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Hereford & Worcester


Flexible Working

The options

Sensitive Child Challenges

Where’s Santa Places to visit the jolly old fellow

Acts of Kindness Pull-Out Advent Calendar

Issue 60 November/December 2019

Hello Readers It is that time again, when it is cold outside, and the children are already asking how many sleeps it is until Father Christmas arrives. Our very own Families ‘Act of Kindness Advent Calendar’ will help you and your family to focus on the act of giving without spending money on lots of gifts. Pull it out and put it on the kitchen wall to help the children countdown to the big day. For everything that is on for families over the festive period, our What’s On pages, a much-loved favourite amongst our readers, gives you plenty of options for fun days out. There is even a dedicated section on where to find that great man in red, Father Christmas. For those looking at options on how to fit work around their family, then look at our feature on page 10 on flexible working. If you have a sensitive child, then this time of year can prove particularly difficult so look at page 6 on how to cope with the challenges your family may face.

Malvern Theatres are thrilled to announce this year’s magical family Pantomime, Aladdin. This spectacular production stars the one and only John Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and Challis (Only Fools and Horses) as the evil healthy New Year. Abanazar, and Malvern’s favourite funny man, Mark James, alongside Jamie Steen as Widow Twankey, Aaron Jenson as Aladdin and Danny Rogers as PC Pong! Follow Aladdin, his brother Editor Wishee Washee, and of course his mother Widow 01684 770566 Twankey, on a spectacular adventure. Expect flying carpets, a wish-granting genie, an evil sorcerer and a lamp-full of laughs, so book your magic carpet Like us on Facebook ride to Malvern Theatres to the magical FamiliesHandWMag pantomime Aladdin!



Measles: One in Seven Not Protected

Advertise with us and reach over 44,000 parents in the region. Next issue January/February Booking deadline is Friday 6 December

One in seven 5 year olds may not be protected against potentially life threatening measles, Public Health England (PHE) has warned. PHE has revealed that about 30,000 children may have started primary school with no protection against measles, mumps and rubella, while 90,000 may have had only the first of the two vaccines necessary for protection.

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There were 230 cases of measles in England in the first quarter of 2019, many linked to visiting European countries during holiday periods. As a result of these outbreaks, the UK has now lost its measles-free status, just three years after the virus was eliminated.

Families Hereford & Worcester is part of Families Print Ltd, a franchise company. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. Families is a registered trademark of LCMB Ltd, Remenham House, Regatta Place, Marlow Road, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5TD. The contents of Families Hereford & Worcester are fully protected by copyright and none of the editorial or photographic matter may be reproduced in any form without prior consent of Families Hereford & Worcester. Every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine, but the franchise company, Families Print Ltd and Lifecycle Marketing cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents, or any consequence thereof..

PHE is urging all parents to check their child’s Red Book to make sure there is a record of two MMR doses and the 4-in-1 booster vaccine. If not, parents should contact their GP practice to arrange any further vaccinations. More info: vaccinations and when to have them.


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News & Views

Step Up for Safe Streets UK Road Safety Week 2019, which takes place between 18 and 24 November, will encourage road users to ‘step up’ and play a part in the creation of a safe and healthy future on our roads. Every 20 minutes, someone is killed or seriously injured on a British road, yet each of these tragedies is preventable. This year, the annual event aims to encourage everyone to Step Up for Safe Streets and learn about, shout about and celebrate the amazing design-led solutions that can help end suffering on our roads. The focus is on how design can stop human error from causing death or serious injury on the roads, can encourage walking and cycling, and can make sure that the air is clean. For more information and to get your FREE Action Pack, visit

Beryl's hybrid dockless bikes have been cycled 45,000 kilometres three months into the bike share scheme being introduced in Hereford. The British urban cycling brand, which launched its innovative micro-mobility system in the Cathedral City early in August this year, has been warmly received by residents and visitors to the city. 45,000km cycled is not only 20,000 times around the famous Hereford Racecourse, but a sign that Herefordians are embracing cycling as a green transport alternative.

Monday Night Group and Crescents Ballet School


Record Low Sudden Infant Deaths Sudden infant deaths, the syndrome in which otherwise seemingly healthy babies die unexpectedly before their first birthday, has dropped to its lowest level on record, according to a report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Records of what used to be called ‘cot death’ began in 2004, when the rate was 0.5 deaths per 1,000 births (i.e. one in 2,000 infants). The 2017 figure is 0.27 per 1,000 births – more like one in 4,000 – meaning figures has almost halved since records began. The ONS said the fall in unexplained deaths may be due to factors such as fewer expectant mothers smoking and more awareness of safer sleeping practices. The term ‘cot death’ is no longer used, due to the suggestion that sudden infant death can only happen when a baby is in its cot. The term now used is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. More info:

24th Jan - 1st Feb 2020 Civic Hall Stourport On Severn

BOOK ONLINE NOW Poster Design By: luna magic designs

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@mngpantomime Registered charity: 510879



Changes to How Schools are Assessed by Ofsted – What Parents Need to Know As a parent choosing schools for your child, you are very likely at some stage to take a look at the Ofsted reports of those on your shortlist, to see how they performed at their latest inspection. What you may not know though is that the way in which schools are assessed and reported on by Ofsted has recently changed. Here is the low-down on these changes and what you need to know.

character, resilience and values so that children are wellequipped to succeed in life.

