A dollop of Lewis Carroll, shards of C. S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and perhaps even nicer elements of Tolkien, The World Under the Wood will put a smile on your face and bring out the inner child in you.…..
Being honest, it doesn’t take too much to bring out the inner child out in this grumpy old man, but more to cheer me up, and this did both, delightfully!
Running until Sunday, with matinees and evening performances at Devizes’ Wharf Theatre, this simply charming hour-long play, written and directed by Helen Langford is so whimsical, such a delight, you will be captivated by its magical cross-realms. Ideally you need a child aged six plus, but anyone into fairytales you can drag along, I suggest you do. Break out some glitter!
Yet while citing the obvious influences of classic children’s literature combines the settings and themes, it overlooks the subject, a contemporary feel of industry versus nature, the environmental angle on everyone’s lips, especially children. And it presents it in such an easy, fantastical way, without complication or ‘rubbing your face in it’ any age will be absorbed by the moral. Anymore synopsis and I’m verging on spoliers!
All homegrown talent, The World Under the Wood is an unmissable Wharf exclusive. The protagonist, Jodie, a kind of Dorothy-Dora hybrid is played confidently and spectacularly by Georgina Claridge, and her interactions with archetypal characters manage to retain the charm of those they pastiche, a talking tree, played gracefully by Chris Smith, pet dog by Carolynn Coomer, and Louise Peak as the queen-like Great Leader of an industrial underworld of robotic oompa loompa-like humans adds pantomime humour to the show.
Yet, it is not pantomime, in so much its zany or sing-along element is slight above the morals, but it is partially musical, with simple but effective original songs. If I’m honest, I huffed at the thought of going to see a “family” show, but I came out the other end chuffed, sprinkled with psychological fairy dust and mused with an emotion of sustainability on equal terms.
Your kids will love it, you might love it more! The World Under the Wood is running now, ending Sunday 26th June at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes. Tickets HERE.
A historic Devizes church will host a professional theatre company later this month as it performs a play that shines a light on the realities facing children in the care system in Britain today……
My Place is a powerful and moving evening of theatre and conversation, telling the interwoven stories of children – an individual, a sibling group and a refugee – as they journey through the care system.
As part of its 8 week nationwide tour, My Place is coming to St Mary’s Church on New Park Street in Devizes on Sunday 26th June at 7.30 pm.
The evening will combine a performance of My Place with an opportunity to hear about the national fostering and adoption charity Home for Good and how each of us can play our part in transforming the lives of vulnerable children and young people.
WHAT’S THE STORY OF MY PLACE?
Both entertaining and thought-provoking, My Place follows the stories of four children in care, an individual child, a pair of siblings and an unaccompanied child refugee. They have different backgrounds and journeys, brought to life through a range of colourful story-telling techniques, including song and spoken word. Each story highlights the need for all vulnerable children to have a safe, stable and loving home where they can thrive.
Home for Good is a charity that exists to find a home for every child who needs one. We hope to inspire and equip people to open their homes to children and teenagers through fostering, adoption and supported lodgings. We resource churches to be a welcoming and supportive community for families who care for vulnerable children and advocate on their behalf at all levels of government.
WHO IS THIS EVENT FOR?
Everyone! Any individual who cares about children, has a passion for justice and compassion for our society’s most vulnerable would be inspired by this event. We hope that many people will gain a better understanding of the experience of young refugees and children in care. The play is suitable for teenagers and adults but not recommended for younger children.
Ha! Stand aside established local artists, we’re talking about the artists of the future here! If you’re knocking around Devizes this extended weekend, do pop into St Mary’s, the former church soon-to-be arts centre, where children from Wansdyke, Southbroom and Trinity schools have worked with professional local artist Joanna May to produce a mosaic of their tributes to the Queen for the Palatium Jubilee.
There are some great pictures on display, my attention particularly drawn to one WW2 depiction, an ingenious use of a postal stamp, an astute and beautifully rendered pencil sketch of Windsor Castle, and one which made the Queen look uncannily like Lisa Simpson! There are no names on the pictures but whoever drew these ones would’ve won if I were the judge, although I wasn’t, and it wasn’t a competition anyway. But well done to all the children involved, they look super!
Joanna, who owns a gallery on Northgate Street, visited all three schools, shown her skills and encouraged the children to create these artworks, but unfortunately caught Covid and couldn’t continue with her emblem-shaped mosaic design. So, working on her idea the members of St Mary’s had to get their own creative juices flowing to create the final piece, which looks fantastic. All best wishes for a speedy recovery, Joanna.
Another good reason is to have a nose around St Mary’s, this glorious 12th century church, where information is displayed about the campaign to make this into a thriving arts centre. It’s been a laborious journey obtaining the permissions, but detailed plans have been drawn up and are on display. The transformation is inclusive of retaining the aesthetics of this beautiful church, but opening out the central area to provide a flexible, multi-use space. There will also be an extension to the rear of the church, with a patio for outdoor activities.
Presently, one can be captivated in anticipation just by imagining the acoustic value inside. Yet the million-dollar question remains, how long will this take? Depends on how we as a town embrace this project and attend its fundraising events. For now, though, St Marys are positive things are moving steadily for this exciting project.
The exhibition is free, running until Saturday (4th June) from 11am-3pm; that’s my contribution to the jubilee done!
