Tag: Community

I Am Beeston: Johnny Pusztai -Butcher

Few people can handle a sausage as well as Johnny Pusztai: the larger than life butcher extraordinaire talks to The Beestonian

I have been trying to get Nottingham’s famous butcher to do ‘I Am Beeston’ for
practically two years now, but with running several businesses, it’s been almost
impossible to pin him down for a chat. But finally we managed to get together, at
L’Olvia’s, which is turning out to be one of the best and most popular restaurants
in Beeston.

“I was born in Worksop, North Notts. My father Dezso came from Hungary and
immigrated to Nottingham in 1956, where he worked as an engineering welder.
My Mum Pamela was a local girl, and sold tickets at the ABC Cinema. From
Worksop, we moved to Mansfield, then to Sherwood, when I was seven”.
“We lived across the road from the JT Beedham butchers, and my dad used to
take me to see what was for sale. I was fascinated with all the different sorts of
meats, the cuts and the terminology. I got on really well with the owners, George
Beedham and Bill Robinson, so they set me on as a delivery boy when I was 12.
Then when I turned 16, I got an apprenticeship with them. I really got stuck into
the thick of it and learned all I could. I took over the business in 1991, but I
worked in a slaughterhouse to earn enough to buy it. I worked on the boning
line. It was the most boring job, but the best paid. I kept the Beedham name out
of respect for George. He was probably the best butcher that ever lived”.

Johnny first became well known to the general public when he appeared on the
Great British Menu TV series with local Michelin starred chef Sat Bains in the
second series, which aired in April 2007. Sat won the Midlands & East of England
heat with his starter, which featured ham from Beedham’s. It received three ‘10s’
from the judges. Since then Johnny has become Sat Bain’s preferred butcher.
Johnny also supplies a few restaurants in the city centre and the very place
where we are sitting chatting. “I’ve known Marco since he opened. We’ve
become very good friends. There used to five or six butchers in Beeston. Now
there’s only two. The problem with supermarket meat is that they are not
bothered about quality. It’s more to do with profit. I like Beeston. It’s a nice town
with friendly people. I just love Nottinghamshire. It’s a wonderful county to live
in” The secret to Johnny’s success is of course the meat itself. “I have a farm up at
Wellow near Rufford, where we rear pigs and lambs. I also get meat from
Brackenhurst College near Southwell. They breed red heifers, which is the best
meat”.

Further appearances followed, including BBC2’s Market Kitchen with Gary
Rhodes in November 2008. Then invitations to present cooking demonstrations
at food festivals around the country stated to come in. A number of awards have
also come Johnny’s way, such as the Guild of Fine Food for his sausages and
bacon, and the Observer Food Awards in 2011. Johnny is very modest about his
achievements. “I still work 16 hours a day. My job is never boring. I don’t drink, but love a good coffee and some nice food. I’ve seen Zulu 38 times. It’s my
favourite film. My daughter Lara and I have just done the catering in the VIP Tent
for Splendour at Wollaton Park. It was a very long day for both of us. But she is
off to university to study Business Management and Marketing. So when she gets
her degree, she’ll be able to promote me properly, as it’s something that I’m not
that good at”.
One part of Johnny’s businesses that hasn’t done as well as expected is ‘The
Snobby Butcher Bistro’, which opened in May this year, after a year and a half of
construction work on the adjoining Sherwood shop. “The restaurant has a
future, I just have to reconfigure the idea. It just wasn’t working for me”.

“I still work 16 hours a day. My job is never boring. I don’t drink, but love a good coffee and some nice food. I’ve seen Zulu 38 times.

But there are two areas that have proved to be very popular; the food and drink
shows and the experience days. “I have appeared at food festivals all over the
country. There’s even one now in Worksop, where I grew up”. Beeston actually
held one a few years ago, which Johnny attended. But it wasn’t a great success.
Possibly poor planning and publicity were to blame. Certainly the very wet
weather on that particular Saturday didn’t help. The festival was split between
the Square and Broadgate Park, and there were problems at the park, due to very
muddy conditions. So it has sadly never been repeated.

“The Experience Days have really taken off. People will spend the day with me at
the shop and get involved in all aspects of butchery. We teach them how to bone
a chicken or a piece of meat, make sausages, create flavours and cooking skills, so
they can make the same dish at home”.

