'To foster community spirit by participating in activities that enhance the environment and encourage neighbourliness within the village of Barlaston'.
Barlaston Community Group, based in Barlaston, Staffordshire, UK
|Posted on August 3, 2018 at 11:20 AM|
Well, after all the anticipation and media hype from our Flaxman Manor promotion company (aka James & Matt!), the Barlaston Open Gardens event went ahead on the 14th & 15th July and was a HUGE success despite the many scorched lawns and crispy foliage! The event attracted around 470 visitors over the weekend with a total of £1,186.74 being raised for individual charities as well as £700 for the village hall, which in turn will benefit the community. In addition to the many residents that came out to see the gardens, meet their neighbours and enjoy a cuppa and delicious home-made cakes (not to mention the Prosecco & Pimms!), we were also able to give a warm Barlaston welcome to people who had travelled from all over the Potteries as well as further afield - Nottingham, Birmingham and London to name but a few… We were also told of a lady who had travelled from South Africa to visit her family in Barlaston and had timed her trip especially to coincide with the event – we really hope it’s true!
This was the third year of opening and twenty three gardens opened to the public over the weekend. There were a few surprises this year with a number of Classic Cars joining us on the Village Green and The Upper House Hotel hosted a musical event with a well known string quartet playing four sets for the various visitors throughout the day. The feedback has been tremendous and we already have a number of new gardens on the waiting list for next year. Thank you to everyone who came and supported the event and a massive WHOOP! of appreciation for all our wonderful VIGs who so kindly allowed us all into their gardens to wander about and enjoy the fruits of their jolly hard work!
The Film Night showing of ‘Finding your Feet’ starring Imelda Thornton, Joanna Lumley, Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall, was absolutely brilliant, and without giving away the ending, the last scene had the whole audience gasping! If you haven’t already seen it – do. It’s funny, moving, and sad, and there’s dancing involved, what’s not to love?! That last sentence can also be applied to what we hope will be our next film – Mamma Mia 2. We are chasing the film company for a date, so start practising your Abba & Cher numbers in the shower now and watch this space for more details!
The Barlaston Womblers have been a let-down this month – holidays, trapped nerves and too busy are NOT acceptable excuses… We have had some success recruiting in the school holidays but we’ll have to exert a 3-line whip for an August pick as some of the lanes are already looking like a recycling depot. Of course, it could all be avoided if people just took their rubbish home grrrrrr!
We have our annual summer Kids Event on Thursday 2nd August - Meet on the Green by the Downs Carpark, bring a picnic and join us for kite-making and Fun! 12.30pm-2.30pm Free to Barlaston residents. The weather’s due to be a scorcher again but if it rains don’t worry, we’ll be picnicking in the village hall.
If you haven’t already, please sign up to (& Like) our Facebook page.
|Posted on July 2, 2018 at 8:25 AM|
Things continue at a pace in preparation for the single biggest event on our social calendar – yes, it’s the time of year that Barlaston’s V.I.Gs (Very Import Gardeners!) get press-ganged by the committee into opening their gardens to the public! We have 23 gardens opening over the weekend of 14th & 15th July and due to popular demand we have extended opening times to 11am – 5pm. Entry tickets are available (£2 per person, under 16s free) from Kitson’s Chemist & Premier Stores in Orchard Place and from the Village Market on Saturday (14th) morning. Tickets contain a map and highlight the individual days of opening as well as the facilities available at each garden.
The event was originally designed to bring the community together & last year we had over 200 visitors, many from neighbouring villages and towns. This year our aim is to get more Barlaston residents to see the gardens – this is your chance to see what’s behind that hedge or fence and perhaps get some ideas for your own garden. Even if you’re not a gardener why not plan a walk around the village with a few delicious home-made tea & cake stops? There are still a few surprises planned - spoiler alert – a string quartet at The Upper House and possibly a few sightings of some Classic Cars…. The last 2 years have been great fun & so satisfying to see the village buzzing with people following the maps on foot, by bike & car over both days!
The Volunteers’ Car Scheme drivers have been put on the alert for OG weekend, so if you know anyone that might appreciate a lift or need some help getting around the gardens, do please let us know.
Unfortunately the Womble clashed with the football this month, but the lanes around Ladies Mile were quiet and at least we got a better result than England: Womblers 4, Rubbish 0! The following evening was spent helping Tim & Chris clear the next section of the footpath along Station Road – still more to be done but already a bit lighter & safer now.