The World under the Wood is a new musical-play for children & family audiences written by Helen Langford, who brought ‘Adam & The Gurglewink’ to the Wharf in 2020…..
Jodie meets a magical talking Tree who asks for her help. The wood seems to be dying and Tree thinks the incredible World under the Wood may hold the answer…Jodie is whisked away to a super-world where life moves super-fast. But she discovers that this world is failing too; the super-humans have been collapsing and productivity is down. Jodie and Harley the dog must now journey between worlds to find an answer. Can the mega-multiplier plants restore the wood? And what is the mysterious Source?
The play highlights the need to stop taking the natural-world and its resources for granted. The world under the wood is an awe-inspiring land of invention and productivity, but Jodie discovers that the resources which underpin it are, to everyone’s surprise, finite. The ‘super-humans’ parody the rat-race of contemporary life, where achievement is king and the constant cycle of doing is reassuringly exhausting. Any long-term consequences of living this way have been ignored…until now. We learn through Jodie’s adventure, that it is through perseverance and working together that environmental problems can be tackled.
Though the message is timely and serious, the show is full of fun. With larger-than-life characters, catchy songs, and magical happenings, you’re sure to love your adventure to the world under the wood!
The World Under the Wood runs from Thursday 23rd June till the Sunday, 26th June.
Tickets can be purchased by ringing 03336 663 366; from the website https://www.wharftheatre.co.uk/ and at the Devizes Community Hub and Library on Sheep Street……and don’t forget to follow on Instagram and Twitter.
Ticket Prices: £6.00 – £8.00* Family 4 – £22.00* Family 5 – £28.00* *booking fee applies For Group Bookings please contact firstname.lastname@example.org directly to ensure that you only pay one booking fee.
Tuesday’s article kicked up a stink on local social media groups, quite literally. They’re still on the subject of dog poo, I’ve moved onto something else now, mate. Something which doesn’t seem to have kicked up quite the fuss I believe it should, and that notion in itself is as symbolic as the issue is to my concluding paragraphs.
But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Your kid comes home from school with a reprimanding letter, informing you their attendance has been low this year. You pause for recollection, certain the only time they were absent from school was when they had to self-isolate due to a positive covid test.
So, is it just me thinking, why are our children being penalised for obeying the regulations, the law? Why has self-isolating been included as absence due to sickness and reflected badly on their attendance record?
It’s at this point I’m aiming daggers at Devizes School’s new headmaster Julian Morgan, sizing him up and considering meeting him round the back of the science block for, what my offspring informs me the contemporary slang currently is, “a bit of tea;” don’t ask, it was always “spoiling for a rumble,” to me!
However, a reply is despatched from his personal Twitter account, in response to my query and sternly put point that it all “seems rather unfair.” Julian agreed with me, suggesting “it does seem really unfair,” which has to be the first time in my near fifty years I’ve seen eye-to-eye with a headmaster!
Turns out, he’s alright by my book, explaining, to get himself off the hook, “attendance criteria are set by the Department of Education, and its statutory that schools follow the government guidance. I think the government want a comprehensive picture of how Covid is impacting school attendance, and I suppose this is the only real way of doing it.”
Thank you for setting me straight, Mr Morgan, sir, put that cain back, it’s a national issue, I wrote it out a hundred times on the blackboard. I also followed this by penning an email to our supercilious man in parliament, Mr Danny Kruger, and surprise, surprise, the expected failed to hit me between the eyes; to date he felt it pointless to respond. Because, you know, it’s not like he’s our democratically voted voice in government, or that we pay his wages or anything silly like that. I’m sure after digesting this he might have some smug reply which we’ll think ourselves honoured and edit in accordingly…yeah, for sure.
Ruffle my hair, apologise, getting on with more “important things” is the order of the day, it seems, in Westminster. Level up this….
It would’ve been nice to hear from our Monday’s child, fair of face, being it’s the British Cross Children’s Mental Health Week, and if I’m honest, this, I feel, is a small piece in a larger jigsaw, that basically suggests we treat our youth worse than a turd on our lawn. You want kids to be free of mental health issues, start treating them with an ounce of respect, might be a small start, start cutting them some slack. They are not slugs on your lettuce patch, a colony of ants marching across your kitchen lino. They are not a single-minded infestation; they are the ones who will be ruffling the pillows of your sickbed.
I’m still in the dark at how the government will gain a “comprehensive picture of how Covid is impacting school attendance,” if other absences are included under the same marking, but ponder if it would’ve taken too much expertise to divide a spreadsheet with a new column, so that the government could have an even clearer indication, and children wouldn’t be penalised for basically obeying the law. Or what? I am asking too much now? Can we not invest in a Microsoft Excel workshop for these unfortunate parliament office staff, Nadhim?
But of the larger jigsaw, depends on if you like social media, or not. An impossible subjective question, for all the keyboard warrior bigotry and hatred you’ll shamelessly find posted, there’s rays of sunshine mainstream media simply won’t scoop. Like the other day on one of our local Facebook groups, where the family of an elderly lady who dropped her purse posted a photo of two hoodie teenagers on her doorstep, with a story of how, after the lady dropped her purse, these two juvenile hoodlums swept it up, cracked it open, found her address and walked the length of the town to deliver it back to her.
Yet random acts of kindness like this don’t sell newspapers, drama through crime does, and watch the plethora of negativity flow, tarnishing an entire generation for a few wayward youths in the comments of such shared news reports. How they all need stringing up, how they’re all the same, how things looked so different back when you were young, through your rose-tinted specs.
