Grassroots football club feed over 100 people during half-term

A football club in Chilwell provided free meals during the half-term break.

Phoenix Inham FC helped 140 individuals as they joined a number of restaurants and cafes across the country in feeding disadvantaged people.

The club’s efforts have been recognised on Twitter by Marcus Rashford who has been a leading campaigner in trying to end child hunger in Britain.

The England international footballer successfully forced a government U-turn to extend free school meal vouchers over the summer.

But the scheme was not extended during half-term – a move which prompted widespread criticism.

Richard Ward, chairman of Phoenix Inham said: “I think it’s disgusting.”

“There’s a lot of parents who have lost their jobs and suddenly you’ll go from having a permanent wage to having nothing whilst trying to afford a mortgage and everyday household bills.

“People need free school meals.”

Left to right: 23-year-old volunteer Nile, Raiden aged 9, Macaulay aged 10, club chairman Richard, Kylum aged 11 and parent Kelly, aged 32

Richard was born in Chilwell so knows the importance of providing food and support to the local community.

“We spoke to a lady whose partner was furloughed back at the beginning of lockdown and sadly on Monday they received a phone call saying they’ve gone into liquidation,” he said.

“They’ve got a family with two children who they now can’t afford to feed.”

Latest government data shows that the percentage of students eligible for FSM’s has increased across all schools from 15.4% in 2019 to 17.3% in 2020.

That percentage is only going to increase with the number of people losing their jobs during the pandemic.

The club have been providing free food during the half-term break

32-year-old Kylie Goodband has been volunteering at the club after recently losing her job as a carer.

Kylie said: “If I was in need then at least I know that I’ve got people to come to when I need it.”

“I’ve got a lot of free time on my hands at the moment so I like to help out as much as I can.”

The Beestonian have asked Broxtowe MP, Darren Henry, to comment after being one of over 300 MPs to have voted against extending the FSM scheme.

Mr Henry has yet to respond.

IS

“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

Autumnal Guide for Helping Hedgehogs

Over the summer, you may have seen hedgehogs scuttling about in your garden in the evening.

I have a wildlife camera set up in my garden, and I was delighted to see footage of hedgehogs munching on the food I’d left out for them, and huffing at each other! This was particularly great to see, as hedgehog numbers have declined by approximately 50% since the year 2000. As we transition into Autumn and the weather gets a little colder, hedgehogs are beginning to hibernate. Although this means you may not see hedgehogs in your garden anymore, this doesn’t mean they’re not there, and certainly doesn’t mean they don’t need your assistance! The points below are easy tips (and some more challenging projects) for helping hedgehogs in your garden at this time of year:

You may have collected a pile of materials for a bonfire. Hedgehogs will find this pile to be a very inviting hibernation site! The best way to ensure that there are no hedgehogs nesting in the pile is to move it before you light it. If you are unable to move it, make sure to lift up the base with a broom handle and inspect underneath using a torch.

“Look out for Autumnal juveniles. These are hedgehogs that are old enough to be independent from their mother, but are too small to hibernate.”

Make or buy a hedgehog house. This provides a safe place for hibernation. Hedgehog houses can be as simple as an upturned plastic box with a hole cut out for a door, or can be much more sophisticated. Check out: www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk for more information

Look out for Autumnal juveniles. These are hedgehogs that are old enough to be independent from their mother, but are too small to hibernate. Hedgehogs can hibernate at 450 grams, but will fair better at 600 grams. If the hedgehog regularly visits at night, happily eats and is active, it is probably best to leave it be and put out food and water for it (more on this topic later). If possible, weigh the hedgehog weekly to make sure it is putting on weight. If you see a hedgehog out during the day in Autumn (this can be OK in the Spring/Summer), having trouble moving around, spending long periods of time curled into a ball when under no threat, or any other behaviour that doesn’t seem quite right, it needs attention. Contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society as soon as possible on 01584 890801. If you’re not sure, it’s best to call the number above just to make sure.

In addition to these Autumn-specific tips, below are some tips for helping out hedgehogs all year round:

Make a 13x13cm hole in your garden fence to allow hedgehogs to roam between gardens. Go one step further and ask your neighbours to do the same.

