Author - Stuart | YLF

Tra, la, la, la, la! intu Milton Keynes has decked the halls and festivities have begun!

The magic of Christmas was brought to life at intu Milton Keynes on Saturday when the city centre was transformed into a glittering winter wonderland, lit up by thousands of sparkling lights.

The free event, hosted by MyMiltonKeynes the local Business Improvement District, together with partners, at intu Milton Keynes, drew huge crowds gathered to begin the countdown to Christmas with the spectacular lights-switch on. Families enjoyed a festive feast of yuletide cheer, with music, dance and a laser display that sent everybody’s Christmas spirit soaring.

Ivan and Emma from Heart breakfast presented the seasonal extravaganza, which marked the opening of a host of fabulously fun and festive activities at intu Milton Keynes. There’s the traditional carousel, roasted chestnuts, and sweet treats on the mall, plus the Alpine Village in Oak Court where you’ll find a bar and fire pit, Christmas movie showings and much more. It’s the perfect spot to merrily sip on warm mulled wine, spiced cider and hot chocolate … not to mention street food including Yorkshire pudding wraps, bubble waffles, candy floss and traditional Bavarian sausages!

Shelley Peppard, general manager at intu Milton Keynes, said: “The lights switch on was so much fun – it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas! We’ve got so much planned for the festive season, we hope you’ll join us for shopping, singing, Christmas movies, eating, wrapping and more!”

There’s so much more festive family fun planned at intu Milton Keynes – so if you want to have yourself a merry little Christmas, you know where to come. Join intu Milton Keynes on Saturday 1 December for the much-loved Etsy Market, where shoppers will find 80 stalls of hand-crafted goodies that will put smiles on faces on Christmas Day. Pop along from Friday 7 December onwards to hear your favourite Christmas songs and carols performed by carol singers, school choirs and bands – because we all know the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear! Then from Saturday 8 December the gift wrappers will be back, helping you out with your least favourite part of the season.

It’s all going on at intu Milton Keynes! But first up, it’s Black Friday on 23 November – that’s your chance to hit the shops and stock up on deals to help you get ahead on your Christmas shopping.

INVENTORS UNITE TO SOLVE ‘IMPOSSIBLE-TO-BUY’ CHRISTMAS CONUNDRUMS

‘Impossible’ inventions created for Christmas shoppers at intu Milton Keynes

People in Milton Keynes spend 20 hours trying to find the perfect gift for loved ones 

Some of Britain’s most ingenious inventors have joined with intu, owner of some of the UK’s largest and most popular shopping centres, to create ‘impossible-to-buy’ gifts for this year’s Christmas wish lists. The impossible gifts include Willy Wonka style sweets that taste like Christmas dinner and turning people into LEGO® characters.

Following research by the shopping centre owner revealing that one in ten parents (11 per cent) have at least one ‘impossible’ gift to find this Christmas, it has selected five great British inventors to work with and create truly impossible gifts. The gifts will then be won by shoppers in the run up to Christmas.

Other weird and wonderful inventions available for intu shoppers to win this Christmas include a dress that turns its wearer into a princess at the pull of a string, a real fairy house sprinkled with fairy dust and the opportunity to be turned into a comic book star by the artist behind Dennis the Menace.

The research revealed that Christmas shoppers in Milton Keynes will spend 20 hours searching for the perfect presents this year, walking 22 miles in the process.

According to the research, the average Brit will spend £425 on Christmas presents this year, up just under one per cent on last year. One in three (32 per cent) say they don’t always find the perfect gift, with socks the most common last resort Christmas present. Just one in 20 people in Milton Keynes (6 per cent) say they will have all their presents wrapped by the beginning of December.

