Archive for the ‘Services’ Category

I think we can all agree it’s been a remarkable year weather wise and it’s certainly caused some issues with our water bill, very definitely not helped by the outsourcing of non-domestic water charges to non-Severn Trent companies. A lot of time and effort has been put in by both Steve Yorke and Steve Williams to try to stop us from getting ridiculously large monthly estimated bills.  This year has bought home though how vital it is for all gardeners to be collecting rainwater. If you have a building on your garden you should have a collection barrel rigged up. If you want help/advice just ask.

The Community work days have been frustrating in as much as a small regular team has turned up and some gardeners have taken jobs on themselves as a regular task. But it’s the same faces. There is no immediate chance of offenders coming and giving us a helping hand so we need to do maintenance and project work ourselves. Harry’s old gardens need converting and I am trying to be inventive on how this is achieved. We cannot afford to let gardens stand idle and have no income coming in. I am trying hard to get tenants on the two other gardens we have vacant. Over winter we will advertise some work days on the plots near the gate and try to blitz the work. Obviously, we wish to say a big thank you to those who do turn out to help.

As you are aware we are facing proposed rent rises. I am in the process of attending a series of 3 evening meetings with other associations and the council where rents and new leases are being discussed. How this will all turn out I honestly have no idea at the moment, but because everyone’s leases end at different times the council ideas could mean varying rents or charges between various associations. The current proposals for council direct let gardens would see 56p per sq meter, associations without new leases would be about the same, with a new lease it would be about 30p as a starting point.

The AGM next year will be on Sunday 17th March it is very important that you make the effort to come, or send a representative if you can’t. It was snowy this year but that does not really excuse such a poor turnout. If you want to keep the allotments going then you need to take an interest and have a say in what is happening.  We need more active Committee members, it is very possible that we might have to fundraise to keep rents down which is one of the proposals the council has made, plus keeping the site well managed and tidy, we need fresh ideas and fresh faces and a bit less moaning when things don’t get done.

Steve Williams our Treasurer is standing down so we need someone to take on that responsibility as soon as possible. Our financial year starts on the 1st January, so before then would be ideal. Help and support will be given. This role is vital we cannot continue without a treasurer. For an informal talk about the roles responsibilities and how much time is needed please contact me.

If you wish to know any more about the committee, the council proposals and rent rises please feel free to ask me. Please keep your eye open for news and a possible early new year meeting/vote if any decisions are made on the lease over the next couple of months.

Jackie Medcalf

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WATER USAGE.  

OK ITS RAINED A BIT.

HOWEVER!!!!  The Water supply is not the problem its the cost of how much is being used that is the problem.

First of all a big thank you to those of you who have complied with our requests to cut back on water usage.  The amount of water being used is still being monitored on a daily basis. The amount of cubic meters of water used in comparison to other years is still high. If the heat wave continues without regular consistent rainfall this will have a massive effect on our ability to spend any money for the rest of this year and next year. Our bill is already well over the amount we put aside each year to cover the water charges. NO one should be using sprinklers or oscillators to water their gardens. We have considered a number of options the first of which was to ask for your support in reducing your own individual water consumption on site and we continue to ask you to do so.

  1. No Sprinklers/Oscillators to be used.
  2. Hose pipes can be used at the moment to fill water barrels and then the water used to fill watering cans. Which target crops better.
  3. If you must use a hose because you have no storage. Target the plants. Watering a pathway is unnecessary!!  as is watering weeds which should be kept to a minimum to allow vegetables some chance to flourish.
  4. Be realistic. Some crops will not produce edible plants now no matter how much you water them so let them die or wait for rain.
  5. Water once a day and rotate what you water. Greenhouses and polytunnels only need watering every other day.
  6. Do not under any circumstances leave the water running while you do something else and do not use anything that leaks.
  7. Do not leave hose pipes attached to the taps if you are not using them.

The meter will continue to be monitored and if the dry weather continues into late August we reserve the option of reducing the supply or turning the water off completely. This has been a very strange year weather-wise, no one person has experienced different weather to the rest of us, this is your association and everyone should be pulling together and helping each other not acting in a self-interested way.

We will be looking at how we can keep our finances secure and if extra charges are needed as a one-off this year then they will be imposed. Baring in mind there has been no rise in water charges for many years we will be discussing that option. I am also thinking about how in the future we manage conditions like this. My preference is to ride this out and decide at the AGM next year what to do and when hopefully the council’s rent policy may be clearer.

BUT IF THE DECISION NEEDS TO BE MADE TO PROTECT OUR FINANCES THEN THAT DECISION WILL BE MADE WHEN NEEDED.

Please support what we are trying to do.  

