Saturday, August 27, 2011

August Meeting - Minutes

Meeting of 25th August, at The Vine

Present:- Jeff, Carolyn, Justin, Chris, Christine, Andrew, Sue F, Sue C, Jo Vos, Ann Barnes, Anne B, Ken Shadbolt, Marg Ferguson. Apologies from Emma Isworth, James Scott, Lizzie Power and Ian Brooks.

(Also in attendance were Sue Gilbert, Carol James, John James, apparently thinking we were having a meeting about housing!)

Jeff gave us an update from Lizzie at No.75, on the progress of 'Crop Swap'. They have been getting some donations, albeit slowly. They are also starting a food market on the terrace every Friday. It was agreed this sounded like a goood idea. The issue of the general market was raised, the general feeling being that it isn't very good spread around theHigh Street as it is. It would be much better if it was all in one place, as it used to be. We will ask the Town/Borough councils about the feasibility of putting it all in one spot, maybe Bridewell Lane Car Park.

Clean Up day update. The Guides have volunteered to help out, doing the area around the infant/junior school. We are getting people starting to volunteer now. We haven't been able to get the contacts for the neighbourhood watch, but hopefully Ann Barnes' husband will be able to help. Sue F has taken the role of 'Sharps Collector' for the day, this will ensure nobody takes any unneccessary risks on the day. When anyone spots any sharps they can ring Sue and she can go to get the items safely. 

Bike to Work Wednesday is to be renamed Hike and Bike Wednesday, to make it more inclusive. We need to promote this event more extensively. Every Wednesday, 5.30-6.30 ish, White Lion.

T3TEA update. 1st October, 10-4, Highbury Hall. A traditional fund raising coffee morning, with a mini market of local traders. Confirmed so far are Pretty Goods, Funky Hen, Gusborne Vineyard, Morghew Potatoes, Quarterhouse Alpacas. There will be displays about our projects, and chutney and jam made from foraged and donated fruits. Some Raffle prizes have been donated by Sandpipers, but we still need more. We also need volunteers to help, and Cakes etc. to sell. Ann Barnes volunteered to make a cake, and to help out. Sue F and Anne B offered some Chamber of Commerce umbrellas for raffle prizes.

St Michaels Fun Day. We have a stall booked for this event, and have a gazebo, table and plenty of promotional items to hand out. This is an awareness raising event, so we need some volunteers to help out. We will take some chutney etc along, and some cookies etc to draw people in. The fair is from 12-5, so we need to be there from 10.30 to set up.

The idea of trying to get all the shops to turn off the lights at night was discussed again, and this led to a discussion about the town's Christmas Lights.These are paid for by the Chamber of Commerce, and are now low energy bulbs.There has been criticism of these lights against the old muti colour ones, but Sue F explained that the saving on the cost of electricity has been enormous.

Jeff announced our new project idea, an awareness raising plan . We intend to create a walk/treasure trail around Tenterden, which we will run on Boxing Day, to coincide with the Hunt. We will set clues to lead people around the 'back ' of the High Street, to promote the various facilities and remind them of the hidden parts of Tenterden. We will also be promoting 'Green' issues in the walk, as well as interesting facts about the town. We hope to tie in the pubs and the churches to help us promote the walk, and to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

Highbury Hall Community Garden.   The plants which we put in are thriving. We have used weedkiller on the concrete to try to eradicate the very persistent weeds there. We need more plants and seeds. We have received donations through Freecycle of pots seeds and tools.We also need volunteers to help weed and water on a regular basis. We will try to meet with Marie at the playgroup asap to work out the best way of involving the children.

Open Green Map. This was suggested to us by Di Greaves at Transition Llandrindod.  Sue C explained that this is an interactive map, in which you can audit your town and show all the various 'green' things, with different categories, e.g. resilience, local source, etc. The map can be used in various ways, to promote the town, to measure resilience and so on. It is possible to upload photos, write reviews of each item and so on. Jeff has signed up to start a map for Tenterden, but it is a large project , so again we will be looking for volunteers to get involved. 

We have applied to the NatWest Community Force scheme for a grant. Our application has been accepted, and voting starts on September 26th.

The next meeting is September 22nd, two days before Cleanup Day, venue to be confirmed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Free - At A Price

Anyone out there a Freecycle user? I have been for a while, and it's certainly very useful for getting rid of clutter - disposed of an old sofa, some dog crates and cat baskets and a child's easel this year alone. Very useful for acquiring stuff too - while in the States I got 2 computer desks and a sofa and love seat that way. Very handy.

I've been using it recently to get some things for our various projects. I needed stuff for the garden project and so far some seeds, plant pots, a shovel and an electric mower have come our way. Later this week I am due to pick up some jam jars for our T3 chutney-making endeavours. All in all, a really useful service.

You know what this is leading up to, don't you? As readers of my other blogs know all too well, I don't usually lay on the praise this heavily at the outset unless there is a gripe of some fashion in the offing. So, even though I don't like to be mean, confrontational or overtly critical, I feel I must venture forward and say my piece.

I am a member of two local Freecycle groups, Rye Freecycle and Ashford Freecycle, living as I do somewhere between the two.

Rye Freecycle is the smaller of the two groups. Not as many members means not as many posts, less stuff on offer. However, even though they are slower to approve and post a message, they generally do without any hassle.