By Ruth Lowe

Inspections of previously graded ‘good’ schools were carried out over a period of one day. This inspection period will now be extended to two days (except in the case of smaller schools with less than 150 pupils).

Earlier this year, Ofsted held a consultation into their inspection process. It wanted to know if it was delivering the right information to help schools improve, while also providing parents with a clear view of how well a school is performing in delivering a good education to its students. Interestingly, this consultation resulted in the most responses that Ofsted has ever received and included feedback from over 600 mums and dads – a clear indication that parents value Ofsted assessments as an important part of the process of deciding which school is best for their child. Currently, Ofsted gives schools a grading of one to four; One is ‘outstanding;’ two is ‘good;’ three is ‘requires improvement;’ and four is ‘inadequate.’ Although these categories are not changing, the new assessment framework has been updated and became effective from September 2019: Inspection reports will be shorter and easier to digest. The aim is to give parents “the key information they need to know about a school and a sense of how it feels to be a pupil there.” Schools will be assessed in a new ‘quality of education’ category, putting the emphasis back on the quality of the curriculum being taught rather than exam results. This change aims to reduce the pressure felt by teachers who have been criticised in the past for ‘teaching to the test’ rather than covering the curriculum in a more balanced and manageable way. There will also be a new ‘personal development’ assessment which will look at how a school helps its pupils to develop 4

Families Hereford & Worcester Magazine

A separate assessment on ‘behaviour and attitudes’ will be included. Ofsted will look at whether or not school leaders tolerate bullying or harassment of pupils and staff, as well as whether they deal with behavioural problems swiftly and effectively while maintaining a calm environment.

Any schools found to be ‘off-rolling’ pupils are likely to be judged ‘inadequate.’ ‘Off-rolling’ is when a school removes a pupil without using a permanent exclusion. In these instances, removing the child is considered to be in the best interest of the school, rather than the pupil. It is a controversial practice as it could also include pressuring a parent to remove their child from the school roll. This practice is not at all encouraged or supported by Ofsted. These changes to the Ofsted inspection framework are a positive step forward in providing parents with more focussed, concise and rounded information about local schools. Schools will be rewarded with a rating that takes into account the above assessment criteria and also acknowledges where Head Teachers and teachers are working under difficult circumstances (for example in areas with high levels of deprivation or poverty). Of course, although there is considerable value in Ofsted reports, when choosing a school it’s also vital to visit, preferably with your child, speak to parents of children already there. In addition, parents can also look at Ofsted’s ‘Parent View’ results online at, where those with children already at school share their views for the benefit of others. Ruth Lowe works for the charity Parentkind which supports, engages and champions parents in education. For more information visit

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Education Active Camps is back in 2020! Running sports and activities every school holiday throughout the year for children aged 4 14, Ofsted registered Active Camps ensures your children have a fun and active school break! Safety is paramount and we go that extra mile to give you peace of mind in knowing that your child is cared for in the best environment possible. All our child protection policies are in place and our coaches are suitably qualified in first aid and safeguarding to ensure your child’s safety at all times. We provide fantastic early booking offers, in addition to discount offers and a loyalty scheme to our valued customers. As we are Ofsted registered you are also able to pay via childcare vouchers. Timings: Standard day: 8am – 4pm Drop-off: 8am – 10am Xtra time: 4pm – 6pm Half day: 8.30am – 12.30pm To find out more or book your place at Active Camps, visit or call 0121 663 1979

School Holiday Action-packed


Join us in 2020

February | Easter | Whitsun Summer | October | Christmas

Ofsted registered

Choice of venues


Hagley High School


Wombourne Leisure Centre


Alvechurch Middle School & Crown Meadow First School


Nunnery Wood High School We accept childcare vouchers

Open from 8am-6pm

For more info visit or call 0121 663 1979

A Brighter Future

Ashton-under-Hill First School is located just off the A46, less than 10 minutes drive from Evesham. It is set in a beautiful village and the school takes full advantage of its surroundings with regular Forest School sessions in a woodland, meadow and orchard. We put a high priority in knowing every child and helping them to develop. We run a range of after school clubs and have a daily breakfast club offering before school care. The school has a reputation for offering high quality and exciting sporting opportunities. In a recent survey parents said “ …a fantastic school and teachers and a wonderful welcoming school community. I would recommend 100%” The school recently opened an Early Years Unit in September with places for children aged 3 and over. Don’t take our word for it - we would love you to come and have a look around our school. Please email: office@ashton. or give us a ring on 01386 881333.

