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No 11 August 2018

GPS delivered door to door to 50,000 homes across Swindon with Est. overall readership of 125,000


LINK Your Community Magazine

East Edition

Look who's coming to Marlborough Litfest p19

Life's a beach in Swindon town centre this summer The crowds come out in droves for this year's Stratton Festival

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Page 3 Artsite celebrate Page 4 birthday and plea for more funds from council

Students from Swindon Academy face the Dragons' Den at Excalibur


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It ain't half hot Swindon...

By Group Editor Jamie Hill

It's been a bit of a scorcher out there. The sun is out and people are smiling. What more could you want? (Apart from maybe winning the Lottery and finding out that chocolate is calorie free!) And now that we're entering the school holidays there are many fingers crossed out there that this weather continues. I've got three children of my own and there's nothing worse than trying to keep them entertained during the holidays as the rain pours down from above. There's only so much Monopoly a family can take before all-out interfamilial war breaks out. But for gardeners looking at their yellowing lawns and the hordes of us who are getting eaten alive by insects a slight reprieve in this heatwave might do us some good. In the meantime Swindon has the best green spaces in the west from Lydiard and Coate to Old Town Gardens and Queens Park and we should make the most of them. There's also some great things to do for kids all around us at local attractions and we've put together a guide to help out with just that on page 25. Director: James Phipps Group Editor: Jamie Hill Deputy Editor: Ben Fitzgerald Associate: Roger Ogle Reporter: Claire Dukes Sales Admin Manager: Sue Roberts Sales: Dave Stewart, Rosy Presley Digital and Marketing: Nataley Fryer Office Manager: Karen Randall Photography: Richard Wintle & Rachel Davis -

Visitors flock to a sunny Stratton Festival A host of activities and attractions were on offer for visitors to the annual Stratton Festival. The event, at the Grange Leisure Centre, attracted thousands of people who basked in the sunshine and meandered around the various stalls, have a chance to look around emergency service vehicles and to sit on a park ranger’s tractor. Proceeds from the festival were donated towards the parish chairman's chosen charity this year - Swindon Young Carers.

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Got a community story or feature? Contact newsdesk at or 01793 744677 n August 2018

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Swindon's original community art hub turns 10 By Claire Dukes

It's been said that when Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding to help fund the war he responded: "Then what are we fighting for?" In 2018, with arts funding being cut across the country and in Swindon, it still seems relevant. This year Swindon's original community art space and gallery celebrates its tenth birthday at Theatre Square, also known as Swindon's 'Cultural Quarter' - Artsite itself was founded in 1999. As Artsite celebrates a decade of supporting local artists there is much to look back on. Over the last 18 years trustees Vicky Silver and Sally Taylor have continued to support young and working artists in Swindon, and provide them with a creative space where they can practice their art. After the former Post Office,

Theatre Square, flooded Swindon Borough Council (SBC) gave Artsite permission to take over the building - they opened The Post Modern in 2008. Renovations included filling holes in the wall, clearing six inches of water, unblocking drains and removing fungi. Then rebuilding walls to provide artists studios. Sally said: "The Post office moved out because of the flooding, then the whole area started to decline." 10 years down the line and Vicky and Sally have provided Swindon with 13 studio spaces and space for a theatre, with plans to still move forward. Vicky said: “We’re always looking towards the future to help create a thriving space for creativity. “We need money to be put into Artsite which means we can pay part-time roles. "We're trying to get funding to do up the smashed windows.

Sally Taylor and Vicky Silver

People think we’re paid by SBC, and people think we get grants from SBC – it all comes from us.” Sally added: “We have to look after the building. It’s not just about being an artist, it’s the dirty work as well – but ultimately Artsite’s about making a community.” Once in talks with SBC about taking over the former Connections building, Artsite says that plans have halted. Sally said: “The studio space is where you connect with people. With the Connections space

we could create up to 30 more spaces, and we want to create a multi-purpose space, but we can’t do that without funding.” Vicky added: “We’re not a business, we’re a charity that supports people getting out there. It’s about retaining young people in Swindon encouraging young people to stay in the community.” As Swindon's town centre faces more closures, Artsite are determined to continue projects to regenerate its cultural quarter and support working artists in the community.

Bobby Van Trust celebrates 20 years of improving home security By Ben Fitzgerald

The Bobby Van Trust is celebrating 20 years of looking after vulnerable people in Wiltshire. Charity workers were recognised for their efforts by patron Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall at a party at Highgrove last week. One of hundreds of service users to have benefitted from the work of the Bobby Van Trust is 83-year-old Cliff Gosling from Upper Stratton. The Link magazine met up with him and trust volunteers Sarah and Jan who were advising him on how to stay safe online. Sarah said: “This is part of a new service that we can offer. "We are here to help check whether the security settings and updates are in place on our clients’ computers and to give advice on how to deal with computer scams and cyber crime and things of that nature.” 4 n August 2018 E August Master pages.indd 4

