Coronavirus Covid-19

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 19.10.2020


For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website


Covid and Halloween

A number of people have been asking about advice on Halloween and ‘trick or treat’. There is no specific advice from government as yet but if children are keen to do it the general rules on social distancing would suggest the following approach.

  • No groups of larger than six people including children
  • No surprises – only call on people you know are happy to be visited
  • Leave sweets etc outside rather than answer the door.

Some areas have suggested that people simply leave decorated pumpkins to be discovered and parents supply children with a sweet for every one they discover.

Coronavirus self-isolation payments


Despite a number of rumours circulating there does not appear to have been an outbreak in Westbury and the cases in Rodney Stoke seem to relate to only one family.   Nevertheless, it is possible that cases will arise in the village and people may be asked to self-isolate if they have a positive test or have been close to anyone who has.  For those who may lose income and suffer hardship as a consequence there is the possibility of a £500 support payment. Details of the payment and the rules about self-isolation can be found in this update  from Somerset County Council.


The update also contains a timely reminder that GP surgeries and other local healthcare services are open and increasingly busy with flu jabs etc. It is safe to attend in person if called to do so after an on-line consultation but everyone attending needs to remember the new slogan ‘Hands, Face, Space’  – that is wash hands, wear a mask and keep social distance.


Landline calls to Truespeed phones – problem solved?


Truespeed let us know on Friday that BT had identified and blocked a faulty bit of equipment in their system. Hopefully the problem has now gone away.


If any call you make still gets this message: ‘This service is not compatible with this call’, the advice is to report it to your own landline provider with details of the number you called, date and time.



Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 12.10.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website


Covid support

The Prime Minister has announced a new three tier system of alert levels for England reflecting the extent to which the virus is spreading in an area.  Mendip, like most of the UK, is currently at alert level Medium which means no change to existing restrictions.  The imposition of more severe restrictions in areas categorised as High or Very High may however affect locals if, for example, they have family in one of these places – people are strongly advised against travel in or out of such areas except for work or education.  More detail is given in this guidance.

The number of cases is rising in Somerset and in Mendip though a significant part of the increase can be accounted for by students who have contracted the illness while elsewhere and despite not living here at the moment are counted in our statistics.

Those who want more local detail can look at this update from Somerset County Council but as always the best advice is simple  – “anyone can catch it and anyone can pass it on, so please continue to remain vigilant and follow the guidelines of ‘hands, face and space’ to prevent any further spread and help keep our communities safe.”

Helping hands

We are aware that many people are acting as good neighbours by helping others out with jobs that are too small to warrant calling out a tradesman but nevertheless can cause worry or even danger.  Examples could include changing a lightbulb or the battery in a smoke alarm. Sometimes those in need don’t like to ask and sometimes don’t know who they might ask.  If you know anyone in this position and are unable to help yourself, Dan Willcox (07866 165671) is building a list of people who are happy to be called on. Please get in touch with him directly whether to request or offer help.

Library collection and return.

As nights draw in people may be thinking of making increasing use of the library service. For those who are reluctant or unable to get to the library our shopping service is able to collect and return books and other material for you.  Contact Neil Burrows on 01749 870603.

Problems for BT & Plusnet calls to Truespeed phones

Have you had a failed call when you hear this message: This service is not compatible with this call.?

This is caused by an intermittent problem affecting calls from phones on BT and Plusnet lines to phones on Truespeed. We understand the issue is a technical one for BT, and that it only affects some phone lines at some times. It also happened with some calls in Chew Valley last week, so is clearly not confined to Westbury.

The Truespeed technical team is working to help BT trace the fault. To help identify the exact cause, they  need details of any failed calls, so if you have a call with this “not compatible” message, please let Peter Bright or 870640   have these details:

  • Date & time
  • Calling number
  • Provider (BT or Plusnet)
  • Number called


Letter from the Chair of the Parish Council

Finally, the regular letter from the Chair of the Parish Council, Sue Isherwood, is here It covers planning matters and reporting nuisances.


Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council


Coronavirus Community Support – Update 05.10.2020

Coronavirus Community Support  –  Update 05.10.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website

Future updates

Over the past weekend we have managed to speak to most of our Eyes and Ears about the future of our updates, their content, frequency, and methods of circulation. If we haven’t managed to speak to you yet we’ll keep trying; or you could ring one of us. We are pleased to say that almost everyone we have spoken to thinks we have got the balance between village news and information about the pandemic about right; and at the moment once per week seems often enough. Most importantly everyone was happy to carry on with their current role of passing on information and keeping an eye out for their neighbours.  Thanks to all of you.

There are different views about how we should communicate with some preferring to be informed via alerts from the website and others preferring to receive an email that they can customise and pass on.  We will therefore carry on with both systems and assume that anyone who is happy to rely on the website can let their local contact know. You will know who cannot access email and can use your judgement about what it makes sense to pass on in paper form.

Covid support

There are no new restrictions coming into force this week though the upward trend in numbers suggests we need to prepare for a possible return of a more severe lockdown.  It is worth noting therefore that although our support teams are having a relatively quiet time at the moment they are still there for people who may feel less confident about going out shopping for example or just need a sympathetic ear.  A summary of support services is here in case you have mislaid it.

As the economic consequences of the pandemic become more serious it is worth reminding everyone of the local grant schemes. The Friendly Society can provide emergency financial support to individuals or families experiencing hardship as a result of the pandemic (follow this link for details) and the Parish Council has a scheme of grant support for community organisations – the closing date for applications is extended to 29th October.

Free Resources

There are some new FREE online creative courses being organised by Creativity Works for the Mendip area. There is an exciting host of courses, including photography, creative writing and wild art. These courses will encourage people to have a focus, participate creatively with professional artists and each other, and meet like-minded individuals in a safe and supportive environment.

If you or anyone you know would like to find out more and sign up, please do share this link:

Another resource you might want to look at if you are worried about how someone is coping in these difficult times is here.  As the nights draw in and restrictions continue existing worries can be magnified; this guide contains practical ideas on how people can best look after themselves. 

Socially distanced cider making

We can’t have a traditional village cidermaking this year but the cidermakers will still have a pressing on 10th and 11th October with teams of six working in relays and not mingling.  If anyone would like to join in please contact Mick Fletcher (870531)  Since children are counted in the rule of six it is difficult to accommodate them at the pressing but if any parents would like to bring children up after school in the following week they will be able (with adult help) to add a bit of pressure and take away their own juice. Do call in advance however so we stay safe and legal.


Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 28.09.2020


For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website

Who can I meet and where?

As the rules on social distancing keep changing many of us may be a little confused about what we can and cannot do.  If you need to check what the rules are at the moment you can look at the latest guidance which was issued on the 22nd September. One of the key changes is that many of the rules are now legally enforceable with fines for those who deliberately break them.  This includes a new duty to self-isolate if you test positive.

The Village Hall

Changes to the rules affect what can and cannot take place in the village hall. The hall committee is working with event organisers to determine what kind of activities can safely and legally take place.  It is a complex picture and rather than try to summarise it here anyone interested in using the hall is urged to talk through their proposals with Peter Bright (01749 870640)

The NHS Covid tracing app.

Most people will have heard about the NHS covid tracing app which can be downloaded onto most Apple or Android smartphones. The app enables you to record your presence at any premises displaying the associated QR code and uses Bluetooth to check how near you are to other app users when you have the app and Bluetooth switched on. You will be informed if anyone you’ve been near for more than a few minutes has been confirmed as having Covid-19. The app does not keep a central record of your movements and gives no personal information to anyone else. The Bluetooth proximity tracking works whether or not you have a mobile signal, but the app requires access to a mobile or wireless network in order to work fully. This article explains a little more about how the app works and how it seeks to ensure user confidentiality.

Letter from the Chair of the Parish Council

Finally, the regular letter from the Chair of the Parish Council, Sue Isherwood, is here. In it she talks about changes in personnel at the Council and the timetable for grant applications this year.

