Celebrating 40 years of adventurous fun

Belton House adventure playground

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When you become a parent one of the things you look forward to is sharing the highlights of your own childhood with your children.

For Daddy Malpi many of those special memories were the trips he made to the adventure playground at Belton House near Grantham.  Fast forward two or three decades and he has already taken the minis on numerous trips to the National Trust’s playground which was extensively renovated three years ago.

The adventure playground's birthday (2)
Photo: National Trust

And now that playground is about to celebrate 40 years of making memories for all its visitors.

Opened by Peter Purves on Easter Sunday in 1978, the Blue Peter presenter will be returning to the outdoor site four decades later to help mark its anniversary.

His appearance will be part of a full day of play on Thursday, March 29th, including puppet shows, children’s outdoor theatre, bush-craft activities and face painting and more to kick-start this year’s Easter holiday.

The playground, originally called Jungleland because of its woodland setting, was created by the Brownlow family who owned the estate until 1984.  Today it is the National Trust’s largest outdoor adventure playground, offering challenging play in the woodland setting that’s made it such a well-loved destination for generations of families.  

The playground is open from 9.30am every day, closing only on Christmas Day. This event is free, but normal admission charges apply.  For more information, please  visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/belton-house 

National charities join forces to link up two popular visitor attractions

A major project of up to £1.2 million aims to link up two treasured visitor attractions to create a wide expanse for people to explore and enjoy.

The Woodland Trust and National Trust plan to open up borders on the land connecting the eastern part of Belton House and the more recently created Londonthorpe Woods

Londonthorpe
The area once formed part of the 17th Century Brownlow Estate but over time this historic landscape has become fragmented.

The project will create unprecedented access between the sites, allowing people to seamlessly explore a combined area of 225 hectares of woods and parkland so that people can discover both its secret history and environmental treasures.

Thanks to players of the National Lottery, the project has already received a funding boost of £64,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This development funding has been awarded to help the Woodland Trust progress their plans to apply for a full grant of £428,800 at a later date.

Ian Froggatt, Londonthorpe Site Manager, said: “We’re thrilled to get this initial piece of financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Lottery players which we hope will lead to a much larger grant to deliver the project.

“The project will allow visitors to not only enjoy the attraction of Belton House but also explore much of the wider Brownlow estate, including what is now  Londonthorpe Woods.

“With a winning combination of history and nature, it has the potential to be the green lungs of Lincolnshire enabling visitors to enjoy and experience a wealth of health and social benefits”.

The National Lottery grant will allow the project to work towards creating a warm welcome with engaging information which will enable everyone to learn more about these two special places.

A programme of events and activities will be organised to actively involve the local community and visitors from further afield.

Conservation will also be at the heart of the project, it will work to restore and enhance key wildlife habitats, helping to ensure their protection long into the future.

It will also seek to protect and enhance built heritage and parkland features, ensuring the continuation of the Brownlow legacy who had first acquired land in the area in the late 16th century and created Belton house as their family seat.

An extensive consultation programme will kick off in summer 2018, and the charities are looking for as many people as possible to get involved with this.  Work on the ground is due to commence from summer 2020.

However, this project will not go ahead without match funding for the potential National Lottery grant, and the two organisations still need to secure another half a million to make it a reality.

2018 events mean lots of fun in the year ahead

Does the year 2018 still sound futuristic to anyone else?  Some of us are still expecting the Y2K bug to wreak havoc anytime soon…

Fortunately 2018 – the Year of Engineering, the RAF’s Centenary, the 100th anniversary of female suffrage, the 60th anniversary of the LEGO brick – has a lot more positive things in store in Lincolnshire and beyond.

If you’re organising an event you’d like added to this list then let me know at hello@theminimalpi.co.uk and if you’re particularly looking forward to attending an event yourself this year then tell us all about it in the comments below!

January 30th: International Bomber Command Centre
Serving as a point of recognition, remembrance and reconciliation for Bomber Command, the IBCC opens at the end of January.

February 12th – 17th: Robin Hood and Babes in the Wood
Trusthorpe Village Hall Theatre Group pantomime

February 24th: Lincoln Mums Expo
Advice, support information, special offers and play/activities for mums to be, babies, right through to toddlers and big kids too.

March 18th: City of Lincoln 10K
Stretch your legs whilst running around Lincoln’s historic landmarks including the Cathedral and the city’s Roman walls.

