Tag: Community

The Dancing Dentist

We take a trip to the dentist…

There can’t be that many people who enjoy going to the dentist. I had an appointment with local dentist Jordan Singh, one of the partners of the Beeston Dental Practice on Devonshire Avenue. But fortunately not for a filling or extraction, but to chat with him about his family’s devotion to bhangra dancing.

Jordan’s father, uncles and cousins all belong to the Sheerer Punjab Bhangra Dance Troup, which began in 1977 by Jordan’s Uncle Narinder. Last year the group made world headlines by dancing with Prince Charles at the annual International Music Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales.

The 1980s was a particular heady time for the troupe; as they won at the Welsh talent contest in 1982 and 83, and went on to perform in America, in such places as North Carolina and Texas. Although they came third in last year’s event, in the Traditional Folk Dance Group section, they are now highly thought of by the people who organise the annual talent contest.

I asked Jordan why he does it. “Well it’s a great opportunity to keep fit and meet up with family members. For the Eisteddfod we would train on Mondays and Fridays for three months. We just went for fun, so it was great that we did so well. Especially as the group that came second were professionals”.

Being a dentist is more hands on (or hands in), and it’s great to see what difference I can make to a patient’s life

The dance itself originates from the Punjab region of North West India. It’s a celebratory dance for the harvest. Jordan added that another reason for doing it is that it’s a strong part of Sikh culture and history, and it’s important to keep this alive for the future. “It was difficult to keep it secret from the other dentists and staff, but when they found out they were excited and impressed. And when word got out, our website got 4000 extra hits, as people wanted to know more. My grandfather came to Britain in 1947, so I am the third generation Singh. Singh means lion in Punjabi. The ‘shee’ in Sheerer also means lion. We are a family of lions!”

You can sense how strongly Jordan feels about the love and friendship of his family. And how close they all are. He has another uncle who is a pharmacist on Glasshouse Street. He makes the colourful costumes, acts as a stand in dancer and works out the choreography. Most of the Singhs appear to be pharmacists, so naturally I wanted to find out why Jordan chose dentistry for a profession.  “Well it meant being at university for another year”, he replied with the typical look of a student who enjoyed being a student and what student life entailed. “Also the way pharmacists’ work is changing. This is down to the influence of doctors. Whereas being a dentist is more hands on (or hands in), and it’s great to see what difference I can make to a patient’s life. To take away their pain. You also get to know the patients well”. Jordan has only been qualified a year, but clearly enjoys his job and the interaction with his patients.

I asked Jordan if he lived in Beeston. “No, I currently live with my parents in Redhill. It’s a 45 minute commute twice a day. An hour and a half wasted every day”. I pointed out that if he lived in Beeston, his travelling maybe could be only four to five minutes. “True. Beeston’s a great place. And such a good selection of places to eat and drink. I’ve enjoyed the food at such places as the Korea House. I may move here one day”.

One subject that Jordan was keen to mention is the fact that he and 8 others of the Singh family will be climbing up Mount Kilimanjaro in January next year. “We are doing it for the ‘When you Wish Upon a Star’ charity. We hope to raise £1500”.  For those that don’t know, the Nottingham based charity was set up in 1990 to grant the wishes of children who were suffering with life threatening illnesses. An inspiring thing to do for such a worthwhile cause.

2017 sees the 40th anniversary of the group and I wondered whether they would be all entering the Eisteddfod next year? “Yes, that’s the plan. It’s a bit like a family outing when we all get together. It will be good to get back into it, even though it can be a bit hard on the knees. I keep fit by playing golf and football. I’m looking forward to it. And they really look after you.  We were all put up in a dormitory and fed lamb curry.”

Next year’s event takes place between the 4th & 12th of August in Anglesey, and I’m sure all of Beeston would want to wish them luck, and in the words of Jordan’s grandfather; “Work hard, enjoy life”.

If anyone wants to sponsor Jordan, he has a Just Giving page. Here’s the web link for it: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jordan-Singh1


RIP Crossplay: Guest article by Mikk Skinner

I recently heard the news that Crossplay Music have called it a day. Never recovered from Tram Works. I know it’s only a shop but…..Chilwell High Road won’t be the same!

