Tuesday 29th September 2020
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Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the September 2020 issue

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As more businesses reopen and plans resume for the expansion of the town’s tourism and leisure provision, there is an air of optimism in Sleaford.

There is a new ‘norm’ on the high street, with all kinds of measures in place to keep visitors, workers and residents safe. But the sense of community spirit is evident too. 

Customers are already enjoying open air dining in a new chapter for Sleaford’s historic Market Place, after North Kesteven District Council gave permission to create three outdoor seating areas. Three businesses – Tiamo Italian, El Toro Cocktail and Tapas Bar, and Market Square Café and Restaurant – are offering space to sit in the sunshine in three new areas, each shaded by parasols.

The seating areas were all up and running in unison for a first full weekend of trading from Friday 31st July, and already feedback is that it is boosting business after the lockdown and creating a ‘holiday feel’ in the centre of Sleaford.

Guests eat and drink under dappled sunlight through the trees and with views of the Market Place’s historic features including the Bristol Water Fountain, Sleaford War Memorial and St Denys’ Church. It has been set up with social distancing and coronavirus hygiene and cleaning procedures in mind.

The work ties in with NKDC’s Sleaford Masterplan, which identified the need to focus on public realm improvements in the town, better links for pedestrians and improved settings for key attractions and heritage assets.

Leader of North Kesteven District Council, Councillor Richard Wright said: “It is fantastic to see the three seating areas in use and being enjoyed by customers, adding a new dimension to the already vibrant and historic Market Place.

“The new seating has created a space to relax, eat and drink at leisure, and we hope this will encourage people in turn to stay longer and make more use of the surrounding traders and businesses.”

El Toro is serving a range of meat, fish and vegetarian tapas along with fresh cocktails from its cocktail lounge and customers are welcome to enjoy food or just a few beverages in the sunshine.

Rick Thomas is co-proprietor with partner Nikki Wakelen-Ball. He said: “The response from customers has been absolutely fantastic. It has been great, everyone is loving it.”

Sam Pavlou is owner of Tiamo Italian, which was first to set up some of the new seating and took 50 calls for table bookings on the first day.

“It is everything we wanted it to be. A lot of people say it has a Mediterranean vibe and they feel like they’re on holiday,” she said.

“We’ve got new, fresh spring and summer dishes that are doing really well. We are all working in connection with each other. It’s lovely.”

Tom Pigott is owner of Market Square Café and Restaurant which serves up a range of drinks and filling meals, from snacks and salads to full English breakfasts and afternoon teas.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their support,” said Tom. “It’s nice to offer a service for our regulars and new customers where they feel safe and able to sit out in a relaxed environment.

“We have even had people who had driven through the town and seen all the parasols out who decided to come into Market Square to park up and come in to visit us.”

All three businesses have taken part in the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which ran throughout August.

Preparations have also resumed for the £1.2 million project to reconfigure, extend and enhance the National Centre for Craft & Design in Sleaford. Work started on Monday 29th June, twelve weeks after appointed contractors Lindum Group were originally set to begin the project.

The programme is anticipated to follow the scope initially set out, with completion now scheduled for May 2021. It will result in an extended café, more ground floor studio and exhibition space, more outdoor seating and will also generally open up the building to make it more accessible.

As well as making the most of the outdoor space in the town, people are being encouraged to get walking or get on their bikes and explore the area around the town.

Lincolnshire County Council has revealed what changes will be made to streets in a number of county towns to make cycling and walking easier.

The Department for Transport granted the council £105,500 from the first round of the emergency active travel fund to support the installation of temporary projects during the recovery from Covid-19. For the second round of funding, due to take place later this year, the council has asked residents to help shape the longer-term projects.

NKDC leader, Councillor Richard Davies, who is also executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “This second tranche of funding is worth over £800,000 for Lincolnshire, so there is more scope for ambitious projects on our roads.

