The Railway Village Swindon: England’s Favourite Conservation Area 2018

25 October 2018

The Railway Village Swindon: England’s Favourite Conservation Area 2018

The Civic Voice Trophy - The Railway Village Swindon: England's Favourite Conservation Area 2018

So! We did it. The Railway Village Swindon is England’s Favourite Conservation Area 2018!

Following a huge amount of support on social media the public vote for our nominated conservation area outstripped the competition by miles. That result was made possible by a small number of people getting behind our social media campaign with zest and gusto! They shared, and shared and cajoled and reminded. And did all over again several times a day for several days. It was a magnificent effort that left us here at Swindon Civic Voice in awe and astonishment.

But of course, it’s only right and proper that we understand that Swindon Civic Voice – sometimes in collaboration with other people and organisations – put in a great deal of groundwork leading up to this wonderful moment. Most notable of all that behind the scenes work being the last two Civic Days.

Image railway village Big Conversation Civic Voice

Civic Days 

Swindon Civic Voice is a part of the national civic voice movement. Read their press release about our award here: http://www.civicvoice.org.uk/news/swindon-railway-village-named-as-englands-favourite-conservation-area-for-2018/

For the last two years at least, Swindon Civic Voice has taken part in Civic Day. These days are designed to focus on your conservation area. 2018’s centred on ‘Why your Conservation Area Matters’. 

in 2018, SCV focused on the Health Hydro or Milton Road Baths.

The Milton Road baths are an historic and unique Victorian health facility, a heritage asset right in the middle of Swindon and an integral part of our proud Railway history. And of course the central community centre, managed by the Mechanics’ Institute trust, was once the GWR community fund hospital.

The arms of New Swindon’s conservation area don’t officially embrace Milton Road baths but they do hug the Railway Village, the Central Community Centre, the Baker’s Arms,** the Platform and the Mechanics’ Institute.

** Now a community cafe: https://www.facebook.com/bakerscafe.sn1/

Were you aware that?

  •  The Health Hydro and Swimming baths have been serving the community for 125 years.
  •  The GWR Medical Fund Society, an entity that influenced the formation of the NHS, was already 100 years old when it was handed to the NHS.
  •  2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS
  • The Victorian Turkish Baths at Milton Road are now the oldest, extant of their kind in the world.
  •  Swindon Amateur Swimming Club, the third oldest swimming club in the county, has been based at Milton Rd since it first opened.’

Many people worked VERY hard to make these events a success: all the small businesses who sponsored the day, who baked biscuits and helped out. And not forgetting the SCV chair at that time, John Stooke, who worked alongside the rest of the committee in Trojan-like manner to make it all happen.

So that was the heavy groundworks toiled and sweated through. Then of course, we have the somewhat last minute decision by SCV to enter the Big Conversation about Conservation – and try saying that after a glass or two of Prosecco! From a field of 249 the civic voice people put our amazing railway village on a shortlist of 18! Wow. A coup. We were overjoyed yet hardly dared to hope for a top three placement let alone top spot. And that is down to myself galvanising Swindon’s social media community into frenzied activity. And the rest you know.

So last weekend myself and Martha Parry attended the Civic Voice national conference in Birmingham. A brilliant experience all round. So wonderful to talk to so many great people and to hear a large amount of support for Swindon.

Here’s a nice write up – and a lovely mention of Swindon from the Grimsby Ice House representative of the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust: Great GIFT. Find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Great-Grimsby-Ice-Factory-Trust-221294387903655/

And finally – a few photographs of the Swindon Civic Voice table at the conference:

Read what the Swindon Advertiser had to say.

 

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Swindon Railway Village named as England’s Favourite Conservation Area 2018

22 October 2018

Swindon Railway Village named as England’s Favourite Conservation Area 2018

The Civic Voice Trophy

https://mailchi.mp/314ad09e2e10/press-releaseswindon-railway-village-named-as-englands-favourite-conservation-area-for-2018

Swindon Railway Village named as England’s Favourite Conservation Area for 2018

Image railway village Big Conversation Civic Voice

The top 3 were (1) Swindon Railway Village Conservation Area, (2) Port Sunlight Conservation Area and (3) Lichfield City Centre

Civic Voice – the national authoritative voice for the civic and conservation movement – declared Swindon Railway Village Conservation Area as the nation’s Favourite Conservation Area at an awards event on Friday 20th October 2018.

