Letters that say so much

Erewash Museum is currently undertaking conservation work on the Margaret Hope Robinson letters – an archive of more than 2,000 letters that give an emotional insight into the lives of families of British prisoners of war (POWs) during the Second World War.
 
In 1944, Margaret Hope Robinson, who was known by her middle name of Hope, was a 29-year-old deputy registrar at Ilkeston Registry Office and was desperate for news of her husband Paul Maltby Robinson, a Major with the Sherwood Foresters, who had been captured by the Japanese forces a few years earlier.
 
She broke Whitehall regulations to interview two repatriated former POWs and produced a pamphlet about life in in a camp near Bangkok, something which gave vital information to hundreds of anxious relatives.
 
Letters from the families of missing POWs began to flood into Ilkeston as Hope became a beacon of light for them. The letters show the support network that grew amongst the relatives as well as detailing many personal tragedies and memorable stories.
 
Hope kept all correspondence and the archive that she left behind was given to Erewash Museum by her daughter Penny last year. The war had a happy ending for Hope, who was eventually reunited with her husband, a prominent local solicitor.
 
Councillor Mike Wallis, Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Leisure, says:
 
“We are extremely grateful to Hope’s family for donating this fascinating archive to Erewash Museum. It is a remarkable story and the letters – from families as well as business letters to newspapers, MPs and other organisations – give an important insight into the day-to-day realities of life on the home front in Britain. They also show the anxieties, frustration, hope and tragedy of the families desperate for news of their missing relatives.” 
 
Anyone wanting more information or interested in volunteering at the museum should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Summer sponsor opportunities 

Local businesses, parish councils, community groups and residents can show their pride in Erewash by sponsoring flower baskets to put the feelgood factor in the borough over the summer months.
 
The award-winning summertime planting and floral displays are always popular with residents and last year both Ilkeston and Long Eaton won Gold in the prestigious East Midlands in Bloom competition.
 
Now the council is inviting the whole community to help ensure the borough blossoms to the highest standards with the opportunity to sponsor flower baskets.
 
The colourful baskets are attached to lamp columns and brighten up the towns and villages in Erewash throughout the summer.
 
The sponsorship fee is £95 per year, based on a three year contract, and covers everything from the cost of the basket and plants through to watering, maintenance and an optional sponsor plaque.
 
Councillor Mike Wallis, Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Leisure says:
 
“Sponsorship offers businesses, parish councils and our residents the chance to play their part in helping Erewash bloom and maintain the high standards – with a sponsorship plaque clearly demonstrating their support for Pride in Erewash.”
 
Anyone interested in sponsoring a flower basket need to apply by Friday 23 March. Application forms can be obtained by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 0115 907 2244. Applications will be dealt with on a first come, first served basis.
 

By royal decree!

Erewash residents planning a right royal celebration to mark the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May have the chance to apply for funding to help organise a traditional street party.
 
Erewash Borough Council has confirmed that it has made grants available and individuals and groups in the borough have until 5pm on Friday 6 April to bid for money towards their royal celebration.
 
The wedding takes place at Windsor Castle on Saturday 19 May and is expected to spark street parties across the country as jubilant royal fans roll out the bunting for the landmark occasion. 
 
The Grant Application Form and full details of how to apply are available at www.erewash.gov.uk  Please note that grant funding cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol.
 
 Councillor Gerri Hickton, Lead Member for Community Engagement, says:
 
“We are delighted to be able to offer this support, which will give some extra sparkle to what will be a wonderful royal day. Street parties bring communities together, so as the countdown begins to the big day I would urge party planners to put in their bids for funding as soon as possible.”
 
Further details and an application form are available at www.erewash.gov.uk -- click on the ‘For You’ and then ‘Grants’ links. Contact the council’s Community Engagement Officer Colin Handley on 0115 907 2244 ext. 3575 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 

Apply now for a community grant

Community and voluntary organisations, small groups and charities in Erewash are all being urged to apply for funding support as part of Erewash Borough Council’s Community Grant scheme.
 
A new round of funding – the first of 2018 - has opened and the council is keen for groups both large and small to get in touch right now and apply for up to £2,000 to help them with their work.
 
The council has helped countless groups over the last few years through its grants scheme and is keen to hear from more groups, however large or small. Community grants are on offer to help with new and innovative projects that help the residents of Erewash.
 
Groups supporting older people, community and voluntary organisations – ranging from scout groups to charities like Sight Support Derbyshire – along with play schemes and arts and sporting groups all made successful bids for a small grant over the last year.
 
Councillor Gerri Hickton, Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Community Engagement, says:
 
“We know there is so much good work of all kinds happening every day across all corners of our borough and I know our Community Grant scheme has been a lifeline to many groups working to help the residents of Erewash.
 
“We are delighted to open up another round of grants and we particularly want to reach out to organisations who haven’t applied before.  Will a grant of up to £2,000 help you? Then get in touch now!”
 
The deadline for applications is 4.30pm on Friday 27 April 2018 and full details of the scheme and how to apply for a grant are available at www.erewash.gov.uk – click on the ‘For You’ tab and the link to ‘Grants’.
 
Anyone needing help to fill in the application or wanting more information can contact the council’s Community Engagement Officer, Colin Handley, via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 0115 907 2244 extension 3575.
 
Subject to funding remaining available, confirmation and full details will be provided on the council’s website.
 

A way forward for leisure services

The next stage in the possible reshaping of Erewash Borough Council’s sport and leisure services will now go ahead after borough councillors gave the green light to go out to tender.
 
A Full Council meeting last night (Thursday 8 March) agreed the move and also approved a tender document which sets out the key principles expected of any potential bidder to deliver a best value service for tax payers.
 
As part of the tender specification, the council would retain ownership of the buildings and still have considerable control over leisure centre opening hours, prices, concessions, activity programmes and has also built in protection for local clubs and organisations that use the facilities on a regular basis.
 
The council has carried out an independent review of possible options for the delivery of leisure services and a market test carried out last year revealed potential significant savings. 
 
Councillor Carol Hart, Leader of Erewash Borough Council, says:
 
“At the heart of this process is our commitment to make sure that the leisure facilities and services are protected and open to everyone. If a tender contract is agreed, then we firmly believe that bringing in the right expertise will ensure that our residents are provided with a successful leisure service that is both efficient and good value.
 
“We have to find a way forward, our sport and leisure services are currently costing around £2m a year after income is taken into account – something which we are finding increasingly difficult to support in what are financially challenging times for local authorities.” 
 
A final decision on awarding a contract for sport and leisure services will be taken by councillors at a future Full Council meeting.