Summer fun with a nature theme in Staffordshire town

A fun-packed day of storytelling and craft activities is being planned in a Staffordshire town this summer.

There will be plenty of fun with a new Bug Hotel
There will be plenty of fun with a new Bug Hotel

Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts and Events team in partnership with Tamworth Library are running their Summer Reading Challenge with a nature theme.

The free event will take place on Tuesday, August 10, in the Castle Grounds from 11am and will include Ben Davis, award winning children’s book author, sharing real life stories which have inspired him to write, plus artist Maggie Carney inviting families to paint and design their very own birdfeeders to take home.

Every year Staffordshire Libraries take part in the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge, which encourages over 700,000 children nationally to read throughout the summer holidays, collect special stickers, earn a medal and join in with activities and events throughout the summer – all for free.

This year’s theme is Wild World Heroes, a celebration of nature and action for the environment, in partnership with WWF UK. Tamworth Library and Ankerside Shopping Centre are looking to create a trail for families, where pictures of animals and insects will be hidden around town.

The Town Trail opens on July 10and runs until August 28.Those families who complete the trail will be entered into a prize draw. Clue sheets will be available to collect from the library.

Tamworth Borough Council’s Street Scene have also helped support this year’s theme by clearing and preparing an area outside Ankerside to build a Bug Hotel Project.

The bug hotel was originally planned to be launched before lockdown, March 2020, but the pandemic has resulted in delays.

It will be situated in an area just outside Ankerside centre, overlooking the castle grounds and will be featured in Tamworth Library’s Trail. Materials used to fill the Bug Hotel will include logs, pine cones and bamboo canes.

Centre manager of Ankerside Shopping Centre, Mark Burbridge, said: “The planning of the bug hotel commenced way back in 2019, whereby we came up with the idea of clearing a neglected area at the centre to create an environmentally friendly garden.

“The garden will offer visitors, particularly children, an area of environmental interest by introducing a bug hotel, wormery, bat boxes, butterfly houses and wild flower beds.

“We are all afraid of things we don’t understand, and insects often fall into this category. Sometimes their unusual appearance puts us off. By building a Bug Hotel, children and adults visiting Ankerside Shopping Centre will be able to observe nature and how they live.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming the public to our new area and we can’t wait to see what tiny creatures the area attracts!”

The Summer Reading Challenge takes place every year during the summer holidays. You can sign up at your local library and read six library books of your choice to complete the challenge.

There are exclusive rewards to collect along the way, and it’s FREE to take part! More information regarding the Summer Reading Challenge can be found at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk

Cllr Robert Pritchard, Deputy Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, said: “It’s great to see this year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme of Wild World Heroes and I look forward to taking part with my children and seeing other families joining in with the activities and town trail.

“The Arts and Events team will be in the Castle Grounds on August 10, offering families the opportunity to join in with wildlife themed crafts and storytelling will take place throughout the day.

“Street Scene have cleared and prepared an ideal space for the Bug Hotel and I’m sure this will be a great asset, creating an ideal space to encourage insects and mini-beasts to lay their eggs and find safe shelter.”

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