Sunday, 24 February 2008

Progress diary by SaraL From thebeginning to Feb08

4th September 07 :
Sara visited site with Rosie Wooley from Glos Wildlife Trust.She thought there was great potential for both allotments and wildlife area.

7th September:

Attended Parish Council meeting to propose idea. PC was encouraging and very positive. Suggested a leaflet be circulated round the village to explain idea and gauge interest and invite to a meeting.

27th September :

Visit to Glos Community allotments with Gabi S. to meet Alison Ensor and discuss their project. Very informative and inspiring.

29th October

Meeting in village hall to estimate interest. Twenty three people attended! All very interested in the idea of allotments, wild life area and community orchard. We had an informal brainstorming session (big sheets of paper, big pens!) to come up with other ideas. Everyone filled in a forms to show interests/skills and whether they would be part of a more 'active' group which would be a driving force behind getting things done. (several people backed off at this point understandably, but a really good core of people came forward). Hopefully this will continue.

14th November :

Meeting with Roger P – chair of the Parish Council – to discuss and ask some questions. We are naturally concerned that the land, whilst vacant at the moment, may get taken back by the council if they want to build on it. Before putting in lots and lots of physical and emotional effort, we want some written reassurance that the land can be used by all the villagers of Kemble for the foreseeable future, if not for ever.

SaraL wrote to CDC to ask for confirmation that the land could be used as:

  • a general community space (eg BBQ);
  • community allotments eg for the local primary school children and the Brownie group to learn where food comes from private allotments; for the local garden club etc
  • as private allotments of various sizes
  • to reduce waste disposal by having a community compost area
  • to encourage wildlife and biodiversity by having a separate wild life area that can be used by local groups and children
  • and to reduce food miles by growing our own stuff!

23rd November Attended PC meeting to report on allotment meeting and discuss further.

25th Nov Held a general meeting on site to look at land and discuss. Only a small number of people attended in comparison to the original group that met at the village hall in September - but enough to be encouraged and keep going.

Notice in Parish news to keep the village informed about what is going on (or not) on project.

Jan 2008 Email and message from CDC to confirm go ahead for project!!

Feb 2nd 2008

Meeting on site to look at land and come up with ideas, followed by first focus group meeting. 15+ people attended the site meeting and 12 met at Jan and Witheal’s house to take the project forward.

Starting to get organised now - we knew that we needed to get people committed to giving up their time and energy - so roles were assigned – chair, secretary, treasurer, legal specialist, PR person, site manager etc. and specific action points agreed. Let's see if we stick to these!

Feb 3rd

Email to John Birch at Cotswold District Council to ask for length of time in writing, size of land, fees to be charged etc.

Feb 9th

We need help! This is too big and complex to do on our own, however enthusiastic we are. We don't know anything really about how to start, how to keep on going etc. There must be other people like us (and there are!)

Site meeting with Alison Ensor from Glos Community Wildlife Trust. Mark, Freddie, Jenny, Fiona, Jan, Gabi, Matt, Sara attended the meeting and toured the site with Alison who listened to our ideas and gave advice on the best way to proceed sensitively and sustainably. Photos were taken by Gabi’s partner for a press release to the local paper. Alison agreed to be our consultant, produce a design for us and help us on work days. By taking on this role, she can us our project for an assignment for her diploma in Permaculture.

Feb 11th

Spontaneous meeting on the site initiated by Matt and Gabi because of the lovely weather to start clearing brambles. Glen and Jo with Jacob and Jade, Gabi, Matt and Sara made pathways through the brambles using sheers, scythes, secateurs, a machete and loppers. Managed to join up some areas and make more accessible.

Press release to Parish news

Feb 12th

Gabi, Marj, Marjorie, Sara, Freddie met to cut more pathways. Marj and Marjorie cut a path through the brambles from their back gate and made us a cup of tea!

Gabi bid successfully for a ride on lawn mower on ebay which she will use to help cut paths!

Gabi put a wanted message on freecycle for a number of things we need.

Feb 21st Photo and article in Standard about project asking for support in form of sponsorship or equipment or labour

Feb 22nd

Gabi and Sara attended Parish Council meeting and discussed project. PC very supportive and agreed £1000 funding. Proposal/plan to be sent to CDC for approval and to secure written agreement of lease.
Feb 23rd
Work day to clear site. 27 people in total (including 5 children and two teenagers) visited/supported/worked at different times throughout the day.
Brambles were cleared and tea, homemade biscuits and cakes consumed! Sheers, secateurs, loppers, scythes, machetes, brush cutters and a lawn mower were used to do the work and big piles made for burning. One of the apple trees was pruned to improve yield and accessibility.

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