Halloween Competition 2023

We’ll be running another Halloween decorations competition again for 2023, please complete the form below to be added to the list. This page will be updated in due course.

Please note we will be publishing a competition trail map so by entering this competition you agree to be included on the map. Only the first line of your address will be published.

    Past Competitions

    You can find some fantastic photos of the previous competitions on the pages below:

    Project Santagram

    This Christmas we’ll be running a brand new project which should make a lot of kids happy as well as helping us raise some money for charity. Parents will be able to book a ‘Santagram’ which is a visit from Santa Claus, similar to a Santa’s Grotto but in your own home, and they can even provide us with a present in advance which Santa can deliver. Alternatively parents can book a phone call where Santa will call from Lapland to ask your child what they’d like for Christmas and if they have been good!

    To get this project off the ground we need volunteers who can…

    • Dress up and play Santa and visit homes in person
    • Act as Santa on the phone
    • Help coordinate bookings

    We’ll even be running a ‘Santa Masterclass’ so if you’ve never played Santa before but are interested there is help available.

    Please note: We won’t be running a Christmas decorations competition this year.

    Kick-Off Meeting

    If you’d like to volunteer to take part we are running a meeting on 5th October so you can find out more and start the next steps to kick this project off…

    7pm, Thursday 5th October
    Swan Room, Lakeview Village Hall

    If you can’t make the meeting that’s no problem, please drop us an email: community@wixams.org

    Please note: DBS checks will be required for certain roles, if you already have a recent DBS certificate or are on the update service that will be helpful. Otherwise we will be able to apply for a DBS for this project.

    Operation Oscar Bear

    Oscar is a 3 year old from Wixams who suffered a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) event at birth. He is living with Cerebral Palsy and needs help to get an operation and intensive rehab which would change his life. You can read more about his story here:

    just4children.org/operationoscarbear

    All proceeds from Project Santagram will go to the Operation Oscar Bear fund.

     

    Wixams Coding Club

    If you’re a programmer or looking to learn then you might interested in joining the Wixams Coding Club! The club started in February 2023 (with limited numbers to make things more manageable) and so far we have been learning some of the basic concepts and techniques using the BBC micro:bit computer. The micro:bit is a fantastic little device which is designed to help people learn and is packed with some amazing features like a digital compass, LED display which can display messages, light sensors, buttons, an accelerometer, a speaker, Bluetooth communications and more.

    The club meets fortnightly on Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 pm and for each session we build a new project to try out the micro:bit’s capabilities and to learn programming as we go along. It’s a fun way to learn, even for experienced programmers who want to try out something new!

    Minimum Age

    When we started the club in February we had a mixture of age groups including children as young as 7. The kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy using the micro:bit but parents found that Thursday evenings was too late for them, especially for those that attend the after-school football club too. We also found that they need a lot longer to learn than the adults and unfortunately this meant they got a bit left behind. We have therefore decided to set a minimum age of 13 to join the club, for now at least.

    Schools today are teaching programming with the micro:bit already so we feel that it’s best left to them to cover a formal syllabus so the kids have the best opportunity to learn. However we don’t want to exclude young kids completely and we may run a dedicated summer coding club in the school holidays next year if we have enough volunteers available.

    Safeguarding

    All under-18s need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times when they’re at the club. We’re currently working out a new safeguarding policy and eventually we hope to allow teens to come unsupervised with a completed parental consent form.

    How to Join

    While we’re still learning the micro:bit we’re unable to welcome new members to the club on a normal evening session as they wouldn’t be able to follow along. To bring new members up to speed we have been running ‘onboarding’ sessions to introduce the club, the micro:bit device and help people create their first program. From there people can decide if they want to join the club and if so we’ll even lend out a micro:bit device to take home and play with!

    If you would like to sign up to the next session please complete the form below, including any experience you have with programming, and we’ll add you to the list for the session. If this is for your child please let us know their name and age in the comments box too. The only thing you will need to bring is a laptop but you might want to bring a notebook and pen too. The Wixams Coding Club is open to people from outside Wixams too. Finally, the club is completely free to attend, we receive funding from other sources to run the club.