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Parenting the Highly Sensitive Child Examples of emotionally supportive strategies for you, your child and family

To say parenting a highly sensitive child is a challenge is an understatement and can leave even the most highly seasoned parent in a pickle!

• Make sure you have plenty of time for transitions, rushing the sensitive child frequently leads to meltdowns

By Dr Elise Kearney,

• Create reward charts or ‘when you get dressed then you can…’ situations for tasks such as getting dressed, brushing teeth, putting on shoes and socks • Use lots of praise and rewards to encourage your sensitive child • Try to stay calm, take time out to ‘re-set’ if a situation becomes tricky • Try to help school, family and friends understand, it is common for highly sensitive children’s behaviour to be labelled as ‘naughty’ or ‘difficult’ • Create predictable routines for you child which will help them to feel safer and reduce anxiety • Remember that the most important thing is your relationship with your child. Sensory issues can put a big strain on relationships. Make 10 minutes special time for you and your child every day. This is a time for you to connect with your child, allow your child to choose what you do in the 10-minute special time • Practise deep breathing and relaxation exercises together with your child

Highly sensitive babies are often more difficult to settle or just need ‘their routine’ more than siblings or friends’ babies. Sensitive children may ask to be carried for longer and later struggle to settle at birthday parties. They may struggle to brush their teeth or hair. Indeed, hair washing and brushing can be a major battle ground for highly sensitive children. Putting on socks, tights and shoes can lead to meltdown. Scratchy labels or itchy jumpers can cause distress. Many children will object to the loud hand dryers in public toilets but for the sensitive child it can be a painful experience that causes a panic reaction. Children who are highly sensitive may be fussy eaters, struggling with different textures and smells. Children may have an unusually high or low pain threshold. They may struggle to drop off to sleep at night. Children may engage in high risk behaviour such as jumping on furniture, crashing into walls and siblings or parents. Transitions (moving from one activity to another, for example, leaving the house in the morning to go to school) can become a long and torturous experience for all. The terms sensory processing difficulties and sensory Integration difficulties are often used interchangeably. Sensory Processing difficulties have not made it into any official ‘disorder’ category and as such are sometimes not seen as a standalone condition. However, most experts agree that sensory challenges exist and can be serious regardless of whether these issues can be classified as a disorder. Research shows that around 20% of children fall into a category of ‘highly sensitive’ with an equal number being boys and girls.


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Parenting It remains unclear as to why children may be born with or develop these traits. Some research suggests that premature babies are more likely to be highly sensitive and there are some twin studies that suggest a genetic component. Historically, it was believed that sensory issues were a trait of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, whilst we know that children with a diagnosis of ASD frequently experience sensory issues, we now understand that sensory issues can exist alone. Sensory Issues occur when a child has a difficult time receiving and responding to information from the senses such as light, sound, touch and smell. Whilst we commonly talk about our five senses, we also have three additional senses: two movement senses; and the sense that tells us what’s going on inside of our bodies. Children may have an overreactive, under reactive or mixed sensory profile. Children each have a unique profile; this has made research into the condition more difficult. Children who are hypersensitive may Sensory Diet – each child has a struggle with bright lights, loud noises and unique profile of sensory integration strong smells. Whereas children who are difficulties and will require more or hyposensitive crave interaction and physical less of different strategies. The fact that sensory feedback and may at times appear no one approach fits all makes it even hyperactive. more confusing for parents. It can be very confusing and difficult to Examples of a sensory diet parent the highly sensitive child. It is hard strategies to support the to understand why a child might cope on highly sensitive child: one occasion but not on another. Sensory • Bouncing on the trampoline integration difficulties cause heightened • Jumping anxiety for children, their siblings, their • Deep pressure massage parents and at times their teachers! • Swinging • Rocking Recognising that you have a highly sensitive • Swaying child and getting support at an early stage • chewy food can be key to a calmer and happier future. • fidget toys Often the first port of call is Occupational • scented pens or play-doh Therapy Services who support families • smart knit seamless socks with strategies to calm the sensitive child’s • weighted blankets for the bed system. • soft topped drinks bottles to allow chewing However, the nature of sensory issues can lead to a tricky parent-child relationship and high levels of anxiety for the whole family. These sorts of difficulties can sometimes benefit from an emotional based support. Sometimes strategies to support the highly sensitive child are called a ‘sensory diet’.

