The Voice in your Community
September 10th 2020, Issue 100
Previous articles by Ginny Gibson can be found here
Dear Readers, 100 issues of the voice magazine and I have been privileged to be part of the team, since issue 9, after I emailed Nigel on my birthday in March 2009 and asked if it would be possible for me to contribute to his new magazine with a gardening column, giving a plant of the month, some gardening tips from the local allotments residents and tips from my gardening apprenticeship at Women’s Farm and Garden Association, www.wfga.org.uk/ he graciously replied advising, “Let me know how you want to go about it and I am sure we can get it into print.” My first very short column featured Maria Peate and her son Jenson, who were so welcoming on Alexandra Allotments and my article was born.
I have since had the privilege of interviewing many skilled gardeners and associations’ connected to gardening, I will try and recount my first year at the Voice for this 100th edition: Who could forget Mr John Hickton and Mr Paul Walker advise about how to grow runners beans, Mr Wright gave me tips on giant sunflowers (buy giant sunflower seeds!), Jake from Millfield allotments advised on storing onions, Alice Chapman grew herbs in highly decorated pots, Manor House Farm allotments were great fun to visit, with Ian and Chris giving me tips on how green manure is vital for all plots, Clive and Margaret Smith plant tip was Acanthus Mollis which I have successfully grown, but it did take 5yrs! Mr Beardmore from Rocester Allotments recommended cow manure and the benefits for his plot. My visit to Park Avenue allotments allowed me to meet, Mr David Barker, Jim Godsafe, Mr Bailey and Gordon Harbour who gave me guidelines on growing asparagus, while Mr Barker imparted his knowledge on hedge layer, being a former champion hedge layer.
Reginald Chadwick, a resident at Doveridge helped me with a tip one month, as I got lost trying to find the allotments up there, plant onion seeds on Boxing Day. Dave and Jan at Alexandra allotments provided continued support with inspirational instructions each time they walked past my house, very grateful for their friendship over the years. Mr Shingler and his family told me about comfrey, which let’s face it is the miracle grow of the plant world and I now wouldn’t be without it in the garden. John and Danny inspired me with their homemade Riddle so their carrot patch was stone free. Arnold and Arthur advised to add lime to the soil, to prevent club root affecting cabbages, Sue and Charlie Udale provided me with a bird table, so my garden is still alive with wildlife.
The organisations that I discovered were also an inspiration, starting with the garden organic heritage seed library which advises on seeds from the past www.gardenorganic.org.uk/hsl, or the exotic plants from the Australian Plant Society, www.anzplantsoc.org.uk/, of course I featured the yellow book garden scheme on a number of occasions, Graham and Judy White, with neighbours, David and Helen Loughton open their gardens in Uttoxeter every year ngs.org.uk/, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, Eagle Sweet Peas, in Stowe by Chartley who are Chelsea gold medal winners, try their sweet peas, as they are perfectly perfumed www.eaglesweetpeas.co.uk/. Further afield is Fir Tree Nursery in Scropton who provided many useful tips on plants for each season, as did Heath House Farm nursery and café in Blythe Bridge www.heathhousefarm.co.uk/, plus Paradise Nurseries in Tean www.paradisenursery.co.uk/ and we can’t forget Strawberry Garden Centre in Bramshall strawberrygardencentre.co.uk/. Although I never interviewed Rosemary Roberts, she has been instrumental in ensuring that the Gardens Plant Fairs continue and provide an alternative space for plant buying, within Bramshall park and beyond. And finally, a huge thank you to Chris, George and Les who provided me with incredible fencing so I could grow clematis, the panels came from County Fencing Supplies in Hixon.
After a number of years doing the gardening column I moved my focus to local community groups, this came about when sitting in the hairdressers and listening to someone talking about an issue in their family that they didn’t know how to get support for and I knew of somewhere they could go, so I asked Nigel if I could feature groups that support our readers, as you are aware, he said yes and below are some of the wonderful groups, with their contact details, so you have a glossary for your reference.
