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Top 10 Activities for you and the family this May half term!

This half term is set to be filled with glorious sunshine and wonderful weather, so it would certainly be a shame not to be out and about. We have some perfect suggestions to help you take advantage of the sun and fill your days with lots of fun! Check out our recommended activities for this May half term;

For a full list of activities this May visit our website.


1. Elmer Day (3-9yrs01): Saturday 26 May, various times

Various Libraries

Who doesn’t love Elmer the elephant? Come down to your local Redbridge Library for some Elmer Day celebrations with elephant themed activities. Be sure to give your email address when taking part if you want to be entered into a competition to win a children’s Elmer Apron! All of the Elmer Day activities are free, so just turn up!

Elephants never forget, so take a look at our website to find out when Elmer day is coming to your local library and remember the date.


2. Building Ilford Quiz Trail (all ages): Throughout may half term, 11am-3pm

Redbridge Museum, 2nd Floor, Redbridge Central Library

Come along to this free family quiz trail and follow the clues to try and have a go at making your own historic Ilford building. Find out about the history of Ilford and discover secrets that you may have never seen before.

This educational experience takes place in Redbridge Museum, so come along, just turn up – no booking required.

3. Fun Drop In’s (4-12yrs), Tuesday 29 May, various times

Various Libraries

Join Redbridge Libraries for fun, crafty drop in sessions! We’ll have games, puzzles and colouring sessions perfect for those young minds to show off their creativity.

4. Mini Beast trails and Crafts (5 yrs+) : Tuesday 29 May, 11.30-1pm

Valentines Mansion02

Have you ever thought about the little creature’s that live in your garden? Well now is your chance to discover them in their own special world. Find out about the weird and wonderful bugs that live in the gardens of Valentines Mansion, amongst the herbs and beautiful flowers. Put on your explorer hat, and get creative afterwards by making your very own mini-beast finger puppet!

£5 per child, pre-booking essential via Valentines Box Office, grab your tickets while you can as places are limited!

5. Tutor Doctor Workshop (6-11yrs): Tuesday 29 May, 10.30am-11am

Redbridge Central Library

Test your knowledge with the Tutor Doctor 60 second challenge. Show off your math or English skills and put your score to the test – the top three contestants will win prizes.

It’s free, so just turn up and flex your knowledge muscles!

6. Tweet, Tweet (5 yrs+): Wednesday 30 May, 11.30am-1pm

Valentines Mansion

Visit our wonderful feathered f03riends in Valentines Mansion’s very own aviary, where you will get the chance to learn more about these flying beauties! You will even get a chance to make your very own mobile house for the birds in the arts centre, so let your creativity and imagination run wild!

£5 per child, pre-booking essential via Valentines Box Office, grab your tickets while you can as places are limited, and flying away fast!

7. Explore nature in the Secret Garden, Wednesday 30 May, 10am-11.30am

James Leal Centre, Ray Park

What’s living in the secret garden? Get ready to explore Ray Park and become an adventurer with pond dipping and minibeast searches to help you investigate all of the wonderful wild creatures that inhabit the park. Find and learn about more these fantastic creatures in this exploration.

£3 per child, payable on the day. Booking essential as places are limited, visit our website for more information on how to book your place.

8. Snack Attack (2-12yrs): Thursday 31 May, 11am to midday

Wanstead Library

04Healthy eating is always a big concern for parents, but now is your time to make healthy eating fun for your kids! Have some fun making healthy snacks together such as popcorn and smoothies. There will be some great recipe ideas to keep you and the family healthy and happy, as well as more information about the Love Food, Hate Waste initiative too. This session really will give you something to sink your teeth into.

Up to 2 children per adult. £1.75 per child, book in advance at Wanstead Library.


9. Sports and Shows

Are you looking to sit back and enjoy, or get out there and get active this half term? Then check out our previous blog article with lots of great suggestions for you and the family by clicking here!

10. Other half term opportunities:

If you are looking for a safe area with soft play for families and friends to relax whilst kids up to the age of 9 have their chance to burn off some extra energy; sliding, crawling or climbing, then Kids Quest is the perfect place for you. Located inside Creams Café within the Ilford Exchange, this convenient location is ideal for parents to do their shopping and give their children a place for fun. They are also available for parties and exclusive hire!

Ilford Sports Club offers a range of classes including Karate, Gymnastics, Kung Fu, Dance and also hosts a special Half Term Holiday Club which is ideal for your kids to get active this May. There are also classes for adults, so why not get involved yourself? Find out what Ilford Sports club has to offer by getting in contact, or visiting their website for more information.

