Northamptonshire ACRE Village Awards : Nether Heyford
Northamptonshire Action for Communities in Rural England
Nether Heyford is a village of 1750 people with approximately 50 organisations and amenities benefiting its own folk and those of neighbouring villages. Activities take place around the village, many based in the village hall, school, churches, youth club, on the sports field and village green (see map). Volunteers of all ages are involved. Our village hall committee includes an active 92-year-old; and a 96-year old gentleman, a founder member of our village choir, has just retired after 18 years.
For young people we have a primary school, pre-school, before-and-after-school clubs, cub and beaver scouts, and a youth club. Our village play area is about to expand for a wider age range. Young people can enjoy tennis, football and cricket on our village playing fields, along with adults. We have events in the village hall, including family martial arts and Cha Cha Chimps. Apart from the school and pre-school, the other groups are run by volunteers.
Older people enjoy social activities, including our weekly community café and an annual ‘holiday at home’ in the village hall. Many are actively involved in groups and activities, including bowls clubs, film nights, choir, craft, gardening and flower arranging clubs, and helping to look after our village hall.
People needing transport to medical appointments or events are given lifts by neighbours and friends.
For safety, we have a Police Community Support Officer, a recently re-launched Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, dropped kerbs for wheelchair users and two defibrillators.
Our developing Neighbourhood Plan will identify additional housing needs – currently, demand exceeds supply.
Information technology and social media are widely used, for instance: village newspaper website (https://heyfordprattler.org), Parish Council, village hall, village, organisations – full list and details available.
In addition to two local charities, fundraising goes on for a variety of causes, including the village fete in aid of our village hall, built 60 years ago by volunteers, and maintained by volunteers ever since. In July, the hall’s chairman will do a sponsored tandem parachute-jump, celebrating the village hall’s 60th year and her 80th, with proceeds shared between the village hall and ‘The Prattler’ the village newspaper – two of our community mainstays.
There are several shops and businesses, providing local employment, plus two public houses. Most of them support local fundraising efforts, especially our village fete, with financial donations and gifts in kind.
Alongside their allotment revitalisation, villagers have created small flower plots and planted trees at village entrances, as well as flower boxes near the village shops.
Our Tidy-Villagers group organises litter-picks, and school children litter-picked the village green ready for our last fete.
Near our village hall are recycling, garden waste and general rubbish bins: plus an Air Ambulance textile collection point.
We have two keen gardeners, qualified as ‘Compost Masters’, helping to train their fellow villagers.
There is a Welcome Pack to help newcomers settle in quickly.
To conclude, Nether Heyford is a community of volunteers and friends – of all ages, abilities and backgrounds – a great place to live.