I have to mention the wildlife trust – Staffordshire – www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk, then of course Community Matters at Waitrose who provides funds for local charity please email applications to: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mum Art Makers, Great Wood Hall, Upper Tean, who support women through crafting www.facebook.com/mumartmakers/, Greyhound Gap who help rehome hounds, www.greyhoundgap.org.uk/, Careline Calling who support isolated people through weekly telephone contact www.facebook.com/CarelineCalling/, Lions Club, whose motto is “We Serve” and who we are a group of committed and dedicated volunteers who offer help and support to individuals, families, charities and community organisations within the wider Uttoxeter area uttoxeterlions.co.uk/, Stramshall Bowls Club, Stramshall Village Hall gave me a warm welcome and flowers and cake too, Cheadle and District Animal Welfare, do an invaluable job at rehoming cats and dogs, email@example.com. Then you must visit Holly Road Supportive Care Centre, Holly Road, Uttoxeter, where you can go to get sign posted to lots of useful information and get support on all sorts of issues, from housing, dementia, grief counselling and lymphoedema support, call them on 01889 220420. Goldie’s singing group (not a choir), their moto is sing and smile, they meet regularly to sing along to music and share a cup of coffee too www.golden-oldies.org.uk/. The fantastic service by Approach, which is a dementia care and a carers café to help support the carers www.approachstaffordshire.co.uk/cafe-cheadle/, Halfrida House, the women’s refuge and support service, The Autism Pyramid Group, who created a safe supportive play group, www.supportstaffordshire.org.uk/organisation-directory/autism-pyramid-group-the. I really enjoyed meeting The Uttoxeter Station Adopters, in collaboration with North Staffordshire Community Railway Partnership, who keep the gardens at Uttoxeter Railway station looking gorgeous. The energy I found at the fitness league, which stated in 1920’s to ensure women stayed fit and well, www.fl-exercise.com/find-a-class/ was inspiring.
Then I interview the North Staffordshire Railway Study Group, www.nsrsg.org.uk, who collate all the information and history of the railway. A real favourite of mine, is Talking News, a fabulous service for the blind or partially sighted, where they get a weekly “recorded tape” of newspaper and magazine articles, so they can listen in their own homes and continue to feel connected, contact them via their website to receive this service www.lichfieldtalkingnews.co.uk/, the “Fun in Fole” craft group started by Rachel Bott, at Fourways Country Café, Fole it is a great bunch of women who enjoy crafts and chatting – ring Fourways to find out more 01889 507177. The most emotional interview I did was with Youth emotional support services, the team is dedicated to ensuring that children have access to strategies to be able to cope with life’s’ hard knocks, their work ensures that our next generation will be emotionally intelligent people who have the tools to deal with life and life’s terms www.yess.uk/. Featuring Tean Valley Meadow Nature Trust who provide a safe acres of land for Barn Owls to thrive was magical and of course who could forget the Men in Sheds article, with Dave, Clive and Graham and all the creative wooden items they make. The Probus Club is a group for retired or semi-retired men from all business or professional back grounds who meet regularly to share interests and companionship www.probusonline.org/history/. Uttoxeter Canals Trust is a fabulous group of people, who are passionate about restoring the canal locally plus reinstating the mileposts, to find out what is happening on the canal, visit their website cuct.org.uk
Buddy Bags was an idea from Australia, the founder here understood that the sad fact is that 48,000 children in the UK, have to flee their homes quickly and go to emergency accommodation, most of them leaving a violent situation and Buddy Bags steps in to provide a rucksack or as they call it, a Buddy Bag, that has toiletries, pyjamas, socks and underwear, plus comfort items such as a book, a photo frame and a teddy bear. One of the mothers wrote a thank you post card to the Buddy Bag Foundation, which says it all, “I was so surprised and really grateful to receive 2 Buddy Bags for my children, I had hardly anything with me, because we had to leave so rapidly, it’s a great idea and helped a lot”. www.facebook.com/pg/BuddyBagFoundation/events/.
The Forum 50+ group are a Committee that have established a dialogue with local government, statutory and non-statutory providers to ensure that the voice of local people is heard in the right place, these are a group of people who care passionately about resolving issues within the community. We mustn’t forget the British Wildlife Rescue Centre, based in Weston ST18 0JS, whose volunteers give tremendous care to the injured, abandoned wildlife in the area and for me I was able to meet all the hedgehogs, who are a favourite of mine. thebwrc.com/Found-An-Injured-Animal/. Finally, we have nearly come full circle my visit to the Bramshall Garden Club, where the committee, Brigitte, Clive, Penny & John offer a very warm welcome each month to approx. 30 people, with tea, coffee and of course biscuits, (a club is never the same without a biscuit), after the informal garden presentation.
I may have forgotten to mention some of the allotment people or community groups that I have featured, if so, my apologies, I did the best I could. All I can say is thank you for reading my articles and I hope that some of the features have enabled you to have a giggle and hopefully to find a group that can either help you or that you can join, in order that you are part of this great community we have in our area.
If you would like your group's web address to be added here please email firstname.lastname@example.org