Creative community initiatives: Spooky (socially distanced) fun through to new memorial traditions

Thursday 3rd December 2020

As we enter into another season, and many communities begin to plan (their albeit different) 2020 festive celebrations, we wanted to look back on some of the highlights from autumn.

We’ve been amazed at how community spirit has continued to shine through at the estates we work with. Neighbours, steering groups and community mobilisers have come together to think a little more creatively about how they can still mark important events, whilst staying socially distanced of course. Here are a few of the highlights…

The start of a Tadpole Garden Village memorial tradition

Earlier this year, the Tadpole Garden Village Britain in Bloom group – founded by residents Peter Welsh and Stuart Olden – set its sights on a new memorial for the blossoming garden village in Swindon.  Peter explained: “The ‘Thankful Village Memorial’ idea was designed to be a memorial not just recognising those that paid the ultimate sacrifice in conflict, but also those public services such as our fantastic NHS who are on the front line battling COVID-19. A place where residents can remember at a poignant time to them.”

Needing to raise £5,000, the group received a huge boost with The Hills Group Limited agreeing to fund £2,500 of the project. The money has been made available through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF), which is administered for Hills by Community First, the Rural Community Council for Wiltshire. Further funds were raised, with Preim and Cut and Clear (our contracted grounds maintenance team at Tadpole Garden Village) also making contributions.

Volunteers with diggers and expertise in memorials rallied together to get the project off the ground (literally!). The result was the foundations being laid for the memorial – with next on the list getting the stone in place. A huge achievement already by all those involved.

To mark Remembrance Sunday, residents across Tadpole Garden Village displayed poppies – including at the local Sainsbury’s. Residents, current and former serving, from across all three services, laid wreaths at the site of the memorial.


(Left – Nick Lindley. Centre – Stu Olden. Right – Pete Welsh)

You can read more about the Tadpole Garden Village Britain in Bloom group, and all of their horticultural and community successes, over on their blog or by following them on Twitter.  Alternatively, take a look at our previous article on the silver award success in the Britain in Bloom judging!

Spooky happenings at Kilnwood Vale

Neighbours at Kilnwood Vale went to huge efforts to make Halloween 2020 fun for all. With ‘trick or treating’ off the cards due to the pandemic, Anna Grimshaw, Preim’s community mobiliser for the West Sussex garden village, worked with the community to create a pumpkin trail. Spread over two weeks, 40 homes decorated their windows with coloured pumpkins. Over the 14 days, children had a clue sheet to colour in and help them find the pumpkins!

Anna added: “Halloween was obviously very different to what we’re used to at Kilnwood but lots of people decorated their house and went to great effort. We have one couple who decorate their home as a witch’s den with the witch sat out in the front garden. It’s great entertainment with lights, smoke and visual effects projected on the side of the house.”

Residents at the Urban & Civic development, Houlton in Rugby, also had their own spooky events – with this great video to showcase them all!

Residents stayed up to date with virtual meetings

Throughout Spring and Summer Preim has tried to keep our communities informed through regular Zoom meetings. For Tadpole Garden Village, which now has over 1400 homes, we took it a step further  and were delighted to be able to run a virtual annual meeting.. Under more normal circumstances we would always prefer to  hold an in-person meeting for all residents to attend,  but with current social distancing measures in place, we took the event online instead.

The ‘meeting’ saw Preim’s customer account manager, Simon New, deliver a virtual update for the Swindon community. Pre-recorded and with questions submitted by residents prior to filming, the meeting went live in October and has now been viewed over 200 times.

There’s plenty more to come…

Communities are now certainly in full swing with socially distanced festivities – and in perfect time for Christmas 2020 too. Tadpole Garden Village and Kilnwood Vale are busy putting in place Christmas trails around their communities. Tadpole Garden Village residents have even joined together to deliver a hamper appeal for underprivileged families.

If you would like to learn more about Preim’s role within these brilliant communities, take a look at our page: What We Do