The Royal Big Knit

The Royal Big Knit

The Royal Big Knit

The 8th of June 2019 is a special day. The Yarn balls are aligning for a spectacular event : The Royal Big Knit.

The Swindon Big Knit is hosting another afternoon of knitting, crocheting and sewing to create lovely warm blankets for Swindon’s homeless.

These events are held every other month or so, at the Customer Service Hub at the Swindon Orbital Shopping Centre. Everyone is welcome to come along and help. It’s free to join in and all materials are provided.

We’re always appealing for more knitters, crocheters and sewers to help make the blankets. The workshops are only two and a half hours long and warm blankets for the homeless are in such great demand. It’s a short time to make as many blankets as we can and extra hands are appreciated.

the royal big knit - crown on a cushion

The next event on the 8th of June is a special date because it’s the day to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday.

So, for a bit of fun we thought we would call it the Royal Big Knit.

Nearer the time we’ll email out free knitting and crochet patterns for attendees to make themselves a crown to wear at the event.

We will email the patterns out to everyone signed up to the Swindon Big Knit Newsletter. You can add yourself here

NB: The crowns are for fun and not a requirement.

The 8th of June is also World Wide Knit In Public Day which started in 2005 as a way of bringing knitters together.

We hear a lot about how knitting is good for your wellbeing. Yet it it’s a very solitary activity unless you bring a lot of knitters together in one room – and then it becomes a yarn party!

The up and coming Swindon Big Knit is an important event in the yarn calendar. We’re Purling One for the Queen, Knitting one for the World Wide Knit In Public Day and Gaining one for the Swindon Homeless. While having a good time!

We would love to invite more people to the Big Knit events. It’s such a good cause for the crafters and the recipients. If you can, please come along and join in.

If you can’t make the June date add yourself to the newsletter so we can let you now when the next event is.

When and Where?

The Royal Big Knit is happening on the 8th June 2019 at the Costumer Service Hub, at the Swindon Orbital.

It’s the last building on the same side of the road of Boots and DW, towards the roundabout near Haydon Wick.

It starts at 2pm till 4.30pm – it’s free and all you need to bring is yourself. You can bring your own tools if you prefer

Tickets are flying for Swindon’s only pop music festival as full line-up is confirmed

Tickets are flying for Swindon’s only pop music festival as full line-up is confirmed

Latest news from the MFOR Festival team

TICKETS for the first MFor Festival are selling faster than anticipated as the team behind this inaugural event confirm the full music and activity line up.

Taking place at Lydiard Park in Swindon on Saturday July 27 between 11am and 1o.30pm MFor will be both a music festival and a family-friendly community event. 

Graham Stobbs, co-organiser and founder of Synister Music, said: ‘We’re so thrilled with the support we’ve already seen in ticket sales from across Swindon, Wiltshire and the surrounding areas – and also from local businesses and organisations – who are queuing up to support this unique community music festival.’

The music line-up features headline act Years & Years who will be appearing as part of their Palo Santo World Tour. Other acts include special guest Ella Eyre, HRVY, Becky Hill, Toploader and opening the music will be Swindon’s own Jahmene Douglas.  Jahmene will open the line-up at about 3pm and the headline act will take to the stage at about 9pm.

Latest news from the MFOR Festival team

A second stage has now been included and there will be DJ sets, street dancers and other local music acts. One of those will feature local DJ, Jay Hayden. 

Co-organiser Debra Collins. ‘MFor is not just about the music. Fun, family and community is at the heart of this great event and everything we do. Axe throwing, archery, crossbow, assault course, inflatables and so much more are included free to guarantee an exciting day for everyone. We are truly humbled by everyone’s support.’

Experiences on offer include climbing walls and a huge inflatable assault course, go-karting, a rifle range, axe-throwing, a funfair and a dedicated children’s area including activities such as face-painting, workshops and entertainment from street performers.

There will also be a food and drinks area (operating a Challenge 25 policy around alcohol consumption), community participation and a charitable element with money being raised for veteran charity Walking With The Wounded and other local projects. The Wiltshire-based Red Devils, the official parachute display team of the British Army will also be parachuting in at about noon. 

Many businesses have already lined up support the event.  These include:

  1. Sky’s The Limit Entertainment – providing the inflatable assault course. 
  2. Farrs Catering of Swindon – for providing food vendors and a fun fair.
  3. Bring The Game Over – providing virtual reality games’ experiences.  

Graham said: ‘We would especially like to thank Tom Falding, Bailey Farr, Swindon Borough Council and Lydiard Park, who have really become part of the organising team and supported us in getting this first event off the ground.’

The MFOR Music Festival takes place on Saturday July 27. Gates open at 11am and the finish time is 10:30pm.  

Ticket prices were tiered and now cost £37.99 per adult until the end of May.

Children’s tickets are £12.99 (aged five to 13 inclusive) and must be accompanied by at least one full-paying adult.

