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May / June 2019 Newsletter

Dear MaDAHAL member Welcome to Moor Green Matters Editorial The first two months of Spring have mostly lived up to expectations with some gloriously sunny days, but regrettably some very strong winds, which have caused considerable damage. Thankfully the Easter weekend was as warm and dry as we had hoped, so that you could get onto your plot or enjoy a relaxing drink outside the Club house, while many lively children went hunting for chocolate eggs along the nature trail. With two public holidays this month, fingers crossed we have many more good gardening days. Oz continues to run his monthly ‘mOZter’ classes, Roopa has been busy getting ready for the plant and cake sale and Maxine and Debs are well underway with the Summer Fair in early June.

Details of these and numerous other things happening onsite are all in this newsletter, so read on to find out more…. Don’t loose the plot…. Carol Moore and his trusted team of inspectors will be walking the site with their clip boards on 11th May, undertaking the annual plot inspection; officially concluded by 30th April, we have given you all an extra bank holiday weekend to ‘toil the soil’! A reminder that those tenants who took on plots between November and January will be expected to have made some considerable progress towards clearing the ground and growing some crops.

The site is generally looking good - so much so that we are the most popular allotment site in Birmingham, with visitors from outside the City wowed by the size and friendliness of the allotment community, let alone the number of well cultivated plots - let’s work together to keep it that way. Those of you who had Letters of Intent in the Autumn will have now had six months to get you plots back in shape; failure to do so does mean your plot will be immediately re-entered by the Council…so use it or loose it is the message!! Testament to the popularity of Moor Green allotments… is the growing waiting list, with as many as three or four referrals in any one week. The list currently has 25 people eager to get digging, hence we have to be robust about applying certain Council regulations. For example tenants cannot just assign (hand over) their plot to someone else nor can they sub-let any part of their plot, shed or green house or have someone else work it for them. In fairness plots must be offered, in date order, to those on the waiting list. Once the waiting list is cleared then second plots might be considered (unlikely at Moor Green!). Another good reason to work your plot, keeping it looking pukka!

Social membership is also popular (could it be the cheap beer?), although we would like to think it’s more about the welcoming community that we have built up over the years and the regular communication with all our members (bi-monthly newsletter, 12 notice boards around the site, text alerts to non-internet users, Club house gardeners corner and a members only Facebook Forum). This, together with exciting Association events now the weather is warmer-ish, ensures Moor Green is the place to be gardening and relaxing. Support the Birmingham and District Confederation Quiz evening.. on Friday 17 May in the Club House to raise funds to offset the cost of the Annual Birmingham Produce Show. Among their many other functions the BDAC host the Annual Birmingham Produce Show each year, at Cannon Hill Park. The Show, which moved into the main hall at the MAC in 2018, is as popular as ever and profiles some of the best of allotment gardening across our City, but does have considerable overhead costs.

To raise funds the BDAC are hosting a relaxing, fun Quiz night at Moor Green Allotments, open to all allotment gardeners across the City and, of course all our members (social and tenant). Please consider supporting the BDAC by making up a team of 6 for just £5.00 per head. The Quiz starts at 7.00 pm and should be finished by 10.00 pm. See the attached poster for full details or contact Maxine, Pavilion Manager on or 07989 380544 or Barbara Smith, BDAC Secretary, 07746 062410 or Maintaining your plot…finding out ‘How to’…buying stock from the Teaching Plot…topping up supplies from the Seed Store…. Follow the Moor Green #Growing Matters series on the Facebook forum for ideas of what to grow month by month, read the ‘How to’ guides or join one of our monthly ‘mOZter Classes. The Club House has a ‘Gardeners’ Corner’ close to the kitchen area with current gardening magazines, informative posters and plenty of gardening books. So please don’t grow a field of grass and weeds - get plotting! The next two ‘mOZter’ classes are on 18th May and 22nd June. Full details are attached, pinned up in the Club House and on the FB forum. Roopa and her team of growers will have dozens of plants on sale - flowers, fruit and vegetables - also on 18th May, from the Teaching Plot, together with mouth-watering cakes and a cuppa. You can even pre-order nursery plants, (a new departure this year), grown by the team in poly tunnels and green houses around the site. This, together with an abundant Seed Store, to help ensure you are well placed to get growing. New Association Committee, put the AGM date on your calendar….Nominations for Association Management Group (Committee)… Just to remind everyone - it’s that time of year again when the Management Group focus on the Annual General Meeting! The date has been set as Saturday 15 June, starting at 11.15am, with nominations for membership of the Group open for four weeks during May. Essentially we will keep to just one hour and provide celebratory refreshments (Borehole opening).

