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

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nene local yarn bombing

Eating Bens chips in the Coronation Gardens

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nene local yarn bombing

The Garden behind Bennetts – where we got married!

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The lake…

nene local yarn bombing

Beat the Streets Awards Presentation Day

When: Saturday 25 May from 12pm – 2pm

Where: Walled Garden, Rushden Hall Park, Rushden, NN10 9NG

 BTS Photo 1


The celebration of the success of Beat the Street, East Northants.

The six-week interactive initiative that turned the district into a live game, Beat the Street East Northants, ended on 8 May. More than 8,000 local residents, businesses, community groups and schools travelled more than 73,000 miles together for Beat the Street.

Local schools and organisations created teams and competed against each other to see who could travel the furthest to win some fantastic prizes.

At a celebration event at Rushden Hall Park Wall Garden on Saturday 25 May, representatives from the winning teams will pick up their prizes and celebrate the end of the six-week game.

The winning schools will be awarded at special celebration assemblies following by activity sessions, and community groups will be awarded for their efforts at the event. There’ll be a chance to speak to the winners, participants and organisers of the initiative -Intelligent Health, Freedom Leisure and East Northamptonshire Council.

The Plan for the Afternoon

12:00pm – 12:10pm: Welcome from Hannah Smith, Engagement Coordinator East Northamptonshire

12:10pm – 12:20pm: Speeches from Cllr Dudley Hughes, Chairman of ENC, and Joe Bailey, Healthy & Active Lifestyles Officer at ENC

12:20pm – 12.40pm: Prize giving

12:40pm – 12.45pm: Closing speeches and picnic / games begin

12:45pm – 1:00pm: Photo opportunities and press interviews


  • Took place from 27 March to 8 May
  • More than 50 special sensors called ‘Beat Boxes’ appeared from Rushden to Thrapston
  • Players tapped the Beat Boxes with cards and fobs to track their journey and earn points for themselves and their team
  • Schools and community groups competed against each other to see if they can travel the furthest
  • There were leader boards with prizes to win including sports, crafts and book vouchers
  • Families encouraged to play for their local school while the wider community can create their own teams
  • In addition to the leader board prizes, registered players could win weekly ‘Lucky Tap’ prizes for playing along – including vouchers and experience days
  • Beat the Street is being delivered by Intelligent Health and is funded by The National Lottery on behalf of Sport England, and East Northamptonshire Council in partnership with Freedom Leisure, which manage leisure facilities across the district on behalf of the council

Thrapston Business makes Announcement at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Thrapston summerhouse manufacturer started RHS Chelsea Flower Show with an announcement that it will now be manufacturing its range of summerhouses in an ethically sourced hardwood.

The move means Scotts of Thrapston is the only manufacturer in the UK to produce an entire standard range of traditional hardwood summerhouses.

Scotts has exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for over 40 years and has listened to customers’ demands for sustainable materials with high life expectancy.

Managing Director James Scott said: “We believe Red Grandis is set to become the hardwood of the future as it is so versatile, stable and high-performing.Scotts Newhaven Corner Summerhouse 0001

“Red Grandis has many benefits including great durability with an increased lifespan, is fungi and insect resistant and easy to maintain, with painting only likely to be required every five to seven years. It is also more dimensionally stable and free of knots, so it does not swell or shrink as much through the seasons.

“Customers are increasingly demanding sustainable materials with high life expectancy and our new hardwood summerhouses will meet these demands, as we offer garden buildings that can be passed on to the next generation.”

Red Grandis is native to the east coast of Australia, as it is a subspecies of the Eucalyptus family, and has since spread across the world in the form of plantations. The timber used by Scotts of Thrapston is FSC certified and comes from South America.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show plays a major part in the Scotts of Thrapston calendar and this year is no exception. The company is exhibiting five summerhouses, with an emphasis on its larger designs; the Burghley, the Newhaven and the Sun Ray Garden Room.