The next Film Night is on Saturday 7th July when we will be showing ‘Finding your Feet’ starring Imelda Thornton, Joanna Lumley, Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall. It tells the story of a ‘middle class, judgemental snob, who on the eve of her retirement, discovers that her husband has been having an affair with her best friend and is forced into exile with her bohemian sister who lives on an inner-city sink estate’ … looks like our sort of film! Tickets are available from Kitson’s Chemist as usual, BVH doors open 7pm, film starts at 7.30pm. Ice creams & refreshments available (BYOB if you want alcohol).
|Posted on June 2, 2018 at 11:35 AM|
For those that missed it on Facebook we are thrilled to announce that further to the opening of Barlaston Hall on the 12th and 13th May, a whopping £1,305.00 was raised for the Barlaston Volunteers’ Car Scheme and the 1st Barlaston Guides. Members of the WI, the Church, the BCG plus super Guide helpers Penny, Scarlett & Millie coordinated efforts to run a Plant Stall and provide refreshments for over 600 visitors. It was a fabulous weekend with lots of home-made cake being enjoyed and many stories being shared about the Hall’s past.
The BGQT (Barlaston Gardeners Question Time) event on Tuesday was a great success with Malcolm & Tom Dickson of Hooks Green Herbs keeping an audience of around 50 entertained with the history of HGHs’ formation. It was a story of family, celebrity, dogs, weather, construction…. and oh yes, Herbs! It was a fun & informative evening with lots of carrot cake, courgette loaf & beetroot chocolate brownies being consumed, washed down with plenty of Pimms. Huge thanks to HGH (who’s next Open Days are 23rd & 24th June), Andrew Hollywood master-baker, Lucy & James the DoE helpers, the BVH team, and of course to all our VIGs (Very Import Gardeners!) for supporting the event – Open Gardens is going to be MASSIVE this year!
The Barlaston Womblers supported the Great Plastic Pick Up this month and cleared Meaford Road again. After a haul of 10+ bags we had our post-pick cuppa in the bluebell woods – beautiful! We realised on our return that by complete coincidence we had picnicked in exactly the spot that Jon Kelso’s photo, shown on the BBC national news that morning, had been taken!
Film Night was again a great success with many returning to see The Greatest Showman for the 5th & 6th time! It was a full house and there was a great atmosphere in the hall – thank you to our customers and to Jessica, who is clocking up those community hours for her Duke of Edinburgh award! The next film will be Finding Your Feet and the trailer showed us a clip of Joanna Lumley, Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall attempting a foxtrot on the dance floor – looks like just our sort of film! Keep Saturday 7th July free.
And finally, another example of the strength of community spirit we have in Barlaston was demonstrated when a vulnerable resident went missing. Using the power of Facebook, news spread rapidly and people came out to help all over the village. Thankfully, we received notification from the Police the following day that the person had been found safe and well and we take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone for sharing information and getting involved.
|Posted on May 6, 2018 at 8:40 AM|
The Pop-up Pie & Prosecco night was a great success – Masterchef Andrew Black & Sous-chef Olivia served up a delicious 3-course supper ably assisted by their front of house team Sandie, Margaret, Michala, Jess, Lucy and James. There was a great atmosphere in the hall, we met some lovely people and there was even some after-dinner impromptu dancing! Huge thanks to helpers and customers alike!
The build up to our Open Gardens event on the 14th & 15th July has already started with a good turn-out for the open meeting at the Upper House last week. Thank you to those that attended and for all your ideas and suggestions. We have recruited quite a few new gardens, including Barlaston First School which was donated by Wedgwood for the Millennium and we are still keen to hear from anyone who might like to participate this year, particularly in the Barlaston Park & Wedgwood Park areas. If you are interested or know someone who might be, please let us know – the more the merrier!
We are also working closely with the Halls of Barlaston Hall, and along with the WIs and the Church, will be providing refreshments when they open their garden under the ‘Yellow Book’ scheme for the NGS on the 11th and 12th May. Carol and James Hall have made a specific request for all profits from the sale of refreshments to go to local charities and the Volunteers Car Scheme and children’s uniformed groups, Brownies, Guides, Beavers, Scouts etc., have been selected. Put the date in your diaries folks and we are expecting it to inspire residents and visitors to come back in July for more!
