Monthly Archives: November 2014

Wiltshire young carers receive funding to make more music


Youth Action Wiltshire has won funding to help young carers express themselves through music.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has awarded Youth Action Wiltshire the sum of £21,350 for a new music project which will involve Wiltshire Young Carers, schools and music groups around the county over two years. The money will be used to deliver workshops leading to performances and regular music groups for young carers who wish to continue their involvement with making music.

This follows on from a spectacular end-of-season performance from the young carers to mark their two years plus of collaboration with Bath Philharmonia orchestra and local music students. They took to the stage on Wednesday 29th October at the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon for an emotional and inspiring concert of their own original words and music as part of Listen 2 Us 2: the 2014 Finale.

The young carers have been working with the Bath Phil musicians and with music students from Bath Spa University and Wiltshire College as part of the Listen 2 Us project, which was funded for two years by a £75,580 award from the charity Youth Music. Bath Philharmonia Director of Music Jason Thornton led the project.

“We are thrilled that this work will be able to continue with other young carers, students, musicians and music groups in Wiltshire due to the funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and we look forward to other workshops and performances in future,” said Young Carers Support Worker Sharon Worby.

“The final performance of Listen 2 us 2 was fantastic and very moving. Over 42 young carers aged 7 to 18 years took part in the performance and there were 250 people in the audience – a brilliant turn out.

“There was a video shown as part of the performance which included interviews with young carers about their lives and their caring responsibilities, and this was very poignant.

“This was a fantastic project and a wonderful performance which enabled young carers to have some truly inspirational experiences in their collaboration with professional musicians. It has had a profound impact on their lives. We are grateful to Bath Philharmonia, Wiltshire Music Centre, Music in Action, Youth Music and all the supporters who made it possible.”

Over the course of the collaboration the young carers have performed at festivals and venues such as the Salisbury International Festival, The Pound Arts Centre in Corsham, Calne Festival, Wiltshire Music Centre, the Bath International Music Festival, Bath Abbey and The Greenbelt Festival in Cheltenham.

Madeleine Lloyd Webber, Trustee of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, said: “We are delighted to support this inspirational project which provides high quality tuition in the arts and makes such an impact in the community. It’s great to see that by getting involved in this project, young people who are often from disadvantaged backgrounds can acquire life skills that will equip them for a better future. The Foundation remains committed to giving young artists a chance and we call on others to help us make arts make the difference.”

Christmas fun at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo


meerkat face

Calling all excited children!  Santa’s waiting to hear what you want for Christmas. You can visit him at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo this festive season and gain a sticker, small gift, drink and Christmas treat at the same time.

Santa will be in his grotto at the zoo on Saturday 6th, Sunday 7th, Saturday 13th, Sunday 14th and from Friday 19th December through to 24th December, from 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.40pm to 4pm (up to 3pm on Christmas Eve). Booking is available by ringing 0207 924 5826 from Monday to Friday between 10am to 3pm or alternatively you can book your visit on the day of your visit, subject to availability.

Usual adult and child entrance fees apply*, plus £5.50 for Santa’s visit or £4.50 for season tickets holders. (* see below for entrance fees)

Visitors to the zoo can also enjoy counting how many animals have put out their stockings for Santa in the Christmas Stocking Search, which takes place from 6th to 24th December.  They can hand their guess in at the shop for a chance to win a Family Day Ticket to the zoo.

Family-friendly Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is located in Battersea Park in the heart of London, next to the River Thames.

The zoo offers a perfect blend of animal adventures and playground fun, where children can get up close to an amazing range of animals, including chipmunks, bearded dragon lizards, capuchin monkeys, lemur, tamarins, ferrets, parrots, snakes, mice, coati and ring tailed lemur.

They can meet resident wallabies Boomer and Juno, laugh at the antics of emus Ant and Dec, and spy on the meerkats in the secret lookout tunnel.  The donkeys chasing each other around their field are always a big hit while Kune Kune pigs Piggle and Wiggle just love to get attention.

At certain times of the year, children can help the keepers feed the farm animals in the Barley Mow Farm, including pigs, chickens and rabbits. There’s also a fun-packed adventure playground, with tractors, diggers, water play, sand pit, rides and life-sized fire engine. Birthday parties and school groups are welcome and animal adoptions are also available. See the website for further details.

 Battersea Park Children’s Zoo, Battersea Park, Chelsea Embankment, London SW11 4NJ, tel 020 7924 5826.

Santa back in his Grotto at the Chestnut Centre

Excited children have a chance to tell Santa what they want for Christmas at the Chestnut Centre this festive season.

Father Christmas will again be back in his Woodland Grotto on the 6th, 7th, 13th, 14th December and all week from 20th to 24th December. He will greet children with all his animal friends, such as guinea pigs, broody hens, chicks and Twiglet the barn owl.

The Grotto is popular, so it is advisable to book. The cost is £7.75 per child, including entry into the park. Two adults can be admitted free into the Grotto with each child but normal adult entry fees apply if they also wish to visit the park.  You can book for Santa’s Grotto by ringing 01298 814099.

There are also some amazing animals to see at the Chestnut Centre this season. Three new Scottish wildcats arrived earlier this year. Named Apple, Beech and Cherry, they are members of a species that is threatened in the wild due to inter-breeding with domestic cats. Scottish wildcats are the only species considered to be untameable, even when captive reared, and are one of the most elusive and tough species in the world. Only around 100 true Scottish wildcats exist in the wild and efforts are being made to conserve them.

The Chestnut Centre, located in 50 acres of beautiful landscaped grounds in the Peak District National Park, is well worth a visit all year round for anyone who loves wildlife and nature. Visitors can wander through the lovely deer meadow, getting up close to the resident herd of fallow and sika deer, and view wildlife in a setting similar to its natural environment.

Alongside the mountain stream they can see four species of otter, including the endangered giant otter, as well as 17 species of owls, polecats, foxes, and Scottish wildcats.

Every day of the week there are meet the keeper sessions, animal feeding times and deer encounters.  There are also guided educational visits for schools and for adult interest groups wanting to find out more about wildlife and conservation.

With lovely woodland trails, a cosy tearoom and well stocked gift shop, the Chestnut Centre has everything for an enjoyable and informative day out for all the family.

The Chestnut Centre was founded in 1984 by Roger and Carol Heap, who share a passion for conservation and for educating children about the importance of wildlife.  The couple celebrate 30 years of running the Chestnut Centre this year and began by looking after abandoned otters in their back garden.

The Chestnut Centre is in Chapel-en-le-Frith, High Peak, Derbyshire SK23 0QS.  Tel: 01298 814099; email