Flower Power Project

Can you knit or crochet? Would you like to be part of a historical community event? The Flower Power Project is a not-for-profit community of around sixty-five friendly knit and crochet volunteers aged between 16 and 94 years old, from the village and further afield, who have joined together to create a knitted and crocheted textile tableaux of joyous, colourful amassed flowers to adorn the outward facing wall of St Mary’s Churchyard for the “Gardens” weekend. Starting at the Priory rooms the work will flow along the wall and around its perimeter.

700 beautiful and diverse flowers have already been made and the goal is several thousand pieces. The group is working in collaboration with Walsham Open Gardens Weekend 2024. Visitors to the 2024 gardens weekend will see the installation as they leave the car park as a welcome and a prelude to this successful and much-loved event.

There are no particular flower patterns to follow so you are free to select your own; any yarn or size and the brighter the better! It’s a great way of using up your yarn ends and a cosy fireside project for the winter months. Your enthusiasm, creativity and ingenuity will dictate the outcome. The Facebook Group Page is “The Flower Power Project. Local drop off points have been set up for contributions and a yarn donation/swap initiative, plus a series of social events planned for members.

Not on facebook? Get involved by emailing catehadley@gmail.com to add your name to our e-bulletin list for regular project updates.

The Epiphany Singers are back for 2024

6th January 2024 at 7.30pm

Once again this popular event will be held in St Mary’s Church.

Come and enjoy beautiful Christmas music and the most wonderful singing. An evening not to be missed. Please put the date in your diary. All are welcome.

New Conductor – Edward Caswell

Tickets not required – There will be a retiring collection

Dementia Friends

The Dementia Friends sessions are run by volunteer ambassadors and staff with Dementia Connect, run by the Suffolk branch of the Alzheimer’s Society. These sessions are a free method of promoting dementia awareness. They are asking you interested people and/or community groups consider either hosting a session, finding out more about Dementia Connect as a service, or in attending a session already planned.

Why is it important?

In rural and urban communities the population continues to age, meaning many more people are living longer and in their homes within their communities.  Awareness building and opportunities within communities to support residents to benefit from increased levels of health, wellbeing, and access to the right services are vital.

Dementia Connect

The ‘Dementia Friends’ initiative invites people of any age to attend a single awareness session, where they will learn about dementia and more understanding of how living with dementia can affect a person. Attendees will gain ‘Dementia Friends’ status, by committing to helping people in their community in taking positive actions. For example, a Dementia Friend promises to be patient and kind when interacting with an individual with dementia. Hosting ‘Dementia Friends’ awareness sessions, will help to improve accessibility and care provision for those living with dementia, helping residents to feel supported in their community. Dementia Connect provides a free personalised dementia support service through in-person contact, telephone calls and online support and can be contacted via email or telephone:

0333 150 3456 | dementiaconnect@alzheimers.org.uk

If you or anyone you know may be interested in hosting or attending a free Dementia Friends session, or you would like to find out more please contact Dementia Connect directly. 

“I became a Dementia Friend because in the community I’m from, not many people are aware of dementia. It helps people with dementia because they might feel more comfortable knowing that I’m more aware of dementia and help them if they need it.”

Is 20 Plenty for Suffolk?

The quantity and speed of traffic using our residential village streets and surrounding rural lanes is a key concern of local villagers. Moreover, the traffic impact of the proposed Shepherd’s Grove developments including large scale warehousing and an end-of-life vehicle depot, which will be the largest in the UK, will hugely exacerbate this problem for our community and those of neighbouring villages. The A143 is not suitable in many places for the levels and type of traffic anticipated and it is almost inevitable that this will also hugely impact traffic levels on local roads.

The village currently has an area outside the school on Wattisfield Road where 20mph is the advised speed limit and we are keen to know your views on traffic and in particular if there are other areas of the village that would benefit from lower speed limits or other traffic calming options.

There are quite a few reasons for promoting the 20mph speed limit but these are the key ones:

  • Encourages walking and cycling
  • Fewer casualties and collisions
  • Less air and noise pollution
  • Lower costs

In our particular circumstances, we also think that if the routes through our village become slower for through traffic it could make them less attractive to excessive traffic volumes created by the proposed developments.

