A Kannada Celebration

A Kannada Celebration

12th November 2019

Last week I was both surprised and delighted to receive an invitation from Cllr Ravi Venkatesh, Haydon Wick Parish Council, to attend an event he’d organised in Pinehurst. The event’s purpose was something of a literary celebration – in fact a Kannada celebration. Let me explain.

Cllr Venkatesh hails from an Indian state by the name of Karnataka. The language of Karnataka is Kannada. No – I’d not heard of it either. Nor of the Kannada community either. But more on that in a bit.


For some years now, when relatives were visiting from India, they’d bring with them books in their mother tongue – Kannada. Seeking to make easier access to books in the Kannada language, Cllr Venkatesh and his wife approached Swindon’s library system to get Kannada-language books integrated into the library system. This the library service agreed to. So the event last Friday evening was to celebrate the integration of fifty Kannada-language books into the library system.

As well as myself and Tony Hillier (Swindon’s community poet!) the visiting Karnataka Govt Secretary for Kannada Development also graced this lovely occasion full of delightful people.

Kannada Celebration - Asian lady singing

The Kannada Language

Swindon is, as we know, a multi-cultural town. It’s a city of sanctuary and home of the Harbour Project.

I’ve heard it said that there’s around 120 first languages in Swindon. At a push I could name half a dozen or so – and Kannada would not have been included. So before I went to this event I thought it provident to do a smidge of research.

Also known as Kanarese, Kannada is an ancient language. According to Brittanica.Com, early 21st-century data indicates some 38 million individuals speak Kannada as their first language. Further, it’s likely another 9 to 10 million speak it as a secondary language. In 2008, the Indian government granted Kannada classical-language status.

Kannada Literature

To give you an idea of this language’s literary credentials, Kannada literature began in the 9th century CE with the Kavirajamarga of Nripatunga. Brittanica.com goes on to tell us that the earliest extant grammar dates from the 12th century and is by Nagavarma. In short – the Kannada language is around 1,000 years old. English is around 1.400 years old. So it’s not so far behind in the scheme of things.

The Kannadan Community

So there’s little else to say now, aside from what a pleasure and an honour it was to meet Ravi (Cllr Venkatesh) properly – having bumped into him at community events – and his Kannada community. All of whom could not have been more charming and delightful.

Sharing Swindon’s Story

Sharing Swindon’s Story

Over the past year, in a project coordinated by the Mechanics’ Institution Trust, thirty-five young Swindonians learnt lots of amazing things about our town. What they learned is on this Sharing Swindon’s Story website.

sharing swindon's story
The project participants outside Central Community Centre – once the Medical Fund Society Hospital

NB: Both Secret Secret Swindon and Swindon in 50 Buildings between them tell of the Medical Fund Society, the Mechanics’ Institution, the GWR Railway Village and central community centre.

Funding partners

The organisations that enabled this project to take place are:

The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon.

Some of what the youngsters did

On the Sharing Swindon’s Story website here, you can find out more about what they got up to.

‘Starting in Summer 2018, 35 young people based at Central Community Centre in Swindon’s historic and award-winning Railway Village began a project to create artworks inspired by the heritage around them and share these with the local community.

‘Sharing Swindon’s Story’ focused on the community and cultural heritage of our town, linked to the first generations of ‘New Swindonians’ and the Mechanics’ Institution.’

A group of 11-16 year olds from the local youth club designed and led the project.

sharing swindons story

See this YouTube film to hear the youngsters talking about their activities: https://youtu.be/MVAsKZtMTfU

Read the rest of the story and see loads of photographs on the website here: https://swindonstory.uk/the-project/

Their social media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SwindonStory

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SwindonStory

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/swindonstory/

Artwork on the hoardings around the Mechanics’ Institute

I think I’ve got them in the right order!

Swindon celebrates Beat the Street success once again!

Swindon celebrates Beat the Street success once again!

Swindon celebrates Beat the Street success as the town’s Beat the Street challenge 2019 ends with a massive total of 252,157 miles.

Swindon celebrates Beat the Street success - leaderboard

More than 25,979 people signed up and walked, cycled and ran during the six-week challenge which took place from 25 September to 6 November.

This year, the game expanded, with more Beat Boxes around the town, new locations and more leader boards. 

There are winners from across the 16 leaderboards, with Haydonleigh Primary School travelling the furthest distance throughout the game. Their 964 members walked, ran and cycled a total of 14,467 miles.

Celebration Event as Swindon Celebrates Beat the Street Success

Everyone who took part in this year’s Beat the Street game will attend a celebration event at Lydiard Park on Saturday, 16 November from 12pm to 3pm. The event will feature presentations and a ‘Have a Go’ activities.

Intelligent Health and the National Lottery, on behalf of Sport England and Swindon Borough Council, delivered Beat the Street to our town. The intention of the game is increasing levels of walking and cycling in Swindon.

Speaking about the success of the initiative Stuart Arthur, local co-ordinator for Beat the Street said: “It has been another fantastic game and we’ve loved hearing stories from people while we were out and about. 

Participants tell us that:

  • They love playing Beat the Street and getting fitter
  • Families are spending more time together
  • They’ve discovered new parts of Swindon
  • It brings communities together

“Although the game has finished, we will continue to work with local groups, schools and residents to encourage people to maintain those lifestyle changes that they have made during the game.”

See also: https://swindonian.me/2019/10/31/final-push-for-beat-the-street-in-swindon/ and https://swindonian.me/2019/09/13/beat-the-street-is-back/

For ideas to get outside in Swindon check out these posts on parks, gardens and open spaces: https://swindonian.me/category/parks-and-open-spaces/ and also https://swindonian.me/category/walks-and-cycle-paths/

Library Shop Christmas Shopping Evening

Library Shop Christmas Shopping Evening

The Library Shop, in Swindon Central Library, invites you to a special Library Shop Christmas Shopping Evening. Here’s your opportunity to buy unique and locally made gifts this Christmas for your family and friends.

