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’s Advent Calendar window opens for Teamwork Trust who are organising Disability Forums, as part of a wider project called Community Champions. Teamwork Trust is working with Support Northamptonshire on the project, which aims to accelerate the offering of helpful advice, guidance and vaccination information to the disabled community to ensure that they remain safe.
Community Champions provide practical help to enable IT access, access to food and other provisions as well as encouraging people to take part in events and activities that contribute positively to physical and mental wellbeing. Wellingborough Eco Group member, Karon, is one of the Disability Community Champions. Here she is talking about this and their next Disability Forum:
Karon said: “The Community Champions were set up during the pandemic to support disabled people in the community, a part of this project was to set up a disability forum, because there was no disability forum in North Northamptonshire. The Disability Forum has been set up to share information with disabled people and also the organisations that support them.
“From having the disability forum and our discussions, we decided it would be a good idea to have a booklet for people that have been newly disabled or long-term sick, to give information on resources and services that are available, the type of support people can get, the benefits that people can go for, and anything else related to disability. The next disability Forum is on the 20th January and we encourage you all to come along.”
More than 50 adults came along to their first forum, the online event in July was attended by a mix of service providers, council officers and people with disabilities who raised concerns about how life without restrictions will make them unsafe. They also said that that those with underlying health issues are still the most vulnerable in society and that their views are not being respected.
The next Disability Forum will be on January 20th, their fourth bi-monthly forum. The forums are there for the views of disabled people to be heard, do join in on the Disability Forum in January if you can, more details are available at www.teamworktrust.co.uk/events
About Teamwork Trust
Teamwork Trust is a Northamptonshire charity and social enterprise with over 35 years experience, which works with and supports autistic adults, people with learning disabilities and individuals with mental health needs.
Teamwork is a successful social enterprise that helps vulnerable adults to achieve their goals. They care and are passionate about ensuring that everyone has access to the same chances, choices and opportunities. They embrace and celebrate individual needs and abilities. Service users help to steer and plan everything they do.
Their three centres, based in Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough, are friendly, safe and supportive places in which service users make new friends, access education and employment experiences, and take part in on and off-site activities and classes. They have a packed programme of living and learning projects, and activities, as well as wellbeing and counselling programmes.
They run ‘factory floor’ facilities from their three centres providing a range of assembling, reworking, finishing, labelling, packing and fulfilment services, to offer reliable commercial outsourcing service offers a cost-effective and efficient option for businesses, while giving adults with mental health needs, learning and physical disabilities valuable vocational experience at the same time. The Wellingborough centre is based at:
Teamwork Trust 38A Oxford Street Wellingborough Northamptonshire NN8 4JG
Today’s Advent Calendar opens a window for The Daylight Centre, an independent local charity that strives to help people in Wellingborough and the surrounding districts of North Northamptonshire in meeting personal challenges that range from complex mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, learning difficulties, to homelessness or just feeling fragile, isolated and alone.
The Daylight Centre Fellowship was established in 1994, registered in 2003 and ever since has assisted disadvantaged and vulnerable adults particularly rough sleepers, vulnerably housed, those in poverty and those who are socially isolated. As such, they are at the very forefront of social action within Wellingborough and the surrounding areas. They work in partnership with a range of local organisations and run different events and activities throughout the week.
The Daylight Centre’s activities include The Daylight Café, The Daylight Shop, Wellingborough Foodbank, and coming soon, The Daylight Farm allotment project. We visited them at their Queens Hall base on the High Street, the location of the Centre’s thriving community hub, and we met with Carina Fisher, Chief Executive of the charity, who told us:
“The Daylight Centre is accessible to all and everyone will be welcomed whether they’re in need of some practical support at our TLC service between 10.00am and 11.30am, dropping in for a bite to eat at The Daylight Café between 11.30am and 1pm, or for advice, information or referral at our Support Hub, also between 11.30am and 1pm.“
The TLC Service is a dedicated time for anyone who is street homeless or lacking in facilities to meet their basic needs. There is access to hot showers, clothing, bedding, laundry facilities and food. They also offer a safe care of address, access to computers and telephone. They hold various drop-ins throughout the week so if you let them know what you need, they can co-ordinate with a number of organisations and support with access to these services.