Put a shallow dish of water in your garden for hedgehogs to drink; this is especially important in hot weather. Go one step further and put out a dish of meaty pet food (make sure it’s dairy-free). Caution – don’t offer milk! Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant.

Written by the Hedgehog Friendly Campus group at The University of Nottingham.

Contact hannah.constantin@nottingham.ac.uk for more information.

HC

Beeston FC look forward to an exciting future as work begins on new clubhouse

It’s been a long road, but Beeston FC have finally reached the total needed to build a new clubhouse and renovate the old Plessey sports ground at Trent Vale.

We’ve been covering the Bees for several years now, during which time they’ve been trying to raise money to receive a grant from the Football Association and the Premier League.

The near £500,000 grant will cover a large amount of the £600,000 cost of the project which will benefit both the club and the local community.

A statement from the club’s development officer Sarah Green, read: “it’s fantastic seeing work begin on our clubhouse. The years of planning and fundraising by our hard-working volunteers have finally paid off.

“You can see a real transformation of the old building and the rooms are taking shape. We aim to maintain the history of the building by reinstalling the iconic Plessey Sports Club clock outside and displaying old photographs and articles inside when the work is completed in spring 2021.

“The community room is huge and will be such an asset to local sports, social and community groups in this area – especially now that social distancing demands larger rooms.

“There’s still work to do, and we are greatly helped by our community partnership with the Beeston based company Reckitt Benckiser who are working hard to continue our general site tidy up, replanting and internal painting of the clubhouse in the new year.”

Long term Beeston residents will know that the site has plenty of history to it, none more so than Ray Walker who used to feature for the old Plessey football team whilst his daughter went on to play netball at the same location.

With the site having been abandoned for decades, Ray is delighted to see that work is beginning to hopefully bring the ground back to its former glory.

“I’m glad that somebody picked it up. I would love to see it help to build a strong Beeston team,” he said.

“I think Jack Charlton said it best, ‘the one thing I couldn’t do was play, but I could stop other people playing.’ That was me.”

Football runs in Ray’s family with his father and grandfather making appearances for Notts County and Nottingham Forest respectively. Although Ray himself never played at the same level as them, he believes that his athletic abilities made him a match for anyone.

“I was never a great footballer. I think Jack Charlton said it best, ‘the one thing I couldn’t do was play, but I could stop other people playing.’ That was me,” recalls Ray.

“Being six-foot-three, I was a very physical player. My school always wanted me to play Rugby, the headteacher even tried to get my father to convince me, but it was because of my Dad that I wanted to play football.

“Looking back, I now realise that Rugby may have been the better way to go,” he admits.

It’s easy to see why Ray thinks that. After initially giving up on his dream of becoming a professional footballer when he was 21, Ray returned to the game in his late twenties to play for a club in Long Eaton, however, his playing days were cut short after suffering a serious leg injury.

“I went into a tackle which I now realise was a bit silly,” Ray says.

“It smashed my leg up. I was in hospital and they operated on it, screwed it all together again and said no more football for you!”

It wasn’t all bad news for Ray though.

“The sick pay from the government wasn’t taxable, so I was better off financially from it. I got two or three quid a week more than what I was earning at the factory. I also got a pay rise shortly after because I’d just turned 30,” he chuckled.

Characters like Ray have special memories of Trent Vale. Now it’s Beeston FC who have the chance to create even more.

IS

How Beeston FC are bouncing back from the pandemic

Whilst professional football makes its return to the sounds of artificial crowd noise, Beeston FC are also trying to adapt to a new normal.

The club’s senior and under 18 teams are gradually returning to training, after the FA announced that clubs were able to train in groups of five with a coach.

At the same time, strict measures have been put in place, including players having to fill out new medical forms to see if they’ve had the virus, whilst regular use of hand sanitizer is being used by all.

Changing rooms and toilets have remained closed and players are encouraged to leave the site promptly at the end of training.

“We’re really pleased to be back,” says club chair Charlie Walker.

“It’s a bit strange and the training sessions take quite a lot of planning because they have to be socially distanced, but it’s gone well so far.”

Unfortunately, the lockdown happened just as the club were hoping to gain some off the pitch momentum, with fundraising events lined up in March and April being cancelled.