March 24th and 25th: Discover Lincolnshire Weekend
A weekend of free entry to many of Lincoln city’s and countryside’s attractions.

March 27: Komposit The Performance
Five young composers from the East Midlands present their new pieces of music.

April 8th: Countryside Lincs
The Lincolnshire Showground’s interactive family day out featuring all the fun farming, food and the countryside have to offer.

May 4th-11th: Lincoln Fashion Week
Eight days of fashion events in venues across Lincoln city centre.

June 20th-21st: Lincolnshire Show
A celebration of rural Lincolnshire, with an eclectic mix of entertainment, food, shopping, music, horticulture and farm life.

July 14th-15th: Newark Book Festival
Two days dedicated to celebrating authors and their work that aim to “fire your imaginations, challenge and inspire you present the very best in literature and the arts”.

August 24th-27th: Asylum Steampunk Festival
The largest and longest running steampunk festival attracting participants from around the globe.

August 31st-September 2nd: So Festival
A coastal festival of outdoor theatre.

September 26th-30th: Gravity Fields
The theme for this year’s science-based festival held in Grantham is “voyages of discovery”.

October 1st-31st: Wolds Words
An autumnal cultural festival featuring an array of craft, heritage, literature and performances.

October 13th: Lincoln Sausage Festival
Cooking demonstrations, food stalls, children’s entertainment and live music.

November 24th: Inflatable 5k Santa Run
Flip, bounce and boing your way around the inflatable assault course in full Santa kit at the Lincolnshire Showground.

December 1st-2nd: Lincolnshire Food and Gift
The fair brings together more than 150 varied stands with the very best Christmas offerings, entertainment from live choir groups, cookery demonstrations and a children’s Santa’s Workshop.

December 6th-9th: Lincoln Christmas Market
Cultural entertainment and more than 200 stalls nestled within the medieval square and surrounding area.

 

Festive fun in the fairytale forest

Robin-Hood-BannerIn the midst of Lincoln’s seasonal theatrical offerings, the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre has carved out its niche by offering a winter show rather than a traditional pantomime.

Robin Hood and Maid Marian – Winter in Sherwood is 2017’s production by The Lincoln Company made up of Lincoln School of Performing Arts students.  It’s a perfect pick for the year of the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest and we were delighted to be guests of the arts centre for its opening night on Tuesday.

Littered with eclectic cultural references, it earns its age 6+ recommendation with its use of heightened language but there was still plenty for my younger minis to enjoy too.

Strong heroes, tomfoolery and hijinks with a pair of gormless guards and the dubious allegiances of some wandering minstrels, rousing songs to clap along to, a repetitive strain to join in with that saw my three year old drawing back her bow, a few flash bangs, a pretty smattering of snow, a boo-able baddie and alternative staging with the audience sitting on three sides of the action proved very engaging to all who had come to watch.

Luke says his favourite bit was when Robin Hood was locked up in the castle with the sheriff’s two hapless knights, a comic scene that included all his three favourite characters and an impressive show of archery skill, and Willow was absolutely mesmerised by meeting the characters after the show who were very lovely with a couple of star struck mini theatre goers.

Winter in Sherwood is showing at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre until Sunday, December 24th and includes a relaxed performance on Friday, December 22nd.  Click here for further information. 

Children’s arts opportunities put in the spotlight

From the regular visiting children’s theatre productions to the toys in its cafe area along with in house provisions such as the Diddy Disco, accessible changing facilities and a lovely warm welcome, the Lincoln Drill Hall has long been a favourite destination for young audience members.

And now the Free School Lane arts centre is making it even easier for those wanting to find out what’s on offer to enjoy alongside their children by launching a new family brochure.  Sales and communications manager Gavin Street explains why…

“Lincoln Drill Hall is a great place to introduce children to the arts.  The venue hosts a year-round programme of live shows, theatre groups, workshops and creative sessions specifically aimed at younger audiences – from tiny tots to teenagers – plus events the whole family can enjoy together.  And with the launch of a new seasonal family brochure, you can find it all in one place!

“So what’s coming up in the Spring?  Running through the season are the Happy Monday Club weekly creative play sessions for pre-schoolers, which includes sessions based on storytelling and drama, dance and movement, art and making and rhythm and music.  These sessions take place in the venue’s cafe bar on Monday mornings, 10.30am-11.30am.  On Wednesdays, the Drill Hall also hosts Hartbeeps, weekly musical adventure classes for newborns, babies and toddlers.

