Woodley's Community Heroes Awards 2023

Woodley’s Community Heroes Awards

Matt Allwright hosts Woodley’s Community Heroes Awards for second year running

We were delighted to hold our annual Community Heroes Awards on Friday 24 February at the Oakwood Centre, compered by the BBC One Show’s Matt Allwright, honouring local heroes as nominated by the residents of Woodley.

The awards have been rebranded from the former Citizens’ Awards to introduce new categories for local residents to nominate their Woodley heroes.

Matt started the evening with tales of his childhood days as a ‘Woodleyite’ before introducing the winners, celebrating the very best of Woodley’s community. 

Environmentalist of the Year

The first winner was David Provins, who won Environmentalist of the Year.

Founder of the Friends of Woodford Park, David was nominated for his dedication, devotion and hard work he puts in to maintain certain areas and flower beds in Woodford Park.

Nominated by Morag Frost, she commented: “David sets such a wonderful example of leadership, always enthusiastic, reliable and hard-working. He is fully committed to anything he takes on board. A man of many parts, one in a million, David deserves a big pat on the back in terms of recognition as a community hero.” 

Also nominated by Bob King, he commented: “David always goes the extra mile and goes over and above. For example, saving money by buying smaller plugs and growing them at home before planting them in Woodford Park and showing true commitment when he is at the park early in the morning during dry spells to water the various beds.”

David thanked the volunteers who help him and also made a plea for more volunteers to join the team. 

L-R: Matt Allwright, David Provins, Woodley Town Mayor, Cllr Janet Sartorel

Voluntary Group of the Year

Next to receive an award were Woodley Volunteers, who won Voluntary Group of the Year. The award was accepted by the Chairman, Alistair Todd and the coordinator, Karen Todd.

Founded over 40 years ago, the volunteers help to get Woodley residents to medical appointments, staying with them and taking them home. 

Nominated by Pamela Webber for giving up their free time and using their own vehicles and providing such an essential service. She commented: “I am nominating them as a user of this service. They are always prompt, helpful and friendly. It has helped me attend my medical appointments as I don’t drive and do not have anyone else to ask. The service is priceless and they all deserve a medal.” 

Alistair said: “It’s an honour to be recognised and awarded and we accept this on behalf of the volunteers.”

L-R: Matt Allwright, Karen Todd, Alistair Todd, Woodley Town Mayor, Cllr Janet Sartorel

Volunteer of the Year

The next category was Volunteer of the Year and the first of two winners for this award.

Carolyn Wildman won Volunteer of the Year for her commitment and tireless dedication to Share Woodley, a free food sharing project which began at the start of the Covid pandemic at Emmanuel Church, using up surplus food that catering companies found they were left with; many supermarkets now also provide surplus food. It continues to be a life saver for lots of families, especially during the current cost of living crisis, also helping Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers accommodated in local hotels.

Nominated by Juliet Sheratt, she commented: “Carolyn has worked tirelessly to build links with local food outlets who can donate food and to build a strong team of volunteers who help to collect food and host the Share session on a Monday afternoon. Carolyn gives all her time and effort freely and offers support as well as food to the clients at Share. She works closely with Wokingham Community Engagement to keep clients informed of grants and funds they can apply for as well as being a link into council services. She is always professional but friendly and will go the extra mile for people. She truly deserves recognition for her hard work, as with or without an award, she is a community hero.”

Also nominated by Julie Smith, she said: “Carolyn was already helping out with Share Wokingham, so when the chance came to introduce the scheme to Woodley, Carolyn wasted no time in getting interested parties together.  It is true to say that without Carolyn’s enthusiasm and hard work; this invaluable community resource would not be the success it is. But Carolyn does much more than organise the team and manage the sessions. 

