The Glamour Girls

by Janet Barnes and Naomi Robinson

In the Rylands we have our very own superheroes, the Glamour Girls.

Their base looks like a humble hairdressers / beauty salon, but once you dig beneath the surface you realise its so much more. “The Transformer,” otherwise known as Tracy, owns Glamour and spreads beauty throughout the Rylands.

“The Magician,” otherwise known as Maddie, has the power to “bring you in, fix you up and send you back out refreshed to face the world”. Lisa, Sue, Kerry and Tracey’s daughters Danielle and Paige “The Terrific Trimmers” make up the intrepid team.

Glamour has its transformation head quarters on Meadow Road. The superheroes go above and beyond that of hair and beauty experts, taking care not only of your external appearance, and also your less visible inner wellbeing. Not only can you get a new hair cut, a pedicure, manicure, or a back massage, you also get talking therapy right on your door step.

“Tracy The Transformer” explains: “I opened Glamour during the recession of 2009 and I’ve been overwhelmed by the support I’ve had from Rylands folk. Clients pop in just for a chat and a coffee”. She continued, “during lockdown our elderly customers struggled to get in, but since the restrictions have lifted, I’ve rung them and told them we need them back in. Sometimes picking them up to get their confidence back. I am grateful for all my Rylands family”.

Freda, 71, says “Maddie is lovely. She always boosts your confidence and tells you you have great natural hair. I think I look like a zebra and she says its like natural highlights. I always feel much better for going”.

You get a warm welcome, even if due to COVID restrictions you’re sat outside on their patio chairs waiting for the magic to happen.

With their weapons of scissors, hair dryers and nail polish the transformers use their powers to blend modern techniques with traditional values catering for all customers young and old. When you drop by, you might see an elderly resident being energised through the power of a pedicure, or a damsel with hair distress getting a well needed emergency boost of confidence through the power of a new hair style.

Dave, 92, said “I go to Glamour for a pedicure every 5 weeks, Tracey sorts my toes out and tells me to run home with my new feet. I have macular degeneration & can’t trust myself to cut my own toenails. Sometimes there’s so much laughter and banter, especially when Maddie’s in, but I always leave with happy feet!”

We salute you Glamour Girls – keep using your powers for good, keeping the Rylands happy and revived inside and out.

JB & NR

Rylands Retail Renaissance?

Where do Rylanders go if they need a pint of milk, a hair cut, or a bottle of wine? Not that surprisingly they can get all these things and more within the Rylands. What may be more of a surprise is you can also pick up a portaloo, a very good haircut, some vegan fast food, or even talk to an experienced Luthier (stringed instrument expert) on Lily Grove if you so wish.

We’ve had numerous shops here over the years, but if you a newcomer (or a resident of just the last 20 years or so) you’ll perhaps remember the post office on the corner of Trafalgar Road, the various food outlets on Lilac Crescent, or the afternoon tea shop on Trafalgar near the old Plessey site.

News and Essentials that most refer to as “the Cob Shop” is a ‘jewel in the crown’ of Rylands retail and has faced many challenges and reincarnations over the years. The vast shelves that held the extensive DVD lending library 20 years ago now bears a fantastic range of wines, chilled foods, cupboard essentials, and even has its own garden centre out the front. Winter hasn’t arrived until we see the Facebook post from owner Lloyd that sledges are out and ready for purchase.

After a conversation with Lloyd it became obvious him and his colleagues are driven by a  passion and enthusiasm for serving the Rylands. What we also learnt are his extensive ambitions for the shop and is commitment to supporting local charities.  The good news is Lloyd and his partners Pat and Andy are around to stay, having just signed a ten year lease.

While change is inevitable and bigger retail places may evolve, the strength of communities is measured in the power of its supporters. It’s lovely to hear about the days gone by and also see the enthusiasm of more recent businesses firming their roots in to the Rylands and creating new memories.

The resilience of our community really does offer hope and continuity, with creative and green-fingered individuals opening up pop up shops outside their front doors selling such things as rhubarb and gladioli or veg and bedding plants, or even something creative from local artists.