“Or for older children, why not Fishtank, the city’s alternative youth theatre, where the kids create their own original theatre pieces and then perform them in front of a real audience.  Drama skills, self-confidence, team-building and fun are guaranteed in these sessions for Tiddlers (ages 3-6), Juniors (ages 7-11) and Intermediates (ages 11-16).  Sessions run on Saturday mornings throughout the year.

“And rounding off the first half of the Spring, February half term is packed with events.  These include the first outing of the season of Diddy Disco (Tuesday 13 February), the venue’s hip dance club for under 7s and the interactive theatre adventure The Dead Sea (Wednesday 14 February), which follows a young marine biologist on an ecological rescue mission to the bottom of the ocean.  There’s also Rhubarb Theatre’s time-travelling Sidney’s Shed (Friday 16 February), which whisks young audiences on an exciting journey to dig up the past and weed out history’s bullies and Hiccup Theatre brings the classic story The Gingerbread Man (Saturday 17 February) to vivid life through amazing puppetry and fabulous live music.”

For more information about these and other events later in the season pick up a copy of the new Drill Hall Family brochure or read it online here.  For more about the venue visit www.lincolndrillhall.com (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

And don’t forget there’s still the pantomime to enjoy before the end of this year.  To find out more about Jack and the Beanstalk, showing from December 8th to January 2nd, click here.

 

Santa’s Workshop has an extra touch of magic this year

The Lincolnshire Food and Gift Fair 2017

SW1

If Christmas itself and the chance to catch a glimpse the man in red aren’t magical enough for your children then the Lincolnshire Showground has arranged for an extra spellbinding attraction at the Santa’s Workshop at Lincolnshire Food and Gift this year.

The Magical World of Fingley, a series of five children’s novels, will be bringing two of its pixies, Astoria and Nixie, to the event taking place on December 2nd and 3rd and they’ll be helping younger visitors to enjoy colouring, crafts, reading, writing, storytelling and treasure hunts.

There will also be a range of Christmas crafts for children to have a go at and Super Chefs will be helping them decorate their own festively-shaped pizzas.

Lincolnshire Showground CEO Jayne Southall says “Christmas is all about family and we’re keen to ensure that the Fair celebrates everything that is great about Lincolnshire by offering something for everyone.  Children love the magic of Christmas and we are delighted to run the Santa’s Workshop for a second year following its popularity last year, and to welcome The Magical World of Fingley.”

The fair is open from 9am to 4pm on the Saturday and Sunday.  Tickets are £5 in advance, £6 on the door, accompanied under 16s and parking are free.

Find out more on the Lincolnshire Showground’s website.

Children of Lincoln

Children of LincolnHave you heard about the Children of Lincoln project?

At the beginning of November Daddy and the two eldest minis attended a family fun day entitled Imagining a ‘Child Friendly’ Lincoln at the University of Lincoln.  They enjoyed some art and crafts activities and taking a shot at the Lincoln City Imps in the Community goal and had the opportunity to find out more about children’s rights and “Child Friendly Cities”.

UNICEF Child Friendly Cities initiative was launched by the UN in 1996 with the aim to make cities liveable places for all by putting children first stating “The well-being of children is the ultimate indicator of a healthy habitat, a democratic society and of good governance”.

The School of Social & Political Sciences at the University of Lincoln have been working with the City of Lincoln Council and Lincolnshire County Council since 2016 to launch a child rights initiative for the city of Lincoln and the fun day saw this aim realised.  Other Children of Lincoln steering group partners include the Lincolnshire Children’s University, Children’s Links, Lincoln BIG, Education Business Partnership, Priory Academies, Bishop King Primary School, St Francis Special School, LiNCHigher, Bishop Grosseteste University and LCVYS.

Now they can start work to achieving their aims.

“Our aspiration is to be recognised by UNICEF as a Child Friendly City alongside a number of other cities in the UK.  We aim to raise awareness of children’s rights in Lincoln, by holding events for children and families, conducting research and working with local services and businesses to help them prioritise children’s rights.”

Acknowledging that Lincoln is already a great place to grow up in, they wish to pay special attention to the most vulnerable children within our city listing children with disabilities or health needs, children who are looked after by the state, children who get into trouble with school/police, children who are young carers, children living in poverty and children who are homeless.

Find out more at http://childlincoln.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/

Do you think Lincoln is a child friendly city?