East & South Notts and Nottingham

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Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, is calling on budding young artists to take part in an exciting summer art competition to celebrate the Palace of Westminster’s 150th birthday.

It took nearly 30 years to rebuild the Palace of Westminster after a devastating fire, but in 1870 it was finally completed with the beautiful mosaic tiles in Central Lobby. The Speaker is looking for the next great artist to design their own democracy themed tile.

Open to young people aged between 6 and 15, the design must focus on the theme ‘My Democracy Design’. Inspiration could come from voting, famous moments in the history of Parliament, like the suffragettes or even what they would like democracy to look like in the next 150 years.

The deadline for entries is the 31st August 2020.


What do you win?

·         One winner will have their design framed and receive a certificate from Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons. Their design will be created into their own unique democracy themed tile. They’ll also receive a goody bag from the Houses of Parliament shop.

·         Two runners up will have their designs framed and receive a signed certificate from Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons. They’ll also receive a goody bag from the Houses of Parliament shop.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said:

“This is a great opportunity for young people to get involved in our celebrations and to follow in the footsteps of Augustus Pugin, who designed the beautiful mosaic tiles you see in Central Lobby.


“Now it is your turn to create something that could last the next 150 years. I can’t wait to see democracy through your imagination.”


For further information and to enter the competition, please visit here.

The competition forms part of a programme of activities for the 150th birthday which will include publics talks, a new virtual tour of the Palace of Westminster, an online art gallery and range of social media activities. Further information is available here. 

Children now have the opportunity to be a part of history by sharing their experiences of life during the COVID-19 lockdown. Children’s author Natalie Reeves Billing says these experiences will be displayed on a dedicated ‘Children of Lockdown’ website to be preserved as a digital time capsule by the British Library in the UK Web Archive.

For this historic project, children aged between 3 and 17 are being asked to reflect on their lockdown experiences and use stories, poems or pictures to share those experiences. By preserving those experiences in the British Library’s UK Web Archive, children of the future will be able to see and understand what life was like during this unprecedented time, through the eyes of the children of today.

There is also a competition to find the most creative response in each age category, to be judged by five children’s authors: Natalie Reeves Billing, Nicola J Rowley, Janey Jones, Sandra Horn and Rhys Brisenden. Winners in each age category will receive National Book Tokens.

Natalie Reeves Billing, author of My Mummy Is A Monster: My Children Are Monsters said: “Having a record of how we lived and how we coped as a nation will inspire generations to come. Our children will become a recorded part of that history. Children have so much to say, and expressing themselves subconsciously via storytelling is the perfect way to unlock that message they wish to deliver. Not every child can find the right way to frame their feelings about lockdown but art and creative writing can give them that outlet and the digital time capsule gives children a platform to share their feelings on the world right now.

“My social enterprise, Split Perspectivz, explores the importance of self-expression via storytelling of all forms. That ability to download information from our heads onto paper helps promote a well-balanced young person. Holding onto our feelings can be damaging, and many people forget that children feel worry, depression and anxiety too. With this project, children have that opportunity to put their experiences in one place, recounting and sharing it, and subconsciously, making sense of things.”

This project is the brainchild of Charlotte McMillan, founder of the digital scrapbook app Storychest. “It started as a personal project that I asked my three boys to do; they have witnessed a fundamental moment in history, when everything that was predictable about our lives was suspended – the ability to come and go as we please, to see friends and family, and to go to school.

“I thought it was important for them to express their thoughts and reflections about lockdown, almost as a way of putting it into perspective – the negatives but also the positives – and to see what we can take on board for the future. My friends also got involved and I thought how great this would be if we could extend the idea to all children across the UK, for their reflections to be captured in one place.”

