Funding needed to avoid future cuts to local services

Dealing with the immediate impact of COVID-19 continues but this needs funding by central government to avoid later cuts to local services just when they are needed most.

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Cheltenham Mayor launches Food Bank Fund

This week the Mayor of Cheltenham Councillor Roger Whyborn has launched the ‘Mayor’s Food Bank Fund’ which aims to raise funds for local food banks who are struggling to cope amidst a fall in donations and limited supplies.

Councillor Roger Whyborn said: ‘’As some residents’ financial situation has become extremely difficult we’ve seen demand at local food banks going up by more than three times during the Coronavirus lockdown.

‘’Many people have also found it difficult to donate to food banks in the Coronavirus crisis, sometimes because they cannot leave home themselves. So the Mayor’s food bank fund aims to raise vital funds to ensure these services can continue to help individuals and families across Cheltenham.’’

Councillor Peter Jeffries on behalf of Springbank community food bank said: ‘’Like other food related projects across our town, Springbank food bank are supporting those that need food right now. Volunteers sort through donations, packing and delivering hundreds of food parcels across the west of the town every week. However, we are donation dependent and this can sometimes be unpredictable, so if people can support the Mayor’s appeal these funds can be turned into much needed support across the town.’’

Anyone who wants to donate to this fund can do so in the following ways:

  • Making an online donation to and choose ‘Mayor’s Food Bank Fund’. It is a great way to support people while staying safe.
  • Buy Cheltenham Lottery tickets at and search for Foodbank or at 01242 396124. 50% of ticket sales go to The Mayor’s Food Bank Fund, and you could win up to £25,000.
  • Send a cheque payable to Cheltenham Borough Council and send it to The Mayor’s Parlour, PO Box 12, Promenade, GL50 1PP. Please write ‘Mayor’s Food Bank Fund’ on the back and your address.

For more details on the Coronavirus health guidelines, and the support available from Cheltenham Borough Council, check out the latest resources on their website:

"What we can all do to tackle the Coronavirus and save lives"

"At the start of my Mayoral year I could not imagine I’d be writing this: I said in a speech half-way through the year that Cheltenham was in rude health materially; now we face a very unexpected challenge."

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Back our frontline support package

Day after day, our NHS and care staff are putting their lives at risk to keep us safe and care for the critically ill, suffering from coronavirus.

Working long shifts, often isolated from their families, the sacrifices they are making for us all during this pandemic are incredible.

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Cheltenham Borough Council Leader's Coronavirus update: 16/04/2020

The team at Cheltenham Borough Council have been working tirelessly over the past few weeks to protect local people, services and businesses at this uncertain time.

Read the latest update from Steve Jordan, Leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, on the council's work in response to the Coronavirus:

"As for many others, the last few weeks for the council have been a frenzy of activity. I would break this down into 3 main areas.

"The first has been to understand rapidly changing national government guidance and new schemes such as grants for businesses and then working with others to decide how best to implement them locally as quickly as possible. While perhaps understandable, it has often taken government longer to roll out detailed guidance or circulate key data than they had originally hoped.

"The second area was physically changing how we do things. This has involved everyone altering how they work but the biggest impact has been adapting to home working and the huge increase in conference calls. While the technology already existed for this, ramping up the capacity and making sure everyone can use the kit has taken time.

"Finally, there have been decisions about individual services. Some have been shut down to comply with the latest government guidelines, others have had more people allocated to increase capacity while some, such as the Gloucestershire Community Help Hub, have even been created from scratch.

"Nobody has known an Easter weekend like it, but it did give a brief time to take stock. The work so far does seem to have brought a level of stability and we can perhaps hope it marked ‘the end of the beginning’ of the battle with COVID-19.

"While the virus has spread very quickly beating it will still be a long haul. The amazing effort of everyone involved in health and social care is essential but much of what has kept things going so far has been the charities, groups and individuals helping vulnerable people in their local areas creating a network of support. But it only takes a few key people to have to isolate for part of the network disappear overnight.

"Also, we are seeing an increasing number of homeless people needing housing along with an increase in demand for support from local food banks. Fortunately, we still have more volunteers than people needing help and we will need them all to get through this."

For more details on the Coronavirus health guidelines, and the support available from Cheltenham Borough Council, check out the latest resources on their website:

Coronavirus update

The Cheltenham Liberal Democrats are committed to supporting our communities through this crisis. This post is going to outline the current advice from the health service and what you can do to help. We will endeavour to keep this page up to date to the best of our ability.

Where can I find the latest medical advice?

The latest medical advice can be found at As the situation is rapidly developing, medical advice is fast-changing, but at time of posting (24th March 2020), the advice is as follows:

  • If you have symptoms (high temperature or persistent cough), stay at home for 7 days
  • If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
  • If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
  • If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

What is the latest government advice?

The latest government response can be found at The Prime Minister is undertaking daily briefings to outline the government response. Advice from Cheltenham Borough Council can be found at

What will the Cheltenham Liberal Democrats be doing during the crisis?

With the request from the government to stay home with the exception of essential journeys, we will be suspending our regular door to door canvassing sessions, leaflet deliveries, and other in-person campaign activities. We will continue to use our social media profiles and email database to contact residents, provide the latest advice, and connect people who need it with the relevant support.

