- Philippa Carter (newly elected Chairman)
- Rob Morgan (Past Chairman)
- Sandie Timms
- Peter Rance
- Rodney Rose (County Councillor)
Responsible Financial Officer
- Stuart Fox
- Angela Barnes
Members of the public
- Simon Gidman
- Pete Moss
- Chris George
- Elaine Byles,
- Kirstyn Tyrer & Phil Wood (Thames Valley Police).
Apologies received from
- Cllr Mellor and Cllr Tribe
- Pauline Plant (Ascott Pre-School)
- Mark Dawbarn (Parochial Church Council)
- (Leafield Primary School)
- Richard Squires (Village Shop)
- Richard Haddon & Michiel Verkoren (The Swan Public House)
The recorded Minutes from the Annual Parish Meeting held on 22 April 2013 were agreed, dated, signed and filed.
3. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
This is my fourth and final report as Chairman of the Parish Council. This year the Parish Council has met twelve times during the year due to the timing of the European elections. The Parish Council has also prepared the necessary Risk Assessments.
One notable success during the year was the construction of concrete aprons by OCC in the channel alongside Lower Green and the replacement of the existing culvert across the road at Manor Farm entrance by five larger pipes. Whilst these measures have not eliminated the possibility of the road flooding both the extent and duration of the flooding have been greatly reduced. The channel constructed by Network Rail opposite Sunset House has been kept clear by the Helpers of Ascott and this has also reduced the amount of standing water on the road.
Five planning applications have been considered this year all of which have been granted.
The Carols around the Christmas Tree was a continuing success and the addition of the crib and the Three Wise Men met with universal approval. I would like to add my personal thanks to all those who contributed to their production.
During the last year we were fortunate in that whilst at times the weather was very cold we did not have any snow, therefore the ‘snow patrol’ was not called out. However all the equipment was properly maintained and is ready for action should we get snow in the summer.
The annual litter pick took place on 15 March this year and was ably supported by volunteers. Judging by the large amount of litter collected I would suggest that the Waste Collection service generally has an easy time in Ascott. Dog mess is a continuing problem in Ascott and is the one problem which is most visible. Please encourage dog owners to pick it up.
Bus stops and timetables have again been adjusted this year but I have not heard any complaints about the current situation.
The Parish Council received a complaint of vehicles driving at excessive speed along Shipton Road. This was investigated by the police who reported that there were a few vehicles who exceeded the speed limit but that the speed was not excessive. Perhaps this was due to the fact that the police are required to erect signs warning of speed checks before they can check the speed.
I would like to record my thanks to my fellow councillors, our Parish Clerk and our Responsible Finance Officer for the support they have given me over the last four years. I would also like to welcome Mark Tribe and Peter Rance who have been co-opted as Parish Councillors and wish them success in the future. My thanks are also extended to County Councillor Rodney Rose and District Councillor Mrs Hilary Hibbert-Biles who have attended most of the Parish Council meetings and who have helped to get things done at County and District level respectively.
Finally I would like to thank the villagers for their co-operation, their assistance in pointing out that things needed doing and for their patience when it has taken longer to do than they would wish.
4. PARISH FINANCIAL REPORT
Responsible Financial Officer, Stuart Fox reported that; at first sight, the Parish accounts seem to be in a very healthy position with £26,731 in the bank. However, the bulk of this money is ring-fenced for specific projects:
£21,009 is money received in grants for upgrading the play area, £696 is money received, but not spent on improving the appearance of the railway station and finally £3,007 remains unspent in the snow clearance fund, thanks to a very mild, but wet winter.
Unfortunately, the general parish funds are at a historically low level of £2,322 and this has meant that we have had to increase the 2014/15 Precept in order to rebuild our reserves. Why are the reserves so low? First, we have transferred £10,000 to the playground improvement fund, secondly we made a £3,000 grant to the Tiddy Hall to help towards the costs of upgrading their Kitchen and finally we made a £1,695 grant to the snow clearance fund.