Under fives go free – one young child per full-paying adult. VIP tickets for fast track access and extra benefits are £70 each. 

 Information and tickets are available on the website at

See also:

Toploader joining the line-up  for Swindon’s MFOR festival

Toploader joining the line-up for Swindon’s MFOR festival

Toploader, the band which had one of the most successful songs of the last 20 years Dancing In The Moonlight, has been named among the line-up for the MFOR Festival at Lydiard Park in Swindon in July. 

Formed in 1997, the band has sold over two million albums and had a string of top 20 hits in the UK and overseas. Their debut album Onka’s Big Mokasold over a million copies. 

In the year 2000 they released their most successful song to date – Dancing In The Moonlight– which was a global hit and stayed in the European Airplay Charts for over a year. It was re-released in 2013 and had millions of hits on YouTube making it one of the most successful songs of recent times. 

In 2013, they also released two singles Turn It Aroundand This Is The Night, the latter becoming their first No 1 in the Radio 2 Airplay Charts. 

Toploader will join the acts already announced. They include headline act Years & Years. They released their latest album Palo Santo last year and their debut album Communion was the fastest selling debut album of any UK based band in 2015. 

Forming part of the line-up is the singer songwriter Ella Eyre currently best known for her collaborations with Rudimental on their UK number one single Waiting All Night. That track won the 2014 Brit Award for British Single of the Year. She released her debut album Feline, in 2015.  Joining the line-up too, is local singer songwriter and X Factor finalist Jahmene Douglas.

Graham Stobbs, member of the organising team, said: “I’m thrilled to be able to confirm another act in the line-up.  We’d like to thank all of those who are supporting us and buying tickets. Prices go up again from Monday April 1 so please get your orders in quickly!”

The event will also offer a range of other experiences including a climbing wall and an inflatable assault course. There will also be a food and drinks area, community participation and a charitable element raising money for veteran charity Walking With The Wounded and other local projects. The Wiltshire-based Red Devils, the official parachute display team of the British Army who will be parachuting in. 

The MFOR Music Festival takes place on Saturday July 27. Gates open at 11am and the finish time is 10:30pm.  Ticket prices are tiered – the earlier a ticket is booked, the cheaper the price.

Tickets booked up to this Sunday March 31 are £32.99 for adults (aged 14 upwards), rising then to £37.99 until the end of May. Children’s tickets are £9.99 (aged five to 13 inclusive) rising to £12.99. Under fives go free – one young child per full-paying adult. VIP tickets for fast track access and extra benefits are £70 each.  Information and tickets are available on the website at

TV Antiques Star Returns to TV with a New Show Created  With His Wife

TV Antiques Star Returns to TV with a New Show Created With His Wife

Latest news from Hungry Gap Productions

Flog it!, may be no more – in terms or recommissioning at least. But fans and antique lovers need not fret, for Wiltshire resident and Swindon enthusiast will soon be back on your screens with his new show: Curiosity.

Paul Martin, TV Presenter and antiques expert.

TV antiques expert Paul Martin returns to our screens in a new vintage-themed show, Curiosity.

Curiosity is a competitive format which puts contestants’ knowledge of antiques and collectables to the test. In each episode two teams of two will move from room to room, using their skills, expertise and intuition to take on different tasks and challenges – all against the clock.

Paul and his wife Charlotte dreamed up the initial idea.

Paul, who lives in Wiltshire with Charlotte and their children Dylan and Meredith, said: ‘This show is the culmination of an idea Charlotte and I came up with at home at our kitchen table.’

‘I always loved any kind of treasure hunt,’ Charlotte Martin said. “Then working on various series myself in television, meeting Paul and being immersed in the world of antiques and collectables I began to think about how we could bring an element of a ‘searching’ together with our mutual love of vintage, quirky and social history into one programme. Gradually the idea of Curiosity took shape and it’s been amazing to see it become a reality.

The pair teamed up with Pete Lawrence, the boss of Bristol-based independent company Hungry Gap Productions to develop the format and bring Curiosity to life. 

The programme is set in a series of distinctive rooms including The Den of Antiquity and So Last Century and combines vintage and social history in an entertaining way.

Pete, founder of Hungry Gap Productions said: ‘It’s a fun show and it feels like anything can happen.’

‘Our teams are tasked with finding fakes, spotting links between objects and discovering the fascinating stories behind the kind of trinkets and treasures that cram collectable emporiums and second-hand shops throughout the land,’ Pete said.

‘Paul is a fountain of knowledge and he brings the stories of the objects to life explaining their provenance and unique attributes.’

Paul’s ‘co-presenter’ in the series is a four-legged actor – a Bassett hound named after his own dog: Baxter. 

‘Baxter is my mate and my side kick at home. The programme is a bit quirky like him. He’s a proper character and this is his five minutes of fame – sort of. In real life the specially trained stage dog is actually called Maggie! That’s Curiosity for you!’

