Covid amber warning in Oxford

The number of coronavirus cases in Oxfordshire is continuing to rise.

In the 7 days up to 21 August, there have been 86 confirmed cases in Oxfordshire, which is an increase from 65 cases in the previous week.

The majority of the new cases are in Oxford, where the number has risen from 28 to 41. The increase is predominantly among young people in the 18-29 age bracket. The increase can be partly attributed to people returning from holidays in Europe, where cases of the virus are rising, and partly to lower levels of adherence to social distancing.

The weekly rate for Oxford currently stands at 26.9 cases per 100,000 population, which means the city is moving ever closer to figures in parts of the country that have been labelled by central Government as areas of concern or that require intervention. Oxfordshire’s Public Health Surveillance Unit is monitoring the situation very closely. If cases continue to rise, then local control measures may be introduced.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “My appeal to everyone in Oxford is to remember what got us out of lockdown. Do we really want to end up with the kind of local control measures we have seen introduced in various parts of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Leicester and Aberdeen?

“At the minute it feels like we are moving in that direction. People need to be aware their behaviour is putting themselves and others at risk. If you’re young and catch COVID-19, you’re absolutely not guaranteed to get away with the mildest symptoms. Even mild symptoms are a struggle, while longer-term symptoms can include chronic fatigue, muscle weakness and memory loss.

“Equally you may well pass this onto older or more vulnerable people. How would you feel if you knew that someone was in hospital in a ventilator with their life under threat because you’d passed COVID-19 on to them?

“Now is the time to act to #stopthespread. I’ve said it over and over – this whole situation is in our own hands. We all need to act responsibly and follow the very simple advice. If we do that collectively, we will reverse this upward trend that we are seeing in Oxford. If we don’t bring the infection rate under control then measures will be introduced of the kind we’ve seen elsewhere in the country. It’s that simple.”

Mobile testing unit in Cowley

As part of this effort, and on request of Oxfordshire’s Director of Public Health, a mobile testing unit (MTU) is being deployed in Oxford for three days from tomorrow (Friday) until Sunday, 10am-4.30pm. The MTU will be sited on the car park in Union Street, just off Cowley Road, behind Tesco.

People are able to drive or walk to the site, but are strongly encouraged to book first by calling 119 or registering online at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. The facility is designed for people who have symptoms.

Please let your staff and community members know about the testing facility. Anyone with symptoms should be self-isolating, but they can attend the MTU for a test to see if they have the virus.

Getting tested will help us contain the spread of the virus, by isolating people with the infection to prevent them from spreading it in the community. It is vital that anyone who suspects they may have the virus isolates and gets tested, to prevent wider restrictions being introduced.

Further information

You can find out more about how to keep yourself safe, and the latest number of cases in Oxfordshire, at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/stopthespread

Kind regards,

Michael Woods | Green Space Development Officer | Community Services | Oxford City Council | PO Box SA 3.11 | St Aldate’s Chambers , 109-113 St Aldate’s, Oxford OX1 1DS | 01865 529089  mwoods@oxford.gov.uk

Polytunnel for Sale

Oxford Urban Wildlife Group is selling a polytunnel, in perfect condition, having never been taken out of its original delivery packaging. It is approximately 5m long, 3m wide and 2m high, and comes with wooden door frames. They cost £600-£700 new, but they are selling for £200. Please email treasurer@ouwg.org.uk if you are interested.

RISE OF COVID-19 CASES IN OXFORD

The Director of Public Health for Oxfordshire has issued a notice regarding the rise of COVID-19 cases in the last week.
Stay alert as Covid cases on rise in Oxford | Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

Our basic prevention measures at our allotment association are still in place.  Please ensure that care is taken:
– not to come within 2 metres of those outside of your household whilst on the allotment- to wash hands on entry and exit, either using on site facilities or using alcohol hand gel
If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 you must not come to the allotment.  You must self-isolate and take steps to be tested through contact with the local public health authorities.

Chris CliffordChair, EWAA30 July 2020

Plot inspections September 2020

Normally plot cultivation inspections would have taken place in early spring this year, however due to the COVID 19 emergency they were cancelled.

Now because of the easing of the COVID 19 restrictions the association committee has decided to reinstate the plot cultivation inspections later this year.

Therefore we are giving all plot holders notice that plot cultivation inspections will take place during the first week of September this year.

At the time of the inspections we will also be checking that all plots are clearly numbered, this is the responsibility of the plot holder as detailed in the association rules.

All the association rules including the plot cultivation rules can be found on the association website.

If for some serious reason you are unable to cultivate your plot please email the membership secretary with the details. Membership@ewaa.org.uk

Surplus Food: The Porch

Each year, many of us are lucky enough to have surplus produce even if some of our crops fail or underperform, despite our best efforts.  Sometimes we pass neighbouring plots where fruit or vegetables are wasting on the site.  In recent months during lockdown, many of us will have experienced for the first time what it is to go without essential foodstuffs – perhaps not being able to get eggs, or milk, or dried yeast for baking, or a range of other staples.


