Category Archives: All Posts

Historic Painshill in Surrey has reopened its gates to its members and the public as lockdown begins to ease.

The 158-acre landscaped gardens in Cobham closed in March because of the pandemic but is now able to welcome visitors again with social distancing procedures in place.

The park, which is run by a small, independent trust, had feared that it wouldn’t survive the closure and appealed to its members and the public for donations. Now it is hoped that people will return to boost its strained funds.

Director Paul Griffiths said: “It’s important, now more than ever, for people to support us during this time. The two months we were closed have put a real strain on our finances, so we urge people to come along and enjoy our amazing park.

“The team here are working hard to ensure that social distancing rules are met, with yellow floor markers in place when entering and exiting the grounds.

“The tearoom will be open for takeaway refreshments or visitors can bring their own picnic to enjoy in the grounds.

“Unfortunately, we do need to keep the grotto, upper floors of the Gothic Tower and the gift shop closed for the time being but hope to be able to reopen them again in the near future.”

To visit Painshill, bookings must be made online in advance with different time slots available. Exceptions for this are Painshill members and those who hold Historic Houses or Gardener’s World cards.

For further information on the opening, please visit:

Epsom Market will fully return Thursday and Saturday (4 and 6 June) following the recent change to Government guidance, allowing stallholders to sell their full range of goods.
The monthly Farmers Market will take place this Sunday (7 June) and the monthly Vegan Market will take place on Sunday 28 June.
When the Covid-19 restrictions were introduced, market stalls were only able to sell food, but now they can sell all items again.
Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of the Strategy and Resources Committee at Epsom & Ewell Borough Council said “In its 300 years of operation, Epsom Market has overcome many challenges and as in the past, and working with the traders, we will overcome this latest test.
“Under the Government rules, our traders who sell food and grocery items have been allowed to continue in the same way as supermarkets. Now we can welcome back all our traders as we gradually adopt the ‘new normal’.
“Safety is paramount and we politely urge shoppers to follow social distancing and take notice of the on-site signage and measures in place, in order to keep themselves and our stallholders as safe as possible. The shopping experience will be a little different but people will hopefully get used to it quite quickly”.
To keep stallholders and the public as safe as possible a socially distancing queuing system will be in place at each market stall. Stallholders will be regularly using hand sanitiser, and cleaning where appropriate, and shoppers are encouraged to only handle items they intend to purchase and to pay via contactless where they can and when it’s available.

Cobham activity centre named winner of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Cobham-based Walton Firs Foundation & Activity Centre is celebrating after being named as a winner of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

This is the highest national award presented to local volunteer groups across the UK and is the equivalent of the MBE.  It is presented to exceptional groups that are volunteer-led and whose levels of initiative and impact make a significant difference to beneficiaries in their communities. Created in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of HM The Queen’s Coronation, the list of winners is published on 2nd June each year. 

Walton Firs offers accessible outdoor education opportunities, such as camping, climbing, caving, archery and bushcraft, to young people, and its team of volunteers are invaluable in supporting the delivery of the programmes, as well as maintaining the facilities and equipment. Since opening in 2008, Walton Firs has enabled over 250,000 young people to develop new skills and abilities within the natural environment.

All award nominees were subject to an appraisal of their volunteering policies and practices by the Surrey Lieutenancy local assessment panel, whose reports were forwarded to the National Award Committee. This national committee subsequently made its own independent recommendations to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which sent a final list of award recipients to the Queen for her approval.

With a proud tradition of supporting adults and young people to volunteer within its organisation, Walton Firs has more than 100 volunteers engaged as trustees, patrons, crew members and leaders. The activity centre also supports vulnerable and ‘at risk’ young people to develop their social and vocational skills though mentored work experience placements, and it was these youth support programmes which were, in part, key to Walton Firs receiving the award.

Izzy Devonshire, age 17, explained what she had gained from being a Walton Firs volunteer:

Volunteering at Walton Firs has taught me valuable skills. It has helped me stay connected with my friends since finishing school. It’s helped me develop team working skills and brought me and my friends closer together.”

Rob Woolford, Chairman of the Walton Firs Foundation, said:

On behalf of Walton Firs Foundation, I’m delighted our organisation has been chosen to receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. We have a long-standing commitment to deliver high quality volunteering opportunities, and we’re all thrilled our tradition of supporting young people to develop the skills and knowledge required to become happy and successful adults has been recognised.

“As with many charitable organisations, the present difficulties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic is giving the Activity Centre some financial difficulties, with enforced closure at a time which would normally provide a substantial proportion of the annual income. Sadly, this lockdown also means our volunteer service teams and corporate sponsored work teams are not able to help with their volunteer days. Every little counts and we are hoping to find a few generous sponsors to help us through these difficult times.”

Chris Scott, the Centre Manager at Walton Firs, added:

Receiving The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is a tribute to the many hundreds of people who have given their time as volunteers to the activity centre over the past twelve years.  I have to say a big thank you to every one of our past and present crew members and leaders for their inputs to Walton Firs!”

