“Survive and Thrive,” why community matters

Only now we are emerging out of full lockdown can we fully comprehend the extent that all our lives have been affected over the last six months. The aftershock for many has been as traumatic as the immediate impact of the pandemic.

As part of Beeston Rylands Community Association, we pulled together a fantastic band of volunteers who helped deliver food and friendship to the most in need within our community. We discovered the significance of continuity and consistency of twice-weekly food prep, activities, and letters and while at times monotonous, it was the only real source of certainty for us and the recipients. As a result, we made new connections and friendships with people we previously wouldn’t have crossed paths with and found that existing friendships were not only invaluable but strengthened as we navigated our way through difficult times.

One of those friendships has been our own. Thrown together through our work, we found courage and support in each other over the last few months. So as we emerged out of lockdown, we decided we needed to embark on a Thelma and Louise style adventure (without the bad bits). We ventured out of our beloved Beeston and drove up the M1 to do The North East Skinny Dip 2020 in aid of the mental health charity MIND.

For us and many other people mental health and its journey can sometimes be an uphill battle, it ebbs and flows and has an irritating ability to disarm us unexpectedly.

Jumping into the freezing cold sea was about letting go… of our clothes, yes, but most importantly of the past and all the things that can’t be undone. It was about connecting with a friend and pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones.

Before we ran into and out of the cold North sea together, we agreed now is the time to shake off the past, and focus on the ‘what next’. To use this experience of running into the unknown as a catalyst for evolution into new community projects, our “survive and thrive” plan.

“Survive and Thrive” is about investing in activities, connectivity, and opportunities for our community. This includes first-rate new social facilities, delivering new classes and courses, and developing a community transport scheme.

Our column is about optimism and moving forward as a collective whole. We’ll update you on community matters, whilst trying to uncover the unexpected, the quirky and the brave aspects of Beeston life. It won’t always be full of laughs, but it will use real-life case studies to demonstrate what’s possible. We recognize now more than ever that we can’t be sedentary when it comes to community and inclusion. The time is now.

JB & NR

Thinkin’ Inkin’: How one woman took a gamble on changing the tattoo industry

I opened Jurassic Tattoo Company on Wollaton Road in August as a safe, comfortable space to be tattooed. It’s not going to be like other tattoo studios and I’m striving to be very radically different in the way I treat artists and customers.

I was originally a psychology researcher who started my PhD and quit due to a huge mental health breakdown. After many suicide attempts and little clinical help, I worked my way into the tattoo industry to find that the mistreatment and hazing of newcomers was harmful to my recovery. I was shocked at the awful way customers were often treated. I made it my mission to create something different.

Being tattooed is an extremely personal and vulnerable experience. During the tattoo process, a customer fully trusts their artist with a permanent change to their body, as well as letting them physically handle them for a stretch of time. They are in pain and experience a rollercoaster of endorphins and neurotransmitters that can induce intense feelings. I believe that this neurochemical rush, mixed with the prolonged close contact and the fact that they may be getting the tattoo for a meaningful reason, means the tattoo process has the potential to be either psychologically therapeutic OR psychologically damaging to the person. Which one it is depends on the professionalism of the artist and the atmosphere in the studio.

Unfortunately, in the industry, there are often less than ideal atmospheres in studios which intimidate or shame clients, rather than make their tattoo a safe and positive experience. From subtle things like having intimidating decor (“do not enter unless you’re a goth”) vibes! to shaming a customer for only wanting a small tattoo… to the small handful of artists who use their position to sexually harass clients.

“After working in psychological support in both the NHS and private sectors, I can honestly say that more therapy can be done on the tattoo chair than can be done in 6 sessions of CBT.”

I want to change this industry, or at the very least, provide a homely safe space for all clients to come, have a lovely chat and feel valued. After working in psychological support in both the NHS and private sectors, I can honestly say that more therapy can be done on the tattoo chair than can be done in 6 sessions of CBT. People naturally open up as they are already vulnerable and emotional. I believe this should be handled with the most respect and care possible.