Dr Elise Kearney runs a clinic at The Therapies Centre, The Fold, Bransford WR6 5JB and can be contacted on 07713755224 or find out more about the service she offers at A mother of four and Chartered Consultant Child and Family Psychologist, Dr Kearney trained as a Clinical Psychologist in Glasgow. She has over 20 years experience working with children and families in the NHS and privately. Dr Kearney offers 1:1 assessment and treatment sessions for a variety of difficulties including • Difficulties stemming from family separation and blended families • Sleep difficulties • Eating Disorders and “fussy eating” • Coping with “temper tantrums” and behavioural difficulties • Coming to terms with and managing life after a diagnosis of ASD • Separation anxiety • Difficulties around potty training, • Sibling rivalry and difficulties with sharing • Starting nursery/school and transition to high school or College/ University • Anxiety including panic, phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) • Low self-esteem, low mood and depression • Attachment difficulties • Bereavement (this list is not exclusive).

All children will show some heightened sensitivity at times and different developmental stages are marked by different types of sensitivity and corresponding behaviour i.e. fussy eating, separation anxiety. If you think your child is ‘highly sensitive’ the following resources may be helpful: • Sensory Processing 101 – Dayna Abraham, Claire Heffron et al (2015) • Understanding Your Childs Sensory Signals: A practical Daily use Handbook for Parents and Teachers – Angie Voss (2011) • Your Essential Guide to Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder. Plus: Travelling with a sensory Kiddo – Angie Voss (2011) • The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them – Elaine N. Aron (2015) • The Out of Sync Child – Carol Stock Kranowitz (2005) If sensory difficulties are preventing you and your family from doing the things that you want to do together don’t be afraid to ask for some support.

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1 s t i Zoe took biscu ool

1. Smile at everyone you see today 2. Make cards for elderly people in your street 3. Tell someone the reasons you like them 4. Pick up litter in your street or local park 5. Clean up a mess you didn’t make 6. Wish a stranger a nice day 7. Help make dinner 8. Donate pocket money to charity 9. Compliment staff at a café or shop 10. Donate books, toys and clothes to charity 1 1. Volunteer at a festive community event

12. Leave snacks on your doorstep for delivery people 13. Let somebody go ahead of you in the queue 14. Hug someone 15. Bake biscuits to take to school or work 16. Deliver notes to houses with great Christmas light displays 17. Pack away your things without being asked 18. Make someone laugh 19. Take canned food to your local food bank 20. Make a list of the things you’re thankful for 21. Leave a kind note where someone will find it 22. Send a Christmas card to someone overseas 23. Do a chore for someone else 24. Leave food out for Santa and his reindeer!

Perform an a ct of kindness each day until Ch ristmas! Pin up the c alendar and keep a daily record of yo ur family’s good deeds .

– choose from below or make up your own

An Act of Kindness for Every Day of Advent!


24 23 22 20 19


18 17 16 14 13


12 11 10 8 7


6 5 4 2 1



to sc

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Flexible Working will be in play most of the time, including when it comes to your work life. You could try listing your skills and thinking broadly about any possible available job that might fit around your family’s needs. Talk to others and look into industries you may not have considered. Check out family-friendly websites to see who the most flexible employers are and read around about what other parents do. Sites like have a regular jobs alert and case studies of working parents.

Finding A Flexible Job That Works For You And Your Family Time becomes an increasingly precious commodity once you have children. For many that means looking to reduce or re-arrange their working hours to enable the time they need to enjoy family life. By Mandy Garner So what are the alternatives to the traditional full-time job? Well, these days there are many different options. Flexible Working Requests Firstly, you could seek some form of flexibility in your existing job. It's important to be open-minded as to what that might look like, whether it could be part-time hours, some home working, flexible start and finish times, annualised hours, compressed hours (longer days but fewer of them), or a combination of several possibilities. In order to make a formal flexible working application you will need to show you have thought through the implications of any changed working pattern on your employer and colleagues. Bear in mind that flexible working legislation currently only applies to those who have been in position for six months. Be Creative Another way around the flexible working issue is to switch jobs or even careers. Having children means that all your creative skills

Once you have honed sectors and types of jobs you might be interested in, you could join LinkedIn professional groups and check out company websites and social media. Thorough research is key to securing the right job for you. If the sector you are interested in requires you to re-train, you could look into on-the-job training.

Portfolio Career Another potential option is the so-called portfolio career where you juggle several part-time or freelance/self-employed jobs, creating a kind of tapestry which gives you flexibility around drop-off and pick-up times. You could, for instance, reduce the hours in your regular job and run a franchise or self-employed job on the side either on a permanent basis or until your selfemployed work is earning enough to support you. Another advantage of the portfolio approach is that it gives you time to experiment with different work options. It could also allow you to re-train for another career while still earning. Self-Employment You could, of course, choose to jump straight into self-employed work. If so, ensure you do your business research well. You could also consider becoming a franchisee, which means that you would have the freedom associated with running your own business with fewer of the risks of going it alone since the franchise will provide a tried and tested business model. Buying the Families Hereford & Worcester franchiise is an option The important thing is to be creative and to try to think out of the box about your skills. Go back to basics and rediscover what those skills are, who you are, what you like doing. A good coach can help you work your way through all the above options. Mandy Garner is Editor of where you can find more suggestions on flexible working options.