      Your name:

      Your email:

      Comments and any programming experience:

      Wixams Community Garden

      Gardening is a fantastic hobby which is very rewarding, creative and relaxing. As part of our efforts to bring people together, and to create opportunities for the community to get involved in projects in our town, we would like to help create a community garden in Wixams. This would be a space that can be shared between different groups so that everyone can benefit.

      St Stephens Square Community Garden in Norwich
      St Stephens Square Community Garden in Norwich

      There have been lots of ideas discussed so far such as a wildflower patch for the bees and butterflies, a herb garden which people can use for their cooking, a hut or shelter which people can sit in and enjoy, and sections for specific groups like the Brownies, Cubs and Scouts so they can grow what they like.

      Community gardens are a great way to help new people get into gardening and can also lead to more projects being initiated which benefit our community even further.

      Where Would It Be?

      We have liaised with Bedford Borough Council and they have agreed in principle that the patch of land next to Lakeview Village Hall could be used for the garden. This is great spot as it’s central to village 1 (Lakeview) and is already part landscaped.

      Wixams Community Garden Site - Lakeview Village
      Wixams Community Garden Site – Lakeview Village

      What Could We Grow?

      Community gardens can come in many forms. Some are wild and rustic with wildflowers, shrubs and decorations. Other gardens are more formal and have vegetable patches and instructions for people on what they can take and when.

      Instructions for Visitors to the Grapes Hill Community Garden in Norwich
      Instructions for Visitors to the Grapes Hill Community Garden in Norwich

      For a garden in Wixams we’d like the participants to decide what they want to grow, adding to the existing plants and shrubs is a good starting point, and then more structure and things like raised bedding areas can be added progressively.

      Current Progress

      We have been in discussions with the Wixams Parish Council who would lead the project on behalf of the community. They’re currently liaising with Bedford Borough Council to seek approval to adopt the land and to find out the boundaries of the garden.

      Spring Bulb Planting

      One idea for getting this garden started off is to plant patches of tulip bulbs later this year to bring a splash of colour for next spring. In November 2019 we ran a Spring Bulb Planting event which was attended by around 80 adults and children who came along to plant tulip and daffodil bulbs in the green spaces around the village hall. It was a fantastic success and if there’s enough support for this garden there might be a chance to run another similar event this year.

      How to Get Involved

      If you’d like to be part of this garden we, in collaboration with the Wixams Parish Council, have scheduled a meeting in October to kick things off. This is an open meeting so anyone can turn up, so if you would like to help run the garden or have any ideas for it please do come along.

      6pm – Monday 2nd October
      Swan Room
      Lakeview Village Hall

      Jumble Sale

      This event is in the past

      This August we’ll be running another jumble sale inside the village hall. If you’re looking for a bargain or have a load of stuff to shift here’s your chance!

      Sunday 20th August 2023
      1:30 – 4:00pm
      Free entry for attendees
      Lakeview Village Hall, Brooklands Avenue MK42 6AB

      Please note due to low demand the jumble trail and car boot sale have been cancelled

      Operation Oscar Bear

      Oscar is a 3 year old from Wixams who suffered a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) event at birth. He is living with Cerebral Palsy and needs help to get an operation and intensive rehab which would change his life. You can read more about his story here:

      just4children.org/operationoscarbear

      All proceeds from the jumble sale will go to the Operation Oscar Bear fund.

      Book Your Space

      A table in the village hall cost Β£5 for jumble and Β£10 for craft stalls (tables are provided). Please complete the form below and we’ll contact you with bank details to ask for payment once your place is reserved.

      Please note: Your personal details will be deleted after the event has finished.

      Valentine’s Gift Fayre

      This event has now passed

      If you’re stuck looking for a gift for your loved one this Valentine’s Day you’re in luck! We’ve invited some small and local businesses to come along to the village hall, they’ll be selling a wide range of handmade products and other great gift ideas. This includes jewellery, personalised gifts, cards, gift vouchers, candles, wax melts, ornaments, stationary, indoor plants and more! Entry to the event is free and we’ll even have some free refreshments on offer.