Walton Firs Foundation & Activity Centre will be formally presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service by the LordLieutenant of Surrey during a commemorative event at a future date where all past and present volunteers will join directors to celebrate.

For further information about becoming a Walton Firs sponsor, please contact Christopher Scott on 01932 863243. Alternatively, donations can be made by via Walton Firs’ Facebook page

Due to current staff shortages, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s garden waste service is temporarily suspended until further notice

  • This is to allow the Council to focus on providing core collection services at this challenging time.
  • The Council apologises for this service interruption and thanks residents for their patience during this period.
  • As soon as the garden waste service resumes, the Council will update its dedicated webpage – – as well as its social media accounts.  Messages will also be shared with the local media.

“Thanks for the support!” say Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s household waste collection team as householders tape appreciative messages to their bins.

Councillor Neil Dallen, Chairman of the Environment and Safe Communities Committee, said:

“These messages have provided our hard working staff with a real boost.

“The team are doing a fantastic job, safely keeping weekly household waste and recycling collections running for residents.

“This is being noticed and appreciated, and residents are getting creative to say ‘Thank You’.  The notes are being saved and displayed at our waste and recycling depot, ensuring that everyone can see them.”

Daily updates to the household waste and recycling service are available on the Borough Council’s website (

Surrey residents are being asked to help their local bin crews as they deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on waste and recycling collections.

Waste tonnages have already started to increase and while most services are currently operating as normal, they could be reduced if staff sickness increases because of the virus.

Residents can help in lots of ways including making sure their bin lids are able to firmly close, compacting recycling, only putting bins out when full, reducing waste as much as possible and not buying too much food.

Mike Goodman, Chairman of the Surrey Environment Partnership says: “As key workers, bin collection staff provide an essential public service and are continuing to work hard to maintain collections during this difficult time. Residents can help reduce the pressure on the service by taking a few simple actions.

“Also, as the county’s community recycling centres (CRCs) have been closed due to the pandemic we are asking residents to hold on to any waste they were planning to take to a CRC until they reopen.”

The advice on how residents can help is being regularly updated on the Surrey Environment Partnership website. The site also features public health guidance for people who are self-isolating with symptoms of coronavirus to explain what they should do with personal waste such as tissues and cleaning cloths. They should place these items into a rubbish bag placed inside another bag, tie it securely, keep it inside for 72 hours and then disposing of it in the usual way.

Below is the full list of ways residents can help their bin crew:

Help bin crews operate

  • Due to reduced traffic, usual collection times may change. Bins should be put out early and left out until they’ve been emptied.
  • Residents should be considerate when parking cars on a collection day to help ensure collection vehicles can access roads.
  • Bin lids should be firmly closed to help prevent crews unnecessarily touching them.
  • Residents should wash their hands before and after touching bins.
  • Waste should be compacted into bins as much as possible to maximise space and bins should only be put out when they are full.
  • Bin crews are working hard to keep this essential service going during this difficult time and their moral would be boosted if residents let them know they are appreciated with a wave or a smile.

Recycle right and reduce waste

  • The right items should be put in the right bins. The Surrey Recycles search tool can help residents find out what goes where. It can also be downloaded as an app – search for ‘Surrey Recycles’.
  • Waste should be reduced as much as possible. There are tips on how to reduce waste on the SEP website.
  • Residents should buy only what food they need and should freeze it if it can’t be eaten before the use by date. Leftovers should be used rather than thrown away. The SEP website features many leftovers recipes.
  • Start composting at home. Compost bins can be bought at a reduced rate or for those wanting to compost all their food waste, food waste digesters are also available.
  • Surrey’s community recycling centres (CRCs) are currently closed until further notice due to the Government’s decision to restrict all but non-essential movement. Residents should not put waste that may have taken to a CRC in household bins as it may overwhelm collection services. If having a clear-out while at home, hold on to waste as much as possible until normal service resumes.


  • While options for disposing of waste are reduced, residents should remember that fly-tipping is against the law and those convicted face fines of up to £50,000 or up to five years’ imprisonment as well as other potential penalties.

The latest information on how residents can help can be found on the Surrey Environment Partnership website.

Hi there,

In light of the recent government restrictions, plans to celebrate Surrey Day 2020 on Saturday May 2 with public events, activities and social gatherings have had to change.

Instead, Visit Surrey and our Surrey Day partners, BBC Surrey and Surrey Life magazine, are hoping to spread some positivity with a ‘virtual’ celebration instead.

During Surrey Day, we encourage you to turn to social media to:

  • Post about the places you’re most looking forward to revisiting once this is over;
  • Share your favourite photos of Surrey through the seasons;
  • And spread good news stories about people doing amazing things to help your local community.

