24th November 2023

NSPCC FUNDRAISING TREE FESTIVAL. A town centre Christmas tree takes centre stage for an NSPCC fundraising festival.

Swindon town centre is playing host to a beautiful real Christmas tree for residents and visitors to enjoy during the festive period. It’s thanks to a generous donation from Charlton Park Estate in Malmesbury.

The 20-foot tree, situated outside the town hall at the top end of Regent Street has been donated in aid of the NSPCC’s Festival of Trees. For the second-year running it will be taking place at the Wyvern Theatre during the run of their pantomime.

Lord Suffolk of Charlton Park said: ‘Charlton Park have been supporters of the NSPCC for many years. Their incredible work, involves helping hundreds of children each day. We’ve donated this Christmas tree to the community of Swindon in aid of the NSPCC charity. We hope that this will bring joy to many over the festive period.’

NSPCC FUNDRAISING TREE FESTIVAL - tree in the town centre on Regent Circus

A magical grotto

Laura James, Director for Swindon Theatres said: ‘We’re thrilled to be welcoming the NSPCC and their festival of trees back to the Wyvern this year, following the success of last year’s event. The festival will be bigger and better, and the town centre tree is a fantastic addition. We’re so grateful to Charlton Park, as well as to Colas who transported the tree and Swindon Borough Council who supported with the installation.’

The Wyvern’s event space will transform into a magical grotto with dozens of Christmas trees. They’ll have beautiful decorations and there’ll be an interactive trail for visitors to enjoy. The Festival of Trees will be raising funds and awareness of the incredible work that the NSPCC does in the South West and all over the UK. And the town centre tree donation will further enhance the success of their campaign.


Emma Hildesley, community fundraising manager for the NSPCC and organiser of the festival said: ‘It delights the NSPCC to return to the Wyvern theatre with its tree festival over the Christmas period. All running alongside the panto production and offering a winter wonderland trail for families to enjoy. All trees will showcase decorations from both the NSPCC and local partner organisations. The message is that we, and the community, are still here for children over the festive season.

Also, we’re so grateful to Charlton Park Estate and the kindness of the family. They’ve gifted the community of Swindon, in aid of NSPCC, a real tree for everyone to enjoy over the festive season this year. Not everyone is aware that we have a service hub in Swindon. We support local children, families and new/expectant parents across Swindon & Wiltshire. Also in Gloucestershire. Christmas is an opportunity for the community to come together to raise greater awareness and funds in aid of NSPCC services.’


Social media etc

The NSPCC Festival of Trees runs alongside Snow White at the Wyvern Theatre – Sat 2 – Sun 31 Dec | swindontheatres.co.uk

Wyvern Theatre – @wyverntheatre

NSPCC – NSPCC South West, @nspcc_official

Charlton Park Estate – @charltonparkestate

Laura James and Emily Grearson from the Wyvern theatre with the tree
Laura James and Emily Grearson from the Wyvern theatre with the tree at Regent Circus



20 November 2023

AUCTION HOUSE SNEAK PEEK as the new auction house in Royal Wootton Bassett opens its doors on 25th November.

THE NEW TEAM at RWB Auctions on Royal Wootton Bassett’s High Street are opening the doors this Saturday for the first time. Thus allowing Wiltshire residents the opportunity to have a sneak peek.

This auction house has been a passion project for entrepreneur Jon White. Jon first opened his Old Bank Antiques next door almost five years ago. He’s now invested around £3m in this new project and his team has swelled to almost thirty people.

It’s fantastic to be able to open our doors for the first time and allow people to see what’s been going on behind the scenes. We’re all proud that this project reflects the investment we’ve made in our own High Street. And also for the employment opportunities that have already arisen. We’re very excited to welcome anyone who wants to come along for our very first valuation day,’ Jon said.

 AUCTION HOUSE SNEAK PEAK - Jon White of Old Bank Antiques
AUCTION HOUSE SNEAK PEEK – Jon White of Old Bank Antiques27th 2020. 143 High Street, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire. Antique dealer, specialising in coins and jewellery.