I suppose it was inevitable, but the news does none the less leave me with a heavy heart.
Crossplay never recovered from the extremely sad loss of both Mike Gamble & Mad Mick (local music legend, who died suddenly in 2012) when its own heart was ripped out.

Mick asked me to help him after he was left holding shop after Mike Gamble passed away. From June till December 2012 we worked together and those 7 months were the most happiest of times which I remember with great fondness. We had the biggest laugh keeping going when customers were all at The Guitar Spot (not!). Trying to apprehend the Crossplay thief, who visited us for the second time just after I started working there in June and also trying to avoid the reptile skins that kept turning up also entertaining the reps when they often popped in for a chat, tea, coffee and biscuits, and of course having fun playing music.

Mick asked me in to work front of shop whist he carried on with his love of working on and repairing guitars (and other assorted paraphernalia), and making his flutes. He was in fact a far better salesman than I could ever be with his inevitable style and could sell ice to Eskimos.

After Mick’s untimely and sad passing in December 2012 I kept shop going as much as I could on my own until Mike Gamble’s widow finally sold the shop in October 2013. Whist never the same I owe a lot to friends in the Hop Pole Beeston & The Guitar Spot and on Chilwell High Road for keeping me going in Crossplay for a further 10 months

RIP Crossplay, Mike & Mad Mick xxx

Mikk Skinner

As the Co owner of what seemed to outsiders as rival business, we were all about community. We weren’t Tesco and Asda like most idiots think they have to be in small business. Our co existences helped each other and we would always seek each others help with a problem and banter in the pub at night. Condolences to the last owner. Tram works hurt. A thing that most of Chilwell road could agree

Jimmy Wiggins – The Guitar Spot

Welcome to Waspton

There is a town in England you’ve probably never heard of before* which has a lot of similarities to Beeston…

It has the same number of residents, the same average household income, and is on the doorstep of a medium-to-large city, close to a campus university. The town in question is Waspton, and as well as having these things in common with Beeston, also has a lot of differences.


Like Beeston, Waspton has a mixed population of several ethnicities, students, young and old. However there is marked segregation in Waspton, with different groups of people confined to specific areas, with very little in the way of mixing going on. Students living in Waspton aren’t made very welcome, so tend to head into the city to spend their loans. There is a fair bit of racial tension, which is evidenced by graffiti which appears regularly on businesses owned by those from ethnic minorities.

Public transport

Despite being only 5 miles out of the city, Waspton is poorly served by public transport. A ‘service’ is run by one of the national bus companies, which is notoriously unreliable and stops at 8pm. The railway station only sees a train stop there every couple of hours, and a return ticket to the city is very expensive (over £7 for an off-peak return). This means that most people have to get around by car, leading to a lot of congestion. Even short journeys take a long time in Waspton.


Waspton used to have many more pubs than it does now, just like Beeston. However, many more have closed and remained shut in Waspton. Most of them remain boarded up and are vandalised eyesores. The few pubs that remain are not very welcoming – all owned by big pubcos, lacking in character, charm and choice.

Eating out

There are a dwindling number of restaurants in Waspton, which are fairly bog standard and unimaginative – a couple of Indians, a Chinese, and an Italian. None of them get top marks for food hygiene, and one of them is known locally as ‘The Gut Gamble’ because of a reputation for causing food poisoning.

There are however lots of kebab and fried chicken takeaways in Waspton, which are blamed for a lot of anti-social behaviour and litter. Again, none of them get 5 stars from the inspectors, and are responsible for a lot of poorly digestive systems in Waspton.


Just as Beeston does, Waspton has a Lidl, a small Sainsbury and a big Tesco which opened in 2010. The effect of these large retailers in Waspton has been catastrophic for local independents. Within three years of the Tesco opening, Waspton town centre was almost unrecognisable. Now just a mixture of empty units, bookies, payday loan companies, cash for gold and other pawnbrokers, there is little to draw people in from Waspton itself, let alone the surrounding area. Quite oddly, the one business which seems to still do OK there is one of those places where people put their feet into tanks of fish to have the dead skin nibbled off.


Waspton has a fairly high reported crime rate – around twenty times that of Beeston. Noticeable trends over the last few years have been an increase in hate crimes, assaults, muggings and thefts from vehicles. Many people in Waspton do not feel safe in the town centre at night, and the police presence is virtually nil.


