West Hunsbury’s Inaugural Easter Scarecrow Festival

Guidance For Better Mental Health During The COVID-19 Pandemic.

Coronavirus: Guidance for Better Mental Health

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a lot of information about the virus and its effects on mental health.

That’s because coronavirus and the social, financial and psychological implications it carries can seriously impact one’s mental wellbeing.

Government legislation, mass media coverage, and the increasing global death toll will cause a lot of stress, especially for the older population, children, and people with a history of mental health problems.

It’s of the utmost importance that we try to remain as composed as we can during this time.

The fear and anxiety that is gripping the nation are as contagious, if not more so than the illness itself.

While we are in no way diminishing the severity of the physical and epidemiological worry surrounding coronavirus, it is crucial that everyone has access to mental health resources, and is clued up on how they can look after themselves and their own mental health.

People with pre-existing mental problems should continue to manage and track their mental health. Self-care is vital, and it’s also important to try and reduce the stress for ourselves and others around us.

How Your Mental Health Might be Affected
The coronavirus might affect not only your physical wellbeing but also your mental health. As we might be instructed to stay home due to the pandemic, the mental health symptoms might worsen.

You might notice several mental health issues, such as:

Increased anxiety
Excessively checking for symptoms
Feelings of irritation
The normal aches will feel like you have the virus
Sleeping troubles
Feelings of helplessness

Check if you show these symptoms and try to control yourself as much as you can. For more information and guidance on how to take care of your mental well-being, please visit:


Boris MacKey
Community Outreach Manager

Editor’s Letter: March 2021

Dear Neighbours,

For me, spring cannot come soon enough! I’m craving some warmth and blue skies to lift my declining spirits. It’s been a year since the initial Covid-19 lockdown and the lack of social interaction with friends and family, and general limitations on living life, is taking its toll. However, light does appear to be glimmering at the end of this very long tunnel, thank goodness! The gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, together with the benefits of longer daylight hours and (hopefully) some warmer weather, gives us something to look forward to in the coming months. I’m optimistic that we will soon be enjoying life to the full once again – with perhaps a new outlook on what that individually means to each of us.

With the transition of seasons, I’m emerging from my hibernation and feeling motivated to tackle (or rather delegate!) the many jobs around my home and garden that requires attention… so that when we are allowed guests again – I’ll be ready! If you’re not sure where to start, take inspiration from one of our recommended books on cleaning, refreshing and beautifying your home; page 40. We also have gardening advice and interior tips from experts Pippa Greenwood and Katherine Sorrell; pages 14 and 42, respectively. Plus, we have a publication full of local tradespeople who can help!

If the spring sunshine tempts you off the sofa to go outside and exercise, we have great gadgets, from simple trackers to the smartest smartwatches, page 58; together with the best apps for outdoor exercising, page 59.

Finally, if you’re seeking alfresco adventures and awe-inspiring landscapes for your next staycation, then look no further than the beautiful Scottish Highlands; page 54.

Stay safe and well.


Kumon, Maths & English Tuition: Free Registration Until 31 March

Northampton General Hospital Achieves NHS Cancer Wait Target

Patients with cancer at Northampton General Hospital are being seen within the NHS target time thanks to service changes and improvements.

During December 2020, the latest confirmed performance figures, the hospital achieved seven of the key targets set by the NHS nationally to provide cancer care for patients.

The success is down to changes to pathways including adopting national pathways for Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Skin, straight to test or nurse led triage. This removes unnecessary outpatient appointments and accelerates pathways at the beginning of the patient journey.

This means cancer would be confirmed at an earlier stage and treatment can start sooner.

Hospital Chief Operating Officer Carl Holland said: “While the targets help to keep us on track we all know that this isn’t about the numbers. There is a patient behind every one of these figures who has had their cancer investigations and, if necessary, their treatment started promptly and efficiently.

“Achieving these targets during winter and in the middle of a pandemic is an incredible achievement and I am very proud of all involved. Our teams have risen to the challenge of making cancer services a priority and we hope we can continue to meet these targets and provide the best possible care for patients.”

In December 2020, 94.5% of patients referred to the hospital with suspected cancer were seen within the national two-week wait target, and 52% of those patients were seen in 7 days or less. This target means that patients are seen within two weeks or less of being referred to the hospital by their GP.

