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KidsQuest.. a new place for kids to play

Blogger Mummy Em visited one of Ilford’s newest gems, a great place for kids to have fun and parents to relax. Check out what she thought of KidsQuest.

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Last week we were invited to go and visit Kids Quest, the new soft play area located in Creams Café in Ilford Town Centre.

It is brilliant. The staff are so lovely and what I loved most was that they took the time to know the names of every child in there, and go above and beyond to make sure you have everything you need.

The play area is located to the rear of the café, and is the stuff of kids dreams. There is the compulsory ball pit, and a massive slide, which was even big enough for me to have a cheeky go.kidsquest6

Prices are extremely reasonable with two price options available, and what’s more it is open until 7.30pm in the week.

Personally I love that it is located in a café so parents can sit and have a coffee (or a ice cream without having to share) while their little one can enjoy themselves in the sweet themed play area.

Now, as if all of the above wasn’t fab enough they are now introducing autism hour. From Tuesday 30th January, 4.30pm-5.30pm the play area will be closed to the public every Tuesday in order for children (aged 0-10) with Autism Spectrum disorder have a safe place to play, socialise and develop their physical skills in. How fab is that!

Guest Writer: Mummy Em

If you’d like more information about the new play area, visit the KidsQuest website.

If you’d like to read more from Mummy Em, visit her blog!

If you’d like to become a guest writer, fill in our simple form.

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Hainault Forest Country Park is in the early stages of a £6m restoration project which will see it undergo a programme of work focusing on four key areas – investment in biodiversity, landscape and buildings, works to re-focus the popular children’s zoo and to improve the range of activities on offer for visitors.

Nature walk

On 9 December 2017 a group joined Francis Castro, Senior Ranger and Project Manager at Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure, for a guided winter stroll around Hainault Forest. In beautiful winter sunshine, over the course of two hours, they learned about the flora and fauna, as well as the restoration plans.

In January 2017, the HLF announced support of £4.5m, including development funding of £218,800, for Hainault Forest Country Park’s “Hainault Ancient Forest – a Landscape for the Future” project. The Council will also contribute £1.25m to the project with a further £250,000 from Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure. This brings total investment to £6m. When the project is complete, it is envisaged that Hainault Forest Country Park will be enabled to become financially self-sufficient, and the current Council subsidy will end.

Tree walk

Covering a total of 800 acres, Hainault Forest includes 250 acres of greenbelt, ancient woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is the last fragment of a medieval Royal hunting forest established by Henry I that included Hatfield and Epping.

The forest is also pivotal for local and regional wildlife. To date, 158 species of bird have been recorded in the forest including turtle doves, bullfinches, and three species of woodpecker. There are also more than 940 species of invertebrates such as butterflies and dragonflies, 79 of which are nationally scarce.

Friends of Wanstead Parklands member Richard Arnopp, who went on the walk, said –

“Hainault Forest is important both as a haven for wildlife and a much-needed recreational space for Redbridge’s growing population. It is also a historic landscape with ancient trees, including many pollards, which bear witness to its long management as wood-pasture”.

Richard continued –

“Francis Castro (Vision RCL), the London Borough of Redbridge and the HLF are to be congratulated for this initiative. We hope that the “Hainault Ancient Forest” project will guarantee the future of this special place for many years to come”.

Camelot Path Hainault Forest Country Park is managed by Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure on behalf of the London Borough of Redbridge.

 

 


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Redbridge Museum’s On The Move Exhibition

Redbridge Museum’s summer exhibition On The Move is coming to an end this weekend, so I thought I would go along and see what it was all about!  The theme is transport related and showcases a variety of different modes of transport.  As a first time visitor to the Museum exhibition, I wasn’t really aware of what to expect, and I was surprised that everything was extremely interactive providing lots of things for children to do.

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As you walk inside the exhibition space, there are lots of colours and signs drawn on the walls which are actually road signs. There are many huge structures which the children can climb on including a plane with seating for a pilot and co-pilot, a boat which children can climb aboard, and for children that love to dress up, there are costumes which they can wear. There was a train with lots of seats inside, so multiple people could sit and watch a video showing a drivers view of the London underground. The exhibition also includes other types of transport including wheelchairs, bicycles and scooters.

There is an assistant who is very hands on and keen to help all the children, explaining to them how things work, as she did this she explained how real versions of the exhibits would work too and the children were so mesmerised by her and you could really tell that they were interested in what she had to say.