Cliff receives some expert advice about cyber security from Bobby Van Trust worker Sarah Cliff welcomed the support. He said: “I’m quite good on computers but it’s good to be updated on how to ensure that I don’t get caught out. They can also check that my computer is up to date and secure. It’s a really wonderful service.” Since 1998, the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust has worked in partnership with Wiltshire Police to provide a free home security service for elderly and vulnerable people throughout the county. The charity funds the operation of three Bobby Vans

that provide mobile workshops for trust volunteers. As well as looking after cyber security, the Bobby Van Trust team also makes use of skilled carpenters and lock fitters to ensure that the homes of those they visit are safe and secure - and after carrying out a security audit can fit locks, chains, smoke alarms and security cameras where appropriate after carrying out a security audit. The Trust is the first of its kind to be established in England and is overseen by a board

of Trustees chaired by Robert Hiscox. The service is available to people who are over 60 or 18+ with a registered disability. Trained Stay Safe Online Volunteers can offer one-toone home visits and community group talks. WBVT relies upon fundraising activities, sponsorship and donations to continue to provide this practical and vital community service. For more information log on to uk or call: 01380 861155.

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Swindon's teachers recognised for excellence at awards ceremony By Claire Dukes

Last month Swindon teachers and schools were recognised as 'beacons of brilliance' at an awards ceremony last month. The annual Education Excellence Awards highlighted merit in various categories including pupil progress, school achievement, school support, Healthy Schools Awards, and Head Teachers who have made significant advancements in Swindon education. Before the event Cllr Mary Martin said: “There is so much fantastic work being done in schools right across the town and these awards are a brilliant way of recognising these notable achievements. “It’s vitally important that the hard work being done to increase standards of education does not go unnoticed and I am looking forward to being given the

chance to say a big thank you to everybody involved. “I would also like to offer a sincere thank you to Zurich Municipal and all our supporters and sponsors for helping us host what promises to be a very special night for education in Swindon.” The Mayor of Swindon, Cllr Junab Ali, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Mary Martin, and David Jones, National Education Manager for Zurich Municipal attended the event which included guest speaker and British novelist Jasper Fforde. n August 2018

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Park life! Revellers flock to spectacular events in town Faringdon Road Park played host to a pair of spectacular events this month. Visitors flocked to the Swindon Armed Forces Day - marking 100 years since the founding of the RAF. And shortly afterwards, the park was the venue for the 151st annual Children's Fete the town's longest established event. The armed forces day was launched in style with a team of military parachutists dropping in. The event also included displays from the three branches of the armed services to meet members of the public and share insights into military life. And at the Children's Fete, there were performances by Crowdy’s School Choir, the Urban Youth Dance Academy, Swindon Lightning Cheerleaders, Britannia Majorettes and many more acts Both events were attended by Swindon Mayor Junab Ali.

Swindon Academy enters the dragons' den By Claire Dukes

Last month year 10 students from Swindon Academy braved the dragons at Excalibur Communications. In groups of 10, pupils presented a panel of dragons with business proposals on how they could improve I.T resources in education. The ideas were based around technoloy advancements and business models included the use of fingerprint scanners, cloud-based websites, and virtual reality. The panel consisted of Peter Boucher, - Excalibur CEO James Phipps, - Excalibur Chairman - Jamie Hill, - Swindon Link Editor - and Emma Carter 6

Excalibur Sales and Marketing Director. The students' presentations in front of the panel also included marketing tactics, such as branding, as well as budgeting and practicing their presentation skills. Jessica Cook, Learning Manager at Swindon Academy, said: "It's key for students to see how what they do in the classroom translates into the workplace, and it's key that they see what goes on in the workplace." This year Swindon Academy will also be partnering with Grit, an organisation which supports young people to aim and achieve higher through education.

Funeral Services shortlisted for national award Swindon funeral director Pearce Funeral Services has been shortlisted for an award at this year’s Funeral Planner of the Year Awards, run by one of the UK’s leading funeral plan providers, Golden Charter. Taking place on Saturday 15 September at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, the annual event celebrating the achievements of independent funeral directors will be hosted by Scottish radio broadcaster and journalist Ken Bruce. Speaking about their nomination, John Pearce of

Pearce Funeral Services said: "As a local family funeral service we pride ourselves on the high standards of service and care we aim to achieve with every family we come into contact with. This includes meeting families at their time of need or providing the best service possible when arranging a funeral plan for the future. “We are very proud and honoured to have been nominated for this award by Golden Charter, a funeral planning provider that is also owned and managed within the independent funeral sector." n August 2018

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Susie's at the helm

Swindon Borough Council has appointed Susie Kemp as its new Chief Executive. A strong field of candidates from across the country applied for the role, with Susie selected from a final group of three following a two-day assessment. Having held the role of Interim Chief Executive, Susie joined Swindon Borough Council in February last year as Corporate Director of Resources and Transformation. Susie Kemp said: “Swindon is a fantastic place and I am looking forward to continue working with colleagues across the organisation to deliver the Council’s Vision, Priorities and Pledges for the people who matter – our residents."

