Category Archives: west somerset

MINEHEAD & EXMOOR MUSIC FESTIVAL

The Regal Theatre is proud once again to welcome the Minehead and Exmoor Music Festival for a week of rehearsals and performance. This is the 55th season of the Minehead & Exmoor Music Festival, which presents a week of concerts across West Somerset. 

The Regal provides a home where the orchestra rehearses and also hosts 3 major concerts.  (The Young Artists’ Concert on Sunday 22 July (at 7pm) and the Chamber Concert on Thursday 27 July (at 4pm) take place at the Methodist Church opposite the theatre.)

The orchestra, which plays a pivotal role in the Minehead Music Festival, was originally founded by Tim Reynish in 1963. It has been running in its present form for 30 years under Artistic Director and Conductor Richard Dickins.  Once again he has produced a fine programme of music which everyone is sure to enjoy. Every year he manages to persuade eminent international soloists as well as up-and-coming stars to come and perform with the orchestra.

The players are drawn from all over the country but most come from the London area where many of them perform with well-established orchestras and chamber groups. They produce high standards of performance which audiences eagerly anticipate.

Here is the festival line-up…

FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA CONCERTS AT THE REGAL THEATRE
CONDUCTED BY RICHARD DICKINS          

TICKETS: Adults £18.00, Students £3.00

Monday 23 July at Regal Theatre, Minehead
The Festival Orchestra conducted by Richard Dickins
Mozart:  Symphony No 35 (Haffner)
Paul Patterson: Double Bass Concerto
A world premiere performance
Soloist Leon Bosch
Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3 (Scottish)

Wednesday 25 July at Regal Theatre, Minehead
The Festival Orchestra conducted by Richard Dickins
Rossini:  Overture to The Barber of Seville
Bruch: Violin Concerto No 1
Soloist Maya Magub
Brahms: Symphony No 3

Saturday 28 July at Regal Theatre, Minehead
END OF FESTIVAL CONCERT
The Festival Orchestra conducted by Richard Dickins
Mozart: Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
Dvorak: Cello Concerto No 1
Soloist Laura van der Heijden  
Shostakovich: Symphony No 5

Tickets are now on sale at the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am – 3pm Monday – Friday, 10am – 1pm Saturday.

MORE PLASTICS CAN NOW BE RECYCLED IN WEST SOMERSET

GOOD NEWS! Here is the latest information issued by Somerset Waste Partnership on plastics (see end of info for a suggestion):

PLASTIC BOTTLES: Put out only plastic bottles at the kerbside if you have an individual collection – no other plastics, but discard tops, rinse, squash and recycle all household plastic bottles, including those for milk, juice, shampoo, bleach and more, including trigger cleaning sprays and liquid soap dispensers.
No thanks: those from the garage (oil etc) or garden (pesticides etc) should be discarded.

Bottle tops: There are two main reasons why we ask you to discard bottle tops: first, they may be of a different plastic to the bottles or contain other materials, such as – in some trigger sprays – metal springs, thus adding contamination to the materials we want; and second, the bottle tops can both get into the sorting machinery and prevent bottles from being squashed as the machinery bales thousands of bottles together for transport elsewhere. Under great pressure, the bottles can then explode, blowing apart the bale and forcing the staff to start again, wasting both time and money.

PLASTIC POTS, TUBS, TRAYS:  Drop off rigid plastic food and household pots, tubs and trays in the plastic bottle skips at any of Somerset’s 16 recycling sites when passing. Pots, tubs and trays include pots for yoghurt, soup, face cream, hair gel; tubs for margarine, ice cream, laundry tablets; trays (including black plastic) for meat, fish, ready meals, and plastic punnets for fruit or mushrooms. Please rinse, discard/recycle as appropriate all foil, film covers, absorbent pads or card packaging, squash, then add to plastic bottle skip.

Ensure you exclude: plastic paint and plant pots, seed trays; toys, garden furniture, car parts, CD-DVD-VHS cases or contents; thin film , such as clingfilm, bubble wrap, carrier bags, film covers, bread bags, multipack wraps (though some thin films, with the “film” packaging label, may be able to be added to carrier bag collections at some supermarkets).