The Daylight Café is a welcoming, multi-use community space that is open to all. It is a place where anyone can come to spend time, socialise and enjoy simple drinks, snacks and light meals in a relaxed atmosphere. The food is entirely prepared on site by their amazing team of volunteers. They also provide free Wi-Fi access and there are computers and telephones should you need them.
The Support Hub is to help people get access to the right support, at the right time, from the right organisation in our local area. The hub can help people who may be experiencing a range of difficulties. You may be homeless or at risk of homelessness, be facing financial challenges, struggling with substance misuse, mental and/or physical health issues. Whatever your difficulty, pop in and speak to them, they are there to help.
The Daylight Shop is at 2 Cambridge Street, Wellingborough. They are your local charity shop selling an array of goods, preloved and recycled for your enjoyment. All proceeds from the shop go to keeping the Daylight Centre open or to their foodbank to provide food parcels. The Daylight Shop is open Tuesday to Saturday from 8.30 until 4pm. All donations are gratefully received. Pop in in for a bargain!
Wellingborough Foodbank supports people at their time of greatest need or crisis via several referral partners or supporting organisations such as Citizens Advice, Job Centre Plus, Community Law, schools, Substance to Solution and various housing providers. It provides up to four days supply of food as well as essentials such as household items and toiletries. Open Monday through to Friday, 9am-12pm at Unit 3, Bradfield Road, Finedon Industrial Estate, Wellingborough, NN8 4HB.
NEW – The Daylight Farm allotment project is starting in the new year. Based in Wollaston, it will be run by Daylight volunteers and clients . It will provide a fresh supply of organic fruit and vegetables which can be redistributed throughout the service, including in The Foodbank and Daylight Café. It will also provide clients with a safe outdoors space which can support them to live a healthier, happier, more independent and purposeful lifestyle.
If you are interested in volunteering to support The Daylight Centre Fellowship, contact email@example.com for more details about their activities and for an application form. You can also find out more information and about urgent items that are needed at the foodbank on their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/daylightcentre
Today’s Advent Calendar window opens on the Winter Solstice for our Community Allotment. Why, because on the shortest day we can look forward to longer warmer days, and get out to be doing more gardening! And that is exactly the point of our Community Allotment, to inspire everyone to either join us on our plot and/or start growing food and flowers either for themselves and our community!
Wellingborough Eco Group took on this plot at Ladywell allotments in Wellingborough last year, to give people the chance to share skills and to grow plants. The site was cleared in November 2020 and has, with many hours, many hands, and with a few additions of various buildings, fences and paths, plus tons of soil and compost, been developed into a user-friendly space to grow fruit, vegetables and other plants to benefit the community. Watch our first video back in February to see how we were getting on and our plan:
Our plan was that everyone should be able to use the plot, so hard standing for car parking, and access to a covered area near the entrance was seen as a must. Spaces for two cars have been provided at the front of the plot. A covered 12′ X 8′ ‘gazebo’ has been put up on the right as you enter plot. A fence separating the parking strip from the rest of the plot was also installed.
A hard path was then laid to a woodchip covered area where we have erected two greenhouses and two sheds. Amongst these we installed two raised beds and a speedboat, plus lots of compost bins and water buts. And then of course there’s the weeding, cultivating and planting! With many hands, we managed to fill the Community Allotment with fruit, veg and flowers, and by the summertime the plot was filled with abundance and beauty; here are just a few of the hundreds of photos we shared on the progress, of the people and about rewards of our efforts:
In addition to giving people the opportunity to try allotment gardening, we have lots of learning opportunities with demonstrations on all aspects of growing produce. We share plants and produce with each other at the allotment, at our Swap Shops, and with other community organisations. We also have a seed bank, to share with other allotment holders and for individuals to plant in their gardens; and an allotment library in the gazebo so that everyone to share gardening books and magazines. And we do more than grow fruit and veg…
Trees and Bees
The Community Allotment project also includes our Tree Nursery, which we have had next to the Community Allotment plot for three and a half years. Originally, we planted 28 whips (10 rowan, 9 cherry trees, 9 silver birch) that had been donated by Woodland Trust to Welly Trees and 1 field maple which was much larger, left over from residents planting trees in Third Avenue. Fifteen of these have been donated to other community groups to plant in and around Wellingborough. The others, including several more additions, are now between six and ten foot tall!