Students' app wins Students from Nova Hreod Academy reached the final of a national app competition – UnitedApp – at IBM’s headquarters in London - with their Ultimate Guide to School reference app. The Year 9 students were challenged to create an educational app that they would find useful in their own schools – with the winners getting the chance to make their idea a reality and launch it in the App Store. The team from Nova Hreod Academy were shortlisted from a field of hundreds of other entries, to reach the final 11 and scooped the award for “Best Video.” 8

Sadie's bid for hi-tech arm gathers support

Ben Fitzgerald spoke to Sadie Cowdry about the challenges she faces having been born without a left forearm - why she turned her back on the ‘awful’ prosthetic limbs offered to her as a child - and how technological developments have given her a renewed sense of hope. Sadie, 29, was born without a left forearm; and as she was growing up in Pinehurst quickly became frustrated at the attempts to provide a functioning prosthetic limb. “As a three-year-old I was offered this awful hook prosthetic with a pulley system that went around my right shoulder so that you can open and close the hook. I just hated it and as you can imagine, having a hook at the age of three was not the best way to make friends - unless you want to meet a pirate I suppose! “There was an alternative to the hook - which was a rubber tipped piece of metal that could be used for typing. I suppose I’ve always been pretty headstrong, I just dug my heels in and refused to wear it.” Sadie’s complications were compounded by the fact that neurologically she was left handed and struggled with her handwriting - having to complete most of her written work at school using a computer. She was subsequently offered a ‘bionic’ arm at the age of 9; an electrically operated

prosthetic powered by a battery pack worn by the user. “By this point, my muscle tone on my left side was minimal so it was a real struggle to wear - it was so heavy. The thing was covered in a sort of ‘flesh’ coloured plastic skin which didn’t look great but the worst thing was that it would sometimes get stuck, so you would close it around something and then struggle to let go - I gave up on the whole idea of using a prosthetic arm at the age of nine because of my bad experiences with them. Sadie, from Shaw, who works as an administration assistant at electronics company Medion, explained that using her right hand to do the job of both hands has begun to take its toll over the years, having developed De Quervain’s Syndrome in her wrist. “I’m in constant pain and it means that I’m struggling to do many basic tasks - so I’ve decided to look again at getting a prosthetic arm.” In her research, Sadie found about a highly advanced prosthetic produced by a Bristol based company Open Bionics which makes the world’s first medically certified 3d printed

bionic hand. A far cry from the type of prosthetics that Sadie encountered as a child, the Hero Arm is lightweight, has sensitive controls and is available in a range of designs. “I’m saving up any money I can to try to pay for one of these arms. It would be a dream come true. An arm like this would enable me to do the simple things that most able bodied people take for granted, things like being able to carry two plates at the same time.” To help meet the £10k price tag, Sadie has set up a Just Giving page to crowdfund the project - already attracting £1,322 (at the time of writing) donated by 33 people. She is determined to meet the remaining £5k price tag with the help of her husband Rich who works in a warehouse. Sadie said: “I’ve been amazed by all the really kind comments people have written on this page - and I’ve had a lot of anonymous donations, it’s quite overwhelming. Some people are just wonderful.” To donate to Sadie’s page, log on to: crowdfunding/gotanarmoff n August 2018

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Big Hat Caberet has its best year yet at the Steam Museum By Ben Morris

Over the years Swindon has been given a bit of a slating but look deeper and you will find that this working-class town has lots to offer especially if you have disabilities. The town has many opportunities, however, and if you love performing then the Big Hat Cabaret is the icing on the cake! The Big Hat Cabaret took place recently at the magnificent Steam Museum and has been described this year as, "the best year so far!" This wonderful performance platform gives people with physical and learning disabilities (and friends and helpers without disabilities) the chance to show off all of their brilliant talents. I myself suffer with a neuromuscular disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy and have

been involved with the event since 2013. I have written and starred in short films and each year Josie Williams who helps coordinates the event has roped in me and my family to sing a song and have been given the title of the Von Trap family. This year I also helped compère which was great fun. The show consisted of comedy, singing, dancing and drama. Participating in this type of event can allow people with additional needs to truly be themselves without the fear of being judged due to the wonderful audience who attend. Josie Williams said: “I have

been involved in this amazing event since its concept and it is plain to see just how much the performers get out of the evening. There is a real buzz, a heightened sense of achievement and raised confidence. Big thank you to all who helped to make this event a very special one for all involved.” As well as helping the performers to be themselves, it also helps to create a sense of confidence within these individuals. Opportunities like this do not come around very often to people with any kind of additional need this is why this show is so

important to Swindon and the wider community. The impact is evident from the smiles on the performers' faces and the sense of achievement that these inspiring people have from performing in front of such a huge yet welcoming audience. Helen Whelehan said: “What a whopper wonder of a night, I think that Big Hat this year was amazing! Such diverse acts, really well done to all who contributed.” Sue Welsh from Rubber Chicken Theatre Co added: “I want to say thank you to everyone involved in organising the event and managing it on the night. Our group had a splendid time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.” Let's hope that this brilliant production inspires other people to go out and do what they love because this spectacle just shows how you shouldn't let anything get in the way of who you truly are. n August 2018

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New headteacher

Rough sleepers offered a bed this Winter By Ben Fitzgerald

Former vice-principal of Swindon Academy Nick Wells has been appointed to be the headteacher of Nova Hreod School. In a letter to parents he said: "I am thrilled to be joining Nova Hreod Academy as headteacher in September and really looking forward to working with students and staff in the next chapter of the academy's success.