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 21.09.2020

We have only one item in tonight’s update; we are changing the way in which we send the updates out to make it easier for our local volunteers and make it less likely that things can go wrong.

If you receive this email you are able to subscribe to receive alerts whenever a news item is posted on the village website. Just click here and you will be taken to the homepage. If you scroll down to the bottom right hand corner you can enter your email address and click a button to subscribe.

        The system is secure – note the padlock in front of the website’s address in your browser, meaning that all content entered on the website is protected. Note also the Parish Council’s Privacy Policy on the ‘Governance’ webpage defining how your data may and may not be used –    

Please do this now. It would be really helpful if you could tell your local contact that you have done this (or, if you prefer, that you do not want to receive village updates) It will reduce their workload; and we can be confident that everyone who wants to be kept informed does receive our messages.

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 14.09.2020


For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website


The Rule of Six

The government has responded to the increase in Covid infections by limiting the numbers who can meet socially to six, whether inside your house or outside.  This will be legally enforceable BUT

  • It does not apply to commercial operations that have implemented Covid secure rules, so for example the pub can stay open and workplaces still operate with distancing and hygiene rules in place.
  • It does not apply to community facilities so for example the arrangements for the church, the playing fields or the village hall are unchanged. Those wishing to use the hall need to check whether they can operate safely within the procedures the hall committee has developed.

This is the latest version of the government guidelines for those wishing to explore the detail (updated 14/09/2020).


One consequence of the new rules is that the traditional cidermaking event at Old Ditch Farm cannot operate as it has done in the past.  The organisers are planning to still make cider and juice but in groups of no more than six people at a time over the weekend of 10th & 11th October. Anyone interested in participating should contact Mick Fletcher or Andrew Buchanan

Message from the Village Shop

An important message about support for Westbury Community Shop is here.  The shop depends on the contributions of volunteers as well as its dedicated staff and more help would be very welcome.

Pebbles and geocaching

A number of people have raised questions about the decorated pebbles that have started to appear around the village.  This is a harmless activity that many children and adults have found helps them occupy themselves and make friendly contact with others in these difficult times. It is not to be confused with geocaching where people can hunt for hidden objects with the aid of GPS on mobile phones.  Recent concerns arising from people searching for an unfortunately located cache have been addressed by removal of the offending item.

School Drop off and pick up times

A reminder that now that the school is back in full operation there will be increased activity on School Hill compounded by ongoing roadworks by the square.  Please try to avoid the area between 8.20 to 9.00 am and 3.00 to 3.30 pm when parents will be collecting / dropping off children and the minibus will be moving pupils between sites.




Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 07.09.2020


For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website

New Covid 19 cases in Mendip

There seem to have been rather a lot of rumours about new Covid cases in the Mendip area in the past few days.  The best information we can find is that there have been three new cases in Mendip in the last week; they are cases, not deaths and probably a result of increased testing. Although we must all stay alert there is no reason to panic.

There does seem to be an increase in the number of cases reported nationally as shown in this Chart (updated 07/09/2020).  Most of the increase appears to be among younger people and as students return to schools and colleges, we can expect this trend to continue.  There is no change in the official advice for this area although there are local lockdowns in place where there have been flare-ups.  

In order to keep everyone safe it is important that we all adhere to the guidance on social distancing and wearing masks however tedious that may seem.  The huge efforts made by staff and volunteers in the village shop have played an important part in reducing the need to travel to more crowded locations for essentials so it is really important that we don’t compromise staff safety and the availability of our local asset by cutting corners.  Please remember your mask when visiting the shop, however brief your visit.

Readers of the PEW will have seen the report we were asked to provide on what the village has done to keep safe during the pandemic.  The help we have had from so many volunteers and the co-operation of villagers has been so impressive that we thought it worth repeating here for the benefit of those who have not seen it.  It is


Scam alerts.

Sadly it is worth a reminder that the scammers have not given up and if you want to be alerted to recent contacts that have caused concern to neighbours please register for updates from the village website (ask us if you don’t know how) 

Tree Group


Finally, the tree group would like to share a couple of pictures of their initial work party clearing the ground for a tree nursery at Court House Farm.  Anyone wanting to help out by growing trees from seed or cuttings, or in any other way, should contact Buffy Fletcher or Guy Timpson.



Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Coronavirus Community Support Update 31.08.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website

Letter from the chair of the Parish Council

The regular letter from the chair of the Parish Council, Sue Isherwood, is here. Once again she focuses on the important issue of local planning and housing development.

Last week of the school holidays

For most pupils this will be the last week of the holidays. Westbury and Priddy children will return to school on Monday so please be aware that there will be extra congestion around the school entrance in the morning and at picking up time.

There has been much discussion about wearing masks in school and this is the latest guidance. In brief, outside lockdown areas it is up to headteachers to decide whether the use of face coverings in communal areas is necessary and it would only apply to those aged 12 or older.

School pupils, like many employees, have had to get used to new ways of working during the pandemic.  This YouTube video shows how members of the Somerset Youth Orchestra, Youth Choir and Youth Concert Band have not let the need for social isolation stop them making music together.

Westbury Tree Group

The Westbury Tree Group will be holding a working party at Court House Farm on Sunday 6th September to start to prepare the ground for a community tree nursery.  Anyone interested in helping with this project is asked to get in touch with Buffy Fletcher ( The group is also looking for keen gardeners who are prepared to rise to the challenge of germinating seeds from native trees; acorns and hazel nuts are not too difficult but some like rowan are a test of skill.

Ash dieback, which is one of the reasons for establishing the group, is increasingly visible in the neighbourhood.  Those interested in learning more about it might like this article.

Village Hall Opening

The village hall will officially reopen on Monday 7th September with Covid safe systems in place.  Potential organisers are urged to get in touch with Peter Bright to discuss how the hall might best accommodate specific activities.  A summary of changes recently introduced in the hall is here.


A reminder that after today’s bank holiday all recycling collections will be one day later.  Also look out for a letter from Mendip advising of changes to a three-weekly collection of non-recyclable waste from October.  Details of the changes as well as a summary of what happens to Mendip’s waste are here

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council



Coronavirus Community Support Update 24.08.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website


In the last issue we mistakenly said that it was not possible to attend live theatre performances.  That was incorrect.  It is now possible to attend live indoor performances providing Covid secure guidelines are followed, though we cannot not yet attend events in stadiums – that further step is planned for 1st October if circumstances remain favourable.  Apologies for any confusion.

Parish Council Grants

The Parish Council makes grants every year to village organisations that provide a service to the community.  The deadline for applications this year is the 30th September allowing a decision to be made at the Council meeting in October.  Details of grants provided in previous years and guidance on how to apply is available on the village website.

Helpline summary

There are a couple of changes to the support services to report so we are reissuing the summary of contact details.  Please replace the previous list with the one here..   The changes are

  • The number to ring for confidential medical advice if it is not possible to get help from one’s own GP or by dialling 111 is now 01748 870762
  • The prescription ordering and collection service will now use the same telephone line as the shopping service 01749 870603.  Please remember to give the volunteers adequate notice of the need to drop off or collect a prescription. Also, please remember that Boots Priory pharmacy will not be opening on Saturdays after the end of August

Keeping safe from scams

From time to time villagers contact us because they have either had a phone call or a visit that appears to be a scam and want to alert other residents to it.  Although we have put such alerts in the updates in the past, a weekly email covering a number of different topics doesn’t seem the best way of doing it.  A post on the village website can be delivered immediately to everyone who has registered to be notified of new news items and can alert people more quickly.  A new category has therefore been added to the news section of the website where people can post information about issues of concern. Those unable to edit the website can leave a message on the IT helpline 07375 945543    and it can be posted for them.

Since unfortunately scam phone calls and emails are a regular feature of modern life we don’t want to overload people and would therefore ask that  the alerts should only be used when the suspected scam has a specifically local connection (eg appearing to come from a local address or someone knocking on doors) or where it seems particularly plausible such as the recent calls purporting to come from track and trace.