Work from home: buy Families Hereford & Worcester Magazine An opportunity has arisen to buy the Families Hereford & Worcester Magazine Franchise – a business which is up and running, including a well established client base, readership and drop points. No previous experience needed, training is available and you will have the support of a fantastic team at Families Magazine Ltd

To find out more email Diane: 10

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White Chocolate dipped Ginger Biscuits



perfect Christmas gift from as little as £20 order yours today

01531 633886 @


Get Creative With Clay in 2019

These delicious ginger biscuits from are great on their own with a cuppa, or dipped in white chocolate, and are a fabulous to make with children or wrap up as a present. For a less sweet biscuit, you can make them with half the sugar - they don’t stay as crisp as long, but are still just as delicious! Tip: Make double the dough and freeze half for another time, or just make double quantity as they disappear pretty quickly! In a mixing bowl, whisk 340g of flour, 1tsp of bicarbonate of soda, a pinch of salt, 3 level tsps. of ginger, 1tsp of cinnamon and 1/4tsp of nutmeg. Set aside.

and cut circles out with a cookie cutter. For a more rustic ‘ginger nut’ top, scoop out a dessert spoon of mixture from the bowl and shape into a ball, transfer to the baking sheet and, spacing around 2 inches apart, flatten tops slightly.

Either in a mixer or by hand, cream together 100g of butter and 130g of light brown sugar until light and creamy.

Bake for around 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown.

Mix in one egg and combine.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

With the mixer set on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until you have a dough.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F during the last 10 minutes of chilling.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt 100g of white chocolate in the microwave, in 10 second intervals until melted. Dip half of each cookie in melted white chocolate mixture then run bottom of cookie slightly along edge of bowl to remove excess, then return to Silpat or parchment paper to set at room temperature.

For a smooth top to the biscuits, roll out the dough to around ½ inch thick

If you are feeling artistic you could also pipe on a holly leaf. Yummy!

Cover bowl with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

If you’ve never done it before, making a pot on the potter’s wheel is both incredibly satisfying and therapeutic. To achieve a ‘good pot’, the activity demands total concentration. So much so, there is little capacity to dwell on anything other than the mud in hand. All the ‘other stuff’ fizzing around in your head dissolves away and participants regularly comment on a sense of well-being and relaxation. Gift a friend or loved one a pottery experience for Christmas. Gift vouchers start at just £20 to make a pot on the potter’s wheel or you can do a full day for £130. For gift vouchers tel: 01531 633886 or email

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Stir Up Sunday is the last Sunday before advent – 24 November - when tradition states that families gather together to stir the Christmas pudding - so get stirring


Where’s Santa

Nothing beats a visit to see Santa with the children and get the family in the festive spirit. Here is a round-up of some of the best places to visit the jolly old fellow and create some very special memories...

Please check with the venue in case details have changed

Where To Find

s a m t s i r h Father C

All Things Wild, Station Road, Honeybourne, Nr Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 7QZ 01386 833083 Santa’s Present Quest 30 November, 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-24 December Experience a behind the scenes tour of Elf Headquarters to discover how your Christmas letter to Santa becomes a present in your stocking on Christmas morning, which of course includes meeting the man himself! Prices include full day entry to the park. Arley Arboretum & Gardens, Upper Arley, Near Bewdley, DY12 1SQ 01299 861368 Santa visits Arley Weekends in December Meet Santa and his Elf. Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR 01527 831363, Father Christmas at Avoncroft See Website for dates. Father Christmas has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit his favourite museum. Have a go at festive craft while you wait for ‘the big man’ to arrive with his sack full of presents! Bewdley Museum, Load Street, Bewdley, DY12 1AT. 01299 403573 Christmas Grotto 14 - 15 December Visit Santa in his magical Wonderland for one weekend only. 12

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Bodenham Arboretum, Wolverley, Kidderminster, DY11 5TB 01562 852444, Christmas Nativity Trail 30 November – 1 January Come and take part in our magical family event following the stars and answer the Christmas questions as you go before reaching the live Nativity Scene in the barn buildings; complete with a family of donkeys. Clearwell Caves, The Rocks, Coleford, GL16 8JR Christmas Fantasy Spectacular 39 November - 24 December. Christmas at Clearwell Caves takes you into a whole other world where forests grow underground and the story of ‘Archie and the Unicorn’ unfolds in beautiful displays through caverns filled with twinkling lights. Father Christmas awaits you, along with his elves, who will help you choose an early gift. There are stalls and an underground café half way through where you can buy stocking fillers, Christmas decorations and seasonal treats, as well as delicious refreshments before you continue on your magical journey – the perfect way to start your Christmas. Cob House, Worcester Road, Wichenford WR6 6YE. 01886 888517, Festive Brusnch 1 December - 5 Juanuary Enjoy an early festive breakfast or a later festive version with our delicious Festive Brunch.

