WATCHET’S COASTAL COMMUNITY TEAM BECOMES ONE OF 20 NATIONAL SOCIAL ACTION PARTNERSHIPS

Watchet Coastal Community Team are delighted to have won a bid from the Big Lottery Fund and Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to become one of 20 partnerships countrywide to take part in the first stage of the Place Based Social Action programme.

Watchet CCT will now receive support to develop social action plans designed to address issues important to the local community.

The Placed Based Social Action programme is funded using £4.5 million of Government and National Lottery money. It aims to support communities to put social action at the heart of plans which make a positive difference in the local area. It gives people the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the design and delivery of local services by bringing together communities, local authorities, public sector organisations, service providers, civil society organisations and businesses to address local priorities.

Between now and December 2018, Watchet CCT will work with New Economics Foundation and Locality, the national network for community organisations that bring local people together to meet local needs, to design their local social action plan.

In early 2019, up to 10 of the 20 partnerships taking part in the first phase of the programme will go on to be awarded funding of up to £240,000 for three years to put their plans into action. Following this, up to five of these partnerships will be awarded further funding of up to £255,000 to develop and expand their plans for another three years to December 2024.

Watchet Coastal Community Team is a partnership organisation made up of 30 local organisations, businesses, community groups and Town, District and County Council. The team work collaboratively to help further initiatives that help to benefit the town both economically and socially. To find out more visit: www.watchetcct.co.uk

Peter Murphy, WCCT Chair, said: “We are thrilled to have been chosen as one of the Place Based Social Action partnerships and look forward to working with local people and authorities to design a plan that will have lasting and far reaching benefits for our local people. Our plan will aim to bring people together and design a system for collaborative working across all facets of local life. We very much look forward to devising it.”

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “This programme is about supporting communities to work together to tackle the social issues that matter in their area. It is designed to ensure solutions are created by local people for local people and we’re looking forward to seeing how these plans develop over the next year.”

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sports and Civil Society, said: “Communities lie at the heart of our commitment to build a society that works for everyone. This investment, bolstered by partnerships, will create positive change as people work together to develop solutions to overcome local issues in their area.”

Place Based Social Action will run until 2025 and is administered by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with DCMS.

HESTERCOMBE EXHIBITION ‘CULTIVATION: POINTS OF ADVANTAGE’

Anna Barriball, John Brown, Mary Griffiths, Mikhail Karikis, Mary McIntyre, Mariele Neudecker, John Newling and George Shaw are the eight artists exhibition in the show ‘Cultivation: Points of Advantage’ which is on at Hestercombe Gallery now and runs until  1 July 2018.

Using landscape, space, place and time as inspiration, this exhibition attempts to unearth the unique perspectives and pathways that artists take in responding to the world around us.

Abandoned landscapes link the work of George Shaw, Mariele Neudecker and Mikhail Karikis. Shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2011, George Shaw paints meticulous and rich evocations of place and memory using Humbrol enamel paint, a medium reminiscent of childhood Airfix kits. Shaw’s ‘The Next Big Thing’ presents a landmark no longer there, empty of any clues as to the particular time and place.

Similarly, Mariele Neudecker’s sculpture, ‘Everything is Important and Nothing Matters at All’, presents us with an abandoned, decaying dwelling, emphasised with glimpses of verdant nature, while abandoned villages in an area of Italy known as Devil’s Valley create the subject for Mikhail Karikis’s video and sound piece. In the film, local children reanimate these silenced villages through play and sound.

Mary McIntyre and John Brown both use photography, in differing ways, to present the viewer with notions of ‘Romanticism’, beliefs and landscape. Engulfing mists and twilight scenes evoke the feelings of longing and melancholy as McIntyre examines the relationship between the individual and nature, while Brown attempts to explore Chinese calligraphy and transcendentalism through grass images. John Newling uses the land and horticulture itself to explore time, currency and value. A pioneer of public art with a social purpose, his works explore the natural world and the social and economic systems of society.

Traces of time and materials link Anna Barriball and Mary Griffiths, who are both interested in the relationship between two-dimensional drawing and three-dimensional space, and the ways in which drawings, in these cases using graphite, might be seen as objects.