The five impossible gifts were inspired by some of the most bizarre Christmas gifts parents have received including:

  1. I want to be LEGO®
  2. I want a pencil that does my homework for me
  3. I want a pet dinosaur
  4. I want my Christmas dinner in sweets
  5. I want a trampoline to the moon
  6. I want to be a princess
  7. I want shoes that make me run faster
  8. I want my own comic book
  9. I want to be a fairy
  10. I want a rainbow

FIVE IMPOSSIBLE GIFTS TO SOLVE CHRISTMAS CONUNDRUMS

  1. Willy-Wonka style sweets that taste like Christmas dinner by Smith & Sinclair
  2. Being illustrated into an comic book star by Dennis the Menace artist Nigel Parkinson
  3. Being turned into an actual LEGO® character by certified LEGO® Builder Duncan Titmarsh
  4. A dress that turns its wearer into a princess at the pull of a string by Channel 4 seamstress Charlotte Denn
  5. A real fairy house sprinkled with fairy dust by woodcrafter extraordinaire Jonathan Sherwood

Kirsty McGiff, marketing manager at intu Milton Keynes, comments: “It’s a lovely truth that children and even adults will sometimes put impossible gifts on their Christmas lists, but at intuMilton Keynes you’ll find all your Christmas presents – even the seemingly impossible ones. While we know we have something for everyone at our centre, we decided to take things a little further and work with some of the brightest minds in the country to make some impossible gifts, possible! So whether you want Santa to turn you into LEGO® or you want Christmas dinner in sweets, at intu we’ll have something that is certain to make you smile!”

The impossible range of gifts follow intu’s Christmas TV advert, which sees a duckling finally able to fly with the help of a brand new drone.

To be in with a chance to win one of the ‘impossible’ gifts for Christmas, enter for free online at intu.co.uk/Christmas/win

Father Christmas has started planning already!

He’s making his list and checking it twice and will be out in December (weather permitting) around Milton Keynes.

He will, along with his helpers from MK Watling Rotary Club, be in Old Farm Park on December 2nd and Newport Pagnell on Sunday December 9th. He will then visit the Poets Estate in Bletchley on Sunday December 16th, then the final outing will be on Sunday 23rd around Bletchley’s Saints Estate and Far Bletchley.  Each night they will be out between 6pm and 8pm, covering as many streets as they can, but if the weather is really bad may not be able to go out.

Please look out for them and if you could spare some money, they’d be very grateful; last year they collected over £1,700 for local charities. This year the charities receiving the donations will be Willen Hospice and The Winter Night Shelter.

For more details, please see MK Watling Rotary’s Facebook page.

intu Milton Keynes brings its car park to life

A spectacular living wall to be installed

intu Milton Keynes is set to install a dramatic and visually spectacular ‘living wall’ that will complete and complement its £2.8m car park redevelopment.

The regional shopping centre has been working with internationally renowned company, Biotecture, which specialises in transforming urban sites into ‘living and breathing’ installations.

Responsible for some of the UK’s most iconic living walls, including MTV London, Edgware Road Tube Station, the Walkie Talkie Tower, and Kings Cross, London, Biotecture confirms this is the biggest install of its kind in the region.

Due to be completed in November, intu Milton Keynes’s car park entrance and the inner core of its upward ramps will be covered with plants and foliage, creating a stunning visual welcome for shoppers that will also improve the quality of air and produce a habitat for wildlife.

Another significant and increasingly recognised benefit, now supported with comprehensive scientific evidence, is that of ‘biophilia’, an idea termed by Edward Wilson in 1984. It suggests that when humans are surrounded by plants and nature their mood is improved, they are overall less stressed and in general their wellbeing is improved. Wilson himself explained Biophilia as: “the idea that humans possess a biological inclination to affiliate with natural systems instrumental to their health” (Wilson, 1984) He went on to say that “the mere insertion of plants into the built environment can enhance comfort, satisfaction, wellbeing and performance” (Kellert, et al., 2008).

Shelley Peppard general manager at intu Milton Keynes adds: “Plants have a natural calming effect on people and, as the walls establish themselves, we expect wildlife to make this their home as it has in Biotecture’s other locations. We hope it will become an attraction for people to visit us and show why Milton Keynes is unique and a great place to live and work.

