How Surrey’s arts organisations impact the social and economic health of the county.

If you’ve ever been to the theatre or a gallery, you will know how the arts can transform our mood or our outlook. Life in lockdown has shown us how powerful creativity can be, and why many people are so desperate to get out and enjoy these activities again.

Thanks to a recent study by the School of Hospitality at the University of Surrey, in partnership with the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, The Lightbox gallery and museum and Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, the direct impact of these three local arts organisations on the social and economic health of the county can be seen clearly.

The research reveals that besides the economic benefits to the three organisations, for every £10 of visitors’ on-site spending, up to £13.28 is likely to be spent in the local area. The retail, and food and drink sectors are likely to benefit the most. According to the post-visit survey, nearly 70% of the visitors surveyed would not have come to the area if they weren’t attending the theatre or galleries.

The research also highlights the ways through which the arts organisations provide opportunities for vital community engagement. These initiatives include health and wellbeing, education and skills development, social inclusion, and social justice, as well as activities that increase community engagement with the arts. They instigate projects which connect with the needs of vulnerable groups and those who might otherwise remain physically distanced from the venues. Covid-19 has challenged each venue differently, but they have all responded positively with socially distanced theatre and music, where possible, as well as numerous digital workshops and performances.

Life in lockdown has shown us how powerful creativity can be, and why many people are so desperate to get out and enjoy these activities again.

The study finds that opportunities for interaction and meeting at the theatre become vital for many. One participant commented, activities at the theatre ‘engage drama skills to boost their confidence and communication skills as well as self-expression’ and another felt ‘fulfilled through their engagement’.

…arts organisations provide opportunities for vital community engagement.

We hope it won’t be too long before the full impacts of these three organisations will be felt again.

If you would like to read the Executive Summary of the ‘The Economic and Social Impact of Arts in Surrey’ study you can download it here.

Weyside Urban Village: What will it mean for us?

Illustration showing the approximate area of the proposed development.

The urban village is a brownfield development of 1550 houses with some space for retail, business and a surgery. It will stretch along the north bank of the River Wey, with the current lock at its mid point. If you like to visit the riverside park, it will be your new view across the river.

Unlike the proposed Gosden Hill development to our north, this one has had very few objections so far, except from gardeners who have allotments earmarked for closure on part of the site. Supporters have gained support from the Secretary of State to preserve at least some of them. The rest of the site is currently used for council amenities – the depot, the tip, the sewage works – and most of these will be moved further north beside the industrial estate, and therefore closer to us.

If you like to visit the riverside park, Weyside Urban Village will be your new view across the river.

We can be pleased that a site has been found where housing will be welcome because there is still pressure for homes on this side of Guildford.

However, the spared allotments mean there is less land for developers, who may now look to protect their potential profits by cutting out the so-called ‘affordable housing’. But what does ‘affordable housing’ mean when the measure is calibrated against an area of high-cost housing? These might not be dwellings that our children or young families can afford. Possibly they will appeal to affluent Londoners looking to leave the city.

Less appealing for Burpham is the traffic it could generate. New access roads will enter and exit from Jacobs Well and Woking Road, so people heading into town will go that way. But 1550 houses will create a lot of traffic and some of it will inevitably head for the A3. Picture yourself on that side of the river wondering which route to take to the A3: through the clogged interchange at Stoke Rd (to go north) and on to Wooden Bridge (to go south) or a quick trip through to Burpham and Send?

The planning documents (see Transport Assessment 1) are enthusiastic about linking the estate loop road into the so-called Sustainable Movement Corridor which will run from east to west across Guildford to keep traffic moving. It is shown leaving the development onto Park Way then continues up the London Road to the hairpin adjacent to the slip road, and then down Merrow Lane to a fictitious railway station called West Clandon at the top of New Inn Lane.

How much bigger and how much busier can London Road be when commuters take that route, when shoppers park and ride there, and when Gosden Hill estate is added? What fate awaits New Inn Lane when people realise it’s a perfect rat run? And is this it for ancient Merrow Lane? Residents thought they had dealt with this traffic trauma when they saw the plans for Gosden Hill, but here it is, back again.

I will leave it to more knowledgeable colleagues to explain the knock-on effects of building on a flood plain, but I know that it is going to need very particular attention. After the extensive floods in recent years, I understood that flood plains were meant to be left to do their job?

When estates are built, it’s the retail and social facilities that come last, when there are enough residents to make shops and surgeries viable. Before that, newcomers look to existing services nearby. That means they’ll come to our supermarkets, surgeries, parks and other facilities. I am guessing that families might well look to our wonderful high-achieving primary school for their children. There will be pressure on our services for a few years until they get their own.