Following the initial diagnosis at NGH, 98.7% of patients received their first treatment within 31 days of diagnosis or decision to treat, exceeding the 96% target set for the hospital.

Stephanie Buckley, Directorate Manager in Cancer Services, said: “We’re really proud to have achieved these targets for our patients. It is fantastic to see how these changes are having a real impact on patient care, and how by working more closely with colleagues from all areas of the hospital we can improve care for our patients during a difficult time.

“It has taken a huge amount of collaborative work and drive from many clinical teams and specialists to get to this point. Everyone has pulled together to make cancer services their number one priority and provide these positive changes.

“We know that there is still more we want to achieve. There are a number of new pathways due to be launched soon and further improvements and developments planned to ensure cancer services improve for those who need them.”

Cancer services have been maintained by the hospital throughout the pandemic despite pressures on wider hospital services. Additional support has been provided for patients during the pandemic to help them feel safe and comfortable coming to the hospital site. This has included staff providing one-to-one support for patients and a direct contact line to clinical nurse specialists if they have any concerns or queries.

For more information and support regarding cancer services at Northampton General Hospital please visit:

Editor’s Letter: February 2021

Dear Neighbours,

And so it continues! The start of a New Year persists to throw challenges our way… we’re yet again enduring further lockdown restrictions and with it, another period of home schooling. For a second year, exams will not be going ahead this summer, which is unsettling for those it affects, my son included. I do worry about the long-term effect this will have on our younger generation and hope this doesn’t adversely alter their future. The majority of us will thankfully survive the pandemic; however, the repercussions will be felt by all for some time to come. We need to continue to support each other, support our local businesses and look forward to better times ahead.

With a total lack of social engagements, I’m turning my attention to this Valentine’s Day and throwing my energies into cooking a romantic meal for 3 (my son playing gooseberry!). To be honest, I’m not normally a flowers and chocolate sort of girl, but a small romantic gesture from my husband, after 21 years of marriage, wouldn’t go amiss (hint, hint, page 12 for beauty gift ideas!). Let’s hope he remembers or the romantic dinner may be given to the dog! Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the globe in many different ways and we take a look at some of the customs on page 10.

Our interiors feature this month is on house plants and the many benefits they bring to a room, page 16. We also have stylish accessories to show them off, page 20.

Also this issue, we have advice on reducing your financial risk with regards to savings and investments, page 28; high-tech hygiene, page 44; books to dip into, page 50; gardening tips on planting, page 54; and motoring expert Ted Welford reviews the Fiat 500 on page 58.

Stay safe and well.


Editor’s Letter: January 2021

Dear Neighbours,

I do hope you had an enjoyable (socially distanced!) Christmas. It may not have been the big family get together that I had hoped for, but with my son back home from University, it was still a very lovely celebration. I think the majority of us will be glad to see the back of 2020 and hope 2021 is a much better year. Nobody could have anticipated the kind of year that awaited us at the start of 2020, and most of our plans well and truly went out the window. It’s therefore understandable that as we enter a new year we are hesitant to make too many advanced plans again; instead choosing to take each week as it comes, as we’ve become all too accustomed to do. However, I am very much looking forward to getting back to a time when we can socialise with friends and family without restrictions… let’s hope this is sooner rather than later!

Even without the pandemic, the darker days and nights of winter can have a huge effect on the way we feel. It’s not good for us, or the people around us, to feel perpetually negative, so it’s time to take action! Read our advice on avoiding the ‘January Blues’ on page 10.

Founded in 2014, Veganuary is an initiative that encourages people to try veganism in January. We take a look at the reasons to take part and how to survive a month – or more – without meat and dairy, page 16. We also have a delicious energy-boosting vegan recipe on page 18 to help get you started.

Also this issue, we have advice on how to help your child to get their 5 a day, page 20; brilliant buys for bikes, page 26; the best new SUVs for under £30,000, page 28; and interiors tips on updating your lighting, page 36.

Wishing you a happy, safe and prosperous New Year. Until next month…


East Hunsbury Primary School: Reception 2021 Spaces Available

Simon de Senlis Primary School: Reception Places 2021

Ability: Your Local Community Bus Service