Dear Reader

When the country went into lockdown at the end of March, so did Village Connect.  News and updates were posted on the Facebook page, but the planned and partly produced May/June issue never got printed nor distributed – quite in contrast to the March/April issue which celebrated the 15th anniversary of bringing local business to local villages…

With the usual seasonal festivals and country house events abandoned, an otherwise jam-packed What’s On section remains obsolete for now; however, although much slimmer than previous summer editions, the July/August issue is back and, little by little, restrictions will be lifted and gatherings possible in larger numbers to allow Village Connect to grow again in size.

As we slowly emerge from lockdown and move towards the ‘new normal’, common ways of doing things have changed and many inventive measures have been implemented to allow us to interact with each other again.  Some of these local initiatives include: Ironstone Wellbeing Centre (page 12) moving classes online and planning outdoor ones; and Jollys Toys (page 16) and Hilly Horton Home (page 20) turning to online sales and delivery services, diversifying from shop-based sales alone.
Community support has surged over the past months and neighbourly kindness flourished.  Pubs and cafés have turned to take away, grocery sales or delivery services such as The Red Lion in Cranford (page 54), who also led a team of volunteers for non-profitmaking food delivery to four villages and acted as a hub for food bank donations.  Bright Trees Network (page 44) set up a support platform with free advice package to help local businesses adapt to the new ways of working and growing stronger together.

By pressing the pause button, most of us have been given an opportunity to reflect on and reassess the values by which we live; many have found or regained an increased connection with nature as we watched the skies grow bluer and listened to the birdsong with increased intensity.  The sunniest May on record undoubtedly lifted spirits on our walks and bike rides or while we planted seeds in our gardens.  This connection will hopefully continue to have effect; the musically minded can help Nenescape create songs or music inspired by the landscape of the Nene Valley (page 60), and lovers of spikey friends can find tips on how to help with Jen’s Hedgehog Rescue (page 50).  The colourful front cover taken by Dan Whitney of the Save Weekley Hall Wood campaign might encourage naturalists young and old to capture the diversity of wildlife in the woodlands and upload their own photos (page 38-39).

Enjoy the great outdoors this summer and stay well and safe.


 Vivi Sant Cole

Village Connect

Hillcrest House

Church Hill



NN14 1AH

Tel: 01536 744700