Get wild at Camp Wild! This camp is based locally and holds a huge number of sports activities that are catered towards certain age groups. Camp Wild is run by highly qualified professionals to ensure that you get only the best. This camp will be held from 28 May to 1 June, so make sure that you check out their website for details on how to book.


May half term is going to be packed with these fantastic events to keep you and the family busy Let us know what type of events you want to see in future in the comments below!

Post Author: Priya Devandran


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Watch the Royal Wedding in style!

Join in the day of celebration for the marriage of HRH Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle, as the Chadwell Heath South Residents’ Association hosts a very special Live Screening of the Royal Wedding/Afternoon Tea Party for the community, from 11:30am on Saturday 19th May, at Chadwell Heath URC Church (Mill Lane, RM6 6RS)!

The Afternoon Tea menu will be provided by Starbucks UK (Romford) and Costa Coffee (Chadwell Heath), as well as local resident bakers (some of whom won the recent ‘Great Chadwell Heath Bake-off‘ competition). A community bakery will be open throughout the afternoon with scones, sandwiches, cakes, confectionery and a variety of drinks on offer.

Doors open from 11.30am until 3pm.

Admission: £5 with a free Cup of Tea included!

Tickets can be booked in advance via 07597 903 799 or

All are welcome (advanced booking is advisable)!

Find out more via the Facebook event page

royal wedding

Guest Writer: Chadwell Heath South Residents’ Association

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

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Sports and Shows this May Half Term

Stay on your feet this May with a variety of shows and sports for you and the family. Keep active and get out and about or even try something new this half term.

The Crow House (Family fun):  Saturday 19 May, 12noon-12.50pm & 2.30-3.20pm01

Ken Aston Square, Barkingside High Street – outside Fullwell Cross Library/Leisure Centre

Prepare yourself for a wonderful start to Half Term; get ready for some fun family theatre by joining us at Ken Aston Square for this free showing of The Crow House, a wonderful silent movie show inspired by using a mix of puppetry, harp playing and much more. You will experience the story of a very territorial bird and different characters who attempt to claim the house back from it, complete with a choreographed frenzy of acrobatics, juggling and other wonderful skills.

This is a show not to be missed!

Find out more on our website

The Greatest Showman Extravaganza, Monday 28 May, 12noon, film showing is at 2.30pm

Redbridge Drama Centre

02Experience a day at the circus with stalls, performers and trapeze demonstrations alongside face painting and lots of other family filled fun! Experience the joy of the Greatest Showman; a spectacular musical that brings dreams to life with show stopping performances, catchy songs and jaw dropping choreography. Don’t miss out on this event, perfect for the whole family.

Tickets are £8 per person, save when you buy a family ticket (4 people), just £20! Discover more on our website 


Fairlop May Half Term Sports Camps (8-16yrs), Tuesday 29 May-Friday 1 June

Fairlop Outdoor Activity Centre03

These sports camps give you a perfect opportunity to enjoy the sunshine on the water and will develop skills that’ll certainly keep you busy this half term. These courses provide you with the opportunity to gain RYA and BCU proficiency awards. Enjoy sailing, canoeing, kayaking and much more.

These courses are from 8.45am to 5pm daily, and cost £120 for the week. This intensive course will be an unforgettable experience, and is bound to give you your sea legs.

Booking is essential, so call us to claim your space on 020 8500 1468, or visit the website for more information on the courses available

Wanstead Multi-Sport Camps (children), Tuesday 29 May-Friday 1 June

Wanstead Leisure Centre

Try out and get involved in a range of sports such as friendly football matches, basketball and short tennis. What is short tennis, you may ask, well it’s a really enjoyable junior version of the game played on a smaller court with shorter rackets and soft balls, ideal for developing essential skills within the game.  These activities improve teamwork, accuracy, coordination and most of all, are lots of fun! Keep active this half term and join in.

£10 per day, all activities are supervised. Bring a packed lunch and plenty to drink. Booking in advance is recommended. For more information and to book your place call 020 8989 1172 or visit our website for more information

Develop your cycling skills (various ages): Throughout May

Redbridge Cycling Centre

Redbridge Cycling Centre offers a range of courses throughout the year to help you improve your cycling skills, or to teach you the fundamentals. Courses vary from Novice Go-ride Skills (ideal for ages 5-10, Thursday 31 May, 1pm to 4pm) to an Introduction to Mountain Biking (ideal for ages 8-16, Wednesday 30 May 1pm to 4pm). Redbridge Cycling Centre also hosts sessions such as learning to ride, and basic bike maintenance which are held throughout the year. Why not do something new this year and go cycling with the family this half term?