To advertise call: 01684 770566

Where’s Santa

Please mention you saw this event in Families Hereford & Worcester Magazine Croft Castle, Yarpole, nr Leominster, HR6 9PW. 01568 780246 Father Christmas’s Workshop 30 November - 1 December, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 December Find Father Christmas in his workshop and enjoy some Christmassy crafts while you wait. Don’t forget your Christmas lists! Festive Farm, Wellington, Hereford, HR4 8AP. Santa’s Grotto From 16 November Walk through the castle door into the sights and sounds of a medieval castle, and then on to the North Pole to see the Elves busy making Christmas toys, and top it all off by meeting Santa in his cabin. Forge Mill Needle Museum, Needle Mill Lane, Riverside, Redditch, B98 8HY. 01527 62509 Christmas Craft Fair 1 December Step back in time and join us to celebrate a traditional Christmas. Victorian entertainment will provide the festive atmosphere whilst you browse amongst a variety of food and craft stalls to choose unique Christmas gifts. There will also be the opportunity to visit Father Christmas in his grotto as well as take part in some children’s creative crafts. Hartlebury Castle, Hartlebury, Nr Kidderminster, Worcs, DY11 7XZ. 01299 250416, Christmas at the Castle 7-8 December Join us for a traditional Christmas celebration. Meet Father Christmas, explore seasonal gifts & craft stalls, and enjoy fun children’s activities, horse & carriage rides and musical performances. Little Owl Farm Park, Owl Hill Lane, Dunhampton, DY13 9SS. 01905 620325 Come and meet Santa 30 November -23 December (Selected dates) Visit Father Christmas in his grotto and also spend the rest of your day at the farm park, making it a day full of festive fun for everyone. To make your day an extra special one, why not have breakfast with Santa? Start off with a visit to our Festive Fun room where you’ll be able to tuck into a yummy pancake breakfast, sweet or savoury – you decide! Severn Valley Railway, Comberton Hill, Kidderminster, DY10 1QX.01562 757900 Santa Steam Specials 30 November and Every weekend in December All change! This year, we’ve completely refreshed our famous Santa experiences, bringing our steam trains right back to the heart of Christmas.Our passengers can now take a magical steam train ride through the Severn Valley with Santa on board! For the first time in many years, we’ve also added departures from Bridgnorth, bringing our muchloved northern end of the line in on the festivities.

Webbs Garden Centre, Wychbold, Droitwich, WR9 0DG. 01527 860000 Christmas Grotto 9 November –24 December Ho, ho, ho! A fantastic, festive journey to meet the elves in the workshop, explore the magical wintery wonderland and finally emerge into Father Christmas’ cosy house to meet the jolly fellow himself.

Prices start from £6.50!

10 dates to choose from!

BOOK ONLINE NOW to secure your place!

ation Formal Inforvit mally invited

You have been at ELF HQ. to go behind the scenes a present ose cho and ta San t Visi festive the in Join e! hom e to tak Kitchen, rys Ber rry Me h wit fun Crafts, Christmas Trail & More! ! We look forward to your visit Love from Jolly Jingles x

(Head Elf) All Things Wild Nature Centre, Station Road, Honeybourne. Near Evesham, Worcestershire. Wr11 7QZ Tel: 01386 833083

A Letter From Santa All children love to receive a letter addressed to them in the post, but what could be more special than a letter from Father Christmas? Here are two ways of making this happen.

Royal Mail Letter to Santa For children to receive a FREE letter from Santa via the Royal Mail children must post their letter to Santa by Friday 6 December. Envelopes must have either a first or second class stamp and be addressed to Santa/Father Christmas, Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ. The letter must include your child’s full name and address. NSPCC Santa Letter Children can also receive a personalised reply from Santa via his elves at the NSPCC in exchange for a minimum £5 donation to the charity. The letter is ordered online and must be placed by 9 December.

