Woodley walks

Woodley walks

We would like to expand the information provided on our website regarding walks in and around Woodley. Please send us your suggestions for local walks and particularly accessible walks that are wheelchair-friendly. Please send your walks to: 

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census 2021

Census 2021

Every ten years, the Office for National Statistics organises a census to provide a unique snapshot of our society. 

Participation in the census is required by law and by taking part you will help make sure that your community is counted in decisions on services and funding.

For local authorities, census population estimates underpin both planning and provision of public services. Getting the best possible response rates for the census will make sure that decisions are based on accurate, high-quality data. 

The next census will take place on Sunday 21 March 2021. 

A digital-first Census

For the first time this will be a digital-first census, but paper versions will be available for those who need it.

All households will receive an invitation to fill out the census questionnaire with a household access code and information to help them to take part online.

For those people who’ll find accessing the census online challenging, there will be a full range of support services. 

These include: 

  • comprehensive guidance and support in many languages and formats 
  • help in local centres with trained staff and online access 
  • a contact centre to provide help via telephone, web chat 
  • and social media 
  • field staff contacting households that have not yet responded 
  • accessible census questionnaires, for example in large print 
  • the option to request paper questionnaires.

Please note that no one from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) or working for the Census will ever ask for payment to help anyone fill in their questionnaire. 

Please look out for your census invitation pack in the post, which will be arriving from 22nd February. 

For further information, please visit the ONS website.

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stay safe covid 19

Wokingham Borough Covid 19 update

Share your thoughts

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has hit some people financially. In order to understand this impact in more detail, Wokingham Borough Council is asking anybody affected to share their experiences.

There is a very short online survey on its consultations page and those taking part will have the choice to be contacted to give more details if they wish.

The information provided will be incredibly useful for the Council when it plans services to tackle poverty and help communities. All information provided will be kept confidential and anonymised.

Take Covid 19 survey for your chance to win

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, improving the health and wellbeing of members of our communities has never been more important. Over the next ten years, the Borough Council’s health and wellbeing strategy will aim to make life happier and healthier for everyone in Wokingham; and they want to hear from as many people as possible about what’s important to them, their families and their communities.

Help the Council to understand your experiences, your thoughts about health and wellbeing in the borough and your priorities for the future by taking its short health and wellbeing survey and you’ll be entered you into its prize draw to win £100 shopping vouchers!

Take the survey by midnight on Sunday 28 February.

Update on cases in Wokingham Borough

Infections are continuing to drop during the national lockdown. The current weekly rate per 100,000 people is 123.9 (up to 6 February). It’s very important that we continue to stick to the rules; this means regularly washing our hands, wearing a face covering, making space from others and reducing our social contacts.

Alongside this, you must get tested if you have symptoms – even if they’re mild. Please book a test using the national booking system. If you’re a keyworker who is regularly leaving home to go to work, and you have no symptoms, you can book a rapid test at one of our test centres.

The Borough Council has listened to feedback and have extended the opening hours at its Microsoft Campus test centre to 8am-8pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. To find out more, check if you’re eligible, and to book your test, please visit the Council’s website.

Latest on Covid-19 vaccinations

Until now, the NHS has asked people to wait until they are contacted to help ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected first, and this remains the case for most people.

However, to ensure absolutely everyone is offered the vaccine, people aged 70 or above are now being asked to contact the NHS for their Covid-19 vaccination, if they haven’t had it already. You can do this through the NHS website, or by calling 119.

To help residents understand more about the Covid-19 vaccine, Wokingham Borough Council has linked up with Dr Amit Sharma from Brookside Surgery in Earley to produce some handy videos which answer common questions, explain about the three available vaccines, run through the Covid-19 vaccine priority list, and cover why it’s so important to get vaccinated.

Stay safe this half term

Parents, carers, teachers and school staff have worked extremely hard over the last six weeks and half term will come as a welcome relief to many. That said, it’s important not to drop your guard – stay safe, stay at home and stick to the rules.

If you’re stuck for ideas on what activities you can get up to, the Borough Council has put together a handy guide for you. From pancake making competitions and virtual museum tours; to at-home assault courses and family challenges. Check it out here.

