The innocent Big Knit campaign has returned and Age UK Berkshire is calling on the knitters and crocheters of Berks to get their knitting needles out to help raise urgent funds for older people most in need.

This is the 18th year that innocent has been running the Big Knit in partnership with Age UK and woolly warriors are needed again this year to craft some little hats to sit on innocent smoothie bottles. For each be-hatted smoothie sold, Age UK receives 25p, which will help the Charity make a big difference to the lives of older people.

With many of us spending lots of time at home at the moment it’s a great opportunity for stitching superstars to get crafting, or for knitting newbies to grab some needles and give it a whirl. The pandemic has had a huge impact on older people over the past year so Age UK is in need of these little hats more than ever to help raise funds for its vital services.



Read more: Knitters & Crocheters Needed for Age UK 'Big Knit' 2021


Healthwatch East Berkshire covers Ascot, Bracknell Forest, Maidenhead, Slough and Windsor. We exist to listen to residents’ voices when it comes to their health and social care experiences and views.

To better understand the community’s health and social care needs across East Berkshire, the ‘What Matters Most’ survey is now live. The survey will help  understand residents’ views and experiences as well as their health priorities for 2021-2022. The survey will provide the foundation of information to use for future work, as well as a chance to capture residents feedback (good or not so good). We take this feedback to decision makers who have the power to make positive changes happen. 

Our work relies on people telling us what they like about health and social care services, and what they think could be improved. We need your help to do this by completing the survey linked below. If you, or someone you know, need support when completing the survey please call our Healthwatch Hub on 0300 0120184 (Weekdays between 10am-4pm). The survey is available in English, Polish, Punjabi and Urdu.

Read more: Health Watch East Berkshire | What Matters Most Survey

Inspector’s post hearing letter on emerging Borough Local Plan published : The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead has received and published the planning inspector’s stage two post-hearing letter on the emerging Borough Local Plan.

The council hosted a second round of public hearings to examine the Borough Local Plan in October, November and December last year.

The letter follows the discussion at these hearing sessions and a review by independent inspector, Mrs Louise Phillips, of the council’s completed stage two post hearing action notes.

The next stage will be for the council to prepare a schedule of main modifications under the guidance of the Inspector. Once the draft schedule of main modifications has been prepared and agreed with the Inspector it will be published for consultation later this year. 

Councillor David Coppinger, cabinet member for planning, said: “I’m very pleased to see the publication of the inspector’s post hearing letter which means we are a step closer to adopting the Borough Local Plan.

"Our current plan is now very dated, and the new plan will ensure that we can defend the borough against speculative development, regenerate our towns and meet the growing housing needs of our residents.”

The next stage will be for the council to prepare a schedule of main modifications under the guidance of Mrs Phillips.

Once the draft schedule of main modifications has been prepared it will be published for consultation later this year.

Read more: Ascot & Sunnings Local Plan | Progress


On Friday 26th March, Mrs Boorman, who is Head of English at Charters School in Sunningdale arranged an inspiring lesson for Year 10 English students who are currently studying the work of the poet Simon Armitage. One of the poems that students examine during Key Stage 4 is ‘Remains’ which Simon wrote in 2007 and is based on the experiences of a soldier who served in Iraq. The soldier suffered severe PTSD as a result of his experiences and the poem recalls one particular event and the resulting flashbacks he experiences.

To help the students understand the effects of PTSD, Mrs Boorman arranged for a Captain in the British Army to talk to the students about his career and the effects that active service can have on serving personnel. The lesson took place on Teams and students were able to ask a number of probing questions, including whether the Captain was able to empathise with the enemy, what support there is for people with PTSD and whether attitudes have changed towards people who experience this condition.

Simon Armitage was a Probation Officer with the Ministry of Justice before he became a poet and Mrs Boorman invited her father to join the lesson as he has worked in this profession for the past 30 years. It became clear that Parole Officers are an integral part of an offender’s rehabilitation and that there is a need for people in this career to decompress after hearing harrowing accounts of crimes to ensure that their mental health is protected.

Read more: Charters School | English Lesson With a Difference


Free school holiday activity and food programme for children eligible for free school meals

A free holiday activities and food programme for children eligible for free school meals, will begin in the borough this Easter.

The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead’s programme is called Feed Ur Everyday Lives (FUEL) and aims to provide additional support to vulnerable children in our borough.

It will be delivered by Achieving for Children, which manages the council’s children’s services, with funding from the Department for Education.

The programme runs until the end of 2021 and will take place for two weeks during the Easter holidaysfour weeks during the summer break and one week during the Christmas holidays.

It will offer online and face-to-face activities for children aged five to 16-years-old who are eligible for free school meals, for four hours a day, four days a week, during the identified holiday periods.

Councillor Stuart Carroll, cabinet member for adult social care, children’s services, health and mental health, said: “A critical priority of the council is protecting vulnerable people and ensuring all children have the same opportunities and life chances. This programme is a critical part of our ongoing commitment to supporting some of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable families in the borough.

“I’m pleased we’re able to offer the FUEL programme during the identified school holidays for the rest of the year. These periods can be times of added financial pressure for families, with increased costs on childcare and food, and we hope FUEL’s offer of nutritious meals and fun and engaging activities will help our hardest-hit families.”

The aim is that the children who attend will be supported:

Read more: RBWM Fuel | School Holidays | Activities & Food | Easter 2021

THE local Samaritans’ branch is delighted to announce the appointment of a new director to manage the branch.

The new post-holder, Barbara Denyer, was nominated by her fellow 135 listening and support volunteers to lead the team of Bracknell, Wokingham, Ascot & Districts, which is based at Mount Pleasant, Larges Lane, Bracknell.  Angela started her new three-year role on 15 March.

With 19 years’ experience as a Samaritans’ listening volunteer answering calls from people struggling to cope, Barbara has also over the years taken on the responsibilities of mentoring, training, shift leading, giving talks, publicity and establishing links with other local organisations.

Read more: New Branch Director for Local Samaritans


On Monday 1st March, we held our first-ever Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals (ASPH) New Year’s Honours List awards ceremony. Individuals and teams at the Trust were recognised for their hard work and effort with awards in categories such as ‘Passion for Excellence’, ‘Unsung Hero’ and ‘Inspiring Leader’, and all of which were nominated by colleagues at ASPH.

The winners were presented with their awards and certificates in the vaccination hub at Chertsey House, St Peter’s Hospital on Monday afternoon at a socially distanced ceremony.
The award winners were:...

Read more: St Peter’s Hospitals (ASPH) New Year’s Honours List awards ceremony.