Early doors

At 10am doors will open. Visitors can bring items for valuation and they’ll also see the purpose-built modern auction house for the first time. The building was once a grocery shop. It now features two selling rooms, a events and art gallery upstairs and, in due course, a bistro will open on the ground floor.

The valuation day is preparation for the first antique & fine art auction. That will take place on Wednesday January 17 and Thursday January 18 next year. The team will hold regular auctions specialising in various areas of interest including:

  • Coins
  • Toys
  • Film and entertainment memorabilia
  • Home and interiors
  • Cars and militaria.

During this Saturday, there’ll also be a vintage Christmas fair on site run by an independent business running their own festive event.

‘The vintage fair will be a wonderful event for our community to come and experience our new space for the first time alongside our valuation day. It’s a perfect way to showcase this new addition to the High Street,’ said new marketing manager Freya Webb.

RWB Auctions

RWB Auctions will be the main business run by serial entrepreneur Jon White. He’s bringing together his enterprises under one roof including Gold Traders, Britannia Coin Company and Old Bank Antiques which will continue to operate from next door. For more information visit https://www.rwbauctions.com

RPA Repeating Support for Children

RPA Repeating Support for Children

17th November 2023

RPA Repeating Support for Children with hot meals and winter-themed festive fun. Swindon’s leading performing arts company, Revolution Performing Arts (RPA), will be continuing its support of struggling Swindon families over the festive period. They’ll be providing hot meals and a series of creative activities at settings across the town.


The initiative is part of the Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme, funded through Swindon Council by the Department of Education. It aims to ensure that 1000s of children who usually receive free school meals have access to nutritious, hot meals over the holiday period. And also enjoying free access to fun, creative activities.

RPA has been supporting the initiative for the last three years in Swindon. The organisation stepped in over the summer this year to also support the wider Wiltshire programme. It’s continuing this support over the festive period to try and ensure as many families as possible can benefit from the programme’s provision.

Founder of RPA, Fi Da Silva-Adams, said it’s important to her to do what she can to help ensure that no child goes without hot meals over the school holidays and to provide access to performing arts, regardless of their socio-economic background.

‘I know from personal experience how much difference the arts can make to children who face personal challenges,’ says Fi. ‘As someone who grew up in a very poor and neglectful household, the arts became my sanctuary.

Fiona Da Silva Adams - RPA Repeating Support for Children
Fiona Da Silva-Adams – RPA Repeating Support for Children

The value of the arts

‘I know we’re not providing therapy to the children that come to our sessions. But there’s no doubt in my mind that creative activities have a therapeutic element to them. They can make so much difference to a child’s ability to cope in difficult times. They’re also enormous fun!’

The winter-themed children’s activities that the RPA team will be providing over the Christmas break includes:

  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • Drama
  • Face painting
  • Lessons in magic tricks and lots of fun on bouncy castles.

Fi Da Silva-Adams’s increased involvement in the scheme has seen her also taking on a strategic role for the programme’s steering group within the Swindon Council team that administers the HAF project.

The programme is so important. Swindon does such a great job supporting it. So I want to do whatever I can to ensure the needs of the families get accurate representation. That way everything gets delivered as smoothly as possible on the ground,’ Fi says.

‘I’m keen to make progress towards removing the barriers that families face in accessing the programme’s provision. Equality of opportunity is vital and I want to put an emphasis on the arts as a completely non-elitist part of life. The arts should be for everyone.’

Location, location, location

RPA’s winter-themed days are being held at various locations. In Swindon, they will be at Park South Community Centre, from December 18 to December 21 from 9:30am until 1:30pm. Eligible families should receive a voucher from their school that includes a booking link to sign up.

Families from any background and circumstances are also able to book the sessions privately by calling RPA on 01793 792983 or emailing office@revolutionpa.co.uk.