‘Cultivations: Points of Vantage’ runs until 1 July and has been supported with loans from the Arts Council Collection. Founded in 1946, the Arts Council Collection is a national loan collection of modern and contemporary British art. Operating as a ‘museum without walls’, the Collection includes important examples of the UK’s prominent artists acquired at an early stage of their careers.

ENGLAND CRICKETER JOS BUTTLER OPENS KING’S NEW SPORTS FACILITY

King’s College recently welcomed back former pupil Jos Buttler as he officially opened the schools’ new sports facility, the Sports Performance and Cricket Centre (SPCC).

Friends, parents, benefactors, pupils and staff gathered to celebrate as this much-anticipated facility was officially opened by Jos. Following the unveiling, Jos then demonstrated some of his world-famous cricket strokes in a masterclass with pupils and King’s Director of Sport, Phil Lewis.

Pupils were challenged to bowl at the England player, with the chance to win a coveted Millichamp & Hall cricket bat if they got him out. It was Fifth Form pupil and Somerset girls’ cricket player Alice Dymond who successfully got one past the international cricket star.

Taking part in a Q&A session afterwards in the school theatre with guests and pupils, including a number of promising young players, Jos talked about what life is like as a first-class cricketer. The England star rounded off his visit by meeting some of the pupils, signing autographs and posing for selfies.

Having joined King’s when he was 13 years old, Jos started his career with Somerset County Cricket Club before joining Lancashire. Remembering his time at King’s fondly, he said: “I first came to King’s as part of the cricket festivals that are held at the school every year. My parents, also having looked at other schools, thought that King’s had a great ‘feel’, a real sense of community. This I remember most of all – the feeling of belonging, especially to my house, Tuckwell. I made many life-long friendships at King’s.

“Attending a school that suddenly enabled me to play and practice several times per week was amazing. I always had the determination to become a professional cricketer, but having access to such a fantastic sports programme and being mentored by such positive and supportive people as Dennis Breakwell, was a massive bonus.”

In offering guidance to young players, he added: “It’s important to enjoy the game. Yes, there are times when your performance is not so great. Then there are the celebrations. The key is to remain balanced throughout the highs and lows, and to always remember, there’ll always be another game!”

Of the new sports centre, he added: “This is a fantastic facility. To anyone serious about their cricket, make sure you’re demanding to use it, to make full use of it!”

Commenting on the day, Phil Lewis said: “It is always such a pleasure to see Jos back at King’s and his visit will be an inspiration to the next generation of young players at the school. The Sports Performance and Cricket Centre is a fantastic addition to the school. It will enable us to run an even more challenging cricket programme for our pupils but also to incorporate a number of different sports and training sessions. With underfloor heating, retractable side panels and a brilliant lighting system, it is an inspirational facility and one we know will engage our pupils even more. We are very, very lucky.”

Director of Development, Julian Mack added: “The SPCC is a monument to the power of philanthropy. We are hugely grateful to our generous benefactors who have made it possible. It will be enjoyed for many years to come by King’s girls and boys.”

WEST SOMERSET SCHOOLS: BAKE-OFF WINNERS CROWNED

West Somerset Schools’ Bake-Off came to the crunch with the final of the competition after weeks of floury fun. Crowned worthy winners were: Amy Wickens and Alexis Kemp from Old Cleeve Church of England First School.

Dan Perry from Old Cleeve School said, “I am over the moon that Old Cleeve are the inaugural winners of this fantastic competition and the children’s success is in no small measure to their own hard work and dedication.”

More than 1,000 pupils from six schools in the West Somerset Academies Trust took part with a series of heats – around 40 sessions in all since the Bake-Off was launched in the New Year. The schools that took part were: St Peter’s, Old Cleeve and Danesfield in Williton; and in Minehead: St Michael’s, Minehead First and Minehead Middle.

Finalists from the heats were invited to join a Masterclass hosted by professional chefs so they could get the best possible advice before putting on their aprons for the final.