Charity masquerade Tickets are now on sale for a masquerade ball to raise cash for a great cause. Proceeds from the event, at the Double Tree by Hilton on September 22 will go towards Helen and Douglas House charity which provides hospice care for children and young adults. Tickets for the ball cost £45 or £400 for a table of 10. Tickets include a drinks reception, three course meal, and live music. Expect sleek suits, fabulous frocks and marvellous masks. email: emevents18@gmail. com

A meeting of minds Mental Health Charity, Wiltshire Mind, is holding a weekly evening support group to support those in work. The group is held at the High Street offices 21-23 High Street, Melksham from 6pm to 8pm on a Tuesday evening. Call 01225 706532 or email: 10

Swindon Borough Council will be offering temporary winter housing provision for vulnerable sleepers for the second year running. The four-month project, which will see a select number of homeless people given shelter and intensive support has received cabinet approval. The Temporary Winter Housing Provision scheme was introduced last year to provide a safe refuge for rough sleepers. And of the eight people given permanent accommodation after completing the scheme, none have returned to the streets and the council is keen to replicate this success. The previous programme, which ran from January to March, was supported by 50 volunteers in the old Carfax Street Health Centre building.

A new venue will have to be found this winter and the council hopes to be able to offer accommodation to at least 10 rough sleepers. The cost of the project in 2017/18 was £42,000, which included building refurbishment and compliance work, staff costs and other provisions. Following a successful bid for funding from central government to help reduce rough sleeping, the council has been awarded £194,000 to be spent by March 2019. This year, £60,000 of this funding will go towards the Temporary Winter Housing Provision, with a further £30,000 earmarked for the 2019/20 financial year. Each year, the council spends £1.4m on providing emergency or short-term accommodation for those who need it. Coun Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, said: “I am

proud to be able to say that the project will go ahead again this year. "Those who successfully complete the programme will be given suitable, permanent accommodation by the council afterwards, which we hope will be the fresh start they so badly need. “The people we help are among the most vulnerable in our community. They often have severe alcohol and drug problems as well as delicate mental health issues. “The local homelessness support organisations who worked to make the scheme such a success last year did a brilliant job and I am sure that together we can achieve the same positive results again.” The council is currently drafting the Rough Sleeper Strategy and the Homelessness Strategy which will focus resources on combating homelessness and rough sleeping.

Hero of 1966, Sir Geoff Hurst, opens 'Swindome' pitch

Legendary footballer Sir Geoff Hurst paid a visit to Swindon to open a new indoor all-weather football pitch. The former England striker, who hammered home a hattrick in the 1966 World Cup final against Germany, cut the ribbon on the new facility at Supermarine FC in South Marston. The veteran player was also there to host the McDonald’s & FA Community Football Day, where he cut the ribbon to declare the indoor football dome officially open. Tournaments were held throughout the day and visitors were welcomed to take part for free. Sir Geoff said: “The facilities here are absolutely magnificent and this gives kids the opportunity to play sport in all types of weather in a safe environment. “This football dome is vital

Sir Geoff Hurst, left, with Supermarine chairman Jez Webb for any community to have and it is great to see that the people of Swindon are relishing it.” The state of the art air-dome covers three 3G artificial football pitches which can also

be combined to create one large pitch. The Swindome also features the Pro-zone, an in-house gym facility with treatment rooms, pitch side viewing areas and changing room facilities. n August 2018

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Generation Gains helps keep Swindon's eldery fighting fit By Claire Dukes

Swindon’s latest healthcare initiative is being kick started at Better Leisure Centres to get older generations fit and healthy. In a collaborative venture with Zurich Community Trust, who are funding the scheme, GLL have launched the ‘Generation Gains’ community project which aims to engage residents over 65. It aims to improve the health and wellbeing of older people through fun and social activities to reduce isolation and loneliness. As part of the project Better Leisure Centre is calling on young people with an interest in sports and leisure to get involved in a new career venture. The training programme will teach young people to engage with older members of the community – Generation Gains will focus on

providing life skills enabling the elderly to interact socially and maintain their independent living. A spokesperson for GLL said: "Our Walking Football is a variant of association football that is aimed at keeping people aged over 65 involved with football if, due to a lack of mobility or for other reasons, they are not able to play the traditional game.

"If a player runs, then they concede a free kick to the other side. "This slow-paced version of the popular game is an ideal way to exercise and meet new people. Both men and women, over 65, are welcome to participate. "All the Walking Football sessions are currently held indoors at Croft and Haydon BETTER leisure centres with

a new session starting at the Dorcan Leisure Centre in September. "Strength and balance exercises will help you feel more competent on your feet. In the sessions we use fun and inclusive activities for all. "At the end of each session we always have time for a cuppa and chat, the social element and group belonging is what this project is all about."

