This month has seen our group undertake new events and tread new ground in building links with local organisations.
Our first Night Walk was an ambitious event celebrating the natural sciences with moth traps, UV lighting to detect and stimulate fluorescence and several other items of interest to anyone who loves the natural world. The group walked the whole site listening for the call and response of the owls and searching for bats. To top it all there were literary references (The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark!) to engage the junior members and a telescope set up on upper field aimed towards the eastern horizon to view the heavens. A moonless night with Neptune and Uranus perfectly timed. Lofty ambitions indeed. We learned a lot from this event and are likely to improve the moth trap to use different lighting and perhaps hold the event slightly earlier in the year to improve our chances with the bats.
Whilst the cold and clear weather was perfect for our outdoor activity, our Litter pick on Sunday wasn’t an easy task. The commitment of the volunteers knows no limits as the logs within the carriage drive were shifted further toward a more suitable location. This was grubby, physical but necessary work and our volunteers should be applauded for getting stuck in. The accumulated litter at the triangle was also collected with the visibility of our activities reinforcing our message. A hot spot of litter was targeted within the woods with all of the major paths inspected and cleared.
Of note was colleagues taking the initiative on themselves to bring along some small step ladders to access and clean the accumulated debris from the top of the wall along Childwall Abbey Road. This stretch of our site perimeter is blighted by the dumping of detritus by individuals visiting the fast food outlets on Taggart, finishing their victuals en route and then conveniently (for them) disposing of the litter over the wall. This has got to stop and our committee will be discussing such issues at our next meeting.
The scones, tea and coffee continue to be a popular reward for the efforts of the litter pickers, log shifters and nature’s helpers.
Significant projects are to be undertaken next year with a particular focus on improving the Carriage Drive which is a major asset. Clearing the accumulation of mud and overhanging trees is our ambition. This will improve access for those who are less mobile and bring this significant historical feature of our site back to the prominence it deserves.
Governance – our committee are rapidly progressing policies to better manage our finances, to exploit digital technology, to improve our engagement with the public and like-minded local groups.
Our engagement with local businesses continues to grow with a very positive meeting with Lime Pictures covering items of mutual concern. I look forward to working closely with this forward-looking company in future. Our Talking Rubbish campaign is about to be reinvigorated with new posters to be designed and local events planned that should serve to bring our community together.
As we move towards the festive season FCWF are proud to be working closely with councillors and partner organisations locally to plan celebrations for this year and next.
Our green spaces have never been more under threat. Our activities to promote and safeguard our LNR are more important than ever. Whilst the fiscal issues affecting our city are not to be underestimated the short-termism and short sightedness of green asset sales is naive and self-defeating. At the same time, our city supports Sustainable Development such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals. FCWF is not and should never be a political organisation. It is happy to support whatever shade of party is in power by empowering our local citizens to do more for themselves than they ever thought possible. It is time for the pendulum of change to swing the other way. The over-reliance on authorities and their service organisations to do everything for us cannot be sustained. Let’s leave our councils and government departments to tackle that which we cannot, and get on and do for ourselves all that we can. In doing so we will be cutting costs, demonstrating our pride in our area and improving life for ourselves.
I am as ever, grateful to the FCWF team, our volunteers and right-minded citizens locally for their support in all that we do.
John McCombs – Chair Friends of Childwall Woods and Fields