The schools in Waspton aren’t anything to shout about, with ‘Good’ being the best Ofsted rating for one out of the 7 primary schools, the rest all being rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’. Of the two secondary schools, one of them is plagued with problems such as bullying, drug-taking, unexplained absences, and regular fights – this just refers to the teachers.


Waspton is very similar to Beeston in that the housing stock is predominantly a mix of Victorian, inter-war, and modern builds. What differs markedly is the house prices, which are around 50% higher on average in Waspton. As mentioned earlier, the average household income is the same in the two towns which mean home ownership is out of reach for a huge number of Wasptonians. Rents are correspondingly high too, particularly since a number of private landlords starting buying up large swathes of property several years ago.

Famous people

Beeston’s most famous son is arguably the fashion designer Paul Smith, followed by the late, great actor Richard Beckinsale. Unfortunately Waspton has only produced a serial killer who murdered five prostitutes in the early 2000s, and Jonathan King’s former chauffer, who was jailed for several offences last year as part of the Operation Yewtree investigation.

All in all, Waspton is not a very pleasant place in which to live. There is very little in the way of entertainment, virtually no community spirit, locals are quite insular and mean-spirited, and incomers keep themselves to themselves as a result of the hostility they face. In contrast to Beeston, it is not somewhere that has a forward-looking feel. Inward investment is low, and a feasibility study into the building of a tram system was shelved halfway through due to local council budget cuts. Anyone who lives in Beeston who thinks that it isn’t up to much should spend a day or even just an afternoon in Waspton to see how good we have it just now.

*You’ve never heard of it because it is actually a made-up place comprising a lot of the rubbish features of Britain today.


Norse Goods

Our thoughts on Odin’s Table…

We all know that Beeston is a cosmopolitan place, but I was surprised to find out how many nationalities are represented among the people living/working/studying here. The most reliable indicator to date comes from an ever-growing list compiled by the owners of Odin’s Table, the relatively new Scandinavian restaurant/cafe/deli situated where Chambers Pet Shop used to be. As well as folk from all the Nordic lands, customers from nearly 40 other countries have graced this smart eatery.

The menu is constantly evolving and includes cakes and pastries, sandwiches, salads, fish dishes, hot and cold drinks, with vegetarian and vegan options

It’s easy to see why the place appeals to people from all four corners of the globe (if that is actually possible – spheres had no corners last time I looked). For example, if you’ve ever been to the food bit in Ikea, you’ll almost surely have tried the meatballs, which are curiously addictive. The Ikea ones however are like a wobbly chipboard flat pack bedside table compared to OT’s bespoke hardwood bureau. Packed full of meaty flavour, they are simply delicious. It might sound weird, but I’m actually looking forward to the upcoming chilly months so that I can eat some in the cold. My favourite way to eat them is with gravy in a roll, but they are great with pasta too.

Meatballs aren’t all that are on offer though. The menu is constantly evolving and includes cakes and pastries, sandwiches, salads, fish dishes, hot and cold drinks, with vegetarian and vegan options. Well stocked shelving and fridges are full of fresh and intriguing delicacies too. The decor is clean, bright and minimal, you will get a warm and friendly welcome, and everything is very reasonably priced.

Beeston has never hosted so many places to eat before, with a huge variety of cuisines on offer. Having to make a decision about where to eat is a nice problem to have, but I’m pretty sure that if you try Odin’s Table then you’ll definitely want to go back.


Super Kitchen

Reasons why we should eat together…

“Taking the time to sit down together over a meal helps to create social networks that in turn have profound effects on our physical and mental health, our happiness and wellbeing, and even our sense of purpose in life.”

The above quote is taken from Breaking Bread, a report published by the University of Oxford, which focuses on the results from a National Survey for The Big Lunch. The report features an array of statistics and graphs that work to illustrate the way many of us feel about mealtimes and life in general. The research proves that there is a strong correlation between eating meals with other people and feeling positive about life. The report also highlights the various physical effects that eating together causes in our bodies, for example, eating with others ‘triggers the endorphin system in the brain’ which provides us with positive and healthy eating experience.


