Celebrating Holmes Chapel
On Sunday 17 September we ran a brand new event - Celebrating Holmes Chapel - at the Community Centre. The event was effectively a combination of two events that happened in the past - Holmes Chapel Today and the Holmes Chapel Village Show.
Our aim was to celebrate living in Holmes Chapel where, firstly, our Charity and Voluntary organisations can show us what they do whilst offering us games and activities to have some fun. 15 local organisations attended to set out their stalls, and plenty attended.
Secondly our creative members of the Community were able to show us their talents - baking, crafts, photography, gardening, etc.. We were delighted to have over 200 entries to the show element, proving that there is a great deal of talent amongst our local community!
To add even more interest, we were fortunate to have a Classic Car display, with around 20 vehicles - plus the Fire Engine and a Police ANPR vehicle.
It was a great day, and we hope to make this an annual event.
Making Holmes Chapel a Dementia Friendly Village
Following the very successful example of Alsager Partnership, we are running a project to make Holmes Chapel a 'Dementia Friendly Village'.
This involves a number of things, including the following, which we hope to achieve over a period of 12-18 months;
Making the residents of and businesses in the village aware of our dementia and its impact on the community
Talking to the families and cares of people who have dementia to fully understand what they need
Building a list of 'Dementia Champions' and 'Dementia Friends'
Working with local retailers to make their shops Dementia Friendly
Establishing 'Safe Havens'
Starting a regular 'Memory Cafe'
Updates on the project will be provided regularly via the Community Newsletter and this website.
The area the Sensory Garden now covers had been inaccessible for years, as it was overrun with ivy and was home to three trees. The site first had to be cleared so that a path could be laid, the rocks from the site re-arranged to create different planting areas and fresh soil brought in.
As part of its Health & Wellbeing initiative Holmes Chapel Partnership funded the transformation. The groundwork was carried out initially by Duttons, according to a design drawn up by John Clowes, who also chose and obtained the plants and the new tree. There was full support from the Parish Council and from Anita Armitt who refurbished the “chit chat” benches next to the garden. The planting was carried out by members of the Partnership and the Village Volunteers.
The Sensory Garden was completed in September 2018 and, as it occupies such a central place in the village, is much admired and appreciated. Plants chosen for their colour, their shape, their perfume and their texture offer something to delight the senses in every season.
The following plans can be viewed by clicking on the links:
Please note that ALL existing trees in this area need to be removed due to the number of roots spreading under the surface.
Holmes Chapel Skatepark
(in partnership with Holmes Chapel Parish Council and Everybody Sport & Recreation)
For many years, and at least since the Parish Plan was published in 2009, young people in the village had expressed a wish for a skateboard facility that they could use. Consideration had been given to placing this at either the Middlewich Road or Elm Drive playareas,but due to potential noise and safety issues these were discounted. However the 'arrival' of the new village community centre provided the opportunity for a skateboard/BMX park to be created within that site.
A formally constituted Youth Facilities Working Group was set up in November 2015 to look into if, how and when a Skateboard / BMX Park (and other facilities) could be provided within the community centre site. The group was comprised of PCSO Jill Cope, representatives from the Partnership and Holmes Chapel Parish Council and a number of young people from the village,
After consulting with the residents of the village, and more importantly the young people, the need for the skatepark was confirmed. In the summer of 2016 the Working Group invited several potential suppliers to visit and provide conceptual designs, with costings - based on the young people's requirements. These were refined down to suppliers of concrete parks and invitations for formal tenders were sent out.
We secured funding for the project from the following:
The Veolia Environmental Trust
Holmes Chapel Parish Council
Cheshire Constabulary (Community Safety Fund)
Holmes Chapel Partnership
Holmes Chapel Methodist Church
Monies raised by the young people in the village at their Bake Sale in January 2016
The winning supplier - Canvas Spaces Ltd - was subsequently selected and, once planning permission was granted by Cheshire East Council, work was able to begin (in February 2017). The skatepark was completed, and informally opened, by the beginning of April. It was formally opened in May, by PCSO Jill Cope.
