Our Donate a Vine campaign 2016 starts today!

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Latest News

We’re taking national charity match-funding scheme “Grow your Tenner” literally by asking you to support us by donating up to £10 on-line to buy vines to restore the historic vineyard at Warden Abbey.

For a limited period from 10AM today, donations of up to £10 made via the Local Giving website will be doubled. If Gift Aid is included, this means a one-off donation of £10 will mean that the charity will typically get £21.67.


But please don’t delay – to double your money you need to act before the match funding pot runs dry.  Last year it ran out in just a few days! You can read more here or donate here.

Evaluation of BRCC Good Neighbours Network project published by Nesta

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Good Neighbour Scheme, Latest News, Volunteering

An independent evaluation report on a BRCC project to scale up its Good Neighbour scheme model to other rural areas has been published by Nesta, which funded the project through its Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund.

Some difficulties were experienced with the evaluation, as the project timescale of 15 months proved insufficient for project partners to set up new Good Neighbour schemes in time to gather any meaningful data concerning their impact.

Nevertheless, the report by respected consultancy Red Quadrant concluded that “The likelihood remains that Good Neighbour schemes can be shown to be both effective and economic in the space between household and statutory service provision, helping to reduce pressures on formal services and improve quality of life for people in need, while stimulating civic involvement. In a context where the themes of post-welfare resilience, reduced public sector funding and demographic change all resonate to create intense pressures for change in adult social care, it could be regarded as injudicious not to invest thoroughly in these schemes for the future.”

You can download the report here

CPRE Mark for Warden Abbey Vineyard

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Greensand Ridge LAG, Latest News, Warden Abbey Vineyard

BRCC is delighted that our Warden Abbey Vineyard won a prestigious CPRE Mark at the Living Countryside Awards on Tuesday night in the Sustainable Enterprise category.

The Awards were presented by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis at John O’ Gaunt Golf Club near Potton.

This adds to the success of two other BRCC projects at the last Awards in 2014, when the Biggleswade Jubilee Wood won a CPRE Mark and the Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre won a silver award.

There were also two CPRE Marks and a commendation for projects that had received funding through our Greensand Ridge Rural Development Programme: Jordans Mill, Clophill Eco Lodges and Rushmere Country Park Visitor Centre.

You can find out more here

Warden Abbey Vineyard Open Day & Wine Sale – 11th September 2016

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Latest News, Warden Abbey Vineyard

Bedfordshire’s oldest vineyard is 30 this year!  Discover the hidden secrets of the medieval vineyard and abbey, why and how the monks made wine, and how we care for the vines all year round.

There will also be tours, wine tastings, other local food stalls, a “pop up” wine school, BBQ and other refreshments. Our Warden Abbey wines will be available to taste & buy (cash and cheques only please).  Also a rare opportunity to visit both the vineyard and the historic Warden Abbey building which is being thrown open by the Landmark Trust.

Located near Old Warden, the vineyard is now run by BRCC as a community vineyard which is cared for all year round by volunteers and works with other local charities and schools. The Open Day is organised by the Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard and is our main fundraiser of the year, to keep this historic vineyard for the community.

Open 11 am to 4 pm. Entry: Adults £2, accompanied children free.

The vineyard is on a gentle slope and the ground is uneven and may not be suitable for people with limited mobility.

For further information visit the Warden Abbey Vineyard website.

Barn Owl Baby Boom

Written by Cliff Andrews on . Posted in Latest News

The British Olympic Team have not been the only success story this summer – BRCC’s Barn Owl boxes in the Ivel & Ouse valleys have been overflowing with chicks. The 2nd best year ever (since the majority of the boxes were erected in 2002) has seen a total of 49 young recorded from the 50 boxes – a stark contrast to last year when only 2 boxes were successful, with a total of six young.  2016 has only been beaten by 2008 when an amazing 87 young were recorded.

owlet 2  A relaxed owlet ready to be weighed and measured.  owlet

There were 25 young from the boxes in the Ivel valley and 24 from the Ouse boxes. The largest family, with 5 young, were found in a box in the Ouse valley. The low number in 2015 has been attributed to the low number of voles, the Barn Owls main prey item. Hopefully 2017 will have plenty of voles and yield another good crop of owlets.