Any implementation of 20mph would be building on the established understanding that slower speeds are right for most built up roads. The new Highway Code (Hierarchy of the Road Amendments), reinforces this message by prioritising pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders over cars, vans and buses.

The centre-fold of the October Observer will have a short survey designed to gather the opinions of those living, going to school or working in and around the village. Please take the time to have your say and return your response to any of our drop off points by October 13th (Walsham Primary School, the Six Bells, the Memorial Hall, Walsham Sports Club and Rolfes).  Or complete the electronic version.

To find our more, please visit the website: ​​https://www.20splenty.org

Common Misconceptions

“…Drivers don’t obey 30 mph road restrictions and won’t obey 20mph”

Studies have shown that average and faster road speeds do decrease over time as a new culture of awareness and compliance develops. This happens when drivers believe that other drivers are driving slower.

Portsmouth carried out one of the first case studies which monitored the effects of  20mph speed limits. The results showed that speeds were down by 6.3 mph overall and the average speed was 24 mph.  Drivers will adapt, as they did when drink-driving became illegal.

…A 20mph upper speed limit is negative to the local economy.”

Businesses thrive where it is safe to cycle and walk. Fuel costs drop and tourists and visitors love 20mph.

“…Reducing the speed limit in W.L.W. won’t have any appreciable effect on traffic pollution and air quality.”

Pollution reduces at slower speeds, particularly from diesel engines. There is less accelerating and braking which reduces brake and tyre particulates. The organisation NICE (National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) recommends 20mph without speed humps for better air quality, lower noise levels, vibration and road wear.

Walsham le Willows Parish Council

Our Neighbourhood Plan – The referendum

The Walsham le Willows Neighbourhood Plan is now in the very final stages of its development, and has been independently examined. Amendments to the Plan are currently being made.

The last step will be to hold a Referendum, where all registered electors in the parish will have the opportunity to vote, either to accept or to reject the Neighbourhood Plan.  It is important that the community use this opportunity, as it is the outcome of the referendum which will decide if the Neighbourhood Plan is adopted by Mid Suffolk District Council.  Watch this space for a referendum date.

Richard Belson
Chair of Parish Council

Banner by Evie Howes


Common Ground theatre’s autumn tour is perfect for those spooky October evenings.

They’ll be performing at the Walsham Le Willows Memorial Hall, on Thursday 12th October, 7.30pm.

This year’s autumn tour is THE HELLGATE CLUB, a gothic murder mystery set in “Belle Epoque” Paris, with live music in the cabaret style of the period.

A series of strange happenings have the authorities baffled. Several men have disappeared under mysterious circumstances, with no connection between them other than that they were last seen in the vicinity of the notorious Pigalle district. With no leads, the police ask retired detective, Jean Tellier (played by Julian Harries) to take one last case. Sensing danger around every street corner, in every dimly lit café, in every dark doorway, Tellier begins by interviewing the proprietors and staff of the local bars and nightclubs, including the notorious Hellgate Club.

Continue reading “THE HELLGATE CLUB”

Pride of Place – August 2023 Litter Pick

Can You Play a Part in Caring for our Village?

With Gardens Weekend in mind, Walsham Parish Council are planning their usual summer litter pick and are hoping to add to the team of volunteers to share this task.

The summer litter pick will take place from August 7th to 13th so that volunteers can choose a time that suits them with all the rubbish collected to be taken by MSDC refuse lorry before our village hosts our BIG weekend.

All we ask is that you contact the Parish Clerk as soon as possible so that we can register your offer of help, allocate you an area close to your home, arrange equipment sharing and tell you about the details of health and safety requirements.

