Green Ilminster – Winter Newsletter

Hello and a slightly belated Happy New Year to you all. Welcome to our Winter Newsletter – there is lots to fill you in on.

As evenings gradually get lighter and spring approaches our thoughts are turning to what might be happening in our gardens this year and what we might start growing. Since its start four years ago Green Ilminster has always talked about trying to get a ‘Gardening Group’ off the ground. There must be a wealth of knowledge and experience here in Ilminster which could be harnessed for everyone. We are hoping that a good starting point might be focusing on organising a Spring Plant Sale. We ran a very successful seed and plant swap last year and it would be brilliant if we could build on that this year. Many of our local villages have established really great spring plant sales, selling seedlings and divided shrubs etc and we think we could and should be doing the same here in Ilminster. If you fancy this idea and think you might be able to help us to get something like this off the ground this year, please do get in touch. The bonus of an event like this is that it could also be a much-needed fund raising event for Green Ilminster.

…ah ha! Fundraising – another hot topic….and something else we talk about a lot at our Board meetings! We have enjoyed some success with funding applications and our shop is a good (if not quite enough!) source of income, but we really could do with a bit more help in this area, ideally from someone with a bit of experience, some creative ideas and time to help us make the most of the suitable funding that’s out there. Could this be you?

We have various groups working on different ideas and projects, one of which is our Community Woodland Group. The science is pretty clear that planting trees should be a big part of our fight against climate change and this group was formed from a belief that we could and should be doing our bit here in Ilminster. We also think that this should  benefit our human community as well as our natural one.

There are several parcels of County Farm Land which are adjacent to Herne Hill Nature Reserve which would lend themselves to creating a Community Woodland. We have been working hard for the last couple of years to make ourselves heard. We have experience, expertise, enthusiasm, and a business plan!

We have some brilliant support and enthusiasm from individual councillors and council officers who want to help us and obviously share the belief that we should all be acting to combat climate change but even with this support, trying to engage with the decision-makers has proved very challenging. If our County Council can approve the building of 360 houses and the use of hundreds of acres of publicly-owned land to mitigate it, then surely it should be able to negotiate a small parcel of land to be used for a community woodland by the people who actually live here and are invested in doing it well…our efforts will go on!

Some exciting news for 2024 is that we will be starting ‘Green Ilminster Talks’ – this will be a series of talks and presentations from brilliant  people involved in all sorts of environmental projects and who are doing great things. These talks will be informative and inspiring and help us network with like-minded folk!  We are delighted to announce that our first speaker will be the fantastic Steve Mewes of Somerset Climate Action Network – this event will be on 20th March at The Ilminster Arts Centre – details to follow…a date for the diary!

Ilminster Share and Repair is flourishing, with nearly 1000 items being processed through our fab little repair shop. We receive  such positive feedback from our community and are very chuffed that we have created this service which has such a tangible impact and is sustainability in action! Getting the ‘Share’ side of the project up and running is proving a challenge however, so we are looking for help – we need someone with a passion for sustainability to give the share side of our project some energy. Our small ‘library of things’ is in a fledgling state, and we need someone to give it wings! A lot of the work has been done and we are looking to start with children’s party boxes, aiming to gradually increase our range of items that can be borrowed for a small fee, therefore reducing the need for people to buy stuff they only need from time to time. If you or maybe someone you know has a bit of time and enthusiasm to offer, we would love to hear from you…being part of this brilliant team really does bring a little bit of joy to life.

All the other great stuff continues – clearing up Ilminster on our regular Community litter picks, monitoring the water in the River Isle as part of Westcountry Rivers Trust citizen science project, planting and maintaining trees and recording the veteran and ancient trees on our patch as part of Ilminster Tree Group.

Green Ilminster is built on the impetus of local people trying to act for positive change. We always need more great people to come on board and would welcome you if you think you can help. In a world where so much seems to be falling apart, being part of a group like ours does make you feel that it’s possible to make a difference. Our planet really does need us; we can’t give up.

Warmest wishes

Sarah Hunt

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Green Ilminster