Support vaccination with V-star badge

Liz Nicholls

covid19

Lisa Hulyer and Sarah Lewis were so moved by the plight of our NHS heroes and angry about anti-vax scaremongering, that they decided to do something about it…

Over winter they launched their Vaccine Star (V-Star) badge for sale at £3 with all profits going to NHS charities, St John Ambulance and local causes, while sending a positive message to the world.

“We are two British mums who, like everyone else, have been significantly and profoundly affected by this dreadful virus,” explained Lisa and Sarah.
“Like most of you, we’ve been homeschooling our children, whilst struggling to maintain any vestige of normality as best we can.

As we are unable to work as normal, we have created this badge to promote the Covid19 vaccination programme to encourage every person in this country to take up this vital vaccine and to wear your V-Star badge to show your support.

It’s a handy way of being ‘seen’ to support the programme – and the feedback from healthcare workers has been so positive. It’s important everyone, from all communities, comes together to have the vaccine, to enable us to return to normal.”

The high quality 3cm blue enamelled star set in gold metal with a butterfly clasp is a British-made product. The project is helping to promote pop-up staff shops in hospitals for free food and essentials. As well as relaxing staff break areas for NHS workers and welfare packs of snacks, drinks, lip balm and hand creams.

To buy yours, please visit v-star.co.uk and follow
@vstar.uk on Instagram


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Gemma Hardy offers mental health advice

Liz Nicholls

covid19

The term ‘mental health’ has recently become something of a buzzword. Worries of how the pandemic is affecting our mental health are discussed daily in the news, on social media and in our social circles.

It’s encouraging that a topic, which is usually considered taboo, is being given so much airtime, however, do we really know what mental health is?

Interestingly, there is no finite definition of mental health. The World Health Organisation suggests it is: ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community’.

The language surrounding mental health is often misused and terms such as mental health and mental illness get confused despite being very different. The truth is, just as we all have physical health, we all have mental health too. We know the importance of looking after our physical health and it’s no different from our mental health.

With last year’s constant changes and uncertainty, some of us may be feeling stressed, overwhelmed or deflated. As lockdown restrictions are eased, how can we adapt to our ‘new normal’ whilst keeping mentally healthy?

Try our top three tips:

Acceptance

It’s much easier to live in a state of harmony when you accept the things that are out of your control. You can’t change the actions of others, predict if there will be another lockdown or change how people respond to rules. So, accept the things you can’t control and focus on the things you can control.

Practise gratitude

People who regularly practise gratitude feel more positive emotions, have improved sleep, and express more compassion and kindness. Take time to notice the small things around you, like a beautiful blue sky, a delicious lunch or time to dive into a new book.

Exciting opportunities

The plus side of uncertainty is you never know what’s around the corner. Could it be the pandemic has forced you to make changes that will actually enhance your life? With a positive mindset, you can look at change as a new chapter filled with new goals and successes to celebrate.

Take action and invest in your mental health today!

Hardy Training Company works with businesses and schools to create mentally healthy workplaces, by providing internationally recognised Mental Health First Aid training courses.

If you, or your organisation, would like further information please visit hardytrainingcompany.co.uk


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Petworth Craft Group boost charity funds

Liz Nicholls

covid19

Petworth Community Craft Group has taken its fundraising efforts for local charities online to continue its good work when they haven’t been able to meet in person.

The group which has just marked its third anniversary brings crafters of all abilities together to make saleable delights to help boost local charities including more than £1,000 for Petworth Community Garden and in excess of £2,500 for the Sylvia Beaufoy Youth Club.

When sources of selling ceased last year because of the pandemic, Tricia Stephens from PCCG said they “entered the 21st century, creating a Facebook page and sold from there as well as Petworth virtual Christmas market”.

Where possible the group uses unwanted, surplus or natural products to make a wide variety of gifts and useful items. Materials used have included donated designer fabric samples, donated blank cards and envelopes, unwanted magazines and newspapers, scraps of wool, corks, fir cones and much more.

PCCG encourages teamwork and a sense of camaraderie and belonging and enables experienced crafters to share their know how.