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Woodley Town Council

Woodley Town Council Tax to only rise by 56p per month

woodley town council

Woodley Town Council confirms lower than expected Town Council Tax (precept) increase of only 56p per month

  • Precept for 2021-22 set at an average increase of 56p per month for a Band D property
  • Town Council continues to provide services to its residents during the pandemic and retain staff
  • Town Council to use its reserves to continue its services in 2021-22

The emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic in late March 2020, has had a severe impact on Woodley Town Council’s income levels. Instead of an anticipated income of £762,287, it is estimated that this year’s income will reach just £270,383. 

The Council has made reductions where possible while avoiding enforced redundancies, any permanent closure of its facilities and without a reduction in the services it provides to residents.

Anticipating another difficult financial year for 2021-22, the Town Council took an unprecedented step late last year to ask every household in Woodley what Town Council Tax (precept) increase they could accept. 

Of the 10,755 households in Woodley who received the survey, one in five households responded. 

In summary:

  • 42.5% found a 50% (extra £1.09 per week) increase acceptable
  • 22.6% found a 40% (extra 87p per week) increase acceptable
  • 10.2% found a 30% (extra 65p per week) increase acceptable
  • 20.2% found a 20% (extra 43p per week) increase acceptable
  • Overall 95.5% found an increase of at least 20% (extra 43p per week) acceptable. 

Many respondents to the consultation provided comments varying from thanking the Town Council Officers for their hard work during these difficult times to suggestions that the Council should first make cuts or changes to facilities, services, staffing and councillor costs or use its reserves. 

Precept level 2021-22

Taking the results of the survey into account, and the estimated income due to the ongoing pandemic, the precept level has been set at £1,293,034 for the 2021/22 financial year, an increase of £89,846 on last year’s precept figure. 

Approved at the Full Council meeting held on 9 February, the precept level of a Band D property charge will increase from last year’s figure of £112.88 to £119.65 in 2021/22; an increase of £6.79 per annum – 56p per month.

This will raise a total of £1,293,034, with the Council allocating £111,414 from its general reserve to support its 2020/21 expenditure. 

Speaking at the Full Council meeting, Town Council Leader Cllr Keith Baker said: “This pandemic has caused huge financial stresses for the Town Council and I would firstly like to thank the Town Clerk and her team of Council Officers for their diligence and determination to continue to provide an excellent service in what has been quite unmanageable circumstances.

“We responded to these financial challenges by asking local residents how much of an increase in the Town Council Tax they could accept. Unprecedented across the Borough, we received a response from one in five households and I would like to thank those who took part. 95.5% of the respondents accepted the lowest increase option, however, the Council has been able to keep the increase to less than a third of this at only 56p per month.”

Cllr Keith baker woodley town council leader
Cllr Keith Baker, Woodley Town Council Leader

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recycling waste bags

Recycling bag deliveries start this month

Waterproof recycling bag delivery begins 22 February 

Waterproof recycling bags will start dropping on your doorsteps from 22 February. This will take place over a seven-week period with all deliveries completed by mid-April.

The new waterproof recycling bags will replace the existing black boxes. Each household will initially get two bags, with additional recycling bags available once the deliveries are complete. Please check Wokingham Borough Council’s website to find out how to get additional bags.

Please start using the new waterproof recycling bags as soon as possible. You can continue to use your black boxes for now. Wokingham Borough Council will announce when this grace period comes to an end.

If you need to keep using your black boxes, help keep paper and card dry by only using them for non-paper/card items such as cans, tins and plastics.

Why the switch from black boxes?

In late 2019, paper and card reprocessing plants stopped accepting wet materials. The Council is replacing the black boxes with sealable waterproof recycling bags to ensure the paper and card residents put out for recycling stays dry and meets the new standards.

The waterproof bags will help towards the Council’s target of 70 per cent recycling by 2030. The waterproof bags have a weight at the bottom so they won’t blow away.

They are made of long-lasting materials and should last for up to five years. As they weigh less than the black boxes, they are easier to take back inside. Collection crews will leave the bags where they have collected them from.

Blue general rubbish and green food waste bags will be delivered at the same time

Blue general waste and green food waste bags will be delivered at the same time as your waterproof recycling bags; as the Council is doing a joint delivery to make things easier for residents.