Charlotte heard about the British Library’s UK Web Archive, so she approached them with her idea of creating the Children of Lockdown digital time capsule. Head of Contemporary British Publications at the British Library, Ian Cooke, said: “The British Library will be including Children of Lockdown in its collection on COVID-19, as part of the UK Web Archive. This collection covers medical, healthcare, policy and social impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“As part of this, we are preserving a record of personal responses and accounts of life during Coronavirus, through communications made public online and preserved in the UK Web Archive. Children of Lockdown will be an important part of this collection, showing first-hand accounts of how lockdown impacted a generation, through a range of creative and written responses.”

Natalie said: “With lockdown imposing restrictions on our freedom, we must look to all opportunities for life enrichment. Giving children the gift of creativity is perhaps the most important thing we can be doing for mental health now.

“I am a massive advocate for education. Literacy is the key to a lifelong love of reading which gives us a place to escape to in our minds – our imagination – and it is a place no one can ever take away from us. When we have that, there is nowhere we can’t go. When we set our minds free, through reading or being creative, we can forget about the problems of the world, and focus our thoughts on positives.”

Natalie urges all teachers and parents to encourage their children to start creating now, to be a part of this historic Children of Lockdown digital time capsule project. Poems, stories or pictures can be submitted up until 7pm on 31st July and winners will be announced on 31st August on Storychest’s Facebook page and website.

For more information about submitting entries to Children of Lockdown, go to https://childrenoflockdown.storychest.com. Once winners have been announced, all entries will be accessible to read here. Only the first name, age and location of each child will be made public.

“Please help us save our farm because some of the animals have been with us a long time. It would worry me if they had to go, because I don’t know if they would be OK.” Gwendoline Bates (Yr4)

Edwalton Primary School children are asking for the community to help to keep their farm running as their traditional fundraising events have been cancelled due to the response to Covid-19.

Established in 1972, it is now England’s only school with both a working farm and a 3 acre woodland.

Katy Howard is the Secretary of Edwalton Primary School Parents’ Association and explains why the coronavirus pandemic has impacted on the farm.  “The Parents’ Association is a registered charity and 100% of the money raised by the parent and staff volunteers supports the school and its fantastic farm. Covid-19 has led to the cancellation of all our current fundraising events including school discos and the Summer Fayre. In response we have now moved online to fundraise through a Just Giving page to support the farm’s ongoing costs of around £3000 annually for feed, bedding, medication, and vet bills. We even pay for a professional shearer to give our three alpacas their summer haircuts!”

Running the farm is Site Manager, Rebecca Russell, who said,  “We are incredibly lucky to have these facilities and the children benefit hugely through a greater understanding of the outdoors and from time spent caring for the animals, -all well documented to improve physical and mental health.

“The farm also has vegetable patches and polytunnels where children grow vegetables, we donate to a local charity to support the homeless. This gives children an understanding of where their food comes from and how they can use it to benefit their community. We also have large garden areas allocated to individual family groups, further developing the atmosphere of community in the school.

“The animals are a great inspiration to children,” said Rebecca, “featuring heavily in learning topics in KS1 and as the children progress to KS2 they are more and more involved in the care of the animals. They relish the opportunity to learn about the unique needs of each animal and to get more hands on – whatever the weather! We are able to demonstrate how farming can be included in a modern-day curriculum, giving children opportunities and points of view they would not have been exposed to otherwise.

“The farm is so important to the school and the effect of Covid-19 has been devastating to our fundraising opportunities. We hope that our community will continue to support us in our efforts to keep the farm running.”

Stefan Beck is a former pupil who loved the farm so much, he now works there as a groundskeeper! He said, “When I was at the school, I loved the farm because it was a great way for someone like me who struggled with learning difficulties to get out and relax myself for a moment. It taught me so much about the different farm animals, and as I progressed through the school, I saw just how important the farm was. I’m very proud to work here and hope to keep the farm going for many more years.”

The farm takes in many rescued animals and has an impressive variety including pygmy goats, alpacas, pigs , rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs and mice, a whopping 200,000 bees, tropical fish and a recent winner with the children, Alex the axolotl!