But what has this got to do with Beeston? A brilliant business called Super Kitchen. The ideas raised in the Breaking Bread report make up part of the driving force behind the community café business, and later on this year, Beeston will be saying hello to our very own Super Kitchen! I met up with Marsha Smith, founder and project director, for a friendly endorphin-inducing chat over coffee, hot chocolate and shortbread, to find out more…

Many people are busy, have children, or are on a tight budget when it comes to socialising and organising meals for the family.

Back in 2010, Marsha set up a small community café in Sneinton where she cooked a soup, a main, and a pudding three times a week. It might not sound like much, but ‘that was actually really popular,’ she tells me, ‘people really appreciate fresh food, and if the food is good then they’re quite happy to not have so many choices. I just made the food I wanted to make and asked people to come and eat it.’ This is where the seed of Super Kitchen began to grow.

‘It dawned on me,’ Marsha continues, ‘that our pubs, working men’s clubs and social spaces have diminished over time.’ This is a sound observation when you consider how times are moving on, and what it means to be social nowadays. Many people are busy, have children, or are on a tight budget when it comes to socialising and organising meals for the family. Marsha goes on to say that she ‘recognised there was a real gap in the market, especially if you don’t want to go to the pub when you’ve got children, or don’t want the cost of going out to a formal restaurant.’

At this point, as the café we sat in was getting ever busier with people meeting up for a chat, I started realise how little thought and consideration I had given to the importance of mealtimes, and eating as a family. Marsha pointed out that hungry children had been turning up to her social eating events. ‘I wanted to at least have a go at trying to use the business model for social good, so I repositioned my business as a charity and applied for funding,’ she says, ‘I then ran a year’s project called Family Café. It was a pay as you feel model that ran on surplus food from FareShare.’ FareShare is an organisation that aims to tackle food poverty by saving good food and sending it to charities and community groups like Marsha’s so that it can be turned into delicious and nutritious meals. Working with organisations such as FareShare ensures that the meals are cheaply sourced, which makes them ‘as affordable as possible and economically viable,’ states Marsha.

It was at the end of the Family Café project that various groups started getting in contact, saying “We love your model, but how do you do it?” At which point, in April 2014, Super Kitchen was set up formally. ‘What we did was we said, “we’ve got a replicable model, and we’ll give you our model and help you with food hygiene certification, support, guidance, and a link to FareShare food,”’ explains Marsha. Super Kitchen became like an umbrella, or banner, under which various cafes operate under. They pay an annual membership which covers the cost of everything including the food. ‘That’s how Super Kitchen was built.’

kitchen prep

Within two years, they have gone from one to over forty Super Kitchens, mainly in Nottinghamshire, but there are also some located in Warwickshire, Derbyshire and Leicester. So, what about our Beeston Super Kitchen? ‘We’ll be setting one up at Middle Street Resource Centre,’ she tells me. ‘There will be a monthly social eating event, and you can expect a two or three course meal for about £2.50. It’s probably going to be vegetarian.’

With that in mind, conversation turned back to the core inspiration behind the business, and what positive effects social eating can have for us as human beings. So if you’re wondering what a social eating event is like, Marsha told me exactly what you can expect…

‘People should expect a really affordable, sociable meal that’s got loads of love in it and has been cooked by somebody and hasn’t just been pinged in a microwave. It’s just like a family dinner only on a bigger, more social setting.’

“Making time for and joining in communal meals is perhaps the single most important thing we could do – both for our own health and wellbeing and for community cohesion.” – Breaking Bread.

Visit the website at: http://superkitchen.org/

Jade Moore

Beeston’s Changing Times

We reflect on the changing nature of our town over the years

Photo credit: Joe Earp

Changes to the places where people live are inevitable. Sometimes change is a slow evolution and is hardly noticed. At other times, as with the trams, the change is sudden and dramatic and has a huge impact. There are those who will remember the building of the shops of the Square in the 1960’s, the Bus Station and Multi-storey Car Park. This development took away the ancient centre of the old village, which was once around the crossroads of Middle Street, Dovecote Lane and Church Street, close to the Manor House. It was here that the medieval cross once stood, probably where the War Memorial now stands. Although there are no written records, it is likely that the cross was the focus for a busy and thriving market.