One aspect of Johnny’s life that due to modesty didn’t want to mention was that
he used to be a professional ice hockey player for the Nottingham Panthers. But
some research showed that he played centre during their 1980-81 year. Despite
his busy schedule, Johnny still finds time to coach the University of Nottingham
team. “My father had a saying: we are born to be workers, so lets be the best that
we can.” Well Johnny, I don’t think anyone could argue with that. Christopher Frost, Community Editor.

Lego Hallams

Welcome to the world of the plastic shop…

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10 year old Beeston lad Ewan Cooper has produced a spectacular homage to the iconic Hallams shop in the town centre. With a bit of help from dad John, Lanes Primary School pupil Ewan painstakingly constructed the replica over the course of the last year and a bit.

Featuring mini-mes of many of the staff and local people, the mock-shop is fully stocked with all the usual fresh fruit, veg and seafood that is found in the real place 6 days a week. In the street outside you can spot Nigel picking litter, and the obligatory Beeston thief fleeing the scene after removing the security chain from a bike.

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The whole thing is constructed from genuine Lego parts, the only ‘cheats’ being a few printed labels to provide the extra bits of detail.

Photography by Christopher Frost and John Cooper.

 

 

And now for something completely different!

There were two events last summer, one wonderful, one tragic, that occurred within days and metres of each other. Together, they both summed up what it means when the phrase ‘Beeston community’ is used.

The tragedy was the drowning of 12-year-old Owen Jenkins; while the wonderful event was the transformation of the canal side cottages from derelict wrecks seemingly only fit for the bulldozer into an incredibly beautiful public space.

While the event was tragic, Owen’s death saw something wonderful emerge from it. Spontaneously, thousands displayed their sorrow by donning purple: for a while the whole town was festooned with shades of mauve to mulberry, plum to raspberry. On the day of his funeral, Beeston’s streets were lined with those paying their respect; the hundreds of motorbikes that formed the tale of the procession was a sight that will live long in the memories of Beestonians.

The Canalside Heritage Centre wasn’t transformed into a top-class attraction, café and garden by some top-down project. Rather, locals decided to take the dilapidation into their own hands and create something wonderful. After a great year of events, development, and ambition its looking like a place we will treasure for generations: and while our grandkids will enjoy the gardens overlooking the weir, they will solemnly acknowledge the land it backs onto, which will be known by all as ‘Owen’s Place’.

Stories like these, stories that illustrate how a community works, are what makes us all proud to put together The Beestonian. I personally started writing about Beeston a decade ago, and swiftly discovered that not only were people interested, but that there were more stories out there than I ever imagined. Putting them out through a magazine seemed like a natural step, and 7 years on I’m delighted that we have become part of Beeston’s fabric, with our issues disappearing from stockists so fast our drop-boxes are scorch marked.

However, we realised some time ago that to keep it free and accessible was a difficult job. We are staffed by volunteers, and rely on local advertising to cover print costs. This generally works well, but we were unable to get out as many issues as we’d like. Surveys we ran always came back with the same conclusion: readers wanted to actually read the thing!

We’ve now found a way to expand our accessibility, keep the magazine free and run sustainably for years to come thanks to a helpful community grant (thanks National Lottery!). This will be the last issue in the current format, and at Beeston Carnival in July we are returning with something beautiful, something colourful, something that you are part of us much as those who write it. We want a truly community magazine, and we want YOU to be part of it.

We have a wonderful town. We have more stories to tell than we can fit in a magazine, so we’d love you to help us. Write for us. Report for us. Tell us what you are doing. Read us. If you own a business, consider advertising with us. This is YOUR magazine.

This town, this unique gem of a place cosied between the city, the Trent, and the rolling hills of Bramcote is not just where we live, it is our home. As became clear in both awful and wonderful ways last summer, that is precious. We are all delighted that we get to shout that out to the world each issue.

LB

ABC Art Trail: Celebrating Creativity in Beeston, Attenborough and Chilwell

This weekend the ABC Art Trail takes place in venues across Beeston, Attenborough and Chilwell, showcasing the work of 26 artists who live locally.