Judges on the day were: Paul Rushforth (West Somerset Academies Trust), Emma Kelly (Butlins), Cllr Andrew Hadley (West Somerset Council), Ann Wells (Brooks Food Processing Equipment) and Phil David, Steven Franks and Diane Franks (Arthur David) – they represented businesses and partners that contributed significantly to the project.

One of the Judges, Ann Wells from Brooks Food Processing Equipment, said, “It was fabulous to be involved in this competition, anything that encourages local children to get involved with projects showcasing their skills and talents away from the classroom and textbooks has got to be a good thing.”

Werner Hartholt, Development Chef at Butlin’s, and Paul Ruttledge, Head Chef at The Beach Hotel along with the class teachers Lindsay Everett (Danesfield Middle), Sarah Mills and Veronica Curtis (Minehead Middle) have mentored the youngsters and supported them through the early rounds of the competition.

Werner Hartholt Butlins Development Chef said: “The way the students applied themselves was commendable, they all worked hard and were engaged, they really showed how different ages and abilities can work together and really achieve something special. It was a pleasure to be part of it and I would like to thank all those involved for making it possible.”

A number of local businesses have been supporting the event including Brook Food Processing Equipment and Arthur David, who have covered the costs of ingredients, baking equipment, and competition prizes.

“This has been a fantastic project that has involved a huge amount of organisation behind the scenes. Congratulations to everyone involved – the children, our partners and, of course, the winners,” said Cllr Andrew Hadley, West Somerset Council’s Lead Member for regeneration and economic growth.

“I hope that it inspires our children and forges new relationships between schools in the Trust and between pupils in the groups from year 4 to year 8; this is so important in a rural area like West Somerset.”

The project got under way this year thanks to hard work and inspiration from a partnership involving West Somerset Academies Trust, West Coast 360, Butlins, The Beach Hotel, West Somerset Council, Jobcentre Plus, and West Somerset College.

DR WATSON & THE ENIGMA OF MARY KELLY AT THE REGAL THEATRE MINEHEAD

From 19–21 April, Waterfront Theatre Company takes to the stage at the Regal Theatre in Minehead with their latest production –  Dr Watson & The Enigma Of Mary Kelly, written and directed by Fred Owen.

The year is 1901 and Whitechapel is gradually recovering from Jack the Ripper’s 1888 Reign of Terror. The new Whitechapel Art Gallery has opened on the High Street and the great and the good are in attendance to toast its success, including Dr John Watson who runs a clinic nearby.

Watson bumps into his old friend retired Inspector George Lestrade, who is attending the launch with William Wiggins, a reporter. Wiggins claims to have sensational information obtained from the stolen memoirs of Melville Macnaghten – the identity of Jack the Ripper.

Watson, Lestrade and Wiggins set out to prove him right or wrong before publishing the scoop of the new century. However, the search for one answer throws up a variety of new questions, some of which threaten to unleash a wave of despicable new horrors on the ever-brooding East End.

Performances Thursday – Saturday, 19 – 21 April begin at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £8 are available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am – 3pm Monday – Saturday.  Book online at www.regaltheatre.co.uk.

 

CALLING ALL ‘SHAPPY BOYS’ AND BRANNAM’S WORKERS

WOW! The next theme for the Pop-Up Museum’s memory workshop is the ‘World of Work’. A series of targeted workshops are running during April and May at Barnstaple Pop-Up Museum in Bridge Chambers, to gather information and stories about various aspects of Barnstaple and North Devon’s trades and industries.
The museum is calling for ex-‘Shappy boys’ from Shapland and Petter and ex-Brannam’s potters and workers to come and spend some time with them and share their memories of these well-known Barnstaple firms.

Sadie Green, Activity Plan Co-ordinator at the museum, says: “On 10 April we would love to hear from people who work, or used to work, in offices, banks and finance and the public sector. We have a 1950s BT switchboard and it would be great to meet any ex-BT workers! On 17 April we want to meet ‘Shappy boys’ from Shapland and Petter, as we have lots of objects from the company. Also, on 24 April we want to hear from any ex-Brannam’s pottery workers who are willing to share their stories. If you can’t make those dates, please call in and see us any Monday or Tuesday in April and May – enjoy a cup of tea and bring your stories to write down on the day. Our volunteer story collectors look forward to welcoming you.”

