This month we have featured lots of great community and eco-friendly services available in and around Wellingborough on our Advent Calendar. It has been a real treat being able to talk to so many amazing people, and it’s been a pleasure sharing their groups, charities and businesses with you. For those that may have missed some of our Advent Calendar windows, here are all of them:
Its the final Advent Calendar window of this year, and it seems apt to open it for Made with Many and their Black Community Forum with greetings from Kwanzaa! After the success of this year’s Black History Month and Diwali events, Made With Many’s Black Community Forum have set up two further activities in Wellingborough.
You can enjoy two free celebrations of Kwanzaa at the end of this year and the beginning of 2022! Kuumba or Creativity will be celebrated at Greetings From Kwanzaa on 31st December and a celebration of all Seven Principles of Kwanzaa is happening on 1st January 2022, both at Wellingborough African Caribbean Association.
The festival of Kwanzaa is celebrated every year from 26th December lasting for seven days and coming to a festive end on 1st January. For those seven days, each day a different principle is highlighted – Unity, Self-determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith.
Come and celebrate the 6th principle of Kwanzaa, ‘Kuumba’, or ‘Creativity’ on the sixth day of Kwanzaa, Friday 31st December, 2pm-5pm. A free event for the whole family with an amazing line-up of artists leading on fun with creative activities that everyone can participate in:
Followed by some light refreshments and a chance to win some prizes in a Kwanzaa Quiz! And the finishing the afternoon with performances by the Singer Serwaah and the UAA drummers and dancers leaving with your Kwanzaa Goody Bag!
You are also invited in the spirit of Kwanzaa to a celebration of The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa on Saturday 1st January, 11am – 2pm , with Brother Omowale leading the ceremony. Enjoy drumming, singing, storytelling, activities and gifts for children, share the soul food feast and much more!
Initially, Made with Many had received funding from the National Lottery for their programme of cultural activities in both Corby and Wellingborough from 2020 until 2023; and earlier this month, Arts Council England announced plans to invest further National Lottery funding in the Made With Many programme, to allow their work to continue until the end of March 2025.
Helen Willmott, programme director of Made With Many, said: “We are thrilled that this additional investment from Arts Council England will enable us to continue the Made With Many programme across both Corby and Wellingborough, thanks to National Lottery players. We’ll be able to continue to offer a wide range of creative activities to communities, putting local people in the lead of their own cultural experiences and working with incredible artists to co-create new work.”
Made with Many are a community-led arts programme covering Wellingborough and Corby, which produces events and activities designed to surprise, delight and inspire. As that magical time of year approaches it has been great to see them support activities in the community that bring people together at Christmas.
Their programme aims to encourage more people than ever before to take the lead in experiencing, creating and taking part in high-quality arts and cultural activities. Through conversations with local people and community decision-making panels, Made With Many puts the community at the heart of commissioning artists and producing new and exciting events.
One example was when The Eloquent Fold (Made With Many Associate Artists, Carole Miles and Phiona Richards) visited the Daylight Centre at the beginning of December to run some creative workshops to decorate the centre. The lanterns and tree decorations they produced were bright and cheerful, and lots of people at the centre were keen to get involved.
Today, our Advent Calendar window opens for UGLY MUG who have just celebrated their first birthday! They are opposite Tresham College on Church Street, and they are eco-friendly. The proprietor, Jonathan Ekins, has created a coffee shop with that has nice surroundings, a pleasant ambiance and is quiet for meeting friends and family, on the way to work, shopping or just because you fancy a great coffee.
UGLY MUG is very keen to support community groups. If you are involved in a Wellingborough or district community group, they are pleased to offer use of their Coffee shop for promoting your group, you can have a table or use of their basement function area free of charge! Many local groups already meet the café, including a few from the U3A.
Taking advantage of this kind offer are our very own Wellie Wombles, who will be at UGLY MUG tomorrow with ‘Wellie Wombles’ and ‘Wellingborough Eco Group’ mugs and more. Why not pop in and see us between 10 and 2, for a coffee and a chat, plus find out about how to join us tidying up our town.