Like many others, my business and personal finances have taken a huge beating throughout lockdown. I have scraped through only due to the huge amount of support I’ve had from my customers who have been booking on to my waiting list, buying my artwork or taking part in my tattoo raffles. I am hugely grateful to all of them and have been really surprised and touched by the amount of interest I have received!

It has been going overwhelmingly well since we opened, with my books being full until January 2021, and we’re all working incredibly hard to try and prepare for the possibility of another lockdown. Knowing that I may not be able to work for months with zero financial support from the government is a huge pressure, but I hope I can weather the storm if it does happen.

Jurassic Tattoo can be found at 76b Wollaton Road: Insta: @jurassictattoo; FB: @jurassictattoocompany

SC

Talking loud and clear

Despite the ongoing problems caused by the global lurgy, one Beeston lad has been determined to continue with his dream of interviewing people for his podcast company: ‘The Backboard Podcast’.

So the tables were turned when I sent Jamie Martin a list of questions about himself and his podcast idea. Firstly I asked Jamie a bit about himself and his background.

“I’m 15 and have lived in Beeston all of my life. I’ve always had an interest in helping others and gaining knowledge from them. Also seeing their perspectives on life, and opinions on certain subjects. I’ve been quite lucky to have a family so supportive, as I’m sure they are sick of me asking questions and rambling on about things. I have siblings, but they don’t have an interest in podcasting – my younger brother is definitely a football man. So am I actually, but just not as passionate as him. My mum is the MD of the Victoria Hotel in Beeston and my dad is a painter and decorator.

“This year I was meant to be going to Cambodia to help build a school, but sadly it was cancelled due to the pandemic. So for me, setting goals and achieving them is one of my main characteristics, and going to Cambodia was one of them, and next year I will achieve that goal. Talking of goals, I enjoy playing as a defender for my football team, The Attenborough Colts on a Saturday. I’ve been there since 2012.

“I started the podcasts because I was feeling a bit anxious about lockdown and realised that so many millions of others felt the same, and so I wanted to bring them some positivity and try to share my opinions and knowledge”.

Jamie’s first podcast was done on the 27th March and featured Beeston’s own Kingdom Rapper, aka Benjamin Whiteman. In the 25 minute interview, Benjamin talks about his life, music and religious beliefs.

“I see Kingdom Rapper as a great influence for the young in Beeston, as he has had bad experiences with drugs etc during his younger years, and he now spreads awareness through music. He is also a great friend and is definitely a local celebrity with an inspiring story”.

“He was doubted and criticised by his heroes, but he produced positives out of the negatives and is going to change our planet”.

I wanted to find out about Jamie’s interest in business and whether he has any business heroes, despite his young age.

“I’ve always had an interest in business. My late grandad was Neil Kelso, who was the owner of the Victoria Hotel. He introduced me into the business world and seeing him work as hard as he could and be rewarded for his hard work motivated me to do the same. As for me, it would be Elon Musk of Tesla cars fame. He was the child of divorced parents in South Africa and started coding. He sold his first game for $500 and went on to create PayPal and sell it for $1bn.

“He was criticised for his failure in the early years of SpaceX of which many of his first launches failed, but after many tries, he succeeded. This taught me the valuable lesson that I should never give up and that I should always stay humble, but ambitious. He was doubted and criticised by his heroes, but he produced positives out of the negatives and is going to change our planet”.

Being an interviewer, I wondered if Jamie had an interviewer that he admired or followed.

Well, for sure, it would be Louis Theroux. He’s an extremely intelligent man, who is always asking questions and developing his knowledge on subjects further and further and sharing what he has seen and questioned with the public. So he might not be necessarily a radio interviewer, but he asks many questions and interviews interesting people”.

Finally, I wondered if there was anyone in Beeston that Jamie would love to interview.

“Basically, everyone. For me, Beeston can’t be put into a specific person that I’d like to interview. The community is so inviting and the businesses in the heart of Beeston, are mostly family-run. They all hold their own unique touch. Hence that’s why I love Beeston. So the short answer is no because simply, I want to interview everyone!”.