The exhibition offers educational benefits because next to all the interactive activities there are fact sheets that described what it represented and for some pieces it described the history about it so that the children were learning and having a good time. The interactive activities included many puzzles, things they could build and games, including a variation of whack-a-rat.

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The atmosphere in the exhibition was entirely happy and the sounds of laughing and playing was very clear, a young boy called Charlie summed up his visit by saying “it’s fun!” and another young boy called Louis, when asked what he liked the most exclaimed “all of it!”. A grandparent of children playing also told me that she had brought her grandson once and he loved it so much that she brought him and his cousin back again! This proves that this exhibition is not one that should be missed!

Exhibition closes on Saturday 2 September, so hurry if you wish to experience the fun. Entry is FREE.

For more information visit the website

Guest Author: Kate Beard

 

 

 


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A week in the life of a work experience student

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What a week… Last Monday was the day I finally started my work experience placement, in Valentines Park. I always dreaded work experience after my past experience and hearing stories about how I would just be sitting around waiting on staff and providing them with the occasional beverage; but how wrong I was.

Day 1

Day 1 began and I readied myself for a day sat inside a cramped office waiting on staff, with no real purpose or use. I was taken through the park with my work experience supervisor, and ended up at a mansion surrounded by the gardens of Valentines Park. We began to stop and I came to the realisation that this is where I would be spending some of my work experience placement time.

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As I entered, the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming; offering me drinks and biscuits, I even received my own desk! So day 1 officially started and I began with general office work which was good as it enabled me to gain a feeling for what I might encounter if I was to enter a similar work place, of which I want to take part in after my A levels. Eleven o’clock came and I was told to go downstairs and help out with a school trip coming to view the mansion. This was great, as it enabled me to not only interact with the public but also learn some facts about the 300 year old mansion I was spending my time in. Time flew by and before I knew it I was back in the office attending to folders and organising work for the staff, I really felt like I was part of a team.

 

 

Day 2

Day 2 came around and I continued with office work, even being given the responsibility to count out the money before the start of the day. Tuesday was open day and so I got to help out with showing people around the mansion. It also allowed me to use my knowledge about the mansion and provide them with facts which they may not have found in the leaflets.

Day 3

Day 3 is where it changed. I explored the other side of the park and worked closer with my work experience guide, down in Wash Lodge. I carried out more office work and was even given the responsibility of work specifically for the manager in that team.

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Day 4

Day 4 seemed to be another day, until my supervisor surprised me with a farm visit in one of the local parks which they help run and manage (Hainault Forest Country Park). This was great as it allowed me to relax from the office environment, whilst learning about one of the parks which they are looking to improve in the future. I was also able to see some animals which you wouldn’t normally expect to see so close by, for example the emus and meerkats; I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about this place!

Day 5

My final day of work experience came around so quickly but the fun wasn’t over yet. I went and worked with the final team (Parks operative team). This allowed a gentle end to the week whilst spending some time catching some sun.

I loved the variation which I was given whilst working there and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work around. I know this will help me in any future jobs that I might have, and it’s nice to know that the people looking after our parks and open spaces care for what they are doing.

Guest Writer: Louis Machon


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A day out at Fairlop Fair 2017

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On Saturday we headed to Fairlop Waters County Park for their annual fair. This was our first time going to the fair but not our first visit to the park as it is one of our favourites and is opposite my daughter Chloe’s nursery.

As you may be aware we love a local day out and the fair is one of our favourite days. The fair started at 11am and we got their around 11.30am and by then it was already busy. I was amazed at the variety of activities they had.

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Chloe had seen the rides on her way home from nursery on Friday so was already looking forward to going on them and had been saying all morning she wanted to go on the cars. I think Chloe and her cousin Lizzie would have stayed on them all day if we had allowed. The rides were all ticket based which you purchased from the ticket booth. It was £10 for 10 tickets and the rides were two tickets each.  I don’t know what it is with little ones but they get so much enjoyment going round, and round and round.

One of the first things to catch my eye as we entered was the Greggs sign and we soon made a beeline for this. They had a gingerbread decorating stall and the children got two gingerbread men to decorate, one was to be entered in to the competition and one was to be enjoyed now. Chloe didn’t want her one which meant I got to enjoy it. And the best thing was it was all FREE.

