Cam Sight Cambridge

Cam Sight is a wonderful Cambridge charity that I’ve been meaning to write about for some time now.  From its Cambridge HQ in Chesterton and its Wisbech outreach centre, its staff and a band of around 350 dedicated volunteers work to ensure that clients with low vision and blindness can access the support and advice they need to live the life they choose.

Camsight logo
Image credit: Cam Sight

I met with Nick Burr, Cam Sight’s Fundraising and Promotions Officer, and his beautiful assistance dog Amber, to find out more about this remarkable organisation which began life as the Cambridge Society for the Blind in 1912 and which today works with around 1800 clients across Cambridgeshire.

Camsight client
Image credit: Cam Sight

The services that Cam Sight offers are extensive.  On the practical side of life, there’s help with choosing of and training on the many technologies available.  There’s a weekly magnification and lighting clinic and they sell a wide range of equipment to help with carrying out day to day tasks, from talking clocks to canes, kitchen safety aids and large button telephones.  In one-to-one sessions, a (re)habilitation specialist can help with mobility, orientation and daily living skills while the community team visits clients at home, to help and advise with welfare and housing benefits application as well as adaptations to the home.

 

Cam Sight befriender
Image credit: Cam Sight

 

Cam Sight group
Image credit: Cam Sight

The emotional side of life is, of course, just as important as the practical.  Cam Sight organises outings and social activities while volunteer befrienders give support and companionship in many different ways.  And in a peer support initiative, there are monthly gatherings held across Cambridgeshire for clients, their carers and family members.  Cam Sight also offers emotional support and counselling sessions.

“We run three groups for children,” Nick tells me, “for preschool and 4 – 11 year olds, then the teenage group is a lot of fun, whether they’re playing pool and eating pizza, enjoying an activity day or a trip to a theme park.”

Cam Sight Tandem Team
Image credit: Cam Sight

Cam Sight also supports clients to return to sport or indeed to try a new sport.  Tandem cycling is an option, with a trained sighted pilot and a low vision stoker.  They own seven tandems and on 1 July, several pairs will be cycling in the annual London to Cambridge bike ride (yes, that is 63 miles!) to raise money for Cam Sight.  So they’re busy training and if you’d like to sponsor them, please get in touch at nick@camsight.org.uk

Cam Sight Tandem
Image credit: Cam Sight

Another fundraiser coming up is Cam Sight’s first Golf Day on 20 July at Cambridge Meridian Golf Club.  You can enter individually or get a team of four together.  There’ll be 18 holes of golf plus breakfast, a barbecue, prizes, a raffle and an auction, all for a suggested donation of £60 per person.  To sign up for the Golf Day, just contact nick@camsight.org.uk

On 17 July at 7.30pm, there’s a talk “John Henslow and the Education of Charles Darwin” given by Professor John Parker, former Director of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, at the Sainsburys Laboratory Auditorium.  Tickets are £15, include canapes and drinks and are available from Cam Sight on 01223 420033.  Fundraising activities are also organised by the Friends of Cam Sight, a group who run their own events in support of the charity’s work.

Cam Sight befriender
Image credit: Cam Sight

If you’d be interested in volunteering with Cam Sight, there are many roles available from driving to befriending, helping with bucket collections at external events and riding as a pilot on a tandem.  Joy Hallifax, the volunteer team leader, would be delighted to hear from you.  Just email her on joy@camsight.org.uk  All volunteers receive an induction with full training and ongoing support.

www.camsight.org.uk

167 Green End Road, Cambridge CB4 1RW

14 Chapel Road, Wisbech PE13 1RF

 

 

Chesterton Festival Cambridge

The Chesterton Festival returns later this month with a range of events happening at venues all over the Chesterton area.  This community festival, now in its 10th year, runs from 23 – 30 June.

Chesterton Festival Logo Cambridge

I met with Rachel Clarke, Hall Manager at St. Andrew’s Church, to find out more.  The Festival is organised by a dedicated team of volunteers from the three Chesterton churches with local residents and it’s supported by a grant from Cambridge City Council.  This year, they’ve put together a programme that includes jazz and choral concerts, stunning flower displays in St Andrew’s Church and free circus skills workshops with Cambridge Community Circus.