Apart from these transactions, our other costs were £1,184 lower than the previous year, with the main reduction being a saving in the costs of maintaining the playing field by £907, from £4,287 in 2012/13 to £3,380 in 2013/14.
5. PARISH CONTINGENCY PLAN
Delighted to say very little snow and no real problems this winter. Chris Badger continues to support us with the use of his tractor, drivers and with the storage of our bulk grit and salt. All of which is greatly appreciated.
Volunteers continue to come forward to operate the pedestrianised snow plough and pavement salt spreader. For those who have not yet been called to arms, refresher training will be provided during November. It has also been possible to source a finer grade of salt which should prevent our machines from clogging up and make the operation easier.
We remain the envy of surrounding villages and are often held up by local authorities as a fine example of self help. Thank you to all of you.
6. ASCOTT- UNDER- WYCHWOOD SPORTS CLUB
I am sure my colleague Councillor Carter will provide a full report and that you will be impressed with what has or soon will be achieved with the Playground and the Playing Field. I have to say that much of the credit must to go Philippa who has worked long and hard to achieve outstanding results with funding grants.
The value of her work can been seen not only in monetary terms but in the renewed interest in active play and sport by all sections of the village. The football team seems destined for greater success with the advent of a second eleven which will act as a development squad particularly for youth players. Well done to the manager Mike Ody for his hard work and enthusiasm.
In addition to this recently there has been a surge of interest in cricket with the very real prospect of at least two fun family games this summer. We are now setting about restoring the cricket wicket, providing nets and an all weather bowling surface.
We are very hopeful that a recent grant from Sport England will do much to improve drainage across the playing field and make both football and cricket a reality once again.
There has been an increased level of interest from residents with only one allotments currently available. It has been pleasing to see that allotments holders are taking more pride in their patch and many are highly productive. Well done to all of you
8. HELPERS OF ASCOTT-UNDER-WYCHWOOD
9. MR RODNEY ROSE – COUNTY COUNCILLORS REPORT
The budget was decided at the Full Council meeting on 18 February. A council tax increase of 1.99% was agreed and whilst any increase should be avoided, this small increase of 46p per week for a Band D property means that some valued services can be retained. There were some difficult decisions to take, however money was reinvested into the priority areas as opposed to reducing spending and the Council’s overall new savings figure remains at £64m, with £31m of savings having already been planned. The Council is on track to have made £170m of savings from 2010 2014. Between 2010 and 2018, savings totaling £265 million will have been achieved by sharing services with other councils and reducing costs, including cutting the number of Directors by 50%.
Despite all of the savings and reductions there were some positive announcements:
- An additional investment of £800,000 to end 15 minute personal care visits by extending the time of visits.
- An extra £350,000 will be available for the setting up of a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub in Oxfordshire
- There will be £1m extra for general highway maintenance to be spent across the county – with priorities for this spend to be determined during coming months
- A total of £400,000 will be set aside as a contingency to deal with issues stemming from flooding and other winter weather issues – the exact nature of how this money will be spent will be determined once full assessments have been mdade when waters have subsided
- A total of £315,000 will be invested in community budgets.
- The budget proposals were fully supported by the Conservative-led Alliance whilst opposition members voted against the proposals, including those listed above. The three largest parties all proposed a 1.99% increase in council tax (with the Green Party planning a 4.5% increase triggering a costly referendum). It has been a challenging budget and now we have to make sure we deliver the savings.
The rain still continued to fall during February, adding to the existing high river levels and water table. The County Council’s Fire and Rescue service worked 24/7 alongside the Highways team to deal with incidents as they occurred; to try to keep residents safe and Oxfordshire moving during the month. There was some innovative work on the Botley Road that meant it remained open during the bad weather as opposed to having to be closed the previous month.
The County Council is not responsible for the planning of houses and developments that is down to the City and District Councils. However, we do have a major part to play as we are responsible for the key infrastructure such as education and roads. Currently there is a Strategic Housing Market Assessment taking place across the county to determine what growth will happen over the next 20 years. This will then feed into the Local Development Frameworks of the City and District Councils as to where the final allocated sites will be. Already the Vale of White Horse DC has announced a substantial increase in their housing numbers. The County Council will be assisting in this process to ensure that they are in sustainable locations with the required infrastructure.