      And that’s not all… all attendees will be entered into a prize draw to win a little hamper of goodies to share with a loved one! No purchase necessary, just turn up and you’ll get a ticket.

      Stalls

      We’ve managed to get together a great selection of local businesses offering a wide range of gifts you may want to buy for your Valentine:

      Christmas Decorations Competition 2022

      The judges scores are in and it’s time to announce the winners of the Wixams Christmas Decorations Competition 2022! As usual we ran our competition to try and select the best decorated home and to award the winners with a prize for their efforts. Things have been a little different this year, with the cost of living crisis in full swing (and getting worse) it seems there are fewer lights shining this winter, but even so the Wixams community have worked hard to make our town a magical place to live at Christmas time.

      Thank yous

      In case you’re not aware, this and all our competitions are run by volunteers who give up their time to give back to the community, and that shouldn’t go unrecognised. We’d like to express a massive thanks yet again to Welcome Co-op Wixams for donating the prize for our winners, thank you Damien and the team. The fabulous Faye took all those goodies and put them into the fun festive hampers, thank you Faye. As usual the amazing Asan battled the winter weather to take all the excellent photos for us to share with the community, he’s an absolute star! Thank you also to the judges: Barbara & Nathan from the Wixams Events Team, Richard, Cecilia & the boys, Joey, Adriana, and our new judge the lovely Deb. Finally a big thank you goes to Sheila for stepping in and helping with the prize giving at very short notice.

      The Prize

      We don’t take this competition too seriously but when it comes to the hamper we definitely make sure to put together a selection of goodies we think our winners will appreciate. There’s around Β£100 worth of items altogether between the two hampers which includes a great selection of booze, drinks, snacks, biscuits and chocolates. We hope it helps make sure our winners have an extra special Christmas 🍿🍾πŸ₯¨πŸ»

      The Winners

      To run this competition we give the list of addresses to all the judges and then they have a few days to let us know their top 3 in order. We award 3 points for 1st, 2 points for 2nd and 1 point for 3rd, then we total up the points from all the judges and the winner is the home with the most.

      This year’s winners received more than twice as many points as the second placed homes so it clearly resonated with our judges. They were very impressed by the beautiful sleigh, presents and other ornaments, as well as the real decorated tree and colour coordinated lights. Altogether it just works and it really stood out from the crowd, well done to the winners!

      Other Entrants

      17 homes entered the competition this year which meant there was a big variety of ornaments, lights and other elements on display. We particularly liked the homemade Quality Street sweeties on one home. We also saw some excellent lights such as those on Homestead Way, Avocet Road and Oatlands Drive. The beautiful archway on Thistle Lane was particularly special and really took things up a notch too (they came joint 2nd). This year we noticed there were a fair number of unicorns amongst the displays, but the ultimate has to be the one on Fieldfare View which looks across majestically to his reindeer friend! πŸ¦ŒπŸ¦„

      Overall there were some amazing displays out there and here’s some great photos for you all to enjoy….

      Past Competitions

      You can find some fantastic photos of the previous competitions on the pages below:

      Halloween Decorations Competition 2022

      Wixams is a fantastic place to be for Halloween each year and, despite the miserable weather, 2022 seemed to be busier than ever. We saw our town come alive with hundreds of little reanimated skeletons, witches, ghosts and even dinosaurs out on the hunt for sweeties and enjoying the atmosphere.

      As usual we ran our Halloween Decorations Competition so that we could find the ‘Spookiest House in Wixams’ and reward them for their hard work and for helping create such a wonderful experience for our community. This year 16 homes entered the competition and we could tell some people had really taken things up a notch! Our judges saw so many weird and wonderful new ideas and it was particularly interesting to see what past competition entrants had put together. In some cases they took last year’s display and went event further with it, in other cases they did something completely new. The creativity of some displays was off the charts and the variety made things really difficult for our judges. Two of them kept asking if we could just make everyone a winner a split the hamper between all the families!