The cross was taken down in 1860 and its stones used in a nearby wall. Here it remained until 1926 and its chance discovery by local historian and headmaster, Arthur Cossons. Cossons had the fractured stump of the 14th century cross shaft re-erected close to his beloved school on Church Street, where it still stands, now marked with a ‘Blue Plaque’.

Beeston as we know it largely owes its existence to the development of a Saxon village close to the Trent and Derby Road. This village was surrounded by pasture and grazing land from which it takes its name (Bes – rye grass and tun – settlement or farmstead). The origin of this ancient name is still preserved in the name Beeston Rylands, to the south of the town.

The plague carried away a third of Beeston’s population of between 300 and 350 souls. Their bodies were interred in a communal grave on the east side of the Churchyard, adjacent to where ‘Wilkos’ store was.

At the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066, the then village had three Saxon Manors belonging to Alfag, Alwine and Ulchel. By 1086 these had passed to the Lordship of William Peverel. Although there is no mention of a church in Beeston at the time of the Domesday (1086) it is likely that one existed. When Peverel endowed his Priory at Lenton he gave the ‘living of the church’ and the right to appoint a vicar to the monks. Probably under their influence, the simple wattle and daub structure evolved into a substantial stone building on the site of the present church.

Photo credit: Joe Earp

For the next 400 years not only the Church but the whole of Beeston and its villagers came under the control of the powerful Lenton Priory. By the year 1538, the year of the Priory’s Dissolution under Henry VIII, the medieval building had reached its height. It was in this year that the plague carried away a third of Beeston’s population of between 300 and 350 souls. Their bodies were interred in a communal grave on the east side of the Churchyard, adjacent to where ‘Wilkos’ store was. This was later to be known as ‘the plague hole’.

Approximately where the Wilkinsons store was, were cottages known as ‘The Poor Row’. These simply built homes were given to the poor of the parish where they could live rent free. The cottages were demolished in 1844/45. What became of the poor unfortunates whose homes they were is not recorded.

Briefly interrupting the story of the area of Beeston directly affected by the Tram extension; Beeston saw one of its greatest changes in the early 19th century. It was at this time with the growth of the weaving industry that Beeston’s status changed from village to town. The first silk mill was built in the ‘new town’ in 1826. In 1831, after suffering various fortunes and a number of owners, the mill had passed into the hands of William Lowe.

In Victorian Beeston, the cycle of demolition and rebuilding continued. In 1842 the medieval church was surveyed and, with the exception of the chancel, found to be unsafe. Demolition of the old church was completed by 1843 and re-building around the medieval chancel completed by 1844.

Despite the increased industrialisation of the town, the illustration of the church at this time shows an idyllic scene, with sheep grazing in the surrounding pasture, something hard to imagine today. Not only do individual fields and closes survive, but their names survive on existing maps betraying a history which stretches back beyond the town’s Saxon roots.

One such plot to the east of the church, where the Argos store now stands, was known as Roundhill. Across the Square, around the area now covered by Lloyds/TSB Banks, was Roundhill Gardens. The Round Hill to which the names refer was an ancient Bronze Age Tumulus which occupied the site of the Wollaton Road Methodist Church. It was upon the summit of this grassy knoll that the village stocks were fixed. Stocks were introduced to every village during the reign of Edward III, in 1376 and continued to be used until 1840. They were used for the detention of minor criminals, drunkards and the like, who could be detained for a few hours at the pleasure of the local authority.

A little way to the west of the Round Hill, on the site of the old Town Hall, was another village institution, the Pinfold. This was a walled or fenced enclosure which projected a little way into the road. It was used to confine cattle and sheep which had strayed from their fields. The duty of ‘rounding-up’ these strays fell to an official called the pinder, who was elected annually at Easter. When you are next travelling on the Tram through Beeston, consider it as your personal time-machine and think of the history contained within this short journey.


Greetings from The Postcard Poet

A Beeston writer discovers what home really means

Recently, I’ve got back into writing letters. I got myself a pen pal via the social media platform Instagram, and started writing. Then, I noticed that my pen pal was also writing to someone called ‘thepostcardpoet’, and being a collector of postcards and a poet, I checked out her Instagram account. Here, I was faced with a colourful array of photos of various postcards. I clicked on one and saw the address the postcard had been sent to. Beeston. I thought, ‘Wow! That’s where I live!’ and I left her a comment telling her this.

