What our readers have been writing to us about this week

Cambridgeshire Expressive Art and Counselling Centre’s (CEAACC) community art exhibition

Cambridgeshire Expressive Art and Counselling Centre’s (CEAACC) community art exhibition showcased the lockdown art of 12 artists. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Expressive Art and Counselling Centre’s (CEAACC) ‘community art exhibition’, which ran from October 1 to November 21, showcased the lockdown art of 12 artists (children, young people, and adult artists).

Baked bean blunder
I thought you and your readers might be amused to hear of a recent baked bean related mishap on a trip to the Bar Hill branch of Tesco.

My wife and I, fancying a filling and nutritious lockdown snack, purchased a single tin of baked beans (Heinz, naturally) and a loaf of white bread (Hovis, of course).

Upon my return home, pulling back the ring pull and pouring the contents of said tin into a pan, I discovered to my horror that the contents of the can was the sum total of ONE measly bean - swimming in juice!

To top it off, my job of the last 30 years has been working as an accountant, so as a 'bean counter' by trade, the irony was not lost on me.

Needless to say, the long-suffering Mrs King and I ended up with half a bean each for lunch! Shoppers beware!

TimeBank success

TimeBank is a community engagement initiative. The concept is that you can freely accept help if you have a need and the helper is gifted time credits. 

These can then be used purchase help for themselves, or exchanged into Tempo credits (which is a form of currency) to enjoy activities via registered businesses nationally such as a free pass to local softplay centre, a climbing centre, museums, cinema. 

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There are 254 TimeBank groups around the UK. Littleport and Ely TimeBank alone has 108 members currently, and this number is increasing by the day as more people recognise the value of it. 

TimeBank offers a circle of support between all ages, gender, race, religion. Offering friendship, skills exchange - hospital travel, DIY, gardening, car washing, to name a few. 

Socialising events such as games evenings, quiz nights, coffee mornings, fish and chip nights, and group outings to the Coast and Christmas fairs.

They say that quality of life drastically improves when part of group of people - not being alone, this has really been shown to be true of timebank during lockdown. 

Lockdown has seen TimeBank really shine, with us taking to Zoom instead of coffee morning meet-ups. With members taking time to call one another and do doorstep visits, shopping drop-offs, socially distanced walks, and crafting.

We have accomplished two afternoon tea fundraisers during lockdown this summer. This was designed with a twist on the traditional bake sales... with bakes being donated, collected in to a central point and then advertised and delivered out to homes for people to have garden/bubble gatherings. 

We raised a healthy £250 for Magpas Air Ambulance as our first launch of this concept. And followed with a second fundraiser for Pinpoint Charity focussing on supporting the local Ely based community with £300 attained.

Our latest project is a Christmas gift drive. TimeBank are asking people of Ely and Littleport community to donate a gift to us directly or via a community collection point. 

We will then deliver out to nominated members of the community a day or so ahead of Christmas. We will be asking for nominations of lone elderly/vulnerable adult/child, someone who may be struggling or lonely and could benefit from a little gift of love.

Posters and flyers are going out this week so look out for them around your areas and please do consider adding just one gift onto your own shopping list this Christmas. 

If we all just gave one gift imagine the amount of gifts we could hand out from this venture. If you would like to nominate someone in your area to receive a gift then we would also love to hear from you. 

Please do get in touch. This venture is being supported by Littleport Co-ops and Ely Town centre Costa, who are leading collection points.

Can contact me (Jen) on 07854503845 or message Littleport and Ely TimeBank via Facebook, or at littleportandelytimebank@btinternet.com. 

If you wish to receive more information about becoming a member of this community led initiative ‘Littleport and Ely TimeBank’ then please do also get in touch. We love to welcome new members.

JEN PICKERING, membership and events co-ordinator at Littleport and Ely TimeBank

We’re looking for friends

At the meeting of the City of Ely Council on November 30, a proposal put forward by Cllr Lis Every and me to form a Friends of the Sessions House group was unanimously accepted. 

The aim of the Friends will be to promote the Sessions House as a venue for arts, educational and heritage activities in this important historic building that was purchased by the council in 2013 for our community.

Currently the Sessions House provides an office and council chamber for the city council and has been redecorated and a lift installed to improve accessibility, but there is scope to do so much more.

Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the first sessions held there. It must never be forgotten that this is a building that represents justice and often harsh punishment, including the death penalty. 

It was built at the instigation of Bishop Sparke and Chief Justice of the Isle of Ely, Edward Christian, following the Ely and Littleport Riots of 1816.

It was a symbol of their authority to deal severely with any more such uprisings against the established authority. 

Part of it was also, of course, for over one hundred years Ely’s police station.

We would like to commemorate this important anniversary during the course of the year with a programme of activities in conjunction with Visit Ely. 

We know in Ely and around that we have many talented performers, actors, singers, artists and we would love to share your talent. 

We would welcome hearing from anyone who would like to become a Friend or who has ideas for activities. 

From these expressions of interest and support we would hope to form a committee and then produce a programme for everyone.

Please email m.rouse@homecall.co.uk, we’d love to hear from you and see where we can take the idea.


Revolving Gallery

Cambridgeshire Expressive Art and Counselling Centre’s (CEAACC) ‘community art exhibition’, which ran from October 1 to November 21, showcased the lockdown art of 12 artists (children, young people, and adult artists).

The exhibition called local artists to share art created during lockdown, which linked to their understanding of community. 

The result: an eclectic and vibrant visual reflection of emotions and experiences.

COVID and lockdown has had a significant impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing, the necessary isolation increasing symptoms of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and self-esteem. 

For many people, art and creativity has been a lifeline over the last nine months, and as a community organisation, we wanted to capture this in our exhibition.

The art entered into the exhibition has transported viewers from beaches, to orchards, meadows, orchards, woodlands, and rainbows.

Whilst aesthetically stunning, every artwork is also full of soul and story. Stories of challenge, hope, nurture, and transformation.

Stories that have stood out, connected with, and inspired so many viewers.

It has been absolutely incredible to observe the community connections that have stemmed from the artworks themselves.

These artworks have given viewers opportunities to open up and speak about their own experiences and journeys; and to feel a little less isolated. 

Through the exhibition, what started as creative outlets and lifelines for the artists, also became hope and inspiration for others.

CEAACC’s ‘community exhibition’ was a six-week feature as part of CEAACC’s Revolving Gallery.

CEAACC’s Revolving Gallery is an opportunity for local artists to exhibit art within the centre for a period of 6 weeks free of charge.

If you’re a local artist and interested in developing your art opportunities, please get in touch. All contact information can be found on our website: www.ceaacc.com


Thanks for your support

I just wanted to say congratulations to you and the team with the launch of the new-look website!

I also wanted to extend grateful thanks for the huge support you’ve given businesses of Ely and the Federation of Small Businesses over the last few weeks.

It’s really made a difference to local SME’s who have experienced huge issues for most of the year.

JEREMY REEVE, membership advisor (East) for the Federation of Small Businesses

Rotary Covid-19 funds distribution

The Ely Hereward Rotary Club has distributed the balance of the money received from Rotary in Britain and Ireland for Covid-19 relief to two local charities.

£500 went to The Lighthouse towards their Christmas lunches and £1684 to the Cambridge Women’s Refuge, to help provide support to the women and children sheltered there.

KEITH EVANS, president of the Ely Hereward Rotary Club