Northants Telegraph Sunday Extra - refugees, universal credit and a virtual reality festival

Updates, and things you need to know

By Northants Telegraph Reporters
Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 7:14 am
The Bridgstock Cup Award for the best allotment in Kettering was presented by Kettering Allotment Society chairman Clive Thorley to Russell Attwood at Scott Road allotments.

We've got so much news these days that we can't always squeeze everything in to the working week. So every Sunday we'll bring you updates on recent stories, some news-in-brief and other things you need to know from across Corby, Wellingborough, East Northamptonshire and Wellingborough.

North Northamptonshire Council has 'reached out to' five private landlords' to try to find accommodation for ten Afghan families, according to council leader Cllr Jason Smithers. Speaking at Wednesday's full council meeting he said that he would write to Cllr Jim Hakewill to answer his question on how many homes had actually been identified for refugees and were currently available. Over in West Northants, there are currently about 220 Afghans being put up in temporary accommodation.

Council leader Jason Smithers was asked by Cllr John Mcghee at Wednesday's full council meeting whether, like West Northants, the council would be writing to the government to ask them to continue the £20 universal credit uplift introduced during the pandemic. To a chorus of jeers, Cllr Smithers said that he would be writing to the government, but not to ask them about the uplift. Instead, he would be writing to congratulate them on their handling of the pandemic and the £400bn economic package they had offered to prop up the economy.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

A 17-year-old boy has been released on bail after pleading not guilty to breaking into a Corby home armed with a machete. The boy from Leicestershire, who cannot be named as he is under the age of 18, denied entering the home in Lamport Green on September 9 armed with the weapon. He appeared before magistrates last week and was bailed to appear before the court again in November.

Free lunches are once again to be provided for families in receipt of free school meals during both the October and Christmas school holidays. The scheme was introduced during the pandemic to ensure that all children who would normally be given lunch at school had access to food during the holidays. The funding will come from the Government's Covid support grant.

Small grants up to £25,000 across the from North Northants Council are to be consolidated under a new Community Funding Policy. Previously, small grants were managed by the former boroughs and district councils in North Northants and were awarded in areas such as sport, health, reducing poverty and environmental improvements. For the remainder of this financial year, existing budgets from the former borough and district authorities will be used to issue grants up to £5,000 from a total pot of £195,000. The Policy will also allow external organisations to help in the delivery of the council’s strategic objectives and priorities. After this transition year – in financial year 2022/2023 – the budgets will be consolidated.

The Core at Corby Cube has received funding to develop five short virtual reality plays and will be launching a VR Festival next month. Thanks to funding from Arts Council England the plays will be written and directed by Corby-based talent. Each play has been designed as a fully immersive experience to be watched on a 360 degree Virtual Reality headset. All of the Corby based plays will be staged outdoors and filmed between the October 11 and 15. Alongside the development of the plays, there will also be a VR Festival, 360 Fest, in The Cube on October 13 and 14, with workshops and activities for schools in the day time and open public sessions on both evenings. Audience members will be able to get a full VR experience, travelling under the ocean for an immersive underwater adventure, or walking on a plank 200 storeys above the street. To book your ticket, click here.

Gretton Sports and Social club will host a roaring 20s-style race night to kick-start the village's 2021 poppy appeal. Organised by Gretton's newly-appointed Poppy Appeal organiser Dave Miller, the event will take place on Saturday, October 16 from 7pm until late. Entry is free but you need to reserve your place by calling 07446 021733, via email at [email protected] or leave your name at the club bar.