TETRA PAKS: Drop off Tetra Paks, other beverage cartons, and single-use drink cups when passing any of 12 recycling sites (all except Castle Cary, Cheddar, Dulverton or Somerton), please rinse and squash. NB: Many liquids available in beverage cartons are also available in containers – plastic, glass, cans – that we collect in kerbside collections. And we have been told by a number of those who prefer or can only drink nut milks, such as oat, soya and almond milks, that it is easy to make exactly the amount, consistency and flavour/sweetness required using any good food processor, thus saving money, reducing waste and eliminating the existing costly and complex-to-recycle packaging.

FUTURE PLANS: The situation for plastics in Somerset will be transformed once we have a new multi-million pound collections contract in place, for which negotiations are now underway, and have designed and had built a new recycling truck fleet for those new collections. Given the required public procurement rules under which these high-value contracts must be placed, this will take time to ensure practical, sustainable and best value outcomes.

We then plan to roll out the “Recycle More” weekly kerbside collection of all existing materials plus plastic pots, tubs, trays, Tetra Paks and other beverage cartons, single-use coffee cups and perhaps other materials, from 2020. Because of the extra light but very bulky materials being collected every week, we will then also change the frequency of rubbish collections to once every three weeks. Our trials of this with hundreds of Somerset families of all sizes in all sorts of accommodation over several months showed not only a large jump in recycling and a matching drop in rubbish levels, but an 84% approval for three-weekly rubbish collections with extra weekly plastics and other materials.

For more information on plastics, see: https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/act-on-plastics/

For more information on beverage cartons and single-use drink cups, see: https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/dozen-recycling-sites-take-single-use-coffee-cups/

For more information on Recycle More future collections: https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/recycle-more/

And for more on the other items we do and do not take in kerbside recycling: https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/recycling-collections/

IDEA: If there are any garden centres out there which recycle plant pots and seed trays please get in touch with Exmoor Magazine and we will spread the word!

MINEHEAD’S MARITIME MILE

News Release From West Somerset Council

Minehead’s Maritime Mile was launched last week, to give the resort a fresh, new boost designed to attract more visitors in time for the start of the main holiday season.

At an informal ceremony last Tuesday, Minehead’s Deputy Mayor Cllr Gail Everett cut the ribbon to open the new attraction.

The £80,000 project, largely funded through LEADER – an EU scheme that allocates money to help rural areas – will complement the Enterprising Minehead project that has won substantial funding to make the resort the go-to seaside destination by making the most of its traditional appeal as a seaside resort – with a twenty-first-century twist.

The Maritime Mile creates a new heritage interpretation trail, running the length of the seafront to showcase Minehead’s maritime history, myths and legends. The trail has the central theme of ‘find and follow the shells’ and be way-marked to draw people along the route. It will link to existing features like the South West Coast Path and England Coast Path.

An open-air gallery is being built at the trail’s central point to display images and artefacts from Minehead’s past. And there’s an App (suitable for Android and iOS devices).

The App features a quiz designed to entice people to walk to the Harbour and complete the trail, those presenting correct answers to Minehead Visitor Centre will be eligible to collect a prize. This feature technology will also link to the new Minehead destination website for visitors widening Minehead’s appeal as a tourist destination.

The new, high-tech App features *augmented reality, videos and 3D images to make the walk more exciting and interactive – and it links to the new website being launched – www.mineheadbay.co.uk – to further enhance Minehead’s appeal to new and wider audiences.

The state-of-the-art responsive website has been developed to capitalise on marketing the town as a key destination and will also link to the seafront trail/walk and its innovative technology.

The Minehead Coastal Community Team projects have been developed in collaboration with Minehead Museum, Minehead Development Trust, and Butlin’s.

Cllr Andrew Hadley, West Somerset Council’s Lead Member for economic regeneration, said: “The Maritime Mile showcases Minehead’s history and heritage and is a great new feature to enhance what we can now offer our visitors – and encourage more people to enjoy Minehead.

“We are lucky to have a fascinating history that can be brought to life through harnessing the incredible technology that is available now. “

Katrina Midgley, who chairs Minehead Coastal Community Team, added: “This is the first in a series of enhancements to Minehead’s Esplanade, aimed at attracting local people and tourists to enjoy our seafront. I am delighted to see the work of Minehead Coastal Community Team coming to life. I would like to thank everyone who has been instrumental in making this happen.”

*Augmented reality uses computer-aided graphics to add an additional layer of information to aid understanding and/or interaction with the physical world around you.

