Award – for those people who work incredibly hard for the
community with little recognition – nominations need not be for volunteering only
John Eldridge Award – for those people who have diligently served the local
community through voluntary service. Can be an individual or a group.
At the 2019 event we had the wonderful Didcot Divas sing a few songs for us.
We also had the talented Bernadine Soul School of dance perform some of their
Everybody who attended seemed to enjoy the evening.
Below are a few photos from last year's event.
Parks and Gardens News
Opening of Smallbone play area took place on 16th March 2020 and was opened by
the Mayor Cllr Anthony Dearlove, unfortunately due to the Coivd pandemic the play
area had to be closed on 23rd March 2020.
Outdoor Services Staff have continued to work normally during lockdown to ensure
parks and recreation grounds have been kept tidy and the grass cut to allow people
to exercise safely.
Playgrounds, outside gyms and the skate park were closed on Government
instruction on the 23rd March 2020 and reopened on 4th July 2020.
During lockdown, all football matches were cancelled and will not restart until
The large lake at Ladygrove Park reopened for fishing on 23rd May 2020, currently
this is for members of the Ladygrove Fishing Club only.
When using the public parks and outside gym equipment please social distance as
much as possible and wipe down surfaces with an antibac wipe before use.
All allotment holders should have received their invoices by now. Due to the current
situation we have asked that payments are made by BACS.
We understand that not everyone is in a position to do this, so we will be writing to
those who have told us they cannot pay by this method in September, to inform
them when we are open for face to face payments.
Allotment site representative vacancies
We currently have 2 positions open for site reps on our New Road site. Any New
Road tenant who wishes to be considered for the roles need to email
[email protected] We will then ask their fellow allotment holders to vote.
Allotments have become extremely popular recently and we now have waiting lists
on all our 5 allotment sites.
Should you wish to join a waiting list, please send us an application form which can
be found on our website:
Didcot Civic Hall
The Didcot Civic Hall is a venue that is great for meetings, clubs, societies and parties.
All meeting rooms have Wi-Fi and we can provide projectors, flipcharts, and refreshments (for an additional fee).
For one to one meetings we have the backstage meeting rooms and the Orchard meeting room.
The Ladygrove (our second largest room) has a wedding license so marriage ceremonies can take place here. Which
means you could hold your whole wedding at the venue without your guests having to move to a different location
for the reception/party afterwards.
We also have a kitchen which can be used by all hall hirers for an additional charge.
When the COVID-19 Government Lockdown eases and the hall re-opens for bookings we will announce via our Facebook
page and the news section of this website.
Main hall set up for a wedding
Grant Aid Reports
Each year Didcot Town Council makes grants available to local organisations that
support people in Didcot.
Here are some recent reports of how groups have used the money granted. These
are all pre social distancing.
If you would like to apply for grant funding from the Town Council, please visit
www.didcot.gov.uk/Grant-Aid for more details.
REPORT OF 2019 DIDCOT FOOD FESTIVAL FOR THE DIDCOT TOWN COUNCIL FINANCE & GENERAL
THANK YOU TO THE COUNCIL FOR OUR 2019 GRANT AWARD.
I can report that the 2019 festival which was spread over the 2 days of the 26th and 27th October was a
huge success. This was the first year that we went over 2 days instead of just the Saturday which of course
meant considerably more expense. The councils grant meant that we could achieve the following:
• We were able to hire a very professional kitchen which attracted many top chefs from TV and local
establishments which in turn drew large crowds at every showing.
• Obtaining this calibre of chef means we need to pay a decent fee and travel expenses.
• With such large crowds in the Northbourne room we must ensure that everyone can hear and see what
is going on in the kitchen area. Thus we hire a professional lighting and sound man who erects a large
screen and cameras and puts in a sound system that enables everyone to enjoy the proceedings!
• We can also hire the services of Al Ryan, a top presenter at BBC Radio Oxford who talks to the crowd
thus involving them and who also interacts with the chefs which is really great in entertainment value!
