Redacre Annual General Report January 2018

6th February 2018

It has been another eventful year at Red Acre Community Project. We began with a fantastic turn out at Lady Day to tidy the site and prepare for the growing year ahead. At present we still have about sixty members, plus their partners and their children. We had quite a turnover of plots and beds this time last year which brought a number of new members into our community.

This was noticeable throughout the year with a good shown of enthusiastic new faces at our community days making short thrift of tasks and maintenance. A big thank you to all who have contributed their hours this year. Unfortunately there are a number of members who have not contributed four hours of voluntary time to help maintain the site, which is an issue we will be discussing later tonight. Without the community pulling together we never could look after and develop our beautiful resource. Our focus at RedAcre has always been a Community Allotments first, individual plots second.

We started the year without a waiting list for the first time, however, putting word out on the electronic grapevine soon remedied, we now have fifteen people on the waiting list.

Some of the events and achievements of the last year include Kath Baker and Gavin Lee attending the Hebden Royd Town Council’s Annual Town Meeting where they presented a not quite “state of the art power point” on our compost toilet which the Council funded.

Having this compost toilet has enabled us to be suitable for groups to tick their health and safety forms and come to the site. This has led to the uptake our first two Community Allotments. Calder Primary (formerly Cragg Vale School) have taken on a plot. With their relocation to Mytholmroyd they feel able to walk along the canal and use the plot as an exciting outdoor learning and creative opportunity for their children. The School has been involved at RedAcre before with the design and planting of the entrance flowerbed.

Francis Minto and Gavin Lee have collaborated with “Together we Grow”, a project based in Blackshaw Head focused on providing opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers. The result of this was an initial very successful visit to RedAcre with over 40 asylum seekers from Rochdale (they even fired up the pizza oven and baked fresh flat breads). This has led on to them taking on a large plot next to the new chicken enclosure. We wish these two groups all the best in developing their plots and hope they gain bountiful harvests in the coming years.

Heather, Lynette and Helen organised RedAcre to be one of the venues open to anyone and everyone as part of the National Great Get Together event in memory of Jo Cox. It was a tremendous success with a number of people travelling from near and far extremely appreciative of being able share their belief in Jo’s words - “we have far more in common that that which divides us”. During the day, as well as a huge picnic and wood fired pizzas, there was pond dipping, and a veg n fruit quiz ‘Know Your Onions'.

Heather is keen to organize another event this summer on 23rd June. It shall hopefully include a Slightly Foxed bar, a samba band and dancing!!! If you feel able to help make this event happen do get in touch!

We approached the Canal and Rivers Trust with the proposal to create a second mooring for a permanent canal boat. They have accepted the proposal in theory and have asked us to submit a full proposal detailing our plans, and a flora impact survey. We have put this on hold but it is something we are considering undertaking. We need to come up with plans, costs. We would appreciate members views on this. It is a current plot holder who lives on a canal boat who would take on the mooring. The mooring would provide additional site security as well as income towards RedAcre.

The roundhouse has finally been completed with a brilliant weekend of hot lime render. Big thanks to Tony who volunteered his time and expertise in getting this task done. We had a wonderful day of sunshine and it feels as though the west facing walls will finally withstand the prevailing winds.

The Chicken Group, have managed to make a new enclosure in the flood plain. The chickens have loved exploring green grass. Big thanks to Community Payback for helping with the fence erection.

The Polytunnel Group have expanded with a new polytunnel and had a brilliant summer, bar a few teenage slashes of their pressures polythene…

Bee Group, Pond Group and the Fruit Group are all open to new members should anyone wish to join, especially the bee group.

And finally, our Christmas Cocktails at the Libertine alpine bar was a particularly merry evening. We practically took over the bar with 30 members bantering away merrily. Thanks to all who came to chink glasses and share smiles.

A Thank You to Lee Wild for her contribution as the Director of Finance, managing our purse strings and getting our tax return in on time each year. You have been brilliant!!! We are in need of someone willing to take on Lee’s role in charge of the cheque bok and tax return. It is not too “taxing” a task, a trickle of work htorughout the year and a fairly straightforward tax return to complete annually. Please please if you think you could help here get in touch ASAP.

Looking to the year ahead

If anyone has any other ideas they would like to suggest to the group and hopefully bring into action please fire away. Remember this is as much your project as anybody’s so let’s all make the most it!

Philip Cheshire-Neal - Chairman