“This is why we’d like residents to let us know where they’d like to see new cycle lanes, widened paths, or road closures. Their ideas will help shape the future of our streets and ensure that any changes we make are the most appropriate and useful to the community.”

Cllr Davies continued: “We were disappointed that the Department for Transport only granted us half the funding we had applied for in the first round. However, we’re already working on our plans for the second round, to make sure we get as much money as possible to make these improvements.”

Work on the emergency active travel fund first round interventions, which include new cycle parking in Sleaford, sits alongside NKDC’s continued ambitions and plans to increase cycling in NK as set out in its North Kesteven Cycling Strategy.

Councillor Wright said: “It’s very encouraging to see cycling and walking moved high up on the agenda and prioritised on such a scale across the country, to support our collective health and wellbeing at this time and to help the environment.

“In North Kesteven we’ve long recognised the physical, mental and environmental benefits of increasing cycling activity, as set out in our North Kesteven Cycling Strategy and our ongoing aims and ambitions to encourage cycling and to work in partnership to increase cycling infrastructure.

“Similarly, we support a network of Stepping Out walks across North Kesteven and most recently celebrated these during the virtual NK Walking Festival in July.

“Both cycling and walking arrangements continue to be an important part of our discussions with developers to make sure these needs are considered and built into new schemes and improvements planned into existing schemes.

“Our vision for North Kesteven is a district where everyone is inspired to cycle. We’re always looking for additional options and opportunities to further enhance cycling and walking in our district, and we look forward to seeing more on how travel could be reshaped through this new plan to further accommodate both.

“When it comes to upgrading our cycling infrastructure, having a coordinated approach that allows cyclists to reach more destinations will have the biggest impact on increasing the rate of cycling and take traffic off our roads.”

The announcement of cycling and walking infrastructure improvements coincided with the launch of the Government’s £50 Fix Your Bike voucher scheme to help further boost cycling.

Council owned leisure facilities in Sleaford have also started to welcome customers back for safe, secure exercise, albeit it in a more limited way and with some timetable changes.

Better Leisure, the charitable social enterprise that operates three leisure facilities locally on behalf of North Kesteven District Council, began a phased reopening of the sites from 25th July.

Extra measures are in place at all sites in line with Government guidance including pre-booking one-hour time slots via the Better app or website and customers being required to arrive ready for their sport, with changing facilities only available on exit for swimming.

Equipment within gym areas has been reduced to ensure that 2m social distancing between users is maintained, while some fitness classes have been relocated to sports halls or even, weather permitting, the open air.

Staff have also adopted a new, enhanced cleaning regime, while customers are asked to wipe down the equipment that they have used.

Better Leisure’s partnership manager, Chris Ord said: “Keeping people safe is now a shared responsibility and our top priority. As a leisure operator we will be working in partnership with customers to ensure their visit is safe. This means things will look a little different, there will be no walk-ups and all visits must be pre-booked.

“We recognise that some people may be worried about returning to their local leisure facilities, so we will continue to offer free access to online fitness and exercise classes via our Better app.”

NCCD REVAMP
Arts and crafts enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that work is now underway on the £1.2 million enhancement project for the National Centre for Craft & Design in Sleaford.

The project, which will see the building in Navigation Wharf reconfigured and extended, was due to start at the beginning of April but due to the coronavirus lockdown it had to be put on hold. Work finally began on 29th June – 12 weeks after it should have commenced.

The programme is anticipated to follow the scope initially set out and completion is now scheduled for May 2021.

North Kesteven District Council leader, Richard Wright said: “After a period of unavoidable delay it was great to see work commence on this landmark project, acting as something of a beacon of hope and a sign of the emerging recovery.

“The Council’s commitment to growth and renewal of not just the economy but also our cultural, environmental and heritage assets is shown through our investment in this and many other projects, signalling our future-focus for the district.”

In order for the work to be carried out safely, some access around the building is cordoned off including the space where the hub meets the river, to allow deck and extension foundation works to take place in one of the early phases of work, and the cut-through from Eastgate car park past the hub to Navigation Wharf.