“Milton Keynes is often wrongly associated with concrete and having no soul, which is why we are bringing one of the busiest parts of the city centre to life with a living and breathing wall.”

intu Milton Keynes has invested £2.8m to completely redevelop its multi-storey car park, which is due to be fully completed by the time the living wall is installed. Works have included laying a completely new floor, better marked spaces, easier to follow wayfinding for cars and pedestrians, clearly marked walkways around the car park, a brighter look and feel – and, soon to be added, more electric vehicle bays – an extra 12 in total.

Shelley adds, “We attract visitors from all over the world and we want to show them what an incredible forward-thinking city Milton Keynes is. The living walls will look beautiful and has additional benefits to the well-being of our customers and those that work here.”

“We are really pleased to be working with intu Milton Keynes on this green infrastructure project. The combination of living walls to the entrance and climbing plants adorning the ramps is the first of its kind on any car park that we are aware of. We are sure that the green installations will help to create a fresh, vibrant and unique car park experience!” Said Richard Sabin, managing director at Biotecture.

Living walls are known to act as green corridors through cities, creating a network of green spaces that enable wildlife, like butterflies and honey bees to survive and thrive in the urban environment.

At present, intu Milton Keynes’ plants are growing in a nursery in West Sussex and getting ready for installation. The walls will be maintained throughout the year by Biotecture’s team to ensure all plants are healthy.

Christmas lights being switched on at intu Milton Keynes

The magic of Christmas begins at intu Milton Keynes this year!

Central Milton Keynes will be lit up with thousands of twinkling, sparkly lights on Saturday 17 November, marking the start of the countdown to Christmas. Milton Keynes Business Improvement District, MyMiltonKeynes, together with partners will host the city centre’s light switch on, free for everyone to enjoy at intu Milton Keynes.

Hosted by Ivan and Emma from Heart breakfast, it promises to be a festive feast of fun with music, dance and fireworks. From 4pm, there will be entertainment at intu Milton Keynes, before the lights go on at 5pm and Christmas officially begins. The switch-on will take place between Gap and Hollister – more details will be released nearer the time.

‘Tis (of course!) the season to be jolly, so intu Milton Keynes has the most exciting calendar of events planned this yuletide, designed to send those warm, fuzzy Christmas feelings soaring!

As part of the festive extravaganza, from 17 November there will also be a traditional carousel, roasted chestnuts, and sweet treats on the mall. Oak Court will be filled with an indoor Alpine Village, complete with a bar & fire pit – the perfect cosy spot for you to merrily sip on warm mulled wine, spiced cider and hot chocolate! Look out for a list of activities taking place in this hot spot throughout December.

MK’s glorious carol singers, school choirs and bands will return from Friday 7 December onwards, filling shoppers with magical Christmas spirit – join in or listen as the festive music fills the malls! And they’ll be joined by our much-loved gift wrappers from Saturday 8, who will make the pressies under your Christmas tree look they’ve been wrapped by Santa himself.

But that’s not all – on Saturday 1 December, intu Milton Keynes’ Etsy Market will take place, bringing together 80 stalls of handcrafted goods – perfect for stuffing those Christmas stockings and filling the bottom of the tree with original gifts for your loved ones.

And don’t forget Black Friday on 23 November. Get a head start on the Christmas shopping, with bargains to be had left, right and centre from intu Milton Keynes’ retailers. Don’t miss out!

Shelley Peppard, general manager at intu Milton Keynes, said: “intu Milton Keynes is fast becoming the city’s top spot for Christmas fun and we plan to make this year our most festive yet. We hope to see you there!”

MPs Scam Smart Event – Safeguarding MK Residents

Click the image for full details

Scams under the guise of identity theft and cyber-crime are becoming more ingenious and sophisticated as each day passes.

Milton Keynes MPs Mark Lancaster and Iain Stewart realise the importance of raising awareness to protect and inform their constituents from these devastating acts of fraud.