Still on the Gardening theme we are very excited to announce that we have secured Malcolm and Tom Dickson of Hooks Green Herbs to make up a panel for our version of Barlaston Gardeners Question Time at the Village Hall on Tuesday 29th May. I’m sure they need no introduction being regular exhibitors at all major UK shows. They have been awarded numerous RHS Gold & Silver Gilt medals through the years, have featured on BBC TV and radio and we are very fortunate in having been able to book them in what is their busiest season…. In fact rumour has it that they turned down The Chelsea Flower show this year when they heard about the BGQT! There will be a short talk on ‘Showing & Growing Herbs’ followed by a Question & Answer session and the opportunity to buy plants and have a drink and a chat. Entry will be FREE – Barlaston Village Hall, 7.45pm Tues 29th May. Another date for the diary!
Last but not least there are a few tickets left for Film Night - The Greatest Showman at the Barlaston Village Hall on Saturday 5th May. Doors open at 7.00pm, film starts at 7.30pm. The film is still showing in cinemas and its appeal is cross-generational with a ‘feel-good’ factor. Tickets are £5 and can be purchased from the friendly team at Kitson’s Chemist as usual.
|Posted on April 1, 2018 at 8:35 AM|
The focus this month has been on The Great British Spring Clean which was extended to due to Weather of Mass Destruction! A ‘Mega MOMble’ for Mother Earth (& Barlaston) gleaned around 30 bags, along with car parts, a pressure washer & a TV aerial. We were joined by new recruits Mark, Hayden, Lucy and James who helped as part of their community service award for the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme & together with Kimberley, they were initiated to Extreme Hard-Core Wombling which they all passed with flying colours!
Strangely, not everyone felt that a Womble was the best way to celebrate Mother’s Day but such is the dedication of our growing group that some ignored the cancellation during Emmageddon and Wombled through the gales! Shout Outs go to the dedicated team of MOMblers & everyone who took part in the GBSC - Andrew M, Tim, Guy, Hilary, Eric, Clare, Michala, Andrew B, Malcolm, Renee, Sandie, Maggie, Irene, Dave, Sue, Tilda, Clemmy, Graham, Liz, Chris H, Penny & pals as well as those anonymous cleaners & polishers that sent in their super shiny pics – see the album on Facebook.
We are still keen to hear from anyone interested in gardening and who might like to participate in this year’s Open Garden’s event over the weekend of 14th/15th July. It’s not all about pristine gardens with manicured lawns, perfect blooms and unusual shrubs, it’s about sharing your hobby with like-minded people and swapping information and tips that you’ve learned along the way. Our aim is to showcase a variety of gardens - great and small, established and work-in-progress – all gardens will be of interest to someone. Please contact Chris, Becky or Michala for more information, we would love to hear from you!
And finally…. Don’t miss last orders for ’Pie & Prosecco Night’ on Saturday 7th April, the next of our much acclaimed Pop-up Suppers at Barlaston Village Hall. Bookings can be made at Kitson’s Chemist as usual for £15 per head which includes a 3-course meal and a free glass of Prosecco – what are you waiting for?? Get a bunch of friends or neighbours together and book a table with Wendy at Kitson’s right away!
|Posted on February 26, 2018 at 6:25 AM|
Barlaston Film Night presented Paddington 2 on the 10th February which was a fantastic success. It was a really delightful crowd-pleasing film that appealed to the young, the old and all ages in between. In fact it was so uplifting that it should be prescribed as an antidote for the effects of the increasingly mad world that we live in!
Huge thanks to Kitson’s for selling tickets and our wonderful team of volunteers who provided refreshments and helped clear up and put chairs away at the end - Community Spirit is alive and thriving in Barlaston! The next Film Night will be on the 5th May showing 'The Greatest Showman', an exciting new musical full of up-beat songs based on the colourful life of circus impressario PT Barnum, played by Hugh Jackman (which is reason alone to save the date!). Tickets will go on sale at the end March.
The Barlaston Womblers have had a very busy month filling around 20 bags from the usual grot-spots. Meaford Road had to be tackled over two days; a beautiful crop of snowdrops was uncovered and a dodgy haul included a bag of ‘unusual’ toys, latex gloves and a stash of Feargal Sharkey CD's - could this be someone you know?? The kindest thing would be to encourage them to hand themselves in to the authorities - there will be a fine for littering but I believe CBT is very beneficial for addicts and Irish singers from the 70 and 80s! HUGE THANKS to Graham and Stephen for pre-wombling and Chris, Andrew M, Eric, Tim, Hillary, Vikki, Rebekah, Michala, Renee and newcomers Lucy, Zoe and Maddy who braved snow, sleet and hailstorms to make Barlaston a cleaner place for us all! Thanks for the beeps and encouragement from passing motorists – we appreciate your support.
