Programme Action Officer – Maureen Ward
PROGRAMME ACTION REPORT JULY/AUGUST 2012
During August PAO Karen Plumb had to stand down from office due to pressure of work and Maureen Ward (MW) has taken over for the remainder of this year. During July and August various members of SI Penrith have given a total of 140 “woman hours” of service. At the current minimum wage this equates to just over £850. This does not take into account the significant preparatory work that Margaret Riches has put into the Cooking for Life project which starts later this month.
EDEN RIVERS TRUST (ERT) The Trust arranged a total of 19 sessions during June July and August to engage various groups in helping to eradicate invasive species in the Eden Valley. SI Penrith were responsible for providing volunteers for three of these sessions, clocking up 34 woman hours (actually there was a couple of men there as well) of sometimes quite challenging physical work! We thought our first session would be easy as ERT had chosen a roadside site for us. However we soon discovered that most of the target Himalayan Balsam was growing at the far side of a deep hidden ditch and some of us regretted not bringing the wellies. The second two sessions were near Armathwaite and easier to negotiate – but HUGE amounts of Balsam to deal with. Paul Greaves at ERT has written to thank us for our efforts and was very pleased with the amount we managed to clear at the Armathwaite site. We did wonder how we compared to some of the other (more agile!) groups but we’re obviously useful as Paul is eager to encourage us back next year. Each session was rounded off with a visit to the local pub – the best bit for some of us!!
CALVERT TRUST Bookings were down this year at the Trust and Soroptimists were asked to provide bed making volunteers for just 4 weeks during August. We worked with SI Cockermouth to help prepare the rooms and, although a full house means 60 beds to make, working together gets the work done in a couple of hours and we always enjoy a bit of R&R afterwards having a coffee and catching up on each others news. So far bookings for next year are looking more promising.
TALKING NEWSPAPERS There were two recording sessions during July and August. Pat Newsham reports that there are usually enough volunteers and she has a “back up” list if necessary but new recruits are always welcome. For such an important part of our programme action this report will seem very short – that is because this regular service works brilliantly because of the loyal and dedicated team who work well together and do a very professional job.
LITTER No litter picking was organised over the last couple of months but Moira Rogers and MW spent a morning walking around the town noting the position of litter bins and how well used they were. Several were found to be full to overflowing and there were no bins in some areas where litter may accumulate. MR and MW agreed to look again once the school holidays are over and check how much of a problem litter is on the route from schools to the town centre. In general the town is looking better and there appears to be less litter around the centre since the Council are now employing someone to litter pick in the early mornings again – in addition to the mechanical cleaners. Also, David Whipp (Councillor) has been given responsibility for monitoring delivery of the Council’s contracts and this has meant that several things have improved recently – most noticeably flower beds replanted around the bus station. PACT has concentrated its efforts on persuading the Council to address the problem rather than organising litter picks and if any SI members see areas where litter is accumulating please get in touch with the Council either by letter or telephone. PACT has found that they do respond to prompting for instances like this.
MULTICULTURAL GROUP Moira Rogers, Jean Hall and Barbara Grundy continue to meet up fairly regularly with the three Polish women that various club members have helped with English Conversation since they first arrived in this country. This has effortlessly transformed into a social group who enjoy meeting up and there are still opportunities to support the three as they settle more into the community.
COOKING FOR LIFE Margaret Riches has done a great deal of work to get this project off the ground. The sessions will start on Wed 26th September and we look forward to this new venture.
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