The 2Gs Grand Challenge
(in partnership with Everybody Sport & Recreation)
With fitness and obesity being constant topics of interest and concern in the media Holmes Chapel Partnership wants to do its bit towards getting Holmes Chapel residents moving.
As part of our Health & Wellbeing Campaign we launched The 2Gs Grand Challenge in early 2016, in partnership with and with expert input from Everybody Sport and Recreation. We are delighted to be sponsored by both Active Cheshire and Cheshire East.
The Challenge aimed to improve the general fitness of both older and younger residents in the village, across the generations - hence ‘The 2 Gs’ in the name of the campaign. Participation was completely free, and open to teams of at least one adult (grandparent/parent/uncle/aunt) and at least one young person (grandchild/child/nephew or niece), living locally. We asked that participants agreed to take part in the programme for a minimum of 12 weeks and:
completed a simple heath questionnaire before they started exercising
agreed to keep records of their exercise sessions throughout the 12 week period
completed a mid-term questionnaire
completed a questionnaire at the end of the 12 week period
In return, we:
helped teams decide the best sort of exercise for their personal circumstances - such as walking, jogging, swimming, running or even gardening - whatever they felt they can manage!
offered free pedometers for any/all team members to monitor their walking/running achievements
In total 101 individuals signed up for the challenge, of which 29 completed the full challenge.
Middlewich Road Play Area Improvements
(in partnership with Holmes Chapel Parish Council)
On 27th July 2013 we were delighted to open the newly refurbished Middlewich Road Play area, with the help of the Mayor of Cheshire East (Dorothy Flude).
This was the culmination of an 18-month joint project between the Partnership, Holmes Chapel Parish Council and Cheshire East Council; the project was funded by the Waste Recycling group WREN and the Parish Council. The equipment was provided and installed by Play & Leisure Ltd.
Throughout the project we consulted users of the playarea and local residents to understand what was wanted. The result was a shiny new play area with equipment for children and young people up to the age of 15, together with seats and tables where parents and guardians could sit and chat.
Elm Drive Play Area Improvements
(in partnership with Holmes Chapel Parish Council)
Following on from the success of the Middlewich Road Play area improvements we turn our attention to the Elm Drive Play area. The Elm Drive Play area is much larger, and hence provides more opportunities, than the Middlewich Road Play area.
A questionnaire was distributed to houses on the eastern side of the village (as well as the two primary schools) in March 2014 to seek residents opinions on what was needed. The results indicated not only a need for children's play equipment, but also equipment for teenagers in addition to the playing 'field'. For adults, there is an appetite for a outdoor fitness facility - which could include outdoor gym equipment and an exercise track. There was also a request from local residents to improve the general area surrounding the formal play area.
A project team, comprising representatives from the Partnership, Parish Council, residents and Cheshire East Ward Councillors was formed to look at what might be possible, and how this could be funded.
Subsequently, and following public consultation on suggested improvements, the project team were offered 6 new pieces of equipment (valued at approximately £70,000) - many of them unseen elsewhere - free of charge by the manufacturer (HAGS-SMP) on the understanding that the project team funded the cost of installation and any other pieces of equipment. This was readily agreed and the project went ahead:
All the old equipment apart from the toddler swings were removed.
The approach path from Elm Drive was resurfaced
The six 'free' play items were installed, plus a Multi Use Games Area (on the edge of the football pitch) - paid for by the Parish Council
The toddler swings were repainted
The football pitch was levelled and the grass reseeded
The play area was reopened officially by Fiona Bruce, MP, in July 2015 and has been well used since. Subsequently two picnic benches have been supplied and installed by the manufacturer as compensation for the installation issues which delayed the opening.
Before the changes
After the changes
Parish Plan Update
The current Holmes Chapel Parish Plan was published in December 2009, following a village-wide survey in mid-2007, so needs to be brought up to date. Many of the actions identified have been completed, some are no longer relevant, and there are new issues and opportunities facing the people of Holmes Chapel.
The project team is looked at how best to achieve this, seeking initial opinions from residents - via the Partnership's stand at the May 2014 Village Fair. The aim was to provide an update which reflected the current views and aspirations of the residents, organisations and businesses in Holmes Chapel.