Members are welcome to bring their own project, make crafts to raise money or just go along for coffee and a chat and see what others are doing.

The group usually meets every second Friday in the month at Coultershaw Warehouse and is looking forward to getting together as soon as they can.

Interested in joining? Email , visit petworthcommunity.org or call 01798 342016.

To see what the group has for sale visit www.facebook.com/CreatePetworth


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Tips to overcome a needle phobia

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covid19

A needle phobia is quite common – it’s thought to be a problem for about 1 in 10 of us.

People who experience this may have had a lot of injections in childhood, or had previous bad experiences with injections, but this is not always the case. It can result in sensations of panic or feeling faint – or actually fainting – because of a rise and then a rapid drop in blood pressure.

Phil Day, Superintendent Pharmacist at Pharmacy2U, the UK’s first and largest online pharmacy, gives us some helpful advice for anyone who is worried:

1.

It’s nothing to be embarrassed about! If you’re going for an injection, tell the person giving it to you about your phobia and they’ll take good care of you. They’ll be very used to it and will know what to do. They can help by distracting you, perhaps by talking to you during the process – which is over before you know it.

2.

There are things you can do to help yourself. There’s a process called “applied tension”, where you tense your muscles for 10-15 seconds at a time, then rest, and repeat 5 times. Doing this every few days for a week or so can train your body to prevent fainting. Then, whenever you feel anxious about injections, you can repeat the process and it should control your blood pressure quickly. Don’t forget that you should always relax your arm for an injection, though.

3.

Gradually exposing yourself to different situations relating to needles has been shown to help lots of people ease their phobia over time. Perhaps start with thinking about having an injection, and working up from there – and practising “applied tension” and deep mindful breathing when you feel the anxiety coming on.

Overcoming or learning to control a fear takes time and practice, including discovering what tips work best for you to help reduce the fear you feel. It is important if you suffer from a needle phobia to try out different techniques that can help with this so that it doesn’t prevent you from getting important vaccinations that can benefit your health.


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Get zoom ready with vitamins

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As millions across the world continue to interact online, people are spending a record amount of time video chatting.

This means that you often spend hours every week seeing yourself far more than you did pre-Covid, often leading to you paying greater attention to how you look. With this in mind, Pharmacy2U, the UK’s largest online pharmacy, have compiled a list of the best vitamins to make sure you’re Zoom-confident!

Phil Day, Superintendent Pharmacist at Pharmacy2U, the UK’s first and largest online pharmacy, gives us which vitamins help with what:

Vitamin A

All cells need vitamin A for growth: this includes hair, which is the fastest growing tissue in the human body. It also helps your skin to produce an oily substance called sebum which helps to moisturise your scalp and keep your hair looking healthy. It has also been found that people that are deficient in vitamin A may experience hair thinning and hair loss.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C can be found largely in both the epidermis (outer layer of skin) and the dermis (inner layer of skin). It has antioxidant properties and plays a key role in producing collagen, which helps to keep skin healthy. This is one of the key ingredients found in many anti-ageing skincare products. It helps to heal damaged skin and also has the ability to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, help to repair hair and prevent dry skin. It’s also great for healthy hair, again linked to its role in producing collagen, which is an important part of the hair structure.

Vitamin D

Typically we get the majority of our vitamin D in the summer months; the skin makes it when it’s exposed to sunlight. However, with most of us stuck indoors and with the gloomy winter weather many of us may be deficient at the moment. Vitamin D is used throughout the body, including the skin, where it plays an important role in skin tone, as well as preventing premature skin ageing. It also promotes healthy bone growth, with some studies showing that it can help with dry skin, eczema and psoriasis. Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to hair loss, with research showing that vitamin D may help create new hair follicles.

Vitamin E

Similarly to vitamin C, vitamin E possesses antioxidant properties, helping to prevent the skin from sun damage. Vitamin E absorbs UV light, minimising the damage done by UV rays, preventing dark spots and wrinkles. If you have particularly dry skin, vitamin E can help to counteract a lack of sebum, as well as to help in the treatment of skin inflammation.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is vital in helping the body’s ability to form blood clots, which helps the body to heal bruises, wounds and any areas that have been affected by surgery. It is thought to help skin conditions including scars, stretch marks and dark eye circles.