She has worked hard to develop links with local stores and collects food from them several times a week, all in her own time and at her own expense.  She makes it her business to get to know the clients who visit Share and their circumstances, often checking up on them and helping out in other ways if they need it and pointing them in the right direction for help. She devotes so much of her time and energy, and also genuine care and concern for the local community and deserves this award as an appreciation of all that she does.

Carolyn is the unsung hero of Share and the people that visit on a Monday afternoon would give this nomination a resounding ‘yeah’.”

Carolyn said: “I’d like to say a big thanks to my husband Pete – I couldn’t do it without him.” She also thanked all of the volunteers and suppliers. 

L-R: Matt Allwright, Carolyn Wildman, Woodley Town Mayor, Cllr Janet Sartorel

Young Person of the Year

Another new category to the awards, Dexter Rosier was the next award winner, winning Young Person of the Year.

Dexter was nominated by his mum Samantha for his dedication to help others and raise funds and support for those in need. During the first Covid lockdown, Dexter started running marathons to raise money for Royal Berkshire Hospital. He also camped out for a whole month to raise funds for another local charity, Camp Mohawk. Dexter also uses his own initiative to donate to local food banks inspired by Marcus Rashford and set up Dexter’s library based out of Whitley CDA, to help as many children as possible to have access to books during the summer holidays. 

Mum, Samantha, commented: “Dexter cares for everyone; indeed, he is a huge advocate of human rights for equality. Dexter is a young anomaly – he is gentle, mature, emotionally intelligent, empathetic and sympathetic in his approach to his everyday living. In this respect, I hereby nominate this outstanding nine-year-old boy for recognition of his services to others. Dexter Rosier makes the world a better place.” 

She added: “We are beyond proud of him – keep being you Dexter.”

Dexter, who already has more ideas for fundraising, said: “I do it to help people.”

L-R: Matt Allwright, Dexter Rosier, Woodley Town Mayor, Cllr Janet Sartorel

Volunteer of the Year

The next award recipient was the second winner of the Volunteer of the Year category.

Lynne Shipton won Volunteer of the Year for creating a charity to support those newly diagnosed with breast cancer, following her own diagnosis. Chemogiftbags provides a bag filled with thoughtful and helpful items to help someone undergoing chemotherapy following a breast cancer diagnosis. 

Nominated by Tracy Linden, she commented: “I wanted to nominate Lynne for this award as she has worked tirelessly since the charity Chemogiftbags was born in 2015, to support the local people not only in Woodley but within the Thames Valley area. Lynne relentlessly fundraises to enable more women to benefit and she never gives up. The many reviews she has received from recipients of the Chemogiftbags is testament to the light she brings to others at what can be a daunting time.  If she can bring a smile to someone’s face, then she says her mission is achieved. It would be great for Lynne to be recognised for all she does to support others.”

Also nominated by Sandra Leary, a former recipient of a Chemogiftbag and now Ambassador for the charity, she said: “Lynne is the Kingpin of this wonderful Woodley based charity. She works so hard and puts in so many hours. The bags are so well thought out and put together with such care with things you wouldn’t even think about.”

Lynne said: “It’s a team award. Not just about me. We wouldn’t be here without the generous help from the team, volunteers, ambassadors. It’s about giving love for the people going through the treatment so they know we’re there to support them.”

L-R: Matt Allwright, Steve Shipton, Lynne Shipton, Woodley Town Mayor, Cllr Janet Sartorel

Mayor’s Outstanding Contribution Award

The final award of the evening was the Mayor’s Outstanding Contribution Award, which is chosen by the Mayor and awarded to a person or organisation for their contribution to Woodley. This year, Woodley Town Mayor, Cllr Janet Sartorel chose to award Rosemary Edgington from Winnersh District Royal British Legion the Mayor’s Outstanding Contribution Award for her dedication, persistence and continuing support of the Poppy Appeal in Woodley. 