Each household will receive 80 blue bags in two rolls of 40 to cover the period between April 2021 and March 2022 and about 100 green food waste bags. We are hoping by delivering food waste bags to every household, more residents will recycle their food waste.

The size and quality of the two handled blue rubbish bags remains the same. Crews can only collect waste in these Council branded bags.

With 80 blue bags per household this works out at approximately 120 litres per week. This is the equivalent of a fortnightly 240 litre wheeled bin collection but with the extra flexibility of weekly collections and the ability to put out more waste in some weeks and less in others.

Later this month, Wokingham Borough Council’s website will contain information on the date of deliveries for the blue, green and recycling bags. If you need more blue bags before they are due to be delivered you can order and pay for these on our website and arrange for them to be delivered within 10 working days or collect them from one of the locations listed on the website.

What to do with Covid-19 contaminated waste

If you have tested positive for Covid-19 and/or symptoms and are self isolating, you should dispose of waste that is heavily contaminated in a different way to normal.

You should place the contaminated waste, such as tissues or cleaning wipes, in a plastic bag or bin liner, tie the top to prevent escape of the material. Then place this bag inside another bag and tie it securely.

This waste should be stored separately from other waste for at least 72 hours before putting it in with your general rubbish (blue bags) for collection. If your waste collection is less than 72 hours away, this bag should be put in with your blue bags to be collected the following week.

You can read more on the UK Government website and to get Wokingham specific Covid-19 information, you can sign up for our weekly Covid-19 updates.

Report a missed collection

Did you know if any of your waste collections are missed, you can easily report this online?

Wokingham Borough Council has made an animation to help guide you through what to do when your bags aren’t collected, your food waste caddy is left full or your recycling boxes aren’t emptied at the kerbside.

Once reported, it will be investigated to see if there is a reason why it was not collected. If no valid reason is recorded we will rearrange collection for you within two working days.

You can watch the video on their YouTube channel or report a missed collection on their website.

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covid 19

Wokingham Borough Council increases list of key workers for lateral Covid 19 tests

covid 19

Testing for keyworkers

Around one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it.

Widening community testing to those showing no symptoms (called ‘asymptomatic’), will help find people who are infected and infectious but unaware that they might be spreading the virus.

During lockdown, Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) is offering community testing to keyworkers who are regularly leaving their home for work, or for the management of local Covid-19 outbreaks.

The test used is called a Lateral Flow Test and it delivers the results within around 30 mins. WBC is inviting keyworkers forward for testing at our Shute End or Microsoft Campus test centres. This includes workers in the following settings:     

  • Blue light services, including the Police and Fire Service (in interim prior to national scheme)    
  • Council services, including contractors, who cannot work from home and are regularly leaving their home to go to work  
  • Health and Care services including voluntary sector (outside national schemes)    
  • Undertakers and mortuary staff (outside the national scheme)  
  • Early years (staff in private, voluntary and independent nurseries, childminders, children’s social care workers, and frontline staff and volunteers in children and young people charities)    
  • Special needs services   
  • Essential retail (such as supermarket staff)   
  • Public and community transport    
  • Delivery services, including postal workers and couriers  
  • Essential manufacturing and distribution  
  • Public facing essential voluntary workers    
  • Security and grounds people   
  • Trades and utilities (including BT, Water Authorities, Highways)  
  • Click and collect venues
  • Communal living establishments (e.g. Asylum Seekers housed in hotels or similar, hostels, YMCA)
  • Testing staff at sites
  • Construction
  • Religious staff (including clergy and all essential staff required to enable places of worship to function, where their job cannot be done at home)
  • Veterinary staff
  • Informal carers and support workers   

Opening times at both test centres are 9am – 4pm on Mondays (last test at 3.45pm) and 8am – 4pm on Tuesdays – Saturdays (last test at 3.45pm). From Tuesday 9 February we are extending opening hours to 8am – 8pm (last test at 7.45pm) on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Microsoft test centre. 

I’m a keyworker, how do I get tested?

If you are regularly leaving your home to go to work, and are not being tested through any other national scheme, you are invited to book a test slot at a minimum of 48 hours in advance:  

Book a test at Shute End

Book a test at the Microsoft Campus

You will need to fill in your details for every single booking you make, so it is advised that you use Google Chrome for this as it will autofill previous data.

