Our AGM will be held on Thursday 11th April at 6pm at The Social.
Prior to the AGM we have a guest speaker from the Oxfordshire Better Broadband Team to speak to all local businesses about the Government's Gigabit voucher scheme. The scheme could help us to significantly improve broadband speeds in the town at little to no cost to you. All are welcome to the talk.
If you are a member of WBA we invite you to stay for the AGM from 7pm. New members also welcome, membership is only £35 per year (discounts available). Click here for further details.
To register for a free ticket to either the talk or the AGM please click here.
Looking forward to meeting all our new members there!
Watlington Parish Council and The Watlington Club have recently announced the 2019 Watlington Community & Volunteer Awards to say thank you to the people of Watlington who go that extra mile for the community. Watlington Business Association and our members are proud to be supporting these awards.
There are six categories to enter. Anyone can make a nomination, as long as the person or organisation nominated lives, works or studies in Watlington.
All nominations will be judged on how the individual or organisation has:
A panel of judges will meet to discuss a shortlist in detail and find the six winners for 2019. The decision of the awards panel is final and the panel reserves the right not to make awards if there are no eligible nominations.
Nominations close on 24th May 2019.
Organisation of the Year Award (Sponsored by The Granary Delicatessen)
For voluntary organisation or community group carrying out ongoing activities in the parish within the last 12 months.
Young Volunteer of the Year Award (Sponsored by Calnan Brothers)
For a young person (under 25) who deserves recognition for volunteering regularly or raising money for charity within the last 12 months.
Volunteer of the Year Award (Sponsored by Bella Luce)
For an individual who has worked tirelessly for the good of our community within the last 12 months.
Unsung Hero Award (Sponsored by Apex Healthcare Consulting)
For those people who work incredibly hard for the community with little recognition – nominations need not be for volunteering only and are not constrained to achievements in the past 12 months only.
Environmental & Conservation Award (Sponsored by Chiltern Pet Partners)
For an individual or organisation that has made a significant contribution to preserving or enhancing the local environment within the last 12 months.
Community Consciousness Award (Sponsored by K is for kitchen)
For an individual or organisation that has significantly raised awareness of an important issue locally or nationally within the last 12 months.
The awards ceremony will take place at Watlington Club on Saturday 8th June. Prior to the award ceremony, there will be a chance to find out more about the fantastic variety of clubs, charities and community organisations in and around the parish. After the prizes have been awarded, a BBQ will be available for you to stay and celebrate.
To download a nomination form please visit Watlington Parish Council's website.
Reprinted with permission from the Watlington Times (March 2019). Pick up your copy from the Co-op for just 50p.
"The Village that keeps on giving". That was the comment made by a well off west London friend of my daughter-in-law who had driven up from London to visit for lunch. As she walked down the High Street yet one more enticing shop after another allowed her to do almost all her Christmas shopping here.
Over the last few years Watlington's High Street has acquired some interesting new shops and the old ones have been revamped. We hear lots of anecdotal news that it has become a 'destination'. Actually it has gone beyond and anecdote and is true.
On the corner Bella Luce with its spectacular lights in the window catches the eye of passing traffic topped at the Town Hall, especially at night when the lamps are lit. As a result they get customers from as far as Cheltenham and Nottingham who make a special stop to visit the shop. You will have noticed the lady with umbrella lamps, these are hand made in Greece and dozens have been sold.
The Italian Handbag Shop despite being small also attracts the attention of passing drivers sitting in traffic. For the owner, Catherine Johnson, business has been good; she has a wide price range from £25 - £250 so lots of customers come in to buy small presents. She buys all her bags from small family run leather workshops outside Florence. It shows just how far the incompetence of our government reaches in that at present she buys small quantities at each order so if a line does not sell she is not stuck with stock, but with Brexit looming should she now take a risk and spend thousands of pounds stockpiling bags that might not sell?
When I walked into K is for kitchen I was assailed by a lovely smell of cooking... It was Wednesday and Wendy was preparing quiches on their dinky little single plate Aga. It's like an Aladdin's cave and a testament to Amanda Hinton's imagination that apart from selling kitchen stuff they hold cookery demonstrations prepare food to order for parties, baptisms, business lunches etc. have started a wedding list service, sell Cook Ready Meals and Ice Cream and kitchen units. I enquired about their best seller, apparently Self Sealing Lids, they are silicone suction lids you can use on frying pans and in the fridge. I was given a demonstration, put a lid on a glass and lift it up by the lid's handle and it sticks... Magic!
The revamped Calnan's Butchers also draws in customers from quite a distance, as far as Aylesbury. Their best seller is the ready prepared dishes; they are all made in the shop, many by Tom Calnan himself.
Robin at the Granary hopes that his new more spacious shop will allow people to find things more easily. The extra space lets him have a whole wall of local - well from between London and Bristol - bottled beers. The bigger café now has a quieter side where people feel more able to work and have business meetings. Let's hope the longer stays translate into more spending.
Drapes, the interior designers, have been in Watlington for 37 years and their workshop in the High Street making all types of soft furnishings, curtains and upholstery, etc. Their shop in Couching Street with such decorative window displays is really the show room for their dozen of textile sample books.
I can't mention every shop but now we hardly need to leave Watlington, we can buy presents for all occasions and things for the house, Mercy in Action has given us a clothes shop and the Rhubarb Tree has taken over selling stationery from the old Post Office, Angela provides vegetables and we have fresh fish from the back of a van on Thursday.
We might criticise the Co-op for running out of stock, but what would we do without it and as far as I can see it's not the staff's fault, all decisions on stock are taken by the head office in Warwick and not the local managers. How mad is that? Our branch is a 'Premium Store' which means we have more of their high end 'Truly Irresistible' range and which is why there are 41 different teas. I asked what their best seller was - Prosecco and salmon fillets. What a lot of lushes we are! That is why so much shelf space is given over to white wine.
When so many villages are losing not just their shops but pubs too, we must keep on 'use it or lose it' to ensure the High Street stays as vibrant as it is now and hope the Edge Road won't divert all the passing trade as well as the traffic. The big unknown of course is what is going to happen to the newly refurbished Home Care shop, the letting agents have been inundated with enquiries.