We’re also got the recent initiative of incredible edible project down at Leyton Crescent providing a sustainable healthy scheme that has been accessed by families, who have helped plant, grow and nurture the produce offering all in the Rylands delicious home grown veg in return.

Community at its best – use or lose it!

JB & NR

Janet Barnes and Naomi Robinson; Rylands community activists

Halcyon Days

Remembering and celebrating events of the past is something we do often at Friday Club, we look at old photographs and watch video footage of Goose Fairs and other local events of the past, getting lost in memories of halcyon days gone by.

Recently we were remembering the Plessey Gala Day and members described fondly the rivalry of the inter-factory running races, the beauty competitions, various themed tents, and all the fun of the fair. They laughed when remembering the minor celebrities that would open the event. One year (we reckon in the early 1980’s) the famous Grand National winning race horse Red Rum made a guest appearance. They described gala day as “really exciting” with hundreds going, “it was always hot and sunny”.

Brenda remembered the wild boar roast on a spit. When asked if she had any, she said “No, I was too busy watching out for my four kids!”. She also described her sister Joyce, being crowned the first Beeston Beauty Carnival Queen. When asked if she was ever crowned the Beeston Queen, she laughed and said “nah, I was the youngest, I was just the Squirt of the family”.

Whilst most remembered the Plessey gala day fondly, a couple were more reflective saying that it was a bit ‘clicky’ and they often felt excluded from the fun if they weren’t part of certain crowd. Being ‘clicky’ is something that the Beeston Carnival could never be accused of, always a lovely day to be enjoyed by all. Sadly COVID 19, has led to the unavoidable cancellation of the Beeston Carnival for a second year.  

As a result of the disappointment of no carnival, and the lack of community events over the last 14 months, Beeston Rylands Community Association have decided to create its own outdoor gala event. The event will be held on Sunday 25th July at 12pm. 

We wanted to harness the remarkable resilience of the community and have something positive and fun to focus on as we finally (and hopefully) evolve out of restrictions. 

The day will be based at the community center and the surrounding fields and will host local charities and entertainment, food, and fun (Covid restrictions permitting). We might not be able to recreate the famous Plessey Gala Day, or provide a celebrity race horse to open proceedings, but we’ll have our very own Beeston Dog Show, and a variety of other things for everyone to get involved with and have a bit of fun.  

Perhaps one thing that can be taken from last year of uncertainty is that us humans cannot thrive in isolation, and that we are healthier and happier when we are able to connect and move forward as a whole. This is an event for everyone and we’re therefore open to suggestions from all members of the community, and if anyone is interested in having a stall, please contact Amanda–Claire- acemillington@gmail.com.

Fingers crossed for some sunshine in July!

JB & NR

The power of friendships, old and new

When living and working in the Rylands you become very aware of the long-established families and friendships within the community. What’s less obvious are the new relationships and friendships being formed through social groups such as Friday Club (the weekly social dining club for the over 60’s). Here’s the story of two Friday Club regulars Peggy and Freda, and what their friendship means to them.

Around two years after her husband’s death, Peggy was only going out to do her shopping and was struggling with her grief and feeling lonely. She was told about Friday club through a friend in the Rylands. She went the first time with a friend and started to look forward to going. Freda joined the group a little later and in Peggy’s words their “friendship just exploded from there, it was so easy to be friends with her they just clicked straight away.”

The first adventure was to Bardills garden centre and they started walking together locally once or twice a week. They attended Janet’s 24-hour danceathon in October 2019 where
they danced and laughed the night away till 4 am.

Their birthdays are two weeks (plus ten years) apart and they started a tradition of having fish and chips on Queens Road to celebrate. Social distancing wasn’t going to deter their
friendship this year as they sheltered on opposite ends of the bus shelter to enjoy their feast.

Peggy shared that if she didn’t have Freda she might have not gone out as much over lockdown and have “locked myself away again – I am really pleased about being friends, we
can just laugh and be at ease.”

