Emma Back

  • published What's on at COWfest 2024? in COWfest 2024-01-22 22:33:52 +0000

    What's on at COWfest 2024?

    COWfest 2024 will take place on Saturday 10 February with FREE activities for children of all ages on offer across the city of Winchester!

    Our festival hub will be at the ARC on Jewry Street. Let's take a look at what's on there...

    To access booking pages for all the COWfest activities at the ARC, visit their website here.

    Also for COWfest 2024, you can enjoy FREE entry on Saturday 10 February for ALL children to BOTH City Museum and The Westgate museum in Winchester! Both museums are open from 10am to 5pm. Booking ahead is not required to visit either museum – adults can buy tickets on the door and children will not require one. However, adults can book tickets in advance if they wish here
    Children and teens can take over the City Museum for the day! You must book ahead (due to limited space) here. The Kids Museum Takeover is from 12pm to 2pm. It is suitable for ages 6 to 13 (and older teens are welcome too, for social media takeover).
    Book your place to take over Winchester City Museum! Do you love history, or are you curious about the past? Here is your chance to discover what goes on behind the scenes at our museum and interact with history itself! We need your help completing these essential tasks that keep our museum running from day to day:
    1. Taking care of our precious artefacts - help us clean and organise our historical artefacts.
    2. Protecting our museum & keeping it in tip top shape – work as gallery security and make sure our displays are nice and clean!
    3. Historical meet & greet – get dressed up in historical costumes to welcome and direct our visitors around the museum.
    4. Create an activity trail or video tour for our Anglo-Saxon Gallery – time to use your creative skills and come up with a fun way to explore the museum.
    DROP IN: Historical Storytime10.30am-11am & 2pm-3pm, for all ages. Come along to Winchester City Museum for some tales that will take you back in time... join us in our cosy corner to read some historical story books! Afterwards, why not see if any artefacts inspire you around the museum and have a go at creating your own historical story using our short story templates!
    DROP IN: Origami with Erin – Running all day, for ages 5+ Do you love origami? Or want to learn something new? Join our resident craft expert Erin at the City Museum to make some fun and creative origami animals and nature scenes!
    DROP IN: Kids Activity trails – Running all day, self-led, for all ages. History detective trail: Put on your investigating hat as you explore the museum to spot some hidden objects and special artefacts ... depending on what you discover you may be rewarded with a prize! Or have a go at our Valentines trail ... follow the hearts and you might find something sweet! If you fancy the challenge, join us at Winchester City Museum & the Westgate all day!
    DROP IN: Arts and Crafts – Running all day, self-led, for all ages. Stop by the craft tables at City Museum and The Westgate for some Valentines Day and Chinese New Years themed arts and crafts fun! You can design your own Chinese lantern or have a go at creating your very own love bug... and so much more!

    And check this out! Local author and illustrator, Lawrence Roberts, is running a FREE reading and drawing session for ages 4 and up, at P&G Wells Bookshop on College Street, at 2pm. You can book your tickets here, but be quick – COWfest activities at P&G Wells tend to be popular!

    PLEASE REMEMBER – if you book a free ticket for an activity session and you can't make it, please let the venue know so they can release it for someone else.

    You can DROP IN ALL DAY to the Royal Green Jackets museum at Peninsula Barracks, any time from 10am to 3.30pm (last admission before the museum closes at 4pm). There will be FREE entry for families all day AND there will be a museum trail and FREE children's craft activities on offer.

    You can also DROP IN to the Brooks Shopping Centre on Middle Brook Street between 12.30pm and 4pm, where the soft play area (in the heart of the centre outside Primark) will be buzzing! There will be balloon modelling and face painting with Shelley and Sharron between 1pm and 3pm, and story time led by actors from Chesil Theatre at 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm. Suggested age range 3 to 8 years.

    ALSO, PLAN AHEAD to access FREE COWfest activities at the Winchester Sport & Leisure Park in Bar End. They are offering several great sessions, but you can only book from Saturday 3rd February onwards by calling 01962 848700 or visiting the WSLP reception:

    Active Antz 09:15 for Under 5s – Designed to give you and your child time to learn from each other, Active Antz encourages you and your child to play and try a variety of activities. Wear suitable clothing, but shoes are not needed. The session is supervised but it is not a led session, and parents are required to take part and supervise their child.

    Top Rock Climbing 16:00 for ages 4+ – Top Rock is a new type of indoor clip and climb that’s fun and thrilling in equal measure. There are 17 routes to take on that vary in difficulty, in an environment that’s full of colour, exciting shapes, and new experiences. With plenty of variations to suit new and experienced climbers.

