Open Meeting at Gorse Covert

Notes for the meeting held at Gorse Covert Community Centre 7.30-9pm 15th February, chaired by Matha.

Finance report from Paul: we’ve raised £500 from the solar PV bulk discount scheme donations, and have a total of £1508 in the bank.  However £1000 of that is the ring fenced grant from Charnwood Borough Council (CBC) for the apple press, so we’ve really got £508 to use for rooms and other projects.  The room for tonight’s meeting is costing us £30.  Caroline made some suggestions on how we could decide what we want to spend money on (as she had on the Google mailing list): we could come up with a “wishlist” of things that could do with funding, then split these into things that we can apply for grants for and things that we need to fund from our reserves.  We then prioritise the latter group and spend the income we get from donations on a regular basis on the highest priority items.

The meeting agreed this was a reasonable approach so we noted down ideas for things that could be funded onto some post it notes.  The suggestions included:

  • Pasteurizer (for cleaning bottles for the apple juice) x 3
  • Meeting room funding x 2
  • Britain in Bloom support x 2
  • Bike workshop/repairs x 2
  • Cycle lanes
  • Visiting lecturers/speakers
  • Publicity, leaflets, etc x 2
  • Landscaping Our Society garden contributions (tools, plants, etc)
  • Picnic in the Park stalls
  • Materials for childrens art projects
  • Apple press support
  • New bottles, caps, labels for fruit juicing
  • Land for allotments or community gardens.

The cycle lanes item was queried – it was intended more for campaigning about cycle provision rather than actually building new ones. It was noted that Action for a Better Charnwood are planning on setting up a meeting to discuss cycle lane provision in the area and TL members could be involved in that.

Now we need to decide which projects/ideas we should apply for grants for and which ones we should prioritise for funding from our donated money.  It was pointed out that we need to consider timeliness for some projects – there’s no point funding a Picnic in the Park related item in September!  We didn’t have time at the meeting this evening to do this now, so it will be taken to the mailing list, along with input from people who have a good idea what we can apply for grants for.

Sue reported on changes at CBC: they are setting up a People, Places and Environment group to replace some existing groups, including the sustainability ones.  Sue has talked to CBC about this and they would like TL to be represented on the new group.  Its not for us to lobby CBC but more to make sure that the different groups in Charnwood know what each other are doing so that we don’t replicate/compete with each other.  We can have two named people, though only one can attend each meeting.  Sue is happy to be one of the named people to represent TL on the new group.

Mistletoe: Tim and Mark from CBC told us that the area around Gorse Covert has a high concentration of mistletoe in trees, partly because the area used to be covered in orchards and some of the old trees were retained in gardens when the housing was built.  Charnwood mistletoe may be genetically distinct from that in other areas.  Tim explained how, in conjunction with WAGS, they’ve been mapping locations of mistletoe on large scale maps, and there are indications that we have so much that we’re also an important area for mistle thrushes as well.

The reason for bringing this to the meeting is that Mark and Tim are interested in setting up community orchards, which TL could help manage.  Mistletoe, whilst technically parasitic, is a useful secondary crop in orchards as it is worth as much as the apples (for use as a Yuletide decoration – there’s a large market in Worcestershire every year).  It was also suggested we could have mistletoe festivals in the Autumn in a future community orchard.  Mark explained how to propagate mistletoe: take ripe berries (from Feb to June) and squash them onto the underside of branches so that birds can’t eat them.

There was a lot of interest in the ideas and it was decided to discuss it further at the Food Group meeting that is being held at 8pm in the Swan in the Rushes on Wednesday 22nd February.  Suggestions for locations for community orchards and urban fruit tree plantings should be made on the Google mailing list as Mark is on the distribution list.

Paul reported on a plan by Robert Sharp in Shelthorpe to interest parents and children in after school workshops, teaching the children useful skills.  The children are primary school students (aged 7-11) and he wondered if anyone in TL could provide talks or workshops on reskilling?  Martha said some of the University students would be interested and Tim suggested basket weaving.  Unfortunately Robert wasn’t at the meeting this evening so we could probably do with him providing a clearer idea of what sort of skills he envisaged showing the children.  Sue said that maybe the U3A folk could be involved. We’d also need to clarify the CRB checking position with Robert or the school.

