Christmas Cheer in Royston

The Accountancy Practice spread some Christmas cheer and put smiles on many faces last week when they invited five grant awardees into their offices in the high street to receive a £100 boost. A great range of support spanning the generations was provided by their grants which are usually given as one cheque to one cause but the family run business wanted to help more people in the run up to Christmas. This provided a wonderful chance to spread the love further and the recipients included a toddler nursery, a voluntary out of school home support service, a welcome boost for a stoic  teenager, a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for a local nurse and free coffee, tea and cake at a pre Christmas coffee morning this Wednesday in Whaddon for people to soak up some community Christmas spirit.


Joanne Hart from Whaddon was thrilled to learn that she had been nominated by a previous winner of our award Julie Cuccui of Cuccui Cakes. Jo restarted the twice monthly coffee mornings in August, which are held in Whaddon Village Hall on the first and third Wednesday of the month, 10.30am til midday. To celebrate the £100 award that she is using it to offer free entry to the special Christmas coffee morning to be held on this Wednesday 15th December. It runs at the usual time from 10.30am til midday and all are welcome. Who can attend? Jo says ‘it’s just for everyone, it’s a chance for people to get out and meet up’.  Jo explained that family, friends and carers are encouraged to bring people they feel would enjoy the experience and anyone can come, even if they don’t live in Whaddon. There’s as much home made cake (Jo is a keen baker) and tea and coffee as anyone can manage and a warm, welcoming, inclusive atmosphere.

When Sue Linnane retired from teaching at King James she missed the contact with the children so much that she turned to her facebook page and set up Royston Villages Home and School Support. Sue says the help she provides is ‘a labour of love’ and she is often seen as an ‘agony aunt’. She gives her time and compassion for free providing support on all sorts of mental health and pastoral issues to children, whose parents from time to time, are not able to provide that support themselves. Sue was nominated by Laura who said
“In her own time, she talks to the children about everything and anything. She supports them with any issues that they have.  She does it on zoom meetings, in coffee shops, walking around the charity shop.  She even supports parents if they ask for it.” You can join the private facebook group by clicking on this link :

“ I am buzzing with excitement about this-I am already planning a trip to some of our local shops this afternoon to start building on my craft supplies” was Sue’s reaction. It’s characteristic that she wanted to use the money to buy more resources which she uses to help the children with their education as well as personal development and self expression. She assured Lucille that she would at least buy herself a coffee! Sue added that this was the first award she had ever won and it had really given her a buzz. And added ‘It’s the best Christmas pressie!”

Maddy Turner, who runs Sleepy Creations in Royston, proposed her teenage son Hayden for his bravery when he became seriously in the summer holidays. As the awards were smaller for December Maddy felt that £100 would be a very welcome boost and give Hayden a chance to treat himself. “He was very ill, took it all on his stride. We are very proud of him. We want to thank Royston Health Centre, The Lister Hospital in Stevenage, who diagnosed his illness to begin with. And then we were transferred overnight to go to Great Ormond Street, who basically saved his life with the medication and treatment they gave him. And then we were transferred to the University of College London Hospital for surgery because they’re specialists in his condition, and they had all the special equipment there. We’re so grateful to all of them. We can never thank GOSH enough for the treatment that ultimately saved Hayden’s life and when he is fully recovered we plan to do some fundraising to show how grateful we are.’ The link for anyone wanting to donate to Great Ormond Street Hospital is Maddy added “We are very grateful to The Accountancy Practice for awarding Hayden the grant which will allow him to have a well-deserved treat after missing out on his summer holidays. Hayden was thrilled to receive the award when he got home from school”


Nurse Suzanne Armstrong from Bassingbourn was also nominated for an award. Suzanne works in London at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and was moved when Lucille Shears from The Accountancy Practice read out her nomination from Gemma Stamford.
“Suzanne Armstrong could really do with a boost. She is a sister in a huge intensive care unit, has seen a lot the last year with a pandemic. She actually broke her elbow trying to get into work. That on top of winter pressures and the new variant of the Omicron coming along, I think she’s facing a very tough time at the moment and I would like to nominate her for your award”.

The fifth grant for £100 was handed to the Papillon Playgroup which is based in Jepps Lane, in the Masonic Hall in the centre of Royston. The playgroup is a gem, hidden away on a side street. It is now run by Charlotte Hunter who told us that they have now got spaces for more 2-4yr olds to join them.

The nomination came from Natalie’s mum Cathie.
“My daughter Natalie volunteers a couple of days a week and was telling me how the lovely ladies often use their own money to provide things to the children. My daughter is now doing the same. It will be a lovely gift if they were successful as they could do to this to purchase some sensory items for the children with additional needs that they have at playroom.”

Charlotte added, “Thank you so much, that’s absolutely amazing, wonderful. When you work with children, you do it because you have a passion for doing so. But this will make such a difference here. We’re going to buy some sensory toys that can make a massive difference to the children’s development and be great for the playgroup“.

What goes around is often bandied around but it really does seem that these grants are doing just that. Offered to give back to the community and the people who are pouring their heart and soul into supporting others, so these grants really are the gift that keeps on giving!

If you know of anyone who would benefit from a £500 grant for a community project or to help out someone in need, please email or visit their website to find out more

Hear more from the Community Grant Awardees in this Youtube clip