Dear Reader

Little by little, we are cautiously taking steps towards the new normal, adapting as best we can to how circumstances change. Hopefully, schools will reopen safely in September and we will gradually begin to expand our social interaction with each other. Although most events have been put on hold until next year, some are still taking place with social distancing applied. Therefore, Village Connect has got a minuscule What’s On section for this issue, but please check with organisers nearer the time, as new guidelines may have been introduced.

The positive feedback from you on receiving the July/August issue was truly heart-warming, and I thank you for your continued support for our local businesses and community initiatives. What impresses me the most is the creativity shown during lockdown, as business owners have found new ways of carrying out their services or used the enforced change as an opportunity to follow their dreams. Family business Colemans has been joined by its third generation and launched a new website (see pages 20-21) and Katy Watson-Reid finally opened her new dance studio having set up her school fourteen years
ago (see page 16).

Two couples have spent the time renovating pubs: Steph & Neil Price
recently took over The George at Ashley (see page 12), and Rachel & Mark Dunn finished the renovation of the Rose & Crown in Islip (see pages 24-25) as well as setting up their grocery delivery business. Caroline Johnson-Fairbank and Steve Plowright founded Natural Wear UK (see page 14) with ethical and upcycled items – a theme mirrored in newly opened Auburn Fox Home & Interiors in Thrapston (see page 10) and Lilly’s in Oundle (see page 26) selling vintage and retro clothing.

Lockdown and its consequences have inspired many of us to take on a new skill or to retrain, a trend likely to continue as we reassess life with and after Covid-19. You will fi nd online art classes on page 63, French tuition on page 60, or you can turn to page 67 for a 25% discount on adult learnings services in a variety of subjects. Your generosity in supporting our local community during this diffi cult time is refl ected on pages 46-47 as Northamptonshire Health Charity offers a huge thank you to all for making a difference.

Your response to the threatened closure of Wicksteed Park has also been immense, and the Support Wicksteed campaign continues with great impetus (see page 48). Our sense of community engagement has certainly been sharpened in recent months and long may it continue. Our local businesses need to feel our support more than ever. Thank you in advance and have a glorious and colourful autumn.


Vivi Sant Cole

Village Connect

Hillcrest House

Church Hill



NN14 1AH

Tel: 01536 744700