DRAFT MINERALS & WASTE PLAN
Oxfordshire County Council has a statutory duty to prepare a new Minerals and Waste Plan for Oxfordshire. The plan sets out planning policies and proposals for the mineral extraction and waste management facilities that will be needed in the county over the next 15 years, and where they should be located.
EDUCATING STUDENTS ON DRINK & DRUG DRIVING
The Fire & Rescue Service and Thames Valley Police have organised a hard-hitting demonstration of a mocked-up car crash to show Year 11 pupils the consequences of driving after consuming alcohol or other drugs.
It is part of the Fire & Rescue Service’s Choices and Consequences road safety campaign, an initiative offered free of charge to secondary schools and a strand of 365alive, a scheme aimed at creating a safer county through preventative and educational work
RIGHTS OF WAY CONSULTATION
The Council is consulting on their draft Rights of Way Management Plan to make sure that it reflects public expectations and balances this with the limited resources available.
10. MR TOM SIMCOX – DISTRICT COUNCILLORS REPORT
No report, apologies received.
11. ORGANISATIONS REPORT
Chipping Norton Police
There were 15 reported crimes in the Ascott-under-Wychwood area, 5 of which are non crime incidents for example Adult Protection, Child Protection and Domestic Incidents.
- Assault without injury – 1
- Burglary other than in a dwelling – 2
- Criminal Damage – 2
- Thefts (including theft from vehicle) – 3
Now the weather is brightening up and the sun is shining, it is all too tempting to become complacent when it comes to our home security.
The most common cases of opportunist summer burglary involve offenders that:
- enter an insecure front door while residents are in the back garden
- enter doors that are closed but unlocked at night while residents are asleep
- reach through windows to take valuable items
In around 25 percent of break-ins that take place in the spring and summer months, entry is gained through insecure windows and doors, especially at the rear of the property.
- Ensure that windows and doors are closed and locked when you are out. Don’t leave small windows open believing them to be safe.
- If you want to leave windows open while you sleep, fit window restrictors so they cannot be fully opened, or make sure they are not large enough to allow access to a burglar.
- When out in your garden ensure that windows and doors to the front of the house are secure. It only takes a second for someone to get into your home and take things without you noticing.
- Do not leave valuables on display in front of windows or in reach of open windows or doors.
- Ensure that all barbecue and garden equipment and tools are securely locked up in a shed and out of sight. Tools can be used by the potential offender to break in to your home.
- Consider fitting outside security lighting or a visible alarm to help deter burglars. Even using pea shingle or gravel on a driveway and spiky plants in garden beds can help.
- Don’t leave any keys near entry points where they can be ‘fished’ or ‘hooked’ out through the window, letter box or cat flap.
- Ensure any internal handle operated locks on UPVC doors are fully secured with a key.
Sheds – Easy pickings?
Offenders see sheds as easy pickings because they are unprotected and lack basic security measures. The buildings often contain property that can be sold on or implements that can be used to force entry into the owner’s home.
Many sheds whilst being of good construction fall short on basic security.
- It is easy to unscrew the ironmongery, steal contents and in some cases replace the screws to make it look as if the shed has not been tampered with.
- By using tamper proof screws or coach bolts together with a good quality pad bar or hasp and staple and close shackled padlock, the shed owner will make it harder for the would-be thief.
- It is also a good idea to bond any window glass in, with mastic to prevent easy removal.
- Ensure all tools and equipment is locked away when not in use.
- High-quality locks should be used on doors. Windows can be fitted with a grille or, as a cheaper alternative, chicken wire, to slow a thief down.
- A shed alarm can also be installed.
- Post-coding or indelibly marking all property such as lawnmowers, bikes, and tools using ultra-violet pens, forensic marking such as Selecta DNA or Smartwater or engravers.
- Installing security lighting as a deterrent, and plants such as thorny shrubs to act as a barrier at potential access points.
- If building a shed, putting it where it is most visible to you and neighbours.