      Thanks Yous

      A competition like this takes a lot of work and people to plan and run; given it’s all done by volunteers we want to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has made this a success.

      The winning prize is a massive hamper and all the goodies were very kindly donated by Welcome Co-op Wixams, thank you to Damian and the team. All those goodies were put together in a great Halloween themed two-part hamper by the fantastic Faye. The amazing photos below were taken by Asan (Tu Plus Tu Photography tuandtu.com), he covers lots of events in Wixams and elsewhere for free and in his own time. It’s a massive undertaking and it makes all the difference to have so many great shots to share with the entrants and the wider community. Last but not least are the judges: Barbara, Cecilia & the boys, Rich & Lucy, Ferial & Mike, Paula, Sheila, Adriana, Richard and Joey. Thank you all!

      The Prize

      As usual the prize for the winning home was a massive two-part hamper of goodies worth around Β£100. Both boxes were crammed with drinks, snacks, sweets and more which we’re sure our winners have got stuck into already. We make sure that around half of the budget is spent on drinks just for the adults as we know they put in so much work into their displays, sometimes planning months in advance 🍻

      And the Winner is…

      Three homes this year were very popular with the judges but there can only be one winner, and it was this fantastic display on Pheasant Grove! We were wowed by the sheer number of props they had created and the overall effect was something really spooky and special. Apparently it was put together on a tight budget and the props were mostly hand made from bits of old wood and bin liners. 10/10 for effort there!

      There’s a big variety of houses in Wixams, particularly in size, so our judges do their best to factor this in and consider how well the displays take advantage of the space available. Our winners are lucky to have some green space in front of their home but they really took things to another level filling it with a giant spider and web, corpses, pumpkins and more. The house itself was really impressive too including silhouettes in every window. Well done and thank you for bringing something new to Halloween in Wixams πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

      Other Entrants

      We want to thank all of the participants in this year’s competition for their hard work. This year really was exceptional and we saw some particularly fantastic new ideas which deserve a mention. The house on Brambling Gardens was covered in a giant spider’s web and the nest was home to the bowl of sweeties πŸ˜΅β€πŸ’« The owners of one home on Brooklands Avenue seem to take great pleasure in giving visitors a fright in return for sweets, this time a giant spider would drop on anyone brave enough to try to grab some from the bowl! We saw lots of great window scenes but the stained glass windows on Tawny Avenue really stood out. We also saw some really great carved pumpkins in a variety of styles, some lit of with colourful lights, and they all looked fab.

      A special mention goes to the Stranger Things themed house on Southern Cross which was absolutely stunning. Unfortunately the age range of our judges mean that they didn’t all get the references, but one judge is a big fan of the show and said the attention to detail was incredible and it captured so many different parts of the story. Well done guys, we’re sure you made a lot of people very happy 😈

      Here’s some great photos from the other entrants for you to enjoy.

      Past Competitions

      You can find some fantastic photos of the previous competitions on the pages below:

      🌻 Sunflowers for Summer 🌻

      In the Wixams Community Group we love gardening so in March 2022 we ran a little project to give away sunflower seeds to homes all across Wixams. We started with a couple of large bags of seeds of giant yellow and red sunflowers. These were put into around 100 packs which we could give out to the community, each containing:

      • Approx. 10 yellow sunflower seeds
      • Approx. 10 red sunflower seeds
      • Growing instructions


      We had given a few bags out already but after a post on our Facebook group every single remaining bag was claimed in just one evening! We were overwhelmed by the response and wanted more people to take part so we reached out to Seasons garden centre in Wixams. Seasons were great and, despite their limited stocks, they gave us enough seeds so that we could put together around 50 more packs of seeds which we were able to distribute. Thank you Seasons! πŸ‘πŸ»

      Photos

      Below is a selection of the fantastic sunflowers grown around Wixams from this project.

      Wixams Residents’ Association

      The Wixams Residents’ Association has now been established and will publish a new website in due course

      It’s been more than a decade since the first bricks were laid down in our lovely town and, even though Wixams is a great place to live, the journey so far has been pretty rocky. Residents have seen the plans for Wixams change a number of times and some much needed facilities removed. Below we have highlighted the key issues in Wixams and identified some cases where decisions have been made on our behalves by councillors and council officers which have sometimes gone directly against the wishes of the community.