Earlier this year we took 50 oaks from Extinction Rebellion Rewilding, and planted 30 of them in a circle on a further plot next to the Tree Nursery, with the other 20 being planted on the Community Allotment. In July, Martine, a Wellingborough Eco Group Member, brought her bees to live with us in our ring of oak trees, amongst the bee friendly flowers we have there. We now have three hives in operation and lots of bees! Here Jonathan is on video again, this time showing us around the Community Allotment and Tree Nursery today:
Last month we extended the Tree Nursery into the space between where the older trees are and where the ring of oaks were planted, for a further 210 trees that we ordered from the Woodland Trust via Glamis Hall. These are to be planted for the Queen’s Green Canopy project, to celebrate her platinum jubilee. This project is a collection of partners including us, Glamis Hall and Castlefields Community Group, that is working with the local councils to plant trees in the town.
We received 105 of the whips and have planted them in this new space to grow them on. These trees are 15 Grey Willow, 15 Wild Cherry, 15 Silver Birch, 15 Pendunculate Oaks and 45 Rowan. The other 105 have just been delivered, which are a further 30 rowan, 15 crab apple, 15 dog rose, 15 blackthorn, 15 hazel and 15 elder, and will be planted in the new year.
Would you like to grow with us?
Anyone can volunteer at the Community Allotment, you don’t have to know anything about gardening and tools will be provided. The project is as much about community as it is allotment, so just join in, make new friends and be part of something that will benefit the town and all of us! We have regular working parties at the allotment, socially distanced of course!
The Working Parties are set up as events on our dedicated Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/communityallotment, and are put on our blog, please let us know if you are coming so that we can meet you at the gates to the allotment. We do hope that you have enjoyed this article and our videos, and that you may now be a little inspired, see you soon!
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 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/
Today’s Advent Calendar window opens to say thank you to Wellie Wombles, the litter picking group from Wellingborough Eco Group, started on Facebook by Freddie Harris in February 2021, as a Wellingborough and East Northamptonshire group of Northants Litter Wombles. Both groups have been set up to encourage people to litter pick. Here’s Freddie talking about Wellie Wombles:
Wellie Wombles are individual litter pickers who, like the TV Characters, go Wombling free tidying up after the everyday people. We do suggest that Wombles start near where you live but can litter pick whenever they want to, and pretty much wherever they want to. As a group we simply offer help, supplies and guidance, plus give litter pickers the chance to share photos with each other of what has been picked on the Wellie Wombles Facebook group.
Wellie Wombles regularly litter pick 100+ bags a month just in Wellingborough and have filled 60 bags so far this month already! Maybe you have seen a Wellie Womble or two tidying up your local area, or have seen one of those red bags at the side of the road? Wellie Wombles also join in the Wellingborough Eco Group ‘Two Hour Tidy Up’ every month, tidying up local parks and public spaces.
Plus Freddie is busy working behind the scenes and has had some great success stories, including engaging with local schools and young people on the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, by setting up local neighbourhood hubs where people can borrow our litter pickers and hoops; and with local business, to get them to take up litter picking. He is currently engaging with supporters over the festive period to see if they would like to do some picking too.
To help you, we have teamed up with Glamis Hall every Tuesday afternoon for Tuesday Tidy Ups, with Wellingborough Library Monday to Saturday and with Wellingborough Norse Monday to Friday; to loan litter pickers, hi-vis and hoops, and to give away bags. Equipment and bags are to be collected from one of the above locations, equipment is to be returned on the same day; and bags left for Wellingborough Norse by a public highway or at Glamis Hall on Tuesdays for collection. To get bags collected, simply report them on our website. You can also purchase a variety of pickers and hoops from us at our Tuesday Tidy Ups.
Come to Tuesday Tidy Ups this afternoon at Glamis Hall’s Community room from 2:00 until 6:00pm to meet Freddie and other Wellie Wombles for a tidy up or just a chat. Find out more about Wellie Wombles on our webpage or join the Wellie Wombles Facebook group.
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!