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Praise for testing teams as free Lateral Flow Testing comes to an end

For most people, free lateral flow testing (LFTs) has ended today as part of the Government’s Living with Covid Plan, published last month.

The government’s rules on LFTs, published this week, outline those groups still entitled to free testing from today (Friday 1 April). Please visit the Government website to learn more.

Throughout the pandemic, the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead provided free LFTs to residents via its Community Collect scheme at borough leisure centres and the Royal Windsor Information Centre, Assisted Testing at Braywick and Windsor leisure centres, and also via mobile units. More than 21,000 free boxes of LFTs were distributed, and some 19,900 free assisted tests carried out.

We’d like to thank our Community and Assisted Testing teams, Public Health teams and other key council services, alongside our community partners, for their incredible support and commitment to the Royal Borough’s testing programme.

Although restrictions in England have now ended, Covid is still with us, so we encourage you to continue key behaviours – wearing a mask in crowded places, good hand hygiene, staying home if you’re ill and getting vaccinated.

The Covid vaccine remains the best protection against this virus. Over-75s and people with a weakened immune system can now get a second booster and the vaccine is about to be rolled out to children aged five to 11. To book your Covid vaccine, visit either the NHS website or Frimley Health and Care's vaccination webpage.

More information is available in our press release.
Royal Borough moving ahead with key recommendations from independent review 

The Royal Borough is moving ahead with key recommendations for further improvement arising from a recent independent review, which overall found the council had made “good progress” where needed over recent years, with a clear direction to strengthen further.

In January 2022, the Royal Borough welcomed an external Challenge Team drawn from other councils to look at the five core areas of: local priorities and outcomes, organisational and place leadership, governance and culture, financial planning and management, and capacity for improvement. The process included interviews with councillors, staff, residents and external partners.

Despite the challenges of Covid, the review’s initial feedback, shared in February, was that the Royal Borough had made “good progress” where needed since its previous review in 2017 and was already well aware of further work required, thanks to a positive shift in strategic leadership and the culture of the organisation.  

Councillor Andrew Johnson, the council leader, said: “This has been valuable independent validation of how far we’ve come as a council, highlighting good progress and positive change made in recent years, as well as our own clear awareness and sense of direction for where further improvements are needed.

"I’m pleased we’re well underway with implementing some of the actions highlighted as recommendations, such as embedding the Corporate Plan."

To learn more, read our press release or see the Challenge Team's full report on our website.
Community thanked as Defra lifts 3km bird flu zone around Eton

Defra has now lifted the temporary 3km captive bird monitoring controlled zone that it established in January 2022 around the River Thames at Eton in response to bird flu cases identified there in several swans. This indicates that, following successful checks and monitoring of both captive and wild birds in that radius, Defra is confident the disease is under effective control locally.

The Royal Borough would like to thank all bird keepers who completed our surveillance survey, providing valuable information about your birds, and worked with the council’s Trading Standards and Defra vets to help minimise the spread and protect local wildfowl, poultry farms and your own birds. 

Please remember that the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone remains in place across the UK, which includes a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK, regardless of flock size, to continue to keep your birds indoors and follow strict biosecurity measures to limit the spread of the disease.

We’re also pleased to be able to lift, with immediate effect, the precautionary dogs-on-leads requirement that was in place along the riverbanks at Windsor and Eton, and to end our request not to feed the swans there.

Learn more in our press release.
Events and projects planned to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

A range of events and projects are being planned by the Royal Borough to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year.

Her Majesty became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee on 6 February, marking 70 years of service to the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.

To celebrate this unprecedented anniversary, there will be Platinum Jubilee celebrations taking place throughout the year, building to celebrations over the extended Bank Holiday weekend from Thursday 2 June to Sunday 5 June.
Upcoming events include:

  • A 21 Gun Salute on the Long Walk, Windsor (Thursday 21 April) – Led by the Mayor, Councillor John Story, the event is planned to mark Her Majesty’s 96th birthday. A number of children attending the event will be invited to fire a cannon
  • The Mayor’s Platinum Jubilee Children’s Party at Windsor Guildhall (Monday 23 May) – Two children, aged between five and 11 from all schools in the borough will be invited to attend the party
  • Town Criers competition at Salisbury Tower, Windsor (Saturday 20 August) - Around 20 official Town Criers will parade in their ceremonial liveries before competing in a day-long competition.