They can book online by going to www.revolutionpa.co.uk and clicking on the appropriate Holiday Fun page. All children will receive a hot meal.

Hugh Pym Opening Shopping Event

Hugh Pym Opening Shopping Event

16th November 2023

Hugh Pym Opening Shopping Event in Malmesbury.

Organisers of Malmesbury’s popular late night shopping have unveiled the celebrity they’ve secured to perform the official launch of the festivities. It’s none other than BBC Health Editor Hugh Pym.

Hugh, who has family in Malmesbury, is due to join the town’s Mayor Cllr Gavin Grant to start off the town’s Christmas celebrations. Late night shopping runs from 6pm to 9pm on Friday December 1.

Hugh Pym Opening Shopping Event in Malmesbury
Hugh Pym Opening Shopping Event in Malmesbury

Highlight of the town’s calendar

Malmesbury’s late night shopping is a highlight for the town. It brings locals and visitors from near and far to take advantage of the diverse range of shops available on the high street and heart of the town. Shops and cafés will stay open until late. And, during the evening, shoppers and visitors can also browse stalls along Malmesbury high street and visit an indoor market in the town Hall.

At the market cross, there’ll be entertainment for the family, including local choirs, Morris dancing, the town concert band and more. Plus, Santa and his elves will be taking up residence in his grotto.

Joint organisers of the event are Malmesbury Town Council and local business promotion group, Malmesbury Town Team.

Cllr Grant said: ‘We’re very grateful to Hugh for offering his services to open the event. It will be a great start to what is always a very enjoyable evening, showcasing Malmesbury at its best.’

Cllr Kim Power added: ‘Malmesbury’s late night shopping is one of the highlights of the year for the town. Not only is it a fantastic opportunity to start Christmas shopping, it’s a fab festive, family affair. And, falling as it does on 1st December this year, it’s a wonderful way to start the festive season. It’s also a great way to support our retailers and producers, by shopping local.’

See also:


Social Scaffolding Art Collective

Social Scaffolding Art Collective

16th November 2023

The Social Scaffolding art collective is exhibiting immersive, interactive and participatory art in Swindon, at the outlet centre. Strikes me as great way to put an empty unit to good use.

Their Outlet Centre (unit 9) exhibition is open to the public to drop in from:
11th November – 26th November between 12pm and 5pm. They’re there from Wednesday – Sunday.

The Social Scaffolding art group is exhibiting immersive, interactive and participatory art in Swindon.
Their Outlet Centre (unit 9) exhibition is open to the public to drop in from 11th November - 26th November, 12pm - 5pm, Wednesday - Sunday.
Social Scaffolding art collective in unit 9 in the outlet centre

They’re also offering free group sessions. You can book them during public open hours or for private sessions on weekday mornings (Wednesday- Friday). 

The group aims to promote wellbeing through creativity, connection and conversation. And they do it in a friendly, relaxed and welcoming environment. The sessions are suitable for both crafters and non-crafters alike. Research shows that creativity is good for us and that it can improve mental health. They say: ‘We often find that working together side by side enables participants to talk freely about things on their minds.’

You can find them in the ether on their website here. And on Instagram at @social.scaffolding.artists

Social scaffolding art collective

About the collective

From their website: ‘Working as a collective provides artists with opportunities for professional development and mutual support so together we can work more effectively with our audiences. We aim for our work to be accessible for all ages & abilities.

The Social Scaffolding collective is formed by three emerging artists, Lou Baker, Juliet Duckworth, and Alyson Minkley. We’re all recent graduates of Bath Spa University. We’re also residents of Emerge, the graduate incubation programme, supported by the University Careers Team.

Pop-up venues attracted non-traditional audiences from passers-by, widening arts participation. Their tour increased footfall in empty high streets, a catalyst for regeneration. In their pilots they invited sessions for targeted community groups. And young people complemented an open-door policy, enabling a wide range of visitors to be creative, embodying their stories and feelings in the artworks.

The social scaffolding flyer