If interested please email the Parish Clerk: parishclerk@walsham-le-willows.org

Grant and Funding Opportunities – June 2023

Magic Little Grants – localgiving & People’s Postcode Lottery
After successfully distributing £500 grants to 2,650 charitable organisations in 2022, applications are now open for 2023. The deadline for applications is 31st October 2023. With a simple 20-minute application process for a £500 grant and an outcome within six weeks, the Magic Little Grants fund reduces the work required for grass-roots organisations to access the funding they need to launch or strengthen their services. The following criteria apply: Organisations must either be in their first year of operation or have an annual income under £250,000. Funding can be used to launch new projects, support existing ones, or cover core costs associated with ongoing work. Organisations and the projects for which they apply must be located within England, Scotland, or Wales, Please note that schools are eligible to apply if they are a registered charity. Groups may only apply once in 2023 for a grant. Magic Little Grants | Localgiving  
Project Cost and Core Cost grants – BBC Children in Need   Children in Need often have several funding programmes open at any one time. These include:
Children in Need often have several funding programmes open at any one time. These include: Project Costs grants – support the aims and delivery of a specific piece of work. This work will usually be time-limited and based on a defined set of activities.
Core Costs grants – can be spent on an organisation’s central running and operational costs.
Charities and not-for-profit organisations can apply for these grants for up to three years. They aim to give quicker decisions for grants of £15,000 or less per year. There is no application deadline. Apply For A Grant – BBC Children in Need  
Grants for Heritage – National Lottery Heritage Fund   The National Lottery Heritage Fund provide different levels of 
of funding to heritage of all shapes and sizes. Their grants range from £3,000 up to millions of pounds. Current programmes include National Lottery Grants for Heritage – £3,000 to £10,000; £10,000 to £250,000; £250,000 to £5 million. The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic means the Fund will prioritise heritage projects that: promote inclusion and involve a wider range of people (a mandatory outcome) boost the local economy encourage skills development and job creation support wellbeing create better places to live, work and visit improve the resilience of organisations working in heritage Full information on all National Lottery Heritage Fund programmes is available on their website. Welcome | The National Lottery Heritage Fund    

Annual Parish Council Question Time – 2023

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The Parish Council would like to thank all those who came along to the Question Time annual meeting of the parish.  The aim was to assist the Parish Council in formulating priorities for the year ahead, to involve as many members of the community as possible and to share the successes and challenges the Parish Council encountered over the previous twelve months.  Newly elected Mid-Suffolk District Councillor, Richard Winch, Green Party and Jessica Fleming, Suffolk County Councillor, Conservative Party attended to answer questions.

Parish Councillors found the discussion really useful with much to think about; concerns and possible solutions were discussed whilst all recognised the difficulties for local communities making their voices heard with some of the issues raised. 

The concerns raised were:

  • The proposed large scale commercial development of land to the west of the A143 on the Shepherd’s Grove estate (the Jaynic development and now the potential for another alongside by Evolution) and the issues of further increased traffic including HGVs and vans both on the A143 and through local villages, and the loss of a rural landscape through inappropriate overdevelopment and air, light and water pollution.
  • Ever increasing volumes of traffic, the pros and cons of parking on the streets in the centre of the village and the perception of cars driving too quickly
  • The impact of housing development on the village and its infrastructure, including public transport; our neighbourhood plan and at what point it starts to carry weight in the planning process
  • Footpaths were rasied and the Chair of the Parish Council explained the difference between public paths and permissive paths and responsibilities for signage and cutting to keep paths clear
  • Ian Campbell invited people to visit the Sports Club to see the development of a gym suite part funded by CIL seed funding from the Parish Council
  • After questions, the Chair of the Parish Council then delivered his annual report

There were requests to be kept up to date with some of these issues. These are usually documented on the village website and also in the minutes of Parish Council minutes also published on the website and in The Observer. In order to further improve involvement and communication, all who wish to receive updates on specific issues are invited to contact the Parish Clerk and request their details be added to a parish council communications database. The database of names collected for Neighbourhood Plan communications will updated and used to allow people to register their interest in communications on specific topics – these will be no more than one a month and considerably less when there are no major developments on planning issues of note.

Please watch out for further information on the progress of the Neighbourhood Plan which once passed by referendum and adopted by Mid-Suffolk District Council will then have to be taken into account for each submitted planning application which means our voice carrying more weight in planning decisions.

Also, get involved in finding out more about the plans for Shepherd’s Grove and make comments by writing to your MP, local councillors or commenting on the Mid-Suffolk District Council Planning Portal at the relevant time.