Flower Festival Cambridge
Image credit: Stewart Abrey

The Community Fun Day happens on Saturday 23 June from 1 – 5pm at Pye’s Recreation Ground.  “It has a lovely relaxed village fete atmosphere,” Rachel tells me, “and it’s a really fun event for all ages.”  There’ll be plenty of stalls to browse … think crafts and handmade goodies, local groups and charities, cakes, ice cream, face painting and more.  Cambridge City Council will be running a free Athletics Area with table tennis, football and an Activity Pod alongside a Golden Mile Family Challenge walk or run.  There’ll be a Children’s Fun Zone and lots going on in the Arena, with a variety of acts from samba and jazz bands to Polish dancers and performances from local schools.

Polish Dancers Cambridge
Image credit: Stewart Abrey

If you’re artistically minded, you’ll enjoy the CreativeSpace at St Andrew’s on Wednesday 27 June.  Just turn up any time between 11am and 7pm.  You’ll find a selection of art materials … let yourself be inspired by the beauty around you and see what you create!  This is a free event, all ages are welcome and they’ll be serving light refreshments too.

Wild West comes to Brown’s Field on Green End Road on Friday 29 June from 6 – 10pm with live music, children’s activities and performances, Rodeo bull and food stalls.  There’s free entry to this event which is brought to the Festival by ChYpPs at Cambridge City Council.

Punch and Judy Show Cambridge
Image credit: Stewart Abrey

If you’d like to join in and celebrate community life in Chesterton, just check online for full details of all these events and more in the Festival schedule.

http://www.chestertonfestival.wordpress.com

This event takes place at multiple venues around Chesterton.

Gresham House Wellness Cambridge

Gresham House Wellness launched on 6 June with a jazz band, speeches, delicious canapes and plenty of fizz before the ribbon on the magnificent double doors was ceremonially severed and this boutique wellness retreat was officially unveiled.

Gresham House Wellness Cambridge

Lobby at Gresham House Wellness Cambridge

Rose bedroom at Gresham House Wellness CambridgeIt’s set in the beautiful grounds of The Gonville Hotel, opposite Parker’s Piece. The house, dating back to the late 1880’s, was bought by the hotel in 2002.  Now, following months of extensive refurbishment and painstaking restoration work to original features, Gresham House offers eight luxurious floral themed bedrooms, with three serene wellness treatment rooms.  The tranquillity here makes it hard to believe that you’re just a stone’s throw from the city centre.

Bathroom at Gresham House Wellness CambridgeThe bedrooms are peaceful havens of comfort and luxury, decorated in restful tones with statement wallpapers, oversized floral headboards, sumptuous crushed velvet upholstery and side tables of foxed mirror.  Bathrooms are roomy with double basins (the copper basins are particularly fabulous!) and a covetable selection of ESPA lotions and potions.

Bedroom at Gresham House Wellness CambridgeFlowers at Gresham House Wellness Cambridge

Guests have a choice of dining facilities at the hotel which include the relaxed Atrium Brasserie and the fine dining Cotto Restaurant.  And how about seeing the sights with a chauffeur driven spin around Cambridge in the hotel’s own Classic 1958 S1 Bentley?

Spa at Gresham House Wellness Cambridge

The three wellness treatment rooms are soothing and spacious.  The extensive spa menu uses ESPA luxury all-natural skincare and beauty products. There’ll also be a mindfulness massage range, featuring breathing and visualisation techniques to reduce stress and enhance emotional and physical wellbeing.  I loved my hand and arm massage at the launch event.  I’d never realised how much tension I carried in those areas until they massaged it away!