For more event information, check out the Windsor Platinum Jubilee website and the Visit Windsor website.

Read our press release to learn more.
Free school holiday activity and food programme returns for children eligible for free school meals

A successful free holiday activities and food programme helping children eligible for free school meals is returning to the Royal Borough this Easter.
Our programme is called Feed Ur Everyday Lives (FUEL) and aims to provide additional support to vulnerable children.

It is delivered by Achieving for Children (AFC), our children’s services partner, with funding from the Department for Education. It is for children aged five to 16 years old who are eligible for free school meals.

The programme will offer a range of activities across the Easter holidays, as well as during the summer break and Christmas holidays this year – the same as last year’s programme.

Activities include sports sessions and the opportunity to learn outdoor skills including forest den building, firelighting and campfire cooking. There will also be performing arts, arts and crafts, indoor games, food education, an escape room activity, and sensory activities for children with special education needs.

To view the Easter programme and book, visit the AFC website.

Learn more in our press release.
Reminder: Help inform next stage of planning for South West Maidenhead

We're inviting the community to help inform plans for a major development area, South West Maidenhead, which will bring forward new homes, community facilities, infrastructure, employment space and improved public access to green space.

To get involved and find out more, you are invited to attend our themed online events, where you will also be able to submit live questions. The two forthcoming sessions are:

  • Connectivity – Wednesday 6 April 2022, 6.30pm
  • Sustainability and the Environment – Wednesday 13 April 2022, 7.15pm

We held our first session, on the theme of Community Needs, earlier this week. If you were not able to attend, a recording will be made available soon on our YouTube channel so you can catch up.

More information about joining the live events and about the South West Maidenhead development area can be found on our dedicated webpage and in our press release.
Upcoming jobs fair to support local job seekers and employers

The Royal Borough is working with JobCentre Plus to stage a jobs fair at the Nicholson Shopping Centre in Maidenhead on Thursday 7 April between 10am and 1pm.

Local jobseekers will have the opportunity to connect with employers looking for staff to fill their vacancies. Employers, large and small, across a variety of sectors will be attending so this is an ideal forum for candidates to understand the local jobs market and the skills required to be successful in their applications.

The event will not only help support residents by providing more information on the job opportunities available in the borough, but also give businesses a chance to recruit staff.

Those interested can just turn up on the day. If you would like further information, please contact Maidenhead JobCentre Plus on 0845 604 3719 or email
Royal Borough’s White Ribbon campaign shortlisted for national award

We’re finalists in the national CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) Excellence Awards for our White Ribbon campaign with The Dash Charity and other partners, which called on everyone in our community to take a collective stand against male violence, abuse and harassment towards women.

As part of the 16 days of national activism following White Ribbon Day 2021, we encouraged everyone to lead by example, to question abusive attitudes and behaviours in others, call out sexism and make the White Ribbon promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence towards women.
We also raised awareness of the valuable work in the Royal Borough to help keep both women and men safe, the support available to all victims, and the several ways people can report and get help if they’re scared, threatened, or abused: whether in a domestic setting or on a night out.

Well done to our in-house Communications Team for developing and delivering this important campaign, and a big thank you to the many people and organisations that lent their support. The winners will be announced on Wednesday 8 June.
Upcoming engineering work on Ascot trainline

This Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (Friday 15 to Monday 18 April), Network Rail will be undertaking engineering works in the Ascot area.

During the works, the train lines from Ash Vale to Ascot will be closed all day. A replacement bus service will be in place between Ascot and Aldershot.

Sunningdale level crossing will also be closed for the whole weekend as part of these works, and this will affect bus journey times. Please allow additional time if you plan to travel to/from this station.

Learn more on the Network Rail website.
New Heatherwood Hospital opens

Earlier this week, the first patients were treated at Frimley Health’s new Heatherwood Hospital.

