Marton Village, Warwickshire

Growing Healthier Together (project report)

willow dome care

Despite obvious Covid-19 set-backs, in 2020 Marton Parish Council succeeded in creating living willow sculptures and community edible gardens with grants from Severn Trent and Warwickshire County Council.

These provided the local community with transferable skills for employment, quality volunteering opportunities, fresh community-grown food, a focus for working in the outdoors (with its wellbeing benefits) and a much-needed sense of purpose and positivity during a very difficult year.

The WCC Councillor’s Grant funding was for £1050 and the Parish Council was successful in securing £5597 additional funding from the Severn Trent Community Fund to extend the project’s wildlife improvements and community involvement.

All Marton residents – more than 450 people in about 200 households – were invited to apply for willow sculpture training (three were funded to attend) and to volunteer with planting (52 generously gave many hours). Volunteer numbers were lower than might have been in an ordinary year as we had to manage very small and safely distanced groups and couldn’t hold any open events, but the project still created a much-needed sense of cohesion and activity at an otherwise lonely and anxious time.

During the work, volunteers spoke about how good it felt to ease out of lockdown by helping the community and safely working outdoors with others again. Residents also commented on how uplifting it was to see activity after lockdown had hushed the village.

“…there could hardly have been a more important time to provide new areas in the village for play, gardening and appreciating nature.”

Raised bed soil

Going forward, everyone in Marton will benefit from the additions of wildflowers to improve plant and insect diversity, a willow dome to broaden the range of play options on offer and large raised beds for community gardening. The raised beds (which are high enough for elderly or mobility impaired residents to use) have already been well used by residents planting herbs, sowing and harvesting salad crops and looking after rhubarb.

Thanks to additional clearance and rewilding work, The Orchard housing is now better linked to the playground and playing fields area, encouraging more use of these for healthy lifestyles and more appreciation of the benefits of nature.

The project has created a sense of community cohesion, hope and activity during a very difficult year. The focus on wellbeing and outdoor activity has been invaluable during Covid-19 awareness, even though the social side of volunteering has had to be scaled-back to keep everyone safe. This has made the project management complex but there could hardly have been a more important time to provide new areas in the village for play, gardening and appreciating nature.

Planting Progress

volunteers raking

The parish council has just submitted its interim report to Severn Trent for the funding received for planting and biodiversity improvements in the village. Looking back on the last six months for the report has brought home just how much has been achieved in incredibly difficult circumstances.

We applied for the funding in January, obviously unaware of covid-19 and the restrictions and impacts that were to come. The funds have to spent within a year so we had to find a way to adapt our plans and work within guidelines, so we could still use the project to safely bring people together and to make positive additions to the village.

It’s unfortunate the focus had to change from public meetings, mass-volunteering events and launch parties, to creating opportunities for people to plant/volunteer in small bubbles, but it’s been more important than ever to provide a focus for residents to be able to be outdoors and either engaged safely in volunteering activities or tending plants in their own time.

willow dome planting

Back in February, living willow training for three volunteer residents went very well and, with three additional volunteers, a willow dome was planted to expand the children’s play area (and is now growing well despite a recent set back of vandalism).

Once lockdown started we could only plan remotely: designing new playground signs, commissioning a biodiversity report from resident expert Nick Steggall, delivering flyers in the one-a-day walk asking for feedback and writing updates for the newsletter.

Once guidelines permitted, in July, we organised two small working-parties, creating large community raised beds with composting in the playground, installing pavilion rain water harvesting and new welcome signs.

rotovating

During the work, volunteers spoke about how good it felt to ease out of lockdown by helping the community and safely working outdoors with others again. Residents also commented on how uplifting it was to see activity after lockdown had hushed the village.

A wet and windy August delayed progress on the wildflower areas, which then became the focus in September, with essential help from Gordon Robson followed by volunteers divided into small groups to tackle overgrown hedgerows, soil preparation and sowing.

Everyone worked so hard and we were very grateful for kindly lent machinery from Priory Tool Hire and extra help from Reg at the cricket club. The areas look shockingly brown and barren now but, thanks to all the hard work and a bespoke mix of seed made especially for Marton’s conditions and needs, we’ve been assured that next year it will be transformed and each year after it will get better and better.

There are still a few elements to come (like the ‘hard to recycle’ scheme) but so far an incredible 52 volunteers from the village have given more than 1,600 hours to the project. We thank all of you for your hard work and enthusiasm!

Marton Playground & Outdoor Gym

In line with Covid-19 Government guidelines, outdoor playgrounds and gyms were included in list of facilities that would be allowed to open from the 4th July if they are safe, as lockdown measures will be relaxed across England.

Marton Parish Council will be re-opening the play area and adult gym from Saturday 4th July (tomorrow).

However, for the facilities to open safely we are asking residents, parents and carers to take reasonable precautions:
If you are in an ‘at risk’ category you are advised not to use the equipment

  • Use hand sanitiser before, during and after using the play area
  • Use your own wipes/spray to clean touch points on equipment
  • Maintain social distancing at all times
  • Come back later if the playground is busy
  • Take your litter home and dispose of wipes, masks and gloves responsibly
  • Wash your hands thoroughly when you get home
  • Please avoid eating and touching your face if possible during your visit.

    If you or anyone in your household have signs of Covis-19 you should self-isolate and seek advice at NHS.uk/coronavirus.

Please also be aware, if you plan to visit on Sunday 5 July, as part of our growing together grant a small group of volunteers will be installing some raised beds in the play area from 1.30pm.