The cost of fraud targeting individuals, is around £10 billion each year. Figures suggest that there are up to 3.25 million victims but it is likely that this figure is much higher as few people report the crime, as they feel too embarrassed.

Therefore, Mark and Iain have invited local and national organisations to their FREE Scam Smart event on Friday, 30th November, 2018 at Lovat Fields Retirement Village, Japonica Lane, Willen, MK15 9LE.

Members of the public will be able to meet the experts between 2pm – 6pm, listen to key speakers and learn how to become more vigilant and not become a victim.

To book your place email pauline.mitchelmore@parliament.uk or call the constituency office on 01908 686830.

Aqua Parcs makes the biggest splash this summer

It was one of the most successful introductions to Milton Keynes this summer, but now Aqua Parcs has bounced its last bounce…until next year.

The hugely popular aqua park at Willen Lake saw 15,000 people take to the waters over three months. During that time, 40 staff worked 33,600 hours to keep people safe and entertained, even helping the oldest person on the course, 65-year-old Sue Watkinson

The hottest day recorded at the lake was an incredible 31 degrees and the lake water reached a balmy 22 degrees. In total, there were just four days of rain from the whole 85 days the course was open.

On a healthy note, the average person on the course would have burned 865 calories having jumped, slid, swam, bounced and leaped over an average of 675 metres across the 30 + obstacles.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better summer as our first introduction to Milton Keynes,” said owner Joe Grix. “We have had people travel from across the country to visit us and they’ve not been disappointed. We’re one of the biggest aqua parks in the UK and next year we’re getting even bigger.”

For the winter, the course will be dismantled and return in Spring 2019. Aqua Parcs has launched its gift voucher service, creating the perfect Christmas present for someone, visit www.aquaparcs.co.uk for purchase.

To be the first to find out when Aqua Parcs will be coming back, visit www.aquaparcs.co.uk to join the mailing list. Plus find Aqua Parcs on social media at: www.facebook.co.uk/aquaparcsmk

Twitter: @aquaparcs
Instagram: @aquaparcsmk

Cheers to MK eco-friendly microbrewery

A recent visit to Bucks Star Beer based in Stonebridge by Milton Keynes North MP Mark Lancaster proved to be very inspiring.

Mark met with Founder Datis Gol at the solar-powered microbrewery, which is pioneering a Zero-Waste drinks solution called Growler Swap.

Datis explained, “We are trying to bring about an important change in the norms and habits of everyday people by encouraging them to rely on reuse schemes such as Growler Swap, which is not a refill system, but a Swap scheme that ensures customers receive a better-quality and fresher beverage.Mark commented, “The indiscriminate use of plastic bottles is a subject very much on everyone’s agenda and one which is having a serious impact on the environment. I commend any business that influences change.  Having met with Datis, I would suggest attending a tasting session to learn more about his inspirational vision.”

http://buckinghamshirebeer.co.uk/

MK’s Largest Annual Festival Now Taking 2019 Entries

Established in 1968, the Milton Keynes Festival of the Arts is an educational charity run on a self-funding basis by a small committee of volunteers, to provide constructive

performance opportunity for amateur performers of all ages and levels of experience and is the largest and longest established annual performance festival in Milton Keynes.

The festival is now taking entries for its 2019 music and speech and drama festivals, offering a range of competitive and non-competitive classes for soloists and groups,

including school and community choirs and orchestras and ensembles of all sizes.

Every entrant receives a commemorative certificate and a hand-written feedback sheet with constructive comments from one of the specialist, professional adjudicators who

watch every performance. There is also the opportunity to win a medal or trophy and possibly some prize money, plus up to 8 junior musicians will be invited to further

demonstrate their talents in the Milton Keynes Young Musician of the Year competition run by the festival. In addition, there is a bursary to be awarded for one entrant to

attend the highly acclaimed Chetham’s Piano Summer School next year.

