Growing Together Community Projects

The following are some, but not all, of the projects we're currently supporting. Contact Peter Strachan if you;d like to know more about what we've done since starting work in 2012. 

Brookside Community Hub

We've taken out a three year lease on two units in The Brookside Hall (Billing Brook Road shops) and are using them to run a Community Hub for Lings and Lumbertubs. The Hub is run by community worker Danielle Reeves and is open on a drop-in basis on Monday and Wednesday mornings. There are appointment only CAB sessions and NHS First for Well-Being sessions on Wednesday afternoons. There are also regular activites for Mums & Tots, a walking group, fitness classes and other events and programmes. 

You can contact Danielle on 075-6210-0945 or by e-mail at danielle.reeves@blackthorncommunity.org.uk to discuss any local matter, find out the latest activites, or arrange a CAB or First for Well-Being appointment. Or just drop in for a cuppa and to share your issues of concern.

Youth Work

Providing new opportunities for young people was very high up the list of priorities set by our consultation with the community. We have therefore a number of youth organisations to run new programmes for us. The following programmes are running now:

Free 2 Talk run youth groups at both Blackthorn Community Centre for 8 - 11 year olds and the Brookside Hall for the 12+ age group. You can find out more on the Events page. 

Impact Now run arts and crafts based work and study support at Blackthorn Community Centre, Lodge Farm Community Centre and Brookside Hall. All activites take place on Saturday mornings. To find out more contact nike.pedro@yahoo.com

43rd Northampton Scouts cover our estates. You can find out more about them at scouts.org.uk

Community playgrounds

We've built community play areas in the following places. 

  • the space between the games cage and the toddlers' play area near Rillwood Court in Lumbertubs (8 - 13 year olds)
  • the green space by the bus stop on Birds Hill Road, between Ellfield Court and Hangerfield Court (3 - 8 year olds)
  • Foxcovert Wood, in the clearing with the old climbing blocks (8 - 13 year olds)
  • outside Blackthorn Community Centre (for toddlers)
  • the green space off Goldings Road between Treetops and Osmund Drive.

We've also built two youth shelters, each with some outdoor gym equipment, at Blackthorn Recreation Ground (opposite Croft Meadow Court) and in Swanhaven Park, across the road from Cygnet lake. 

Help for older people

We're funding Age UK (Help the Aged and Age Concern merged) to continue with their very successful Get Set Go groups and inter-group activities such as a Kurling League and a programme of visits to local sites of interest such as National Trust properties. The purpose of this is to help older local residents make new friends and live more fulfilling and independent lives. If you would like to discuss a place on these activites for yourself or a relative, then contact Philip Osborne of Age UK Northants on 075-1593-2884.

Swanhaven Park

In earlier years, we've paid for a "trim trail" of gym equipment along the path by the east (road side) of the Lake, dog training and exercise equipment in the area encircled by trees close to Lodge Farm and interpretation boards to show what wildlife you can see on Cygnet and Dragonfly Lakes.

We're now working closely with the Borough and County Councils, the Environment Agency, the Wildlife Trust and others to find a lasting solution to the environmental problems besetting Kingfisher, Cygnet and Dragonfly Lakes. We've commissioned leading environmental consultants JBA Consulting to establish a) what's gone wrong with the Brook, b) what we can do about it and c) how much it will cost. They've now come up with answers to the first two questions (see right hand column) and we've agreed designs for improving the Brook and the Lakes. JBA are now working on the costings. We expect this to be a six figure sum and we'll then need to raise this. We've got a number of potential funders lined up and want to sart work as soon as we possibly can, ideally during 2018.

Lings School

We're delighted to have paid for Lings School's new Performance and Environment Zones and to be a sponsor of the Lings Performing Arts Academy. This includes children and former pupils from 11 schools and is run with support from the Royal Shakespeare Company. 

Billing Brook Lakes - what's gone wrond and what can we do about it?

The brook and lakes are clearly silting up and water quality is declining. This is a direct result of changes made during the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries. In the mid-19th century the brook was straightened, causing the loss of meanders that trapped silt carried downstream from teh agricultural land. In the mid-20th century, the creation of the lakes slowed water down allowing the silt to settle rather than being carried through to the Nene. The system is now inherently unsustainable and, over a long period of time, would eventually fill itself in again and re-establish the meanders.

JBA's designs are based on re-use of the silt to change the banks and create features that will provide new habitat and make the lakes deeper and narrower. This will result in faster running water, less evaporation and more oxygen absorption. The features will include reed or iris beds that will filter out much of the silt as it flows into Kingfisher and Cygnet Lakes. You can download their initial design suggestions from the Downloads page.