Workshops and walk create a warm glow

TheBonfire new year kicked off in great style with the Christmas Tree bonfire party, where almost 180 people made a magical parade of lanterns, fairy lights and glowsticks up to the pig field.

The fantastic turn-out was boosted no doubt by the extra activities organised for 2018, including a bush craft and bonfire skills workshop and two lantern making workshops.

The bush craft was very ably provided by Long Itchingtom scout leaders and gave participants the opportunity to try a range of exciting new challenges, from making stick-twisted dampers, to starting fires with flint steel strikers, to identifying the best trees for campfire wood.

Participants from toddler to teen had a fantastic time and accompanying adults appreciated being allowed to test the delicious potatoes, popcorn, calzone and s’mores they cooked on the open fire.

BonfireResident artist Faye led lantern making workshops, providing simple instructions for pyramid lanterns and willow materials for those with unbounded creativity and ambition.

The results from the 27 participants of all ages were stunning and led to a fish, a fox, a birdcage and a great array of decorated pyramids swinging along on the parade to the pig field.

For the Retirees’ Tea workshop, fuelled by plentiful cake, window-sill size lanterns were made by about 20 of Marton’s more senior residents, who loved the colour-changing tealights and came up with equally magical decoration ideas.

The Lantern makingbelated Twelfth Night celebration at the pig field was no less inspiring, with a huge bonfire of Christmas trees, many of which had been robustly dragged through mud all the way to Eathorpe Park.

A biscuit lottery elected a King and Queen, who passed 24-hour laws about kissing (compulsory) and singing (banned) while their subjects toasted their good health or planned their revolutions over fortifying mulled wine.

Lantern making

Once this ran out a return to the village hall bar was inevitable for most and a wonderful evening continued with great shared food and quality company.Bush craft

The events were supported by a small Rugby Borough Arts Development grant and a host of fabulous volunteers who collected trees, prepared the field, served refreshments, baked biscuits, cleared up after workshops, delivered flyers etc etc…

We salute you all.

 

 

A brighter January

As announced in the last newsletter, Marton’s been very lucky to have secured a small Rugby Arts Grant so we can host some workshops and a party free of charge to brighten up the New Year. Aimed at all ages, the programme is:

6 Jan – Bush Craft Skills 2-4pm Marton Playing Fields
For teens and children, organised by an experienced Scout leader
The session will include a nature scavenger hunt, camp fire cooking (popcorn, s’mores and potatoes), natural art and paracord keyrings (for older participants).
Please dress for the weather and expect to get mucky. All activities and refreshments are free of charge.
Book via info@fayeclaridge.co.uk.

7 Jan – Willow Lantern Workshop 2-4pm village hall
For all ages, led by Marton artist Faye Claridge
Use willow, translucent paper, decorations and (battery) tealights to make your own unique lantern
Please bring an apron or wear old clothes. All materials will be provided free of charge.
Book via info@fayeclaridge.co.uk.

11 Jan – Lantern Making & History Talk 2-4pm village hall
Retiree’s tea special, combined with the history group
Be inspired by Twelfth Night traditions and make a unique willow lantern with a (battery) tealight
Please bring an apron or wear old clothes. All materials will be provided free of charge.
Book via info@fayeclaridge.co.uk.

13 Jan – Parade and Party! Meet 5pm village hall
5pm drop ‘bring and share’ food into the village hall
Parade from the hall to the Pig Field (by Eathorpe Hall)
Drag your tree or have it collected beforehand (on andrew.cooke@zen.co.uk)
6pm bonfire, treats & Twelfth Night traditions with PRIZES for the best dressed in glowing/neon
7pm village hall open for bar, games & sharing supper

So start planning your fabulous glowing outfits now and please make sure you book your place on the workshops because – although free – it’s important we have an accurate idea of numbers for materials. Book through info@fayeclaridge.co.uk.

Right Royal Party

Village hall lunchA buffet fit for royalty was enjoyed by about 70 people at the village hall on 12 June to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday. The hall was beautifully decorated with Union Jacks and red, white and blue balloons over tables set out for a feast. There were also make-your-own crown kits for children to supplement the tiaras, princess costumes and flags worn by the most enthusiastic party goers.

Read more

Marton Village Sports Day (Now postponed until Saturday 17 September) – It’s a Knockout, Sat 2nd July 2016 – 1pm

SportsDay_raceThis years sports day fundraiser is an It’s a Knock Out style team event, as well as the annual individual fun races so everyone can get involved. Come and support the MPFA and enjoy an afternoon of sporting family fun including a hog roast, homemade cakes, bar, tombola, bric-a-brac and much, much more for you all to enjoy.

Supporting your MPFA
SportsDay_roastOver the coming year, the MPFA are attempting to drastically renovate the village pavilion. Adding a disabled toilets, upgrading the changing rooms and adding a deck, along with upgrading the sporting equipment available for use by the village. Sports day is our main fundraiser for the year so your support is much appreciated as always.

What are the team requirements?
Teams should ideally be mixed abilities and ages and made up of between 4 and 6 people. The games for the Sports Day have been designed so that all abilities can enjoy them and no one is forced to take part in games if they do not wish to. A towel and change of clothes is recommended, as you will get wet – it’s all part of the fun!

We ask that one of you take on the role of ‘Team Captain’ as this makes it easier for us to contact you if required.  We also need you to come up with a team name – it can be as simple or as wacky as you like!  There will also be prize for the best-dressed team!

How to registerSportsDay_drinks To register please complete this registration form and return to Helen Keeves – 6 The Orchard including your registration fee by Wednesday 29th June.

Click here for the link to Registration Form

 

See you all on July 2nd !