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Stratford Calling

Author: Emma

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50 Episodes
And the winner is...

And the winner is...


Hello Stratford!Can you believe it has been one whole year since I launch Stratford Calling?! Thank you to everyone who has been part of this thing! It has been so fun to do and so great to meet such lovely and amazing people.In this short episode, I announce the winner and runner up of the Monsoon Estates Creative Writing Competition - we had over 300 people listen and vote for their favourite and it was very close!I will be having a break for a bit while I get myself organised, but I will be back with more interviews, videos and competitions too!Thanks to you all for your support. Enjoy the sunshine! Speak again soon.Oh and don't forget...Shop local - Support local - Celebrate local!
Hello Stratford!Sorry for the delay in getting this episode out. It has been a manic week with the Monsoon Estates Creative Writing Competition but so fun! I have loved hearing all the stories and also seeing which ones you have enjoyed! There is still time to listen and vote - you have until the end of Thursday 3rd June to hear them all and vote on the link. It's a close run thing, so every vote will make a difference!This week is a bumper episode with interviews with Jon Stiff, local artist who has used almost every part of his body as a canvas (!), Clare Thomas from Stratford Music Network and some of their young band members ( a couple of which provide the music for today's episode), and Melissa and co from The Courtyard Gallery at Stratford Garden Centre, about their new studio space and upcoming plans.It's a jam-packed episode to mark the end of Creative Stratford Month - I hope you've enjoyed the chats, videos and the competition. I will let you know who has won very soon, and also keep updated on socials for what's coming next, and on YouTube for the videos of some of today's interviews too!Thanks for listening and supporting. Speak again soon.EmmaShop local - Support local - Celebrate localp.s. Sorry Luca - I realised after I published that I misread your song title. Luca's song at the end of the episode is called 'Crappy Moments and Red Dresses'. Enjoy!
Hello Stratford!Here is the final instalment of the Monsoon Estates Creative Writing Competition.Today we have a poem by Michelle Dale, entitled A Walk by the River, and a short story by Rachel Dealtry called Donna. These are the final 2 shortlisted entries in the competition, so afterwards I tell you the link where you can cast your vote for your favourite out of the 6 finalists. You have until next Thursday to vote and you can listen back to all the entries if you need to hear them again.Thanks again to everybody who entered, the judges, Hannah Young and you guys for listening.I hope you have enjoyed the series as much as I have.Enjoy!P.S. My next usual episode will be a bit later next week after the excitement of all this! So keep checking your podcast provider and socials to find out when it's out.
Hello Stratford!Day 2 of the Monsoon Estates Creative Writing Competition! Today we have a piece of flash fiction written and read by Valerie Deacon entitled Coffee Mate, and a short story by Gabriella Szaszko called Jupiter Road, read by Hannah Young.I hope you are enjoying listening to these as much as I am! Stay tuned for the final instalment tomorrow, where you can find out how to vote.Enjoy!Emma
Hello Stratford!I am so excited to be bringing this special series of podcasts to you, for the Monsoon Estates Creative Writing Competition.Over the next few days, the 6 shortlisted entries will be read out for you to enjoy, and on Thursday, you can find out how you can vote for your favourite. Today we have Bubbles of Fun, a poem written and read by Julie Taylor, and Almost There, a short story by Charli Pacaud, read by Hannah Young.So grab yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy.Emma