We encourage all residents to contact their local representatives if they need assistance, and their contact details can be found here:

You can find the contact details for members of our team in your area here:

At times of crisis, it's vital that local communities come together, and we at the Cheltenham Liberal Democrats are determined to do our part for the town.

Lib Dem leadership tackling landlords and government on empty shops

Some landlords of empty shops in Cheltenham are refusing to engage in the debate on how to fill their premises, Liberal Democrats reveal today. 

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Cheltenham Lib Dem councillor joins Council of Europe

Cllr Angie Boyes, a Liberal Democrat Cheltenham Borough Councillor for Charlton Kings, has been appointed to the Council of Europe as one of its 24 UK members.


The Council of Europe is an international organisation, based in Strasbourg, founded in 1949 by, amongst others, Winston Churchill and Konrad Adenauer who had lived through wars and wanted peace based on the values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. 

Cllr Boyes has been appointed to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, which is an institution of the Council of Europe and is responsible for strengthening local and regional democracy in its 47 member states. The Congress is responsible for observing elections, promoting good governance and promoting the exchange of experiences and developing cross-border partnerships.

Cllr Boyes announced her appointment, reflecting on the new opportunities she will have to support the region in her new role:

"I'm delighted to have been chosen to join the UK delegation to the Council of Europe and to be able to use my place there to build strong connections to Europe for Cheltenham and Gloucestershire as a whole. I am deeply passionate about the UK’s place in Europe. In everything I do, I always promote the positivity that is gained from international collaboration, friendship and unity, and can't wait to use this new opportunity to support worthwhile causes in the region.

"I already act as an advocate for Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees and seconded a motion at Council to make Cheltenham a town of Sanctuary for Refugees. In my work on the Borough Council, I have worked tirelessly to make this policy a reality. I recently passed my TEFL qualification with distinction, in order to start teaching English to refugees. I truly understand the role that Europe and the UK play in welcoming and looking after refugees escaping persecution.

"It is important to note that this is a pan-European organisation and not an EU institution. It is about European countries coming together through shared values. The Council of Europe may well become the main platform of cooperation between political equivalents in the UK and Europe. We may have left the EU but we have not left Europe. We can still have a voice and a seat at the table when it comes to promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law."

Removing barriers to active travel on the Honeybourne Line

Today Cllr Wilkinson, Cheltenham's Walking and Cycling champion, wrote to the Managing Director of GWR to encourage him to unlock the benefits of the Honeybourne Line for active travel. View his full letter below:

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Rents and business rates squeezing Cheltenham high street

According to the British Retail Consortium, 2019 was the ‘worst Christmas for retailers in a decade’ and in January we have seen the consequences with a string of announcements of further shop closures across the country. In Cheltenham this has included Jack Wills in the Promenade.

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Cheltenham Transport plan phase four scrapped

The Cheltenham Transport Plan was an attempt to improve the environment by encouraging sustainable transport, while revamping our town centre with a new public square.


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The Cheltenham Lottery - Supporting good causes

Tickets for the Cheltenham Lottery are now on sale!

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Boris Johnson's damaging agenda for UK

Responding to the Queen's Speech, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

“Boris Johnson’s government have set out a disastrous agenda which will force through a hard Brexit, undermine our public services, destroy opportunities for our communities and cripple living standards. Brexit will hinder our ability to safeguard our NHS and reduce our capacity to tackle the climate crisis. 

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Lib Dems announce war on plastics

Local Lib Dem candidate Max Wilkinson visited plastic-free Dunkerton Cider as the Lib Dems announced a raft of policies as part of a radical plan to end the UK’s addiction to plastic. These policies include requiring all retailers to reduce the amount of plastics and non-recyclable packaging they use, implementing a deposit return scheme and ending plastic exports abroad by 2030

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Superdry co-founder Julian Dunkerton backs Max to become Cheltenham’s next MP

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Cheltenham Max Wilkinson has won the backing of world-renowned businessman Julian Dunkerton.


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Max joins disability campaigners to learn more about accessibility

Max joined charity campaigner Steve from the Royal National Institute of Blind People and Dave who lives at a Leonard Cheshire care home, who took him on tours of the town centre to experience an hour in the life of blind and partially sighted people, and wheelchair users.

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Max visits town’s small businesses

Parliamentary Candidate for Cheltenham Max Wilkinson has been speaking to dozens of local small businesses – visiting the ever-popular Suffolk Christmas market on Sunday and Cheltenham’s exciting new co-working space Hub8 on Monday.

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Lib Dems commit to reversing school cuts in Cheltenham

The Liberal Democrats have announced that they will spend £10 billion a year more on schools and hire 20,000 more teachers by the end of the next Parliament.

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Lib Dems announce plans to tackle the growing number of long-term empty homes in Cheltenham

The Liberal Democrats announce today that they would allow Cheltenham Borough Council to increase council tax by up to 500% on empty homes that are left empty long-term. 

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Max celebrates Gloucestershire's first School Streets scheme at Cheltenham primary

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Max Wilkinson is celebrating a major victory in the fight against air pollution outside schools – with the introduction of Gloucestershire’s first School Streets initiative at a Cheltenham school.

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