Recently Jamie invested in some new recording equipment and has created his own studio, rather than using his bedroom. It’s in an old office formerly used by Castle Rock at the Victoria Hotel. 

“It’s been unused for over a decade, and I’ve completely renovated it.”

Being a web-based platform, I asked about viewing figures, and whether Jamie knew how many the broadcasts get.

“I do. We are close to 700 people to have listened to our podcasts. 27% of them live abroad, from New Guinea to Bangladesh and the USA to Peru. We have viewers in every continent except Africa for some reason, but I’m sure we will the more episodes I make. I’ve just created a tee-shirt, just to see if anyone would be interested in one. Not necessarily to make a profit, just to test the waters. So far I’ve sold 15”.

If you want to listen to the podcasts that Jamie has produced then visit his Facebook page or through the Internet platform anchor.fm.

CDF

The carnival is over (but only for this year)

July 11th was meant to be the day of the 15th Beeston Carnival. But due to Corvid-19, organisers Lynda & Pat Lally, made the extremely difficult decision in early May to cancel this year’s festivities. To find out how difficult this was, and history of the carnival, I contacted the dynamic duo for their thoughts on having to postpone one of the town’s most well-loved and visited events. Due to the ongoing pandemic, I sent Lynda a series of questions, and here’s what she had to say…

“During my year of being mayor (2005/06), I had seen how some parts of Broxtowe were still very much communities and thought that my own hometown was losing this, and so our motto for the carnival became ‘Bringing our Community Together’. We have a come a long way in those fourteen years, from having a budget of £250 and the kindness of groups like Beeston’s Oasis Christian Centre, the Scouts, Air Cadets, and various other community-based organisations. Not forgetting Beeston Pipe Band, who performed for free to kick start the revival of the carnival in 2006. Most of these groups are still with us, and many more support the event annually. It is showcasing all the things that are great about Beeston.

“We have been through one of the boxes filled with newspaper cuttings about the carnival. It’s been an incredible 14 years and we have touched so many people’s lives and given some platform to go forward in life with, whether it be to follow their passion or just to raise the profile of a charity and raise some money for many charities in the community. After searching back, we found pictures, videos and Pathe news stories going back to the 1930s.

“Then it was a two-day event over a weekend, with band competitions and a very regal Queen being driven around on a special Bartons queen mobile! The films are on YouTube, and it’s amazing to watch. We never realised how near we were to doing things in the same vain. Beeston businesses sponsored it, bands played, local groups all came together and there was a huge walking parade which spun around Dovecote Lane. The event itself was held at the rugby ground on Ireland Avenue. The Carnival Queen’s cape was made and paid for by local businessman Walter Hayes. It was an extravagant piece, even though times were tough back then.

“I think the biggest thing for us, when reviving Beeston Carnival, was giving the chance to highlight the work that all these amazing community groups do. Mostly run by volunteers. It’s something that makes our town and our community. That, and more importantly, to make them some much-needed funds. It has always been a small team that brings such a huge annual event together and some who started with us back then, are still there holding it all together. I would like to thank them all, as without them we would not have survived for this long.

“You would think that in July we would be reasonably safe with the weather, but we have had many rainy carnival days. Most we have survived when eventually the sun came out. The one that comes to mind which nearly made us postpone was the 2007 event. After continuous rain for weeks, it didn’t stop on Carnival Day. It was touch and go as to whether we could proceed safely. But with a few stalls and groups turning up, we managed to proceed.

“As ever, the public came out to support the event and the very wet parade and entertainment in the park went ahead.

“Last years was a bad one for us, and it nearly ended Beeston Carnival for good. Pat and I, and our very capable volunteers know one thing, and that SAFETY is our main concern.

“I am immensely proud of the way we have always handled the safety of all of the carnival days. So it was with great concern when we were told that the carnival had to pay a traffic management company to manage our parade, even though most of the walking parade is on a pedestrian walkway. Roads needed to be shut off and diversions put in place. This would have caused huge traffic problems, admin fees to be paid and so it went on. There was a great deal of public support for us when it seemed the only way forward was to pay over £2000 for the very important part of the carnival to proceed. I was adamant that if the parade couldn’t proceed, the carnival wouldn’t either. But some common sense was applied, although it had its implications and our stress levels were very high. How is that Red Tape can seek to destroy wonderful community events like this? Some may argue that is necessary. I couldn’t possibly comment any further!