Hello Stratford!I have a literary week planned for you this week!Today I speak to Myles McLeod, one half of The Brothers McLeod, about their new book Knight Sir Louis and the Dragon of Dooooom! He also tells me about their plans for more books, events and TV shows!Then over the next few days, you will be able to hear the shortlisted entries in the Monsoon Estates Creative Writing Competition. There are 6 finalists altogether, and you will be able to hear them all, and choose your favourite! And the winner and runner up will be announced later in the month. Come back tomorrow to find out more! I am so excited!!Do get in touch if there is anything you want to share with me. Email me at or message me on socials. Keep updated there too, as well as on the Stratford Calling YouTube channel.Thanks for listening. Speak again tomorrow!EmmaShop local - Support local - Celebrate local
Hello Stratford!A bumper episode for you today! I speak to Second Thoughts Drama Group, The Music Cafe and Prestige Academy of Performing Arts. And thank you to everyone who has submitted an entry into the Monsoon Estates Creative Writing Competition. All the entries are with the judges, who will send me their shortlist soon. Due to unforeseen circumstances, you will have to wait a little bit longer than planned to hear them, but keep updated on the podcast and social media, to find out when they will be read out. Happy listening everyone!EmmaShop local - Support local - Celebrate local
Hello Stratford!This week I speak to Rachel from Betty and Mabel, a creative whizz with a needle and thread, and Glenis from Avon Flow Art, a painter with some really mesmerising pieces. Podcasts aren't a great way to talk about visual art, so at some point this week, the interviews will also be available to view on the Stratford Calling YouTube channel, so you can see the ladies and their creations too. Bear with me though, as technology hasn't been friendly this last few weeks! I will keep you updated on socials.There is also still time to enter your poetry, flash fiction or short stories into the Monsoon Estates Creative Writing competition, to be in with a chance of winning £100 and a 3-month coffee subscription to Monsoon Estates Coffee Company. Email me at for the rules and an entry form. The deadline is this Thursday (13th) at 5pm. Best of luck to everyone who's entering and thank you to those of you who have already sent in your entries. I am really looking forward to hearing them on the podcast next week.Hope you are all keeping well and warm this very dismal May!Happy listening!EmmaShop local - Support local - Celebrate local
Hello Stratford!This month I am launching Creative Stratford - a month of podcasts and videos highlighting and celebrating the wealth of creativity here in Stratford. This week I speak to the two judges of the Monsoon Estates Creative Writing Competition - Chris Howard from Monsoon Estates Coffee Company and Sophie Clausen, local author and founder of ARC (Arts Rising Collective). These two lovely people have agreed to read the entries to the competition and create their shortlist which will be read on special episodes of the podcast later this month. Then you will have the chance to vote for your favourite!There is still time to enter too! Check out the Stratford Calling social media pages or email me at to find out how. The deadline is Thursday 13th May at 5pm. Good luck!And here is the link to the survey Sophie mentions, to find out more about what you want from a creative hub in Stratford. It only take 5 minutes to answer and will help so much. you!Speak again soon.EmmaShop local - Support local - Celebrate local
Episode 12 - Reform UK