Get away this summer to Swindon's first beach Wharf Green will be transformed into an urban beach this summer, bringing a taste of the seaside to the town centre, from 25 to 29 August from 10am to 5pm, daily. Organised by inSwindon BID Company, the first ever free urban beach experience comes complete with a man-made beach, deckchairs, buckets and spades, children’s rides, seaside music, soft volleyball, food and trade stalls and a giant deck chair. Saturday 25 August will see the official opening at 10am, followed by a ‘Family Beach Party’ from 2pm tp 6pm with live DJ, glitter face painting, games, competitions and more. Di Powell, inSwindon Chief Executive said: “We’re thrilled to be welcoming Swindon’s first urban beach experience to the town centre. The programme of events is brimming with something for everyone to enjoy. We feel it’s a chance

for the whole family to get together and experience something new right on their doorstep, whilst taking advantage of being able to shop, grab a drink or a bite to eat.” There will also be exclusive beach themed activities which will take place daily between 12pm and 3pm including Beach Fitness on Sunday with Buzz Gym who are offering Zumba and Soft Volley Ball tasters, Children’s Donkey Rides on Monday 27, Live Music and Dance on Tuesday 28 and an afternoon of beach mayhem with a live children’s entertainer playing games, ballooning and more on Wednesday 29 August. Local retailers Lush will also be offering free samples of sunscreen, as well as a range of other products all available in-store as well as other local retailers taking part across the five day event. n August 2018

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Charity launches new Swindon Family Fun Day Jessie May, the children’s hospice at home charity, is launching a new family fundraiser event in Swindon this month. The fun-filled event will take place at Swindon Rugby Club on Saturday 4 August, and feature a fantastic line-up of entertainment including a fun fair, live music, dog show and bouncy castle. Disney-lovers can also expect a visit from Frozen’s Princess Elsa and Queen Ana during the Jessie May Family Fun Day, while a tombola, raffle, facepainting and sand-art painting will keep the whole family entertained. Money raised from the event will go towards funding the charity’s nurses, who currently provide care to terminally ill children across Wiltshire, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset. Debbie Clark, Swindon and Wiltshire Fundraising Officer for Jessie May, said: “We’re

really excited to launch what we aim to be an annual fundraiser here in Swindon. This is our first fun day in the town and we invite everyone to come along and enjoy a wonderful day at the rugby club. “There’s plenty to keep the whole family busy, from ‘Paw Patrol’ to ‘Hook the duck’, and a BBQ and bar will keep everyone refreshed. “All proceeds from the event will go to Jessie May, whose nurses are supporting 40 children and families across Wiltshire alone. Our charity is hugely reliant on funding raised from events like this, so we hope to bring the whole community together and put on a great family day for a local, worthy cause.” The Jessie May Family Fun Day takes place on Saturday 4 August, between 10am and 4pm at Swindon Rugby Club. Entry to the event is free entry, while all donations to Jessie May are welcome. n August 2018

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Foster carers wanted to help look after town's vulnerable children Swindon Borough Council is currently looking for new foster carers from a range of different backgrounds. The council says that being a foster carer can be an incredibly rewarding experience which changes the lives of children and young people in the town. Foster carers provide family settings for children who are unable to live with their parents or other family members. Placements can include respite, which can be overnight or at weekends, or long-term, when a child may stay with a family for several years. Whether you’ve only just started thinking about fostering, or have been considering it for a long time, Swindon Borough Council would be delighted to hear from you. Emma, who lived with foster carer Michelle for five years, said that fostering has made a huge difference to her life. She said: “I didn’t think I would


ever have a bright future but Michelle’s helped me get through it and pushed me forward towards my goals.” There are plenty of ways you can find out more about becoming a foster carer. Every month, the council’s fostering team holds an information session, where the public can hear directly from carers. These are held at the Lyndhurst Centre, Lyndhurst Crescent, SN3 2RW. The next sessions are on: l Wednesday 15 August 6pm – 7pm l Saturday 8 September 10.30am – 11.30am l Tuesday 30 October – 10.30am – 11.30am l Friday 23 November – 3pm – 4pm l Monday 10 December 3.30pm – 4.30pm For information visit www. or call 07917 503447. n August 2018

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Run the half marathon to help your local Air Ambulance save lives By Claire Dukes

Keen runners can now sign up for a new Swindon Half Marathon for the charity Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Back in its second year the marathon will be taking place next month, Sunday 9 September. Kenresa Stratford, Fundraising and Events Coordinator at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “We are really thrilled to be a part of the New Swindon Half Marathon for the second successive year. “We received brilliant support last year by people who ran it to raise funds for our new airbase at Semington, near Melksham. Now that we have moved into our new airbase, the challenge remains for us to raise the £3.25 million we need each year to keep our lifesaving service

operational. “People who run the New Swindon Half Marathon for us will be helping to keep their local air ambulance flying and saving lives. Please contact us if you would like a place on Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s team.“ Establishing a new route the marathon will start in Swindon's Town Centre and take runners around the town and past various landmarks including The Magic Roundabout, Railway works and McArther Glenn Outlet Village. The finishing line will be at Wharf Green. A place on Wiltshire AirAmbulance’s team for the event costs £20 and each runner needs to raise a minimum of £200. For more information email kenresa@ or call the charity team on 01225 300536.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance lands at new air base n August 2018

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Swindon Life Celebrating town living

David Walliams headlines Marlborough's LitFest 2018 Back for its ninth year, Marlborough LitFest has released the programme for its most anticipated event.