      We think the best way to protect the remaining plans for our town is to form an independent residents’ association which can work more closely with the community to push for change, and to collaborate with parish councils and local authorities where needed.

      On this page:

      1. Wixams Station
      2. Retail Units
      3. Zebra Crossings
      4. Public Transport
      5. Highways
      6. Parking
      7. Employment
      8. Join the committee or Sign Up for updates
      9. Inaugural Meeting 20th October

      You can find out more about the plans for Wixams on the Development Plans page.

      Wixams Station

      After many years of waiting the planning application for the Wixams Railway Station has now been submitted and the first trains expected in December 2024.

      Good news? Yes, but only because of the actions of some very proactive Wixamites who campaigned in 2018 when the station plans were in peril. The station had been delayed due to a funding gap and after multiple attempts by Gallagher Estates (now L&Q Estates) to find a way forward, it was clear that the station couldn’t be built without the shortfall being met. After months of campaigning Mayor Dave Hodgson finally took action and committed the tax-payer funding which meant the station could go ahead.

      You can find out more about the station from the council’s dedicated pages:

      Retail Units

      In March 2022 the Wixams Joint Development Control Committee (WJDCC) voted to remove a set of planned facilities across Wixams to help meet a funding shortfall for the primary school in Village 3. The proposals included the removal of the units in Willow Grove (Village 2) and Harrowden Green (Village 4), which would likely include a local shop and takeaways in each, similar to those in Lakeview (Village 1).

      The S106 changes removed the facilities planned for village 2, pictured above in orange

      This decision was based on arguments made by the principle planning officer for Wixams who suggested a move to internet shopping and the impacts of the pandemic mean there wouldn’t be enough demand to fill those units, as well as the 10 planned for the town centre. Questions have raised about this rationale by residents as local shops are always in need. There has also been more demand than predicted; within 24 hours of a post in our Facebook group LSP Developments received 25 enquiries from local businesses interested in leasing one of the few town centre units being offered.

      After a campaign led by the Wixams Newsletter 57 residents responded widely rejecting the removal of these key facilities. When the public objections were highlighted by Cllr Graeme Coombes to the planning officer at the meeting he simply responded with a shrug. The WJDCC voted to approve all the revisions with 5 votes in favour, 3 against and 1 abstention (full story on page 9 of Apr 2022 Wixams Newsletter).

      Zebra Crossings

      Parents have been calling for zebra crossings in multiple key locations in Wixams for many years, including on Brooklands Avenue near to Lakeview Primary, Green Lane near to Wixams Tree Primary and Bedford Road parallel with Green Lane. Early in 2022 a young girl was hit by a car on Brooklands Avenue, sustaining minor injuries, leading to her mum submitting a petition to Bedford Borough Council for crossings in Wixams. The petition was signed by 178 residents and once presented to the council led to them assuring a crossing will be installed on Green Lane as part of the extension to Wixams Tree Primary School.

      Whilst there has now been some progress, further action will likely be needed to pressure the councils to install more crossings to improve pedestrian safety (including Central Beds Council for a crossing on Meadow Road), especially for our children who are trying to get to school along our busy roads.

      Public Transport

      Bus services in Wixams are severely lacking and in the 2021 Wixams Residents Survey people asked for Sunday and late services, they also highlighted that the 44 and 81 buses often arrive at the same time.

      The good news is Stagecoach announced the 81 route will be changing to the MK1 and will include services on Sundays and public holidays. The MK1 will go from Bedford bus station and via Wixams to Luton and Luton Airport bus station, and then up the M1 to Milton Keynes.

      Unfortunately the councils have very little ability to influence the bus services due to privatisation and deregulation. However more work is needed to push for improved routes and discount schemes which would benefit those who rely on the buses.

      Highways

      In 2020 we highlighted that the creation of a logistics park in Wixams, with only one access point via The Causeway, had increased congestion and that the issue would get worse.