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.” Affix caps-lock, subtract grammar and educated thought, and you’d be fooled to think I found this on a local Facebook group post about door-kicking Tik-Tokers, rather than a Socrates quote from 300 B.C-ish; what a Tory twot!
Or how about, “Come mothers and fathers, throughout the land, and don’t criticize, what you can’t understand, your sons and your daughters, are beyond your command, your old road is rapidly agin’, please get out of the new one, if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changin’,” which was written about your parents?! Face it, it is not a problem with youth of today, it’s a problem with a minority of youth, historically.
In a politically correct era striving for equality, ageism seems exempt, when in my honest opinion it is the crassest, most hypocritical form of all prejudges, being most of us at some point will be the age being targeted! And if you are currently within that target, I’ll let you know a top adult secret, kids; the majority of your parents, your grandparents, and their grandparents behaved in manners far worse than you could possibly fathom, but they choose to forget for the sake of the benefits of whinging; guiltlessness, and to make them feel better about their own wayward past.
And while I’m on honest opinion, I ask you think back to your own fondest memories and wager you were aged similarly, recall what you did, how you partied, celebrated and relished your youthful life. Then think what this generation has been through, what they’ve sacrificed; what you consider your warmest times, to prevent the spread of a pandemic.
They have sacrificed their golden years; they have foregone more than any generation since World War Two. Meanwhile, their influencers are hardly setting a good example, from walking into a supermarket and noting the majority of folk still wearing facemasks are the elderly and the youngsters, to footballers kicking cats to members of parliament who thought the Ministry of Sound was a real government department.
For crying out loud on Instagram, the idea of penalising students for poor attendance due to obeying the law came from Bullingdon bully leaders who danced on the graves of the infected, whose age should’ve caused them to know better, but their sheer ignorance prevented them. To have had their golden years of trashing Oxford student unions halls and priceless art, burning money in front of the homeless, and other classy schoolboy acts of defiance, but still partied carelessly away today, while the rest of us suffered, and no more than our very own youth, who to dare enjoy themselves came with a ten thousand pound fine, while the regime got away with the insincere apology of a toddler. And you tell the kids to grow up and act responsibly?!
I urge you respond, Danny K, tell me you will nudge Nadhim Zahawi, wake him up and tell him to revise this appalling crime, by simply backtracking and marking students’ absence with a degree of respect for how they obeyed the law, while your bum-chums clearly don’t.
Closing date for Entries is Tuesday 12th October, for The Devizes Eisteddfod, a five-day competitive festival of music, drama, speech, dance, writing, art and photography for people of all ages, who may enter individually or through a school or group. Entries are still open for the Music, Speech, Drama and Pre-adjudicated classes at the 2021 Eisteddfod, Thursday – Saturday 18th – 20th November 2021. Entries to made on their website: https://www.devizes-eisteddfod.org.uk/
The Devizes Eisteddfod In its 75th year, and is back for November 2021, the program of events looks like this:
What a brilliant initiative on the Green in Devizes this week, and a pleasure to see what can only be described as a “mobile youth club.” It pitched up every day this week, with kids of all ages enjoying the facilities it provides. Me, ageing, either sleeping, working or complaining about sleeping or working, managed to completely overlook its very existence, while my kids and better half were aware of it.
Why am I the last to know about everything? Because I can’t be expected to look past my phone these days, relying on the book of face for my news, in-between sleeping and working! Councillor Jonathon Hunter Facebook posted about it, I inquired, perhaps unintentionally sternly, but only as a senior moment, I couldn’t see from the photos quite what the deal was!
So, I ventured down to see for myself, and aside the drizzle, it was in full swing. A volleyball net currently unattended, collapsible football goals with a group playing between them just beyond it, and at the van, children are surfing the net, or else playing a Tony Hawks skateboarding game on a console. There’s drinks, sweets and doughnuts aplenty, and Steve Dewar stands proudly by it.
Other features of the mobile youth club include a rock-climbing wall, which couldn’t come out to play because of the rain.
I was surprised to hear it had been in operation for five years. “I’ve been running Potterne Youth Club for about ten years,” Steve explained, and moved onto why it hadn’t been advertised on Facebook and other social media. “The reality is we don’t, because Facebook isn’t the best place to communicate with teenagers. It’s detached work; what we do is pitch up and engage with the young people there, we do it throughout the whole week, and day-on-day there’s an increase.”
Steve couldn’t see the point in me mentioning his mobile youth club, adamant the best form of communication for younger people is face-to-face, and besides, it was the last day it pitched on the Green, moving onto Trowbridge next week. I beg to differ, for if only to pay tribute to this guy and the wonderful work he does. In the plight of social facilities for children and youth clubs multiplied by this post-lockdown era, what Steve does here is at last as positive spin and proof amidst the doom and gloom of public services, there’s still saints like Steve, out their engaging youth the best way he knows how.
The opposite effect of a lack of amenities for youth is unfortunately anti-social behaviour, juvenile crime and possible drinking and drug taking, as we all know. Steve mentioned how the charity aided awareness and prevention of these difficult predicaments. But all the time, parents were always viewed as runners-up, his focus was entirely on the wellbeing of the children, except when he offered me a doughnut, kindly donated by Morrisons! The youth demographic there was all-encompassing, and clearly, they all enjoyed it equally.