Episode 12 - Reform UK


Hello Stratford!This week I speak to the Reform UK candidate for Stratford South, James Crocker. He is the only Reform UK candidate in Stratford, so find out what his plans are if he were to be elected.This is the last of my candidate interviews - unfortunately I didn't get a response from the Green Party candidates, so couldn't put your questions to them. I hope these interviews have been helpful though, and whatever your political view point, please do take the time to vote on May 6th.Next month I am launching Creative Stratford, a series of podcasts and videos (technology permitting!) highlighting and celebrating the creative arts and the people behind them. I am also launching a new competition in partnership with Monsoon Estates Coffee Company. Listen to the end of the episode to find out more!Thanks for listening everybody. Speak again soon.EmmaShop local - Support local - Celebrate local
Episode 11 - Labour

Episode 11 - Labour


Hello Stratford!This week I speak to Samantha Scott, Labour candidate for Stratford North. Find out about her ambitious plans and ideas that she wants to put in place, if she were to be elected.The other Labour candidates for Stratford South and Stratford West were unavailable for interview. Hope you're all enjoying the lovely weather!Speak again soon.Happy listening!EmmaShop local - Support local - Celebrate local
Hello Stratford!Here is my interview with the Conservative candidates; Tim Sinclair for Stratford North and Marilyn Bates for Stratford South. The candidate for Stratford West was expecting a baby at the time of the interview, so we wish him all the best for his new arrival.Thanks for listening everybody. Speak again soonEmmaShop local - Support local - Celebrate local
Hello Stratford!After the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, political candidates are pausing their campaigns today. So the interview with the Conservative candidates will be released tomorrow.So today, I will share an interview with Hannah from the RSC and their new pop up in Bell Court. They are only around this week, so do pop along if you are feeling creative!Come back tomorrow for the next episode.Happy listening everyone!EmmaShop local - Support local - Celebrate local
Hello Stratford!I'm back! Sorry about the delay. Needed to rest a bit. But I'm back now and raring to go!This April, I am focusing on the local elections and my plan is to interview as many of the local candidates as possible. This week I start with the Liberal Democrats and speak to their candidates for Stratford North, Stratford South and Stratford West. Thank you to those listeners who sent in questions. I hope you like their responses!At the end of the episode I also ask for any locals who want to be part of a new group to help save our town centre. Listen to find out more, and don't forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode. You can also keep updated on the Stratford Calling social media pages - Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Thanks for bearing with me everyone. Hope you enjoy.Happy listening!EmmaShop local - Support local - Celebrate local
Hello Stratford!Young people have been severely effected by the pandemic over the last year, with uncertainty around school and exams, isolation and the increase in mental health issues all a big part of that.This week I teamed up with Rachel from Lifespace to focus on the young people in Stratford. She helped to bring together a number of people from different organisations who work with children and young people, to answer questions that many families might have about their children at the moment.We also worked with Stratford Youth Forum to help them design and create a week of support and advice for other young people, relevant not just to those in the area but also around the world.This is the last week of Stratford For Families, and I hope you have found it interesting and helpful. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved. Yet again I am overwhelmed by the amount of businesses and charities that are here for families and the brilliant services and products they have on offer.I will be taking a break over the next few weeks to recharge and plan the next episodes. I will keep you posted on socials - Facebook, Instagram and Twitter - and you can still keep in touch with me, as I do love to hear from you! Email me at or send me a message, if you have anything you want to share on the podcast, whether that be a business, charity or story.Fingers crossed for good news later. Hope you're all staying safe and well and positive! Thanks for listening everyone.Speak again soon.Shop local - Support local - Celebrate local 
Hello Stratford!It's half-term! Hurray! And Week 3 of Stratford for Families. Hurray!This week I speak to Caroline at the Parenting Project, Gemma at the NCT and Tara at Stratford Town Trust. Throughout the week I will also be posting local activities for families to enjoy over half term on Stratford Calling socials, including the Stratford Safari. I have created a safari with a difference, as you can use the map to discover the strange and wonderful creatures living amongst us! Visit SC socials to get your safari guide and next time you're on your walk, pack some binoculars and a camera, to see if you can spot the unusual creatures in our town. And see if you can find any I've missed!Tonight (Monday 15th Feb) at 7.30pm Stratford Parent Champions are hosting a drop-in session for families, who have any questions they need help answering. Parent Champions are able to signpost families to services and support and get the answers they need to their family-related questions. So if you need some answers and don't know where to turn, come along to the session so you can speak 1-2-1 with a Parent Champion. Email me at for the Zoom details. If you can't make the session, you can email me with your questions and either myself or another Parent Champion can get in touch with you.Next week, I will be speaking to some mentors from LifeSpace, and putting some questions to them about how we can help our older children who might be struggling with lockdown. Email me with your questions and I will "Ask LifeSpace" next week, the final week of Stratford For Families. Phew! That's enough to be getting on with isn't it?! I hope you can all enjoy a rest this half-term. And do get in touch if you want to let me know about anything exciting happening!Thanks for listening everyone. Speak soon.