In her speech, Janet told the audience that Rosemary has been involved in the poppy appeal across various committees since 1978, and took over from her father as the Poppy Appeal organiser for Woodley in 2017, inspired to support the Poppy Appeal by her grandmother who was part of a test case for war widows’ pensions as it was her way of giving back because the pension made such a difference to her grandmother’s life.

“In 1998, poppy selling migrated to Woodley precinct, where it still remains today. In fact, my husband Lou was out with Rosemary selling poppies last November. Luckily, they now have a few more comforts when selling, including a table and chairs and not just a ‘poppy box around the neck’.”

Rosemary is also responsible for distributing wreaths across Woodley, along with the poppies for schools and shops to sell, taking her over four hours to deliver each time, covering over 10 miles!

She also started working with Woodley Town Council and its Armistice Day event in 2021, following in the footsteps of her father. 

“She is a valuable and vital member of the team who put the Armistice event together and they have asked me to convey their very heartfelt thanks for her support and guidance, adding that they look forward to continuing this relationship and benefitting from Rosemary’s knowledge, dedication, kindness and support for many years to come,” said Janet.

“To quote Rosemary: ‘People always find their way to you; it’s deep-rooted in our society to buy a poppy’. Each year I wear my poppy with pride as a symbol of remembrance and hope for a positive future and peaceful world. Long may people continue to buy poppies to help remember the brave who have served and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace and to raise vital funds to support them and their loved ones.”

L-R: Matt Allwright, Rosemary Edgington, Woodley Town Mayor, Cllr Janet Sartorel

The awards ceremony was followed by a reception in the Carnival and Maxwell rooms, catered for by Brown Bag. 

Congratulations and Thanks 

We would like to once again congratulate all of the winners and thank them and their nominees and guests for attending the event. 

We would also like to thank Matt Allwright for hosting the awards ceremony and providing great entertainment and camaraderie. 

Finally, we’d like to thank Francesca Reed, an A Level student at Waingels College, for taking photos of the award winners. 

Matt Allwright & Francesca Reed

Find out more

Videos of the award winners can be viewed on our You Tube channel.

We look forward to honouring and celebrating the very best of our community again next year. Nominations will open later in the year. Details of the Community Heroes Awards can be viewed HERE

If you would like to hire the theatre or rooms at the Oakwood Centre, you can find out more HERE


Details of the various charities from the 2023 awards:

Friends of Woodford Park:

Woodley Volunteers: 0118 969 8849 /

Share Woodley:

Royal Berkshire Hospital:

Camp Mohawk:


Winnersh District Royal British Legion:

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24th February 2023

We will be joining the nation in a minute’s silence at 11am to mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 🇺🇦

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youth arts and culture

Youth Arts & Culture in the Borough

Wokingham Borough Council is seeking to understand how young people in the Wokingham Borough area are involved in arts activities and events, and their views on how to make the borough an arts and culture hub.

The survey is part of a wider consultation with young people about arts in the borough and is funded by Artswork, an organisation striving to empower children and young people through arts and culture.

If you are a young person, or a parent or carer of a young person and can help them fill in the survey, please do so HERE.

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housing Woodley

Survey on new houses in the Borough

housing Woodley

Fewer new homes may need to be built in Wokingham Borough if proposed changes to the national planning system go ahead – and residents are urged to have their say while the Government is still consulting. 

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities wants people’s views on the amendments, which it put forward in December, following Wokingham Borough Council’s sustained campaigning for a fairer deal on housing.

The Council believes this could significantly help it, and others in a similar position, to significantly reduce the number of homes being imposed and encourages everyone to respond before the deadline of Thursday, 2 March.

You can find out more and access the Survey HERE.

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council tax

Council Tax Bills

council tax

Council Tax Bills 2023-24

Wokingham Borough Council has finished preparing the new Council Tax bills and you can view your bill online HERE.

You will need to register for an account and you can also switch to paperless billing. Paper bills will be posted from 10 March.

For any enquiries, please contact Wokingham Borough Council: 0118 9746000 and ask for help with Council Tax.