The club have been fundraising, due to them needing £50,000 to receive a near £500,000 grant from the Football Association and Premier League, as they plan towards renovating the old Plessey sports ground to build a new clubhouse.

However, Charlie tells me that whilst they still need to raise over £8000, the club have been given the go-ahead to start work on the site.

“We’re hoping that we’ll be able to start the on-site building work In mid-July, that’s our hope.

“We were expecting to hit our target by the end of April, but because of the COVID-19 situation, it meant that some organisations that were going to give us money, weren’t able to.”

To reduce costs, the club have begun clearing out the site themselves, with help from members of the Trent Vale squash club and among others, local councillor, Kate Foale (pictured above.)

“It’s a nine-acre site. Six acres will be used for football, but what about the other three acres of space?”

“Recently we’ve been clearing the old tennis courts, cricket nets and the netball court,” said Charlie.

“We’ve also been emptying the old clubhouse of everything. There were some 30-year-old football boots, which had been cast into the corner of a changing room after maybe somebody had a bad game and decided to retire. They might have even been mine!”

Whilst Charlie acknowledges that the clubhouse will be the obvious focus of the club, he believes that there will be opportunities for the site to be used beyond just football.

“It’s a nine-acre site. Six acres will be used for football, but what about the other three acres of space? There’s potential for it to be used by other sports clubs, such as a running club or something of that nature.”

As covered in a previous issue, one way in which the club have been trying to raise money is by having supporter plaques, with the names of those who have donated towards their efforts, erected on a wall when the new site is built.

Charlie believes that a combination of the plaques and donations will make a big difference, whilst sponsorship from local business’ will also help the daily running of the club, allowing them to put some of their own finances towards the £50,000 total.

“Covering the cost of running the club, gives us a little bit more money from club income to put into the project. It should take us about a year so we’re hoping for it to be completed by the start of the 2021/22 season.

“Obviously, it’s not the right time, but when things ease up, we will also be running some fundraising events.”

The goal of trying to raise £50,000 is a major challenge in itself, but the disruption caused by this pandemic has made it an even greater task.

Yet, the hard work and dedication from everyone involved, has given Beeston FC every chance of reaching their target. Hopefully, for the club and the community as a whole, they will succeed.

IS

Lockdaaaaaann

Eeee Yup fellow and probably sum what megaly bored, Beatsonites! I hope this issue has brightened your day, we have cracking writers here at the Beestonian and together we aim to put a great big smile on a face or two, even if we are not currently in glorious glossy print. Last issue I shared my frustrations with the retail sector (I went full-on grrr Lulu hulk mode) with how things are a bit, well putting it bluntly, a bit on the crap side at the moment. After weeks of lockdown, even with social interactions that continually being at work brings, plus having personal projects to keep me busy, I started to miss my old life of gigging, being a social butterfly, dining out and drinks at the local.

After a pretty stressful shift, I brought a flamingo Daiquiri box of cocktail (on offer and essential may I add), enough munchies to start a small business and pondered what could I possibly do with my weekend that didn’t involve cleaning. Well, flamingo flavoured was actually code for quite disgusting taste of floor cleaner and needed enough juice added to it. I’m sure it wasn’t even alcohol anymore. Cocktail in hand I then set about reclaiming my old life back by getting with the times and delving into the world of watch parties (not to be confused with dogging, does that class as social distancing?)

Anyhoo, So I started my Lockdown sesh, yup the Friday night to end all Friday nights, dodgy cocktail based drink in hand and realised the benefits to all this, I had no bus to catch, there’s little to no queue for the loo, some 7-foot twonk isn’t going to stand in front of you and no pissed teenager is going to trip and pour a two pint of Strongbow over you while screaming ‘omg am not gonna be able to get up for school tomorrow!’ (I am not shaming I was also the drunken teenager and it’s always more fun that way round). Instead, the Friday night start to the weekend is a more sedate affair during this point in time (i don’t need to tell you what’s going on, we ALLL know), all that’s needed is some sort of device to tune into the interweb and a working connection. My favourite plus in all this is I sat in my cookie monster onesie no effort made, no makeup which has usually morphed into Alice Cooper style in the sweaty clubs and hair so messy I could have been mistaken for having shock therapy.