PHOTO: Ribbon cutting: from the left are Katrina Midgley (MCCT chair), Nicky Bradley, Bernard Maynard-Smith, Gail Everett (Minehead Deputy Mayor), Gary Woolmer, Maureen Smith, Nicki Maclean, Roger Thomas, Mandy Chilcott.

 

 

LEADER THANKS AWARD-WINNING VOLUNTEERS

Press release issued by West Somerset Council

Leader of West Somerset Council, Cllr Anthony Trollope-Bellew, is adding his congratulations to two local voluntary groups which have won the highest recognition.

Home-Start West Somerset and Watchet Phoenix Volunteer Team have been recognised and honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2018.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK, to recognise and celebrate outstanding work by groups of volunteers in their communities, for the benefit of others.

Cllr Trollope-Bellew said: “Volunteering has long and proud history in West Somerset. We are a largely remote and rural area where people look after each other – and are self-reliant.

“As a council we do recognise their efforts and have jointly, with our partner council in Taunton Deane, launched a lottery to help support volunteer and charity groups.

“I am delighted that two of the three Queen’s Awards in Somerset this year are going to West Somerset organisations. On behalf of the council, I would like to thank these groups – and the many others that do so much – for their tireless hard work.”

PHOTO: Home-Start West Somerset. Left to right: Siobhan Lennon-Patience (mum, service user and newly appointed trustee), Pam Shambrook (volunteer) and Clare Pound (Minehead Home-Start manager). This photo was used in our spring 2017 issue’s article about the charity.

NEW INVESTIGATION INTO DUNSTER’S BUILDINGS

A new project to record and date Dunster’s medieval buildings in one of Exmoor National Park’s oldest settlements launches this week. It was kick-started after a number of buildings were found to have arch-braced roofs and true cruck frames, indicating they dated back to the 14th and 15th centuries.

A free event for people to learn more about the two-year project is being held at Tithe Barn in Dunster on Sunday 3  June from 1.30 – 5.30pm, with historical talks including Richard Parker from the Time Team Dig Village Project, who have been researching Dunster’s history and archaeology over the last few years.

There will be an array of historic maps on show with experts on hand to help residents try and locate their house on maps from different time periods, plus guidance on how to estimate a building’s age. People are also being asked to bring along old photos of Dunster that might help provide clues to the history of the village, and there will be some fun family activities too.

Mary Ewing from Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society (SANHS), which is leading the project in association with Exmoor National Park and Dunster Museum, with sponsorship from Historic England, said: “There’s been a lot of interest in uncovering Dunster’s past recently and it’s great to see so many members of the community getting behind this exciting project.

“We’re delighted to now be furthering this work through the most thorough investigation of Dunster’s historic buildings to date. We hope to be able to give as many residents as possible the chance to find out the history of their house using cutting-edge techniques such as dendrochronology, which uses tree rings from the building’s timbers to pinpoint the exact year they were formed.”

Shirley Blaylock, historic environment conservation officer at Exmoor National Park, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for today’s residents to get a glimpse into Dunster’s past and contribute to important research. We look forward to seeing how the story unfolds.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the project should contact Mary Ewing via the SANHS office on 01823 272429 or info@sanhs.org

PHOTO: Dunster’s High House, now called The Nunnery (but which was never a convent), photographed by Julia Amies-Green for our Winter 2016 issue article by Mary Siraut – ‘Medieval Origins’. The article was all about medieval buildings on Exmoor. The magazine is available as a back issue here.

WEST SOMERSET COUNCIL JOINS DEMENTIA ALLIANCE

West Somerset Council has officially joined Watchet area Dementia Action Alliance (WDAA) as part of its commitment to being a “dementia-friendly” organisation.

Cllr Keith Turner, the Lead Member for Housing, Health and Wellbeing, is the council’s representative on the group.

West Somerset Council fully supports WDAA and the organisation’s work locally in transforming the health for people living with dementia through community action.

Cllr Turner said: “I am proud the council is now a member of this local organisation – one that is making a real difference to people’s lives. Support networks are vital for those with dementia, their families and carers and helps people maintain that all-important independence for longer.

“I was pleased to attend WDAA’s annual general meeting this week and see for myself the tremendous amount of work that volunteers are doing.”