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The ABC Arts trail is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a trail of artistic works by creative people who are all part of our community and living in Beeston, Attenborough and Chilwell.

This year there are 26 artists taking place, with their work being displayed in 11 venues. They include painters, textile artists, a potter, glass artists and jewellery designers. This is a great chance to discover new artists and see for yourself the amount of creativity that this town and surrounding area can hold.

The trail is free to take part in, and will be happening across Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of June, starting at 11am through to 6pm on both days. They’ve got a map pinpointing all the venue locations, which can be visited in any order, so you can plan the route that works best for you. Find the map here.

They include places like independent studios, houses, local schools and shops. Specific venues taking part are Beeston Dental Practice, Red Lion Pottery and Meadow Lane Infant School.

Painting of Beeston Lock by Janet Barnes
Artwork by Janet Barnes (Canalside Art)

The participating artists will be present at each venue with examples of their work available to purchase. So as well as discovering more art, you might end up going home with some!

Our Editor-in-Chief, Matt Turpin, will be taking part in the trial and visiting each venue, where he will be collecting pieces of artwork. These pieces will be individual letters made from a variety of art forms, and once put together they will spell ‘ABC ART TRAIL’ (11 letters for the 11 venues).

Matt says: “I got a G at GCSE Art, a grade that doesn’t even exist any longer. But while I may not be the best at making art, I’ve always enjoyed others’ work. Beeston is a great place for this, a hive of creative activity right across the area. I’m hugely looking forward to visiting all the venues and meeting those talented people who make this town such a treat for art lovers.”

This event is yet another example of why Beeston and the surrounding areas are such hubs of creativity. It’s also a way for people to show their support not only for the artists themselves but for the community as a whole. We’re all about supporting local businesses, but this is a way to appreciate individuals in their creative endeavours. The ABC Art Trail itself is supported by businesses such as: The White Lion (where they have their meetings), Yarn, Charlie Foggs, Artworks and Cycle Inn, to name a few.

Rita Mitchell
Artwork by Rita Mitchell

Plenty of their work features the local area, such as paintings of well-known places, meaning that their art is truly personal, both from their perspective as artist, and the people who support them by buying their work or enquiring about commissions.

For more information, visit their website: ABC Art Trail

You can also like them on Facebook @abcarttrail, and register your attendance via their event page.

JM

 

The Nottingham Student Housing Co-operative

The Nottingham Student Housing Co-operative are aiming to change how we see student housing, and how students experience it.

There is a much-mocked photo, somewhere, of a pair of local councillors gurning miserably at the thought that more students might move into their patch. The message was clear, students are not welcome here. They’re lazy, they’re feckless and they’re noisy. As a student I took this slightly personally, I am not lazy, I am not feckless and I am only occasionally noisy. Usually during karaoke at the White Lion.

However, the reality is that student housing is not very good. The houses are “investments” for people who don’t live in Beeston and don’t care to put any money into their investment. They become rundown, decrepit and the students lose any pride in them. It is a vicious, self-defeating cycle and it’s one that myself and some others decided to change.

The Nottingham Student Housing Co-operative has three simple goals: student housing that is accountable to the tenants and the community, that is cheaper, and that does not leave its residents with horror stories. This is our pitch to our members but also to the people of Beeston. We want to change how you see students and how you see student housing.

Our rent both pays our mortgage and, more importantly, generates a surplus that allows us to invest back into the house and community

I have lived, as a student, in Beeston for 5 years now. I write for The Beestonian and I feel like part of the community and this is part of my effort to return the favour. We are currently looking for a first property in the area and that means being transparent with you, the good citizens of Beestonia.

Our model is simple, we obtained investment from other co-operatives, including the retail shops, and used it to buy a house. Students rent it, renovate it and pay for it. Our rent both pays our mortgage and, more importantly, generates a surplus that allows us to invest back into the house and community.

Students also have democratic control. They get to vote on the direction the co-operative takes and how that money is spent. They get to take ownership of their house in a way that makes them proactive, responsible members of the community.

Our current plan, should the building be big enough, is to make ourselves not just a home for students but a community hub. Other co-operatives have engaged in local activism, offering food kitchens, community meals and vegan cooking classes and we want to be part of that tradition.

This model has worked across the USA and Australia and we want to replicate this success. There are currently 150 beds in housing co-operatives, within 5 years we want to make that 10,000.