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What’s On

Please check with the venue in case details have changed

Webbs Garden Centre: Ice rink


St Richard’s Hospice: Lights of Love

Hartlebury Castle: Christmas at the Castle

Hampton Court Castle, Hope-under-Dinmore, Leominster, Arley Arboretum, Arley House, HR6 0PN 01568 797676, Lion Lane, Upper Arley DY12 1SQ 01299 861368 Christmas Fair A Christmas Fair in the beautifully decorated Where’s Harry? Sticker Castle with a wide range of gifts Book Trail Potter fans will love from local craftspeople. this novel trail concept where you 29 November-1 December journey around the arboretum in St Richard’s Hospice search of Harry. 1-30 November The Hive, Sawmill Walk, The 01905 763963 Butts, Worcester, WR1 3PD Lights of Love Services Avoncroft Museum of 01905 765576 Dedicate a light in memory of loved Historic Buildings, Stoke Heath, ones. Six services across the county. Bromsgrove, Worcs, B60 4JR Hive Lantern Parade Have fun See Website for dates 01527 831363, making the lanterns at The Hive and Santa Dash A 2 mile festive, family then show off your creation in a friendly, fun-run or walk. Starting at Candlelit Christmas A magical Christmas parade.23-24 Worcestershire County Cricket Club, candlelight evening of festive November and 30 following the River Severn to Diglis and activities, entertainment and November -1 December finish at South Quay, with festive refreshments, setting the scene for a Parade 5 December refreshments. 8 December traditional English Christmas. 7 December Hereford Christmas Lights Webbs Garden Centre, Switch On High Town, Hereford Wychbold Droitwich, WR9 0DG. Hartlebury Castle, Hartlebury, The lights will be switched on at 01527 860000 Nr Kidderminster DY11 7XZ 5.30pm with plenty of entertainment 01299 250416 lined up before and after. Christmas Ice Rink 17 November Skate whatever the weather on real Christmas At The Castle A ice under the roof. traditional Christmas celebration. Hereford Race Course Roman 2 November – 5 January Meet Father Christmas, explore Road Hereford HR4 9QU seasonal gifts and craft stalls, and Christmas Jumper Raceday Witley Court Worcester Road, enjoy fun children’s activities, horse Don your favourite Christmas Jumper Great Witley, Worcestershire, WR6 and carriage rides and musical for raceday. 6JT performances. 7 -8 December 15 December Enchanted Witley Make the



Worcester’s Christmas Countdown Christmas light switch on Small Business Saturday 21 November 4pm-6pm 7 December Worcester High Street Worcester city centre Worcester Victorian Christmas Worcester Cathedral Christmas Fayre Tree Festival 28 November – 1 December 7 December - 1 January Christmas Fayre in The Cloisters The Hive Lantern Parade 29 November – 1 December 5 December 14

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most of winter evenings with an enchanting experience of light, colour and sound as Witley Court and Gardens is transformed into an illuminated world. 5-22 December Worcestershire Wildlife Trust Lower Smite Farm, Smite Hill, Hindlip. WR3 8SZ. Christmas Craft Fair Annual craft fair returns with over 20 handmade craft stalls, delicious homemade cakes and a children’s trail around the farm. 16 November. National Trust Berrington Hall nr Leominster, HR6 0DW 01568 615721 Christmas with the Georgians See the mansion decorated with traditional Georgian decorations. Carriage rides and children’s trail.16 November – 29 December (weekends only) Brockhampton Estate Greenfields, Bringsty, WR6 5TB 01885 482077 Orchard Elves Trail The elves have hunkered down for the winter, search the orchard for their homes. Complete the trail and win a prize. 16 November - 22 December (weekends only) Croft Castle Yarpole, nr Leominster, HR6 9PW 01568 780246 Croft’s 1940’s Christmas Step back in time. Discover traditional, hand-made decorations, sing along to carols in the Saloon, go on a frosty winter walk through the parkland and tuck into some festive treats in the tea-room. 16 November - 22 December (weekends only)

What’s On

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Malvern Theatre: Snow White

The Monday Night Group: Dick Whittington

The Courtyard: Cinderella

Family Fun At The Theatre...

Croome Park Croome D’Abitot, WR8 9DW Tel: 01905 371006 Christmas Family Trail Family Artrix, School Drive, Bromsgrove, trail around the parkland. B60 1AX 01527 577330 21 December - 5 January CBeebies Hansel and Gretel Hanbury Hall School Road, This year’s highly anticipated Hanbury, Droitwich, WR9 7EA CBeebies Christmas Show is once 01527 821214 again coming to the big screen from Winter Fayre Browse an inspiring the theatre stage for a familysetting of beautiful stalls from local friendly feast of Christmas fun. artisan producers, and find one-off 30 November gifts and indulgent treats. Snow White: All & Sundry A 9-17 November traditional family Pantomime with, fun, laughter and plenty of audience The Weir Gardens, Swainshill, participation. Hereford, Herefordshire, HR4 7QF 14 – 22 December Winter Wonderland Trail Get the whole family outdoors and beat the The Courtyard, Edgar Street, winter blues by learning about the Hereford, HR4 9JR 01432 340555, wildlife in the garden and how it prepares for the cold winter months Cinderella You’ll have a ball at with this fun family trail. everyone’s favourite pantomime, 16 November - 14 December Cinderella! This magical, family(weekends only) friendly show will be packed with spectacular costumes, magnificent sets and a coachload of hilarity, Old Market Newmarket Street, slapstick, song and dance that all Hereford HR4 9HR make a trip to The Courtyard an unmissable Christmas treat. Quiet Hour at Old Market 29 November – 11 January Committed to creating a welcoming environment for all customers and Evesham Arts Centre , following on from our participation in Victoria Avenue, Evesham, Worcs, National Autism Hour and having our WR11 4QH 01386 48883, staff complete Autism Awareness we have worked with our retailers to create The Big Snowy Christmas a permanent Quiet hour. The glittering, snowy tale about a brave little bear who helps to save Autism Friendly Screenings Christmas! This hilarious, Vue Cinema, 49 - 55 Friar Street, heartwarming tale is the perfect Worcester WR1 2NA treat for Christmas with exquisite Last Sunday of every month. 10am. puppets, enchanting music and a magical snowy setting. Malvern Theatres, Grange Road, 1 December Malvern, WR14 3HB 01684 892277 The Nutcracker With its combination of enchanting Aladdin A warm welcome to people choreography and unforgettable who feel overwhelmed by the ordinary music, this fabulous ballet is a performance environment. Christmas treat like no other. 31 December. 10am. 7 December