Marlborough LitFest consists of more than 30 events over four days which includes talks from authors, writing workshops and open mic poetry. One of the headlining events this year will be led by David Walliams in talks about his selection of children’s books. LitFest Committee member Kay Newman said: "We've asked him for years and finally

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he said yes. "Big names are fantastic but the smaller ones are a surprise - I think they're the ones who are the hidden gems. "We focus on good writing and supporting young writers." LitFest Organiser Francesca Del Mar added: "It's a small fest but it's growing each year - we try and do something for everyone and everyone leaves inspired. We call it the 'home of good writing'." Marlborough LitFest 2018 will be taking place from 27 to 30 September. For the full programme visit

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Air Tattoo celebrates RAF100 in high flying style A record crowd of 185,000 people enjoyed a feast of flying as the Royal International Air Tattoo staged international celebrations marking the Royal Air Force’s Centenary at RAF Fairford. In total, 302 aircraft, from 43 air arms representing 30 nations attended the airshow, of which 121 took part in the flying display. Among the flying display highlights were a number of unique flypasts. A special tribute to the legendary 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron saw the iconic Lancaster bomber from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fly in formation with the squadron’s current aircraft, the Tornado, and the RAF’s new state-of-the-art F-35B Lightning II. Another flypast featured nine RAF Typhoons in formation, as part of centenary celebrations. Visitors on Saturday were


treated to a rare flypast by a US Air Force B-2A Spirit stealth bomber that had made the round trip from its base in Missouri, US. In the static aircraft park there were examples of aircraft from around the world including debut appearances by the Embraer KC-390 from Brazil, the Kawasaki C-2 from Japan and the HH-101A CaeSAR tactical helicopter from the Italian Air Force. Just days prior to the airshow, history was made as the first transatlantic flight by a civilian-registered Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) touched down, ushering in a new era in unmanned aviation. The SkyGuardian is the latest version of the General Atomics’ MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted air system. Capable of flying for up to 40 hours at a time at altitudes of up 40,000ft, when SkyGuardian comes into

RAF service it will be known as ‘Protector’. Among the Royal guests in attendance at the Air Tattoo were HRH the Duke of Kent, Patron of the RAF Charitable Trust; HRH Prince Michael of Kent; HRH The Princess Royal and HRH Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein of the Jordanian Royal Family. Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said he was delighted that so many people had turned up to celebrate the RAF’s centenary at RAF Fairford. He said: “This year’s airshow has been many years in the

planning and I think my team, including our amazing army of 1,500 volunteers, has really delivered something special to the nation. “We’ve enjoyed some spectacular flying in glorious sunshine and a superb range of entertainment on the showground. Of course, it was disappointing we were unable to feature our planned RAF100 flypast on the Friday due to a localised weather front however, everyone understands that safety has to be our number one priority." Next year’s Air Tattoo takes place on July 19 to 21, 2019. n August 2018

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Swindon Spotlight

YOUR GUIDE TO THE MONTH AHEAD In the community l An evening of jazz, blues and cabaret with Barb Jungr is coming to Highworth United Reformed Church. The singer and performer will be playing a special show in aid of Friend's of Angel's Orphanage. The critically acclaimed artist will be in concert for one night - Friday 14 September - with tickets available from The Lighthouse Book Shop.


Swindon Dance Academy will have a range of children's classes throughout the month of August. Classes include Upside Down Inside Out, - based on the adventure book The Magic Faraway - Summer Dance, - consisting of ballet, jazz, tap, and contemporary dance classes - and guest company Urban Playground who will be teaching the art of parkour over four days. Parkour classes are available to ages 11 to 19 and will involve understanding and practicing the art of body discipline through games, which also fuses contemporary and urban dance "with authentic French free-running". For further information and to book classes visit www.


Inspired by the hits from ‘The Greatest Showman' the Wyvern Theatre will be unleashing an evening of sing-a-long songs, a live band, circus acts and spectacular special effects for one night only - Saturday 4 August. Prepare to get involved. Tickets from £18.50


Fans of the 90s and The Spice Girls are in for a treat at the Wyvern Theatre, 2 August, with Wannabe The Spice Girls Show - it includes their greatest hits including Spice Up Your Life. The Venue, London calls it " The perfect girls night out!" Tickets at £25


This month Lydiard Park will be hosting an evening of theatre taking audiences to new heights with Peter Pan, 24 August. Expect to be hooked in by Immersion Theatre with a family-fun trip to Neverland with the Darling children, Lost Boys and Captain Hook. Tickets at £15

Venues Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ. Tel: 01793 524481 Central Community Centre, Emlyn Square SN1 5BP. Tel: 01793 420649 The Platform, Faringdon Road, Swindon SN1 5BJ Phoenix Theatre, New College Drive, Swindon, SN3 1AH. Tel: 01793 732889 The Rolleston, 73 Commercial Road, Swindon SN1 5NX. Tel: 01793 534238 Shoebox Theatre, Theatre Square, Swindon SN1 1QN. Tel: 07340 758497 St Michael’s Hall Lechlade Road, Highworth, SN6 7HQ. Tel: 01793 763907