Wild Wood & Jubilee Wood – Update

Visitors to the Wild Wood will have seen that planting in the Jubilee Wood is well advanced with over 800 individual whips and their spiral protection set in the ground in the autumn of 2022 after we had seeded a large area with a grass and wild flower meadow mix provided by Mid Suffolk District Council. Things really got underway quickly after we secured the lease on the new land and the relatively mild winter has resulted in the whips being full of buds and the seed germinating so we look forward to the coming spring with keen anticipation.

We had our first meeting of the year and agreed on some dates and some events that we hope will attract support and so please add the following to your diaries if you can:

  • 10.00am to mid-day on Saturday 8th of April – traditional, Easter egg hunt in the Wild Wood.
  • 7.00pm on Wednesday 5th July – AGM in the story telling circle in the Wild Wood.
  • 5pm on Saturday 15th July – Pizza Night in the Wild Wood.
  • Moth count in August – date & time to be advised.
  • 9th September – a bat walk – date & time to be advised.
  • Mowing and raking event – September – date & time to be advised.
  • 4pm on Saturday 28th October – Pumpkin Trail event in the Wild Wood hopefully with a story teller.
  • Planting more whips and trees in the Jubilee Wood – November – date & time to be advised.

This programme gives some idea about how the woods are contributing to quality of life in Walsham le Willows for residents and as a haven for bio-diversity.

If you are interested in sponsoring tree planting as a personal memorial then please do make contact and the group will plan this for the next planting season.

John Stebbing Secretary to the Steering Group | 07831 325610 | john@architectatwork.co.uk

Walsham le Willows Play Park Celebration

Free ice cream, a big playtime and family and friends meet up

All welcome on Saturday April 22nd at 10:30-11:30

Our village play park has undergone a major upgrade with lots of new climbing and play equipment to keep all the children in the village active and happy. The Parish Council, led by Councillor Brian Kinnair, have organised the improvements and are pleased to invite you to this celebration event.

At the celebration daye the Parish Council will unveil the new signage designed by pupils from Walsham Primary School to celebrate this achievement and acknowledge the financial support received to make the project happen.

This event will follow a Spring working party day on March 18th to generally tidy up the older equipment and the site.

IMPORTANT new voter ID requirements

On Thursday 4 May 2023, local elections are taking place across England.

At these elections, you will need to bring photo ID to be able to vote at a polling station.

This booklet will explain which forms of photo ID you can use to vote.

It also explains how to apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate, if you need one. Read or download below.

VCFSE Resilience Fund

babergh and mid suffolk district council banner

The VCFSE Resilience Fund will support the existing activities of grassroots to medium-sized voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) organisations within Babergh and Mid Suffolk to help sustain organisations that support vulnerable communities of people that are finding it difficult to cope with the cost-of-living crisis. 

New project activities are not required. This funding aims to help support organisations that are themselves finding it tough to keep operating.  Any typical organisation core costs can be included in the grant application, e.g. salaries, expenses, overheads, consumables, equipment, administration, training, communications, etc.

Up to £5,000 can be applied for, and the application deadline is midnight on Sunday 26th February 2023. We aim to award approved funding by Friday 17th March 2023 and all Grants awarded must be fully spent by 30th September 2023. 

Home Library Service

If you struggle to get to the library, perhaps because they have a disability or mobility issues The Home Library service is there for you. It is run by volunteers who pick up books, audio books or DVDs from the library and bring them to you in your own home. Volunteers have to operate within COVID guidance to keep everyone safe. All ur volunteers have been through an application, reference and DBS checking process and a training programme.

If you or a relative would benefit from the service, you can contact your local library who can pass the details onto their volunteers or you can also email hls@suffolklibraries.co.uk or call 01473 351249 (during normal office hours).

Home energy advice service

The aim of this service is to support householders with free advice on energy. Free, impartial advice to help if you are considering investing in renewable energy for your home and/or want advice on how to insulate your home properly.

This service has helped over 40 householders with advice on practical measures to improve their home insulation and also more detailed advice on renewables such as solar panels and heat pumps. The service can support another 60 householders before the end of March 2023.

All householders have to do is to call on 01473 350370 to go through some simple questions about their home or complete the home audit checklist here:

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