Archive for: February 2017

Announcing Noye’s Fludde at Nevill Holt Opera

The award-winning Nevill Holt Opera will bring a full-scale outdoor production of Noye’s Fludde (Noah’s Flood) by Benjamin Britten to Leicestershire this summer, as the closing highlight of its 2017 Opera Festival.


Set within the grounds of the Nevill Holt estate, the show, described by Opera Magazine as “stunningly effective spectacle and entrancing production”, will feature 130  Northamptonshire and Rutland school children performing alongside some of the UK’s leading operatic professionals in what promises to be a sensational operatic endeavour.


Launching in February with a series of workshops for schools in the Northampton and Corby area, the Nevill Holt Opera (NHO) team will be joined by top international opera singer Jonathan Lemalu, who will sing the role of Mr Noah in the summer production.


Directed by Royal Opera House Director Oliver Mears and conducted by NHO Artistic

Director Nicholas Chalmers, this production of Noye’s Fludde was originally created by the KT Wong Foundation and performed by Northern Ireland Opera for the Cultural Olympiad in 2012, touring subsequently to Beijing and Shanghai Music Festivals.


The original piece was written by Britten in the early years of his Aldeburgh Festival, and became a leading example of an outstanding British operatic work which involves the whole community in musical performance.


NHO Artistic Director Nicholas Chalmers said: “This will be a spectacular production, and an exceptional and impactful project for all the children involved. As a result of this project, children from Academies in the East Midlands will experience the challenges, excitements and rewards of performing live music and opera of the highest possible quality.”


NHO General Manager Rosenna East said: “We are very proud to be staging our first children’s community opera as the closing highlight of our fifth season, one year before we open our new Theatre at Nevill Holt. As a Festival, it is our role to bring exceptional projects like this to life, and we cannot wait to bring this experience to hundreds of children and families in the East Midlands.”


This project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, with generous support from the David Ross Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, and the K T Wong Foundation. It will be delivered in partnership with the David Ross Education Trust, Oakham School and Rutland Music Education Hub.


Lady Linda Wong Davies, Founder and Chairman of the KT Wong Foundation said “Bringing the Cultures of China and the UK together and developing new talent are some of the key aims of the Foundation so I’m delighted to be able to support this excellent revival of Noye’s Fludde, in our tenth anniversary year. This production will be seen for the first time by audiences on the mainland who will, I’m sure, enjoy its many Chinese cultural references.”


Executive Director of Music for DRET Simon Toyne said: “We are delighted to be working with Nevill Holt Opera as part of our wider programme of music that we are developing across the DRET Academies. Performing Noye’s Fludde at NHO is a fantastic opportunity to deliver on our commitment that every child should have access to meaningful music-making.”


Performances will take place at Nevill Holt Opera, near Market Harborough in Leicestershire on Saturday, July 1, and Sunday, July 2, 2017, at 2pm and 5pm each day.

Tickets on Sale from April 2017 via


Thousands of Booklets sent to Parents and Children with Diabetes

More schools are being urged to make use of free information aimed at improving diabetes care and support for children in the educational setting.

More than 5,000 free booklets about Type 1 diabetes and children have been sent out in the last year by the charity, the InDependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT).

‘Diabetes – What Schools Need to Know’ and the ‘Parents Passport for Schools’ booklets were created to help drive up standards of care for pupils with the condition in schools.

In the UK there are about 20,000 children with Type 1 diabetes under the age of 15 years. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body stops producing insulin and is diagnosed as an acute condition requiring a lifetime of treatment with insulin.

Chief Executive of the InDependent Diabetes Trust Martin Hirst.

Chief Executive of the InDependent Diabetes Trust Martin Hirst.

Martin Hirst, Chief Executive of the charity, said: “Providing teachers and school staff with the relevant information about diabetes and the best way to help pupils manage their condition while at school is vital.