Going on holiday?
- Make your home look occupied.
- If you’re out or going away, ask a trusted neighbour to open and close your curtains for you.
- Ask a neighbour if they don’t mind parking their car on your driveway and trimming your garden to make your home look occupied.
- Cut the front and back lawns before you go away and trim any plants that burglars could hide behind.
- Cancel milk and newspaper deliveries.
- Before your holiday, don’t advertise that you are going away on Facebook, Twitter etc.
- Register for the Royal Mail ‘Keepsafe’ service. (Please Google underlined)
- Leave important documents and valuable personal items with other family members or a bank.
- Double-check that you’ve locked all outside windows and doors.
- Set your burglar alarm.
Cold Stone Angling
This season once again has been very good for the club financially. With regards to competitions, the really bad downfall was the persistent rain through the winter, swelling the river and resulting in the clubs competitions on the river being reduced to two – this being the worst recorded since the clubs existence. Membership has remained on par with the previous season and a successful Race Night enabled £1000 to be raised, which in turn has helped to keep our subscriptions to a very competitive level. The competitions were well attended for a small club and they retained the Three C’s Challenge trophy fishing against Chipping Norton A.C., Charlbury A.C., and Coldstones.
The lake now seems to be quite popular with quite a lot of people walking around it or just sitting and with this in mind the Club hired a vibrating roller to try to improve the surface of the walkway around the lake to make it more even for people. Unfortunately I am sad to have to report that there has been some vandalism at the lake with the newly installed seat being smashed and thrown in to the lake. Lastly the Environment Agency carried out a survey for the Club to give some idea as to what fish were in the lake, this was done by electro fishing and netting. A good number of fish were caught and a good variety of species showing the water to be healthy.The Environment Agency also introduced 400 crucian carp which were most appreciated.
Ascott Pre-school has had quieter year with numbers lower than usual which is due to a smaller number of births in the autumn term. We have had several new children over the last few weeks and numbers are back up again for this term. We continue to have a strong management committee run by parents who help to ensure the smooth running of Pre-school.
Staffing has remained the same – 7 contracted staff and 2 supply with additional back up from Leafield Pre-school when needed. Links with Leafield have continued -sharing staff, knowledge and resources and we have also formed a link with Kingfishers Pre-school in Kingham. One member of staff is leaving at the end of this term and we will aim to replace her in the New Year as numbers of children are generally lower in the autumn term.
The children have experienced a wide range of themes during the year including a very exciting science week where various experiments were performed!
We now have a working website and a blog is published each week to inform parents of the previous week’s activities. It is also helpful for posting rotas and dates for events.
Forest School has run fortnightly through the year and we have visited a variety of different venues this year as well as our own approved site in Bruern woods, kindly allowed by the Astor family who are the landowners. We hire a minibus from the Ace Centre in Chipping Norton which is fitted with suitable belts and is used by other settigns for the same purpose so a bit of mud is not a problem. The weather was milder but wetter during the winter and we had several weeks of very soggy, muddy children returning in the afternoons.
We have also had many walking trips from Tiddy Hall around the village, to nearby farms, the village shop, the playing fields, the allotments and across the fields to Shipton. You may have seen us in the high viz jackets!
Cookery Club runs weekly for groups of 4 children and have cooked a variety of things during the last year including pasta bake, fish pie, pizza, apple crumble, bread, banana toffee pudding, muffins and chicken nuggets.
Little Dancers also runs weekly and is led by Dancing Sally. A lively music and dance session with a different theme each week.
We have had various fundraising events during the last year including a Film night, Autumn craft morning, train trip to Moreton in Marsh, Easter activity day, Christmas concert, summer barbecue and sports day. The money raised has enabled us to update resources.
The toddler group has been less successful this year as we have struggled to cover costs and find a person to run the group. It was decided to temporary close the group from January with a view to starting it up again at some point this year.