Staff at Gresham House Wellness Cambridge

This would be a great place to treat yourself to a day or a stay, either to relax on your own or with friends and family.  The care and attention to detail that’s gone in to Gresham House Wellness is evident at every turn and speaks volumes about The Gonville Hotel’s commitment to going above and beyond just glamour to create a very special space, a space I can’t wait to return to.

http://www.gonvillehotel.co.uk

Gonville Place, Cambridge CB1 1LY

I attended the Gresham House Wellness launch event as a guest of The Gonville Hotel for Eastlife Magazine.  See more on http://www.eastlife.co.uk

Summer in the City

Cambridge takes on an air of fiesta in June.  Our beautiful green spaces are full of people enjoying the summer sunshine, chatting, picnicking, playing rounders, playing guitars, even practising their circus skills!  Ecstatic students celebrate the end of exams at the famous May Balls, with the sound of revelry floating on the night air and amazing firework displays as darkness falls.  It’s a time to enjoy life outdoors so I’ve put together some ideas to help you make the most of summer in the city.

Punting on the River Cam
Punting on the River Cam

What could be nicer on a summer’s day than messing about on the river?  You’ll get a spectacular view of the colleges with their historic buildings and beautiful gardens as you glide along the Backs in a punt.  Avoid the touts in the city centre and head down to Quayside at Magdalene Bridge where you’ll find several punt hire operators.  Established in 1910, Scudamores are open every day from 9am to dusk.  Self-hire punts take six people and cost £30 per hour.  If you’d rather just sit back and relax, take a 45 minute shared guided tour at £20 per adult.  Concessions and private tours are available.  The punt chauffeurs are a fount of historical information and while I’ve never heard them sing “O Sole Mio”, they might if you ask nicely!

www.scudamores.com

 

casino royale playing
Image credit: Gareth Nunns

The Star & Mouse Picture Show is back for a new season, bringing weekend screenings underneath the stars at fabulous venues in and around Cambridge through the summer.  This “trinket cinema” creates magical evenings of fairy lights, food and fire pits with live entertainment themed to the film.  From 1-3 June, Star & Mouse lands on the riverside at The Double Tree Hilton in Granta Place, Mill Lane, showing “Inception”, “The Goonies” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.  Watch the sun go down then as darkness falls, park yourself in a deckchair, put on your wireless headphones and enjoy the film.  Advance booking is recommended.  Tickets are £12, bookable through www.starandmouse.com

 

Jesus Green Lido Cambridge
Image credit: GLL

Jesus Green Lido opened in 1923 and still has a reassuringly old school feel with its wooden changing cubicles and its attended Basket Room for safe storage of your possessions as you swim.  One of the longest outdoor pools in the country, it’s surrounded by trees so it’s sheltered and private with shade on sunny days and plenty of grassy space for sunbathing and picnics.  There’s a dedicated lane for speedy swimmers, a sauna and a little café for drinks and snacks.  The Lido is unheated so the water temperature can be bracing but it’s quite acceptable to wear a wetsuit if you’re not the hardy type!  You’ll find the Lido opposite Chesterton Road, between Jesus Lock and Victoria Bridge.  An adult non member swim costs £4.70.  Membership, season tickets and concessions are available.

www.better.org.uk/leisure-centre/Cambridge/jesusgreenlido

 

King’s College is famous worldwide not only for its academic excellence but also for its stunning Chapel and its choir whose Christmas Eve service, “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols”, is broadcast to millions of listeners across the globe.  On Sunday 24 June, join The King’s Men (the choral scholars of King’s College) for “Singing on the River”, their final concert of the season.  The King’s Men will be on the Cam in punts singing madrigals, part-songs and close harmony while you’ll be relaxing with your picnic on the College’s back lawn which runs down to the river bank.  Tickets are £12.50 or £5 for students (under 12’s get in free) from the King’s College Visitor Centre in King’s Parade or from shop@kings.cam.ac.uk

 

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Roof Terrace Bar at The Varsity Hotel

For a cool drink on a warm day plus breath taking 360 degree views over the city, head to the Roof Terrace Bar at The Varsity Hotel in Thompson’s Lane.  It’s stylish with comfortable outdoor seating, colourful planting and a dedicated table service rooftop bar offering an extensive gin menu, summer cocktails, wine, bottled beers, champagne and prosecco alongside non alcoholic cocktails and soft drinks.  There’s a small barbecue and salad menu too.  This is one of my favourite places to sip a gin and tonic (Cambridge Distillery gin, naturally!) while watching the sun set on a summer evening.

www.thevarsityhotel.co.uk

 

This post is The Cambridge Scene column which I write for Eastlife Magazine, a terrific guide to all that’s happening in the east of England.  To read more of the June edition, take a look on http://www.eastlife.co.uk

 

 

What’s on in June

Well, summer has arrived in Cambridge and here’s the what’s on listing for June.  It’s a mix of all sorts of events that come to my attention and I update it through the month so do check back when you can.  And if there’s an event that you’d like me to include, please get in touch through my Contact page.