It’s certainly evident here, social media is not needed to make kids aware of an occasion, it works by word-of-mouth as it always has. Grown up with it fed to them, rather it’s the adults who engage more with the internet, and while kids are still out, running, jumping and playing sports and games outdoors, a large majority of generation X are glued to their devises, ironically whinging that the kids are glued to their devises! I knew this, I’m guilty too, but it was great to actually witness evidence of it happening in our own town.
Steve also noted he attends local schools to let them know about the project. The van moves across the county, planning to pitch up in Trowbridge. “We’d love to do it more,” Steve expressed, “as a concept we could run this throughout the entire summer holidays, but because I work in schools termtime as well, my wife would kill me if I spent my entire summer holiday doing this! And also, financially as a charity, we get a little bit funding, and if we had more, we would plan to do more.”
And I conclude, ultimately, what an absolutely fantastic and inspiring guy, I tip my hat to Steve Dewar, and ask science, can we clone this chap?! We need more facilities like this, operating throughout the county and school holidays, we need more Steves!
Hey, how’s you? Ah, been better, been worse, thanks for asking. Here’s what we’ve found to be doing over this coming week……. All links, info and updates can be found on our event calendar. Other incoming events will be added there when we discover them, so do check in later in the week. For now…
Images by Gail Foster I could’ve guaranteed myself a great night with peers and those purveyors of space rock, Cracked Machine down the trusty Gate, or danced socks off with twenty/thirty-somethings at the Three Crowns to the unique take on covers of the ever-entertaining People Like Us. But, oddly if not in the know, I…
Apparently, some bloke is doing the Queen’s old job; well, that’s wokeism gone crazy if ever I’ve seen it! But whatever your opinions are about royalty, every town and village is gearing up for The Coronation celebrations and that’s all good for our local entertainers and food purveyors, as the drive to put on a…
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Back-tracking a week for this, as it was two great tunes came along simultaneously; like buses, in another county, don’t get me started on the bus service around these backwaters! Ah, and relax, save that for another time; Ålesund’s emotive and immersive soundscapes will do the trick. New single from, as I suggested, lat week,…
Pride of the arts in Devizes, The Wharf Theatre say, “if you love the story of The Railway Children, first serialised in The London Magazine in 1905 and published as a book in 1906, before being made into the classic 1970 film; then we can assure you that the stage play will not disappoint.” Being…
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Remotely possible he misses all the roundabouts, Paul Lappin came from Swindon, now resides in the South of France, yeah, across the water, which is also the title of his latest EP; coincidence? Remotely possible…. It’s been since last July when we mentioned Paul with previous EP, Flowers in the Snow, this new title track…
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This summer SOS Africa will host a 160ft charity abseil fundraising event from King Alfred’s Tower at Stourhead in celebration of the organisation’s 20th birthday! Taking place on the 9th, 10th 16th & 17th September 2023, the abseil event will be the charity’s highest to date and the first time that this iconic historical venue will be open to public…
Wiltshire Council is allocating £1.1m of government COVID-19 funding to buy laptops and digital devices for disadvantaged pupils who currently can’t join classmates learning from home.
The decision to allocate the funding to buy around 2,500 devices means these children will be able to access their school lessons from home rather than have to attend school to do so.
Currently pupils who do not have a laptop can attend school alongside children of key workers and vulnerable students. The new approach will help manage school spaces and continue to help prevent COVID-19 transmission.
Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills, said: “It is essential our children and young people can continue to be taught and have an education in these difficult times as well as being able to maintain links with friends and have face to face contact with their teachers. With the news this week that schools will close we are aware there are families and young people out there who are left without the means to access that education and this is not acceptable.
“By using our government COVID-19 funding in this way we are ensuring families are not disadvantaged and can join their peers working from home. We will be working with our schools to ensure those children who need devices can access them.
“I know schools have already been receiving many requests for laptops and some are sending children into school as under the new government rules you can attend. By providing additional laptops we will be freeing up those school places for other pupils who need to be in school.
“Across Wiltshire we have some great charity work happening with many community minded charities offering to recycle second hand laptops so they can be used in schools and I would like to thank them for this extraordinary effort.”
During the summer term Wiltshire Council distributed 1,232 devices provided by the DfE across 138 schools which were designated specifically for disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people. Currently secondary schools are accessing further allocated devices directly via the DfE and the council is reviewing opportunities to ensure a further reach so children in need have access to the tools for remote learning including tablets, laptops and wifi and data. The DfE has also announced that all primary schools will be able to order laptops and tablets by 15 January and the DfE will contact all primary schools by that date to invite them to order devices.
Wiltshire Council will also be working with schools following the government news that schools, trusts and local authorities can request mobile data increases for disadvantaged children and young people who do not have fixed broadband, if they cannot afford additional data for their devices and are experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education.
Schools are also working with families directly to ensure Free School Meals continues. For those families who are not sure if they are eligible for Free School Meals they can check here.
Word of the week in the Vizes; Splashpad (apparently Word sees it as one word) So, who wants to splash and who wants to whinge? I ask Town Clerk, Simon Fisher the questions which need to be asked……..