Relaxed Events

Malvern Theatres, Grange Road, Malvern, Worcs, WR14 3HB 01684 892277, Dear Santa All the ingredients of Rod Campbell’s ingeniously simple and charming style are brought to life on stage, plus a whole lot more… with music, laughter and plenty of audience participation. 3-4 December Aladdin Follow Aladdin, his brother Wishee Washee, and of course his mother Widow Twankey, on a spectacular adventure 12 December – 5 January

Norbury Theatre, Norbury House, Friar Street, Droitwich Spa, WR9 8ED 01905 770154, Cinema Dumbo Circus owner Max Medici enlists former star Holt Farrier and his children to care for a new-born elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. 18 December

The Palace Theatre, Alcester Street, Redditch, B98 8AE 01527 65203, The Monday Night Group Cinderella Poor Cinders, The Civic Theatre Hall, mistreated by her ugly sisters and Stourport-on-Severn 07593 175776 forced to cook and clean for them, dreams of a better life. Her friend Dick Whittington Monday Buttons does his best to keep her Night Group and Crescents Ballet spirits up but when her evil sisters School proudly present Dick rip up her invitation to Prince Whittington. Follow Dick Charming’s Grand Ball all seems Whittington's adventures with his lost. Spend a fairy-tale Christmas faithful cat Tommy and all their with the best loved Pantomime. friends as they try to twart the evil 9 December - 5 January King Rat. A traditional fun family pantomime with something for The Swan Theatre, The Moors, everyone, the perfect antidote to Worcester, WR1 3ED the January blues! Tickets are 01905 611427, available now. 24 January to 1 February Snow White and the Seven 2020 Dwarfs Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to the Swan we go for another magical Number 8 Community Arts family pantomime! Can beautiful Centre, 8 High Street, Pershore Snow White escape the reaches of WR10 1BG 01386 555488, her evil Stepmother, the Wicked Queen Grizelda, and find safety with Alice’s Adventures in her seven trusty friends deep in the Wonderland & Through the heart of the forest? Who is that old Looking Glass Pershore crone who comes bearing such a Operatic and Dramatic Society’ tempting red apple? And when all festive show, invites audiences of all seems lost, can love’s first kiss save ages to come and join Alice on her the day? Packed full of panto treats journey through Wonderland. A galore, don’t miss this all-singing, allfamily show not to be missed! dancing spectacular! 2-7 December 2 December - 5 January

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John Challis as ABANAZAR





THE CECILIA HALL DANCE CENTRE 12 Dec ’19 to 5 Jan ’20 | 01684 892277 |

The fairest pantomime of them all!


Direct from Hairspray and the West End’s Matilda The Musical

Oliver Brooks as Muddles

Ben Humphrey as Dame Ginny™

Geneviève Lowe as Snow White

Featuring Harry Potter’s

Imelda Staunton

as the voice of the Magic Mirror


Charlie Ryan as Herman John-Robert the Henchman Partridge as Wicked Queen Grizelda

Directed by Ben Humphrey

The Swan Theatre, Worcester 2nd December 2019 – 5th January 2020 Tickets £13.95 - £17.95 Sponsored by

Box Office 01905 611 427

Snow White 2019 A4.indd 17


Families Hereford & Worcester

BOX OFFICE 01527 65203 15/10/2019 10:08

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Profile for Families Magazine

Families Hereford & Worcester November-December 2019 issue 60  

Really useful magazine for parents with children aged 0-12 years in Hereford & Worcester. Fantastic What's On listing and where to find Fath...

Families Hereford & Worcester November-December 2019 issue 60  

Really useful magazine for parents with children aged 0-12 years in Hereford & Worcester. Fantastic What's On listing and where to find Fath...