Please consider supporting the management of your site either by standing for nomination or attending the AGM or, better still, doing both! Put a book mark in you diary now for the third Saturday in June. YOUR ASSOCIATION NEEDS YOU! Effective management of the allotment site has never been so crucial now that we are self managing with our own budget and wholly responsible for the site. The Council remain the Landlord and sets rent, but we manage the entire Moor Green site on a voluntary basis. Got a little time to spare then do consider donating your time and expertise. By the way you do not have to be on the management group to help, we still need plenty of voluntary support to maintain the site, including the Club house bar. Nominations for the Management Group open on 1 May. Tenant members and social members, holding membership for twelve months, can be nominated, but must be proposed and seconded by other members. The nomination sheet will be posted up in the Club house on the noticeboard by the back door. Borehole launch….Councillor Martyn Straker-Welds to officiate The borehole has been running for a month now without any obvious signs that the supply cannot cope. We do still have over heads (electricity to run the pump and maintenance costs) and need to buy water for the Club house from Water Plus, with the associated waste water charges. A recent Facebook post asked if we are still limited to filling four blue barrels worth of water per year and the answer if definitely YES! Continue to harvest water to meet the needs of the crops you grow, so as not to be profligate with this resource. Launch details: 10.00 Official opening of the Borehole, by our Councillor, Martyn Straker-Welds, photos and walk to Club House, visiting a few selected plots 10.45 Councillor says a few words, more photos and invites guests to a buffet, the bar will be open and hot drinks available 11.15 AGM, while members and guests are eating, but bar closed 12.15 approx Finish, bar re-opens Summer Fair…. on Sunday 2 June includes stalls inside and outside the Club house and a BBQ, with guest Chef, Brad Carter. There is still an opportunity to rent a stall - contact Maxine on 07989 380544 or Debs on 07462 871958. Further details on the MaDAHAL Facebook, in the Club house and around the site. The Summer Fair is not a fund raising event, just a fun, family day. Moor Green Seed Store where Peter, Mick and a bunch of committed volunteers…. aim to meet your horticultural needs. Opening times are Saturday 12.00 - 2.00 p.m. and Sunday 12.00 - 2.00 p.m. The seed store has been really well patronised this Spring, with grateful thanks to our loyal customers. It’s not too late to plant Seed potatoes, shallots and onions, all of which are still available. We offer our usual Erin Compost and bags of Well Rotted Horse Manure at very competitive prices especially if you bulk buy. Netting, Fleece, Ground cover, Canes, Water Barrels, Growmore and other essentials are also available. A large range of seed packets from Kings Seeds with discount on the recommended sale price are displayed within the store. Occasionally, when we are clearing lock ups or sheds we find tools that can be of use. For these we simply ask for a donation towards the Children’s Christmas Party. The seed store is run by volunteers from across the site who give of their time to support our community. If you feel able to contribute in this way, perhaps a couple of hours every other month, please contact Peter Jupe on email: or Mobile 07971250903.