Last year I reported to the Parish meeting as acting chairman, in Roger Shepherd’s absence, but following our own AGM I was elected as Chairman. It was also agreed that we invite Roger to stay on in a new capacity as our President, a post which he duly accepted. One of our primary aims of this year was to install a new kitchen. Financially, to undertake this project required a combination of formal grants and our own fundraising. For reasons beyond our control we could not apply for the monies from our major source, the Big Lottery, until January of this year. We applied for the grant and in April were awarded the full amount we asked for. It meant however that, whilst we had hoped to undertake the renovation work this April, the slight delay in the final funding meant that the installation had to be delayed until July of this year. This final grant will allow us to undertake all the work we had hoped for which will include a new cooker, a new fridge ,an industrial dishwasher and a Heatrae boiling water system,plus new cutlery and crockery. The work will be undertaken by Joe Gomm and will take approx. 2 weeks.
The committee have also undertaken a number of housekeeping formalities. For example, as part of the grant from the WODC we needed to establish that Mr Tiddy had indeed given beneficial ownership of the Hall to the Trustees. This we needed to do formally through a Statutory Declaration and Richard Smith, acting as our solicitor, was extremely helpful in establishing this for us. We have also reorganised the Licencing agreement with the Local Authority. Whereas before we were limited to 12 licences per year and each one needed a lot of paper work we now have unlimited licences, which for regular events like the Folk Club are extremely helpful. We have also rewritten the Booking form to bring this up to date.
Financially our income has remained fairly consistent. Overall the receipts for this year have been about £ 12,500 and our costs about £11,000.00. Our income from hiring of the hall has gone down slightly this year and though we have supplemented this with fund raising we have decided to make a slight increase to our hiring charges, as these have not been increased for some time. The hall has continued to be hired for a number of events varying from puppy training, yoga, children’s parties, dinner dances and of course the preschool and more recently as the venue for the Wychwood Folk Club. We have had four Folk events at the hall so far, two more to come later this year, and whilst it is exciting that the folk traditions of Tiddy Hall have been continued, these events also provide a very useful source of funding for the hall. We have to thank Mark Pidgeon and Elaine Byles for all their hard work in not only establishing the Folk Club but also for getting so many great folk musicians performing at the Hall.
When the works to the kitchen are completed the committee will be working on a new Website, the purchase of new chairs and possibly works to the stage area. Tony Gillings and Carol Squires have stood down from the committee and to date Graham Bell has agreed to join us and we are still trying to get somebody to take Carol Squires’ position.
Parochial Church Council
The Parochial Church Council has met 9 times during 2013, including 4 joint meetings of the PCCs of the Benefice meeting in Chadlington School.
During 2013, The Council continued with the experiment reported upon last year of holding regular meetings in association with all the other PCCs of the Chase Benefice. The idea behind this was to give a chance for all PCCs to engage with the mission of the Church within the Benefice and how we might work together to further common aims and objectives. Business specific to the parish was dealt with at other separate meetings. There were also meetings on four occasions to deal specifically with Ascott-under-Wychwood parish affairs.
Much time was spent in considering the state of the Church’s finances and in particular how we might begin to address the persistent deficit between income and expenditure. An appeal for money to support the Church went out in May, in which the by then serious state of the Parish finances was explained. Although the appeal met with some success, it is not possible to say that the Parish is yet “out of the wood”.
In place of the monthly Coffee Mornings, a series of 8 monthly Teas was held during the year. This has been continued in 2014 and has become a significant fund raiser for the Church. These events provided an important opportunity for people to gather and enjoy conversation with each other.
During the year the PCC has reviewed the Safeguarding policy and are confident that the all the necessary procedures are in place to protect children and vulnerable adults within our Church. Julie Benson of Chadlington is the Child Protection Officer for the Benefice.
There was no change during the year in the Benefice programme of regular Sunday services: a 10 o’clock Communion Service (Common Worship) was held in Holy Trinity Church on the second Sunday of each month and an 8 o’clock Communion Service (BCP) on the fourth Sunday. We also celebrated major festivals, including our Patronal Festival on Trinity Sunday as well as services at Easter and Christmas.