Siblings Noah (Yr5) and Isla Lazarus (Yr2) said they could not imagine school without the animals. Noah said, “We love our school farm and feeding and looking after the animals. We especially love washing and moisturising the pigs!” Isla, who is hoping to be a vet one day agrees. “The eggs we get are delicious and we like cuddling the chickens, guinea pigs and bunnies.”

“Our farm makes our school unique and great fun,” said Edith Morrison (Yr6) and fellow pupil Jess Harding (Yr6) said “It teaches us about responsibility and how to care for animals. I love getting close to the animals and looking after them, especially on Rabbit Island!”

Harry Morrison (Yr6) said he hopes the community can help. “Feeding the animals makes me feel privileged and proud. I love being able to help and think it’s important for the children that the farm gets support.”

But perhaps summing up the feeling of all the staff and children is Gwendoline Bates (Yr4) who said, “Children learn how to be kind to animals and hold and care for them. We love our school. Please help us save our farm because some of the animals have been with us a long time. It would worry me if they had to go, because I don’t know if they would be OK.”

Edwalton Primary School Parents’ Association   has set up a Just Giving page for anyone who wishes to support the charity: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/epspa


Nottinghamshire County Council’s Libraries and Archive services, managed on its behalf by Inspire, are resuming services in line with Government guidance from 6 July.

The county’s Libraries and Archives closed on 20 March due to the Coronavirus restrictions and have been missed by communities across the county. Inspire, who normally welcome over 50,000 library visitors and deliver over 200 courses and events each week, will resume some face-to face services in a safe and socially distanced way, in addition to the online offer available at inspireculture.org.uk/online.

The reopening plan will allow customers to access the majority of Nottinghamshire Libraries and Archives as part of the third step in the Government’s national recovery plan. Inspire staff have reviewed the service offer and have been working in buildings to make necessary preparations to welcome visitors within government guidelines.

With the priority on staff and customer safety, libraries and archives will operate with a reduced service, limited capacity in buildings, additional cleaning measures and guidelines in place for social distancing.  As part of these safety measures, quarantine arrangements are in place for books and staff may be wearing PPE. To support social distancing, library spaces have been reorganised with no access to study space, toilets, refreshment areas and no events/activities. Once libraries and archives reopen customers will be able to:

  • Browse and borrow books and other items or use the new Click and Collect service by appointment.
  • ·Return books in the designated area. Enjoy no overdue charges until 17 August, so there is no need to renew at this time. Reservations and inter-library loans are not yet available.
  • Access computers (advance booking is advised*) and use printers, scanners and photocopiers with the correct change, where contactless payment is not available.
  • Visit Archives by appointment only to view and photograph pre-ordered original archives. Other services such as reprographics, research, the Inspire Picture Archive and the online archive catalogue can be accessed at inspireculture.org.uk/archives.

“I’m delighted that we are now in a position to support our communities
by opening the doors to our libraries and archives. I am confident that the
measures implemented by Inspire for managing capacity, social distancing and
cleaning will ensure safe and welcoming spaces for visitors.”

Coun John Cottee, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Communities and Place Committee

“We are looking forward to welcoming customers back, albeit
in a limited, but ultimately safe way for both visitors and staff. While our customers
have made use of our online provision during our closure, we recognise that libraries
for many are a lifeline and our reopening is the first step to restoring a
valuable community resource. We aim to continue to reach those who may not be
able to visit us by continuing our online provision and offering a new Click
and Collect Service”

Peter Gaw, Chief Executive of Inspire

Inspire, who deliver culture, learning and libraries on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council will open in a phased approach the following libraries from 6 July, 6 July, Eastwood, Edwinstowe, Hucknall, Keyworth, Mansfield Woodhouse, Ravenshead and Worksop, and Nottinghamshire Archives on 11 July.  A further 40 libraries will begin to open across the county week commencing 13 July. Customers are advised to visit inspireculture.org.uk or Ask Inspire to check opening times, guidelines for visiting and for full information about service availability in advance as this is likely to change in the coming weeks. Ask Inspire can be contacted on 01623 677 200 or [email protected], or to contact Archives and book an appointment [email protected].