We know that when a lot of people think students they think of Lenton and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen to Beeston. We are going to be a proactive part of this town and we will do it because we love Beeston.

TR

I Am Beeston: Graham Caveney, author

“I was born in the Accrington area of Lancashire and moved to Beeston some eighteen years ago now, when I got the post of lecturer on American Literature at the local university.”

“Beeston is home to me now. Manchester wasn’t really part of me, due to its distance from Accrington. But Nottingham is certainly my home city. And I’m proud to be part of it. Beeston has a separate identity, even though Nottingham is close by.”

“Beeston has a real mix of people. I like the diversity and the tolerance towards others. People arrive here for whatever reason and tend to stay. Locals in some places can resent these incomers, but it doesn’t seem to happen here.”

“Beeston has a great deal of culture, with poets like Jenny Swann and John Lucas and bands like the Madeline Rust. I used to like going to the Greyhound. I attend a local yoga class. I also like going to Highfields and seeing the lake. I can get the tram into the city centre in about twenty minutes, or I might walk there using the towpath.”

“I don’t drink now, so I tend to just go into coffee shops. The Bean is my favourite. I also like the Flying Goose and the Bendigo Lounge. One thing that I’d like to see in Beeston is a Labour MP. I’m all for having a cinema here, but I do think that we now have enough coffee and charity shops.”

CDF

Spring is (finally) here

Beeston survived the Beast From The East; The Mini-Beast From the East; and then the Least of the Beasts Hitting Beeston at Easter (try saying that after a few Crown ales), and it is now officially SPRING.

Yes, Beestonians can now be fined if they are seen wearing more than two layers while out shopping, and the pied wagtails fly off to be replaced by martens and swifts. Things are definitely brighter at Beestonian HQ, with news that we have received a chunk of investment to expand this humble free-sheet into something utterly unique, a proper community resource which will be reaching more parts of Beeston, more frequently. Follow our Facebook page and check our website for up to the minute news on how this will manifest.

Beeston stands at a crossroads right now, with the game-changing Phase 2 Square Development, and changes in retail patterns moving the town more towards service: restaurants, pubs and suchlike. The impact of the University of Nottingham, our next door neighbours, continues to be felt in Beeston in ever-changing ways.

We recognise that Beeston is an ever changing thing, a constantly developing town. If that is to be a success it needs a town with a strong community, and a strong community needs a means to get to know itself: providing that is our ongoing mission. If you want to be part of this beyond reading this issue, get in touch. And yes. We still are going to be absolutely free to pick up.

So what glories await you should you skip this bit and dive into this mag? We have a 20 page special for you, with stories on Beeston’s most successful sports club; the Green Man of Beeston; How to Spring Clean and get fit, some etymological entomology on the meaning of Beeston; and much much more.

Use the Current Issue tag for all the stuff you can find in our latest edition.

LB

SAVE THE TOWN HALL

Our proud Town Hall is at risk: time to get rid of something else instead?

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Photo credit: Stephen Miles

80–odd years ago the people of Beeston decided that they needed a proper civic building, and as such called in an architect with a flair for art-deco who whipped up a fine building that Beeston could be proud of. As Beeston went through decades of changes in both character, demographic and political leadership the hall has been a constant. Thousands of town-changing decisions have been made in its debating chamber, marriages conducted, celebrations held. It’s part of our history. Heck, even Wikipedia deems it the most iconic thing in Beeston and uses it as its main image on its entry for the town.

So why is it now in danger of demolition?

As always, money. The current administration claim it simply isn’t worth keeping any more, and want to make a quick buck on a sale. Rumours of a shonky developer waiting in the wings are rife, so a quick sale would be a hard injection of cash. “Old buildings or services?” crows council leader, Richard Jackson. “It’s that simple a choice.”

To which we at The Beestonian reply, while smacking our heads against a brick wall, “No, no it’s not. Your failure to run a council well has led to a financial nightmare.” And then we will pull out details of a current scandal rocking the council, which is costing hundreds of thousands of YOUR council tax in legal fees and temporary staff, and point out it is THAT which is blowing a hole in the finances, not a piece of Beeston’s civic pride. We’d put the whole story here, but it would take the whole mag – check out our sister blog, www.beestonia.wordpress.com for the details.