“Many people do not understand the condition and the potential danger if it is not managed properly, which is why we urge all schools to take advantage of our free booklets and send off for them, because the information could really make all the difference to their pupils with Type 1 diabetes.

“The booklets look at the practical side of managing diabetes, as well the emotional effect it can have on everyone involved. The aim is to minmise the impact living with the condition can have and help the children enjoy and thrive during their school career.”

‘Diabetes – What Schools Need To Know’ was launched last year and is a resource for teachers and school staff, providing them with general information and tips about managing the condition in the school environment.

It covers key facts, including the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as well as sections on using insulin, diet and carbohydrates, exercise and blood glucose testing. Information on hypoglycaemia, hyperglycaemia, stress and communication are also included.

The Parents Passport for Schools was launched in May 2015 and provides a means by which parents can formally let schools know how to manage their child’s diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children under 10 and managing the condition requires regular insulin doses either from injections or via a pump.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, schools have legal duty to have a medical conditions policy in place, along with an individual healthcare plan for any child deemed to have a special educational need, which includes children with long-term health conditions, such as asthma or diabetes. The booklets aim to support special educational needs co-coordinators (SENCOs) to meet these legal obligations.

IDDT, an International charity based in Northampton, has over 17,000 members and works across the globe helping families and people with diabetes to manage their condition and live positive, healthy lives.

The charity provides a free, confidential helpline, has published dozens of helpful publications, stages events and lobbies the government on behalf of people with diabetes.

To order free copies of Diabetes – What Schools Need To Know and the Parents Passport for Schools, call 01604 622837 or email

Lunch and Learn to Relaunch in Northampton

Lunch and Learn, a monthly business group in Northampton, is taking a break and relaunching in March in a different location with a different format.


Previously held at the University of Northampton Portfolio Innovation Centre and led by Northampton-based marketing agency Onefoursix, the Lunch and Learn meetings started in January 2016 and saw professionals from the local area meet once a month to have lunch and learn about marketing methods that would get their businesses noticed.

OnefoursixLunch and Learn_2

Due to the increasing popularity of the sessions, which now see around 15 businesses attend each time, Onefoursix have decided to expand the offering. In addition to covering marketing topics, Onefoursix will also invite guest speakers to lead some of the sessions. This will see those that attend learn about a wider range of business-related topics including finance and PR.


Lunch and Learn will also be moving permanently to the recently opened Dapper Sandwich Company on Wellingborough Road in the town.

Onefoursix Lunch and Learn_1

Dave Williams, Managing Director at Onefoursix, said: “We have been overwhelmed with the success of our informal Lunch and Learn sessions and feel that now is the time to open them up and cover more, equally relevant, topics. During our five years in business we have built up a lot of local business contacts who I am sure our attendees would benefit hearing from.”


The first of the relaunched Lunch and Learn sessions takes place on Thursday 23rd March from 12.30pm to 2pm at Dapper Sandwich Company and will see Dave of Onefoursix discussing ‘Top Tips For Planning Your Marketing’. The April Lunch and Learn will be led by guest hosts Chad and Gemma from Chilli Accounting. Further will be released shortly.


For more information about Lunch and Learn events, contact Onefoursix on 01604 779035 or To find out more about Onefoursix, visit To book your space on the March Lunch and Learn session, go to To find out more about the team at Chilli Accounting, visit


What Colour should I be Wearing? Answered by Lesley Clarke Style Advisor

Well, if you ask this question now – Spring / Summer 2017, the answer would surely be pink! But what good is that to you? Have you any idea how many shades of pink are out there?

£59 Captain Tortue

£59 Captain Tortue

Baker-Miller pink, Mountbatten pink, Puce, Fuchsia, Shocking pink, Fluorescent pink, Amaranth, Salmon pink, to name but a few…

£49.50 Boden

£49.50 Boden

Anyway, get my drift…it can be a minefield when it comes to colour.

If you want to be on trend – think ‘bright’; it will certainly cheer you up!

£70 Zara

£70 Zara

But who can really wear bright pink?