In June 2015 have completed the review of the actions from the original Parish Plan, and created an update document which you can find here.
Some actions have been completed, some are ongoing (and either being worked on by the community or as part of the Neighbourhood Plan), and some are no longer relevant.
Dane Meadow Improvements
The Dane Meadow project - far and away the largest project in which we have been involved - started in 2012 as a joint project between the Partnership, the Parish Council and Cheshire East Council.
The aim of the project was three-fold:
To improve access for all, by providing a surfaced drive from Daresbury Close (to allow disabled vehicles to get to the bottom of the meadow), and improving paths/steps within the area.
To provide educational facilities, by creating ponds, a bird hide and other facilities to encourage exploration of the area
To encourage art in the valley, including the provision of wrought iron signs and wood sculptures throughout the area
The project was funded jointly by the Parish Council, Natural England, and WREN, and was formally opened in May 2014.
As part of its commitment to the Health & Wellbeing initiative, Holmes Chapel Partnership has tried to promote cycling and walking as alternatives to car travel.
In 2012 we produced our first cycling map, showing suggested routes within the village avoid the main roads (as far as possible). This was followed up in 2013 by a second map “Cycle Rides around Holmes Chapel” showing circular routes of various lengths outside the village, to encourage individuals and families to venture out into the countryside, again, as far as possible, avoiding main roads.
We were proud to be a founder member of SECCAG (the South East Cheshire Cycling Action Group) who were involved in developing the Cheshire East Cycling Strategy. This group pressures Cheshire East to try and make sure that this strategy is a reality rather than an aspiration. In 2013 SECCAG published a map, “Let’s Go Cycling in SE Cheshire”, showing cycling routes within and between the 5 local Partnership towns - Alsager, Congleton, Middlewich, Sandbach and Holmes Chapel. This map was updated in 2017.
2017 also saw the production of a walking map “Walks around Holmes Chapel”. This map was originally designed to suggest a few, pleasant, mostly traffic-free, walks to new residents of our village but can still prompt longer term residents to a car-free bit of exercise and fresh air.
2019 sees the publication of a new walking map – the “South Cheshire 5 Towns Trail” – on which the Partnerships from the 5 towns that used to form Congleton Borough have collaborated. It describes routes using Public Footpaths to get from one town to another and, for the ambitious, a 43 mile round route!
Download cycle routes:
Holmes Chapel's Annual Christmas Market
Answering the many requests received to hold more Community events after the success of Holmes Chapel’s celebration for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the Partnership planned a Christmas Market for the same year. A completely new venture for Holmes Chapel, we had an amazing response as we met with enthusiasm from local organisations, schools, Churches and businesses.
No one could have anticipated the ‘turn out’ or the atmosphere, the hustle and bustle as purchases were made, mulled wine drunk, the delicious smell as the meat cooked, the queue for Father Christmas, the audiences entertained by the school children and the meeting up of folk who hadn’t seen each other for a while. There was no question of doubt, we had to have another market and the Holmes Chapel Christmas Market has become an annual event.
Holmes Chapel Guide
The Partnership has produced a "Holmes Chapel Guide", containing information about the leisure and voluntary organisations which can be found in the village. Newcomers, and indeed long-time residents, often don’t know where to find out about groups such as these, and so may miss out on opportunities to join in with the many enjoyable social events and activities which are available in the area.
The cost of producing the brochures is approximately 80 pence per copy, and the work of producing them took around 50 volunteer hours.
The brochure is available in the Library and in some shops, and online, by clicking the button:
In early 2014 the Parish Council sent out a questionnaire asking about what village recreation facilities were needed - related to the closure of the AP Club. One of the top requirements identified by the survey was that many of the respondents would like a Community Cinema within the village. Such ventures are already in place at Congleton, Alsager and Sandbach and are very popular.
A group of volunteers formed a project team and looked into what could be done. The first of a regular (monthly) film show - Belle - took place at the Vic Club in September.
For information about the next showing, visit the group's website at www.hc3.uk.