“2020. Well, here we are faced with another dilemma. The Corona Virus. Who could have guessed that this would stop our wonderful annual community event? Yes, it was a big decision to cancel, and we talked to our volunteers for weeks, wondering if things would improve and we could go ahead. However, we knew that eventually, we would have to make the decision to cancel, like so many other groups and organisations across the world, who have had to cancel their events.

“Who knows where we will be next year? And for all those who run events in and around our community, we can only hope that things will return to some normality, for the sake of bringing our community together once again.”

CF

The Commonwealth of Beeston

This is our Commonwealth

Who really owns Beeston? Some might argue that ultimately it’s the Queen (via the Crown Estates) because technically speaking she owns any Commonwealth land that she reigns over, which might make her the biggest landowner on the planet. But at a local level, when Her Majesty is busy elsewhere, what about those areas where elected representatives of the people have used public funds to provide places for the use of the people, but where the original intentions have become somewhat lost or forgotten? I’m thinking now of the Town Hall, which was recently sold off by councillors saying things like “I as a council tax payer in the north of the borough am sick and tired of putting money into Beeston Town Hall” and telling us that the £85,000 yearly running costs could be put to better use elsewhere, without actually publicising a persuasive cost-benefit and/or risk analysis.

And those of us who were involved in the 2010/13 campaign to ensure that Middle Street Resource Centre was not lost to public use know that sometimes it’s only when we’re about to lose a treasured resource that we do the work to understand its ownership, and find out what we need to do to keep it. Certainly, if all property owners were well-intentioned, we’d always be given the time and the information we need to present viable alternatives to the public losing out, but this sadly ain’t so when all that matters is the need to relieve a maddening itch caused by an ideologically-driven fiscal policy. And what is the use of an impressive ‘bottom line’ in the context of public services anyway……was money made for mankind, or mankind for money?

But I’m not taking up space in this lovely publication to try and turn back the clock. I’m thinking forward to Saturday July 13th, when anyone who cares about the Beeston area and its public facilities can come and show their support and affection, and make a declaration about what is meaningful to them via the procession we know as the Beeston Carnival. The participants usually congregate first of all in front of the Town Hall which this year will, sadly, have lost much of its significance as the heart of our local democracy. The processing part begins in The Square at noon then moves along our pedestrianised High Street, terminating at Broadgate Park where there will be more events and stalls, with additional activities at the Middle Street Resource Centre. All these aforementioned gathering spaces, when properly used for trading and recreation and entertainment, perform a critical function in our local economy, improving our quality of life and enabling social cohesion. This all boosts our position in the country, and so we’d all suffer if they are not cherished. Our annual carnival is a way for us to demonstrate and showcase what we have to offer, so let’s not forget that this year and for the last 14 years, we’ve had this opportunity because a local couple decided to commit themselves and their personal energies to resurrecting this great event. Well done Lynda and Pat Lally. The Commonwealth of Beestonia would be poorer without you.

KM

Beeston Sea Scouts

Scouting around at Barton Island

 

It’s Friday night between April and September, you’re walking along the banks of the Trent away from Beeston Marina in the direction of Long Eaton and suddenly, the quiet area is interrupted by a splashing sound. Where is it coming from? What’s happening? And most important, who’s making it?

Hint: it’s something to do with Scouting. Give up?

The noise is coming from Barton Island (not to be confused with Barton Buses). What’s happening is some kayaking/canoeing/rowing activity. And the people making it are the 2nd Beeston Sea Scouts.

Barton Island is really an Island within an Island in the Trent which is a bit confusing for some of us. Half of it is owned by the 2nd Beeston Sea Scouts and the other half is nobodies (technically it is in Rushcliffe). It is used by Scouts for a wide range of activities such as Kayaking, Canoeing, Rowing and sometimes land activities like camping, fire-lighting, pioneering or even all of them in one! It is only accessible by boat, unless you fancy a dip in the river.

