July Message from Cath Holloway, the Village Agent

Hi Everyone,

You may remember last month, I was telling you about a low cost phone package from BT for people who get certain benefits like Pension Credit and Universal Credit? Well a client has taken it up and was impressed so it may be worth a look!

Wessex Water has a number of schemes to help people who are struggling to pay their water bill. Details will be on the bill, or you can ring Customer Services on 0345 600 3 600. If you have access to the internet, their website is very informative.

Libraries are wonderful places – not only for borrowing books, or learning about BT Basic, see above! Many of them have events going on, access to the internet and clubs you can join. But what happens if you are no longer able to get out and go to the library? The Home Library Service could be the answer.

The Royal Voluntary Service will arrange for a volunteer to visit to talk about what you like to read and how often you would like them to call (usually fortnightly or monthly). The volunteer will then arrange to go to the library to choose your books and deliver them to you. There are other ways to access the library too, so do pop in or call your local library on 0300 123 2224. I met the South Somerset team and they were really lovely. It would be great to have a monthly chat with one of them.

Congratulations to the many people that have raised funds to purchase a defibrillator for your village. Do make sure that you know where yours is accessed because those vital minutes can make all the difference to the amount of blood reaching the brain and can save a life. After attending Gavin Churchill’s First Aid course, I feel much more empowered to administer first aid. Gavin was clear – doing SOMETHING is better than nothing and not to worry about doing it wrong! I was concerned that I didn’t know how to use a defib but apparently the instructions run step by step with you. I also worried about what would happen if I used a defib on someone who’s heart beat was still going. Gavin reassured me that the defib will not start in this situation. IT IS FOOL PROOF!

I have attended lots of village AGM’s over the last few months and it never ceases to amaze me how many wonderful clubs and events are available and thank the volunteers for making this happen. Remember these will not run if you do not get involved. You can volunteer as much or as little time as you like. I can guarantee that the benefits to your wellbeing are unending. SO BE BRAVE AND GIVE IT A GO!

Village Agents are a charity who give advice on staying independent in your home, managing your finances, queries about transport, becoming a carer, starting social groups and just about anything!

You can find me at local coffee mornings and events or call and email me. (Enable Javascript to see the email address) 07968521746



Brownies and Guides

Can you believe the Stoke sub Hamdon Guide unit turned a year old on 18th April 2017! What a year we have had – with a craft day, film night and first aid day as fundraisers. The Queens birthday, Remembrance day, Orienteering, Swimming at Greenbank outdoor pool, Camp with Martock Guides, Airhop and Christmas shopping, making fires and toasting marshmallows at Hamhill, Sailing at Sutton Bingham and a sleepover under the sharks at Plymouth Aquarium. Not to forget completing badges in Water safety, Craft, Traditions, World Guiding and Me in Mind. The girls have also learnt how to organise themselves and choose their own activities in their ‘Go for its’, which have been in the subjects of Chocolate, Football, Globalistic and Passion for fashion! I think we can safely say we have had an adventure! Our membership is now reached 17 and is at risk of reaching capacity with a number of Brownies coming up through.

Our Brownie unit has been naturally feeding our Guide unit over the last year and seen many fly over the toadstool and onto the further adventures of Guiding. So if you have a wish to put your daughters name down to join us if aged between 7 & 10 years please register her interest at Girlguiding UK website. If she is under 7 then you can always put her name down so that she has a place ready for when she does turn 7.

Some of you might be aware there is another Girlguiding section for 5 – 7 year olds called Rainbows, for which we would like to have a local unit open if there was someone who would like to take on the challenge, with our support of course.

We are lucky to currently have 7 adult volunteers including a Duke of Edinburgh student who have been having fun too, extending their own skills in overnight licenses, training weekends away with Somerset County at Foxlease on how to extend girls level of acheivements depending on their confidence and capacity. Gift Aid applications to HMRC, Treasurers, First aid, Safeguarding, Risk assessment and how to encourage participation from the girls and how to get feedback and evaluation afterwards. However everyones time is precious and if you wanted to get involved whether you have daughters or not, I am sure we could find a role to suit you and your existing skills and those you want to develop. Subject to the relevent checks of course!

We display the current Brownie and Guide unit terms programmes on the Memorial Hall entrance hall notice board if you would like to take a look. Or just pick up the phone and have a chat! We are very much looking forward to moving into the Hamdon Youth Hall later in the year. We will be looking at fundraising to help pay for the alterations that the hall needs to accommodate us and other users. It will give us a permanment home and storage for equipment to enable more adventures to be sought. We will naturally appreciate your support.

Many of you we might have spoken with at the May Fayre. We thank you for your support and hope you appreciated the cleaning of and the placement of the bunting on the village signs at either end of the village which was our small act to ‘lend a hand’, and ‘do a good turn’ for the community.

Jackie Poole AKA Snowy Owl
1st Montacute Brownies and 2nd Hamdon Guides
Tel: 01935 823606
email: (Enable Javascript to see the email address)

Women’s Beginners Running Group

The first Run Together Stoke sub Hamdon will be held at 1610 Stanchester Sports centre TA14 6UG on Thursday 27th April at 7pm.

Perfect for complete beginners, our friendly coach will help you take those important first steps to reach your goals in a supportive environment.

Registration Essential. To register Call 01935 462616 or email iit@south somerset.gov.uk

The First session is free then £1 per session.

More information available on our facebook page. Click here.




New Youth Centre on its way

The Parish Council is delighted to report that our bid for the closed Methodist Church in West Street has finally been accepted and approved by the Church’s Trustees, paving the way for a new Hamdon Youth and Family Centre for our village. This is the first successful Community Right to Bid sale in South Somerset since the legislation was introduced in 2012, only 1 of 11 in the UK, and is a tremendous achievement for our village. It will complement the adult use of the Memorial Hall and the Club and will make a significant improvement to community facilities in our village. Work will now begin on the legal processes of title transfer.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our village. It has been great having residents and councillors working alongside each other in our Working Party to make a positive difference for generations to come, and we look forward to lots more resident input in this project. If you would like to join us in helping us to get this new facility up and running, you will be warmly welcomed! Read more about it here …….


Witcombe Stream Restoration Project

Witcombe_Village_1aThanks to a £19,800 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), South Somerset District Council is delighted to announce the Ham Hill Ranger Team will be starting work to restore the Heritage landscape in Witcombe Valley, part of Ham Hill Country Park.

This summer (2016), the Rangers and volunteers will be working together on a practical project to enhance the habitats, wildlife and heritage in the bottom of Witcombe Valley. The project has been in development with the Friends of Ham Hill Community Group for a number of months now, and should see a positive community led series of activities and events delivered on site.

They will be digging out the old medieval pond and then bringing to the surface the piped stream that currently runs underground through to the very bottom of the Valley. A series of small ponds and streams will be created, and with new marginal planting, fabulous habitats for wildlife will be created. Early in the year you will see the Rangers starting to pollard the old willow trees that sit in the valley bottom.

The works will take place throughout 2016 and access to the valley should not be affected. The project brings plenty of opportunities for practical volunteering and also school visits. The Rangers are hosting a mini exhibition about the project, at the Ranger’s Office (TA14 6RW) on March 3rd between 3.30 – 6.30pm, everyone is welcome to attend to see the plans, discuss volunteering opportunities and plan trips and school visits that link to the curriculum.




Learn more about St Mary’s Church bells

The bell ringers at St Mary’s Church, East Stoke, are inviting anyone interested to go along to their practice session to find about what bell ringing is all about. They practice on a Monday night from 7.30 to 9.00pm. Please contact Angie Hodges on 823928 beforehand.