You should get tested twice a week – please book as far in advance as possible so we can look at capacity and demand. If you are leaving your home to go to work less frequently, you should get tested once a week, ideally on the same day that you are due to go to work. 

Please note, you will be asked to clarify which department/organisation you work for when booking, and will need to bring ID with you to the testing centre.

What happens if I test positive?

The number one priority is to keep residents as safe and well as possible and bring down our case rates. Therefore, if your test is positive, it is imperative that you and your contacts isolate at home (for 10 days from the date of the test), away from friends and family, and don’t leave your home unless for essential reasons, such as medical care or to escape harm. 

For support on emergency food deliveries or other emergency support such as paying heating bills, call the One Front Door on  0300 330 1189, or  visit the Citizens Advice website.

If you need to self-isolate, you might be entitled to a payment of £500 if you are unable to work from home, losing income, or facing financial hardship as a result of not being able to work. Find out more by  visiting our dedicated Test and Trace support payment webpage

What happens if I test negative?

If you test negative, you can continue to go to work, however you should follow social distancing guidance and the rules under the current Covid-19 restrictions.

Please note, a negative Lateral Flow Test result does not give you immunity and should not be used as an excuse to bend the rules under current Covid-19 restrictions. This is very important as you could put others at severe risk. You should continue to stay at home and only leave your house for work (if you cannot work from home and have not tested positive for Covid-19), and for other essential reasons. 

Can I get a Lateral Flow Test if I have Covid-19 symptoms?

Lateral Flow Tests should not be used as a diagnostic tool and should only be used to test asymptomatic people. If you have Covid-19 symptoms, you must not visit an Lateral Flow Test site, and should  book a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test through the website

Will you be testing the wider community?

Further community-based test sites are being developed in line with national guidance and the requirements for wider community testing. Over time, and as we come out of lockdown, WBC will seek to develop its offering and continue to take a targeted approach to testing. We will keep our residents informed about this as and when it is necessary.

How does a Lateral Flow Test work?

You can read the full details on the extended pilot, how these tests work and how they are different from the PCR tests used to diagnose people with symptoms, in WBC’s  Lateral Flow Testing for keyworkers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (PDF document).

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The play areas in Woodford Park, which were temporarily closed on 15th January at the request of Thames Valley Police due to the numbers of young people gathering at these sites and not observing social distancing, are now open.


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Wokingham Libraries

Virtual library February half term events

Virtual STORYTIME with Victoria The Woodland Wonderer

Join Victoria the Woodland Wonderer online for this half-term story session on Tuesday February 16 at 11.00am.

Hear about her love of books, she will then show you two of hers! This session will feature The Gruffalo and  The Room on the Broom by  Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler.

Suitable for families with children aged 8 and under. To sign up please email: with your name and library card number and you will be sent details of how to join. This session will be hosted on Microsoft Teams Live and will be no longer than 30 minutes. This is a free event.

Stay up-to-date with library events HERE.

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Friendship Alliance Wokingham

Friendship Alliance Newsletter February 21

Please note that the links do not work. For more information please contact Jayne Streak Project Lead at The Friendship Alliance (07464 834949 | 0118 979 8019)

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blue waste bags

Blue Waste Bag deliveries to start soon

More than five million blue bags will begin being delivered across Wokingham borough later this month.

These are for your general waste, with each household receiving 80 bags in two rolls of 40 to cover the period between April 2021 and March 2022.

If you need more blue bags before they are due to be delivered, you can order these on the Wokingham Borough Council website and arrange for them to be delivered within 10 working days or collect them from one of the locations listed on the website.

There will soon be the facilities to to search the Borough Council website for when the blue bags are due on your street.

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Woodley Carnival 2021 cancelled

Please contact Woodley Carnival directly for more information.

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wokingham libraries click and collect service

Wokingham Borough Libraries update

New Click & Collect Service

Local residents are now able to request and collect books from Wokingham Borough libraries.

Residents can request up to 10 books using the Library website or by phone.

Library staff are ready to help residents find books that they will enjoy, and are encouraged to let library staff know the type of books they would like, whether it is hardback or paperback, a certain genre or for a certain age group and they will do their best to find a suitable selection. Audio CDs are also available with this service.

The books and audios can then be collected from Wokingham LibraryWoodley Library or Lower Earley library.

Online events

For further information please email:

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