Traffic aside, though, it’s not bad for us. The artist’s illustrations look great to me. Life on the river will be good, and I’m genuinely glad to see more homes in Guildford. But I do wish planners would look with honesty at the impact outside the building zone, and consult more specifically on major changes to roads. We need an honest discussion about the Sustainable Movement Corridor because it has the potential to ruin Burpham.

Sue Hackman

Are you comfortable working from home

Written by Paul Nicholls

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted our lives in many ways but one of the most pronounced personal changes is the amount of time, during lockdowns, that we are spending at home. What are the longer term physical and mental impacts on us of working from home?

Burpham Pages has spoken to local experts to get their views on what these impacts are and how we can best mitigate the negatives and take advantage of the positives. We asked The Eaves – Counselling & Psychology about the mental impact, Guildford Chiropractic Centre about the physical impact and Healthy Home & Office about how to best manage these physical issues with a suitable office set up.

Obviously, there are positives in that we are spending more ‘quality’ time with our families (although this can have its own frustrations, especially as parents can find home-schooling a challenge) and many people seem to be making the effort to get outdoors for exercise. Another aspect of this situation is the amount of people who are currently working from home. Perhaps these lockdowns have demonstrated, to employees and employers alike, how much effective work can actually be done whilst working remotely. In some cases it’s probably nearly impossible to work from home whereas others will find it a much more productive situation. So, although we now have a ‘roadmap’ out of this cycle of lockdowns, there is still some time to go before everyone can return to their normal mode of working. However, some businesses and individuals might have come to the conclusion that working from home, remotely, is the way forward for the future.

With this in mind we’ve been thinking about the mental and physical impact of working from home. Not everyone has a good home-office set up, which can lead to various levels of discomfort, and perhaps many of us are missing the interaction with work colleagues in a busier environment.

We asked The Eaves (Counselling & Psychology) on their perspective and observations of the mental impact of working from home.

The virus has affected numerous aspects of our wellbeing – financially, emotionally, socially and not least, mentally, so it’s been difficult to feel anything but pessimism towards the pandemic. Working from home has presented its own unique challenges that many of us have little, or no, experience with.

However, there are benefits that come with working from home. These include increased productivity, fewer office distractions and less commuting (which research has shown the average adult spends around an hour a day doing, and is often linked to high levels of stress and anxiety).

Additionally, the flexibility that comes with working from home creates an opportunity for a healthier work-life balance. To make the most out of
the benefits of home working during the pandemic:

  • Build self-care into part of your daily routine. Sometimes just taking 5 minutes can really help
  • Share your workload if you live with others
  • Speak to your employer about work flexibility if you haven’t already done so
  • Establish a routine that allows a positive structure for both yourself and if you have children
  • Make time for the things you enjoy. It’s easy to lose sight of positives when things feel overwhelming but focusing on a favourite hobby can provide you with a break
  • Keep your mind active with activities such as reading, puzzles, drawing or painting when you’re able. This can help you to feel more in control
  • Look after your physical wellbeing – sleep, exercise and nutrition
  • Helping and supporting others increases emotional wellbeing

Working from home has presented its own unique challenges that many of us have little, or no, experience with.
The Eaves – Counselling & Psychology

Remember that we all react differently to situations and it’s absolutely normal if you’re feeling an array of emotion right now. Finding coping strategies that work for you can help bring relief if you’re finding things difficult right now. Don’t hesitate in seeking further advice and support from loved ones or a professional organisation such as The Eaves in Guildford if you are struggling with your mental health.

There is a vast amount of evidence to suggest that poor ergonomics contributes not only to aches and pains associated with joints, muscles and nerves but also with poorer general health.
Guildford Chiropractic Centre

If nothing else it can be comforting or reassuring to know that many people are experiencing the same issues as yourself and that help is out there if you need it. For others it can be less of a mental challenge and more of a physical one. We asked Philip Hehir at the Guildford Chiropractic Centre how working from home can create postural problems.

Since the Covid-crisis began, we have seen an increasing number of ailments relating to workers risking their back health by not working in posture-friendly environments. Not only are we seeing poor home-office setups, but many have opted to work from the sofa or even the bed. There is a vast amount of evidence to suggest that poor ergonomics contributes not only to aches and pains associated with joints, muscles and nerves but also with poorer general health. Failing to take action may result in long term consequences on individual spinal health increasing the risk of recurrent lower back and neck pain, sciatica and headaches. It is therefore vital that we take the time to assess our work station setup to prevent such issues.