Fear of missing out is now a thing of the past, staying in is the new norm and quick to respond was the internet. Pop up and watch parties started to be announced all over the place, normally on Facebook but occasionally on YouTube, whatever your musical orientation there are live music performances to suit everyone. Leftlion magazine Nottingham host Sofa Sessions, which features acoustic artists every night at 8 pm until, as they say, the Lockdown is lifted or they run out of artists. There’s also Folk Beeston – Club show every Friday night from 8 pm, I tuned in to the soothing sounds of Colin Tucker, Tom Paxton, guests and a rather amusing finger puppet show by Dave Mooney. We Shall Overcome runs successful virtual gigs as does Punk for The Homeless, I tuned in to catch Paul Carbuncle, poetry by Eagle Spitz and the raw musical stylings of Pixie Styx. The Steampunk in me tuned in to see Alice’s Night Circus as she bravely took to fans requests that included Green Day and Disney (not together you understand.)

There’s old school dance in the form of Moon dance Lockdown Sessions, it’s mesmerizing to actually watch DJs play, normally most can only see the top of most of the DJs heads while they perform but with live stream, you can watch it in their own habitat while they dad dance and drink away the night (Judge Jules set for Back to the old Pool was hilarious) while having a good old nosey around peoples places without getting arrested.

I finished my evening feeling without it taking me an hour to get home by tram, I simply switched off my laptop and my adventure was complete. If this is the future of entertainment at least it has its perks, so for now I can get that all-important music fix I miss so much, and while it’s not the same as live hopefully it goes some way to keeping me sane (well ish) Thank you and goodnight!

LD

Bow Selector: CoHab-19

Over the centuries and in countless stories, movies, comics, books and performances Robin Hood has fought and beaten a wide variety of foes from the Sheriff of Nottingham and Guy of Gisborne to an entire Norman invasion fleet (yes, I’m looking at you Russell Crowe) and even a fire-breathing dragon from another reality (in ‘Beyond Sherwood Forest’ a truly terrible TV movie from 2009. Just… don’t).

Rarely has Robin been bested by anything except at the end of his story when old and wounded his final act is to shoot one last arrow before asking to be buried where it had landed (which rather embarrassingly turned out to be on a top of a van travelling up the A614).

But last year the annual Robin Hood Pageant, set to take place for the first time at Newstead Abbey as the Castle was (and still is) being redeveloped, had to be cancelled due to desperately bad weather – and this year (still at Newstead but having been rebranded to the much catchier ROBIN HOOD LIVE) it was thwarted by a foe that again can’t be beaten by swordplay, arrows, tricks or quips; Coronavirus.

So what’s an outlaw to do amidst a global pandemic (why do people always say ‘global’ pandemic when that’s what a pandemic is, by definition…)? With no spectacular show, St. Patrick’s or St. George’s Day parades to appear at I’m doing my bit along with most other people staying at home, keeping away from everyone else and looking with frank admiration at the *real* heroes we have in our midst; the NHS workers, bus and delivery drivers, shop staff, police and fire officers and all those other essential personnel who are risking themselves to keep us safe.

I said as much in a short video I made for the good folks at NOTTS TV (which I’m told then turned up on the BBC too), me dressed in my Robin Hood kit and sporting my snazzy badger-like lockdown beard, imploring everyone to ‘be like Robin’ and think of the vulnerable and endangered. But having done that… what?

Spending time with my six-year-old daughter Scarlett, for whom this is an exciting adventure filled with bouncing around, having fun, messing up the house and so much more, of course!

Back in the day, when I was a lad and all this was fields (or industry and shoe shops, actually) we had ‘the winter of discontent’ and all I remember about it was things being a bit grim and power cuts. I definitely remember huddling in the dark around a candle – and when it got really bad we used to light it.

So I wonder what Scarlett will make of all of this – at the moment it’s a time when she’s learned to ride her bike and take up roller skating and pogo-sticking (thankfully not simultaneously), enjoyed building a whole village in the ‘computer Lego’ game Minecraft and written, drawn, sung and watched ‘Captain Underpants’ to her heart’s content. I genuinely hope, even though she’s missing her friends and family a lot, that she’ll remember this as a really happy time.