Sue then introduced the Picnic in the Park on Tuesday 5th June. The theme is “Welcome World” and she’d already sent some notes of a recent subgroup meeting to the Google mailing list.  Ruth explained her idea for getting children to make a large 6 foot x 6 foot collage of the world and asked for people to save green, blue and black paper torn out of old magazines and also look out for some suitable cardboard or similar material to paste the collage onto. She said the estimated cost of glue, etc would be £20.

Sue was also keen on “climate justice” aspects on the stall at the event.  Hiron has volunteered to produce a board detailing the affects of climate change on Bangladesh.

We probably need to produce a leaflet we can distribute at the event (and elsewhere) that describes what TL is and does.  We need to agree on the content first.  Martha said that she knew someone who could do free graphic design for us and the WAGS folk have a low cost printer they can introduce us to.  Philip suggested that he could probably get the text of the Transition Leicester leaflet and then we could adapt that to our own requirements.

Paul is now coordinating the Picnic in the Park planning, so people interested in helping or producing some materials should contact him.  WAGS may be able to introduce us to someone who has run free cycle workshops for them in the past that we might be able to invite along as well.  Philip asked if we should try to get an electric car to the event – some people weren’t keen but there wasn’t time to discuss the pros and cons at tonight’s meeting, plus we don’t know how much space we’ll have.

Martha described the Landscaping Our Society group, which encourages staff and students at the University to get together to help each other learn to grow fruit and veg.  They are based in the shed at the back of car park 5 on campus (in the centre of the campus more or less) and members of the local community are most welcome to come along to their regular meetings on Fridays at 3pm.  They are also helping with the “Fruit Route” project this week, which will involve a presentation by the artist running the scheme on Friday lunchtime in the art department, some planting on Saturday afternoon and then a main event starting at 3pm on Sunday.  Everyone welcome to any of these.

Any Other Business:

Paul: Shree Ram Krishna Centre are running a “welcome to Spring” event on Friday 24th Feb 4-7pm.  There will be curry tastings and the chance to see in the Hindu temple.  People are encouraged to wear yellow and green!

Ruth: with reduce, reuse, recycle in mind she was shocked to read that two of the four plans for Astra Zeneca’s site in Loughborough involved demolishing the buildings.  She wondered if there was anything we could do to encourage reuse?

Sue: Love Food, Hate Waste are organising two courses on practical cooking to reduce food waste.  They are on Tuesday 28th February 6-9pm and Tuesday 6th March 6-9pm.  Sue will post details on the Google mailing list.

Sue: having had some trees cut down she has some cut wood in her car port that anyone is welcome to help themselves to.

Steve: the reskilling workshops at Rosebery St Peters on Thursday mornings (10am to 1pm) have two sessions left.

Mark: Tim and Mark are creating a wild flower meadow from the entrance of the cemetery on Epinal Way.  The seed sowing is on 25th March and the community are welcome to come and help sow seeds.

Tim: please contact Tim if you’re interested in learning how to coppice bean poles and pea sticks.

Jon: The Energy Group are holding a solar PV bulk purchase scheme relaunch tomorrow evening at John Storer House.  Anyone interested in having solar PV panels installed on the home should come along to hear more about the scheme starting at 7pm.

Next Meeting will be at the Polish Club on Wednesday 21st March 7pm – 9.30pm (which is going to cost us £20).

The collection at the meeting raised £24.68 in donations. Paul has also asked if there is a volunteer who would like to chair the next meeting?


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One Response to Open Meeting at Gorse Covert

  1. vicky dawson wagsdchair says:

    have passed info and booking form onto paul for picnic in the park and agreed to have apple press for wags in oct 1/2 term date to be confirmed will also forward on email of leics groundforce david leamington who did a free cycle workshop for the wags last summer. vicky wags

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