Signs will be put up to notify pedestrians before they reach these cut-throughs, and if access is safe and can be reopened it will be.

While the refurbishment takes place, NCCD is still open to visitors to the Main Gallery, as well as its shop and café. When completed, the refurbishment will see NCCD boast a new café bar including a new river jetty, a new workshop space, a dance studio, young people’s activity zone and new ground floor gallery.

NCCD is the largest venue in England dedicated to the exhibition, celebration and promotion of contemporary craft and design. It offers a multi-arts programme of exhibitions, events, festivals, community arts projects, artsNK dance, retail and learning and is also home to Design-Nation, one of the UK’s leading professional development organisations for British based designer-makers.

The centre has a number of activities scheduled for the coming months starting with its new exhibition Staging Places, which opens in September. In partnership with the Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD) this exhibition celebrates the diversity of performance designs made locally, nationally and internationally by designers based throughout the UK across a wide range of spaces and genres.

The exhibition shares their processes via set models, costumes, props, photos, drawings and videos and acknowledges the impact of their work on a wider sense of place-making and community.

Staging Places opens to the public on Saturday 19th September, but the centre will be hosting a special opening event on Friday 18th September which, unlike previous opening evenings, will be by invite only to ensure safe social distancing.

Alongside Staging Places, the NCCD will also be hosting works by a selection of theatre designers and artists who work across the region, including Louise Jones.

NCCD Art Club, which was an open call exhibition, has been on display in the gallery this August and will go online this September on the NCCD website.

The Art Club invited amateur and professional artists of all mediums to respond to four arts and health themes, and their experiences of lockdown.

Unfortunately artsNK Dance, which is part of NCCD, is unable to hold its three regular Dance for Parkinson’s classes due to the current situation. However, dance development officer, Emily Luce has created a whole series of video tutorials suitable for people living with Parkinson’s to stay active and healthy.

Other dance programmes may go ahead such as the term time Youth Dance Programme, which is due to return this month, and artsNK Dance – the NCCD dance team – is delighted to be able to offer three new projects thanks to Active Lincolnshire’s Tackling Inequalities Fund.

The projects include a free seated dance video programme for older adults and/or those who have restricted mobility or limited space at home, a free creative dance video programme for adults with disabilities and a free boys’ dance day aimed at boys aged 10-19 and open to those with and without previous dance experience.

There is also an opportunity to find out more about artsNK’s Breakdance Crew.

Emily said: “Since lockdown we have been unable to continue running some of our classes. This included postponing our work in care homes, with older adults in the community and with adults with disabilities.

“We are aware that many of our former participants are now in isolation and are struggling to stay active. This fund has given us the opportunity to reach out to old and new participants and offer creative opportunities that are accessible in the current situation.

“We hope these projects will not only encourage people to get moving but also bring joy and all the other physical, social and psychological benefits dance can offer.”

MUSEUM WELCOMES VISITORS
Another hopeful sign of better things to come was the reopening of venues such as the volunteer-run Sleaford Museum, which has welcomed 15,000 visitors through its doors in the five years it has been open.

The building in Southgate has been deep-cleaned during closure and anti-bacterial hand-sanitising stations are available on site for visitors. In line with social distancing guidelines, there is a one-way system in operation and visitors are restricted to a maximum of four in the building at any one time.

“All staffing members are safe behind screens and everyone has been ‘trained’ in the correct procedures,” explained the museum’s publicity officer, Jan Spooner.

“We have Track and Trace forms for visitors to fill in, gel for cleansing hands and masks are to be worn. Opening was restricted to Saturdays when we reopened and the museum is deep cleaned after every Saturday.”

The reopening was advertised in the local press and on social media. “Balloons were in the window and outside on our poster frame and as we have been open for five years and have had 15,000 visitors, we had an exhibition of many of our past exhibitions put together by the committee of 12 as a celebration of our success,” Jan said. “We had two ladies visiting within five minutes of us reopening and had a total of about 10 visitors on the first day which wasn’t bad for a warm Saturday.”

