Sleaford all set for culture and creativity
New investment and funding for the town is helping to develop local talent in the arts, with wildlife also set to benefit. By Kate Chapman.
It is home to a well-established, vibrant arts scene and now Sleaford’s links with craft, design and dance are set to flourish further thanks to additional funding.
grant awarded to North Kesteven District Council will secure delivery of the district’s arts service over the next three years, ensuring the continuation of the cultural programme delivered by the Hub.
The arts centre, in Navigation Wharf, already holds England’s largest exhibition space for craft and design as well as galleries, a dance studio, design workshop plus space for talks, classes, demonstrations, competitions and performance.
The additional money will enable the council to sustain the positive contribution it makes to the Arts Council’s Let’s Create Strategy. The cash injection is a share of more than £6m heading into Lincolnshire as Arts Council England backs culture and creativity across the country through to 2026 – ensuring that more people in more places can find fantastic, fulfilling art and culture on their doorsteps.
North Kesteven District Council Leader, Cllr Richard Wright said: “This is excellent news not only for the programme of exhibitions, dance, community outreach and core functions at the Hub that we promote for North Kesteven, but also in the development of a vibrant cultural programme across Lincolnshire.
Having recently invested £1.2m in the transformation and expansion of creative spaces within the Hub and seen it flourish and grow as a literal hub for the community and cultural activity within Sleaford, it is particularly encouraging that Arts Council England is continuing to recognise Hub-Sleaford as an established and renowned cultural organisation integral to its national portfolio.
“This was seen and experienced to great effect through last spring’s RiverLight Festival, where the Hub and its team was critical to a broad cultural collaboration so much greater than the sum of its parts, that really lifted the town and proved the power of arts engagement in facilitating economic and communal bounce back from the pandemic.”
added: “We want creative communities in every corner of the country to have the opportunity to thrive, which is why we’re delighted to be supporting the Hub-Sleaford over the next three years. The partnership will give local people the opportunity to take part in a range of cultural activities from visual to performing arts and it’ll be great to see them engage with audiences in the heart of Lincolnshire.
“We’re delighted to unveil our ambitious new portfolio, reaching more people in more places across Lincolnshire than ever before.
“The Arts Council is investing more money outside London, and we’re introducing five new organisations locally. Lincolnshire already boasts a vibrant cultural scene with an international reputation, and we look forward to supporting more opportunities for even more communities across the region to experience creativity on their doorsteps.”
FREE GUIDED CYCLE RIDES
Women who have a bicycle they haven’t ridden in a while, or who are looking to gain more confidence on the road, can take advantage of free guided cycle rides in the Sleaford area.
Zoe Myall, who runs fitness business Wellness Lincs, is offering the rides to women of all abilities in her role as Breeze champion volunteer.
Breeze is an initiative by British Cycling to help women get out on their bikes in a supportive environment and make new friends along the way.
The rides are carefully planned and take in routes around Sleaford, Ruskington, Billinghay, Tattershall, Woodhall Spa and Coningsby.
Zoe said: “Rides will be offered from five to around 15 miles and you can book on a ride that suits you. We’ll always include a coffee stop!
“The rides are perfect if you have a bike at home that you haven’t ridden in a while, or want to build your confidence in cycling, or simply want to join a friendly group and ride more.
“They will be non-competitive and are purely for enjoyment, while taking in the scenery and socialising. The benefits of cycling are not only increased fitness levels but also benefits to mental health too, as you find yourself surrounded by the natural environment and nature.
“There’s no need to buy any special clothing for the rides. Lycra is not a necessity, but we do ask people to wear helmets.”
At the beginning of each ride, Zoe will talk through how to complete a basic safety check on your bike, including checking tyres and gears, and she will also give tips on how to get the most out of your bike and use gears effectively.
“We don’t leave anyone behind on the rides and there’s no pressure to ride at a certain speed. We all stick together!” she added.
To find out more about the rides, which restart in January, visit www.letsride.co.uk/breeze
You can also follow Wellness Lincs on Facebook or email Zoe at firstname.lastname@example.org
RIVER WILDLIFE SET TO FLOURISH
A raft of works to ensure wildlife can flourish along the River Slea and at Lollycocks Field have successfully taken place.
The £1.29 million Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Project involved works along the River Slea, in Sleaford, and the Witham, in Grantham.
Local contractor Lions has completed in-channel works between the Hub and the Nettles in Sleaford to help improve biodiversity.
Five new berms have also been installed near the Hub.
These are low-level shelves constructed in a river channel, which help recreate the natural meander and processes of the water, especially where rivers are otherwise hard-lined with brick or concrete, such as the Slea around the Hub. They help narrow the river in low flows, so even in summer water can move downstream and keep the riverbed clear for fish which need silt-free gravel to lay their eggs.
The in-channel works will also help insects and invertebrates to thrive by creating habitat and variety in the river, and by next year will be vibrant pockets of green with plants such as marsh marigold and water forget-me-not.
Other bankside improvements in the Slea involved removing a material called Nicospan downstream and replacing it with pre-planted coir roll. This will improve the riverbank for species which need to burrow, like the water vole, and will develop into lush greenery.
“I’m very pleased to see the berms successfully installed and the vital new space they provide for insects and fish, which when boosted in variety and numbers will hopefully attract other key species.
“With more fish to predate on, kingfishers for example could become a more common sight along the Slea. High-quality and accessible riverbank and wetland is also exactly what Britain’s fastest-declining mammal, the water vole, so desperately needs, if it is to survive.
“By taking action like this through the Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Project and our wider plan on climate, we can protect the wildlife we have and increase the chances of it flourishing,” said Cllr Mervyn Head, North Kesteven District Council executive board member.