Curiosity comes to our screens on Monday April 1 at 2.15pm on BBC One and will run weekdays for three weeks.  

Get Business fit with Business Village

Get Business fit with Business Village

29 December 2018

Get Business fit with Business Village

Free event will help businesses and their owners get fit for 2019

Getting fit for 2019, in personal and business life, will be the focus of a free event kicking off the New Year for breakfast networking group Swindon Business Village.

Ian Locke and Shirley Hensher will jointly deliver a presentation: ‘Fit for business: achieving personal wellbeing is key to your business success’ on Thursday January 10.

Get business fit for business village

Ian is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He runs Thrive Personal Training, helping people move, eat and live in ways which improve their health and wellbeing. Shirley, under her business banner The Change Agent, enables corporate professionals and business owners to shape working lives which fit with their values and aspirations.

Shirley said: “The presentation is aimed at helping business owners who want to manage their health and fitness with the same level of energy and focus with which they manage their business. In other words, business owners who need motivation or support to create the opportunities for more ‘me time’ in their working week.”

Ian added: “For many of us, we are the most valuable asset our business has but we often ignore our own wellbeing in favour of the needs of the business. At the heart of our presentation is the question, your business needs you, but are you fit for business?”

The event, on Thursday January 10, is the first after the group’s Christmas break, and is free to anyone wanting to attend, as well as Business Village regulars.

It runs from 7.30-9am at The Campanile, West Swindon, and includes networking, one-minute introductions and breakfast. The usual charge for each weekly, Thursday meeting is £10 for booking online in advance (£9 early bird) or £12 on the door. The group charges no membership fee.

For more information and to book for the presentation, and other events on the Swindon Business Village calendar, visit

In their separate businesses, Ian and Shirley both work with corporate executives and business owners seeking personal transformation.

For more information about The Change Agent visit and for Thrive Personal Training visit

Students & Sanctuary Seekers highlight the importance of Safety & Welcome in Swindon

Students & Sanctuary Seekers highlight the importance of Safety & Welcome in Swindon

December 2018

Students & Sanctuary Seekers highlight the importance of Safety & Welcome in Swindon

swindon city of sanctuary

On Tuesday 11th December, 4:00pm-5:00pm, at Drove Primary School, teachers from Drove Primary School and artists Rachel Pryor and Nicky-Ann Walker will discuss  the inspiration for the new mural, The Journey to Safety and Welcome, now hanging in the entrance of the school. They’ll also explain how it came about as the result of a unique collaboration between children at the school and members of The Harbour Project Art Group.

Safety and welcome in Swindon mural

Begun during Refugee Week earlier this year, the work is part of an ongoing collaboration between Drove Primary School and Swindon City of Sanctuary through its Schools of Sanctuary work.

Schools of Sanctuary began in Yorkshire and there are now Schools of Sanctuary in Wales, Ireland and many English cities and towns. Here in Swindon, eight schools are working towards this nationally recognised award.

A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to being a safe and welcoming place for all, especially those seeking sanctuary. This could be people whose lives were in danger in their own country, who have troubles at home or are just looking for a space of safety.

Artist Rachel Pryor said her work at The Harbour Project made her very mindful of just how important safety and welcome is:

“In our art group, people often talk about home. They come to the UK with no network of friends or family and can wait a long time for a decision on their asylum claim. It’s unbelievably tough. Art can help express some of those feelings of loss, which are often better expressed in a visual language. “

She added:

“I was so impressed how the children helping had thought carefully about the things and people they would miss if they became refugees. Developing empathy and compassion is such an important part of our human development whatever age we are.”

It is a sentiment with which Cristina Bennett, volunteer Schools of Sanctuary lead, agrees:

“Schools of Sanctuary is all about embedding a culture of welcome and inclusion for everyone in the school – teachers and teaching assistants, non-teaching staff, pupils and parents. That’s why this mural is so special. It features the work of every single year group, from nursery through to Year 6, as well as the work of our Harbour Project friends. We hope it will inspire all who see it to think more deeply about what welcome means, to reflect on how we cannot take any of our freedoms for granted and, to think about our actions in welcoming people who are new to our communities.”

This event will also give teaching colleagues and friends the chance to share, informally, their own School of Sanctuary work since the launch on 17th January 2018.


About Swindon City of Sanctuary

Swindon City of Sanctuary fosters a culture of welcome, inclusion and support for everyone in Swindon, with a focus on those seeking sanctuary.

In practical terms, we do this by bringing people and organisations together, providing support through projects, running community events, raising awareness and campaigning for social justice, thereby contributing to the wider, national movement that is City of Sanctuary.

Social Media

The Harbour Project:

Swindon City of Sanctuary:


Photo credit

1. Mural of The Journey to Safety and Welcome – created by Rachel Pryor and Nicky- Ann Walker in collaboration with Drove Primary School and The Harbour Project Art Group.

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