Social media (Facebook / Twitter), @nottslibraries and the website at inspireculture.org.uk will be updated with the latest information. The digital offer, Inspire Online will also continue to enable customers to enjoy culture, learning and libraries from home at inspireculture.org.uk/online.

*Computer booking availability coming soon

Inspire Learning is offering Nottinghamshire residents FREE online courses as part of a new summer programme to promote health and wellbeing, help people into employment or training, and support home schooling. 

People can sign up to learn something new, explore a hobby or new interest and develop their skills. For parents who need help with home schooling, there’s also family learning courses to help keep children happy, interested and educated.

No experience or qualifications are needed to join and the courses are FREE to everyone regardless of personal or financial circumstances.

Functional skills in Maths, English and ICT, puppet making, child mental health, complimentary therapies, mindfulness, pilates, patchwork, sewing and languages are just a few examples of the courses on offer.

As a Way2Work partner Inspire is supporting people into training and employment through online learning and its library service, providing courses that will allow people to gain recognised qualifications and brush up on their skills.

Everyone has been adjusting to a new way of life during lockdown and looking after our physical and mental health has never been more important.  Our health and wellbeing courses have been developed with this in mind. They include subjects such as complimentary therapies, positive affirmations, mindfulness and mudras to help relax the body and quiet the mind.

For some people juggling home schooling, running a home and working has been a challenge, so we’ve introduced some family learning courses to help parents keep their children interested in learning and feel connected during what has been a stressful time for many.

Councillor John Cottee, Chairman of the Communities and Place Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “It is excellent news that Inspire is now able to provide its adult education programme online.

“The programme offers adults the chance to learn something new as well as giving them the opportunity to explore new hobbies and interests and I am really pleased that our communities will be able to continue doing this from the comfort of their own homes.

Peter Gaw, Inspire Chief Executive, said, “Our new online learning programme is really exciting and I’m very proud of our Inspire Learning team for pulling together a great range of courses for Nottinghamshire. We hope to resume some face to face courses in the autumn, but will continue to offer online options going forwards.” 

Find out more and book

#InspireOnline is accessible 24/7, bringing libraries, learning and culture to the people of Nottinghamshire during the COVD pandemic.

To browse and book courses people can visit inspireculture.org.uk/learning or call Inspire’s dedicated customer service team, Ask Inspire on 01623 677 200.

For more information about #InspireOnline visit inspireculture.org.uk/online

As the lock down restrictions begin to be lifted we want to keep you all up to date with what’s happening in Notts; so from Friday 5th June, we will be producing a weekly interactive newsletter to include lots of local news, events, and links to online activities followed by an online magazine at the end of July. If you would like to receive this newsletter directly into your inbox every Friday, go to www.thefamilygrapevine.co.uk/ea…/sign-up-for-our-newsletters and sign up, or email [email protected] and we will be delighted to add you to the list!
(Your email address will not be shared or used for any other purpose and you can unsubscribe at any time by emailing ‘Unsubscribe please’ to [email protected])


The Gloworm Festival is bursting with excitement to announce that this year they are welcoming CBeebies to Thoresby Park. That’s right, Gloworm is partnering with the nation’s favourite preschool brand to bring you a CBeebies zone full to the brim with entertainment for your little ones. From fun crafts, workshops to Meet and Greets with some of your favourite characters, there will be something for everyone in the CBeebies zone.


“We’re so delighted to be working with such a creative and well loved household name, and we’re excited to share some incredible live activities that we have been creating that bring some of the best-loved preschool programmes on children’s TV to life.  There’ll be so much happening in the CBeebies zone that we know our festival goers will love.” Richard Walpole – Festival Director


CBeebies will join a number of artists and areas already announced for Gloworm 2020 including winners of Britain’s Got Talent (The Champions) Twist and Pulse, Andy and the Oddsocks, Dr. Ranj, Maddie Moate, The Lancashire Hotpots, White Post Farm, The Playmobil Zone and Go Bake with CDA.