The expenses for the above were covered by the council grant and I cannot emphasise enough the importance
of the above to the whole festival. Obviously our other wonderful attractions, food and drink suppliers, the
children’s room, the Vintage Café and outside area all contribute to the ultimate success of the event but
without the huge attraction of the Chefs theatre we would not have had the crowds that we did…everyone
wants to see T.V. chefs!!!
The money raised from this event enabled us to put on the 26th Didcot Street Fair which is so loved by the
town and surrounding areas. I am not exaggerating when I say without the profits from the food festival the
Street Fair would have run at a loss and may not even have happened.
Chris Wallace – Great British Bake-Off finalist and Food Festival organiser.
DIDCOT TOWN COUNCIL – GRANT REPORT JUNE 2020
Citizens Advice Oxfordshire South and Vale
1. In November 2019, Didcot Town Council’s Finance and General Purposes Committee awarded
Citizens Advice a grant of £10,000. We are grateful to the Town Council for this funding; it is
essential to our financial security. We receive no core funding from the national Citizens Advice
charity or any other national source. All our core income is raised locally.
This report sets out what the funding has been used for.
Purposes for which the grant is being used
2. We are using the grant as a contribution to (a) the premises & offices costs of our Didcot Advice
Centre and (b) volunteer expenses.
Volunteer expenses (mainly travel to the Didcot Advice Centre) £2,445
Office costs (Reference materials, IT equipment & support, telephone, office equipment, printing and
stationary, postage,) £2,103
Premises costs (Heat and light, rent, rates, insurance, cleaning, repairs) £12,930
Total annual costs of volunteer expenses, office and premises costs £17,478
Grant awarded £10,000
This grant enables us to maintain a high quality service to residents from Didcot and the
Our clients in Didcot
3. We reach a large number of people from the Didcot Citizens Advice Centre (in Dales, 9-15
High Street Didcot OX11 8EQ). During 2019/20, we served 2,658 clients face to face and by
phone. This includes 1,600 Didcot residents. The remainder either worked in Didcot, used our
Wallingford Advice Centre, or lived in the surrounding villages.
4. The difference between the total number of clients served by the Didcot office and the number of
clients from Didcot wards is explained by the fact that some clients who work in Didcot but live
elsewhere may use the service, as will clients from the surrounding Parishes. The Town Council
will be interested to know that many Parish Councils are now contributing towards our costs.
5. Covid-19. Since March 23rd 2020, all our Advice Centres have been closed and all our advisers
and supervisors are operating our AdviceLine service from home. Our specialist staff have
equipped them with the necessary equipment to maintain our strict security and confidentiality
protocols. We are also continuing to recruit and train new advisers to join the service. Indeed,
one of our newest advisers started in Didcot last month, having completed our first on-line
6. Some facts about Citizens Advice
Top 6 main topics people bring to us: 36.00
• Benefits and tax credits 57,412K
• Debt 10K
• Employment 28.276K
• Relationships /family
• Consumer goods & services
Our costs in Didcot
• Approx cost of each client advice session:
• Total cost of CA service in Didcot (2,658 x 36):
• District Council covers 60% of total cost:
• Didcot Town Council grant:
• Amount to be raised from Parish Councils / Trusts:
Our Impact (across South and Vale) 90%
• Likely to recommend Citizens Advice* 78%
• Helped to find a way forward* 2 in 3
• Problem resolved (13-18 weeks after)* 4 in 5
• Stressed / depressed before advice**
• Less stressed/ depressed after advice**
*Figures derived from third party survey of OSAV Citizens Advice clients Jan-March 2020
**Citizens Advice (2014) findings from national outcomes and impact research
*** Cost benefit model approved by HM Treasury set out in National Citizens Advice
‘Modelling the value of the Citizens Advice service in 14/15’
What is the School called with the same road name in it?
There are two single sex schools in Didcot. What are they called?