Following the death of her husband Bob, Freda moved to Beeston to be nearer her daughter. Freda knew no one else, and would just go walking. Like Peggy, Friday Club was
recommended to her, and a regular called Frances met Freda at the car park so she didn’t have to go in on her own. At her first meeting, she sat between the regulars Peggy and
Sheila where there was a space. Peggy, Sheila and Freda just got chatting, and after a while, she started joining them on little trips to places like the film club at the heritage centre.

Sadly Sheila passed away, and Peggy and Freda’s relationship just developed. Freda explained that they go walking and have little adventures, “It’s just nice – and it’s a laugh. We
speak every day on the phone. She came to my birthday party last year and my 70th this year so she knows all the family – they think Peggy is lovely and they’re amazed at how I’ve
opened up. When I have bad days – sometimes she senses it – it’s weird.”

Peggy explained that another Friday club member has christened them the “lively birds” – “lets face it, we all know each other at Friday club, before Friday club when my husband was still alive I would see people around the Rylands and say hello, but life was so busy I never really knew them. Friday Club brings people closer together, we all have grief in common, friendship is important. I don’t laugh with anyone else as much as Freda.”

Friday Club is open to all residents over 60. Meetings are every Friday between 1.30 and 3.30 pm for food, friendship and fun. Since the latest COVID-19 restrictions it’s changed to
phone calls, Zoom meetings and food deliveries, but Friday club will be back as soon we can meet safely again.

JB and NR

Survive and thrive: Why community matters part 2

As once again we find ourselves in a second lockdown, with Christmas approaching it feels appropriate to capture the mood and reflect on what we have found during our community work in the Rylands.

For many there is an expectation to maintain a stiff upper lip and plough through these unprecedented times, when in reality there is a need to allow ourselves to mourn our seasonal traditions and get-togethers that we’ll be missing this year.  This year, the picturesque ideology that we often feel pressure to achieve seems more out of grasp than ever. So we’re starting a conversation to say that it is okay to admit that it’s not OK. Feel free to say that this is rubbish! It’s okay to verbalise that this is hard, and difficult and dismal at best, that we miss our loved ones and friends. It’s okay for our Friday Club Clubbers to be unhappy that their weekly get together is on hold, and to not want to embrace Zoom calls or elbow rubs or face masks or social distanced walks in the torrential British weather.  It’s okay for our young people to miss youth club, and it’s okay for volunteers to be tired and ask for support.

There is a trendy slogan doing the rounds on social media stating “We are all in the same storm but we are not in the same boat”. While this in many ways is true, we can offer lifeboats to those who might be taking in water, we can recognise that some boats may be weathered or weary and giving out distress calls. This does not mean the boat and its crew are doomed it simply signals that its community needs to help slow the leak and support that struggling ship to navigate itself back to safe shores.

This Christmas for many of us is about weathering the storm and remembering that behind every dark cloud is blue sky. We all have different ways of coping, whether it’s go for a run by the river with your permitted one companion, going for a walk with your family and picking up a takeaway coffee on the way, or staying home keeping safe and warm until the storm passes. It’s likely that Christmas will be different this year for most of us, so let’s be kind to ourselves and one another. Let’s enjoy the simple pleasures of the season and remember there is hope around the corner in the shape of vaccines, our caring community, and the thought of the arrival of a brand new year.

Beeston Rylands Community Association update

Beeston Rylands Community Association (BRCA) continue to provide lunch deliveries and support to elderly residents. All the while the team keep adapting their work to comply with the changing COVID-19 restrictions. When we emerged out of full lockdown, we reintroduced Friday Club (our social dining club for the over 60’s), and therefore reduced the food deliveries.

We instead introduced a food voucher scheme, where all those previously receiving a food delivery could go to the Boat House Cafe and get some hot or cold food twice a week.

Since the tightening of restrictions, we’ve reintroduced twice-weekly lunch pack deliveries for the most isolated in our community. This work made possible thanks to Sarah, Sandie and Tony of the Boat House Cafe, our team of volunteers, and our funders: Broxtowe Borough Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, NET Coronavirus Appeal Programme, Martin Lewis Emergency Fund, and individual donors. If you need help, please contact Janet Barnes, Development Officer / Volunteer: 07904 067160, janetmbarnes@ntlworld.com.

JB

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