Barn Owls are a protected species and it is illegal to disturb or interfere with a box. The boxes in the Ivel and Ouse valleys are checked by a British Trust for Ornithology licence-holder, for whose voluntary services BRCC are very grateful.

BRCC’s Warden Abbey Vineyard featured on BBC Look East

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Latest News, Volunteering, Warden Abbey Vineyard

Our Warden Abbey Community Vineyard project had a visit from a BBC crew yesterday in the glorious sunshine.

A two and a half minute snippet shown on BBC Look East that evening included short interviews with volunteers, Vineyard Manager Jane Markham and Master of Wine Derek Smedley, as well as footage of caring for the vines and a tasting of the ‘dosage’ for our 2014 sparkling wine, due to come out before Christmas.

You can still watch on the BBC iplayer until 7pm today at http://bbc.in/2bddeJx.

ACoRP Community Rail Awards 2016

Written by Stephen Sleight on . Posted in Community Transport, Latest News, MVCRP, Ridgmont Station

BRCC has learnt that its Contemplation Seats project, with artist Sally Annett, has been shortlisted for the ACoRP Community Rail Awards 2016 (under Category 2B ‘Community Art Schemes: Renewable & Smaller Projects’).

We are also delighted to have been shortlisted for a second award; a photographic competition – ‘The Essence of Community Rail’.  The shortlisted photograph was taken by staff from Elstow School and features a young student proudly displaying a hand crafted railway ticket, which was used during a visit to Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre.

Winners will be announced at the gala dinner and presentation evening in Southport on Thursday 29th September, 2016.

Visit the project website here: www.contemplationseats.com
You can learn more about ACoRP here: (www.acorp.uk.com).

Seeking a new Officer for the Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Latest News

BRCC recently bid successfully to take over the hosting of the Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership from Hertfordshire County Council, to add to our existing hosting of the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership.

We are now seeking a part-time Officer (21 hours/week)  to provide day to day management and delivery of the Community Rail Partnership’s work programme.

You can find further information and the application form below:

Abbey Line CRP ad July 2016

Abbey Line CRP Officer recruitment information Jul 2016

Abbey Line CRP Officer Application Form


Putting the Green Wheel into the Biggleswade Green Wheel

Written by Cliff Andrews on . Posted in Biggleswade Green Wheel, Green Infrastructure, Latest News, Supporting Communities

BRCC staff among the first to walk through Green Wheel

BRCC staff among the first to walk through Green Wheel

Users of the Green Wheel, including Dan Albone on his bike

Users of the Green Wheel, including Dan Albone on his bike









The latest addition to the Biggleswade Green Wheel was installed this week – a Green Wheel!

Commissioned by BRCC and designed by artist Martin Heron, the installation is on the route of the Biggleswade Green Wheel as it passes through CBC’s Saxon Drive Linear Woods.

Various figures are depicted along the top of the wheel, with the cyclist being local legend Dan Albone, the image being taken from a photo of him riding the Ivel Cycle which he invented.

Cliff Andrews, BRCC’s Supporting Communities Manager said “We hope that this feature, along with the recently installed carved benches will be enjoyed by all users of the Biggleswade Green Wheel.  It has been great to work with Martin Heron who also designed the ‘tractor’ sculpture we installed at the Dan Albone Car Park in March.”



We’re recruiting – could you be our Community Agent for Biggleswade?

Written by Justine Hunt on . Posted in Just Ask Village Agents, Latest News, Supporting Communities

Community Agent Biggleswade

15 hours/week for 12 month contract
£10,156 p.a. (£23,698 pro rata)

Are you committed to supporting vulnerable and isolated people living in Biggleswade? Are you interested in a flexible local employment opportunity that you can fit around your other commitments?

BRCC is seeking to recruit a ‘Community Agent’ for Biggleswade.  The ‘Community Agent’ will work to connect people in Biggleswade to the services and support that they need, reporting to a steering group of local stakeholders.

The post requires an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

We are grateful to Biggleswade Town Council for being the principal funder of this position.


Application deadline:     Friday June 3rd at 9.00am
Interviews to be held:    Tuesday 14th June

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    The Old School
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