    Swimming 14:30 Free for the family – Taking place in our Learner Pool, for everyone to experience the fun, relaxing and invigorating activity that swimming is. Dip your toe in, the water’s lovely! All under 8s must attend with an adult (18+). 1 adult can be responsible for 2 under 8s.

    Keep checking this page for more FREE COWfest activities on offer elsewhere across the city on Saturday 10th February! There's more to come...

    We are most grateful for the support of Winchester BID, which has made this year's event possible and means we can continue to offer all COWfest activities for FREE to local children.



  • published COWfest 2024 – HOLD THE DATE! in COWfest 2024-01-03 13:03:04 +0000

    COWfest 2024 – HOLD THE DATE!

    Happy new year, all!

    Did you know that you can enjoy the Children of Winchester Festival again in 2024?

    The festival hub will once more be at the ARC on Jewry Street in the heart of Winchester. The ARC team is managing the festival there this year, and you can expect a wide range of FREE activities for children of all ages on Saturday 10th February – so HOLD THE DATE and don't miss out!

    There will also be FREE activities running at several other venues across the city centre. All will be revealed between now and 10th February, so check in here for further details soon...

  • published COWfest 2023 – What's on offer? in COWfest 2023-01-17 09:44:08 +0000

    COWfest 2023 – What's on offer?

    This year, COWfest takes place on Saturday 11 February and the festival will have a hub at the ARC on Jewry Street with additional free activities offered at several venues across the city centre. There's plenty to do, so take a look at what's on offer, below.

    We are most grateful for the support of Winchester BID, which has made this year's event possible and means we can continue to offer all COWfest activities for FREE to local children.


    PLEASE REMEMBER – if you book a free ticket for an activity session and you can't make it, please let the venue know so they can release it for someone else!



    Jewry Street, Winchester SO23 8SB

    9.45-10.30 Relax Kids: 3–5 years PRE-BOOK HERE

    10.45-11.30 Relax Kids: 6–10 years PRE-BOOK HERE

    What to expect in a Relax Kids session – music and movement, fun mindfulness games, stretches, self and peer massage, child friendly breathing techniques, positive self-talk and affirmations, story visualisations, LOTS OF FUN and tips to relax :-) To be held in the ARC Performance Hall.

    10.00-10.45 Moo Music: 18 months–4 years PRE-BOOK HERE

    Moosical fun involving action songs with instruments, props and puppets. Moo Music is a creative and interactive music and movement session with over 100 fantastic songs written for it by professional children's song writer, Craig McLeish, who has also worked on hit West End shows like Les Miserables and Miss Saigon as well as many television favourites. Each class is cleverly designed to develop vital language, memory and co-ordination skills. Because Moo Music has been developed with the help of teachers and child development specialists, parents can be sure that their children are benefitting from a first-rate educational experience while they are moving and grooving! To be held in the ARC Learning Room.

    10.00-12.00 Mimosa Montessori art and craft: all ages DROP IN

    Crafty creations! Children and parents are welcome to drop in and make a paper creation together – will it be an animal, a robot, a dancer, or something abstract? All materials are provided to create your own artworks to take home. Just bring your ideas and get ready to be creative! To be held in the ARC Community Space.

    10.00-12.30 Anglo-Saxon games: all ages DROP IN

    Learn Viking Chess with a real Anglo-Saxon! One of the Anglo-Saxon locals from 878 AD has been let loose on the streets of Winchester and challenges you to a game of Taefl. They will teach you how to play the game, and can even teach you a little bit of Anglo-Saxon history as well! Will you be able to beat the best and take the crown of Taefl Champion? Our Anglo-Saxon will be available at the ARC in the morning and at Winchester City Museum in the afternoon (from 13.30–16.00).

    10.00-13.00 Community Connections: all ages DROP IN

    To be held in the study space behind adult fiction. Open to all sanctuary seekers for a chat, helpful information and signposting.

    11.00 Storytime: ages under 5 DROP IN

    To be held in the Children’s Library area. Parents/carers must remain with their child during this session.

    11.30-12.30 Baby Massage: 6 weeks–6 months PRE-BOOK HERE

    A calming session for babies, with Little Buds Nurture Hub. This session is a fantastic way to experience what it is like bonding with baby doing some gorgeous baby massage! It's the perfect way to help soothe and settle baby, to help with trapped wind and colic, and just to have some time to rest, relax and reset. The session will be calm and relaxed – and of course there will be lots of time to have some cuddles with baby, too! To be held in the ARC Learning Room.

    12.00-14.00 District Sports inclusive and gentle sports: all ages DROP IN

    Have a go at Boccia and New Age Kurling – both are easy to learn and play, for anyone of any age or mobility! The friendly coaches from District Sports will show you the ropes at this relaxed drop-in session. Turn up any time between 12pm and 2pm. To be held in the ARC Performance Hall.

