Birdworld is celebrating its 50th birthday this Friday with a 50% off entry voucher for visitors!

Birdworld’s 50th Anniversary year is in full swing and the park has lots of exciting events planned throughout the year to celebrate the park’s history!

Birdworld first opened its doors to the public in 1968 when the Harvey Family ran the park as a family business. Throughout the next 28 years the park grew in size leading to the building of Underworld in November 1977 and The Jenny Wren Farm soon after.

In 1996, the park was taken over by Denys E. Head Ltd, who still own the park today. Development of Birdworld continued with Parrots in Flight and the Crescent Aviaries whilst more recently Flamingo Cove, Penguin Beach and the Terry Pratchett Owl Parliament have become incredibly popular with all who visit.

This year to coincide with the park’s 50th Anniversary and to continue with the park’s history of education and conservation, Birdworld has already completed the initial instalment of several new homes for Citron and Yellow-crested Cockatoos. The new aviaries and its continuing development will aim to raise awareness of the rapid decline of critically endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoos in the wild. 

In addition, the park has also completed the build of important new aviaries to highlight the plight of Asian Songbirds. The Silent Forest Aviaries are supporting the first EAZA Campaign focused primarily on birds to address and reduce the ongoing songbird extinction in Asia. This exciting project is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to learn all about these amazing birds and the threats that face them in the wild

Friday 15th June marks the official 50th Anniversary of the park’s opening in 1968 and they will be celebrating with a 50% off entry voucher available to download from the Birdworld website for all visitors who wish to come along to enjoy a day at the park. In the evening, Birdworld will host its exclusive annual members’ evening for annual pass holders to celebrate this fantastic milestone of 50 golden years in style.

The festivities with continue into the summer holidays with Birdworld’s 50 days of Summer Fun! Alongside a special heritage trail everyday (16th July – 3rd September), each weekday Birdworld will be hosting either fascinating Animal Extras hosted by the Birdworld Keepers or hilarious Entertainment Sessions with performers from Chubby’s World of Magic or special entertainer Crazee Hazee.

Mark Anderson, Birdworld General Manager, commented: “We are extremely proud of the popular family destination that the park has become throughout the years and of the contribution we have made to raising awareness of conversation. Many local people have grown up with Birdworld over the decades and we are delighted to be inviting visitors to join us in celebrating our summer activities during our special 50th Anniversary year!”

Get a loaf of this… Woking Food and Drink Festival is back

Woking Food and Drink Festival

The Borough’s biggest free-to-attend event, Woking Food and Drink Festival, is set to deliver another magnificent mezze of culinary delights from Friday 31 August to Sunday 2 September 2018 inclusive.

In its sixth consecutive year, the triple award-winning, three-day festival promises to serve up a mouth-watering menu of foodie and family activities, including live cookery demonstrations, talks from local food and drink experts, hands-on cookery workshops, over 80 trader stalls selling local and regional produce and signature dishes, live entertainment and more!

At the heart of the festival in Jubilee Square, celebrity chefs and Surrey’s top culinary talents will display their top-drawer skills and Michelin star flair in the Tante Marie Culinary Academy Theatre.

International Emmy nominated Ching He Huang will demonstrate her style of modern Chinese cooking and talk about her seven best selling cookbooks.

Adding another winning combination to the theatre line up will be BBC MasterChef Champions, Kenny Tutt and Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, who respectively triumphed over tens of contestants in front of millions of TV viewers.

Kenny, a bank manager from Worthing, was crowned MasterChef Champion 2018 following his final three-course meal which impressed judges, John Torode and Gregg Wallace, who described his food as ‘restaurant-style perfection’ and ‘make-my-heart-thump fantastic’.

Flying the flag for Surrey, Lorna Gangotra Nanda (local food business owner and one third of The Gangotra Sisters, winners of BBC2’s The Big Family Showdown 2017), will be joined by her sisters, Bobbi and Monika, to demonstrate why they’re nicknamed the ‘spice sisters’.

Representing the best of Surrey’s local culinary talent will be:

As well as the high-quality artisan stalls and jam-packed line up of demo chefs, visitors also have the opportunity to get stuck in to a smorgasbord of foodie and family activities, including: Tante Marie cookery workshops for adults and children*, Magimix masterclasses*, bite-size talks hosted by a range of local producers and gastronomic experts, celebrity book signings, live musical and street entertainment.

Taking family entertainment to stratospheric heights will be Stefan Gates, The Gastronaut! The popular BBC2 and CBBC presenter is well known for his energetic, funny, amazing and explosive live shows, including creating plasma in a microwave, custard-powder flame-throwing and more!

Hosted at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre on Saturday 1 September, the two live shows* promise to be an out of this world experience for the whole family! Tickets can be booked closer to the event at www.atgtickets.com

Talking about Woking’s flagship foodie event, Cllr Colin Kemp, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Cultural and Community Development, said: “This popular, free-to-attend festival is the most anticipated event of the Celebrate Woking calendar. It not only delivers three days of deliciousness, it’s also an educational and immersive experience for visitors who want to learn more about food and local products.

“This year’s chef line up is also not to be missed. From Michelin Starred chefs to MasterChef Champions, we’ve got a stellar line up of celebrity and local culinary experts. And, best of all, these live demonstrations are free to watch!”

More details and further festival goodies will be announced over the summer months via the website www.wokingfoodfest.co.uk and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @WokingFoodFest.

Game On! Joe Swash visits Surrey family at home for gaming session

Joe Swash takes on Surrey family at video gaming – but who comes out on top?

Half of parents describe gaming as a bonding activity that has brought them closer to their children

The Lane family won the #LetsPlayMay competition to win a bundle of top video games, delivered by Joe Swash 

The competition winners, mum Kim Lane (35), dad Will (35), daughter Mia (15) and son Seth (9) spent the evening with Joe, playing a number of console games including LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 and Rocket League and dad took Joe on for some rounds of WWE 2K18.

