Retirement

Retirement

After much thought and a lot of prayer I am retiring from my post as full-time Team Vicar in the Benefice of Launditch and Upper Nar.  
Our Benefice of 17 parishes currently has the benefit of two full time paid priests but the parishes barely contribute enough to cover the cost of one of us.  We have been extremely fortunate to have had a second post subsidised by the Diocese but the Diocese is running a large deficit and with the huge negative impact of the pandemic on income this situation can no longer continue.
You may have read that the Diocese needs to lose 10% of clergy posts which it hopes to do without redundancies and our Deanery (group of local Benefices) has been asked to lose a post.  Having studied the overall situation and staffing levels in our neighbouring Benefices I have decided that my post is the obvious one to go and retirement will allow me the opportunity for a much needed change in pace and direction.
I will therefore be retiring on the 31st May and will move out of The Vicarage in Gressenhall.  My last service will be on the 30th May.  I will hopefully be licensed to The Benefice at some stage in the not too distant future but in a voluntary and therefore much reduced capacity.  For now my main priority, licensed or not, will be to support Reverend Miriam our acting Team Rector who is doing an amazing job running the Benefice whilst we seek to appoint a new Team Rector.
I have loved being your Team Vicar and there are a great many things I will miss when I retire but I am very much looking forward to laying down some of the heavy burdens of ministry and exploring a new and exciting chapter in my life.  It is my hope and intention that this new chapter will include some form of ministry within these parishes that I have grown to love.

Reverend Julia

RESUMPTION OF CHURCH SERVICES

Although worship in churches has not actually been prohibited during the current period of Covid restrictions, we decided to discontinue our services due to the growing infection rate.  Now we are seeing a rapid decrease in infection and the majority of our regular worshippers have had at least their first vaccine, I am delighted to say that we will be having a service of Holy Communion at 9am on Easter Morning.  We will be following the arrangements previously made for safe worship and we will receive communion by taking the Bread only.  Easter is one of those feasts when all communicating members of the Church of England are required to take communion and we very much hope that all who have been unable to attend a live service will celebrate with us.  Please note the earlier time of this service, which will give plenty of time after for opening Easter eggs, champagne breakfasts or a good walk.  For those who cannot make it for any reason, the clergy are able to offer a House Communion and may be contacted via the details in the “Who’s Who” at the front of this magazine.
Services on the Sunday following Easter will probably have to remain on line but, if all goes to plan, the lifting of general restrictions will allow us to start our regular Sunday services at 10:15 from April 18th, from when we may even be allowed to sing again.

The flintwork repairs described in the last edition commenced on time, but completion was delayed pending warmer weather and further drying out, as lime mortar does not set at low temperatures.
The PCC will be considering a list of other repairs deemed urgent by the Architect at the last inspection; as always, funds permitting.

The display of wild crocus in the churchyard was particularly good this year, helped by a spell of warm weather, and they are now spreading to other areas including the Church Street frontage.  A welcome sign of spring, and harbinger of hope for a summer of much needed greater freedom.

Richard Vogt, Churchwarden, Litcham All Saints

Litcham Common

Good news
Litcham Common has seen an increase in visitors in recent months and we are fortunate to have this wonderful open space to enjoy.  The common and the ponies are looked after by volunteers and although grants are received from Natural England and Litcham Parish Council, for which we are very grateful, money is tight.  We are therefore very pleased that Breckland Council has recently awarded us two grants of roughly £600 each, one of which will cover the cost of urgent repairs to the stock proof fencing, while the other will purchase materials for some new benches.  Mike Oldfield has kindly offered to construct the benches, which will be installed by the conservation group.  The grants have come from money provided by the developers of the new bungalows behind Litcham Post Office, out of what is known as a “Section 106 fund” to be used for the benefit of the local community.

Respect the common
Although visitors are welcome, the increase in numbers has raised some issues which we need to keep on top of.
Please be mindful of the fact that Litcham Common is a designated Local Nature Reserve and County Wildlife site and must be respected as such, especially as we enter the nesting season.  In particular, dogs should be kept under close control at all times and please do not drop any litter at all, or leave dog poo bags lying around.  Bins are provided in the car park, but even better, dispose of your litter at home.

Parking on the common
Byelaws prohibit any unauthorised vehicles from driving over or parking on the common, including the road verges.  Please only use the car park provided.  We are grateful for Litcham School’s cooperation in getting this message across to parents from outside the area who have been parking on the verges at school drop-off and pick-up times.
We occasionally receive comments from people who say that because it is a common they can do what they like on it!  This is definitely not the case and a full copy of the Litcham Common Byelaws can be found on the internet at: http://www.litcham.org/pdfs/byelaws.pdf 
Please enjoy Litcham Common, but respect it too!

Conservation Group
The next conservation task will take place on Saturday 10th April, meeting at 10am in the car park.  As always, new volunteers will be welcome to join us.  Contact Tim Angell on 01328 700045 for more information.
Tim Angell, Litcham Common Management Committee

LITCHAM PARISH COUNCIL

MARCH MEETING

The March Parish Council Meeting was held by a virtual meeting and attended by 6 Councillors.  

For the full minutes and report from County & District Councillor please see the minutes on the website http://www.pclitcham@gmail.com

New Problems within the Parish: All highways items reported in December are still outstanding.  The lines have been reinstated at the junction of Druids Lane/Mileham road.  The County Councillor Kiddle-Morris reported that Norfolk County Council have appointed a new highways inspector and he will be visiting the village soon.  The clerk will write a report of all the outstanding items for inspection.  