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And what is any day at the fair without face painting? Chloe will always pick a Tiger. No matter what the event or time of the year she wants to be a tiger. The lady who did the face painting was so talented and Chloe sat really still and took the whole face painting very seriously. Lizzie was a disco cat! Oh to be 8 years old and get away with having a rainbow face.

Soon it was lunch time and we headed to the food area to see what there was, and we were not disappointed with the large choice available from jerk chicken, pizza, burgers and a cake stand with the best name ever – Cakey McCakeface! Chloe wanted chips so I headed to the jerk chicken stall and Lizzie and her mum Lisa had pizza. The pizza looked really nice and was all cooked fresh. The great thing with days like this is that it can be as cheap or expensive as you want and I saw plenty of people sitting having a picnic taking in all the surroundings.

After we had eaten we took a walk around the rest of the fair to see what was on offer. They had a beach area with deck chairs but by the time we got to this area it was so busy we didn’t manage to have a play, but it looked fab. Earlier in the day there was a performance put on in this area that looked like fun.

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Also going on throughout the day was music and entertainment by the local drama clubs and even a salsa dancing lesson.

We finished the day with an ice cream on the top of the hill looking over the fair and listening to the music. We all went home happy, tired and with a full belly. We are already looking forward to returning next year!

Guest Writer: Mummy Em

If you’d like to read more from Mummy Em, visit her blog!

If you’d like to become a guest writer, fill in our simple form.

 


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Redbridge Children’s Book Award 2017

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On the last Thursday of June, Redbridge Town Hall was crowded with excited, enthusiastic readers and budding writers along with their school librarians and teachers to celebrate the 2017 Redbridge Children’s Book Awards.  A panel of five of the shortlisted authors – Peter Bunzl, Anne Cassidy, Christopher Edge, Kathryn Evans and Teri Terry – talked about their reading journeys and how authors, Neil Gaiman, Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl and books, Watership Down and Wuthering Heights inspired them to become writers. I won’t mention the author who skipped school to meet Neil Gaiman.  They also answered questions on topics ranging from where they like to write – which varied  from on the train, in a shed, any quiet space to thinking story plots while walking round Ilford shopping – to which character they would choose to be from their books.

RCBA_ICHSStudents from 17 secondary schools and 9 primary schools across Redbridge, Havering and Newham voted for their favourite children’s and teenage book published in 2016 and they eagerly awaited the results.

The Many Worlds by Albie Bright by Christopher Edge, won the Children’s category and Flawed by Cecilia Ahern won the Teenage category.   We were delighted that Christopher was able to attend to receive his award.  Cecilia sent a video acceptance speech.

It was also a chance for the winners of the writing and poetry competitions to be presented with their prizes.  The poetry competition was judged by David Fulton, lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University and the short story competition was judged by author and Head of Bancrofts Prep School, Joe Layburn.

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Time by Amber Kwong from Woodford County High School won the junior poetry competition and I See a Lily on the Breeze by Naomi Blakely from Trinity Catholic High School won the teenage category.

The Astounding Story of Salt Bae by Theo Newton from Wanstead High School won the junior short story competition and No Going Back by Jessica Johnson from Wanstead High School won the teenage  category.  Winners were presented with a book token, a fiction book and a copy of this year’s anthology of all shortlisted poems and stories.

Guest Author: Nina Simon


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The Cat in the Hat family fun!

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On Saturday we headed to a reading of The Cat in the Hat by the world famous Dr Suess at Barkingside (Fullwell Cross) library.

The event was held outside and benches were lined up in front of the steps ready for the performance. Prior to the show starting people from the event were making balloon animals up and down the high street.

The performance was put on by The Discovery Centre who are based in Stratford in partnership with the Vision Redbridge Culture Team. If you haven’t been to The Discovery Centre yet I cannot recommend it highly enough, the 2 people performing  were really good and interacted well with the parents and children and really brought the story to life.

There was even a surprise visit at the end by The Cat in the Hat himself!

Once the performance was over with there was a chance to have your photo taken with the cat and his car, obviously I jumped at the chance of this.

 

We then headed inside the library to take a look at the arts and crafts that included face painting for £1.50 and making items from the story including  a hat like the cat’s, these were all free.

It was a great way to spend a few hours locally and not spend any money!

To see what other events are on take a look at Vision’s Do More guide.

Maybe I’ll get to see you and say hello at an event!

Guest Writer: Mummy Em

If you’d like to read more from Mummy Em, visit her blog!

If you’d like to become a guest writer, fill in our simple form.