For some people in our city however, poverty means that family incomes are not sufficient to buy what is needed.  In recent months food banks across the country have struggled to keep stock levels up.  Homelessness has also presented additional challenges in lockdown.


This year, consider the possibility of donating surplus produce that would otherwise go to waste or is not needed to a neighbouring local organisation – The Porch. http://www.theporch.org.uk/  The Porch does an amazing job providing meals for the homeless and vulnerable and would be very grateful for our donations. They have confirmed that they would be delighted to receive donations of excess produce from allotments in the area. As they are based just around the corner from our allotments in Magdalen Road, donations could be dropped off on any day.

USE OF WATER TROUGHS

The growing season is now well underway.  In the warmer weather, water use across the site is at peak demand.  Additional water troughs were installed last year which means that during hot weather, more water is being drawn from our system than ever before, although we have the same incoming supply.  So we now have more troughs, but they are taking longer to fill when all are being drawn from.All members are expected to refill the water trough they are using after use.  This is a non-negotiable rule and requirement of membership.  Members need to allow enough time to complete this task when they are watering their plots so it is left ready to draw from by the next plot holder.  If a neighbour is also drawing from a trough simultaneously plot holders need to negotiate the refilling of the trough between them.Chris Clifford Chair, EWAA

Polytunnels For Sale

Polytunnels for sale
South Ward Allotments Association is selling some polytunnels on abandoned plots. Each is 6m x 3m. The plastic is probably salvageable on one of them, maybe not the other. £100 each, money to go into Association funds. Others may also be available, but these are the best two. 
Buyer will be responsible for dismantling and removal. The bolts mostly look ok, not too rusted to undo, although you may need to replace one or two when putting the tunnels back together. I have photos, but don’t want to overload people’s inboxes unnecessarily.

For details or to arrange to come and have a look, contact emmatinker@hotmail.com

Shop news – May 2020

The new online ordering process seems to be working well, with over 50 bags of compost delivered last weekend.

The Ewaa shop online ordering process

However there seems to be some confusion about how the online ordering process works. So for clarity:-

  1. Send an email to shop@ewaa.org.uk saying what you’d like, remembering to include your plot number.
  2. Someone will reply on Friday night or Saturday morning (apologies if its late, it’s a time consuming manual process), explaining what of your order can be supplied and how much it’ll be, and what the EWAA bank details are (with a reminder to ensure the plot numbet is visible).
  3. Some time before Sunday, you make a bank transfer, with your plot number as reference.
  4. On Sunday morning, someone checks the bank for payments received and draws up a list of deliveries.
  5. These are then delivered through Sunday.

If payments aren’t received by Sunday morning, or if we can’t identify the plot, delivery will have to wait until the following weekend.

We have had a few thefts reported, following peoples deliveries last weekend. If you’re concerned about thefts, then liase with the shop officer to arrange collection from the shop on Sunday Morning (normally at 11am). If you’ve arranged to collect your items and don’t turn up, they’ll be held until the following Sunday.

Seeds/bulbs and other perishables

The decision was taken in the March committee, that with the shop closing for the foreseeable future, we’d run down our stock of perishable goods. As such we have not been restocking potatoes, seeds or bulbs beyond the orders already made before the lock-down. That said there are some seeds left in the shop: Courgettes, Pumpkins, Squash, Cabbage, Swede, Japanese Green Boy, Brussels Sprout and Tomato. I believe there are some broad beans left too. I’ll present a list in future postings on here.

Reminders re sharing space

Dear members,

In these uncertain times there are unprecedented numbers of members making very frequent trips to their plots. People are observing our recommended social distancing measures and we thank everyone for doing so.  We recognise that EWAA is more than simply a place to grow fruit and vegetables. In these times it is, more than ever, a place to escape, and seek sanctuary in nature and in our community.

However as more people are using the plots, we need to be mindful of other people. There have been a few complaints about the use of our shared space by other plotholders, so in order to facilitate good relations in our community, could we please request that members are respectful of their neighbours particularly regarding:

 -noise (music, radio, power tools, mowers, dogs, children, or other any noise). One person’s choice of music may not be someone else’s!

 -boundaries (leaving tools, weeds, clippings on boundaries or extending over them with constructions or compost heaps).  Access should always be maintained along the boundaries.

 Many of us enjoy the social aspect of our plots with refreshments and picnics but under no circumstances should this include overnight stays, however appealing the idea of a ‘camp out’’ might be. Our lease with the Council does not permit this. Evidence of plotholders staying overnight would be a serious breach of the rules and would result in expulsion from the site.

 We would also draw everyone’s attention to the existence of the social area on the middle row which may be useful for children or dogs and balls or larger families taking a break. This may be used by any member at any time providing of course, social distancing measures are observed.

We thank you for your attention in these matters, so our community can grow together.

Hoping we all have a good growing season and that we will be able to celebrate harvest in the normal way.

With best wishes,

The EWAA Trustees & Officers.