Some vitamins should not be taken in large doses, and some may clash with prescribed medicines. Before taking any new vitamin supplements, talk to your pharmacist for advice if you need it.”


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Staying safe after COVID-19 vaccination

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How the vaccination could make you feel and what to do after you’ve had it. Comments from Phil Day, Superintendent Pharmacist at Pharmacy2U, the UK’s first and largest online pharmacy:

“Like all medicines, there is a potential for side effects. These are generally mild and disappear within a day or two, and not everyone who has the vaccine will be affected. The most common side effects include fatigue, having a tender arm where you had your injection, and general aches and flu-like symptoms. These are common for many vaccines; the vaccine cannot give you Covid-19. It’s important to remember that if you experience mild symptoms after the first dose, you still need to get the second dose.

You must continue to take all recommended precautions to avoid infection

“It will take a week or two for your body to build up protection from the first dose of vaccine. No vaccine is 100% effective, and we still don’t know how much the vaccine prevents transmission of the disease, so you must continue to take all recommended precautions to avoid infection. In order to minimise any risks, for you, your family or other people you may come into close proximity with, you should continue to practise social distancing, wear a face mask, wash your hands frequently and follow the current government guidance.

“Although the fact that such a vast number of the population are receiving their vaccination is hugely positive, it’s important not to get complacent. By doing this, we can continue to alleviate pressures on the NHS. There is still a long way to go before life returns to pre-Covid normality and you can play your part in getting us all thereby sticking to the national guidelines.”


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Virtual classical concerts

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With the cancellation of live music events there are still plenty of ways to get your musical fix, from organisations far and wide who are using online platforms to share their work.

Local music charity Grayshott Concerts has been putting on shows at St Luke’s, Grayshott, for fifteen years. Starring world-class performers from the world of classical music including Sir Karl Jenkins, Howard Shelley, Nicola Benedetti and more, they already had a packed programme lined up for 2020.

Founder Peter Harrison has some suggestions for his favourites:

Grayshott Concerts’ patron Karl Jenkins has joined forces with the 10,000-strong Stay at Home Choir to undertake an ambitious ten-week project bringing together voices from lockdown to perform highlights of The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, to mark its 20th anniversary.

The orchestra-in-residence, the London Mozart Players has created a whole series of videos under the banner At Home with LMP featuring Mozart Mondays, Chamber Tuesdays, Thursday Thoughts, Family Fridays and Saturday Sessions. They’ve even created some personalised messages just for Grayshott fans.

www.grayshottconcerts.co.uk / www.londonmozartplayers.com/athome/

Choir-in-residence Excelsis Choir have taken their rehearsals online and are now Zooming regularly. A number of virtual choirs have also sprung up – music therapy charity Nordoff Robins welcomes singers of all backgrounds and abilities for a weekly sing-a-long on Tuesdays at 4pm. www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/online-choir/

The London Symphony Orchestra has a digital programme including twice-weekly full-length concerts, playlists and activities to keep younger music fans busy. They also have a YouTube channel packed with more than 500 videos. www.lso.co.uk

The BBC has created ‘Culture in Quarantine’ to bring arts and culture into your home, both from the archives and fresh content from newly-formed groups like the BBC Lockdown Orchestra  https://www.bbc.co.uk/arts

Several past performers are doing sterling work on their own social media channels, including the singing schoolboy Cai Thomas, from Farnham. Making the most of Facebook and Twitter, Grayshott Concerts has also established its own new fortnightly e-news which currently goes out to over 1,600 subscribers.

Hailed as “an excellent way to keep connected” and “really enjoyable and insightful” by readers, the mailers combine current news from the classical music world along with retrospectives of past concerts in anticipation of the time when we will once again be able to bring world-class music to Grayshott and the surrounding area.

Salute our Forces

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covid19

Our Armed Forces are something for us to be proud of at any time as they work to keep us safe and now they are helping to fight coronavirus

Armed Forces Day on Saturday, 27th June, is the chance to show your support for those who make up the Armed Forces community whether they are serving troops, their families, veterans or cadets.