Members of the PCC and congregation attended a series of Lent Suppers in Spelsbury Memorial Hall, and a series of Advent talks. Occasional Services in 2012 were 4 baptisms and 2 funerals. We are pleased that The Windrush Valley School continue to use the Church for their weekly assemblies and also the Ascott Pre-School for occasional visits.
The fabric of the Church is considered to be in a satisfactory condition. On-going work has taken place to maintain that position, including safety work on the gas heating system, necessary electrical and re-pointing work as well as some more serious work to deal with subsidence to the North wall.
There has been consideration at Deanery level of the future of the Church as part of the Chase benefice. However it is not thought by the Rector that a change is desirable or necessary. It is considered that 2013 was a better year in the life of the Church with energy and a good spirit being shown in its activities.
The Grapevine continues to be well received and we are grateful to all our contributors and always welcome new copy. The Grapevine team are happy to talk to anyone who can produce an entertaining and interesting article or to receive reports on village events, past or in the pipeline. The magazine is produced for the village, so please feel free to take advantage of its accessibility even if you just want to say thank you for some kind and appreciated deed.
Maggie Lyon our popular and industrious editor left the village in April but the last few copies have been edited very capably and thoroughly by Keith Ravenhill who has followed successfully in Maggie’s footsteps. We hope that you enjoy the magazine and we look forward to accessing the results of the survey which was placed in the May issue
Leafield C of E School
It has been another busy year at Leafield Primary School.
We are currently part of a Comenius Project that is funded by the British Council. The project lasts for 2 years and there are 5 schools involved, including schools in Turkey, Spain, Italy and Bulgaria. Over the 2 years, 4 visits to partner schools will take place providing opportunities to plan projects between the 5 schools.
The focus of this project is Art – there is a Partnership Website: http://arts-ahappyadventure.com where the work by all 5 schools is displayed.
In October three members of staff visited our Turkish partners and spent 4 days in their school, enjoying performances, observing lessons and planning for the next phase of the project. We also visited some historic sites and museums.
Recently all classes took part in making a mosaic of our Comenius Project logo. The finished mosaic is going to be displayed outside the entrance to school and should be ready for a ‘grand unveiling’ after the Easter Holidays.
Our next Comenius visit is taking place during the last week of this term, when we will be visiting our partner school in Bassano Del Grappa, in the north of Italy. Whilst in Italy we will be attending workshops to learn some traditional Italian artist techniques; watching performances led by the children at the Italian school; visiting some historic places within the local vicinity and planning the next stage of the project for our schools.
At Leafield, the children will be enjoying an ‘International Week’, with many exciting opportunities over the four days that the visit takes place, including a Chinese Dance workshop and workshops with a visiting French teacher and Spanish teacher.
We have enjoyed another Easter Service with pupils and staff from Finstock School and were pleased to see many parents and friends at the service.
Our FOLS (Friends of Leafield School) have been busy this year, organising cakes sales, a quiz, a fancy dress disco and Christmas and Easter raffles to raise money to support the school. The children at Leafield have also supported Children in Need and, more recently, Sports Relief, when they took part in a sponsored run. We are looking forward to our Cycle Leafield Event in May, which is supported by Caterham and provides a really good opportunity to work with our local Pre-Schools in Leafield and Ascott-under-Wychwood.
The Village Shop
Last year, the Committee decided to conduct a full business review to establish a new strategy. Subsequently, a new Mission Statement was developed, headlining: “SUSTAINING A VITAL COMMUNITY ASSET …FOR ALL” and including a plan of how we conduct our business. Cost management has recently allowed the appointment of a Shop Manager to co-ordinate day to day activities of our large team.
We are very lucky. There are over 40 volunteers and now 3 paid staff, very much still the heart and soul of the shop. A number of new volunteers have joined this year, enabling a redress of the paid staff/volunteer balance, helping fund the Shop Manager. The 10 year celebrations, held in Tiddy Hall last November, were a great success and raised the shop’s profile. The shop’s facilities have been maintained and improved where possible.
