nene local | helen dawson


Archive for: June 2019

Love them or Hate them the New Letters at Rushden Lakes are Dividing Opinion

The recently installed letters spelling ‘Rushden Lakes’ recently installed on the rails next to the lake have been met with mixed opinions.  Like a certain well known spread – it seems you either love them or hate them.

What do you think?nene local | rushden lakes letters

The person high letters are a rainbow of colours and the artwork depicts flora and fauna that can be found around the lakes.

Rushden Lakes is a unique shopping centre that combines nature and commercialism.  Visitors are not only encouraged to shop in the stores, eat, drink and stay for a film in the cinema, they’re also encouraged to walk around the lakes and even paddle out on a pedalo across the lake.  The Wildlife Trust has a base at Rushden Lakes and supplies binoculars to use to view the birds on the lake.  In keeping with the animal loving side, dogs on leads are made welcome all across the site and welcome in most shops, and some cafes.

Today on our Welcome to Rushden Lakes Facebook page we shared the large new sign and within minutes opinion was clearly divided.

People were worried the deck chairs had gone, but rest assured they are still there, and of course moveable if you want a better view.

Opinions viewed have included:

  • They’re lovely!nene local | rushden lakes letters
  • Loads of people will take photos and share online. From a marketing perspective it’s great.
  • It’s not very natural and back to nature.
  • Nice sign, terrible idea. It ruins the view of the lake and the tranquility of sitting in a deckchair looking out over the lake.
  • Love it – how colourful!
  • You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all the people all of the time.
  • Waste of money. I mean you’re not going to be wandering around and think ‘where am I?’are you?
  • No, no not on the board walk, Ruins the holiday feel.
  • Ruins the view.

…to read more divided opinions click here – Rushden Lake letters

We’ve asked Rushden Lakes for opinion and are awaiting their response.  We shall update you as soon as we hear from them.

nene local | rushden lakes letters

Unitary Programme Re-Designed to Include Transformation of Services

Following the announcement that two brand new unitary councils will be established in Northamptonshire on 1 April 2021, the eight councils involved have agreed a way forward to deliver a programme that will see better-quality service delivery across the county.


A transformation programme has been agreed now that Vesting Day has been set for 2021, allowing time for creating much more than just two ‘safe and legal’ authorities.


In a joint comment, the council leaders of Corby Borough Council (Tom Beattie), Daventry District Council (Chris Millar), East Northamptonshire Council (Steven North), Kettering Borough Council (Russell Roberts), Northampton Borough Council (Jonathan Nunn), Northamptonshire County Council (Matt Golby), South Northamptonshire Council (Cllr Ian McCord) and Borough Council of Wellingborough (Martin Griffiths), said:


“Now that Vesting Day is later than originally anticipated, we’ve re-visited our programme and built in transformational work that will ensure we can deliver better integrated services from day one, rather than after the creation of the new councils.


“Sustainability is key to the success of the two new unitary authorities and part of that is creating services that provide what residents need when they need it most and are flexible. We’re working with health, the voluntary sector and other key stakeholders to make it easier for residents to access the services they need and make sure the right people are working together to deliver that service.


“The programme will be delivered by a team made up of staff from all eight authorities as well as some external programme management support. A Chief Executive from each current authority will lead each of the projects that make up the programme, making it a plan that is owned and delivered by all Northamptonshire councils.”


Our vision for the new unitary authorities is set out in a prospectus for change, which can be found at

Community Invited to Celebrate the Greenway in Rushden

Residents from across the district are invited to join East Northamptonshire Council and the community to celebrate the work that has been completed on the Greenway in Rushden and officially open a new mural. A team of volunteers will also gather beforehand for a morning of litter picking to assist with the continued improvement and the Out to Water, Into History project.

tree | nene local

From 12pm to 2pm on Sunday, 23 June, a new mural will be unveiled at the Washbrook Road tunnel in Rushden following a competition earlier in the year. Before the ceremony, from 10am to 12pm, friends of the Greenway will be litter picking along the stretch from Crown Park to Asda in Rushden.


The new mural will be based on local school children’s artwork and has been designed to reflect the history and environment of the local area. The competition also included the creation of three wooden benches along the Greenway featuring quotes from local residents.


Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, Cllr Steven North said:

“Our district is full of green spaces and the Greenway is no exception. This event will provide an opportunity for residents and partners to gather and celebrate, whilst continuing to improve the area. The Greenway is all about community and the new mural at the Washbrook Road tunnel will be an excellent addition.”


Chairman of the Greenway board, Cllr Sarah Peacock added:

“The Greenway is a great area and it is wonderful that we can all gather to celebrate the work that has been achieved since the beginning of this Heritage Lottery funded project. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is helping with the regeneration of the area, including litter picking and tree planting, alongside the continued support from our partners Nenescape and Heritage Lottery Funding.”