We have reduced the charge that helps fund localised services by 2.8%. More information about this will be released in due course.

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council tax

Further funding available for Council Tax Reduction Scheme

Wokingham Borough Council has agreed a proposed £100,000 increase in funding for the council tax reduction scheme (CTRS), to help residents who may experience financial difficulties in paying their council tax.

The growth to the localised CTRS, agreed at full council in January, will ensure more working age borough residents have access to financial help.

Wokingham Borough Council has reviewed its current CTRS, assessing its impact and effectiveness and, in light of the current cost of living pressures, additional funds to support residents is needed.

The Council, like all local government organisations across the UK, is facing huge financial challenges to ensure vital services are protected and its residents receive the help and support they need to keep their families safe.

This additional support needed for residents, comes at a time when Cllr Clive Jones, leader of Wokingham Borough Council, has written to central government as the borough continues to receive the least funding from central government per resident of any unitary authority in the country. 

Cllr Jones has stressed the need for further funding as the increases in demand for statutory services for residents, including those with special education needs and disabilities, have left the council struggling financially.

Cllr Jones said, “We need to make savings to ensure that we have the funds available to continue to help those in need. This £100,000 increase in funding for the council tax reduction scheme, that is required, is just one example of the help and support that we are providing for our residents who are struggling financially.

“We don’t receive our fair share of money from central government compared to other local councils across the country. This, combined with high inflation making everything more expensive, is putting further pressure on critical local services that are in increasingly high demand.”

Cllr Imogen Shepherd-Dubey, executive member for finance, said, “We are making the tough decisions to ensure that we remain financially sound. Savings need to be made as the cost of living crisis is hitting our residents and local businesses as well as us as a council.”

“We have advised residents that they will be receiving less blue bags this year. This is because 54 bags this year will cost the same as 80 bags did last year.  This is just one example of spiralling costs at a time when central government are not providing us with adequate funding to support our residents. We need a new local government funding model based on the genuine costs of running a local authority.”

“Despite financial pressures, high costs and inadequate funding, we are on track to set a balanced budget for the next financial year. We have worked hard to reduce costs and spending to protect vital services and help residents who may experience financial difficulties. Due to the needs of our residents, we have also allocated an additional £250,000 within our budget for next year to continue to provide financial support.”

For further information about the council tax reduction scheme visit the Council website.

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new transport links in Wokingham Borough

Have your say on transport plans for Wokingham Borough

new transport links in Wokingham Borough

Wokingham Borough Council is asking for resident’s views to help it write a new, updated version of its Local Transport Plan, an official document guiding how it maintains and improves footways, cycle lanes, roads and other transport networks for many years to come.

This will offer residents more ways of getting around and more chances to leave the car at home, especially for shorter journeys. As the local highways authority, the Council is promoting this to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion, tackle the climate emergency, address inequality and help people live healthier lives.

The Local Transport Plan can be viewed HERE.

Have your say

During this initial engagement, which runs from Wednesday, 1 February until Sunday, 12 March, the Council wants views on ideas like more support for electric vehicles, more cycle parking, and providing more space for pedestrians on pavements in village and town centres.

This process is still at an early stage and will be followed by more detailed consultation, but everyone should take part now so it reflects the community’s needs and wishes from the outset. To respond, please click HERE.

Building on successes and moving with the times

All highways authorities must have an up-to-date Local Transport Plan that looks to the future and sets strategies for every part of the network. This must be presented to the Department for Transport and can help secure Government funding.

Wokingham Borough’s current plan, which runs until 2026, has provided benefits like its mostly traffic-free ‘greenways’ and improvements to Wokingham town centre, including the interchange with bus access at the station and a new link from Wellington Road to Reading Road.