Hello Stratford!Week 2 of Stratford For Families sees me talking to Victoria from OneFitMama, Graham from Barnardo's and Claire from The Sticky Spoon Cakehouse.OneFitMama is an exercise class specially designed for mums, and Victoria tells us all about how it came about and also about her free taster class tomorrow evening on Zoom. There are still spaces available so email me at to book yours! Barnardo's runs the Children and Family Centres in Stratford and Graham tells me what they have on offer for families at the moment, as well as the community work he is involved in.Finally, Claire from The Sticky Spoon Cakehouse, tells us about the amazing creations she has made for the birthdays and special occasions that have been a little different this last year, to say the least! I would really recommend checking out her website to see the Harley Davidson cake she talks about!If you want to get in touch, if you have anything to share with Stratford or want to find out more about what's coming up on the podcast, you can email me at or find and follow me on socials - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram now! You can also visit the YouTube channel to catch up on all the videos from the last few weeks, and subscribe to keep up-to-date with what's coming up next. Thanks for listening everyone.
Hello Stratford!This month I launch Stratford For Families - a month of podcasts, online events and videos for families with children of all ages. I'm still finalising the programme so keep updated on Stratford Calling social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) or email me for more information at You can also subscribe to the Stratford Calling YouTube channel to make sure you never miss any videos on there.This week I speak to Sue and Debbie from the Family Information Service, about how they can help families with all sorts of questions, from childcare and schooling, to housing and money management. I also speak to Frankie from Zest Dance, about her dance classes for children (and adults!) and the taster session she has created for the youngest members of the family to have a go at. Visit Stratford Calling on YouTube to have a wiggle!This week is also children's mental health week. If your children are struggling at the moment, visit to find tips, advice and activities to help support them. And you can also contact the Family Information Service to find out where you can access support in the area. Stay safe and well everyone. Speak again soon.
Hello Stratford!This is the final week of Stratford Wellbeing Month. I hope you have found it interesting and helpful. I know I have!This week I speak to Fleur and Stacey from The Recovery and Wellbeing Academy about anxiety and how we can manage it. Fleur will be running a live session tomorrow (Tuesday 26th Jan) at 7.30pm on Zoom to tell us more and give us some simple tips and techniques to help us manage our anxiety during this difficult time.  This session is open to all. To book a space email me at with your name and postcode and I will send you all the details. In this episode I also speak to Barbara and Virginia from Stratford Samaritans. We speak about how important it is to talk about how we are feeling and how we can all become better listeners. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved with Stratford Wellbeing Month - Sarah at Stratford Time Bank, Jane the Time Bank member who taught us mindfulness, Tracey from Purple Hat Coaching, Miranda from PixieFit and Fleur and co from the Recovery and Wellbeing Academy - and everyone who has been on the podcast too. Don't forget you can catch all the sessions so far on the Stratford Calling YouTube channel too, so don't worry if you missed them!And also a big thank you to all of you for listening and taking part. It's great to hear your feedback and if you have any ideas of of theme's you would me to focus on, or if you have a business, charity or story you want to let people know about, do get in touch, I love to hear from you. Email me at or message me on social media. Next month I am launching Stratford For Families - a month of podcasts, events and videos for families of all ages. Keep updated on social media and the YouTube channel to find out what's happening, when. Hope you're all keeping safe, well and sane! If you are struggling, do reach out. Someone is always there to listen. Take care everyone.
Hello Stratford!Been a difficult week here at Stratford Calling HQ. But it's great to hear such positive feedback and appreciative comments from you lovely listeners, so thank you for those.This is Week 3 of Stratford Wellbeing Month and  we have a Zumba Gold session with Miranda from PixieFit. I speak to her in this episode about what Zumba Gold is and what we can expect from the session on Wednesday. If you want to come and give it a go, the session will be over Zoom at 7.30pm. Just email me at with your name and postcode to book your space. If you can't make it, you can watch a recording of the session on the Stratford Calling YouTube channel shortly afterwards.This week I also speak to Karen from Escape Arts, who have so many projects and exciting, creative things for you to get involved with to help your mental health right now. Thanks for listening everyone. If you have any thoughts or comments, or any ideas of future events you might want to see, or if you have a business, service or cause you want to tell people about, email me at or get in touch on the socials - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Take care Stratford, and speak soon.
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