Roves Farm, Sevenhampton, Nr Highworth SN6 7QG. Tel: 01793 763939 Shoebox Theatre, Theatre Square, Swindon SN1 1QN. Email: Swindon Information Centre, Central Library SN1 1QG. Tel: 01793 530328 Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Bath Road SN1 4BA. Tel: 01793 466556 The Victoria, 88 Victoria Road, SN1 3BD. Tel: 01793 535713 Wyvern Theatre, Theatre Square SN1 1QN. Tel: 01793 524481 - Confirm date, time & price with venue

l Following on from the success of their last production 'Summer Holiday' the Summer Youth project are bringing their rendition of the classic production 'Oliver' to the Wyvern Theatre 23 to Saturday 25 August. Consider yourself in for a great evening. Tickets from £14.50 l From 2 to 5 August, Fieldview Festival returns for its 12th year. having raised nearly £40,000 for local and global charities. The former garden party was started by two brothers by mistake. 2018 will be their most incredible yet with a combination of breathtaking music, workshops and community spirit. l A new exhibition will be coming to Theatre Square's Artsite from 28 to 29 September. The exhibition will showcase pieces from Swindonbased artists who work in various formats. The show will include a couple of acoustic sets from Swindon-based musicians and an opportunity for creatives to network. More information to be announced. n August 2018

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Swindon Lives IN CONVERSATION WITH: Graham Taylor By Ben Fitzgerald

New College Principal Graham Taylor has been given a rousing send-off by colleagues and students after announcing his retirement after 21 years. “I have to admit, I am feeling a little tearful after such a lovely event. We had poems, quizzes and some lovely words.” Under Mr Taylor’s watch, the college has grown from a modest institution with an income of £3m and 1,200 students to a highly successful establishment with an income of £23m with 10,000 learners on their books. “It’s the people I will miss the most. I’ve been lucky to work with a wide range of fantastic colleagues. “As a leader, you want to help all staff to help make a difference to the lives of students coming through. It’s been great to see how the college has developed – I’m very proud of that.” Graham took up the post at New College in 1996, having held teaching posts at colleges in Gloucestershire, Ealing, and Hampshire. Under his leadership, the college has developed from offering A-levels and Sixth Form courses to 16-18 year-olds to also include apprenticeships, pre-16 courses, Higher Education and Adult Education courses as well as business and professional training. The facilities have also expanded to now include a new sports centre, dance studio and future plans for the Great Western Academy school. Graham added: “Any Principal is only as good as the staff around them and I pay tribute to those I have worked with over

Stepping out: Graham Taylor is looking forward to the next chapter after announcing his retirement the years for helping to make New College a wonderful place to work in. I am proud that in an era of increased competition and funding cuts we have survived and prospered. “We have also been extremely fortunate to attract, educate and train so many great learners who have gone on to achieve great things. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve them. Education changes lives and I am

so delighted to have been able to play a part in this.” Graham admits that he will not be able to retire from education

entirely, with plans to share his expertise as a consultant, working with other further education establishments. n August 2018

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Kids' Summer Survival Guide Studley Grange

Cotswold Wildlife Park

Lotmead Farm

Better Link Centre

Down on the farm the adult Short Legged Dexter Cows, a rare breed from Southern Ireland, are due to give birth. Both Ginger and Swift have calved before, with this being Ginger’s fourth and Swift’s second. Whilst awaiting the arrival of Crias (baby Alpacas) visitors can enjoy the lambs and kids - all of these you can feed by hand with food purchased in the shop. Inside the Craft Village Soft Play is now open for longer, and there will also be lots of different activities and workshops running throughout the holidays in the Craft Village plus the exciting re-opening of the LEGO exhibition.

From 1 to 31 August it's Rhino Month at Cotswold Wildlife Park. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet the park's Rhinos: Monty, Nancy, Ruby, Alan and Belle. Keepers will be doing a daily talk throughout August at 2pm near the Rhino Paddock about these magnificent animals, the threats to rhinos and the conservation work that is going on to try and protect them for future generations. There is always something going on at Cotswold Wildlife Park - park tours, fresh air, and animal discoveries await families over the summer holidays. Last month the park welcomed the arrival of three Wolverine triplets.

Lotmead Farm is open again for the 2018 season. As well as their famous strawberries, this year Lotmead will be offering raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries, sweetcorn, dwarf beans, French beans, runner beans, potatoes and more. With a play area filled with fun slides, swings, a maze, zip wire and brand new wooden adventure frame, a day at Lotmead will keep everyone busy. There’s also a nature walk, dairy parlour and small animal enclosure. Animals include baby pygmy goats, new Kunekune piglets, as well as the familiar faces of Tango the Shetland pony, Denzil the donkey, and Nigel, Kevin and Bertie the alpacas.

Better GLL has invested millions in Swindon's Link Centre - since 2014 the leisure centre boasts a fully kitted gymnasium, coffee corner, Extreme Trampoline Park, ice skating, and swimming facilities including Swindon's Oasis. This summer the Link Centre is offering a variety of summer deals, competitions, and family vouchers on a range of activities via their social media which include a joint ticket for families, parent toddler sessions, and birthday packages for exclusve deals on all the activities. @Better_Swindon @BetterLinkCentre n August 2018