    12.00-16.00 Construction Club: ages 4+ DROP IN

    To be held in the Children’s Library area. Come along any time between 12pm and 4pm, to play and build with lego! Parents/carers to remain in the library.

    13.30-16.00 Climate Change crafting: all ages DROP IN

    Get crafty with the children's library team and explore the theme of climate change. To be held in the ARC Community Space.

    14.30-15.10 Treasure Gymnastics toddler gym: 2–3 years (with parent/carer assistance) PRE-BOOK HERE

    15.15-16.00 Treasure Gymnastics toddler gym: 3–4 years (with parent/carer observation) PRE-BOOK HERE

    Whether you see your little one as a future gymnast, rugby player or academic, the skills developed in Preschool gymnastics are invaluable! The ABC of movement (Agility, Balance and Co-ordination) once developed can be transferred to many other areas of life. We encourage our Little Treasures to take controlled risks to challenge their physical abilities and develop. Climbing, jumping, movement patterns and falling safely are all key elements of our programmes – with traditional handstands and cartwheels, too! Give it all a try at a free taster session as part of COWfest 2023. To be held in the ARC Performance Hall.

    15.00-16.00 DoDo Dramatics puppet-making: 7–11 years PRE-BOOK HERE

    DoDo Dramatics 'Heroes of the Sea': in this craft workshop suitable for children aged 7 to 11, participants will be able to make their very own sea creature puppet. This is a zero-waste craft session, meaning everything we use to create these magical ocean dwellers will be entirely pre-used materials, such as plastic bags, cardboard and bottle caps. To be held in the ARC Learning Room.

    ALL DAY in the City Space gallery on the ARC mezzanine. 

    Exhibition – ‘From One Place to Another’: all ages DROP IN

    This exhibition is a collection of work created with the Winchester City of Sanctuary community including families, young people and partners. The work draws on a number of themes explored in Chagall’s ‘A Farewell To Art’ exhibition including journeys, families, love and loss. This exhibition provides an opportunity for people within the community to share their experience through their own narratives, visual and symbolic art, as well as connecting with historical collections. It hopes to provide a calm space for people to reflect and to build up a new community collective narrative.

    Origami making – boats and cranes: all ages DROP IN

    Inspired by local artist Hiromi Mangano’s ‘1602 Origami Peace Cranes’ created with people all over Winchester and exhibited in the ARC as part of ‘From One Place to Another’. Have a go at making your own origami boat or crane, and add it to the ARC community display. Origami paper and instructions provided (in English, Ukrainian, Pashto and Arabic).



    P&G Wells – 11 College Street, Winchester SO23 9LZ

    P&G Wells are planning an exciting day of free author events for children as part of this year’s COWfest. All events can be booked via Ticketsource here and will take place upstairs in our shop at 11 College Street on Saturday 11th February. Please note, all children attending need to have a responsible adult (parent/carer) remain on site throughout the event.

    **SPECIAL COWFEST DISCOUNT**  Get 10% off children's, teen and YA books bought in the P&G Wells shop on 11th February if you mention the code 'COWfest'.

    10.00-11.00 Creative writing workshop with Jo Clarke: ages 8-12 years PRE-BOOK HERE

    Jo Clarke is the author of The Travelling School Mysteries series, Libby and the Parisian Puzzle and Libby and the Highland Heist. If you want to learn how to plot the perfect crime, create your own detective characters and understand how you can use clues to help your reader solve the mystery, then join Jo in this fun and interactive writing workshop. Numbers are limited for this workshop, and booking is essential.

    The workshop will last 1 hour and afterwards Jo Clarke will be signing her books, Libby and the Parisian Puzzle and Libby and the Highland Heist. Contact P&G Wells if you want to pre-order your copies.

    13.30 Reading and drawing activity with Zosienka: ages 3-7 years PRE-BOOK HERE

    Author and illustrator Zosienka will give a reading and lead a drawing activity based around her beautiful picture book The Moon Keeper (as read by Christine and the Queens as the CBeebies Bedtime Story on New Year’s Day).

    15.00 Reading and collage activity with Margaret Sturton: ages 5-8 years PRE-BOOK HERE

    Author and illustrator Margaret Sturton will read from her books, A Fox Called Herbert and Two Can Play, and encourage children to get hands-on and make a collage.


    AGC Museum – Peninsula Barracks, Romsey Road, Winchester SO23 8TS

    ALL DAY from 10.00 to 17.00 (last entry 16.15). All ages. FREE museum entry and children's trail with a special craft activity between 10.30 and 15.00. Addy the Lion is lonely visiting the AGC Museum by himself! Help Addy by making your own handprint lion and find Addy hidden around the museum in our trail.