Jackie

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Water Usage

First of all a big thank you to those of you who have complied with our requests to cut back on water usage. The amount of water being used is being monitored on a daily basis and over a weeks measurement, we are still using over £200 pounds worth of water per week. The amount of cubic meters of water used in comparison to other years is mind-boggling and unsustainable. If the heat wave continues without regular consistent rainfall this will have a massive effect on our ability to spend any money for the rest of this year and next year.  Our bill is already well over double the amount we put aside each year to cover the water charges. There are some who are continuing to use an average weather years water on their gardens and using sprinklers/ oscillators. We have considered a number of options the first of which is to ask for your support in reducing your own individual water consumption on site.

  1. No Sprinklers/Oscillators to be used.
  2. Hosepipes can be used at the moment to fill water barrels and then the water used to fill watering cans. Which target crops better.
  3. If you must use a hose because you have no storage. Target the plants. Watering a pathway is unnecessary as is watering weeds which should be kept to a minimum to allow vegetables some chance to flourish.
  4. Be realistic. Some crops will not produce edible plants now no matter how much you water them so let them die or wait for rain.
  5. Water once a day and rotate what you water. Greenhouses and polytunnels only need watering every other day.
  6. Do not under any circumstances leave the water running while you do something else and do not use anything that leaks.

Over the next few days the meter will be monitored and if the rate has gone down no further action will be taken as yet, however, over the next couple of days if there is no significant decrease then the water flow/pressure will be halved.  I am away for the next two weeks and if needs be other members of the committee will impose a hosepipe ban and ultimately we reserve the option of turning the water off completely, but that seems to be a waste of the money we have already spent. Hence the action as above.  This has been a very strange year weather-wise, no one has experience different weather to the rest of us, this is your association and everyone should be pulling together and helping each other not acting in a self-interested way.

We will hold another committee meeting when I return and if necessary we will have an EGM very soon after.  We will be looking at how we can keep our finances secure and if extra charges are needed as a one-off this year then they will be imposed.  Bearing in mind there has been no rise in water charges for many years we will be discussing that option. I am also thinking about how in the future we manage conditions like this.

Please support what we are trying to do.

Please note though that if Severn Trent imposes a hosepipe ban then no matter what our meter is telling us we will have to comply. We also reserve the right to turn the water off if necessary.

Jackie

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OUR WATER SUPPLY IS METERED AND HAVING TAKEN A READING IT LOOKS LIKE OUR WATER USAGE HAS DOUBLED ALREADY THIS YEAR WHICH MEANS THE WATER BILL WILL ALSO DOUBLE. SEVERN TRENT IS ASKING THE PUBLIC TO BE SPARING WITH WATER AND WE NOW HAVE TO ASK YOU TO DO THE SAME ON THE ALLOTMENTS.

  1. TARGET WATER YOUR PLANTS. WATER AT GROUND LEVEL DO NOT USE SPRINKLERS.
  2. IF YOU HAVE MULTIPLE GARDENS DO NOT LEAVE WATER RUNNING IN ONE GARDEN WHILE YOU GO TO ANOTHER.
  3. WATER ONCE A DAY ONLY AND ROTATE WHAT YOU WATER.
  4. DO NOT USE WATER HOSES OR TAP FIXTURES IF THEY LEAK. NEW PARTS COST ONLY A COUPLE OF POUNDS. WE WILL ASK YOU TO TURN OFF LEAKING EQUIPMENT.
  5. WHERE POSSIBLE USE WATERING CANS.
  6. BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR CROPS. WATERING NOW WILL NOT HELP SOME CROPS SURVIVE OR GROW ANYMORE.

IT IS VERY POSSIBLE WE MAY NEED TO IMPOSE OUR OWN HOSEPIPE BAN VERY SOON.  WE MAY HAVE TO DECIDE TO SWITCH OFF THE WATER IF THERE IS NO SIGN OF RAIN VERY SOON.

WE ONLY HAVE A LIMITED AMOUNT OF SURPLUS MONEY AFTER THE RENT TO THE COUNCIL HAS BEEN PAID. WE CANNOT RUN OUT OF OPERATING MONEY. THEREFORE IF THIS SITUATION CONTINUES WE WILL HAVE TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT RAISING EXTRA FUNDS. THE WATER CHARGES HAVE BEEN HELD AT THE SAME RATE FOR AT LEAST 6 YEARS AND IT IS LOOKING LIKE THESE WILL HAVE TO GO UP THIS YEAR.

A DECISION ABOUT HOSE PIPES WILL BE MADE NEXT WEEKEND BEFORE I GO ON HOLIDAY.  A COMMITTEE MEETING MEETING WILL BE HELD AT THE BEGINNING OF AUGUST WHEN WE WILL HAVE A BETTER IDEA OF BOTH FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS AND THE WEATHER FORECASTS FOR THE REST OF SUMMER. IF NECESSARY WE WILL CALL AN EGM.

I AM SURE EVERYONE REALISES THAT WE ARE FACING CONDITIONS BEYOND OUR CONTROL AND IT IS IMPORTANT THAT INDIVIDUALS TAKE INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY AND COOPERATE FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL.

