Garden thanks

Dear Editor,

Might I have some space to place a few words for the people that work on our allotments. I have been told there was a good turnout of over 30 people.

This little Rogation ceremony is so important with the prayers offered up and we do have some good produce coming from the allotments in Shipton.

My brother John is known as the onion man and the size of his onions are envied by most. This ceremony is based on a Roman Catholic service held hundreds of years ago. The prayers are important now, because of climate change.

Ken and I did not attend this time as we are still self isolating, and we did think it might rain, but thank goodness it did stay dry for them all. We were there in spirit and always will be. God bless you all.

Josie Smith, Hedges Close, Shipton Bellinger

Inquiry needed

Dear Editor,

Like many of your readers, I was reassured that we will have an inquiry to learn the lessons from the pandemic. However, like many others, I was disappointed it is not happening sooner. If a pandemic is a war, you do not wait until it is all over before you start learning lessons.

There are areas where the government got it right. These include the vaccination programme delivered by the NHS, and the furlough scheme. There are however two areas where the pandemic highlighted weaknesses that were already there. The first is social care for older adults. The second is the Universal Credit scheme. The Prime Minister promised in his first day in office on the steps of Number 10 that he had a ready-made package for fixing adult social care. We have not seen it. Meanwhile Labour trumpets but when challenged disappears into a black hole. Moving onto Universal Credit, this scheme fails to deliver a decent public service or value for money. Its vagaries have done little to help those in real need. You are lucky if you receive anything five weeks after you first application. Under the previous system it was about two weeks. The increase in food banks is a national disgrace.

In both cases we need a transformational approach which replaces what we have with something fit for the 21st Century. Our Social Security and adult care systems are broken. I would suggest that we need a national conversation. The first step must be to simplify all these various support systems that we have. My personal opinion is that we should be moving towards a Universal Basic Income (UBI), which guarantees each citizen a pot of money each week irrespective of circumstances. UBI starts to fix the root of the problem rather than its many symptoms. It is not a panacea. But we need to make a start somewhere. Fixing things is something that politicians are particularly bad at. Just look at potholes. We need to demand much better from them.

Cllr Luigi Gregori, Charlton Road, Andover

Enham turns 100

Dear Editor,

Is it just me? Have you noticed how communication has opened more? Our times being in shutdown have been a time to reflect, think and view more of our lives to simply share, through letters, distant text chats, photos and appreciate humanity more now close contact is allowed.

My hobby of photography has introduced me to new folk, as being able to walk further particularly in spring opens new directions. As we all link via computer systems it is a delight to find and share and view stunning birds, particularly goslings and cygnets in Anton lakes at the moment. Our Andover Advertiser enjoys sharing for all to view through the newspaper and computers.

This hobby, writing is currently connecting me to our Enham disabilities trust. It is their 100 year celebration. I am often connected with Enham which will never end as helping those in need is so satisfying. We have become friends too and I enjoy taking folk out on trips to view our Andover lakes such as Charlton and the seaside, a zoo, or just simply shopping is appreciated.

I read they are welcoming those who are interested in supporting more. It is indeed an interesting history starting with WW1 taking in disabled serviceman.

They will be telling 100 stories to honour those who have supported raising money, which can be viewed on their website via technology, I am honoured to be writing and remembered following ten years of my association.

All of which will also return the pleasure of having a coffee in their Enham café whilst shopping and donating clothes and books to their charity also, now the shutdown is finally opening doors.

Linda Price, Fyfield

Scouts are back

Dear Editor,

Since the lifting of the lockdown Andover District Scouts have begun to hold face to face meetings with our young people, it has been wonderful seeing how well they have dealt with all that has gone on over the last year and the way they have returned to active Scouting.

All our Scout Groups are reporting high numbers in all sections, we are also having numerous applications from parents for their children to join Scouting. This is all very good but we are now reaching the overflowing point, where if we do not get more adult help we can not offer any more places or be able to open new Groups and Sections in the town and villages. We would very much like to open a new Group on Picket Twenty but we need somewhere to meet with some safe open air space available nearby.

Can you help us? We need more adult help especially people who would like to join our leadership teams or in other ways, Committee Members, or people who want to share their interest and hobbies with the young people. You would also be putting something back into the Community. We offer recognised Adult Training and it also looks good on a CV and job interviews.

If you feel you have something to offer and would like to help, you are aged 18 and over then please, with no obligation, contact me or pop in to a Scout Group near you and see how or if you can help.

Julian Slade, District Commissioner, Andover Scouts.

They knew what was coming

Re. ‘Business booming despite cancellation’ - Page 1 & 9

Dear Editor,

Andover voted to leave. Leavers were told during the referendum that Brexit would cost jobs. They replied, “We don’t care!”

Presumably they’re fine with all this.

Laura Coates, via Facebook

Address withheld

Dear Editor,

In my recent visit to the voting booth, I was astounded at the number of candidates withholding addresses on the ballot paper. Since when did this become the norm? Do they have something to hide? My assumption was that these people were interviewing for a job in public office? I must confess I put party preferences aside in favour of people who were proud residents of the area.

Dr James Henry, address supplied