    City Museum – The Square, Winchester SO23 9ES

    ALL DAY from 10.00 to 17.00. All ages. FREE museum entry for children on the day of COWfest, along with a children's trail and craft activities. From 13.30 to 16.00, you can even learn Viking Chess! One of the Anglo-Saxon locals from 878 AD has been let loose on the streets of Winchester and challenges you to a game of Taefl. They will teach you how to play the game, and can even teach you a little bit of Anglo-Saxon history as well! Will you be able to beat the best and take the crown of Taefl Champion?


    Westgate Museum – High Street, Winchester SO23 9AP

    ALL DAY from 10.00 to 16.00. All ages. FREE museum entry for children on the day of COWfest – and have a go at brass rubbing.


    Winchester Sports and Leisure Park – Bar End Road, Winchester SO23 9NR 

    All free COWfest activities to be booked at the reception from Saturday 4 February onwards (in person or via 01962 848700) – with drop-in available on the day if space allows.

    10.15-11.00 and 11.15-12.00 Active Antz: Under 5 years

    Designed to give you and your child time to play and learn from each other, Active Antz encourages you and your child to try a variety of activities. Wear suitable clothing but shoes are not needed! The session is supervised but not led, and parents are required to take part and supervise their child.

    15.00-15.45 and 16.00-16.45 Top Rock Climbing: Ages 4 to 18

    We have 16 colourful walls with multiple routes to their peaks. All routes use an auto-belay, meaning climbers just need to harness up, clip on and climb! Climbers must be at least 4 years old and weigh 10kg.


    Winchester Baptist Church, City Road, Winchester SO23 8SD

    14.00-14.45 Jiggy Wrigglers: ages up to 5 years PRE-BOOK HERE

    Jiggy Wrigglers' dance and movement classes offer an engaging combination of music, dance and creative activities to stimulate and entertain both you and your children! You won't be able to resist shaking your legs and having the time of your life with your little one.


    Abbey Gardens, The Broadway, Winchester SO23 9BE

    ALL DAY Enchanted Light Garden: All ages – this opens on the day of COWfest, so after your day of activities head down to Abbey Gardens as night falls for some magical displays!

    Abbey Gardens will become a magical Enchanted Light Garden from 11 February until 5 March, with displays of light-up tunnels, fairytale creatures and flowery delights. Access to see the lights is free of charge. The best time to see the lights will be as night falls, but daytime visitors will still be able to enjoy the displays enhancing the natural beauty of their surroundings.



  • published COWfest 2022 – What's on offer? in COWfest 2022-01-29 17:14:31 +0000

    COWfest 2022 – What's on offer?

    This year, COWfest takes place on Saturday 19 February and the festival will be dispersed across the city centre in "takeover" style! There's plenty to do – including free activity sessions and competitions, and free entry to local attractions – as well as special offers and discounts, so take a look at what's on offer, below.

    We are most grateful for the support of Winchester BID, which has made this year's COWfest possible.


    PLEASE REMEMBER – if you book a free ticket for an activity session and you can't make it, please let the venue know so they can release it for someone else!

    ARE YOU LOST? Take a look at our map showing COWfest 2022 activity locations here.

    FORGOT TO BOOK? Don't worry! There are lots of drop-in activities throughout the day. Download a summary here.




    FREE dance workshops with Move Momentum

    2pm-3pm: Wheelchair Dance ages 11–18
    3pm-4pm: Street Dance ages 11–13
    4pm-5pm: Street Dance ages 14–16

    Street dance workshops for young people: come and learn some Hip Hop dance in a relaxed atmosphere, where you can also hang out with friends and have fun! We will go over some basic moves and teach a short dance sequence. The workshops will be led by one of our highly experienced teachers who will make sure all students feel welcome, supported and able to express themselves. We are well-equipped to support young people experiencing challenges, such as with their mental health, low confidence/self-esteem and social difficulties such as bullying. We are also an LGBTQ+ friendly organisation. No previous dance experience is required! Please book onto a workshop for FREE via Eventbrite hereWe will accept drop-ins; however, we MUST have written parent/guardian permission prior to any young person participating in these workshops.



    FREE gymnastics sessions with Treasure Gymnastics for ages 5–12

    Book a session here. Sessions at 12.30pm-1.30pm; 1.30pm-2.30pm; and 2.30pm-3.30pm – click "select students" on the booking page to add your details and choose a session.