Featuring artists in residence, local authors and face painting and much, much more besides.

Library Shop Christmas Shopping Evening

When is it?

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 from 18:00-20:30

Here’s the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/697342314116882/

I’m giving this event a brilliant Born again Swindonian shout-out because I’m going to be there in support and signing the books that I’ve penned in recent months and that the library shop sell.

Published in 2018 there’s Secret Swindon. Then I have two further books in the shop, both published this year:

  1. Swindon in 50 Buildings: https://swindonian.me/my-publications/swindonin50buildings/
  2. The Ken White retrospective – the book written by me about Ken and his rather interesting career. More information on the Ken White Retrospective here.

And there’s more

Other Swindon creatives with stock in the library shop will also be joining in the jingling festive fun.

Dona Bradley, who has lots of wonderful items from her artistic output for sale in the library will be there. Read more about Dona Bradley architectural illustrator here.

So too will my chum Simon Webb – AKA His Nibs – he who makes wonderful pens and cufflinks from historic timbers. Read more about Simon and his hand-turned pens and cufflinks here.

Library Shop Christmas Shopping Evening
Library Shop Christmas Shopping Evening
Final push for Beat the Street in Swindon

Final push for Beat the Street in Swindon

Players of Beat the Street are being encouraged to make one final push to see how far the town can travel.

See also: https://swindonian.me/2019/09/13/beat-the-street-is-back/

Taking place until 6 November, the game has once more transformed the town into a giant game. One where residents are rewarded with points and prizes for walking, cycling or scooting around their community, tapping Beat Boxes along the way.

Final push for Beat the Street in Swindon - last year's winners with mayor Kevin Parry
Last year’s winners Ferndale Primary School

Way more than 500 miles

Residents have already travelled an incredible 217,000 miles so far in the competition. However, with a mere one week left, players are encouraged to push themselves even harder to see how far Swindon can go and if players can beat last year’s record-breaking total of 313,353 miles.

Schools, community groups and workplaces are battling it out for the chance to win prizes of up to £200 in vouchers for books, sports or fitness equipment.  

The team currently topping the total points leaderboard is Haydonleigh Primary School. Their 956 team members have travelled more than 12,000 miles so far.

However, everything could change at the top of the 16 leaderboards as this week’s theme is ‘Go Celebrate’ and every Beat Box in the game will be giving out double points until 6 November.

Additionally, all Beat Boxes will give out triple points on the final day until the game ends at 7pm.

The winners will be announced shortly after the competition ends.

Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “We’re already seeing the top schools and teams in Beat the Street going the extra mile as we enter the final part of the competition. With the chance to score double and triple points during the final week, all teams have the chance to climb the leaderboards and take home one of the top prizes.

“It would also be a bonus if we could beat our record-breaking total from last year. So let’s get out there and get tapping!”

Visit app.beatthestreet.me/swindon to keep up to date with the leaderboards and to find out more.

Threshold’s BIG Swindon Sleep Out 2019

Threshold’s BIG Swindon Sleep Out 2019

There’s something like 67 days to go to Threshold’s BIG Swindon sleep out 2019.

When: Friday 6th December 2019
Where: Swindon’s Supermarine Sport’s Club:

Threshold's BIG Swindon Sleep Out -poster for the sleepout event

Threshold’s The Big SleepOut 2019! The countdown is on to the 6th Dec.

We want to make Threshold’s BIG Swindon Sleep Out 2019 the biggest Solidarity Event of the year – and would love your help! We’d love for you and as many of your friends, family, colleagues to join us this year.

Would you like to get involved with us right now in the planning phase for this year and become part of our Sleepout Working Party?

It’s simple to get involved. Please share the Corporate Invite as widely as you like – let your friends, family and colleagues know that you’re taking a stand against homelessness locally.

Download all the resources you need to take part in the sleep out here.


Simply register your details (Excel Doc on the link above) of all those joining you (friends, family, colleagues).

This event is a family friendly event. Last year we had children with their parents as young as SIX with the eldest being eighty-seven!. Simply complete and sent it back to Michael Keenan – Business Manager Business Development & Social Impact.

Contact Threshold

Head Office:
2nd Floor, 1 John Street
Wiltshire SN1 1RT
Telephone: 01793 524661 – HQ
Mobile: 07896 833070

Email : adminthreshold@thl.org.uk

When you’ve registered your intention to sleep out the next thing is to begin securing sponsorship to support the critical human services and support that Threshold provides.

Head Office:
2nd Floor, 1 John Street
Wiltshire SN1 1RT
Telephone: 01793 524661 – HQ
Mobile: 07896 833070

Email : adminthreshold@thl.org.uk

When you’ve registered your intention to sleep out the next thing is to begin securing sponsorship to support the critical human services and support that Threshold provides.

Follow Threshold Housing Link on Facebook here and share and share and share: https://www.facebook.com/THLSwindon/

About Threshold

‘Threshold Housing Link is a local, independent charity that works to positively tackle the homelessness issues. We aim to offer a holistic approach to the problems arising out of homelessness and all our charitable activities focus on assisting people who are homeless or are threatened with homelessness. All activities are undertaken to further our charitable purposes for the public benefit.

In 1972 the charity was established as The Swindon Cyrenians (AGAPE) by a group of local people, who rallied together, to provide soup to those found sleeping rough on the streets.

Over the years there have been two name changes: 1998 from The Swindon Cyrenians to Thamesdown Housing Link (THL) and then in 2004 to Threshold Housing Link (Threshold), as we are known today.’

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