We are facing the loss of the Town Hall due to an entirely avoidable, utterly self-inflicted wound. Perhaps the much fairer path would be to preserve the Town Hall, and get rid of the entirely inept Council Leadership before it’s not just the Town Hall, but every paving stone and local park they can find a buyer for. Save Beeston Town Hall!

LB

Reading by the Canal

It’s been 6 months since the Canalside Heritage Centre opened in Beeston Rylands, and it’s strange to think of the area without it. The once disused building has been given a new lease of life, and is giving back to the Rylands and Beeston community.

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The centre is also home to a specially written children’s storybook, Dog and Duck’s Canal Adventure, which doubles as an artistic contribution to their wonderful upstairs display area. The book was written by Heather Green, and illustrated by her husband, Johnny. It was originally her project as part of her MA in Museum and Heritage Studies, but her lecturer and trustee of the centre, Duncan Grewcock, saw the potential for it as a display that would appeal to children.

The book follows the two characters, Dog and Duck, as they travel down the canal towards Nottingham. The catalyst for their journey is the construction of the heritage centre, momentarily disrupting their home.

I met up with Heather and Duncan at the Heritage Centre to find out more about the book, and why such projects are crucial to the community.

“The Heritage Centre were looking for an interpretive offer for children and young people and it made sense to do a picture book,” says Heather. “I’m doing a PhD at the moment which is looking at the use of creative writing as a tool for museums, and the idea was to explore this slightly different way of getting information and facts across about a heritage topic to an audience.”

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Before opening, the Heritage Centre compiled some interpretive goals which Heather used to devise the narrative of the book: making a home, making a visit, and making a living based around the canal.

“My husband and I walked up and down [the canal] to try and get an idea of the route,” says Heather. “It was a good way of incorporating familiar scenes for people when they come to look and see the book, but also this idea of who might pass you by as you’re going along the canal.”

It’s really important to make the most of the green spaces that you have

In the book, while Dog and Duck are on their journey, they find an egg and take it with them. The story is about wondering what kind of creature might be inside the egg, taking inspiration from the things they see around them.

Heather adds: “One of the things we wanted to explore was what makes a home, particularly from a child’s perspective. Whether or not it’s the things you have or the place where you live. What is it that makes a home?”

As someone who has lived in the Rylands all my life, and paid frequent visits to the canal year on year, I couldn’t help but think about how the area has shaped my perspective of home, and how lucky I feel to live less than 10 minutes away from the canal. Duncan, however, moved here 3 years ago from London.

“One of the things I found out quite quickly was that there isn’t, in this area, a lot of heritage facilities,” he says. “The canal was so much loved and used for walking, cycling, running…but this place had become a bit of an eye-sore because it had been left derelict for 20 years. And one of the things that you got a picture of quite quickly was that how much genuine support there was to just do something with this building.”

This support and determination was entirely community-focused. “In another world, somebody might have turned it into a pub or something but I think turning it into a community facility, where there aren’t many, certainly not based on heritage, is important for everyone to have access to.”

Heather adds: “It’s really important to make the most of the green spaces that you have. And it’s a peaceful location here.” At this point, we fall silent and let ourselves take a moment of appreciation for our surroundings by glancing out of the window at nature. It’s a moment of quiet pride.

One of the great things about Dog and Duck’s Canal Adventure is that it’s unique to the centre. It features in the book through illustration and photographs, even with small touches such as the centre’s wallpaper design, making it truly personal. The book was also a contribution to UNESCO Nottingham City of Literature, something Duncan and Heather are very proud of.

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“We’re keen to see what more we can do in that context to spread the benefits of the City of Literature as an idea,” says Duncan. “It’s been popular in the shop, and it’s a fantastic addition to the displays as well.”

Manager of the Heritage Centre, Jenny, reveals that they did quite a large print run of the book, but that they’d be happy to print more if they all sold out. She says: “It’s a good seller for us; our bestsellers in the shop are the things that are specific to here.”

Heather adds: “That’s really what the City of Literature is about, inspiring new fiction, and new writing, using heritage and culture.”