Laura Sandys, Vice-president of Civic Voice said; “Swindon Railway village was built shortly after the Great Western Railway works established in 1841 to house the workers and their families. Those people didn’t just build a railway, but a community.”

Swindon Railway Village beat off a challenge from 17 other conservation areas shortlisted. Images featuring the winners and all shortlisted entrants can be found here.

Joan Humble, Chair of Civic Voice said: “When we decided to launch England’s Favourite Conservation Area, we wanted to use it to test the enthusiasm people have for the place where they live. To get people talking about why conservation areas matter. What it has turned out to be is something truly amazing. It has surpassed all our expectations at Civic Voice. We received 249 entries from across the country and from announcing the shortlist to announcing the winner, we received just under 16,000 votes in 14 days. People do care about where they live. I look forward to visiting each of the winners at some point soon with Civic Voice.”

Swindon Railway Village managed to beat Port Sunlight conservation area, another example of a model industrial village in Merseyside and the Georgian city centre in Lichfield, which came second and third.

Ian Harvey, Executive Director of Civic Voice said; “512 conservation areas are at risk across England and we cannot get away from the fact that with decreasing numbers of conservation staff, the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better. We want England’s Favourite Conservation Area to showcase the positive and importance of the historic environment”.

Laura Sandys finished by saying; “We know that dozens of conservation areas will be celebrating 50th anniversaries in the next few years, so our plan is to run this again. This could be our alternative to Britain in Bloom? This could be something that towns and villages inspire to win and use it as a focus to make the case for the historic environment. Communities should be making the case with conservation officers to apply in 2019. I applaud all the 18 shortlisted area for participating in award to make this civic idea come to life. I look forward to seeing what is nominated in 2019.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS

• Civic Voice is the authoritative voice of the civic movement and represents 75,000 individual members affiliated to 275 civic groups across England. More information at http://www.civicvoice.org.uk

• The vote was part of The Big Conservation Conversation by Civic Voice to raise awareness about areas of historic interest and encourage communities to celebrate and protect those at risk.
• To find out more about the railway village visit the Swindon Civic Voice website at swindoncivicvoice.co.uk.

The final vote for the full shortlist, including number of votes casr is:

1. Swindon GWR Railway Village Conservation Area (Number of votes) (3459)
2. Port Sunlight Conservation Area (2313)
3. Lichfield City Centre Conservation Area (2008)
4. Mitcham Cricket Green Conservation Area (1395)
5. Stamford Conservation Area (1218)
6. Elsecar Conservation Area (841)
7. Richmond (North Yorkshire) (833)
8. Tiverton Conservation Area (665)
9. Brentham Garden Suburb (584)
10. Kasbah, Port of Grimsby Conservation Area (500)
11. Deal – Middle Street Conservation Area (484)
12. Chester Canal Conservation Area (326)
13. Cockermouth Conservation Area (231)
14. Winsham Conservation Area (198)
15. Wolverton Milton Keynes (178)
16. Central Core Conservation Area (171)
17. Dalby Square Conservation Area (153)
18. Boston Town Centre Conservation Area (43)

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Formal notice of Swindon Civic Voice Annual General Meeting 2018

October 2018

Formal notice of Swindon Civic Voice Annual General Meeting 2018

ormal notice of Annual General Meeting 2018

In accordance with the constitution, members are hereby notified that the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Swindon Civic Voice will be held on Thursday 1st November 2018 starting at 7:00pm in the former dispensary at the Health Hydro.

Former members, whose membership has lapsed during the current financial year, are also welcome to attend subject to paying the annual membership fee before the AGM begins.

New members are welcome to attend, subject to paying the annual membership fee before Tuesday 23rd October.

The annual membership fee is still £5 per year (£2 for concessions).

The Health Hydro does not have its own parking. There is limited parking at the Central Community Centre which is available on a first-come basis.  Blue Badge holders can park at the front of the building.  Alternative car parking is available in Brunel North car park in Farnsby Street, which closes at 9.00pm.