In line with advice given by the British Chiropractic Association, we would suggest the following:

  • If possible, designate a specific area in your home for working and always work at a table, sitting on a chair, rather than on the sofa or in bed.
  • The top of your screen should be level with your eyebrows and if you are working from a laptop, make sure you are not hunching over the screen. If you don’t want to invest in a computer stand, place sturdy books, for example shopping catalogues, under your laptop so that you can adjust the level of the screen to fit your eye line.
  • Use a detachable keyboard and mouse whenever possible, as this will ensure that your movement is not restricted and you are not placing unnecessary strain on your back.
  • Taking regular breaks is extremely important we recommend workers move around every 20-30 minutes. An easy way to ensure that you get away from your desk is to set a loud alarm in another room.
  • When making phone calls, take the opportunity to get up from your desk and move around as you talk.
  • Do regular stretches. Either sign up to an online yoga class, or get in touch with your Chiropractor to get specific advice.
  • If you are experiencing pain for more than a few days, then you should seek professional help, as an undiagnosed problem could lead to longer-term problems if left untreated.

Guildford Chiropractic Centre refers to home-office setups and how your posture can be greatly impacted by how your computer is positioned, how high you chair is and what desk you use. We thought we’d find out a little more about how getting your office environment right can make a big difference. We spoke to local specialists Healthy Home & Office.

Since lockdown began in March millions of office workers found themselves working from home. Not many people have a home-office environment that is designed for working for eight hours a day, five days a week. Dining tables, breakfast bars, beds and even ironing boards have become replacement desks and chairs.

Phil Johns of Guildford-based Healthy Home & Office says “We have seen a large increase in customers coming to us with aches and pains, having either bought a ‘quick fix’ item or trying to make do with what they have.” Phil explained that internet searches for ‘Ergonomic Furniture’ can be very misleading whereby the product has very little or no real ergonomic functionality. “Back, neck and shoulder aches along with headaches have resulted in them seeking advice from us” he adds. “The importance of the correct furniture and an understanding of the overall workstation set-up can greatly reduce the risks of aches and pains and in the long run will enable you to work more comfortably”.

Typical examples that Phil gave included a customer who was 6’3” choosing a desk with a deep drawer going the full length of the top, so he needed to get his legs under the drawer (59cm) which is the recommended height for a school table for 6-7yr old children, another customer had a desk with a drawer and a chair with fixed arms so when she pulled herself into the desk the arms hit the drawer which resulted in her having to perch on the front edge of the chair resulting in no back support and after a few weeks the resulting pain just got too bad and she has had to review her complete set up.

We are also seeing many people using 4 legged dining chairs – you would not use a four legged chair in your office so why are we using them at home.

Phil concludes “Our biggest piece of advice is to find a showroom that has a range of products and a specialist who can advise on the right equipment for you. It may be as simple as changing the height of your monitor or needing an upright ergonomic mouse”.

Our biggest piece of advice is to find a showroom that has a range of products and a specialist who can advise on the right equipment for you.
Healthy Home & Office

Unsuitable Home Office furniture: The most common mistakes:

  1. Choosing a generic chair without having it matching your needs. Tailor making the chair to fit you and the tasks you carry out are key. Working on a four-legged chair puts enormous strain on your back when you get up and sit down. Choose a chair with high levels of adjustability which ensures that you can set the chair up to your specific requirements. Remember one size does not fit all.
  2. Desks with fixed drawers running the length of the desktop or drawer/pedestal units to the sides can limit your leg room resulting in more static sedentary sitting, which is proven to cause various postural problems. Avoid desks that provide limited space for your legs, Check the height to the underside of the desk, ideally you want your knees slightly lower than your hips to create a more open angle at the hips to reduce pressure on the lower back.
  3. Desk height and depth also need to be considered. If your desk surface is too high then you will be lifting your arms/shoulders to work which results in added stress on your upper arms, upper back and neck (Current guideline for desk height is 74cm +/- 2cm). If your desk is too shallow or deep this may result in screen/monitors being closer than needed, which may result in eye strain and headaches. If the screen/monitors are too far away you will lean forward causing you to change your posture which will add stress to lower back, upper back and neck.
  4. Buying an item of furniture without consultation. The saying “Try before you buy” holds very true for home office furniture and accessories which will make your working life more comfortable and productive.