    Come along and try Treasure's gymnastics classes for FREE in their full-time equipped gym (behind Homebase off Easton Lane). Use the trampoline and the bars, and jump in the pit! See what it is like to be a gymnast and make new friends. These sessions are one hour long. Parents can wait in the waiting area where the gym is visible but cannot move around the apparatus with their children. All classes are run by qualified and DBS checked coaches, and groups are limited to 8. Gymnasts should wear sports clothes (shorts/t-shirt/leggings/tracksuit bottoms) and should have long hair tied back and jewellery/watches removed. All gymnasts should bring a pair of socks and a drink! Please only book one free session per child, so that lots of children get a chance to have a go! All children must be secured, and we cannot allow extras on the day as we have to stick to strict health and safety ratios – so pre-booking is essential. 



    FREE experience: “Be a bookseller” for a day! Do you love books? Why not try your hand at bookselling in (arguably) the longest-surviving bookshop in the world. The Guinness Book of Records cites a bookshop in Lisbon dating back to 1734, though it has moved premises twice. P&G Wells has roots traced back to 1729, certainly on College Street and quite possibly on the same site. Bookselling experience open to students in school Years 10 and 11, for half a day or all day (shop is open 9am-5.30pm). Please email [email protected] with the subject 'COWfest 2022 Be a bookseller'.



    FREE create your own bookmark activity in store on Saturday 19 February. Pop into the Waterstones store in the Brooks shopping centre any time between 9am and 5.30pm on the day of COWfest to design your own bookmark, which you can keep and use when you read. (You can also take the activity home, if you prefer.) Suitable for all ages.



    Relax Kids ages 3–6 The Arc Performance Hall, 10-10:45am

    FREE tickets: book here

    Relax Kids ages 7–11 The Arc Performance Hall, 11am-12pm

    FREE tickets: book here

    Relax Kids classes with Jules begin with fun, high energy activities such as music and movement and active mindfulness games with parachutes and props. These aim to get the heart beating and release endorphins and energy. Children are then encouraged to wind down using a range of relaxation techniques including yoga stretches, self-massage, child friendly belly breathing techniques, affirmations, and story visualisations.  


    Cardboard Creations – inspired by the art of Ravilious The Arc Community Space, 10am-12pm

    FREE tickets: book here

    Inspired by the paintings of Ravilious, come along to this making workshop where you can create your own 3D cardboard artwork.  All materials will be provided to enable you to design, cut, stick, and paint a mini sculpture to take home.  All keen makers, creators and parent helpers are welcome, and no prior experience is needed.  Parents are asked to stay so that participants can get the best out of the workshop. ​If you have any specific access needs you would like to discuss beforehand, please email Anna on [email protected]  



    Winchester City Museum, The Square – 10am-5pm

    FREE entry all day on Saturday 19 February for children and their families! This museum is in the heart of the city and tells the story of England’s ancient capital, the seat of Alfred the Great. The model of 1870 Winchester is a hit with children and adults alike. Check out their website!


    Westgate Museum, Upper High Street – 10am-4pm

    FREE entry all day on Saturday 19 February for children and their families! Check out their website!


    Winchester City Mill, Bridge Street – 11am-4pm

    FREE entry – plus milling demonstrations, interactive activity stations and ‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’ activities designed for ages 5-12. Check out their website!


    The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum, Peninsula Barracks – 10am-4pm

    FREE entry for children under 16 – PLUS half-price entry for all adults in the family on Saturday 19 February. No 1 of 64 things to do in Winchester on Tripadvisor, this museum has been described as an "under-appreciated gem", with its diorama of the Battle of Waterloo a particular highlight. Check out the museum website!


    The Rifles Museum, Peninsula Barracks – 10am-4pm

    FREE entry for children and the rest of the family. This museum focuses on the largest regiment in the Army and offers dressing up and other activities for youngsters. Check out their website!


    The Adjutant General’s Corps Museum, Peninsula Barracks – 10am-4pm

    FREE entry for children and the rest of the family, plus a museum trail for youngsters. Check out their website!



    Frieda’s Tearoom, 6a Parchment Street – 10am-5pm

    FREE cakes for kids, when parents/carers eat or drink at Frieda’s. Check out their website!



    Ballet Pointe, The Brooks Shopping CentreInspired by Dance competition

    Do you love to dance? Express yourself through a dance or ballet inspired poem or picture, for a chance to waltz away with some prizes! Get writing or drawing, and drop your creation into Ballet Pointe at their new location on the lower shopping level of the Brooks centre (opposite the soft play area), no later than 5pm on the day of COWfest, Saturday 19 February. Prizes will be awarded during half-term week. (PS. You'll need to put your first name, age and a parent/carer contact number on the back of your poem or drawing so you can be contacted if you win.)