For example, if you are wearing too much ‘Barbie pink’ for an interview you could be construed as too ‘girly’ and not taken seriously enough. Whereas a pop of Fushia grounded with mainly navy and possibly another neutral can look very different – getting the balance right will mean you come across warm, approachable and innovative.

£26 Zara

£26 Zara

The things you should know:


Wearing the ‘right’ colour, tone and shade that suits your natural complexion can be very uplifting, it can make you stand out in a crowd, look younger than your years and give a sparkle to your eyes. But there are some things you should know to help you get the perfect shade.


  • Colour changes your features – if you are wearing a colour that suits you, you’ll look healthier and your eyes will be more defined. If a colour isn’t right for you it will throw back up onto your face. This tends to widen and drop the jawline. If the colour is too light for you it will throw white up onto your face and make you look washed out.


  • Generally, the darker the eyes, hair and skin, the stronger the colour you can wear.


  • You also need to consider the tone of your skin – is it warm, yellow-based or cool, blue-based? If warm, you want to consider more peachy, coral, salmon pinks.
£69 Captain Tortue

£69 Captain Tortue

  • Think about fabric texture as well. This can make a difference to the intensity of the colour and how it is represented. A colour on a smooth fabric will look brighter than on a textured fabric, where it will appear softer and more muted.



So there are lots of aspects to consider – give it a go – check you colours in the mirror (best to be make-up free because then it will be more obvious to you!) – do you notice the colour before seeing you?


If you’ve got an eclectic array of colour in your wardrobe and never really know what works best or if you’re someone who plays it safe with neutrals, I can show you how to safely experiment with colour so that you can feel more confident, getting admiring compliments. What colour were you wearing the last time you received a compliment?

£20 Zara

£20 Zara

And don’t forget your accessories, including specs! These are from Davies Opticians who also have other colour ways with a hint of pink.


Give me a call or check out information about Colour Analysis on my website:



Lesley Clarke Style Advisor

m: 07969516390


twitter: @LesleyStyle

instagram: lesleyclarke_stylist


Revised Plans for Rushden Lakes Unanimously Approved

Councillors on the Planning Management committee of East Northamptonshire Council have unanimously approved an amended application for Rushden Lakes that means more jobs, more cinema screens, more restaurants and more parking.


Revised plans for the new retail and leisure site currently being built next to the A45 include two further cinema screens bringing the total to 14, three more restaurants (18 in total), three more retail units and an indoor trampoline facility and climbing wall. Councillors also approved an extra 461 parking spaces.


Speakers at the meeting included the developers, LXB and representatives of local councils who presented their opinions to the committee. Members of the committee then discussed the revised plans before voting unanimously in favour of the amendments.


Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, Steven North, said: “I welcome the decision of the planning management committee as these revisions will provide an even better offer at Rushden Lakes, including an extra 1200 jobs which is great news.


“We’re very excited to see the site unfolding and can’t wait to have the park open and enjoyed by all.”


Following the approval and owing to the scale of the proposed development, the matter will now be referred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, to consider whether to “call in” the application.

Man who Dumped Fridge full of Rotting Food caught after Warrant Issued

A man from Peterborough is paying the price after being found guilty of fly tipping a freezer full of rotting food in East Northamptonshire.

During a house clearance in Warmington in March 2015, Nicholas Smith removed a freezer full of putrid food from the property but instead of disposing of it legally, he chose to dump it on the verge of the road between Warmington and Fotheringhay.

Following a tip-off from an eagle-eyed witness, the vehicle was traced by East Northamptonshire Council’s waste team through the DVLA and Nicholas Smith was contacted as the registered owner.

At an Interview under Caution, Smith admitted fly-tipping the freezer which he described as “radioactive” and so nauseating that he had to condemn the van that it was carried in. When asked by ENC officers what he thought would happen to the dumped fridge, he responded “I just thought someone would come and get it. I knew I shouldn’t have done it”.