Sleaford Museum Trust is the charity behind the museum, with fundraising being done through talks by the museum, by outside speakers, by pre-planned visits and donations.

Sleaford used to have a local history museum premises in the Market Place. When the building was sold in 1982, the museum had to close and its collection was kept in storage until another home could be found for its permanent display. With this in mind, the Sleaford Museum Trust was formed in 1994.

In the autumn of 2011, the Trust entered into talks with Sleaford Town Council regarding the possible conversion of the former toilet block in Monument Gardens into a town museum. Under the chairmanship of David Marriage, a group of enthusiastic volunteers successfully applied for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other Lincolnshire organisations supplemented this with donations and Sleaford Town Council provided the building. Four years on, the vision became a reality on 2nd April 2015 when the new museum was officially opened. In its first six months, more than 2,000 visitors walked through its doors.

PERSON-CENTRED CARE
Holdingham Grange is a purpose-built luxury care facility in Sleaford which opened in 2018. The final suite in the home is now ready with a limited number of luxury rooms offered for the discerning, who wish to feel safe in a home-from-home environment.

The professional team at Holdingham Grange strive to provide exceptional social and personal care according to your needs and wishes. They offer a full programme of activities and outings as well as encouraging you to retain links with your community and continue with any hobbies you have.

The pandemic has provided many difficult obstacles in the care industry but through the dedication and sharp intuition of the team, Holdingham Grange residents have been well protected throughout this hard time.

Home manager, Hazel Whittaker said: “We started to restrict visitors at the beginning of March and by 23rd March we had stopped all visitors to the home. At the time, some saw this as a controversial decision but when the reality of the pandemic set in, everyone became very supportive. People who could work from home, such as the administrators, did. We were, and continue to be, supported by senior management remotely.”

Since then, they have increased the number of cleaning hours while managing company, Glenholme, ensured they had sufficient PPE. Residents have been able to keep in touch with their family and friends via Skype, FaceTime and voice calls with assistance from the staff as needed.

One recent reviewer on carehome.co.uk wrote: “Cannot recommend this nursing home enough. My father-in-law resided here for the final few weeks of his life. Covid-19 restricted the visits we could make, which had to be booked in advance, but from those visits, you could see he was being extremely well cared for and being treated with dignity and respect. The home has a clear policy for Covid-19 which is being adhered to. Every member of staff we spoke with was kind and friendly and had his best interests at heart. The accommodation is of a high standard and the home was always clean when we visited. I would strongly recommend it. I work in the care sector and this is an excellent care home.”

At Holdingham, residents are certain to find something they love. There is a bistro in the entrance which is a great meeting place and is also used for functions. Chef Phil provides a choice of food at each mealtime. Alternatively, residents can make specific requests. Snacks and drinks are available 24 hours a day.Residents are provided person-centred care that promotes independence. New residents and their families are encouraged to be involved in developing care plans so the staff know exactly what they need, what they wish for, and their usual routine. There is an in-house hairdresser and the chiropodist visits regularly.

Glenholme will continue its success in Sleaford with the new suite at Holdingham Grange, as well as a new neighbouring specialist dementia home, and two new facilities for people with learning disabilities and complex needs, plus a 61-bed care home in Spalding due to open next year.

If you are looking to make a change, call today to discuss your requirements for yourself or a loved one: 01529 406 000 or visit: www.glenholme.org.uk

CREATING YOUR DREAM DESIGNS
Turnbull’s talented team of kitchen and bathroom design experts in Sleaford are ready to welcome clients and look forward to sharing their expertise in providing a free bespoke professional planning service and designs tailored to suit your home and lifestyle.