Scotts has also linked up with handcrafted artisan gin producers Warner’s Distillery which is similarly a Northamptonshire-based business.

In honour of this partnership, Scotts will theme its Newhaven corner summerhouse as a gin palace, in keeping with the one of the most popular drinks on the market.

James added: “RHS Chelsea has a special place in our hearts after all these years and we are looking forward to a successful event once again.”

East Midlands Law Firm Opens Corby Office

East Midlands law firm Bray & Bray has opened an office in Corby, the next step in its strategy for expansion across the East Midlands region.

Bray & Bray new office May 19 Corby Enterprise Centre crop

Bray & Bray new office May 19 Corby Enterprise Centre

The firm’s new office is at the flagship development, Corby Enterprise Centre, and launches in response to sustained demand for Bray & Bray’s corporate, property and private client legal services.


Bray & Bray already has offices in Leicester, Market Harborough and Hinckley, with 11 partners, and more than 100 staff.


The new office will enable the firm’s corporate, property and private client legal teams to service Corby and Northamptonshire based clients.


Tim Gladdle, Senior Partner and Head of Corporate & Commercial law says: “The local Corby market presents a significant opportunity for our corporate and private client teams, and it is particularly exciting to be at the forefront of this latest step in the firm’s wider expansion plans.


“Corby is experiencing a period of sustained growth, boosted by investment from central government, businesses and the local council. The area has some fantastic businesses and is also an important logistics and storage hub for the whole of the UK which is an area in which our firm has significant expertise.


“With its excellent transport links to London – the number of trains from Corby to London is set to double from 2020 – demand for housing is also growing, with several new housing estates in and around Corby, and ongoing regeneration of the town centre. Corby is set to play a significant part in Bray & Bray’s ambitious plans for growth.”


Tim adds: “As demand for our services continues to rise, our new office will support the firm in delivering top level legal advice and excellent client service to our rapidly growing portfolio of businesses and individuals. The move is an important step in expanding Bray & Bray’s regional footprint, and supports our ambition and strategy to become the law firm of choice in Leicestershire and beyond.”


For more information, visit: www.braybray.co.uk

Government says Yes to Two Unitary Councils for Northamptonshire

Two brand new unitary councils will be established in Northamptonshire on 1st April or 2021 (Vesting Day), the Government confirmed today. The North Northamptonshire unitary will cover Corby, East Northants, Kettering and Wellingborough and the West Northamptonshire unitary will cover Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire.  The existing district and borough councils and Northamptonshire County Council will all be abolished.

The Secretary of State James Brokenshire has reviewed all the evidence and representations received, and has now decided that replacing the eight councils with two unitary authorities is in the best interests of the residents of Northamptonshire.


Parliamentary Orders will follow later this year and there will be elections to the Shadow Authorities in May 2020.  Shadow Executives for the two unitaries will be selected from those elected and will determine the structure, budget and service delivery models for the new councils.


Services which complement one another but are currently divided between the district, borough and county councils, such as bin collections, waste disposal, planning and roads, will be brought together under each of the two unitary councils.


Leaders of the current authorities said that, now that a decision has been made, the preparations to build a better future for Northamptonshire’s residents and businesses, providing more responsive, innovative services, could continue with certainty.


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:


“We have been working hard towards an anticipated 2020 Vesting Day but that was always going to be a tight timetable to meet if we were going to transform services as well as ensuring that they were safe and legal on that date.


“We therefore welcome the announcement that Vesting Day will be 1st April 2021.  That gives us more time to plan carefully and confidently for the future to ensure that we create two sustainable unitary councils that, while being very different in nature, will be exemplars of how to provide excellent services for our residents.”


There will be elections to the Shadow Authorities in May 2020, so those newly-elected councillors will be able to work with officers to design and implement the new councils for several months ahead of Vesting Day.