Wellingborough Eco Group also collects spent coffee grounds from UGLY MUG to use on our Community Allotment to fertilise our plot and to save them going to landfill. Do let them know if you want any. Here Jonathan tells you all about his coffee house and their eco-credentials:
The first thing that you experience as you enter UGLY MUG, is the spellbinding smell of coffee, swiftly followed by the feeling that you are in a European café. Even the price board looks continental. Seating is available on three levels and is designed with people from all walks of life in mind, be it work spaces, chill out seating or lunch with your loved ones.
They pride themselves that they only serve the finest locally roasted coffee, and that means no instant, no express and no pods. It’s not only coffee that has been sourced from a local supplier, they also have a local baker who bakes all of their bread and cakes. The coffee shop uses reusable plates and mugs, and offers bamboo reusable takeaway cups and recycled packaging too.
They have a wide selection of freshly prepared sandwiches available, including vegan and vegetarian options. Vegan coffee is served too, including a fantastic oat milk latte, soya and almond milks are also available, so whoever you are, they have you covered. Open Monday to Friday: 8:00 – 5:00, Saturday: 08:00 – 4:00 and Sunday: 10:00 – 3:00, they hope to serve you soon.
Today’s Advent Calendar Window opens for Morrisons Wellingborough store; who have made a huge difference this year, through the tireless work of their Community Champion Skye. She has supported and, perhaps more importantly, joined in with the work of lots of the groups and charities to make good things happen locally. Skye has been the most visible and supportive person from any business in our community this year, and for this we wanted to thank her and Morrisons with this feature.
Skye’s role is to support the local community and represent corporate living from Morrisons. During her time there she has helped at and supported Redeem Funds Food Bank, Helping Hands, Animals in Need, litter picks with the Wellie Wombles, Baby Basics, Teen Challenge, Thrapston Foodbank, Teamwork Trust, breakfast clubs from various schools and nurseries, and more. We visited Skye, who told us on video all about her work:
Morrisons Wellingborough store has been one of the biggest supporters of Redeem Funds this year, through regular donations to their foodbank and more. Their Community Champion, Skye, has also regularly supported Redeem Funds at various local events, at their foodbank and with making food parcels which are then distributed to families in Wellingborough District.
Morrisons have also supported Wellingborough Eco Group and Wellie Wombles too, with donations of canteen tables and chairs for our Community Allotment, and with four crates of drinks for Wellie Wombles at our Tuesday Tidy Ups. Skye has even joined in a few times litter picking and at the Community Allotment too!
Christmas is the supermarket’s busiest time of the year, but it hasn’t stopped them supporting the community. This Christmas Morrisons Wellingborough have a Toy Appeal for Northampton General Hospital where staff, customers or anyone can donate toys. These will go to children who are in hospital over the Christmas period.
Morrisons Wellingborough donated the mince pies for the Christmas Tree Festival at the High Street United Reformed Church last weekend. Skye has also been delivering mince pies on Mondays to care homes around Wellingborough, delivering hampers for families in need and has adopted a family this Christmas to give them their Christmas dinner and presents on Christmas Eve!
Today our Advent Calendar window opens for Redeem Funds, a ‘not for profit’ Christian organisation, set up to fight against poverty and to help, support, and provide for destitute people regardless of caste, creed, and colour. Redeem Funds work in partnership with Fareshare to collect surplus food from various supermarkets, to redistribute the food to families in our community.
We popped in to see them at their base at 90 Cowper Road, to say hello to Mary, their co-founder and secretary. A couple of their volunteers had just arrived from collections and were setting up food crates in their pergola food store, and a client had also turned up to see what was available, but they still had time to talk to us, and told us on video what they do:
Covid has massively impacted the lives of many people around the world. Seeing a greater need in Northamptonshire, RedeemFunds set up a food bank and has been distributing food parcels fortnightly to many families in the Wellingborough area, as well as providing emergency food parcels for families in need. Currently, they are providing food parcels to more than 30 families, who have been referred from either Northamptonshire Adult Social Services or Northamptonshire Domestic Abuse Centre, on regular basis and the need is growing day by day.
“Redeem Funds are doing a brilliant job by donating food parcels for families in needed within the community and utilising food that would otherwise be thrown away. Not only is this helping families in need, but also helping to save the planet by reducing waste – a win win situation!”
