March 2020

Shipston’s community rallies to help during the coronavirus pandemic

Just before the Forum went to press, the Government announced strict social distancing measures to help protect people from coronavirus. These are challenging times for us all, but once again, Shipston is already proving to be a resilient community.

Local residents Nicky Hill and Charlotte Haines have set up a self-isolation support group on Facebook - Shipston SOS. They are coordinating volunteer efforts to ensure those having to self-isolate are supported with deliveries of urgent supplies, phone calls and dog walking. The Town Council has provided a dedicated phone line for people to call to request help during self-isolation - see the advert on the back page for details.

Please be aware that this new group - Shipston SOS - is a work in progress and all those involved are doing their best to provide help where they can, within the limits set by the Government regarding social distancing. To help avoid them becoming overwhelmed, please continue to rely on your existing support and social networks where you can - Shipston SOS will help to plug the gaps.

If you would like to request help or volunteer, please call 01608 495010, email or search for ‘Shipston on Stour self-isolation support’ on Facebook.

Shipston Medical Centre has had plans in place to manage a pandemic for over ten years and is well prepared to continue operating. Most appointments are now being offered over the phone or online - see the update on page 14 of the Forum for details.

This is a rapidly changing situation, so please be aware some of the content in the Shipston Forum may be out of date by the time it reaches you. For the latest information and advice on the virus please visit or

Town Mayor, Dan Scobie, said: “We know that everyone in the town is being affected by the restrictions put in place to try and protect people from coronavirus. On behalf of everyone at Shipston Town Council, I would like to say a sincere thank you to all those who are doing their bit to try and help those most vulnerable. I’d also like to urge everyone to be considerate to those who are doing their best to keep supplies going and caring for those who are sick or need support.”

Supporting businesses, supporting you

The coronavirus is hitting businesses hard and that pressure is already being felt by our independent shops and businesses in Shipston, as well as some larger companies and industries. So what can we do to help - and how can our local traders help you?

First and foremost, please continue to shop local when you can - Totally Locally are encouraging people to add a comma followed by ‘Shipston’ when searching for something online to see if anyone locally has what you need in stock first.

Since the introduction of coronavirus social distancing measures, Facebook has been flooded with innovative new services as Shipston’s businesses find ways to stay open and support their customers. Many of the pubs and cafes in the town are now offering take-away and delivery services, and some independent food shops are now delivering to your door.

Some clothing and gift retailers in the town have started putting pictures of stock online or are using video calls to show what is available, as well as offering to wrap and post items, or deliver clothes so they can be tried on at home. Music teachers are switching to online lessons and the local schools are doing everything they can to keep children learning while they’re at home.

Mayor, Dan Scobie, said: “It’s wonderful to see such a flood of creativity in response to this crisis - and equally encouraging to see so many people respond positively to these new services. We shouldn’t underestimate the challenge social distancing presents for many of our valued local businesses and I encourage everyone to continue to support local and independent businesses wherever possible. After all, the shelves have been more fully stocked in the town recently than some of the major supermarkets.”

With the situation changing on a daily basis, rather than publishing details within the Forum, residents can find out the latest information about local delivery and other services by visiting a new public group on Facebook - search for ‘The Shipston Takeaway & Delivery Group’. A number of businesses have also shared their updated services on the Shipston Noticeboard on Facebook and the Totally Locally page.

If in doubt, give your favourite shops and businesses a call and find out what they’re doing. You may not be able to pop into town for lunch, but that same delicious lunch might be able to arrive on your doorstep.

Keeping yourself well - tips from Shipston Medical Centre

The purpose of this column is to encourage you to take action to keep yourself well.

Wash your hands regularly - Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from illnesses such as food poisoning and flu.

Stay hydrated - Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. You should drink enough during the day so your pee is a pale clear colour.

Eat a balanced diet – we are what we eat and the better our diet the better we feel. Not only can eating well improve our sleep and our mood, it can also reduce our chances of getting diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The Eatwell guide offers advice and guidance about how to have a balanced diet, see

Keep active – try to do some physical activity. The amount we need depends on our age, but even doing light activity is beneficial. Please observe the latest government guidance on social distancing and self isolation.

