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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the December 2017 issue

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It has been an active and award-winning year for communities and organisations in the Lincolnshire market town of Boston.

A task group has spent almost two years investigating ways in which the town could be more prosperous and some of the recommendations put forward have already been actioned, including the launch of a new website assisting and encouraging those who want to visit Boston.

The Prosperous Boston Group completed the review in three stages, taking evidence from all-comers about shops, the market and public toilets, car parking, cleanliness and antisocial behaviour, provision of flora and art, transport links and tourism, events, promotion and accommodation.

Feedback highlighted the need for better signage to toilets, a better web presence, smarter promotion for markets and events and an increase in the number and variety of events.

Already the number of public toilets in town has been increased, the number of environmental enforcement officers has been increased and more events have taken place.

New signage and information boards for visitors have also been installed and there has been improved landscaping.

Major works are now underway at Boston Borough Council’s offices in West Street to provide an improved one-stop shop for public services.

The Municipal Buildings is Edwardian and was designed and built with high-ceilinged spacious offices in the style of the day, accommodating the council, the police (complete with cells), the fire service and the library.

The building has been occupied only by borough council staff. But a revolution has been underway for some time now, to make better and more economic use of the space.

Large rooms, which previously accommodated just a few staff, have been merged with neighbouring offices to create large open-plan, modern offices for many more staff.

This has enabled new ways of working, leading to improved use of shared space, equipment and facilities and seamless communication between departments.

Better use of available space has led to the probation service, the registrar’s office and a range of other Lincolnshire County Council services being accommodated within Municipal Buildings.

And now the current remodelling work will allow the Department for Work and Pensions to move in. This generates much-needed revenue for the council, achieves significant accommodation savings for the DWP and will provide a more efficient service for the public.

Councillor Martin Griggs said: “Municipal Buildings will be even more of a one-stop shop for residents and will provide a bright, new front-of-house for all existing services.”

The capital works, amounting to more than £1.2 million, are being fully funded by the Treasury. Major funding has also been released for the 2018 Boston in Bloom campaign.

The Coaching Inn Group, which owns The White Hart Hotel, has made £2,000 available to support the completion of the Art Deco style garden in Central Park while Boston Seeds has made £1,000 worth of seed and bulbs available to the Bloom group to enhance the local environment.

In addition, Dudley Bryant and Ralph Ottey are giving £2,000 worth of support beginning with a £1,000 cheque for a planter and trees to be put in Central Park.

Chairman of Boston in Bloom Group, Alison Fairman said: “It is fantastic that local companies and individuals are recognising the value of Boston in Bloom and its impact on the town and the local community.”

Boston Borough Council’s portfolio holder for open spaces, Councillor Claire Rylott said it was brilliant news that local businesses are backing Boston in Bloom.

“We are grateful for their generous support, particularly at the current time of austerity when public funds are very limited,” she said.

The major funding boost comes after Boston in Bloom and partners secured their third successive gold award in the Large Town Category of the East Midlands in Bloom Awards ceremony.

Boston hosted this year’s awards at the Stump, declared by one of the judges to be the most impressive venue for the awards in the past thirteen years.

The judges said: “We met many volunteers of all ages, organisations and businesses who were fully supporting the Bloom campaign. It was also good to see business support continuing.”

Alison Fairman added: “We are delighted with a third gold. It is a vindication for the town and its efforts to become a visitor destination.

“The 260 delegates from all over the East Midlands were astounded by the magnificence of the church, the smoothness of the organisation, and the Market Place. Judge Jeff Bates, Chairman of East Midlands in Bloom, said it was the finest venue that the Royal Horticultural Society has had in his thirteen years as chairman.”

Work has been going on in Boston’s Westgate Woods to create a memorial space to remember Lincolnshire’s road accident victims. A tarmac base has been laid for a path to the area and a memorial stone has been purchased and engraved.The project aims to provide a space that is accessible by all, for relatives, friends and colleagues to come and remember those who have died in tragic circumstances on the county’s roads.

Boston Woods Trust, which owns and manages the woodland on the outskirts of Boston, made the area available, alongside one of the avenues which all point towards Boston Stump in the distance.

The Trust successfully bid for a £10,000 Heritage Lottery Grant to help pay towards the cost of the path, with the memorial committee adding its contribution. Wild flowers inside an avenue of lime trees will border the pathway, which will have a stone finish in keeping with the natural look of the woodland area. The Lakeland green slate memorial, suitably engraved with a dedication and symbolic footsteps, will be laid into the path.

A series of charity events, supported by individuals and local groups and businesses, have seen around £25,000 raised since the appeal was launched last May.

Looking ahead to 2018, plans are already in the pipeline for special events to get communities out and about. Preparations are already being made for a repeat of the outdoor cinema experiences which were enjoyed by so many in Boston’s Central Park this summer.

Kristina Willoughby, the town centre services manager, said: “It was the first time this had been done, and the audiences and enjoyment the people had means we will be back next summer.”