Once upon a time there was a slash-pad on the Green in Devizes, dubbed a drug-hatch, it was a public loo popular with vandals, in a pretty shabby state and kept closed much of the time. Now it’s a haven for the youngest of our community, who on summery days can play and splash until their hearts content. What a wonderful prospect if this could be a reality, yet despite a huge response to a Gazette & Herald article last week, which only stated “Devizes COULD get a splash-pad on the green,” both speculation and hope have seen an unprecedented online reaction.
Are we just “keeping up with the Jones’,” namely, Melksham, shouldn’t we be conserving water, is it an open invitation to vandals? There’s a sure quantity of negativity surrounding the idea, and personally I’d like to ensure a budget for children’s activities is equal for all ages and not just the toddlers, in an era where we’ve seen the closure of youth centres et all. Though my hand is swayed by my own fond memories of how the two mini-mes enjoyed splashpads, obviously me too, a little!
Hats off to Melksham, their largely Lib-Dem council have made a success story from the project. Water used in a splashpad is a tiny percentage of a town’s supply, no more than a swimming pool and no one is rallying outside the Leisure Centre, are they? There are two approaches to splashpad mechanics; a flow-through system and recirculating system. A recirculating system operates like a pool with chemicals, filters and pumps. Water is sent to the pad from a tank roughly four to five times the system’s flow rate; in short, it’s recycled, people.
As to vandalism, I have to cough. While it’s possible, and certain lengths will have to be introduced to ensure it isn’t, what we have now, a toilet block is a far cry from pristine. Litter, yes, litter happens there anyway, splashpad or slash-pad; surely, it’s a matter of trust and education, added on top the concept if you give the young something to do, rather than lounging on vacant grass bored, perhaps they’d repay it with gratitude and consideration. A long shot you may cry, but it’s a presumptuous cry, isn’t it?
Are we getting ahead of ourselves here though? I thought I’d play Devil’s advocate and fire some questions, Town Clerk Simon Fisher dared to answer them! “The project is still at a relatively infant stage,” he begins. “At the end of last summer, the Town Council was approached by a number of parents who asked if Devizes could have its own Splash Pad and therefore the Council needed to determine if there was a general demand for such a facility and also if a suitable site could be found. That initial phase of the project was completed just before Christmas, with a report to Council identifying a potential site, cost implications and evidence that a Splash Pad facility would be well used.”
“As you would expect, whenever we evaluate the need for a facility there will always be those who have no need for it and therefore resist its delivery,” Simon continued, obviously unable to name them fuddy-duddies who wouldn’t know fun if it came up and slapped them around the chops with an inflatable banana, but hey, I will! “But that is very much in the realm of public service provision, therefore whilst we must not ignore non-users, what is important is that we ensure that if money is spent on facilities they will be well used.”
I agree, we must not ignore them, we must splash them!!
“One of the comments you have raised, about the time of year it will be used and the assumption that it will only be used during the summer is a fair one,” said Mr Fisher. Oh, yeah, I did ask that; hardly Hawaii, is it? “However, this facility is not unique in this, with most of the outdoor facilities we provide seeing a massive drop off in use during the winter.”
See me screwing up my face, which is never a good thing, my Nan used to say I’d get stuck like it, but our other outdoor facilities aren’t a massive new cost; they’re football goals and swings. Sorry, that’s unfair; Hillworth park’s renovation is wonderful. Let’s look at that shall we? Summer days I go there, I see kids of all ages, really active, enjoying every minute, and I never see them dropping litter; coincidence? But money, innit, that’s what it comes down to.
“There is clearly a cost implication attached to providing any capital project and we still have to determine how a Splash Pad will be funded,” Simon explained. “There are two elements to this, one is the capital cost, for which we will seek developer contributions and grants but this will need some Town Council seed funding. The other is revenue funding, ensuring any facility is well maintained and this will come from the Council; however, this funding may also support the upgrading of services more generally in the area and the Splash Pad will do this for the Green. Many of the services we provide are free at the point of delivery and a Splash Pad is likely to be such a service.”
My note on spreading the budget equally on all ages of youngster, Simon seems positive such a project would impact on the area as a whole. “The Splash Pad project may well see the provision of a café facility on the Green, which will enhance the area as a place to “hang out”. Many teenagers already do this; therefore, this will enable us to manage the space and keep it clean, which is a current criticism.” Yep, jobs too; a parkie, like Ranger John Smith; he chased bears smarter than the average, away from pic-a-nic baskets, though; we’d need Dwayne Johnson on the nightwatch!
He also expressed the projects already in place for older kids. “Whilst youth services remain principally the responsibility of the Unitary Authority, Wiltshire Council, whose budget for this purpose has been progressively cut in the last few years, Devizes Town Council does seek to provide facilities for all ages.” A major downer, as in another story, I’ve been waiting two years for a response from Wiltshire Council about when they’re due to repair a bouncy chicken and swing in a Rowde playpark; so I wouldn’t blow up your arm bands just yet.
“A few years ago,” Simon explained, “we built a large skate park for older children at our Green Lane site at a cost of over £150k and we are in the middle of a £1.7m investment for new football facilities, again aimed at older children and adults.” I have to take off my hat here, with or without Wi-Fi, satisfying most teenagers is near impossible, for the record I was a right stroppy one, though I’d imagine you’d find that hard to believe.