Annual General Meeting Order of Business: 
Welcome and apologies
To approve the Minutes of the last AGM held on 18th January 2018
To receive the Trustees’ Annual Report
To receive the Annual Accounts
To elect members to the Board of Trustees

It would be helpful to know if you will be attending. Please either confirm your attendance or send your apologies:

By email:            info@swindoncivicvoice.org.uk

By telephone:     01793 520592

In writing:           Swindon Civic Voice, C/o The Health Hydro, Milton Road, Swindon, SN1 5JA

We look forward to seeing you.

Issued on behalf of the Trustees of Swindon Civic Voice on 11th October 2018.

Secret Swindon: a talk by Angela Atkinson

Following the AGM business, Angela Atkinson (chair of Swindon Civic Voice) will present a short talk about her newly published book: Secret Swindon. Find out more about the book here on Angela’s Born again Swindonian bloghttps://swindonian.me/secretswindon/

Secret Swindon book

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Vote for your favourite conservation area

September 2018

Vote for your favourite conservation area: Swindon’s Railway Village

It’s dead easy to do – follow this link: https://www.bigconservationconversation.com/vote-for-ca

And vote by selecting the image(s) you see and clicking the heart over the conservation area that you want to win. When the heart is red you’ve voted.  For Swindon this one:

Image railway village Big Conversation

Image railway village Big Conversation

Why it matters

‘Recently the Mechanics’ Trust and Swindon Civic Voice supported a Heritage Action Zone bid to Historic England, with this Conservation Area at the centre of the targeted area.

The local group consider that national attention is warranted to the significance of this area. Especially its social history which reflects the active voluntary involvement of railway workers in establishing institutions addressing health and social welfare in the era from 1841, prior to modern local government.

Since council award-winning renovation in 1970s, and closure of the Works, there is clear evidence of lack of appreciation of the historic significance and the present potential of this area.

It was and can be again the unifying social focus of Swindon’s character: cutting-edge technology renewing itself from New Swindon’s foundation in 1841 into the future, supported by citizen action to achieve coherent social context in response to residents’ needs and aspirations.

A particular challenge exists from through traffic and a range of bus routes (2 buses per minute) dominating the Area inappropriately. This has been the subject of three years focused work by Swindon Civic Voice to achieve attention and resolution, including a dense study with proposals, and public consultation, which is now receiving attention from Council planners.

It’s clear that the community in Swindon value this Conservation Area. They have worked unrelentingly since 1986 to promote and protect its significance, social and physical.

The local community was the driving force behind the establishment in 1995 of the New Mechanics’ Institution Preservation Trust Ltd (‘The Mechanics’ Trust’ or MIT).

With 2500 initial members that Trust was instrumental in the establishment of Swindon Civic Trust (now Voice) in 2002. In particular, Swindon Civic Voice supported National Civic Day in 2017 and 2018 with events focused on the Conservation Area.’

Download: What is the future for our conservation areas?

vote for railway village conservation area

Swindon Civic Voice is part of the national Civic Voice movement. Laura Sandys, the vice-President of Civic Voice, designed a ‘Big Conservation’ campaign to raise awareness of this countries conservation areas.

In her conversation about conservation she said: 

“We have over 10,000 conservation areas in England which reflect the rich built heritage of the nation. As well as encouraging people to nominate and vote, we want to raise awareness of the importance of our conservation areas and call on more communities to celebrate, our rich and varied heritage .

With 249 conservation areas being nominated, it shows that people are proud of where they live.

These 18 conservation areas (shortlisted)have been selected by Civic Voice to ensure that as wide a range of conservation areas were as shortlisted as possible.  What the shortlist shows us is that conservation areas are real places loved by real people”.

The important bit for Swindon:

From the 249 conservation areas nominated from across the country, Civic Voice have selected a shortlist of EIGHTEEN. And ONE of those eighteen is Swindon’s Railway village conservation area. Now YOU have a chance to vote for our conservation area to be named ‘England’s Favourite Conservation Area.’

It’s simple to do – follow this link: https://www.bigconservationconversation.com/vote-for-ca

Vote by selecting the image(s) you see and clicking the heart over the conservation area that you think should win.