IMG_20180515_183014_518.jpg
A stroll along the towpath to Stourbridge Common

2nd    10.30am – 11pm  Strawberry Fair, Midsummer Common.  Free entry.  http://www.strawberry-fair.org.uk

2nd    7.30pm  Ave Verum Corpus, Music for Corpus Christi.  Erasmus Chamber Choir and Ensemble.  Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Hills Road.  Free entry.

2nd    8pm  Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe.  Insitu Theatre.   The Leper Chapel, CB5.  Tickets from http://www.insitutheatre.co.uk or on the door.

4th    Iyengar Yoga Summer Classes with Robert Ashman, running until 30th August at various venues.  http://www.robertashmanyoga.co.uk

4 – 16th    8am – 5pm  The Yellow Brick Road.  A fundraising art exhibition by established and emerging artists on the theme of ‘memory and childhood’.  Michaelhouse Centre, Trinity Street.  All proceeds to Cambridge Children’s Charity Week.  Free admission.  http://www.camccweek.org

7 – 16th    7.45pm  Cats.  Festival Players.  Mumford Theatre, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road http://www.festivalplayers.org

9th    10am – 4pm  The Eddington Cycling Festival.  Eddington Market Square, CB3.  http://www.nwcambridge.co.uk

9th    7.30pm  The Academy of Great St Mary’s Orchestra and Choir.  Beethoven, Berkeley and Mozart.  Great St Mary’s Church.  http://www.adcticketing.com

9 – 10th    10am – 5pm  Town and Country Fair.  Parker’s Piece.  Free entry.  http://www.oakleighfairs.co.uk

9 – 10th    11am – 5pm  Open Garden.  49 New Square.  Free entry.  Proceeds to Red Balloon Learner Centres.

16th    7pm  Music for Africa, Benefit Concert.  London Adventist Chorale.  Queen’s College.  https://bit.ly/M4AConcert

16th    7.30pm  Nelson Mass and St Ursula Mass.  Collegium Laureatum.  West Road Concert Hall.  tickets@collegium.org.uk

16th    8pm  Summer in the City.  Prime Brass.  Great St Mary’s Church.  http://www.adcticketing.com

17th    4pm  Summer Concert in aid of Camtrust.  Mozart, Britten, Boyce, Finzi, Hess and Tchaikovsky.  The Medlock Ensemble.  St Andrew’s Church, Histon.  http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/medlockensemble

18 – 30th    8am – 5pm Newnham Art Group Summer Exhibition “Seasons”.  Michaelhouse Centre, Trinity Street.  Free admission.

22 – 29th  Chesterton Festival.  http://www.chestertonfestival.wordpress.com

22 – 24th  Wimpole History Festival.  Wimpole Estate.  http://www.wimpolehistoryfestival.com

22nd    6.30 – 10pm  Summer Night Market and outdoor cinema, screening “Moana” and “Dirty Dancing”.  Market Square  http://www.cambridgebid.co.uk/events

23rd    Cambridge Summer Music Festival, running until 25th July at multiple venues across the city.  http://www.cambridgesummermusic.com

23rd    10.30am  Walk a Mile for Child Refugees.  March in solidarity with children searching for a safe haven.  Parker’s Piece.  Followed by a Great Get Together at Emmanuel United Reformed Church.  http://www.sosuk

23rd    7.30pm  Songs for Refugees.  Strummers.  CB2, Norfolk Street.  All proceeds to Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group.  http://www.strummers.org

25th    8pm  Choir of Clare College and La Maitrise Notre-Dame de Paris.  Martin, Britten, Elgar and Tippett.  Clare College Chapel.  http://www.adcticketing.org

