In 2010 we were pretty busy!

As well as a lot of time spent putting together and submitting bids for funding towards the energy measures at the Village Hall and then undertaking those measures, here’s what happened:

May 2010 we had a First Anniversary (Fairtrade) Tea Dance to celebrate and promote the achievements of the project. This was well attended with over 200 people involved.

July 2010 Our Community Bench Building project began.  On Saturday 17 July a group of village residents joined forces with the Countryside Unit at the County Council to provide a number of simple rustic-style benches along the Greenway.  These aim to serve as ‘rest stops’ for walkers and cyclists and link in with the Health Walks we have set up.  This was the first of around 6 community bench buildings sessions we arranged, and we linked in with the Derrington Millennium Green Trust to put some new benches on the Millennium Green and Millennium Wood as well.  The local pub supported us by providing platters of sandwiches and chips for the workers!

September 2010 we held the second Derrington Local Food Festival.  This time the event was even bigger! Talks from experts took place in the gazebo – and to respond to the growing interest in Domestic Poultry Keeping we invited a poultry expert to talk about poultry keeping, plus a village resident whose business includes building bespoke hen coups and sheds.  This year around 300 people attended.

In October 2010 we undertook another community consultation survey to ask people for their views on a number of possible projects. Within ten days we had received 85 responses.  One question was ‘Do you think that installing computer facilities at the Village Hall is a good idea?’  84 out of the 85 respondents said ‘yes’ and lots of people said they would be interested in training opportunities e.g. sessions on ‘How to email’ or ‘How to use the Internet’.  There were many suggestions about other courses or help sessions that people thought would be useful, ranging from help with digital photos, to how to shop on-line.  With the help of our resident volunteer IT experts, this project is now being put into action.

October we began another series of films in the Village Hall focussing on climate change and sustainability. These were:

Thursday, 7 October 2010: Beyond the Pole about the attempts of two best friends to organise the first carbon-neutral, organic, vegetarian expedition to the north pole.

Thursday, 4 November 2010: The Power of Community about ‘How Cuba Survived Peak Oil’. This documentary charts the transformation of the Cuban economy after the country’s oil and gas imports were halved following the collapse of the Soviet Union.  It shows how food production switched from large farms and plantations to small organic farms and urban gardens.

Thursday, 2 December 2010: Wall-E aimed at adults and children and challenging society about issues such as consumption, wastefulness.

  2011 was busier than ever!!! 

January 2011 we bought two laptops and installed wireless connection at the Village Hall.  Being able to use computers can open up a whole new world to people – direct communication with loved ones on the other side of the world; a wealth of information at your fingertips; help with CV’s, finding a job etc.  Since January 2011 weekly ‘drop in’ sessions have taken place each Wednesday at the Village Hall, also a drop in session takes place on the last Friday morning of each month.  These have been possible with the fabulous support of Charlotte Udall and Peter Bray, who have helped people with a wide variety of topics including e-mail, excel, job hunting and CV writing.  Our IT experts have also helped Rose, who runs the Art Classes and who now uses the wifi network during her art classes … and many social club users are bringing along their own laptops to use while enjoying a pint!

January 2011 we set up shoe and ink cartridge recycling at the Village Hall.  We have been helping the local pub and the Council to work together and hoped to have a new Recycling Node installed at the pub.

We planned and held our Village Hall Energy Measures launch event/celebration event on February 16th 2011, with around 100 people attending including our funders.

On May 16th 2011 Derrington Brownies had a brilliant evening, potting on pumpkin seedlings and potting up peas and sunflower seeds.  They learnt a lot about what seeds and plants need in order to grow and thrive and shared lots of ideas on why it is good to ‘grow your own’ vegetables and fruit.  They all agreed that it’s lots of fun and an enjoyable thing to do.  The Brownies also understood that home grown fresh food has a high nutritional value and is therefore healthy for us to eat.  Other reasons the Brownies thought home grown food is so good included “You know that no chemicals have been sprayed on them” and “There’s no packaging like all that plastic packaging used in the supermarkets!”  Growing your own food is also good for the environment and means less transport needed and fewer lorries on the road.  We call the distance food has travelled from where it’s grown, to where it’s consumed, ‘food miles’.  The Brownies now plan to look after these plants – and others they are growing at home and at school – ready to exhibit at Derrington’s Third Local Food Festival.  This year’s Festival had a theme of ‘young growers’, though growers of all ages and abilities were welcome, and it took place on September 17th.

The Brownies have already shown their commitment to environmental issues.  Last November they spent an evening learning about trees and re-potting native tree saplings, ready to plant out when they are bigger.  In February they made around 25 nest boxes which they took home to put in their gardens and all being well, are now providing homes for this Spring’s new fledglings.

We made bat and bird boxes with the Brownies, and other children during our ‘holiday eco-activities’. Children from All Saint’s First School, Ranton came to the super cosy, solar powered, Village Hall in September 2011 to learn about energy issues, fossil fuels and climate change and melting ice caps and polar bears.

September 2011, the Third Local Food Festival, with a theme of ‘young growers’ and we worked with our local schools and the Brownies, to encourage their participation.