Welcome to the Winter edition of our newsletter.
Articles, info and events for the next newsletter to Susan at email@example.com by end of February 2017 please.
Many thanks for all the contributions for and assistance with this newsletter. Thoughts and ideas expressed in this newsletter are those of contributors and not endorsements by BSG.
Plenty in this issue. There follows our rather lengthy AGM report. Feel free to scan and skip if you already heard it all at the meeting..
Susan Crowther. Editor
The BSG Annual General Meeting
The meeting was held on the 25th of October in the Joiners' Arms in Bideford. No printed material was distributed, so this report is a record for those who did attend, but also for those who were not able to attend.
The Annual Report delivered by the chairman Angus Winfield.
Attention to how we communicate within the BSG and with other groups in our geographical locality has been a major feature this year.
The move to sending our emails out via mailchimp has been a liberator. Not only has it enabled us to more easily send out emails to all our members and followers instantly, but it has given us colour and pictures and the chance to publicise a wide range of events that may be of interest to BSG people. Mailchimp also gives us feedback on the loyalty of our followers, and though initially there was a period when some previously interested people unsubscribed, we now have reached a stable position where over 230 people receive our emails.
Many thanks go to Pat Pathmanathan who has managed the BSG website for three years and also to Lyn Winter who has been editing and presenting our quarterly newsletter for four years. But time moves on and people need to retire from these things. What has grown out of this situation is a non-executive committee to deal with all things media-connected. Marianne Winfield had already been dealing with additions to the BSG Facebook entries; now she and Jane Williams have taken over the Website and are being joined by Susan Crowther who has agreed to edit and present the quarterly newsletter. Greater use is also being made of the BSG Dropbox cloud. This has now become a depository for media materials which provide a bank of photographs and other documents for use by any person creating new publicity for the BSG, and as such it should survive any changes in voluntary personnel which will be inevitable.
BSG has continued to submit copy for the North Devon Gazette’s My Town supplement. Many thanks go to contributors Laurence Shelley, Dan smith of the Devon Wildlife trust, Greg Neale, Paula Ferris of coastwise, Sadie Green, Rose Young-French and Tonia Quance.
In February we had the first of our Coffee Break meetings. These meetings were Marianne Winfield’s idea, intended to provide an alternative for those who cannot get along to evening meetings in the Blacksmiths Arms.
On May 1st we had a Spring Picnic at the new Weare Giffard Community Orchard. The weather was not very Spring-like but our spirits were not dampened as we were entertained with an interesting talk on how the orchard came to be established. Marianne Winfield made the initial organisational moves but then others joined in with a very successful bring-and-share lunch.
Our Coffee Break meeting in May was attended by BTC councillor Joe Day drawing attention to the commununity energy scheme that he was initiating. This was later followed up by his invitation to talks in the council chamber and a visit to Wadebridge in Cornwall to learn from the experiences of the Wadebridge renewable energy network. Many thanks go to Joe for extending these welcomes. Other visiting speakers at our regular meetings have been Sadie Green from Bideford Bay Creatives looking for support for her historical research project ‘Way of the Wharves’ and Emma Croft from ‘Devon CC Recycling’ looking for cooperation from BSG on the electrical repair workshops she is organising. The Bideford workshop entitled ‘REPAIR IT’ is now set to happen on the morning of Saturday November 19th in the Intagr8 premises accessible through Chope’s car park.
On Sunday September 4th the BSG collaborated with Intagr8, The North Devon Positive Living Group and One Bideford in presenting the Bideford Positive Living Fair. This was a very successful event. Thanks go to all the organisers, including BSG members Marianne Winfield, Fred Brown and Jane Williams.
Our Apple Pressing event this year was the third we have laid on. It continues to be a success, providing a service to members and attracting new people. Thanks go to Tom Hynes and Orchards Live for hiring out the equipment. Also thanks to Chris Hassall for sharing his orchard’s bounty.
The BSG Food Group continues to do the essential work with the orchards and the Tricks allotment. Jon Stacey, Laurence Shelley and Jenni Phillips have been the mainstays with Fred Brown having to take a less active role, though his work with the Positive living Fair shows that you just can’t keep a good man down!
The Cycle Path Group has been a bit dormant this year, largely because the person who started it has had far too much to do elsewhere. However, the BSG stand at the positive living Fair did feature transport issues. The national 20’s Plenty campaign was given space in order to gauge local opinion on its relevance to Bideford and also in the hope that someone might come forward to develop the campaign in this area. Also a slide show was presented concerning the long-awaited cycle/foot path from Bideford to Westward Ho!. The intention here was to keep this project in the public’s eye. Some recent news has suggested that this project may be at take-off point, so we are hoping that when there is real news, councillor Peter Christie will share it in our BSG newsletter.
The Financial Report delivered by David Dickinson Treasurer
The financial strength of BSG is healthy after a quiet year for expenditure and income. The net assets at the start of the year were £7958 and had fallen by £329 at the close. Although no large projects were commenced several tidying up operations were completed and discussions were begun with North Devon Biosphere on joint venture projects with matching outside funding. The smaller number of trustees and active members has reduced the activities of the group, we are fortunate that finance is available for worthwhile projects. The reserved fund and the operating funds are healthy and we have no debtors. I shall be retiring from this position at the end of March next year and would like to thank the present and past Trustees for their help.