Make sure to use the hashtag #SurreyDay and we will share as much positivity as possible! You’ll find us at @VisitSurrey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

From dawn to dusk on Surrey Day, BBC Radio Surrey will be using the airwaves to celebrate this amazing county, and Surrey Life magazine will still be dedicating its May issue to the people and places which make Surrey so great.

While you may not be able to experience Surrey in all its glory first hand at the moment, let’s light a virtual beacon of hope on Surrey Day so we can all look forward to getting out and about again for real soon.

Christine Howard – Chair of Visit Surrey

Sleep – it’s one of the most important ingredients for creating happy, healthy and thriving children. Unfortunately, many children simply don’t get enough of it.

The NHS guidelines state children aged four years old should have 11.5 hours a night, 11 hours when they are five and then reducing by roughly 15 minutes per year. Between the ages of 14 and 16 they should be getting at least nine hours a night.

Does your child get the recommended amount of sleep? If not, this may be affecting their ability to learn, cope with life, energy levels and general emotional and physical wellbeing. Unfortunately, school holidays, clock changes, worries and lifestyles often conspire against healthy sleep patterns. So how can we help our children get the rest they need?

Children’s health and wellbeing charity the Sunflower Trust has put together some practical tips and advice to help:

Simple changes to the bedtime routine and bedroom environment can help to increase the amount of sleep your child gets. Here are some top tips for creating good sleep hygiene:

  • Keep screens out of bedrooms and stop screen usage an hour before bedtime.
  • Try some breathing exercises together as part of the bedtime routine.
  • Enjoy a story or a calm board or card game in the run-up to bedtime.
  • Set aside time to chat about their day before bed – for anxious children this can be a time to talk about worries, write them down and ‘put them away’ for the night. Finish this with some positive thoughts.
  • Try to keep bedtimes the same during school holidays/weekends as much as possible. Late nights can disrupt the sleep pattern for days.
  • Ensure the bedroom is tidy, cool and as dark and quiet as possible

It’s also important to be mindful of what food you offer your child as a bedtime snack – especially if they struggle to sleep. Foods that work well include:

  • Bananas – as they contain tryptophan, which helps induce sleep
  • Chicken or turkey also contain tryptophan
  • Oily fish – this contains B6 and essential fatty acids that will assist sleep
  • Foods that contain melatonin, including cherries, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, olives, grapes
  • Grains eg rice, rolled oats, barley
  • Nuts and seeds

If you would like to learn more about sleep and child health issues, or you feel your child needs support, contact the Sunflower Trust: 01483 531498. Email: [email protected], website:



Brooklands Museum WINS Surrey Business Tourist Attraction of the Year Award

BROOKLANDS Museum in Weybridge has been named ‘Tourist attraction of the year’ at the prestigious Surrey Business Awards 2019 for its unique visitor experience and community initiatives.

Presented by the award-winning broadcaster and comedian, Mark Dolan, the evening held at Epsom Downs Racecourse on 21st November recognised many start-up companies, charities and professional services for their work.

Alongside Brooklands Museum, other well-known venues across the county competed for the Tourist Attraction of the Year award, including Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, Painshill Park, Cobham and the Silent Pool Gin Distillery in Albury.

Tamalie Newbury, Director and CEO of Brooklands Museum said:

“We are so very excited that we won this award! Our nomination covered every element of what we do that not only makes Brooklands Museum such a great place for visitors, but which also gives something back to many people in our community and inspires people to shape their futures through the stories we tell of what people accomplished here.

This is an award for our team, our volunteers and everyone else who helps and supports the Museum, it’s great that our efforts have been recognised. We have a lot planned over the next couple of years that will make Brooklands Museum an even more exciting place to visit, you should all come and see it for yourselves!”

Chairman of Brooklands Museum, Sir Gerry Acher said:

“I’m thrilled to hear that we have won the Surrey tourism award. I’d like to congratulate Tamalie, her team and our volunteers in making Brooklands such an outstanding place for all to visit. Well done all.”


The major transformations at the Museum in recent years have almost certainly contributed to this achievement. In 2017 the WWII hangar was relocated and re-interpreted on site as the Brooklands Aircraft Factory. This significant, large-scale exhibition space won the Museums and Heritage Award for best new permanent exhibition the following year.

As well as the vast collections of cars, motorcycles, aircraft and the dynamic events programme that runs throughout the year, there are opportunities to learn a variety of skills, join a 7,000-strong Volunteer force or participate in one of the many motoring events on site. Brooklands also welcomes families on the autism spectrum with special openings, hosts a reminiscence café for those affected by dementia and welcomes over 15,000 school children from in and around the County on organised trips.

Together with a refreshed brand and logo design complemented by a new introductory film and interpretation, the visitor experience has been invigorated. Brooklands was known for its pioneering sense of adventure and people returning to the Museum after a gap of some years are noticing the changes.

The Museum is open all year round and details of its work, collections, events and how to become involved in many opportunities can be found by visiting