So far they have managed to save 14,684 kg food going into landfill and tackled food poverty for lots of local people. Their regular supply of fresh fruits, veggies and breads has helped many families in need. The fresh food is available at their pergola food store, where they simply ask people to just take what they need and for a suggested donation so that they can support more families in need with food parcels.
Redeem Funds are also very active in the community. They will be co-hosting Christmas Dinner today at St. Marks Church, Queensway, for our elderly ones who are by themselves during this festive season; they regularly support UP2U Youth Club at St. Mark’s Church with fresh fruits, pastries and veggies, and they support Wellingborough Eco Group’s Swap Shop every week, with excess food available for free on Tuesday afternoons, from 2-6, at Glamis Hall’s Community Room.
Christmas is a time of sharing love and showing kindness, as Redeem Funds have done all year. Please do support them with donations for their foodbank or get in touch with them if you need support. Find them on Facebook or visit them at 90 Cowper Road, Wellingborough.
Today’s Advent Calendar opens for Wellingborough Helping Hands Community Support Group and their Chilly Willy Yard Sale that takes place tomorrow and Sunday (18th and 19th December) from 12:00 until 4:00pm at 124 Main Road in Wilby.
Here is an admin from the group, Kat, telling us on video, all about Helping Hands Wellingborough and their Chilly Willy Yard Sale. We filmed her in her front garden, which is where the sale will be:
About Helping Hands
Helping Hands Wellingborough was set up on 19th July 2017, four and a half years ago, by founder Samantha Oakley. Her aim was to create a support network for those in the most urgent need and begin a community helping each other in difficult times.
The group now has 4 admins, Samantha, Gemma, Kat and Catherine; and it has grown to 1800 Facebook members, all listing, requesting and donating unused, outgrown and unwanted items in exchange for food, toiletries and laundry product donations to support the Helping Hands Foodbank facility, which is open to anyone in the Wellingborough area in need.
95% of donations are non-perishable food items, tins, packets, boxes and jars, and 5% are cash donations that are put into a community pot to purchase urgent fresh, frozen foods and baby items for those without the ability to do so themselves.
Helping hands also offer a baby and children’s clothes swishing service, run solely by group admin Gemma, where any clean, reusable clothing can be exchanged for the next size. Children’s coats and uniform are always offered for free as these are essentials and no child should ever be without a coat.
Helping Hands is a not for profit, volunteer led group, not a charity. No admin receives a wage, expenses or bonuses. They do this because they care for the community, and because it’s the right thing to do in this age where support services are stopped or denied funding.
Chilly Willy Yard Sale
Come to the Chilly Willy Yard Sale for last minute Christmas gifts, a 50p table, a jumble rail and much more! Wellingborough Eco Group will be there with their Swap Shop and to answer any questions you may have. There will be free food available from Redeem Funds and a tea and coffee table too!
Helping Hands are holding this special Christmas sale, to raise much needed funds, so they can provide food parcels to families in need for Christmas. Find out more about the group at the Chilly Willy Sale this weekend, and bag a bargain, or find them on Facebook and join in at https://www.facebook.com/groups/327137781050378/
With today’s Advent Calendar, a window opens for a local charity shop, Barnardo’s Wellingborough, who are offering Christmas gifts with a difference; and while things may still be a little different this year, we think it’s even more important to make it extra special. It’s time to sprinkle some sustainable Christmas dust on things and create all of those festive feels and stepping into an eco-friendlier Christmas.
Shopping pre-loved may not be your first thought when it comes to Christmas shopping, but you can something incredibly unique and extra special. Barnardo’s Wellingborough is a treasure trove full of amazing pre-loved gift ideas. From vintage and one off pieces, unique homeware, and a huge selection of books and toys. There really is something for everyone! Here Alise shows you around the store and tells you a bit more bout Barnardo’s:
This year they have lots of festive activities for you to take part in online. You can grab your trainers and take on the virtual challenge to Race Santa around the world, knit a snowman for your loved ones or watch Kidsmas Live. There’s plenty to choose from. Get involved on their website and support them at their Wellingborough shop.
