Back in February just before the Covid pandemic hit, I had visited the newsroom of an Andover institution - the great Andover Advertiser. Did you know the paper is over 100 years old, they have a small and exceptionally hard working team, and some 57,000 people are glued to it every week! I caught up with Editor Katie and Reporter Ryan and we discussed how the paper has changed over the years, some of their most popular stories and more!
Coronavirus has catapulted our schools into the new world of tech. Winton Academy in Andover is getting used to virtual lessons, navigating exams and maintaining their sense of identity through regular quizzes and assemblies. Headteacher Nathan Thomas joins us in this episode - he has been instrumental in this effort, he’s moving on after a successful stint leading the school, and he’ll soon be overseeing four schools at the Academies Enterprise Trust where his task will be to drive standards up.
Ocado is doing an incredible job locally during this COVID crisis. They are keeping Andover fed despite the huge surge in demand, rebuilding their Andover warehouse after the tragic fire, and they remain a big employer in the area - all while adapting to keep staff and customers safe. Allan Carruthers fills us on their mammoth efforts.
Meet Sarah. Sarah's a Tadley resident who helped set up a COVID19 help group by matching people who need help with volunteers - all through the power of technology. Together they've helped over 120 people in the past week alone with errands such as prescriptions, shopping and dog walking.
Dmitrijs, as our Member of Youth Parliament (MYP), is doing a super job representing young people in North West Hampshire. Young people are facing an especially challenging time right now with coronavirus resulting in cancellation of their exams and uncertainty to their lessons and social life. It was good to catch up with Dmitrijs about this and more. Once again forgive the audio quality, we’re recording these episodes remotely to keep everyone safe.
Did you know our well loved Andover War Memorial Hospital has so far stayed COVID-19 free, taken on lots of antenatal services and small operations, AND the first patients have now moved into the new hospice building there. I discussed this and much more with Alex Whitfield from Hampshire Hospitals.
Veterans in Action is an outstanding organisation supporting ex-armed forces personnel - now they’re supporting us all. Billy MacLeod joins me in my latest community podcast to explain how Veterans in Action have been getting food, medicines and support to the people who need it most during the coronavirus crisis.
For the Easter weekend, I hosted Revered Chris Bradish of St Mary’s Church in Andover, to talk about what they’re doing to keep the community’s morale high in these challenging times. Rev’d Chris also informed me that St Mary’s Easter Sunday service will be carried out online this year - so be sure to log-on bright and early on Sunday morning.
In this difficult time, small businesses across North West Hampshire are innovating and evolving the way they serve their communities. George and Dragon in Hurstbourne Tarrant is a case in point, delivering take-out fish and chips, burgers and sourdough bread to replicate pub nights for punters - while they stay at home! They’re also delivering food to staff at Andover War Memorial Hospital. The pub's landlord Patrick joins me in this episode.
Vulnerable people need help now more than ever as we get through the COVID-19 crisis, and that's where Terry Bishop and Unity come in. Terry joins me in the episode to talk about how they are coordinating help for those who need it. They're on 0330 4004 116 if you need their support.
Chief Inspector Kory Thorne and his fantastic team are working round the clock to keep us safe during this difficult time. He joins me on this episode to talk about policing efforts across North West Hampshire during COVID-19, team morale, and more. Once again forgive the audio quality as we record these remotely to keep everyone safe.
Meet Joanna. As we deal with this COVID-19 emergency, Joanna is volunteering with Swan Street Stores in Kingsclere - delivering food and doing much more to help older and vulnerable people in the community.
Over the coming days, I am recording a series of community information podcasts featuring people across North West Hampshire who are working tirelessly to help our communities as we deal with this challenging time. First up Phil North, leader of Test Valley Borough Council - he's doing a big job in keeping essential council services running be it bin collections or access to housing and benefits. Please forgive the audio quality - we are recording these remotely to keep guests safe, and we're working to get practical information out in as real time as possible.
The Queen Charlotte Inn is an Andover institution. Pubs like the Queen Charlotte sit at the heart of our communities, and need all the support they can get. Ahead of Budget 2020, I met with the landlady Victoria to find out about their exciting big plans and what more government can do to help pubs like hers succeed in the coming months and years.
You may not have heard of Shared Lives but I’ve been blown away by how this scheme is revolutionising care and improving lives in North West Hampshire and indeed across the UK. I joined Claire the scheme manager, Rose a carer, and Hampshire County Councillor Liz Fairhurst to discuss how it works and the impact it’s having on adult social care.
Join me as I discuss the sensitive issue of assisted dying and why it is time to change the law to help terminally ill people. I'm joined by guests Sarah Wooton, Chief Executive of Dignity In Dying and campaigner Tom Beagley-Spicer who tells us his very personal story about his mother.