To keep up to date with details about what our lovely partners at CBeebies will be bringing, please follow the festival on Facebook @glowormfestival and Instagram @glowormfestival



The Gloworm Festival takes places at Thoresby Park, Nottinghamshire on August 15th & 16th 2020.

You can purchase tickets at www.glowormfestival.co.uk


Go Ape is encouraging families to live life more adventurously this February half-term, with a range of memory-making activities at its Sherwood Forest location that will keep the whole tribe entertained.

Make the first school holiday of the year stand out from the crowd, with fun family time that brings out everyone’s inner adventurer. From sky-high bouncy Nets Adventure, to the famous Treetop Challenge, Treetop Adventure+ and Treetop Adventure, there’s high octane fun for the whole family, all to be enjoyed in the great outdoors.

Little daredevils can conquer treetop crossings, navigate nets and fly down exhilarating zip wires, all with family cheering them on at every step and climb. They’ll use skills and courage they never knew they had, and their confidence levels will soar to new heights outside the confines of a classroom.

Go Ape Sherwood’s half-term activities include:

Treetop Adventure

Release your little monkeys on the Treetop Adventure and watch in awe from the ground or get in on the fun as they reach new heights, conquer wobbly crossings, and fly down the zip wire for an awesome finale.


Suitable for all ages, minimum height 1m tall, from £18*


Treetop Adventure+

Treetop Adventure+ is an ambitious treetop trial for young thrill-seekers, with a more challenging high wire adventure that’s intended for families with older children. It introduces a more challenging series of obstacles, higher platforms and longer zips for those craving more: More freedom. More height. More thrills.

Suitable for families with children aged 6+ and over 1.2m tall, from £21*


Nets Adventure

Experience the ultimate adventure playground in the trees at Nets Adventure. Nets Adventure features tree houses linked by netted walkways 30 feet above the forest floor, with treetop nets full of inflatable balls and slides to get you back to the ground in style; all with an endless supply of fresh air in the great British countryside.

Suitable for all ages, no minimum height, from £10*


Treetop Challenge

For grown-up fun in the great outdoors, try the Treetop Challenge. Test your limits at dizzying heights on thrilling high-speed zips, free-fall swings and daring canopy-height crossings up high from the forest floor.

Suitable for adults and families with children aged 10+ and over 1.4m tall. Save 20% when you book the Treetop Challenge 14 days or more in advance. From £20, with discount

For further information and to book a Go Ape half-term adventure at Sherwood, please visit https://goape.co.uk/locations/sherwood-pines

Following their 2019 production of ‘Mack and Mabel’ the multiple-award winning Carlton Operatic Society will be back at the Theatre Royal Nottingham with the larger than life blockbuster ‘Shrek – The Musical’! Based on the story and characters from the Oscar®™ winning DreamWorks Animation Film, this hilarious and spectacular production turns the world of fairytales upside down in an all-singing, all-dancing must-see musical comedy.  Join Shrek and his loyal steed Donkey as they set off on a quest to rescue the beautiful Princess Fiona from her tower, guarded by a fire-breathing, love-sick dragon.  Add the vertically challenged Lord Farquaad, a gang of fairytale misfits, and a biscuit with attitude and you’ve got an irresistible mix of adventure, laughter and romance, guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages!

This must-see performance is ideal if you are looking for something to do during May half-term as performances will be at the Theatre Royal Nottingham from Tuesday 26th – Saturday 30th May 2020 with 7pm evening performances and additional 2pm matinee shows on the Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

To book tickets or for more information please visit www.trch.co.uk

Or you can find out more about Carlton Operatic Society at www.carltonoperatic.com, or follow us on Social Media at Facebook: @CarltonOperatic / Twitter: @CarltonOperatic  / Instagram: @CarltonOperaticSociety