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Drink By Claire Dukes

Raunchy new gin is ready to get out and around Swindon

New Swindon-based label, Peculiar Gin Company, is launching itself into the Swindon market. Founded by Sara Whitham and Lisa Flack in March, the company released its first drink in June - Jezabel. Now in circulation the ladies are distributing Jezabel into small retailers, bars and restaurants in keeping with the craft and niche brand. What started as a nice idea between two friends has now turned into a small business which is already generating interest. Sara said: "We sell other craft, small batch, unusual

gins at our events though. We like to source some really niche stuff that you wouldn’t find just anywhere. Jezabel will appeal to anyone who loves gin and even some who don’t. She’s managed to convert quite a few people. "We always say she’s best enjoyed with company, she probably won’t last long though! Perfect for a summer drink in the garden, easy to drink all night and no reported hangovers so far. "Jezabel is very much a crowd pleaser, the secret recipe means that one of the botanicals has undergone

a brand-new process which makes the gin taste thoroughly amazing. It's light and sweet which is probably why so many people love it. It’s truly craft, and extremely small batch, so has been lovingly made too." The gin itself is a fusion of botanical ingredients including juniper, angelica, grapefruit peel and rowan berries. Jezabel Gin is now available for purchase on For more nformation, visit www.thepeculiargincompany.

You're invited to The Peculiar Gin Company Festival Next month The Peculiar Gin Company will be hosting their first Gin Festival at The Platform, Saturday 29 September. Throughout the evening the festival

will include live music, a glitter stand, cocktail train carriage, renegade bar and contortionist. Further details to follow on their website.

Poetry by Maurice Spilane I decided a few years ago to run a marathon each year in a country I’d not been to before. Last year took me to Greenland and a marathon on the Polar Ice Cap. This year in September I will run the Petra Desert Marathon in +35 degrees to a height of 1,250m which is nearly the height of Ben Nevis. Several of the runners from the Greenland trip are joining me and we’ll stay on for a week camping in the desert. The excitement for me is the challenge and secondly, I’ll raise money for my favourite charity, The Eve Appeal, which researches early


prevention of gynaecological cancers. I treat every adventure as an opportunity to meet local people and get to know more about them, their culture, their likes and dislikes, their politics. As a poet I want to hear how they use language to express feelings which can add a piquancy to expression, especially in translation, and is often easier to record than you would imagine. Take this short poem for example. It’s called Land, by the Jordanian poet, Suheir Hamad. In a few lines she captures the sweetness of her Arab lover, a challenge in every language:

"his approach to love he said was that of a farmer. most love like hunters and like hunters most kill what they desire he tills soil through toes, nose in the wet earth, he waits, prays to the gods and slowly harvests ever thankful" n August 2018

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The Business Brief

Swindon welcomes its new carriage of creativity

COMMENT: Finding a job on wheels Swindon needs to be more accessible By Ben Morris

By Claire Dukes

As part of the latest development in Swindon's business world, a new coworking space has come into the Carriage Works in a bid to support independent and small businesses. As part of joint venture between Swindon Borough Council and The Enterprise Network, Workshed offers up to 150 rentable spaces for local businesses to work from. As part of Swindon's regeneration plan the

Workshed also aims to act as a creative hub for Swindon's artistic and techie community. Jolyon Rose, Centre Manager at Workshed, said: "Workshed is about its community – it’s a great place for innovative digi-techs to develop their businesses, get ideas and inspiration, and generally connect with others in the same area. Plus it’s a lot of fun, with regular social events and networking. "In terms of filling the gap between Bristol and London, we’re a part of that – it’s part of Swindon’s regeneration."

Swindon businesses flock to the South West Expo By Claire Dukes

As a teenager, finding a job can be difficult enough as it is. But when you’re in a wheelchair or have additional needs it can be even harder, but with the correct willpower and effort it can be done. Many young people with additional needs who are trying to find a part-time job to get a bit of extra money, are probably going to need to think about a number of different things. At the moment if a young person with a disability or additional needs is in education, then the school or college will cater for any adaptions that may need to be put in place. However, many employers may not have ever thought about adapting any kind of workplace. This is where many unemployed teenagers get stuck in their search for employment. They certainly have to think about what adjustments they would need - this could be anything from a height adjustable desk to assistive

Businesses across Swindon gathered together for a day of networking and keynote speakers at this year’s South West Expo hosted at Steam. Swindon businesses large and small gathered together at Swindon’s Steam Museum for the South West Expo which provides business owners with the opportunity to network with other Swindon-based companies, and receive advice on business development from keynote speakers. With Swindon named as one of the best places to live and

technology. Nevertheless, if the young person finds an appropriate job that they want to do as well as access then there should be little or no adaptions needed. Although, employers need to understand that even if adaptions are needed, the individual can still be an asset to the company no matter how many amendments are needed. In my opinion, employers need to advertise a bit more that they are willing to make changes to the way they work, to fit a wide range of individuals that may or may not apply to a position in a company. For people in this situation, finding a job can bring confidence as well as a sense of hope that they can be accepted into society in a world that is increasingly getting better for people with additional needs. work in the UK, and generating many new business start ups, the expo was also an opportunity to celebrate Swindon-based companies and their success. Peter Boucher, CEO at Excalibur Communications – a mobile and I.T solutions company based in West Swindon – said: “This time it’s a bit more home grown, full of real people from real companies. There’s lots of small, medium and large businesses here. This is a living and breathing example of Swindon – all these fantastic businesses.” n August 2018

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East Swindon August 2018  
East Swindon August 2018