So, why was a girl from Beeston receiving postcards from all over the world? I decided to meet her and find out. We met for coffee in The Bean…

Emily Richards is currently doing an MA in Writing at Warwick University, but has moved to Beeston with her boyfriend Pete to go on to do a PHD in Creative Writing at the Uni of Nottingham. On asking her where she had received postcards from so far, I was told a multitude of countries and towns that are best illustrated by the map of the world that Emily keeps on her bedroom wall and updates with every postcard she receives. But, for your interest, here are some of the brilliant places they have arrived from: Montreal, Canada; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Cape Town, South Africa; Brisbane and Warriewood, Australia. And in the UK: Brighton, Birmingham, London, Newtown, Coventry, Dublin, Durham, Devon, Sheffield, Preston…and of course, Beeston (I sent her one!)

‘The project started,’ she tells me, ‘because my poetry teacher, Jonathan Skinner, showed us all the small press poetry books he’d made and received in his life. Lots of them were poetry zines shared by post, and one was a collection of postcards from poets in Boston.’ The idea of using the postal service to share poetry appealed to her, and she goes on to tell me that she’d been listening to a poet ‘talking about how William Wordsworth used Dorothy Wordsworth’s diary to create his poetry.’ The combination of sharing poetry via the post, using other people’s words, and being inspired by your home ‘all fed into the idea,’ she says.

The project took me all the way to the other side of the world then back to Beeston.

The project’s aim is to ‘collate worldwide perspectives on home’ and I asked her if the project had turned out the way she thought it would when she first began it. Originally, she wanted to create a collection of poetry by taking lines from the postcards, but once postcards started arriving, she discovered something different. Rather than reading poetic lines, she was reading about people. Regarding the theme of ‘home’, she discovered that ‘everyone has the same opinion of what home is, no matter where they live or how old they are. Home is a state of mind, a place where they feel comfortable.’ As a response to this, rather than asking people to write about what home means to them, she asks that they write about themselves and where they live. ‘This gets more personal answers,’ she says. It means that rather than finding poetic inspiration, she has found the voices of other people. After I had initially contacted her, telling her I was from Beeston, she said: “It’s amazing the project took me all the way to the other side of the world then back to Beeston.”

During our meeting, amid discussions of home and what home means, I asked her what Beeston as a home means to her since she moved here. As someone who has lived here my whole life, I was curious to know what Beeston is like through the eyes of an outsider. Since one of her hobbies is walking, she’s found that wherever she is ‘walking around makes me feel at home’, but Beeston (and the surrounding area) specifically? She enjoys ‘walking and running around Highfields’ and she and Pete did a café crawl on which they discovered Greenhood Coffee House. Emily also tells me how much she enjoys the pub quiz at the Crown.

Towards the end of our meeting, we had an unexpected visitor…her boyfriend Pete turned up, so we both wasted no time asking him what he thinks of Beeston as his new home. He said that what makes him feel at home is ‘having regular places to go, shop and eat. Getting a familiar routine associated with a place.’ This routine can be as simple as ‘shopping at supermarkets and figuring out the bus routes’.

Emily is keen to get more people from Beeston to send her postcards, in the hope of finding that people might have different perspectives on the same place. If you want to find out more, then visit Emily’s blog at: poetryinpink.com or follow her Instagram account dedicated to the project where you will find a link to a blog post containing all the info you’ll need: @thepostcardpoet

Jade Moore

Citizens Advice

We talk to a valuable service at the heart of our town


On a Friday morning in March, I was sat on the chairs reserved for those waiting for a meeting with Citizens Advice Broxtowe. There was one other person there. Then a few more people turned up, and started handing out cards with numbers on. I politely declined. I wasn’t there for advice. I was there to meet Sally Bestwick, a friendly woman who gave me a wealth of information, on account of being a brilliant talker! She is the current Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Broxtowe, a service that is available to anyone and, says Sally, “advises on absolutely anything.” She emphasises that people might not be aware that Citizens Advice is a charity and relies entirely on donations and funding in order to keep going.