Make sure you visit the Heritage Centre, peruse the local-inspired gifts, have a cuppa with a friend, and keep an eye out for fellow Beestonians, Dog and Duck.

JM

Creative Beeston: On the right path

Here at Creative Beeston we are passionate about the endorsement of craft therapy. The merits of art and crafts on mental well-being have been carefully studied, and the work of the Mental Health Foundation found substantial evidence that patients, who are suffering with depression or anxiety, found creative pursuits more successful in helping their symptoms than medical alternatives.

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We are so lucky to have numerous creative opportunities in Beeston and beyond, and most of them do not appear to have any age restrictions. Nevertheless, this did lead me to wonder what specifically we are doing to engage the elderly people in our community? I gave my memory a prod, then I remembered a lady I had been introduced to a while back in relation to community workshops she had been running in local care homes. Promptly I contacted her via her Facebook page and despite a busy schedule, she was more than happy to meet up with me. Taking the tram out of Beeston towards the city then back out again in a less familiar direction, I eventually found her in her bright new office in Clifton.

Karyn started Creative Paths, a Community Interest Company (CIC), working from a tiny attic office at the Voluntary Action Bureau in Beeston, fired by her desire to recreate the benefit of her very first job as a Community Artist, working with mainly elderly and terminally ill patients at Manor Hospital in Derby in the 1980s. Prior to the Community Care Act of 1990 support for the more vulnerable in our society was inadequate. Community Care ensures that people in need of long-term care are now able to live either in their own home, with adequate support, or in a residential home setting.

One of Creative Paths activities is to engage residents in workshops, such as craft, reminiscence and art.   Much of Creative Path’s work is centred around the elderly in care homes and in particular patients who have dementia. As well as the creative outcomes, people benefit from the participation and process of making and creating together. All Creative Paths workshops are designed to be accessible and have elements of sensory work, reminiscence and creativity so that there is something for everyone.

lack of interaction can exacerbate confusion and if people are engaged they tend to be much happier in their surroundings

Other services Creative Paths offer, with the help of community education funding via Inspire, is a range of specialist community learning. Such as the Creative Reminiscence course which runs for five weeks. Residents use photos, objects and memorabilia to stimulate their learning. In the group they share their thoughts on a topic such as childhood and this promotes their social interaction. This can counteract the isolation that many people with dementia can experience due to communication difficulties. Often, as people tend to be from the same area, some common memories spring up and spark natural conversations, which is wonderful to witness as well as being brilliant for the brain.

One of the techniques which is employed is known as Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, which can help the memory and thinking skills of people with mild to moderate dementia and can improve the quality of their life quite dramatically. Often songs are used as a form of stimulus and to promote a theme which can then be built upon. Karyn believes that these sessions are effective in producing positive results. She tells me that a lack of interaction can exacerbate confusion and if people are engaged they tend to be much happier in their surroundings. Evidence suggests there can be less accidents or falls due to their calmer mental state and even the need for medication has been reduced in some cases, all amazing outcomes.

Although Creative Paths are currently delivering learning and workshops in some of Beeston’s residential care homes, their offices recently moved to Clifton.  Creative Paths is now piloting a project in Clifton called Activity Match, where residents are supported with an activity that meets their specific interests. Participant’s unique pastimes are identified and then they are carefully matched with a volunteer who shares similar interests. Volunteers are often unemployed or retired and needing a purpose themselves. The benefits of this service, unlike some of the group projects, is that it addresses individuals’ needs on a one on one basis.

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Karyn also mentions they are providing some family learning opportunities in the Clifton community starting in February.  It is clear she still has a lot of ideas, the energy to realise them and a committed team to deliver this valuable support, that adds significant value to the daily lives of some of our older residents.

Despite humble beginnings, Karyn has persisted with her ambitions to empower the elderly in our community. I can feel warmth emanating from her as we chat over the set of tables she has acquired for her new space. The room we are in is spacious with big light filled windows and I think of my own community projects. Karyn tells me that the room is for hire and can be adapted to suit a range of functions, I make a note of this.

Room bookings can be made via the website http://www.creativepaths.org.uk/ but you can also find them on Facebook. And if you want any proof of the wonderful work they are doing I suggest a scroll through the photographs on either page, they are absolutely brimming with positive creativity that is a pure joy to see.

DU

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