The facility, which has been constructed behind the site of the existing Heatherwood Hospital, will help to reduce waiting times for patients and bring some of the best planned care services in the country to residents.

The 11,500 square metre hospital supports non-emergency procedures and includes:

  • Six state-of-the-art laminar flow operating theatres. Optimised for orthopaedic procedures with one dedicated to ophthalmology. Operations are set to place six days a week
  • 48 in-patient beds including 20 individual en-suite side rooms all making the most of the woodland views
  • 22 day-case pods. Specially designed day care procedure rooms allow more patients to be treated for ‘minor’ procedures

Royal Borough community spotlight

Here are just some of the upcoming community events in the Royal Borough:

  • Kaleidoscope dance performance – (Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 April) – Furze Platt Senior School Theatre. Come and see 200 local children aged three to 18 years, perform a production celebrating colour! From classical ballet, to street and commercial, tap dance, modern dance, contemporary and Acro! All proceeds go to Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice and Breast Cancer. Tickets are available on the Stage Stubs website

  • Fundraising Concert for Ukraine – (Thursday 28 April 6.45pm) – Windsor Parish Church. St George’s School Windsor Castle is holding a fundraising concert to raise money for the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. The event will begin with a champagne and canapé reception followed by a performance of Fauré Requiem by the Chamber Choir, accompanied by a professional music ensemble. Tickets are priced at £35 (Under 16s go free) and can be booked on the Eventbrite page

  • Animal Farm at the Old Court, Windsor – (Wednesday 6 to Saturday 9 April) – Windsor Theatre Guild will perform George Orwell’s world-famous and unsettling 'fairy story' as originally based on the Russian Revolution of 1917 and its aftermath. With its themes of freedom, fake news and the corrupting nature of power, it is as relevant today as when it was written at the end of the Second World War. Visit the Old Court website to learn more and book tickets

  • Warmer Greener Homes – Taking place throughout April, the Royal Borough Climate Community are hosting nearly 30 activities to help residents deal with the increased cost of living and the growing threat of the climate emergency. The activities will cover a diverse range of topics, from fixing draughts and retrofitting insulation in your home, to seedling exchanges and growing plants for pollinators. The activities will take place in Maidenhead, Windsor, Cookham and White Waltham. Visit the RBWM Climate Community website for more details

  • Sign up for ‘Crafty Workshops’ – Craft Coop Windsor is offering a range of workshops across April and May in their Windsor Yards workshop space including painting and Easter hare in watercolour, beginners’ sewing or cross stitch, recycled glass-painting and jewellery making. There are also free Open Craft Circles for anyone who wants to bring their own crafts and meet other makers. Visit their Facebook page to learn more

  • Clewer and Dedworth Community Easter Fair – (Saturday 9 April 11am-2pm) - Woody's Cafe and Hall, Clewer Memorial Recreation Ground. Enjoy artisan market stalls, family fun and games, and buy your Easter Bunny Trail Maps at the Clewer and Dedworth Community Easter Fair. Free entry

  • Take part in local litter picks – If you’d like to join a local litter, please check out our Clean Up Operations webpage. It aims to support and promote those in the community who do their bit to create a cleaner environment. You can also see when a local litter pick is happening near you and share your litter picking stories and pictures. Visit the RBWM Together website to learn more

If you have an upcoming not-for-profit community event or activity you’d like to promote in this newsletter simply send basic information about your event to and it could be shared with over 19,000 local residents.

You just need to include a brief description, when and where it takes place, and a link to a website/social media page/contact where people can find out more.
Have your say

We regularly hold consultations to get your views on proposals within the Royal Borough.

Responding to our consultations and giving your feedback is the best way to ensure your views are heard.

Our current consultations are:

More information can be found on the consultations pages of our website. 
M4 closures

The M4 is due to be closed eastbound only between Junctions 8/9 (Maidenhead) and 6 (Slough-Windsor) from 8pm today until 6am on Monday 4 April.

Visit the Highways England website for more details on the M4 smart motorway scheme.

For details of council works on highways, visit our website. For full local roadwork details, including work by utility firms, please visit the One Network website.
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