Ashford Freecycle is a much larger group, more members, more stuff available, you get the idea. However, they have a large and extensive list of rules about posting, which if you haven't read, can cause your seemingly innocuous post to get kicked back unceremoniously for some perceived error.

I made the mistake in a post asking for garden stuff to mention that it was for a 'community project', thinking that this would encourage people to dig around that extra bit harder for some old garden tools from the shed or whatever. A blistering email came back telling me that they had very strict rules about charity donations and would need not only the name of the organisation, address, telephone number but also the name of the group leader and our registered charity number etc. I'd also posted a similar message asking for jam jars and home brew equipment (for cider making projects). This got the same treatment. So I wrote back very politely and gave them all the info they required and then some, lingering over the fact that we are most definitely not a charity. The email came back saying I needed to alter my original post and put all that info that I'd just sent to them in the message for all and sundry to read. Fine, whatever, copy, paste, click, done. Happy now?
For a while it seemed they were. But after a week or two went by and nothing but garden stuff came our way, I was concerned over the jam jars. We still keep getting more fruit given to us (apples, blackberries, damsons, plums, even a marrow) but no joy on the jars. Well, I thought, put out another call for jam jars. keep it simple this time. no mention of a volunteer group but just a need for jars. I've already had two replies via the Rye group, but the only thing I've had from Ashford is the moderator carping on again. "You've already asked for jars once this month, you can't ask again!"

Well, excuuuuse me!

N.B. Should have loads of chutneys and jams available for you to sample at T3Tea, Sat October 1st, Highbury Hall, 10 till 4. Miss this and you miss out.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


invite you to



SAT OCTOBER 1st 2011

10am - 4pm

Teas, home made baked goods, chutneys and jams
Raffle and tombola with prizes donated by local businesses
Displays of our current projects and ideas for the future
Local food stalls and crafters
Come see our Community Garden at the hall


So far we have eleven vendors confirmed;

Gusbourne Estates Vineyard (Appledore)

The Funky Hen (unique handcrafted items from Woodchurch)

Morghew Potato Shop (Tenterden)

Quarter House Alpacas (Smallhythe's own alpaca wool products)

Pretty Goods (Tenterden)

Penny Smith (unique funky knits from Folkestone)

Tenterden Makers (jewellery, art, textiles)

Mark Sidders (wood carving from High Halden)

Gibbet Oak Farm (honey and produce)

Silcocks Farm Organics (Cheeses made in St. Michaels)

Kench Hill Centre (produce)

Of course remember that the town's going to be busy - it's the weekend of the Tenterden Folk Festival, so why not make a day of it?

Saturday, August 13, 2011


The group continues to make headway a little at a time. Every Wednesday, as you know, we host 'Bike To Work Wednesday' - soon to become 'Hike & Bike Wednesday' to make it more inclusive - and most of these Wednesday meet-ups become mini planning sessions. There are more projects on the horizon based on the ideas put forth during these times, and they are quite exciting ones, for example we are planning an Autumn/Winter Quiz, with questions about landmarks in the town, to see how much people know about the place they live. There will be photographic clues and a route to walk around the town wherein one can check off things one has seen, like a treasure hunt. We are working on the route(s) and clues as we speak.

We have applied for a bank account for our organisation, because after all, we need to keep donated monies separate, and also because any grants we apply for tend to require a bank account. We have registered our projects at NatWest Community Force which could potentially bring us a £6,000 award, which we could then spend on the Community Garden project and other ideas.

The Community Garden project is in full swing, we've planted a bunch of donated plants and are soon to receive seeds and plant pots and tools from interested donors.

On October 1st we are to be in Highbury Hall (location of the Community Garden) for an event we are calling T3Tea, which will be a chance for us to talk about our various projects, sell some tea and cakes and homemade chutney (made from waste apples) and host some local vendors. Currently we have three comfirmed vendors, including local winery Gusbourne Estates, and local crafters The Funky Hen and Pretty Goods. We also have some titillating 'maybes' which I should hold back from divulging at this time.

We've also been hitting the bricks with our letters to local businesses which basically introduce us, say who we are, what we do, what our projects are to date and what they can do to support us (volunteer, donate, etc...). We received 4 prizes for a raffle (for T3Tea) from Sandpipers  in Sayers Lane, so big thanks to them for being first out of the starting gate. Between Carolyn and myself, we have given letters to the bulk of the businesses in the High street but we still have a way to go, with easily 30 more businesses to hit (not including the solicitors offices or dental practices).

We also did our first public speaking engagement on Thursday night when we were invited by the Tenterden Rotary Club on the Tuesday to come along and talk about Transition. So Carolyn, Justin and myself hashed out a little 2-page script, hastily cobbled from numerous sources, went along and after being fed lovely (local) food from FoodFairies Ltd, stood up and took it in turns to say a piece. Afterwards the floor was opened to questions and judging from the many questions we fielded, the Rotarians seemed very interested, especially in participating in Tenterden CleanUp Day which is only 6 weeks away!

On that subject, we have sent all paperwork in to CleanKent, who are supplying hi-vis tabards, pickers, sacks, rigger gloves etc. Jo Vos the Town Warden has put us in contact with the Neighbourhood Watch coordinator and we have left him a voicemail or two. All we need now is a ton of volunteers.

Anyway, that's about it for now. Off to Sissinghurst Castle tomorrow for the Smallholding Fair - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Sarah Raven will be there, so it should be fun.