New blog category: community

New blog category: community

28th May 2016


born again swindonian logoA quick flag up that I’ve created a new category on Born again Swindonian for community related posts:

There’s posts in it about some of Swindon’s community groups yes – but there’s a wider brush to it too – so there is now and will be posts in it with a wider community resonance.

I’ve been through and put some older posts into this grouping so if you’re a new subscriber have a root through. You may come across something you’ve not seen before.

logo I wrote a blog and I liked it


SAPAC: South Asian Performing Arts Centre

SAPAC: South Asian Performing Arts Centre

28th May 2016


Hello listeners – here we have some lovely information from Indu Sharma about SAPAC! Not so long back I put a post on here about the Swindon Indian Association so this a welcome addition to Born again Swindonian. Read about Swindon’s Indian Association here:  There’s a link to their website at the bottom of the page.

Jai Ho!

SAPAC: South Asian Performing Arts Centre

SAPAC logo - South Asian Performing Arts Centre

“SAPAC of Swindon is the only diverse art organisation in Swindon and the surrounding area. It exists to bring dance and music from the South Asian sub- continent.

In 2009, three community associations, Hindu Samaj, Swindon Indian Association and Swindon Tamil associations realised that a partnership was needed  to offer multi cultural activities on a regular basis, so they got together to form SAPAC with a distinct aim to provide regular South Asian cultural programmes locally. Since the formation of SAPAC, the three associations have been working in partnership to offer joint cultural performances at a larger scale”.  Read more here:

SAPAC came to life in late 2009 when four large ethnic communities in Swindon decided to come together to promote music and dance from South Asian countries.

Membership of the centre is open to all and everyone in and around Swindon and Wiltshire, regardless of ethnicity and age. The Centre hosts performances from world class artists and is a hub of south Asian performing Arts in Swindon where people can regularly appreciate and participate in cultural diversity locally.

We invite international dancers and musicians to perform in Swindon. No need now to travel to London or Bristol to enjoy well known artists.

We arrange classical as well as contemporary dance and music programmes and if you want to learn, we arrange classes too.”

Upcoming Event

Our next event is on 2nd of July this year when internationally renowned  instrumentalists will play their music  which promises to be toe tapping and exciting music.

The programme will be at Phoenix Theatre in New College , Swindon. There will be Indian food on sale too, if you feel peckish.

Tickets are only £12 each and discounted rates for families of 4.

Please ring Indu Sharma on 07808648829 to book tickets.

For more information about the artists and programme, please visit SAPAC website at

Swindon Indian Association:

Swindon Tamil Association:



Grow Bag day

Grow Bag day

10th May 2016


Incredible Edible Swindon Grow Bag day: Wednesday 18th May

The Answer Lies in the Soil!

‘In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.’ Margaret Atwood

If the above quotation resonates with you then read on! You might want get down and dirty with the lovely Incredible Edible Swindon team on Wednesday the 18th May at their grow bag day work party:!Growbag-Day-Work-Party/c1ela/57309fd40cf20c962d02e2d1

Actually it’s a half day work party!

green bag full of garden stuffWe’ll be filling and delivering growbags like the one in the photo on Wed 18th May at 9.30am, at the Central Community Centre in Emlyn Square, Swindon

This is a key part of the Three Sisters project, to provide growbags to 25 residents of the Railway Village so they can grow veg on their doorstep.(And we’re having a community cake day at 2pm on Saturday 21st to kick the project off – you’re invited to that too).

But before they can grow veg in their growbags, we’ve got to fill ’em and deliver ’em. 

So if you fancy a bit of helping out in the sunshine (how do they know??!! – they got insider information or what?) on Wed 18th, please come along at 9.30am till 1pm as we need every bit of help we can get.

Please wear your older clothes and stout footwear. If you own a shovel or spade, it’ll come in very handy.’

PS: The three sisters is the name of the three types of plant that they’ll be growing – sweetcorn, peas (or beans) and cucumbers (or courgettes)’

Read more about the 3 sisters project here:!the-three-sisters/sh1n8


A Swindon Affair

A Swindon Affair

9th May 2016


It was such a lovely affair!

Saturday the 7th of May saw an event at The Platform in Swindon. As part of the 23rd Swindon Literature Festival and organized by Martha Parry and Hilda Sheenan this event was a family affair and a love affair with Swindon – it was a super Swindon Affair.

Read my Festival Chronicle about it here:

Designed to be a celebration of the staggering literary output there has been over the years about Swindon – from Swindonians and others besides – the day and evening featured books, writers, painters, music, poetry, drums and songs.

Here’s a few photographs:

Groups and organisations at the event – well some of them:

Swindon Civic Voice:

Mechanics’ Institute Trust:

Poetry Swindon:

Swindon Festival of Literature:

Richard Jefferies Museum:

Swindon Viewpoint:

Swindon Heritage Magazine:


News from the (Mechanics’) Trust: Spring 2016

News from the (Mechanics’) Trust: Spring 2016

3rd May 2016


The Mechanics’ Institute Trust Newsletter

“The Time Has Come for Swindon’s Mechanics’ Institution”

Text box

Hello dear listeners

I know many of you out there are interested in our Mechanics’ Institute and its future. Anyone that saw Martin Parry’s inspiring and wonderful film ‘Railway Town’ will know just how pivotal to Swindon this building and the people that created it has been.

So here we have a share of the latest newsletter from the Mechanics’ Institute Trust for your edification and delectation. It’s in two sections. One being the outer section and the other being the inner section. Hopefully it will make sense.


NEWS FROM THE TRUST Inside of the newsletter

Both the Mechanic’s Institute Trust and Swindon Civic Voice are organisations that need your support to carry out their work supporting your town. Both of them are membership organisations and rely on membership subscriptions. They are both really cheap – a lot cheaper than certain high street coffee shops. A year’s membership of either of them will cost you less than a latte! Y’know you want to! 😉 

The MIT:

Swindon Civic Voice:


Railway Town and other video footage

Railway Town and other video footage

2nd May 2016


It’s only a few days since Martin Parry’s pièce de résistance ‘Railway Town’ was premiered at the Wyvern Theatre to a sell out crowd. I was privileged to be on the Q&A panel after the film – and what a great film it was. SUCH a wonderful testament to its maker and its subject matter: Swindon and its people.

It really was very moving and inspirational. It drove home just how much Swindon has to be proud of in its history and makes clear just how VERY special the Mechanics’ Institute is – make no mistake – that place is about SO much more than the building. It’s about the very heart and soul of New Swindon.

Here’s an article in the Swindon Advertiser:  and the DVD of the film is available here:

All of which makes a neat enough segue into other video footage about Swindon’s railway workers collected together by a chap I’ve come into contact with via Instagram.

His name is Mark Keen – known on Instagram as Sharpbluepix and he has YouTube and Vimeo channels that are worth taking a look at.

Mark was the first person in Swindon to get Instragramming I believe. He beta tested the app in 2010 before it got sold to Facebook and when it was only on Apple devices. So scrolling back through the #Swindon hashtag his are the first pictures.

He’s got some films online form the now defunct Swindon Cable (see below) – many featuring the GWR works.

Swindon Cable channel on YouTube:

And here is Mark’s Channel dedicated to Swindon Cable on Vimeo –

God's Wonderful Railway

Then there’s this one – God’s Wonderful Railway – 27 mins long

For Swindon Viewpoint:

Swindon Viewpoint

I’ve posted recently about the Mechanic’s Institute Trust and Swindon Civic Voice.

See also:

The Mechanics’ Institute Trust : Its time has come

Swindon Civic Voice: The Civic Society Movement and Swindon