One thing is easy though, satisfying younger kids. Babies will play with a box, a set of car keys, toddlers happily play in a muddy puddle, why get a splashpad, just section off our road’s potholes?! Honestly, I’m certain that’s the pompous attitude of many of us. Toddlers though, soon learn how to whinge and whine to get what they want, or don’t want. Where do they pick this stuff up from? I’ll remind you, shall I? They get it from us, so quit your selfish whinging, just because you’ve outgrown your water-wings and spare a thought for the kids. Splashpad, I’m all over it, pal!
For want of a feel-good story this stormy weekend, what a marvellous opportunity for the kids at MACS Theatre School, as a group performed a musical melody Halloween show on the main stage at Disneyland Paris this week. “Each and every one of them were absolutely fantastic, and a pleasure to take on the trip,” the Devizes theatre school announced.
A proud moment for the school, and a memory that’ll last a lifetime for the group. Twelve-year old Evie, who performed, said, “I had the best time with MACs last night, attending has given me the confidence I never knew I had.” Many other parents and children have expressed their delight at the chance. It’s an achievement proving what we’ve said before, “Mac’s Theatre School is refining local drama and putting Devizes on the map!”
With a high quality of standards, Mac’s aim is to “create and produce theatre that excites, entertains but more importantly inspires. Giving young people a chance to shine, to challenge themselves and exceed expectations,” and I think this news goes to show just that, if you’ll pardon the pun!
“We’re so incredibly proud of them,” said Emily Dodd, assistant director and Mini Mac coordinator, “the show was a huge success!” Held in anticipation since the wonderful “Our House” performance, I asked if she could give us a hint as to what might be next for MACs, or if it’s top secret?!
“We’re taking a break from big shows this year so we can spend time with our own little mini Mac! However, we will continue with our full membership groups, which run on a Wednesday and our mini Mac’s sessions on a Monday.” Membership fee is just £15 for weekly workshops. Weekly workshops run as Mini Macs (aged 5-10), First Stages Group (aged 11-13) or the Centre Stage group (aged 14-16.) Places are available, contact: email@example.com for more information.
As for me, I’d risk a roller-coaster ride, but I’m not singing and dancing; no one needs to see that, even Mickey Mouse! I’m just wishing all those involved my very best wishes for the future. Well done to all!
Yes, it’s a cross between Night at the Museum and Snakes on a Plane, except neither Samuel L Jackson or Ben Stiller will be there, neither any real snakes, which may be no bad thing. This is Devizes, home to the wonderful Wiltshire Museum, where two snakes have slithered up the outside of the Museum building! The snakes were made by Wiltshire Young Carers at a workshop held in the Museum during February half-term.
This Secret lives of Snakes, family-friendly exhibition opened yesterday. No real snakes, but the exhibit contains lots of interesting facts and details about these fascinating creatures. There’s lots of wonderful photographs, skeletons and taxidermy to highlight the world of these secretive creatures.
Interactives for children include a snake trail around the Museum. Also, relating to the exhibit, the Saturday morning club for 7-14-year olds, Young WANHS have, “Sssnakes …” – snake-themed craft activities for on 9 March, from 10.15am – 12.15pm. There’s no annual fee, but pre-booking is essential to help the Museum plan the sessions. Each session costs £5 per child.
Then, on Tuesday 16th April, there’s a Jonathan’s Jungle Roadshow for younger children, suitable for age 4 and over. Children will have the amazing opportunity to find out about, handle and touch a diverse selection of fantastic live animals, including snakes. There are two sessions, 10.15am or 11.30am, each one lasts an hour and is again, £5. Accompanying adults free. Booking is essential as it’s only 15 children per session.
The exhibition runs until 28th April, normal Museum admission charges apply, but children and WANHS members are free. The Museum is now open Monday to Saturday – 10am to 5pm and Sundays – noon to 4pm. Bank Holidays may vary, check their website.
Yes, there’s stuff for the grownups too, such as lectures; Identity and Ideology during the Beaker period, by Chris Carey, University of Brighton on 30th March, is the only one not sold out. But none of them have got snakes in them! Where’s the fun in that?!
Throw on your lab coats and grab your goggles: My Science Fair 2019 is here!
For the eighth year running, on Sunday 3rd March from 10am-3pm, the Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford on Avon will host the free family event My Science Fair. The annual Fair, which attracted over 400 visitors last year, promises a jam-packed programme, full of activities, presentations and performances designed to engage young people aged 5+ years in the amazing worlds of music, movements and science.
The day will begin with a bang as Bath-based Fun Science and presenter Cressida Bullock (known by her scientist alter-ego ‘Chemical Cress’) take to the Centre’s Auditorium stage for an interactive experiment with colour, excitement and fire. The Fun Science team will also be conducting roaming experiments throughout the day around the Centre!
This opening performance will be followed by a percussion workshop exploring the fast-paced rhythms of samba music with music leader David Garcia, who will be putting a scientific twist on the vibrant dance music genre. Later, electro-acoustic composer Duncan Chapman will be recording soundbites from My Science Fair attendees to create an enthralling lullaby, complete with the swooping and ethereal sounds of the Theremin and the haunting vocals of an Indian raga singer.
Elsewhere around the Centre, children can look forward to creating their own plastic models with a 3D printer from the University of Bath or blast off with water powered rockets out on the field. Explore the exciting world of electricity with a Van de Graaf generator in a hair-raising experience, or discover the science behind the music we hear with sonic crystals. Experience a Colourscape installation where you are able to create sounds and digital imagery using your body movements or explore far-off worlds using a virtual reality headset. Budding engineers can check out the LEGO robotics stand, as well as Bot Club, where you can create your own mini-robots, and find out how to use ultrasound to levitate solid objects with University of Bath students.