It has also resulted in major new roads like the Winnersh and Arborfield relief roads, the latter of which won an award for measures benefiting wildlife, and upgrades to existing roads plus new footways and cycleways like the Bader Way from Woodley to Winnersh Triangle and Dinton Pastures Country Park.

Most schemes that the existing plan outlines are now completed – and with changing travel trends and a greater focus on the climate emergency, which the Council declared in 2019, it must be refreshed to better meet local demand and the issues facing the borough.

Helping to make greener, healthier changes

Cllr Paul Fishwick, executive member for active travel, transport and highways, said: “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished with our current Local Transport Plan but, looking to the future, we’ve got to be even more serious about the impact of vehicle transport on the environment.

“The root cause of congestion is too many cars on the roads, but we need to encourage more people to leave them at home by providing infrastructure that makes this feasible and helps them feel safe to use it, alongside a reliable local bus network that’s vital to the community and the economy. Our new Local Transport Plan will be at the heart of this approach.

“While we can’t always avoid building new roads, they aren’t a viable long-term solution to the problems facing our community and the wider world – there’s got to be a shift towards more environmentally friendly alternatives.

“Please help us understand what’s important to you when getting around, so that we can consider the changes we need to help everyone lessen their day-to-day impact on the environment.”

Tackling the issue from all angles

The Local Transport Plan incorporates strategies like the Council’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, which it consulted on last year and hopes to publish soon. This will suggest improvements over the next decade or so and help to secure funding, though none is currently allocated and there would be further consultation before any schemes went ahead.

The Council is striving to protect Wokingham borough’s bus routes as operators continue to grapple with the impact of covid-19 and inflationary pressures, and continues to make progress on a new greenway linking Wokingham town with Arborfield via Woosehill.

Last year, it also opened the North Wokingham Distributor Road and Nine Mile Ride Extension near Arborfield, both of which will alleviate congestion locally while offering walking and cycling opportunities with a separate shared footway and cycleway.

For help completing the Local Transport Plan early engagement survey, or for alternative formats, contact the council’s customer services team on 0118 974 6000 or visit one of its libraries.

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Proposed ward boundaries in Wokingham Borough

Chance to have your say on Borough Council Ward arrangements

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has launched a consultation on the electoral wards within Wokingham Borough and is calling on residents to give their views.


The LGBCE is proposing that there should be 18 wards in the borough, seven fewer than there are now. These 18 wards will each be represented by three councillors. 

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is an independent body accountable to Parliament. It recommends fair electoral and boundary arrangements for local authorities in England. In doing so, it aims to:

  • Make sure that, within an authority, each councillor represents a similar number of electors
  • Reflect the electoral cycle so that each ward is represented by three councillors
  • Create boundaries that are appropriate, and reflect community ties and identities
  • Deliver reviews informed by local needs, views and circumstances.

Have your say

Full details of the proposals and the consultation can be found on the LGBCE website. People can also give their views by e-mail at, and by post: 

Review Officer (Wokingham)


PO Box 133


NE24 9FE

Wokingham Borough Council Chief Executive Susan Parsonage said: “It is important that ward arrangements take account of local views and reflect our community and so I would urge everybody to have a look at the proposals and then make their comments.”

The consultation will run until Monday 10 April, 2023.

Proposed Ward boundaries

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car parking wokingham borough

Woodley Town Council raises concerns over proposed parking charges

Woodley Town Council’s Planning & Community Committee has sent a letter to Wokingham Borough Council outlining concerns with its proposed new parking scheme.

car parking wokingham borough

The letter provides a balanced, non-political view of all members of the Committee, which is represented by a mix of Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour Councillors. The concerns with the new parking arrangements focus on the potential negative impact on the community of Woodley. 

Several issues were raised, including:

  • Change of chargeable times – potentially reducing evening footfall to businesses
  • Scale of increases – with the potential to make Woodley Town Centre uncompetitive compared to other local shopping centres
  • Addition of new charges – charges for residential overnight permits and market trader permits
  • Disproportionate contribution to Wokingham Borough Council parking funds – the burden of monies raised to cover budget deficit unfairly lies mainly with Woodley and Wokingham.