Organiser Pat Haig commented “Last year’s festival saw over 4,000 performances in dance, music and drama. You do not have to live in Milton Keynes to enter and new

entrants of any age or level of experience are warmly welcomed. Each school in the Milton Keynes area has already been sent their 2019 syllabus but parents can enter their children direct if they wish and enter online, by email or by post. The first place they should go is to our website www.miltonkeynesfestival.org where they can

download the syllabus which shows all the classes on offer, or they can contact me for a postal copy. I advise everyone to get their entries in early and before the

closing date of 31 December.”

The festival is held in February and March at The Venue Walton High and The Ridgeway Centre Wolverton and is sponsored by the prestigious Milton Keynes based

piano manufacturer Kawai Pianos UK who provide several grand pianos for performers’ use and the event is open to the public who may come and be part of the audience.

Further information found on www.miltonkeynesfestival.org

MUSEUM’S SPONSOR SCHEME LAUNCHES WITH THE SUPPORT OF LOCAL BUSINESSES

Two leading Milton Keynes companies have become the first to sign up to a new sponsors scheme aimed at supporting MK Museum’s expansion.

Law firm Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors, and commercial accountants Tower Commercial Support have committed funds over the next five years towards the cost of completing the fit-out of the Museum’s new galleries. Once open, the ancient and new Milton Keynes galleries will tell the full story of this area, from pre-history through to the creation of the UK’s biggest and boldest new town.

“It’s fitting that the first companies to join our new sponsors’ scheme are both ‘Made in Milton Keynes’,” said Museum Director Bill Griffiths. “One of the major themes in the new MK gallery will be the stories of the schemers and dreamers, the organisations and individuals, who have built their businesses, homes and lives here and are the reason for our new town’s success.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors and Tower Commercial Support on board – and hope they will be the first of many signing up to have a stake as sponsors in these exciting new exhibition galleries.”

The Museum still has a funding gap of £1.5m to finish work on the new galleries and undertake an extension of its popular Granary café. With funding support from MK Council, the striking gallery buildings were completed to time and budget at the end of December 2017 and are being used to host a series of temporary exhibitions while fundraising for the full fit-out continues. To date almost £0.6 million has been secured from trusts, foundations, individual supporters, events and the Museum’s own reserves.

Richard Millard, Managing Partner at Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors said the decision to become inaugural sponsors was an easy one for a company whose own roots go back to the birth of ‘the new city’.

“The firm was founded by Geoffrey Leaver in 1965 at around the same time as Milton Keynes. From the outset he embraced the vision for this New City, and the ‘can do’ attitude that has been fundamental to the success of Milton Keynes and Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors. His contribution to the city was recognised at the 2017 Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards when he was acknowledged as a pioneer of Milton Keynes,” he explained.

“Like the Museum we have grown with the city to a practice with over 50 staff members. The new galleries are a chance for all of us to recognise where we have come from, celebrate what we have built together, and create a brilliant legacy for the generations that come after us. The completed galleries will help make Milton Keynes Museum one of the best in the UK and we are glad to support them in any way we can.”

Managing Director of Tower Commercial Support, Paul Lindsay, said: “Over the years we have had numerous great days as a family visiting the museum, enjoying all the hands-on displays, learning all about the local area and its’ historic origins.

“When we started Tower Commercial Support we wanted to give something back to the museum and Milton Keynes in general as the location that founded our company. The new sponsorship scheme giving us an opportunity to help the museum fundraise for these exciting galleries and show our support for preserving the recent and ancient stories for future generations was too good to pass up.”

Added Paul: “We urge other businesses and individuals, large and small, to join us in showing their support for this landmark expansion project, and the uniqueness of Milton Keynes.”

Corporate sponsors are being asked to commit a minimum of £2500, unlocking a series of promotional and staff benefits. For individuals who wish to become founder sponsors, the minimum contribution is £1250.

“This is a unique and time-limited opportunity to be a founding part of creating a lasting legacy of which we know the whole city will be proud,” said Bill Griffiths.

Contact the Museum for a sponsor brochure or see the website www.mkmuseum.org.uk for full details.