Margaret Tatham (WDAA lead) said: “We are delighted that West Somerset Council has joined the Alliance, which now has 45 members across Watchet, Williton and nearby villages, all helping to make our area more Dementia Friendly.”

The council became a dementia-friendly organisation four years ago with staff undergoing awareness training with some going on to become ‘dementia champions’.

Staff are planning to raise funds for Reminiscence Learning, the dementia charity, during National Dementia Awareness Week (May 21-27).

PHOTO:  (L-R): Cllr Dave Westcott, Lead Member for Community and Customer, Cllr Keith Turner and WADAA chair Margaret Tatham.

AN ARTIST’S TALE FOR MINEHEAD’S MAY DAY

Reader Lewis MacDonald is an aspiring artist who got in touch with us to ask if he could tell his story and show us his embroidery of the Minehead Hobby Horse. This piece of work is quite astonishing (like Lewis’ own path so far), so what better day to tell it than May Day itself! Over to Lewis…

“Don’t study what you love, studying has a habit of making you grow resentful of the subject. So, my advice is to pick the thing you like doing the most and keep it as a hobby, that way it never gets boring.”

This was the advice my late father gave me as I was attempting to decide what to do at university. I couldn’t decide whether to do history or art.

My name is Lewis MacDonald, I am 24 and currently an aspiring textile artist. My focus right now is Free Motion Embroidery, also known as Thread Painting. This is a technique where you take a standard sewing machine and ‘drop the feed dogs’ (this is the term for lowering the little teeth on the base of a sewing machine which feeds the fabric in one direction whilst sewing). If you drop the feed dogs and swap a standard sewing machine foot for a ‘free motion quilting foot’, you have full control over the fabric and can create any design you wish. The best way I find to explain what it is like, is by saying that it is like painting, but instead of moving the brush you move the paper. Each embroidery takes me many hours of focused creativity and precision.

Lewis MacDonald's sewing technique

It’s been a long journey since I first found out that I had a talent for Free Machine Embroidery, unusual as well in that I am male. Many events have also taken place, both good and bad, which have forced me to push back getting into my art.

When I was in Sixth Form, at the West Somerset Community College, I wanted to copy a design that I saw on a collection of Alexander McQueen’s autumn fashion which was military inspired. The lapel on one of the coats had an oak leaf pattern in gold that fitted well with my theme for that term. Unfortunately, the CAD/CAM machine that normally makes these patterns was being used by another student. Impatient, I decided to attempt to make the design myself on a standard sewing machine by setting it up in the way that I have described above. It worked amazingly well, and so I went home that day and attempted something more detailed like a family photo. From that point on I continued to test and improve my skills.

In 2014 my work was part of a WW1 Centenary Exhibition held in St Andrews Church Minehead, which raised money for the Royal British Legion. And in 2015 I was one of the winners of the Marshwood Vale Art Competition and had my work displayed in the Bridport Art Centre. I decided to study history at university, on my father’s advice, and not to ruin my love for art. So, I had to focus more on education than embroideries. Still, all was going well for my art and my life until September of 2015 when I crashed my motorbike travelling home from Exeter University. After this I suffered from a bout of depression and anxiety, complicated by my ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder). This drastically worsened in October 2016 when I learnt of my father’s diagnosis of cancer and then had to cope with his death only a few months later. 2017 was a difficult year. But with counselling and determination I am finding myself at a new beginning (I hope). I am working on my art, myself and my health, all in the hopes of becoming a better person.

So now you are up to date, what am I doing, and what are my plans?

Currently, I am trying my best to ‘get my name out there’. I’m looking for commissions as well as working on pieces that can be sold. I have discovered that I can replicate most things with very intricate, detailed accuracy. I particularly enjoy sewing images of pets. I’m not too bad at humans either.

Also, on the subject of animals but perhaps more topically, I’ve always had a love of the Hobby Horse. For me, it heralds a time of happiness and celebration in Minehead, especially with its crazy dancing and music, that I only wish it could be a bigger event.

One day, I would like to see the Minehead Hobby Horse not just as a small march around the town, but expanded into a whole festival for a day, with markets, music and fireworks. It could be a big tourism event that would draw people from all around, as does the Padstow ‘Obby oss.’ But anyway, I also enjoy sewing the Hobby Horse as a challenge, it is such an intricate thing to be able to get right, particularly with the massive variety of colours and its movement of the dance.