In April CAB hosted a fundraising concert with BeVox, a community choir which frequently performs to raise funds for various charities. This is “one of the biggest fundraisers [Citizens Advice has] done” says Sally. She hopes that it will raise a lot of money and give CAB the chance to make sure people know that they are “a small, independent charity that could be gone in a flash.” Sally emphasises to me how vital their services are, stating that “once the CAB is gone you don’t get it.” Derby suffered this fate. Let’s not allow Beeston’s CAB to go the same way.

For those of you who aren’t clued up on the history of Citizens Advice, it was set up in 1936 “in response to the start of the war,” Sally tells me. With the men going off to fight in the war, the women “were left struggling financially [and] didn’t know what they were entitled to in terms of any benefits or help from the army,” says Sally. So, where did it actually start? Surprisingly, it wasn’t somewhere official like our Beeston Offices, but “really bizarre places like people’s front rooms or horse boxes.” I laugh at this, surprised but pleased to realise that CAB is a service that was set up very much in the spirit of Keep Calm and Carry On, by people that were “willing to volunteer and help each other.” Since its beginning, “it’s evolved into [a] massive, volunteer-led organisation.” This is something even I didn’t know until, whilst waiting for my meeting with Sally, I saw the volunteers arrive. They seemed a cheerful and friendly bunch, ready to offer quality advice to those who need it.

Just to keep going the charity needs “approximately £350,000 a year.”

Gone then are the days of horse boxes, so I asked Sally where you can go for advice today. For us Beestonians, we can of course go to the Council Offices and find CAB on the ground floor. You can also find Outreach services in Stapleford Heath Clinic, which is open three days a week, Kimberley Health Clinic on a Monday morning, Hope on Boundary Road on a Wednesday morning, and also at Tesco Toton on a Tuesday Morning. Again, I was surprised. Citizens Advice in a supermarket! Sally states that the opening of an outreach service in Tesco Toton is “the first of its kind”, a new initiative that emphases how important it is for CAB to reach as many people as they can.

Sometimes, people will be in need of help and advice, but won’t take that first step to get it, so having this service in a local supermarket means that you can be discreet, do your shopping, and get some advice too. If CAB doesn’t receive enough funding, it simply isn’t possible for them to run these kinds of services.


Just to keep going the charity needs “approximately £350,000 a year.” Most comes from lottery grants, Nott’s County Council, and Broxtowe Council, and as CEO a lot of Sally’s time is spent fundraising, making applications and doing funding bids to try to reach that yearly amount. Some money comes from donations, but these are usually small so fundraising events are vital. They also help CAB to connect with the community, and in the past they have attended Beeston Carnival to do this as well as raise funds.

Sally emphasises that Citizens Advice is a professional business with both paid and volunteering staff. “The volunteers,” she says “get paid in tea and biscuits” but mainly the money that comes in is spent on wages for the paid staff, and the rest on infrastructure to ensure they have certain things in place like good IT, which they rely on heavily to give the quality of advice that they offer. To train the volunteers it costs £1600 per individual. There are currently 60 such volunteers, and CAB employs a trainer and two service managers to ensure the volunteers are well trained.

However, they are facing challenges at the moment due to the growing demand for the service and the need to raise the funds to accommodate this. Sally tells me that “welfare reform and universal credit is only just coming into Broxtowe, so the demand for the service is going to increase in the next 18 months.” This is because as soon as universal credit starts to hit families “they are going to struggle and there will probably be delays in their payments as well,” she says. “The welfare reform is supported by Citizens Advice, but it’s the way they’re implementing it that worries us.”

After concluding the interview, we carried on talking, and Sally is very keen to stay in contact, and has hinted at the potential for another article about the friends of Citizen’s Advice, and how you can get involved. In the meantime, be mindful of the service we have at the heart of Beeston, and don’t be afraid to use it!

You can learn more about CAB at http://www.broxtowe.gov.uk in the Advice Help & Support section.

Jade Moore

Gossip from the Hivemind: May 2016

Early reports of late eighties kids-tv hero Pob roaming the streets of Beeston were found to be a case of mistaken identity, as confirmation came in that actually it was Michael Gove. The queen-conversation snitch was at Boots to talk about why leaving the EU will automatically gift everyone in the UK a billion pounds, some chocolate and three kittens. Using Boots, whose history of tax-avoidance has been reported in this publication over the years, and who recently were found to be exploiting the NHS for profit was probably not the best choice. Or maybe it was perfect.