      The road network will have to accommodate:

      • The extra traffic generated by Wixams’ residents who work outside of the town as there are fewer employment opportunities here.
      • The extra traffic generated by the workers at the warehouses who mainly don’t live in Wixams.
      • The HGVs servicing the warehouses.
      • The traffic from neighbouring villages who will use Wixams as a rat-run to avoid Houghton Conquest and Cow Bridge near the Interchange Retail Park.
      • Residents from nearby villages, Kempston and the south of Bedford who will use the Wixams train station to commute.

      When the planning applications were submitted for the warehousing in Wixams, neither the council’s highways team nor Highways England made any comment about the ability of the roads to handle the cumulative traffic from all the warehouses. A proposal was made by Cllr Graeme Coombes for a link road to take the commercial traffic away from residents areas. Whilst this idea has a lot of support from the community it would likely be paid for by the tax payer and raises questions as to why the highways team didn’t consider the long term impacts on our roads from the outset.

      Parking

      Residents in Lakeview (Village 1) have struggled for more than a decade with the lack of parking spaces for themselves and visitors, particularly along Brooklands Avenue. This is because of legislation in place at the time of building which limited the number of spaces to an average of 1.5 per household to encourage people to use public transport. We met with L&Q Estates in September 2021 and they explained that they didn’t think this was appropriate for Wixams. They had highlighted this issue with Bedford Borough Council and recommended they request dispensation from this legislation, but the council refused.

      There are places where additional on-street parking could be created but this would be at the expense of the tax payer. However, with house prices being so high many younger residents will likely remain living with their parents but may add an extra car to the household, so the problem will only get worse and will be more expense to resolve in the long run.

      Employment

      The vast majority of jobs created in Wixams are for relatively low pay and in only one industry: Logistics. Significant progress is being made in automation which means many of the lowest paid jobs will be gone in the coming years:

      All the land originally allocated for new employment has now gone and the ‘expansion area’ has been used to build the B&M and planned Aldi distribution centres. No investment has been made in Wixams in creating workspaces such as offices for local businesses, or for national businesses which could employ local residents. No small commercial units have been created for businesses such as painters and decorators, plumbers etc which could be leased by local firms to help them thrive and grow, and which would lead to more job opportunities for residents in the future.

      The Wixams Masterplan included a new employment area and expansion area (now B&M and Aldi). Source: 11/01380/M73 Wixams Strategic Design Guide

      Representatives from Bedford Borough Council have said that some office units could be created in the town centre and near to the railway station, but this will not be enough to create a sustainable local economy. Our young residents looking for work will likely be forced to choose between low paid local work or having to commute by car or train.

      More work is needed to pressure the councils to create more sustainable employment opportunities for our new town.

      Join or Sign Up

      This is just a selection of some of the issues and challenges residents in Wixams have faced over the last decade. To help resolve some of these problems and to try and prevent the loss of yet more facilities the community will need to work together to help make Wixams a town we can all enjoy for many years.

      Join the Committee

      We need committee members to help run this group and to work on behalf of other residents. If you’ve never been on a committee before it’s easier than it sounds and won’t take up a lot of your time. These are lots of different roles and activities you can take part in:

      • Attending meeting with councillors, developers and other stakeholders.
      • Attending parish council meeting to stay up to date with developments (predominantly Wixams and Houghton Conquest PCs).
      • Looking into plans and planning application to find out what’s being proposed.
      • Help to run a Facebook group/page or other social media channels to share news.
      • Write content for email newsletters.
      • Run the committee itself as chair, secretary or treasurer.

      Please use the form below if you’re interested in joining the Wixams Residents’ Association committee:

        Your name:

        Your email:

        Sign up for Updates

        Enter your email address below to get news and updates from the association. This will include notifications about planning applications which may impact you.

          Your email:

          Inaugural Meeting

          A meeting to establish the new association will be held in the Swan Room, Lakeview Village Hall. Please come along to share your views and help set up this group.

          7pm Thursday 20th October