 

The island also hosts a handful of buildings and designated areas. These include a boat shed for storing boats and paddles, a divisions area where the flagpole and bell are, camping huts for storing bags and sheltering in bad weather, an explorer scout only area and a galley used for cooking.

At least one day a year in the summer the scouts hold an open day on the island for everyone to come and see the fantastic facilities available. Barton Island is also available to be used by community groups and businesses.

For more information about 2nd Beeston Sea Scouts and Barton Island, visit www.2ndbeeston.org.uk

EC

The Seats of Democracy

Beeston’s Town Hall

Being a journalist on the Beestonian brings you into contact with all sorts of people with different stories to tell.  And someone with quite a few stories to tell is Dawn Reeves, facilitator, trainer and author of a coffee table book all about various town halls across England; their history, uses and future. That universal symbol of local democracy seems to be under threat from the very councils that they belong to. Beeston’s is a prime example. But more on that later.

We arranged to meet at Greenhoods, and so over a hot drink I chatted to Dawn about herself, her interest in town halls and the purpose of the book. “I was born in London, but moved to Nottingham with my family. I got a job with Nottingham County Council, and then as a manager with Ashfield District Council. Working in those buildings, made me realise how important they are to communities, and not just for paying bills. I’m now back in Beeston and love it. I love the creativity of the town.”

Turning to her generously illustrated volume ‘Town Hall: Buildings, People and Power’. “Working in local government, I realised that there are three main architectural styles of buildings that are used as town halls; the grand Victorian palaces like Bradford, Birmingham and Todmorden; the art deco styles of Torquay, Hornsey and Nottinghamshire and the postmodernist structures at Newcastle, Mansfield and Worcestershire. Although this book is broken down into themes, rather than styles.  I touch on four general themes: ‘Purpose’, ‘People’, ‘Power’ and ‘Future’.”

Nearly 30 councils and their town halls are described and evaluated in the book, that includes some eye-catching photography, I asked Dawn how she got the book completed. “I have some friends in Yorkshire, and around the country and I just basically roped them in to either write about their town hall or take photos of it.  I am planning another volume. One, which should feature Beeston’s original building. The book is self published through Shared Press and with financial assistance from CCLA.”

The story of Beeston’s town hall would make a worthy inclusion in volume two. How Broxtowe Council sold the building off for £425,000 to the Cornerstone Church, whilst ignoring other interested parties, including Beeston’s Civic Society; who wanted to turn it into a community resource for weddings, arts and theatre events and similar community celebrations. Very much like Brent’s does with theirs. But it was sold, even though the residents of Broxtowe will be out of pocket by some £155,000, as the council will be spending £533k on moving computer servers to it’s newer building, legal fees and doing up the building before the church moves in. But the council claim that it will be saving £85,000 a year on maintenance and repair costs. It is understood that the building will only be available to its church members, therefore excluding the citizens of NG9, whose past relations would have paid for the town hall to be built through their rates bill.

Last year the Civic Society collected over £5000 from residents through crowd funding to raise a legal challenge. But the findings from a barrister suggested that this challenge would not be successful. The group are currently working on some Freedom of Information requests about how the council had reached its unpopular decision on whom it selected to have the building.

With local elections coming up in May, it remains to be seen as to whether the sale will actually go through by then, or maybe a change of administration may have other ideas.

Besides writing about town halls and training businesses, Dawn has also written a couple of novels, ‘Hard Change’ and ‘We Know What We Are’. Also printed by Shared Press. These are urban thrillers that also include the shady dealings of fictional local councils.

If you would like to hear Dawn talk about her love of town halls, then she is appearing at the amazing Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham on the 10th of April at 7pm. Admission will be £3, including refreshments.

CDF

The Future’s Write: Amateur authors invited to write the next chapter of Beeston

If you’re reading this, you *probably* live in Beeston (although if you read the rest of this issue, you’ll find that’s not always the case). But, for those of you who live the majority of your life in this town, you’ll no doubt have thoughts and opinions of what you’d like the future of Beeston to hold. After all, this is the place we call home, it’s pretty important.