Please support The Barlaston Womblers and join in with the Great British National Spring Clean over the weekend of 2nd-4th March! You can wash your road sign / pick up litter / polish a post-box / tidy a bus shelter / hoover a phone-box / clear a footpath / clean a speed sign / trim a verge / anything… just join in, PLEASE!! Speak to your family, friends and neighbours – help us to keep Barlaston beautiful. All groups and individuals can get involved - and don’t forget to send us your photos; we can share the shiny results with the community on our Facebook page and Website, and give you a Shout Out for all your efforts - THANK YOU!!
There will be an organised Womble on Sunday 4th March meeting at the Villiage Hall, Longton Road at 10am but if you’re not able to join us, you can still help - simply collect a pick, bag and rubber gloves from Becky at the Village Market on Saturday between 9.30am & 12, do your own patch, then claim your FREE cuppa on your return!
|Posted on January 3, 2018 at 12:35 AM|
Well another year has come and gone and the Barlaston Community Group is now entering into its fourth year… and it’s already looking like a good one with Paddington 2 showing in February, another Pop-up being planned for March, a summer Tea Party, Open Gardens in July and an event to celebrate the end of the Great War has also been mentioned for later in the year.
The main event in December was of course our Golden Agers Christmas Party, which despite several inches of snow went ahead as planned. Over 70 people braved the weather to be rewarded by (several!) glasses of mulled wine and a sumptuous tea comprising plates piled high with sandwiches, festive nibbles and a variety of cream cakes - never mind the Wedgwood experience, we had our own Village Hall experience! Emily Barnett entertained everybody with a selection of festive songs and her beautiful voice more than made up for the hastily assembled Helpers Choir trying to find a tune to accompany the enthusiastic actions to some well known carols!
For the 2nd year running tea party guests were treated to a lovely surprise - Santa arrived bearing gifts. He was very sociable and chatted to everybody before handing out over 20 super raffle prizes (including donations by the Parish Council, Kitson’s, Premier, One Stop & Tesco’s). What a shame that Chris Hurst had to leave just as Santa arrived – I seem to recall that he missed him last year too! A HUGE Thank You to everyone who made the event possible - Barlaston residents are simply the Best!!
The Christmas Womble took place on the 22nd December and Womblers spread out along the top of the village festooned in tinsel & Santa hats bringing back a haul of around 11 bulging sacks! Huge thanks to Pam, John, Tim, Renee, Sandie, Liz, Graham, Malcolm, Andrew B, Michala & Chris with her little elf helpers Kyle, Shannon, Jacob & Ava. Andrew M. made up for his absence with a solo pick the day before on Meaford Rd and Clare picked along Old Rd later that day – thank you both! Everyone was certainly ready for the Après with mulled wine, stollen & Christmas cake, followed by a rousing rendition of The Womblers Come to Town (we missed you for the descant Clare!).
|Posted on December 1, 2017 at 9:50 AM|
There have been two ‘Sew-ins’ this month with Hilary and Sandie, representing the BCG and the Village Hall committees, doing a great job of cajoling a number of volunteers into cutting, sewing and ironing triangles in order to make decorative bunting that even Cath Kidston would be proud of! This will be used as part of the decorations for the Golden Agers Tea Party and will also be available for the hirers of the village hall to use as well.
Only a week to go until the Golden Agers Tea Party on Sunday 10th December, 2- 4pm in the Village Hall. The CK Community Choir will be back with a lively rendition of Christmas carols and we will be serving a sumptuous High Tea to rival The Ritz! We have had a lot of people working behind the scenes to make this a success but a special ‘Thank You’ must go to Tony and Sue Tudor who have called upon their many friends and contacts who have all been incredibly generous with their support: savouries and sweets have been donated from Wright’s Bakeries, we will be using Bengry’s freshly baked bread for the sandwiches and Burma Bacon will be supplying a selection of fillings. And that’s not all – Tesco’s have made a donation and the last time I spoke with Tony, he was on his way to see Mr Kipling, all exceedingly good! Please pick up your tickets from Kitson’s so that we know how many to cater for and remember – Barlaston Residents over 70 are FREE!
Barlaston made quite an impression in the Stafford Borough Community Awards announced this month and the Womblers, together with the Voluntary Car Scheme had been nominated for the Action in the Community Award and James Brown and Matt Todd for the Inspiring Individual Award. The standard was very high and it was thrilling to hear James and Matt’s names being read out as runners up in their section. You will remember that it is James (aka Bhudda Man) and Matt who have cultivated the area around the flats on Flaxman Close so beautifully. We hear that another water feature has been created in the shared gardens to the rear, so watch this space for news of Open Gardens 2018!