For more information on what they offer visit their website

Owls Play Centre (0-12yrs): Throughout May, 10am to 6pm

04Owls Play Centre

Discover a whole new world at Owls. Come along to this local play centre that provides safe, stimulating play areas ideal to keep your children entertained this Half Term. Give your children a chance to play, socialise and be surrounded by areas of entertainment for them to explore, while parents can relax in the café in a warm atmosphere with wonderful food.

There are also dedicated areas specifically for babies and toddlers. Be sure to check out the website for more information regarding prices, opening times and contact information.

For more events keep an eye on our blog for part two, featuring more top recommendations for this half term, or visit our website

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Redbridge Libraries: celebrate life while acknowledging death


As Redbridge Libraries continue their mission to spark conversation about life and death during the Dying Matters Festival, join us for a series of events, workshops and arts installations.

During the May bank holiday weekend Sarah Weller, a Soul Midwife will be facilitating two workshops using her knowledge and skills from her therapeutic sound practitioner training. Both events taking place at Wanstead Library on Saturday 5 May, Calling in the Great Spirit – the work of the East Direction of the Medicine Wheel and on Sunday 6 May, Gongs, bowls, oils and colours – energy work at the end of life. Don’t be disappointed book your place early, as spaces are limited.

Sarah Weller colour

Have you already lost someone special? Given a chance again what would you like to say to them? During the festival the #Unsaid project #lifedeathwhatever will be touring around Redbridge Libraries giving you the opportunity to share any un-told thoughts by writing your own personal message to someone that has passed away or are still alive, this note can be in any form; a post-it, letter or even a postcard. Say it with words, don’t leave it #Unsaid.

For one night only (Friday 11 May) Liz Rothchild will take the stage at Wanstead Library in a solo performance Outside the Box – a heart-warming and life affirming show about death. Outside the Box asks its audience to embrace mortality and look on the bright side of life, with a weave of untold and surprising stories, a hint of history and some pithy commentary on the funeral industry! Tickets are free, however, on the night a small charge will be required for the programme this will enable you to interact with the performance fully.

OTB 2018 Front

There will also be the chance to explore how different cultures approach life and death at the Travelling Light Animation Workshop. Includes optional discussions about planning your own final party. There are two sessions available on Tuesday 15 May at Redbridge Central Library..

Do you ever consider your own mortality? Or think about what you would like to happen to your body and legacy? Make the most of our Love After Death installation created by Stacey Pitsillides with the support of University of Greenwich (Creative Professions and Digital Art) and Nesta. These experts will be offering free 15 minute consultation sessions to help guide you in setting up your own Legacy Document, detailing the future of your body and extending your presence beyond death.  Come along to Redbridge Central Library on Friday 18 & Saturday 19 May, Pods will be open between 10am to 5pm. Appointments available on a first come-first served basis on the day.

Our final event of the festival The Corpse Project Burial, is an informative workshop on the options available on dealing with our bodies after death. Sophie Churchill founder of The Corpse Project will provide you with impartial information on cremation or burial. This workshop will not show any images of dead bodies but it may not be suitable to someone in bereavement or feeling particularly vulnerable about their own death. Take control of your final ending and join us on Tuesday 22 May at Wanstead Library from 7pm.

See here for a full programme of the Final Party: Dying Matters Festival

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Redbridge Schools Celebrate Past Present and Future at the Royal Albert Hall

A night filled with wonderful music, new compositions, celebrations of history, proud parents and of course pom poms; more than 1,800 young singers and musicians from Redbridge schools and the Redbridge Music Service gave stunning performances at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday, 13 March.

This year’s theme was Past, Present and Future to commemorate not only the 100 year anniversary of two significant historical events from 1918 but also offered a glimpse of what life might look like a hundred years into the future, all through the art of music and drama. The night’s performance of this piece included a collaboration with Redbridge Drama Centre performing extracts from Frontline Heroines, documenting the experiences of volunteer nurses during WW1 as seen through the eyes of Flora Sandes.

Redbridge Music Service had also worked on a range of compositions, showcasing collaborations with the BBC, and also performing specially commissioned pieces like “No Place Like” by Kerry Andrews, a meaningful piece that was composed using material provided by young people.