The Fair also marks the culmination of the My Science Fair competition, for which students from 14 primary schools across Wiltshire and Bath have been devising their own exciting experiments exploring music, movement and science. Experiments will be exhibited throughout the day and will be judged by an expert panel, including scientists from the University of Bath, University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, as well as automotive-test specialists AB Dynamics, the Ministry of Defence and Unilever.
As you make your way around the Centre make sure to visit the experiment stands to find out about their investigations, which explore questions such as “Which ingredients are important in a cake?”, “Is it possible to make butter using a bike?” and “Classical or funky music – which is best for sleeping?”
My Science Fair is being generously supported by the Bradford on Avon Area Board, the Jack Lane Charitable Trust, NFU Mutual and Wiltshire Music Connect, as well as Wiltshire Music Centre Season Sponsor AB Dynamics. Entrance is free and there is no need to book tickets. Simply bring your enquiring minds and join in on Sunday 3rd March to investigate, discover and create!
SUN 3 MARCH 10AM-3PM
Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1DZ
TICKETS: This event is FREE to attend. There is no need to book, simply bring inquiring minds on the day and get ready to discover something amazing!
10am-12pm: Fun Science Experiment, Samba Science with David Garcia
12.15pm-2.30pm: Lullaby Recording and Performance with Duncan Chapman
2.30pm: Prize Giving for Young Scientists
All Day: LEGO Robotics Workshops, roaming experiments, Colourscape, virtual reality, Bot Club, water-powered rockets, Young Scientists’ Experiment tables.
Big gulp of wine Mums, it’s half term next week. Okay, that’s quite enough, don’t panic. From daffodil picking, cooking and first aid, to football, driving tanks and having a go at being a DJ, here’s some things to keep little soldiers and princesses of all ages at bay, and smiling!
Sure thing is a movie; “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” is at the Palace Cinema, from today until Thursday 21st. “The Lego Movie 2” is a must, from Friday 15th also until Thursday 21st.
From Thursday 14th through to Friday 22nd there’s a funfair at The County Ground in Swindon, from 2pm. Scream if you want me to go faster, or you’re running low on wine.
There will be the usual free swimming at the Leisure Centres, but check ahead, as some timetables have changed.
You could take them for a trip down the Kennet & Avon, The Admiral is free on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th, find it at the Caen Hill Café, below the bridge at lock 44, at 11am. There will be trial sheets to explore the Jubilee Woods, and, back on board there will be a history of the canal and its restoration.
Starting Saturday 16th, you can pick your own daffodils at Woodborough’s Whitehall Garden Centre, available daily until 31st March. £4.99 per bag. Both centres, at Woodbrough and Lacock, have a Gardening Nature Trail until Thursday 21st. Claim a lollipop at customer services for every completed entry.
Saturday (16th) The Devizes Family Club have at Children’s Disco at the Conservative Club. 6:30-8pm, all are welcome but only above 9 years should be left. There’s an adult creche for you, with bar! £3 on the door, lucky dip 50p, tbc face painting and optional princess and superhero fancy dress. Proceeds are going to Rowde Academy.
Starting Sunday and running through the week, The Wyvern Theatre in Swindon has a roadshow at The Brunel Centre, inviting children to join in at The Crossing, to make dinosaurs or dragons to celebrate the arrival of Dinosaur World Live and Julia Donaldson’s Zog in April.
In Melksham there’s activities all week long at Young Melksham’s The Canberra Club. These clubs are for all young people in Year 5 and above (aged 8 to 16) and will run from 2pm till 5pm Monday to Friday, with entry costing £2.50 per session or a week-long pass for just £10. There will be a plenty of activities on offer including pool, table tennis, table football, arts and crafts, karaoke, cooking and baking, games and sports and much more. There are also computers and consoles available for use and a chill out room where you can watch tv or a film together.
The Canberra Centre is amazing building with lots of space to run around and have fun and play games with your friends. There is also an outside courtyard for football, basketball and just burning off some energy! A variety of hot and cold food and snacks will be available to purchase as well as free squash.
How about teaching your nipper some line dancing on Monday? All ages and abilities welcome at The Town Hall, Devizes. Early Bird Session: 6.30-7.30pm £5 Beginners: 7-8pm £5. Improvers 7.30-9.30pm £6.
For footballers ages three to six, Devizes Town Youth has free coaching in their Little Kickers sessions from 9.30am to 11am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Football Club. Kid receive a free t-shirt and football. To sign your child up contact Mr Sheridan on 07860232052 or Raymond King on 07917787903 or Jon Wozencraft on 07767851332
Tuesday and Wednesday with two sessions per day: 11.00am – 12.30pm & 1.30pm – 3.00pm, there’s Wildlife in Wiltshire at The Wiltshire Museum, Devizes. Art and Craft activities linked to their Natural History Exhibition. You can make animal masks, create animal models and pictures. These sessions are very popular, so booking is essential. It’s suitable for age 11 and under. Age 8 and under to be accompanied. £5 per child. Accompanying adults free.