The Committee have asked for a series of concessions in implementing the scheme, providing a rationale for each concession and is hopeful to receive a positive response from Wokingham Borough Council.

The letter can be viewed HERE, or within the Planning & Community Agenda Minutes, dated 31 January 2023 HERE.

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blue bin bag deliveries Wokingham Borough Council

Blue bag deliveries

Blue general rubbish bags will start being delivered across Wokingham Borough by Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) from Monday 6 February. They will be dropped on doorsteps over a six-week period, with all houses receiving them by mid-March. 

Each house will receive a roll of 54 blue general rubbish bags, covering the period between April 2023 and March 2024. A leaflet produced by WBC will be enclosed to give essential information on how to recycle more and waste less. Residents can find their estimated delivery date on the Council’s website HERE.

Food caddy liners are not being supplied to residents this year. The council announced last July that it would no longer provide free caddy liners for residents due to the significant increase in the cost of the caddy liners and because of the huge financial challenges it is facing. 

For the same financial concern, the council’s decision-making Executive agreed last September to reduce the number of blue bags for each household from 80 to 54 per year. 

Cllr Ian Shenton, executive member for environment, sport and leisure said: “The reduction of the number of blue bags has allowed our waste budget to stay as previously set, instead of having to increase by £149,000. Stopping the supply of caddy liners has avoided adding a further £120,000. These changes will obviously help make a difference to this year’s budget and allow us to focus on keeping our vital services going and supporting residents who need us during these turbulent times.”

Recycle more, waste less 

“Disposing of waste costs us more than twice as much as recycling, so it’s important to recycle more and waste less. Most of our residents are already doing a great job with their recycling, but we need everyone to play their part. With these 54 blue bags, we are asking all residents to take on the ‘One Bag Challenge’ again and put out an average of one blue bag of general rubbish per week. 

“It’s not difficult, really. For the vast majority of our residents, one blue rubbish bag per week will be more than enough if you put all of your recyclable items in the green recycling bags and the food waste containers. Additional green recycling bags are available, if you need more. 

“We’ve found that over half of what goes in our blue bags is recyclable, with food waste being the biggest culprit, followed by paper, cardboard, soft plastic bags and others. If those things were to be put in the food waste container and green recycling bags instead of the blue rubbish bags, we could save about £1 million a year.”

Feed your caddy, don’t fill your blue bags 

The council is urging residents not to stop using the food waste collection service just because it is no longer supply the food caddy liners. 

Cllr Shenton continued: “We don’t want residents to stop recycling their food waste, simply because we are no longer supplying the caddy liners. We made that decision to save council taxpayers’ money, and protect our vital services. 

“You can use whatever bags you happen to have at home, buy your own liners or leave the caddy unlined. All bags, including compostable ones, will be removed at the recycling plant before the food waste inside is processed, so you can choose whatever way works best for you.

“Recycling food waste has huge environmental benefits. When recycled, food waste can generate energy to power our homes. It also breaks down into a liquid fertiliser rich in nitrogen for farmers’ fields, improving the soil and helping grow crops. If food waste is put into blue bags, it will be disposed of, rot and release methane, a greenhouse gas harmful to the environment.”

Over half of what goes in the blue rubbish bags could be recycled

According to a study by re3, 57 per cent of what’s in the average blue bag is recyclable, with food waste alone taking up 24 per cent. Other recyclable materials include:

  • Paper, cardboard and magazine (9 per cent)
  • Soft plastics (8 per cent)
  • Reusable textiles (7 per cent)
  • Glass bottles and jars (5 per cent)
  • Garden waste (4 per cent) 

If residents need more green recycling bags, they can pop into any of the collection hubs in the borough to collect up to four bags. Alternatively, they can order them online for delivery HERE

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