In 2013 there was a return to profitability, and this has continued and improved into 2014 An increase in average spend and improved sales margins, coupled with reduced overheads have been the main factors. Reserves are healthy and the bank loan has been paid off early. Overall sales are up 3% this year but attracting new customers remains a key objective.
A number of new lines have been added to the shop, COOK, Tom’s pies and of course the very popular value wine range. Our efforts to have newspapers on general sale has proved a challenge but continues. Recently we have compared our prices for a basket of Ascott essentials with the local COOP and found we do well, publicising this fact to the village is another target.
With profitability restored, the shop can continue to be a success and to remain at the heart of the village. Due to an increase in other commitments, I am standing down from the Management Committee this month. The shop now has a Manager, it has returned to profitability and the trading trends are positive, the rest of the Committee are remaining and will be supplemented by a couple of new faces. I am confident the shop will continue to develop its important role in our community.
The Village Charity
This charity was originally set up for the relief of poverty in the village and to provide financial assistance to its young people towards their education. Its predecessors were known as the Poor’s Estate and as the Lower Green Charity.
The Trustees of the Charity meet regularly under the chairmanship of John Cull and throughout 2013 the Trustees were John Cull, the Revd Mark Abrey, Elaine Byles, Stuart Fox, Keith Ravenhill, Pauline Marshall, Sandy Timms (a member during the year of the Parish Council and appointed as a Trustee in October 2013) and Mark Dawbarn (also Secretary to the Trustees). The Constitution of the Charity states that there must be at least five Trustees of whom at least one should be a member of the Parish Council.
The Charity owns the field known as Lower Green, which is near to the bridge over the river Evenlode on the Chipping Norton road. The field continues to be let to local residents on a 25-year lease for grazing purposes, expiring on 1st January 2030. In times of severe wet weather, Lower Green and the adjacent area including the road leading out of the village towards Chipping Norton are prone to flooding as water runs off from the village towards the River Evenlode. During 2012 at the request and expense of Oxfordshire County Council, work was carried out to link the ditch in the field with the drainage ditch on the other side of the road by means of pipe work which passes under the road and then into the ditch. Secondly they installed a number of concrete channels from the highway into the field in order to improve the drainage off the road. These works were designed to carry large quantities of water flowing from the village more smoothly into the river.
In their educational activities The Trustees have continued to hold funds available in connection with their scheme for assisting young residents with grants towards the purchase of books or equipment for the purposes of their studies. They made one such grant during the year and continue to advertise the scheme in order that all eligible residents are encouraged to apply.
The marquee purchased in 2008 for the benefit of the village and which is available for local charities and fund-raising causes free of charge has continued to be used occasionally for these purposes.
The Charity organised a Charity Run in October 2013, raising £1130 (against a target of £1000), which was awarded to the Tiddy Hall. Of the amount raised £650 came from sponsors with local associations, which was greatly appreciated by the Trustees.
The Charity has paid out money which had been contributed in connection with the scheme for Planting Round the Village.
The Trustees have made an award of £200 to the Oxfordshire Air Ambulance Service. They are considering making a contribution to the cost of a defibrillator for the village. They had set aside funds to contribute to the Playing Field improvement scheme, which they understand will now only proceed on a much smaller scale.
The Trustees have continued to seek to find ways in which their activities could be made widely known in the village that the Charity is set up to serve. Notices have been placed on village notice boards and an article written for the Ascott Grapevine. They would welcome suggestions on any other ways of achieving publicity for their activities and availability and would like to involve the community as far as possible in their work.
The Charity has received generous financial support from The Ascott Songsters, from the Swan at Ascott and from various customers of the village shop who have put money in the Charity box.
The Trustees consider that the financial position of the Charity remains sound and they have three sources of funds, namely the General Fund, the Poor’s Fund and the Flood Relief Fund from which they can make grants to local causes. The amount available for expenditure by the Trustees as at 31st December 2013 was £7527 and there were additional ring-fenced investments held by the Trustees.
The Chairman addressed the meeting and thanked everyone for attending the Village Meeting and asked if there was any other business. The meeting was concluded and closed at 8.30pm.
Cllr Philippa Carter, Chairman
Dated: April 2015