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “The Pop Up is always looking for community experts – everyone is welcome to visit, especially if you have lots of knowledge about any of the workshop topics or if you used to work for one of the companies mentioned and are willing to spend a bit more time with them to share your stories.”

The Pop-Up is open to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays (except public holidays) from 11am to 3pm. Please visit the Pop-Up Museum to find out more, share your story with our volunteer story collectors, or become a community expert.  Get in touch with Sadie at the museum on 01271 346747 to find out more, or visit the Facebook page at PopUpBarnstaple.
Both photos used here are from Shapland and Petter, an outing and a group shot of Shappy apprentices, although we do not have any more details – do you recognise anyone?

PIONEERING NEW APPROACHES TO EXMOOR’S INVASIVE SPECIES PROBLEM

Castration and electrocution are two ground-breaking new ways of tackling invasive plant and animal species being trialled in Exmoor National Park, highlighted as part of Invasive Species Week recently.

Japanese and Himalayan Knotweed are two of Britain’s most invasive weeds and they have caused extensive damage to several of Exmoor’s most precious watercourses, such as the Lyn, Heddon and Barle – all Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).

A ten-year collaboration between Exmoor National Park Authority, the Environment Agency, Natural England and the National Trust to try to control the problem has proved highly successful, with the plant now being managed across an area the size of six Wembley football pitches, thanks to the support from local landowners.

Exmoor is now among a handful of UK sites where a pioneering new method of control is being trialled, involving electrocuting the weed’s root system. It is hoped the new approach will avoid the need for repeat spraying with herbicides, which can impact the environment, although not nearly so much as the plants themselves.

Elsewhere on Exmoor’s waterways, another non-native invasive species is being dealt a tough blow. An estimated quarter of a million North American signal crayfish inhabit the River Barle, with potentially devastating consequences for our native wildlife.

The River Barle Crayfish Project is now tackling the problem in an innovative new way never before tried outside of captivity – by castrating the larger, more dominant male signal crayfish. After this harmless procedure, they are returned to the river where it is hoped they will continue to outcompete smaller males to control breeding.

Later this year findings are due to be published on the project – which exists as a partnership between Exmoor National Park Authority, the Environment Agency and the River Exe & Tributaries Association.

Ali Hawkins, Wildlife Conservation Officer at Exmoor National Park Authority, said: “It’s great to be trialling innovative new techniques like these that could potentially help with the problem of invasive species on Exmoor, without further damage to our delicate ecosystems.

“Many of the habitats here are protected for their uniqueness and scientific value, so it’s vital that we do all we can to safeguard them from these foreign invaders. We’d love more volunteers to come forward and help us stop the spread by signing up to one of our training days, or reporting sightings of invasive species through our website.”

People wishing to volunteer for these two projects and others like them can find out more at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/get-involved.

EXMOOR SOCIETY 2018 WALKS PROGRAMME ANNOUNCED

The Exmoor Society has just released details of its 2018 guided walks programme from April until October. The programme provides a wonderful opportunity to walk through the splendour of Exmoor’s diverse landscapes including the moorlands, coast, woodland, river valleys and farmland. Starting from different locations across Exmoor and in the company of knowledgeable and welcoming guides, the walks also provide opportunities to increase fitness, wellbeing and to enjoy other peoples’ company. The wide variety of interests covered by the walks include:

  • nature walks investigating the special lower plant flora (the lichens, mosses, liverworts and ferns) of Exmoor’s Atlantic woodlands, the bluebells in Burridge Woods and the visiting cuckoos on Molland Moor.
  • accompanying the experts to learn how the ecology and management of woodlands are helping the heath fritillary butterfly and the rare pied flycatcher and how to detect and identify bats as they hunt insects in Horner Woods.
  • for history lovers, there is the opportunity to discover John Knight’s uncompleted garden landscape at Simonsbath, hear the knights’ tales through the ages, explore ancient barrows and other prehistoric sites, learn about mining projects, the tragic murder of little Anna Maria Burgess and Hope Bourne’s extraordinary life and love of Exmoor.
  • even joining a walk to find out about Exmoor’s water improvement project, and how the community came together on the Longstone Landscape Project.