We didn’t have videocalls or social media in 1978-9 either, or streaming movies – but I do recall my having had a lot more energy then too. Maybe that’s because I was 14 then and, as it is now for Scarlett at 6 the world was still a place of wonder and love, even if nowadays Scarlett does ask some serious questions about the virus and wants to know when it’ll be over. Sadly I can’t tell her that, but I do know when she finally goes back to her beloved Round Hill school I’m going to both miss her incredibly – and demand a massive pay rise for all the staff!

In the meantime stay safe, sane and well – and if you can’t stay sane just remember that in the immortal words of Meatloaf, ‘two out of three ain’t bad!’

TP

What happens when the sport stops?

In these uncertain times, sport across the country like most things has been suspended. The damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic is far greater than the financial concerns of anyone in sport, but like any business, and sport is business, financial loss will be felt by all sports teams, clubs and individual athletes across the globe.

The financial impact will vary depending on the wealth of those concerned. Big Premier League clubs for example will be able to swallow a large amount of the cash they will lose from ticket sales through commercial revenue and TV money whilst according to Forbes, the cancelled Wimbledon tennis tournament will be protected with a $141 million insurance payout.

When it comes to sport on a more local level, Beeston has a wide variety of different clubs, teams and other sporting activities which will have been affected by the national lockdown.

Caroline Bartliff, Chair of Beeston Badminton Club said, “the club had its last club night the week before lockdown. The numbers were very low on the last night as we knew it was coming. There will be a financial impact, although it’s summer season so we’d already cancelled our booking until May and will just slide it further if lockdown continues. We feel lucky we managed to pull in the Sport Relief event on the 12th March – raising £160.”

A statement from Chilwell Memorial Institute which includes Chilwell Tennis Club said, “Obviously, there will be a financial loss to the Institute and the individual clubs, but this is not expected to be crippling. For private hirers who run classes, this may be different. Some may find that they are unable to continue for various reasons.

“Meanwhile we urge our members and the wider community to take care, stay safe and look out for others, especially those on their own, who may need a chat by phone or email.”

At the end of the lockdown, a possible problem for teams and clubs across Beeston will be whether they see a decrease in membership figures or player numbers, as people lose interest and have other priorities after such a long period of time.

“If I’m honest, I’m expecting there to be a significant increase in numbers at parkrun, either with our regular parkrunners eager to be back to ‘normality’ and an opportunity to see friends again, or an influx of new runners as lots of Beeston folks seem to be out running as their one form of daily exercise” explains Beeston parkrun director, Alison Hogg.

“Beeston parkrun last took place on Saturday 14 March,” said Alison. “For us locally, as we are a free event, open to all and run by volunteers, there should be minimal impact on our activities. However, I’m not sure how the cancellations will affect the wider delivery of parkruns throughout the UK.”

“We have had to cancel tournaments, club competitions, and social events until the end of May, which unfortunately includes a national charity fundraising event for Macmillan.”

Elsewhere, Beatrice McGlen, Chairman of Nottingham Croquet Club based at Highfields Park, tells me that the crisis has happened just as their season was about to start.

“We have had to cancel tournaments, club competitions, and social events until the end of May, which unfortunately includes a national charity fundraising event for Macmillan. Early rounds of national inter-club competitions are also, at best, postponed. Tournaments are an important source of income for the club and players come from all over the country to compete. We have been amazed at the generosity of many of them who have donated their entry fees to the club when the events have been cancelled.”

With many people in self-isolation during this time, the social side of sport will be sorely missed, so people are finding new ways of keeping in touch with one another.

“We have a fairly active Facebook page so we’ve been endeavouring to post each week, either sharing general parkrun UK messages or sharing pictures and posts from Beeston parkrun over the past six years,” says Alison.

“We were due to celebrate our 6th birthday at the start of April when we planned a parkrun party and cakes. Instead, we played ‘guess the masked run director,’ for the core team of run directors. We’re in regular contact through WhatsApp and have had a meeting via Zoom.”

For the first time in Nottingham Croquet Club’s 91 year history they were forced to conduct their AGM by e-mail and post, whilst Beatrice says that they are continuing to contact people to see how they are coping.