Looking forward to a successful growing season. Keep the site secure and keep yourself safe…. Regrettably we had several serious incidents of vandalism and threatening behaviour from a group of youths trespassing on the site during the Easter school holidays. The police have been supplied with photos and video footage, crime numbers provided and a partnership forged with residents of the ‘Avenues’, where the same youths are also causing considerable trouble. If you see these young lads, possibly armed with gardening tools, wearing balaclavas and being threatening do not approach them, but ring 999 immediately. The more we report such incidents, the better the police are able to prioritise resources in the fight against crime. As a result of these episodes we have had to temporarily lock the pedestrian gates into Holder’s Playing Field and Cannon Hill Woods while new padlocks are fitted (the old padlocks being totally worn out). We will fit new locks as soon as we are able and apologise for the inconvenience caused to plot holders, especially in Zones B, C and E. At the same time we are reviewing our boundaries to determine how much fencing needs to be replaced and looking to raise funds for palisade type fencing. At the Russell Road entrance we have, once again, had to make this more secure by closing off one gate with a security padlock. Numbered keys may be purchased from Jenny for £15.00 if you wish to regularly bring a vehicle through the gates. This was mostly due to cars racing through and around the site - nothing to do with plot holders. The top bar at the Holder’s Lane entrance will be opened on Thursday morning for deliveries. Roopa asks that you plan for deliveries on that day or on Saturday’s when there are more people around with security keys. Social membership… subs now due All Moor Green tenants are automatically individual members of the Association, but we also have membership available to non-tenants, i.e. Social Membership. Husbands, wives, partners and other family members aged over 18 and who regularly work on your plot are also encouraged to become members of the Association. Deborah James manages social membership and keeps a list of current members. At £6.00 per adult per year this represents excellent value and adds to the community spirit that makes MaDAHAL so vibrant. Along with devolved management the Council have tightened up on the procedures for Club house hire - all hirers must be MaDAHAL members and sign in their guests to comply with our licensing agreement. Event booking forms, together with Risk Assessments, do have to be with allotment officers at least four weeks in advance for permission to hold events and check insurance details. This means we need them well before the event, especially if it is a large event needing more than two bar staff. Text Mark Wright, Bar Manager on 07798 622788 (no phone calls please) or call in and speak with Deborah, for details and availability. We have re-stocked the magazine boxes with spring copies of horticultural magazines, including 'Grow your own', ‘Gardener’s World’, ‘RHS Garden’ and 'Kitchen Garden', and for bird-lovers, back issues of ‘Bird Watching’, ‘RSPB’ and other wildlife magazines, so do call in and look at some of the copies over a drink of something hot or cold. Celebrating the 50th Edition of the newsletter…. This newsletter represents quite a milestone, as it is now ten years since I took over as editor with this being the 50th edition under my watch. The newsletter began life as a hard copy, 16 page full colour publication posted out four times a year, moving to a monthly digital copy in 2014, emailed to tenant members and posted to non-internet users. This coincided with a name change to Moor Green Matters, a play on words reflecting the concerns we had about devolved management. A year later MGM moved to being a bi-monthly newsletter and in April 2017, we launched our closed Facebook Forum, publishing MGM on the Web and extending the circulation to all social members. It has been a real pleasure to keep you all in contact with everything that Matters at Moor Green, but it has also been huge demand on my personal time. So I will be stepping down as newsletter editor and hopefully handing over to someone who will use their own talent and flair to keep plot holders communicating. We would be pleased to hear from anyone else who has the capacity and inclination to take on the role. Contact Jenny in the first instance or have a word with Jonathan Birkett in the Club house Events and activities: Nominations for Association Committee open 1 May for four weeks Plot inspections 11 May, all day BDAC Quiz, Moor Green Club house 17 May, 7.00-10.00 pm Plant & cake sale 18 May, 1.00-5.00 pm MOzter class 18 May, 10.00-midday Allotment Committee meeting 25 May, 10.30-midday Nominations for Association Committee closes 29 May Summer fair & BBQ 2 June, times to be advised Borehole launch & buffet 15 June, 10.00-11.15 AGM & new Committee elected 15 June, 11.15-12.15 MOzter class - soil awareness continued 22 June, 10.00-12.00 Allotment Committee meeting 29 June, 10.30-12.00 (first meeting of newly elected management group)

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