26th    11am – 2.30pm  Midsummer Music and Lunch in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  Coffee, recital, finger buffet lunch.  Freemasons Hall, Bateman Street.  Tickets from theahunter@aol.com

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Fragrant elderflowers at Jesus College

 

Jesus Green Lido Cambridge

Jesus Green Lido is open again for a new season.  One of the longest outdoor pools in the country, it’s been going since 1923 and still has a reassuringly old school feel with its wooden changing cubicles and its attended Basket Room for safe storage of your possessions as you swim.  It’s surrounded by trees so it’s sheltered and private with shade on sunny days and plenty of grassy space for sunbathing and picnics.

Jesus Green Lido Cambridge
Image credit: GLL

I met with Charlotte Anderson-Chapman and Callum Lewis of GLL, which manages the Lido for Cambridge City Council, to get some facts and figures.  The Lido, which runs alongside the River Cam, is 91 metres long, 14 metres wide and its depth varies from 1.2 – 2.5 metres.  It takes 7 weeks to get the pool ready for opening day … it’s emptied and cleaned and every 4 years it has a full coat of paint with 65 tins of specialist paint rollered on by hand!  It then takes 4 days and nights to pump enough water in to refill the Lido.

Jesus Green Lido Cambridge
Image credit: GLL

The Lido is unheated so the water temperature can be bracing but it’s quite acceptable to wear a wetsuit if, like me, you’re not the hardy type!  There’s a dedicated lane for speedy swimmers and while triathletes and open water swimmers train here, it’s a great place for a leisurely dip in the open air on a hot day.  In fact, there’s quite a community that grows around the Lido each year.  The Friends of Jesus Green Pool is an informal group of regular swimmers who help to set up in the grounds, act as a voice for pool users and arrange several social events each year.

Jesus Green Lido Cambridge
Image credit: GLL

Facilities include showers and lockers in the changing rooms, a sauna and there is full disabled access with a poolside hoist.  The cafe sells hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice cream.  Memberships and season tickets are available or you can just turn up with your bathing kit on a sunny day and pay for a single swim.

https://www.better.org.uk/leisure-centre/cambridge/jesusgreenlido

Off Chesterton Road, Cambridge, CB4 3AX

Summer Night Market Cambridge

The Summer Night Market is back on Friday 18 May for a special two day event, with cinema screenings under the stars and an outdoor big screen showing the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle live on Saturday 19 May.

Summer Night Market Cambridge
Image credit: Cambridge City Council

There’s been a market in Cambridge since medieval times and a general market still runs every day in Market Square outside the Guildhall, selling street food, fruit and vegetables, books, jewellery and much more besides.  Every Sunday there’s an arts, craft and local produce market showcasing original work from some of the area’s talented artists and craftspeople as well as organic produce grown by the region’s farmers.  Around two hundred traders ply their wares in the Market over the course of a week and many of them will have stalls at the Summer Night Market.  You’ll also find pop up bars and restaurants alongside street food vendors and local charity stallholders.

Screenings on 18 May will be the animated family film “Sing” at 6.30pm, followed by comedy “Meet the Parents” at 8.30pm.  Expect a party atmosphere on 19 May, the Royal wedding day, when the market will be decked out in patriotic bunting.  Feel free to bring your own flag!  Seating will be provided but these events are popular so the advice is to come early to bag your spot or bring your own portable chair.

Summer Night Market cinema Cambridge
Image credit: Cambridge City Council

Dates for Summer Night Markets and outdoor cinema through the summer are:

Friday 22 June, screening “Moana” then “Dirty Dancing”

Friday 20 July, screening “Paddington” then “Grease”

Friday 17 August, screening “Paddington 2” then “The Greatest Showman”

Dan Ritchie, who manages the Market, tells me, “The Summer Night Markets and outdoor cinema are totally free for visitors and traders.  It’s great to see a whole mix of people come together … families, friends, visitors and students, all enjoying a really lovely vibe.”

http://www.cambridgebid.co.uk/events

Market Square, Cambridge CB2 3QJ