You can only vote for each conservation area once.

When will the results be announced?

The winning conservation area will be announced at the annual conference in October. Two representatives from Swindon Civic Voice are attending this conference. Help us bring back the ‘trophy’!

And do visit this page: https://www.bigconservationconversation.com

As it says on the website:

  • AT LEAST 512 CONSERVATION AREAS ARE AT RISK ACROSS ENGLAND.
  • AT LEAST 1000 CONSERVATION AREAS ARE LOCATED IN AN AREA WITHOUT A CONSERVATION OFFICER.
  • THE YEARS SINCE 2006 HAVE SEEN A 37% DECREASE IN CONSERVATION OFFICERS.
  • 56% OF PEOPLE ARE UNAWARE THAT THEY LIVE IN A CONSERVATION AREA

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An SCV Civic Day 2018 thank you

17th June 2018

An SCV Civic Day thank you

Civic Day bags

So yesterday we held Civic Day 2018 – our focus on why your railway conservation area matters. 

The first thing I want to do is give a big vote of thanks to our FIFTEEN small business sponsors. You made all the difference to the success of the day. Thank you. Find links to all their websites here: https://www.swindoncivicvoice.org.uk/2018/05/civic-day-business-sponsors/  And here they all are:

Business Support for Swindon Civic Day 2018

GLL: Now a word about GLL

Credit where it is due – GLL got onboard with the thing and made it possible for us to open up the Health Hydro and show visitors around that fantastic building. And thanks to the GWR for their substantial sponsorship sum.

Media Coverage

We got some great media coverage of the event. For as long as the link on iPlayer is live there’s this lovely event from BBC Points West: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0b60ks1/points-west-weekend-news-16062018#

And this from the Swindon Advertiser: http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/16295594.latest-blue-plaque-marks-swindons-nhs-heritage/

Now for a few photographs

At the Health Hydro

In Central Community Centre – 

Big thanks to the lovely ladies of Stitch N Bitch too for this gorgeous knitted hospital display. Isn’t it great?

See also: http://swindonian.me/2018/06/13/swindon-stitch-bitch-the-longest-knit/

See also: http://www.swindonheritage.com/swindons-blue-plaques and a fab post from the Swindon Advertiser with a map of the blue plaques: http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/16295596.map-find-all-of-swindons-heritage-blue-plaques/

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Civic Day Business Sponsors

27th May 2018

Civic Day Business Sponsors

Civic Day is happening soon: Saturday the 16th June.  We’ve been fortunate to secure sponsorship from GWR, one of the parish councils, and the purpose of this post, lots of lovely small businesses based in Swindon that have stepped forward with pledges of sponsorship support to help us stage Civic Day.

https://www.facebook.com/swindoncivicvoice/

Twitter: @SwindonV

So a super Swindon Civic Voice shout out to our lovely Civic Day business sponsors – you’re all amazing.

Business Support for Swindon Civic Day 2018

In no particular order – their websites:

  1. AA Editorial Services –

2. Shirley Hensher – The Change Agent  

3. Ian Locke – Thrive Personal Training

4. SED Developments 

5. Body and Mind Coaching 

6. The Prosecco Party:

See also: http://swindonian.me/2018/05/16/the-prosecco-party/

7. Simon Webb – fabulous hand-turned pens

See also: http://swindonian.me/2015/10/22/simon-webb-artisan-pens-2/

http://swindonian.me/2016/11/09/simon-webb-artisan-pens/

8. Alice Douglass –

9. Swindon Will Writing:

10. Pink & Green Organic Skincare: 

11. Martin Jarvis – DMJ Computer Services: 

12. Catherine Attwell – aka Catherine Jay Jewellery.

13. Nicky Pasquier – the Virtuoso assistant

14. Odile Motte – Westrin Study Centre: http://www.westrinstudycentreswindon.com

15. Fabulous functions UK: https://www.fabulousfunctionsuk.com

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The Civic City in a Nomadic World

9th May 2018

The Civic City in a Nomadic World

On Tuesday 15th May, at the Swindon Festival of Literature, Charles Landry is speaking at the Arts Centre in Old Town.