    Three Joes, 9 Great Minster Streetpizza colouring competition

    Pop into Three Joes on Saturday 19 February to take part in their special COWfest colouring competition, which is FREE to enter (no need to dine – you can collect a colouring sheet from 12 February onwards but it must be returned to the restaurant by close on 20 February). Draw on 21 February. The winner will be invited back to the restaurant during half-term to hone their pizza-making skills with the Chef! They will, of course, be able to eat their pizza creation – and their parent/carer will get free pizza and a drink, too. For ages up to 8


    Bellacrafts, Kings Walk – Eat like a Queen competition

    Drop into Bellacrafts any time between 10am and 3pm on Saturday 19 February. Children aged 2-12 years can have fun getting creative in this completely FREE craft activity and competition. Simply turn up, take a seat and enjoy using Bellacrafts' paints, sequins, sparkles, stickers and your own imagination to create a crown inspired by Queen Elizabeth, our longest reigning Monarch. Plus feel free to join in with any other Bellacraft activities or order something yummy from their tea rooms while you visit (charges apply). Have your royal portrait captured, before being entered into a competition for a Royal Lunch for 4 – including an Afternoon Tea for adults and one of Bellacrafts' themed Yummy Treat Plates for the children. Your finished creation will be yours to take home with you. Good luck – there can only be one winner!


    Lark kids, 6 St Thomas Street – Design a Boot competition

    Design your own 'Zig + Star' boot, for a chance to win great prizes! Open to all ages 0-18. Be as creative as you like! You can use paints, crayons, pencils, fabrics ... any materials you wish. Drop your finished design to Lark kids' city centre store, or ask a parent/carer to get in touch with them via email or Instagram. Check out their website for contact details. PDF entry sheet here. Closes 19 February 2022.


    Lark kids, 6 St Thomas Street – 10am-5.30pm

    10% off children’s shoes on Saturday 19 February 2022 when you mention COWfest. Check out their website!

    P&G Wells, 11 College Street – 9am-5.30pm

    10% off children’s books on Saturday 19 February 2022 when you mention COWfest. Check out their website!



  • published COWfest 2022 in COWfest 2022-01-08 13:17:05 +0000

    COWfest 2022

    This year's Children of Winchester Festival (COWfest) will take place on Saturday 19 February 2022.

    We are planning a new in-person format this year, to take account of our COVID-affected environment, but also to try something new!

    COWfest 2022 is offering a one-day kids’ takeover of Winchester city centre, with a wide range of FREE activities on offer in diverse spaces – from cultural venues and community facilities to shops and other businesses. 

    One of the objectives is to showcase Winchester city organisations and businesses – particularly those that are youth-oriented – and to enable them to reach new audiences. We hope the event will bring children and their parents and carers into buildings and businesses that they wouldn’t normally visit, in order to take part in free activities offered specifically for COWfest.

    If your venue, organisation or business would like to take part, please email us on [email protected] for more information and to discuss what you'd like to offer!

  • signed WCC Open Letter 2021-08-03 20:17:12 +0100
    We need to protect our precious green spaces!

    Protect Winchester's open spaces for future generations!



    Open space, greenery, nature and wildlife are of vital importance to human health and happiness. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown this into sharp relief. During the UK lockdowns, parks, recreation grounds, nature reserves and other green areas provided some respite from confinement. Since then, open spaces have offered the principal means of spending time with family and friends while maintaining “social distance”. Yet, the post-COVID recovery could threaten these very spaces, with the government’s emphasis on “build build build”[1] yielding new housing targets and planning laws[2] that will make development far easier.

    The city of Winchester is surrounded by beautiful countryside, some of it protected through designation as national park or nature reserve or “site of special scientific interest”. Within the city’s settlement boundary, however, the publicly accessible open spaces are fairly small and only a few have limited forms of protection. Several sites listed in the 2016 Local Plan Open Space Strategy have since been developed (e.g. The Valley), as have some areas designated as “locally listed historic parks and gardens” (e.g. Pitt Manor).

    The city’s main public sports pitches and recreation grounds sit just outside the settlement boundary. They have remained relatively unthreatened while designated as “countryside”. However, only two sets of playing fields, King George V in Highcliffe and the neighbouring Garrison Ground, are legally protected with Fields In Trust. Community mobilisation has been essential to the process of getting these areas properly protected.

    Similar efforts to protect other key areas of recreational open space in and around the city should be considered NOW, in light of the proposed new planning laws. Sites within or just outside the current settlement boundary are particularly vulnerable to development pressure. In addition to long-term protection, some sites could be enhanced through biodiversity management, whereas others would benefit from new recreational facilities or other measures to support public access and use.