Nenescape Project Manager, Amanda  Johnson agreed:

“Working with the Out to Water, Into History project has been incredibly rewarding and we are delighted how popular the Greenway is. It’s a shame people still drop litter, but it is a wonderful thing to see so many residents volunteering to keep the Greenway clean and the positive changes this has made. Their community spirit is inspiring, and we are grateful for their support.”


Also at the event, a new competition will be launched to help choose images that will adorn part of the tunnel.  The competition will invite locals to submit photos that showcase the area’s history and heritage. If you would like to find out more and get involved and ‘like’ the Out to Water, Into History Facebook page to find out more.


Refreshments for all volunteers during the community litter pick will be supplied by Morrisons.


For more information about the event and helping with the litter pick, please contact Lucy Hawes, Community Development Officer at ENC on or 01832 742268.



Scuba Diving comes to Northampton

A scuba diving duo have set up in Northampton bringing expert training from first breath to fully qualified thanks to £10,000 in funding from Enterprise Loans East Midlands.

Ivan Stanton and Chris Lambert officially launched Scuba Diving Training earlier this year. The Northants-based pair have been friends for more than 18 years and decided to set up the business after Ivan – a PADI IDC Staff Instructor who has taught scuba diving across the world – came back to the UK and spotted a gap in the market.

Ivan said: “Scuba diving was originally a hobby of mine but it turned into a career nine years ago. I’ve since been around the world training people so when I came back to Northampton, I noticed a real gap for high quality teaching and student experience.

Chris Lambert and Ivan Stanton, Scuba Diving Training Ltd

Chris Lambert and Ivan Stanton, Scuba Diving Training Ltd

“We set up Scuba Diving Training in order to meet this higher standard – we want students to feel confident and ready for when they dive in open water and not just tick the required boxes. Our aim is to cater to all people and abilities and produce good, safe divers.”

Chris – who looks after the management of the business and marketing – added: “We approached Enterprise Loans as we struggled to get funding from traditional banks due to Ivan working abroad for so many years. The process was definitely worth the effort as we’d been working on our business plan but our advisor Stefan really helped us get it into shape.”

Scuba Diving Training received a £10,000 loan via Start Up Loans and the funding went towards start-up costs including scuba equipment, a new website and marketing.

Stefan Nycz, business advisor at Enterprise Loans, said: “Chris and Ivan have developed a really fantastic company that is based on putting the customer first. Not only do they offer an expert service, teaching everyone from beginner to expert with the same level of dedication, but they’ve also teamed up with a number of independent travel companies so that people looking for a different type of holiday get the best possible training.

“They are incredibly passionate about the business, which splits training between the pool and Stoney Cove, so it’s been great to help these guys – nothing could ‘dampen’ their enthusiasm for the business!”

For more information on Enterprise Loans visit or follow @1st_Enterprise on Twitter.

Poor Families Missing Out on Free Food Vouchers

Thousands of families have missed out on a healthy food scheme in 2018 according to a campaign led by Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. It is estimated that families in the East Midlands alone missed out on an estimated £2.2m worth of free fresh fruit, vegetables and milk. The coalition of charities and health bodies have warned the government that more than £28m of healthy food has been missed out on nationally by families in need.

Charities and health groups have warned Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock MP that low-income women and children in over 130,000 households are missing out on £28.6m of free fruit, vegetables and milk due to poor promotion of the Healthy Start voucher scheme.

end hunger uk april 2019

End Hunger UK

Northamptonshire Food Poverty Network is supporting the call on the government to boost promotion of the Healthy Start scheme for low income families.

Rachel McGrath of Northamptonshire Food Poverty Network said: “We will campaign locally on behalf of our national partners to make sure that struggling families have access to fresh food. Given the alarming rates of children and families in poverty local government has a responsibility to ensure that the vouchers are fully utilised. We will be writing to local MPs to urge them to take up this issue.”

The coalition of 26 charities and healthy bodies includes Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming2, the Royal Society for Public Health, Royal College of Midwives and the Trussell Trust. They are calling on the Government to boost promotion of the Healthy Start voucher scheme, which can be worth up to £900 per child over the first four years of life3.

The vouchers add at least £3.10 to a family shop per child each week, which could buy two litres of semi-skimmed milk, 1kg carrots, 900g frozen peas and 4 apples at a typical discount supermarket. Over the first four years of a child’s life this is equivalent to 1,090 pints of milk, 1,100 apples, 218kg of carrots and 143kg of peas.

Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive, Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming, said “The government is missing a trick. This money has been set aside to support low income and young families, but the Healthy Start voucher scheme for fruit, vegetables and milk is not being properly managed or promoted. Over 4 million children are living in households who sometimes run out of money for essentials such as food – these vouchers can help keep good food on the table.”

The open letter calls on the Government to fund a programme to ensure that midwives, health visitors, GPs and other relevant staff in health, social care and early years settings actively help all eligible pregnant women and new parents claim their Heathy Start vouchers. The charities and health groups suggest that this programme could be funded from the estimated £28.6 million of Healthy Start vouchers that went unclaimed last year.