Smith then failed to attend court twice and so a warrant was issued for his arrest. East Northamptonshire Council was informed in December 2016 that Smith is currently remanded in custody pending trial for other serious matters. He was presented in court in January 2017 where he pleaded guilty to fly tipping via video link.  The District Judge was limited as to what penalty and costs he could impose as it would be unlikely costs would be recovered.  He therefore, sentenced him to a further seven days custody, stating “this was the best outcome in the circumstances.”


Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, Steven North, said: “We will, and do, pursue those who fly tip in our district. Our waste enforcement team works tirelessly in an effort to bring these illegal dumpers before the courts. They must not be allowed to have such total disregard for the environment and the communities where we live. We see it as a very serious offence and so do the courts, as demonstrated through this tough sentence which I hope acts as a severe warning to anyone tempted to fly tip in the future.”

To report fly tipping, visit

A Year of Change for Parents and Teens

New research released by the National Citizen Service (NCS), the country’s flagship youth empowerment programme, has gauged what teens – and their parents – in Northamptonshire want to change as 15-16 year olds transition from childhood to adulthood.

With GCSE exams looming for young people, a third (31.7%) of parents in Northamptonshire hope their teens will change to have ‘more confidence’ in the next twelve months, with just under two in five (37%) parents saying they want their teens to be happier in their own skin. Above all, parents want to see their teen embrace change more, with more than three quarters (77.8%) keen to see this.

When it comes to communication, half of Northamptonshire parents (50.6%) said they would like their teens to get better at discussing the things that are bothering them. Yet for young people, having their parents treat them more like an adult (22.2%) and nag them less (28.4%) are the changes they would most like to see in the relationship they have with their mum or dad.

The research is being released as NCS launches a new campaign for teens to change their summer: Natasha Kizzie, Marketing Director at NCS Trust, says: “NCS is a unique 3 week summer programme exclusively for 15-17 year olds. This is a critical period in teens’ development as they start to become young adults. We conducted this research in Northamptonshire to find out more about what teens and parents wanted to change this year. It’s great to see that confidence, communications skills and independence are a key focus for both groups. NCS is a great opportunity for teens to develop these skills whilst having fun.”

Chantelle Rowe 01

Talking about the findings in Northamptonshire, Phil Everett from EM1, the regional NCS provider, says: “We want teens in Northamptonshire to join us to change their summer. NCS is a really amazing way to spend three weeks of your longest summer holiday ever, after the hard slog of GCSE exams. With so many changes happening in the world, but also personally, NCS makes sure young people are equipped with the tools you need to tackle whatever the world throws at you.”

When asked what one thing they would change in the world in 2017, ‘making college or university more affordable’ was the top wish for Northamptonshire parents (28.4%) while teens would create more jobs for young people (19.8%). Teens also admitted to feeling nervous about the year ahead and just 1.2% said they felt prepared for it.

Commenting on the research – and the NCS campaign – local teen Chantelle Rowe, from Kettering, says: “For most Year 11s the focus is just on surviving the year! That’s why having something like NCS to look forward to is so important. My NCS experience changed me as a person. I’m more confident, less stressed and surer of myself. It’s not a chance that is offered to you every day; and why I want other teenagers to change their summer and sign up to NCS now.” 

NCS takes place during February half term in spring, various dates between June-August in summer and October half term all across Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Rutland. Young people and their parents can register their interest today at  or by calling 01522 574101.

Beetroot & Lemon Valentine Brownie by DonnaLulu Cooks

Each month Donna Thomas will share one of her secret recipes….  Lovely to make yourself, even better to ready made from Donna though!!

Beetroot in a brownie or try it with a sweet potato or just leave that part out – it works just as well. The lemon and the lemon curd give it an extra sharpness as the chocolate can be quite rich. Although it is a Valentines treat!