Spotted heartily applauding was erstwhile used car salesman and current head of Broxtowe Borough Council Richard Jackson. After recently failing to abolish Broxtowe Borough Council, now he has the eye on the EU. As his boss Anna Soubry MP is a staunch pro-European, we can only imagine the icy atmosphere on a Friday night down the Conservative Club


Inside this issue, our new editor Christian met with the guy behind the ‘unsafe cycle lane’ graffiti along the tram route. Not wanting to be outdone, the council threw some new paint of their own down. Now, the unsafe utterly baffling routes are a deep red colour. Not at all helpful, but it does a great job of disguising the blood from accidents


Being a mischievous bunch, we weren’t going to let April 1st pass without a prank on our Facebook page. So we led with a hoax claiming that the Chilwell army base had been bought by Donald Trump, who planned to build a leisure resort there. Oh how we laughed. And then someone pointed out we totally missed the obvious joke that it could have been bought by the outgoing president and renamed “Chetwyn Baracks Obama”. We kicked ourselves



Huge congrats to local film legend Shane Meadows, who picked up another BAFTA late last month to further decorate his crowded mantelpiece. We recall when filming Beestonia: The Movie (YouTube it kids!), we bumped into him on Chilwell Road. “Can we grab a photo of you, if that’s ok?” we asked. “If you’re filming, I’ll be in it” said the guy behind Dead Man’s Shoes and This is England. A quick script change later, and we found ourselves directing our favourite director. Not only a massive talent, but a damn fine chap as well


Beeston Inspired

‘Inspire’ is a rather fitting name for a company looking to run a library. To my mind I can think of no better use of public resources than to hand a child a book. With each word their experiences grow, their world develops and they become greater. There is no better investment than that of education and for poorer households, and students like myself, the library has become a vital educational hub. 

The Beeston Library has recently become the centre of a scare in the local community. Lord B. was already drafting placards by the time Councilor Kate Foale put fears to rest. In the wake of ‘toiletgate’ and the closure of the post office a brief and terrifying threat seemed to loom over the Library itself. The reality is thankfully not a closure but a change of hands. This change of hands will leave Beeston Library under the management of Inspire, a non-profit organization set up by Nottinghamshire County Council with a focus on the arts. Their remit includes libraries, music lessons, and supporting educational activities in the community. For Beeston this means maybe two major things: the library is staying but will be under new management, and that the library may be refitted to accommodate some of these other aims. They hope this will allow the Library to respond more rapidly to the changing demands of the community. Councillors have suggested that this refurbishment will take around 6 months and that in the process the library will absorb other services.

One perk of Inspire’s status is that it must be responsive to the public will. Their website is incomplete but currently the focus is on signing people up to their mailing lists and inviting members to their annual general meeting. Hopefully this means that the people of Beeston will get a greater say in how the library provides services. They certainly seem keen as over 4000 people signed up to have their say within a month of Inspire opening. Membership is of course free and all members will have an opportunity to stand for election to Inspire’s board.

In a comment to the Nottingham Post County Councilor John Knight, who chairs the committee for culture, seemed enthused about the project. He pointed to the current popularity of libraries throughout the county, having lent over 3 million books in the last year. He is hopeful that Inspire’s cultural events will allow for a greater sense of community to build around the library. With any luck these cultural events will be yet another chance to show off Beeston’s beating metropolitan heart, much like the various film nights at Cafe Roya and the White Lion.

Generally those I spoke to seemed optimistic, particularly hoping the move would allow for greater responsiveness to the wishes of Beestonians. Many however also seemed frustrated by yet another refit, especially given that “it hardly seemed 5 minutes since the last one”. One of the other local concerns raised regarded exhibitions by local artists. These were moved last year to a larger venue in an upstairs room at the library, much to the consternation of art lovers who pointed out that few people knew such a venue existed.

Overall the Library appears to be in safe hands with Inspire. Despite my own worries that this is a step towards the privatisation of local services, the democratic nature of the community group seems to be designed to keep the public involved. It also seems like a great opportunity for Beeston to once more show off its cultural variety. Hopefully the library can be a hub for Beeston’s seeming renaissance.