Our Facebook page continues to be popular and it is very satisfying to overhear friends and neighbours referring to it as their main source of local information. For example when residents woke up to discover they had no water on the 8th November, by 6pm that evening the ‘Watergate’ post had been seen by 2,823 people. By 6.45am the next morning it had been ‘shared’ 21 times and been seen by 3,847 people! Severn Trent had been phoning and texting some residents but not everyone, and by using Facebook people were able to keep updated with news of bottled water drop-offs and reconnection estimates throughout the day. If you are not already using Facebook, surely this is the incentive you need to give it a try!
Lastly and very sadly, we say goodbye to Patrick Linehan who died suddenly last weekend. Patrick was a Parish Councilor and very active on many committees and groups in and around the village. He was a founding member of the Barlaston Community Group and known for his flamboyant cravats, wonderfully sonorous voice and great sense of humour. We will miss him enormously. A service to celebrate his life will be held at 2 p.m on Monday 11th December at Bradwell Crematorium, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 8LE, followed by his burial at the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Station Rd, Barlaston. Attendees are asked to wear colourful cravats and clothes in honour of Patrick. Donations to the Douglas MacMillan Hospice gratefully received.
|Posted on November 1, 2017 at 11:20 AM|
As you know, the Pop-up Supper - a Taste of Thailand, from Nui’s Kitchen, sold out within a week! Everything was home made using Nui's authentic traditional Thai recipes & not only was the food delicious, it was all so beautifully presented - the vegetables were (almost!) too pretty to eat, having been carved into a variety of exotic flowers! Thanks to everyone who came & supported the event. We particularly appreciate your patience when attending the Pop-ups as the hall does not have a commercial kitchen & producing food that is homemade & hot-to-table can be rather tricky. However, we’ve had lots of lovely feedback which confirms our customers enjoy the experience as a whole – Thank You!
The Barlaston Womblers had a very productive start to the month collecting 12 bulging bags from around the top of the village. Huge thanks to Tim, Andrew M, Sandie, Sam, Liz, Graham, Renee, Michala & Andrew B. who supplied the coconut & rolled oat cookies for the Apres in the Village Hall! Weird finds included a set of curtain rails, an old toolbox, telephone cabling, a grass box & a tyre... plus the usual bottles, cans & fast-food debris of course. Grrrrrr don't they know we've signed the Staffordshire Anti Litter pledge??!!
Please remember you don’t have to be a Barlaston Wombler to pick up any litter you see & help us keep the village tidy & a pleasure for us all to live in!
Barlaston Film Night presented Victoria & Abdul last Saturday & reflected resident’s appetite for a feel- good film. This was a biographical comedy-drama which contained some un-politically correct humour and got everyone laughing out loud! Thanks to Kitson’s as always for supporting our events by selling tickets & being helpful & supportive to all community activities!
|Posted on September 1, 2017 at 11:40 AM|
This month has flown and we just managed to squeeze in an event for the kids before the schools go back in the form of a Bug Hunt! The Big Barlaston Bug Hunt took place on Thursday and although we were dodging raindrops some of the time, overall we managed to stay outside long enough for the kids to get to know each other, play Splat the Spider and for everyone to eat their picnics. The event was organised by Bear Brylls (aka Sara Morris) who provided indoor and outdoor entertainment for a group of around 40 (kids, babies & adults).
On the nature walk we found a variety of jumping bugs, loads of creepy crawlies and a strange frilly snail. The children also found pieces of old pottery - possibly forming a part of the Barlaston Hoarde??! We were very excited to discover further evidence of an ancient civilisation but then realised it was only Patrick who had arrived to collect his grand-daughter (lol!) A HUGE thank you to St. John's Church for allowing us the freedom of the Church & grounds, and in particular to Dennis & Sue Croome for their help & enthusiasm.
The Barlaston Womblers have been out as usual with picks concentrating on the roads with the most volume of traffic. Too many bags are still collected on a regular basis however, and we were disappointed to find an increase in fly-tipping – in the last couple of weeks we have found a fridge-freezer, a double fridge & a builders bag full of rubble. Keep up to date with what the Womblers are doing by joining the Facebook group ‘Barlaston Womblers’ and posting pics of grot spots and/or ideas of how we can tackle the growing problem of litter.