    [1] 10 Downing Street (2020) ‘Build build build’: Prime Minister announces New Deal for Britain press release, 30 June 2020, link

    [2] Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (2020) Planning for the future consultation, 6 August 2020, link


    56 signatures

    We are asking Winchester City Council to extend legal protection to all public recreation grounds, sports pitches and parks across the city of Winchester. As a priority, Fields In Trust designation should be sought now for the following open spaces:

    North Walls Recreation Ground (including Devil's Island)

    Stanmore Recreation Ground

    St Matthew’s Field, Weeke

    Chilcomb sports ground

    St Giles Hill

    Oram’s Arbour

    Abbey Grounds


    Add signature

  • published COWfest 'lite' in 2021 in COWfest 2021-02-06 18:17:33 +0000

    COWfest 'lite' in 2021

    Sadly, we cannot hold a full Children of Winchester Festival (COWfest) this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    However, you don't have to miss out – we have lined up some FREE family fun for half-term in our 2021 online COWfest-lite!

    There are live and pre-recorded activities available, for all ages. With a big thank you to the Hampshire Cultural Trust, Treasure Gymnastics, Salsa y Sol, Mimosa Montessori and Little Blossom Yoga.

    Check out the programme below:



    10:30 to 11.15am

    Marine life craft – with Lindsey from Hampshire Cultural Trust. Let’s go and see the Sea! Create your own sea creatures at home. 🐬

    FREE! Suitable for ages 4 to 10. Book here (only one ticket needed per family). 🎨

    Class will be held on Zoom. Parent/carer will be emailed a link.

    All you will need is… Paper/card; Scissors; Sticky tape; Sharpie Pens or colouring pencils; Crayons or paint; Silver foil; Paper plates; Toilet roll tube.

    11.00 to 11.30am


    Dancing Fun – with Salsa y Sol. Dance your heart out to dance tracks you love! 💛

    DONATION (pay what you wish; class is usually £7 per family). Suitable for the whole family. Book by email to s[email protected] with name/age(s). Donation by BACS: Salsa y Sol 30-99-71 00026608 ☀

    Class will be held on Zoom. Parent/carer will be emailed a link.

    11.45am to 12.15pm


    Yoga – with Salsa y Sol. Do you know how much Super Power you have inside of you? Wake up your Inner Super Power with our Hatha Flow Yoga for Youngsters! 🧘‍♂️

    DONATION (pay what you wish; class is usually £7 per family). Suitable for the whole family. Book by email to s[email protected] with name/age(s). Donation by BACS: Salsa y Sol 30-99-71 00026608 ☀

    Class will be held on Zoom. Parent/carer will be emailed a link.

    1.30 to 2.15pm


    Mask making – with Lindsey from Hampshire Cultural Trust. Join in the COWfest creative fun by making some colourful paper masks. 🎭

    FREE! Suitable for ages 4 to 10. Book here (only one ticket needed per family). 🎨

    Class will be held on Zoom. Parent/carer will be emailed a link.

    All you will need is… Paper/card; Felt tips/paint/crayons., anything to add colour! Scissors; Glue/sticky tape; String; Templates provided by download.

    2.00 to 2.45pm


    Give gymnastics a go – with Jess from Treasure Gymnastics 🤸‍♂️

    FREE! Suitable for ages 5 to 11. Book here🤸‍♀️

    Class will be held on Zoom. Parent/carer will be emailed a link.

    All you will need is… Space to move; loose clothing; water to drink.

    3.00 to 3.45pm


    Paper puppets – with Lindsey from Hampshire Cultural Trust. Do you love making up stories and putting on a performance? Have fun making paper puppets and a woodland stage backdrop and put on a puppet show! 🎨

    FREE! Suitable for ages 4 to 10. Book here (only one ticket needed per family). 🎨

    Class will be held on Zoom. Parent/carer will be emailed a link.

    All you will need is… A3 card or box to make your theatre; Split pins; Paint/pens/ crayons; Tissue paper and glue; Scissors; Sticky tape; Wooden skewers (parent supervision on the pointy bit) or lollypop sticks; Templates provided by download.