The letter also asks the Government to confirm the date for a consultation on Healthy Start, which was committed to by the Department of Health and Social Care last June in Chapter 2 of Childhood Obesity: a plan for action.

Average take-up of the vouchers in England and Wales was only 64% in 2018, or approximately 135,000 households missing out, with no government funds dedicated to supporting local health service providers to promote the scheme. A map of current take-up rates in England and Wales is publicly available and updated monthly by the Department of Health.

Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce call for Businesses to ‘Back the BID.’

Business leaders in Wellingborough have called the Borough Council’s decision to pull its support from an organisation which exists to fight for the survival and prosperity of the town centre a “travesty.”

Simon Toseland, president of Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce.

Simon Toseland, president of Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce.

The President of Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce is calling on business owners in the town centre to ‘back the BID’ when a re-election is held this autumn.


In March Wellingborough Council confirmed they would not back the Wellingborough Business Improvement District (BID) for a further five years because the regeneration body ‘did not demonstrate any new ideas for businesses’ or ‘provide any sense of direction.’

Simon Toseland, Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce president, is calling on businesses to support the organisation, which brings an extra 50,000 visitors a year to the town through promotional events.


He said: “The Council’s decision not to support the Wellingborough BID is a travesty. When you consider the challenges facing Wellingborough Town Centre, which include the evolution of retail towards on-line shopping, competition from Rushden Lakes, Brexit and the future unification of Northamptonshire’s Councils it seems crazy to oppose the BID’s renewal.


“With the challenges referred to above, in circumstances where a town centre did not have a BID, most towns would jump at the initiative. Prior to the BID, promotion and support of the town centre rested with the occupiers and any support that the Borough Council of Wellingborough could offer.


“ It was the Borough Council that approached me (as Chairman of the Town Centre Partnership) in 2010 asking if the TCP would deliver a BID for the town. For it to now play a role in dissolving the BID is baffling. The BID will commit £1 million over the next 5 years – I’m not sure the Borough Council can match this commitment given its impending absorption into a unitary authority.’’


Wellingborough BID was launched in 2011. It raises funds by charging members a percentage of their rateable value. A dedicated team, led by Executive Director John Cable, use the funds to organise events to attract visitors to the town.


There are 315 BIDs in England, most are supported by their local authority. Wellingborough BID has the most visited website in Wellingborough. Recent projects include the launch of a loyalty app which rewards people for shopping at certain businesses in the town centre.


Members also benefit from an average of £400 a year saving through the BID’s recycling scheme.


Thinking of Teaching a Dog New Tricks?

Whether its an old dog or a young pup, all are welcome at Loyalwill’s Doggy Activity Day!IMG_4633

Loyalwill Canine Hydrotherapy Centre is an excellent facility based in Islip, whether its exercise, rehabilitation or just plain fun, the hydrotherapy pool is a wodnerful place for your dog.  Owner, Stephanie Wills, is a highly trained professional and her caring nature puts thedogs, and owners at ease.43199510_986209194914959_8700911800989777920_n

On June 28th Steph has organised a Doggy Activity Day for those owners who are thinking about doing a little more with their dog than the standard two walks a day.

Steph says “Have you been thinking about trying something new with your dog or perhaps just feel they would benefit from an activity? Why not come along to Loyalwill Canine Hydrotherapy Centre on 28th June between 4pm and 8pm to speak to our local trainers.


We have:-


Yolanda from Yofit for Canicross


Harriett from Harriett Ede Collis Dog Trainer for Flyball


Ashleigh from Ashleigh Butler Dog Training for Agility


Matt from Matt Ager Pet and Gundog Training


You will be able to learn more about the activity and see whether it’s for you and your dog.


Free tea, coffee and cake will be available whilst you have a chat with the trainers.


Come and join us at;

Loyalwill Canine Hydrotherapy Centre 36 Lowick road, Islip, Northants, NN14 3JY.

A Woolly Representation of Thrapston

This week see’s the very first Thrapston Arts Festival with lots of things going on in and around the town – frm poetry reading, artists in residence, and local artistsdoing their bit too.

Our, now famous, group of yarn bombers began planning and making their latest creation back in May 2018.  There are currently seven yarn bombing ladies and I’m sure they won’t mind me adding that the oldest is 96.  They continue to surprise us each time they produce a new feature for the town to view.

This tme the creation is a knitted Thrapston town, complete with Plaza, MUGA, the river and lake, plus shops along the High Street and gardens.

Currently on show in St James Church each day 10 till 4 pm from Tuesday until Saturday this week.

nene local yarn bombing

nene local yarn bombingnene local yarn bombing

nene local yarn bombing

Eating Bens chips in the Coronation Gardens

nene local yarn bombingnene local yarn bombingnene local yarn bombing

nene local yarn bombing

The Garden behind Bennetts – where we got married!

nene local yarn bombingnene local yarn bombingnene local yarn bombingnene local yarn bombingnene local yarn bombingnene local yarn bombingnene local yarn bombing

nene local yarn bombing

The lake…

nene local yarn bombing