Welcome everyone to the meeting and thanks for coming.
It’s been a while since our last meeting, so lots has happened and lots of things to update on. We want to keep the meeting as quick as we can.
Introduction to Jon Hutchison Head of The Communities Team at Groundwork CLM.
- What we’ve achieved:
- Completed the stump removal and flag laying in the yurt –
- Lots of planting, lots of weeding and a great harvest so far this year – lots of soft fruits, beans, onions, courgettes and tomatoes
- Taken down the lime tree – thanks Saul, processed it for wood and lime bark and Saul has offered to come and do a workshop on making string from the bark.
- Ramp now very near to completion, steps nearly done, door needs extending
- Wood processing
- Lots of weeding, an ongoing job until the winter.
- 3 Roots To Wellbeing courses have now been completed, thanks to everyone involved. They have gone very well and being very much enjoyed by everyone involved.
- Music sessions have been very popular and felt really nice. Some of them have drawn new comers in.
- Next jobs : Seasonal work – preparing ground for new growing season, perhaps including digging manure into soil
- Donated logs will be coming in, maybe will need collecting from Crewe and will need working on. Woodland management days available
- Next RTW starting in September will be seasonal.
- Desire to make a new wood workshop, looking for funding to achieve this
Waste Reduction Volunteers team building day in April,
The Big Lunch Event in June attracted190 attendees – run in partnership with RWT and Transition Northwich, Pete’s band played and amazing food was made from leftover waste food.
We’ve had visits from 3 Brownie and Beaver Groups
Visit yesterday to Cogshall Grange as part of The National Garden Scheme, to have a look around the wonderful garden and meet the owners and gardeners.
Celebration event Wednesday 23rd August, for RTW certificate passes and overall volunteer celebration.
Coming up, P3 in September, hiring Grozone as a space for a celebration day.
All The Senior Management Team from Cheshire West and Chester Local Authority are visiting on Tuesday 31st October – and we need to give them a great Grozone experience, which will include them all getting their hands dirty!
Staff are working on lots of other projects in order to bring in money to support Grozone delivery. Andy would like to thank Pete and Caroline for all the extra time and effort that they’ve put in – Grozone is a great place to work, but it can be hard sometimes and can be very tiring, especially with having so many things to juggle.
Roots to Wellbeing Practical Horticulture Level 1.
3 groups have now all completed their awards, and everyone passed! Well done everyone, and well done Pete! Next block starts on 13th September for 10 weeks, with a half term in the middle.
Toddler Sessions, more than 250 new people have come to Grozone
Tytherington School, Macclesfield. This project is nearly complete and pupils have gained loads from the sessions. We’ve worked with around 10 pupils to put in some footpaths, build raised beds, move tons of soil, lay lots of paving and put up a graffiti wall. Opening session in September to pass the garden back to the school. With some help from Grozone volunteers that went along to help when it was lagging behind a little bit.
Love My River. Second year of EA funding, this is Yellow Fish project which highlights street drains leading directly to rivers to show where run off or things poured down the drain is causing pollutions. Also identifying “misconnections” on homes that are sending grey water to the sewage system or vice versa and want to publise misconnections and see if they are problems that can be fixed. Continuing citizen science and walk over surveys too.
Volunteer led sessions. Volunteers have been running sessions for regulars on Fridays since June. The sessions have mostly gone really well, and I think that all our volunteer leaders have enjoyed the additional responsibility.
These sessions are an opportunity to spend more time at Grozone, and it’s important that they remain a positive experience for everyone, otherwise we might need to reconsider having them. If you would like to become a volunteer leader yourself, please speak to Andy.
Started out as a bike give away project at The Big Lunch Event by Transition Northwich which they gave up, but BJ is turning it into a money spinner – thanks BJ. £15-20 for a bike. (Barry wants to be involved in this too)
We’ve started expanding the range of products on offer. We have an order for 4 picnic tables to be delivered to Birmingham University and have been busy dismantling pallets to make planters and bird boxes.
Projects in the pipeline
Brightlife application, we’re confident that this one will be more successful this year to get older isolated people to Grozone and working with them at their own gardens.
Youth Justice Service – Rea and her colleagues have been bringing young people for a long time now and we need to explore ways of generating funding to support these visits.
Delamere Park Gardening Club generously gave us £150.
Donation tin is being well used and please keep it up. Good to have it instead of subs.
Any other business
Cooking day food – SP feels we should be producing everything we eat from the site. And that we have the space. This isn’t done due to planning, money, lack of volunteer interest and staff know how.
Growing food that doesn’t spoil? Making sure there is enough for cooking day, perhaps having a plan for growing.
Kettle training – there is a list of people who have been trained to use the kettle safely, and keeping us in hot water will be a daily volunteer job from next week (only for those who have been trained)
Food growing meeting:
Jason, Denise, Rachel, Simon, Stuart, Will, Pete want to be involved. To plan planting and growing. Caroline will chair the first meeting on Wednesday 23rd August
Date of next meeting
Tuesday 26th September 1.30pm
We then held a second meeting to discuss Grozone's current status.
Andy started the meeting with a brief Grozone history – Set up in 2008 by Groundwork, with Beth leading and then Andy. Had lottery funding, local authority, WREN, CCG and when there hasn’t been funding Groundwork has stepped in and have paid to keep Grozone open. This enables us to have a lot of behind the scenes support. We are aiming to make Grozone independent because that will allow us to access funding that isn’t available when we are part of Groundwork. However it will cut off avenues of funding that are available at the moment like Love My River and RTW – Groundwork holds these contracts and asks Grozone staff to deliver these projects.
- Where we are now – no core funding to support regular volunteering sessions.
- Where we would like to be in the future and why – where we are not reliant on individual funders, and where Grozone’s future lies in Grozone’s hands.
- The steps, support and funding we need to get from where we are to where we want to be:
Expanding our capacity to generate income independently.
Seeking advice, support and funding from current partners.
Writing a business plan – this is not something to be wary of – all organisations have them, and we need one to show potential funders how their money will help us develop Grozone.
Identifying new potential partners/sponsors.
Setting up a separate Grozone Community Forum
- We want and need to involve the Grozone Community – and future funding applications need to be responding to a need identified by the community, rather than a need identified by Grozone – the result is similar, but it’s important that the community, rather than Groundwork is asking for the money
- The role of the group will initially be to provide evidence of this need, be representative of the wider Grozone community, help us identify possible sources of funding (which has already started - thanks), and do some of the work that we identify needs doing.
- comprised of key partners and volunteers (ideally 6 or 7 to make meetings function properly), to include people from representative user groups - Youth Justice due to an increase in use, Community Mental Health Teams, adults/YPs with disabilities (maybe Pettypool, have asked to come every week from September), 2 Grozone regulars and 1 or 2 others, (to be agreed – any suggestions?).
- Partner orgs will be expected to work on joint funding applications, and where appropriate to apply for funding that can be used to buy Grozone services (i.e.staff time).
- Group will need to be constituted – templates are available on line, and we suggest having a rotating chairperson, to spread the workload, make it fairer and make it balanced.
- how to choose who will represent volunteers, and how often we rotate the representatives,
- when to meet (day and time TBA).
- how often (every 2 months as a minimum, but more regularly as and when needed (to meet a short deadline funding opportunity for example),
- first meeting date to be confirmed - but either to follow Friends meeting on Tuesday 26th September, or possibly on Tuesday 19th
Thanks to everyone for attending and for your contributions.