Healthy Home & Office can help with free expert advice either in their Covid-Secure showroom or remotely over the phone or email.

So, perhaps you’re thinking that working from home now doesn’t sound such a simple way forward but it doesn’t need to be complicated, you just need to take care of yourself, mentally & physically. Get properly comfortable, establish a routine, take some time out for yourself, don’t ignore the little aches and pains and, if needs be, make a phone call and talk to someone who can help.

Thank you to the experts who helped us with the writing of this article:

The Eaves
– Counselling & Psychology
Telephone: 01483 917000

Guildford Chiropractic Centre
Telephone: 01483 562830

Healthy Home & Office
Telephone: 01483 600085

Burpham Pages Crossword No.16

Click here to get a printable version plus the solution to previous Burpham Pages Crossword No.15 from Burpham Pages issue No. 90 published January & February 2021.

A good news story during Covid-19

Biddles of Guildford, the stationery shop, has traded in Guildford since 1885, but after the first lockdown their main investor had gone bust, the shop was forced to close and all staff were made redundant. Neal and David, the managers of the store, decided to rescue the business.

Biddles of Guildford, the stationery shop, has traded in Guildford since 1885…

They started a Crowdfunder ( campaign, and within two days the initial target had been smashed – helped by the amazing support of customers who wanted to do what they could to help. They would open again. Following this, achievement they set a new target with the goal of reinstating all the staff.

In July, Neal & David opened the doors once more and by November their final member of staff returned.

Through lockdown, Biddles of Guildford have adapted, providing a limited order & collect service plus a local delivery service for their customers who are working from home, home schooling, those shielding, local care providers, and schools & local businesses. Supplying printer ink, office furniture and stationery.

Recently they have been helping the local community, including stationery donations to local schools and recently assisting the Guildford Lions, by helping them supply creativity kits for disadvantaged children.

They are the local alternative to the well known online stores and larger national chains, if you need stationery or printer ink, get in touch with Biddles of Guildford by calling 01483 576660 or via email at or, when lockdown restrictions allow, visit the shop: 1 Ward St, Guildford GU1 4LH.

The newly opened store in Guildford.

Burpham Gardening Club News – March & April 2021

Written by John Boon (Burpham Gardening Club)

March & April 2021

The Club still remains closed at present but hopefully we will soon find out when and how the lockdown is going to be released so that we can all return to something that seems nearly normal.

Things to do in the garden in March.

  • Shallots and Onion sets should be planted this month and if it is mild Early Potatoes can be planted towards the end of the month.

Most vegetable seed can now be sown outdoors if it is mild in prepared beds.

  • Most vegetable seed can now be sown outdoors if it is mild in prepared beds.
  • If you did not do so last month you can still sow Aubergines, Cucumbers, Sweet Peppers and Tomatoes in a heated propagator or indoors.

When conditions are dry the lawn should be cut with the mower blades on a high setting for the first few cuts…

  • Cut back last years Autumn fruiting Raspberry canes to ground level, prune Blueberries and Gooseberries and apply a dressing of a balanced fertiliser or Sulphate of Potash at 15g per sq m.
  • Bush and Standard Roses should be pruned and fed with a Rose Fertiliser.
  • Continue to prune Summer Flowering Shrubs and Dogwoods.
  • When conditions are dry the lawn should be cut with the mower blades on a high setting for the first few cuts, Weed and Feed with Mosskiller should be applied just before rain is forecast.

Things to do in the garden in April.

  • Second Early Potatoes should be planted in the first half of the month, Maincrop Potatoes can be planted in the second half.
  • Beetroot, Carrots, Leeks, Lettuce, Radish, Spring Onions and Turnip can all be sown outdoors now.
  • Brassicas should be sown in small pots ready for transplanting later in the Summer.
  • Plant out Broad Beans which were sown indoors. Tomato seedlings which have developed their first true leaves should be potted up. Plant Summer flowering bulbs such as Gladioli.

Plant out Broad Beans which were sown indoors.

  • Remove faded Daffodil and Tulip flowers leaving the foliage to die back.
  • Deadhead Pansy and other Spring bedding plants to encourage continuous flowering. Prune Forsythia immediately after flowering.
  • Cut back Lavender to keep the plant bushy but do not cut into old wood.

Continue to apply Lawn Weed and Feed with Mosskiller as necessary.

  • In the Greenhouse sow bedding plants such as French Marigold for a Summer display.
  • Continue to apply Lawn Weed and Feed with Mosskiller as necessary.
  • Start checking for and controlling Slugs, Snails and Aphids.