December’s Charney Chatter

December’s Chatter is here!

From your local MP – David Johnston

Thank you very much to the 2,127 people who signed my petition to re-open Grove Station. It shows again the huge strength of feeling on this locally, and I will now be presenting it to the House of Commons and to the Department for Transport to make the case to them. Thanks too to Andy Holding of the Wantage and Grove Rail Supporters Group for his support. I will keep pushing for this station, which makes economic, social, and environmental sense.

We are the proud home of the 11 EOD and Search Regiment at Vauxhall Barracks in Didcot, and it was a pleasure to visit again and meet Lt Col Rob Swan and the team. Just this year they have so far responded to more than 1,800 requests in the UK to deal with explosive devices and I planted a remembrance stake in Parliament’s Garden of Remembrance in their honour. I also, as ever, took part in poignant remembrance services and parades – this year in Wantage and Didcot. Thank you to everyone who made them happen.

UK Parliament Week takes place every November, and I was pleased to visit local schools and talk to different youth organisations about my role as an MP and how they can get involved in politics, including: Wallingford School, St Michael’s CofE Primary School in Steventon, Brightwell Primary School, St Blaise Primary School, the 7th Abingdon Beavers, Chilton Explorer Scout Unit and Brightwell cum Sotwell Scouts.

I have been campaigning to improve our roads since I was elected and I have now launched my Local Roads Survey to give you the opportunity to tell me exactly where you are seeing issues on our roads that need to be resolved – including potholes, congestion, speeding and other safety concerns. I want to pull together a complete map of all the issues we are facing, and where, so that I can raise these with the road authorities. Fill it out at

Now that I am the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, one of the things I have responsibility for is overseeing the Government’s big new expansion in childcare for parents. Once it is completed in Autumn 2025, it will give working parents 30 hours of free childcare every week from when their child is 9 months old until they start school. It is great be involved in delivering this exciting new policy and you can see exactly what you’re eligible for at

It is also great that the Prime Minister has successfully delivered on his promise to halve inflation by the end of the year. It involved hard decisions and discipline, but it is right that we focused on this as inflation eats away at the pound in your pocket and has had negative effects on both prices and interest rates.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
As ever, if I can help with anything then do, please get in touch via

From your local MP – David Johnston

I was really pleased with how my Pensioners’ Fair in Wantage went. Lots of pensioners came and were able to get information and advice from a wide range of organisations that took stalls, including Vale Community Impact, Carers Oxfordshire, Thames Valley Police and Grove Day Centre. My thanks again to Driving Miss Daisy in Didcot for sponsoring it.
Last month, I officially opened Soha Housing’s new building in Wallingford, Frances Curtis Court. It provides retirement living options and I was very impressed that they had managed to build it on time and on budget despite the pandemic. It was particularly nice that Frances Curtis’s Grandson was able to be there for the event, too.
Andy Baker is a local hero in Didcot and I am proud to be a patron of his charity, Play2Give. It was great to be able to be at his 2023 Gatsby Ball last month, a really great event with 140 people in attendance. It celebrated his organisation having now raised more than £100,000 for Oxford Children’s Hospital. Well done, Andy!
Two things for you and your families to participate in before next month. I have just launched my annual Christmas Card Competition for primary school children. It’s open till the 13th November and entries need to be on an A4 page – the winning design will go on the front of my card!
I’ve also opened a survey asking what you think about the PM’s proposal to increase the age you can buy cigarettes by a year every year so that a 14-year-old today is never able to buy one. Find details about both on And do please sign my Grove Station Petition while you’re there if you haven’t!
It’s been a very busy first few weeks as Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing. I’ve met with lots of individuals and charities that support work in the areas I’m now responsible for; helped to launch a new £70 million programme to improve the support children with special educational needs get; responded on behalf of the Government in a debate about the role of kinship carers (family members who take children in who can’t live with their parents); hosted visits by Ministers from Sweden and the Netherlands to share ideas; and launched more of the Government’s work to reform children’s social care.
There’ve been plenty of visits, too – including to nurseries, a family hub, a children’s home and the Seashell Trust, a charity that supports children with learning disabilities and autism. There’s lots to do – the Special Educational Needs, Alternative Provision and Children’s Social Care System are all being significantly reformed simultaneously and, at the same time, the Government is making the single largest investment in childcare ever to dramatically increase the free hours of childcare parents can claim. This constituency will always be my primary focus but I’m very much enjoying my additional responsibilities so far.
As ever, if I can help with anything then do please get in touch via

Wantage Newbury/Church Street Practice Patient Participation Group Newsletter

Here is the latest Wantage Newbury/Church Street Practice Patient Participation Group Newsletter

Upcoming Parish Council Meeting, Wednesday 8th November.

There will be a meeting of the Parish Council in the Village Hall starting at 7:30 pm.

Meeting Agenda and other relevant documents can be read here.

Villagers are cordially invited to attend.

November’s Charney Chatter

is here!

David Sibbert – funeral arrangements

The arrangements are
Wednesday 8th November @ 3pm

The service will be held at
South Oxfordshire Crematorium
OX13 5PA

And afterwards at The Chequers,
Charney Bassett OX12 0EX

20 mph speed limit consultation

Oxfordshire County Council is consulting on a reduction in the village speed limit and details can be found at this link. Any comments have to be submitted to the County Council by Friday 10th November.

Upcoming CHAFT Meeting, Wednesday 11th Oct.

There will be a meeting of CHAFT in the Village Hall starting at 6:30 pm.

Meeting Agenda and other relevant documents can be read here.

Villagers are cordially invited to attend.

October’s Charney Chatter

is here!