Charles Landry at the Arts Centrehttps://www.swindoncivicvoice.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Screen-Shot-2018-05-09-at-15.56.58.png

‘What’s going on in our towns and our cities today?

What is their identity, culture, and distinctiveness? Is the anytime, anyplace, anyone, anywhere phenomenon the new norm? Are we becoming nomadic? Or is the greatest yearning still to belong?

Do we need to invent a new and meaningful cultural anchorage in our sprawling urban landscape? What’s actually going on in our towns and our cities and what part do we play in it? How can we all be more switched on to what our own town or city has to offer?

In his new, ground-breaking, and richly-illustrated book, international speaker, inventor of the Creative City concept, and author of The Art of City Making, Charles Landry helps us navigate the evolving urban landscape.’

The civic City

The event is presented in association with Switch on to Swindon.  Swindon Civic Voice recommends this talk to anyone with any interest at all in planning Swindon’s future.

Here is a link to a document you may wish to glance at:

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Business Sponsorship proposal for Swindon Civic Day 2018

Business Sponsorship proposal for Swindon Civic Day

Civic Day 2018: Saturday June 16th

Civic Day

‘Our Conservation Area Matters’

A Sponsorship Proposal by Swindon Civic Voice 

Business Sponsorship proposal for Swindon Civic Day

 

The national Civic Voice organisation, of which Swindon Civic Voice is a member, are this year focusing on Our Conservation Area Matters’ as the theme for 2018’s Civic Day celebrations. There are twenty-eight Conservation Areas in Swindon.

As 2018 also marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS, and Swindon provided the key model for the NHS from premises in its GWR Railway Village (a Conservation Area), we have chosen to focus our 2018 Civic Day on this story, and this Conservation Area, by offering activities from the actual historic premises which are still in daily use though in modern guises.

The GWR Medical Fund Society was already 101 years old when the NHS took it over in 1948.  The story of the GWR Medical Fund Society and the premises it operated from — the GWR Medical Fund Hospital, and the Milton Road Baths and Medical Centre in particular – is inspirational.  It is locally and nationally significant and is one of several keys to why Swindon’s Railway Village Conservation Area matters as much as it does.

Swindon Civic Voice want to share this story with a day of events. To realise this ambition we are seeking financial contributions from Swindon’s business community.

This is your chance to be associated with highlighting Swindon’s special role and to help others understand the significance of these premises which have evolved since 1847 when the Medical Fund Society was formed.

Business Sponsorship proposal for Swindon Civic Day 2018

What’s in it for you?

Aside from the satisfaction of being associated with an inspirational community event:

  1. As a supporter, your business will be acknowledged on social media with a link to your business page and/or website – and on our website too.
  2. We will have a display board bearing contributor’s logos in the Heath Hydro (Milton Road Baths), the location for a large reception of local officials and heritage folks following the unveiling of a blue plaque.

We recognise that small businesses may not be able to offer large sums of money. Bearing that in mind, anything from a minimum of £10 is welcomed.

Contribute £50 or more and you can display your business leaflets at the event.

What will the Civic Day event offer?

  • Tours from 11.00am of the fascinating Milton Road Baths, home among other secrets of the oldest extant Victorian Turkish Bath in the world
  • Unveiling of a Blue Plaque outside the Baths’ Faringdon Road facade at 12.30pm
  • Tours of the Railway Village sites key to the 100 years evolution of Swindon’s Medical Fund Society
  • Refreshments and other multi-media displays in the Central Community Centre, the former GWR Medical Fund Hospital, from 1.00pm

For further information about business sponsorship or to make a donation contact:

Angela Atkinson

Trustee, Swindon Civic Voice

Email: angela@swindoncivicvoice.org.uk

About Swindon Civic Voice

Swindon Civic Voice is a Swindon registered charity, affiliated with the national organisation ‘Civic Voice’. Find out more on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/swindoncivicvoice/about/?ref=page_internal

Or our website:  https://www.swindoncivicvoice.org.uk

 

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Civic Day 2018: Why your conservation area matters

Civic Day 2018: Why Your Conservation Area Matters

scv logo - Civic day 2018

Save the Date: Saturday 16th June 2018

 Saturday the 16th of June is National Civic Day. Building on last year’s “I care about where I live campaign”, the National Civic Voice Movement have themed this year:   ‘My conservation area matters because ….