The popular 1940s event is also returning to Boston next year. Boston Big Local has confirmed that funding will be available for a repeat of this year’s event in Central Park which was the first of its kind and attracted more than 2,000 visitors keen to experience the brighter side of the war years.Live music, singing and dancing from the era was topped off with a Hurricane flypast from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Organiser Fran Taylor, from Boston Borough Council’s events team, said: “We had marvellous feedback from lots of people wanting to know if we’d do it again. Now, with generous support from Boston Big Local, the 1940s will return to Boston next summer.”

Richard Tory, chairman of the Boston Big Local Partnership Group, said: “The Boston Big Local Events Committee agreed to help fund next year’s event in acknowledgement of the popularity of such events across the generations, allowing them to jointly celebrate our heritage.”

BOSTON PLAYGOERS
Entertainment has been a key feature for the communities of Boston for more than half a century, with its main arts and entertainment centre, Blackfriars, having been established back in the 1960s.

The venue is home to two very successful local amateur dramatic and operatic groups, one of which has been in existence longer than the theatre itself.

Boston Playgoers was founded back in 1928 and has a very long tradition of producing plays to the highest possible standard. The society puts on two productions a year, to enable them to have plenty of time to audition, cast and then rehearse the plays thoroughly and without undue time pressures.

Boston Playgoers has a wide repertoire, including TV comedies such as Fawlty Towers, ‘Allo ‘Allo and the Vicar of Dibley, which have always gone down very well with Boston audiences and which usually play to full houses, as well as more serious classics such as An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

It also had a four-night run of Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus in October this year which played to excellent reviews on social media.

Boston Playgoers has a multi-talented cast who write as well as perform. The group supports Blackfriars as much as possible by rehearsing there wherever possible, to bring revenue to the theatre.

Affiliated to NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association) the Playgoers has enjoyed much success on a regional level, winning Best Regional Play two years running with An Inspector Calls and Wuthering Heights.

“The committee is always proud that the Playgoers usually get NODA regional nominations for most of their productions and do win quite a few awards regionally,” said committee member Peter Kay.

“This July the group took their one-act play, Last Tango in Little Grimley” by David Tristram, to the Hunstanton Drama Festival in Norfolk and won the trophy for best production. Additionally, one of the cast, Jo Warrick, won the award for best supporting actress. In actual fact, all four cast members were nominated for acting awards.

Next year will be a big year for the society as it celebrates its 90th anniversary. The group has been planning the occasion for the last twelve months and intend to stage an Agatha Christie classic in the autumn of 2018, confident that it will appeal to the local demographic given that Christie’s The Hollow was a box office success at Blackfriars when it was staged in February 2016.

“There will also be archive material on display showing the history of the last ninety years of Boston Playgoers’ productions,”said Peter.

“This enthusiastic group of actors, directors, technicians and props and backstage crew in Boston fully intend to drive the society forward into the next ninety years, whilst maintaining their strong and vital affiliations to NODA and to Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre.”

BOSTON BIG LOCAL
Residents in Boston are benefiting from a special partnership aimed at making a lasting positive difference to the community and creating a vibrant happy area in which to live.

The town was one of 150 places across the UK to have received an award from the Big Lottery Fund to become a Big Local Partnership area.

The partnership’s objective is to build closer communications between all people, make the area more attractive, encourage new businesses and help make the facilities better, improve the environment for all and help ensure the town has cleaner and safer streets.

It has been running for two years and has just had its second plan, covering years three and four of a 10-year project, approved. The new plan sets out details of the project’s priorities, the expected outcomes and action plans for each theme, and details of the budget for April 2017 to March 2019.

“Boston Big Local has now reached the third year of a ten-year project,” said chairman of the Boston Big Local partnership group Richard Tory.

“In the first two years we funded and supported a wide range of great activities that have helped to bring about positive changes in the area. This was made possible through the strong links we have forged with local delivery partners. 

“As well as supporting big public events, such as the Beach in Central Park, Boston in Bloom (which garnered two Gold Awards) and helping with the launch of the Boston Marathon UK, the group is also proud to have helped smaller projects such as the Arts for Dementia support group, the Boston Community Transport scheme and Swimming Lessons for Year 6 students.

“Over the past six months we’ve been consulting with local residents, groups and organisations to get their views on what should be included in the plan for the next two years.”

The Boston Big Local partnership group used feedback from the consultations to review and further develop the latest plan.

Its continuing aim is to fund activities that meet local needs based on four themes: improving health and wellbeing; creating a more attractive environment; building community spirit; and encouraging enterprise.

“We are very pleased that the plan has been approved by Local Trust,” Richard added. “We can now get on and work with our delivery partners to put the agreed activities into action for the benefit of Boston residents.”

Theme 2 of the plan is creating a more attractive environment and it supports activities and projects that improve Boston’s appearance to make the town a more attractive place for people to live and visit.

“One of the ways this is achieved is through our commitment to improving open spaces and local amenities in the Boston Big Local area, including Central Park,” said Richard.

“To help improve and increase play opportunities, we sponsored a basketball hoop in the park in Year 1 of the Boston Big Local plan. More recently, the Croquet Club was awarded £500 of funding to repair its perimeter fencing.