Research commissioned for the #LetsPlayMay campaign has found that over half (53%) of British parents describe video gaming as a bonding activity that has brought them closer to their children, with 44% saying that secret gaming practice has led their kids to think of them as ‘cool’.

“This month I’ve been encouraging people of all ages to give gaming a go together. For me, it’s gone from a personal hobby to a great way to bond with my son, Harry. He’s ten and loves gaming, so it provides a chance for us to hang out and chat while his guard is down… and I get to show off some of the skills I’ve picked up from years of playing.”

“It’s not just for kids though. I also game with Stacey [Solomon], she’s really good and there’s a bit of rivalry there. It was a pleasure to hang out with the Lanes and great to meet another family who spends time together doing this activity that everyone loves. There was definitely some friendly competition on the night, I’ve got to admit Seth and Mia taught me a couple of new tricks and Will may have beaten me once or twice…!”

Mum, Kim Lane, commented “We were thrilled to invite Joe into our home for the evening, it was such a laugh to see him take on our whole family, and then battle it out against my husband. For us, gaming is one of the activities we enjoy as a whole family and something I’ve learned to do, really to gain some cool points with my kids! Joe’s welcome back anytime for round two, we’ll be practising with the games he kindly brought us.”

#LetsPlayMay is a UK-wide campaign encouraging people of all ages to give gaming a go. A number of console games are available on promotion at selected retailers across the country this month.

Equifax research highlights that a third of parents feel pressured to buy the latest technology for their children

In support of the tenth annual My Money Week[1] (11-17 June 2018) Equifax has partnered with Young Enterprise in order to equip young people to grow-up with the life skills, knowledge and confidence they need to successfully earn and manage money. This year, Equifax will be the sole sponsor of its national competition, the theme of which is young peoples’ ‘needs and wants’. The aim is to explain the financial decision making process in a fun and interactive way to engage pupils.

Underlining the need for broader awareness amongst young people of the cost of the things they want – and how they might be financed - the credit information provider has released research which reveals that a third of parents admitted feeling pressured by their child to buy them the latest technology, and 35% felt pressured to buy fashionable clothing for their children.

My Money Week is a national activity week for primary and secondary schools that provides a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence in money matters to thrive in society.

“Our findings suggest that some parents are feeling under pressure to spend on their children when they may already be financially stretched,” explains David Stiffler, Vice President of Global Corporate Social Responsibility at Equifax. “As well as spending money on technology, nearly a quarter of parents said they have been put under pressure to keep up with the latest gaming devices and online apps, and a further 29% said their child pressured them to buy the latest toy craze.

“More than ever before, Equifax is committed to making a difference to the communities in which we live and work and My Money Week is a fantastic opportunity to encourage both parents and schools to help the younger generation appreciate financial values. The right attitude about money management starts at home so it is very encouraging to see a campaign that will teach children more about managing money in a way that is practical and relevant to them.”

The Equifax research also highlights how 11% of parents will spend between £51-£100 just on technology such as tablets, laptops and smart phones, for their child every school year. A further 10% admit to spending between £151- £200.

Russell Winnard, Head of Educator Facing Programme and Services at Young Enterprise, said, “It is important to have the right foundations from an early age to ensure that young people continue to manage their money well throughout their life. The aim of My Money Week is to improve financial capability for young people in primary and secondary schools. It’s all about teachers and parents inspiring young people to be financially literate, and the statistics from Equifax demonstrate just how important it is to learn about finances from an early age.”

To help parents keep control of their budget, Equifax has added an interactive Equifax Budget Planner to the tools on its website.

A guide to the summer holidays at The Lightbox

School’s out and the holidays are in – but there’s no reason those creative juices can’t keep flowing. There’s a whole host of fun and inventive workshops at The Lightbox this year, many of which are free. With a jam-packed schedule of arts and crafts coinciding with the exhibitions Centrepiece (18 July – 19 August) and Young Contemporary Talent from The Ingram Collection (7 July – 16 September), you can guarantee there’s enough to keep the whole family entertained all summer long.

For families, The Lightbox offers a range of free drop-in workshops: on Friday 27 July from 1.30pm, create your own bubble makers in our Bubble Fun workshop. Then on Wednesday 15 August from 1.30pm, climb aboard the Paper Trains workshop and make your very own choo choo trains out of paper and recycled materials. There’s loads more to get involved in this year – just come along to any of our free workshops for some family fun.

And that’s not all – have you ever drawn a picture using plastic, directly into the air in front of you? At the 3D Printing Pens workshop for 8-11 and 12-16 year olds with Grace Du Prez on Tuesday 14 August, you can give it a go. Make sure you book your place to combine all the excitement and innovation of new technology with these magical pens.

Back by popular demand, best-selling cartoonist and comic art teacher James Parsons is back for a masterclass combining cartooning skills and flip-book animations at the Flip Book Animations bookable workshop for 8-11 and 12-16 year olds on Tuesday 28 August. Bring your characters to life as you learn how to make them move and jump from page to page in this exciting and stimulating workshop.

And there’s plenty more to occupy 4-8 year olds’ hands and minds, including the opportunity to create a puppet theatre in the bookable Shadow Puppet Theatre workshop on Thursday 26 July at 1.30pm. Experiment with colour and texture whilst making colourful Kaleidoscopes to keep on Thursday 30 August.

Round off your visit with a trip to the family-friendly Seasons Café & Kitchen, which serves tasty children’s meals like Big Fish Fingers or the Kids Box with sandwich, snacks and fruit. For full details of the Summer Holidays programme and to plan your visit go to www.thelightbox.org.uk.