Litter Bins:  It was agreed to install new litter bins, one to be placed outside the Litcham High School and to place a new litter/dog bin on Wellingham Road.  The Clerk will obtain quotes, and this will be approved at the next meeting.  

Christmas Tree: The Council discussed the possibilities of planting a Christmas tree on the green, opposite the Bull Public House.  The Clerk has contacted the insurance company to confirm if this will be covered under the parish’s insurance.  This item will be added to the next agenda for further discussion.

Community Car Scheme: The Community car scheme has increased booking, but unfortunately only one driver is covering all of these as the other drivers are waiting for their Covid jabs.  

Annual Parish Meeting: Unfortunately, the Annual Parish Meeting was postponed last year, due to Covid restrictions.  The Council has agreed to delay the meeting again this year.  

Finance: The financial position at the end of January 2021 was considered and payments were authorised.  

County Cllr and District Cllr Kiddle-Morris Reports 

The government is putting in place plans to hold Covid secure elections on the 6th May.  In Norfolk, there will be elections for the 84 seats on Norfolk County Council and for the Police and Crime Commissioner which was postponed in May last year.  Currently, hand delivery of leaflets and canvassing is not allowed, instructions on delivery of election material from candidates is awaited.  The government is allocating extra money to local councils to allow polling stations and vote counting venues to be made Covid secure.  Rules on postal voting and proxy voting are being considered.  

The County Council have set the Council Tax budget, it will increase by 1.99%, which is £4.95 for a Band D property in Breckland.  Social Care budget will increase by 1%.  Full details of the whole budget can be seen on the Norfolk County Council Website.  

District Councillor Kiddle-Morris reported that due to some recent problems outside the Litcham shop regarding parking and rights of way, it has now been established that this area is designated Highways.  Pedestrians have right of way across the pavements and vehicles should be approaching this area with caution.  

The full minutes are available for viewing on the notice board at the village hall or on the Litcham Website or Email Mileham Clerk: pclitcham@gmail.com.  

Next Meeting will be held on Monday 3rd May at 7:30pm, this may be in the Village Hall or will continue as a Virtual meeting.  

Donna Secker, Clerk to Litcham Parish Council.

OPERATION NO COLD SHOULDER

Are you (or is someone in your community) feeling lonely or isolated?
There is FREE support that could help!

 

Operation No Cold Shoulder is a year-long project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund running in your area from April 2020 until March 2021 and is offering the following free support;

Free Creative Wellbeing Packs  -Provided by Creative Arts East for people aged 18+
A series of postal packages containing creative arts activities to try at home, including music making, crafts, movement activities and more!
No prior experience is needed.Call Lea or Sydney on 019953 713390 or email lea@creativeartseast.co.uk

Free Telephone Befriending  – Provided by Age UK Norfolk for people aged 60+
Offering people aged 60 and over friendly conversation by telephone from a dedicated befriending volunteer. We call weekly for an enjoyable and stimulating chat.
Call 01603 785 223 or email befriending@ageuknorfolk.org.uk

Free Befriending Support in West Norfolk
Provided by West Norfolk Befriending for people aged 60+
Matching isolated older people age 60 and over with a volunteer befriender who can contact them on a regular basis (by phone during lockdown) – supporting socially isolated older people and their carers in West Norfolk. Call 01553 763500 or email info@wnbefriending.org.uk

Free help to set up Good Neighbour Schemes
Provided by Community Action Norfolk (CAN)
Would you like to help lonely or socially isolated neighbours?
The project is offering free support for communities who would like to set up Good Neighbour Schemes in their area where volunteers help those most in need in their neighbourhood with practical support.
Step-by-step support, advice, a resource pack and funding support to
help a scheme get up and running along with ongoing advice and support including an option of online training sessions provided by Future Projects. Call Tracey on 01362 545024 or email tracey.allan@communityactionnorfolk.org.uk

 

Test & Trace scams.

There are lots of reports across social media of Test & Trace scams.

Please remember, genuine texts, calls or emails from the NHS service won’t ask you for any personal details upfront.
You’ll be given a unique ID number to log in to the NHS Test and Trace website. The ONLY official web address for the NHS Test and Trace service is: https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/

Once you’ve logged in using your ID, you’ll be asked to enter some basic information about yourself including:
– Your name, date of birth and current address
– the names of the people you live with
– places you’ve recently visited
– names and contact details of people you were in touch with around 48 hours before you developed symptoms.
You won’t be asked to share this information upfront over a call or
text, so if someone is asking you for it directly, they are a scammer.

Contact tracers will never:
❌ ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
❌ ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product of any kind
❌ ask for any details about your bank account
❌ ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
❌ ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
❌ disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts
❌ provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms
❌ ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
❌ ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

Stay scam aware, and report any suspicious approaches to Norfolk Trading Standards via 0808 223 1133.

SUPPORT FOR NORFOLK RESIDENTS

There is now a central contact point in place for all residents in Norfolk requiring support.  A team at the County Council will assess calls, identifying existing social care clients and passing other requests through to district community hubs to implement the support needed.

All residents will have received letters sent by their District Council providing details of support options.  Individuals who have been identified as vulnerable may also have received additional letters from the NHS and local GPs.  Local District Councils have also been calling individuals who have been identified as vulnerable as part of a collective effort to get help where it is needed.

 

INDIVIDUALS IN NEED SHOULD CALL 0344 8008020.