The kingfisher nesting bank at Lollycocks Field is complete. It is now a safe space for kingfishers to nest and can be observed from the platform across the pond to help ensure they’re not disturbed.
It was constructed by Hill Holt Wood, the contractor for the Looking After Lollycocks project under the wider Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Scheme. Eleven tonnes of granite and six tonnes of soil were used, with the soil repurposed from two new scrapes already dug for wildlife onsite. It’s also coated on the outside in clay plaster.
An interpretation board will be installed opposite, near the boardwalk. Other work has included an extended boardwalk around the pond, improving access for everyone while protecting vegetation and wildlife around the area from disturbance at ground level.
New benches have been added and there are further benefits to wildlife including fen and neutral grassland management, new hedgerow, wildflower and bulb planting, and traditional coppicing over the winter months to improve conditions for ground-level plants, which will all help pollinators.
The majority of the works planned at Lollycocks are now finished, although further volunteering opportunities will be listed at www.hillholtwood.co.uk/lookingafterlollycocks
For more information on the works along the river, visit www.withamsleabluegreencorridor.co.uk
The project is being delivered in partnership with South Kesteven District Council, North Kesteven District Council, the Environment Agency, National Trust and the European Union. It is also supported by the Lincolnshire Rivers Trust and local landowners. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has provided 60 per cent of the project cost, with the remaining 40 per cent coming from the four funding partners.
ARE YOU A BUDDING POET?
Budding poets are being urged to get their entries in for the Sleaford Slam Poetry Contest, taking place at Sleaford Little Theatre on Saturday 25th February.
All ages are eligible, and entries will be selected in advance by the Mayor. Those wishing to perform need to send three of their own poems and contact details by email to email@example.com or post them to The Mayor Sleaford Town Hall, Quayside, Navigation Yard, Sleaford, Lincs NG34 7TW.
The event, which starts at 7.30pm, is being held in aid of the Mayor’s chosen charities, EDAN Lincs and the RAF Association.
over 18, while under 18s, students and over 65s pay £8. Everyone will receive a free raffle ticket upon entry.
INSPIRED IDEAS FOR KITCHENS & BATHROOMS
As Turnbull’s longest established and original branch, the Sleaford showroom which is the largest in the area, has become firmly established as the trusted home of quality designs and inspirational ideas.
With more than 40 years’ experience, this well established family-run business has earned a highly regarded reputation as an exceptional and professional business, which puts the needs of its clients first.
Turnbull’s many loyal customers remain dedicated to buying local and supporting a trusted brand with a reputation for delivering on both quality and service.
Visit Sleaford’s Woodbridge Road site where you will be guided by the team of helpful staff and find high quality products from selected leading manufacturers such as Merlyn, Rotpunkt, NEFF and Quooker, plus many brands exclusive to Turnbull.
Take a look at the many contemporary and traditional styles in the well laid out showroom with 13 kitchen and 30 bathroom displays to help inspire you.
Here you can also talk to Turnbull’s experienced kitchen and bathroom designers about personalised layouts and solutions to suit your individual taste and needs.
From cloakrooms and utility rooms to master ensuites and open plan family kitchens, Turnbull offers a free kitchen and bathroom design service to all customers in search of their ultimate dream spaces.
Turnbull also provides free hyper-realistic 3D renders of spaces to customers before they buy.
Open from 8am to 5pm Monday-Friday and 8am to 12.30pm on Saturday.
Enjoy a visit to the award-winning showroom in person: Turnbull Kitchens & Bathrooms Unit 7 Woodbridge Road, Sleaford NG34 7EW, or head to the website for inspiration and to see examples of previous work: www.turnbull.co.uk/showrooms
QUEENS HEAD REVEALS EXCITING PLANS
Award-winning pub and restaurant in Kirkby-La-Thorpe continues to go from strength to strength.
2022 HAS been a truly remarkable year for Francis and Erin Taylor of the Queens Head, Kirkby-La-Thorpe near Sleaford. Having survived post-Covid challenges, the business is now going from strength to strength, with repeated 5-star reviews.
With a range of exciting plans the team are now looking forward to a prosperous 2023 as the Queens Head solidifies its position as the venue of choice in south-west Lincolnshire for the highest quality, local, freshly cooked food.
A distinguishing feature at the Queens Head, and something the team pride themselves on above all else, is the creativity and variability of the menus on offer, both in the bar and à la carte restaurant.
Head chef Barry Liversidge is renowned for selecting the finest seasonally available produce for his crew of master chefs to truly highlight the beauty of ingredients that are harvested and enjoyed at their optimum time of the year.
This season featured dishes include roasted Gelston rump of lamb served with seasonal braised red cabbage with Bardney ‘Spud Barn’ buttery mash and a sun-dried tomato, red pepper and apple risotto served with home-made vegetable crisps.
Barry has confirmed that new menus will continue to arrive throughout 2023 and with a remarkable 50% off all food from the 9th to the 31st January, there isn’t a better time to visit and experience the amazingly warm and tasty welcome.
Situated just off the main A17, the Queens Head is an ideal location for travellers looking for some tasty sustenance on their journey. And with an ever growing industrial presence in nearby Sleaford, the pub has recently revamped its spacious conservatory into a business meeting space complete with lightning speed 1GB Fibre Internet.
Fuelled by the fantastic success of the pub, the Queens Head team are excited to announce that 2023 will also be a great year for new ventures as they are planning to open a new café in Kesteven Street in Sleaford.
Further details of this and other menu updates will be announced via the pub’s social media channels.
For more info visit www.thequeensheadpub.com
Photographs: Mick Fox