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June Newsletter

Two members of the committee, Steve Yorke and Steve Williams have this week spent a lot of time stopping another one of the water standpipes from leaking.  This is not an easy task as it means digging down to the base of the standpipe through mud then getting down on the muddy ground and locating the leaking bit in water, removing it and replacing it.  The water has to be switched off and on, whilst this is happening which involves getting down into another manhole.  It is a back breaking and filthy job to do. But it saves a lot of money and as this is probably the 4th or 5th time this particular part has given way I think we can be confident that most of the other standpipes will leak in the not too distant future. So we are pretty dependent on the two Steves to be available to stop the leaks.  The only alternative would be to switch the water off entirely and pay a plumber. So a massive thank you to both of them.  If anyone out there has basic plumbing skills who would be willing to find out about our water system as backup help if necessary, please talk to Steve Yorke or Steve Williams.

Four weeks ago I put notices out asking everyone to be proactive in getting data permission forms from me.  There are 79 people who need to do this. It’s meant a huge alteration to our database, (thanks to Steve Medcalf for doing this) and then the checking and updating of 79 separate entries onto the database.  This is after research, production, distribution etc of those forms.  Most of you have now had the forms one way or another and thank you for doing this.  However, I am still left with 10 unfilled ones plus several forms that have been given out but not yet been completed and given back. Some of those contacted have not bothered to reply to emails or texts. So it means that putting a line under yet another admin task is once again becoming frustrating to say the least. The point I am making is that to keep our allotments working a lot of voluntary work goes on that the greater majority of you do not see or appreciate happens at all.  The norm in fact is that people only react to anything if it affects them personally when they then think no one is doing anything about it, usually the opposite is in fact true or there are valid reasons why a decision is being delayed.

Personally I have found this a difficult 6 months all in all and we now have several gardens that are basically no longer being worked and action is being taken to address this, however, that in itself means work for someone else.  Harry has left us and it is important that his huge plot of land is recovered and reclaimed but it is not going to be easy and we will require help.  I have a plan in my head with what to do with it we just need to do it. Hopefully we can do this without calling for outside help.  It will be an ongoing task for several months on community days and in peoples spare time.

If you have not yet filled in or returned your data forms and given permission for us to contact you please do so.  I will chase people once more by text.  If I don’t hear from you or you have returned your forms without giving permission to contact you I will presume you don’t want to be informed about anything other than what gets circulated publically on the web site or notice boards or of course, when your rent bill is due, so it will be up to you to keep yourself informed from now on.

I was asked about the BBQ a couple of days ago. It was announced at the AGM it’s on Saturday 1st September, all are welcome.  If you wish to “do something” for example sell crafts or plants then you are welcome.  There will be a light hearted show of veggies, flowers as usual.  If anyone has any bright ideas for something different your ideas and organisational skills will be welcome.

Jackie.

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This association only keeps personal information on tenants of these gardens.  Information may also be kept on those regular helpers or who share a tenancy. The only information we collect is Name, address, phone numbers and email addresses. This data may be kept on both a secure computer database and as a paper record. Information may be kept on someone’s personal skills where offered which may be useful to the association in solving a problem on site. We also record the pension or income support status of tenants to allow for the appropriate rent discount for those tenants. This information will be used only for the management and administration of the association and will not be disclosed to any third party unless the association is required to do so by law or in compliance with legal obligations. Your personal information will not be shared with any other organisation. Tenants have a right to inspect the information held on them by the association on request.

Jackie Medcalf
Secretary
17th May 2018

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Community Work Day – Update

The first community workday was held on Sunday 15th April at which we had hoped to carry out a series of maintenance jobs needed on the site.  The turnout was very disappointing as only two allotment holders, as well as the usual committee members, turned up to do the work.  The consequence of this obviously meant that only a small amount of the work we wanted to get done was carried out.  In any event many thanks to Steve PORTER and David KIRKHAM who turned up to help on the day.

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Charity Garden

As most of you know Community Payback have done a lot of work for us over the last few years in particular bringing back overgrown gardens so they are easier to relet and jobs around the communal areas which have saved a few of us a lot of hard work. This year they took on a garden for their own with regular supervisor,  Ben.

It was badly overgrown and after improving it they started to grow veg. Their produce like everyone’s is now ready. They are donating their fruit and vegetables to

ST PAUL’S PRESBYTERY SOUP KITCHEN at Lenton.

They are feeding lunch to 20 to 40 people each weekday. All are vulnerable and some homeless. Although they get dry goods donated they do not receive fresh fruit and vegetables from any other source. Nothing is wasted and anything not used is passed onto another local kitchen.

So if  you have any surplus crops that you really don’t need please consider donating them to the the group who will deliver them to the St Paul’s every friday morning. You can take produce to the garden 34 (Joe’s old one)  4th up from the Association  Building early on Friday mornings or let me know you have something and i will take it from you and pass it on myself.

Many thanks

Jackie

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