Take medications as prescribed 

If you have a long term condition it is important to take medications as prescribed. Tips for doing this are to:

•  Incorporate your medications into your routine until it becomes a habit – e.g. take your morning and night tablets after brushing your teeth.

•  Use a pill box marked with days of the week.

•  Keep an up to date medication list with you at all times or a recent repeat prescription.

•  Use an alarm – especially if you have time specific medications such as Parkinson’s disease medications.

•  Give yourself reminders – e.g. a sticky note on the mirror or kitchen cupboard to remind yourself to take your medications.

•  If you have a respiratory condition it is important that you regularly use your preventer inhaler as prescribed, only using the reliever if you suffer an exacerbation of your condition

Community grants announced for 2020/21

Shipston Town Council has agreed to award grants totalling £21,050 to support community groups and charities over the next financial year. This is an overall increase of £1,000 compared with last year.

The grants are designed to support a wide variety of local initiatives and this year’s recipients include:

  • Shipston in Bloom - for the provision of flower displays in Shipston
  • Shipston Wool Fair - to fund new and innovative attractions
  • Shipston Cricket Club - to provide a non- turf practice facility
  • Shipston Community First Responders – to help cover the response vehicle running costs, response equipment and public access defibrillator costs
  • Townsend Hall – to fund facilities for a portable wheelchair lift to enable disabled access to the stage
  • Shipston Proms – contribution towards the staging of the 2020 Proms (pictured)
  • Shipston Tennis Club – to resurface the practice court with all-weather tiger turf and new fencing
  • VASA - to support the recruitment and training of volunteer drivers and office volunteers, Sit & Get Fit, and core costs for the first year of The Caring Kind
  • Shipston Youth Club - to continue funding existing staff
  • Shipston Churches Holiday Club – covering the running costs of the holiday club
  • Town Band – to fund instrument mutes and equipment upgrades
  • Shipston Sports Bowls Club – towards a new sprinkler system for green watering
  • Citizens Advice South Warwickshire – a contribution to CASW’s outreach service

 In addition, the council has put aside nearly £40,000 towards identified Shipston projects, including support for the new Shipston Museum and the riverside amenity project which was identified in the Neighbourhood Plan.

Mayor, Dan Scobie, said: “Supporting our community groups and voluntary organisations is one of the tasks we most enjoy as a town council. We are really pleased to be in a position to increase our grant funding this year and look forward to seeing the community benefit from these investments

Shipston welcomes new town councillor

Shipston Town Council has co-opted Peter Cowley as a new councillor, filling the one remaining vacancy on the council.
Peter moved into Shipston in December 2019, moving from Southport in Merseyside to be close to family. He spotted the advert in the Forum looking for new councillors and decided to put his name forward.

Although this is Peter’s first experience as a councillor, he is no stranger to local government, having worked as a lawyer for Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council for many years. “Although I’m new to Shipston, I’m keen to contribute to the town and my experience of working in local government means I’m able to offer up to date knowledge, particularly around legal matters.”

Peter intends to get involved in the Planning Committee but is also keen to support the Heritage and Leisure Projects Working Group. Having previously been a trustee of a charitable museum, art gallery and library, Peter is keen to maintain his interest in local history projects and bring his experience to bear.

Peter enjoys spending time with his two – soon to be three – grandchildren and in his spare time, is a speed sports enthusiast and lover of music. Peter has also joined Shipston Rotary and is looking forward to supporting local charitable initiatives.

Shipston’s litter pickers celebrate their 9th birthday

Shipston’s Proud of My Town litter picking team marks its ninth birthday this month!

The initiative was originally launched by Councillor Fay Ivens in 2011 in a bid to keep Shipston looking good for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. Since then, a regular band of litter pickers meet almost every month to give the town a once over and target litter hotspots.

Fay Ivens said: “When we first started the litter picks,we used to easily fill several bags. These days, thanks to Lawns2Mow, we find that there is less litter to collect in the town centre and so we focus on the out of the way areas.”

As well as a core team of regulars, many residents – including some children – have joined in at various times to support the litter picks, which take place on the first Saturday of the month, weather permitting. “We’re always keen to see new faces. All equipment is provided and we finish with coffee and biscuits. If you’d like to do your bit for the town, please consider coming along” Fay added.