“We fund activities that educate and inform residents about their responsibility to the local environment and also support existing initiatives that brighten up the Boston Big Local area, such as Boston in Bloom.

WOMEN IN BUSINESS
Women play a vital role in the business life of Boston and the wider borough and a new group has been formed to help give women in business another voice.

It also gives them the chance to meet together to discuss subjects of mutual interest.

Women in Business was formed at the beginning of the year by Councillor Claire Rylott and Jayne Coddington, of town solicitor Sills and Betteridge.

Jayne specialises in all aspects of family law and financial remedy and is an accredited group family mediator. Councillor Rylott is a farmer and a Boston Borough Council Cabinet member, with special responsibility for grounds and open spaces, leisure services, tourism, health and wellbeing.

“Membership of the group has been growing, but more ladies are welcome to join us. The group offers another voice for women in business in Boston.”

Claire and Jayne said they felt there was a need for a networking group in the town, to meet every two months over lunch with a guest speaker and an open forum.

The group meets six times a year on Fridays, 12noon to 2pm at the Boston and County Club.

CHILDRENSWEAR AND MORE
Empori, based on Dolphin Street in Boston specialises in gorgeous everyday and occasion clothing for babies and children up to 13 years.

They also offer jewellery and footwear for girls and boys for every season.

Customers can pick up great value, trendy and unique pieces including: Minoti winter coats from £30, five piece Vivaki page boy suits from £48, stunning party dresses from £22, and Christening outfits by Eva Rose from £25.

Empori, 23 Dolphin Lane, Boston, PE21 6EU, Tel: 01205 352611, Web: www.empori.co.uk

PURE INDULGENCE AT ELMS FARM COTTAGES
With nine self catering holiday cottages all boasting 4 and 5 star Visit England Gold Awards, this exclusive development, finished to an exceptionally high standard really does mean that you can ‘stay somewhere special’.

Not only Visit England gold awards but numerous other awards and accolades from Visit England, Select Lincolnshire, as well as Lincolnshire Life Taste of Excellence Awards have been bestowed upon Elms Farm holiday cottages, situated just two miles outside Boston.

The development consists of converted barns and stables which have been transformed to a very high standard and situated around a pretty flower filled courtyard. Many of them provide excellent facilities for wheelchair users and less mobile guests including wet room showers.

Elms Farm Cottages has proved to be a stunning achievement which holds the promise of not only an enjoyable stay and total relaxation for guests but all this with luxury too. For lovers of wildlife it has so much to offer in its immediate surroundings, including more than 18 acres of grass paddocks, bird hide, lakes and a wildflower meadow.

For further information email carol@elmsfarmcottages.co.uk, Tel: 01205 290840 or visit www.elmsfarmcottages.co.uk

TWO SOLICITORS PURSUING THEIR DREAM JOBS IN BOSTON
Boston has many attractions, a rural setting, a bustling town centre and of course the Stump. For two local solicitors, Boston is the place they were born and bred and the bright lights of Nottingham and Liverpool were not enough to stop them from coming home to find their dream job.

Chattertons Solicitors & Wealth Management is where Associate Solicitor, Emma Johnson and Solicitor, Florence Gardner now spend their days working as part of the company’s busy Wills, Trusts and Probate team.

Emma grew up in Boston and attended The Giles School in Old Leake before moving to Boston Grammar for her sixth form studies. Her dreams of becoming a solicitor took Emma to the University of Liverpool to study Law before returning to Boston to join Chattertons and complete her training contract.

Emma said: “Having now been qualified as a solicitor within the Private Client department at Chattertons for just over a year, I am particularly enjoying working in my hometown of Boston. Having grown up in the area I have an understanding of the town which I feel is a benefit to my clients,” Emma is now preparing for her upcoming wedding.

Florence was also born and raised in the local area and ventured to Aston University for her studies. She then went on to complete her Legal Practice Course in Nottingham before joining Chattertons to complete her training contract. 

Emma and Florence help clients with everything from creating or amending a Will, Lasting Powers of Attorney, planning for the future and much more. To get in touch with either of them please call 01205 314100.

Chattertons Solicitors & Wealth Management have offices in Boston, Lincoln, Grantham, Sleaford, Stamford, Spalding, Horncastle and Newark, find out more about their services via www.chattertons.com.

PINCHIN’S FARM SHOP
Pinchin’s are a community based farm shop supplying local produce through its butchery and shop, and serving homemade, freshly prepared meals, cakes and excellent coffee in its popular cafe – their Big Breakfast is not to be missed!

“We have home reared lamb and Dexter rose veal and produce a range of sausages, pies, bacon, burgers and more for which we have won more, then 90 awards over the past four years. We have seasonal events too such as lambing, shearing and summer BBQs.

“We are now taking orders for all your Christmas needs including turkey, cockerel, beef and lamb cakes.”

Visit us soon and you will be sure of a warm welcome, excellent customer service and quality products.

Pinchin’s Farm Shop, Church Lane, Algarkirk, Boston, Lincolnshire PE20 2HN, Tel: 01205 460632, www.pinchinsfarmshop.co.uk, shop@pinchinsfarmshop.co.uk.

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