The evening was a fabulous celebration of the voice but also of other talents as it featured a version of “Tomorrow” by Jane Miller, written originally for her two daughters to remind them that life should always be cherished.  Jane began learning the violin at Redbridge aged 9 and has taught at Redbridge Music School and in many Redbridge Day Schools since 1979. It was clear by the reception that she received that she is a valuable, well known member of the arts community. Throughout her piece all the choirs involved had also learnt elements of British Sign Language and were able to sign as well as sing!

royal albert hall

The rousing finale was a pom-pom performance to the Dam Buster March played by the orchestra. This certainly was a shining moment for Redbridge Music Service and Redbridge Drama Centre.

If you would like to help fund tuition for talented young people in the borough, you can donate via Music Matters in Redbridge by clicking here. 

If you are interested in joining the music school, visit the website for more information:

If you are interested in joining a drama class at Redbridge Drama Centre, click here.


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Women of Redbridge, join the Procession!

PROCESSIONS is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of votes for women.

Thousands of women* and girls from across the UK will walk together in public processions on Sunday 10 June, forming a living portrait of women in the 21st century and a visual expression of equality, strength and cultural representation.  PROCESSIONS celebrates the fight for suffrage and expresses what it means to be a woman today.Processions-Top-View02As Redbridge was home to Ethel Haslam and other suffragettes who were famously arrested on the boating lake at Valentines Park in May 1914 for displaying a banner promoting the cause, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure who manage the park and cultural services would like the women of Redbridge to be represented on the Procession with banners inspired by their own lives or celebrating local female trailblazers.  So please get involved, you could make your banner with a community group, friends or family, craft groups, faith groups or colleagues or you could submit some words or small sentences about what it means to be a woman today, post your thoughts below on our blog, emerging themes will then be incorporated into a main banner design.  You can also request small templates to work on pieces for inclusion in the main banner which the team at Valentines Mansion will be making over the course of 6-weeks to create our own little piece of history!Montage-1_for-website-slider-image_150dpi_updatedIf you want to work in your own group to make a Processions banner, it should represent the lives, ideas, hopes and concerns of women today.  It should be bold, beautiful and uniquely yours.  Whatever you put on it should be heartfelt.  Onlookers will only have a short time to see its message during the parade, so make it simple, punchy and clear.

Guidance on how to make a banner  

Basic requirements: Please make sure that you incorporate green, white and violet, the Suffragette and Processions colours into your banner somewhere.  You can choose any shades of these colours and can do anything from the Processions logo stitched in the corner – to the whole thing being made from these colours.

Back your banner in black or very dark material.  This is so we will be able to pick them out in photos.make-your-banner-newShare your work!

Document the making of your banner and share your images online @DoMoreRed @Processions2018 and #PROCESSIONS2018 . If you can also tag @ArtichokeTrust and @1418NOW that would be great.

PROCESSIONS is commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary and produced by Artichoke.

For more information or to register for 10 June visit the Processions website

Find out more about the 14-18 NOW arts programme

Don’t forget to leave a reply below with any words or thoughts you have on being a woman today.

*those who identify as women or non-binary

Post Author: Cathy Pace

I like to think that death is our next adventure

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Many people find death hard to talk about especially if you have suffered from a bereavement which still lays heavy on the heart. When a loved one passes over we can only use our own imaginations to envisage what comes after death.

Since my Dad passed away I take comfort in thinking he has gone to a better place and he is no longer suffering.  Although this is what I believe, it still scares me to lose any more of my loved ones and of course the inevitable, that one day I will not be here myself to look after my family and friends. But this is all “mind over matter”, and “what will be, will be” as my wise old Dad used to say.

How does death make you feel? What are your thoughts on dying?

This spring Redbridge Libraries will be hosting The Final Party: Dying Matters Festival, in the hope to break down some of these barriers and fears associated with the end of life. A range of events have been organised to engage conversation and discussions about life and death and embrace the celebration of life.

The first event takes place tomorrow evening where coffee and cake will be served for free in the cosy surroundings at Wanstead Library. So drop in at The Travelling Light Death Café (Friday 6 April) between 6pm-7.30pm for a friendly and informal chat on anything you want to in relation to death and dying, life and living. It’s good to talk or  just listen if you prefer, all conversations are confidential.

death cafe logo

Please note this is not a grief support or counselling session and is not suitable for anyone recently bereaved. This event will also be taking place at Redbridge Central Library on Friday 18 May, 6pm-8pm. For more information or to book a place email or call 020 8989 0493.

Travelling Light Death Cafes are offered in partnership with Compassionate Funerals following the Death Café model

See here for a complete list of events taking place throughout May for The Final Party: Dying Matters.

Post Author: Toni Driscoll