Present at the meeting were Jeff, Laura, Carolyn, Justin, Christine, Chris, Andrew, Jo Vos, Emma Isworth, Barbara Misselbrook, Ann Barnes and later joined by Patricia Wilson, Nigel and Sheila
After general introductions, Jeff bought us up to date on the plans for 'Tenterden Clean up day'. Jo Vos has given Jeff the forms to register the event with 'Clean Kent' who will provide litter pickers, tabards etc, and who will also arrange with ABC to pick up the rubbish. We need to decide which areas we want to tackle, as we will need to do a risk assessment. Justin suggested that we could involve Neighbourhood Watch groups,and assign areas on that basis. Jo will be able to contact the NW co-ordinators for this. It was also discussed that we should have more than one collection point for the rubbish, and that we transport it by vehicle to the central location at the end. Jeff has registered the event with 'Keep Britain Tidy' who have provided stickers, tabards, sacks etc to use on the day, and to help publicise the event Emma suggested that we should advertise the event in the Parish Magazine, and in the local paper, which she will help with. Jeff has designed posters for the event ,and has built the Facebook page,so there are a variety of ways for people to get involved. We need to discuss with Chris Weir how we will get the recyclable rubbish to him.
Bike to Work Wednesday launches next week, the 6th. This is an ongoing project, and there will be a social meeting in the White Lion from 5pm onwards. As we want this to be an inclusive project, all are welcome, cycling to work or not! We want to encourage non-cyclists to get involved. Justin has found that RM cycles will do a bike 'MOT' service for £30. He is going to make enquiries to see if anyone does it cheaper than this. Justin is also going to make contact with the schools to see if we can get the children involved. Jeff will produce posters to advertise the scheme. It was mentioned that the only dedicated cycle route in Tenterden is along the old railway line, between Grange Road and Drury Road. It is a pity that we dont have any other cycle routes to encourage cyclists, but it was said that the more cyclists we get on the roads ,the safer they will be. Jo also mentioned that she had tried to encourage the schools to set up 'walking buses' but had met with little success. It was hoped we could start a 'cycling crocodile' instead.
Jeff reported on the successful Highbury Hall Clean Up day. A willing group of volunteers from T3 and from Highbury Hall gave up their Sunday morning to weed and dig around the hall, to spruce it up. This is an under-used resource, which the new HH commitee are determined to bring back to life in its intended purpose of being for the youth of Tenterden. While we were at the hall we discovered that many years of leaf mould etc has left the ground looking very fertile, and the idea of making some sort of community garden there, perhaps involving the playgroup children, was put forward. Jeff will make contact with the playgroup leaders and the committee to discuss this further.
Leading on from this Emma asked the question about the use of the Millenium Garden at the Pebbles, now that the building is to be let out. Christine explained that the Millenium Garden would continue to be open as it is now, with no problems of access. The idea of using this space as a community garden for growing vegetables etc. among the flowers has been mooted previously,but apparently vandalism became an issue .
Jo is involved in a Gardening Project at the Infant School, so it will be worth visiting this for ideas on how best to involve the children.
Sandi Bain, the manager of Kench Hill was unable to be present, but Laura explained that they have a very solid recycling policy there and Sandi has a Ridan composter. They grow their own fruit and veg in a polytunnel, recycle everything they can, compost food waste and even have a 'Straw Bale' classroom. Sandi has said that we are welcome to visit them and have a look at the operation, so Jeff will try to liaise with her and organise a field trip.
Leading on from this, Justin suggested the possibility of a local composting scheme, in which we would collect food scraps and other suitable materials to produce our own compost which we could then sell to local gardeners/allotment users etc. It was agreed we need to find someone who has sufficient expertise in composting ,and that we would need to find a suitable site to do this. This in turn led us back to the discussion about allotments and landshare schemes,see previous meeting.
Jeff then told us about some Transition Groups who had gone into Cider production using 'waste' Apples from local farms.It appears that some Orchard owners dump the apples as it is cheaper than trying to use them/transport them, and they are not acceptable quality to sell. They are still perfectly usable to make cider with. Jeff has looked into the HMRC regulations, and apparently you do not pay duty on small scale productions. We need to look into the Environmental Health and Hygiene regulations to find out more. It was agreed that we would need to find a press, and premises to produce and store the Cider, and also find ways of transporting the apples and the product. Patricia will contact her friend in Devon who produces Cider for more information, and Jeff will try to make contact with some local farms, such as Gibbet Oak. Justin will try to talk to Biddenden Vineyard.
The subject of the dumped apples led us to a discussion about the fly-tipping that seems to occur in Spains Wood. A mini clean up was suggested, and Jo advised that we could make a note of large items,and the exact location to pass to ABC. It would seem that it is the responsibility of the land owner to clean up this sort of thing, but identifying the owner isnt always straightforward. Justin said the first port of call would be to search the land registry. Emma thought she had seen a map with all the land owners marked, and thought it may have been to do with the Residents Association, so she will try to find this.
Jeff reported back that we had met with Chris Weir, and had a look around his facility. It was mentioned that we had seen a hand written poster for the facility posted in St Michaels Fish and Chip shop, and Jeff suggested that we could help Chris by producing some more professional looking posters. A meet with Chris to find out exactly what help he wants/needs is required. Ways for him to be able to expand his services and operation without upsetting his neighbours are needed.
Other points raised.
Re Clean up Day, Jeff would like to create a buzz, so he suggested we get the town crier along, also some musicians etc. Jo suggested a BBQ at the end of the event for the helpers. A concern was raised that the Tigers use the Rec on Saturdays, so we would need to look into this.
Jeff thought it would be a good idea to have a stand of some sort during the Folk Festival, to promote our organisation and the various projects. Jeff has obtained various promotional items at minimal cost such as Banners and Postcards. It was agreed that this would be a good idea, and that Jeff should contact Alan Castle about this. Emma suggested that we should do the same for Tentertainment, although it would be short notice,and Jeff will contact Mike Carter. Andrew volunteered to help with handing out flyers etc.
There is a lady from Transition Eugene, Oregon who is looking to visit the UK for a holiday, and would like to visit some Transition towns while she is here. Jeff will contact her and see if she will be in our area, and hopefully she can come over and advise and inspire us.
Emma made a suggestion that we should have one night where ALL the shops turn off all of the lights. It was agreed wholeheartedly that this was a very good idea, and that there is no real need for any of the shops to leave the lights blazing all night long. We will make a list of which shops have lights on and contact them with a view to co-ordinating a switch off night.
Sheila raised a point regarding the Blue Box scheme. Apparently when she moved to her house she requested a Blue Box, but was told she could not have one as the scheme did not cover her road (Brook Street). We advised her to try contacting the council again, as they have recently extended the scheme, but agreed it would be interesting to know which streets were not covered, and why. Sheila was told that some roads are too narrow for the lorry, but surely if the Dustcart can fit up them, the recycling lorry can too?
Jeff to email Justin the Bike poster, so he can print it out and give it to Christian at the White Lion to display. Justin to also speak to Christian about using the function room.Jeff to organise printing of posters for Bike, and for Clean up.
Next meeting is provisionally 27th July. Jeff to confirm date,time and venue.