There are several sources of help if you are not sure whether something is a scam or not.  The Citizens Advice Bureau has a very useful site helping you to check whether something is a scam and what to do if you, or a friend, feels they may have been a victim.

You can also report it here or here where you can find advice on how to keep yourself safe.

If you would like to receive these alerts please subscribe for updates from the website by using the link on the home page here . If you are unable to use the internet but want to be alerted please ask whoever delivers these updates to you.

Community Tree Group.

The Community Tree Group is working to provide information on tree planting and, in particular, which trees might make good replacements for the Ash trees that are expected to die over the next few years. Advice on suitable trees can be found on the village website.  The group has held a farm walk designed for larger landowners (kindly hosted by Jo and Rob Tucker) and is planning a working session to make a start on the tree nursery project on 6th September.


Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council



Coronavirus Community Support Update 17.08.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website


Letter from the chair of the Parish Council.

The regular letter from the chair of the Parish Council, Sue Isherwood, is here.  In her letter she raises issues about local planning and asks for feedback which you can give via email or the comment facility on the village website.


Village Hall Reopening.

The Village Hall Management Committee have been considering with event organisers how and when activities might resume in the hall.  An update from the chair, Peter Bright, is set out below.


Following a meeting of organisers on Monday morning there is reason to be optimistic that some activities will start in the Hall from the beginning of September.  Many of those responding to our survey (over 90 in total) indicated that they would be prepared to attend if suitable precautions were in place.

To keep people safe the organisers of each activity will be producing a ‘Covid safe’ risk assessment that will take into account their specific needs. This will include setting safe maximum numbers (probably fewer than 20) and deciding arrangements for payment. They will also need to keep names and contact details of those attending for 21 days, remind participants of the requirement for masks, 2m distancing, and use of hand sanitiser and  be responsible for the anti-viral cleaning of surfaces, regulating use of the kitchen, organising the use of the toilets and managing a one way flow- coming  in through the  front entrance and out through the kitchen door. 

Activities that are looking to start in September include the WI, the Gardening Club, the Art Group, Table tennis and Kettlersize. There is interest in small music ensemble rehearsals and a possibility that a Pilates class will start. It is hoped that Film Club and Westbury Society might start in October.  Please talk to the organisers if you wish to know how exactly the activity will be arranged; and of course all plans will be subject to any national or local changes in guidelines.

If anyone is looking to book the Village Hall or has general concerns please would they make contact with the Village Hall Chairman 01749 870640 or .


The Friendly Society

This is a reminder that the Friendly Society makes a small grant to school-leavers (aged 16,17 or 18) who live in the village.  Originally envisaged as help to provide books for further study it is now available to support any expenditure that might help young people starting out in life.  Though the sums are modest, given current difficulties it could prove useful.

There is also a separate grant offer for small or not so small projects that would benefit organisations or individuals in the community. Applications are considered twice per year – those received by 31st August and those received by 31st March.

Applications for either of these should be sent to Tony Shepherd (Chairman of the Westbury Friendly Society) 01749 870871 or


The joint Friendly Society / Parish Council Committee is still able to provide grants to support groups or individuals who are resident in Westbury and are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of Covid 19 and its consequences.

The application form and further details are on the village website.

Friendly Society Membership:  If you have not already done so why not join the Friendly Society and, in so doing, support its activities.  The subscription is £10 per individual for the 3 years of the Current Club. 2019- 2022.  To join contact Tony Shepherd


Cider pressing

The cider makers group are planning to meet (virtually or outdoors) on the 7th September to consider whether and how to carry out a cider pressing this year.  Watch out for details since if the event goes ahead social distancing rules will mean that it cannot be open access as in the past.  Meanwhile the group has been pleased to take delivery of some impressive planks of English Elm that will be used to rebuild the bed of the press during the next 12 months


What you can and cannot do

Details of what we can and cannot do because of covid are constantly changing; the most recent change was on 15th August since when we can visit casinos and skating rinks but not yet live theatre.  For those wanting to check what the current state of play is the latest guidance is here.


Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council