When did the Great Western Railway reach Didcot?
When did Didcot Railway Station open?
When was Didcot Railway Station Named Didcot Parkway?
Which part of Didcot is our skake park in?
How many lakes are there in Ladygrove?
What is our shopping centre called?
What is our Swimming Pool called?
Which park is it next too?
How big is Edmonds Park?
What is the name of Didcot Town Council’s wood?
How many parks are owned/maintained by the Didcot Town Council?
• 450g/1lb self-raising flour
• 2 level tsp baking powder
• 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
• 100g/3½oz butter, softened, cut into
• 2 free-range eggs
• a little milk
• handful sultanas (optional)
• Strawberry jam
• Clotted cream
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Lightly grease two baking trays.
2. Put the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in
with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
3. Crack the eggs into a measuring jug, then add enough milk to make the total
liquid 300ml/10fl oz. Stir the egg and milk into the flour – you may not need it all –
and mix to a soft, sticky dough.
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, knead lightly and work in the
sultanas, if using. Roll out to a rectangle about 2cm/¾in thick.
5. Cut into as many rounds as possible with a fluted 5cm/2in cutter and place them
on the prepared baking trays. Brush the tops of the scones with a little extra milk,
or any egg and milk left in the jug.
6. Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the scones are well risen and a pale, golden-
brown colour. Lift onto a wire rack to cool. Eat as fresh as possible.
7. To serve, split the scones and serve with strawberry jam on the plain scones
along with a good dollop of clotted cream.
Victoria Sponge Cake
• 4 free-range eggs
• 225g/8oz caster sugar, plus a little
extra for dusting the finished cake
• 225g/8oz self-raising flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 225g/8oz butter at room temperature,
plus a little extra to grease the tins
• good-quality strawberry or raspberry
• whipped double cream (optional)4 free-range eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm/8in
sandwich tins. Use a piece of baking paper to rub a little butter around the inside
of the tins until the sides and base are lightly coated, then line the bottom with a
circle of baking paper.
2. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar, flour, baking powder
and butter. Mix together until well combined with an electric hand mixer (you can
also use a wooden spoon), but be careful not to over mix. Put a damp cloth under
your bowl when you’re mixing to stop it moving around. The finished mixture
should fall off a spoon easily.
3. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins: this doesn’t need to be exact, but you
can weigh the filled tins if you want to check. Use a spatula to remove all of the
mixture from the bowl and gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
4. Bake the cakes on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes. Check them after
20 minutes. The cakes are done when they’re golden-brown and coming away
from the edge of the tins. Press them gently to check – they should be springy to
the touch. Set aside to cool in their tins for 5 minutes. Run a palette or rounded
butter knife around the inside edge of the tins and carefully turn the cakes out
onto a cooling rack.
5. To assemble the cake, place one cake upside down onto a plate and spread it
with plenty of jam. If you want to, you can spread over whipped cream too. Top
with the second cake, top-side up. Sprinkle over the caster sugar.
Re-opening our Advice Centres
Our Abingdon Advice Centre has partially reopened on Mondays and Tuesdays.
This is to create an opportunity for trainee advisers to work (safely) alongside
We are not able to offer face-to-face appointments at the moment. We will assess
this partial re-opening in Abingdon before making a decision about our advice
centres in Didcot, Henley and Thame.
Are you looking for a new challenge? We offer a welcoming and supportive
environment, an opportunity to gain new skills, to meet new people and to make a
real and valued contribution to your local community.
Many people who come to us face difficult and sometimes overwhelming problems.
We need more volunteer advisers to make sure we can help everyone who needs
our support. We normally ask for a commitment of 2 half days per week but can be
flexible. See our website for further details. Or, if you would like to discuss
volunteering opportunities with us, please email the recruitment team at
Our Adviceline is open from Monday to Friday 9am-5pm: 0300 330 9042
You can also reach us by email: [email protected]
Or visit our website for up-to-date advice.