Chairman of the Society, Rachel Thomas, said, “In the Society’s special 60th anniversary year the wonderfully diverse programme is only possible through the generosity of walk leaders in sharing their time, expertise and passion for Exmoor. It pays tribute to all those who lead walks in all weathers and in all places.”

There is no charge for the walks but a small donation is welcomed from non-members. Some walks end with an optional pub lunch or afternoon tea – welcome post-walk refreshments! For full details visit www.exmoorsociety.com or 34 High Street, Dulverton. For any queries, contact info@exmoorsociety.com or 01398 323335. The Society looks forward very much to welcoming you along.

QUANTOCK HILLS AONB AND DUKE OF EDINBURGH PHOTO COMPETITION

Just like last year, the many talented photographers who entered the DofE Quantock Hills OANB photography competition made the judging very hard.  The AONB apologises for the delay in judging and subsequent exhibition, but snow and ice played havoc with proceedings.

Chris Edwards and Katy Coate (both Quantock Hills AONB), Jeff Brown from Duke of Edinburgh Award and Matt Bowen from Taunton Leisure convened at Fyne Court in late March and spent the morning making the difficult decisions. With over 100 images to choose from, the sticky notes were flying around the old library to identify the most striking. This year the AONB had four categories, two with straight winners and two that had so many entries of such quality that the judges chose winners and two runners up for each. Here are the winners and runners up in each category.

Best Landscape Image (top) was won by Sally Pryde with her image Sunset at Bicknoller Post

Runners up were Ian Sherlock with his view over Quantock Vale towards the Brendons and Dawn Mahoney with her image taken at Kilve called ‘Time to Reflect’.

Best Expedition Image was won by Robert Blake School.

Best image in the ‘Loving the Great Outdoors’ category went to Dawn Mahoney for her ‘Quantock Fling’ image. Runners up were Marcin Jankowski’s mountain biking image from Wills Neck and Kimberly Gray’s pony and toddler image.

Best Film was won by James Marshall with his atmospheric film talking about the Quantock Hills and its importance to him.

AONB Manager, Chris Edwards, said, “This year’s judging was even harder than last year – the quality is so high and peoples’ desire to capture the spectacular beauty of the Quantocks along with more intimate, smaller-scale images of moments and detail is inspiring. I thank all the entrants for again reminding us why it is so important to protect and enhance the natural beauty of these hills.”

Winners will receive prizes from Taunton Leisure and have their winning image printed onto a canvas; runners up will also receive their image on a canvas. All the images on show in the music room at Fyne Court, the beautiful National Trust property at Broomfield, until this Saturday. Entry is free so come and make a day of it, why not take a walk around Fyne Court’s extensive grounds and treat yourself to a cake from the café while you’re there.

 

HAVE YOUR SAY ON MINEHEAD ESPLANADE

People in Minehead with an interest in seeing the resort’s visitor appeal strengthened have the chance to help shape the Enterprising Minehead project.

The aim during the next phase is to enhance the Eastern Esplanade – the section near the West Somerset Railway terminus – with ideas starting to come forward.

Minehead Coastal Communities Team (MCCT) – the organisation that has the funding to spend – is now inviting people to come forward and have their say before any hard and fast decisions are made.

An initial meeting has been held with community groups’ representatives when some positive ideas were tabled – now the consultation is being opened up more widely.

Mood boards featuring concepts that could be brought to life will be on show at Minehead Tourist Information Centre (TIC), along with a questionnaire for feedback and suggestions.

The consultation will run from 10-15 April and the TIC’s opening hours are: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm and Sunday 11am – 4pm.

“I really hope people will come along, share their ideas and get involved. A tremendous amount of hard work went in to winning the funding in the face of some strong competition.

“This is a once-in-a-generation chance to harness that funding and make it work hard for the benefit of Minehead, its residents and economy. We have great community spirit here in West Somerset – let’s see it in action,” said Cllr Roger Thomas, who chairs MCCT.

Details of the consultation and background information and images can be found on MCCT’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MineheadCCT