Local Business Experts come Together to Provide Advice for Start-ups

A group of Northamptonshire business owners are joining forces to host an event that supports start-ups in the county.

Activate Your Business

Activate Your Business founders

Entitled ‘Activate Your Business’, the business surgery event will see a panel of 11 experts offer advice to those just starting a business or who are in their first year of trading. The experts work in various areas vital to businesses in those crucial first few weeks and months including sales, social media, business strategy, PR, tax, legal contracts and more.


The surgery takes place on Wednesday 8th May at Moulton Community Centre from 10am to 1pm and costs £10 per person to attend. It aims to help those in the early stages of a business venture move forward by asking the panel of experts for advice on any challenges they may be facing or to pick their brains on their subject specialism. Everyone who attends the event will get to speak to each expert.


The expert panel includes:

  • Marie Baker of Poppy Design Studio, a WordPress expert and website developer
  • Kathryn Slack of Graydon Ventures, a trainer in public speaking and presentation skills that help grow your business
  • Emma Speirs of Ballyhoo PR, an award-winning PR consultant and content creator
  • Trudie Avery of Avery Creative, a branding specialist and graphic designer
  • Clare Elsby of Elsby & Co, founder and director of an accountancy practice that works with businesses of all sizes to keep them on the right side of the Tax Man
  • Elizabeth Wright of Admin & More, an award-winning virtual assistant who can advise on effective organisation and administration systems
  • Simon White, a provider of sales and telemarketing training who works with businesses to maximise their sales results
  • Samantha Cameron of 2Motiv8, a social media expert who works with clients to help them increase their social media presence
  • Lisa Sheppard, a business management specialist and coach who can work with business owners to plan for the future
  • Lorna Dodwell, a marketing expert who works with companies to help them attract their ideal customer
  • Kerry Gibbs, a contract law expert who offers personalised legal compliance and support to businesses


For more information, like the Facebook page at @ActivateYourBusinessExperts

Lash Lift and Tint by Dermatechnix Thrapston

I’m not really the beauty type, and as such have always struggled on what to do with my eyebrows, ending up either over plucking or just not bothering.  I now also realise that my eye lashes are rather short and stubby too. So I thought I’d set Liz at Dermatechnix the challenge of sorting me out.

My before photos were taken after a night of interupted sleep and she even managed to take my saggy bags away!

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The lash lift entails your eye lashes being put on a mini roller and permed into position, then an all natural tint is applied.  I found the whole process really quite relaxing – at no time is there anything able to fall into your eye, the treatment is totally safe and pain free.

nene local | dermatechnix lash liftBeginning with the under eye patches which are are packed with collagen and CQ10 to hydrate, nourish and plump up skin. You will see from the lack of saggy eyes in my ‘after’ pictures they really work.

nene local | lashlift dermatechnix

My short lashes were teased around the tiny roller, there are larger rollers for those blessed with longer lashes

are collagen and CQ10 to hydrate, nourish and plump up skin.

The perming solution was applied and left for around 12 minutes

nene local | lashlift dermatechnix

The tint is plant based, doesn’t use any chemicals and has been designed specifically for sensitive eyes and skin.

While my eyes were having their tint on them, Liz waxed and tweezed my eyebrows into a lovely shape (so at least I can follow the lines next time I’m on my own with my tweezers) and applied henna tint, nothing too dark, just a bit of infilling where over-tweezering and age had taken its toll.


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A real difference I think!

nene local | lash lift

lash lift |nene local



lash lift |nene local

I’ve only got short lashes but I think you will agree they’ve got a lovely curl

There is an aftercare regime of no direct heat for 24 hours and avoid excessive water (swimming, face in the shower etc) but after that, treat them as normal.

The full treatment is lash lift, lash & eyebrow tint, normally £35.  There is an introductory offer of £20 if booked before 30th May.

Addition of eyebrow wax/tidy is £5.  Available from 16th May onwards.

For more information on all Dermatechnix services follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dermatechnix/