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Stoke Gifford Busy Bees rated ‘outstanding’

Posted on Friday 31st March 2017 at 11:30 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of staff and children at Busy Bees Nursery in Stoke Gifford.

Busy Bees nursery in Stoke Gifford is celebrating after receiving an ‘outstanding’ rating following its latest Ofsted inspection.

Staff at the nursery, which is located in Simmonds View, say they are especially proud because fewer than one in ten ‘early years’ settings in the UK hold this rating.

The nursery received its exceptional ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted, the official body for inspecting schools, after attaining a perfect score in all four areas of inspection, namely: quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare; outcomes for children; and the effectiveness of the leadership and management.

Ofsted praised the nursery’s quality of teaching, noting that: “Staff are highly committed to providing exciting and stimulating activities to promote all areas of learning. They use every opportunity to provide children with essential language and mathematical skills.”

Child development was given a special mention as Ofsted recognised that: “Children make exceptional progress from their starting points and are encouraged to become thoughtful, kind and extremely confident children who care about each other.”

Continuing their praise, within the ‘leadership and management’ assessment category, Ofsted said: “Managers are rigorous in their evaluation of the setting and are skilled in identifying priorities for improvement.”

More: Nursery managers "immensely humbled" »

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Yarn-bombed Christmas tree to double as blankets for homeless

Posted on Saturday 24th December 2016 at 11:29 am by SH (Editor)

Members of the St Mike’s Yarn Bombers (SMYB) with their Christmas tree (l-r): Debbie Bambridge, Emily Preston, Kia Harris, Sara Clothier and Zoe Garde-Evans.

Knitters from St Michael’s Church in Stoke Gifford have not only created their own Christmas tree from yarn – but when the decorations come down they plan to recycle it into blankets for local homeless charities.

Over 800 woolly green squares have been knitted or crocheted and then stacked into a six-foot tall Christmas tree by the St Mike’s Yarn Bombers (SMYB).

Christmas tree created by the St Mike's Yarn Bombers (SMYB) of Stoke Gifford, Bristol.

Whilst thousands of real Christmas trees are recycled into compost – the knitted tree will be dismantled and sewn into at least ten woolly blankets for two Bristol charities supporting homeless people.

The yarn bombing group has been delighting local people with surprise displays and decorations at community events in Stoke Gifford since early 2016 (see previous Journal article here). But when they launched the Christmas tree project they were joined by around a hundred other knitters across Bristol and beyond. Church members, craft groups, family, friends and children produced squares. They were even sent three green squares from a knitter in Washington DC in the United States.

A total of 848 different green squares have been stacked into to the woolly Christmas tree. Of these, 816 have been knitted or crocheted and 32 are made of felt and were decorated by children at the Messy Church which meets once a month at St Michael’s.

More: Blankets will go to Emmaus Bristol and Julian Trust night shelter »

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Legion gearing up for Poppy Appeal launch

Posted on Thursday 20th October 2016 at 11:18 pm by SH (Editor)

Chelsea Pensioner Brian Cummings MBE helps launch the Stoke Gifford RBL branch's Poppy Appeal for 2015/16.

After another successful fundraising year, the Stoke Gifford branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) is already gearing up for its 2016/17 Poppy Appeal.

The branch, which covers Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke, Stoke Lodge, Stoke Gifford and Filton, will stage its traditional Poppy Appeal launch event at Bristol Parkway Station on Friday 28th October, starting at 2pm.

VIP guests expected to attend the launch are Chelsea Pensioner Brian Cumming MBE, national RBL trustee Martyn Tighe and branch vice-president Jack Lopresti MP.

Alf Sollars from the Patchway RBL branch, motorcyclists from the RBL Riders and Andrew Phelps, the Stoke Gifford Senior Scout Leader, will also be there.

University of the West of England student Zak Ajjane will play the Last Post and Reveille.

Branch chairman and Poppy Appeal organiser John Moloney has led the branch to another successful fundraising year with the 2015/16 branch total standing at £49,000 in mid-September (the appeal year ends on 30th September).

The money raised through the Poppy Appeal goes to the RBL’s Welfare Fund, which is used to give help and support to current and ex-service personnel and their families.

More: Could YOU spare just two hours of your time to help? »

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Yarn bombers bring cheer to church and local community

Posted on Friday 9th September 2016 at 9:31 pm by Nikki Hallur

Yarn bombing on the gate leading to Parkway Station by St Mike's Yarn Bombers (SMYB).

Knitting and crocheting enthusiasts from in and around Stoke Gifford have created an exciting local group called the Yarn Bombers. It all started in the Old School Rooms near St Michael’s Church, when local resident, Kia Harris, mentioned the idea of ‘yarn bombing’ the building. A group of friends got together to make creative designs based on a particular theme and decorated the space with their artwork.

One of the group members, Debbie Bambridge, spoke to us about the group. “We describe ourselves as a group of like-minded crochet and knitting lovers who want to spread a little woollen love around St Michael’s Church and the Stoke Gifford community,” said Debbie. “We currently have nine people who are actively knitting or crocheting and more who are interested in getting involved.”

Debbie added: “It’s amazing what a variety of people we have in our group. All ages from 20s to retired, all abilities from beginner to those who write their own patterns, and each contributing what they can to each project. Being part of this group has been a brilliant way to build community as well as a great way to learn new skills and share creative ideas.”

The group goes under the name St Mike’s Yarn Bombers (SMYB) and the SMYB label is used on everything they make.

So far the group has done four ‘yarn bombs’, each one different, and each one bigger than the last. February’s theme was love, and three of the members made hearts in different shades of pink and red to decorate the pillars, gate and railings around the Coffee Shop at the Old School Rooms. In May half term, the group put up flowers, butterflies, bees and ladybirds all around the outside of the Coffee Shop and new St Michael’s Centre, and even on the gate by Parkway Station for the commuters.

Each time, the Yarn Bombers have put labels up with the crafted items, with Bible verses on a theme. They want to bless the community in any way they can, and “inspire people with the love of God, as much as with the beauty of the things they’ve created.”

More: Group has "lots more in the pipeline"! »

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