Or maybe try your hand at being a DJ? Trowbridge’s Community Area Future has a Free Half Term DJ Workshop at Studley Green People’s Place on Tuesday 19th. DJ Nina LoVe will show you how to mix the Old Skool way, using vinyl records! There will be a few different types of music available – House, UK Garage or Drum and Bass. Come and check it out, book yourself some time on the decks or get on the microphone! For ages 13-18. Please feel free to drop in or call to book a place on firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a go at a soldier-led assault course, plus Tank-themed fun family activities, at the REME Museum, Lyneham. Make your own tank with parachute and see if your engineering skills are up to scratch by dropping your tank “into battle” in one piece. On the artistic side, you can design and colour-in tanks. There’re model tanks which you can drive on a special course. Drop in from 11 am to 3 pm, any day from Tuesday until Friday. Special soldier run kid’s assault course will be running, plus fun tank-based kids trails, activities and craft in the museum. All children to be accompanied by an adult. All activities are included in the admission fee. Assault Course suitable for 5 – 12-year olds. The Museum is open from 10 am to 4.30 pm (last entry at 3.30 pm), some activities run from 11 am to 3 pm. Museum admission required to take part in activities. No pre-booking required for this activity, just turn up and enjoy.
Wednesday 20th is time to get fit in Hillworth Park, free event, in association with Boot Camp UK, it’s going to be all Sprint, Slide, Shake, Scamper, Scurry, Swing and Stomp!
For arts and crafts, Fired Thoughts at the Old Potato Yard, Devizes, has Half Term Lino Workshops, from Wednesday to Friday. A two-hour workshop to design, cut and print using Lino and inks. All ages and abilities welcome. All materials included, but please book: Tel:01380 840666 email: email@example.com
At the Court Street Gallery in Trowbridge, there’s a Children’s Silk Sun Catchers Workshop on Wednesday at 10am. £15 per person including materials. To learn more and book, visit: www.nicoladaviscrafts.co.uk/workshops.html
How about some first aid training for your children? Louise Worsley, a qualified trainer is at Marlborough Rugby Club on Thursday, 21st, 09:30 – 15:30 with an essential First Aid Training for Children. Sessions are tailored to age groups and are full of practical to make them fun and memorable: 9:30-11am – Mini Life-Savers course for 5-8-year olds – £18 (£15 for a sibling.) 11:30am-1pm – Mini Life-Savers course for 8-12-year olds – £18 (£15 for a sibling) and 1:30-3:30pm – Teen-Aiders course for 12-16-year olds – £24 (£20 for a sibling)
Thursday is the opening night for MACS Theatre School’s “The Addams Family” at Devizes School. It runs until Sunday. Tickets at Devizes Books or online here. Doors open at 6:30pm for a curtain up at 7:30. There’s also a mini Macs matinee performance on Saturday at 2:30pm.
From Thursday until Saturday 23rd The Seend Village Pantomime presents “Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs.” It takes place at Seend Community Centre, it’s the Fawlty Players 40th Anniversary, and there’s three of the cast were in the first Snow White in 1981! Tickets at the Post Office and Community Centre.
At Bradford on Avon’s St Margaret’s Hall, two of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes will be performed by local theatre group, the multi award-winning Bradfordians Dramatic Society. A take on Dahl’s retelling of the classic fairy tales, Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. Following their success with The Twits last year, the group will bring Dahl’s honest, often vicious wit and humour to the stage in this production. Show times: Thursday 21st February – 6.30PM, Friday 22nd February – 6.30PM, Saturday 23rd February – 11AM, Saturday 23rd February – 2.30PM, Sunday 24th February – 2.30PM. Head to the Bradfordian’s website to see the full cast and more information here: http://www.thebradfordians.com/
Learn some street dance with a taster class at Charlotte’s School of Dance, Bath Rd Business Centre, Devizes, at 7:30pm on Friday with Jacinta Childs. To book this £5 session text: 07903812364.
Aspiring chefs, Saturday 23rd is for you; Margaret Bryant hosts Middle Eastern at Vaughan’s Kitchen Cookery School, Devizes. Spicy (but not hot) Falafels; Hummus; Baklava. Designed to give your youngster a firm foundation that will provide them with the techniques and knowledge they need to grow into competent and confident cook, it is also lots of FUN and they will bring home the results of the session to share with the family.
Billy the Burger and Sid Sausage are raring to get to the Devizes Scooter Club’s Charity BBQ Day at the Conservative Club on July 21st, but they’re looking paler then Scooter Club’s organiser Adam Ford after a few blackcurrant Fruit Shoots. Can you help by colouring them in?
Ask Mum or Dad to stop watching the football for just a few minutes and print out either picture, or both, below. Give it your best colouring-in job, bring it along with you to the family fun day and hand it to the DJ, who I think will be me. I’m a very tough judge, so make sure it is your best work!
The winners of each age group will get a free snack of their choice, be it a hotdog or a burger. Age groups will be 2-5, 6-10, 10-100; See you there!
If you can’t print this out, don’t worry; I will try to get the Club to photocopy some too, and we’ll bring them and some colouring pencils with us; give your Dad something to do won’t it?!
Meanwhile grownups will be treated to the excellent DayBreakers, who I’m delighted to announce will be playing live. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the day; let’s raise some funds for the Devizes & District Opportunity Centre, a preschool for children with disabilities and learning difficulties.
The Day has FREE entry from midday, with music, fun & games , soft play and bouncy castle, a BBQ and other food and drink including cakes, teas and coffees, a Mega-Raffle plus side stalls, lots of scooters naturally, and trophies for the best scooters.