Clients are invited to sit down with Turnbull’s friendly and non-commissioned, dedicated designers and enjoy a cup of coffee while going through your “wish list” and discussing ideas with their designers, with the opportunity to browse an extensive range of kitchen and bathroom displays at leisure.

Turnbull, a long established trusted family business dating back to 1895, which celebrated its 125th anniversary this year, was bought by the Hopkins family in the late 1970s. The company has expanded from its original Sleaford base to become a trusted chain with branches across the country and more than 200 dedicated staff continuing to bring innovative products and services to the marketplace.

As one of the biggest investments you can make, a new kitchen or bathroom that reflects your own unique lifestyle and tastes will transform your home.

“Turnbull aims to make your shopping experience a pleasure from the moment you enter our showroom, through to delivery and aftersales. Our team do not work on commission and are dedicated to helping customers create a kitchen which fits their budget and surpasses their expectations.

“Our showrooms, which feature a unique Inspiration Point where clients can mix and match their own mood boards, offer appliances from leading kitchen brands, including Neff, Bosch and Siemens, as well as Quooker boiling water taps and an extensive range of wall tiles, worktops, flooring, as well as handles and fixtures.

“Whether you choose a contemporary, classic or country look, make the most of our latest technology and watch your kitchen come to life with 2D plans through CAD designs and 3D virtual walkthroughs of the space, before you place your order.”

Take the worry out of your new look project – help is on hand from the Turnbull team throughout the ordering and delivery of products right up until the final handover is complete and you can relax and enjoy your stunning transformation.

For more information on Turnbull, visit www.turnbullsonline.co.uk/showrooms and download the latest brochure or see past designs from the talented Turnbull team. Sleaford Kitchens & Bathrooms, Woodbridge Road, Sleaford NG34 7EW

STYLISH JEWELLERY WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH
Established since 1998, Moore & Scrupps is an independent family jeweller, with branches in Sleaford and Bourne. They pride themselves on offering outstanding personal service for every taste and price range.

Owners John Moore and Gary Scrupps, who have more than 40 years’ experience in the jewellery trade, offer an unrivalled collection of traditional and contemporary designs, together with the latest stylish watches.

“Being an independent jeweller allows us to source stock from a wide variety of suppliers, both in the UK and worldwide,” explains John. “Our expert goldsmith carries out all types of restoration and is also able to design and make individual bespoke pieces of jewellery.”

The core range of the Moore & Scrupps business is fine diamonds and 18ct gold jewellery, as well as antique and secondhand jewellery. White metal remains popular too, whether diamonds set in platinum or contemporary silver jewellery. 

The Sleaford branch has been a stockist of Pandora since its entry into the UK market in 2006 and continues to be the number one brand, while Clogau, the Welsh gold jewellery, is available in both branches.

Moore & Scrupps also offers popular leading brands such as Ti Sento, Coeur de Lion, Hot Diamonds, ChloBo and Thomas Sabo, traditional watches including Citizen and Rotary, as well as contemporary makes Skagen and Bering.

Moore & Scrupps’ staff offer an unrivalled shopping experience ensuring there is never any rush to make that all important decision.

“Our friendly personal service is key,” says John, “all customers receive a warm welcome when they visit, together with a world of expertise.”

Moore & Scrupps (Sleaford and Bourne) www.mooreandscrupps.co.uk

YOUR LEGACY IN SAFE HANDS
Recent statistics show that more than 50% of adults in the UK have not made a will, and more alarmingly 74% of cohabiting couples do not have a will. 

Without a valid will, your loved ones will have little control over the inheritance of your estate, which is why it’s so important to take control and make your will today.

“At Ringrose Law, we understand that your life is busy and finding the extra time to make a will can seem like a real hassle. We’ve lots of experience of helping people write their wills and our friendly, professional service will ensure that the whole process is fast, easy and as stress-free as possible for you.

“For expert advice, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can arrange face-to-face appointments, or discuss your requirements over the phone.”

For more information, help and advice contact 01529 301300 or email enquiries@ringroselaw.co.uk

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