So if you’re a budding blogger, willing writer and far-sighted futurist as well as a proud Beestonian, you could see your name in print as part of a competition to write the next chapter in the rich history of Beeston.

To celebrate their 120th anniversary, the family owned, family run business CP Walker & Son commissioned local historian and writer David Hallam to help them to tell and celebrate the story of Beeston over the period 1896-2016. The book is organised with chapters covering each decade from the 1890s to the 2010s. Now, having chartered the history of Beeston, Rex and Dan Walker have created this competition to look at how the town might develop in the 2020s.

As Rex explains, “We are keen supporters of community projects and initiatives that benefit the local population. Our book charts the ups and indeed the downs that Beeston has faced during its history. However, we then thought, what happens next? We were chatting about the future of the town with the various developments going on and realised there’s a whole new chapter to write, perhaps even a couple. Who better to write them than local people like us who love their town? That’s where the competition idea came from.”

He continues: “Lots of people make New Year Resolutions to start writing or to rekindle their hobby, but getting published is too often out of reach. This a chance for people to share their ideas and their love for Beeston and to start a debate that will play a part in forming the next chapter of our town’s tale, perhaps even the next century.”

If reading this has got your brain stirring with thoughts of what the future could hold or how you could implement your brilliant vision on the town, and you’re just itching to get writing, then here’s what you need to know before you put pen to paper:

  • The competition is open to anyone with three age categories: Primary School, Secondary school and 16 plus.
  • There’s no word limit per se, but you’re advised to try and stick to around 1000 words maximum if possible.
  • Try and look to the future with a positive outlook, write something to stir the imagination and get people thinking about what comes next and how it can happen (We’re not talking pipe dreams here!)
  • Entries will be judged by an independent panel of local people, chaired by Rex Walker and featuring Editor in Chief of The Beestonian Matt Turpin, Phillipa Dytham-Double from Double Image Photography and David Hallam, author of ‘The Story of Beeston’.
  • The deadline is April 23rd and entries are preferred via email to nextchapter@cpwalker.co.uk
  • If providing a hard copy entry, please post them to CP Walker & Son or drop it in to their office.
  • Entrants must consent to having their work published and to taking part in any publicity around the competition should they win.
  • For more information, visit https://www.cpwalker.co.uk/pages/nextchapter or the dedicated Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/beestonthenextchapter.

This is a fantastic opportunity, so once you’ve extracted all the inspiration possible from reading the rest of this issue, get your future-thinking in gear, because you never know what it might lead to. Good luck, Beestonians!

JM

We Dig NG9: Plants gone wild

Tamar Feast on Beeston’s Wild Side

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Six years ago, this odd patch of grass next to Myford’s factory was basically a dumping ground for litter, garden trimmings and erm… discarded golf paraphernalia. I passed it, wearily, twice daily.

Four years ago, I got the Council to not cut it, and started establishing it as a wildflower dumping ground for litter and garden trimmings instead.

One year ago, it was recovering from erroneous grass cuts due to the Council’s sheer circumlocution-like ineptitude. The burgeoning meadow flowers I’d planted and sown the years before were denied their fifteen minutes of fame and, despite managing to win a Level 4 award in the ‘RHS East Midlands in Bloom: It’s Your Neighbourhood’ competition, it looked pretty sorry for itself.

Despite more set-backs this year, [fanfare] the grass has now erupted in a SUMMER BOOM of colour. This is largely thanks to extra wildflower seed donated by a guy called Chris, who sowed it with his daughter, Holly, once the footpath reopened earlier in the year.

It’s not just about pretty flowers, though. There’s a brash heap and log pile (good for grass snakes, insects, invertebrates and small mammals), and fruit trees and hedglings from The Woodland Trust.

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RHS Wisley it ain’t. But it IS a-buzz with pollinators flitting from plant to plant, taking pit stops on the Bug Squat (hotels are sooo ‘Bridgford). Here too, Hedgehogs rummage around; Bats and Swifts (numbers of the latter are worryingly low this year) hunt overhead in the last of the light at dusk and the gloaming.