Barnardo’s transforms the lives of the most vulnerable children in Northamptonshire and across the UK through the work of their services, campaigns, and research expertise. The charity believes they can bring out the best in every child, whether the issue is child poverty, sexual exploitation, disability, or domestic violence. They help young people leaving care, children with a parent in prison, and provide early intervention for families struggling to cope. Barnardo’s also finds suitable adoptive homes and foster placements for children in care. Registered charity no. 216250.
Today’s Advent Calendar Window opens for a local community centre and charity that is working hard to achieve their goal of being a community centre that is run by the community for the community. Paula Elmore and Marion Lamont have recently taken over the management of the Hemmingwell Community and Skills Centre CIO with two general assistants. Paula and Marion are both trustees who give their time freely and are supported by their wonderful volunteers and other trustees, who all help to keep the centre open and running smoothly.
The centre is recovering from a couple of difficult years (as many others are) and Paula and Marion are hoping to improve the centre, and attract more groups to help enhance peoples’ lives around the area. These groups could be older residents’ groups and coffee mornings, mother and toddler groups, home education groups and more, watch this space as they grow. These and many more exciting things are happening now:
Fit & Fed local children can come and have fun in the school holidays through exercise, with qualified instructors. They also do crafts and get hot meals for themselves and their families.
Nest Youth Club on Mondays 4 to 6pm
The Compound Our Trustee, Kam works his magic all over Northamptonshire! Based in the centre, he works educating and mentoring young people through exercise and music. He also has raised funds for calisthenic bars to be placed outside in Hemmingwell, where he can often be found training and talking to our young people.
Elmore Education has a learning room in the centre, where Paula teaches vulnerable young people who can’t be in school for any reason.
Bingo evenings on Wednesdays, run by the new Hemmingwell Residents’ Association.
Seventh Evangelist Church on Saturday mornings
Shudan Martial Arts run by Jeff Gonsalves are regular users of the centre for young leader and self defence classes
Arts and Culture with Made for Many for young people.
Employment Training with Goodwill Solutions CIC bring courses to the centre to help local residents build their working potential and enhance their lives.
Food Bank (sponsored by Goodwill Solutions CIC) on Tuesdays at 1.30pm to 3.30pm, with extra parcels available to help those in need throughout the week.
Police Local PCSOs have an office at the centre, helping with events such as ‘Safer Streets’ initiative.
NN8 Off the Streets have placed a bleed kit at the centre and are working with their trustee, Kam, in to schools to help educate our children in the fight against knife crime
The centre’s wonderful hall and separate meeting room are available to hire for community events, parties, functions and meetings, both during the week and at weekends. This is at a discounted rate for local residents. The centre also hosts parties for the community, including a Christmas party this Saturday that has completely sold out!
Today’s Advent Calendar window opens for the United Reformed Church on the High Street, who are hosting their first ever Christmas Tree Festival. There are 40 trees on show, decorated by schools, businesses, groups and individuals from the town. Here Kay, Cynthia and Claire from the URC, tell us on video all about the festival, and the project it is raising funds for.
After many years of planning, High Street United Reformed Church are embarking on their largest project since the current Church building was opened in 1875. The aim is to make the Church more welcoming and amenable to all the people of the town and beyond. The project received Planning Approval in April 2017 and is fund-raising to make the dream a reality. The Project, with estimated costs of £600,000 consists of four stages:
New external ramp to the front of the Church to allow for an easier, more dignified and inclusive access to those with disabilities and for coffin bearers at funerals.
New glazed door providing an elegant and secure enclosure to the external lobby.
The foyer, under the balcony, will be enclosed by a glazed partition through which you can enter the worship area of the Church. The foyer, which will become the High Street HUB, will be a multi-functional area, separately heated and encasing a servery and a meeting room.
The existing main worship area of the Church will be redecorated.
The most exciting change is to the foyer, creating The High Street HUB. They already hold Coffee mornings daily in the Church, which attract a number of regulars, some of whom are out of work and some are homeless and in need of a safe place for refreshment and a friendly chat, but this could be better.
Creating The HUB will enable the United Reformed Church to offer better services to the local community. With easily heated and adaptable spaces for use by the whole community that are easily accessible by all and right on the High Street!
The HUB will give the church the opportunity do what they currently do and more, with a purpose built servery, offering quality light refreshments; and a meeting room that’s able to seat 40 persons, for small gatherings, for those seeking counsel and for further outreach work.