 So Swindon Civic Voice have chosen this day to focus on the Milton Road Baths, or the Health Hydro as it’s known, with central community centre as a supporting role!

Portico at Health Hydro

The Milton Road baths are an historic and unique Victorian health facility, a heritage asset right in the middle of Swindon and an integral part of our proud Railway history. And of course the central community centre, managed by the Mechanics’ Institute trust, was once the GWR community fund hospital.

central community centre banner

The arms of New Swindon’s conservation area embrace not only Milton Road baths but the Railway Village, the Central Community Centre, the Baker’s Arms, the Platform and the Mechanics’ Institute.

Were you aware that?

  •  The Health Hydro and Swimming baths have been serving the community for 125 years.
  •  The GWR Medical Fund Society, an entity that influenced the formation of the NHS, was already 100 years old when it was handed to the NHS.
  •  2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS
  • The Victorian Turkish Baths at Milton Road are now the oldest, extant of their kind in the world.
  •  Swindon Amateur Swimming Club, the third oldest swimming club in the county, has been based at Milton Rd since it first opened.

Five fantastic and important reasons right there why your conservation area matters … to you, to Swindon and to the nation!

 Planning for Swindon’s Civic Day is now well underway. We can’t reveal everything yet but we can tell you that there’ll be photographic and film displays, guided tours around the Baths and the Railway Village led by local experts – always extremely popular … plus refreshments with suitably themed biscuits … and there could still be time to round it off with a visit to the Designer Outlet Village!

So, please do put the date in your diary! In the meantime, download the ‘I care about where I live’ sign here and send us your photos telling us why YOU care about where you live.

Find us on Twitter: @SwindonV and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/swindoncivicvoice/

Swindon Civic Day: Saturday the 16th June 2018

See You There!

 

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Legacy of a Rag and Bone Man: A century of community life in Eastcott

8th March 2018

Legacy of a Rag and Bone Man: A century of community life in Eastcott

Legacy of a Rag and Bone Man: A century of community life in Eastcott
Would you like to know more about our story?
 
Join us on Friday 23 March 2018
10 am – 12 midday
At Savernake Street Social Hall, Savernake Street, Swindon SN1 3LZ
 
Throughout 2017/18, volunteers at Eastcott Community Organisation have explored, documented and celebrated the heritage of Savernake Street Social Hall and the surrounding area, thanks to a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
 
One of the key outputs of the project has been a book and a timeline leaflet, produced with research help from volunteers, Local Studies; Swindon Central Library and writer/designer Kate Parsons.
 
The project has also included memory sharing events, community celebrations, a schools art project, and a forthcoming exhibition in Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.
 
Would you like to know more about the project?
 
This session might be of interest if you:
          are interested in the themes of the book, and would like to know more about how it came together and/ or
 
          are thinking of starting or are already involved in a project, and would like to know more about the process involved in exploring local heritage.
           
You’ll hear from:
 
          Darryl Moody, Local Studies, Swindon Central Library – about the resources and support available from Local Studies
          Caroline Davies-Khan, Eastcott Community Organisation – about the heritage year.
          Kate Parsons, Writer and Illustrator, about bringing the research together.
 
How to book: . There is no charge for the session but booking is essential. We would be grateful if you could let us know one thing you’d especially like to find out so that we are aware of the interests of participants. 
Following the session there will be a light sandwich lunch so please advise on any dietary requirements.
Please contact eastcottcommunity@yahoo.co.uk to book or for further information.
 A limited number of parking spaces, including accessible spaces, are available onsite if needed.
Eastcott Community Organisation
c/o Savernake Street Social Hall
Savernake Street Swindon SN1 3LZRegistered Charity Number 1160538
eastcottcommunity@yahoo.co.ukPlease support us by shopping through Give as you Live https://www.giveasyoulive.com/join/eastcott-community-organisation/ec55954

Please ‘like’ our Facebook page to be kept up to date with our community events: https://www.facebook.com/SavernakeStreetSocialHall

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