“Regular club news updates are emailed to members and a ring round process is underway to make sure everyone is managing. Let us not forget though that some of our members are NHS staff, care workers, crucial IT staff and charity workers, all of whom are still working in this crisis and we salute their commitment to the well-being of all of us.”

The lockdown may have frozen all sport, but it’s good to see that clubs and teams across Beeston are keeping in contact with members and have not been critically damaged by the loss of income. Let’s hope this remains the case and that some sense of normality is soon restored.

IS

Why Beeston Parkrun is showing no signs of slowing down

Parkrun has been around for a few years now, you’ve probably heard of it before and will know somebody who has taken part.

Founded in 2004, parkrun takes place in 705 different locations around the UK, with almost 7,000 clubs and over 2,000 runners. Impressive statistics for any mass participation sport.

It’s clear that parkrun has run off and become a regular part of people’s weeks and it’s not hard to see why when you consider the simplicity of it. You turn up on a Saturday morning, do the run and at the end, you get your time if you so wish.

The event wouldn’t be able to run without the help of volunteers. From marshalls to timekeepers, parkrun is a great event to get involved in if you don’t want to take part in the run itself.

The tailwalkers.

One of the unique volunteer roles that parkrun offers are the tail walkers, who take part each week from the back of the field so that everyone on the course is accounted for. It’s also a good way to ensure that anyone who takes part doesn’t finish last.

Beeston’s parkrun has around 500 participants during it’s busiest periods at the start of the year and takes place along the canal at Weirfields Recreation Ground. Nationally, few parkruns can say that they have a more picturesque setting particularly when it’s a bright, sunny day.

Alison Hogg is the event director of Beeston parkrun. Along with five other run directors, she leads the volunteers and does all the preparation for the Beeston event each week.

After Alison’s pre-race brief which includes explanations on the rules over photography and how to collect your time at the end of the race, the hundreds of parkrunners set off for the 5000-metre run, jog or walk.

“Everybody’s got new year’s resolutions going on and parkrun has really exploded, so we’ve started to see some of our largest attendances over the past couple of weeks,” says Alison.

“Parkrun is about being inclusive so we have anyone from very fast runners to those who want to go around with buggies. We’re quite buggy friendly because, with the route we’ve got, you can push a buggy around.

The volunteers who help to run Beeston parkrun. From the left – Carrie Barker, Sue Raine, Lucy Barker, Keith Pepper, Simon Hogg, Bethan Hogg, Freddie Thomas-Neher and Alison Hogg.

“It’s free, it’s accessible and it’s a great way to start your Saturday. You’re here at 9 and you can be finished by 10. Afterwards, you can go into Tony’s café for a coffee and breakfast. You’ve seen your mates, you’ve done your exercise for the day, what a great way to set yourself up for the weekend.”

Three years ago, Lisa Rull started parkrunning in preparation for the race for life, however, in the days leading up to the event, Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer after finding a lump in her armpit.

“I kept on coming to parkrun even when I was going through treatment. I still walked or ran it when I could. Beeston parkrun has been such a lifeline for me,” said Lisa.

“I’m on longer-term medication to keep me as healthy as possible, but fingers crossed. I had my slash, poison and burn, but I kept in contact with parkrun right the way through. It’s been fabulous for me.”

Taking part in parkrun isn’t just for those who want to improve their physical and mental wellbeing, it can also be a way to improve the lives of others, as Brandon Brown, whose wife works in the NHS, is doing by fundraising for the Nottingham Hospitals Charity.

“I’m 62, so to get to 63 I thought I would run 744 kilometres, 62 x 12 (months), and I’m going to try and raise £744 whilst doing it,” explains Brandon.

“I first got involved in parkrun through a running club and often you have to pay to do marathons. Once, when I visited my brother in law in Abu Dhabi, I thought about doing the marathon their but the entry fee is £120 and you have to start at four or five in the morning because of the heat, so parkrun is a brilliant idea because it’s free and also you don’t need to be a runner.”

It’s easy to see why parkrun is so popular and in a place like Beeston where community is important, it’s success is only going to continue.

To find out more about Beeston parkrun, go to www.parkrun.org.uk/beeston or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beestonparkrun

IS