Beetroot & Lemon Valentine Brownie

 2016-01-13 001 021

You will need:


175g good quality dark chocolate

150g butter

175g dark brown soft sugar

2 eggs

150g raw beetroot, peeled & grated

Zest of 1 lemon

100g self-raising flour

6 Tsp lemon curd – optional



Pre-heat the oven to 170C/fan 160C/gas mark 4. Grease a 22cm/8 inch square cake tin, line with baking parchment making sure it hangs over the edge of the tin to make it easier to remove later.  Lightly grease the parchment.


In a heatproof bowl, break up the chocolate and add the butter. Melt gently over a pan of simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water) stirring occasionally until the chocolate & butter are melted, then set aside. Alternatively you can place the bowl in the microwave on a high setting until melted. Place the sugar and eggs in a separate bowl or standalone mixing bowl and whisk until light and fluffy – this will take around 5 minutes with a mixer on a high speed. Add the chocolate mix and whisk for 30 seconds then add the beetroot & lemon zest and whisk for a further 30 seconds. Gently fold in the flour until it is just combined and pour the mixture into the prepared tin. An optional extra to make it more lemony, is to dot ½ teaspoons of lemon curd over the top of the mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. It may crack slightly but that’s fine and the brownie should be just set. Place on a cooling rack to cool down completely. Once cool, gently pull out the brownie from the tin using opposite sides of the greaseproof paper. Cut into heart shapes or squares and enjoy with ice cream, cream or just as they are!


Recipe by Donna Thomas


Facebook: DonnaLulu Cooks

Twitter: @DonnaLuluThomas


Northamptonshire to Benefit from new Affordable Homes Funding

A leading developer of affordable housing is planning to bring more new homes to the county after being allocated over £24m of public funding towards projects in the East Midlands.

Westleigh is planning to bring 820 new homes to the wider region over a period of five years. It will receive the funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), under the 2016-21 Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme.

The homes will be shared across Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

The subsidy comes as part of a wider agreement that will see Westleigh build a total of 1,590 affordable homes across the Midlands and Yorkshire.

(Photo shoot 0313-018) Westleigh Developments Partnership Homes have invested in four Nottinghamshire sites which will see nearly 150 affordable homes being built. Pictured is Ian Jones from Westleigh Developments at the Gainsford Close site.

Westleigh’s Managing Director Ian Jones is planning ahead.

Ian Jones, Managing Director at Westleigh, said: “We are delighted to have been allocated this funding, which will allow us to bring new affordable homes to communities which need them in Northamptonshire.

“There is an ever-increasing demand for homes that offer a route on to the property ladder. This funding offers vital support to projects which will make those homes a reality.”

Westleigh has been active in Northamptonshire for over a decade, delivering both affordable housing projects and homes for the open market.

The developer is part of the Homes & Communities Agency Delivery Partner Panel on both the Midlands and Northern lots and works closely together with housing associations to build affordable new homes through the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire. For further information call 0116 277 3324 or visit


Deco offering “under-catered for” Northampton teenagers their own safe environment to ‘chill out’ with friends

Calling Northampton under 17 year olds who fancy a great evening out, catered just for you. Well, The Deco Theatre is hosting the first ever town centre disco targeted specifically at your age group.


If you are between 13 and 16, then make a date for March 16, when the theatre, in Abingdon Square, Northampton, introduces Lit Disco Night – a ‘must’ if you enjoy great music, great fun, and all in a safe and friendly environment.


The entry fee is just £2.50, and everyone who wishes to come needs a membership card; membership is free. All staff on the evening will all be DBS checked.


Said Jill Roach, of Stage Right Productions, who organise events at The Deco: “As a mother of daughters not long out of this age group, I feel that they are under-catered for in a safe and organised environment, so hopefully what we’re filling a big void.

 Deco Lit Discos

“It is not a youth club, we’re simply offering young people between 13 and 18 to come and chill out with friends, and have a good time.


“We’re hoping for a good response, and if it’s successful we’ll put these events on regularly.”


If you would like to register to become a member of The Deco’s Lit Disco, then simply email If you would like more information, call The Deco on 01604 491005.