    Yoga for toddlers

    The Snail and the Whale – with Little Blossom Yoga 🧘

    A yoga story for all the family to enjoy, inspired by Julia Donaldson's 'The Snail and the Whale' – listen along and enjoy yoga postures, breathing activities, bonding fun and relaxation to try at home with your little ones! 🐌🐳

    Watch here 

    Find out more about Little Blossom Yoga at www.littleblossomyoga.co.uk or on Instagram @littleblossomyoga 

    Painting workshop


    Painting workshop inspired by Alma Thomas – with Mimosa Montessori 🎨

    For children age 6+. Create your own circular painting in the style of Alma Thomas, and learn about her life and how she uses colour to create impact in her art. 🎨

    Watch here

    Find out more about Mimosa Montessori on Facebook @MimosaMontessori or Instagram @mimosa_montessori



    For lots of great kids' activities and other resources, check out Hampshire Cultural Trust's 'Culture on Call' website, with its Kidzone here

    Here are some of our favourite activities:

    • Learn to make a bird feeder out of pine cones here
    • Find some beautiful Winchester Cathedral and King Alfred's statue colouring sheets here
    • Create your own piece of history by making a family time capsule here

  • published Winchester Community Sport Alliance 2018-05-24 19:53:34 +0100

    The Winchester Community Sport Alliance

    In 2018, Winchester SALT set up a local network for those involved in community sport in the Winchester area called the Winchester Community Sport Alliance (WCSA). This aimed to help the community sport sector to engage in the development of new or improved sport and recreational facilities in Winchester, to share information and resources, and to get involved in local events.

    In 2024, the WCSA spun out as a new club-led organisation, Sport Winchester. Community clubs based in and around the city of Winchester can find out more or join Sport Winchester by visiting their website here.


    Sign up

  • signed Tesco Open Letter 2016-01-18 18:40:46 +0000

    Tesco PLC: Give Winchester a Sporting Chance

    This campaign was successful!

    Further to the Open Letter and discussions with Tesco PLC, the company agreed to sell the Garrison Ground to Winchester City Council in December 2016. The council then committed to safeguard it for sport and leisure use, and has developed an 'urban design framework' that incorporates the Garrison Ground into a Winchester Sport and Leisure Park with sports pitches and play areas alongside new indoor facilities. 

    We have fed into the consultation process for the park, and encouraged Winchester City Council to protect all remaining playing fields at Bar End with Fields In Trust. THEY HAVE NOW AGREED TO DO SO! (as of early 2020)

    Thank you to all who supported these efforts!


    FAO: John Allan, Non-executive Chairman, and Dave Lewis, Group Chief Executive, Tesco PLC

    735 signatures

    Dear Sirs

    We write as concerned residents of Winchester in Hampshire, to ask for your support.

    As you may know, Tesco PLC owns land at Bar End, Winchester, which is on your asset disposal list. This land was put forward for housing development – presumably by Tesco PLC – via the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) for Winchester's Local Plan. 

    Tesco PLC's land at Bar End, known as The Garrison Ground, is a prime sport and recreational venue for our community. It is home to the Winchester City Flyers women's and girls' football club and the Winchester and District Girls Football League, as well as to Winchester Amateur Boxing Club. It supports grass training for the Winchester and District Athletics Club, and every year hosts events ranging from Cancer Research UK's 'Race for Life' to the local Fun Fair. It's also an important venue for kickabout football, informal play, and dog walking.

    The ongoing use of the Garrison Ground for sport and recreation is essential to our community. The City of Winchester has a shortfall in sports grounds of more than 11 hectares, and desperately needs new publicly accessible swimming pools, sports halls and synthetic turf pitches, to meet the requirements of a growing population and in particular increasing numbers of children and young people. Certain facilities – such as those for gymnastics – are completely absent from the local area. Bar End is the best place for any new facilities, but we will need to retain as much open space as possible there too.

    In short – we cannot afford to lose the Garrison Ground to housebuilding or to any other non-sports related development. 

    Please will Tesco PLC work with us, the residents of Winchester, to protect the Garrison Ground and to develop a community sport and recreational hub at Bar End?

    Your land could make all the difference to the future of our City and District. Please give us, and our children, a sporting chance.

    To all signatories: you can sign with your name and email address (or phone number if preferred). Upon signing, you will receive a thank you email, which includes an option to unsubscribe from further updates. Thank you for your support!

    Add signature

  • published COWfest in COWfest 2015-12-21 12:05:09 +0000

    What is COWfest?

    COWfest is the Children of Winchester Festival, and it will run for the first time in 2016! It's all happening on the weekend of 13th and 14th February, at the Tower Arts Centre at Kings' School. The aim of COWfest is to showcase local talent and bring new audiences to Winchester's youth arts providers, and to give children a chance to have a go at different creative activities through workshops. We also hope for local young people to be involved in planning and marketing the festival. We are starting small in 2016, but our aim is to develop the festival over the coming years and to make it a regular feature of Winchester's festival calendar.

    Check out the details of workshops and performances as we post them here, and join in the fun!

    If you are are aged 14+, you can volunteer to help at COWfest 2016 by completing a short online form here

  • published COWfest 2015-12-21 12:02:52 +0000


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