With 40 trees on display, you would expect variety, but at Wellingborough Christmas Tree Festival, there are some really unusual takes on the traditional festive focal point. Most are pretty, some are large and others make a point. Helping Hands, Wellingborough Library, Glamis Hall, Weavers Academy and Wellingborough Lions are just some of the organisations that have displayed a tree.
Look out for our Wellie Womble Tidy Up Tree, it’s been growing at our allotment for a couple of years after being saved from the bin, and it’s all about litter picking. Plus you have to see the Wellingborough African Caribbean Association tree that has been dressed to impress. Here are pictures of some the trees from a distance:
Come to Wellingborough Christmas Tree Festival at the United Reformed Church on the High Street. It’s on from 10am until 4pm today or on Sunday from 1pm until 4pm. Entrance is £2 per adult, accompanied children are free. Refreshments are available, including mince pies, and all proceeds will go toward their High Street HUB project.
Today’s Advent Calendar window opens for Wellingborough Town Council, because they have organised a Christmas Market tomorrow (Saturday 11th) from 8:30am until 3pm on the Market Square. We spoke to Emma, Projects Officer at Wellingborough Town Council, who said “There will be a variety of stalls selling gifts, decorations, food and more at Wellingborough Christmas Market, plus we have lots more exciting festive events in the Town Centre too.” Stalls at Wellingborough Christmas Market include:
A Touch of Wax
The Daylight Centre
Cashew the Cactus
Lulu Belle Loves Paper
The Food Barn
Sparky’s Snack Box
And many more! Shoppers at Wellingborough Christmas Market will also be visited by some of Santa’s real reindeer between 11am and 3pm, pop along and say hello? Plus whilst your in the Town Centre, so why not have some more festive fun at the other events:
Santa will be in his snowy grotto at the Swansgate Shopping Centre from 10am until 4pm, and what’s even better is that entry is completely free! You will be greeted by Santa’s cheeky elves before you can talk to Santa, have your photo taken as well as receiving a free gift for every child! Pre booking for the grotto is recommended but not essential. There will be two queues on the event days, shoppers in the pre-booked queue will be made a priority. Book your tickets here!
The United Reform Church on the High Street is hosting their first ever Christmas Tree Festival. There will be over 35 trees on show, decorated by schools, businesses and individuals from the town, look out for Wellingborough Eco Group’s Wellie Womble Tree! Visit on Saturday from 10am until 4pm or on Sunday from 1pm until 4pm. Entrance is £2 per adult, accompanied children are free, all proceeds will go toward their Hub project . Refreshments will be available. More about this on tomorrow’s Advent Calendar…
There is a Christmas Craft Market at the Tithe Barn! With cards, candles, pinnies, jewellery, bags; all sorts of unique gifts and accessories; there is something for everyone! Pick up out of the ordinary gifts this year, locally made; something special and different! Join in the tombola fun, in support of Cats Protection. Plus a chance to decorate or dedicate a Christmas Tree bauble, to be hung on the tree in town. Open 10.30am until 4pm, admission is free, refreshments served all day.
And to finish off with, All Hallows Church and the Town Council have teamed up together to provide a Christmas Carol Concert in the grounds of All Hallows Church after the Christmas Market, at 3pm. Everyone is welcome to join the celebrations. Do come along and enjoy a mince pie and non- alcoholic mulled wine.
Wellingborough Town Council was formed following a Community Governance Review in 2018. It consists of 23 councillors who were elected for four years on 6th May 2021. Wellingborough Town Council will aim to provide some local services in tandem with other local authorities within the area. It is a community focused council, striving to make Wellingborough a better place to live, work and play.
Wellingborough Christmas Market has been organised by Wellingborough Town Council with North Northamptonshire Council using the Welcome Back fund. North Northamptonshire Council is also using this fund for their Hi Street campaign to promote our High Streets, and look, even Santa is shopping locally this year:
Did you spot Santa when he visited Wellingborough while doing his Christmas shopping? Perhaps tomorrow is the day you you can join him? Emma, Projects Officer at Wellingborough Town Council, told us “Wellingborough is the festive place to be this Saturday. Come to Wellingborough Christmas Market, shop locally, join in the celebrations and have a great time.”