It really is simple: less is more. Leave a piece of your garden to ‘go over’, or plant wild flowers if you prefer (native ones are best – so you know they’ll help insects in this country).

To some, it may look weedy (“I’d torch the lot” said one lady to me while I topped-up the bird feeders). But wild verges work hard, helping our underappreciated Beestonians: the critters pollinating your fruit, veg, and flowers; or eating the ones eating your fruit, veg and flowers. And they need all the help they can get.

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We love to see wildlife in our gardens. But if we tidy away the places it lives, feeds and breeds, or if the only ‘wild abandon’ we allow is that with which we throw down slug pellets, then it could soon disappear. Don’t get me started on slug pellets – I don’t have the word allowance…

Although small, rewilding areas like this connects one patch of habitat to another, so species who thrive or rely on linear movement; on mixing species through urban areas, or on stop-offs to larger habitats – such as Attenborough Nature Reserve – can survive.

It really is simple: less is more. Leave a piece of your garden to ‘go over’, or plant wild flowers if you prefer (native ones are best – so you know they’ll help insects in this country). If you have space for a pond, this will exponentially boost the benefit – even an old washing-up bowl sunk in the ground, filled with rain water and some rocks (for escape) will soon be colonised.

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If all this sounds like too much mess and effort, or you’re only up for doing one thing to help wildlife: please STOP USING SLUG PELLETS.

True to its word, an established ‘wild’ patch can get on with very little interference from us.  And, though We Dig NG9’s will never be proper idyllic ‘meadow’, of course – if it looks nice, well that’s just a bonus.  (TF)

Connect with We Dig NG9 on Twitter and Instagram: @WeDigNG9

WeDigNG9@gmail.com

TF

Let Us Spray: Beeston’s Street Art Festival

The use of aerosol paint to spray shapes, words or figures on a wall or surface is often seen as vandalism to some, but art to others.

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Some of the country’s best spray can artists descended on Beeston recently, to colour the town in more colours than your average bag of Skittles. They didn’t arrive under the cover of darkness like Banksy appears to do, but in broad daylight and an audience watched while they created their unique works of art, with their £3.50 a can of spray paint. They were here to participate in Beeston’s first Street Art Festival, which took place around the town on the weekend of the 16th June.

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I caught up with Jeanie Barton, the driving force behind the project, who welcomed the break from gardening, to talk about the weekend and how things went. “It was brilliant. It went really well.  I’ve had lots of emails from people saying how happy the artwork has made them. The artists were happy with how things went too. Which is rewarding in itself. People are really impressed with the quality of the work created. I don’t think there’s been a single complaint about it. There was a bottleneck at the top of the twitchell by Round Hill School on the Monday, as parents and children wanted to see how their school looked now. There’s a great mix of styles. Something for everyone.”

Turning to the original plan, which was to decorate that dull part of Station Road, between Birds and B&M. I asked Jeanie about the origins of the idea and why it hasn’t taken place yet. “It started with a posting on Beeston Updated. Someone said how street art could make a town more colourful and that something should be done with that wall near Birds. Other people agreed, so I set up a separate Facebook page and people started to join and shared photos of walls from across the world that had been decorated.  This was in April last year. Broxtowe Borough Council was approached and liked the idea. They have £8000 that’s ready to be spent on art. But things went quiet, so we thought we could decorate some other bare walls around the town instead and went for sponsorship and Crowdfunding. Altogether we raised over £3000.”

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I then asked Jeanie about what’s next. “We have a few more areas to do, such as Hallams and the Victory Club. Hopefully more owners of buildings will come forward that they’d like decorating. We will also be producing a proper guide to them all later this year, with photos of the work, together with profiles of the artists. People from Cheltenham, Bristol etc have been to see the designs. Bristol has its own annual street art festival. So I don’t see why we can’t have one too.”

By the time you are reading this, hopefully there will be some good news about those grim walls on Station Road and how they are going to be transformed into something more in keeping with the artistic identity of Beeston.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The names of the artists include Tunn, Boster, Onga and Emily Catherine, Zane, Zabou and Goya.

CDF

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