Happy May Day!

Lewis MacDonald

You can read more on Lewis’ website: www.sewingloon.uk

INVITATION TO TENDER: HARBOUR MARKET AND CONCESSION DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

Minehead Coastal Communities Team has levered Coastal Community funding to develop a new harbour market and attract suitable seaside concessions for Minehead seafront.

The opportunity is for a self-motivated market, event organiser or similar, with marketing and PR experience and excellent communication skills. The position will be a varied, and be on a self-employed basis. The contract will be to develop, market, promote, manage and coordinate delivery of Harbour Markets and Concessions in Minehead. This part-time contract opportunity is over a two year period, with an expectation to become self-sustainable following that period.

Please click on the links to view the job descriptionperson specification and draft contract containing more detail of the role.

If you have any questions please email tender@westsomerset.gov.uk. Please note the closing date for applicants is 24 April 2018, at 12 noon.

WATCHET’S COASTAL COMMUNITY TEAM BECOMES ONE OF 20 NATIONAL SOCIAL ACTION PARTNERSHIPS

Watchet Coastal Community Team are delighted to have won a bid from the Big Lottery Fund and Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to become one of 20 partnerships countrywide to take part in the first stage of the Place Based Social Action programme.

Watchet CCT will now receive support to develop social action plans designed to address issues important to the local community.

The Placed Based Social Action programme is funded using £4.5 million of Government and National Lottery money. It aims to support communities to put social action at the heart of plans which make a positive difference in the local area. It gives people the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the design and delivery of local services by bringing together communities, local authorities, public sector organisations, service providers, civil society organisations and businesses to address local priorities.

Between now and December 2018, Watchet CCT will work with New Economics Foundation and Locality, the national network for community organisations that bring local people together to meet local needs, to design their local social action plan.

In early 2019, up to 10 of the 20 partnerships taking part in the first phase of the programme will go on to be awarded funding of up to £240,000 for three years to put their plans into action. Following this, up to five of these partnerships will be awarded further funding of up to £255,000 to develop and expand their plans for another three years to December 2024.

Watchet Coastal Community Team is a partnership organisation made up of 30 local organisations, businesses, community groups and Town, District and County Council. The team work collaboratively to help further initiatives that help to benefit the town both economically and socially. To find out more visit: www.watchetcct.co.uk

Peter Murphy, WCCT Chair, said: “We are thrilled to have been chosen as one of the Place Based Social Action partnerships and look forward to working with local people and authorities to design a plan that will have lasting and far reaching benefits for our local people. Our plan will aim to bring people together and design a system for collaborative working across all facets of local life. We very much look forward to devising it.”

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “This programme is about supporting communities to work together to tackle the social issues that matter in their area. It is designed to ensure solutions are created by local people for local people and we’re looking forward to seeing how these plans develop over the next year.”

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sports and Civil Society, said: “Communities lie at the heart of our commitment to build a society that works for everyone. This investment, bolstered by partnerships, will create positive change as people work together to develop solutions to overcome local issues in their area.”

Place Based Social Action will run until 2025 and is administered by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with DCMS.

DR WATSON & THE ENIGMA OF MARY KELLY AT THE REGAL THEATRE MINEHEAD

From 19–21 April, Waterfront Theatre Company takes to the stage at the Regal Theatre in Minehead with their latest production –  Dr Watson & The Enigma Of Mary Kelly, written and directed by Fred Owen.

The year is 1901 and Whitechapel is gradually recovering from Jack the Ripper’s 1888 Reign of Terror. The new Whitechapel Art Gallery has opened on the High Street and the great and the good are in attendance to toast its success, including Dr John Watson who runs a clinic nearby.

Watson bumps into his old friend retired Inspector George Lestrade, who is attending the launch with William Wiggins, a reporter. Wiggins claims to have sensational information obtained from the stolen memoirs of Melville Macnaghten – the identity of Jack the Ripper.

Watson, Lestrade and Wiggins set out to prove him right or wrong before publishing the scoop of the new century. However, the search for one answer throws up a variety of new questions, some of which threaten to unleash a wave of despicable new horrors on the ever-brooding East End.

Performances Thursday – Saturday, 19 – 21 April begin at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £8 are available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am – 3pm Monday – Saturday.  Book online at www.regaltheatre.co.uk.