For the purposes of this report, the following balance sheet was displayed on the screen at the meeting:-
Bideford Sustainability Group Balance Sheet as at 31st March 2016
Tangible assets Nil Nil
Debtors Nil Nil
Cash in hand
& bank £7958 £7629
Creditors falling due in one year Nil
Net assets £7958 £7629
Reserves Unrestricted £2269 £2629
Reserves Designated £5689 £5000
Excess income over expenditure £ 462 £ 149
Called up share capital
2 Ordinary shares of £1 each
Election of Officers
Angus Winfield, Jenni Phillips and David Dickinson were returned unopposed as chairman, secretary and treasurer respectively. Simon Gibbon was not able to attend the meeting but was in absence elected to the Board of Trustees, proposed by Jenni Phillips, seconded by Fred Brown.
Angus Winfield Chairman
Incredible Edible Ilfracombe
Netti Pearson an Lindsay Derbyshire inspired us at the AGM with their illustrated account of how wasteland and unloved spaces in Ilfracombe were turned into food gardens and thriving community hubs for local groups and pre-schools to learn, plant, grow and share. Making new friends and having lots of fun in the process!
Incredible Edible Ilfracombe took its cue from the initial Incredible Edible Todmorden (which has generated similar projects across the world), and adapted it to its own unique version to serve the needs of local residents. Their enthusiasm was infectious and we agreed we would love to see what they have been doing, so we will plan a visit to Ilfracombe for any interested BSG members in the spring of 2017.
People and planters
Planters outside a shop
Item from Marianne Winfield
Remembering Chris Done
Chris, unusually, missed a BSG trustees meeting. After a week with no contact by phone or email and not finding him at home, I contacted the ND District Hospital where my search found him. We all knew that Chris had health problems and I had already contacted Ruth Funnell of the Green Party to see if she had any news of him. Chris was their treasurer.
I visited Chris in hospital, and later reported my observations back to our trustees and to Ruth. I think that at that point all the networks that Chris had been part of, started buzzing, for when Chris died, the responses to the brief obituary notice sent out were numerous. For a start, more than twice the usual number of people opened the email and many messaged back to say how sad they felt. Some wrote more:-
Laurence Shelley wrote.....“How sad to hear of Chris’s death. He impressed me with his active interest in local issues and I gathered he approached his health conditions philosophically, accepting these in an almost dispassionate way. As with so many similar occasions, I wish I had known him better.”
Julie Dennis wrote..... “ I became good friends with Chris Done in my brief time here, and became very fond of him indeed. Chris often seemed very serious, but there was most certainly a very mischievous element to him that was amply displayed in our regular swearing competitions. I wondered if (the next time we meet) we might do something to mark/ mention/celebrate his life and say something about the great personal sacrifices he made in trying to make a difference to our community”
The answer to Julie’s plea maybe lies with a suggestion from Phillip Wearne who wrote......
“ I suggest that we raise a few glasses in ‘The Champion’ in Appledore, his favourite pub, some time after the funeral on November 1st.
All your campaigns and struggles continue Chris ! Presente! “
In combining the two suggestions, would it be too much to ask for a song Julie? A song in ‘The Champ’ for a champion of causes. Angus Winfield
Did you know that you can eat those big black berries that hang down from the fuchsias in your garden? And they are delicious too!
The Positive Living Fair
Bideford Sustainability Group is proud to have been part of the team with North Devon Positive Living Group, Intagr8 and One Bideford creating the first Bideford Positive Living Fair at Bideford Pannier Market on September 4th 2016. It was a vibrant day for all the family with performers, speakers, workshops, activities, alternative therapists and stalls from our local community coming together to celebrate some of the wonderful things happening in the Bideford Area. Performers included the fantastic Streetz Dance Crew, Bideford Pipe Band and storytelling from Leo Gray. Plenty of food was available, including free tea and cake, for refreshment after walking up the hill to the market. There were opportunities to learn how much person-power it takes to light a light bulb, get to know a (rescued) reptile, make a garland of flowers and much more. One of the highlights of the day was the Bideford Bun competition. Aspiring bakers were invited to create a unique bun for Bideford and our congratulations to the winner, Helen Cusack. We hope The Bideford Bun, using Helen’s recipe, will soon be available in local shops etc. for all to enjoy. The mayor was heard to say that he had never seen so many people in the pannier market! Plans are already afoot for next year’s event. organising team.
Mrs Recycle with Jane Williams
The Samba Band
Item from Jane Williams
At the end of September radio 4' s Last Word announced the death of Bill Mollison, age 88, the founder of Permaculture. I first encountered him on the TV screen one Sunday afternoon as he was pointing out the foolhardiness of using fossil fuel to cut the lawn. I was amazed that I hadn't already realized this, as it seemed so obvious, and yet I need someone to point it out. He has left us with some much better ideas for our gardens such as having many layers: the higher fruit tree layer; the lower fruit and nut tree layer; the shrub soft fruit layer; herb and vegetable layer; root layer and climbers. It's more interesting, more abundant and to my mind, more beautiful. Oh! And doesn't require cutting every week by some noisy machine. Editor
BSG meetings at The Blacksmith’s Arms, Torrington Street,
East-the- Water, EX39 4DP, every first Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm.
Next Blacksmiths meetings: 6th December 2016, 3rd January and 7th February 2017.
And if you can't attend the Blacksmiths evening meetings, there are always our morninng meetings in Green Goose Cafe. These are held on the third Thursday of each month, starting at 11am.
Next Cafe meetings: 15th December 2016, 19th January and 16th February 2017.
All welcome, especially new members