There are many ways to get involved and show your support and while this year things are very different due the current restrictions, it’s important to acknowledge the part our Armed Forces are playing in the fight against coronavirus.

The national celebration in Scarborough has been cancelled as have the local parades and tributes but that doesn’t mean you can’t still say thank you.

#SaluteOurForces is a simple way for anyone to pay tribute to the British Armed Forces for their hard work, dedication and efforts to and keep everyone safe in the UK and across the world. Send a photo or video of yourself or your friends and colleagues saluting, find out how to do it properly at https://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/get-involved/saluteourforces/ – did you know the Royal Navy salute differently to the Royal Air Force and the British Army?

Show your support for our Armed Forces and help provide a much-needed morale boost as they work not only to defend the UK and its interests around the world but at the moment through the Covid Support Force.

As part of their work in the fight against the coronavirus, the Armed Forces have helped with the building of the new hospitals, providing test centres, delivering vital PPE and ventilators and working with the ambulance service.

Find out more

Show your support, visit

Wallingford vehicle rally

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covid19

The popular annual Wallingford Vehicle Rally & Parade has been cancelled this year but the organisers are keeping their fingers crossed for a ‘mini lockdown parade’ on August 2nd.

They say: “We are currently in negotiations to hold a short driving tour around the area on Sunday 2nd August for all those purchased any ticket for this year’s event.

“We are currently working on a route that won’t cause disruption to the usual traffic and will contact everyone via email very soon with details.”

It will be free of charge, but they ask you make a small donation in the collection buckets on the day or via the crowd funder link that will be set up nearer the time so we can then share this with the local charitable causes who usually benefit and are struggling for funding during these trying times.

Organisers added: “Thank you for your patience, we are disappointed we are unable to hold the event this year but the health of participants, traders, staff and general public have to be our prime concern. Stay safe and we will be in touch with ticket holders this week and please keep an eye on our social media for updates for Sunday 2nd August 2020 mini lockdown parade.”

Info

All those who purchased tickets for the 2020 event can either request a refund (follow the link on your ticket confirmation) or your purchase will be valid for the 2021 event which will be held on Sunday, 9th May 2021. If they don’t hear from you, they will simply send you information and wrist bands in April for the event.

Mini plays in response to Covid-19

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covid19

Four Reading writers have penned mini audio plays about their town and their relationship to home in these challenging times.

Reading Rep has partnered with the UK’s leading new writing company Paines Plough to commission the work.

The plays, part of the project called Come to Where I Am, are available free online and, in a first, people who may find it difficult or even impossible to access digital content can hear the plays over the phone. Prospect Park Hospital which treats mental health and Purley Park Trust patients with learning disabilities will receive the free telephone and online readings.

Links to the plays will also be available www.readingrep.com.

The Reading writers are:

•Sam Butler, co-artistic director of Fevered Sleep which works across artforms making performance, installation, books, films and digital art.

•Camile Ucan, a comedy writer-performer and one third of comedy sketch group Birthday Girls whose podcast Birthday Girls’ House Party is available on BBC Sounds now. She has an extensive body of work in TV, film and theatre.

•Ali Taylor, an award-winning playwright and teacher who has created work for stage and radio.

•Adrian Tang, Artistic Director of Exit Pursued By Panda, a theatre company promoting the interests of East Asian writers, directors, actors and other creatives.

Reading Rep founder and artistic director Paul Stacey says: “We have loved collaborating with Paines Plough to create this unique project and it joins the educational outreach work we have been undertaking since theatres shut and Britain went into lockdown.

“The plays also allow isolated audience groups to access on-demand culture.

“We are also excited that we will host live performances of the plays when we begin our first season next year at our new theatre on King’s Road which is currently being built. We have plans that will incorporate social distancing if this is still the guidance by then.

“Meanwhile, please have a listen to the plays and learn more about what Reading means as home to all of us. We have all spent so much time in our home town for the last few months that it makes them especially poignant.”

Actors including David Bradley, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Lisa Hammond and Sally Dynevor will read the plays over the phone for isolated audiences. In total, 30 short plays are being commissioned.

More info

Links to the plays will also be available at…